The last three or four posts at CAMPONTHIS have been on calvinism vs arminianism (TULIP). This is the great debate that will continue to rage on until the end of time but I did want to comment.
First off, I don’t consider myself to be a calvinist nor do I consider myself to be an arminian (though at times in my life I called myself by each)…I consider myself a Christian (follower of Christ) and that is all.
A few general comments about both sides…these are very general and by no means are they meant to be sweeping…I think there are excellent Christian teachers with good doctrine on both sides of the argument. Now on to the stuff that will make people mad.
It seems many calvists are elitists. They seem to think that they have somehow received some scriptural enlightenment that a non-calvinist could never attain. They seem to think that calvinism is the ultimate understanding (be all and end all) of the scripture. I suppose when they reach the next level they will understand that they are wrong.
Arminians, on the other hand, try to be too logical and rely too heavily on their feelings and what “they” think is right. If it doesn’t make sense to them then it can’t be. God must conform to their “feelings” and judgements on right and wrong.
Many people come into the Christian world as arminians or through arminian channels. I think the general progression may be for arminians to become calvinists (or partial)…the problem is that many people stop there…and all of a sudden they think they have reached the pinnacle of understanding since they have come from arminianism into calvinsim (sometimes kicking and screaming at first)…they view calvinism as the meat and armininism as the milk.
Keeping with the analogy above…the truth is…if arminianism is the milk, then calvinism is the baby food (cereal) and calvinsists won’t understand that until they are eating solid foods and eventually meat.
The debate will rage on I’m sure, however, the cool thing is that we will see both our arminian and our calvinist brothers in heaven…because it is not whether you hold to the Canons of Dort or the Arminian Articles of Remonstrance or any mix and match thereof…it is whether you trust in Christ as your Savior (and serve Him).
Since I didn’t really go into any doctrine on the subject…allow me to violate your conscience and leave you with this.
- Christ died for the sins of the world –that is, everyone. (and the arminians say woohoo)
- Only the elect will be saved –those whom the Father calls. (and the calvinists say woohoo)
- …and the clincher…Both of these statements are 100% true, there is no second step, no matter how much it violates your reasoning or your finite little mind. (and they both say boo)
While I’m at it I might as well throw this one out there too…
- Man has 100% free will.
- God is 100% soveriegn over everything (every little detail).
- …and the crowd cries, “That isn’t possible!”…bzzzt wrong answer.
When you start to reconcile the ideas above (that is, when you start to conform your mind to them instead of trying to conform them to your understanding) you are starting to eat more solid foods. The thing is, once you start to eat more solid foods, you will find that the amount (types) of solid food can be overwhelming…it isn’t just milk (one choice) or baby food/cereal (a few choices) anymore… The more you study the scripture, the more you realize you may not know as much as you thought you did.