Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Five Points of Calvinism

1. Total Depravity (Total Inability)

"Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as "totally depraved," they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5)."


2.Unconditional Election


"Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would "accept" the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).This doctrine does not rule out, however, man's responsibility to believe in the redeeming work of God the Son (John 3:16-18). Scripture presents a tension between God's sovereignty in salvation, and man's responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve. Both are true -- to deny man's responsibility is to affirm an unbiblical hyper-calvinism; to deny God's sovereignty is to affirm an unbiblical Arminianism.The elect are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, though good works will never bridge the gulf between man and God that was formed in the Fall, good works are a result of God's saving grace. This is what Peter means when he admonishes the Christian reader to make his "calling" and "election" sure (2 Peter 1:10). Bearing the fruit of good works is an indication that God has sown seeds of grace in fertile soil."


3.Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)


"Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, "for whose sins did Christ atone?" The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically, Christ died for the invisible Church -- the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear the name "Christian" (Ephesians 5:25).This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ's death was not a death of potential atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus' death was a potential, symbolic atonement for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ's act of atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved. Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation that Christ died for sinners, and that he will not lose any of those for whom he died! "


4. Irresistible Grace

"The result of God's Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44), and the very Spirit of God leads God's beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts and wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!"


5. Perseverance of the Saints

"Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God's hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God's stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the "last day" (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ's promise that he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect."


These are the five points of Calvinism, all of which I agree with. Which of these points do you agree with? Why or why not?

10 Comments:

  • Hey MVB (let me guess, "Most Valuable Blogger" - you really like those "Most Valuable" titles don't you?)...

    I agree with Point 1 (Total Depravity). 1 John is quite clear that he who believes himself to be without sin does not know God and any Christian must acknowledge that he/she were once completely fallen.

    I disagree with Point 2 (Unconditional Election). If you want an entire speel on it, you should read the entire Predestination thread - you'll find it. I should add, though, that I do believe in what I'd call "partial predestination." This is to say that certain persons, such as the Prophets, the Patriarchs, and the Apostles (as well as Judas), were chosen for special works. Their calling was unique among those of other people, so there was a special distinction for them.

    It would follow, then, that I disagree with Point 3. To limit Christ's blood to a specific group is to limit its power, in my opinion. It is my belief that original sin was atoned for universally on the Cross (see where it says that Christ took the keys of Death and Hades - death was the punishment of original sin and Hades was the place of punishment for those who died under original sin).

    I can't say I disagree with Point 4 (Irresistable Grace). For one thing, I believe that the only way anyone will come to Christ is through the moving of the Father. Without His grace, none will come to Him. However, I do not believe that this guantees election as God does not impose what is best for us upon us.

    I definitely agree with Point 5 though. What God has given (salvation, redemption), man can certainly not take away. God has guaranteed our salvation by giving us the Holy Spirit.

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 4:51 PM  

  • Point 1: I totally agree with this point as do most Christians ( I think).

    Point 2: Definitely agree, there is nothing we have done or could do that would make us better candidates for salvation... our election is unconditional and based only upon the mercy of Christ. I believe that everything that happens is under God's control, and he has predestinated all things from the beginning of time. :)

    Point 3: I agree again, God has chosen who will become saved ( and who's names are in the Lamb's Book of Life) and so Christ's death and resurrection occured to save those that God has ordained. Again, I think that if one were to believe otherwise they would have to deny God's ability to foreknow who will become saved. I don't think this point limits Christ's atonement power, because of course Christ could save anyone he wanted to, in fact, he could save everyone. But he hasn't and he doesn't. We all know that. Therefore Christ is saving only some people, the people referred to as the elect, and this point is merely recognizing that. We're not limiting Christ's grace, He has! God is the one that chooses who will become saved, so therefore it is also Him that chooses who shall not be saved.I guess a disagreement on this point would probably be because of differing views of predestination.


    Ok David, if Christ only took away original sin, then who or what takes away our current sins? Do you believe in salvation through works? Because how else are your sins forgiven?


    Point 4: Yes, yes, I agree with this too. :) If the Father and the Holy Spirit draw us to Him then we
    do not have the power to resist His grace. Saying that we did have that power would be denying His power. :)

    Point 5: I agree again.

    You know David, after reading this post, I'm kind of shocked at how Mormon you sound. The Mormons embrace many of these same ideas you have laid out here. How do you feel about Mormons? No wait, let me guess...besides a few oddities they're actually quite orthodox. :) lol, j/k

    By Blogger Ashley, at 5:38 PM  

  • "Ok David, if Christ only took away original sin, then who or what takes away our current sins? Do you believe in salvation through works? Because how else are your sins forgiven? "

    I don't believe Christ only took away original sin...quite the opposite. My point was that Christ not only removed the effects of original sin for those who are redeemed, but for the unsaved as well. This was necessary that Hades would be shut forever and the gates of Heaven and Hell be opened. Works do not bring salvation, but they certainly bring heavenly reward.

    "You know David, after reading this post, I'm kind of shocked at how Mormon you sound."

    I don't think I'm one to be lectured about the Mormons...I've studied everything they claim and they are FAR from Orthodox. I have distant relatives that cling to those doctrines of demons and I hate it. It is nothing short of blasphemy to claim that Lucifer and the Savior were BROTHERS...how RIDICULOUS! Not to mention the fact that they believe everyone will become divine...cosmic humanism in its early stages. They also incessantly relied on Freemasonry/Illuminati doctrines (which is why Joseph Smith was murdered...bloody Mason oaths...).

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 7:12 PM  

  • "My point was that Christ not only removed the effects of original sin for those who are redeemed, but for the unsaved as well."

    Ok, so what happens to individual sin??????? How is that forgiven? And why do you differentiate between Hades and Hell?

    I most definitely wasn't lecturing you ( rolling eyes rapidly), but thanks for yours.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 7:46 PM  

  • "Ok, so what happens to individual sin??????? How is that forgiven? And why do you differentiate between Hades and Hell?"

    First things first, individual sin is only atoned for when that individual is repentent and asks for God's gift of salvation(regardless of how that person comes to that position - be it predestined or not). Same blood, same power.

    The reason I differentiate between Hades and Hell is because they are two completely different places. Hades was not a place of torment or of perfection - rather, it was, in a manner of speaking, a spiritual "waiting room." The wicked had their part of it - by no means comfy and righteous their's (which we usually refer to as Abraham's Side or Abraham's Bosom). After His death, Jesus went there "and preached to the spirits in prison" (1 Peter, if I'm not mistaken). This is the Paradise that Jesus referred to when he spoke to the believing criminal on the Cross beside Him.

    I'm sorry if it seems that I was lecturing but I guess that's just the style I naturally speak...maybe that's why people get confused when I say I DON'T want to be a teacher... :P

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 8:33 PM  

  • Just found a verse that would shed some light on my position (completely random verse to, didn't go looking for it):

    "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." -1 John 2:1-2

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 8:36 PM  

  • Ok, let's see... first off I don't really mind the lecturing... I was just mad that you accused me of doing it and then turned around and did it yourself. But it's all ok..:)


    "... individual sin is only atoned for when that individual is repentent and asks for God's gift of salvation..."

    What is your Biblical basis for that?

    "...Hades was not a place of torment or of perfection - rather, it was, in a manner of speaking, a spiritual "waiting room.""

    What verses back up this idea? I understand it, I just don't know where you are getting it from. :)

    "This is the Paradise that Jesus referred to when he spoke to the believing criminal on the Cross beside Him."

    Ok wait a minute, Jesus called Hades a "Paradise"? And if this was all that Jesus was promising him then what was it worth? I mean, the other thief was going to go there too, right? And he would have gone there himself even if Jesus had not intervened. Was it just that they would go to the "other" side? And where do you get the "two sides of Hades" idea in the Bible?

    "... He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world..."

    I understand your ideas if you are interpreting this verse to mean the whole world and not the world of believers. But if you were to interpret "world" the way you do, then you would also have to believe that when God said that He "so loved the world" He meant that He literally loved the whole world. Do you believe that God loves everyone?

    By Blogger Ashley, at 10:08 PM  

  • What is your Biblical basis for that?

    How could it be otherwise? If individual sins are NOT atoned for when they come to Christ, how can they enter the Kingdom? There are many Scriptures referring to individual forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Acts 10:43 says, "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

    What verses back up this idea? I understand it, I just don't know where you are getting it from.

    This is a very old, traditional doctrine found in Orthodox Judaism and in Christianity over the centuries. Apart from the verse about "the spirits which are in prison" - there is the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in, I think, Luke 15. The indications that it is indeed Hades (which, in itself is not negative as we often see it) are these: (1)Abraham is there, (2) The rich man could see the "other side" as it were, where Lazarus was with Abraham. It is known that Heaven and Hell are diametrically opposed. One in the place of punishment cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven. So the place that Lazarus and the Rich Man found themselves to be in could not have been Heaven and Hell, respectively.

    It's a matter of theological necessity, in all honesty. Because, until the redemption on the Cross, none could enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The distinction of entering Heaven was given to two men, and two men only, before the Crucifixion - Enoch and Elijah. Apart from this, all men died (or went to "sleep" as it is said in Daniel).

    And if this was all that Jesus was promising him then what was it worth? I mean, the other thief was going to go there too, right?

    The man was accorded a place among the pre-resurrection righteous. Had it not been for his step of faith, he would have been waiting for the doors of hell to open, rather than the gates of heaven.

    Do you believe that God loves everyone?

    I do...that is the very idea behind agape love. God is, in His very nature, LOVE. I don't see how if He is Love defined, that He could be anything else to another. Anytime the world is used in the Scriptures, it always refers to either (1) everyone, period or (2) those who are not redeemed. Now, I realize we disagree on this, so perhaps we should let that particular subject rest.

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 12:28 PM  

  • "Acts 10:43 says, "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

    I believe all those that are saved have repented and been forgiven for their sins. But I don't believe they are saved BECAUSE they repented, but rather, they repented because they were saved. It was the Lord's action ( on the cross), not our own ( repentance, etc. ) that ensures our salvation. In other words, we love him because He FIRST loved us. We were saved by His action on the cross because that salvation has made repentance and regeneration possible.

    ".. This is a very old, traditional doctrine found in Orthodox Judaism and in Christianity over the centuries..."

    Well, I didn't say I've never heard of it! I'm not totally dense, you know (lol). I know it's actually a very popular position in alot of denominations, but I've never thought the Biblical foundation for it was very strong or convincing. Just my opinion though.

    Otherwise, I completely disagree with everything you said. :) Just so that's on the record. But we won't argue about it if you don't want to. It would be useless anyway, we're not going to change each other's minds.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 10:32 PM  

  • It was the Lord's action ( on the cross), not our own ( repentance, etc. ) that ensures our salvation. In other words, we love him because He FIRST loved us. We were saved by His action on the cross because that salvation has made repentance and regeneration possible.

    Only by the Lord's action is it possible, I agree. However, I do think that there is no forgiveness of sins without repentance and that repentance must come before forgiveness - hence the ministry of John the Baptist.

    I didn't think you were dense, but I figured I answer your question as detailed as I could. ;)

    By Blogger David Ketter, at 2:45 PM  

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