Thursday, January 29, 2009

Calvin vs Arminius – The Doctrine of Election/Predestination

The Doctrine of Election

This is possibly the most argued over doctrine in the Christian church. The point here is to present what the Bible says and how this can and has been interpreted. I am not about to tell you what you should or should not believe. Nor do I wish to place so much emphasis on this that it causes a stumbling block. Some issues of doctrine must be divisive some don’t need to be, this doesn’t. It is however important to grapple with difficult doctrines when they appear so obviously in scripture.

The debate has raged from the 4th Century to today. Most commonly focussed between French theologian John Calvin (1509 – 1664) and Jacob Arminius (1560 – 1609). The debate is over where you stand on the Doctrine of Divine Election and how a person comes to be saved.

‘No one who believes in the Bible disputes the fact that election is taught there. It isn’t the reality of election, or even its source, author, time, or goal that has elicited so much venom among professing Christians. It is rather the basis of divine election, that is to say, why and on what grounds some are elected to salvation and life and others are not.

Some contend that God elects some, who are bad who, notwithstanding their being bad, choose to exercise faith in Jesus Christ. It is on the basis of this foreseen faith that God elects them. This is the doctrine of Arminianism, named after the Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius (1560-1609). It has also been called Wesleyanism because of the influence of John Wesley.

There is another view that God elects some, who are bad who, because of their being bad, are not of themselves able to exercise faith in Christ. It is on the basis of his own sovereign good pleasure that God elects them. This is the doctrine of Calvinism, named after the French theologian John Calvin (1509-1564). ‘

(Dr Sam Storms

However in looking at this we must recognise our limitations as finite fallen human beings. One web site says it very clearly ‘both systems fail to adequately explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will – due to the fact that it is impossible for a finite human mind to discern a concept only God can fully understand.’ (

So What denominations Subscribe to each?

Faiths leaning at least in part in the Arminian direction include Methodists, Free Will Baptists, General Baptists, Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Seventh-day Adventists, Mennonites, Pentecostals, and Charismatics. Denominations leaning in the Calvinist direction are grouped as the Reformed churches and include Particular Baptists, Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists. The majority of Southern Baptists, including Billy Graham, accept Arminianism with an exception allowing for a doctrine of eternal security. Many see Calvinism as growing in acceptance, and some well-known Southern Baptists such as Albert Mohler and Mark Dever have been trying to lead the Southern Baptist Convention to a Reformed view of faith.

Before I go in to what an actual Definition of Election might be I want to first start with some common ground we should all agree on and then list the Bible references that talk about election.

Common Ground

The common ground I am referring to here is what I believe is taught in Kings Church and what I am certain that the Bible teaches. This does not specifically state which side we adhere to and those who specifically teach one or the other may disagree with what I call our Common Ground.

  • Adam’s sin not only affected him but is passed on to all of us from birth. ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) and ‘They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.’ (Psalm 14:3) – This is the Doctrine of ‘Total Depravity’
  • All are guilty before God and as such the right punishment is Death. ‘For the wages of sin is death...’ (Romans 6:23a)
  • God would still be perfectly just if he saved no one. No one is good enough to measure up to the standard of holiness God requires without intervention.

Bible Verses referring to Election

· Acts 13:48 - And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

· Romans 8:28-30 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified

· Romans 9:11-13 - though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

· Romans 11:7 - What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened

· Ephesians 1:4-6 - even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved

· 1 Thess 1:4-5 - For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.

· 2 Thess 2:13 - But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

· 2 Tim 1:9 - who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began

· 1 Peter 1:1 -Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia

· 1 Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

· Rev 13:7-8 - Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain

· Rev 17:8 - The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

· John 6:44 - No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day

Jesus’ Words on Predestination

“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

“I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me’” (John 13:18).

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

“And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31).

“And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” (Luke 18:7).

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will” (John 5:21).

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:37–39).

“I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen” (John 13:18).

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you” (John 15:16).

“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).

Scriptures on Predestination

The primary texts on predestination are in Romans 9–11 and also Ephesians 1:3–11. The following are also helpful:

“. . . do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:28).

“The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it” (Acts 13:17).

“And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29–30).

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33).

“. . . though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (Romans 9:11–18).

“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5).

“What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened” (Romans 11:7).

“God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27–28).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3–11).

“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:4–5).

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).

“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness” (Titus 1:1).

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4).

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion” (1 Peter 1:1).

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).

Also see:

It is quite clear that the bible talks frequently about God choosing/electing his people, us. But it is the basis of the Election that is really at the heart of the debate. So let’s define what we mean by Election.

Definition of Election

According to Wayne Grudem, a Calvinist, it is defined as: ‘an act of God before Creation in which he chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure!’

Sam Storms, also a Calvinist, differentiates the two views thus: According to Arminianism, election is that act of God whereby he foreordains to eternal life those whom he foresees will respond in faith to the gospel. According to Calvinism, election is that act of God whereby he foreordains to eternal life those who, because of sin, cannot respond in faith to the gospel. (

Jack W. Cottrell argues from an Arminian point of view in his book ‘Grace Unlimited’ pp. 51-73. that ‘Through his foreknowledge God sees who will believe upon Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, and become united with him in Christian Baptism; then before the foundation of the world he predestines these believers to share the glory of the risen Christ’ (p. 62)

Hopefully you get the idea and where the differences lie.

Core Beliefs of Each side

I will attempt to define the most common core beliefs of both sides. Note there are also differing views among each camp as well but this is what I understand to be each other’s viewpoint.



Total Depravity – Romans 3:10-12
Genesis 6:5, Genesis 8:21, Job 15:14, Psalm 51:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 8:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 4:17

According to this doctrine, man in his present condition since the fall is so polluted with a principle of evil that every aspect of his being and personality is affected by it. The term depravity refers to the moral disposition or inclination of fallen man’s nature toward evil and against good. This principle of sin and moral pollution is such that man is by nature opposed to what is true and righteous. The inclination of his heart, the delight of his soul, the orientation of his will is toward wickedness. Nothing compels him to sin. He sins because he loves it. He revels in it. He has no taste for God, but relishes evil and pursues it with voluntary zeal. This may sound grim, but I believe that Scripture affirms it. In a moment we will have occasion to examine the relevant texts.

But man is not only depraved in his nature and will, he is totally depraved. Some have preferred the term pervasive depravity or extensive depravity inasmuch as the term total depravity can be misleading and perhaps say more about man’s sinful condition than Scripture permits. The point of each of these terms, whichever one you prefer, is that man’s depravity is not restricted to just one or several parts of his personality and being. It is not that man’s mind is depraved but not his will. It is not that man’s emotions are touched by sin but his heart is somehow insulated. The moral pollution that sin brings has touched and affected the whole of the person, the totality of his being.

Common Grace – But the doctrine of total depravity is not meant to deny that there are people who can be called ‘good’ in the world. The Calvinist, who affirms total depravity, also affirms common grace, according to which God not only restrains the full manifestation of the evil tendencies of the human heart but also, on a more positive note, enables the non-Christian to perform deeds of relative “good”.

John Murray, on Common grace writes, "is every favour of whatever kind or degree, falling short of salvation, which this undeserving and sin-cursed world enjoys at the hand of God”

God Restrains: Gen. 4:15; 20:6; 2 Kings 19:27-28; 2 Thess. 2:6-12
God Blesses: Psalm 104:10-30; 145:1-16; and 136:25

Consequently, when I speak of total depravity I do not mean that all men are as depraved as they possibly can be, nor that the depravity of their heart will always manifest itself equally in all respects at all times. Total depravity simply means that the whole of the individual, his heart, soul, spirit, and will, is affected by and enslaved to sin, thereby rendering him odious in the sight of God.

Taken From Enjoying God Ministries by Sam Storms.

Total Depravity

Would be the same definition for an Arminian.

Unconditional Election

The doctrine of unconditional election asserts that God's choice from eternity of those whom he will bring to himself is not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people. Rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy alone.

(Ephesians 1:4-6 - even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved)

Faith comes from God, as a gift, it does not originate in the unbeliever.

Conditional Election

Arminius defined election as "the decree of God by which, of Himself, from eternity, He decreed to justify in Christ, believers, and to accept them unto eternal life." God alone determines who will be saved and his determination is that all who believe Jesus through faith will be justified. According to Arminius, "God regards no one in Christ unless they are engrafted in him by faith."

Put another way, God's decree to save some and reprobate others is His predetermination to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1.21 - For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe) and His predetermination to reprobate unbelievers (John 3:36 - Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.).

Election is based on the condition of a person Believing the gospel message.

Limited Atonement (5 Point) Atonement Sufficient for All (4 Point)

5 point Calvinist would limit the Atonement to the elect only arguing it would be unjust for God to pay the penalty for some people's sins and then still condemn them for those sins, all those whose sins were atoned for must necessarily be saved.

4 Point Calvinists agree with Arminians that the Atonement is Universal, sufficient for all, but is only effective to the Elect.

Unlimited Atonement

Jesus' death was for all people, Jesus draws all people to himself, and all people have opportunity for salvation through faith.

The Atonement is only effective upon a persons Faith.

Irresistible Grace

When the Gospel call is made man on his own, is not able to respond. For the Elect the Holy Spirit effectively Regenerates a soul so that they can respond to the Gospel call internally and thus respond externally in faith and repentance.

What this means is that whereas everyone is called by God externally in that the gospel is preached to all, only the elect are called by God internally in that they alone are enabled to respond in saving faith.

We see much the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 1:5, in which Paul declares that his gospel did not come to the Thessalonians "in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." Conceivably then, the gospel may indeed come to many in word only, that is to say, externally. They hear it with the ear but there is no response of faith in the heart. To others, the elect, the gospel comes not only in word but also in such a way that the Holy Spirit powerfully and efficaciously effects a saving response.

Resistible Grace (Prevenient Grace)

God takes initiative in the salvation process and His grace comes to all people. This grace (often called prevenient or pre-regenerating grace) acts on all people to convict them of the Gospel, draw them strongly towards salvation, and enable the possibility of sincere faith.

The offer of salvation through grace does not act irresistibly in a purely cause-effect, deterministic method but rather in an influence-and-response fashion that can be both freely accepted and freely denied.

Thus when a person responds in faith then the Holy Spirit regenerates the soul as a consequence.

Perseverance of the Saints

Traditional Calvinists believe in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, which says that because God chose some unto salvation and actually paid for their particular sins, he keeps them from apostasy and that those who do apostasize were never truly regenerated (that is, born again). Non-traditional Calvinists and other evangelicals advocate the similar but different doctrine of eternal security that teaches if a person was once saved, his or her salvation can never be in jeopardy, even if the person completely apostasizes.

Eternal Security is Conditional

Arminians believe that future salvation and eternal life is secured in Christ and protected from all external forces but is conditional on remaining in Christ and can be lost through apostasy.

All believers have full assurance of salvation with the condition that they remain in Christ. Salvation is conditioned on faith, therefore perseverance is also conditioned. Apostasy (turning from Christ) is only committed through a deliberate, wilful rejection of Jesus and renouncement of belief.

We will now look very, very briefly at some of the questions this raises and some of the defences of both sides.

Objections to the Doctrine of Election

Are we Really Free? – If Unconditional election is really true then we are not really free. We are just puppets, robots, not able to make real choices.

· We must define what we mean by freedom. Total Depravity means we are not free. What is Freedom of the Will? Or are we in Bondage to the will? Only God truly has free will. We do have choices but our will is not free, our choices are limited. The choices we make come from our nature and heart. A fig tree does not bear apples. Proverbs sais Out of the heart, the wellspring of life the decision are made. Romans 5:10. We would only ever choose Sin, death and Satan, we are spiritually dead!
God causes us to choose Christ voluntarily!!!

We make real choices every day and God holds us accountable for them. From a human perspective all choices we make are real and felt choices even if in some divine way God has intervened and his will is that we make that choice. I do not pretend to understand it except that I believe God is sovereign over all creation and also that I have a real choice to type this.

Is God really Fair or Just? – If he elects some and passes over others is God’s grace awarded rather unfairly? It means some never had the chance to believe. Calvin used the term “but gives to some what he denies to others” in talking about Election and God (Romans 9:14-29)

It is understandable that people react in horror at this. It’s largely due to the word “denies” – God “gives to some what he denies to others.” For many, the word “denies” says two things, neither of which Calvin intended.

(1) To say God “denies” something to one that he “gives” to another implies that God is withholding what he “owes”. Thus for God to “deny” eternal salvation to some folk suggests he is refusing to give them what they deserve, or what he owes them, or what he as God is obligated to give them. Clearly, for some, this language portrays God as unjust.

(2) Secondly, the word “denies” suggests that people have asked God, pleaded with him, for eternal life and he “denies” it to them or refuses to grant it to them. They envision the scenario as follows: “Oh, God, please save me. I want to believe in Jesus and experience eternal life.” To which God responds: “Sorry. I didn’t elect you. My hands are tied.” In this case God appears mean and unloving.

In other words, unconditional divine election strikes many as portraying God as either unjust or unloving, or both. Clearly, Calvin intended neither of these ideas. His point is that none deserve or are owed anything by God except eternal death. No one can claim God as his or her debtor. Therefore, when God “gives to one what he denies” to another, we are to understand that neither deserves eternal life, but in sovereign mercy God grants eternal life to some but not all. Some receive mercy, the others receive justice, but no one is treated unfairly.

How can anyone object to the reason God elected one instead of another when no one knows what it is? I can tell you what that reason is not. It is not anything having to do with either the elect or non-elect, either foreseen or actual. God chose one instead of another because it was pleasing to God, and that is all the reason he needs. This is the heart and soul of the doctrine of unconditional election, that God sovereignly decided to show love and favour toward some who did not deserve it, but not all, without regard to anything in either. And the bottom line is: we don’t like that! (Sam Storms:

Doesn’t the Bible say God wills everyone to be Saved? Both sides agree that not everyone will be saved!

· 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9, John 3:16-17, Matthew 11:28, Acts 17:30. Yes God does want everyone to be saved as God loves everyone and God invites everyone, all people to salvation and turn from sin trusting in Jesus. However many do not love or desire Jesus! Why? John 5:40, John 12:46-48, Acts 7:51, Romans 3:10-18, Ephesians 2:1-3
God’s desire, heart and invitation is for people to come to Jesus. People chose to reject Jesus and have no one to blame except themselves! (Total Depravity)

· Calvinist would say that God deems his own glory more important than saving everyone and that God’s own glory is also furthered by the fact that some are not saved.

· Arminians would say that the preservation of Man’s Free will is more important to God than salvation.

· So they are different on the nature of God. Reformed is that God’s highest value is his own glory and the Arminian system is that God’s highest value is the free will of man.

How does God’s sovereignty and providence balance against our understanding of Free Will? Does God’s sovereignty mean He is in total control of everything or does His desire to maintain our Absolute Free Will mean He has given up absolute control? (I am not about to answer that here and the references below give detailed responses to this)

Calvinistic View of Election

Calvinists believe that Election in the New Testament is seen as:

1. A comfort to believers that God will act for our good in all circumstances as he has done from eternity to eternity out of Love.

2. A reason to Praise God. Eph 1:5-6 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Since our salvation has nothing at all to do with anything in us.

3. An encouragement to Evangelism. 2 Timothy 2:10. Paul knows that God has chosen some to be saved and sees this as an encouragement to preach the Gospel. It is a guarantee of success in preaching.

Defence of the Calvinistic Viewpoint

1) Election is not a fatalistic way to view the world. A Nothing that we do matters view. The New Testament present salvation as something brought about by a personal God in relation to personal creatures. Ephesians 1:5. We make willing choices as real persons and that these choices are real choices because they do affect the course of events in the world.

2) Election is not based on God’s foreknowledge of Our Faith. Looking at Romans 8:29.
Firstly because this is a foreknowledge of a person not of a fact about something they would do.
Secondly because scripture never speaks about Our faith as the reason God chose us. 2 Timothy 1:9.
Thirdly Election based on something good in us (our faith) would be the beginning of salvation by merit. If the ultimate determining factor in whether or not we are saved is our own decision to accept Christ then we may come to think we deserve some credit for doing so. Or that we are somehow more wise than those who chose to reject Christ. Ultimately what makes the difference between someone who does accept Christ and someone who rejects Christ? If you answer that it is based on something God does then at its core it is based on Grace alone. If you answer that the difference is something in man, ie: Faith, then salvation depends on a combination of grace plus human ability.
Fourthly Predestination based on Foreknowledge still does not grant absolute freewill. If God looks into the future and sees person A will believe and person B will not then their destinies are still determined and cannot be otherwise. But determined by what? If not God then who or what?
Conclusion then that Election is Unconditional!

Defence of an Arminian Perspective

A. Human Free Will (libertarian freedom) is assumed everywhere in the Bible

Definition of Libertarian Freedom: We are free in choosing one thing if, all things being just what they are when we make our choice, we could have chosen differently. That is, libertarian freedom requires the so-called “power of contrary choice” or the “ability to choose otherwise.”

B. The Universal Love of God (e.g., John 3:16) rules out God selecting some and not others

C. The Absolute Justice of God (e.g., Psalm 119:137; Hosea 14:9) means God can have nothing to do with evil

From Me!

This is a very difficult topic to understand let alone come to any conclusion about. Both sides have good arguments for their position and against the other. Certainly historically Calvinist have been less that gracious to the other side of the fence. What is most important is what the Bible actually says and not on what a particular person thinks it says. For this we must approach scripture as open to the Holy Spirit as possible. We must wrestle with difficult passages from the Bible. Ultimately we must trust in Gods Goodness, Love, Grace, Mercy, Justice and that He is Sovereign. Whichever side you eventually come down on it does not mean you are right! Whatever the actual process involved in a person becoming a Christian surely the most important point is that they do respond to the Gospel and give their lives to Christ.


Enjoying God Ministries (

Arminianism (

Calvinism (

Calvinist view of Arminianism (

Society of Evangelical Arminians (

Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll (

Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll (

Calvinist Corner (

Here is the above Mark Driscoll talk on Predestination, excellent stuff!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

David Attenborough and the Hate Mail

I just read this article on the BBC web site. I find this absolutely horrendous and totally unacceptable. I am a creationist and disagree with just about everything that DA says in his TV shows when it comes to origins. However I would never wish harm upon the man or even think of sending such a message.

I true Christian should never do such a thing and they really need to examine their hearts before the Lord and send an apology if they are truly Christian. The other thought of course that occurred to me was this ‘could’ and the emphasis is on ‘could’ have come from a non Christian and non creationist just trying to stir up trouble and controversy and further smear the name of Christianity and Creationists. Of course i have no proof it is just something that crossed my mind as it would not be the first time such has happened.

I know I cannot speak for all Christians and all creationists but I would nevertheless like to apologise to you Sir David if one of my brothers/sisters in Christ has sent this. There is no excuse!

If on the other hand it came from someone trying to stir up trouble for the sake of it or for some vendetta then grow up and repent or reap the message that you sent!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Walking in Dry Land

I want to start this post with Psalm 13

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
       How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
       and every day have sorrow in my heart?
       How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
       Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
       and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
       my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the LORD,
       for he has been good to me.

(New International Version - UK (NIVUK) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)

This post title of course refers to a spiritual walk not a physical one. Lately I have found myself walking a very dry and parched spiritual walk. That is not to say I have not learned a lot recently. I have been continuing my quest to understand what Joy in Christ really means. I have read John Pipers excellent book ‘When I don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy’ Link in my book list on the left. Am now reading a book by Larry Crab called Shattered Dreams. This is also about the search and fight for Joy. These two books have been very helpful in my Theological and Mental understanding of Joy. However the practice of what they teach is very different.

God seems quite distant recently. I have found prayer and praise very hard over the past couple of months. More so than usual it must be said. I seem to have lost contact with my heart and with it any trace of Joy I had discovered last year. I enjoy singing to Christian music on the way in to work and it lifts my spirits to do so. However this doesn’t seem to last and Marvin is back. (Marvin is the depressed robot from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy if you don’t know what that refers to.) I hate being like this and it can bring out my worst traits. That of grumpiness, intolerance to others and a very childish selfish streak. It makes me want the quick fix and to not have the energy to fight for the longer right path of drinking deeply from the spiritual water found in relationship with Christ.

This brings me to the point which is very well elaborated by Larry Crabb in the aforementioned book. Why when we most desperately need to feel and sense God deep down does he seem a million miles away? I know this may seem anathema to the Evangelical Christianity to which I am associated. Isn’t that all about experience and knowing? If anyone is entirely honest then no. We all have times when we enter the desert places.

The issue is what to we do when we are there. Do we sulk and distract ourselves from the pain with worldly solutions and the quick fixes our society is so ready to hand out? Do we push the feelings down and try harder to be good Christians? Or do we do what the Psalmist did above? Be bluntly honest about how we are feeling and not live in denial.

A good example of this would be what happened last night. I went to a meeting of the Church Worship team that I am a part of. It was a special night dedicated to praying for the team and two of the elders and several other key prayers were also invited. After some worship the team stood in the middle and the other parties prayed for us. Several people had great encouraging words spoken over them and seemed to benefit from the prayer and I would in no way detract or judge what was going on between them and God. I on the other hand felt totally disconnected from the whole thing. I tried to engage my heart during worship and prayer but felt to be honest, cold and untouched. I went desperate to hear from God and was pleading inside to hear from him and …… nothing, silence, not a word. I appreciated the prayer for blessing that I received, it is always good to be prayed for but I left downhearted and disappointed. It would have been so easy to pretend things were happening and God was moving and certainly the pressure and expectation is there to do so. But I have been a Christian too long now to pretend about such things.

However to bring the tone up from these dark depths. I, as David did in the Psalm, trust in Gods unfailing Love for me. I know that scripture sais God is good, loving, slow to anger and full of Grace and Mercy, just and Holy. In these times of spiritual wastelands the only thing you can hold on to are the promises of Scripture. They ARE true because Scripture sais so! Regardless of how you are feeling they hold true. God loves me with a passion and love I can never grasp or get my head around. It is too awesome to comprehend yet it is true. It is these things that keep me going in the dark periods. If you have no understanding of scripture then what do you fall upon in the tough times when you feel nothing? For this reason it is so vitally important to feed and be fed the truth of scripture. If you base your understanding of God on experience then you are in for a big shock when that experience is removed. I believe God uses these times to test and refine us. To show us where we are at and how spiritually mature we are by how we respond to God in these times. I wish I could say I respond well and just fling myself upon God even when I feel nothing. Sadly I don’t and feel I have such a long way to go even though I have been a Christian for nearly 20 years. However I am keen to change and not deny where I am at.

God change me from the Inside to choose you more often than not and to desire you above earthly nonsense that clamours for my attention. To learn to praise you even:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
       and there are no grapes on the vines,
       though the olive crop fails
       and the fields produce no food,
       though there are no sheep in the pen
       and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
       I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
       he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
       he enables me to go on the heights.

Habakuk 3:17-19

God bless you!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Battlestar Galactica told by facebook updates - Genius!

Really only funny if you know Battlestar Galactica and use Facebook. I do both and found it very funny, enjoy!

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