Camp on TULIP

by BA on February 28, 2006

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.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carl Sieder March 6, 2006 at 21:27

I agree that both sides seem wrong on Biblical grounds. It is all of these logical proofs that each side try to do to prove their point that get confusing, but don’t seem conclusive. Where I think there is a real danger is when Calvinists seem to advocate a work of the Holy Spirit in people’s live independent of the Scriptures. It is the Holy Spirit working through the Scriptures that draws men to God and it has to be a legitimate invitation for all to come or God is really some kind of deceiver.

Thanks for your comments. I was beginning to think I was the only one in the middle. cs


2 Bev Parks April 17, 2006 at 11:48

Hey, I’m glad I found this blog! I’m also neither calvinist nor arminian (though if forced to say to which side I lean, it would be arminian).

AMDG wrote: 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.

Why does it seem that people assume that God being 100% sovereign means that he controls every little thing we do? Being sovereign certainly means that He CAN and WILL if he deems it necessary.

If God’s sovereignity means that he controls and causes every little thing, right down to our own thoughts (is that hyper-calvinism?), then there are no miracles. Either everything is a miracle or nothing is. Just a thought; it may be wrong.

AMDG wrote: The more you study the scripture, the more you realize you may not know as much as you thought you did.

So true! I’ve said the same thing to myself: “The more I study, the less I realize I know.”


3 BA April 17, 2006 at 15:14


The reason is that God does control every little detail. There isn’t any language in the scripture that suggests He “can” or He “will if necessary”. However, there is an overwhelming amount of scripture that shows that He “does”.

I would not call that hyper-calvnism though. IMO hyper-calvinism is saying that free-will doesn’t exist. The fact of the matter is…both realities exist even if it that doesn’t seem “logical”.

The key to understanding all this is Paul’s answer to the Romans. Our response (and stance) on the issue should be just as Paul’s was.

The human objection is a “logical” one. If God’s will is always done…then why/how can God find fault in me (or anyone else)? Everyone does just as God wills it. The problem is that the answer doesn’t come in the form of “this is why (and how)”. It comes in the form of, “how can you being but a man, question God”.

Romans 9:19-20 ISV
(19) You may ask me, “Then why does God still find fault with anybody? For who can resist his will?”
(20) On the contrary, who are you-mere man that you are-to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this?”

I personally don’t think this will ever be understood while we are bound by time in the flesh. However, I can say with confidence that both realities are true because the scripture teaches it.

In addition, I think the general tone of the scripture is that of free-will so that is important to keep in mind. However, we should never minimize God’s sovereignty just because of anthropomorphism in the scripture and/or the fact that it doesn’t sync up with our “logic” (or it doesn’t make sense). On that same token, we shouldn’t invent/teach false doctrine that God is a “hands off” God and only intervenes sometimes while everything else operates on its own.

IMO it is better to look like a schizophrenic (by man’s logic) and have God’s scripture on your side than it is to make things sound/look logical to man but not have the scripture on your side (or only some scripture on your side). :)



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