Calvinism Vs. Arminianism (Part 3.)

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all having a great week. As you might have noticed, I did not post a SciFi novel update this week.  Sorry, I’ve been really, really busy, working a lot. But now I’m going to finish up this Calvinism Vs. Arminianism series, and talk about The Lamb’s Book of Life. As you might know Calvinist believe that there are two books, “The Lambs Book of Life”, and “The Book of Life”.  We’re going to crack this case open using a bunch of scripture, so let’s get to it!

A Calvinist Perspective

The Calvinist believe that there are two books, “The Book of Life”, and “The Lamb’s Book of Life”. This theory is needed to support their belief of OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved). Psalms 69:28 says, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous”. This verse alone throws out the idea of once saved only saved if in fact your name can be erased from the book of life. That is why the Calvinist came up with the explanation that there are two books. “The Lamb’s Book of Life”, which is the list of the redeemed, and “The Book of Life”, which is a universal record of man. Now there are some verses that refer to “The Book of Life” (Rev. 3:5, 13:18, 17:8, 20:15, 22:19, and Phil. 4:13) while there are other references to “The Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev 13:8, and 21:27 ) Now notice in all of these verses that speak of “The Lamb’s Book of Life” notice that Lamb’s is spelled apostrophe “s”. In the English language an apostrophe shows possession. Now Daniel 7:10 does say “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened“, but there are only two verses in the entire bible that mention two books. The other is Rev. 20:12.

The Arminian Perspective

The Arminians on the other side believe that there are two books. One being the “Lamb’s Book of Life” (which is the same as “The Book of Life”) and then there’s a second book which holds the records of all men. They say that there is no evidence of two books of life. Well let’s talk about that.

Honestly I don’t understand how the Calvinist come up with these ideas. Well I understand how, I don’t understand why people buy it. Why would they assume there are two books of life just because it’s named differently. Examine the two titles The Lamb’s Book of Life, and The Book of Life. “Lamb’s” is possessive, and we know that it is Christ’s book so, how can you say they are different? It’s the same thing as saying “that’s a pencil”, and “that’s Michael’s pencil”. There aren’t two pencils! You cannot stretch the meaning of scripture to fit your theology, and if you’re theology is not based off of scripture, then your theology is false. Then we come across this verse, Exodus 32:32-33,”Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book”. BOOM! There’s some major evidence that your name can in fact be blotted out of The Book of Life.  So that throws OSAS out the window, but wait, it doesn’t because you believe that there are two books…. Well I’ve shown you the evidence that disproves two separate books of life, so if you go ahead and accept that, then you will also have to accept that OSAS is a false teaching.

I hope that you will really research this topic and pray about it. This is only what I have come to after studying the verses on both sides, I can’t force you to believe anything, you have to come to that conclusion yourself.  Have a good week everyone! Next weeks topic is sure to stir up some conversation.

 

-M.A.Greco

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

                          

 

 

 

Calvinism Vs. Arminianism (Part 1.)

Oh joy, I’m sure this blog is going the create a lot of controversy, but I’m here to speak my mind, and I don’t care what anyone says or thinks. Election is a touchy topic, and for centuries people on both sides have been discussing and examining the biblical evidence, but we still haven’t reached any conclusions. There are verses defending both points, and it’s one of those topics that isn’t black and white.

1. First we have Calvinism ( also called the reformed faith or reformed tradition). Calvinism is a biblical interpretation taught by John Calvin. There are five major points which make up the acronym:  T.U.L.I.P.

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

Now this is a lot to talk about so for this blog I’m only going over “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement” and “Irresistible Grace”. As stated in Calvinism, God does not chose the elect according to anything we as humans are able to do but instead chooses for the intention of His will (Eph. 1:4). That is “Unconditional Election”. They also go on to say that Jesus only died for the elect, and even though His sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was only bore for those elected (Matt. 26:28). That is “Limited Atonement”. Finally they claim that those who are the chosen elect cannot resist. God offers all people the gospel message, “external call”, but only the elect receive an “internal call” (Romans 9:16), which is “Irresistible Grace”. There are other verses used to defend these points, but the ones I referenced are what I think is the best evidence they’ve got.

2. Now onto Arminianism, the theology of Jacobus Arminius. There are also five points, but I don’t think there’s an acronym, and I’m only going to cover the three points which oppose “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, and “Irresistible Grace”.  The first one opposes “Unconditional Election” and states that God did elect certain individuals, but this is based on his foreknowledge that they would follow his call. Secondly, opposing “Limited Atonement”, Arminianism states that Christ died for everyone, but only those who accept are saved. And finally, the Holy Spirit calls all internally through the external hearing of the gospel, but the person must decide to follow Christ. This opposes the Calvinist point “Irresistible Grace”.

Guess what? Now it’s time for me to rant:)! P.S. It’s 3am right now, so I’m in my crazy night owl mood.

I just don’t get it! I agree with Arminianism, and I just don’t get Calvinism. If God chooses the elect, wouldn’t that also mean that he choose who goes to hell? Would God really predestined the people He created to eternal suffering? Now if you ask a Calvinist that, they’ll say “We all are sinners, and all deserve hell.”, and I agree with that. But my biggest problem is this. If God has chosen those elect and those who aren’t, then what is the purpose of the great commission? Matthew 4:19,  “And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” What’s the point of spreading the gospel, or reaching out to a lost friend, if in the end, if they’re elect it doesn’t matter, they’ll find their way to Christ no matter what, because they’ve been chosen. And that would also mean the the people who aren’t elect are forced into hell. They don’t even have a chance! They aren’t the elect, which means they’re just a lost cause destined for destruction.

Don’t get me wrong, though I do disagree with the Calvinist, I am not bashing them. This is one of those things that we will never get to the bottom of, but I don’t think we need to. I truly think that all of this theology gets in the way of pure bible. Just study God’s word, and live your life according to it.

John 3:16,  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

-M.A.Greco

 

 

 

 

Is Vegetarianism Unbiblical?

I love meat, but for the last month I’ve been strictly vegetarian. Is this biblical? God told Noah that we are free to eat all of the animals that walk the earth (Gen. 9:3). Let’s crack the case!

Now in the old testament the Israelites followed the Mosaic Law but when Christ was crucified, Christians were released from this “old law”. The Israelites were given strict dietary laws, and these no longer apply to us, but I’d like to give you a quick history lesson. Right after God tells Noah to eat all of the creatures that roam the earth, He gives a command not to eat the blood (Gen. 9:4), and later in Leviticus he gives a long list of regulations to Moses and Aaron (Lev. Chapter 11). They were only allowed to eat animals that have a cloven hoof and chew cud. Chewing cud just means that these certain animals hardly chew, swallow their food into a special stomach, regurgitate, chew again, and then store in a different stomach. Horses and camels chew cud but don’t have cloven hooves. Pigs have cloven hooves but don’t chew cud. Cows, goats, and sheep possess both of these characteristics. They may also eat creatures of the sea that have fins and scales, and then there is a list of birds that were not allowed to be eaten. Then insects, reptiles, and amphibians.

Along with these dietary laws there were other laws the Israelites followed, such as the ten commandments. Christ was crucified because we as humans could not follow these laws perfectly and needed a savior, a sacrifice for sin. The law was a guideline to holy living, but we could never live up to God’s standard (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ fulfilled the law, and we no longer have to follow the meat regulations (1 Timothy 4:3-5). The Galatians tried to go back to works and the law, and this was wrong because Christ had already given them salvation through faith in Him. So in conclusion, being a vegetarian is not unbiblical if you are doing it for health reasons and not in pursuit of righteousness through the Mosaic Law.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a vegetarian because I want to save the animals. I’m only doing it for health reasons. Meat actually contains many needed vitamins for the human body. I end up having to eat a lot of eggs, beans, and green leafy vegetables. A healthy, well balanced diet would be all the things I’m eating plus small portions of meat. Take care of your body(1 Cor. 6:19-20)!

– M.A.Greco

The “So Called Christian”

It seems like everyone says they’re a “christian”, but do they really understand what that means? Are all these people actually living their lives for Christ, do they show fruit? Let’s crack the case!

I’ve been homeschooled for most of my life, so you can say I’ve been sheltered from the world. But freshman year of highschool, me and my parents thought public school might be a refreshing change. It turned out to be a terrible idea. My Mom and Dad said that they noticed a change in me, for the worse. When you’re consistently socializing with unsaved people, you’re bound to get influenced. Obscenities, slang, and language become part of your vocabulary when everyone else is using them, and trust me it’s very hard to stand out amongst the rest. Being the odd man out is one of the toughest things to do, and even though you probably will get ridiculed by the people of this world, whose opinion do you care about more? The all powerful, all knowing, creator of the universe; or the burnout who sits next to you in physics? The most confusing part was that, these same kids who were cursing and involved in alcohol, and drugs, were claiming to be christian’s! What’s the deal! Is it possible to live that way, and be a christian? Well yes it is, but if you truly were a believer, you would feel conviction. You wouldn’t be able to perpetually live in sin!  So not conforming to the ways of this world is a big deal when you want to live your life completely for Christ.

After freshman year, my family decided I would be homeschooled again, and I was homeschooled for my sophomore and junior year. This brings me to where I am now, the summer before senior year (time fly’s!). For those two years of highschool, I joined a homeschool co-op. A bunch of other homeschoolers meet up once a week and take special electives like, gym, art, music, ecs. I met a lot of great friends and made many great memories. I’m extremely thankful for these kids. About eight months ago I applied and was hired for my first job. Guess what? I was no longer in my little safety net of christian friends. I was back in the world, working with unsaved people. And yet again I came across the “so called christian”. People I work with who talk like a sailor, yet they profess to be a christian. This can be a major turn off in the eyes of an unbeliever. You claim to follow Christ and His word, yet you buckle under the peer pressure. What is different about a christian compared to anybody else, when you act the same as me? We need to stand out! We need to be different! If people notice this, that’s great! You are a child of God, live your life following His word proudly, and be bold about it!

In conclusion, I’d like to get one thing straight. We are all sinners, I’m not saying you have to be perfect. But you should strive for excellence, and want to be constantly growing in your walk. We all make mistakes, and we are always going to face trials. God uses these tough situations for his good! To strengthen our faith, and show His power. Stand out amongst this evil generation by walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

– M.A.Greco