How to address Calvinism

One thing that God has been bring me face-to-face with lately is the view of Calvinism. Through multiple avenues, He has challenged me to wrestle with the issues that Calvinism brings up, relative to what I have always been taught. This post marks the beginning of what will probably be a number of posts on these issues. It will be fairly doctrinal and theological in nature, but I trust it will challenge you to think as well.

In googling around for various information on Calvinism, I stumbled across this site. There are a number of articles on this site, some pertaining to Calvinism and some not. I agree with some of the things the author suggests, and disagree with others. But I certainly appreciate his logical, precise approach. So I want to begin with a response to one of his articles.

In this article, he essentially boils Calvinism down to a single question. He says that “Either God’s choice of man is the basis for man’s choice of God, or man’s choice of God is the basis for God’s choice of man.” Calvinism would suggest the first, that a person only chooses God because of God’s choice of that person. On the other hand, I have always been taught the second: that we choose God, and in His foreknowledge, He elects us.

As far as I can tell, this is an accurate, very simple way of summarizing Calvinism. If the Calvinist is right about this, then it makes sense that they would conclude that man is Totally depraved, that God must Unconditionally elect us, that His atonement would be Limited, that His grace must be Irresistible, and that true saints will Persevere. In case you didn’t recognize it, that’s TULIP, the 5 points of Calvinism as it relates to the doctrines of salvation.

So what about this question? Is God’s choice of a man the basis of that man’s choice for God, or is a man’s choice of God the basis of God’s choice of that man? This is still something I’m kicking around in my head, so I’m not going to attempt to answer it now. But I do want to lay the groundwork for how I’m going to try to answer this question.

I propose to tackle this question in 4 parts. Before I answer the question, I want to clearly define the terms in the question. So the first three parts will be to look at “God’s choice of man”, “man’s choice of God”, and “the basis of”. In part 4, then, I will come back and try to tie together these definitions and answer the whole question. Now I’m not saying that I will settle this question in 4 posts. Looking at each part will probably take multiple posts. However, I think these are the steps that I need to follow, in my own mind, in order to be able to answer the question.

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3 Responses to “How to address Calvinism”

  1. JTR Hart Says:

    Well, I’m excited about these posts. Thinking through questions like these has really deepened my relationship with the Lord so I pray it would do the same for you.

    If I may, while you think about this particular question of who it is that does the choosing, also be thinking about on what basis the choice is made.

  2. My feelings on Calvinism « Veritas Says:

    […] Veritas Seeking the freedom only found in God’s truth. « How to address Calvinism […]

  3. Help My Unbelief » Blog Archive » Does God Destroy “Free” Will? Says:

    […] and so I would encourage you to study these things in much greater depth if you have not before (like my good friend Andrew is doing). But one can see how people would draw conclusions about God’s sovereignty and man’s […]

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