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Defining the terms

While recently searching for information on Calvinism I stumbled across a web site quoting material from The Five Points of Calvinism – Defined, Defended, Documented by David Steele and Curtis Thomas. I thought it would be beneficial to post my understanding of these terms and highlight the specific differences (at least related to divine election) that I have with my Calvinist friends.

According to Arminianism:

  • Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) with man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role. Thus man, not God, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

According to Calvinism:

  • Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them; the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

The reason for my interest is that (I think) the Calvinist-Arminian debate goes to the nature and character of who we believe God to be. Feel free to post your thoughts and comments.

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