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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Calvinism and Human Responsibility

This is from the HCR forums. I was trying to help a Word of Faith protestant in the area of how to understand certain aspects of Calvinism.

Originally Posted by djnoyze View Post
What role does our faith play in salvation and is our faith important in this business of salvation?
They(the Calvinists) believe that ever-since the fall of Adam and Eve everyone is unable to respond in a positive way to God. And so, what must happen is a regeneration before faith.

What this means is that as everyone is running on their way to Hell. God will select some by putting a new heart and mind in them. Once they have this new heart and mind they are now able to stop, turn around and choose God. They are now able to have faith in God. Once this happens, God responds by declaring them righteous.

Ricky and the others can correct me if I am wrong, but they believe man to be passive in Justification and Salvation in general.
Synergy My Blog The Brotherhood

Originally Posted by djnoyze View Post
I understand that, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around why it is so impossible for people to believe that it is God's word in and of itself that he has infused with the power to break up the hard-heartedness of man's heart... And that this word, when preached or when used as directed is the medicine for what ails any sin sick soul?

“But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” —Ephesians 2:13 NET
Because they would see that as being semi-pelagianism. Well, to be honest, their scholars probably don't know that the classical semi-pelagains took that position, and so they probably wouldn't know because they don't generally read them. They just read each others books about the issue in passing and so they normally get the classical semi-pelagian view wrong. But what you argued up above is what the Eastern Christians and western semi-pelagains argued.

When a sinner hears that Word of God spoken out of the mouth of a man (word made flesh), he may or may not believe it, but it is his believing that qualifies him to be included or "chosen" or "elected", right? Or am I still in error?
Some of the followers of Saint Augustine advocated a view of an outer call vs an inner call..... I will have to re-read Augustine again because it could of came from him......To them, only those who have the inner call from God will respond in a positive way. Those who only get the outercall will resist and respond in a negative way.

You and I believe differently. We believe that the same call is given to all, and that call has the power to give all hearers the ability to respond in a positive way.

That's what I get for reading passages like...“Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” —Acts 2:38–41 ESV

I only say this because Jehovah Witnesses believe that only some of them are chosen or "anointed" too, and it seems to me to be a doctrine of the devil to suggest that some are chosen and others aren't as if Jesus' blood is somehow selective.

Historically speaking, JW's come from the Millerite movement. The millerite movement was a 19th century restorationist movement. Well wait, maybe I shouldn't say the word restorationist. I will have to re-read some things just to make sure. But it was a 19th century eschatological movement that taught that Jesus was gonna come back around 1843 or 1844. When it didn't happen that is when the group split into first day adventist and 7th day adventist. My history could be a little off because It's been years since I looked into this issue.

But the JW's come from the 1st day adventist branch of the millerite movement. I could be wrong again, but I always thought the millerite movement to be heavily Arminian in flavor. And so, the JW's shouldn't have a Calvinistic view of things. If they believe in election and predestination then it should be in an Arminian fashion in where free will and Divine foreknowledge is included.

I think what you are getting at is their idea of only a 144,000 only being able to go to heaven while the rest stay on this planet. Is this what you are getting at?

Am I wrong for reading these passages with the "implied subject" You

No you are not wrong, but the Calvinists have a different understanding of what "You" means. They don't have the common meaning of what everyone else has. Do you have a remote control car? Have you ever driven a remote control car? What about a video game? Have you ever played video games?

Let's try Super Mario Brothers. When you push the a button to make Mario jump,

is that you making him jump? Or is that Mario making himself jump?

Now every Calvinist I know will reject what I just said. They will see this as a caricature of their view. They don't like it when people like myself say stuff like this. But the reason why we say stuff like this is because from our perspective, this is what their view looks like. However, from their perspective their view doesn't look like this.

We have two different views. In our eyes their view of free will and human responsibility changes what free will and human responsibility commonly means. It changes what it normally looks like and so we say that they don't really believe in free will nor in human responsibility.

They turn around and say that we don't really believe in God's Sovereignty.

And so, we see their view as being:

Pushing the "a" button would be like god decreeing that so and so will jump.

When Mario jumps into the bullet, that would be what they would call human responsibility. Now they will reject this example because they hate how we look at their view as being robotic. But from our perspective that's how we see their view.

The only thing Mario could do was jump into the bullet because internally from the button, to the wire to the software, it said jump. And since that was an internal influence, that is what he wanted to do. He wanted to jump into the bullet. However, he had no other choice but to do that because the influence was internal. He wanted to jump and so he jumped, but it was the person who pushed the button that caused him to jump.

To most of them(Calvinists), the blame is on Mario for jumping into the bullet. To most Calvinists, the human responsibility is on Mario.

Most of them will not point the finger at the one who pushed the "a" button. Some of them seem to want to do that by saying god creates evil. Now we will say that these Calvinists are more consistent than the other ones, but they all would have the same logical tendency underneath. And this is why alot of people accuse them of making god the author of evil/sin.
Synergy My Blog The Brotherhood


Nicholas said...

"When a sinner hears that Word of God spoken out of the mouth of a man (word made flesh)"

Is this a commonly held belief in some protestant circles? That the "Word of God" made flesh today = the scriptures spoken out of a man's mouth?

Jnorm said...


Good observation, I must of overlooked that. The one who said it was "Word of Faith". I don't know if he goes to Creflo O' Dollors Church or not. But he is a Word of Faith prosperity gospel protestant. And so I would say that the Prosperity gospel / name it claim it / Word of Faith / Mega Church type of protestant would talk like that.

If I'm wrong I'm sure someone will correct me.

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