Calvinism & Arminianism: Controversial Passages

Author: 
Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt

Multimedia lecture is available on this subject

The following passages are interpreted differently by Calvinists and Arminians:

  1. John 6:37
    "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."
    1. Calvinists argue that this passages teaches irresistible grace. The individual cannot refuse God's choice, therefore all those given to Christ will respond.
    2. Arminians reply that "those given to me" in 37 are the same as those who "believe in him" in vs. 40. In other words, when God foresees that some will believe, he gives them to Christ. See that in vs. 45, those who "have heard and learned from the father" are the ones who "come to me."
  2. John 6:44,65
    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day."
    1. The Calvinist holds that these passages teach total depravity, unconditional election, and also imply limited atonement and double predestination. This is because:
      • "No one can come to me unless . . . " because they are totally depraved
      • "it has been granted him from the Father" or "the Father draws him" meaning unconditional election. Unconditional in this case, because the cause is the father, not the individual.
      • Limited atonement and double predestination are usually inferred from the face that it is impossible to come to him without election. Therefore, those whom the Father has not drawn are naturally destined for judgement, and are therefore those for whom Christ did not die.
    2. The Arminian agrees that these passages teach total depravity. However, they argue that the father draws all men to Christ (Jn. 12:32; 16:8). They further hold that to assign the cause exclusively to the Father ignores vss. 29; 35; 40; and 47. To attribute the cause exclusively to the Father regardless of the response of the person, flies in the face of the stated will of the Father in vs. 40 that "Everyone who beholds the Son and believes in him" be saved. Finally, with regard to limited atonement and double predestination, these positions depend on the earlier conclusion (unconditional election), and therefore beg the question.
  3. John 15:16
    "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain..."
    1. Some Calvinists (and Augustine) have argued that this a proof text for unconditional election, emphasizing the irrelevance of human choice.
    2. Arminians point out that the statement is made to the disciples with reference to their apostleship, not to their salvation. This interpretation accords well with the next phrase "that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain." See also Jn. 6:70 referring to the same choice. Judas was chosen but not saved.
  4. Acts 13:48
    "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed."
    1. The Calvinists argue that this verse teaches unconditional election, because it would have been easy to say "as many as believed were appointed eternal life" but the reverse is stated.
    2. The Arminians point out that the participle translated "were appointed to" (tetagmenoi) is in the middle-passive voice. This means that the same form is used in Greek to designate both the middle voice and the passive voice. The NASB has translated it in the passive voice. However, if it is translated in the middle voice, the passage would read ". . .as many as set themselves to eternal life believed" (cf I Cor. 16:15 where the same participle is translated in the middle voice).
  5. Romans 9:16,22,23
    1. The Calvinist position is that Romans 9 teaches unconditional election and double predestination. This is because:
      • Vs. 16 "it [God's choice] does not depend on the man who wills"
      • Vs. 18 refers to double predestination.
      • Vs. 22, 23 refer to "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" and "vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory."
      • The election involved is not a national election, because vs. 24 states that the vessels of mercy are "us, whom He called not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles,"" (i.e. believing Christians).
    2. Arminians argue that the first part of Romans 9 deals with God's choice of nations and their roles in his plans.
      • Vs. 1-5 make clear that the context is that of national choice. This is confirmed in verses 6,7 because all Israelites were not saved and all Ishmaelites were not damned. Also, in vs. 13 Malachi 3:2 is cited to demonstrate that God had favored the nation of Israel over the nation of Edom.
      • Vs. 16 refers to God's choice of how to lead the nation of Israel through the wilderness, which was independent of Moses's opinion. Personal salvation is not in view in the original passage (Ex. 33:19).
      • Vs. 18 is in the context of vs. 16 see above, and vs. 17 which refers to God's temporal destruction of the Egyptians when they wanted to destroy Israel. The verse teaches therefore, that God caused his choice of Israel to stand regardless of Moses' attempts to help or Pharoah's attempts to hinder. Neither Moses' nor Pharoah's personal salvation was in view in these passages.
      • Vs. 22,23 refers to nations which have either glorious or a judgmental role in history. God allows evil nations to exist, and often uses them to bless the chosen nation, Israel. Today, believers are able to participate in the covenant blessings of Israel, because they have been "grafted in to the rich root" of God's purpose in history.
        Another explanation is that the "lump" of clay in vs. 21 refers to national Israel. God has the right to divide Israel into two vessels: unbelieving Israel, which has now become a vessel of wrath (for "prepared", read fit or suited to destruction), and believing Israel, which, along with believing Gentiles has become a vessel of mercy.
    3. Any interpretation of Rom. 9 must account for the transition that Paul makes from national choice in vss. 1-5ff. and individual salvation in vss. 24-33. Therefore, neither view can claim that the other is completely out of context. The question becomes one of which transition is more believable, and makes the most sense of the Old Testament quotations.
  6. Galatians 1:15,16
    "But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles..."
    1. Calvinists interpret this passage to mean that God irresistibly called Paul because he was elected to salvation. They further argue that Paul's salvation is typical of all Christians in this regard.
    2. Arminians would point out Paul's election and calling were based on God's foreknowledge of Paul's decision to believe. Some Arminians acknowledge that Paul may have been unconditionally elected and irresistibly called by God, but point out that this does not prove that God deals with all people in this way. There is no reason to think that God cannot deal differently with some people than others. Arminians would argue that the burden is on the Calvinist to demonstrate not just that God elected someone unconditionally, but that he elects all in this way.
  7. Ephesians 1:4,5
    "...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will"
    1. Calvinists cite this passage as teaching unconditional election. God "chose us. . .before the foundation of the world." He "has predestined us to adoption as sons. . .according to the kind intention of His will." These phrases are taken to mean that God has sovereignly decided in advance who will be saved, completely irrespective of human choice.
    2. Arminians agree that vs. 4 is teaching God's election of the believer to salvation. However, they call attention to the significance of the phrase "in Him." This phrase, it is argued, means that Christ was the chosen one (Is. 42:1), and that believers participate in his chosenness because they are baptized into him when they believe (Eph. 1:13). Arminians also insist that God's election and predestination are based on his foreknowledge of our choice to believe in Christ (I Pet. 1:1,2; Rom. 8:29).
      With regard to vs. 5 Arminians hold that this passage is referring not to God's choice of who will be saved, but of God's choice that those who believe will be ultimately glorified. "Adoption as sons" is seen as references to the glorification of believers (cf. Rom. 8:23 for Paul's use of "adoption" in this way).
  8. II Thessalonians 2:13
    "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth."
    1. Calvinists interpret this passage to refer to unconditional election.
    2. Arminians refer the term salvation to either glorification (see vs. 14) or maturity (I Thess. 5:23). Otherwise, why would it be "through sanctification"?
  9. I Peter 2:8
    "...for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed."
    1. Some Calvinists find support for double-predestination in this passage. God appointed certain people to "doom" and therefore they rejected Christ.
    2. Arminians point out that the specific cause for their stumbling is not God, but that "they are disobedient to the word." Since the noun "doom" is not found in the Greek text, it would be better to see stumbling as the antecedent. It is clear that they were appointed to stumble because they were disobedient in the same way as those who were hard of heart in the time of Isaiah (Is. 6:9,10). God veils his truth to those who stubbornly disobey his word (Mt. 13:12; Amos 8:11,12).
  10. Jude 1:4
    "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
    1. Calvinists hold that this passage teaches double-predestination. The false teachers were "long ago marked out [by God] for... condemnation."
    2. Arminians point out that the participle "previously marked out" (progegrammenoi) can also be translated "previously written about." Since Jude goes on to cite several recorded examples of the destruction of ungodly persons (vss. 5-18), this translation is seen as preferable.

Return to Top

Comments

We all believe God is sovereign although I want to draw the attention of everybody that neither the word sovereign nor sovereignty are mentioned in KJV. We still believe it is a truth revealed through the scriptures. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? Anybody believe that he can understands how the sovereignty of God works in harmony with all his other attributes is mistake. God can and will do what pleases him but He still tells us that there are things that don't please him, and still will truly happen. Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? election is a fact in the scriptures and choice is a fact in the scriptures. The sin that will demand damnation is rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? That sounds like an intellectual decision not a blind response to fallen nature. So how can we reconcile election and choice. Who told you are supposed to reconcile that or even you can come close to do that with you limited minds. Choice is in the Bible and election is in the Bible and these are two parallel lines that will meet in eternity when we meet him. Ask guidance from the Holy Spirit to see if you are wasting your time and energy in an argument that will never bring out fruit to you or others. Seek all what Jesus said "Ye must" and "Ye should" and let me know if you can find "Ye should understand the sovereignty of God" so let us do what we should do.

S. T.

Whenever the New Testament speaks of “freedom” it does NOT define it as the ability to sin.

I often hear people say things like, "We sin because we are FREE” ...or... “In order for us to have a FREE will, we have to be able to sin.”

But Jesus said, "Whoever sins is a slave."
- John 8:34

Any argument that tries to explain sin through the term "FREE-will" contradicts the scriptural definition of "FREEDOM."

For example:

“Who the Son sets free is FREE INDEED.”
- John8:36
(Free to sin...or free from sin?)

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM."
- 2 Corinthians 3:17
(Freedom to sin? Or freedom to do what is right?)

"who slipped in to spy out our FREEDOM that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into SLAVERY"
- Galatians 2:4

"For FREEDOM Christ has set us FREE; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of SLAVERY."
- Galatians 5:1
(Set us free to sin?)

"For you were called to FREEDOM, brothers. Only do NOT use your FREEDOM as an opportunity for the FLESH, but through LOVE SERVE one another."
- Galatians 5:13

"LIVE as people who are FREE, NOT using your FREEDOM as a cover-up for EVIL, but LIVING as SERVANTS of GOD."
- 1 Peter 2:16

"For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.
They promise them FREEDOM, but they themselves are SLAVES of CORRUPTION."
- 2 Peter 2:18-19

I no longer see unbelievers as FREE to sin or not to sin...rather I see unbelievers as slaves to sin (John8:34) in desperate need of a Savior who will SET them free. (John8:36) In this light, I understand that any person who rejects Jesus is not demonstrating a “free-will” but an enslaved will. A will that is truly “FREE” is a will that chooses to follow Jesus!

Corey Friend

The first recorded act of free-will is recorded in Genesis 2:19, where Adam exercising a quality associated with him being made in God's image, names the created animals. God did not over-rule this exercise nor its results, as we read, "...and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." He later names his help-mate, "Eve." Adam still possessed the divine nature, as he had yet to sin. Eve, who a symbol of Christ coming forth from the Father (Jn.16:28), was always in the bosom of Adam (his rib being the building material God used to create Eve), exercised her free-will to hearken unto the temptation of the devil. By free-will man entered into his lost (spiritually dead) state, by this selfsame free-will he makes the choice to accept God's gracious offer of sib's antidote being the blood of atonement, which not only expiates the sin, but covers sin as the skins of the sacrificed animals (God initiated), were offered as a covering for their nakedness (a reminder of sin).

As I am reluctant to simply repeat the often cited verses by Calvinists and Arminians to make their respective arguements, let me offer scripture which evidences God's will that no man perish, as he gives grace to the humble, whose hearts are detected by the Holy Spirit as God's eyes search the heart of every man as we are naked (can't hide anything) before Him (Heb 4;13).

Niniveh was the capitol of Assyria, and oft times the enemy of the Children of Israel, yet the LORD insisted that Jonah go there to preach to them concerning their wickedness (depravity). Even as Jonah resists, seeking his own way (away), the grace of God overruled Jonah's position that they deserved destruction (which he eagerly waited for-even after his preaching from his elevated perch outside of the city). The people of Niniveh hearkened unto the word (a "type" of gospel message) of the prophet, and chose to humble themselves before the merciful God of the Israelite...even unto the king who sat mourning the sins of the nation (and likely his own) in sack-cloth and ashes (Jon 3;6).

Then, the king made his decree calling for the obedience of the people unto fasting, praying fervently to God, that God might be merciful and not destroy this huge metropolis. Having the luxury of hindsight, we know destruction was deferred for another 120-140 years until Niniveh's enemies overran her.

The citizens of Niniveh chose: 1) to listen to a lone Israelite who had the moxie to deliver the warning of God. 2) to humble themselves in sackcloth and ashes. 3) to "fast" even unto the non-consumption of liquids such as water. 4) extended that fast even unto the wealth of livestock they had, (imperiling their very food supply). 5) to pray and cry out to the God of Israel.

It is evident that God made the offer....and they by their own will accepted the conditions, and were benefitted thereby.

If we consider all the conditional offers made by God, one sees they are follwed by God responding to those freewill choices. It is the multitude of scriptures which have the "If-Then" construct. A fine "If-Then" scriptural sample most shall recognize is 1 Chronicles 7:14, where we read, "If my people who are called by my name shall....,....,...,...,Then, will I hear from heaven and....,....,...." God calls us unto obedience, to wit His response is a beneficial response of mercy and grace...or, occassionally, a word of warning, which if the people freely chose, they would suffer the consequnces. Either way, the offer was made for the people to "choose".

If we consider the words "election", "predestination", and "chosen" to be applied to Israel, we do well by that.....even Calvin recognized this to be so. The error comes through the subtlety of "replacement theology", where one posits that the "church" has somehow supplanted Israel in God's economy. Lest we forget, our "predestination" is within Christ the "elect" and "chosen" Lamb of God, by whom we have been engrafted into the stalk, because some of the Israelite branches had been broken off. Where one may posit that it was the Scribes, Pharasees, Sadducees, lawyers, and generally the Sanhedrin who sought to kill Jesus (and Lazarus), or specifically those committing the "unpardonable sin" of ascribing the miraculous works of Jesus to the devil.....we cannot tell with certainty. However, the bottom line goes to the "whosoever" of John 3;16 who respond in obedience to God's calling through the gospel message.

For the Calvinist who relishes in his eternal salvation, I fearfully direct him to the parable of the seed (gospel) being sown abroad. Three of the four seeds sown evidenced "life", as even Judas evidenced the working of miracles under the commission and authority of Jesus when they were initially sent out two-by-two.

But, only one of the seeds became fruitful. Of the other two, one died-having no depth of root; and, the other was choked out by its representative persons being focused on the riches and cares of this world. Where was the everlasting life for the germinated seed which lacked root? Was it not born unto "life"?

Where we who study the Word, look to it literally first, within its context, hopefully, with an eye to the customs and understanding of the people of that time to whom it was directed (usually the Jew); we must also consider how error of hermenuetics may have crept in. Where Calvin was not hostile to the Jews, as his senior Reformist Luther most certainly was, he never-the-less was preparing doctrine which distanced the Reformers from the Catholic Church, not unlike what the Church did in the early centuries after the destruction of the Jewish Temple, as the Gentile Christians were quickly outnumbering the Messianic Christians.

Where the church of Gentiles allowed error to creep in, such as the determining proper day to celebrate Easter named after the goddess Eshtar (Aphrodite), said celebration drifted from the proper day of the "offering of first fruits" which technically fell on the first day (we call Sunday-Jewish "day one") which followed the sabbath which fell within the week of unleavened bread initiated at the passover meal consumed every Nisan 15, following the twighlight passing of evening Friday Nisan 14.

We see today, this "Easter" holiday sometimes is celebrated on a different day than the proper Jewish time reconing of the "first-fruits" day one (Sunday). Likewise, Calvin, regardless of his scriptural mastery, sought to distance nascient Protestantism from Catholicism. This has proved to be unfortunate regarding the doctrine of predestination being applied beyond the people group to whom Jesus was initially sent....and, moreso to that predetermining many, from before conception, unto eternal damnation.

History indicates, at least to me, that whenever doctrine is being fashioned by a Christian group to distance it from its undesirable branch from which it has budded, Satan is more than pleased to offer his devisive assistance. Note my beloved friends and brethren who are "Pentecotals" who insist that the evidence of being "born again" is glossolalia (speaking in tongues). It is unfortunate to cast a hardhearted position that my dear brethren who evidence "not" such a manifestation could be called into question regading their "making it into heaven".

So, I close by thanking those of you willing to expand your narrow horizon enough to consider the overarching mercy of God towards mankind, and the observation that every harmonic ripple of denomination from the autograph (original texts) lays one at risk for eisegesic manifestations as we've witnessed historically....and, in particular to this subject, a construct of one of the most respected of the Reformers.

Calvinism & Arminianism Contraversial Passages

It seems to me that your concluding remarks have controlled the manner in which you argued your position. You either don’t understand what a Calvinist actually believes about free will and choice or you are disregarding it all together in order to form your conclusion.

Calvinists do nor deny that in our human experience that one comes to a place of making a choice. The point they establish is that once a person makes the choice that they do so BECAUSE regeneration has taken place - meaning that God has given them new birth (1 Peter 1:3) and as such they now believe.

This is the fundamental question: what comes first, regeneration or faith?

You are arguing that faith precedes regeneration. However, that cannot be so - because the Bible declares that the blind, deaf and dead (all descriptive of the lost) need the miracle of sight, hearing and life). Without that “miracle” which is the new birth, faith is not possible.

So your claim is that the miracle comes before the faith (regeneration before faith). I would present the woman with the issue of blood, one of the lepers that came back to Jesus
(and countless others) and His words that said your faith has made you well. Not you are well, now go and believe or have faith.

She had faith that she could touch his garment and be healed. Then, she did and she was.
faith then miracle.

Six points to argue against choice:
1. The Good Shepherd. If Jesus died for everyone why did he tell the Jews, they were not His sheep?
2. Romans 6, where disciples who chose to be with Jesus. Did Jesus celebrate their choice? No, He told them the Father had not drawn them, so they were not His.
3. If He died for all men, why did He blind the Jews, except His elect? What does the Word elect mean? "Chosen."
4. If we are Ambassadors, then we were appointed by the Head of State. An Ambassadorship is not a volunteer position. It is an appointed position.
5. Those He foreknew, God predestined (Rom. 8). "Those" is not a universal term. It is a specific term.
6. Romans 9. Neither our will nor our works save us. Romans 9. So how do you argue with this one?

lynn sheldon

Christ himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins--and not only our sins but the sins of ALL the world.
1 John 2:2

God wants EVERYONE to be saved and to know the truth.
1 Timothy 2:4

Calvinism vs Arminianism

2 Peter 1:19-21

I myself struggle with what we call “Calvinism.” But do we allow the more complete revelation from GOD to speak to us or do we tell GOD what HE means? Where does one start? We are in the image of GOD yet it is impossible for GOD to lie and not impossible for us. Any of the attributes of GOD that we exhibit are in us marred and devastatingly fallen for they were not as perfect as HIS even before the fall. Therefore HIS ways and thoughts are not ours but are higher than ours. By way of example we are taught by earthly teachers not to exalt any attribute of GOD over another yet John 3:16, the most quoted verse that in HIS word, is only quoted once, hmmm. For biblical context GOD informs us through revelation of the HOLY SPIRIT that in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 not just holy, not just holy, holy but holy, holy, holy... in reference to the LORD, is the LORD...!

In Romans 9:1-5 if it is fixed as only referring to national salvation or calling how can Paul, one man, an individual not a nation, give his life for a nation. More is going on here than to thrust or emphasize a national interpretation upon the text. Salvation is what Paul is concerned with for all Israel which is borne out in the following versus, cutting the nation into two groups therefore while the nation as a whole had revelatory responsibility there is a saved portion and an unsaved portion. Who decided that? GOD, WHO demonstrates what HE did by example of the Old Testament. Abraham and Sarah in trying to have a child discovered they could not and acknowledged GOD had not allowed them to have offspring. Their will could not produce what they longed for yet their will produced an enemy through Ishmael. What portion did Isaac have in the promise - none. GOD gracious and merciful granted what they thought impossible even laughable. Then what do we do? We say what was definitely impossible for the first child of the promise is possible for all the rest, for the plural children is used for those of and not of the promise. We impose that in scripture if Romans is truly about salvation. The flesh profits nothing to appropriate for itself spiritual things that are impossible for it to do so. GOD continues in versus 10-13 connecting these to what was said in relation to the promise HE explains in extensive descriptive terms transitioning from a completely spiritual event to a temporal one: the promised one, Isaac, who would have two sons 1 before born, 2 neither having done good or bad, 3 for election to stand, 4 not due to either’s works, 5 because of HIM WHO calls, 6 the older will serve the younger, 7 loving Jacob and hating Esau though the text is this descriptive we would dare impose on it GOD knew what they would do therefore making GOD speak with a forked tongue. Verse 14 Paul continues what shall “we” say is there injustice on GOD’s part? Emphatically NO. Is there injustice in what was impossible for the flesh to do with respect to the promise - NO! Is there injustice “if” GOD elected in light of knowing what they would do, us of course coming to the conclusion that Esau had done worse and Jacobs works deserving salvation, you cannot believe one without the contrast of the other given the scripture interpreted from and ignoring the 7 descriptors GOD reveals to us. The only possible objection is GOD chose one over the other with neither deserving it yet Paul answering the objection to GOD’s choice with Romans 9:15
For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” The descriptors in Romans 9:16 So then **it depends not on** “human will” or “exertion”, but on God, who has mercy, go along with the previous seven noted.

How can we be sure the objection is against GOD’s free will choice? Because he continues to Pharaoh whom HE hardened three times to ensure HE would complete HIS plagues in order to demonstrate HIS power. How can that be true? Because it is GOD who is making the case of having mercy or hardening after the objection is raised that GOD reveals is in the heart of the audience he is appealing to. Was Pharaoh about to repent? GOD tells us HE raised him up for this very purpose. If GOD is only or mainly loving, the favorite adjective of many, why does HE need to harden at all? If the argument that GOD by the HOLY SPIRIT reveals through Paul is that Pharoah hardened his heart first then GOD did, what sense do the following versus make for if Pharoah did this to himself finding fault makes perfect sense. Romans 9:19-20 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

Sorry this is so long. We must always begin and end with the scriptures. Going outside the Bible to our fallen logic lifting up the attribute of GOD HE has not made first is both prideful and saying we can council GOD, or as the scripture says answering back to GOD! If I may offer a guess you can feel free to reject, I believe GOD did this to completely eliminate any vestige of pride, the first sin, from the heart and mind of man. Is it really so hard to believe that men sin and deserve their wages and grace is amazing because it is demonstrated at all? This is neither mutually exclusive nor illogical we just chafe against it. A final word, I was told by one of my elders that, in my words, this god of Calvinism is evil. A final thought to ponder, if this Calvinism is true would you really talk back to GOD and reject HIS gift of salvation and suffer eternal torment or be all the more thankful for it and receive and accept HIS gift of eternal life. Are you prepared for that or are you prepared to pronounce GOD as evil?

Jose Colon

2 Tim 3:15From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Acts 13:“It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. But since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us:'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord, and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord spread throughout that region.
John 10:37-38
37If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. 38But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”
John 6:68-69
68Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”
Romans 10: 12-15
12For there is no difference between Jew and Greek: The same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on Him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those whog bring good news!”
Hebrews 11:5-7
5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death. He could not be found, because God had taken him away.a For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. 7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in godly fear built an ark to save his family. By faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Mark 10:14-15
14When Jesus saw this, He was indignant and told them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Acts 28:23-28
23So they set a day to meet with Paul, and many people came to the place he was staying. He expounded to them from morning to evening, testifying about the kingdom of God and persuading them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets. 24Some of them were convinced by what he said, but others refused to believe. 25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit was right when He spoke to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27For this people’s heart has grown callous; they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.’
28Be advised, therefore, that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

God is sovereign, man cannot come to God on his own, we are made alive through faith in Jesus Christ. Eph 2:1-9. Being dead and deserving of wrath, we are made alive with Christ by the riches of God's great love and mercy. God's kindness to us through Christ we are saved by grace and through faith. Through hearing God's word, empowered by His Holy Spirit, we believe in Jesus Christ and calling on him we are saved by grace through faith. We are commissioned to spread the word of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world that all people might come to God through faith in Jesus Christ. What profit is there in 'BEING' calvinist or armenian except to endlessly argue over interpretations of portions of scripture, to what gain?
What great profit to invest our time and energy into lifting each other up and sharing the gospel of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?
Ephesians 4:3-6
Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

David

Here is a simple question that necessitates God's sovereign election of His people unto salvation; "HOW DEAD IS DEAD" - Eph. 2:1? If the sinner is spiritually dead then salvation is totally the work of a sovereign and gracious God who in His love elects some and in His justice allows the non-elect to face what we all deserve, condemnation, BUT GOD... Eph. 2:4!

David

That only means God must draw or call/empower someone to believe before they can do so. But Jesus said he would draw all men if he was lifted up (Jn. 12)

Dennis

A Calvinist, Dennis would say your statement is absolutely correct God does the drawing. How does He do it? He restores the Holy Spirit in you restoring what Adam lost and what you being born in Adam never had. At that moment you are saved, elected, chosen, past tense completed action. God initiated it all, the entire salvation process. Now that you are no longer dead (nekrous) in your sins, you’re finally able to make and unable to resist making a decision for Christ but you’re already saved. Ordo Salutis Order of Salvation. Arminian theology requires God paying you back for your decision by giving you the Holy Spirit. Defining Nekrous You’re dead, rigor Mortis has set in, you’re decaying, you stinketh, and maggots and worms are crawling in your ears and out of your eye sockets. Totally Depraved. With respect to limited Atonement your John 12:32 reference, God the father chose only the elect, the Holy Spirit indwelt only the elect, but the Son died for all? You have a renegade in your Godhead, and making the writer of Hebrews a liar. How can Christ’s sacrifice be sufficient if any can perish. If he died for all the lost how is that sufficient?

When I come to a teaching which is hard to understand or seems to teach opposing things, I first must filter it through the easy to understand principles of the Word. One if those Principles is that God is no Respector of Persons. Calvinism does not make it through that filter:
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."(Acts 10:34)
&
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."(2 Peter 3:9)

It seems to me that God could not be willing that all should come to repentance AND make coming to repentance impossible for a good portion of "all". Nor could He not show partiality, while showing partiality.

Travis Mathes

2Pet3:9 is misread grammatically. 1Tim2:4 is taken out of passage context and historical context and thereby foolishly made akin to universalism. The obscure 2Pet2:1 is the only real difficulty for Calvinism to explain, yet it can be reasonably, to see that if it were Arminian it would not be written in such an irregular, unclear way. Plus, innate in Koine is the orientation to cater to the other's perspective. Those are the strongest they have. All the rest of the Bible Arminianism inflicts eisegesis or wrenching. Before becoming a new creature by grace, you are not free. You are not sovereign over your life, ever; you are a slave. (Rom6) You are not as able as a robot; you are worse; you are a clay vessel. God is sovereign. God does what pleases him. (Ps135) God knows absolutely everything, and is immutable. It's not fair. Fair would be everybody goes to everlasting torment. Your relationship is still real. God still loves believers. God hates sinners. (Ps5:5) Stop with your foolish, doubting "boastful pride of life". Stop breaking the 1st or 2nd of the Ten Commandments by making God in an image you want. "Who are you to judge God?!" Stop using the Marxist dialectic to hastily, pridefully force conclusions to pacify self as your means of maintaining the entire Bible is true. Faith comes before understanding. (Heb11:3) Though the system is different than your Man-Centered paradigm, it is plenty clear. Start over and let the Bible speak for itself. Calvinism has nothing to do with John Calvin; it is a label helpful for theology like "Trinitarian". If you realize and trust that before being born again you were spiritually ABSOLUTELY dead and afterward you need to die to your flesh, you can awe at and celebrate the fully unfathomable beauty of the gift and love and glory that is Jesus Christ truly being king over all and master of the universe and beyond; and have HUMBLE GRATITUDE, which is God's will for the believer's life. Your English Bible, likely deriving from the KJV was translated by Arminians. Even my favorite, the NASB, is tortured in conspicuously tortured especially in Eph, especially Eph1:11 FOUR or more words are mis-matched. Tragic. "All" is qualitative in Koine, so it most certainly does not always mean "every". Learn Koine, learn the truth. TULIP, though not the gospel, is true. The unnecessary kicker is that it will inspire you, if you really die to yourself, to evangelize, out of real love and trust that you received from Creator God, not out of compulsion and striving this time.

J.R.

If election is true, then why preach the gospel? (the only reason I can see is to prove Jesus right - Matthew 24:14)

If free will is true, how can I justify the idea I have to do something to be saved (I choose to believe) with the fact that the Bible teaches that I am not saved by anything I have done (Ephesians 2:8-9). Ephesians states that it is both "not of yourselves" and "not by works," but free will would dictate that salvation comes, at least in part, through something that I have done.

Confused

Free Will refers to our nature. We ALWAYS act according to our nature. Before salvation, our "nature" causes us to choose sin, always, so we act according to our nature. At the time of salvation, our nature changes. We now have the nature God puts within us. We act according to our nature. Now, our nature turns us to pleasing God. We still sin, however, we have a deep desire to please God, so our choices point to Him. Before salvation, our desire is pleasing self and self leads us to sinfulness. After salvation our desire is pleasing God and God leads us to honoring Him. This concept has everything to do with God's hand upon our heart and soul and has nothing to do with us as faulty human who cannot fathom God even in His simplest form. His mind is so much higher than ours. We cannot understand His thinking patterns or understand why, how or when He does things. If we could, we'd be equal with Him and there would be no reason for Jesus.

Kim

Why would a loving God predestine some to heaven and leave out others to go to hell? Of course God is sovereign and can do every thing and anything, but that doesn't sound like a loving God. We have limited freewill to choose God or not. If we choose Him, the Holy Spirit come to us to help us become more Christ like. If we reject Him, we stay separated from Him.

Mike

I find it very sad how many people are content to just let the world know their opinion. The truth is God is way bigger than we think or understand. Clearly God says He chose us, we did not chose Him. Tough to swallow? Yes, but so is a talking donkey and yet that is exactly what happened. Why do we think we know better how God needs to act than what He tells us.

Becki

That statement by Jesus that "you did not choose me, but I chose you is in the upper room discourse. He's referring to his choosing of them as apostles. Has nothing to do with salvation. They are already disciples before he designated them as apostles. Context.

Dennis McCallum

for me let's read what the bible saw about it .i just want to share please read .Eph. 2:8-9..romans 3:10 .rom.6:23,rom 5:8 lastly 1 Jn 1:9...

josh

Oh I can give you 1 verse and then ask you a question: Read 1 Thessalonians 2: 13-16 ... specificly, verse 16... and then, please, my dear brother, tell me ( the most honest way you can) how do WE, GENTILES... or, if you want it that way, PEOPLE get saved, according to verse 16? Do you ( who i am sure, have the Holly Spirit dwelling in you) understand exactly what i understand... THAT THE GENTILES GET SAVED WHEN THOSE WHO ARE SAVED TALK TÔ THEM ( and of course, not just ANY talk, but the Gospel of salvation) OTHERWISE " THE CHOSEN APOSTLE" ( of course he was chosen, but to announce the Gospel to gentiles and gentile kings as Peter to the Jews... NOT CHOSEN ONTO SALVATION... read the context) WOULD HAVE BETTER STAYED HOME LAYING IN A HAMMOCK, WITHOUT RISKING HIS LIFE... JUST HOPING... and MAYBE PRAYING, THAT THOSE GENTILES HE REFERS TO IN VERSE 16, WOULD JUST HAPPEN TÔ BE ON THE LORD'S LIST.

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost."

Nelson

CALVINISM: If in fact Calvinism were God's actual plan (ELECT) and that before the foundation of the world He elected some to be saved and some to go to hell, then the list is complete and nothing you or I will change that, it is His Will, His List, and His Plan. Thus, there is no need for church, no need for witnessing, no need for trying to live a righteous life at all, simply go through life and live the way you want and IF you are on the list, you will be saved somehow, someway, because you are the ELECT. Finished !!

ARMINIANISM: If in fact Arminianism were God's actual plan (FREE WILL) then there is definitely a need to carry out Jesus command in Matthew 28 to teach and baptist in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because unless a free will soul can be convinced of salvation they will be in hell. Moreover, then John 3.16 is not made a lie but Truth in that the offer of salvation is for the whole world that "whosoever" (not elect only) can be saved and thus there is a need for the church, witnessing, and trying to live a life that gives testimony of Jesus Christ in their life as a witness to others, because unless they hear the Gospel, they were doomed to hell.

CONCLUSION: ELECTION seems to go against the entire New Testament of witness, church, preaching, whosoever, praying for others salvation, living a life honoring to God, etc. FREE WILL seems to go totally in favor of what Jesus taught, what Paul taught, what Peter, Paul, and the Apostles did and all the other writers seem to address also. Moreover, the free will plan aligns uniformly with what God tells us to do (to reach the lost) and that some plant, some water, and some get the increase, which is the picture of Old Testament actions.

TAKEAWAY: How can a God who claims to love, teaches love, and asks us to love all, even those who hate us, be within his own law of justice if He intentionally creates people for hell, knowing full well they will suffer for eternity. It seems to be very questionable theology for people to think of God in that untruthful way. On the other hand, in the Garden, God said He created man in His own image and while that can be physical it can also be metaphorically, as in Intellect, Emotion, and Will. Man's initial will was God's Will because man was God's creation of fellowship and love. It was Adam's sinful act of rebellion after being tempted by the Serpent (the Devil) and taking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that made him a full fledged "god" having the exact characteristics as God excepted limited to the limits that God had provided in man. That act of Free Will on Adam (after the rest of him Eve) tempted him.

Definitely ELECTION goes AGAINST everything God stands for and interestingly, until Calvin and his followers came up with this TULIP idea, the Church wasn't doing too terribly bad but once this whole Election idea began taking off and then flourishing in the 19th and now the 20th century, we see the Church falling away and more and more new Bibles coming on the scene that are taking away the Truths that are hidden in the old text as Jesus himself pointed out. I go with FREE WILL as it fits God's image and the image He created in man, it reveals how man fell, it agrees with a need to witness, have a church, have preaching, and win souls to Jesus. Election is completely contrary to all of that. Go party and have fun, if you are on the list, you win and will be saved somehow, someway. If not elected, you got to live it up before hell comes.

Dr Dimento

God did not create some for heaven and some for hell as you put it. We have to realize that God had a plan. Part of His plan was to create man in His own image, which He did. What is the purpose of that? It is because part of His plan is to make man His own children, which by the way is an act of love, but God has foreseen that Satan, one of the angels He created shall rebel against Him and will try to destroy the plan of God, and so he tempted man through Eve and then Adam to sin and became initially successful at making all mankind under the power or a servant of sin. By God's own justice, all mankind deserved to die in hell, and that means He did not have to choose who should go to hell. It would seem that the choosing is between saving all mankind or to save some only before He created man. He planned to do the latter because as far as God knew, it is the best plan. We can say that it is the best plan because God's choice is always for the best even though we cannot understand how it came to be the best. What we only know from the Bible is that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways and that He will have mercy unto whom He will have mercy. His decision on this is solely His and fully without any influence from man or anybody else. The Bible does not give any answer because we have to accept what is written by faith and not by some logical arguments. Besides, we cannot question God, as Paul puts it, can the clay question the potter?

Maybe we should follow God's commandment to call the world to repentance simply because it is a commandment of God. We are the means to his ordained end. He has seen fit in his infinite grace to allow us to be used in his purposes. Your view starts with removing sovereignty from God. I don't care what you prefer in theology, what you think about God's nature, or how you feel about free will. I care what the Bible says and you have cited no scripture that refutes any tenant of absolute sovereignty.

Our finite minds can not fully wrap our heads around this topic, and I believe we cannot correctly draw the line between mans free will and God's sovereignty in this issue. Does God chose? Yes. Does Man Chose? Yes!

Interesting how we argue and fight for free will, as if God had no right to violate free will. God is a perfecter of will. Thats how we got the bible. What, you think he got lucky in the writing of the bible by men?  Or did he override free will? You are calvinist! all of you! You trust the word as infallible, and pray for God to save your friends and family. Amen, theres hope!  He he

I don't think Arminian doctrine ever argues that God's can't violate free will. Of course he can. The real question is whether he does all the time.

No, I wouldn't argue that God can't violate free will. He can and he does do that. The question is whether free will actually exists and whether he ever doesn't overrule it..

No, they didn't believe, because Jesus says "Behold, i never knew you." Also, that God hardened Pharaoh's heart doesn't prove Calvinism. That's one case of God using a non-believer for his purposes. Nothing like claiming that this is true with everyone

The sample scriptures you vave provided absolutely argue on behalf of calvinism. Rom 11:8(Duet 29:4) speaks to the stupor given some to not believe and others to believe--- so it also is with the pride that drives some to believe they must choose and those that believe they had no choice. Some have commented that this argument or difference is only found in the new testament and yet in exodus 4:21 God tells Moses that even after seeing all the miracles of God through Moses, Pharoah will not believe..."his heart shall be hardened. Just as is was in Genesis when the older brother esau was chosen by God to serve Jacob. NO.... Election and Gods purpose is evident throughout scripture AND I have to wonder, going back to Jesus himsel in Matt 7.... Could Jesus have been speaking on just this issue: "Lord, Lord have we not prophesied and cast out demons in your name?" What was Jesus response:"away from me evil doers." They believed, right? But they also believwd that THEY did these things in his name. ---- Can you see the weight of pride and himility of Gods choice in all things

Take a look at Deuteronomy 30, the next chapter. It is quoted from in Romans 10. Also, Romans 11:7 says that the rest (the non-elect) were "hardened", just as Pharaoh was. The hardening of the condemned is similar to the sanctification of the elect.

Hard to believe my God would create multides for damnation by no choice or action of their own.

 

People choose according to their nature. A child of the devil will always choose to rebel against God. Man cannot change their nature unless a miracle occurs which is why scripture says it is not by the will of the flesh or man but by the will of God. That miracle is the " New Birth" it is then that God takes out the spiritually dead stony heart and replaces it with a spiritually alive heart of flesh. When a man is made spiritually alive he can see the Kingdom of God and can believe and follow Christ.

Election

Good post. Thanks. I go for Arminian, makes a lot more sense than Augustine and Calvin (influenced by gnostics). 

.........I agree........because God reveals Himself throughout the Bible as LOVE......he gave us a rational and volitional mind with which to understand what 'LOVE' is, and the God of Calvinism does not reveal LOVE as God has given us to understand the meaning of the word.

Richard

But is God just LOVE??? Or is he Holy, wrathful, righteous, and just?? Are we to only worship God because of his love and cast out the rest? Are you worshipping God based off who you want him to be or off who he says he is? If God chose to save just one person and send everyone else to hell, which is what we deserve, then God shows an imaginable love just to save one person and not only that; Gods wrath and justice and righteous is carried out. Is your way of thinking man centered or God centered?? " No man does good, not one. There is no one who seeks God"

I find it interesting that as far as I can see, all of the verses in support of the Calvinist view of predestination, come from the new testament.  My question is in regard to the cultural context of the day.  How would Paul's audience understood what he was saying.  I have heard it said that the culture of the day was a high context society, where as we are a low context society.

I believe that the early believers went by the apostles' doctrine (teaching) and not necessarily the old testament. We can either reconstruct what the apostles verbally communicated from what they wrote in the new testament passages, or just assume that it was exactly the same thing.

This is not true. Research the Greek septuagent. All of the early church fathers were well versed in Old Testament scripture. In fact one can not even hope to understand the book of Hebrews without a foundational understanding of the law and prophets

Both views should be known by Christians. This is very useful indeed. Only God knows who is right though the Bible gives potent hints that we are saved by grace through faith not of works or ourselves

Geoges

Add new comment