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What is Calvinism and is it biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism?

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Author Topic: What is Calvinism and is it biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism?  (Read 565 times)
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« on: May 21, 2015, 12:28:26 pm »

First off, neither GotQuestions.org nor myself are pushing Calvinism here. However, I've been studying on this recently, and apparently Calvin did put out SOME biblical truths(I said SOME here).

If anything - whenever this discussion has come up(in my many experiences) - it seems to have hit alot of people's nerves(to the point where everyone is biting everyone's heads off). I was wondering if we can have a (civil)discussion on this. This site makes some good points(even though they don't support this doctrine).

http://www.gotquestions.org/calvinism.html

Question: "What is Calvinism and is it biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism?"

Answer: The five points of Calvinism can be summarized by the acronym TULIP. T stands for total depravity, U for unconditional election, L for limited atonement, I for irresistible grace, and P for perseverance of the saints. Here are the definitions and Scripture references Calvinists use to defend their beliefs:

Total Depravity - As a result of Adam’s fall, the entire human race is affected; all humanity is dead in trespasses and sins. Man is unable to save himself (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18).

Unconditional Election - Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate a response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s response (Romans 8:29-30;9:11; Ephesians 1:4-6, 11-12) because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to.

Limited Atonement - Because God determined that certain ones should be saved as a result of God’s unconditional election, He determined that Christ should die for the elect alone. All whom God has elected and for whom Christ died will be saved (Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; 17:9; Acts 20:28; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 5:25).

Irresistible Grace - Those whom God elected He draws to Himself through irresistible grace. God makes man willing to come to Him. When God calls, man responds (John 6:37, 44; 10:16).

Perseverance of the Saints - The precise ones God has elected and drawn to Himself through the Holy Spirit will persevere in faith. None whom God has elected will be lost; they are eternally secure (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3-14).

While all these doctrines have a biblical basis, many people reject all or some of them. So-called “four-point Calvinists” accept Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints as biblical doctrines. Man is definitely sinful and incapable of believing in God on his own. God elects people based on His will alone – election is not based on any merit in the person chosen. All those whom God has chosen will come to faith. All those who are truly born-again will persevere in their faith. As for Limited Atonement, however, four-point Calvinists believe that atonement in unlimited, arguing that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not just for the sins of the elect. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Other verses in opposition to limited atonement are John 1:29; 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:6; and 2 Peter 2:1.

The five-point Calvinists, however, see problems with four-point Calvinism. First, they argue, if Total Depravity is true, then Unlimited Atonement cannot possibly be true because, if Jesus died for the sins of every person, then whether or not His death is applicable to an individual depends on whether or not that person “accepts” Christ. But as we have seen from the above description of Total Depravity, man in his natural state has no capacity whatsoever to choose God, nor does he want to. In addition, if Unlimited Atonement is true, then hell is full of people for whom Christ died. He shed His blood in vain for them. To the five-point Calvinist, this is unthinkable. Please note: this article is only a brief summary of the five points of Calvinism. For a more in in-depth look, please visit the following pages: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.


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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2015, 12:36:04 pm »

FYI - Arminianism is a MUCH worse heresy(which I will discuss at a later time) - however, this is ALMOST NEVER exposed. I've only learned about it recently, but nonetheless even the best and most faithful pastors haven't said a word about it.

What is Arminianism, and is it biblical?
http://www.gotquestions.org/arminianism.html

Excerpt:

Four-point Calvinism (the official position of Got Questions Ministries) finds the other four points of Arminianism to be unbiblical, to varying degrees. Romans 3:10–18 strongly argues for total depravity. Conditional election, or election based on God’s foreknowledge of human action, underemphasizes God’s sovereignty (Romans 8:28–30). Resistible grace underestimates the power and determination of God. Conditional salvation makes salvation a reward for work rather than a gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8–10). There are problems with both systems, but Calvinism is far more biblically based than Arminianism. However, both systems fail to adequately explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will—due to the fact that it is impossible for a finite human mind to discern a concept only God can fully understand.
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2015, 12:45:44 pm »

Again, I'm NOT endorsing Calvinism - but nonetheless trying to get a rational discussion on this.

http://www.gotquestions.org/calvinism-evangelism.html

Could Calvinism be a stumbling block to the spread of the gospel of Christ?
http://www.gotquestions.org/calvinism-evangelism.html

Question: "Could Calvinism be a stumbling block to the spread of the gospel of Christ?"

Answer: Calvinism is the term applied to a belief in a high view of the sovereignty of God, especially as it relates to salvation. Calvinists are convinced the Bible teaches that man is sinfully corrupt throughout his entire being and cannot make himself acceptable to God through any amount of effort of his own. Calvinists hold that in eternity past God chose out some among mankind for His own. In the course of time, God grants repentance and faith to His elect so that they might be awakened to their sinful state and need for grace. Those He saves will be preserved for eternity by the Lord and will persevere in following Him; i.e., if they truly belong to Him, they cannot and will not ever fall away because He keeps them secure.

The point which causes some to believe that evangelism isn't important is that of "limited atonement." This point of Calvinism teaches that Christ died only for the elect. The theological argument offered is, if Christ in fact died for every single human in world history, then no one would go to hell since their sins are already paid for. Since we know Scripture teaches many spend an eternity separated from God, it must be that their sins were not covered in the atonement. Either that or there are people in hell for whom Christ died, a scripturally insupportable conclusion.

Some may say, "Christ paid for the sins of everyone, but it's up to each person to decide for and accept Him." That's the whole issue between Calvinism (God-centered salvation) and Arminianism (man-centered salvation). For if man casts the deciding vote, then how is God sovereign? Furthermore, if Christ’s sacrifice needs man’s acceptance of it to validate it, then it can’t be the all-sufficient sacrifice the Bible says it is. (See Romans 5, Ephesians 1:3-14). The Bible tells us that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), not the other way around.

But Calvinism, and most anything else if out of balance, could hinder evangelism. The hypothetical argument raised against Calvinism is this: "Since God chose His own in eternity past; and, since He grants repentance and faith needed in order to come to Him; and, since all He has chosen will, in fact, come to Him (John 6:37); and all who come to Him are eternally secure; then, it follows that man isn't involved in salvation." But this is a wrong conclusion. Man is very much involved. God ordains the end—the salvation of lost man. But God also ordains the MEANS to the end— evangelism. God could have ordained any number of ways to communicate salvation. He has given a revelation of Himself in creation and conscience (Romans 1 - 2). But He has specifically chosen to communicate the Gospel message through believers sharing the message of salvation (Romans 10:9-17). So, whether one is a Calvinist or not, evangelism is the responsibility of all believers. Historically, Calvinism not only didn't diminish the Calvinists’ burden for souls, it purified it! The Calvinists were among the greatest evangelists in the history of the church, motivated by love for their Lord and Savior who chose them and saved them “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

Before we truly understand the sovereignty of God in salvation, we often think the burden is on us to “produce” decisions for Christ. We act as if a person's salvation is dependent on us. So when we share the Gospel and it is rejected, we somehow think we failed to talk that person into believing and that we need a more clever or polished presentation of the plan of salvation. We may be tempted to water down the Gospel next time in order to get the desired response. But once we understand the Doctrines of Grace, the pressure to force a “decision” is removed. Now, we witness because we want to be faithful to our dear Lord. Evangelism among Calvinists is driven by the familiar phrase "By His grace, and for His glory!" No, Calvinism shouldn't hinder evangelism. If anything, it should give our witnessing great boldness with pure motives.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FYI - John Wesley was an Arminean. Remember he started the whole "speaking in tongues" movement(as well as layed the blueprint for the whole Sunday School movement).

Like I said - I'm not giving an endorsement to Calvin, but nonetheless some good points are made here.
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2015, 01:13:03 pm »

There are points that I agree with on Calvinism, but there are also major problems with it, too.

Limited Atonement, as you posted previously, is easily debunked by many scriptures. I mean, John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the WORLD..."

Also, there's the whole problem of "regeneration => faith" instead of "faith => regeneration". Calvinists, like R.C. Sproul, teach that one gets saved and THEN comes to faith, rather than coming to faith to be saved. It's a weird game of semantics that has no basis in scripture.

Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Those are some of the theological issues. There are also issues of pride (Calvinists usually have the Dr. Smart E. Pants "scholar" mentality, ex: Sproul, James White, etc.), and that Calvinists tended to have a post-millennial view, trying to build a "new Jerusalem" wherever they went (Geneva [though Calvin cautioned against this], the British colonies, etc.) and had those they deemed heretics burned at the stake (even Calvin himself did this).
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2015, 10:32:56 pm »

FWIW, from what I've read, the P part of TULIP is actually a biblical doctrine that's been preached in the churches for centuries. Perserverance of the saints does NOT mean "endure to the end to be saved". It means eternal security. But will talk about this later.

Am currently listening to James Knox's 4 part sermon debunking Calvinism - and he's doing a really good job doing so, comparing scripture with scripture.(I'm in the midst of part 1 now)
http://www.mp3olimpz.com/ja/james-knox-calvinism/
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