Monday, April 4, 2011

In Defense of Calvinism

I dislike the term Calvinist.  I don’t like that some people would be quicker to call themselves a Calvinist then a Christian.  But I do firmly believe in what Calvinism stands for and by that I would technically be a Calvinist.  Following is my reasoning of why I believe what I do.  I hope it is to your benefit.

Calvinism is wrapped up in five points called the T.U.L.I.P.  Total Depravity.  Unconditional Election.  Limited Atonement.  Irresistible Grace.  Perseverance of the Saints.


Mark 7:20-23  "And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."  Matt. 7:17, "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit." 
Both of these verses are from Jesus’ ministry.  Humans are naturally sinful.  We know no other.  That is the essence of total depravity.  Apart from God we would continue living our sinful lives without a second thought.  Without a glance in the other direction.  There is no way on earth we could earn our salvation.  We are sinners from the instant we enter the world.

John 6:44, "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:65, "And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father."  Mark 4:10-12, "And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven."   Matt. 11:27, "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." John 6:38-40, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
God does not choose the individual’s He elects on anything they do.  He chooses them from ‘the kind intention of His will’.  He does not look into who will choose Him in the future and think to Himself well, since they’ll choose me, I’m just going to predestine them.  That way I’m doing it first!  Ha, that’ll show them my power.  Well, God wouldn’t talk like that, but the point remains, God isn’t the lower being in this scenario.  Imagine a child coming up to his parents and saying that he chose to be a part of their family, not the other way around.  A little backwards?  Yeah.  Unconditional election.

John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."   John 10:26, "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep."  Matt. 25:32, "And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left."
This is what people hate to consider.  Did Jesus really die for everyone?  Nope.  Sorry to break it to you, but he didn’t.  He died for the elect.  People will throw out verses such as Romans 5:8-“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” but not completely understanding the context of the verse.  The elect were sinners, too.  Matthew 25:32 (above) and John 10:11 (above) both speaks of Christ dying for the sheep.  It says nothing about Him dying for the goats.

Matt. 4:19, "And He *said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20 And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him."  Matt. 9:9, "And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He *said to him, “Follow Me!” And he rose, and followed Him." 
Irresistible grace.  You can’t resist God.  Once He draws you, you’re coming whether you like it or not.  But you will like it, because He’s the Lord and his majesty is ever flowing.  The big problem people have with this is free will.  It’s your choice to refuse or accept God, isn’t it?  I don’t think so, buddy.  That’s a topic for another time right there.

John 6:38-40, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  John 10:27-28, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand."

There’s not an ounce of doubt in my mind that I can ever lose my salvation.  Perseverance of the saints states that if you were truly saved by the grace of God, you will never lose your salvation.  No matter how many rules you break, you’re a child of God, and He’s not letting go.


Feel free to comment, I'd love to discuss any of these topics with you, but let's keep things clean guys.

6 comments:

Jake said...

Well, I disagree. ;) Haha.

Firstly, I really don't like the phrase "Jesus died for us." You said that Jesus died for the sheep--well, technically, He died for His glory. He died, so that the Father might be glorified by saving us. So, yes, He died for us--because it glorified the Father. Just some clarification there. :) However, I probably disagree with the whole Jesus-died-for-the-sheep thing. >_> I'll have to see.

You're coming whether you like it or not? o_O Er...didn't they choose to go? Or did they not? The Scripture you quoted doesn't make that clear.

Anyway, not really trying to get into an intense debate here... :)

Seth said...

Nope, they didn't choose to go. Both verses I quoted had no signs of resistance. They were called by God and went, no questions asked. God chose them. Not the other way around.

'Firstly, I really don't like the phrase "Jesus died for us."' How come? It's right out of the Bible, so take that up with God, not me lol.
Think about it in the context Jake, I'm talking about whose sins Jesus was dying to redeem, not any other reasons He was crucified.
The sheep 'thing' was simply taking Scripture and seeing what it inheritantly means, which is simply the fact that the sheep were God's elect and the goats were all else. Jesus died for the sheep, not the goats. John 10:11 and Matthew 25:32.

A.W. said...

Totally with you on this. Calvinism is just another name for the Gospel.

--A.W.

Jake said...

What I meant by that ("that" meaning the whole I-don't-like-that-phrase thing), Seth, is not clear enough to put into a comment. I'm dropping it for now. :)

Actually, Seth, it's ambiguous. It doesn't say that they went without choosing to. Nor does it say that they chose to. I'm just saying, it's not really a legitimate source to use for your reasoning. :)

John 10:11, if you look at the context, means sheep in general are humans in general. "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture." Note the whoever. That verse was two verses before.

Matthew 25:32 merely says He separates the goats from the sheep. Not that he died for one and not the other.

A.W., I disagree. Calvinism is NOT the Gospel. :P But I'm leaving it at that.

Seth, I'm going to see what you say in reply to what I said, and then I shall probably leave this conversation.

Seth said...

First of all, Jake, don't raise your digital voice ;) haha

Second of all...

“And they IMMEDIATELY (capitalized for emphasis, not yelling lol) left”. Immediately indicates that they did it without any resistance or considering/thinking. They couldn’t resist.
I have to apologize. I worded it in a way it shouldn’t have been worded. “Whether you like it or not” is not accurate. You would like it, you won’t want to resist.

Not sure where you got that translation, or was it a different verse? Either way, it is quite clear there are those that are sheep and those that are goats. Why would the Bible make mention of a difference between goats and sheep if there was none? John 10:26, "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep." Who are not His sheep? Those He didn’t predestine and whose sins He didn’t redeem on the cross.

Matthew 25:32 merely says He separates the goats from the sheep. Not that he died for one and not the other.

See above…

Seth,

Jake said...

I wasn't raising my digital voice. ;) Emphasis. Caps in place of italics. But I said NOT in caps because I strongly disagree.

Seth, now the passage is up to interpretation. Immediately to you means they did it without resistance or thinking about it. However, I see it differently. I can make choices immediately: things I know I must do I do immediately. Eating. Drinking. In the same way, I see the 'immediately' in there as this: when they heard Jesus call them, they KNEW that it was the right decision, and chose immediately. But it was still a choice.

The translation is NIV: however, I'm not sure what you're replying to there. Mind clarifying?

"Why would the Bible make mention of a difference between goats and sheep if there was none?" Well, there's a bit of an equivocation here. You, Seth, see the sheep referred to in Jesus' parables as all the same: not goats. However, sheep may not be 'sheep' in the same sense as that passage with the sheep and goats. Jesus is a lion, but so is Satan: are they one and the same, both being referred to as lions in the Bible? Of course not! In the same way, is it not plausible that the sheep in the John 10 passage are NOT (emphasis, not yelling) the same sheep in the sheep and goats parable? There is no reference to goats in this passage.

If this is true, and the sheep referred to in this passage are indeed all people, then this verse [John 10:9, from the same sheep passage] contradicts your interpretation: "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." That's NASB, by the way. Note the ANYONE.

"John 10:26, "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep." Who are not His sheep? Those He didn’t predestine and whose sins He didn’t redeem on the cross."

Well, Seth, they're still sheep, they just aren't HIS sheep. :P And He died for the sheep, according to an earlier verse in this chapter.