Scriptures

Calvinism

Introduction

By Frank Worgan

‘It is no novelty, then I am preaching no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname CALVINISM, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, as I go I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me, taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own church.’ Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Design Of This Work

I offer this as an introductory survey of the system of Theology known as the ‘Five Points Of Calvinism’, showing it to be a claimed historic system constituting distinct and important ‘Biblical’ doctrine.

Our study will follow a prescribed pattern of:
A. Definition.
B. Defence.
C. Discussion.

First of all, we shall deal with Calvinism in its historical setting, showing how and why the five-point structure of Calvinism was developed. This will necessitate a brief look at the contents of Arminianism. Devotion will be given to a ‘Biblical’ defence of Calvinism. Every effort should be made to understand the claims and teaching of such a system, else effort to expose it will be unfair and abuse to its claimants.

We shall further inquire into the narratives used by Calvinists, in an effort to perform a just exegesis of the text with the primary purpose of proper interpretation, consequentially the ‘destruction’ of the Calvinistic theory.

Historical Setting Of Calvinism

When seeking to understand the doctrines of Calvin it helps to consider the Theological conflict taking place in Holland during the first quarter of the 17th century. In 1610 just one year after the death of Jacob (James) Arminus 1560-1609, Five Articles of his teachings were drawn up by his followers.

The Armenians, as his followers came to be called, presented these five doctrines to the State of Holland in the form of a ‘Remonstrance ‘ i.e. a protest. The Arminian party insisted that the Belgic Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism (the official expression of the doctrinal position of the churches of Holland) be changed to the doctrinal views contained in the Remonstrance.

Arminianism

We can summarise this doctrine in the following manner:
1. God elects or reproves on the basis of foreseen faith or unbelief.

2. Christ died for all men and for every man, although only believers are saved.

3. Man is so depraved that divine grace is necessary unto faith or any good deed.

4. This grace may be resisted.

5. Whether all who are truly regenerate will certainly persevere in the faith is a point which needs further investigation.

Note

There has been some disagreement among Arminians over this final point, however in their doctrines it was altered so as to definitely teach the possibility of one losing his faith thus his salvation.

Jacobus Arminius (or, to give him his proper name Jakob Hermandzoon, was a professor of Theology at Leiden University and he rejected several of the doctrines of Calvin: particularly the Doctrine Of Election (or predestination).

Arminius taught that God desires ALL men to be saved, and that God bestows forgiveness on all who repent of their sins and have faith in Christ.

He asked the religious authorities in Holland to meet to settle the issue once and for all. But, unfortunately, worn out with controversy and opposition, he had become a sick man, and he died 19th October 1609, before the Synod met. It was 9 years after the death of Arminius, when, I suppose, his personal influence had waned somewhat, that the Synod was convened in 1618.

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DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Matthew 28:20

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