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Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby swfdoc1 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:14 pm

You’re right that Arminians, like Calvinists, believe in total depravity. Things are already so complicated that I won’t talk about the variations in beliefs about total depravity in each camp, but there are variations. But remember that I said that I believe those parts of TULIP that are held in common by Arminians. This is one example.

I disagree that Arminians add anything to grace in Article 1. First, even if Romans 9:16 teaches unconditional election, which I obviously don’t believe, Article 1 doesn’t add anything. First, how one gains salvation and whether that gained salvation can be lost are two analytically distinct questions (see, e.g., the last paragraph of this post, so those—like me—who believe that salvation can be lost are not addressing whether salvation is by grace alone or by “grace plus.” Believing/having faith is simply not a “work” or an “effort” as those words are used in Scripture.

Second, saying that man must believe/have faith is not adding anything to grace. This is demonstrable numerous ways. I’ll limit it to three. First, Calvinists do not cut Romans 10 out of their Bibles—man MUST believe. In addition to all the things Chapter 10 DIRECTLY says about the necessity of belief, note that trying to establish righteousness under the Law, and going to Heaven or Hell to bring Christ up or down are examples of “works” or “efforts” that are being CONTRASTED to belief, which—to repeat—is REQUIRED for salvation to occur.) On the other hand, those who believe are also described (v. 20) as those who “did not seek” God and “did not ask for” GOD. Simply believing after God sacrificed His son and sent evangelists into the world, is NOT a “work” or an “effort.”

Second, (I hope you can follow the “firsts” and “seconds” inside other “first” and seconds”; sorry about that) this is in complete accord with the great sola’s of the Reformation. There is nothing in the above view that stands in contrast with sola fide or sola gratia.

If I am right about the first tow point, we should see this view in the writings of (at least) the EARLIEST, i.e., pre-Arminian (pre-I’m right-no-I’M-right-no-you’re a heretic-no YOU’RE-a-heretic) Reformers. And, of course, it IS there. The easiest example is Calvin himself. In his commentary on Romans 10, we read these things: In discussing what faith is and how it is different from salvation by works, Calvin writes: “Sufficient then for pacifying minds, and for rendering certain our salvation, is the word of the gospel; in which we are not commanded to earn righteousness by works, but to embrace it, when offered gratuitously, by faith.” Yes, we must “embrace” it, we must “believe” it, we must “have faith”—these terms are synonymous. Again, Calvin writes: “from this distinction we learn, — that as the law demands works, so the gospel requires nothing else, but that men bring faith to receive the grace of God.” Salvation must be embraced, received, believed; it must be the object of faith. Calvin goes further: “10. For with the heart we believe unto righteousness, etc. This passage may help us to understand what justification by faith is; for it shows that righteousness then comes to us, when we embrace God’s goodness offered to us in the gospel. We are then for this reason just, because we believe that God is propitious to us in Christ. But let us observe this, — that the seat of faith is not in the head, (in cerebro — in the brain,) but in the heart. Yet I would not contend about the part of the body in which faith is located: but as the word heart is often taken for a serious and sincere feeling, I would say that faith is a firm and effectual confidence, (fiducia — trust, dependence,) and not a bare notion only.” Note that Calvin is addressing only man here.

So synergism becomes a red herring. If it is used as the Orthodox and Catholics do, it does teach grace/faith plus. If it means believing, it is something the Arminians, Calvin (and MANY other Reformers), and the Bible all teach.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how believing/receiving/accepting/embracing/having faith—in this Arminian/Calvin-ist/biblical sense—is grounds for boasting.

As for Romans 9, I think it (as all of chapters 9-11) means something very different than what you have suggested in your other thread. The reason Paul anticipates that someone might accuse God of unrighteousness is because He chose Abraham and made a covenant with him. Yet, Paul explains that many of Abraham’s descendants are NOT going to be saved AND many non-descendants ARE going to be saved. In this context, Paul explains that Ishmael’s descendants were not part of God’s chosen people, that Esau’s descendants were not part of God’s chosen people, that only the remnant of Judah/Israel were ever going to partake of the covenant promises, and that Gentiles were always going to be included.

Having established in Chapter 9 that those who will be saved will be drawn from both Jews and Gentiles, Paul goes in Chapter 10 to explain that ALL those who enter the New Covenant must do so by BELIEVING.

Incidentally, if anything can be drawn from this passage about election, it COULD (but only "could") be that just as not all of the members of the Abrahamic covenant received its promises, not all members of the New Covenant will receive its promises, i.e., election is not unconditional, i.e., one can lose (read “abandon”) salvation.
Steve
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“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:46 pm

Steve, thanks once again for your well thought and thorough response. It's always nice to be able to banter about this topic without offense being taken.

I do remember that you said you believe those parts of TULIP which are in common with A's. I am not familiar with the variations.
Second, saying that man must believe/have faith is not adding anything to grace. This is demonstrable numerous ways. I’ll limit it to three. First, Calvinists do not cut Romans 10 out of their Bibles—man MUST believe. In addition to all the things Chapter 10 DIRECTLY says about the necessity of belief, note that trying to establish righteousness under the Law, and going to Heaven or Hell to bring Christ up or down are examples of “works” or “efforts” that are being CONTRASTED to belief, which—to repeat—is REQUIRED for salvation to occur.) On the other hand, those who believe are also described (v. 20) as those who “did not seek” God and “did not ask for” GOD. Simply believing after God sacrificed His son and sent evangelists into the world, is NOT a “work” or an “effort.”


I agree Romans 10, and many other passages, says man must believe. Calvinists do believe we are saved by believing - through faith in Christ, that is never disputed. The specific point of disagreement is how that saving faith is acquired. What compels, or enables man to believe? Yes man MUST believe, but if man is unable to believe (Article 3 and Romans 3:10-18, 1 Corinthians 2:14) God must intervene (beginning with predestination Ephesians 1:4-6, Romans 8:29 which will end in our glorification in Romans 8:30) Ephesians 2:8 says that faith itself is also a gift from God-
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) If we are saved by grace, we are not saved because we were able to humble ourselves, recognize our sin-soaked state, repent, believe in a God who became human to save us from all of this, and then start living in opposition to our previous lifestyle - this must be a total work of God.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how believing/receiving/accepting/embracing/having faith—in this Arminian/Calvin-ist/biblical sense—is grounds for boasting.


It is grounds for boasting because it says, when the rubber met the road, I am saved because I believed/received/embraced/had faith when my brother didn't. We grew up in the same home, went to the same church, heard the same gospel, had the same opportunities to believe. But if I accept the A view, I MUST believe I did something more righteous than my brother, otherwise I would not be saved. If only my brother would have made the same decision I did, he would be saved also.

I'm sorry I cannot comment on the rest of your post. Honestly, I haven't read much of Calvin so for me to comment on your quote would be guesswork at best. I will not say this conversation is futile, because I believe you were around here when I was arguing with Josh years ago about the same subject except I was on the other side of the fence. People do change their mind, their beliefs, in this type of setting - although I'm sure it's rare. However, in your case, I know I will not be the one to convince you -you are way too smart for me :bow

I would like to talk more about Covenant Theology you mentioned in an earlier post, I need to brush up on my understanding. I may start a new thread about it as to not hi-jack this one. Thanks :)
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby swfdoc1 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:11 pm

Paula22466 wrote:I am not familiar with the variations.


If I were to go into all that, my previous voluminous posts would look like 140-character tweets.

Paula22466 wrote:Ephesians 2:8 says that faith itself is also a gift from God-
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) If we are saved by grace, we are not saved because we were able to humble ourselves, recognize our sin-soaked state, repent, believe in a God who became human to save us from all of this, and then start living in opposition to our previous lifestyle - this must be a total work of God.


Agreed. Where I disagree is that I do not see Arminians contradicting this in Article 1. In fact, I see Arminians being silent on this in Article 1. However, they address the issue in Article 4, where they disagree that grace is irresistible, but where they STRONGLY AGREE that it is a total work of GOD:

Article 4 wrote:That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of all good, even to the extent that the regenerate man himself, without prevenient or assisting, awakening, following and cooperative grace, can neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But with respect to the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, since it is written concerning many, that they have resisted the Holy Spirit (Acts 7, and elsewhere in many places).


I’ll let that quotation do double duty—I’ll stand on that for the other boasting point, too.

I may be too smart for you to convince me on this point, but you are also too smart for me to convince you on this point. :D Hopefully, we are both smart enough to be convincible SOMETIMES, as you mentioned.

If you start that new thread, I’ll participate as able, but no promises.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:54 pm

Article 4 wrote:That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of all good, even to the extent that the regenerate man himself, without prevenient or assisting, awakening, following and cooperative grace, can neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But with respect to the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, since it is written concerning many, that they have resisted the Holy Spirit (Acts 7, and elsewhere in many places).


I don't think Acts 7:51 is a very good proof against the doctrine of irresistible grace since it simply means those stiff necked people were never regenerate to begin with, their attitude was that of unbelief (Romans 10:21). Not that the Spirit "tried" to convert them but failed (compare Deuteronomy 9:6 to Deuteronomy 30:6). Making doctrine out of Acts 7 is a no-no since it's obviously a narrative and not the didactic, and the didactic always interprets the narrative, as you know. We know men do indeed prefer the darkness (John 3:19). Romans 8:7 tells us man is always hostile toward God and is not capable of acting any other way - in this sense, grace, general grace, God's general revelation (Romans 1) is always resisted by the unregenerate man, even though they know God is God, they will not submit. The I in TULIP refers to the saving faith God sovereignly gives through the Gospel of Christ, which is why no man come to Christ unless God Himself compels him (1 Corinthians 2:14, John 6:44, John 6:65, John 6:37).

When God breaks into man's will in this way, His grace cannot be resisted because our blinders are taken off (John 9:39, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Matthew 13:16). Man does not come kicking and screaming, he comes willingly because who could resist God when He is seen as who He is? (John 17:3, Psalm 8:3-4, 1 Corinthians 2:7-10,Matthew 16:16-17). God's salvific grace always WORKS. (Acts 13:48, Hebrews 12:2, Romans 8:29, Romans 3:24). But I absolutely agree with the rest of the article :)
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby swfdoc1 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:40 am

I think that whether one believes Acts 7:51 is a valid support for Article 4 will largely depend on the presuppositions one brings to the systematic theology position staked out in that Article since the passage itself is ambiguous.

Since this is true, I do think the “Remonstrants” should have included one or more OTHER scriptures as their proof text(s) (in the non-pejorative sense) in that Article.

And I agree that the didactic interprets the narrative. However, there is no need to invoke this cannon of interpretation unless there is a(n at least superficial) conflict between the two. And that probably takes us full circle to my prior point—in this case, whether a conflict exists probably depends on the presuppositions we bring to the passage.

Of course, one of the things we do under that canon of interpretation is look at textual and contextual clues in all the relevant passages in our attempt to reconcile them. Here, the statement in Acts 6:10 that Stephen spoke “by the Spirit,” leads us to suspect (though, of course, not know) that he was also speaking “by the Spirit” in Acts 7:2-53. If this is true, Stephen was also imparting (reliable history and) doctrine. Acts 7:55 points in the same direction (but again, non-definitively).
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:55 pm


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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:38 pm

carpenterdaughter wrote:Hey all!
I just wanted to share this link: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/as-cool-as-the-other-side-of-a-calvinist

Thank you for sharing, loved it! NO CREDIT NO CREDIT NO CREDIT!
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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