Friday, October 24, 2014

Being gracious to each other

We had our first bible study on TULIP in CG today, beginning with Total Depravity of which I manage to correct some common misunderstanding about Arminianism, particularly the one where they equate it with Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism, and to state that Classical Arminians do not believe in self-salvation. And we do believe in Total Depravity, God's Sovereignty and grace but differently from Calvinists.

I am not a person who like to argue or debate but I have made it a point to read about both sides, and my next read will be Michael Horton's For Calvinism.

I only wish I am given the same respect as I believe I am giving. I like what this Calvinist say in Calvinists Sometimes Make the Worst Calvinists.

And of course I can say the same about Arminians, that Arminians sometimes make the worst Arminians.

We all need to be gracious to one another, as long as we both hold on to the Gospel of the cross of Christ.



  1. Theologically I like Wesley more than Calvin. I do wonder though, if we are made in the image of God then why not accept the choice part of our creation?

  2. My experience with Arminianism probably is the worst one. With them, I found that they emphasise human works a lot to a degree where they are willing to compromise with the Scripture for pragmatism in Christian ministry.

    Anyway, I have read For Calvanism and Against Calvinism. Unfortunately, I have found disappointment with the latter where it addresses hyper Calvinism rather than dealing with Horton's position....moderate Calvinism. Maybe it's good to hear what you have and thoughts are on this matter.

  3. Hi KC, exactly :) My understanding of us being made in his likeness, we are given the "choice part" as you call it. But I suppose Calvinists felt it reduces the sovereignty of God but Arminians having a different definition of sovereignty will say it is not a problem, since the ability to decide is God-given anyway, via grace, and that God in his sovereignty chooses to self-limit himself in his all-surpassing wisdom and mystery.

  4. Hi Chee Keat,
    Can I find out if you are Arminian or Calvinist? From your comments, I gather you are a Calvinist. Either that or you are a frustrated Arminian :) I suppose your experience with Arminians were bad because from what I can see, they may not even be Arminians because real and true Arminians who holds on to Classical Arminianism will never compromise with Scripture and fall to being Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian, where free-will is a humanistic one rather the preferred evangelical one. I do not hold on to humanistic free-will but a evangelical one -- our free-will is only possible through God's enabling prevenient grace and what we decide to receive from him is a gift and in no way will that fall under something we an attribute to our goodness for we are totally depraved as stated in Rom 3. Anyway, Arminianism is not Semi-Pelagian or Pelagian where most tend to equate them.

    I have yet to read For Calvinism and I will probably respond to you again especially since you mentioned Olson did not addressed Horton's position. I find Olson's treatment fair in that he addressed what TULIP actually stands for. If he were to address "moderate" Calvinism, it would be tough as there are so many shades to it that I find the term "moderate" very fuzzy. I was communicating with a friend on his stand of Calvinism and used the word "moderate" on him and he wasn't so pleased, but from what he shared, he is not hyper either. So what is moderate Calvinism? As such, Olson can only treat TULIP as it is meant to be, in its logical sense, as he quoted many Calvinists who stands by it anyway.

  5. Pearlie, I am a Calvinist. It seems Arminianism has its own different shades as well. Kenneth Collins (author on Theology of John Wesley) would say that God will enable one to have a free will to choose good and evil through his prevenient grace. He's saying that after receiving God's grace, our ability to choose to do good is restored. Therefore, we have the ability to do good post salvation. [Not sure this is what you are trying to say that Arminian biblical free-will. Whereas, Calvinist would say, even we are saved by his grace, we are still not able to choose to do good in our sanctification. We are unable to choose to do good. It is only when we place our trust on God's word and God's Spirit, He will be the one who can drive us to do good. Not sure you can see the different. I tend to agree with the latter as my experiences tells me so. Honestly, in my sanctification, I find myself is still unable in to do good. It's only when I beg God's Spirit to help me, I'm able to do so.

    On this premise, I feel that Arminian has a strong emphasis on the ability of men because their free-will is restored. As a result it has a high tendency to alleviate the human's ability and human's works to work out their sanctification. Hence, it has a tendency to fall into human pride. I think this is the result of those pastors I work with who claims to hold on Arminianism. The sense of human pride is very strong. Whereas, people who confess they are Calvinists, not the hyper ones, I find that they are more humble and willing to admit wrong and willing to rely on Scripture more.

    Besides that, I find it difficult to see the possibility of losing one's Salvation under Arminian paradigm is biblical. This is especially when it makes our salvation become insecure and hence, justification by Faith alone is insufficient.

  6. Always amazed how God gave humans dominion over the earth. In that respect he ceded a bit of his sovereignty. Regarding choice, it amazes me how much folks emphasize human's bad choices and gloss over the good choices. It is like a global self-loathing that chooses to see the worst in humans. Perhaps we have bought into the idea that we are no longer made in the image of God?