Calvinism Vs. Arminianism (Part 2.)

On my last post I got over 50 comments on Reddit, and everyone was discussing the topic.  I think it’s really cool the community of both Calvinist and Arminians talking about this, but don’t get too argumentative guys;). Anyways I really appreciate everyone’s input, on both sides, and at the end of this blog I’m going to respond to some of the comments. It’s going to be a new, short  section called “The Rebuttal”. But before that we’re going to go over “Total Depravity”, and “Perseverance of the Saints”. If you haven’t read my first blog on Calvinism vs. Arminianism, make sure to go back and read part 1. Alright, Let’s dive in!

Okay, so “Total Depravity”, and “Perseverance of the Saints” are the T. and P. of the acronym T.U.L.I.P.  I’m sorry this might be confusing because I didn’t cover the letters in order. In Part 1 I talked about “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, and “Irresistible Grace”. Now I’m covering the two remaining “Total Depravity, and “Perseverance of the Saints” (I made this way more complicated then it has to be..).

1. Total Depravity – Now the Calvinist believe that man is completely sinful in every way (thoughts, actions, ecs.). They take it to the extreme that man is so sinful that he is incapable of choosing to follow Christ. This builds their case of election, and goes hand in hand with the idea of God choosing you. The verses they use to reinforce this are instances where man shows his true sinful nature.  I think Romans 3:10-12 is good evidence of that. The Arminians say that even though man was affected by the fall, God is gracious, and gives us a chance to change our ways and follow the light.

2. Perseverance of the Saints – This is a really simple concept so there’s not much to say about it, but there are verses that seem to agree with both sides. So it can be hard to decide which you believe. Calvinist believe OSAS (Once saved, always saved). If you are one of the chosen elected, then you will never be able to lose your salvation. While the Arminians on the other side believe that you can lose your salvation, if you fall away from the faith. This is really one of those mysteries in the Bible that we will probably never understand. John 10:27-28 says  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”. And then there are verses like  Matthew 10:22 “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”. If as a believer we must stand firm, and hold on to the faith, doesn’t that imply that it can be lost?

Alrighty, time for my opinion:). I know you all love hearing me rant.. So let me get this straight, because man is inherently sinful this means that we aren’t able to make a decision? If we can decide to be sinful, can’t we also decide to follow Christ? It’s a two-way street! To me this just seems like an excuse Calvinist use, because without “Total Depravity”; “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, and Irresistable Grace” have no foundation to stand on. Just because we are born completely sinful, doesn’t mean we are incapable of making choices. Perseverance of the Saints is something that’s a little more complicated. There are verses backing up both sides so what do you do? The Bible never contradicts itself, so we must be interpreting something wrong. I personal think that if you are truly saved you will not lose your salvation, but people are sinful and do slip away. If you are truly saved you will realize how stupid it is to choose the world and sin over Christ and eternal life, and hopefully you’ll return to the faith. That’s just me guessing though.

 

The Rebuttal: Alright so everything  in quotation marks are comments made by people on Reddit. Below each quote, I will write a short point defending my case and above it is a statement I made that the person is arguing against. Here we go!

1. If God has chosen the elect, then what is the purpose of the great commission?

“To inform God’s people of what their savior has accomplished on their behalf.”

Honesty, I don’t even get this. If we’re proclaiming the gospel to unsaved people that’s pretty much pointless because they’re not elected. If we’re proclaiming the gospel to somebody whose elect but maybe hasn’t accepted Christ yet, sure maybe you could be the person to first share the word with him, but why care? If he doesn’t hear it from you, he’s bound to hear the gospel somewhere else. I mean it’s going to happen anyways, right? This way of thinking really cheapens missions work, and preaching.

2. What’s the point of spreading the gospel, or reaching out to a lost friend?

“Just because something lacks the purpose of providing eternal salvation doesn’t mean that it lacks any purpose whatsoever.”

Then what is the point? You’re pretty much saying, just because these people can never be saved, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t preach to them.

3. If God chooses the elect, wouldn’t that also mean that He chooses who goes to hell?

“He has mercy on some, and leaves others to the righteous punishment they deserve for their sin (Romans 9:14-16).”

What?… Why exactly are only those people being punished? We are all sinners, and we all deserve death. So why are only certain people being punished for their sins, while others get a free pass? Jesus died for the sins of anyone who accepts His as their savior (Romans 10:13).

4. And that would also mean the the people who aren’t elect are forced into hell. They don’t even have a chance!

“They do have a chance to repent, they just choose to rebel against God and refuse to repent and give glory to Him.”

What?! According to Calvinism they don’t have a chance to repent, if they’re not chosen then oh well, guess you didn’t make it .

5. They aren’t the elect, which means they’re just a lost cause destined for destruction.

“Every person who goes to Hell is there because of their own doing. God is perfectly righteous in his decision to send people to Hell and we shouldn’t question his judgment.”

Nobody’s questioning God’s judgement we all deserve hell, but don’t say that it’s their own doing when you’re theology doesn’t even support free will.

 

I hope no one is offended by what I am saying. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and we can agree to disagree on topics such as these. Make sure to comment any biblical evidence you  have supporting either side, and next week I’ll be doing part 3, closing off the series and responding to the remaining comments.

-M.A.Greco

 

 

 

                          

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Calvinism Vs. Arminianism (Part 2.)

  1. Having commented on the previous part, I’ve already talked a bit about Total Depravity. The number of Biblical exhortations to respond to the Gospel in some way, shape or form strongly suggests that we are able to respond in some way. However, when you say “If we can decide to be sinful, can’t we also decide to follow Christ? It’s a two-way street!” – be careful here. By saying this, you’re walking dangerously close to the early church heresy of Pelagianism. Pelagius taught that man was fundamentally a neutral agent, and was free to choose God or choose against God. Technically, this meant that it would be possible for a man to live a perfect life without God’s help, as long as every choice was towards God. The big thing that you’re failing to distinguish between is freedom to implement one’s will and freedom to choose what one wills in the first place. Total Depravity does not call into question one’s ability to do what it is that you will. However, Total Depravity says that you will always, inevitably, want to disobey God unless he first gives you a new will. The Arminian position holds that, on your own, Total Depravity would be true. However, God provides a degree of grace to all men such that he gives all men enough will towards God that they could potentially choose him. The fact that we can even make that choice depends on God enabling it though; this is what distinguishes Arminians (sometimes known as semi-Pelagians) from Pelagians.

    As for Perserverance of the Saints, I’m entirely in agreement with the Calvinists here. For me, the two pivotal texts are Hebrews 3:14 and 1 John 2:19. Hebrews 3:14 is a particularly interesting one:
    “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
    This is a conditional statement, A->B.
    A: We hold our original confidence firm *to the end*
    B: We *have* come to share in Christ
    Notice here that A is in future tense but B is in past tense; B, a past event, can be said to have happened if A, a future event, does happen. While ~A->~B is not a corollary, ~A does suggest that ~B may be true. With this in mind, we then read 1 John 2:19:
    “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
    Here we see a case where John is saying that, because a group of people did not hold firm to the end, it became clear that they had never come to share in Christ in the first place. This closely parallels the reasoning from Hebrews 3:14. As for all the passages speaking about making sure that you don’t fall away, it makes sense to give the Church exhortations against falling away if one’s present salvation is predicated on one’s future perserverance. On top of these passages, I also believe that being born again is a one time, irreversible event; if we do, in fact, get born again, then we are saved. Not all those who claim to be born again are, but all those who actually are will perservere and are already saved.

    As for your rebuttals, I was sort of late to the party with my comment on your first post, but I believe that they already address the points you raise in your rebuttals. Once again, I’ll mention that I’m not Calvinist, but Calvinism is a Biblically and logically defensible position.

  2. Calvinism is a logical system that relies on a deductive hermeneutic to reach its conclusions rather than a Biblical system that has relied on inductive study to produce a theology.

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