*CALVINIST OR ARMENIAN?*
-Calvinism (John Calvin, 1509-1564) and Arminianism (Jacobus Arminius, 1560-1609) are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility regarding salvation
-Sovereignty means jurisdiction, supremacy, dominion, power, ascendancy, suzerainty, tyranny, hegemony, domination, sway, predominance, authority, control, influence
-God is sovereign regarding the material creation: nothing happens without God’s will (matter and animals don’t have a free will). Sovereign regarding creatures means that He initiates based on His Will but creatures have a free will to make a choice. God is sovereign to offer a free salvation and man is also sovereign to receive or reject salvation
-God is sovereignly authoring salvation alone without man’s participation other than accepting it (man is not co-author of salvation, Heb12:2, Jn19:30)
-I, Daniel, HOLD TO THE ARMENIAN VIEW
Key aspects about the 2 views:
-Calvinism says people are so depraved and rebellious that they are unable to trust God without His special work of grace to change their hearts without the free will of man being involved.
-Arminians say, people are depraved and corrupt, but are able to decide to trust God with the general divine assistance that God gives to everybody, Jn16:8
-Man is totally depraved, meaning he cannot save himself through his own effort and there is nothing good in man that could motivate God to love and save man; remember man ate from the forbidden tree of ”knowledge of good and evil”, so human good is still condemned before God, see Is64:6
-Verses: Rom3:9-12,23; 5:7-8,12,19; 6:6-20; 7:14; 11:32; Job15:14-16,25:4-6,Ecc9:3, Ps143:2, 2Cr6:36, Is53:6, Micah7:2-4, 1Jn1:8-10, Mark7:21, 10:18, Luke18:19, 1 Kg8:46; Ps51:12;116:11, 130:3, 143:2; James3:2, Jer17:9, Tit1:15-16; 3:3, Eph4:17-18, Jer10:7-14, Prov28:26;Jn8:34, Gal4:8, 2Tim2:25-26; Jn8:31-36, Is1:5-6. See our study on ”Total Depravity”
-Man is depraved but still has a free will to make choices. See #6 below
-Calvinism says God chooses unconditionally whom he will mercifully bring to faith and salvation and whom he will justly leave in their rebellion then send to hell
-Arminians say God has chosen us, elected to bring to salvation all those whom he foresaw would choose to accept Jesus as Savior, God knows the future as He is outside of time
-God offers the choice to the unsaved, to which he says yes or no. After believing in Jesus the Christian receives from God faith (capacity of trust in God for his daily life) based on man’s free will, or availability to God, see below point on faith
-Calvinism says the death of Christ God provided sufficient atonement for all (some say only for the saved), but designed it to be effective only for those that were chosen by God
-Arminians say the death of Christ God provided a sufficient atonement for all and designed that it would become effective for everyone that decides to receive Jesus as Savior
-Verses on unlimited atonement: Is53:6; Jn1:29, 3:16, 1Jn2:2, 4:14; Rom11:32, 2Cor5:14-19; Heb2:9, 1Tim2:4,6; 4:10, Tit2:11; Rev22:17; 1Pet3:18;
-Verses that say Jesus died for the church or for believers do not say Jesus died only for them but brings out the aspect that Jesus’ death is benefiting only those who accept Jesus: Acts20:28, Jn10:15; 17:9; Mat1:21, Eph5:25, Mat20:28; Rom8:31-35
-The death of Christ offered an unlimited atonement in its purpose, aiming all humans (2Pet.3:9) but unsaved men limit the outcome of atonement by rejecting it (Ps78:41, Gal5:4, Luke7:30)
*4. NEW BIRTH*
-Calvinists say that the new birth is God’s work of renewal in our hearts which produces the act of willing saving faith, so they say new birth precedes faith and man has no part in getting saved
-Arminians say the new birth is God’s work of renewal in our hearts in response to our act of saving faith by accepting Jesus, new birth follows faith and man has a part in getting saved by accepting Jesus
-Calvinists say God works to preserve in faith all who are truly born again and that no one is ever lost who was truly chosen by God
-Arminians say God works to preserve his people, but does not always prevent ones who were born again from falling away from faith in this life: Heb6:4-6, Rom11:22, 1Cor9:27; 2Cor6:1; Gal5:4; Col1:22-23; 1Tim1:19; 3:6; 4:1,16; 5:8; 6:10,20,21; 2Tim2:18; 2Pet2:15, 3:17; 1Jn2:26; 2Jn1:8
-One can’t lose his eternal salvation which he has received without merit as a gift: Rom6:23, you cannot un-merit salvation by behavior; see our study “Salvation is secure”
*6. FREE WILL*
-God created angels and man with a free will to make choices; animals live by instinct
-God provided the options of choices: obedience or disobedience Gen2:9-17; one third of angels chose to follow Satan in his rebellion, also Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. After their fall, demons and humans still have a free will
-God in his sovereignty decided to offer salvation to all humans only but not all humans decide to receive salvation, also damnation to all demons with no chance of salvation (Mat25:41; Heb2:16)
*7. GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE*
-God knows the end from the beginning Is46:10
-God is outside of time and space, therefore He knows the future and knows who will receive Jesus and thus He is able to initiate towards those individuals based on His foreknowledge: John the Baptist chosen from the womb, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jacob, Pharaoh, Judas, Paul; Mat19:12, Lk1:41; Jn17:12; Gal1:15, Rom9:13; Is49:1; Jer1:5
-God knew who would believe even before creating the world because He knows the future: Acts2:23; Eph1:4, Rom8:29; 2Thes2:13; 2Tim1:9; 1Pet1:2,20; Tit1:2; Rev13:8; 17:8
*8. GOD’S JUDGMENT*
-If God would elect some for hell and some for heaven then He is responsible for those choices; how can God punish unsaved humans if they are not responsible for rejecting Jesus?
-Punishment involves responsibility for a choice; Jn3:18; 2Thes1:8,9; 2:10-12
-Why evangelize if God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?
-Some accept calvinism to escape responsibility for evangelism. However, some great evangelists were calvinists who evangelized as obedience to the Bible but did not believe their evangelism can make a difference since God has already decided who goes to heaven. Jn20:31; Rom10:14
-Calvinism says salvation faith is offered by God regardless of the decision of the individual, they call it ”irresistible grace”, see point #11
-Armenians say God offers the possibility of choice of salvation and man makes a choice using his free will with assistance from God, see John16:8; after salvation God offers to the Christian the possibility to have his trust (faith) in God increased (Rom.10:17 ‘faith comes by hearing the Word of God’; 12:3 ‘God gave every believer a measure of faith’): God initiates and man accepts or refuses
-Why did Jesus weep at the unbelief of the Jews if faith comes sovereignily from God without humans sovereignly responding (Jn11:35, Lk19:41)? Why did God weep (see Book of Jeremiah)? Why Jesus rebuked the disciples for having little faith in Mat6:30?
Ask me for our study on faith
*11. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE*
-Calvinists believe God calls man to salvation without him being able to refuse; armenians believe you can oppose the grace of God, see again verses from point #5, also Gal.2:21, Heb4:16; 12:15; Jam4:6
-Col2:6: ”as you have received Christ, so walk ye in Him”. If you have received Jesus irresistibly, then why your daily walk with Jesus is a choice, not an irresistible call? God does not drag you every day
-If grace for salvation can’t be resisted, then why daily living grace can be resisted?
-There are variations of types of armenians and calvinists regarding above points
-Armenians and calvinists should not hate each other of above different views.