This is me, thinking, about theology, philosophy, and anything in general not related to my main blog about everything else..

Monday, May 08, 2006

what a fling fest

not really
if you keep up with this particular blog of mine, you may have noticed, not so much argument but discussion on the topic of calvinism/arminianism in my last post by people leaving comments, thats fine. i thought i'd make a post giving some points and generally moving that discussion here to where it should be. as per usual i'm crap at explantion so here are quotes.

now before i start, i want people to realise that calvinism is just as valid a doctrine as arminianism (that's what most pentecostal/modern christians are, they just don't realise there is a name for it) and for starters here are some quotes from the wikipedia

"Although much of Calvin's practice was in Geneva, his publications spread his ideas of a correctly reformed church to many parts of Europe. Calvinism became the theological system of the majority in Scotland, the Netherlands, and parts of Germany and was influential in France, Romania (especially in Transylvania and Poland. Most settlers in the American Mid-Atlantic and New England were Calvinists, including the Puritans and Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam (New York). Dutch Calvinist settlers were also the first successful European colonizers of South Africa, beginning in the 17th century, who became known as Boers or Afrikaners.Sierra Leone was largely colonised by Calvinist settlers from Nova Scotia, who were largely Black Loyalists, blacks who had fought for the British during the American War of Independence.

And some more quotes from the wikipedia

The five points of Calvinism

Main article: Five points of Calvinism

Calvinist theology is often identified in the popular mind as the so-called "five points of Calvinism," which are a summation of the judgments (or canons) rendered by the Synod of Dort and which were published as a point-by-point response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance (see History of Calvinist-Arminian debate). Calvin himself never used such a model, and never combated Arminianism directly. They therefore function as a summary of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism but not as a complete summation of Calvin's writings or of the theology of the Reformed churches in general. The central assertion of these canons is that God is able to save every person upon whom he has mercy and that his efforts are not frustrated by the unrighteousness or the inability of men.

The five points of Calvinism, which can be remembered by the English acronym TULIP are:

* Total depravity (or total inability): As a consequence of the Fall of man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. According to the view, people are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures.
* Unconditional election: God's choice from eternity of those whom he will bring to himself is not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people. Rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy.
* Limited atonement (or particular redemption or definite atonement): The death of Christ actually takes away the penalty of sins of those on whom God has chosen to have mercy. It is "limited" to taking away the sins of the elect, not of all humanity, and it is "definite" and "particular" because atonement is certain for those particular persons.
* Irresistible grace (or efficacious grace): The saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (the elect) and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith in Christ.
* Perseverance of the saints (or preservation of the saints): Any person who has once been truly saved from damnation must necessarily persevere and cannot later be condemned. The word saints is used in the sense in which it is used in the Bible to refer to all who are set apart by God, not in the technical sense of one who is exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven (see Saint).

And here is a link to a History of Calvinist and Arminian Debate

See Calvinism is not some new doctrine that I've just come up with, it's older than arminianism, the doctrine of most christians out there TODAY.

The beauty of christians is their ability to have crazy arguments based on emotion and an unwillingness to consider an opposite. I seriously challenge people to actually do some of their own research into this, don't just spout of what you think or have been taught by church leaders. If you research this and still find it lacking, then I'm happy, but if you just don't give it the time of day because you are too proud to consider that you may be incorrect, then I am unhappy.

Rayd, you say you believe in free-will but you cannot fall away from Salvation, as in, someone who falls away from God didn't really know him in the first place.

So what about people who don't go to Heaven? You're saying that when someone is born, God knows for certain if they will go to Heaven or not. So God willing makes people that he KNOWS will not choose him and go to Hell? How is that a loving God? Because you said unless someone truely knows God, they won't go to Heaven, but how can someone know God unless HE brings the person to him? A person cannot know God by his own accord or ability. What you're saying is he makes someone, gives them an option KNOWING they won't accept it, and then they go to Hell??

I don't actually disagree with that so much, only I don't think God actually offers something to people he knows won't take it. Well I don't even think God offers anything to us, he gives it to us, and if God gives us something how are we as humans to reject it? Is that even possible? I don't think so personally.

So people, go read about it. Here is another good link. And also read anti-calvinist writings too and see how for me they grasp onto weak concepts and out of context scripture. Remember the aim of the game isn't to be 'right' (even though I am :v) but is to have looked at all the paths and decided on your truth. I honestly believe what we call Calvinism to be the true gospel. No I don't think everything John Calvin said is 100% correct but I believe in the doctrine he outlined.

The theological/historical knowledge of christians about christianity is quite appaling really. I had to do a course to even learn that the original Hebrew people split into two distinct groups and formed the Jews and the Samaritans. Why wasn't I taught this in church, why was I only taught stuff like how to save my school (which is still not saved) and other stuff which is good at the time but based on emotion/being-cool and not really any depth.

Rayd and Sharyn said I should read my bible without the intention of study or trying to get anything out of it. Why should I read it like that? Where are the instructions in the bible for how to read it? Sure there is merit in reading it like that, but seeing as most churches don't study the bible during church and the 'bible studies' leave a hell of a lot to be desired, I need to study it at some stage..



Rayd said...

Firstly, God is an all-knowing God because He is outside of time, which i have continued to mention, What you do now is the same to Him as waht you will do at the very end of your life. God is both there and here. You only have salvation if you have it at the end, becuase time is relevant for us, but for Him He already knows becuase He is there, the same, unchanging.

You are right, for someone to know God, God must draw them to Him, but it starts with that person asking Him to. Like Pharoah who first hardened his own heart. After Pharoah made that choice God started hardening it for Him after that. It's the same for us, but in a good way. First we choose to follow Him and then the Spirit of God develops us and draws us closer to Him. It was Pharoah that made the first choice, and so it is us.

I suggested you read the Bible both ways, Andrew. First in study and second just to read it. I don't know the best way to read the Bible but i know which ways i read it to get the msot out of it. This is after all my opinion. And in my opinion i think that peple should be reading the Bible twice as much as they read any other books, whether on Chemistry, Calvanism, Mystery or Romance, but if i said that i would be hypocritical becuase there is no way in the world i do that.

Lastly, i haven't done research before i posted this comment like you suggested. Why? Because any book ever written has bias in it. The exception is the Bible, and even that has bias, it is biased because it favours God, His thoughts, His decisions. But it is the only book we can say with certainty is the truth. And even then, to do that requires faith. I didn't research because i don't want biased opinions affecting what i believe in my heart. I can argue with my thoughts but i can't argue with my heart. And that is why i have answered based on what i believe.

andrew brown said...

I can't say I buy the 'not listen to bias material' because why then would you listen to a sermon? they're bias too. often sermons don't back up their information...

Also, no where in the bible do people ask God to come to him before they know about God. The bible clearly states that we are sinners through and through, 100%, it says we don't want God in our lives, so how can we come to God before he comes to us?

Rayd said...

It says we don't want God in our lives? It also says we need God in our lives.
Are there times when you want to walk away? I have those times, times when i don't want God, but i know that i need Him.

You're right that sermons are biased. And i don't agree with a lot of things in sermons. I will usually find atleast something in what someone says that i disagree with.

I'm going by my beliefs.

andrew brown said...

Well that's ok, you did read what I had to say, and I can't convince to to believe anything you don't want to, and don't get me wrong, that wasn't my intention.

But a few things, if you believe what you do, then reading something that offers different ideas shouldn't sway you, if anything, it should prove to you that what you believe is correct. And also, don't take this the wrong way, but you have quite a closed mind, which most Christians tend to, throughout history especially, and closed mindedness is not really a valuable asset, it tends to go hand in hand with pride, in saying 'i am right and there is no chance i am wrong' because you don't then open up to the possibility of the bible or people who know the bible teaching you something that you may not know. you don't know everything, no-one does, and while you have to apply discernment, you can learn a lot from other people.

I am glad you're keen on God either way :D

Rayd said...

I do read a lot of things on opinions that contradict to my own. Your blog for a start. I enjoy reading your blog and i do feel that reading it strengthens my own beliefs, and also at times makes me question them.

I wouldn't say i had a closed mind, but i find it very irritating when people read the Bible in a way it is not meant to be read. When someone reads the Bible they should consider three things; Firstly, what does the Bible say literally today? Secondly, what does the Bible say to the people that it was written to in the time it was written? And Thridly, what does the verse mean in the context of the other verses around it? You get those three things and you know you're not misinterpretting the Bible. An Example of this is creation/evolution. (i don't want to put down beliefs but i don't see how evolution is right at all.) The Bible says God created the world in six days literally. "..evening came, and morning followed--the first day...Evening came, and morning followed--the second day..." and up to the seventh day. That is what the Bible says. What did the first day, the second day, the third day, the fourth day, the fifth day and the sixth day mean to the Jews? Exactly that. the Frist day meant the first day, not the second, not a time period of 10, 000 years, not a billion years. It was one day. They didn't sing "one day in your courts is as a day elsewhere" they sang "one as a thousand elsewhere". The verse says Evening came and morning followed. That's one rotation of the earth. One day. It seems clear to me. The world took Six days.

So if not comforming to the beliefs of today by distorting the Word of God into what people find easier to believe and creates less debates and arguements, then yes i am closed minded.

andrew brown said...

But if you say you read the bible in context, then you must also realise what the bible is. It's a history of God and Man they way God wanted it, and nothing else, what the bible says about creation is a side issue, people can be free to interperet it how they want, in parts like that, because it's not written as a historical artifact. No you don't have to accept worldly things, but also don't take every aspect of it as literal meanings, because it wasn't written for that purpose.

Sharyn said...

Oh I wasn't saying anything about how a person SHOULD read the bible, I just thought it might be useful to YOU. And I didn't mean that you should read it without trying to get anything out of it or studying it. There are lots of ways to study the Bible. I just meant you could try approaching it without looking at the detail, rather the larger themes.

Rayd said...

"This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life." Psalm 119:50

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105

So the Bible is only the history of God and man the way God wanted it?
Friend, the Bible is everything. In it is the most truthful history to Mankind. There are no side issues with the Bible, everything in it is important and i don't think there is any verse that should be overlooked because it doesn't seem logical and therefore people endevour to change its meaning to make it make more sense to them. The Bible doesn't lie, truth can't lie. The Bible is God's Holy and Unchanging Word. Unchanging; it meant the same as it did when He first inspired someone to write it down. You're right that not everything should be taken literally; Jesus used heaps of metaphors. But it doesn't mean you can change the Bible to make it say anything you want. Otherwise what good is truth when its interpretted as a lie?

andrew brown said...

I never said 'only' but I guess I somewhat implied it, I never meant to say that's all it is, but what it is. Man and God. All those things you say don't contradict what I say. What I meant to say anyway

Sharyn said...

Ah, but you CAN change the bible to say whatever you want. Its just words, and words can be made to say ANYTHING. Read a gossip mag lately? You'll see what I mean.