The Arminian and Calvinist Controversy
I. Introduction: Why?
II. Historical Background
III. The Five Points of Arminian Theology
IV. The Five Points of Calvinistic Theology
V. Who was Who?
VI. A Word About Schism
VIII. A / brief Bibliography From Spurgeon! br>I. INTRODUCTION: WHY?
One young theological student made the following awkward entry into his br>journal:
I am becoming increasingly reticent of (sic) employing the terms 'Calvinism' br>and/or 'Calvinist'. They are unbecoming both historically and spiritually. br>Were we to consistently use these terms and pin them to those holding to the br>theology they represent we would have to call St. Augustine a 'Calvinist' br>which would be historically awkward. We would have to call St. Paul a br>'Calvinist' and that would be spiritually uncomfortable. But we would also br>have to call our Lord a 'Calvinist' and that thought is morally repulsive.
In I Corinthians 1. 11- 17 Paul writes:
For I have been informed concerning you, my / brethren, by Chloe's people, br>that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is br>saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of br>Christ." Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or br>were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of br>you except Crispus and Gaius that no man should say you were baptized in my br>name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do br>not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to br>baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the br>cross of Christ should not be made void.
By reviewing this historical controversy between those called Arminians and br>those called Calvinists are we guilty of disobeying the admonition found in br>Paul's text? Without a doubt many throughout the history of the Church, as br>well as the history of this particular controversy, have violated this br>Scriptural exhortation. There have been men and groups who have aligned br>themselves behind human teachers and personalities, thus dividing Christ. br>But is there any substance to this issue? It is unfortunate that two men's br>names have become the labels for these two distinctly different ways of br>viewing God's Word. Though attention will not be given to this, it is br>historically accurate to state that both of these systems of theology br>pre-existed their own namesakes. This being the case, this controversy ought br>not to be viewed as a siding or identifying with one man over and against br>another man. These two systems of theology represent two contrasting views br>of God and His revealed Word. There are irreconcilable differences between br>these two systems. There are results and effects that do follow out from br>these two positions. It is important to determine what the Scriptures teach, br>for what we believe truly does affect how we walk and worship (Proverbs br>23:7). In the final analysis it must never be which man or which theology br>most appeals to us personally that decides the case. As with every issue of br>truth the only important question and purpose of resolve is
What Do the Scriptures Say?
This pamphlet seeks to be only a very / brief outline with a view to br>constructing an historical and theological definition of these two br>contradicting theologies. Hopefully, further study on the part of the reader br>will be it's fruit. It is important that we understand what the Bible br>teaches and that we comply with it fully. For Paul has said:
Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God br>not to wrangle about words, which is useless, and leads to the ruin of the br>hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who br>does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:14 -15 (emphasis is mine)
II. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The setting for this controversy is the early 1600s at the conclusion of the br>German Reformation. A Dutchman named Jacob Hermann had studied under br>Theodore Beza, John Calvin's successor in Geneva. He returned to his native br>Holland to teach. Hermann Latinized his last name and became Jacob Arminius. br>It was in Holland that he began to question the doctrines of election, man's br>will, as well as the nature and the extent of Christ's atoning work. His br>followers came to be known as Remonstrants and later, after Hermann's death, br>Arminians. The Arminians systematized their theological views into five br>points of doctrine and issued a document known as the "Remonstrance of br>1610." As the result of this publication, the theology of the Arminians br>spread throughout Holland. Ultimately, the Dutch Church summoned a br>conference to review and decide the conflicting issues. This conference was br>called the Synod of Dort which convened from November of 1618 until May of br>1619. After seven months and 154 sessions of review, the "Five Points of br>Arminian Theology" were declared to be at variance with the Scriptures. They br>were labeled heretical and their proponents heretics. The findings of this br>Synod were published in a document entitled the "Canons of Dort." This br>document critiques each of the five points of Arminian theology from the br>biblical perspective. It is somewhat regrettable that these five responses br>have come to be called the "Five Points of Calvinism." Though these br>responses accurately reflect the teaching of John Calvin, they did not br>originate with the Swiss Reformer. These same doctrinal tenets are found to br>varying degrees in the writings of Martin Luther (1500s), John Hus (1400s), br>Anselm of Canterbury (1100s), Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine of the 400s) br>and ultimately they find their source in the Scriptures, especially apparent br>in Paul's epistles.
Although condemned as heretical and persecuted by the Dutch Church and br>government of the day, Arminianism continued to flourish as a heretical br>defection from orthodox Christianity. Ironically, within twenty years of the br>controversy a seminary devoted to the teaching of Arminianism was founded in br>Amsterdam by Simon Episcopius. And of course, Arminianism prospers in our br>own day throughout the Church. br>
III. THE FIVE POINTS OF ARMINIAN THEOLOGY
FREE WILL - This debate has continued throughout the history of the Church. br>In the 1500s two learned men published their views in treatise form: Erasmus br>of Rotterdam, On the Freedom of the Will, and Martin Luther, On the Bondage br>of the Will. The Arminians adopted views that paralleled the work of br>Erasmus, believing that man possesses a free and independent will. By this br>it is meant that in Eden, man's fall only partially affected his ability to br>choose. The will of man is neutral and not determined by his nature, br>therefore it is autonomous and free of any binding persuasion towards br>unrighteousness and sin.
John 3:16, Acts 2:38, & 16:31, Romans 10:9, 1 John 3:23.
CONDITIONAL ELECTION - The Arminian believes that God's election unto br>salvation is based upon His fore-knowing the free will choices of men with br>regard to their own salvation. In other words, in eternity-past God observed br>certain men freely choosing Christ. In response to that pre-observed choice, br>God, in turn, chose those men and called them the elect. Election, br>therefore, is conditioned by and based upon the free will choices made by br>men and observed in advance by God.
Proverbs 3:5, Matthew 8:2, Mark 1:15 & 11:22, John 5:24, Romans 11:2, 1 br>Peter 1:1-2.
UNIVERSAL ATONEMENT - The Arminian believes that in order to accommodate br>man's free will, Christ took to the Cross the sins of every human being br>without exception. The death of Christ does not save any individual, rather br>it makes salvation possible for every individual.7 The cross is thereby br>limited as to its nature, becoming an incomplete work, ineffectual until br>completed by the free will work of man.8 It is the free will choice of man br>to accept Christ's work that completes salvation (e.g. man's decision to br>receive Christ accomplishes, secures, and completes an atonement which br>Christ did not "finish" at Calvary Himself).
John 1:12 & 29, 3:16, & 6:37; 1 Timothy 2:3-6, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 2:29.
OBSTRUCTABLE GRACE - The Arminian believes that the Holy Spirit merely woos br>the man, but salvation rests ultimately upon that man's free will response br>to the Holy Spirit's persuasion. The free will of man can and does thwart br>and refuse the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. It is man's volition, br>or willingness to cooperate with God that can either support or frustrate br>God's desire to save. With this concept of salvation great importance and br>weight is laid upon the work of man. The Arminian believes that the logical br>order of salvation is: first, man chooses Christ and exercises faith in Him, br>then, as the result of that activity the Holy Spirit regenerates him. First br>man believes, then, man is born again. The Arminian believes that faith br>precedes regeneration, and is the cause of that regeneration, giving, as it br>were, the go-ahead to the Holy Spirit to do His assigned work.
John 1:12, 3:18-21 & 36, John 5:40, & 8:45, John 5:24 (often taught as two br>conditions with three results although the final verb tense precludes this br>interpretation - perfect tense, also with I John 5:1). br> br>
FALLING FROM GRACE - The Arminian believes that since man chooses for br>himself salvation, he can likewise choose to fall away from it. By man's br>choice salvation is acquired, sustained, or rejected at any given time. This br>is the necessary conclusion if one is to maintain the free will of man. A br>man must be as free to get out of salvation as he was to get in to br>salvation, lest God become guilty of violating that man's free will.
Galatians 5:4, He/ brews 6:4-6.
SUMMARY - The Arminian believes that at every point, to varying degrees, a br>man cooperates and assists God in acquiring and securing his own salvation. br>Man has a positive, meritorious part in the saving of his own soul. In br>theology this has come to be known as synergism.10 Synergism views br>salvation as being the product of a partnership between God and man, who, br>working together, secure a similar and common goal. Varying degrees of br>effort may be paraded (50/50,60/40,99/1), but man has a part in his own br>salvation. In the Arminian system the role of grace is reduced and that of br>human works is enlarged. br>
10 Literally from its Greek roots a compound of syn - together and ergo - to br>work, therefore, working together.
IV. THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISTIC THEOLOGY
Point I br>TOTAL DEPRAVITY - The Calvinist believes, as did Luther, that man has a will br>and his will is in bondage to his nature. The will of man is free to choose br>according to the dictates of his nature, but it is not free to contradict br>his nature. From Adam's fall the nature of every man has been sinful. br>Therefore, every action of the unsaved man is sinful and rebellious; it is br>stained through and through by his sin nature. The unregenerate man can NOT br>perform even one single righteous or pleasing work with respect to a holy br>God.11
Genesis 6:5 & 8.21, Isaiah 64:6-7, Jeremiah 17:9, John 3:19, Romans 3:10-18 br>& 8:8, 1 Corinthians 2:14, br>Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:26.
Point 2 br>UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION - The Calvinist believes that God's election is truly br>unconditional. The foreknowledge of God is based upon His decree, plan, and br>purpose; it is the expression of His will and good pleasure,12 not a br>response to man's free-will choices. Election is the sovereign act of God br>the Father choosing specific individuals out from the entire body of br>condemned and fallen humanity. These individuals13 were chosen before the br>foundations of the universe and not as a result of any foreseen merit or br>activity or decision on their part.14 These chosen or elect individuals are br>purposed to become monuments to the Father's love for all of eternity.15 In br>this regard the Calvinist understands election as an example of God's "love br>before time."16
John 15:16, Acts 13:48, Romans 8:28-30, 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, Ephesians br>1:3-5 & 2:4-7, 2 Timothy 1:9.
Point 3 br>LIMITED ATONEMENT - The Calvinist believes that in order to accomplish the br>specific will of the Father, Christ took to the Cross the sins of the elect. br>Christ died for the sins of men without distinction as to race or br>nationality (that is, Jew or Gentile). He provided a complete and effectual br>atonement for their sins. Those whom Christ redeemed, Christ really and br>truly redeemed (actual not potential). Though infinite in value, Christ's br>atoning work was specific in its design. Some Calvinists prefer to call this br>"definite atonement" or "particular redemption". The death of Christ at br>Calvary does not make men savable, but rather it saves men completely.17 The br>Cross is a completed, successful work that requires no assistance from man. br>The Calvinist believes that Christ died for all of the sins of the elect. br>The Arminian must avoid the idea of all the sins lest he proclaim a br>universal salvation. For, if Christ died for all of the sins of all men br>without exception, upon what basis would any man be denied heaven? Remember, br>unbelief is a sin and therefore a sin for which Christ died if He has truly br>died for all the sins of all men without exception.
Psalm 34:22, Isaiah 53:8, Matthew 1:21 & 20:28, Luke 1:68, John 3:16 (the br>Father gave His Son for whom? - according to this verse the Son was given br>for whoever believes in Him (the believing ones) not for the ones not br>believing in Him), John 10:14 -15 &17:2,6,9; Acts 20:28, Galatians 3:13, Eph br>5:25b, He/ brews 10:14, Revelation 5:9. br>____________________________________________________________________________ br>____________
11 Romans 8:8 - and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
12 Isaiah 46:10 - Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient br>times things which have not been done, saying 'My purpose will be br>established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'.
13 Romans 8:29 - for whom (persons) He foreknew - not for what (actions) He br>foreknew.
14 Romans 9:11 - not yet born...not because of works.
15 Ephesians 2:7 - in order that in the ages to come He might show the br>surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
16 Love Before Time is the title of a book by Kenneth D. John - well br>recommended on this topic.
17 Galatians 3.13 - Christ redeemed us - He did not simply make us br>redeemable.
IRRESISTIBLE GRACE - The Calvinist believes that the Holy Spirit, in br>agreement with the electing will of the Father and the atoning work of the br>Son, does in the fullness of time quicken the dead spirit of a man and give br>to him the gift of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the Calvinist, br>the logical order of salvation is regeneration first, followed by br>faith/believing. Since dead men do not respond, God must make them alive br>first (Eph 2:4-5); regeneration, of necessity, precedes any action or br>activity on the part of man, including faith and repentance. Hence, every br>single individual upon whom the Spirit of God moves savingly is regenerated, br>born again, adopted, grafted in, and saved eternally.
John 5:24 - the perfect tense verb should read has already passed from death br>unto life; John 6:37-39,44, Ephesians 2:1-10, Philippians 2:12-13, 1 John br>5:1 - another perfect tense verb is used here and should be translated has br>already been born of God, I John 3:7, John 1: 12-13 but of God, and Romans br>8:8.
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS - The Calvinist believes that since God is the br>Author and Finisher of our faith man cannot fall away from eternal br>salvation. Once a man has been born-again he cannot be unborn-again. br>Furthermore, the elect of God will definitely manifest evidences of their br>salvation by means of good works. The elect shall, by the grace of God and br>without exception, ultimately persevere in righteousness.18 The eternal br>security of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is demonstrated by the br>persevering faith and righteousness wrought by the grace of God in His br>little begotten ones.
John 3:36, John 10:28, Romans 8:28ff, Ephesians 2:10 God's workmanship, br>Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Timothy 1:12b & 4:18, 1 Peter br>1:4-5, & I John 2:19.
SUMMARY - The Calvinist believes that salvation is the product of the br>complimentary, cooperative work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the br>Holy Spirit. The Father elects specific individuals out from a race of br>entirely undeserving (hell-deserving) sinners, the Son redeems those same br>specific individuals by taking their sins to the cross19, and the Spirit br>regenerates and quickens those exact same specific individuals. Man, br>throughout, is the recipient of grace, serving as the object of God's br>sovereign and saving love. It is a monergistic20 salvation that prooclaims br>along with the apostles. In the theology of the Calvinist, with regard to br>salvation, grace is enlarged and works of meritorious human origin are br>eliminated as initiating necessities or realities.
Ephesians 2:10 & I John 2:19.
V. WHO WAS WHO?
In history it is interesting to note which men took which positions. br>Remember, these two theologies pre-dated the men whose names have become br>associated with them (Calvin & Arminius).
The Arminian: The Pelagians of the 400s, the Semi-pelagians of the 500s, br>Roman Catholicism (past and present), the Remonstrants of the 1600s, John & br>Charles Wesley of the 1700s, and Liberal theology of the 1800s to the br>present have and do hold to a theology that fits the description and br>definition of Arminianism. Arminianism has spawned the popular evangelistic br>methods characterized under the heading "decisional regeneration." This br>method has become popular through the ministries of Charles Finney, Dwight L br>Moody, Billy Graham and the Campus Crusade movement. The majority of br>conservative Christians in the second half of the 20th century lean heavily br>upon the Arminian views. Arminianism, today, is the all pervading and br>prevailing theology of the conservative Evangelical church, even though most br>Christians are completely unaware of this theology, it's tenets, and it's br>conflict with the Scriptures. There are br>
18 Ephesians 2.10 & 1 John 2:19
19 Matthew 1:21
20 mono - one only, ergo - working; hence the working of only one. br>numerous varieties and versions of Arminianism, but all of the basic tenets br>(five points) can usually be discovered within the various systems (e.g. the br>popular "Four Point Calvinistic" theology is demonstrably compatible and br>agreeable to the Arminian system in all it's points excepting "falling from br>grace").
The Calvinists: The list contains such notable men of faith as Augustine of br>the 400s21, all of the Reformers of the 1500s, the Puritans of the 1600s, br>George Whitefield (one of the greatest evangelists in Church History), br>Jonathan Edwards of the 1700s, and Spurgeon of the 1800s. At the turn of br>this century there were numerous theologians of a high caliber faithfully br>proclaiming the Calvinistic doctrines. These were men such as Charles Hodge, br>B.B. Warfield, R. L. Dabney, A.A. Hodge, etc. In our own century there have br>been outstanding men of the Calvinistic persuasion: J. Gresham Machen, A.W. br>Pink, R. B. Kuiper, David Martin Lloyd-Jones, and J.I. Packer. Calvinistic br>theology has been at the root of the greatest examples of evangelistic br>outreach the world has witnessed, the Reformation, the Puritan revivals, the br>great Awakening, and the ministry of the Gospel emanating from Charles H. br>Spurgeon's pulpit.22
All of this is of passing interest in deciding these issues. For once again br>the issue of great import to us is
What Do the Scriptures Say?
In his autobiographical work, The Force of Truth, Thomas Scott (1747-1821) br>describes his ministry as an Anglican minister who steadfastly opposed the br>Calvinistic doctrines that we have reviewed. His small book is a testimony br>to his conversion to these truths. Mr. Scott long ridiculed the doctrines of br>grace and pursued the arguments opposing them. At last he was overwhelmingly br>/ brought into a faithful obedience to these once despised truths. His journey br>from opposition to compliance included the study of men and creeds. Mr. br>Scott writes:
The great question therefore was, Are these doctrines in the Bible, or not? br>Hitherto I had willfully passed over or neglected, or endeavored to put some br>other construction upon all those parts of Scripture which directly speak of br>them; but now I began to consider, meditate, and pray over them; and I soon br>found that I could not support my former interpretations. They (the br>Scriptures) would teach predestination, election, and final perseverance, in br>spite of all my twisting and expounding. It also occurred to me, that these br>doctrines, though now in disgrace, were universally believed and maintained br>by our venerable reformers; that they were admitted, at the beginning of the br>Reformation, into the Creeds, Catechisms, and Articles, of every one of the br>Protestant churches; that our Articles and Homilies expressly maintained br>them; and consequently, that a vast number of wise and sober-minded men, who br>in their days were burning and shining lights, had upon mature deliberation br>agreed, not only that they were true, but that they ought to be admitted as br>useful, or even necessary Articles of Faith, by every one who deemed himself br>called to take upon him the office of a Christian minister.... In short, br>though my objections were many, my anxiety great, and my resistance long, br>yet by the evidence which, both from the Word of God and from my own br>meditation, crowded upon my mind, I was at length constrained to submit; br>and, God knoweth, with fear and trembling, to allow these formerly despised br>doctrines a place in my creed."23 br> br> br> br> br>
21 Again, attention would be directed to the appendix of Michael Horton's br>work entitled Putting Amazing Back Into Grace.
22 "The greatest evangelists the world has ever known have been men who held br>the doctrines of grace...Did you know that this was a fact, that every br>single person who was involved in the beginning of the great missionary br>enterprise in the 1790s was what is called a Calvinist? ...And as we know, br>there was no man in the 18th century who was so active, none who labored so br>indefatigably as that great George Whitefield." David Martin Lloyd-Jones, br>The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth br>Trust, 1987), pp. 42-43.
23 Thomas Scott, The Force of Truth, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, br>1984), p. 81 & 83. This work was published in 1779.
VI. A WORD ABOUT SCHISM
Though historically this controversy has produced a number of schisms,24 br>persecutions, and, in one case, capital punishment, I believe that it should br>be treated, for the most part, as an "in family" controversy. The doctrinal br>issues that divide these two theologies are in bold contradiction to each br>other, and therefore, they cannot both be true. One theology is true and the br>other is false. Contrary to much popular rhetoric, these two theologies can br>NOT be blended, mixed, or compromised. The issues at stake relate to the br>Bible's declaration of Who God is, what He has done, who man is, and what he br>is able to do. To mix these two distinct systems of doctrine and proclaim a br>compromise will, in the end, portray a deity who is duplicitous and br>self-contradicting. This study is important. We do well to heed our Lord's br>words concerning the Pharisees; but in vain do they worship Me, teaching as br>doctrines the precepts of men (Matthew 15:9). One of these two systems does br>certainly fit the charge of teaching as doctrine the precepts of men. So br>again, it is important to ask in prayerful earnest -
What Do the Scriptures Say?
These theological tenets ought not to be used as tools for dividing br>fellowships as long as all parties involved continue to search the br>Scriptures daily to see if these things be true (Acts 17:11). The Calvinist br>and the Arminian, when they truly and actively (not by lip alone) revere the br>inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures, should be able to fulfill br>the command to love one another. Both parties, if they are saved, have been br>saved, not by their intellectual grasp of doctrine, but rather by grace br>through faith. Neither party should have difficulty reading Acts 4:12 and br>bowing in humble awe that,
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven br>given br>among men by which we must be saved.
This is a discussion primarily among / brethren, and it ought to be conducted br>as such. These doctrines must define our faith and practice, but not the br>boundaries of our fellowship. We must keep our doors open for those who are br>not yet convinced, but teachable (for all Bereans). We must practice the br>exhortation of God's Word to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). There br>is a legitimate and important place for separation and division regarding br>those areas where there is a final refusal to submit to the authority and br>accuracy of the Scriptures. The denial of such Biblical truths as the Virgin br>Birth, the deity of Christ and the literal resurrection of our Lord must br>require separation and division for the sake of the flock. When men prefer br>the dictates of other men and schools, refusing to pursue God's Word as the br>only authority (sola scriptura) in all areas of doctrine and truth, br>separation may very well be necessary. Born-again men committed to br>
24 I make a distinction between schism and separation in the following br>manner. Schisms are sinful. They are "'causeless divisions' within the br>body of a particular church" (D.M. Lloyd-Jones citing John Owen, The br>Puritans, pp. 73ff). Our best New Testament example of schism would be the br>church at Corinth which was at times riddled by internal divisions and br>strife (1 Corinthians 1:11 among us). Separation, on the other hand, can be br>viewed from two perspectives. First, separation is a form of church br>discipline (Matthew 18, Titus 1, etc.) exercised normally by the elders br>after repeated attempts at correction fail to restore an erring member who br>persists in ungodliness or doctrinal non-compliance according to the br>Scriptures. From a second perspective, a member may, of necessity, separate br>without sin, when he is at doctrinal odds with the elders and for reasons of br>conscience cannot submit to the doctrinal error em/ braced by them. For that br>individual to stay in that church and, against the directions of the elders, br>continue to seek to put forth his case from the Scriptures would endanger br>him of committing the sin of schism and rebellion. Schism is always br>unhealthy and sinful. Separation may be and has often been necessary for br>the very health and spiritual purity of the faith of God's elect. br>the prayerful study of the Word of God will, led by the Spirit, come to a br>knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness (Titus 1:1). Ultimately, in br>all things God will be glorified (Revelation 4:11). These issues, along with br>all others, will be resolved only when men prayerfully understand the br>necessity of asking
What Do the Scriptures Say?
Is it important for us as believers to study the issues that are involved in br>this controversy? The answer to that question must be a resounding YES! br>There are to be no Scriptures or portions of the Scriptures reserved and br>intended for an elite group of saints (e.g. theologians and seminarians br>only).
All Scripture is God-/ breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, br>correcting and training br>in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for br>every good work.
II Timothy 3:16-17
I have admittedly written this review from the point of view of a committed br>Calvinist, but as a Calvinist who formerly and initially held to the br>Arminian position. No apology is offered here, but a warning may be in br>order. Unless you are convinced by the Scriptures you will do well to br>continue your investigation (do not put it off) of the oracles of God (do br>not set them aside) until clarity of conscience manifests itself. br>Prayerfully call upon the Spirit of God for illumination and instruction. br>This is a spiritual study not to be reduced to the low level of a merely br>academic curiosity. It must have an important effect upon your walk and br>worship. My favorite definition of a Calvinist comes from Benjamin br>/ breckinridge Warfield and is found in his book Calvin and Augustine.25
It is the vision of God and His Majesty, in a word, which br>lies at the foundation of the entirety of Calvinistic thinking .... The br>Calvinist is the man who has seen God, and who, having seen God in His br>glory, is filled on the one hand, with a sense of his own unworthiness to br>stand in God's sight as a creature, and much more as a sinner, and on the br>other hand, with adoring wonder that nevertheless this God is a God who br>receives sinners.
VIII. A / brIEF BIBLIOGRAPHY
This bibliography is not meant to be exhaustive or comprehensive. I have br>included only books that I have read and from which I have benefited. These br>are books that are readable by any interested believer. I have not found any br>thorough works dedicated to the support of the Arminian position. However, br>the vast and overwhelming majority of conternporary Christian literature br>today is written from an Arminian presupposition, but without any br>acknowledgment of that fact. It is likely that many of the contemporary br>Christian authors are completely unaware of their own divergence from br>historic biblical Christianity in the areas we have reviewed. Many will even br>proudly call themselves Calvinists though their personal theological br>convictions parallel point for point the historic Arminian position.26 br>Arminianism is so widespread in our day that most Christians today are br>unaware of their own theological history and subsequent drifting away from br>sound healthy doctrine (He/ brews 2.1). An aversion to the study of the br>history of the church and the Lord's work these past two millennia has left br>us wide open to deception and imbalance. There is such a disregard for br>Church history in our day that some seminaries are even beginning to phase br>out their departments of history. We fail to obey the Lord's command to love br>the / brethren when we exclude the vast majority of our / brethren from our br>fellowship and affection simply because they are presently at home with the br>Lord. Though they have fought the good fight and persevered unto the end, br>the Lord does continue their work and ministry through their preserved br>writings and we ought to avail ourselves of those tools. It will be to our br>great spiritual profit to do so. There is a marvelous fellowship to be br>enjoyed in the company of our dear / brethren who have gone before us. Through br>their writings and their biographies we can be much instructed of the Lord, br>as we see His hand in their lives and ministries. The ministries of these br>departed saints can still be used of the Lord to encourage us and to br>stimulate us to love and good deeds (He/ brews 10:24-25). We have cut the rope br>to our anchor when we refuse to pursue and enjoy the study of church br>history. br>____________________________________________________________________________ br>_______________
23 B. B. Warfield, Calvin and Augustine, (Philadelphia, The Presbyterian and br>Ref Publishing Co., 1974), p. 491.
26 The best example of this is the self-named Four Point Calvinist.
The books listed are primarily available through the ministry of the Trinity br>Book Service of Montville, New Jersey br>(1 800 722-3584).
Boettner, Loraine. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Philadelphia: br>The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1976. A classic that br>covers the whole subject and is quite readable. Everyone should at least br>have this one in their li/ brary. If you do not read it perhaps one of your br>grandchildren will one day and go on to become another Luther or Spurgeon.
Chantry, Walter. Man's Will: Free Yet Bound. Canton, Georgia: Word of Truth br>Publications, 1975. An excellent pamphlet, but hard to locate. Check br>with Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service 1 800 656-0231.
Chantry, Walter. Today's Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? Carlisle, br>Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1970. This one is quite an eye br>opener and thought-provoking.
Horton, Michael Scott. Putting Amazing Back Into Grace: An Introduction to br>Reformed Theology. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991. A br>relatively new work that is thorough and well written. The appendices are br>worth the cost of the whole book. 263 pp.
John, Kenneth D. Election: Love Before Time. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and br>Reformed Publishing Co., 1976. br>I recommend it highly.
Kuiper, R. B. The Bible Tells Us So. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, br>1968. This is a good place to begin. Dr. Kuiper was president of br>Westminster Theological Seminary in the 1960s.
Palmer, Edwin H. The Five Points of Calvinism. Grand Rapids: Guardian Press, br>1972. One of the best though currently out of print.
Pink, Arthur W. The Sovereignty of God. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner br>of Truth Trust, 1928. This really ought to be required reading for all br>believers. Two versions are available; the Banner of Truth is my preference.
Seaton, W. J. The Five Points of Calvinism. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The br>Banner of Truth Trust, 1970. This small tract is the work of Jack br>Seaton, pastor of the Inverness Reformed Baptist Church in Scotland. It is br>excellent and kind.
Spencer, Duane Edward. TULIP: The Five Points of Calvinism in the Light of br>Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979. One of the very best br>basic works. Available through Cumberland (1 800 656-0231).
Steele, D. N. & Thomas, C. C. The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined. br>Defended, Documented. Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed br>Publishing Co, 1975. This is as close to a textbook presentation as I have br>found.
Wells, Tom. A Price for a People: The Meaning of Christ's Death. Carlisle, br>Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth Trust, 1992. This is the best br>contemporary treatment of the question for whom did Christ die? Mr. Wells is br>very thorough with the Scriptures and it is highly recommended.
>From C. H. Spurgeon
It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to br>proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, br>but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ br>Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see br>father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, br>standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the br>doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here br>and there a heretic, of no honorable character, might rise up and call me br>/ brother. But taking these things to be the standard of faith, I see the land br>of ancients peopled with my / brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the br>same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God's own church.
from a sermon delivered by br>Mr. Spurgeon, September 2, 1855
George Higginbotham br>P. 0. Box 418 br>Pottsboro, TX 75076 br>firstname.lastname@example.org br>Revised July 1997