Saturday, December 19, 2009

What, an Update? Blog Review.

What a new post... yes, I know your feed readers are burning...

Anyways The Seeking Disciple over at Arminian Today posted a blog about the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism entitled "Discipleship: Where Arminianism and Calvinism Clash." This is my response.

In paragraph 3 He says: "Calvinists would insist that the person was saved by irresistible grace whereas the Arminian would say that the sinner was saved by surrendering to the grace of God that they could have resisted but instead surrendered to (Acts 16:14-15, 30-34)." Actually a Calvinist would agree with both of those statements. A member of the elect can resist God's saving grace it is just God's saving grace can over come all resistance. Furthermore a Calvinist will say that all the elect will surrender to God's saving grace, though the reason for this would differ from that which Arminianism gives.

In paragraph 4 he says that "the Calvinist would encourage the person to abandon a life of sin (at least I hope they would and feel confident many would do so)" but wouldn't by definition "stress that true repentance is not just feeling sorry for our sins but actually leaving a life of sin and pressing toward the higher calling of Christ Jesus". It seems that he is creating a strawman, I hope unknowingly. I agree that the issue of the mortification of sin in the believer is different between the Calvinist and the Arminian, but not at this point. The Calvinist will say that this side of heaven no sin will ever be slain completely but must continually be mortified. There will never be a day when anyone wakes up and says, "Yes! I mortified all my sins completely so now I do not have to continue to fight sin." For more on this from the Calvinistic Prospective see The Mortification of Sin in the Believer by John Owen.

In paragraph 5 he states that: "Jesus didn't die to preserve sinners in sin but He died to make saints out of sinners". This seems to be a complete misunderstanding, or misrepresentation of the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints. A brief summery of the doctrine would state that "when we speak of “once saved, always saved,” we are not taking into account the full scope of salvation. We have been saved (justification), was are being saved (sanctified), and we will one day be saved (glorified). You cannot claim to have been “saved” (justified) unless you are being sanctified. Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord." (Michael Horton, Putting the Amazing Back into Grace, 171) Thus according to the Calvinistic position God continuely works in the lives of those who are elect that they might grow in holiness.

Finally in paragraph 1 he assumes Calvinism to prove his Arminianism. Allow me to explain. He stated that part of the Gospel is that a person places their "personal faith in the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)." However wouldn't this coming to faith be an act that pleased God? How is it that the carnal minded unbeliever pleases God by coming to have faith without first having faith? You must either assume Calvinism, that God is the one who gives the faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), or deny Romans 8:7-8 and ironically Hebrews 11:6, not to mention the words of Jesus in John 6:35-51,8:39-47,10:25-29,17:9ff.

Just one more thought. Antinominism is a problem that has plagued both Arminianism and Calvinisim in the past and that both theologies must fight it and it's brother legalism in order to remain within the Faith.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. - The Apostle Paul