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Calvinism-the T.U.L.I.P. part 1

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by GraceBwithU, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. Calvinism-the T.U.L.I.P. part 1

    Arminianism and Calvinism beliefs have been debated for over 200 years. I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    This post will only cover the T. in T.U.L.I.P.

    Calvinism - Total Depravity
    Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not - indeed he cannot - choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ - it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation - it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner's gift to God.

    Arminianism - Free-Will or Human Ability

    Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man's freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man's freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God's Spirit and be regenerated or resist God's grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit's assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man's act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner's gift to God; it is man's contribution to salvation.

    Free-Will or Human Ability

    After the fall, man became totally lost and in slaved by sin. He is much more inclined to sin than to not sin. However, he still possesses ability to not sin, (posse non paccare). For proof of this one only has to look around him. Even the atheist doesn’t sin all the time. This does not mean they are saved. Without Jesus they are totally lost regardless of their works. Although he has the ability not to sin, it is impossible for him to never sin, (non posse non paccare). Man can not save himself. Salvation is only through God’s grace and his gift of salvation made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Man chooses to accept God’s gift once offered.
  2. Some aspects have been debated for a lot longer than 200 years. For instance the "T" was debated very early in church history by Augustine and Pelagius where Augustine won out by teaching man's total depravity over against Pelagius' view that man was able to perfectly obey God's law if he chose to do so. Augustine responded by teaching that originally, man was able to sin, or able to not sin. But, after the Fall man's nature was so corrupted that he was not able to NOT sin. After a person is saved they are restored to the pre fallen state, able to sin and able to not sin, and finally that one day when man is glorified he will not be able to sin. If you look at Calvin's Institutes you will see that he quotes no one more than Augustine, and really, to a large degree, he wanted to restore many of Augustine's teachings to their original prominence in the church. Eventually, even after Augustine won out over Pelagius and his teaching on man was solidified by the Council of Orange, unfortunately semi Pelagianism crept back into the church and remains the majority witness to this day. So, by saying this, you could guess that I would disagree that the truth is somewhere in between Calvinism and Arminianism, rather, that Calvin was much closer to biblical truth than Arminius. :)

  3. I think that just because God knows what is going to happen does not mean that it was predestined. If he made us Love him that would be rape and God loves us so very much that he wants us to come to him to be our Father.
  4. Arminianism and Calvinism beliefs both false doctrines this i know well.
  5. We must be careful when we talk about free will. God never gave us "free will". We either have a choice to obey God or disobey God,

    If we did have "free will" then there would be no consequences for our actions. How can we say we have "free will" if the unsaved go to hell for disobedience?

    Nowhere in the bible is "free will" taught. Right from the very beginning God gave instructions to Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit. This was done for their own good and the good of mankind.

    God has commanded mankind to acknowledge Him and obey Him. This goes right through the New and Old Testament.

    We belong to God, we are His possessions.

    If we did have "free will" then where would that leave room for repentance. If we believe that God has given us freedom to accept Him or not, why are there rewards and punishment?

    If we truely believe that we have "freedom of choice" then why did Jesus have to pay the sacrifice for our sins? The mere definition of sin means rebellion against Gods will.

    Man is quickly losing His reverence for God, they have forgotten just who He is. Many people say "why worship a God who commands our obedience and love? Does this not make God a dictator?". This is one of satans deceptions for people to justify why they would not follow God so Christians instead of telling the truth, compromise and say "Oh no our God gave us free will to choose".

    The truth is that God created us for His will, not our own. Nothing we can do could ever change that. That is why we are saved by Grace and not works. All of mankind has sinned, if we had "free will" then nobody would be saved. God intervened and gave us Grace through His Son. God wants us to obey Him, He has commanded us to obey Him, He will not force us to obey Him but He will punish us for disobeying Him (refering to the unsaved).

    Let us not only concentrate on our salvation but also on why we where saved.

    Indeed we have been saved to restore that which was lost to man in sin and that is fellowship with God.
  7. I can see how "free" can be thought of as without cost or consequence, but that is not the context of the term,"free will." The word free is used simply to denote the ability to excercise our will, in this instance, to consciously CHOOSE for ourselves whether to follow God or not. It is meant to refute the calvanistic believe that we do not actually have a choice whether or not to follow God. If I understand Calvanism correctly, the belief is that to be called into faith by God means that we are born to believe, and God has taken control of our thoughts to make us believe. Therefore the ability to CHOOSE God is non existant, as is any independant will or ability of our own to repent from sin.
  8. Kevin,
    I'm confused with what you have said about free will. The ability to choose right or wrong. Having free will is exactly why there is consequences to our actions. If we had no choice if it was all predestined then how could we be held accountable for our actions. However, we are indeed held accountable.

    Yes, you are correct. The error in Calvinism is that he could not understand how free will and predestination can co-exist...but they can. It is all about God's plan for the ages. He is to be glorified. God wants "willing" worshipers not robots.

    Good point!

  9. We have the ability to obey God or disobey. All I am trying to get to is we must be carefull as christians not to preach free will.

    I have two daughters, I have given them both rules of what they cannot and can do. If they break these rules it is by disobedience and they will reap the punishment which will follow. They are not given "freedom" to break these rules. If they where given "freedom" then there would essentially be no disobedience and no resulting punishment.

    If we where the result of one big accident and came about by chance, then we would have "free will" because we would not be held responsible to a higher power. This is what the world is pushing towards and we need to be aware of it.

    Because we belong to God and have to operate within His will, we are held accountable for our actions.

    I am sure everybody has heard the term "God Loves us that is why He gave us freedom to choose Him or not". The bible states that we are commanded to Love God, there is no choice given. If we dont love God then we disobey Him.

    What should be used instead is that God loves us so much, He gave His only Son for us. God granted mankind grace through His Son so we can be reconciled to God.
  10. Kevin,
    What you said in the first sentence is "free will".

    Free will:
    The ability to choose, think, and act voluntarily.
    (American Heritage Dictionary)

    You are confusing the action with the effect.

    We are held responsible for our wrong choices because it was our free choice, (we exercise our will freely, but choose wrongly therefore we are held responsible).
  11. does this sound like rape?

    (Ezekiel 36:26-27) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

    (Romans 8:29-30) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    (Ephesians 1:3-6) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

    God does not "rape" anyone, and using overly emotive language to poison the well doesn't help matters. God changes a person's will which gives them the ability to do what they did not have the ability to do before, namely to believe savingly in Him. That unsaved mankind-- those in the flesh-- does not have tha ability to please God, and lets face it, coming to God for salvation is pleasing to him don't ya think!!... is shown here: (Romans 8:7-8) For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

    And Jesus makes it clear that no one can -- again speaking of ability -- go to the Father unless he or she is enabled to do so... (John 6:44) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.... (John 6:65) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." I realize this is a "hard saying".... because right after Jesus taught this, many of his disciples left Him.... (John 6:66) After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

    .... I realize that people want to think that in the end its up to them... that we live in a man centered universe, a democracy, but in fact we live in a theocracy and we are God's subjects made from the clay much as a potter creates his vessels, and Paul is clear that God makes some vessels for noble use and some for ignoble, that in the end, it is not man's choice, not his running or willing that leads to salvation, rather it is up to God who has mercy on whomever He wants to have mercy.

    (Romans 9:10-24) And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call-- she was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

    So if God grants the ability for some to believe, that is hardly rape. You see, we have to come to the table realizing that salvation is a gift..(Romans 3:24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,"... it isn't something that is owed to us. This is what, by definition, grace and mercy mean, undeserved favor. The fact is, we are all sinners, (Ro. 3:23) seperated from God and deserving death. (Ro. 6:23). So all of us get justice, God is a fair and righteous God, but some of us recieve mercy and grace, and no one can fault God for this, as Romans 9 teaches us.

  12. you are welcome my friend!
  13. Well this post is lacking just a little bit in evidence... biblical evidence... and pretty long on opinion. I prefer biblical reasons for my beliefs. And this ought to be true no matter what one believes, Arminianism, Calvinism, Calmenianism, etc and telling people something like this is no help at all, without giving the reasons why you believe this to be true. As it is, I do not believe what I believe because Calvin or Luther or anyone else believed it, I believe it because I believe this is what the Bible teaches and I have gone at least to some effort to try and show why this is the case. And nor do I agree with Calvin on everything. It would be nice if you could do a little more towards proving your belief to be true. After all, if you are right, you are depriving myself and others from your wisdom. After all, you would not want anyone to believe you were right simply because you say so, now would you? You would not believe anything I believe just because I am the one teaching it, would you? Of course not. We are to be like the noble Bereans, proving beliefs to be true or false based on thier lining up with Scripture, lin eupon line, precept upon precept. And Calvin was, if anything, one of the foremost biblical commentators of his age and even up to our very own age. Further, Arminius himself, though he disagreed with Calvin, at least had the honesty and character to say that even though he disagreed with him, that no one surpassed Calvin's ability to exegete the Scriptures, and he recommended Calvin's commentaries to his own students! Now thats honest!

    "Next to the study of the Scriptures which I earnestly inculcate, I exhort my pupils to peruse Calvin's Commentaries, which I extol in loftier terms than Helmich himself (a Dutch divine, 1551-1608]; for I affirm that he excels beyond comparison (incomparabilem esse) in the interpretation of Scripture, and that his commentaries ought to be more highly valued than all that is handed down to us by the library of the fathers; so that I acknowledge him to have possessed above most others, or rather above all other men, what may be called an eminent spirit of prophecy (spiritum aliquem prophetiae eximium). His Institutes ought to be studied after the [Heidelberg] Catechism, as containing a fuller explanation, but with discrimination ( cum delectu), like the writings of all men"(History of Christian Church - Ch VIII).

    For just imagine if I were to simply say

    "Arminianism is a false belief, this I know well."

    Thats just not very helpful.

  14. something I see people repeatedly do in these discussions is assume that their understanding of what it is that the term "free will" means is in fact the biblical definition and description of what our wills actually are. And the fact is, our wills are in bondage to sin, they are not free at all. We do not have the ability to just pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and just one day decide to believe. The Bible's description of us is that we are children of wrath.... dead.... DEAD .... in our sins and trespasses.... (Ephesians 2:1-3) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."

    So we are not just a little but alive, we are dead dead dead.... and being dead, being in the flesh we can do nothing ... NOTHING to please God... (Romans 8:8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." And as Luther quipped, nothing is not a little something(!!!!) And whats more, coming to him for salvation is the biggest SOMETHING of all!

    Since we are children of wrath, unable to please God, dead in our sins and trespasses, no one can go to God unless Christ gives them the ability to do so as John teaches in John 3 and 6. No one can, ie no one has the ability, to go to Christ Jesus unless God grants him the ability to do so. (John 6:65) And since we know that not everybody is saved, some people must be given the ability to go to God while others are not. This may sound unfair, but it this objection is exactly what Paul was dealing with in Romans chapter 9. (Romans 9:19) You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?""
    Paul answers this objector to God's sovereignty by saying (Romans 9:20-24) But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?"

    He is the Potter and we are the clay, He has every right to do with us as he sees fit. Our idea of fairness does not count. We cannot sit in judgment over God's decrees, over what He has, in his sovereignty, decided to do. We are not His judge. God does what He pleases.(Psalm 115:3) Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases."

    So back to my earlier point, we have to be careful not to insert a worldly philosophy into our conception of free will. Whatever our wills are, whatever kinds of beings we are, has to be informed by the biblical witness and not by our preconceptions as to what "free will" MUST mean. It may even sound like common sense to say that free will means whatever someone thinks it means, but God's foolishness is greater than man's wisdom. The Cross itself is a stumbling block to people's minds... salvation is accomplished in a way that seems so barbaric and crazy to intellectual mankind. Why should any other doctrine be different? God is lifted up, we are not. God has a right to do with his creation as he sees fit, and thats that, whether it may seem to make sense or not. So lets not assume that our understanding of the will is the correct one, but rather lets inform it by being strictly biblical in every way. Lets let the Bible decide for us what our definition of free will is. And I believe that once this is done, A Calvinistic/Augustinian soteriology is what makes the most sense simply because it has the most biblical support.

    But this is also not to say that we don't make choices. We do. No question about it. We have a will and we act on it. Of course. But we can only act within the parameters of what kinds of beings we are, and the fact is, we are sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, unable to please God, deserving of death, in the flesh and Jesus taught us that the flesh can only produce the flesh.... (John 3:6a) That which is born of the flesh is flesh,"

    But... BUT the Spirit can give birth to the spirit (John 3:6b)"...and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

    and this (in the flesh) we remain until and unless we are born again or another translation of John 3:16 is to be "born from above". And just as we had no ability to cause ourselves to be born the first time, so too is it the case when we are born again. Jesus teaches us that the Wind or the Holy Spirit blows wherever it wills... (John 3:7-8) Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
    God gives us a new heart how and when he sees fit, and until he does, all we have is a heart of stone. Notice how Ezekiel puts it... notice who is the active component in the following passage:
    (Ezekiel 36:26-27) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."
    So who does what here? It is God who gives the new heart. It is God who must remove the old heart of stone. And as God puts this new heart in us, as the spirit blows wherever he wills, he puts his spirit in us... this is something that God does!! And notice that when he does, what are we then able to do? We are able to walk in his statutes, to obey his laws. Now manifestly it is a command to believe upon the Lord Jesus for salvation, is it not? But we cannot obey this command in the flesh, while dead in our sins and trespasses, God must first put in us a new heart, he must put his spirit in us, then we can obey his statutes and commands.

  15. ;)epistemaniac,
    The purpose for this post was not to prove either theology. It was simply posted to summarize the differences in the two theologies and to discuss the T.U.L.I.P. of Calvinism. I personally believe that Arminianism gives too much credit to man in regard to salvation. Salvation is God's gift to man not vise versa. On the other hand Calvinism puts so much focus on proving the T.U.L.I.P. doctrine that they miss other truths in the Bible. They put so much energy in proving Calvin's opinion of God's election that they miss what the Bible actually says about the election. Of course they are closer to the truth about election than the Arminianistic doctrine. Actually three out of the five points of the T.U.L.I.P are right on.

    I believe that the canon of the scriptures we have is complete and that what is there belongs there. Therefore it must all be true and also that there are no contradictions.

    If you are interested in knowing what the Bible actually says about election you can start by studying at the occurrences of the terms listed below.

    The word “Elect†appears only 17 times. In the KJV and 20 times in the NKJV
    The word “Chosen†appears 123 times in the KJV and 109 times in the NKJV
    The word “Chose†appears 29 in the KJV and 35 times in the NKJV
    The word “Choose†appears 59 times in the KJV and 39 times in the NKJV
    The word “election†appears 6 times in the KJV of the Bible.
    The phrase “world began†6 times in the KJV of the Bible and only 2 times referring to the election. In both cases someone from group 2 above was mentioned.
    The phrase “foundation of the world†appears 10 times in the KJV of the Bible
  16. I am a calvinist.. but to say that "free will" is non-existant is unbiblical and illogical. However, both cannot co-exist in absolute terms. In the end free will loses. A omnipotent and omniscient God cannot create beings with free will.. and therefore free will is not absolute. That is very biblical. :) ... but I'm not going to argue about it.

    it is not foundational theology so it is only a matter of intepretation. I will work together with, love, and hold no sort of grudge or ill with anyone who disagrees with me on this. :)
  17. though I prefer the term predetermination.
  18. ;)God bless you, we should not argue. After all, understanding predestination and free-will is not a requirement for salvation. Regardless of how we think we came to believe it is in the true believe in Jesus and the grace of God that we are saved.

    Tit 3:9
    9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.


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