When John Calvin Speaks, Do Calvinists Listen, Comprehend and Respond?

The more of John Calvin’s writings and teachings I see the less I like them. His emphasis as to sovereignty and predestination over love ought to tell us something about the man himself. But I’m not sure just what that is. I can’t imagine that he was a happy fellow and a delight to be around. I’m aghast how Calvinists can define the nature and character of God through the writings of Calvin – which makes God out to be arbitrary, capricious and devoid of love over all that God created. At least, that’s my take. I wonder if the (literally) years that Calvin spent isolated and alone while writing his Institutes of Religion brought about a sense of isolation and loneliness in which he imparted his own anger towards his fellow man and attributed that to God. Who knows? Below are some quotes I’ve compiled. That so many find truth within Calvin’s words and the subsequent doctrines aka TULIP somehow seems distressing.

Continue reading “When John Calvin Speaks, Do Calvinists Listen, Comprehend and Respond?”

Please Pass the Salt & Grace

I read with interest an article sent to me entitled, Two Views of Regeneration, by John Hendrxy that compares:

  • Monergism – the doctrine that the human will possesses no inclination toward holiness (until regenerated) and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration.
  • Synergism – the doctrine that the human will and the divine Spirit cooperate in regeneration.

An attached link pointed me to this site: www.monergism.com.

My NIV Topical Bible states that regeneration, in essence the act of being born again, results in salvation.

Monergism vs. Synergism. Sounds like a lawsuit, doesn’t it? This discussion has been around since before the flood. Well, it is probably more accurate to state that this topic has been around since the days of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius. In any event, John Hendrxy states, [the] “unscriptural view (of synergism in general and of prevenient grace in particular) is the greatest threat to a true understanding of salvation in the Church today.”

The arguments and evidence presented by Mr. Hendrxy are, to say the least, compelling. However, it doesn’t take much internet searching to find (to me, anyway) strong Biblical evidence to support the doctrine of synergism and the concepts of Arminianism. Is one obviously right and the other obviously wrong? Is there some middle-point wherein there is truth in both Calvinism and Arminianism?

I cannot help but think that this discussion is a microcosm of many different thoughts, ideas, perceptions, and understandings of various Christian thought and I find it disconcerting that so many Christians can have so many different and divergent thoughts as to:

  • The nature and character of God.
  • The life of Christ.
  • The manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
  • Does God “control” everything or does He grant freedom?
  • Does God foreknow everything in the future or is there some openness?
  • The Genesis debate re old-earth versus young-earth.
  • Divergent opinions regarding women in ministry.
  • Speaking in tongues.
  • The Tribulation.

With regard to the Calvinists verses the Arminians, I am more comfortable with the Arminian arguments. Perhaps Colleen with her Greek lexicon and thoughtful arguments will persuade me otherwise.

There’s a lot of varied opinion within Christian circles about a whole host of issues and there is a lot of biblical substance to each of the arguments. A most interesting book, Across the Spectrum, argues from both sides of many significant on-going theological issues within the Evangelical Christian community. So, in backing away from the specifics of any particular arguments – at least in this post, I am asking:

  • Can we acknowledge that there are significant arguments for both Calvinism and Arminianism?
  • Conversely, can we acknowledge that there are significant objections to both Calvinism and Arminianism?

I like salt on my food and grace in my arguments as it tends to make both more palatable and more interesting. As always, I welcome thoughts and opinions.