Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Predestination / Free Will (3a)

Last week, we concluded that: Man’s will is a “Will Not” in regards to spiritual things. We have the inability to come to Christ without grace acting FIRST. Today, we’ll look at some history regarding this debate.

First, the FIVE SOLAS of the Reformation: These five doctrines were Protestant “musts” when it comes to salvation during Reformation times.

1. Sola Scriptura
• Scripture alone is our authority, our only source of divine revelation when it comes to salvation (creation is general revelation / scripture is specific).
2. Sola Gratia * This is one issue at hand in the Calvinism / Arminianism debate!
• The Basis of our salvation is GRACE ALONE.
• We are rescued from God’s wrath by His grace alone.
3. Sola Fide
• The Means of our salvation is FAITH ALONE.
• Justification is through faith alone (imputed righteousness through the channel of faith).
4. Solus Christus
• The Merit of our salvation is CHRIST ALONE.
• Christ alone, by His mediatorial work, accomplishes our salvation.
5. Soli Deo Gloria * This is one issue at hand in the Calvinism / Arminianism debate!
• Salvation is of God alone and accomplished by God alone; it is for His glory alone!

Second, the History of Calvinism & Arminianism
The Study of Salvation (Soteriology)

• Augustine / Pelagius
- Sproul, Grace Unknown, pg 121: Augustine prayed to God: “Grant what thou commandest, and command what thou desirest.” Pelagius did not think the first part of this prayer was necessary. He assumed humanity could obey what God commanded without God’s special grace.
- Augustine (obedience requires grace / moral inability) vs. Pelagius (obedience does not require grace / moral ability)
- Conclusion: We still have freedom of the will, but we have lost moral liberty. Webster’s Dictionary defines liberty and freedom identically: “the quality or state of being free (from coercion).” What do we make of this?
- Original sin did not destroy our natural ability to make choices, only our moral ability to choose the things of God (spiritual things), and Scripture depicts this in 1 Corinthians 2:14 and Romans 8:7-8 and elsewhere.

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
“The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

• Luther / Erasmus (For more information, read Willing to Believe by R.C. Sproul)

• Calvin / Arminius
- John Calvin (1509-1564 - Born in France / Lived in Geneva, Switzerland): We are in voluntary bondage to sin prior to regeneration by effective grace.
- James Arminius (1560-1609 - Lived in Holland): We are in voluntary bondage to sin, but we do not need regeneration to change our minds; we just need wooing, persuasive grace.
- 1610 - The Five Articles of Arminian Remonstrance were proposed in Holland against the Belgic Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism.
- 1619 - The Synod of Dordt rejected the Arminian proposal and responded with the affirmed Five Points of Calvinism.
• God the Father elects a people
• God the Son redeems the elect
• God the Holy Spirit regenerates the elect and calls them efficaciously or effectively or certainly to faith in Christ
• These actions actually save the elect; they do not just make salvation possible.

• Whitefield / Wesley

• Edwards / Finney (The Great Awakening)
- Jonathan Edwards said that humanity is inclined to sin; free will is self-determined by human nature.
- Charles Finney said that there is no sin nature. He also suggested that Christ’s atonement was not substitutionary. Though extremely Pelagian, he led 500,000 people to Christ!

• Modern Day ... There is general misunderstanding, even misrepresentation, on both sides. One popular view of theology today is Dispensationalism (Darby, Moody, Scofield, Chafer, Geisler, Ryrie)
- Orthodox Christian view (considered a middle-view, but inconsistent in regards to Soteriology; so-called Calvinists and Arminians in this camp)
- Three or seven dispensations of God’s dealing with man. (Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and Kingdom)
- Camouflaged, hidden Arminianism (very few people like being called Arminians, because it was rejected by the Reformers)

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