A Voice in the
Re: Calvinism -or- Arminianism?
If a person proclaims the errors of Calvin's 5-point "TULIP" theologies, including (but not limited to): Total Depravity (that among other things, God -keeps- the sinner, thus predestined, in sin, so that He can judge them), Limited Atonement (that Jesus died only for those God chose to be saved, and nobody else), Irresistable Grace (that when God calls the sinner, they can't help themselves; they -will- be saved); then, the Calvinists will retort: Well, you 'Arminian', who believes in Free Will!
They think the doctrines are Either-Or. -either- 1) God is sovereign -or- 2) Man is possessed of free will. That God's "election" automatically precludes man's ability to "choose". (We'll come back to this doctrine at the end)
This sort of logic is similar to as if a Chevy-owner were to suggest to somebody who doesn't particularly hanker to Chevys: Well, you -Ford- lover, you! But, perhaps the person doesn't like either Chevys -or- Fords? Perhaps he prefers the Honda, Kia, BMW, etc? There are not only two types of cars, Chevys and Fords; there are others.
It would also be like to consider two people who are neighbors: one (A) is a conservative Federalist, believing in individual freedoms; the other (B) is a liberal socialist communist. Seeing as how Gonzaga University is a local school (Go Zags!), they -both- root for the Zags at basketball games. So, because as neighbors, they shoot the breeze across their back fence, excited about the Zag victories, does that suddenly make "A" into a communist, because he has a point of -agreement- with "B" regarding basketball?
Or again... Since Gonzaga is a 'Catholic' school; if I, as a Christian, were rooting for the Zags at a basketball game, since they were the 'home' team, would that suddenly make me a "Catholic"?
Well, in a similar vein as theology seems to go at the seminary level, and amongst the scholarly elite, supposing that "John" believed that: 1) grass is green, 2) water is blue, 3) honey is sweet. But there is also "Sam" who believes that: 1) snow is white, 2) water is turquoise/teal, 3) dogs bark. Over time, people begin to 'follow' John and Sam. People agree that "grass is green", so they become known as "Johnnies". Other people sit around and wrangle about things and agree together that "dogs bark", and so Sam develops a following of "Samites"
Now, somebody comes along believing that grass is green and honey is sweet, but he wrangles with the Johnnies that "water is turquoise/teal", because he has been over the North Cascades hiway and seen the waters of the Skagit River around the areas of Marblemount, etc that are crystal clear and beautiful turquoise/teal. What do the Johnnies do? They scoff and taunt: You "Samite", you!
Is this person a "Johnny" because he believes that grass is green and honey is sweet? Or is he a "Samite" because he believes in turquoise/teal water?
He is -NEITHER-!!! He is a unique, individual -PERSON-. The fact that there is a 'cult' following John, and another following Sam, means absolutely nothing where "somebody" is concerned. He is not spinning his head in the lofty clouds of academia...he is just a person, observing TRUTH.
Paul chided Corinth: "Now I say this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul?" (1Co1:12-13)
In our example, does John employ "somebody" and provide for his livelihood? Is Sam a person that "somebody" relies on for anything in his life?
When it comes to Biblical doctrines, did John Calvin die on the cross for our sins? Did Jacobus Arminius rise from the dead on Resurrection Sunday to provide us with Eternal Life? Then, -WHY-, pray tell, do all these people follow after one or the other of them??? There is only -ONE- who provides Eternal Life, that is Jesus Christ. (Jn14:6, Ac4:12) There is only -ONE- whom Jesus commanded us to follow: He says to Peter, "you follow Me!" (Jn21:22) Jesus is the "Door" through whom we have entrance. (Jn10:9)
If I believe the Scriptures that proclaim that we were not able to save ourselves, that "...when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom5:6) does that make me a promoter of part of Calvin's "Total Depravity" doctrine? If I believe the Scriptures that exhort people to "choose", does that make me "Arminian"? Well, Moses exhorted Israel that they had been presented with the blessing and curse, life and death, and says, "Therefore choose life..." (De30:19) Joshua issues a similar exhortation: "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve", God or the idols of the land. (Josh24:15)
So, what does that do to "Calvinism's" doctrines of sovereignty and election? Well, again, the Scripture says, "elect according to the FOREKNOWLEDGE of God" (1Pt1:2) and again, "whom He FOREKNEW, He also predestined" (Rom8:29)
Oh! See? That's Arminian!
No! I'm a Believer, seeing what the Bible -says-. If Jacobus Arminius believed the same thing, we happen to agree on -that- doctrine. What -else- did Arminius believe? I've never had occasion to study him; thus, I have no idea whether we agree on other Scriptural doctrines, or not.
If Arminius taught that a person can lose their salvation and be saved again, that is not Scriptural. Rom8:35-39 proclaims the "security" of God's salvation, and Heb6:4-6 says that if a person falls away, they cannot be saved again. But then, neither does this endorse Calvinism's "once saved-always saved" doctrine, erroneously called "eternal security".
Many charismatics claim to believe in the so-called "pre-trib" rapture doctrines. Because there is that point of 'agreement' does that make me a "charismatic"? Not hardly! By their other doctrines by which they are demon-possessed ("spirit-filled"), they are not even [C]hristians! We follow different M/masters.
See how that works?
For many years in my youth, not knowing better, if somebody asked, I would proclaim myself to be "protestant". Well...I was -not- "catholic"; thus, what was the 'other' choice? Well, just like there are more car choices than Chevys and Fords; so, too, there are more labels than merely protestant or catholic. There is also orthodox, charismatic, baptist, islam, hindu, yoga, TM, etc; and this list in these days is almost endless.
Are you a Calvinist or Arminian? Hopefully you are -neither-. Hopefully you are a Biblical [C]hristian, "search[ing] the Scriptures daily" (Ac17:11)