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Q299 : Calvinism, Arminianism and the Limits of Human Logic

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Q299 : Calvinism, Arminianism and the Limits of Human Logic

Hi Tony,

I hope you are well, I was listening to your teaching on Romans 9a today and I think it was very good and an truthful look at the scriptures.

My question is though, what are your thoughts on Calvinism. Do you agree with some of the points?

Personally I find teaching from Reformed / Calvinists helpful. They seem to be more honest and upfront with the scriptures in regards to Gods sovereignty.


A299 : by Tony Garland

My position on the Arminian/Calvinism spectrum is Calvinist in outlook—although with some caveats. Without getting into subtleties, my views are close to that of a 4-point Calvinist (I do not think the Scriptures teach limited atonement—sometimes referred to as particular atonement.)

You can read more of my thoughts on this in the Q/A section of our website under the topic of Calvinisma.

You mentioned, “Personally I find teaching from Reformed / Calvinists helpful. They seem to be more honest and upfront with the scriptures in regards to Gods sovereignty.”

I agree. I believe this reflects a difference in how the Scriptures are handled. Those with a high view of God's sovereignty come to that position based on clear passages of Scripture—even when those passages are difficult to reconcile with human logic. In my view, those of a more Arminian persuasion generally argue their view based upon what makes sense from the point of view of human logic rather than giving priority to Scriptural teaching on election, predestination, etc.—even if those teachings are not easily reconciled with God’s desire for all to be saved.

But the Arminian view is not alone in falling prey to elevating human logic over God’s revelation. I believe this same error is behind how 5-point Calvinists misinterpret passages which, taking straightforwardly, teach Jesus died for all men.1 The idea that Jesus paid for the sin of all mankind contravenes their logic concerning the efficacy of His work on the cross: "After all, He wouldn't die for those He knows will never respond, would He? That would be ineffectual and wasteful—even illogical." But this is akin to saying that we won't accept Scriptural revelation on the Trinity unless we can make perfect sense of it from our limited human perspective.

For doctrines which transcend the limits of human logic, we must be willing to follow the clear teaching of the passages, even if we don't understand.


Endnotes:

1.A sample of passages which teach that Jesus died for all men: John 1:29; 6:33, 51; Rom. 5:18; 2Cor. 5:14-19; 1Ti. 2:6; 4:10; Heb. 2:9; 2Pe. 2:1; 1Jn. 2:2; 4:14.


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