Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Casual Chat between Arminians and Calvinists, the beginning


My lovely lady is hosting a convo at her blog about this very topic. I think it has the makings of a great beginning dialogue.
Marius: We can be incredibly intellectual about this, but what Calvinism came down to, essentially (in my view at least) is that nobody can earn salvation. numerous debates followed and the concept of not earning salvation went a step further, even to say that you can’t “choose” God, because that implies something you did to earn your salvation (something to boast about) the obvious proof-text for this is lost on me now, but it boils down to that God must first rear you or something before you can come close to God (the ability to live for God).
from there the whole thing evolved further… and this is where Arminius developed the 5 points of the remonstrance, one of which was to say that grace is resistible.
that is a pretty touchy subject, resistible grace vs irresistible grace. as humans, we love the idea that we can choose… and to a great extent we can, we do have this “illusion” that we can choose, because we experience it every day. so it’s hard for us to say we can’t choose, it doesn’t follow naturally.
Matthew: Marius, surely we can choose things, right? I would also take issue with saying that Calvinism just means that nobody can earn salvation; every orthodox Christian believes that.
Allison: “from there the whole thing evolved further… and this is where Arminius developed the 5 points of the remonstrance, one of which was to say that grace is resistible.”
If I am recalling what I read correctly, he conceived of himself as a “Calvinist”, but believed he was making corrections to the system he was in. Maybe somewhat like Luther thought he would make some corrections to his existing system by bringing it up for discussion—not exactly start a completely new system.
Also, I believe the crux was God’s character and this is where the free will discussion entered for him—not just the inability to come to terms with his lack of choice.
Question (anyone): I was under the impression that Calvinists on the whole believe in free will, but as they define it.
It has just begun. For the rest, Allison Quient.

--Nick

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