Today's topic is Calvinism. It's a rather difficult and broad one. But I think we can break down and discuss some of it's elements, and hopefully get a better grasp on the concept in the process.
In order to have the most interesting and engaging conversation possible, I'm not going to google search anything about this topic for now. In the follow-up responses by anybody, we can do some research. But for now, I'm just writing from the heart.
First, I'd like to break apart the idea of being predestined (or foreordained) for salvation from the idea of having all of our daily actions being predetermined. I think this is one sticking point, or possible misunderstanding, about Calvinism. We can discuss both of these things, but the most important (and interesting, in my opinion) is the salvation issue.
Not all Calvinists like this acrostic, but it's helpful - TULIP.
T - total depravity of man
U - unconditional election
L - limited atonement
I - irresistable grace
P - perseverance of the saints
(OK, I googled that cause I usually get the U wrong)
Some christians say they're 3 or 4 point Calvinists. Usually the L and I are the 2 debated points.
Obviously, if antonement is limited (the L), Christ didn't die for all people. But personally, I think Calvinism is proved, or disproved, by I. Is God's call 'irresistible'? Does man have the option to resist? Calvinists would say that once God has regenerated a soul, that soul willingly accepts God's offer of salvation. In other words, the question isn't CAN man resist, there simply is no desire TO resist. Yet we often hear this idea that Christ is 'knocking'. Won't you open the door? Will you reject Him? Or we may have heard people say, 'I felt God tugging at my heart, but I just didn't want to respond'. That doesn't sound too irresistible. Or was it merely human emotion at work?
Most baptists I know are reluctant to identify themselves with Calvinism (or sometimes the word Reformed is used). However, we also can't ignore the many references in the bible to the elect, the chosen, the predestined, the foreordained, and so on.
Calvinism is heavy on God's sovereignty in saving us, and I think that's a good thing. Some complain that it would necessarily minimize evangelism due to the elect being secure - regardless of whether or not you and I witness to them.
These are just a few points to raise. What are your thoughts?
It's obviously becoming a very big topic in the Baptist church today.
In fact, the Kentucky Baptist Convention is sponsoring an all-day conference August 4th at Crestwood Baptist Church entitled 'Calvinism: Concerned, Confused or Curious. Cost $45.I'm signed up.
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