The Hope of Arminianism?

ArminianApparently, and for the 2nd time, a comment I’ve made in response to a blog post hasn’t been accepted. Sorry, I don’t mean to offend. And, I guess I can take a hint. Again, given that my response wasn’t accepted, I thought it permissible to share my $0.02 and ask my questions here. It is, after all, my blog. ☺

Overall theme from what was initially blogged:

Arminianism allows that Christ died for all men. Given that some are in hell for whom Christ died, there must be a deficiency within Arminian doctrine as to the certainty and assurance of the Arminian’s salvation because of a mutable God being outwitted by Satan.

My response:

Wow! Could it be possible that there are honest Scriptural differences, interpretations or even misunderstandings that Arminians have related to the nature and character of God and the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election?

Simply put, whether Calvinist, Arminian, Open Theist, Catholic, a retired Presbyterian minister or whatever – if one by faith accepts Christ’s sacrifice for their sins and proclaims Him as Savior, is that person saved?

Bluntly put, can one reject the Reformed doctrine of unconditional election and still be saved?

I’ve got a good sense what this particular Calvinist would say. But I’m curious as to other Calvinist’s opinions: is my salvation predicated on an acceptance of the Reformed doctrine of unconditional election?

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A Calvinist Spanking of Yours Truly from Christian Clarity Review?

A rather pathetic title for a hissy-fit between a Calvinist named Timothy Elder Jr at Christian Clarity Review and one who doesn’t subscribe to the TULIP doctrines of Calvinism – me.  In the large scheme of things, this really is much ado about nothing.  Honestly, what new thoughts or arguments could possibly come forth between the centuries-old debate between Calvinists and Arminians?  From my perspective, both sides have considerable biblical “ammunition” and can lob verse after verse to effectively press either Calvinist or Arminian doctrine.  This on-going debate is somewhat distressing to me if only because there appears to be such divergence of opinion between the two camps with both sides often justifying their positions using the same Scriptures.  By and large, it’s been easier of late to not take part in the debate – at least not to the degree I used to.  Perhaps I got a little bruised and worn out and have, at least for now, decided to premise my Christian faith on the Arminian side if for no other reason that I am more comfortable with what I understand to be the nature and character of God as viewed from an Arminian perspective.

But now, back into the fray.  There was a recent post on Christian Clarity Review entitled; Arminians are not Christians.  Nice to know, I guess.  But I adamently disagree.

‘bdrex’ and ‘Bill’ initially posed some questions to CCR and things escalated quickly.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize Tim doesn’t appreciate any challenges to his views.  I got into the fray a little later.  And too, I admit to a little venting in what I was told would be my last posting to CCR.  But ultimately, I have to ask my Calvinist friends; is Christian Clarity Review someone who accurately represents Calvinist doctrine and thought?

Anyway, for those interested, here’s my last comment to Christian Clarity Review and his subsequent response:

Dear Tim,

I regret your request for me to no longer comment on your blog.  I’ve done my best to be open, candid, honest and respectful when posing questions, responding or otherwise commenting on CCR.  I’ve tried to do likewise when you have commented on my blog.   But I will honor your request.

For my last comments on your blog,  I thought of providing a list of what I believe to be justifiable arguments against Calvinism and attempt to show where (I believe) verses you reference do not support the contentions you make.  But what’s the point?  I’ve concluded that you’re going to believe what you will irrespective of illogical thought and misapplied scriptures.  If nothing else, I’ve come to understand that that if something isn’t hyper-Calvinistic in nature, you’ll naturally be against it irrespective of the many scriptural references appearing to support Arminian thought.  If ever someone desires to see a Hyper-Calvinist in action – you are the real deal, Tim.

Your responses in this post to bdrex and Bill were fascinating.  I’m admittedly slow, but I finally realized you aren’t able to tolerate challenges to your theology.  If someone doesn’t agree with you, out pours some verbiage condemning the questioner or equating them to Lucifer followed by hate-filled speech (spoken as if you were the Holy Ghost Himself) with a taken-out-of-context verse or two.

You’ve clearly studied a lot of church history and tenants of the Christian faith.  But for what purpose?  Where, Tim, is the fruit in your life?  Where can one find in your life the love and compassion that Jesus exhibited?  Why is there such anger and contempt within you?  Where is the joy that Jesus wants all believers to experience and in which he promises to make complete?  Why is there no apparent laughter and (oh dear, should I actually use this word – yes!) the “gaiety” in your life?

Can anyone, who questions your understanding on any matter of Christian thought and faith not be labeled a heretic sent straight from Lucifer?  Apparently not and yet, as you have previously said to me, Lucifer has intentionally deceived me (at God’s command, no less).  So, applying your logic gleaned from our previous conversations – any and everything that has ever happened or ever will happen is as a direct result of God’s intentional will and command?  If your answer is ‘yes’, then would you please answer this question: if there’s no free-will, why are you not praising God for (I’m using your words, here) the world being “inundated with homosexuality, whoredoms [sic], abortion, and false religion”?  I can only surmise that as a logical extension of your hyper-Calvinistic thoughts and logic, God desired, designed and implemented all that is antithetical towards Christianity and therefore to Himself.  To God be the glory, right?  So, why do I not hear a great big ‘halleluiah’ from you?  Why are you not thankful that God has sent me to your blog?  After all, am I not (according to your logic) visiting CCR as a direct result of God’s intentional will and command?  You should be praising God that I’m conversing with you for after all, I am one of the few who’re willing to do so.  Oh, wait, that’s right, God has already determined that you’re to despise anything that is contrary to hyper-Calvinism.  Sorry, Tim, but the most elementary reading of Scripture and the simplest application of logic brings down your house of ‘faith-cards’.  Your theology doesn’t hold up on its own merits.  It’s only with a heavy dose of hate and vile do you make believe and otherwise fool yourself that you are one of God’s chosen few.  Sad.

Bill asked you for source material within Christian literature compliant with the theological concept of created speech.  Honestly, it didn’t take hardly any time at all to find sources (http://christianbookreviews.net/?p=43#more-43) that, well, have an exceedingly different perspective of The Two Babylons – one of the books you referenced and which I presume to be a foundation of your faith.  This review states:

“As is commonly the case with fundamentalists, the truth did not get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.  Weaving an absurd tale reminiscent of other types of conspiratorial drivel, Woodrow (like Hislop before him) combined incredibly bad scholarship, paranoid delusions, and pure bigotry in an unseemly concoction lacking even a rudimentary understanding of historical developments within the Church.  This is where one would expect it to end – another entry in the “antichrist of the month” sweepstakes spoon fed to those who do have neither the knowledge nor the discernment to see past the smokescreen of their insulated belief system.”

Ouch!  Sorry, but your blog posts appear to be the epitome of this review, Tim.

Before I go, can we agree that there must be consistency throughout Scripture and that doctrine can’t be built on only a given verse.  Rather, doctrine that is true is reflected uniformly throughout all of the Bible.  With regard to individual election, then, using your beloved KJV, I would welcome an explanation of how you rectify the following verses:

(John 6:44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day

(Titus 2:11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men

Do you see the apparent conflict with personal election?  No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him and yet God’s grace which brings salvation has appeared to all men.  I could present my $0.02 worth, but again, what’s the point?  However, if you ask nicely, I’d be pleased to answer that apparent contradiction.

Paraphrasing, you’ve stated that God has enlightened you with an understanding of non-creating speech and that you’re responsible for passing this knowledge on to the “brethren”.  You are then God’s enlightened messenger who’s the only person on earth that has received this revelation?  Perhaps you’re in good company for if a Christian has difficulty understanding the concept of created speech and can’t find biblical justification for that belief system, how can one be sure that Timothy Elder Jr. isn’t the origin of a created speech cult in much the same way that a Jehovah Witnesses will follow Charles Russell, Mormons follow Joseph Smith, Seventh-Day Adventists follow Ellen G. White, Christian Scientists follow Mary Eddy Baker or Scientologists follow Armstrong and Hubbard, etc.?  Pity, perhaps Walter Martin was died too soon to include you in his book, Kingdom of the Cults.

If you care, feel free to respond to some questions I’d hoped to delve further with you over time.  Per your request, unless you give me permission, I won’t respond.  But please, fire away:

  • Did God plan every evil act and every sin that anyone would have ever committed?
  • Did God predestine Adam and Eve to sin?
  • Did God plan and bring about the rebellion of Satan who was once the angel of light, Lucifer?
  • Did God originate sin?  With regard to this question, I don’t doubt that God planned and has “elected” (I’m guessing my definition of “elect” is different than yours) much within our human existence.  God may have allowed sin.  But I’m hard-pressed to find any Scriptural evidence that sin originated with God.  Please, show me where.
  • Has God truly chosen to make you such a wretched creature?  I don’t personally think so.  Rather, I believe you have exceeded your wildest expectations and have become all that you are of your own volition.

Congratulations!  You’re now done with me.  Perhaps you’d like to celebrate and go share your faith with someone?  I’m sorry, I forgot; outreach to a hyper-Calvinist is pointless.

Well, enjoy your life, Tim.  I know I enjoy mine.  I do wish you all the best and will welcome the opportunity to discuss anything further with you should you decide to do so.  You know where I can be reached.

Sincerely,

Bob

If you’ve read this far, you may be interested in Tim’s response to my last comment:

1. “I regret your request for me to no longer comment on your blog”.  It wasn’t a request.  Don’t change your username and go for it again. Not saying you’ve already done it.  If you post again I’ll delete it.

2. You should surely be hired by any arminian witch as their PR person.  Your lies are always disguised as sombre wishes for fair discourse while accusing those who point out your lies of being mean spirited asses who do everything they do, supposedly like you, on purpose.  I get the point.  I really do.  You love me in what you call love –but I, as the Big Meanie, won’t love you back by succumbing to your lies.  It isn’t that I don’t understand.  It’s that I do and I overtly don’t want the emotional common sense friendship or discourse of hardened sinners in addition to being blessed by God to not have to hear it.

You can’t choose to believe what God is Saying through me as truth.  No one has that ability.  I don’t speak as if you could and to pretend that is exactly why I speak is to lie to my face and to call me a liar, no matter that you think to have done so in some perfect emotional paradigm some onlookers will automatically be forced to think is politeness because they share your deceptions.

Proverbs 14: 7  Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Proverbs 6: 12-15  A man of Belial, a wicked person, is he that goeth about with a perverse mouth; he winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; deceits are in his heart; he deviseth mischief at all times, he soweth discords.  Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly: in a moment shall he be broken, and without remedy.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Final thought – I truly have enjoyed the back-and-forth exchanges with many Calvinists on this blog as well as those with whom I associate personally.  Perhaps the ‘chemist’ within me needs to have a hypothesis, or in this case a premise of my belief, and then to go about determining whether or not the hypothesis is correct.  And I have truly struggled with determining where the truth lies within the  Calvinist-Arminian debate.  And that will probably continue for some time.  However, Tim may be the first person I would consider a hyper-Calvinist.  If I follow what I believe to be the natural outcome of Calvinist doctrine, it quickly leads me to someone who would espouse the views of Timothy.  I hope I’m wrong on that point.   And to that end, I would appreciate Calvinist’s comments to help identify the error – whether with me or with Tim.  (John 8:32)

Sincerely,

Bob