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#11

Not sure if this is perfectly appropriate or totally inappropriate, but I’m posting it anyway.


#12

Gotta love the Bee :wink:


#13

I never hear of this site before. I just skimmed it. It’s a riot.


#14

Just some more thoughts using bullet points, cause it’s easier some times.

  • I really don’t know the five points, but per my knowledge Calvinism means you are elected for salvation, and no matter what anyone says or does, it’s inescapable, saved or lost.

  • This is solely based on God’s prerogitive. He chooses. Man has no voice in the matter.

  • Some say that the doctrine of election negates the need for witnessing, given that we are part of the elect or we are not.

  • My difficulty with Calvinism has at least two issues. It’s quite painful to think about, and if Calvinism was so, why is there so much Biblical content. commanding us to be witnesses. eg. Matt. 28:19.

  • As far as the importance of this doctrine, I’m led to ask, “If we are saved, isn’t belief or non belief in Calvinism a non essential?”

  • Lastly, isn’t Calvinism soundly rejected by Southern Baptists? We were part of the Calvary Chapel movement, (which I still love), for about 15 years, but we’ve been attending a Southern Baptist Church for several months, and will likely become members soon.

What say you, when you a few moments? I’m not trying to draw swords. These are just some things I think about.


#15

Good thoughts, and I’ll give you some “brief-er” answers. Please feel free to ask more questions or ask for clarification! Let me first say that many of Christendom’s most famous missionaries/evangelists were Calvinists, such as: George Whitefield (Great Awakening), Charles Spurgeon (Prince of Preachers…if you haven’t, please read his evangelistic appeals!), Jonathan Edwards (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God), William Carey (Father of modern missions), Lottie Moon, and we could go on and on.

So, if these men/woman, whom proclaimed to millions the free offer of God’s gracious salvation to any who would believe and repent, were Calvinists, then we must reject the false conclusions many draw from the doctrines of grace (a.k.a. Calvinism).

Yes, God has elected to salvation (Eph. 1:3-14, Romans 8:28-39, etc.), but has also chosen the means to get them there. Nothing is automatic, robotic, mechanistic, etc. This is a paradox, of course, but we can expect those (Is. 55:8). There will be no one in heaven who did not genuinely want to be there, and no one in hell who genuinely wanted to be in heaven.

Do you mean that God commands what he wants, then brings it to be just as he commanded? If so, you’d agree with Scripture. Listen to what God says to Isaiah, for instance in 46:9b-10:
“I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’”

So is God accomplishing his purpose or man’s? We don’t think God is going to surrender or alter his eternal plans according to a man’s voice, right? At the same time, man is a free moral agent who makes real choices that really matter and have real consequences. Yes, both of those are true, and they must be if we’re to believe the Bible. NOTE: they are not a contradiction, but a paradox. There is a vast difference between the two.

The weighty and mind-blowing truths of God’s sovereignty, that he can do whatever he wants with his creation, is a sobering and tough truth to contend with. I have learned to rest in the tension and to think about it with care. Paul especially knew this. That’s why he says to the objector of these truths in Romans 9:18-20– So then [God] has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does [God] still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

But listen…I promise that the struggle to understand these truths is so worth it! I know it’s tough, but they are ultimately the sweetest doctrines. It took me 3+ years of intense struggle to arrive there, by the way.

On the contrary, evangelism, faith, and repentance are the means God uses to bring about his eternal plan. All who are to be saved must call upon the name of the Lord. There is no way, on this side of eternity, to know who the elect are. We are to preach the gospel to all creation and trust God to work. Men must believe! They must repent! And if God were not sovereign and gracious to give men new hearts, NONE would believe (Eph. 2:1-3, Rom. 8:7-8, 1 Cor. 2:14, etc., etc.)!

Southern Baptists were historically Reformed (Calvinistic) in their soteriology. Throughout the late 1800’s and much of the 20th century, there was a shift away from those doctrines. However, in the last 20+ years there has been a reversal and now over 30% of SBC pastors identify as Calvinists. We just elected a Calvinist SBC president this week, J.D. Greear, who’s church in N.C. has commissioned almost 200 international missionaries, most of whom have gone to the most dangerous places in the world.

Finally, let me say that though Calvin’s name is associated with a sovereign grace, God-centered salvation theology, Calvin did not invent them. Calvin never knew of anything called “Calvinism.” These truths have been held, taught, and fought for throughout church history (read up on the Augustine vs. Pelagius debate).

Let me know if you have more questions! I encourage you to read “Chosen by God” by R.C. Sproul.


#16

Wow! Lots to take in here. Thank you. I’ll slow my reading down and see what here my brain can handle.

But, let me break one thing down a little more, and really get to the meat of one question. This is
coming back to the importance of accepting or rejecting Calvinism.

Do you believe that people who reject Calvinism while still trusting in Jesus as they’re only hope for heaven? Couple that with the knowledge that only God knows the absolute answer.

I say yes, what say you?

Jack

By the way, I’ve listened to JD and RC a lot on the radio. Both are incredible teachers.


#17

Do I believe those who reject Calvinism can be saved? Heavens yes! This is not a salvation issue! It affects my worship, how I approach ministry/evangelism, my humility, but if we had to have a perfect theology to be saved, no one could go to heaven.

I want to go on record as saying some of the most godly, God-fearing, God-loving brothers I have are not Calvinists. I’ve gone around the world with Church of Christ brothers, preaching the gospel together, in gospel unity. Yes, there are essentials: One God, three persons, dual nature of Christ, sacrificial atonement, literal resurrection, requiring repentance/faith unto salvation…those and a few other essentials, I do not budge. But this is an in-house debate and I would be ashamed if anyone outside the kingdom was discouraged at two sides bickering–it is not worth that.


#18

Excellent point. I was thinking the same thing. Trifling over God’s word is horrible, and I apologise to anyone who may have thought that.

But its now agreed as a non essential which is exactly where I was going. I appreciate you taking the time for some complicated issues. To be continued.


#19

I’ve given this a little more consideration, and it reminded me of your 2 part teaching a few months back on God’s sovereignty. I think I had mentioned that the biggest takeaway that I got was that he ordains absolutely everything, because he is sovereign.

So, in that context, Calvinism makes a good deal of sense. I’m still completely on the fence though, in terms of embracing this doctrine, and at this time quite content with being there.

This may not be the best comparison, but several years back there was a movie called “The Butterfly Effect”. Though I didn’t see it, I believe the premise was that even the breeze created by a butterfly flapping it’s wings leads to another event and another event eventually resulting in something cataclysmic. Cause and effect, if you will.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28.

Remember the emphasis on "work together, not “work out” in the teaching? That was good.

I have much more swirling around, but my writing’s already getting a bit disjointed.

GB,

Jack


#20

On the subject of Calvinism, I would say go read Ezekiel 18:23, 32, and 33:11 then tell me that you can’t change your mind.


#21

I found this thread looking up “reading” I am not going to delve into the Calvin thought. I studied that way too long ago.
My thoughts are on Dietrich Bonhoffer…I read his biography a few years ago and was so i.pressed with the man. I have just started reading his book The Cost of Discipleship.
Boy, how do! I love this guy!
I dont know how long it has been since i have done so much underlining when reading!
Have you read him?


#22

I much prefer in-house debates over sprinkling vs. immersion, timing of the rapture, or even the age of the earth rather than this issue. Reason being is that I find High Calvanism greatly alters the character of God. Norman Geisler’s book Chosen But Free points out, “God’s will cannot be cut loose from His immutable nature, hence limited atonement is ruled out by essential omnibenevolence.” Roger Olson’s book (and try not to judge it by its title) “Against Calvanism” is one of the best books I have ever read on the topic. Nonetheless, I am happy to say that I have been blessed by several Calvanists; Arthur Pink’s book Guarding Your Heart is awesome! (despite his Calvanism :rofl: ; the Calvanist teacher across the hallway joins me in prayer each morning before our day at school; and Banjo Ben is the best in the business. But as for me and my house, we believe Christ died for all: 1 Timothy 4:10 (interesting wording if salvation was only offered to believers), 2 Peter 2:1 (here we have false teachers whose sins have been paid for), Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 2:2, 4:14, John 3:15, 11:26, 12:46, Acts 2:21 & 10:43. Love you, my Calvanist friends. Stay salty and keep pickin’
https://soteriology101.com/2017/06/16/why-ravi-zacharias-rejects-calvinism/


#23

Hey Ben not to derail, but one book I wanted to mention I did in a men’s bible study a while back is called Beautiful Outlaw, check out the site @ https://www.ransomedheart.com/rhplay/video/beautiful-outlaw-video-series-chapter-1 and the book


#24

Haven’t read him, though I did watch a couple of specials about him on NRB years back.

I got the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and though it’s not long, it will take me a long time to read it. (I read very slow).

This could be a good one for the future.

Though the best theological minds of yesterday and today (Calvin, Edwards, Spurgeon, Sproul) are in agreement on Calvinism, I can’t embrace it yet.

Also, it’s not an essential in my personal opinion. I find it quite fascinating, but I think I’d be better off letting God explain it to me someday.


#25

Love C.S. Lewis, a fun read is Screwtape Letters as well from him. :grinning:


#26

I previewed…Looks really interesting. :+1:


#27

Yes, I have it. Haven’t finished it yet.


#28

Out of a Silent Planet is awesome too.


#29

I really like I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek


#30

I am reading that book right now! Great book!