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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Is Calvinism the Faith that was once delivered to the saints?

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crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Quote:
I have to agree with the brother that started this post. Calvinism is out right heresy.



Is it now?

I lost a whole reply that was partially in response to Jim's "consistent Calvinism" ...

The gist of it this ... Think how easy it is to lump a Spurgeon, a Mueller, Newton, Mathew Henry, even a contemporary such as Paul Washer into this convenient stew and never once think of the possibility that you are misrepresenting them. That ought to give you and anyone pause to consider at the least.

I am neither of a mindset of one or the other of these constructs, but to watch these misrepresentations go on unchecked ... there is a certain flippancy and arrogance that is summed up in that old adage about attacking that which you do not fully understand. There are as many varieties in "Calvinism" as there are "Calvinists" - from the moderate to the 'hyper'... From a Newton who grasped the differences and yet was still able to bridge the camps while maintaining his particular [i]Calvinism[/i].

There is a book mentioned here earlier if anyone is up to the challenge, but I am more convinced that some prefer argument over understanding.

John Pipers biographical series is another wonderful extrapolation of many of these men, was just listening to it again over the weekend.

Bottom line, if you are going to do this please get your facts straight and do not put words into their mouths in place of them.


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Mike Balog

 2009/7/27 9:04Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
The only measure of correct doctrine is the Bible and I mean the whole Bible not just a few select passages of scripture.


Amen, and this is exactly how scores of well-meaning men, genuinely saved and smarter and better than you or I have come to their conclusions, be it for Arminianism or Calvinsim. I am under the impression that so much of our criticism stems from hasty misunderstandings of each other's beliefs. It's amazing what can happen if you really just sit down and unbiasedly open your heart to God regarding these terse theological landmines. I heard it for years that Finney was the enemy, that Wesley was the enemy, that Calvinism is heresy, ad nauseum. Instead of embracing our allies in the fight against darkness, we have broken off and waged war with each other. Brethren, this is nothing more than spiritual fratricide. If God has enlisted a man to fight, who then am I to question his enlistment choices? If the power of God is behind a certain Christian belief system - though it may wear a slightly different uniform from the one I'm wearing - who then am I to reject a resource which my Captain has sanctioned as needful? Oh brethren, I pay we can see this. Though our uniforms may be different in certain areas, indeed we are all branded with the same unit patch over our hearts and sleeves and we all use the same armor and weaponry.

Have you heard the story of when the Nazi troops invaded the Ukraine? Stalin ordered the civilian villagers to put on Russian army uniforms and then advanced them out unarmed to meet the Germans. Of course, the villagers were instantly decimated, mowed down by machine guns and mortars. The Germans thought the villagers were enemy soldiers moving on the aggressive. Stalin's idea was to get the Germans to deplete all their ammo on a decoy army so that when the [i]real[/i] Russian army (which was advancing behind the villagers) reached them, they would be fatigued and spent.

I sometimes think we fall for the same ploy.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2009/7/27 11:35Profile
elected
Member



Joined: 2004/11/21
Posts: 362
Tulsa OK

 Re:

Quote:

Quote:
I heard it for years that Finney was the enemy, that Wesley was the enemy, that Calvinism is heresy, ad nauseum. Instead of embracing our allies in the fight against darkness, we have broken off and waged war with each other.



That's so true. One thing i really dont grasp, if someone is a spiritual & mature christian, how can he come to such wrong conclusions as to call men of God heretics be they calvinists or arminians ? Paul said to test the spirits if they were from God, and who can deny the godliness and sanctity of christians like David Brainerd, Robert Murrey M'Cheyne or John Fletcher and Charles Finney? Oh yeah, it will be hard to find a dark spot in their character, and since we are discoussing theology, im sure that they hold on to some nonessessial errors and i can prove it to you from bible if it was nessecary.

In our narrowness of doctrine and biased interpretation of scriptures that brings us to bshallow conclusions to call heretics men of God who were very orthodox in the gosple and the apostolic creed.

I have learned one thing from my experience that whatever christian school of thought you belong to, you will never exhaust the truths of the scriptures or the infinite riches of Jesus Christ. From the Reformation till now, God has been rediscovering the doctrines of justificaion by faith, election by grace,sanctification by faith,baptism with the Holy Ghost( or filling with Holy Spirit),the 2nd comming of Christ, the restoration of supernatural gifts ect.

Despite so much advance in bible knowledge recovered from different denominations and men of God, many of us still hold firm to the conviction that my school of thought or my theological system is the best. Well, there is no perfect theological system or school of thought that i am aware of, tha can exhaust the mysteries of the gosple or the doctrines of Scriptures. God and his Word are not bound by methods or systems, the truth of God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God's principles never change.

Gods judgments our past finding out and who can understand his ways? His attributes or perfetions we will never grasp completly with a finite mind its impossible. If you are a spiritual man you will have the mind of Christ but you will not know all the mysteries of the gosple.

My point is that we need to see the whole picture of the bible and not to over emphasize one truth to the neglect of another. Im not a theologian or man of great spiritual understanding but one thing i know that the greates thing is LOVE. It is love the fruit of the Spirit that makes us Christ like and enlarges our hearts to fellowship with our brothers and sisters of different convictions but who love and believe the same Jesus that we do.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free, note it does not say you shall know the doctrine and the doctrine shall make you free. Truth is a Person, truth is Jesus not an orthodox idea not a theological system. You can't put God in a box, may be in you mind you may have unware "limited" Him but in reality he lives in unapproachable light.

We can't exhaust his knowledge but we can know by experience his love in Christ. Bottom live we need much charity in our theological convictions.
As long as you believe and hold firm to the gosple of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures you are my bro & sis, a member of the organic body of Christ. What we lack more than anything is HUMILITY in our heart, one of the reasons why we have so many devisions & denominations in our midts is PRIDE and PREJUDICE.

You can have amasing revelations from God and his Word but remember if thats the case you need sometimes like Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep you humble. It was Paul who said, "knowledge puffs you up but love builds ou up" and i think you knew a big deal about God.

Blessings,

Redi









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Redi

 2009/7/27 13:31Profile
ceedub
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Joined: 2009/5/1
Posts: 215
Canada

 Re:

Very well said (PaulWest). You're a gifted communicator no doubt.

Is it safe to say that we all, as christians, are either too hasty at times, or have trouble discerning a 'Ukraine citizen' from a wolf in our midst?

Maybe that would be a good post to go along with the 'divisive debate' thread.

What do you do when soldiers of the 'enemy uniform' or a different uniform are marching towards you? Shoot first and avoid a percieved pending disaster, embrace them without conflict or find a way to know their true intent and position?

any words from Paul or crsschk?

 2009/7/27 13:32Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
What do you do when soldiers of the 'enemy uniform' or a different uniform are marching towards you? Shoot first and avoid a percieved pending disaster, embrace them without conflict or find a way to know their true intent and position?


Great thought. If you are right with God, the Holy Spirit will give you discernment in these matters. God is our protector, our shield, our weapon, our intelligence, our radar, our sonar. All we have - our entire life - is in Christ, if we have learnt the secret of abiding. Jesus Christ, the Captain of our Salvation, never sends His soldiers into unknown territory, and never compels His troops to engage an enemy that He Himself hasn't first identified as genuine.

Much of the camp fighting here is caused by the breaking of rank. We get ideas in our heads from the influence of other AWOL "worldy entangled" soldiers, and in our zeal, we join-up to fight a rogue cause. Ammo is spent on unlawful tagets. But there are no commendation metals for shooting a bullseye through friendly fire. Once we break rank and train our own sights on whom we perceive as enemies, God ceases to honor our campaigns with His divine authority and unction. That is why you've never read an unction-filled rebuke to either Calvinism and Arminianism in these forums. All they do is engender strife, ill-feelings, grudges, and end up causing the thread to be locked. When will we learn?

But the brother or sister who has been humbled and broken and made to focus on their own walk and the contents of their own hearts will quickly depart from these futile AWOL campaigns and join again the ranks that are beneath the authority and blessing of their Captain. This is what I strive to do in these forums with all my heart, and I believe God is pleased when soldiers under the same flag can break bread in peace despite their differences in uniform. Yes, we have a foe, but it is not Finney or John Wesley or Charles Spurgeon, or the Puritans. It is not Calvin or Arminius. These guys are on [i]our[/i] side, they are troops in other attachments, just like Australia and Britian are joined with the US in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. If you are a US soldier, don't worry about the details of your commrade's unform, or his strange accent or what calibre of bullet his machine gun fires. [i]You[/i] fight the good fight of faith beneath the coalition Christ has placed you, and thank God for the dear brother who has your back in the foxhole.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2009/7/27 13:56Profile
hmmhmm
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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
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 Re:

An older brother i know shared in one meeting he had attended an "Israel-conference" where there where all sorts off denominations and different doctrinal churches attending, some who would never hold a meeting together or have fellowship because their doctrine is so different, but what God said to him personally was, how come you all can unite in Israels name? and not in Jesus name?

and i thought it is worth pondering, the more correct doctrine we have or believe we have, the more patience we should have towards those we think are wrong in their doctrine, and as calling something heresy is just to flippant these days, it is a very serious accusation, to say arminians are heretics or arminian based doctrines are heresy or reformed doctrines heresy or those who hold them are heretics is very serious. Some may be persuaded it is so, but for me it is accusing the brethren to be against Gods cause, to be his enemies.

No doubt some calvinist could be in heresy going to far, as some arminian can go to far. For me it goes back and forth, some weeks mans free will is so clear to me and i marvel someone even can doubt it, other times Gods sovereignty is so strong and near to me i marvel that man can not even take credit for one single heartbeat or one breath, so to speak.

The dangers today i dont think is calvinism or arminianism, even tho some aspects from both camps to me can "evolve" to dangerous things, there are misconceptions and misunderstandings from both sides, about Gods word about practice etc etc.

What i believe to be a healthy brother or sister is one who believes in the rule of love, upwards and horizontally and believe all is of faith and repentance is the right way to come to God, one who loves to fellowship with other Gods children, one who holds up the word of God as their map to heaven and rule for their life. Who desires in all things ,be it home life or ministry to be guided by the spirit.

If such a brother calls himself a reformed man or a arminian or a baptist a pentecostal or whatever name he choses to go by i can fellowship with him. Myself prefer not to label me anything except a christian, mostly due to the enormous misunderstanding and explanation one has to talk and explain when saying I am a pentecostal" etc, there are so much today that say i am this and i am that that has created a "stamp" on all who might say they belong in a certain group. So personally i have found i am a christian or a follower of Jesus to be the best answer.



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CHRISTIAN

 2009/7/27 14:04Profile
yoadam
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Joined: 2009/2/10
Posts: 97
OREGON

 Re:

Hi everybody. I appreciate a lot of what has been said on this page.

I just want to clarify some things-- not in my defense, (as I said, I already stepped out of the debate within this discussion...), but only for the sake of clarity to those who may have read some of my posts earlier in this discussion...

When I was defending Calvinism earlier throughout the pages of this discussion, I did call Arminianism "heresy", but I did not mean by that as if it is "damnable heresy", but rather, it is error. I believe it is a grievous error, and idolatrous at its roots, but not damnable heresy.

And also as of late, I have learned that not all Arminians today are in fact "classical Arminians" and there is such a thing as "semi-Arminianism", which I believe is inconsistent and logically leads to classical Arminianism, but once again-- I am done debating in this thread. So, I am sorry to all of those who may be holding to some variant of Arminianism which does not exactly agree with Arminius himself or the classical Arminianism of the Remonstrants-- I am sorry for lumping you all together into one bunch.

Adam.


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Adam

 2009/7/28 5:29Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Once delivered

Quote:
I am under the impression that so much of our criticism stems from hasty misunderstandings of each other's beliefs.

I have learned one thing from my experience that whatever christian school of thought you belong to, you will never exhaust the truths of the scriptures or the infinite riches of Jesus Christ.

Yes, we have a foe, but it is not Finney or John Wesley or Charles Spurgeon, or the Puritans. It is not Calvin or Arminius. These guys are on our side ...



And here, so tremendously well put ...

[i]"For me it goes back and forth, some weeks mans free will is so clear to me and i marvel someone even can doubt it, other times Gods sovereignty is so strong and near to me i marvel that man can not even take credit for one single heartbeat or one breath, so to speak."[/i]

What a grand statement, well worth musing on. Somehow I think the crux of the whole argument is borne out of this - [i]Choose a side[/i] is the mantra that is forced upon us, either from the outside or in some way that quite alludes me ... just why it must be so. Over the years here I have attempted to champion that aspect of Almighty God that remains His prerogative, namely those mysteries that all our puny minds combined have not been able to answer sufficiently and hence has the battle raged all these centuries. But brother, you hit on it so squarely ... Read a Finney or Wesley and the emphasis is one way, from [i]that[/i] perspective - Read Spurgeon or Owens or Henry and it's another. But I just do not know how anyone who is truly honest cannot see where these things are not so easily divided into neat and tidy constructs. Is not the very argument itself a continuum of "What about ____"?

In the response that I lost yesterday I took the comment on Acts 13:48 and as is my usual first instinct, wanted to know if that which was been leveled at it (supposedly by Calvinist's) was anywhere near the truth - This jumped out from Mathew Henry in part from the context that it falls under;

[b]Act 13:42-52[/b] -
The design of this story being to vindicate the apostles, especially Paul (as he doth himself at large, Rom. 11), from the reflections of the Jews upon him for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, it is here observed that he proceeded therein with all the caution imaginable, and upon due consideration, of which we have here an instance.

I. There were some of the Jews that were so incensed against the preaching of the gospel, not to the Gentiles, but to themselves, that they would not bear to hear it, but went out of the synagogue while Paul was preaching (Act_13:42), in contempt of him and his doctrine, and to the disturbance of the congregation. It is probable they whispered among themselves, exciting one another to it, and did it by consent. Now this bespoke, 1. An open infidelity, as plain a profession of unbelief as coming to hear the gospel is of faith. They thus publicly avowed their contempt of Christ and of his doctrine and law, were not ashamed, neither could they blush; and they thus endeavoured to beget prejudices in the minds of others against the gospel; they went out to draw others to follow their pernicious ways. 2. An obstinate infidelity. [b][i]They went out of the synagogue, not only to show that they did not believe the gospel, but because they were resolved they would not, and therefore got out of the hearing of those things that had a tendency to convince them. They stopped their ears like the deaf adder. Justly therefore was the gospel taken from them, when they first took themselves from it, and turned themselves out of the church before they were turned out of it. For it is certainly true that God never leaves any till they first leave him.[/i][/b]

This last part that is highlighted, at the time also drew similarities to the other ongoing feud, namely OSAS - But again, this is not anywhere near the fatalism or the mathematical equivalent that A + B therefore [i]must[/i] equal C or that it must necessarily [i]lead[/i] to that conclusion. It is a misrepresentation.

The other thought towards much of this is the 'Straw-man' or round peg in a square hole argument. I think you can just as well take brother hmmmm's statement above and apply it directly to 'eternal security', personally I believe it is very much the wrong question, rather a statement concealed as a question, that one is 'once saved always saved'. Again the endless rounds of 'what abouts' come into play and as brother Paul stated we are once again squaring off, dividing off into this camp or that. It depends on the frame work, it depends on the context, it depends on any number of things, but if the question\statement wasn't stated the way it is in the first place ...

Knowing the tricksters of our own minds that we are, the hardest thing to do sometimes is to divorce what we think we have so rightly understood, even long enough to not look through things without our tainted glasses. We approach with our minds made up, our suspicions intact and then proceed to cherry pick our way through, finding the [i]"Aha's!"[/i] that we expect, the mind is already geared to it. But if we took Zac Poonens approach to the scriptures, extended it to those men of God who have gone before us and read them as if for the very first time, [i]unprejudiced[/i] we would be more than humbled time and again by what many if not most of them really held to, meant and more importantly [i]did not mean[/i] despite the extrapolations of some that would rather paint them into a theological corner than simply try and understand where they are coming from.

There are endless surprises out there due to these misrepresentations. One of these days I hope to live up to an attempt to take excerpts from a variety of these men on either side of the coin, put them all together intentionally [i]unnamed[/i] at the onset and see if it doesn't surprise more than a few at the end to find ... '[i]That was "Finney?"[/i] or "[i]Brook's said that?[/i]" -

Or, you could always read the book mentioned about Newton earlier, it contains much of the same.

It was Spurgeon after all that said "No one has a corner on the truth."


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Mike Balog

 2009/7/28 8:31Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
But if we took Zac Poonens approach to the scriptures, extended it to those men of God who have gone before us and read them as if for the very first time, unprejudiced we would be more than humbled time and again by what many if not most of them really held to, meant and more importantly did not mean despite the extrapolations of some that would rather paint them into a theological corner than simply try and understand where they are coming from.


Amen, brother. This is so true and wise.

When Zac Poonen was in Texas a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with him at some length. He knows about SermonIndex and the forum conversations and the different posts that touch upon different subjects. He also knew that Mike and I were moderators in the forum. One of the questions he asked me was what we did as moderators.

What immediately came to mind was censoring the infamous Cal/Arm warfare threads. I told him the vast majority of them have to get shut down because of the spirit that pervades them. I told him that SI was interdenominational and balanced and that we were blessed to have men of God's sermons from all doctrinal persuasions present on the site. Unfortunately however, from time time, people come on the site with doctrinal agenda and seek out polemic warfare in a no-fire zone. I told him about the strife and endless debate these threads bring to the whole community.

I remember him looking down and saying something like, "I don't bother myself with any of that.."

The greatest men of God have learnt this lesson, they have learnt to extricate themselves from the briar patch of doctrinal divisiveness and just preach the living Word of God. And when they do, the hearts of their hearers burn within as they yearn for victory over sin, regardless of their theology or denomination. The theme for the conference was, "A Heavenly Life on Earth", and not once did Cal/Arm come into play.

We've had enough of these threads, discussing these endless topics and debates that engender nothing but further questions and unrest in the participants. The title alone of this thread is bothersome. Please leave these topics at the door of this forum before you come in; please wipe the contamination off your shoes before you enter in here.

This thread is closed, and any other threads that promote a furtherance of this ancient debate will be subsequently closed as well.

Thank you and God bless.

Brother Paul




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Paul Frederick West

 2009/7/28 10:00Profile





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