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What You NEED to Know about the Calvinism and Arminianism Debate

The Calvinism-Arminianism debate is substantially a debate between what is called “synergism” and “monergism.” For those who are new to this debate, the following is a primer on the two perennial branches of theological systems within Christianity. Or to put it another way, there are two very different ways for believers to understand their salvation.

The first type is the Arminian-Synergist. They affirm synergism. It teaches that two forces in the universe are necessary to bring about regeneration in the life of the sinner. Specifically, the two forces at work (cooperation) that are necessary to bring about regeneration, or spiritual life, is the human will and the Holy Spirit (grace).

To put it another way, the work of the Holy Spirit is dependent on the creature’s will; hence, “synergism” (working together). These individuals will sincerely say, “I believe in grace alone.” But the truth is they believe that grace is not alone (sufficient); rather, the human will is necessary for regeneration to be effective.

Many people do not like being labeled “Arminian” (e.g. “I am neither Calvinist or Arminian!) The reality, however, is their theology functions synergistically. Thus, how they identify themselves is inconsistent with what they teach and believe. At the end of the day, they are Arminian, whether they like it or not.

The second group is Calvinist-Monergist. They affirm monergism. They (including myself) believe that there is only one force in the universe (grace alone) that brings about regeneration in the life of the sinner. In specifics, because of the deadness of the spiritual human will (i.e. moral inability), the Holy Spirit performs the miracle of spiritual resurrection (regeneration) in that person. Thus it is monergism (one work). Grace is sufficient to be effective, and does not depend on some action of the human will.

In other words, the Holy Spirit does not merely “whisper” in the hardened sinner’s ear and hopes that the rebel sinner will “cooperate.” Instead, while the sinner is in a state of hardness and rebellion, the Holy Spirit penetrates into the human will and performs the miracle of spiritual life (regeneration). That is grace alone. That is what the Bible teaches. Faith does not precede regeneration, regeneration precedes faith.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13

“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47

Arminians cannot affirm grace alone. They must always have the creature’s will as the final determiner of their destiny, not God.

One final note.

Arminians pray inconsistently. They pray unknowingly as a Calvinist:

“God, change the unbeliever’s heart.”

I have never heard an Arminian pray:

“God, only whisper in the unbeliever’s ear, but don’t change their heart unless you’ve been given permission by the unbeliever.”

The Calvinist prays and affirms biblical truth consistently.

 

The Difference in Jesus’ Divine Role Does NOT Indicate Inferiority of Nature

There is a frequent assumption, and/or misunderstanding, that unbelievers frequently expresss about the Trinity. As a believer you should be aware of this. James White on occasion says:

Difference in function does not indicate inferiority of nature.

For many who deny the Trinity or the deity of Jesus, it is thought that since Jesus fulfilled a lesser (subordinate) role in his incarnation compared to that of the Father, Jesus must therefore posses a lesser nature.

Those who oppose the deity of Christ often point to Jesus’ submissive remarks about doing the will of his Father. For example, Jesus says, “the Father is greater than I am.” They infer from this that Jesus does not share the same nature with the Father. But this is confusing categories. It ignores the broader context that is talking about their relational roles, not their nature.

Jesus also calls the Father, “My God.” Yet those who oppose the deity of Christ ignore that this is a humble acknowledgment of the incarnate Jesus modeling for us humility and submissiveness (John 20:17). This exalting-affirmation is what we would expect from the Son of God.

Similarly, it is argued, since Jesus is the agent of the Father in many respects such as creation, Jesus cannot be fully God. Regarding the Spirit, they will make the similar false assumption. Since the Spirit is sent by the Father, the Spirit cannot have the same divine nature as the Father. They will look at these statements and make the fallacious leap that difference in function indicates inferiority of nature.

They also deny the freedom of the Divine persons to choose their roles. Or to put it another way: they assume that to be truly God, the Son and the Spirit must have the exact same roles as the Father in order to share in the same nature.

A simple, but effective, illustration will show that difference in function does not indicate inferiority of nature: A husband and wife—as well as children!—will posses different roles in a marriage. Wives are to take on the submissive role, yet this does not indicate that difference in function requires inferiority of nature. Does the wife have a lesser nature than that of the husband? Not according to Christian anthropology. They are both fully human.

Let’s praise God for the incarnation, which itself presupposes a submissive role that brought about our salvation. We do not worship a unipersonal-unitarian God, but worship instead a complementary-trinitarian God.
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A Tip on Getting Jehovah Witnesses to Take Your Literature

Jehovah Witnesses have been trained to refuse any literature when they are out witnessing. They simply will not take what you want to offer them.

However, there is one thing they will take…and that is your phone number.  And there lies your strategy.

Toward the very end (not beginning or middle) of your conversation with them, ask them if they would be willing to meet again to talk. Typically they will say ‘yes.’ Then immediately take the initiative and take out of your pocket a tract or other piece of evangelistic literature and write your name and phone number on the back of the tract, and give it to them asking them to be sure to call you for a follow up meeting.

Don’t ask them if they will take it. Just give it to them and say goodbye.

Be prepared beforehand to have a tract and pen ready for the end of your conversation. This tactic may not always work, but it will sometimes.

It is a strategy that God may just use to save their soul.

The Trendiest Current Fad in the Study of the Gospels and Historical Jesus: Social Memory Theory

d8dc69063abe2ee4bec5c295a87f64a8With respect to social memory theory, it is doubtful whether Ehrman is the appropriate and accurate authority to cite in terms of the scholarly research done on the subject. He may just be, as he has been before, trailing along in public support of the latest fad…

In short, it is not a theory of history and cannot be used to determine historicality (such as whether or not Jesus existed). More than that, it is not even a theory of how memories are transmitted, even if it is (and this may be questioned in its details) a theory of how memories are formed.

https://domainthirtythree.com/2016/03/28/did-jesus-really-exist-and-social-memory/