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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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carpenterdaughter
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:49 pm

For anyone still watching this post, I have discovered-and it is to my great joy--that I am a hard-core Calvinist. I don't like the label because it points to a man and not the author of my faith, but people get highly offended when I describe myself as a daughter of the Most High God, chosen and kept by the Most High God--equipped to endure all things, believe all things, and be conformed into the image of Christ for the Glory of the Most High through Grace and by faith. They call me arrogant but fail to see the irony of human arrogance that says we have the power within ourselves to do what only God can do. I do not mean to offend . . . but I must say this: it is part of our fallen nature to worry more about offending men than God. Can we not see that to put more power and authority in the power of man himself is the most offensive thing thing we could say to the God of Creation? Nevertheless, for the sake of the gospel, I will succumb to a label in order to gain a hearing ear. That right there is why God allows all kinds of divisions: for the advance of the gospel. That right there IS God's Sovereign hand, redeeming His creation for HIs Glory. That is "Calvinism" in a very small nut shell.

I can almost hear Paula laughing, "I told you so."

Love y'all. And guess what? Càlvinism is WAY more inclusive than you think. Chew on that one for a while. :D

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby beaedwards » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:17 pm

Ironic huh :tongue I bet Paula has a HUGE loving grin on her face!
I lean towards hard core Calvinism myself however am always studying to show myself approved...

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:21 pm

I am very grateful for the gift that was hidden for me to uncover and that was spurred on by the Providence of this very thread. It is amazing to be able to look back and see exactly how God has been leading me to this discovery my entire life. When He gives you the Grace to understand what happened to you when you met Jesus and what is happening in you as you grow in more knowledge of Him, there . . . There is the joy of our salvation and the very place where I begin to understand that it is so sweet to trust Him. There is where you trade your yoke for the Cross. Understanding "reformed theology" doesn't make you lazy in sharing the gospel. It makes the gospel that much more precious, and that much more of a joy to tell. It makes you WANT to tell, and it makes you believe in its power.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby swfdoc1 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:42 pm

carpenterdaughter wrote:For anyone still watching this post, I have discovered-and it is to my great joy--that I am a hard-core Calvinist.


Let me (only partially) tease you a bit.

What does your statement mean? Is this your way of saying you are a 5-point Calvinist as opposed to a 4 ½ point- or a 4-point Calvinist? OR that you are an “ultra-Calvinist” or a “hyper-Calvinist”?

Do you distinguish between Calvinism and covenant (or federal) theology? That is (in part), are you saying you agree with Calvin, but not with Zwingli, Bullinger, etc.? Do you distinguish between any/all of the above terms and “reformed theology”?

In any event, do you believe in the 3 covenants of covenant theology? If so, what biblical basis do you have to believe in the covenant of redemption? (Not what common sense argument, but what biblical basis?) What biblical basis do you see for the aspect of the Edenic Covenant/covenant of nature/covenant of life/covenant of works that teaches that had Adam passed a probationary period, he would have been rendered unable to sin? Finally, what biblical basis do you have for the view that the Sinaitic Covenant and the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood are just two FORMS of the (one) Covenant of Grace?

Don’t worry about answering any of this—although, you certainly can if you want to (and I’d love to hear your answers). All this is just my partially tongue-in check, partially serious attempt to point out that there are reasons other than the one you identified to avoid labels—at least unless we are SURE we want to wear them.
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 beaedwards » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:00 pm

Yikes Steve.

I must study MUCH more to show myself approved upon realizing I don't have a clue about what you asked CD.

My tongue in cheek way of saying you have humbled this student of the word...to think I have almost completed my BS in Biblical Studies and still don't understand most of what you referenced to saddens me. But I'll keep plugging along!

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:59 pm

Well, I was just in a silly mood, but wanted to make a couple of serious points. The first one, as I said last time, was about labels. But second, the heart of “Calvinism” is not TULIP, but the 3 covenants. (To be fair, the Covenant of Redemption did not appear as a standard part of Reformed Theology until after Westminster.) I just wanted to see whether any of the professed Calvinists would actually try to defend them BASED ON the Scriptures.
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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 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:27 pm

:D I am happy to admit that I don't have a clue, either, Bea. The only reason I returned to this discussion is because I wanted to share with people I thought would be blessed by an opening of my eyes. I agree; we do have to be careful with labels. Honestly, I sometimes hesitate to call myself a Christian these days just because there are so many ideas about what that term means.

Thank you, Steve for pointing out to me to be careful. Maybe I should just say that I believe in the ultimate Sovereignty of God over all things. What He wants done is done, and there is no power on earth or in heaven that can stop Him--every foe is already defeated and victory is accomplished. We're just working it out every day until we see Him face to face in Glory. How could I be ashamed to believe that? But, maybe I will avoid the label--especially since it is abundantly apparent that I am not familiar with a lot.

Thanks, Steve!

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:18 pm

Like I told Bea, I was just in a silly mood. The reason I "picked" on your post is because you are so obviously a Bible believer, yet--as far as I am persuaded--so much of covenant theology/Reformed Theology/Calvinism is made up out of whole cloth. So many Calvinists insist that they believe only what the Bible teaches, by which they usually mean that they think the scriptures that support the 5 points of TULIP are more persuasive than the scriptures that support the 5 counterpoints of Arminianism (or to be more precise, that when trying to reconcile scriptures that superficially seem contradictory, Calvinism provides the proper reconciliation and Arminianism doesn't). Yet, they ignore the fact that the 3 covenants on which covenant theology/Reformed Theology/Calvinism are built are never mentioned in the Bible, despite the fact that many other covenants are.
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 beaedwards » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:58 am

It's been awhile since we were on this topic, but I listened to a sermon last night on YouTube that bowled me over with relevant Truth.

Matt Chandler-Are there two wills of God? It's long but well worth the hour and 11 minutes. Trust me!

Here's a link to the audio file.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeuze1hWbMQ

I'm curious to any of your thoughts after listening to the sermon.

Love to all you fellow seekers.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:52 pm

carpenterdaughter wrote:For anyone still watching this post, I have discovered-and it is to my great joy--that I am a hard-core Calvinist. I don't like the label because it points to a man and not the author of my faith, but people get highly offended when I describe myself as a daughter of the Most High God, chosen and kept by the Most High God--equipped to endure all things, believe all things, and be conformed into the image of Christ for the Glory of the Most High through Grace and by faith. They call me arrogant but fail to see the irony of human arrogance that says we have the power within ourselves to do what only God can do. I do not mean to offend . . . but I must say this: it is part of our fallen nature to worry more about offending men than God. Can we not see that to put more power and authority in the power of man himself is the most offensive thing thing we could say to the God of Creation? Nevertheless, for the sake of the gospel, I will succumb to a label in order to gain a hearing ear. That right there is why God allows all kinds of divisions: for the advance of the gospel. That right there IS God's Sovereign hand, redeeming His creation for HIs Glory. That is "Calvinism" in a very small nut shell.

I can almost hear Paula laughing, "I told you so."



Just saw this. I am smiling but biting my tongue :)
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 carpenterdaughter » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:36 am

Hey Paula!
I think I am learning not to label myself--even though sometimes I still say the word, "Calvinism," simply because that is a starting point for discussion. The truth is, I do not know all the creeds, and I have not studied Calvin's sermons or even read much of his writings. I like reading Charles Spurgeon and many more modern theologians like John Piper, RC Sproul (thank you for pointing to Ligonier Ministries), and other members of the Gospel Coalition. It is not these men and women who have convinced me, anyway. (I don't always agree with everything they say or write.)

When I go to the Word of God with questions and am seeking answers in prayer--not the answers I have decided I am going to find, but His answers--the truth is there. I am not about to say that I understand everything--not even close, but I know that God is completely and totally all-powerful and does not stand and watch and react to human behavior. This is HIS story we are living, not ours--and that for us to NOT recognize exactly what He has done for us through Jesus is to not recognize who He is. If we want to worship Him in spirit and in truth, we have to see who He is--we have to let go of our notions that we have it within ourselves, all by ourselves to choose Him. He chooses us, and we respond because He created us to respond to Him. This is why "reformed" theologians are so passionate about the gospel--because they know that is what sheep will respond to. They know that God, Himself, has chosen the "foolishness of preaching" to be the vehicle by which He opens blind eyes and deaf ears.

How can "Calvinists" be accused of being arrogant when they, themselves, confess that there is absolutely no reason for God to have chosen them and nothing within them capable of earning in any, way, shape, or form God's favor? The opposite is actually true. It is much more "arrogant" to think that any human being is capable of choosing Christ or choosing godliness all by ourselves. Jesus came to redeem us from the free wills that condemn us to life eternally separated from our Father, whose holiness we barely comprehend because we continue to attempt to define God as if He is a reflection of man, instead of us being a reflection (broken as it is) of Him.

How can claiming the total power and authority of Jesus Christ be arrogant? It's not. It's biblical. There is only one thing I can boast of--salvation from the fall. Now . . . believing this should produce fruit of the workings of the Spirit in my life, but that fruit is not what redeems me. CHRIST ALONE redeems me--believing that frees me to know Him, love Him, and obey Him and to stop worshiping myself. HE is the prize I run toward, not my own righteousness.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:27 pm

carpenterdaughter wrote:Hey Paula!
I think I am learning not to label myself--even though sometimes I still say the word, "Calvinism," simply because that is a starting point for discussion. The truth is, I do not know all the creeds, and I have not studied Calvin's sermons or even read much of his writings. I like reading Charles Spurgeon and many more modern theologians like John Piper, RC Sproul (thank you for pointing to Ligonier Ministries), and other members of the Gospel Coalition. It is not these men and women who have convinced me, anyway. (I don't always agree with everything they say or write.)

Yes, labels can be misleading but sometimes help for the sake of discussion (especially when none of us have the time to write an essay for every post). I don't think you have to understand every nuance of Calvinism to say you believe it, that would be akin to saying you understand the entire Bible, and we both know that will never happen but should be increasing with maturity.

I agree with Steve when he said many people call themselves Calvinists when all they've really studied is TULIP. This is a good start to understanding covenant theology: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/promise-keeper/the-covenant-of-redemption/
I think one reason why so many Christians are turning toward Calvinism (many more today than 20 years ago) is because modern teachers like Piper and MacArthur are making it known what the Bible says about God's grace, as you were saying. For too long now people have believed they came to Christ because they made a better decision than the poor lost soul down the street. I agree, it's all about grace and God getting the glory, not us.
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 kerrylou1 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:27 pm

A third theological position? Ouch I was having a hard time with the other two.

Regarding conviction concerning a theological bent I always say, if you don't really believe it you probably shouldn't be saying it.

I do realise that we are all on a path of discovery and so there are times we may change our minds and then some where we will return to our original position. Its all a part of life in Christ.

I must admit I know very little of each of these positions but, from what I've heard, I will be accused of attributing to either of the three - depending on what I am proclaiming at the time. Just the other day I was accused of being a disciple of some German theologian I'd never heard of. All I was doing was responding to a conversation concerning sin taking place in a chat room.

I don't suppose there would be enough space here for an explanation of what each of the three believe [I am aware that Calvin's books are volumes] and I conclude that there must ultimately be insufficient evidence for real debate.

My conclusion is that the Bible is our guide, but even that is becoming clouded by translation and interpretation.

Fortunately you can know God, even if you can't explain Him.
Love is of God

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:10 pm

kerrylou1 wrote:
I don't suppose there would be enough space here for an explanation of what each of the three believe [I am aware that Calvin's books are volumes] and I conclude that there must ultimately be insufficient evidence for real debate.

The church has been debating this for centuries and hundreds, if not thousands of books have been written on the subject. So I would not say the evidence is insufficient for debate, but I would say the evidence for calvinism is insufficent to come to a dogmatice judgment, only because there are obvious tensions. The other two positions (A & M) are heresy, in my humble opinion, of course. If you want to learn more about calvinism, a good place to start is with RC Sproul.

My conclusion is that the Bible is our guide, but even that is becoming clouded by translation and interpretation.

Fortunately you can know God, even if you can't explain Him.

God has been faithful to preserve His Word just as He said He would. There are many good translations, and the Bible will always remain, living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb 4:12). God has given us His Word and expects us to read it in order to know Him better, if we refuse to use the light which has been given us, we aren't going to know Him any other way.
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 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:40 pm

Hey Paula,

Long time!

Sorry my first interaction in such a long time is in opposition to a point you made. Over decades, I have found that many of my Reformed friends are too quick to call “heresy.”

I suppose the first point in any post discussing heresy is to note how problematic any working definition of that term is. I suspect that you know that almost all (and probably flat “ALL”) Protestants are heretics even under definitions that some of us accept. (Huh? Well, some of us accept those definitions without thinking through the implications.) Second, even those Protestant—but let’s cut to the chase and talk about “Reformed”—theologians who are smarter than that, e.g., R.C. and R.C., Jr., have struggled to fashion a working definition.

Be all that as it may, even Reformed theologians with outstanding credentials assert that Arminians are not heretics. Besides R.C. and R. C., Jr. (who sometimes seem to be trying to have it both ways), hereis just one example. Here is a man with significant credentials—although with those credentials, he ought to understand the view he is opposing MUCH, MUCH more accurately—who declines to call Arminians heretics, EVEN with such false views as he ascribes to them. Fortunately, he understands the concept of heresy and declines to ascribe it to Arminians.

I write this about Arminians because I have read some of the key primary sources. I have not done so with Molinism, so I will not pass judgment. I will say however, that having read multiple, not just con-, but also pro-, secondary sources; I have serious reservations about it.

By the way, I am always perplexed that my Reformed friends (at least those who are well-informed about the theological label they claim) are so quick to call “heresy,” when so much of their own system is made up out of whole cloth—a point I made earlier in this thread. Looking at the first 2 Sproul videos that you recommended, I was glad to see that he admitted that the Bible doesn’t directly support the Covenant of Redemption. (And he mentioned in passing the doctrine of “probation.” I assume he would also admit that the Bible does not directly support this doctrine, since he seems willing to be truthful about doctrine origins.) Unfortunately, Sproul claimed that the Covenant of Redemption is based on “inference” from the Bible. That stretches the meaning of “inference” WAY beyond any normal or (in my opinion, legitimate) meaning.

It may be that he explained “covenant” better in later videos, but if he did; I’d be really interested to see what he claims the SIGN of the redemptive covenant is and what the CEREMONY of the redemptive covenant looked like. I can't even imagine these things happening within the Godhead. Of course (since it would all be speculation), nothing can be found about this in the early Covenant theologians--of any stripe. In my view, the Covenant of Redemption, the doctrine of probation, and much more of covenant theology is made up out of whole cloth. If I am correct about any of this, it seems awfully chutzpah-y to accuse Arminians of heresy, as so many of Reformed folks do.

By the way, I am not—as you may remember—(completely) an Arminian, and I am not (at all) a Dispensationalist, if that makes you feel better. Obviously, I reject the view of 5-point Calvinists (as opposed to 4-point and 4 ½-point Calvinists) and their Armenian counterparts that it is “all or nothing.”

Happy theologizing! :D
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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