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Sin Part 4: The Calvinist vs Arminian View of Sin

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"John Calvin and what we know as the 5 points of Calvinism are frequently debated during Calvinism vs Arminianism conversations. When someone asks, what is Calvinism, no matter if they are referring to the five points of Calvinism or the 4 points of Calvinism, the question need to so be answered using the Bible as our authority. In this video, Pastor Nelson with Bible Munch defines the 5 points of Calvinism, the 4 points of Calvinism, and the meaning of the acronym TULIP. " from video introduction.

Extracts from Christianae Religionis Institutio (Institutes of the Christian Religion) Calvin Op. ii. 3I sq. (edition of 1559) [The first edition of the Institutes wars published 1536 when Calvin was twenty-six. It was several times revised but there was no development in Calvin's thought after the fast edition. Calvin's genius was for organization rather than theological speculation]

Book II. chap. i . . . Therefore original sin is seen to be an hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature diffused into all parts of the soul . . . wherefore those who have defined original sin as the lack of the original righteousness with which we should have been endowed, no doubt include, by implication, the whole fact of the matter, but they have not fully expressed the positive energy of this sin. For our nature is not merely bereft of good, but is so productive of every kind of evil that it cannot be inactive. Those who have called it concupiscence [a strong, especially sexual desire, lust] have used a word by no means wide of the mark, if it were added (and this is what many do not concede) that whatever is in man from intellect to will, from the soul to the flesh, is all defiled and crammed with concupiscence; or, to sum it up briefly, that the whole man is in himself nothing but concupiscence. . . .

All such “explanations” are exercises in futility. They only push the problem a step back into the hidden unknown. Every theodicy of sin ends in speculation. The biblical account is our only starting point: “In Adam’s fall we sinned all” (New England Primer; Rom 5:12–21).

Calvinism and Arminianism are two main theological points of view that deal with salvation. In Calvinism, God is the ultimate and deciding factor in the salvation of individuals. In Arminianism, man’s response to God’s grace is the deciding factor.

The Five Points of Calvinism are: (TULIP)

T - Stands for Total Depravity

The belief in total depravity takes the view that sinfulness pervades all areas of life and human existence.

U - Stands for Unconditional Election

This Calvinist view says God chooses who will be saved. Because people are dead in their sins, they are unable to initiate a response to God.

L - Stands for Limited Atonement

Limited atonement is the view that Jesus Christ died only for the sins of the Elect, according to John Calvin.

I - Stands for Irresistible Grace

Irresistible grace is the belief that God brings his Elect to salvation through an internal call, which they are powerless to resist.

P - Stands for Perseverance of the Saints

Calvinism teaches that the Elect cannot lose their salvation. Because salvation is the work of God the Father; Jesus Christ, the Savior; and the Holy Spirit, it cannot be thwarted. None whom God has called will be lost, they are eternally secure.

For further reading: Five Point TULIP Calvinism Explained

The TULIP acronym explains the beliefs of Calvinism

Arminianism is a system of belief that tries to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will, particuarly in relation to salvation. Arminianism is named after Jacobus Arminius (1560—1609), a Dutch theologian. Calvinism emphasizes the sovereignty of God, Arminianism emphasizes the responsibility of man. If Arminianism is broken down into five points, similar to the five points of Calvinism, these would be the five points: (1) Partial Depravity – humanity is depraved but still able to seek God. Many Arminians reject partial depravity maintaining a view very close to Calvinistic total depravity. (2) Conditional Election – God alone “chooses” those whom He knows will choose to believe. No one is predestined for heaven or hell. (3) Unlimited Atonement – Jesus died for everyone, even those who are not chosen and will not believe. (4) Resistible Grace – God’s call to be saved can be resisted and/or rejected. (5) Conditional Salvation – Christians can lose their salvation if they actively reject the Holy Spirit’s influence in their lives.

The video below is from John Piper who is a Calvinist, and is interesting in how he discusses Arminianism.

Where’s the Arminian John Piper? - Ask Pastor John

Video from Desiring God

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