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Southern Baptists Debate Calvinism vs. Arminianism

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#1
HammerStone

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The Southern Baptist Convention, which will have its convention very soon in New Orleans is in the midst of a debate. It came about after a statement, "A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation" which was met with some criticism from Calvinists and Arminians alike.

Link to the statement: http://sbctoday.com/...-of-salvation”/

I won't post the whole enchilada here, but there has been a good bit of fussing on it. The statement can be vague or ambivalent at best, and there have been some charges of careless wording:

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.


I recommend reading through the statements - at worst it will make you think about your own understanding of Scripture.

What do you think about the statement? Problems? Close enough or does it just miss the boat?
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I Peter 3:15
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#2
BiggAndyy

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It attempts to sink the Calvinist boat. The notion that Reformed Theology is any way compatable with a Works based salvation is an oxymoron at best that reveals the shallowness of American thought and at worst a contrived attempt to whittle away at a very basic tenent of the Reformation.

Works do I say? Yes. According to the above quote, we aren't "dead in tresspass and sin" we are just mortally wounded and can reach of our own effort for the remedy. Just as the Psalmist wrote, "I was formed in sin (paraphrase)". He is speaking about his prebirth state. We are born spiritually dead, that is why Christ says we must be born again, not in flesh but in Spirit.
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#3
ttruscott

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We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.


Then of what heavenly good is it? Why make us sinner sin Adam if it has no effect upon us? I have actually heard someone say it does not even make us guilty of sin and therefore in fear of judgment.

What acomplete waste of a lot of scripture, if we are not sinners in need of grace at birth.

OH, I reject Adamic sin too but I know we are born sinners, born with our own sin of rebellion against GOD and idolatry of the non-elect who are facing damnation of our own true free will, pre-earth.

Peace, Ted
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#4
aspen

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How can we be born sinners if we do not know what sin is as infants? We are born with a tendency for self preservation, which if embraced as we age turns to selfishness - Original Sin is our natural tendency to focus on ourselves rather than God.

Edited by aspen2, 19 June 2012 - 12:26 PM.

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St. John says, "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not;" that is, the self-hood in its own will and working, cannot apprehend it; but in resignation the liberty of God shines in it. - Jakob Boehme

#5
jiggyfly

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Calvinism vs Arminianism is very common religious debate and is usually presented in the manner in which one must choose on or the other. But truth be told, while it is obvious that both cannot be completely right, both can most assuredly be wrong. There are more choices than the two yet I have never seen any mentioned in these types of religious debates. It reminds me of the way scripture accounts the debate between Sadducees and Pharisees. The truth is more than likely completely other. :)
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Religion is such an ugly tyrant.


#6
ttruscott

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How can we be born sinners if we do not know what sin is as infants? We are born with a tendency for self preservation, which if embraced as we age turns to selfishness - Original Sin is our natural tendency to focus on ourselves rather than God.


I assume you are asking me...we can be born sinners if we existed in the spirit world pre-earth and fell into sin there to later be born into a human body to learn to become holy.

Wow, Pre-Conception Existence Theology in one sentence! :)

Peace, Ted
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#7
Arnie Manitoba

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How can we be born sinners if we do not know what sin is as infants? We are born with a tendency for self preservation, which if embraced as we age turns to selfishness - Original Sin is our natural tendency to focus on ourselves rather than God.


This is not directed at you Aspen ... but I quoted it because you mentioned infants etc.... you will also notice that I sidestep this whole issue of (original sin) by considering the following truths ......

We must acknowlege that there is sin within the 'species' of mankind .... we must acknowlege that there is inherent evil within the 'species' of mankind .... it does not matter if we are infants or elderly .... we belong to a 'species' which has inherent sin and evil ..... even if we personally do not partake in much of it ourselves .... 'mankind' is certainly capable of doing terrible things...

Thus we are all sinners from birth .... even if we do very little of it during adult years we are certainly capable.. (as a species)

Whew !!!! .... hope that makes sense .... I really dislike my use of the word "species" for mankind .... but could not come up with a better term at the moment.

To answer the original question about Calvinism vs Arminianism it appears the bible is at odds with itself on this whole subject.

On one hand we personally and individually decide to follow Christ (or not) ..... and on the other hand the bible says we are pre-selected (pre-destined) to be saved (or not).

Probably both are correct in the sense that it is a personal decision on our part ..... but from God's perspectice he knows everything (and everyone) from beginning to end.

When we all get to Heaven .... I do not think God will be in for any surprises during the head count ..... he knows it in advance ..... but we will likely be in for a lot of surprises of who is there .... as well as who is not there.

Edited by Arnie Manitoba, 19 June 2012 - 05:30 PM.

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#8
aspen

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Some people have pointed out how selfish infants can be to try and support the idea of complete depravity, but you can say the same thing about all infant mammals - they are born with a will to live which requires them to seek out care from their parents. So, once again how can infants sin of they have no concept of the law?
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St. John says, "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not;" that is, the self-hood in its own will and working, cannot apprehend it; but in resignation the liberty of God shines in it. - Jakob Boehme

#9
BiggAndyy

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The old maxim is true, we aren't sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.
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#10
Arnie Manitoba

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The old maxim is true, we aren't sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.

:)
You nailed it exactly
:)
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#11
aspen

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not very satisfying......
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St. John says, "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not;" that is, the self-hood in its own will and working, cannot apprehend it; but in resignation the liberty of God shines in it. - Jakob Boehme

#12
Shep

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Interesting HammerStone, got me to thinking about my background in what had shaped me in my early christian life, and I looked it up and was amazed that so many people here have the same views..I was raised in the primitive Baptist doctrine until I was 15 and left the church...that was 40 + years ago, so I read up on the doctrine just to see if I was still carrying some of the traditions....Interesting to say the least....So the churches that actually branched off from them back in the early years, still teach some of the same....
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#13
HammerStone

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Well, Calvinism has acquired a bad name. Partly because of so-called hyper-Calvinists (those American Social Studies class stories of congregations where the elect were chosen people who were pointed out by other people), Calvinism has become the c-word. Then you hear of things like TULIP that you absolutely must agree to in this club...

This is a topic I've sought to address in my own beliefs. For many years I could have been described as fully Arminian in my doctrine. However, I had an epiphany of sorts in a lesson with my pastor. He is not a Calvinist, by the way. He pointed out that he grew up in a cycle of getting saved and falling off in his church as a child. It's the old get up and sing "Just As I Am" and get saved on Sunday thing. Well, like he pointed out, the Bible refers to things being done, finished, finito, etc. If salvation were dependent upon us, then it's not complete until we are saved, making it basically dependent upon us. Otherwise, what Jesus did is incomplete and salvation doesn't quite work.

At that moment, I realized that a Christian is not going to lose his or her salvation. If we could lose it, then it would be incomplete/imperfect by nature. However, I don't think it's license to sit around and do nothing or see how far you can push Father in an attempt to bend the rules. I had always reacted negatively to Calvinism because of the idea of Unconditional Election being a bit vague to me - IE: the idea of OSAS doctrine no matter what evil you commit.

All that being said, a cousin of mine who I respect deeply is a Reformed guy (another named for Calvinist, essentially). I've listened to some Reformed pastors and I've always had respect for them because it's the closest thing to intellectual Christianity that we have. I do not use the term intellectual in the sense of the high and mighty with knowledge, but in the sense that they are all generally very well studied, aware of the Bible, and always good in conversation about Jesus. I guess another way to put it is that they very much have a good picture of what is called Systematic Theology - IE: they work to view the whole and build complex logical arguments that answer some tough questions.

I've probably moved closer to the Reformed side of things in the past year. I'm nervous about saying I'm a Calvinist, but I seem to find myself in agreement with much of what's said once I get past some terms and look at the doctrines. However, I don't have an appreciation for the crotchety grandpa syndrome that many Reformed/Calvinists seem to have. I've heard things like Christian rock music is of the devil, etc.

Once you look under the hood, I think you have to recognize that many Christians are pretty close to Calvinists already. We might not use the same terms or the way of putting it, but much of TULIP, once explained, would find many Christians in pretty strong if not complete agreement. The Baptist tradition - which is probably 60% of my background - draws a lot from this, though the term is a pejorative in many parts. The Presbyterian Church basically sprung out of the Reformed tradition as well. However, some would consider the PCUSA liberal. So, denominations get complicated - particularly in the Baptist and Presbyterian arena. There are connections.

The reason this is coming to a head is that Reformed Theology is on the rise, at least in the Baptist ranks. Ironically, it's being embraced by people in and around my generation. The popular term was the "Young, Restless, and Reformed" coined by Christianity Today in this article.

My theory on this is that it appeals to these generations because it offers a systematic explanation of Christianity. It's a very rigid, fairly concise, and informed perspective. If you get into debate with a Reformed person, you'll very rarely say they don't know their Bible. Even if you disagree totally with interpretations, you'll respect their knowledge. That's not to build a pedestal or anything.

I realize this is long and rambling, so I am going to close it out, but I hope this discussion can get some stuff going. I think it's a good one to have, and I don't necessarily think you have to take sides or hate the other side. We've had a bit of discussion on our Facebook Group about this.

Some people have pointed out how selfish infants can be to try and support the idea of complete depravity, but you can say the same thing about all infant mammals - they are born with a will to live which requires them to seek out care from their parents. So, once again how can infants sin of they have no concept of the law?


I found this difficult to deal with for a long time. We think of babies as innocent and generally good. However, we are sinners and there's not a magical time where we don't know how to sin. The age of accountability in the Bible seems to be 12, so I think God's maybe an extra bit forgiving, but that does not change our nature. If the child grows up, even in a vacuum, he or she is a sinner. We don't learn to sin, we just do it.
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I Peter 3:15
...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,...

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#14
rockytopva

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"Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man's authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory."- John Calvin after toasting Michael Servetus

The above statement intepreted in laymans terms... If they don't agree with you burn them!

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Edited by rockytopva, 20 June 2012 - 04:29 PM.

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#15
BiggAndyy

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Once again you are ignorant of the actual history of Calvin and Servetus.

http://www.banneroft..._detail.php?457

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#16
UHCAIan

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My question to Calvinists what about people who get saved and then dis-fellowship with the Church and converts to another religion, do they loose their salvation? What about Hebrews 12:14? What about someone who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer and yet lives the life of the ungodly? Is holy living and important aspect of the Christian faith? What about the goats and the tare that claimed Jesus as Lord yet were cast out into the fire? Please someone give me more knowledge on the Calvinistic ideology. Im Armenian yet have some Calvinistic tendencies.
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"Thou art the CHRIST, the Son of the Living God!"--Matthew 16:16
"Jesus Only Savior, Jesus Only Healer, Jesus Only Baptizer in the Holy Ghost, Jesus Only King!"
"The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned."--Isaiah 50:4
"Follow peace with all men and holiness; for without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14)
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#17
Strat

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Living Easy
Loving free
Season ticket on a one way ride
Asking nothing
Leave me be
Taking everything in my stride
Don't need reasion
Don't need rhyme
Ain't nothing that i'd rather do
Going down
Party time
My friends are gonna be there to
I'm on the highway to hell
On the highway to hell
Highway to hell
I'm on the highway to hell

No stop signs
Speed limits
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Like a wheel
Gonna spin it
Nobody's gonna mess me around
Hey satan
Paying my dues
Playing in a rocking band
Hey momma
Look at me
I'm on my way to the promised land

I'm on the highway to hell
Highway to hell
I'm on the highway to hell
Highway to hell
Don't stop me

Modern christian theology 101....by the reverend Bon Scott

Edited by Strat, 23 June 2012 - 11:08 AM.

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#18
JohnDB

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Calvinists have been invading the SBC for decades. But the secret truth is that the SBC isn't Calvinistic.

I know that this fact will cause a ruckus amongst many but there is a little known truth that there is not a bipolar discussion of the two positions...it is tri-polar.

SBC has long embraced the third position and it is rather undefinable. It is neither Armenian (as the Calvinists like to claim) nor is it Calvinistic in nature. It is neither of the two positions. this position entails a detailed and well thought out position that includes such stories as "the man born blind" in the Gospel of John and the Parable of the Soils in Matthew. There is no slighting of either of these two stories into insignificance and the anthropology of "The Man born Blind" story is thoroughly researched and understood before a logical conclusion is placed as to it's relevance in the Gospel of John. that story tells of a similar debate along very similar lines of Calvinism vx Armenianism and what God thinks of the debate.

And that position is the very same position of the SBC administration. While giving credence to the talents and salvation of Calvinists the SBC often will allow those people who hold to that theological position in various ministries. These Calvinists at times as well as those of the more charismatic theologies will gain voice and want theological endorsement of their positions. But they always have lost that argument at the onset. The SBC is a CONVENTION and not a heirarchical structure in any sense of the word. IOW these independant churches have joined us and have no say so in how all the other churches may or may not believe. They can take no theological position at all and remain SBC.

The Baptist Faith and Message written by Hershal Hobbs is a guideline...and not a broad brush statement of any kind...as the document itself claims.

It is what you will find to be generally true amongst SBC churches.

Other generalities from traditions that will be true amongst SBC churches are that they will hold to a modified OSAS, Never divorced and remarried deacons, and men will usually teach most sunday school classes. Believer's Baptism, and Membership voting on many of the decisions and actions taken by the church as a whole. (business meetings etc)
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#19
BiggAndyy

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How can their position simultaneously be "well thought out" and "rather undefined"? That is a logical fallacy (Something can not be A and ~A at the same time and in the same relationship).

I agree Calvinism vs Arminianism is a false dilema, there are other choices, but your explanation of SBC position leaves much to be desired.
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#20
Episkopos

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The truth is that it is both. What God elects we must also choose...what we choose God must also choose. A REALationship has 2 sides.
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Striving to apprehend that for which I have been apprehended by Christ Jesus.

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#21
BiggAndyy

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gobbledeegook...
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#22
Kidron

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Article Seven: The Sovereignty of God
"""We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.
We deny that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ."""

I find this to be one of the best parts of the statement.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I think its the perfect refutaion of the notorious Calvinist idea that God personally and absolutely controls by Sovereignty the salvation or lack of it as per each human being, and that free will plays no part.
If God controlled by sovereignty the salvation of us all, then we would have no free will option, and then God would have no rightful basis to judge us for rejecting his Son.
After all, how can God truthfully condemn you for something he caused?
He can only legally and rightfully judge a Christ rejector if said rejector has the option of >free will< to reject The Christ.
Apparently the SBC were thinking this one through.
(way to go fellas).

K

Edited by Kidron, 04 July 2012 - 06:41 AM.

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