Here are two of the responses I received to the “Calvin &c” series. I intend to write my reply to these post-haste (eventually).
The first is from Jason S.
First I would say that it blesses me to see a young man who thinks deeply on such matters and demonstrates a genuine “fear of the Lord” and “love of the Truth”.
As I have studied this subject(s) through my Christian life I find that there is much more that I do not know than which I do.
I am presently closest to a classical Arminian, though I have ventured into both the Open Theist camp and the Calvinist camp at times.
Essentially this is because I believe that God’s revelation of His Justice and of His Love affirm that man is responsible for his sin and not God. That God punishes men for things of which they, not He, are responsible (Rom. 1:19-20). If HE created men to be sinful, in fact, to be able to do nothing but sin, and thus commanded them to do something He knowingly created them without the ability to do, and thus condemned them for all eternity for such, then I think this violates the clear revelation of who God has told us HE is in Scripture. “God is Love”.
Arthur Pink acknowledges this dilemma in Calvinist thought, and devotes a whole chapter to resolving it in “The Sovereignty of God”. But he does not resolve it, he only rebuts a few bad Arminian arguments against the calvinist conception of predestination. Spurgeon says man’s responsibility and God’s predestination are two parallel lines that do not meet in this world but meet in eternity. Luther says that we MUST hold this position so as not to give the papists any room to squeeze their damnable self exalting works into the pure gospel, and goes on to use the illustration that when a branch is bent in the wrong direction it must be bent back even further in the opposite direction to correct it.
Erasmus, an advocate of synergism, responds to Luther, stating that when a bone is set out of socket, in simply needs to be put back into its right place. I do not fear man boasting in his goodness if we say that God has extended His grace to all men in varying degrees, that He draws men unto Himself, reveals and shows Himself to all men (again Rom 1:19,20) and has “sovereignly” given to man a special ability as made in His image to choose between the good and the bad of which both reside within their God given nature (Rom. 2:14-16). That some respond by crying out for mercy and others harden, resist, glorify Him not as God and their foolish hearts are darkened. There is no boasting in this anymore than a broke homeless man on the streets would boast if you passed by and extended a large sum of money to him. He certainly would NOT boast in his extending his miserable hand and grabbing hold of your gracious offer. But would rather glorify and honor the gift giver with a thankful heart. This doctrine allows God to be Just and to be Love as Scripture defines such terms and allows for man to be both ultimately responsible for his choices and wholly dependent upon God for salvation and mercy.
The second is from Caleb Green:
”If the above makes no sense to you, such was the case with the author. These matters still need to be sorted through systematically, so perhaps I will continue to expound on this theme further on.”Yes Jacob, do continue to expound 🙂 I a…gree with most of your points but did find it hard to figure out a particular thrust or aim to your post. But definitely these were clarifications worth making. At times when dialogging in the arminian/calvinist debate one feels that he must clarify the real issue till blue in the face before even getting into the discussion. So I think the clarifications were as i said worth making especially te following one:
“Everything has to start with a right view of God; following on the heels of this is a right view of man.”
Spot on. Dead right. As well as hitting the target. And not just for the calminian debate but for every doctrine for they all flow naturally out of the correct doctrine of God.
Yeah Jason I know I told you I would not comment but I could not help myself (I was determined to respond by my nature). 🙂
Bah! Classical Arminian! Why do you call yourself after a man Jason?
Just Kidding! Ha Ha that was great wasnt it? 🙂
“and thus commanded them to do something He knowingly created them without the ability to do”
Be careful to distinguish between ability and will. A calvinist affirms that man has the ability to repent in that there are no external influences restraining him but we deny that he has a will to repent because of his own love for sin. Yes God determined mans nature would be such thru the fall but the responsibility is mans. This is what scripture affirms and we must fall in line with it.
Well, jacob might disagree with me here but I would not argue that man has the ability to boast when accepting salvation in the arminian view of things. But the analogy is wrong and not true to reality. To put it more correctly the homeless man hates the man giving him the food and hates the food itself.
Because Fallen man hates God and hates the true gospel. Christ calls man to deny Himself take up his cross and follow him. Man has his own desires on the throne of his heart and will not submit to the call of the gospel. One may argue that man could see the logic of the offer and then respond in acceptance with selfish motives but the scriptures are full of stories where God rejects the worship of man because of impure motives. Man if fallen does not love God or the gospel. He will not respond unless with utterly wicked motivation and a sovereign God will not be manipulated by a rebellious creature.
Ellen, Get jacob on here to respond to the posts here. I would love to see him in action defending his position.
I’m not even on Facebook. Someone else posted this. (Thanks. For nothing).