Saturday, December 8, 2007

Calvinism vs Arminianism

First, a few random observations:

This battleground is noted more for emotion than intellect. Otherwise Godly people seem to think it's OK to ditch any pretense of Christian charity and brotherly love when engaging on this subject.

Some of the most outspoken critics of Arminianism 1.) do not have a clear idea of what Arminians really believe and, 2.) Cannot spell Arminian and do grave injustice to the people of Armenia. (It's really tough for me to take seriously someone who wants to discourse on a subject they can't even spell correctly)

Entirely too many "critics" of calvinist theology cannot, do not, and/or will not make any distinction between hyper-calvinism, classical calvinism, and what I call "Baptist calvinism"--rather, they lump them all together and push them off to perdition. Like many critics of Arminianism, lots of these folks don't have a clue what calvinists really believe--they just know it's bad because someone told them it was.

There are several "streams" of theology in the calvinist camp. Mike Hess blogged on these recently here

Though I have a foot in several of those streams, I guess I fit best into what Mike calls the Young Fundamentalist group....which is funny in that I am far from young! I felt particularly comfortable with his statement on dispensationalism:

"do not take the Scofield/Chafer route of dichotomizing the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven but would still see a distinction between the Church and Israel."

I am also comfortable with the Reformed stream and the Fundamentalist stream with regard to the Ten Commandments and Sabbatarianism, which is contrary to the position of John MacArthur and my own church (which is mostly in Group #6 with some #5 and #2) I don't think it's anything to have a stroke over. I just cannot swallow thinking that, in effect, says: God gave 10 Commandments. 9 of them are applicable today, are part of His Moral Law; but the Fourth Commandment is just "ceremonial law" and has no standing in the Age of Grace. How can anyone say that?

On the subject of Arminianism, my blogging friend and brother in Christ, Billy Birch has put together a treasure trove of studies on classical arminianism. You can find it here.

If one is going to be opposed to arminianism, he should study it and know what it is he's opposing! Brother Birch and I are poles apart theologically but get along nicely. These acid-tossing brawls on this topic are a disgrace to the cause of Christ; both sides need to demonstrate more civility and grace.


Tim said...


As soon as I get myself figured out about Calvinism....I have to work on Covenant or dispensational Theology :D

Ed Franklin said...

One thing about that, Tim, is that dispensationalism is a "big tent"--lots of room to move around. You needn't be strapped into the old Scofield stuff; other views within dispensationalism have much validity in Scripture.

S.J. Walker said...

That's true Tim, don't despair! :)