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Posts Tagged ‘Calvinism’

I wonder if we take the plain writing of scripture seriously? In both Galatians and Hebrews. Lets look at the two warnings:

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Now the argument usually goes like this. “Well that falling from grace in Galatians 5, means a lost of rewards” or “this is hypothetical and doesn’t mean that” or most common “they were never saved at first”. Why? Because our theological presuppositions tell us that one who comes to faith can’t fall away. Usually Romans 8 and John 5:24 are quoted.

The argument for Hebrews is usually verse 9 again this is a hypothetical statement and doesn’t mean what it says. But Paul says in Hebrews 6 that these individuals have been “enlightened”, have “tasted the heavenly gift” and “shared (partaken) ” of the Holy Spirit”. These aren’t experiences of the nonbeliever this seems to be the language of one who has trusted in the Gospel and has been born again.

Here is what I am not saying. I am not saying that sin seperates us from God and I think this is what John 5 and Romans 8 convey. I am saying that a man can willfully follow Christ trust in Him and as Matthew says in his Gospel the 13th Chapter one can get so concerned with this world, count the cost of the Christian life and walk away. I believe this is what Paul is conveying in Hebrews 6.

If we follow the letter to the Hebrews. The theme is one huge warning. “To turn back to Judaism due to persecution is to reject the true High Priest, the true land, the true sabbath rest, the true Son of God, the true temple and to turn back to Sinai which has been replaced by Zion”. That is why the writer tells the Hebrews to “go outside of the camp”. Because this is where the scapegoat goes, to take the guilt of Israel away. We see Jesus as that scapegoat, who takes our sins away and bears our guilt and shame, however, this is predicated on a continual faith.

Now there are two camps who agree with OSAS. The first are those who reject the Doctrines of Grace and for some reason these are the people I have the greatest quarrel with. They reject the Doctrine of Election by saying “Jesus would never force anyone to come to Him”. Which is fine. However, in the same breath they say “Jesus would never let someone go who doesn’t want Him anymore”. This is a blaring inconsistency here. To say Jesus won’t force you to believe but He will force you to continue believing once you have believed is a bit weird to me. The big reason this train of thought follows is to protect and uphold the erroneous doctrine of the “Carnal Christian”. Which, biblically speaking, is false.

The other camp is the Calvinistic camp. I don’t agree there anymore; however, they are the most consistent. They say “God elected you, Christ died for you, so God will sustain your faith, less He proves to not be totally sovereign over your salvtion”. I applaud the consistency though I disagree with the conclusion.

Here is why. Paul gives a stern warning in Galatians. We all know the issue. They are looking at turning back to the Jewish law for justification (Chapter 5). Paul says once you attempt to be justified by a Covenant God has rejected and replaced with the New Covenant (the Gospel), you have in turn rejected the subject of that Covenant, who is Jesus. So in essence to attach anything to Christ’s work is to reject Christ wholeheartedly. As Paul says in Chapter 2 “Christ died needlessly”. Paul goes on to say “I would have labored in vain”. This doesn’t seem like the language of the hypothetical and Paul seems to be convinced that they were born of the Spirit but now want to be justified in the flesh.

In Hebrews Paul is saying “if you turn back to a dead, obsolete, worthless, Covenant, then there is no way for you to gain favor or repentance from God”. Paul was not saying that they could never trust in Christ again. He was saying that you can’t reject the New Covenant and gain repentance from God, thus to turn back to the Old Covenant is to reject God and that Old Covenant can’t save you thus you have no hope!

I close with this. We can’t allow our theological presuppositions to drive our hermeneutic. If we do, we can’t reject the way others read and interpret the bible, because we do the same we just dress it up in theological jargon. Let me know what you think! 8)

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Okay I know I said I would be done, but as Festus once told Paul  “your great learning is making you mad (crazy)”. Here is a serious question. Did Calvin’s and the Reformers Ecclesiology force them to produce a faux flower? Given the fact that the Church and the State were in a ungodly marriage under the tyranny of the Reformers how could they both force people into Christendom and justify that these individuals, coerced by the sword as they were, were really part of the true Church? How about the invisible/visible church distinction?

So again if everyone in a given locale are in the “Church” (this was the doctrine of these gentleman ungodly as it was)who was genuinely saved? We understand that coercion of faith forced them to justify the erroneous doctrine of baptizing infants. So the questions are quite simple though maybe a bit more complex to answer.

 We understand that Calvin’s false ecclesiology forced them to baptize infants so is the “TULIP” also a product of a false ecclesiology driven by the refusal to separate the State from the Kingdom? Also why do we feel that if Calvin was off on so much (and he was) why was he right on this?

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Read the entire article here and I promise you it is worth the 15 minutes!!!! I have been around the blogsphere and this seems to be a pressing issue especially with young men and women who have begun to become convicted of such a theological position. As believers (rather Calvinistic, Arminian, or some mixture of the two which the majority of Evangelicals fall) we are to have charity with one another, we aren’t to deliver low blows, be unkind, ungentle, impatient, and never unloving towards those we disagree with. This was a hill I once died on until I matured a great deal in this area. I still have much to mature in, so this isn’t just for Calvinist vs. Armians but for all Christians who disagree with other Christians.

Here are a few excerpts to chew on:

1. All of us, at one time or another, were Arminian in our thinking. A professing Arminian may be just as unregenerate as a professing Calvinist, but one’s adherence to Arminian theology does not necessarily exclude them from the kingdom of God. It is disturbing to hear some Calvinists assign all Arminians to the lowest abyss while conveniently forgetting that they too, at one time, were Arminians. Although the great 18th century evangelist, George Whitefield, had his differences with the staunch Arminian John Wesley, he was able to see the hand of God in Wesley’s ministry and count him as a brother in Christ. Thus, we must be patient with our brethren and recognize that both ethical and theological maturity takes time. In fact, there are some truths that, for whatever reason, we may not yet be ready to receive – as Jesus told His own disciples, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).

1. Scripture alone is the final standard of authority for doctrine and practice (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21), not Luther, Calvin, Owen, or any other great Reformed theologian. This is not to deny that these men – and men from other theological traditions – have made great spiritual contributions to the church, but only that they are not the final arbiters of truth. I know that many Reformed people would assent to this, but how many truly practice it? If we accept everything under the banner of “Reformed” or “Calvinistic,” without serious scriptural investigation, are we truly practicing “Sola Scriptura”? Let us not make a pope out of Calvin, Luther, or any other mere mortal (Jeremiah 17:5).

1. Consider the grace and blessings which God has lavished upon you: He could have chosen to create you into a mouse or even a cockroach but, instead, chose to make you into a member of the human race; He could have chosen to plant you in the most remote and harshest place on this planet but, instead, chose to plant you in the free and prosperous land of America; He could have left you in sin and darkness but, instead, chose to redeem you and adopt you as His child through Christ Jesus; And He could have left you in your Arminian confusion but, instead, chose to graciously reveal the Doctrines of Grace to you. Therefore, do you have any excuse for pride or arrogance toward others – particularly toward our Arminian brethren? As the apostle Paul says, “For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).

4. In many cases, those who are in constant friction with others over relatively minor theological issues, do so because: (1) They are spiritually immature; (2) Lack discernment in recognizing what is essential or non-essential; and (3) They engage in unimportant disputes because they’re not truly engaged in genuine spiritual warfare. It’s akin to soldiers, during peace-time, who concentrate on the relatively petty details of shining shoes or making certain that their uniforms are always starched because there’s no real war to fight. Thus, they spend much of their time concentrating on insignificant duties. Actually, the Christian who pursues “fruitless discussions” (1 Timothy 1:3-7) stands under the disciplining hand of God since, unlike the soldier who serves during peace-time, our war is not over, but continues to rage on until Christ returns (2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

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