Monday, July 30, 2007

Your Weekly Dose of Gospel
...synergism belongs in a car dealership, not in divine salvation.

by Guest Blogger - Alan Kurschner

The "Calvinist vs. Arminian" debate throughout church history is substantially a debate between what is called "synergism" and "monergism." It is impossible for there to be any third option (well, ok, if one is willing to be a Pelagian). For those who are new to the Calvinist-Arminian debate, the following is an instructive primer on the two perennial branches of theological systems in Christianity. Or to put it another way, there are two very different ways for believers to view their salvation.

In general, the first type (the Arminian-Synergist) affirm what is called "synergism." They believe that two forces in the universe are necessary to bring about regeneration in the life of the sinner. In specifics, the two forces at work (cooperation) that are necessary to bring about regeneration, or spiritual life, is the will of man and the Holy Spirit (grace).

To put it another way, the work of the Holy Spirit is dependent on the creature’s will, hence, “synergism” (working together). These individuals will sincerely say, “I believe in grace alone.” But in reality, they believe that grace is not alone (sufficient), but that man’s will is necessary for regeneration to be effective.

It could be said that these individuals are “functional” Arminians because even though some will deny the label, their theology functions synergistically (thus, how they identify themselves is inconsistent with what they teach and believe).

The second group of believers (the Calvinist-Monergist) affirm what is called “monergism.” They believe that there is only one force in the universe (grace alone) that brings about regeneration in the life of the sinner. In specifics, because of the deadness of man’s spiritual state, his moral inability, the Holy Spirit performs the miracle of spiritual resurrection (regeneration) in that person, hence, “monergism” (one work). Grace is sufficient to be effective, and does not depend on some action of man.

In other words, the Holy Spirit does not merely whisper in the hardened sinner’s ear and hopes that the rebel sinner will “cooperate”; rather, while the sinner is in a state of hardness and rebellion, the Holy Spirit penetrates in the will of man and performs the miracle of spiritual life (regeneration). That is grace alone. Faith does not precede regeneration, regeneration precedes faith.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13

He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47
Arminians cannot affirm monergism (grace alone); they must always have the creature’s will as the final determiner of their destiny, not God. I must give Arminians some credit though. Invariably, they pray (without knowing) Calvinisticly, “God, change my unbelieving relative’s heart.” I have never heard them pray, “God, only whisper in my relative’s ear, but don’t change their heart unless you’ve been given permission.” But the Calvinist prays and affirms biblical truth consistently.

For further reading on this subject, see this copious source.

44 comments:

Wm Mallory said...

Steve,

Great article to post... It is vital for people to understand the distinction between synergism and monergism. This article lays it out very precise and simplistic.. Thanks for posting it. I know it will be a blessing others.

donsands said...

I have many Arminian friends, who say if man cannot believe, then God is not just, because they haven't ahd a chnace to decide.

It's the unfair god who we Calvinists look to.

Also Jesus definitely died for all people. to say He only died for His elect people is making God less loving. It's not the loving God of the Arminians.

Although we dispute these things, I am actually able to keep in fellowship with these brothers in Christ.
I guess we both give in a little, and somehow it works.

But that's not with everyone. And that's on both sides.

I appreciate this post, because it's saying it like it is.

Wm Mallory said...

Here is a great quote: I posted it on my site the other day and it applies perfectly to this post...

"And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer?"

C.H. Spurgeon

SJ Camp said...

Great Spurgeon quote.

This is not just an Arminian vs. Calvinist debate here. This is the gospel... isn't it?

Either we believe that salvation is solely of the Lord Jesus Christ, or a co-op effort between God and man. The heart of the doctrines of grace is simply this: salvation is of the Lord!

May we never tire of proclaiming its glorious truth.

Thank you Alan for a timely and powerful reminder of this foundation of the faith.

Steve
Eph. 1:4-14

Alan Kurschner said...

Steve, I trust that this brief explanation will be instructive for those new to the subject and encourage them to study this awsome truth further. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers brother. -Alan

Prayerbone said...

Hi Steve i hope ur well!! Ive been reading and listening to a lot of sermons by J Piper of late..I am very interested in Calvinist ideas,i am struck by how many of the past preachers who being Calvinist, were very humble i.e J Newton,J Bunyan..

I particularly like the style of J Newton, which i feel was captured in this quote,but missing in many Calvinist today

"A man, truly illuminated, will no more despise others, then Bartimeus, after his own eyes were opened, would take a stick, and beat every blind man he met"

Of my 25 years in and out of Church i have really struggled with my Salvation,to be honest i have become rather cynical and angry,confession time sometimes i read your post and a rage pours over me,which perplexes me to the point i wonder if God may be in them lol..

Would you say a person who is searching is elected to search ? Can you search if your depraved? It seems Cornelius in Acts though unsaved still was a Godly man and a man who's prayers God heard while in that state..

And reference your post about Keith,as you rightly said Keith is in heaven and i'm sure you will be one day,so does it really matter how you get there?...
GB through gritted teeth ;-)
Andrew

Alan Kurschner said...

prayerbone,

Indeed, there is nothing more humbling than the truths of Calvinism. Sadly many who cling to their so-called autonomy reject the freedom of God will never experience this awsome humbling truth.

You said, "so does it really matter how you get there?"

I would answer: absolutely. Believing correct (or false) doctrines is not amoral. Rejecting truth is sin. And sin affects our sanctification. What we do now and what we believe now has eternal ramifications.

Thanks.

cyd said...

Thank you Steve, for posting Alan's wonderful article. I really appreciate it.
What a marvelous, awesome thrill to know that salvation is entirely of the Lord alone from start to finish!

I was raised under some synergistic teachings and remember wrestling with the idea that if I could choose for Jesus to save me, then why couldn't I also choose for Him to not save me...and why on earth would anyone want to do that...good thing I decided to follow Jesus...etc.,etc.,etc...UGH.

I am living proof that the Lord is indeed most gracious, extremely merciful and abounding in steadfast love!

Cyd
John 17:3

profweather said...

"If a man is born again, hates sin, and depends upon the Savior for life and grace, I care not whether he be an Arminian or Calvinist. If he is not born again, he is nothing, let him be called by what name he will."
John Newton, 1795

Alan Kurschner said...

profweather,

That sounds nice and pious.

"The Biblical reality is that if a man is born again, hates sin, depends on a Savior for life and grace, he will open up his Bible and plumb the knowledge and understanding of these truths."
Alan Kurschner, 2007

(And I agree with Newton's second statement.)

CD-Host said...

There is a third major doctrine still heavily believed that you missed considering Sanctifying Grace which is the catholic theory of justification. They reject many of Luther's concepts so for example there is no "Sola Fides" but rather fear, hope, love, contrition, and good resolution are needed. Not all saints are equal, you can never be certain of your salvation, and moreover salvation once gained can be lost.

gigantor1231 said...

cd-host

sounds like pelagianism to me and I believe steve did mention that, arminianism with a vengeance!

Those that do not know whether or not they are saved are to be pitied. What a sad state to be in, never knowing if your Lord and Savior will welcome you with open arms, I guess that would mean that it is possible that He turns those away that come to him!.... I think not,

John 6:40

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and who believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Now that being said, if one can lose their salvation, why is it called "eternal life", perhaps we should call it conditional eternal life, in other words those that are saved are still under the curse of the law.(see Galatians 3:10-14) We are no longer under the curse of the law. If we are no longer under the curse, then how can we lose our salvation? I once believed that I could lose my salvation, then I read the word and listened to God speak through it, I fell in love all over again, this time there is no goad in my back and I serve him out of Love only, not duress!

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

I have always had great respect for your web site and the insightful articles on it, however your increasing focus on "Calvinist vs. Arminian" is out of season. I try sometimes to figure out why a web site that has some wonderful timely articles on the serious issues of our day that actually unites Christians in agreement with you could at the same time diverge into theological arguments that end of dividing Christians once again!
You don’t seem to realize what impression this gives to non-Christians, or for that matter Christians as well. It makes Christianity look no better than the factional warring that goes on in other religions.
What you are basically saying to people is: Lets fight these other fights together on these other issues first , and then if we get rid of those issues we will focus on the theological wars between us Christians! You end up becoming what you worked so hard to get rid of in the first place!

I will give you an insight: Neither Calvinism nor Arminianism is the right answer! There are fundamentals of Faith that have unquestionable perspicuity in the Word, these are the fundamentals of Faith, but there are areas that we cannot fully comprehend! If we could we would be just like God, and we all know we cannot be that.

The exact mechanisms and perfect knowledge of how someone is saved falls within that area that cannot be fully comprehended.

And where something cannot be fully comprehended we as Christians should rest in the faith that God knows and we should not seek to be divisive where it is not needed.

Do you really think God is going to ask each one of us when we get to heaven whether we were a Calvinist or an Arminian? Do you think he is going to ask us to write an essay on what we believed were the mechanisms for our salvation?

How precise and how much precision in belief must there be before Divisive Theological Debates or wars such as this can cease?

Those who perpetuate this divisiveness lack Goldy Wisdom, and Spirirtual insight.

I say stop posting these types of articles they do great damage to the influence of rest of the articles of great wisdom that are posted on your site.

Prayerbone said...

Hear hear!!


More and more ive been reading quotes and blogs saying exactly the same as ur saying, i needed ur post thks!!

gigantor1231 said...

That Man and Prayer Bone

I think that you miss the point in this debate, those that hold to a arminianist system of belief are in bondage to the law in that they still choose to be under the law. We as Christians are no longer under the law, see my prior post! This debate is not one to bring harm or discord in any way, rather freedom to those who do not yet understand the full meaning of salvation and the freedom that comes with it. Freedom from the bondage of the belief that we will still suffer the penalty of the loss of our salvation is a goad in the backs of those who believe it. To say that this is not understandable is to deny what the word of God says with respect to the suffieciency of Christs death upon the cross. Was Christs death sufficient in all ways to free us in all ways? The answer to this is a unequivocal yes!

Alan Kurschner said...

"however your increasing focus on "Calvinist vs. Arminian" is out of season."

The paramount issues that Paul dealt with in Romans 1-9 will never go out of season since the underpinnings of the gospel are eternal truths.

"It makes Christianity look no better than the factional warring that goes on in other religions.

To be consistent you must affirm that Jesus was in error as well for contributing to his Pharisaical faction with the Herodians and Sadducees. Not to mention Paul's polemic in Romans 9.

I'm sorry that you think defending God's freedom in salvation unto his glory is not a worthy cause. And I'm sorry that you do not believe that the nature and extent of the atonement and the nature of grace are fundamentals of the faith.

It is truly a sad day when you have self-professed believers who desire not to have the great doctrines of the faith and our salvation expounded, lest someone is "offended." Truly sad.

Prayerbone said...

Hi Alan,i'm sorry but i don't get it and i cant make myself get it can i? So it doesn't do me any good thinking about it,i get perplexed angry and argumentative its unhealthy..

I'm not against Calvinist preacher in fact some of the people who have inspired me most are Calvinist M L Jones,J Newton,J Bunyan etc.

But when i think about it i'm just left with more question then answers..

I'm sure God wil explain it for me one day ;-)
GB
andy

Sharon said...

When God called me, and I responded, I was born again. In the past fifteen years since, I have learned a lot from the Word and the Holy Spirit. But if I did NOT have those fifteen years of learning, if I never decided conclusively how it all works, would it affect my salvation? Do we come to Him knowing HOW it happened, or do we just come? We simply accept the gift. I'm with prayerbone and "That Man" - call yourself what you want. I think the minute we try to put God in a box of doctrine all neatly packaged, we're going to be wrong. He must just be tickled that we have Him all figured out! And besides, according to Calvinism, we're just saved anyway no matter what WE think or do, right?! Let's study to show ourselves approved unto God and ever marvel at the mystery that is our salvation and our God. We are saved by grace and faith in Him - we are also warned to continue in Him. How are both true? I don't know, but I believe Him and I trust Him and that is enough.

Alan Kurschner said...

Sharon,

I was a rank Arminian when I came to Christ. Not sure where it was communicated that you must have "perfect" theology or be able to articulate the five points of Calvinism before Christ will receive you.

Plumbing the truths that God has revealed to us in his Word is not "putting God in a box." Just the contrary. It is allowing him to speak his truth on _his_ terms, not our creaturely assumptions and wants.

It is sad that we cannot speak God's truth in confidence lest someone suggest that we think we have it "all figured out."

If that is the case, then Paul was in error when he expounded on the freedom of God in our salvation in Romans 9.

But thanks for your comments,

Blessings...

Lamb said...

I believe we are saved by grace THROUGH faith. Both grace AND faith are gifts of God so yes GOD does the saving, none of it is of ourselves because God gives BOTH the faith and the grace. He also said whosoever WILL, come; Whoever CALLS on the name of the Lord, will be saved; Whoever COMES to me I will in nowise cast out. That is ACTIVE faith. Can we have active faith on our own? Of course not because we don't have faith on our own!! BUT remember God gives EACH MAN A MEASURE OF FAITH too. No man is without excuse because each man has a measure of faith. God is not willing that ANY man should perish but that ALL should come to REPENTANCE. Faith is necessary for repentance. Each man has faith. Does every man excerise that faith in the ACT OF REPENTANCE and in doing so receive forgiveness for sins and eternal life? NO. BUT everyman has the ABILITY to repent because each man has a MEASURE of faith. This is the scripture, this is truth.

His
Lamb

Sharon said...

Alan,
I sense I offended you, and I genuinely did not mean to. I was not addressing you alone, but having met up with many on both sides of this issue, just wanted to say what I believed - that it is neither neatly packaged isolations of Scripture. Romans Chapter 9 is as valid as the rest of the Bible. I am just saying there is a lot that is true simultaneously and I understand that "now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." This does not mean we don't search the Scriptures and discuss these things. It just means we need to acknowledge our limited ability to understand it all - with humble hearts. Please forgive me if I offended you.

God bless you brother,
Sharon

gigantor1231 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gigantor1231 said...

Sharon

No one here has put God in a box, they have simpley attempted to expound a freeing truth that they have found! As seems to be common in our post modern society people seem to adopt the attitude that there is some virtue in saying they might be wrong when the truth is clear. Debate is a good thing for those that are prepared for it, it is enjoyable and a excellent way to sharpen one's knowledge of the word of God. If in the process a truth unfolds and changes the direction one goes, a truer direction toward the savior then that is a great thing. There is no shame in defending the faith one has in Christ.
I speak from a position of being a staunch arminianist for the majority of my Christian life. The truth that I have found in the sufficiency of Christs death on the cross has literally revolutionized my walk with Him. He has shown his love for me in that He has chosen me and you, He has sealed us with his Holy Spirit and He goes to prepare a place for you and I. This is eternal security, security in him alone. Why is it a terrible thing to share the extent of His love, why is it so devisive to you?
It is a hard thing to watch brothers and sisters in Christ become complacent in their walk with Christ. This blog is intended to spur us on to a closer relationship with him. I hope and pray that the conversation that goes on here encourages you to dig deeper into the word of God and be closer to him while on this earth!

Sharon said...

"It is a hard thing to watch brothers and sisters in Christ become complacent in their walk with Christ. This blog is intended to spur us on to a closer relationship with him. I hope and pray that the conversation that goes on here encourages you to dig deeper into the word of God and be closer to him while on this earth!"-gigantor1231.....

HUH?!?!! Sir, your post could not be more judgmental of me, your sister in Christ who you do not know. "Complacent"?! I had to re-read my posts to see just where I gave you the idea I do not dig in the Word or am not close to Him!!! Was it when I said, "Let's STUDY to show ourselves approved unto God and ever marvel at the mystery that is our salvation and our God"?! How very complacent of me! (???) I DO dig into the Word on a DAILY basis, seeking Him first every morning. I find I am blessed most when I do this. Many of His mysteries HAVE been unraveled to me concerning many different things. But thank you for your concern...if that's what it was. I have to tell you, it came off sounding rather like you think you are better than me in your walk with OUR Lord! Let us not be clanging cymbals, but speak what is edifying to others in love.

Bless you anyway...

SJ Camp said...

This is always a hard issue to discuss isn't it?

To those who are struggling with this here, keep on asking the questions--it is important.

The simple truth under all of this is: Is salvation a cooperative effort between God and man; or is salvation totally of the Lord?

The principles of Calvinism affirm the later. Salvation is completely of the Lord.

Listen to these wonderful words of Paul to Titus:

Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

What a joy to know that God has saved us not on the basis of anything we have done, but only through Christ Jesus our Lord and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

And do not forget to pray for families of the tragic Minnesota bridge collapse that happened yesterday.

In His grace alone,
Steve

Alan Kurschner said...

Lamb,

All of those Arminian proof-texts that you have provided without context have been repeatedly refuted many times at my former blog: www.calvinistgadfly.com

Sharon

No you did not offend me. It takes a lot to offend me :-)

Bemused would be the right word.

You said, "Romans Chapter 9 is as valid as the rest of the Bible."

Are you claiming that the Bible speaks equally on this issue? If anyone wants to learn about God's freedom in salvation, then that is the key text to go to. John 6 is another important text regarding the freedom of God in salvation and the moral inability of man to choose God.

You said, "now we see through a glass, darkly" <--- That is often invoked by people who do not like what Paul says about the freedom of God in salvation. I am not saying that applies to you. What is "darkly" about Romans 9 that you do not understand? Would you like me to help you with any specific questions on it?

In the meantime, James White has recently gone through Paul's argument in Romans 9 here:

http://mp3.aomin.org/JRW/Romans9.mp3

You said,

"It just means we need to acknowledge our limited ability to understand it all - with humble hearts."

I am getting the sense that if you don't understand it, then no one else should claim to understand it.

I understand what Paul is saying in Romans 9. That is not "prideful." I have studied it in-depth, in the Greek, historical background, etc. The fact that you claim not to understand it, does not require you to make the claim that people are not humble if they claim to understand it. And that is exactly what you are suggesting.

And in reality, it is my experience that it is not so much many do not understand it, they just don't want to accept the truth of it because of their traidtion. How do you I know this? Because ex-Arminians who are not Calvinists admit that is what they thought.

At any rate, it is noteworthy what results from simply posting an article that explains the differences between synergism and monergism: Calvinists are prideful, clanging cymbles, putting God in a box, etc, etc.

It is very telling.

gigantor1231 said...

Sharon

What I said;

'It is a hard thing to watch brothers and sisters in Christ become complacent in their walk with Christ. This blog is intended to spur us on to a closer relationship with him.'

Wow, this is a general statement that has no name attached to it! You assume that I am directing it at you, when all I said is that this blogs intent is to spur 'us' on. Did you see the word 'us' there, or do you only see you? It is almost as though you are looking for a conflict.
I apologize if the statement offended you but it was not directed towards you but toward 'us', as in all involved as Christians!
I try not to make statements or teach things that I might be wrong about, I just do not believe that is right. If being right or believing one is right is wrong, sin, arrogant I would have to say that no one can make any definitive statements at all, that would include anyone who claims that it is virtuous claiming they might be wrong...... This is what is called false humility, it is like a statement wrapped in baloney, what you really get is baloney!

Sharon said...

gigantor1231,
You said, "Wow, this is a general statement that has no name attached to it!"...but you addressed your entire post to "Sharon." :-) I am glad I was mistaken, and that that was an oversight on your part. Thank you.
I am not saying you cannot say what you believe, and believe your assessment is right. Can I say what I believe too, though? I am saying we don't know it ALL, which we don't. There are things I do KNOW and understand from the Word, and there are things I take by faith.
I AM humbled by the magnitude of God. It is not a false humility. I believe ALL of His Word, not some. I follow HIM, not Calvin. (And I am not saying you are NOT following Him - please just hear me out.) I believe it is of grace through faith. I was minding my own business when He called me, and I repented and followed. I am worthless and Jesus did it all for me.
I also believe as other equally worthy parts of the letter to the Romans say that we receive our salvation "for obedience to the faith" (Romans 1:5-6), I believe it is for "everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16), I believe that some "suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, FOR GOD HAS SHOWN IT TO THEM. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, BECAUSE, ALTHOUGH THEY KNEW GOD, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, AND THEIR FOOLISH HEARTS WERE DARKENED" (Romans 1:18-21) and on and on and on in the rest of Romans and the rest of the Bible which I study as well as Romans chapter 9, but could not possibly post here. I have learned to read a whole letter rather than a chapter, and all the letters and books rather than zeroing in on one. This has set me free from being confused by the teachings of men...whatever their name, whatever their prestige.
If you believe I am mistaken in my assessment of the Scriptures, then I'm sure your belief is an honest one. I am sure you can explain away the verses I just quoted as an Arminian could reason away the verses in Romans 9. I am neither an Arminian nor a Calvinist, and will take God at all of His word. I know that is what we all strive to do.
God bless our search of the Scriptures.

Lamb said...

Dear Allan,

You said: "All of those Arminian proof-texts that you have provided without context have been repeatedly refuted many times at my former blog: www.calvinistgadfly.com"

Wow, Jesus spoke in Arminian proof-texts!! :-) (Joke)

Brother, I am not Arminian (in fact on most blogs people seem to think I am Calvinist). I am not Calvinist either (some here seem to think I may be Arminian because I quote scripture that 'seems to contradict Calvinism'.) FOR THE RECORD I AM NOT ARMINIAN OR CALVINIST!!! :-)

I am a sinner saved by God's grace and mercy. He had mercy and gave me faith. I responded to that faith. He had mercy on me and gave me grace. He foreknew me. He predestined me. I must obey. Obedience=Belief. Disobedience=Unbelief. Eternal life=ETERNAL LIFE, One can escape the world and then become entangled in it again and IF overcome be worse off than before. We are warned NOT to fall from our secure positions. We are told TO PERSEVERE. We are told many will TURN AWAY from the faith. We are told by Jesus that if we DISOWN Him (meaning we OWNED him), He will disown us. We cannot be snatched out of His hand or the Father's hand. ALL scripture is true. ALL OF IT. Sharon is RIGHT, now we see darkly but then we will know, as we are known. We will understand completely. To tell people that they are eternally secure whether they obey (active faith) or not is a huge diservice considering Hebrews 3:16-18 "Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?"

This incident is referenced again in and Jude 5: "Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe." Apparently obedience (which is belief/faith) is VERY important. Believe is a verb which is very telling. Stong's #539 (the Hebrew word 'am)' for believe) has a list of meanings. One is "to stand firm". This is ACTIVE faith. Having said that, faith is a gift of God, so we cannot boast that we saved ourselves. He gave us the faith as well as the grace. I do not understand how it all reconciles together but I know that it does. That is why I call myself by no mans name but by my God's name, Christian.

Love,
His Lamb

gigantor1231 said...

Sharon

I have participated in this blog for a while, and I have said all along that we are Christians above all, the labels are merely labels that display something of us. Quite frankly I could do without the labels. My point in my response to you and that man is that this blog is here to produce dialog, to sharpen ones ability in the word as well as bolster the truth we know or even tear down the non truths that we all have a tendency to follow. The process is not nescessarily comfortable and at times the words may just seem hard, but it is meant to make us grow. So, the statement 'The Man'

' "Calvinist vs. Arminian" is out of season. I try sometimes to figure out why a web site that has some wonderful timely articles on the serious issues of our day that actually unites Christians in agreement with you could at the same time diverge into theological arguments that end of dividing Christians once again!'

Is without merit in that the article was not posted to be divisive or cause tension. It was posted to debate a issue that is already divisive and tension filled, in discussing this in the pale of the word perhaps some might come to know the greater truth, and that is that Christ's death upon the cross is entirely sufficient in every way, it not only saved us then and now, but it He also keeps us by it, our salvation is secure. Does this mean that He does not expect us to obey? No. Does it mean that we have liscense to sin? By no means and God forbid that. It is as you say, we are saved by grace through and through, we are saved by nothing we have done, He chose us inspite of that. It is the same for the maintenance of our salvation, how can we take back what He rightfully purchased with His blood? He owns us, and He will keep all that the father has given him!

Prayerbone said...

I'm sorry but it truly doesn't make sense to me!

a person is created not of their choosing,their born into a state of sin not of their choosing,their be judged for the state that they didn't choose to be in,and to top it all they cant get out of the state their in, because God elected them be in the state their in.

Like this paragraph Calvinism is gobbledygook..No wonder most people arn't Calvinist to begin, with it appeals to their elite spirit later..It makes God out to be little boy with a toy army..

gigantor1231 said...

Prayerbone

Think about what you are saying, you are calling into question the creator of all! Many people take for granted or choose to forget, or even choose to not believe in Him, but it is to their own demise. God is not the big cruel dictator that people make him out to be, He is all loving and all compassionate, His attributes are good in every way, but we also need to remember that He is God and we are His creation, He will do with us as He pleases. I would rather choose to be obedient to him and receive his mercy than question him and achieve his wrath.
All of the word of God displays the goodness and mercy of God, all of his judgements are perfect in every way. Here are some passages that display His goodness and mercy towards us, I hope that they help you in some way;
Is. 42:3-9; Matthew 11:28-30; Isaiah 41:14-20; Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 1:18-20; Revelation 22:17
Also I have included the devotional that references these passages of scripture,the devotional is a adaptation by Alistair Begg from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening.

The scripture references that I sent you came from this!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007
LET ME GO TO THE FIELD AND GLEAN AMONG THE EARS OF GRAIN.
Ruth 2:2

"Downcast and troubled Christian, come and glean today in the broad field of promise. Here is an abundance of precious promises, which meet your needs exactly. Take this one: "A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench." Is that not helpful to you? A reed, helpless, insignificant, and weak, a bruised reed, out of which no music can come, weaker than weakness itself-yet He will not break you, but on the contrary, will restore and strengthen you. You are like the smoking wick: No light, no warmth, can come from you, but He will not extinguish you; He will blow with His sweet breath of mercy until He fans you into a flame. Would you glean another ear? "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." What gentle words! Your heart is tender, and the Master knows it, and therefore He speaks so softly to you. Will you not obey Him and come to Him even now? Take another ear of corn: "Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel." How can you fear with such a wonderful assurance as this? You may gather ten thousand golden ears such as this: "I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist." Or this: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." Or this: "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price." Our Master's field is very rich, as you can see. Plenty of promises lie before you, believer! Gather them up, make them your own, for Jesus wants you to have them. Do not be afraid; only believe! Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation, and feed on them with joy."

And let us not forget, the one who is in his very nature God humbled himself as a man, born of a virgin, in order to willfully lay down His life in the most heinous manner in order that we might have eternal life with him, to those that believe on His name to them He has given the right to be called His sons and daughters. This one act alone is more than enough reason to give Him the worship that is due Him. We did not first love Him but He first loved us, even though we were and still are unloveable.

Alan Kurschner said...

prayerbone said,

"[Calvinism] makes God out to be little boy with a toy army"

I see your point. It's sort like those Calvinists who think God is some kind of Potter and we are merely lumps of clay being fashioned as vessels as he sees fit. Who can worship a God like that, right?

gigantor1231 said...

Alan

I think that since the bible illustrates it that way then I am on safe ground even though you do not like it!
The point is that the truth is this, 1. There is a God. 2. You are not him! So, whether you like what He says or not you do things the way that He wants. In a nut shell He says life or death, light or darkness, choose to follow Jesus Christ His Son or you will spend eternity seperated from him. If you can not play by his rules then you will ultimately lose. What do you choose?

Lamb said...

Prayerbone,

Hello precious soul. Don't worry about Calvinism or Armenianism. Just read the word, all of it. Choose life, choose blessings. Jesus is that life. Obey the whole council of the Word. When you fail, which you will as long as you are in the flesh, repent and God will be faithful to forgive you through Jesus Christ His son and our sacrifice. Jesus is our sacrifice and our high priest, constantly interceding on our behalf to the Father (when we repent to Him). We don't use our liberty as license to sin but when we do fall into sin we go to our High Priest and He is faithful. My prayers are with you Prayerbone. Pray for me too!

His,
Lamb

gigantor1231 said...

Alan

I am confused as to where you stand with regards to synergism or monergism. It seems as though you render all credit to Christ with regards to the salvation of all men, which is where the credit and glory belong. On the other hand it seems that you hold to the belief that God is not sovereign in all that happens, using all to his glory, perhaps you do not believe that Christ's death was enough but the work and will of man have to work synergisticaly with His death in order to be valid.
You seem to be caustic in your last remark with regards to the passage that I quoted from Rom. 9:19. While God is no bully, He does not need to be, He is truth and therefore those that question him in regards to his deity and Lordship ought to be warned that they are no one to question Him! While He is full of mercy and patience and He draws men to Him via his kindness, He does have his limits of tolerances.
I am not a Calvinist, I have never read the works of Calvin! I was at one point in my life a Arminianist and I can speak from experience that the Arminianist system of belief is a system that places those that hold to it under bondage again to the law. It is a belief that denies the truth of the word and the sufficiency of Christ's atoneing sacrifice on the cross. My heart breaks for my brothers and sisters that hold to the Arminianist system of beliefs because they are not walking in the fullness of God's truth. It took me many years to realize this and Aminianism caused me much unnescessary pain. I do not stand in condemnation over those that hold to Arminianism but I will debate it's validity in order that those that hold to it can come to a true knowledge of Christ and the extent of his sacrifice on the cross. It was all sufficient in every way.

Prayerbone said...

Gigantor i think Alan's on your side,and was being ironic..

Let me just say,though i'm not a Calvinist,i love you guys!!

I visit this site,Mike Corey's and my friend's Ken Silva site (which i support when i can), because they love God and his word, and thats the most important thing for me..


I'm working through some things spiritually,so bare with me..

andy

gigantor1231 said...

PB

After reading some more of his writing I think I have figured that out. Thanks though.
Keep seeking the truth, you can not go wrong doing that. Christ will take you all the way there!

grasshopper said...

I have to say, I have come to the conclusion that any and all Calvinists who bear that namesake are nothing short of idolaters. The Bible gives us the name "Christians" because of who we follow. It's obvious that Calvinists are clear who they follow, a man who was a heretic. John Calvin, a former Roman Catholic priest who became a mini-pope and a tyrant in Geneva who murdered those who disgareed with him, beleived in many heretical things like infant baptism (which he wrote many, many chapters in his book DEFENDING it, and a doctrine Billy Graham believes in by the way) and so forth. It's funny that someone on this board said Calvinists are humble, yet the man which this doctrine takes its namesake from was anything BUT humble. However, I will leave the essay on the heresies of John Calvin for another post. I want to address somne of the heresies posted in this blog.

This warped idea that man having faith and beleiving on Christ somehow adds to the redemptive work of Christ is nothing short of hilarious. The Bible is clear,beleive on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. As a matter of fact, we look at the jailor in Acts 16, when he trembled with fear at the sight of his prisoners and the open cell. He asks the question, "What must I do to be saved?" A calvinist would have said "Nothing! You can do NOTHING!" But Paul is not a calvinist, praise God, nor does the Bible rebuke the jailer for asking that question, which means he was right in asking what must HE do to be saved. Paul, a Christian, said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." The man was not wrong in asking what HE must do to be saved, however, the Bible NEVER says faith is a work. As a matter of fact, the Bible clearly illustrates faith to be the opposite of works. If I say I am saved because I beleive on the Lord Jesus Christ, I have not added to the gospel, I am merely giving evidence of it. Salvation is free to all who believe, and that is why one cannot boast because the way to get there is attainable for ALL men, the same way.

This other idea that one who says he believes is under bondage of the law is also very silly. This is not mentioned ANYWHERE in the Bible. I believe and am free from bondage under the law, because Jesus purchased me with His blood. And by the way, I believe in eternal security, that I cannot lose my salvation. I was never good enough to earn it, therefore I cannot possibly be any better to keep it.

To those who say I have denied God's freedom in my salvation, let me just say this. Number one, God FREELY gave up His only begotten Son so that the whole world MIGHT be saved on the condition they believe, which costs absolutely nothing. He FREELY stated in 2 Peter 3 that He is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL men come to repentance. But Calvinists do not have an accurate picture of God's freedom. God cannot lie, God cannot violate His word, so would that make God a slave? No, hardly, nor does it limit his sovereignty. It's simply a characteristic of God that many Calvinists miss the boat on, that God has CHOSEN to limit Himself to His word that He may prove faithful. Also, a God who damns people to hell for His liking betrays the very nature of God as loving, merciful, and JUST. A just God cannot create a person specifically for the purpose of sending him to hell. Can He do that? Sure He can, but that would make Him a liar and would cause Him to violate His word. God cannot do that.

Calvinists also miss the boat entirely on the work of salvation. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the Word of God. However, THE BIBLE SAYS, how shall they hear without a preacher? It seems in order for someone to get saved, they need to HEAR the gospel from a born again believer who is preaching FROM the Bible. It sounds like God has entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to His sons (2 Corinthians 5.) Yes, God alone is the source of salvation in the name of Christ, and it is God doing the work, and all glory belongs to Him, but He has chosen to work with us to get people saved.

I could go on, but I want to end this quick post on debunking some of the main Calvinist heresies. Irresistible grace? Tell that to the people of Proverbs 1 and Romans. God called, they refused, and became reprobates. They are without excuse, or else if God created them to just damn them to hell, then they have an excuse. Limited atonement? Hey, John 3:16 says the whole world MIGHT be saved. Will the whole world be saved? No, but Christ' death, burial, and resurrection was for the WHOLE world. Only those who beleive will recieve. The apostle John, who was not a Calvinist, made that point very clear in 1 John 2:2, very consistent with what peter stated about God in 2 Peter 3:9. Unconditional Election? The arrogance of many Calvinists who say "God chose me, He didn't choose you" paints a picture of God who IS a respecter of persons and thus God violates His own word. God doesn't respect me or think of me any better than the next brother or sister. I'll say it right now, for those Calvinists who puff themselves up and say "GOd chose me" must be consistent and say to the unbeliever "God did not choose you." It is pure arrogance and straight from the horns of Satan.

One last thing, for those who proudly call themselves Calvinists, why do you name yourself after a man who modeled himself after Roman Catholic popes, who was as vicious and heretical as Roman Catholic popes, and who embraced damnable heresies straight from the pit of Rome, and whose role model was a man in Augustine who embraced many gnostic heresies and paved the way for the Mother Whore church to murder the true saints of God?

Prayerbone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prayerbone said...

Great post Grasshopper,fully behind you..Theres manyyy verse that argue against tulip especially the T i.e Cornelius (which no one responded to)..

I'd recommend anyone reading this, to read Roger E. Olson book ive just started it..

Thank God for balanced Christians i'm sure there out there somewhere ;-)

Anyhow GB all andy

alberto said...

After a few days of thinking on it, I decided to do a study of Romans 9. Since this is the pet favorite of Calvinists and those who worship the traditions of men over the Word of God, it is best for Bible believing Christians not to explain away these verses because it makes the Bible into a book of contradictions. It is best to study to show thyself approved and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth within these pages of Scripture.

First, I want to make clear I am not an arminianist as all Calvinists wish to make their opponents out to be such. I have never read any of jacob Arminus' stuff, plus if he did beleive you can lose your salvation (which Calvinism also teaches in an very subtle way) then he taught a false gospel. But this is not a platform for Arminian vs Calvin, rather it is how well does the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9 stand. I am going to break down this chapter to see if it truly teaches what Calvinists claim it does.

Does it teach that God picks and chooses who He wants to save and who He wants to damn to hell? Let's see.

In the first 3 verses, Paul says he is about to share something deep. He even says he has great sorrow and wishes he could go to hell in place of his fellow countrymen. Verse 4, he begins to talk about what he initially addressed in the latter part of Romans 2, that is who are the true jews. he says in verse 3:

"Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.

The Bible says in verse 6 that they are not all Israel which are of Israel. It's the same message taught not only in Romans 2:26-29, but also Galatians 3 and Philippians 3:3. In verses 7 & 8, the Bible says the following:

Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."

So what is the theme here so far? The theme is that God's chosen people have always been according to the spirit, not the flesh. In other words, God is not a racist that he picked a race of people to save them. He did pick the Jews to be the priests to spread the gospel to the nations around them, but not all israel was saved, and not all israel are Jews, according to Romans 2. As a matter of fact, we see in the book of Esther that many of the Persians became Jews.The Bible is clear that a Jew is not a physical race, but rather a spiritual term for those who believe.

With that in mind, we now see what the next few verses are really talking about. Verses 9-112 says:

For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had concieved by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

This is CLEARLY not talking about God choosing who gets saved. Paul just finished talking about how the promise of the seed is not according to the flesh. The seed o f Abraham were and ARE those in Christ. Was jacob chosen to be saved over Esau? No, the Bible just finished explaining that the purpose of electing Jacob was to fulfill the scripture, "The elder shall serve the younger." Nothing more, nothing less. Anybody reading more into this is a Gnostic. Look at the next verse:

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. This is a fundamental truth not taught in churches today, that God indeed DOES hate some people. But does he choose who he hates? No, and I will SHOW YOU from the Bible who He hates and why. Romans 1:20-32, I don't need to type the whole thing, but if you have your bible, look at it with me. In verse 20 it says that all men at some point are given evidence that God exists via the natural order of creation, therefore they are without excuse. At some point they are aware of the gospel, and many men if not all men hear the gospel in its completion being taught. Many who do do not glorify God, according to verse 21, and became foolish in their wisdom. They changed the incorruptible image of God into a corruptible image, and by verse 24, God gave them up to uncleanness through what- the lust of their own hearts. Does it say God chose to put lust in them that they may be damned to hell? No, it clearly just explained that these men heard the gospel, have no excuse to believe anything BUT the existence of the one true God, and yet chose to reject it, so by this point God gave them up. Many of these reprobates become sodomites. The same thing is taught in Proverbs chapter 1 (a great chapter to disprove the false doctrine of irresistible grace,) and it's summed up in verses 24-25: Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But he have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh. So why did God hate Esau? The Bible tells you in Hebrews 12:16-17:

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he foudn not place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Why was he rejected, reprobated? It just finished telling you he sold his birthright for one morsel of meat. He rejected God, therefore God rejected him. It doesn't say he was chosen by God for destruction, it lays the blame squarely at Esau's feet, that Esau chose to feed his belly rather than beleive on the Lord. Very consistent with what Romans 1 teaches, what Proverbs 1 teaches, and what Romans 9 is building on. Let us continue with Romans 9.

In verses 14-16, we see Paul ask, Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, bbut of God that showeth mercy.

Very simple Bible doctrine- to whom does God show mercy? To whom did He promise to show mercy? He obviously promised it to those who believe on the Lord jesus Christ. He chose to have mercy on those who are born again. It goes back to Hebrews 12 when the Bible says God chastens those He loves, otherwise they are bastards and not sons of God. This is a refutation of the false doctrine that God is a respecter of persons, that He would show mercy ONLY to the physical Jews. God declared He will show mercy to the covenant seed of abraham, who are the born again believers in Christ. That has been the main theme so far in this chapter, that the children of the covenant are not physical Jews, but spiritual. it has absolutely NOTHING to do with God choosing who gets saved. There isn't an ounce of Scripture in this chapter to prove that false doctrine. Continuing on, in verse 17:

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Now, the problem with the Calvinist interpretation of the last two verses is that it omits KEY SCRIPTURES that fully illustrate what the Lord is saying here. Calvinists claim, "Well, God hardened Pharaoh's heart and chose him for destruction, so therefore he could never have gotten saved." That is false beyond reason. The Scriptures here say NOTHING of the sort. It clearly ONLY says that God raised Pharaoh for the purpose of showing his might against the Egyptians and to show His people who the God of Israel really is. That's all it says, nothing more, nothing less. Calvinists claim Pharaoh never had a chance, that God hardened his heart. Well, here is the problem with the Calvinist interpretation. For that to be true, Exodus 5:2, 8;15, 8:32, and 9:34 would need to be deleted from their Bibles, because those clearly state that Pharaoh hardened HIS OWN HEART. God most definitely hardened Pharaoh's heart, but who struck first? It was Pharaoh, in Exodus 5;2, when he said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. Didn't we just read in Romans 1 that in order for God to harden the heart of man, that man had to first reject God? The Bible clearly says that Pharaoh was the first to harden his heart. Pharaoh was already reprobated by the time Moses first encountered him, placing himself above God, which is what the antichrist is supposed to do. It takes a reprobate mind to make yourself above God and in God's stead (which is why ALL the Catholic popes in history who have died are burning in hell right now.) Pharoah was the leader of a culture that worshipped creatures rather than the Creator, which is what Romans 1:25 accuses reprobates of doing. Pharaoh could have gotten saved, but by the time we read of his first encounter he was already immersed in pagan Egypt, placing himself in God's stead. We don't know if he ever heard the gospel, but we do know he didn't care to. And we do know Pharaoh in many places HARDENED HIS OWN HEART. That's what the Bible says. That is why Romans 9:18 says God will show mercy on whom He will show mercy, and harden whom He will harden. The Bible is saying if you want to harden your heart, if you want to reject me, FINE. I will harden your heart and reject you. Consistent with Romans 1.

Then we read in the next few verses, from 19-23 how God is the potter and we are the clay, who are we to ask why would God find fault then in man. It goes on to say what IF God endured with much longsuffering those vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, and that He may make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy. But you cannot isolate these verses apart from what Paul was discussing early in the chapter, which has been about spiritual election vs election in the flesh. God said His purpose was to make born again believers in the image of Christ, the potter working on the clay. Those who reject God, He will make them vessels of destruction. It's that simple.


Paul then goes on to reference the scripture in Isaiah, that God will call them His people who were not His people, referring to the Gentiles, and they shall be called the children of the living God. Why? Because of faith. Because those who are the chosen people of God are not a physical race, otherwise Esau, who was of the same pure race as Jacob was, would be part of the covenant, but he wasn't because he was profane and rejected God and was himself rejected. The chosen are those who beleive on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul continues in verse 27, that those physical Jews, who are numbered as the sand of the sea, will be reduced to a remnant who will be saved. The chapter ends with how it is faith that is the key to salvation, how the gentiles which did not do the works of the Law were saved by faith, yet those Jews who did the works of the Law did not do it by faith, and stumbled on the rock of offence, namely Christ.

So as we can see, there is absolutely NOTHING in Romans 9 that remotely hints at those being chosen for salvation and those being chosen for destruction. And we see that Calvinism is condemned for the false doctrine it truly is. Salvation is by grace through FAITH on the Lord Jesus Christ. Leave those silly, man-made terms like synergism and so forth at the door. Use words the Bible uses, preach the gospel and get people saved.

Fernando said...

"Faith does not precede regeneration, regeneration precedes faith"... so... person can bourne again without faith?

Fernando said...

Juste another question: whate is the problem with humanity colaborating withe prevenient grace too his santification if that's God's will? If God's will is to gibe some co-responsability to humanity, how can we say to Him "you're wrong; you ain't God, you are emptieng your divinity"... cooperation is not substitution...