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Featured Passages challenging Calvinism

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Kilk1, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Hello, all! For many months, maybe a year, I've been studying debates for and against Calvinism. While passages such as Romans 9 are claimed by Calvinists to support their position, I'd like to hear your view on at least one of the passages challenging Calvinism. (Quotations are from the New King James Version.)

    Luke 8:4-15
    This is the parable of the sower. Calvinism holds that everyone is born totally, inherently depraved. In this state, they cannot receive the word of God. The only way out of this, in their system, is if the Holy Spirit performs a direct operation on sinners, switching their hearts from being completely sinful to permanently faithful. However, Jesus' parable comparing the word of God's effect on different hearts to seed's effect on different types of soil suggests that human nature is more complicated than this.

    The first type of soil, the wayside (vv. 5, 12), is the closest to sounding totally depraved in the sense that it doesn't receive the word. Furthermore, the good ground (vv. 8, 15) is similar in effect to the Calvinistic view of a regenerated heart in that it remains faithful. However, there are four, not just two, hearts. The rocky ground (vv. 6, 13) is the most powerful heart of the four to contradict Calvinism. Those with this heart aren't totally, inherently depraved because they receive the word--"receive the word with joy" (emphasis mine), in fact. But they aren't permanently converted either, as Calvinists say the regenerate are, since they only "believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away" (v. 13).

    Does this suggest that not everyone is totally depraved and that once you're saved, you're not necessarily always saved?

    Jeremiah 18:1-10
    Here, God discusses how a potter begins "making something at the wheel" (v. 3). However, the vessel "was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make" (v. 4). Notice that while the potter was going to make one thing, the marring of the vessel led him to remake it "into another vessel." In the same way, God says that if He decrees to destroy a nation (i.e., make them into a vessel of dishonor) but they repent, then He'll change His plans for them (vv. 5-8). The same works in reverse as well (vv. 9-10).

    Does this mean God can decree something without it coming to pass if freewill decisions on the part of man cause Him to change His mind?

    Romans 11:16-24
    While Romans 9 talks about election, Calvinists and non-Calvinists commonly argue about whether it's an election of specific individuals (what Calvinists believe) or an election of a corporate entity (Israel or the church). Chapter 11 compares God's people to a cultivated olive tree (vv. 16-24). Many (but not all) Israelites (i.e., the branches) were cut off from the tree. Instead, new branches from a wild, non-cultivated olive tree (representing Gentiles, the class who weren't God's people) were grafted into the cultivated one.

    The individual Gentiles (i.e., the branches that were grafted into the cultivated tree) could become thrilled that they're in (v. 19). However, Paul explains: "Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear" (v. 20, emphasis mine). The new standard of becoming God's chosen people would be determined by faith vs. unbelief, instead of being a Jew vs. Gentile.

    Paul clearly intends this to warn those grafted in. "For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either" (v. 21). Again, they were grafted in "by faith" (v. 20), and yet there's a possibility that they wouldn't be spared (v. 21). God will only bring "goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off" (v. 22). And those who were cut off could become believers and be grafted in again (vv. 23-24).

    Does this suggest 1) that God elected the body, the cultivated tree, and 2) that it's possible for individuals (branches) who stand "by faith" (v. 20) to lose their faith (and thus, salvation), not being spared (v. 21)? Again, you don't have to respond to all of these, but if you post, please give your thoughts on at least one of the three above passages. Thanks!
     
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  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    If you would prefer to debate only Calvinists I suggest moving this to Same Faith Debates instead of Biblical Debates and adding 'Calvinists Only' to the title.

    @Kilk1
     
  3. Duke_Leto

    Duke_Leto Active Member

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    Your effort is futile. Countless people before you have tried this and arrived nowhere -- because you can justify almost any controversial dogma today with different verses of the Bible. In the case of salvation through works vs. faith, the debate is essentially between the Pauline epistles and Jesus' own teachings/the rest of the New Testament. Predestination (which I assume is what you mean by "Calvinism", since "Calvinism" covers a pretty broad range of ideas) falls along roughly similar lines. You'll find the strongest positions for predestination in the Pauline epistles; the strongest oppositions in the rest of the Bible.
     
    #3 Duke_Leto, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  4. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    Uhhh, ... Calvinists come in different flavors. Are you aiming for any of them or do you have a favorite flavor to chew on?

    Variants
    • Amyraldism
      • Moise Amyraud formulated Amyraldism, a modified Calvinist theology regarding the nature of Christ's atonement.
      • Amyraldism (or sometimes Amyraldianism, also known as the School of Saumur, hypothetical universalism, post redemptionism, moderate Calvinism, (or four-point Calvinism) is the belief that God, prior to his decree of election, decreed Christ's atonement for all alike if they believe, but seeing that none would believe on their own, he then elected those whom he will bring to faith in Christ, thereby preserving the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election. The efficacy of the atonement remains limited to those who believe.
      • Named after its formulator, this doctrine is still viewed as a variety of Calvinism in that it maintains the particularity of sovereign grace in the application of the atonement. However, detractors like B.B. Warfield have termed it "an inconsistent and therefore unstable form of Calvinism."
    • Hyper-Calvinism
      • Hyper-Calvinism first referred to a view that appeared among the early English Particular Baptists in the 18th century. Their system denied that the call of the gospel to "repent and believe" is directed to every single person and that it is the duty of every person to trust in Christ for salvation. The term also occasionally appears in both theological and secular controversial contexts, where it usually connotes a negative opinion about some variety of theological determinism, predestination, or a version of Evangelical Christianity or Calvinism that is deemed by the critic to be unenlightened, harsh, or extreme.
      • The Westminster Confession of Faith says that the gospel is to be freely offered to sinners, and the Larger Catechism makes clear that the gospel is offered to the non-elect.
    • Neo-Calvinism
      • Dutch prime minister Abraham Kuyper initiated neo-Calvinism
      • Neo-Calvinism, a form of Dutch Calvinism, is the movement initiated by the theologian and former Dutch prime minister Abraham Kuyper. James Bratt has identified a number of different types of Dutch Calvinism: The Seceders—split into the Reformed Church "West" and the Confessionalists; and the Neo-Calvinists—the Positives and the Antithetical Calvinists. The Seceders were largely infralapsarian and the Neo-Calvinists usually supralapsarian.
      • Kuyper wanted to awaken the church from what he viewed as its pietistic slumber. He declared:
        • No single piece of our mental world is to be sealed off from the rest and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!' This refrain has become something of a rallying call for Neo-Calvinists.
    • Christian Reconstructionism
      • Christian Reconstructionism is a fundamentalist Calvinist theonomic movement that has remained rather obscure. Founded by R.J. Rushdoony, the movement has had an important influence on the Christian Right in the United States. The movement declined in the 1990s and was declared dead in a 2008 Church History journal article. However, it lives on in small denominations such as the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States and as a minority position in other denominations. Christian Reconstructionists are usually postmillennialists and followers of the presuppositional apologetics of Cornelius Van Til. They tend to support a decentralized political order resulting in laissez-faire capitalism.
    • New Calvinism
      • New Calvinism is a growing perspective within conservative Evangelicalism that embraces the fundamentals of 16th century Calvinism while also trying to be relevant in the present day world. In March 2009, Time magazine described the New Calvinism as one of the "10 ideas changing the world". Some of the major figures in this area are John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Al Mohler. Mark Dever, C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, and Tim Keller. New Calvinists have been criticized for blending Calvinist soteriology with popular Evangelical positions on the sacraments and continuationism.
    My Note: I find it odd that the Wikipedia article does not mention the Reformed Baptists (i.e. James White, Jeff Durbin, et al. But that may be because Reformed Baptists are formally self-designated "Baptists". They are "Reformed" because of their acceptance of Calvinist doctrine, which distinguishes them from all other Baptists.
     
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  5. leov

    leov Well-Known Member
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    The Parable of the Prodigal Son puts Calvinism with its back against the wall.
     
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  6. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    The question is a symptom of not a question about anything.. Fact it can be carried on over various cultures no refernces with references etc same result nonsense. Its nonsense.
     
  7. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    Hmmm, what is nonsense ? The Calvinist position, the verses he cited, Christianity, what ?
     
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  8. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    The main flavors of Calvinism I'm thinking of are those held by James White and Stephen Garrett. They're not the same, though. However, I think most if not all forms of Calvinism are challenged by the passages I referenced. All forms of Calvinism believe that your heart is either totally, inherently depraved or permanently converted. Luke 8 challenges that. All forms of Calvinism believe that what God decrees is fixed and deny that free will can change God's mind. Jeremiah 18 calls this into question. And as far as I can tell, all forms of Calvinism hold that individuals are elected and that the number of the elect is fixed; Romans 11 doesn't seem to allow for such.

    Are you a Calvinist? If so, how do you understand one or more of these passages? Thanks!
     
  9. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    Calvinism in any flavor ( James White ? The husband of Ellen White, the SDA prophet ?) grasps extremely tightly to the concept of an omniscient God. Which, on the face of it cannot exist with free will. Denominations that rightfully teach free will, ignore, or go to tortuous lengths to explain that though God Knew a trillion years ago you would be lost, you still have free will. The explanation usually is, he knew what you would choose, therefore your free will is preserved.

    Let me say that God can never be wrong, therefore if he knew those trillions of yeas ago, that I would choose poorly, I am just an actor on the stage following a script. God saw my entire life, and I can do nothing except what He saw. If I threw a beer bottle at my wifes cat, I had to do so, I could not choose otherwise, I had no choice in the matter, God cannot be wrong, and before I was born He KNEW the exact time, date, brand of beer in the bottle, and the name of the cat.

    Free will is just an illusion with an omniscient God.

    Even more terrible is that God becomes the knowing creator of evil, and responsible for all subsequent pain and suffering, God did it.

    Yet, in the theological concept called the Open View of God, free will is totally established.

    If God does not know what has not occurred, yet knows every possible thing that might occur, and is completely prepared for every possibility, free will is preserved. He had a plan, in case evil arose.

    If God, not by omniscience, but by omnipotence and omniscience reaches into history to bring his will about, then free will is preserved.

    Certainly someone can find texts that are problematic to this view, yet there are many that support it.

    We are always with contrition and repentance able to fully chose to Follow Christ, we also are able to fully choose perdition.

    We are not on a film that God has viewed, one that we can never deviate from. We are a tabula rasa, a blank slate.

    Anyway, an answer to Calvinism.





    a
     
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  10. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    Sorry, in the sentence beginning ´If God not by omniscience¨ I use omniscience a second time, that should be omnipresence.
     
  11. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    Its actually a symtom of not a question avout anyth
    Well its like the question "what is reality" thats not a question thats a symtom.
    So freewill vs determinisim is the same thing. No references or with references it manifests identical through time shows this. Its neen hashed forever. Its not a question but the state of the mind.
     
  12. leov

    leov Well-Known Member
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    Repentance - metanoia - change of mind.
    Strong's Greek: 3341. μετάνοια (metanoia) -- change of mind, repentance
    Is manifestation of free will.
     
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  13. leov

    leov Well-Known Member
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    Interesting how they do not understand God and hold God as petty controller made up after their minds.
     
  14. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. :D Far too conservative for me. But I'm somewhat familiar with the presuppositional crowd, (Conelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen (deceased) and I've been known to view White's "Alpha and Omega Ministries" Youtube videos: his debates with Bart Erman and a couple of Muslims, as well as his down-and-dirty introduction to the JWs and LDS restorationists. Am also familiar with White's occasional sidekicks: Jeff Durbin and Sye Ten Bruggencate. {Have you seen Sye's movie: "How To Answer The Fool"?



    or checked out his site About Sye - Proof That God Exists

    Am also familiar with the theocratic Christian Reconstructionists, Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon at American Vision: Culture Through the Lens of Scripture

    I'd be well-entertained to see any of either crowd come rip-roaring through here in bumper cars. :D
     
    #14 Terry Sampson, Jul 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  15. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    LOL!! Any genuine, knowledgeable Calvinist wouldn't mix with the SDAs, nor have much kindly assessment of Ellen or her husband, James, White.

    1. That a Calvinist of any flavor should believe in an omniscient God ought not surprise anyone except those who don't know anything about Calvinism.
    2. That the concept of an omniscient God cannot, on the face of it, exist with free will sounds like something you should take up with the Most High.
    3. Paraphrasing Einstein, I say: "Free will is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
     
  16. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Make sure that you study Calvinism vs Arminianism. It is wise to know the Bible yourself, not just the argument of some Pastor who is just paroting what his professors in Bible College told him. You are judged by your own beliefs and deeds and the words of someone else will not garner you a pass. I'm less confident in the books of Acts on through the rest of the NT. I'm probably not allowed to participate further in this discussion because some of the confused here think I am solely Muslim.
     
  17. shmogie

    shmogie Well-Known Member
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    Are you partially a muslim ?
     
  18. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    Is "Same Faith Debates" designed for if you yourself are in the same faith or if you disagree with a certain position and want to talk only to those of said position?
     
  19. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    What do you mean? I apologize.
     
  20. Kilk1

    Kilk1 Member

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    I've seen some of James White's debates on Calvinism and on the Trinity. I don't think I've seen as much as you do.
     
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