Today I’m going to do one of those posts that I am hesitant to do since within the body of Christ part of the topic has stirred up some nasty division for at least 400 years. It is not my intention to create a debate or division, and for that matter I’ve decided not to publicize this to my social media accounts since I have friends who disagree with me and those relationships are more important than pushing a point.
But part of what I’m going to say is something I feel strongly about.
Some basic background is needed for those unfamiliar with my former blogs. Until 2013, I was a pretty staunch Calvinist. But one little blog post by a guy in Costa Rica stirred me up to prove him wrong. The result was that within three weeks of personal, feverish Bible study, I was no longer a Calvinist. I renounced my former beliefs with the conclusion that I could never turn back.
Despite this drastic and sudden change, I continue to respect and admire certain Calvinist teachers (their Calvinism excluded). It’s been my deep desire to see unity among all Christians regardless of their doctrinal stance*. For a few years I was a member of the Society of Evangelical Arminians, but the same old debates and topics continued to bother me in my spirit. One person offered their unsolicited advice, warning me not to listen to teachings from the Together for the Gospel conference. This was nearly enough to make me want to just shut up completely about doctrine with any and all Christians.
One of the people I still highly regard is Paul Washer. This irks a lot of Arminians; they simply can’t stand him. But I believe that Mr. Washer is one of the foremost biblical Christians when it comes to living out Christ’s call for believers to be separate and to reach the world with the gospel. His lead is exemplary. If you go to his Twitter page you’ll find he has thousands of followers. And yet he follows only one individual himself: his wife. He could care less what anyone but God thinks about him, and it appears to come out in both his preaching and his life.
He even quotes a fair share of non-Calvinists, which is pretty cool.
The following video called Unpopular is, overall, a great presentation of the gospel — a compilation of teachers who expound on what unbelievers need to hear and what the church should (mostly) be teaching and telling unbelievers. I say “mostly” because there are a few comments where the speakers let out their Calvinism. And that is why I’ve made this drastically long intro.
So without too much more commentary, I’ll just say this. When James White speaks of God raising us up, those who aren’t familiar with the Calvinist/Arminian debate might miss his meaning. He means that when someone becomes a Christian, God must first cause them to be born again and then, logically (and only then), are they even capable of exercising faith and repentance so as to be converted to Christ.
I do not agree with this, nor do I agree with the idea I heard elsewhere in the video that Jesus died for all who would believe. I believe that the Bible is quite clear; Jesus died for the whole world and whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For those unfamiliar with the subtle difference, you can start your studies here for a primer on Arminian doctrines which oppose Calvinism.
With all that said, this video is an otherwise excellent presentation of man’s dire position in light of God’s justice, holiness, and goodness. Watch or download to listen on the go.
Feel free to comment but please note that all forms of debating will not be approved.
* When I say “unity among all Christians regardless of their doctrinal stance,” I do mean those which fall into the general category of orthodoxy. I hold Calvinists and Arminians to be brothers and sisters in the Lord. Other sects and supposed denominations, such as Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, who distort the biblical identity of Jesus Christ cannot hold unity with the orthodox view of the Triune God.