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Ah, I see now the reason some have gotten angry. I have never been accused of being unsaved for holding an opposite view on this subject. But, I'm still not mad at you. smile

I'm sure I will get ripped to shreds for expressing my opinion on this....you sound like you are way more intelligent than I. By the way, I totally reject Arminianism. I have no idea what semi-Pelagianism is. I don't recall ever hearing about the sovereignty of God, until getting into a discussion on the subject of Election for the first time! I think most use it as a crutch. I have found it interesting that when men describe the sovereignty of God, most times it is on "their" terms of thinking. Sovereignty means that God is in control, not limited to the thoughts and ideas of man! God sovereignly allowed 2 Cor 4:4 to happen as well as sovereignly allowing man to use his free will to believe. The thought struck me recently; why must we understand everything regarding the workings of God? I think theologians get a bit carried away with all their reasonings and think they can somehow discover everything about how God thinks on everything! But, does it "really" have to be plausible to our minds before it can be true?
Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD."
Isaiah 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
1 Cor 13:12 "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

This verse is plain and simple and I acted on it: Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." At the age of 6, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior.
I know God was involved, perhaps I don't fully understand exactly how, but why do I need to? 2 Timothy 1:12 "for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."


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Originally Posted by Don Andersen
Ah, I see now the reason some have gotten angry. I have never been accused of being unsaved for holding an opposite view on this subject. But, I'm still not mad at you. smile
And you won't be accused of being unsaved for not holding to Calvinism. grin We know there are those who espouse Calvinism who aren't saved either. wink What is sometimes true is that someone will hold something to be true in their head but their heart says something else totally opposite.

Originally Posted by Don Andersen
I'm sure I will get ripped to shreds for expressing my opinion on this....
nope Not likely, hehe.

Originally Posted by Don Andersen
By the way, I totally reject Arminianism. I have no idea what semi-Pelagianism is.
Semi-Pelagianism is what most evangelical churches are teaching and what most professing Christians are embracing today. The difference, to make it very simple, between Arminianism and semi-Pelagianism is that the latter holds that man is capable to desiring after God naturally, i.e., in and of himself. There is a natural ability for man to 'choose' (believe) without any intervention from God. Put another way, semi-Pelagianism holds that man is endowed with a free-will which has not been affected by sin so that choosing either good or evil are equally possible. Real Arminianism holds that man due to the fall is incapable of desiring or choosing God unless God gives what they call "prevenient grace"; the ability to overcome man's natural depravity but without removing that depravity, i.e., regeneration. This was what the Remonstrants in 1610 brought forth against the Reformed Churches and which precipitated the great Synod of Dordt in 1618 out of which came the now infamous "Five Points" of Calvinism, which were rebuttals to the five points of the Arminians.

For a succinct description and evaluation of semi-Pelagianism, R.C. Sproul wrote this: The Pelagian Captivity of the Church.

Originally Posted by Don Andersen
I don't recall ever hearing about the sovereignty of God, until getting into a discussion on the subject of Election for the first time! I think most use it as a crutch. I have found it interesting that when men describe the sovereignty of God, most times it is on "their" terms of thinking. Sovereignty means that God is in control, not limited to the thoughts and ideas of man! God sovereignly allowed 2 Cor 4:4 to happen as well as sovereignly allowing man to use his free will to believe.
1. Biblically, if God isn't 100% sovereign in both power and authority, i.e., if God doesn't have the ability/power AND the right to determine all things, then what one is left with is basically Atheism, for something other than God does the determining of which God simply agrees to. For example, using your mention of election, either God elects who WILL believe (PRE-destination) or God elects who He 'sees' as having believed (POST-destination). And the latter opens a gigantic can of worms. wow1

2. What is often misunderstood by non-Calvinists is that even though God has foreordained/decreed ALL THINGS, man is still responsible and remains a 'free-agent', i.e., he has the ability to choose that which is in accord with his nature. Thus an unregenerate man, a natural man, a sinner is totally free to choose everything and anything which is most desirous to his sinful nature... sin. The natural man hates God and all that is good and thus he will never choose either since he hates God by nature. (Gen 6:5; 8:21; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:10-18; Eph 2:1-5; 4:17-19; etc.) See, for example, HERE and HERE and HERE.

Originally Posted by Don Andersen
The thought struck me recently; why must we understand everything regarding the workings of God? I think theologians get a bit carried away with all their reasonings and think they can somehow discover everything about how God thinks on everything! But, does it "really" have to be plausible to our minds before it can be true?
I would certainly agree that there are some theologians who delve into matters which are deliberately hidden but which they think they can discover. However, there is a great text which I think sheds some light on this matter: Deuteronomy 29:29 (ASV) "The secret things belong unto Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."

God has condescended to REVEAL to us much about Himself, ourselves and what is required of us. Those things are written in Scripture. But, there are things which are not revealed in Scripture and those are the things which we cannot know and to spend time trying to speculate on them is both an exercise in futility but an affront to God for it implies that either God has tried to keep things from us that we need to know or that we can know things by sheer reason without divine revelation. Of course, this shouldn't be too surprising, should it? Wasn't this exactly what the serpent promised Eve in the Garden?... Genesis 3:4-5 (ASV) "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil."

FYI, just in case you didn't know, this discussion board is just a part of the larger The Highway website, where you can find over 1600 books, articles and sermons. There is a search feature located in a couple of places also which you can use to find whatever you are looking for. And if you can't find what you are looking for, there is most likely someone here on the board who can direct you. bigglasses

Oh, and don't be intimidated... we are all just mortals like you and learn from each other.


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I was warned very early on after my conversion to stay far away from "those cold-hearted, head-knowledge-only Calvinists" even though I had never met one as far as I knew, and I had no idea what they believe.

Confronted with scriptures like Ephesians 2 and Romans 8 and 9 (and a host of others that kept popping up until it seemed like I was seeing these truths on every single page of Scripture), I had no choice but to acknowledge God as completely sovereign in absolutely all things - governing not only all His creatures, but all their actions as well (Acts 2:23 is an amazing example of this - murder is against God's moral Law, and yet He planned the murder of His own Son, using evil men to carry it out, before the worlds were even created!). I found the idea quite comforting, for my life seemed so out of control at that time, it was good to know that I was not simply at the mercy of circumstances.

But when I shared what I was learning with others, I was stunned by their reaction. Several reacted with horror and extreme offense. "That's Calvinism!" they shouted, recoiling as if threatened by a hissing snake. I was as surprised to find that these truths had a name as my friends were to find a (unknowing) Calvinist among them! I didn't know what Calvinism was - only that it was "some anti-evangelical heresy that turns people cold inside." I wasn't turning cold, though. I found the fact of God's sovereignty and grace to be very liberating and joyful. It completely changed my attitude to one of restful trust in Christ rather than fearful, uncertain hope in my own ability to "attain" God's approval.

Why are these ideas so horrifying and offensive to people? Because if God is sovereign, then it necessarily follows that Man is not. The very idea of Man's depravity and slavery to sin and death is offensive to people who imagine that they "choose" Christ out of some snippet of their own righteousness which was unaffected by the Fall, by the world, by the flesh, by the devil. Complete dependence only on Christ alone requires true humility. Prideful people - even those who claim to be "Spirit-filled, Spirit-led and specially Spirit-gifted" - would rather believe that salvation is some sort of "equal partnership" between themselves and God, rather than admit that without Him they are dead even while they breathe.

It was shocking to be asked to leave the church if I would not repent of my "heresy."

And frankly, I find my former church's semi-Pelagian offensive! Because it exalts Man and reduces God! It treats God and sinners as equals! It paints a picture of God as a frustrated deity who paces heaven's floors, wringing his hands and hoping someone on Earth will let him have his way. It twists the offer of salvation into some bargain which suggests that the sinner is doing God a favor by accepting Christ. Now that should be offensive to anyone who believes in the God of the Bible!

Predestined to be an Arminian, but chose to become a Calvinist,

Robin

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I know Israel was elected as is The Church, Christ's body. Most references to this in the N.T. are, to my mind, referring to a group being elected. For example, all the references in Eph. 1 are plural. At this present time, I don't believe in individual election. I will acknowledge that I may be wrong though. Since this is getting off the original topic, perhaps I will post verses that convince me of my present position in a separate topic. If you have recently discussed this subject here, I will defer to do this though, because I know how upsetting it can be for some. On another forum I've been on for over 15 years, we try to avoid this subject as much as possible. smile

By the way, Pilgrim, I want to compliment you on your graciousness!


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Don,

1. Yes, it would be best to begin a new topic on the subject of election.

2. This topic is often discussed but a new topic is just fine too.

3. Admittedly, there have been a few people who have caused some to be upset due to their obnoxious behavior or refusal to answer direct questions in order to clarify things, etc. But there hasn't been any topics which I can recall that caused anyone to get upset. The vast majority of members here are extremely patient, if I may say so. giggle Perhaps that is due, at least in part, to the fact that many have come out of evangelicalism or paganism, or in my own case, out of Atheism. We remember all too well our own ignorance and/or obstinence against the doctrines of grace.

4. You might find some relevant articles on the subject of "Election" HERE. wink


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Originally Posted by Robin
I was warned very early on after my conversion to stay far away from "those cold-hearted, head-knowledge-only Calvinists" even though I had never met one as far as I knew, and I had no idea what they believe.

Confronted with scriptures like Ephesians 2 and Romans 8 and 9 (and a host of others that kept popping up until it seemed like I was seeing these truths on every single page of Scripture), I had no choice but to acknowledge God as completely sovereign in absolutely all things - governing not only all His creatures, but all their actions as well (Acts 2:23 is an amazing example of this - murder is against God's moral Law, and yet He planned the murder of His own Son, using evil men to carry it out, before the worlds were even created!). I found the idea quite comforting, for my life seemed so out of control at that time, it was good to know that I was not simply at the mercy of circumstances.

But when I shared what I was learning with others, I was stunned by their reaction. Several reacted with horror and extreme offense. "That's Calvinism!" they shouted, recoiling as if threatened by a hissing snake. I was as surprised to find that these truths had a name as my friends were to find a (unknowing) Calvinist among them! I didn't know what Calvinism was - only that it was "some anti-evangelical heresy that turns people cold inside." I wasn't turning cold, though. I found the fact of God's sovereignty and grace to be very liberating and joyful. It completely changed my attitude to one of restful trust in Christ rather than fearful, uncertain hope in my own ability to "attain" God's approval.

Why are these ideas so horrifying and offensive to people? Because if God is sovereign, then it necessarily follows that Man is not. The very idea of Man's depravity and slavery to sin and death is offensive to people who imagine that they "choose" Christ out of some snippet of their own righteousness which was unaffected by the Fall, by the world, by the flesh, by the devil. Complete dependence only on Christ alone requires true humility. Prideful people - even those who claim to be "Spirit-filled, Spirit-led and specially Spirit-gifted" - would rather believe that salvation is some sort of "equal partnership" between themselves and God, rather than admit that without Him they are dead even while they breathe.

It was shocking to be asked to leave the church if I would not repent of my "heresy."

And frankly, I find my former church's semi-Pelagian offensive! Because it exalts Man and reduces God! It treats God and sinners as equals! It paints a picture of God as a frustrated deity who paces heaven's floors, wringing his hands and hoping someone on Earth will let him have his way. It twists the offer of salvation into some bargain which suggests that the sinner is doing God a favor by accepting Christ. Now that should be offensive to anyone who believes in the God of the Bible!

Predestined to be an Arminian, but chose to become a Calvinist,

Robin


Profound........

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Not so profound to me... I simply tend to reject any doctrine which does not honor God as God, which reduces any of His attributes, or assigns His non-communicable attributes to sinners!

For His glory,
Robin

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Robin

You previously said:
Quote
would rather believe that salvation is some sort of "equal partnership" between themselves and God, rather than admit that without Him they are dead even while they breathe.

Although this is ultimately true, most Arminians claim that they don't believe in an equal partnership at all. They claim that salvation is all of God.
If you press them on this; their answer proves that they do indeed believe in an "equal partnership between themselves and God. However, they seem to believe that what they believe is in no way an equal partnership.
I have never been accused of being the sharpest pencil in the box; however their argument/s doesn’t make sense to me.

Tom

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For anyone who might be interested in posting at another site, here is a thread on anti-Calvinism over on a Restoration Movement(Alexander Campbell) website.....the majority of people there believe that a water baptism is salvific, so the poor Calvinists who try to post over there to defend themselves get bashed....Anyway, here it is:

http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/calvinism/did-jesus-teach-the-tulip/

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AllToHim

Thanks for the invite, but I think I will pass.
It is not necessarily that I don't think I know my stuff. It has more to do with, not wanting to jump into a hornets nest not adequately prepared.

Experience tells me that although I believe I know this subject fairly well. Fairly well is not good enough in this particular case. In this particular case, one should be equipped in the art of debate and not have the tendency to let straw men and other deceptive arguments distract from the truth.
This is one of the reasons why I appreciate such men like James White, who have proven themselves to be gifted defenders of the Gospel.
If you feel lead to debate these people, I would suggest that you make sure you are adequately prepared to do so.
One can't kill a nest of hornets with a pop gun.
This is something that is a hard lesson for me.bash

Tom

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Hi Don,

I must admit, I spent almost an hour carefully preparing an answer for you on your other post in another thread, then ended up deleting it for the very reason you mention here: "I have never seen anyone on either side switch to the other side from a discussion on this either!" I just couldn't bring myself to start throwing Scriptures at you that you already knew.

Not all discussions are unfruitful, however. I "converted" from Arminianism to Calvinism many years ago when listening to one of my now favorite teachers, John H. Gerstner. He was lecturing one night in Dothan, Al, and hit me square between the eyes with the truth. I was offended at first; the carnal man fought hard, but in time the Spirit softened my attitude, and made me see how wonderful His Grace in Election is. Knowing that ALL men are spiritually dead and incapable of "choosing" Him, at first made it all seem hopeless to me. But, now I saw the truth and had new-found hope that He in His sovereignty and tender mercies would eventually bring to faith (life) loved (dead) ones amongst my (spiritually dead) family and friends, and in some cases He already has. After all, He brought a lowly creature like me to faith! Praise be to God.


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Robin,

Powerful testimony- thank you for sharing! I have been lectured, shunned, laughed at, sternly warned, and pitied for my Calvinistic views. Never really had anyone get downright nasty, though. But derision comes with the territory. I remember being the same way towards Calvinists when I was still an Arminian, many moons ago.

To the Sovereign God be all power, glory and honor- amen!


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I sometimes go on Paltalk ( chat rooms ) and at times people will ask me how can I ( being reformed ) tell them ( non-believers ) that God loves them? I look who ever right in the face and say, " God saves sinners like You and Me".


SDG,
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God saves sinners like You and Me

God in Christ does save sinners, but not the self-righteous, whom Christ came not to call, but only self-sinners to repentance: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). But whether anyone be a self-sinner, that is a sick soul who needs a Physician, or a a self-righteous one, who feels himself quite "whole" and thus has no need of the Physician (Luke 5:31) only God knows - we can only declare that God indeed saves sinners, that Christ came to save sinners and that He indeed does save [self]sinners, for He came to seek and to save that which was lost. But remember, only the sheep are lost for a season. The [spiritual]goats, wolves, dogs and swine are never "lost" and the Shepherd is not seeking nor calling them. He is calling only His sheep through the preaching of His gospel, because it is for them only that He laid down His life and them only has He redeemed.

I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
(Isaiah 44:22)


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Originally Posted by Renat Ilyasov
God in Christ does save sinners, but not the self-righteous, whom Christ came not to call, but only self-sinners to repentance: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). But whether anyone be a self-sinner, that is a sick soul who needs a Physician, or a a self-righteous one, who feels himself quite "whole" and thus has no need of the Physician (Luke 5:31) only God knows...
Yes, only God knows because He has so ordained which sinners will be given to know of their guilt and sin. One does not 'decide to become' a "self-sinner" as you have phrased it, but rather it is a natural realization of one having been born anew (regeneration) by the secret, silent and sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. It is all of sovereign free grace. grin


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