Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary

Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary.
The subject of this commentary is what was written in italics from this link:
http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm
The system of Calvinism adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual where he is then able and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation. 


Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples’ sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation”.



Here is my humble take (in bold parentheses) on these areas:

Calvinism
The teaching is summarized in the acronym TULIP. Is this biblical?
Total Depravity: (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin):
Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.


The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph.2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, “In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”
Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); aCalvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).”

Personal take:
(Mark 7:21-23 do not say “man’s heart is evil”, “sick Jer. 17:9” , “slave of sin”(Rom. 6:20) and “does not seek God (Rom. 3:10-12). In fact, when man was created, he was perfect and “very good” (Gen. 1:31). One does not have to look far to see that evil can not come out of a newborn baby who has not develop enough to distinguish good and evil. As the baby develops and has the capacity to decide and act, he/she can choose good or evil, be a slave to sin or righteousness and can seek God. A prime example is Job who was “blameless and upright ..fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). True, Job was in a “death row” because of the “imputed sin” of Adam, but of himself, he did not sin although he lacked the understanding of God that he was still a sinner because all are accounted with “death sentence”, as “Adam sinned , so all sinned” with the resulting death as a consequence. Likewise, David was a “man of God’s heart” and did “good works” before his adultery. Taking all these in consideration, the context suggests that no one can discern what is in the mind of man where evil comes out from. It merely explains that action taken by man originates in the mind and that no one can divine what is in his mind. Man is capable of choosing between right or wrong, good or evil, life or death. This choice was set before us, as in:

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 New International Version (NIV)


“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.


But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.


This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”



Nevertheless, however upright a person is, whatever good works emanating from him, those are still “filthy rags” to God (Isaiah 64:6). The “works” that God requires are those that are “fruits of the Holy Spirit”(Gal.5:22-23).


Indeed, because of Adam’s sin that was counted as sin of all mankind, no one can bring humanity back and be reconciled to the Father were it not for Jesus death counted as that of humanity’s. Jesus died instead of us, as far as the Father is concerned to pay for the consequence of Adam’s sin, which is “eternal or second death”. Without the Passover sacrifice, humanity is totally hopeless. Predestination is about salvation at the time-period that God chose for a particular person to be offered the opportunity to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Judgment does not occur unless the person has the Holy Spirit available to him at his predestined time-period. This was first offered and received at Pentecost, then to others who believed who will manifest themselves in the “first resurrection” of “overcomers”. Others will have their time for the Holy Spirit to dwell during the Millenium-rule of Jesus/Son of God on earth and after that as in the prophecy about the “dry bones” (Ezek.37:1-14). The last time this Holy Spirit of power will be available to humans will be at the Great WhiteThrone Judgment. Those who believed/received the Holy Spirit of power and voluntarily follow its guidance will bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit”; they are the “overcomers” who “choose good over evil”. Those who outrightly reject or do not believe Jesus and those who believed/received the Holy Spirit but did not become “overcomers”, i.e., did not bear fruits, will be thrown in the “gehenna fire” at each period of the Holy Spirit’s availability. Jesus died for ALL humanity applicable to All at their predetermined time period. Jesus death is propitiation for the consequence of sin thereby a redemption for ALL from eternal death and reconciled us to the Father. But, not all will be saved; others may not achieve eventual salvation, depending on whether they become “one” with the Son and the Father through following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ death and redemption for all do not mean salvation for all, as being predestined in the “book of life” (Rev.20:12) does not necessarily mean “once saved always saved” because anyone can be blotted out (Rev. 22:19) and has to be an “overcomer” as in Rev. 3:5). All those predetermined to have the Holy Spirit available to them at their particular time-period does not necessarily mean all of them will be saved as they have to be “overcomers”. 


In essence, if “sinful nature”, “slave of sin”, and “man’s heart is evil” mean that because of Adam’s sin that we naturally are doomed to eternal death, then this is true. If “incapable of doing good works” refers to “works that God requires” (which are fruits of the Holy Spirit), then indeed we are “incapable”. Otherwise, the teaching is problematic.)



Unconditional Election:

God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).




Personal take:
(Yes, God chooses who he elects and decides on what time period they will be, at which time, the Holy Spirit is available to them. This is not merit-based as the best of human works are still “dung” to God. Election is about who are to be in a particular time period when the Holy Spirit will “dwell in us”. Salvation comes through the gift of reconciliation achieved by the death of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit that needs to be “baptized in us”. Whether we follow its guidance or not determines who will be “overcomers” and worthy of the reward of “immortal life”, which translates to “salvation from eternal death”.

In essence, if “some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21)” means elected as to their time-period of election, then it is tenable teaching.)


Limited Atonement:(also known as Particular Atonement):

Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many’; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).


Personal take
(Matt. 26:28 “blood shed for many” is not necessarily exclusive. Rather, it’s context suggests his blood is not for a few, but so abundant and “for many”. While Jesus did not actually say in this verse that his blood was shed “for all”, it certainly “efficacious” for “all who believed”. 



John 10:11-15 the context is about protection of all from the wolf that may devour his sheep.



Matt. 25:32-33 differentiates people who were “sheep” and received eternal life from those who were “goats” and received eternal death. The “sheep” followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit whereas the “goats” did not. Nevertheless, Christ died for all, whether sheep or goats. 


John 17:9 In here, Jesus was praying ” for them”, “not the world” , his followers as their lives would be in danger after he leaves. Jesus loves all, whether believers or not. This verse does not mean that Jesus did not care for others, as they will have their chance in the future. 



Acts 20:28(?) and Eph. 5:25-27. True, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it” but this does not necessarily exclude others from his love and that he died for all.


Isaiah 53:12 “bear the sin of many” is not exclusive as the following suggests “made intercession for transgressors”, meaning all transgressors. )



Irresistible Grace:

When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy”; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s. 

“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” (John 6:37).


Personal take:
(True, only God decides who will be called at any particular time-period to receive the Holy Spirit of power and the one who initiates every facet of salvation. But, why should this awesome gift of God be forced down our throat? No one is forced to obey him, even those who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit as the believer may still “vomit and eat”(Prov. 26:11; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). Overcomers are those who voluntarily overcome evil with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Being “one” with God is imposed but not forced in such a way that we have no choice. Calling into salvation does not mean we can not resist because there are people who reject the Holy Spirit( I Thes. 4:8; Mk. 3:28).


Perseverance of the Saints:(also known as Once Saved Always Saved):

You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.


Personal take:
(Only those who “persevere”, the “overcomers”, are the sheep that will never perish, are the ones who “passed out of judgment” to be rewarded with eternal life. True, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle; unfortunately, some still succumbed. Indeed, God is faithful but we are not consistently so.)


Arminianism
Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples’ sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation”.




Personal take:
(Predestination is absolute as far as determining who are elected to partake in a particular time-period of “calling” and chance to have the Holy Spirit. His choice is not determined by “who would pick him” . Instead, he gives “sunshine to grass and weeds” (Matt. 5:45) as “time and chance happens to all”( Eccl. 9:11)




God bless.

Original post: February 15, 2018

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