You Must Be a Calvinist or an Arminian!

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Paul Henebury's picture

Andrew, I don't, but that does not entail Combs's portrayal.  Read Arminius.  

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Craig's picture

AndrewSuttles wrote:

 

Paul Henebury wrote:

 

 I am not Arminian but I have read Arminians and they do not believe what Combs puts into their heads.  

 

 

You simply cannot deny that Arminians believe that election is based on foreseen faith.

We are told "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father."

Larry's picture

Moderator

Paul, that was the comment that spurred my question. I am curious as to what you think that via media is. If you don't want to answer, I will leave it at that, but I am curious. By citing Keathley, are you suggesting Molinism as a via media? I think that has been pretty soundly critiqued by Helm and others, and doesn't have much of anything to offer. For those interested, Tom Nettles wrote a review and response to Keathley a few years ago.

Since the case has been pretty soundly made that election is the dividing line (and it hasn't yet really been interacted with here other than to say "I disagree"), I think the burden is on the side of folks like yourself to show why election isn't the dividing line. If election isn't the dividing, what is?

Larry's picture

Moderator

But if that is so, how do we explain why Joe accepted the gospel and Jack rejected it? The only answer is that there is something in Joe, something superior in Joe (intelligence, merit, goodness—something) that caused him to believe—something that Joe had but Jack lacked. This difference between Joe and Jack is not due to God. God does exactly the same thing for both Joe and Jack. They had the same opportunity, the same grace (prevenient). The only conclusion that can be drawn is that in some way Joe must be better than Jack. Joe did not do it all, or most of it, but he deserves some credit. This is Arminianism."

Arminians would not agree with this line of reasoning (in bold) as being their own.

KLengel, I will post here since someone else may answer and send this privately to you in search of your answer. In your understanding, what exactly in the above would Arminian theology disagree with? How would they answer the question of why Joe accepted and Jack rejected?

James K's picture

I wonder how people ever figured anything out prior to Calvin.  Good thing they came along, those guys.  Now that they did, all thinking on the matter is closed.  There will be no more thinkin' on the subject and that is that.  You agree with Calvin, or you are a man-glorifyin', man-exaltin', no good stinkin' arminian.

Calvinism is not simply unconditional election.  It is an entire system of thought, allegedly summed up by the geniuses of Dort.  Chris Cone made the point that although some elements are biblically based, it is full of overstatement and assumption.  In fact, he reached the same conclusion toward arminianism.  Calvinists can't even agree with other calvinists as to what exactly is calvinism.  Calvinist on calvinist crime is somewhat amusing to read.  Both systems pretend that God has to plan things out according to time.  A valid option to either of those systems would be one that does not confine God to time.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Paul Henebury's picture

Larry wrote:

Paul, that was the comment that spurred my question. I am curious as to what you think that via media is. If you don't want to answer, I will leave it at that, but I am curious. By citing Keathley, are you suggesting Molinism as a via media? I think that has been pretty soundly critiqued by Helm and others, and doesn't have much of anything to offer. For those interested, Tom Nettles wrote a review and response to Keathley a few years ago.

Since the case has been pretty soundly made that election is the dividing line (and it hasn't yet really been interacted with here other than to say "I disagree"), I think the burden is on the side of folks like yourself to show why election isn't the dividing line. If election isn't the dividing, what is?

I do not have time to get drawn into the debate.  Nettles' response to Keathley was unconvincing; a mere restatement of his perspective.  He did aver: "We can be sure that God, as the Creator and Sustainer of all things, loves our children, and all people, with a natural love far greater than the most self-sacrificing love we can muster." 

Well, Nettles surely knows that men like John Owen and A.A. Hodge (to name just two) would condemn that remark.  They were very clear that God hates that non-elect!  In other words, Nettles (as I would expect from him) reasserts his Calvinism as an answer to Keathley - when he interacts with him!  What this often does is create the impression that Keathley would disagree with much of Nettles' view, which would be incorrect.  Keathley's argument must be studied for what it is; not read through Calvinist spectacles.  

Nettles also writes: "When Calvinists explain the world in terms of divine decrees of creation, providence, and election and God’s purposive use of and energetic involvement with secondary causation, including human activity, that is harsh."

Yes but because they introduce determinism into their position "secondary causes" are not really causes - just prior occurrences.  I think this is why men like Bruce Ware (God's Greater Glory), Terrance Tiessen (Providence & Prayer), and D.A. Carson are attracted to a form of Molinism.

You claim Molinism has been debunked.  I hardly think so!  Are you sure you have read both sides?  I like Keathley's book, especially his awareness of Robert Kane's work.  I don;t think we will ever get to the bottom of the issue however.

You mention Helm, but he is SO deterministic as to assert that, for all intents and purposes, God thinks for us!  

This thread is about Calvinism and Arminianism and it cannot be reduced down to election.  For one thing, Calvin placed election in Soteriology (where it belongs) not God's decrees, where it often is put - incorrectly in my view.  I hold that election is unconditional, but I do not formulate it in reference to irresistible grace - which I can't find in Scripture.  Hence, I see a "drawing" and a convicting work of the Spirit, but I do NOT find a mechanism whereby salvation is effected.  So I feel free to assert that God's decision is prior to man's decision while resisting formulations which appear to me to be based mostly on questionable inference.      

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

KLengel's picture

David,

My points were these: 

- Combs representation of the Arminian theology in some areas were wrong. (some incomplete) 

- I am tired, not of Calvinists thinking they are always right; (I agree, we all think our view is right) BUT in the calvinists insistence in the debate that only two systems are possible. Read Vance's The Other Side of Calvinism to see the confusion and argumentation style of calvinists thru the years. (among other things)

- The problem was really, IMHO, yours. You started a fire underneath me when you suggested I only think my view is right and others are wrong. In communication, you put a person on the defensive when you do that.  If you didn't see why I thought it misrepresented the view, that is fine. Point taken.  But your comment was inappropriate because it came off to me as an attack, rather than a plea for clarification. As for the jade's trick, maybe it should be beyond what is acceptable here. Again, those types of things are never productive. I literally had to go somewhere else, but felt like I had to stay and defend my thoughts after your comments. I felt compelled to reply since your comments are out there for the world to see (as are mine), but I wanted to admit I had to go.   

- Finally, I did not answer everyone's questions, because this is a very complex topic. Without a strong, working knowledge of the debate, the thread was going down too many interrelated, yet different paths.  (It is why it is difficult to discuss this in a forum setting)  I actually had thought that I had posted Combs quote earlier, but I must have deleted when I stepped away.

Take Care,

Ken 

   

Larry's picture

Moderator

Thanks Paul. I don't have time or interest in a debate either. I was just wondering where you were coming from.

BTW, I didn't say Molinism was debunked. I said I thought it was soundly critiqued. I thought Nettles critique was solid as was Helm in the Four Views book.

Todd Wood's picture

For the first time, I noticed the words on a marquee church sign as I was driving to my church building for a Bible study tonight.

"God is ours because He chose us". 

I smiled when I read the words.  It is a sign on the busiest street in our city. 

Incidentally, the church is Methodist.

 

Mark_Smith's picture

And do you think passersby understand that sign to mean anything but "don't come in here, God doesn't love you...He loves us"?

AndrewSuttles's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

He did aver: "We can be sure that God, as the Creator and Sustainer of all things, loves our children, and all people, with a natural love far greater than the most self-sacrificing love we can muster." 

Well, Nettles surely knows that men like John Owen and A.A. Hodge (to name just two) would condemn that remark.  They were very clear that God hates that non-elect! 

I reviewed Hodge's theology text and I cannot explicitly find the remark you made.  I reviewed his sections on the universal gospel call (etc.) and I don't find him as you characterize him.

Calvinists do make distinguishments when we talk about the love of God.  Does God love those united to His Son in the same way as he loves the unregenerate disobedient who he torments in everlasting fire?  No.

Todd Wood's picture

Mark, that is possible.

And yet there it is . . . a statement in broad daylight in the most public spot in our city . . . coming from a Wesleyan pulpit and broadcasted to a Pelagian community.

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

In preparing for my Sunday morning sermon, I came across this passage from David which captures the tension inherent in this whole issue. Here, David affirms that unbelievers destroy themselves:

"The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah," (Psalm 9:15-16).

This goes more to the issue of reprobation, or so-called "double-presdestination." Regardless, it is a fact that God only gives unbelievers the desire of their hearts. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Craig's picture

Jesus is God's elect to be the Messiah. Israel was elected to be God's chosen people to be a light to the Gentiles. In Israel's current state of blindness, the church is elected by God to call out people from the world to faith in Christ. Do you want to be part of God's elect?  Then heed Paul's words in Acts 20:21, "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Craig wrote:

Jesus is God's elect to be the Messiah. Israel was elected to be God's chosen people to be a light to the Gentiles. In Israel's current state of blindness, the church is elected by God to call out people from the world to faith in Christ. Do you want to be part of God's elect?  Then heed Paul's words in Acts 20:21, "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."

Craig,

This completely misrepresents God's elect. You do not decide if you are among the elect, and nothing you do can qualify you to be numbered among the elect.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Steve Picray's picture

I would identify with the Calvinist camp, because God is sovereign.  However, I also allow that the Bible seems to indicate that each person has to respond to God's call, and being an Amyraldist, I believe that Christ died for all men.  So...

When people ask me, "Did God choose us or do we choose Him?" I say, "Yes."   So I would disagree with the apparent contradiction in the statement "Either God is the ultimate decider: He gets all glory. Or the sinner is the ultimate decider: he deserves to share in that glory"  

God DOES get all the glory, because He is God.  I think the word they were looking for is possibly "credit"? As in, who gets the credit for our salvation: do we claim credit by virtue of choosing God, or does He get sole credit for choosing us?  I would say that we both have a part in it.  

Also, I take exception to the word "deserve."  The sinner deserves nothing more than an eternity of punishment in hell. Period. 

KLengel's picture

Steve, 

Arminians believe God is sovereign also!

Read Olson's book on Arminian Theology, Myth 5, or read Arminius himself. 

They too believe He is Sovereign!

KML

 

Steve Picray's picture

I was not stating that Arminians don't believe in the sovereignty of God.  My emphasis was on the sovereignty of God as compared with the free will of man. 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Commenting on Combs' article, Dan Phillips of Team Pyro had this to say:

either God's choice of me is the result of my choice of Him, or my choice of Him is the result of His choice of me. There's no middle-ground that isn't exclusively populated by weasels.

While the comment was made in jest, the ideology supporting it is serious. I wouldn't actually classify those who have tried to create a middle way on this thread as weasels, but I would reiterate that their arguments are fatally flawed. The divide is really as simple as these men (Combs, Phillipts, et al.) have articulated, and it's absolutely binary.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Paul Henebury's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Commenting on Combs' article, Dan Phillips of Team Pyro had this to say:

either God's choice of me is the result of my choice of Him, or my choice of Him is the result of His choice of me. There's no middle-ground that isn't exclusively populated by weasels.

While the comment was made in jest, the ideology supporting it is serious. I wouldn't actually classify those who have tried to create a middle way on this thread as weasels, but I would reiterate that their arguments are fatally flawed. The divide is really as simple as these men (Combs, Phillipts, et al.) have articulated, and it's absolutely binary.

Chip,

Dan Phillips and I agree to disagree on some things and this would be one (He agrees that I'm wrong and I agree he's wrong!).  As I have said above, the issue is not as clear-cut as some would have it.  This is because the issue (for me at least) is in the basic formulations of the ideas.  Anyway, nuff said.

 

Paul H
 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

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