I've been studying Calvinism and I was surprised at how much I agree with it. Yet I was disappointed that in the TULIP section of the Westminster Confession of Faith (for those not in the loop, Reformed Churches have "confessing traditions," and the Westminster Conf. serves as the major foundation to many churches dating back to the Reformation) that Calvinism does not believe that God made His decision based on prior sight.
What that means is that my own personal belief, that God forsees who will join Him and who wont, and then arranges the chessboard of life to facilitate our growth and coming to Him. Yet I've been informed that traditional Calvinism rejects this notion and states that God simply decides who will and who will not be saved... for no real reason?
Is that true?
Does anyone else here agree with this?
I'm especially interested in knowing whether members of Reformed churches, particularly Presbyterians, adhere to this today?
The passage that his doctrine is mainly based upon in found in Ephesians 1:4.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
I don't want to be dogmatic on this issue. But whether you believe it one way or the other makes no difference toward your salvation. This should not be, but unfortunately is, a dividing point between honest Christians.
God does say that He will have mercy upon those whom He wants to have mercy. Romans 9.
1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. 9For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."
10Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!
15For he says to Moses,
"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
25As he says in Hosea:
"I will call them 'my people' who are not my people;
and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," 26and,
"It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
'You are not my people,'
they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "
27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
"Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.
28For the Lord will carry out
his sentence on earth with speed and finality."
29It is just as Isaiah said previously:
"Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah."
30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." 33As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
This is the dividing point right here for most Christians. Did God make people with choice or not?
Are we just a play on a stage or random occurences?
The only way around a very difficult issue such as this is, and this is not meant to sidestep the issue or to ignore it, to worship God personally and collectively as God. And not to split haris on peripheral issues such as this.
You will notice the different orthodox denominations have about five core beliefs in common. They are probably the first five in this sites statement of beliefs. Agreement on these are the ties that bind. Disagreement on these departs from true biblical faith. Any other issues are to be under the control of Christian liberty described in 1 Corinthians.
I hope this helps. For further study try the Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns. It is very helpful for this type of question.
Thanks for your help, Rerun, at least now I have a far better understanding of the subject!
Hi Ashes if you are studying Calvanism you may also want to look at Arminianism which is the opposition to Calvanism when it comes to the question of if you are saved can you then lose your salvation? One problem of Calvanism if I understand it correctly is ,that God knows now, and even before I was born ,if I am going to be saved.Lets assume the to me more likely answer that God knows I won't be saved.I then find it curious that people on this forum would urge me to repent accept J/C as my savour etc when God has already preordained that I won't and your good intentions are futile.I have meet one Christian who was honest enough to admit he can't fathom answers to the "if everything is preordained I can't change anything anyway" question.
Calvinism is not Bible, Calvinism is a human philosphy.
@abc: i think if you have objection to Calvinism you are welcome to propose your objection as to why you disagree with it or not but you cant just say that short statement for rebuttal. We have people who are calvinists in here.
Pls help to make the forum a nice place for everyone.
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