CalvinismVsArminianismIn approaching this topic I think it is very important that I communicate where I stand on the issue.
There has been many divisions because of a lack of knowledge and open mindedness. We like to always put God in a box. You can’t put God into a box.
I believe that both Theologies apply and are supported by scripture. There are also some flaws in both Theologies. The idea of corporate election and predestination has one major flaw which the Scriptures does not seem to support. God’s foreknowledge was the basis of His election and predestination. Since God knew everything as though it were in the present, and His election and predestination were based on His foreknowledge, and since He knew everyone who was foreknown or predestined, then God’s predestination had to be individual just as His knowledge was.It is very important that we cover the history of the two theologies.
First we will cover reformed theology, Calvinism. There are many people in history who have made a very big impact on their culture, times, and or religion. John Calvin was by far one of these few great people. He had such a big influence in the time which he lived from 1509 to 1564. John Calvin devoted almost his whole life to the promoting of Protestantism and made such a difference that his impact is still seen today in Christianity.Calvin was born in France and was the second son in his family of five brothers. He grew and then decided to go to the famous University of Paris to study to be a priest. His father then had a conflict with the bishop who employed him so he then turned to the study of law.
While he was studying in Paris he came across the writings of Martin Luther. His cousin then introduced him to the ideas of reformation. Protestantism began gathering momentum all over Europe. Then by 1533 Calvin began getting involved with the movement. That year Calvin had his salvation experience.
He wrote about it later and stated, “God subdued and brought my heart to surrender. It was more hardened against such matters than was to be expected in such a young man.” Calvin then knew to full fill his place with God he would have to turn away from the Roman Catholic church, so that is exactly what he did.His first attempt was November first that year. He gave a speech just like Martin Luther’s, attacking the church and demanding a reform. He figured that if he spoke to the people and educated them on Protestantism then they would be ready to make changes in the Roman Catholic church. It did not turn out his way at all. This resulted in anti-Protestant protests all over Paris, forcing him to flee for his own safety.
He roamed from place to place and then ended up in Basle, Switzerland. This is where he started his writing. You see John Calvin was considered a quiet, timid natured man.
The kind of man who would never fight in disputes. In his time there he really got to do the things he wanted to accomplish out of life. These were to study and learn about God and his holy word.After this he went to Geneva after getting kicked out for his teachings he got invited back to help turn the city around spiritually. He never held a political office in Geneva but he ruled with strictness and sin was punished. He had laws passed to promote Christian behaviour. Persecuted Protestants fled from all over Europe to reside here.
One last thing Calvin is known for is his theology. This is put together in a Calvinism. The ideas of the Calvin doctrine are men are completely unable to save themselves with their own works. Salvation is a matter of God’s choosing those who will be saved, and that God chooses without any consideration of a man’s good works.
If someone is chosen of God, there was no way they could ever reject Christ or fail to endure to the end of their Christian life. Finally, he taught that Jesus died only for the people who God chose. This is called limited atonement and is one of Calvin’s most controversial doctrines in Calvinism. As you can see John Calvin was truly a great man. Through his writings, speeches, and Calvinism he really reached his goal in life to learn about God and his holy word.
John Calvin devoted almost his whole life to the promoting of Protestantism and made such a difference that his impact is still seen today in Christianity.Augustine on Absolute ForeknowledgeIn The City of God, Book XI, c.21, page 364, anticipating these motifs of Calvinism, Augustine explained God’s Knowledge on the basis of immutability. His premise was God does not change, and any addition to His knowledge would be a change, therefore, God’s knowledge does not change: The unchangeableness or the immutability of God is the foundation upon which Augustine developed his ideas of foreknowledge. Because God’s knowledge does not change, the future must be foreknown by God also. Interestingly, Augustine touched on another theme at the same time; the intemporality of God. “For not in our fashion does he look forward to what is future, nor at what is present, nor back upon what is past ; but in a manner quite different and far and profoundly remote from our way of thinking. For He does not pass from this to that by transition of thought, but beholds all things with absolute unchangeableness; so that of those things which emerge in time, the future, indeed, are not yet and the present are now, and the past no longer are; but all of these are by comprehended in His stable and eternal presence.
” God is not affected by time therefore he must be out of time or without time.It is very common to run into religious people who would identify themselves as four point Calvinists, three point Calvinists on down to one point Calvinists. Such people reject one or more of the five points of Calvinism’s TULIP, but always seem to embrace the most deadly of the fivethe perseverance of the saints (or eternal security). How logical is it for such a person who calls himself a Calvinist to be less than a five point Calvinist in light of the theology of Calvinism? Certainly, to the surprise of many, such is an inconsistency, according to one of their chief spokesmen, the deceased Dr. Edwin H. Palmer.
Palmer graduated from Harvard, served in the Marines, then received both a Th.B and a Th.D in different Reformed seminaries. He was also an instructor of Systematic Theology in a Reformed Seminary. Hence, he is certainly qualified to comment on how the five points of Calvinism are interrelated, since he understood his theology so well. Palmer, referring to the fifth point of Calvinism, said the following: This is strictly a Reformed doctrine and hangs or falls together with the other four points that we have been discussing.
There are, however, Christians today who hold to the perseverance of the saints while at the same time rejecting the other four points. We believe, however, and will try to show later on, that this is an inconsistency in their thinking. In keeping with his expert opinion of this theology, Palmer went on to write about the perseverance of the saints: This doctrine also naturally follows from the doctrine of the limited atonement In other words, if the doctrine of limited atonement is true, then so is the perseverance of the saints. But then on the other hand, if limited atonement is untrue, so is eternal security. The above two quotes from Palmer are valuable to Christians who know all five points of Calvinism are not from God and especially desire to help free some Calvinists from the theological snare they are trapped in. Many Calvinists, who are less than five pointers, correctly reject limited atonement because of the Scriptural evidence which powerfully and clearly teaches that Jesus died for every person who ever lived and not just for those who will enter God’s kingdom in the end.
It is, therefore, inconsistent for eternal security proponents to reject limited atonement and still believe in the favorite fifth pointeternal security! Again, this is not my conclusion, but the conclusion of one who knew Calvinism when he was alive, much better than the vast majority does today. In 1980, the year of Palmer’s death, an enlarged edition of this same book was released. In this more recent edition the words were slightly changed from the previous quote, while retaining its essence: James Arminius (1560-1609)The arch-heretic of the Christian church responsible for reviving the heresy of Semi-Pelagianism.Who Was Arminius? Arminius was born in 1559 in Oudewater – a small city in the province of Holland. Holland was one of seventeen prosperous provinces then known as the Netherlands or the Low Countries, which today are divided into the Netherlands, Belgium and part of northern France.
In 1559 His Most Catholic Majesty Philip II was the king of Spain and Sovereign of the Netherlands.Most of the years of Arminius’ pastorate (1587-1603) in Amsterdam were peaceful. But there were some controversies. Arminius preached through the book of Romans and some of his sermons did evoke opposition. In 1591 he preached on Romans 7:14 and following. The standard Calvinist interpretation argued that Paul in these verses is speaking as a regenerate Christian. Romans 7 then presents the Christian’s continuing struggle resisting sin in his life.
By contrast, Arminius taught that Paul is remembering his previous, unregenerate state. For Arminius the struggle against sin in Romans 7 is a struggle before conversion. The Calvinists objected sharply to this interpretation, asking how the unregenerate can delight in the law in the inner man (Rom.
7:22). In 1593 Arminius preached on Romans 9 and his sermons on predestination seemed inadequate to many Dutch Calvinists.Arminianism is very different from Calvinism. The Arminians put a strong emphasis on the “free will of man” and they believe man controls most aspects of his own life. Man’s freewill to choose his own destiny is central to this belief system. Arminians do not believe God has forced certain people to go to Heaven and Hell. Arminians believe people can choose (out of their own freewill) to accept or reject God’s forgiveness. They also believe a person who is already saved can choose to reject God.
As a result, a person can lose his salvation. While some Arminians believe a person’s salvation can only be lost because of major unrepentant sins, others believe a person’s salvation can be lost several times a day. Arminians also believe Christ’s death on the cross did not pay for our sins. They say “Christ suffered for us rather than paid’ the penalty sinners owe.’ ” They feel if Christ paid for our sins, then everyone would go to Heaven. Arminians teach that, “Christ suffered for everyone so that the Father could forgive the ones who repent and believe; his death is such that all will see that forgiveness is costly and will strive to cease from anarchy in the world God governs.
This view is called the Governmental Theory of the Atonement. Arminians say Christ was not punished on the cross; instead He suffered on the cross. They say there can “only be punishment or forgiveness, not both.
“This position, of course, raises many concerns. It is saying the death of Christ on the cross was not necessary to save us. It is saying that the Sacrificial Lamb didn’t need to shed His blood to cleanse us from our sins. It is saying that God could have simply forgiven us without having to satisfy His righteous and holy nature. I find all of these issues very troubling.Let’s go back to Calvinism and the doctrine of selective salvation. Is God wrong for sending some people to Hell? Of course He isn’t; we are all sinners and deserve Hell.
Is God just and righteous in allowing sinners to enter Heaven? Yes, the atonement of Jesus on the cross did satisfy God’s righteous nature. Christ paid the penalty we owed for our sins. Would God be just if He arbitrarily chose who could go to Heaven? Obviously, a sovereign God can do whatever He wants. Yet, God will act in a manner that is consistent with His nature.
He will not violate His own rules of fair play. He will not violate His codes of righteousness and justice. The premise of selective salvation completely contradicts everything we know about God from the Bible. It is important to understand that according to Calvinism, God’s choice of the elect has nothing to do with His foreknowledge of those that would eventually become Christians.
It does not have anything to do with God’s foreknowledge of who will eventually be repentant, sorrowful of sins, or desirous of God. The condition of a person’s heart has nothing to do with God’s selection. God could have just as easily chosen to save the very people He is sending to Hell. These facts are clearly laid out by the founding fathers of Calvinism.According to Calvinism, no one has a repentant spirit, a sorrow for sins, and a desire to seek God.
Man in his fallen state is completely reprobate and has no desire for God. They believe the only reason a person would seek God (and thus become a Christian) is because God put these desires in his heart. They believe the unsaved person is incapable of having these attributes.
These desires can only come from God and they only come to the elect. Selective Salvationists say the targeted person has no choice in the matter. The targeted person does not get saved because he is sorrowful for his sins or loves God, but because God forces these feelings on him. This is called “irresistible grace.”According to Calvinism, once God puts these attributes into the person’s heart, the person has an irresistible desire to want God. This irresistible desire forces him to choose to become a Christian. Therefore, this person is considered to have a “choice.” This is why Calvinists can say the doctrine of selective salvation is not inconsistent with the rest of the Bible that talks about choice.
It is important to understand that this person cannot choose to reject God. His only “choice” is to accept God. It is impossible for anyone who is part of the elect to reject God and go to Hell.