Friday, October 15, 2010
Did I Choose God Or Did God Choose Me? The Recent Calvinist VS Arminian Debate
There is a unnerving debate going on right now. You may have heard a little about it, it is the old “Calvinism VS Arminianism” debate. Actually it has been escalated from debate to all out “you sere a different god than I do, a different jesus than I do”. So, I am perplexed. I am actually feeling pain from this as it is a strong tactic of the enemy to cause division among the brethren.
If you read over my posts here, you will probably be hard pressed to say which you would call me – an Arminian or a Calvinist. I simply call myself a Christian, although I do have scriptural basis for the actual “structure” of my soteriology. I am not about to go into that here, but want to start by saying that I have dear Arminian brothers and sisters and I have dear Calvinist brothers and sisters.
So what is the big deal then? Why does it matter if you either or neither of these? I don't think it really does matter, other than having a wrong view of the condition that man is in and what, if any, ability God has allowed or disallowed of Himself in the salvation process. I honestly believe people from each camp are going to be very surprised in heaven when they see or do not see certain people. I think that is why we are not to judge superficially and instead make our judgments based on the adherence to God's Word. One thing that should not be happening is exactly what has happened – saying the other structure is going to hell.
I think the current debate/ misinformation is actually the common misunderstand of what Calvinists actually believe. Mark Cahill has the common view that all Calvinists are actually Hyper-Calvinists, which is simply untrue. He has a caricature view of that view, possibly because he holds a wrong view of God and/ or humanity. There are also Hyper-Arminians around as well, but for the most part they are actually Pelagian or Semipelagian in their soteriology. I would even venture to say that most “churches” today are actually Pelagian in nature and neither Calvinistic of Arminian in their views of salvation.
So, what is a person to do? Do we say we are of Calvin or of Arminius? Not at all, just as Paul told the Corinthian church not to say they were of him or Appolos (1 Corinthians 3:1-16). What should be happening now is a searching of scripture, a study of the teachings of Christ and the Apostles and of the Old Testament Saints. We (modern Christianity) put too much stock in men's words and do not compare them to what God has revealed to us in His Word. That is the main reason we have so much heresy rampant these days. People are lax in their discernment and give ear to the many false teachers out there today.
I am not discounting true men of God and their work in the furtherance of the Kingdom. God has given us men that have a love and a passion for His Word and that same love for exposition of His Word. There are many authors and preachers alive today that God has gifted as true voices to a dying world. There are also many great saints of past that who had the same gifts from God. I will say that these men will also tell you that their words are not authoritative without their adherence to scripture. God has given these men to help us, to teach us and to help guide us along the path to His righteousness. I can also say without flinching that these authors and preachers will tell you to search the scriptures yourself, that anything they say or write has to come under the scrutiny of scripture, to the fullest extent. Do not take anyone at their word alone, ever, when it comes to teaching on the character and holiness of God.
I want to close by saying that I was brought up with a distorted view of God. I was taught many things in my youth that I question today, things that molded my view into a very un-powerful god. My views were like most of the professing Christians today. I had created a god in my mind that allowed many things, that overlooked many things and that was going to let me into His Kingdom just because I had mumbled and agreed to a few points when I was 8 years old. Only when I actually saw my standing before the most Holy God was I able to truly repent and turn from my sins and to that Holy God for my salvation. Did I choose Him or did He choose me? That is the question of the day. Better yet, was I able to choose Him would be the proper question.
Please examine scripture to see what God has to say about salvation, His will, His power, His Kingdom, His Word, His holiness, His worth, His demands, His love, His judgment, His world. It is all His and He has allowed us to be a part. How awesome is that? That the God that created the universe, has allowed us communion with Him? How awesome is it that we, as sinful creatures, are able to enter into His presence because of our Mediator, Christ Jesus. Why? Because He loves us.