Well, I got overly wrapped up in reading 'Calvinism VS Arminianism' debates, and I'm just so tired of people being so… iconoclast.
I am a Calvinist! Or, I am an Arminian! Or I am an Amyraldist! Or I am a Pelagian! Etc. Etc.
I do agree that Arminianism and Pelagianism have some serious loopholes in their theology, but am I denying that there are Arminians and Pelagians who are in fact regenerated? Not really… Yet the two theologies are far less effective because of the errors. I believe that all Christian theologies have people who are regenerate, but the less accurate the doctrine, the less regenerated believers there are.
Paul exhorts us to be in union. (Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-17)
People seem to take pride in standing with one MAN's theology. Even I catch myself claiming I am a '5-Point Calvinist' like I am the Apostle Paul. I just sinned because I exercised pride. Also, I lied when I said I was a '5-Point Calvinist.' I would be telling the truth that I am a '4-Point Calvinist,' because the strict limited atonement grasps at straws and ignores the Scriptures saying that Jesus died for the whole world, not just the elect. That's where my next point comes in.
While I agree with most of 'Calvinism's' TULIP theology, I take 'Limited Atonement' and use Amyraut's revision to make it more… understandable. Amyraut called it the 'Unlimited/Limited Atonement.' Yes, Christ died for the sins of all men, as the Bible proves over and over again. If a 'Calvinist' tell me otherwise, I will reprove him of his GROSS error. Yet I approach the limited aspect of the atonement with a careful approach. If the atonement were purely unlimited, that would lead to universalism. That is heresy. It is limited in the aspect that Christ's sacrifice will ultimately be only effective for His elect.
Some people will call me an Amyraldist, and that isn't incorrect. Amyraut (I hope I spelled his name right!), I believe, was correct in revising 'Calvinism' by replacing the strictly limited atonement with the unlimited/limited atonement I talked about in the last paragraph.
I still believe that my theology should still be considered Reformed, for I believe that the means to salvation is by God's grace alone. To His elect, He gave an inward call for the pursuit of the truth in love and righteousness, and a love for Him.
Call me a Christian. I'm getting sick of thinking of myself as anything other than a Bible-believing, Christ-loving, truth-seeking Christian. Sure, you can call me a 'Reformed Christian,' because that just suggests that I believe in at least most of Reformed theology.
You know what is more important than bickering about whose doctrine is right? Jesus Christ Himself! If you keep bickering on about how you're right and they're wrong, you are missing the point entirely. If someone has a true love for Christ, he will perform works according to that true love. Faith without works is dead. You cannot have true faith without it producing works of righteousness within you.
Sure, I like listening to R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Justin Peters, etc. Does that make me a 'Calvinist?' No way! Their theologies are pretty solid, and I thank God for such men of His own accord, but they all have their theological hiccups. Even I might be wrong. I don't TRULY know it all. For you who think you know it all… (I am looking at you, Calvinists!) Sad to say, think again. Remember Christ. Put Christ above your petty theological debates.
Am I saying that theology is unimportant? NO! I am saying that theology should be a fruit of Christ in you, not a standpoint of petty conceit and pride. Of course, we are going to fall into the pit of thinking that we are better than that other person, but we HAVE TO lower ourselves and think of Christ. That will humble us.
I truly believe that people arguing over little tidbits of theological inconsistencies are grasping at straws entirely. Their works are completely of their own FLESH. Is Christ glorified by petty debates over ONE verse? I think NOT. Christ Himself is slighted when you take pride in calling yourself anything other than a Christian. When you take pride in calling yourself an Amyraldist, or a Calvinist, or an Arminian, et cetera, you are downplaying the TRUE ROOT of the FAITH. Jesus Christ Himself…
God burdened me to tell you this. All these squabbles add up to nothing in the end. Rejoice in your regenerated soul through God's grace. Be content in the truth of the Word. We are all bound to disagree on certain things, but I don't believe disagreements make grounds for condemning the other.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I love you with the love that Christ loved us with. It might not be a perfect version of said love, but your love for Christ is something to rejoice over. Rejoice in your true Savior who is Christ Jesus. Love each other with Godly love, a love that is not defiled by the flesh but that is defined by the Spirit which is inside of us all who are regenerated.
Before I am finished, I will go through some scriptures I am reading in first Corinthians. Take heed of what Paul has to say about a lot of the people who take pride in their own understanding.
(1:17) "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."
The cross of Christ is made of none effect by legalism! Honestly, legalism nauseates me. It makes me despair, because it's condemning, not uplifting in Christ Jesus.
(1:18) "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
Yes, I believe in predestination. This verse points out that there are those who view the cross as foolishness. I can testify to that. I believe that the elect see it as the power of God. As in elect, I mean those who truly believe, and are not 'sinner's prayer' 'saints' or Sunday Christians.
(1:19) "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring nothing the understanding of the prudent."
Here, Paul is talking about anyone who is 'worldly wise.' That, unfortunately, pertains also to those who hold to their 'divine theology' as their means of salvation. They are just puffing themselves up and calling themselves 'holier than thou.' Am I saying that all Calvinists are unregenerate? Most definitely not… A lot of Calvinist preachers soundly teach the Word, and that is amazing. Yet there are those bunch who hold onto their theology like they NEED IT to even be saved. What a delusion! They are blind, claiming to have sight, and they walk into their own damnation. It is very sad.
(1:20) "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"
Paul is drilling it into our minds, as Christians, that worldly wisdom is futile. Some people peer over a hundred books on theology and never pick up their Bible! Blame me on this one, I can attest to doing the same thing online. All it does is confuses me and makes me feel bad about holding to a mostly Reformed theology. Yet my theology is secondary. Christ is primary.
(1:21) "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
Preach the Gospel. Don't go drilling your Calvinistic, Arminian, or whatever bias on anyone. Preach Christ crucified. Preach about the condition of the sinner under the law. Don't sugarcoat the Gospel.
(1:22) "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom."
Forgive me. I am going to do a minor eisegesis here just so I can get a point across. The Jews required a sign. Guess who else requires a sign? The Pentecostal churches… The Charismatic churches… The Word of Faith churches… These congregations seek signs, and get false miracles.
The Greeks sought after wisdom. Guess who else seeks after wisdom? (Don't be offended if you're one of these. If you put Christ first, GOOD FOR YOU.) A lot of Calvinists… a lot of Arminians… a lot of theologians… Myself…
If you seek anything other than Christ, even if it is your 'beloved theology,' turn your eyes upon Jesus and repent of sinking into the water when Christ clearly told you to walk to Him. (Metaphor.)
(1:23) "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness."
Preach Christ Crucified. Preach all about who Jesus really is. Don't necessarily be seeker-friendly, but be truthful regardless if you're going to be liked or not. We are to be a peculiar people.
(1:24) "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
Here are some more personal interpretations. People from all sorts of denominations, I believe, have been predestined. In a Charismatic Church, there might be one sheep that is a lone sheep amongst a herd of goats, but he/she is still a SHEEP. He/she will come to the truth sooner or later.
In a Reformed Church, there might be plenty of sheep hungering for God's truth. They were also predestined according to His perfect will. Even so, there will be goats that are masquerading as sheep so they can pass on their vain legalism.
(1:25) "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
Amen to that, Jesus! You are wiser than any man could ever be.
(1:26) "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called."
All those things that Paul described… Wisdom, mightiness, nobleness… Without Christ, they're all done in vain. It's of the flesh. Therefore it is sin.
(1:27) "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."
We are weak, yet He is strong. For anyone who is strong in his own effort will fall when the appointed time comes. Let us be foolish to the world, praising Christ Jesus our Lord and God.
(1:28) "And base things of this world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are."
God has a really strange way of predestinating us. He doesn't often predestinate the strong in self-will and self-reliance. They think they are gods themselves. He predestines those who give up themselves for the cause of Christ Jesus. Christ opens the hearts of those who are weak in their spirit.
(1:29) "That no flesh should glory in his presence."
The flesh will die in His presence. It will wither away, because it is not of the Light. For the believer, he shall glory in His presence.
(1:30) "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Christ Jesus will give us true wisdom that is of Him. We will not conceit ourselves with His divine knowledge. He sanctifies us, redeems us, and makes us righteous. It is not of ourselves that we are bestowed these things, but it is of Christ alone.
(1:31) "That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
We are to glory in Christ. Christ is the only meaning in our lives. Let us glory in the true meaning of our lives, which is in Christ Jesus.
Now, I am in no way supporting Rick Warren-ism. Or… 'ecumenism.' I will defy ecumenism in Christ's name until the day I die. I am simply stating that some divisions are unnecessary, because we are to be a united body of believers.
In no way do I support Arminianism. The 'free will' gospel seemingly robs Christ of His sovereign ability to save those He predestines. The gospel of undeserved grace is the true Gospel.
Yet in no way do I support Calvinism. Many of them use the name to stonewall themselves from ever being able to accept slightly different minded Christians into their fold.
If you want to know, I am quite a logical guy. I try to solve a lot of theological questions with mere reason. I try to harmonize views that shouldn't be harmonized. I am also a guy who wants to fit into a certain 'name.' I have gotten to the point of accepting 'Limited Atonement' just to be called a '5-Pointer.' But I do not accept limited atonement. You know where I stand on this, as I posted in the article earlier.
In all ways do I support sound Biblical doctrine. Sound Biblical doctrine is the logical result of the works of the Spirit inside of you. You guys mightn't agree on everything I have said here, but we have to remember that Christ is the reason to live. Christ Crucified!
Also, if my writing style seems stilted, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I see it as a blessing from the Creator Himself. I don't know who I would be today without my Asperger's. Christ has used my innate nature of reason to deduce the truth from His Word. I thank Him for such a provision of grace.
This wraps up my speech. God bless you all. Keep His precepts, and His guidelines. Do it out of love for Him, okay?