Is Calvinism Biblical?

calvinist

Now that I have asked that, did you go to feelings or to Scriptrue? To logic or to personal preference?

Calvinism has been on the surge, as have its opponents. Here is a short article with some good thoughts. Yes, some Calvinists make the ‘emotive’ (emotional based) arguments too, and can turn off people about it, when in fact both sides rarely use and know the Bible in, especially online.

If properly examined, Calvinism, as John Calvin taught, is Biblical, because it is just the logical inverse of Scripture in context by inductive reason. Or just read Romans and if you do not like Paul, read 1 Peter chp 1, if you do not like Peter, then read John chps 14-15. If you do not like John, well you have bigger problems. That is, if one would look to the Book, not to feelings, ideas, personal philosophy, what my pastor said or musings…. You would be ‘Reformed.’

Personally, I do not use the term ‘Clavinisim’ much, as it has too much baggage, because most people never have read Calvin and make assumptions that are not true. And some Calvinists are ‘A holes’ (the main problem with Christianity is a lack of Fruit, Gal 5) as this article points out. I have read Calvin, all of him, and found him passionately powerful and true. Talks more about prayer and devotion to God and personal responsibility over all else. I personally prefer the term ‘Reformed’ and if there is a disagreement, I will not quote Calvin, instead, “let us go to Scripture and reason together, look to contexts and see for yourself….”

Always base theology of God’s Word, not of mens or your feelings…. I am not an apologist for Calvin, I am an apologist to proper reason, logic, when look to Scripture, using proper rules of Induction and Hermeneutics.

What is the main contention point? Calvin placed the emphases on God’s purpose. The Armenians place the emphasis on our choosing and God’s foreknowledge.

I certainly will not solve this debate. Both points are valid to a degree, so we can agree to disagree. But, I challenge you to carefully read and study these Scriptures. I grew up in Reformed churches (Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian) and went to a Reformed Seminary, yet for years I rejected four of the five points. The reason was that I refused to see the evidence, instead, choosing to believe my feelings, what my mentors stated, and interpretation along with popular Evangelical thinking. I also did not read Calvin myself. I knew only what others said of him, and, as we will see, most people do a very good job of misrepresenting Calvin! It wasn’t until through a Seminary buddy (Michael Horton), who kept pestering me to examine the evidence, did I finally and surely come to the logical and clear reformed perspective.

My presumptions were in the way, as were my sources, which were plainly wrong. 

So let us focus on God’s Word. Look at it carefully in its context and lift up the blood of Christ as our final Lord and Mediator.

What to know about Calvinism and where it comes from and why it is Biblical? Here is an article that does not quote Clavin; rather, just takes you to Scripture, shows both arguments and you can see for yourself…>

http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=44056&columnid=4541

And here http://theresurgence.com/2012/07/25/5-myths-about-reformed-theology

Advertisements

God is more concerned with our obedience than our knowledge.

All too often, Christians only see God’s Grace. How does knowing that God is a God of judgment, as well as a God of holiness and righteousness affect your faith and obedience?

Obedience is so essential for us to understand and apply! Knowledge is important, but, what we think we know pales in comparison to who Christ is and what He does for us. When we feel we are wise, we are like a four-year-old thinking he knows better than his parents. How far can a four-year-old carry himself in life?

How far can we carry ourselves in life without Christ?

We may think we are doing well, but when we look back, with eternity as our guide, our ways are revealed as very pathetic indeed! We need to allow God’s truth to reign in us, and hold on to that reign with trust and obedience. When we do this without worry, and with trust, we grow, and real wisdom will flow into us, and through us to those around us. Just be aware that God will not give you wisdom or gifts until you have mastered what He has already given you (Luke 16:10; 19:17; John 7:17; 14:12; Heb. 12:6)!

The more knowledge you have, the more responsibility you have to use and practice it.

That is why Moses was not let into the Promise Land; he disobeyed God. He knew better than anyone who ever lived not to do that! Fortunately, today we have Grace! Even though Moses disobeyed God in a relatively minor matter in our perspective, God was still gracious, and showed him all that would come. What God sees as important, we sometimes skip. Remember, Moses knew better. And, when we sin, we know better too! Thus the offense of striking the rock was bad enough for him to be excluded from entering the Promised Land. Moses had been face to face with God, and knew his duty and call. His anger broke the trust he had with God, resulting in grave consequences.
Fortunately for us, we have Grace to further protect us (Ex.17: 6; Num. 20:8-11)!

What happens to a Christian’s growth and faith when all he acknowledges is God’s grace, and not the rest of His attributes?

The more knowledge you have, the more responsibility you have to use and practice it.

What does this mean to you and your church? Consider your gifts and opportunities. How have you used them?

What can you do to take to heart in a deeper way that God is more concerned with your obedience than your knowledge?

Truth is Divinely Commanded PII

Read Matthew 5: 33-37

Truth is divinely commanded! 

We have no excuse to skirt around truth, play games, or manipulate justice with creative legal games in our judicial courts or in His Church! Nor, can we manipulate our agenda over and against God’s Truth and Word (Ex. 20:16; Lev. 19:11; Psalm 5:9; 12:1-4; 15:1-3; 52:2-5; Jer. 9:3-6; Eph. 4:25; Col. 3:9; Rev. 22:15)!

 When we do engage in deceit and lies, we are following in the footsteps of Satan, not Christ. This includes political mongering in the church, like power plays, strife, fighting against godly leadership and the glory of God (Psalm 15; John 8:44)!

Character in leadership must be taken seriously. As God requires us to take our word and deeds seriously, as this is a reflection of our relationship to Him. Like in a ‘vow,’ we must never claim to do anything that is contrary to what is in Scripture, in Christ’s character, or cause someone else to violate God’s Word (Duet. 21:23; Ecc. 5:4-6)!

May these words of our Lord remind us that our speech reflects upon the God we serve! Because, everything we do as a child of God must be in integrity, truthfulness, and honesty, as we are not only representing Him, He is living in us!

Consider this for motivation: As a Christian, you have the Spirit of God living in you. Thus, when you make a statement, either false, or true, gossip, spread rumors, play games with peoples call and God’s plan, Christ is implicitly represented in it. So, you are using His name, as you are His representative. Thus, it is imperative that we behave with consistent truthfulness (1 Cor. 5:20)!

What can your church leadership do to make sure that their words and deeds are a reflection of their relationship to Christ? If they did this, how would it change your church? Why is it sad that we have to even ask such a question?

Truth is Divinely Commanded PI

Read Matthew 5: 33-37

Do you keep your word as a leader?  

Why would consistent integrity be essential for the person who claims Christ as Lord of his/her life? What about the pastor and church leader? 

Oaths in the ancient world were extremely important. They were so important, they were almost acknowledged as currency. The Jews during Jesus time swore to all kinds of things, from serious matters to the trivial. They were a statement of the person’s truthfulness and ability to meet a commitment anywhere, from the paying of debts to the promise of marriage.

Most of the Jews would make elaborate oaths to testify to the truth of their words and their commitment by claiming the importance of the Temple, or their house and goods–anything except God and His standards. In so doing they elevated the importance of material things over spiritual things; they measured their word and integrity by others, not to the standards of God.

The Law forbids irreverent oaths, especially the misuse of God’s name! If the Lord’s name was used in a transaction, the depth had to be paid also to the Lord. Thus, Jesus cuts through the complex additions the Pharisees have made to the law, right to the heart of the matter, and simply states, we are to tell the truth- period!

They had a good reason, so they thought, because, if they broke their word, God’s name was not in vain. But, this became epidemic as the oaths became more and more elaborate, the integrity became worse and worse, and those oaths quickly became broken and worthless. So, the Pharisees and various Rabbis would judge what oaths were binding and what ones were not. As long as God’s name was not in it, the oath could be broken, and people were free of responsibility to their word and commitment.

 Jesus calls us to be true to our word as a testimony to our Faith in Him. We are not to be worldly with our words or integrity or drag His good name and defile it with feeble, easily retracted words.

There is nothing complex about truth. If you seek to make it complex, you have no regard to truth or to the God of truth!

So, why do we seek to make it complex, seeking loopholes to escape responsibility and righteousness?

The Call for the Church from EPHESIANS PI

Far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Ephesians 1:21-23; 3:10; 4:15; 5:23

Our responsibility is to passionately engage in our devotions and surrendered will before our Holy God. If we are not poured out with ardor and devotion as a response for who He is and what He did, then how can we communicate the purpose of the church to others? If there is no distinction between the Christ-centered church and a fraternal organization or social club, then what are we doing, who are we modeling, and what are we accomplishing?

If we are not excelling for Christ, then we are not “getting” what the responsibility of the church is.

We must know the calling and answer accordingly, or we are nothing but Christian trash. By responding, we are actually seeking our Lord’s hope and riches, which He freely gives to those who pursue Him. This is God’s mighty power at work in the church, so let us not block His flow with our evil desires and attitudes. We are to put our yearnings, aspirations, plans, and vision all under His feet—under His command and control. His dominion means that Christ is our power and lead. The fullness is the gift we receive by our service and obedience for His glory. His fullness will exceed all our plans and aspirations a hundred fold. Our hearts must burn with passion for the worship of our Lord.

We must fall down and worship at our Lord’s feet in order to be a real, purpose-filled church—that is, His purpose!

The church must exist from and through Christ in our will, because it does in reality. The church fulfills the hope from the brokenness that sin caused and that the New Testament pointed to. Hope is a call that Christ gives us that we, as peacemakers can in turn give to others. The church is to promote peace and welfare, not stir up strife and division. Yes, there are times we must take a hard stand and we are called to do so even past the point of sacrifice. But, the relationships and teachings of Christ that bring division and conflict will bring peace too.

The Call for the Church from Colossians PI

…He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy…. Colossians 1:15-23

The chief characteristic of who we are in Christ is the fact He is the living Supreme God who has existed for all time, who transcends space, time and thought, who knows us intimately, and who loves us. Christ is Lord; Christ is Supreme! Christ is the tangible aspect of God who is beyond sight and comprehension. He is the God who created the universe, who made all things. He made all that we see, and all that we do not see! He is the God who created the molecules of substance, formed the ground on which we stand and the wood on which He was crucified. In all of life, in whatever we will face and know, He has gone and still goes before and with us. This world was created by Christ and for Christ; He is indeed supreme. We need to learn to live our lives in Him for His glory. In so doing, we will be much better as stewards of His Church.

Church life is not about our ideas, presumptions, or expectations—it is about Him as LORD!

When we finally achieve this mindset, we begin our journey of growing in faith, maturity, character, and becoming more content in life and of better use to Christ and others around us. This is realized when we see the hope we have in Him, and allow that hope to be a foundation; He will carry is through all things.

What does this passage have to do with the responsibility of the church?

A lot! This passage is about reconciliation, and the church’s responsibility is to mirror the character of God who reconciled us to Him! Christ has and is revealing the invisible God to us, and we cannot and must not look for God anywhere else. If we look for God in ourselves or anywhere else in the world, we will fail as a church and as believers. This is because the church is the body of Christ, and as believers we are to believe. We are to follow and lead as examples, surrendering to His Lordship and not our own.

One of the big issues and problems is that most Christians just do not get this passage. Our Lord is the head of His Church, including our church, yet our churches are run as if we were in total control and we reign supreme.

As far as the responsibility of the church goes, what more can we say, other than Christ is the head and our lead, thus the vision and call can only come from Him and not of ourselves and our effort. If Christ is our “all in all” then we must respond to His teachings as marching orders and not a list of suggestions or ideas. We are to see and know Him as our Creator and Lord, as our Redeemer and Savior, as our God. Then we can respond as the church that our Lord died for.

 

The Church is a Response to Grace

Colossians 1:15-23

We must be about how do I glorify Christ, not please our selves, and do this in all things—worship, relationships, our thought processes, how we make decisions, and how we institute and instigate the work of the church. It all must flow and come from Christ our Lord, our Leader and God, and from nowhere else. When we stop experiencing Jesus as our Lord, and He becomes only a figure in the sanctuary, then we will not be a purposeful or called Church for Him. When we are singing praise choruses and hymns that point to His Holiness and Greatness and as Head of our lives and church, do we mean it? Or, is it merely rhetoric and repetition that has no meaning behind it?

The church exists as a response to the grace of our Lord. Because of what He did, we are to glorify, magnify, praise His name, and then respond further from our worship of Him to our works for Him.

Remember that works have no saving construct; they are only the appreciation and response we are give to His majesty and redemption. Grace working in us will produce the work and will of our devotion and holiness to set us apart for His plan. Our response is to accept His teachings and love with joyful excitement, and replicate it in our lives, thoughts, and actions, and to grow and perfect the relationship and work He gives us.

Remember the Dead Sea; if all we do is allow Him to flow into us and not out, we will stagnate.

If we just try to go it alone without our Lord, we will fail. We cannot flow out if nothing flows in. The responsibility is clear; we are to allow His Spirit to flow in and out, as we are His tools, His children, and His love. When our faith becomes strong, we will not be moved from it, and that means we will not be moved away from Christ. This is what steadfastness is all about: not being shaken from our beliefs and faith in our Lord. When we stray off our path, we tend to substitute steadfastness with stubbornness that takes us far from the purpose and responsibility of the Lord’s church. Being firmly rooted in Christ means keeping to the integrity of Scripture and His teachings, for when we stray from that path, our church will stray away from His opportunities and call. Christ gives us the hope and opportunities to grow, learn, and abide in Him; we are to respond to the call and opportunities He gives with hope and joy.