Am I a calvinist?

Posted: September 21, 2011 in christian living

For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? ~1Corinthians 3:4

I no longer watch sports such as the NFL, but I used to be a huge football fan. I was recently reminded of a rule in football, that when a guy is catching a touchdown pass both of his feet have to be completely in bounds or it is an incomplete pass. So even if one of his toes is on the white boundary line it is an incomplete pass instead of a touchdown. This could be the difference between winning the superbowl and losing.

I was thinking that calvinism is a lot like that… people assume that I am a five point calvinist, but I am not for two reasons. One is because that label promotes carnality in that it often divides the body of Christ by exaggerating theological differences. The second reason is because I believe that the camp has one toe out-of-bounds. It goes ever so subtly and ever so slightly beyond the word of God, and in doing so falls slightly short of conforming to its whole council (as all systematic theologies seem to).

In keeping with the football analogy I view the arminian as the fan in the stands who has his whole body painted blue with “Go Team” written in white letters across his stomach. If you sit next to the guy you will find he really is a dedicated fan, more so than most, and he yells some pretty honest and insightful things about the game. But the guy draws way more attention to himself by his antics than I am comfortable with.

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Comments
  1. ian vincent says:

    I’m of one mind with you bro on this.

    I think the Calv/Armin “dichotomy” is a false dichotomy bcos it is the words of Scripture alone which should be the basis of our faith, and then it follows, the basis of our understanding and our discussions.

    Meaning, the Kingdom way is to discuss the actual meaning of the words of Scripture.

    Election and Predestinaton are Scripture terms so they can be discussed and understood. But when a person calls in the Calv/Armin debate then the discussion is no longer purely on what the Scriptures says, it has been confused with something more than the Scriptures.

    These days i talk in terms of Election or Anti-Election etc..

  2. James says:

    Arminian…not Armenian….:)

  3. fleebabylon says:

    Here is something I once shared with a friend that was getting caught up in “the debate”…

    At a factory where I once worked, there is a $100,000 laser measuring system which is accurate to within 1/100th of a millimeter. For example, it can measure and report the exact diameter of a steel pipe far beyond human ability. Yet they tell me that when the piece being measured is a little bit larger or smaller then what the customer requires, that the plant technician can “lean hard” on the measuring device to the right or the left to make the computer report show an acceptable number.

    So with the most accurate laser measuring system in the world, that is designed simply to tell what something really measures, men can still “lean hard” on the device to influence it in a way that causes it to output the data in a more desirable manner. This is what many Calvinist and Armenians do to the word of God that it may speak to them those things which fit properly into the entirety of their systematic theology.

  4. ian vincent says:

    **No man can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him**:

    and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me. Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is of God, he has seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whosoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

    Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?

    When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them,

    **Does this offend you?**

    What if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who would betray him. And he said,

    **Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.**

    From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
    (John 6:44-66)
    .
    .
    .
    .

    Many are still offended by what Jesus said here, that no man can come unto Him except the Father draw him.

    .
    .
    But many also cover their offense by trying to explain that Jesus did not really mean that no one can come to Him except they are drawn.

    That is, they don’t openly object to the statement, but they object in an underhanded way by implying that Jesus surely did not mean what He said.

  5. Tim Prussic says:

    The reasons that 5-pointers (as such) seem not to have the whole counsel is that the 5 points don’t come anywhere near summarizing the whole of the Reformed confession of the Christian faith. Arminianism is (historically and doctrinally) a perversion of the doctrines of God and of humanity. That’s important. It’s a whole foot past the white line!

    • ian vincent says:

      Sorry Ian – accidentaly deleted your comment when I tried to delete my duplicate comment.

      I agree 100% and feel free to repost though!

    • fleebabylon says:

      [deleted duplicate]

    • fleebabylon says:

      My thoughts are similar to Ians. I would give the reformation a 5 out of 10. I am not a big fan of creeds either – at least not in deciding who is a christian. Jesus said that men are known by their fruits, not their creeds. Many dead pharisees have held to the soundest creeds. I dont outright dismiss that their is a place for them though either. Good to hear from even if we disagree Tim.

      -Jim

  6. fleebabylon says:

    “Satan does not care whether he drags you down to hell as a Calvinist or as an Arminian, so long as he can get you there.” – Charles Spurgeon

  7. fleebabylon says:

    Yet, the disputes causing many denominations and the divisions causing many sects are advanced in the name of “bearing testimony for the truth”! The soulish Christian often exaggerates differences, creating a disparity of opinions, resulting in divisions in the church of God.

    Jude testified of the same thing: “These are those who make divisions, soulish, having no spirit” (v. 19). This word refers to unregenerated people. However, the fact that soulish men cause separations is seen among believers also. The characteristic of a soulish believer is that he is often the instigator of separations and rivalry. We are not saying that everyone has to believe the same thing. But the distinction between a spiritual believer and a soulish one is that while the former realizes his differences with others, he will not separate himself from other children of God just because of these differences. But with the latter, a little incompatibility will cause him to separate himself and to reject others.

    -Watchman Nee

    • fleebabylon says:

      ” a little incompatibility will cause him to separate himself and to reject others.”

      Of course those separating will say they are standing for the truth and exaggerate the other sides position to self justify their own carnality in dividing. This spirit is not just seen in the denominations but in those outside the religious beast system too.

      We will all give account to where we drew our lines. It is just as much error to falsely divide the body as it is to falsely unify it (ecumenical) with cults, wolves, etc.

  8. fleebabylon says:

    That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.

    -Charles Spurgeon

  9. fleebabylon says:

    “My son, when you get to college you’re going to find that all of the boys will be gathered in a room discussing and arguing over Arminianism and Calvinism night after night after night. I’ll tell you what to do, Cliff. Go to your room and meet God. At the end of four years you’ll be way down the line and they’ll still be where they started, because greater minds than yours have wrestled with this problem and have not come up with satisfactory conclusions. Instead, learn to know God”

    -AW Tozer

  10. fleebabylon says:

    “God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination, and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, ‘0 Lord, Thou knowest.’ Those things belong to the deep and mysterious profound of God’s omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints.”

    A.W. Tozer

  11. fleebabylon says:

    Someone once wrote to me that:

    ‘Every Christian is a Calvinist whether they admit it or not’

    I responded with this, though I might say it differently now, I still stand by it:

    This is one of the worse things I have ever read on many levels 😦

    You can have your murderer Calvin, and a nice packaged pharisse theology. I would prefer simply to have Jesus.

    Maybe I’ll start a new theological camp and call it “Jiminists” the one point of Jiminism is that Jesus is Lord. So therefore all Christians are Jiminsts… Calvinism and Arminianism are just as stupid. There I said it. (I dont mean that to offend my bretheren whom I love and would invite to my house for dinner if you lived close enough or are ever in the Detroit area). That is simply what I want to say… Calvinism and Arminianism are just as stupid.

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