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ARMINIAN: One who follows the theological mindset of Jacob Arminius: The Arminian's main focus is the great mystery: He cannot reconcile the two truths that God is sovreign and yet that he holds man responsible for the results of his decisions. Based on a purely humanistic and logic based reasoning, the Arminian disgards and explains away any scripture that does not make sense in light of his understanding of God and man. He understands that God holds man responsible for his acts, thefore he limits and disgards in some regards, the sovreignty of God in ALL things.

Edwin H. Palmer in his book "The Five Points of Calvinism" explained it this way: "Involuntarily, the average person rebels at some of [the previously mentioned bible examples and] ideas. He boggles at the the thought of everything having been planned and determined by God so long ago. It bothers him. For where is God's holiness? If he ordained the sin of Joseph's brothers (Gen. 45:8; Gen. 50:20) and the sin of Judas (Acts 2:23;Acts 4:28), how can any rational person say that God is holy? Isn't God to blame?

Or to put it another way, where is man's freedom? Is man just a puppet that God is manipulating? [and] Where is man's responsibility if God has has foreordained everything. Was not the author of The Predestinated Thief correct in polemicizing that a predestinated theif is not responsible for stealing? God is to blame? ...It is the great mystery of divine sovreignty and human responsibility, of God's freedom and man's freedom, of God's love and God's omnipotence. How to reconcile the two?

[The Arminian] correctly sees the problem: reconciling the two opposing forces of God's sovreignty and man's responsibility.

But in solving the problem he substitutes man's reason for the Bible. He reasons that he cannot logically reconcile these two apparently contradictory facts. So he holds to one set of facts and denies the other. He holds to man's freedom and restricts God's sovreignty. In this way, he has no rational problem. The contradiction disolves. "

Arminianism summarized: Man has free will and God can't/won't go against it. Foreordination is based on man's will. Man makes the decisions and runs the show. God's sovreignty is generalized.

2. HYPER-CALVINISM: Hyper Calvanists (not to be mistaken with Calvinism) Stand with the same reasoning as the Arminian, but on the other end of the pole. He reasons, as does the Arminian, that the sovreignty of God and man's responsibility cannot be reconciled. So again, like the Arminian, he solves the problem in a rationalistic way, dennying one side of the problem. He looks at the numerous verses declaring God's sovreignty and foreordination, and holding firmly to that, he denies man's responsibility. Most Hyper-Calvinist therefore don't have much care for evangelism. "God will draw them" they say. They also believe in "double predestination" that God did not chose out of a world of depraved hopeless sinners a people on whom he would have mercy, but rather predestined each person, actually chosing some for heaven and others for hell. (This is not the accurate biblical portrayal of election.)

Hyper-Calvinism summarized: God is sovreign, man is not responsible for his actions but acts as God ordains.

3. Calvinism: A true Calvinist looks at both sides of this issue, sees that both are true and both are biblical; and admits that although his finite mind sees no reconcilation of these two apparent contradictions, both are presented in scripture. Therefore both are true and must be accepted. Edwin Palmer puts it this way:

"The Calvinist freely admits that his position is illogical... He holds to two apparently contradictory positions. He says on the one hand, "God has foreordained all things, then he turns around and says to every man, "God commands all men every where to repent' You must believe. It is your duty and responsibility. And if you don't you cannot blame God. You must blame only yourself. But if you do believe, remember that it was God who "works in you both to will and to do according to his good pleasure" (Philipians 2:12,13)...In face of all logic, the Calvinist says that if man does anything good, God gets all the glory; and if man does anything bad, man gets all the blame. Man can't win.

To many people such a position seems foolish. It is unreasonable. So [the Christian] has to make up his mind: what is his authority? His own human reason, or the Word of God? If he answers human reason, he will have to exclude or limit one of these parallel forces. [But if he answers the Word of God], he cannot do that. He believes that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and [knows that His Word is innerant and infallible.]

With that firm belief...he accepts this paradox of divine sovreignty and human responsibility. He cannot reconcile the two; but seing that the Bible clearly teaches both, he accept both.

And it does not embarass him that he cannot understand everything about God. After all, God's ways are higher than his ways. (Isaiah 55:9)"

Calvinism summarized: Charles Spurgeon the "prince of preachers" once said: "A Calvinist is one who says, 'Salvation is of the Lord'. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else."

* Mainly for that reason, I chose not to call myself a Calvinist. John Calvin was a gifted theologian who greatly loved the truths of the word of God, but he taught the gospel pure and simple. He is not the author of what are today called "The Five Points of Calvinism"(see my history page) and the five points comprise of the same truths taught by Christ, taught by Paul, and found throughout the scriptures. Calvin simply expounded the scriptures and helped his students gain enough wisdom in them to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (2 Timothy 2:15) when it's authority was challenged.

I will not call myself a Calvinist by name, although I do confess that I hold to these five points as I believe they are taught in scripture. I am a follower of Christ. A Christian. I follow the teachings of the Word of God. While John Calvin and his students had great wisdom in defending the doctrines of grace, they are by no means the authors of them. I will threfore follow and bear the name of the One who gave me His grace and showed me first hand the reality of my depravity.

** Man is responsible to believe. But does that mean that he is ABLE TO? Take a closer look at what the bible teaches. Sovreign election vs man's free will. Is free will biblical? Or is it an "Arminian" attempt to ignore the Sovreignty of God?