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#12293 - Mon Mar 08, 2004 8:13 AM Superfluous?  

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One of my Arminian friends recently made the comment that she believes the whole Calvinist-Arminian debate to be superfluous (i.e., being beyond what is required or sufficient to Christians?)

How would you respond?

#12294 - Mon Mar 08, 2004 12:04 PM Re: Superfluous?  
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I would perhaps begin by having her define her definition of superflous (I love that word), and have her define what she thinks is relevant, or non-superflous for being a sufficient Christian.
Once some definitions are established, I think I would have her interact with some specific texts of scripture that deal primarily with God's election of his people. Is it superflous to take those passages serious and at their face value? To deal with those texts honestly as a student of scripture?
Then, I guess I would try to establish with her what is it that honors God, and then ask her if studying his word rightly and representing it rightly when one teaches it honor God?

Fred


"Ah, sitting - the great leveler of men. From the mightest of pharaohs to the lowest of peasants, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?" M. Burns
#12295 - Mon Mar 08, 2004 12:49 PM Re: Superfluous?  
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Tim,

I agree with Fred. If she thinks the Calvinism/Arminianism debate is unnecessary, useless, and excessive I'd ask what she thinks is necessary.

Is she the kind of person who says, "Don't give me doctrine, just give me Jesus?"


Wes [Linked Image]


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
#12296 - Mon Mar 08, 2004 1:51 PM Re: Superfluous? [Re: Wes]  

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Wes said:
Is she the kind of person who says, "Don't give me doctrine, just give me Jesus?"


Yes, Anne Graham Lotz is her middle name.

#12297 - Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:17 PM Re: Superfluous?  
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Tim, [Linked Image]

I presume you meant "Graham" is her middle name right?


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
#12298 - Tue Mar 09, 2004 7:19 AM Re: Superfluous? [Re: Wes]  
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I think he meant that the gal he is referring to is just like Ann Graham Lotz. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I had a friend like that. Mostly she did not want to discuss anything about doctrine because she didn't want to study her bible. She felt that what she learned from her pastor was good enough.. though she did READ her bible. It was always under the light of her pastors preaching, so she didn't know how to discuss. It's hard to be around people who need a "me too" crowd.

Michele

#12299 - Mon Apr 05, 2004 10:53 PM Re: Superfluous? [Re: fredman]  
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A couple of thoughts on that because I have met many such Christians who shy away from doctrinal discussions. They have taken the time to read scripture, but not to digest it. In intelligence agencies such as the CIA, the HQ in Langley will receive "raw data" from field agents and other intelligence sources, but then they must grind through the hard work of studying, piecing together, and creating a picture of what the data indicates, and its relevence.

We must do the same with the "raw data" of scripture, and that was the labors of the Church Fathers who debated, often fiercely the implications of the holy scriptures. The confessions are the results of years of such toil, and present a consensus of doctrine by which we can benefit. I do not ever consider their work unimportant.

But there are those who, by laziness, or lack of appreciation, have neither scrutinized the holy scriptures or reviewed the findings of those who have, and are therefore intimidated by intellectual giants (like ourselves)that have done so. What they need to realize is that every denomination, every ministry, mission, college, fellowship and crusade that has endeavored and succeeded in furthering God's Kingdom has done so on the foundation of sound doctrine. And sound doctrine is established by consensus. And consensus is arrived at by result of much dispute.

And part of it is the fault of us, the learned. We ought not intimidate those less educated, or like a tiger pounce on the uninformed when their ignorance finds utterance. Indeed, such an offense produces an adverse reaction. For the uninformed, in effort to reelevate themselves, will disdain and downplay the importance of biblical scholarship, negating the playing field on which they took a tumble. We ought instead to gently invite them to a greater and more developed understanding of God's message to us and encourage them to put forth the effort to "rightly divide the word of truth."

And this person needs to understand that the debate between Calvinists and Arminians is very relevent to our Christian lives, because it puts our salvation perspectively in light of the sovereinty of God. Such doctrines that downplay God's sovereinty and praise man's merits (for in this perspective man plays a role in his salvation) lead to more grievious errors of doctrine.

If we can cooperate in our salvation then we can also change our minds, and being evil of nature that leaves a frightening prospective for us. If we live in fear of losing our salvation, then we subject ourselves to the accusations of the devil who will assure us that we've blown it for good, and we will not benefit from God's assuring love. "But perfect love casts out all fear." Such doctrine that refutes God's assurance is a damnable and blatant contradiction to the fully sufficient work of Christ upon the cross. Will this not affect our Christian walk? It will in nearly every respect.

I hope these thoughts help, and I hope that you can help this person.

catholicsoldier

#12300 - Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:26 PM Re: Superfluous?  
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timwagler

Of course the matter is not superfluous, like others have said here.
But there is another side of the issue that I have seen among some, that may fuel some of that sentiment.
It is the perception that some give out of having an attitude of being somehow better than everyone else.

This perception in many cases isn't justified, but it is a warning to all of us who believe correct doctrine is important.
I am almost ashamed to admit that a few times I have found myself doing this against people who don't think doctrine as important.
I for one need to keep my attitude in check at all times.

#12301 - Tue Apr 06, 2004 9:34 AM Re: Superfluous? [Re: catholicsoldier]  

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And part of it is the fault of us, the learned. We ought not intimidate those less educated, or like a tiger pounce on the uninformed when their ignorance finds utterance. Indeed, such an offense produces an adverse reaction. For the uninformed, in effort to reelevate themselves, will disdain and downplay the importance of biblical scholarship, negating the playing field on which they took a tumble. We ought instead to gently invite them to a greater and more developed understanding of God's message to us and encourage them to put forth the effort to "rightly divide the word of truth."


I very much agree with you here. Too many times, myself included, we just want to be right instead of correct. That sounds dumb, but let me explain (in case someone doesn't get it). We want to come out on top. Be the winner. But we will do that to the neglect of correct doctrine and Christian love. We may be seen as right, but we were incorrect.

Quote

<table style="filter:glow (color=#FFFF00 strength=2)">And this person needs to understand that the debate between Calvinists and Arminians is very relevent to our Christian lives</table>, because it puts our salvation perspectively in light of the sovereinty of God.


The debate between Calvinism and Arminianism is VERY relevant to our lives. It may not seem that way, but it is. Not just because it puts our salvation in the right place in light of the sovereignty of God, but because, also, without understanding the perspectives, we won't know what the Bible actually says.

Before I came to understand things from a Reformed perspective, I didn't care what the Bible said about God's sovereignty. I had a free will. That was the central point of all of my theology. For most Arminians it is the same thing. Man's freedom takes presidence over all else theological.

Be gentle with your friend, but at the same time, don't back down from the truth. [Linked Image]

#12302 - Tue Apr 06, 2004 10:04 AM Re: Superfluous? [Re: catholicsoldier]  
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Quote
catholicsoldier insightfully said:
And this person needs to understand that the debate between Calvinists and Arminians is very relevent to our Christian lives, because it puts our salvation perspectively in light of the sovereinty of God. Such doctrines that downplay God's sovereinty and praise man's merits (for in this perspective man plays a role in his salvation) lead to more grievious errors of doctrine.

Doubtless, this is certainly true. However, there is a perhaps a profound difference between the two systems, which many (most?) fail to apprehend.

It must be ashamedly admitted that comparing those who profess Christ today with Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, et al, their zeal and living out of their alleged faith, pales in comparison. What has happened in modern times is that Christianity has been "compartmentalized", i.e., it is simply one of several facets of a person's life rather than being an all-encompassing, all-consuming passion that determines and conducts one's life. Put another way, Christianity is something that is added to one's already existent life, rather than that which transforms one's life.

For a couple of scintillating articles on this subject, see here:

1) The Fundamental Principle of Calvinism by H. Henry Meeter.

2) The Practical Implications of Calvinism by Albert N. Martin.

In His Grace,


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