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Calvinism vs. Arminianism: Debunking Myths Chris Poteet.

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1 Calvinism vs. Arminianism: Debunking Myths Chris Poteet

2 Why Debunk Myths? Much of the debate over these issues is clouded by characterizations/myths. Without clearing up what the debate is really over, we will never have fruitful dialogue. Much of soteriology debates are clouded by misconceptions. Both sides are guilty of this. –Sensational. –Build support for their position.

3 What the Debate is Not About Popular characterizations –Calvinism is about God choosing us, and Arminianism is about us choosing God. Both sides believe a choice is necessary for the to-be believer, and both sides believe in Gods choice (election). –Calvinism and Arminianism are man-made doctrines. Both are named after famous proponents, both are systematic doctrines. The names came about from the debate in the 16 th century at the Synod of Dort. –Calvinists and Arminians can never agree. Calvinists and Arminians agree on much (to be explored). –Well, the Bible says both. Even though it would be nice for this to be true, the nature of this debate historically sets them against one another. Both sides spend much time reconciling difficult passages.

4 Calvinist Characterizations Men are robots/fatalism. Calvinism denies moral responsibility. Calvinism makes evangelism unnecessary. Calvinists deny a general offer of the Gospel. The characterizations on Double Predestination. Once saved, always saved means we can do whatever we want after a profession of faith. Calvinism makes God the author of evil.

5 Arminian Characterizations Arminianism denies Gods sovereignty. Gods will is impotent to humans. Arminian objections are based on moral rather than exegetical grounds. Arminianism denies the effects of the fall. I can be an Arminian and not believe in predestination.

6 What Do They Agree On? God has perfect and complete foreknowledge. Human agents have freedom (defined differently). Man is responsible. We are to evangelize relentlessly. That God is not the source of evil. We are born into Adams sin. Sin is taken seriously.

7 What Do They Disagree On? The causal relationship of regeneration and faith. –Arminianism: faith precedes regeneration. –Calvinism: regeneration precedes faith. The extent of prevenient grace (all or particular). –Arminianism: prevenient grace given to all = hypothetical depravity. –Calvinism: prevenient grace given to elect = maintains total depravity. Assurance of salvation. –Arminanism: can lose/conditional salvation. –Calvinism: cannot lose salvation. The extent and intent of the atonement. –Arminianism: died for none (historically), died for all (today). –Calvinism: died for those the Father gave to Him.

8 What Do They Disagree On? What is the source of Gods election. –Arminianism Election based on forseen faith (conditional election). Election is corporate (elect in the Son). –Calvinism Gods election is not based on anything forseen, because humans are totally depraved (unconditional election). Gods election is individual. Efficacy of Gods grace. –Arminianism: man can always refuse Gods grace. –Calvinism: man will refuse Gods grace until God overcomes that disobedience. Freedom. –Arminianism traditionally holds to a libertarian account of the will (Principle of Alternate Possibilities). –Calvinisms conception of freedom is that freedom is compatible with Gods meticulous sovereignty (determinism).

9 Tips For Fruitful Dialogue Always explain weighty terms such as sovereignty, freedom, etc. Dont accuse the other of not reading their Bibles. Never accuse the other of being philosophical and not theological. Watch out for straw man arguments. Listen and think thoroughly before you respond. Communication in person is always best. Dont further characterizations.

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