LESSON 22: CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM REVIEW: You cannot lose your salvation once you are really saved. The grieving of the Holy Spirit with God’s discipline will prevent you from continuing in sin. INTRODUCTION Today we will look at the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism and where Central Baptist Church under the guidance of Chris Osborne stands on this issue. The descriptions presented are the opinion of Chris Osborne and many will argue against what will be taught today. TULIP TULIP is an acronym often used to illustrate the five major points of Calvinism. Some Calvinists believe all five points while many others believe only a few of these points. T= Total Depravity (The idea is that you cannot come to Christ on your own. You do not have that ability. You are not smart enough or spiritual enough. ) U=Unconditional Election (When God elects and chooses you, it is not based on anything that you do but completely based on God’s choice. It is not because you are more or less a sinner than someone else. It is simply based on God) L= Limited atonement (The blood of Jesus Christ does not apply to the entire world.) There are some today that are moving away from this point. This is where you may see people say they are a 4 point Calvinist and not 5 points. The hyper 5 point Calvinist would say that they believed in all 5 points and because of that there is not really a need to witness to the lost. People will come to Christ according to God's will. You don't need to point them to Christ. Some of the first missionaries in the modern era (William Carey, Andrew Fuller and John Ryland) all grew up with a hyper 5 point Calvinist agenda, but soon began to throw out the limited atonement point because the Scripture clearly indicates that Jesus dies for everybody. These people became the modern day missionaries. I= Irresistible Grace (When God speaks to you cannot say “no.” You may hear some say that He cannot be sovereign if you have the ability to say no to Him). P= Preservation of the saints- (this means that once you are saved, you are always going to be saved These five points are the general beliefs of Calvinists. There all sorts of nuances to this belief. There are many very smart, believers that have debated these nuances and not agreed. Which of these points stick out to you? TOTAL DEPRAVITY/ UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION Definition: You cannot come to Christ on your own. When God elects and chooses you, it is not based on anything that you do but completely based on God’s choice. Read Romans 1:19-20 What do these verses say about who has knowledge of God? This passage refers to the Gentiles. God places within everyone a knowledge that He exists. Read John 6:44, John 16:8-11 and 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 What do these verses say about what is needed for salvation? Here Jesus is talking to the Jews. Clearly the Holy Spirit must convict you over sin, righteousness, and judgment for you to be saved. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul says he knows God’s choice, but this choice is based on the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Read Hebrews 3:7 God must speak to you through the conviction of the Holy Spirit in order for you to be saved. (A pure Armenian would say that you can just decide one day to come to Christ without the Spirit having to convict you.) LIMITED ATONEMENT Definition: The blood of Jesus is only for the elect not the whole world. Read 1 John 2:2, John 3:16, and 2 Peter 3:9 Who did Jesus die for according to these scriptures? These verses clearly illustrate the blood of Jesus was shed for everyone in the world. IRRESISTABLE GRACE Definition: When God speaks to you cannot say no. Read John 1:11-12, Matthew 23:37, Matthew 26:20-25, Matthew 13:19, Matthew 22:14, Romans 1:18-22 These scriptures talk about how God’s chosen people (the Jews), or those whom He called upon (conviction of the Holy Spirit) turned His offer of grace down by saying no to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 23, you see Jesus lamenting over the nation of Israel. Clearly He wanted them all to come to know Him, but they were “unwilling to be gathered under his wing.” In Matthew 26, when Jesus says “I am going to the cross, but woe to the man that betrays me,” this implies that Jesus will go to the cross, that is not an option, but it is an option for Judas to betray Him or not. If irresistible grace were true, then that means that all those people that go to hell were never even offered the grace of God. Calvinists argue that God cannot be sovereign if we can say no to Him, but others argue that He shows His sovereignty by allowing us the option to say yes or no. SUMMARY God says that people have an innate knowledge of Him, but people choose to suppress that innate knowledge of God with sin in their life. CHRIS’S POSITION Romans 1:19- All people are born with an innate knowledge of God and a predisposition to religion. This should drive you crazy until that hole is filled with Jesus Christ. We don’t struggle with this because we choose to suppress it with unrighteousness. If you have rejected God all your life, then I don’t think that God calls you to Jesus because you have already rejected Him. Hence “many are called” not all. The “many are called” refers to those who say “God, where are You?” The chosen are those that respond to the call of the Holy Spirit. To the many, God will do everything He can to make sure they hear the Gospel, but they still have the choice to say yes or no. I don’t think anyone can come to Christ on their own. God’s offer of Jesus is based on your acceptance or rejection of God in your life personally. I don’t think that the atonement is limited or the grace is irresistible. I think that once you are saved, you are always saved, but you have the ability to say no to God if you so choose. Jerry Bridges wrote a book Trust in God and made a statement in the book- “If you take the Bible and you do not meditate [you read it real fast] you get the feeling that it is a love story of a God in love with a planet that will not love Him back”. When you really look at the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, that is the feeling that you get. For a Calvinist that is not their opinion. They say that it is God that chooses His own people. It is an incredible love story that we do not love Him back so he does everything He can to get us. MAIN CALVANIST PASSAGES Romans 9-11, the story of Pharaoh and the plagues, and the story of Esau are all accounts in the Bible that Calvinists use to support their ideology. They argue that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and chose Jacob over Esau. The issue is that these are not salvation statements, but rather purpose statements. If you look at the story of Pharaoh (Exodus 7-11), after the first 5 plagues Pharaoh hardened his heart (7:23, 8:15, 8:19, 8:32, and 9:7). After the 6th plague, it says the Lord hardens Pharaoh’s heart (9:12). After the 7th plague, God again gave Pharaoh the choice to repent or not, but once again Pharaoh hardened his heart (9:35). After that, Pharaoh had rejected God so much, that he no longer was able to respond to God, so the Lord hardens his heart (10:20, 10:27, and 11:10). God gave him multiple opportunities to repent, yet he never does, so God gives up on Pharaoh and does not give him the option anymore because God knows he will reject Him again. When examining the story of Esau and Jacob, you see that it is not a matter of salvation, but rather that God chose for the line of the Messiah to be through Jacob rather than Esau (Exodus 27). Calvinism is not something that should be argued or people consider one less intellectual because they are not a Calvinist. SUMMARY Salvation: God initiates it. You cannot be saved unless He initiates it. It is unconditional in the sense that everyone has the knowledge, but there are some who will choose to reject that knowledge. I don’t think that Jesus is offered to everyone, but only to those who are seeking God. Even then, they can say no to Jesus Christ. A Calvinist will say that God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden with the intent that man would sin. They say that God intended for man to sin because God was more glorified in our sin and showing the difference in our sin and His holiness. That is just crazy. God’s glory is far more revealed in His holiness than in my sin. I will not really see the contrast between them until I die, and then I will see how awful I am and how holy He is. Calvinism can lead to pride through the idea that I am chosen and someone else is not, therefore I am more loved by God then someone else, or a better person in general. Armenians believe in all free will and that you can come to Christ anytime without the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your life.
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