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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « The Parable of the Painting | Main | Dr. Meredith G. Kline & B.B. Warfield »

    Prayer of the Synergist Redux

    The following is a response from a reader to my short post called " Prayer of the Consistent Synergist" which uses a hypothetical prayer to expose the false belief that we are saved only partially by grace and partially by the human will (i.e. not by grace alone ... or not by grace through faith but by grace plus faith). This was the original prayer I wrote showing the theological inconsistency of synergistic salvation, which he responds to ...

    "God, I give you glory for everything else, but not my faith ... This is the one thing that is my very own that I produced of my fallen natural capacities. For this little bit the glory is mine. So I thank you Lord that I am not like other men who do not have faith. When you extended your grace to all men some did not make use of it, BUT I DID. While You deserve glory for all I have Lord, my faith was the one part that I contributed to the price of my redemption, apart from and independent of the work of Your Holy Spirit."

    Here is Mike's letter with my response to his questions/comments following:

    Mike wrote:
    Please allow me to re-write that prayer for your readers:

    "Lord God, you have created the earth and everything in it. You created man and put him in paradise. You commanded man not to eat of the evil fruit, but he disobeyed you, and because of that, he doomed man-kind to be underneath the reigns of sin. Everything about man was twisted. Every child who is born is a natural born sinner. Everybody deserves to be sent to hell for eternity because of his state. Yet, because you love ALL of man-kind so much, you gifted him to be able to accept your word. This way it gives ALL men a chance to receive your gospel. Lord God, I know that I am a sinner, yet I know that you came to this earth and you died- not only for my sin- but everybody's sin. You give everyone a chance to receive your Word, as long as it is presented to him, and God, I am so thankful that you presented your Word to me because otherwise, I would be lost in the dark."

    We are commissioned to go and tell ALL the world the good news of the Gospel. So put yourself in this picture: You are literally telling the whole world the gospel. Everybody on this entire planet. What would you say to them? Would you say to them,

    "Everyone, your natural state is wicked and evil. You were born a sinner, and for this reason you are condemned to hell. Yet, because Jesus loved you and died for YOU on the cross, you can put your faith in Him and say 'Yes Lord, I am a sinner, but I believe you came for me personally to wash my sins away.' "

    Or would you say to them,

    "Alright look, Jesus came to die for a select few of you, the rest of you are going to hell, nothing you can do about it."

    Weren't we supposed to tell them GOOD news?

    According to Calvinist theology, it pleased God to randomly (I know you wouldn't say randomly) select some men to be saved. Does that also mean it pleases Him to not pick people to join His family?

    I do not believe, I will not believe because I cannot believe that God is narrow-mindedly selecting a few to go to heaven and sending others to hell. It contradicts the character of God. The God I know is a loving, compassionate God, willing to take anyone who realizes that he needs to be saved by the blood of Jesus.

    I challenge you to read Romans 1, verses 18-32, and see why people go to hell. Not because they aren't pre-ordained, but because they choose to wallow in their sin and reject God's gift to them.

    The Gospel according to Jesus Christ:

    "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. For God so loved the world in this way: He gave his One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God." (John 3:14-18)

    The Gospel according to John Calvin:

    "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who is elected by Him will have eternal life. For God so loved the elect in this way: He gave His One and Only Son so that everyone who was pre-ordained in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God sent His Son to condemn the world, but the elect will be saved through Him. Anyone who was predestined by Him is not condemned, but anyone who is not predestined is already condemned because he has not been chosen by the One and Only Son of God."

    I believe in the teachings of JC: Jesus Christ, not JC: John Calvin.

    Please publish this letter.


    My response:

    Mike:

    Thanks for your post.

    If all men merely get "a chance" as you claim then why does one person take this chance and not the other? Was it fate that one believed? Or was it that one was more spiritually sensitive than the other? one more wise? What makes us to differ from others that makes some chose Christ and not others? Is it grace that makes us to differ or our autonomous will?

    It is grace than makes us to differ from others, the Scripture says, not something found in us. We, like you, also believe in heralding the gospel to all creation indiscriminately in the world. The gospel must be preached ... for God does not save people in a void. Election does not save but Christ does. Election is merely a blueprint of what Christ intended to accomplish for HIs people. He purchased with his blood for God men from every tribe, nation people and language" (Rev 5:9) Jesus makes a new covenant in his blood poured out for many.

    As you know, men naturally close their ears and eyes to Jesus Christ and the word, but the Holy Spirit comes and opens blind eyes and unplugs deaf ears. He turns our heart of stone to a heart of flesh that we might believe. No one believes while their heart is still stone and without the Spirit. Can a man believe the gospel apart from any work of the Spirit? If he cannot that means left to himself his will is in bondge to sin, i.e. not free It requires a supernatural work of grace in our hearts to set us free to believe.

    Further if every man was a sinner, as you claim ...if every man by nature "loves darkness and hates the light and WILL NOT come into the light" (John 3:19,20) what "chance" is there that he will believe the gospel apart from the work of the Holy Spirit? Can a man believe without the Spirit opening his eyes to the gospel? Not if his heart is hostile toward Christ and the gospel BY NATURE.

    Interestingly, you quoted an isolated text John 3:14-18 ... but left out what follows, verse 19 and 20. In other words, you avoided the entire context of the passage. What comes before v14-16 was also left out. The latter says that we must be "born again" to either see or enter the kingdom of heaven. The new birth is required for faith (aslo see John 6:63-65; 1 John 5:1)) Flesh gives birth to flesh but Spirit to spirit ....and the later part of the context (v 19, 20) that those who love darkness will not come into the light. Their affections are for what is contrary to Christ. But those who come into the light show that what has donme in them was "wrought by God" vrs 21 A weork of grace is required if one is to believe. Whosoever believe will have eternal life.. WE ALL BELIEVE THAT. The question is is there anyone NATURALLY WILLING?

    Spurgeon once said, "Oh!" saith the Arminian, "men may be saved if they will." We reply, "My dear sir, we all believe that; but it is just the if they will that is the difficulty. We assert that no man will come to Christ unless he be drawn; nay, we do not assert it, but Christ himself declares it--"Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life;' and as long as that "ye will not come' stands on record in Holy Scripture, we shall not be brought to believe in any doctrine of the freedom of the human will."

    Jesus himself speaking to unbelievers says, no one can believe the gospel (in Me) unless God grants it and all to whom God grants it will believe (John 6:65, 37).

    You make it sound a little like God's love is conditional for his children. That man must first find it in himself to love God and then God will save him. But this is nonsense and not biblical at all. God's love is unconditional for his children. What we cannot do for ourtselves Christ does for us, that we might live.

    Your prayer which "gives each person a chance" is like a parent who sees his child run out into the street and runs in front of a car. He calls to the child to give him "a chance" to escape death but does nothing more fearing he will violate his child's will if he ran out to save him from oncoming traffic. But the Biblical parent sees his child run out in to the street and sacrifices his own life TO MAKE CERTAIN his child will live. What kind of love merely gives a "chance" to somoene who is hopeless. True love saves IN SPITE OF HIMSELF and sin. The kind of love you think God has is weak and saves no one in particluar, while the God which the Bible reveals loves with an effectual love that actually GETS THE JOB DONE. His love MAKES CERTAIN that his loved ones do not get hurt. What is more loving I ask?

    And you make it sound as if all persons DESERVE to be save. But God would be just if He saved no one. That he saves ANYONE is what should suprise us.

    I also noticed that all of your analogies appealed to pity rather than the whole counsel of Scripture. You use selective texts but avoid texts that clearly show God loves a particular people and purposes to save them. He gets the job done.

    Do you believe God has exhaustive foreknowledge? If so, then even from your belief system, why would God create beings He knows (before He creates them - will, with certainty, go to hell. Your question to me equally applies to you:

    So how can you consistently say that God foreknew who would be saved and then preach that God is trying to save every man? Surely if God knows whom He can save or who will be saved, then who would say that He is trying to save more? It is foolish to assert that God is trying to do something which He knew never could be accomplished.

    Likewise, how can you consistently say that God foreknew which sinners would be lost and then say it is not within God's will to allow these sinners to be lost. Why did He create them? Consider that question. God could have just as easily refrained from creating those that He knew would go to Hell. He knew where they were going before He created them. Since He went ahead and created them with full knowledge that they would be lost, it is evidently within God's providence that some sinners be lost, He evidently has some purpose in it which we human beings cannot fully discern.

    In other words, you yourself cannot escape from the same criticism you make of Calvinism ... but at least the ideas known through Calvinism asserts that God has intent to save his people. It is a personal determinism. But yours, since you believe God does not determine it, yet it was inevitable that certain persons believe since God already knew who they were before He created them.... It could not be otherwise. So was it fate or some other force outside of God that made things turn out this way?

    In other words, your position is not only unbiblical but untenable. We believe in the vigorous preaching of the gospel because God uses means to accomplish His glorious ends. As C. H. Spurgeon once said: "Let us arose ourselves to the sternest fidelity, labouring to win souls as much as if it all depended wholly upon ourselves, while we fall back, in faith, upon the glorious fact that everything rests with the eternal God."

    Why did you believe Mike and your neighbor did not? Was it the grace of God OR because you used your will in a way that pleased God more than your neighbor. If so, you believe in salvation by merit. But can an unregenerate person see the beauty and excellency of Christ that he might believe?

    Shalom
    John H

    Posted by John on July 3, 2006 11:16 AM

    Comments

    Mike may be confusing "giving people a chance" with the command to believe the gospel. A command does not mean we have the moral ability to obey it, thus our need of Christ. God gives the 10 commandments, but this does not mean we can obey the Ten Comendments.

    Likewise, the command to believe the gospel does not imply ability. Like a debt we cannot repay. Our moral inability to repay does not alleviate us of responsibility.

    What is it in me that accepts repentance, then? A spiritually softened heart, perhaps? But if I can soften my own heart by my own will (or does that mean ‘soften my will by my own will’?), why can’t I repent by my own will, or believe by my own will? And doesn’t the same Scripture that says faith and repentance are God’s gifts also say that the heart of flesh is His gift (Deut.30:6, Ezek.36:26-27)?

    "I believe in the teachings of JC: Jesus Christ, not JC: John Calvin."

    As soon as I see this, I question the seriousness of the person saying it. I beg such like minded folk to realise that Calvin didn't come up with this, nor did Augustine. Calvinists derive such teaching from the pages of scripture. I know that in my case I held to a 'calvinistic' soteriology way before I had heard of Calvin.

    Due to man's corrupted heart which hates the light by nature, the gospel cannot persuade simply in word, but much be accompanied by a work of the Holy Spirit which changes the hard heart of the sinner:

    "...our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." 1 Thess 1:4

    Frankly, what never ceases to amaze me is that those who respond to these challenges never answer the questions asked. Why does one unregenerate man believe Christ but not the other? Was there more humility in one by nature? Synergism totally convolutes salvation by Christ alone, and asserts that man must contribute sometihng. Is not Christ sufficient for salvation? What he did was not enough to save so that we have add something by using our will? John 1:13 says we were born not of human decision or will but born of God. It is He that opens our eyes to the gospel, not we ourselves.

    Synergists would have us believe that we can open our own blind eyes to the gospel, that deaf people can suddenly be hearing and the stiffnecked soften by themselves. If we soften our own hearts in order to believe, then what need is there of salvation. Are we not being saved from the bondage of sin and the wrath of God? If we can naturally soften our hearts to God and love Christ without divine intervention to disarm our hostility then we are telling people a lie that man can come to Christ without the Holy Spirit. But the Scriptures from beginning to end tell a different story.

    "...which uses a hypothetical prayer to expose the false belief that we are saved only partially by grace and partially by the human will (i.e. not by grace alone ... or not by grace through faith but by grace plus faith)."

    As far as I'm aware, no orthodox Christian theological system ever does this. Not Catholicism or Arminianism (in any of it's known varieties). Neither are Pelagian, semi-pelagian, or are "works based" in the sense that you define it here. This is the biggest misnomer of modern evangelical 5-Point Calvinism and it is the quickest way to strong-arm unknowledgeable opponents into accepting the strawman you propose (like Mike here).

    Synergism, on it's own terms, is not works-based, unless of course you define "works" to mean "actions performed." If that is how you define it, then even Calvinism is works-based, as one must believe in Christ, which is of course an action performed (but by grace alone, as you well noted). But if you define "works-based" to mean what St. Paul meant it, then that would mean "works of the Law" (ala Galatians), which no orthodox theological system violates.

    "...showing the theological inconsistency of synergistic salvation..."

    Calvinism is a nice, neat package that is founded upon revisionist terminology from Luther, then Calvin, and then Calvin's followers. For example, the word "elect" refers to the entire people of God, not to certain individuals within that group as Calvin would have us believe (Romans 9); the fancy footwork to deny that Hebrews 6 talks about loosing the state of justification; asserting that those who are "apparantly" justified because their works follow their faith, instead of teh obvious meaning that "a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." The term "justified" in James 2 talks about being made righteous in terms of salvation, and does not mean "being made apparant to all."

    There is no historical evidence that the meanings of words and concepts proposed in Calvinism, or any of the foundations of Protestantism for that matter, are what the Apostles really meant. In fact, we have overwhelming evidence that the Catholic interpretation of Scripture is what Christ and the Apostles meant (read any of the Church Fathers, especially your beloved Augustine), but have none in favor of the Calvinst position. So if you want to slam someone for their "theological inconsistency," then the synergist only needs to point out your historical inconsistency of monergism. In fact, even the nice, neat Calvinist system isn't theologically consistant with itself, for the cracks in it (that I mentioned above) are wide and deep. No one Calvinist can agree with each other on Hebrews 6. It's like shoving a square peg into a circular hole.

    The prayer you wrote to insult synergists was written in ignorance and reveals this fact openly to all. Next time you want to show another party's theological inconsistency, you might want to try dealing with the hermeneutics behind their interpretation of the Bible, and especially the history of the movement.

    "ALL men [have] a chance to receive your gospel."

    Really, Mike?

    Did Native Americans at the time of Christ have a chance? Did Judas, of whom it was said it would be better if he was never born? Did Pharaoh? Did Esau, who though he sought repentance it was not granted to him?

    Thanks for the post John. You're awesome.

    And permit me to say this: I'm so glad that three years ago the Lord lifted the veil from my eyes and revealed that my will is not free and that grace is truly grace.

    Mr Anglican

    Either Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation from beginning to end OR He is not? Which is it? Is not what Jesus did for you enough or do you wish to add to his perfect work?

    You said: >>>Next time you want to show another party's theological inconsistency, you might want to try dealing with the hermeneutics behind their interpretation of the Bible, and especially the history of the movement.

    Not only have I dealt with synergists on many levels in multiple essays previously, I believe you should take your own advice.... ... Your angry post gave no evidence itself either biblical or historical to overthrow anything I said. SO you are doing the very thing you acuse me of. You simply gave a bare opinion, a preference. Furthermore... to show that Augustine historically believed in grace the VERY SAME WAY we do here I give you irrefutible evidence, which basically overthrows and renders void everythig you just claimed in your post.

    The following are all quotes by Augustine on effectual grace. Enough said.
    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/augustinequotes.html

    There is enough there to clearly show they are not out of context and his understanding of grace was monergistic. He may not have been always consistent, like none of us are, but overall Augustine and the Reformed on this issue were in the same boat. Certainly there are areas of disagreement such as baptism. But most of Reformation theology was in the same tradition as Augustine and the Council of Orange.

    Furthermore, how synergists overlook the Council of Orange 529 AD which is completely monergistic in its view of salvation is quite amazing. You guys treat it is if it does not exist but canons 5-9 clearly undo historically what you believe.
    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/councilorange.html

    Not to mention that the 39 articles of the Anglical church themselves are quite Calvinistic. So how are we misunderstanding history?

    You claim my post was an insult. But who is insulting who now? The only insult here is when synergists like yourself misrepresent the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus ALONE saves ... not Jesus Plus our faltering sinful will. "After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" (Gal.3:3).

    The "prayer" of course will be very offensive to anyone who believes that our faith is not a gift. That is understandable. Our pride will be decimated when we understand that Salvation belongs to the Lord alone. Can a person believe the gospel in his unregenrate state unless God opens his eyes? Did you believe with the SPirit's help? Then why did his grace work for you and not for others? Was there something better in you that made use of his grace?

    The Apostle Paul in Philippians says that the true circumcision are those who worship in the Spirit, glory in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.

    This may sound harsh but perhaps you are still in the bondage of iniquity, still having confidence in the flesh. If you reject salvation by Christ ALONE then your eyes are still willfully shut against Him, hoping to retain a last bastion of pride in yourself. Your entire religion would then be in direct contradition to Jesus' purpose and His grace ...and thus you are kicking against the goads. I hope and pray I am wrong about you but your post gives no evidence of knowing the grace of Jesus Christ. May the Lord have mercy on you dear sir.

    If you will attempt to wrestle with Scripture and answer the question as to why one unregenrerate person believes the gospel and not the other, we can have a discussion. If you come back and claim straw men and things out of content then it would appear that you do not want to discuss the core issues.

    Jesus in John 10 said some of the Jews standing there did not believe BECAUSE they were not his sheep. It did not say they were not his sheep because they did not believe. Their nature determined who they would follow. My shhep hear my voice and follow me, Jesus said...

    Shalom

    Great posts, you guys keep it up. God is God and no one will take what is rightfully His. I just met this Sunday with a dear Baptist friend who is a five point Arminian. And when you talk about the verses in the bible, he talked of multi-perpectives and it ended. Free will for many is the answer to the problem of evil. But it is not. Praise God it is untrue, how are we to even consider each other brothers when perhaps somehow, someday we might lose it. What kind of Eternal Life is that? Praise God we don't have to work but rather He opens our eyes that we follow Him with a new joy. We will have endless praise for His infinite mercy in Christ. Lord bless you all.

    It often seems to me that the reason godly Christian men, such as Mike here appears to be, cannot accept monergism is that they do not truly come to grips with the transcendent nature of our God. I think Johannine theology really is germane to our whole understanding of this subject when it makes such fabulous statements as "God is light," and "God is love." And again, when Christ says, "No one is good but God." Where does this faith that pleases God come from, but from God himself? Who else could please God but God? When God looks upon his work and calls it "good," is there anything that may be called "good" that does not reflect him? for man was made in his image. Anything else would be idolatry. Did God's power not sustain the life of man at every moment, he would vanish into nothingness. This being the case, faith would have to be a conscious gift of God, unless one held that God unconsciously emanates such, an idea utterly foreign to Scripture. Faith is a grace. Augustine realized this, while the church(es) that supposedly reveres his teachings does not.

    All of this to say, I greatly appreciate John's posts here, especially his gracious handling of Mr. Anglican.

    Andrew K.

    Again, lets define synergism so you know that we are not using it in any other than the historic way it was used:

    Synergism "...the doctrine that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate. This theory accordingly holds that the soul has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives."
    - Century Dictionary

    monergism - "In theol., The doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration - that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated, and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration."
    - Century Dictionary

    Therefore, faith is not the product of our unregenerated human nature. (see John 1:13, 6:63; 1 John 5:1)

    The doctrine of synergism is well understood here. We are not changing its meaning.

    The following canons reveal that historically this monergism was the position of the church after Augustine:

    The Council of Orange

    CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism -- if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

    CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

    CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5).

    So don't tell me we are misrepresenting history. This early council was conveniently forgotten by Rome for whatever reason ... most likely because of their attraction to semi-pelagianism.

    If God grants grace to all and only some cooperate with it, why do some cooperate and not others?

    We will put up your post as long as attempt to actually answer the question. Use Scripture to answer theologically. And show how the "prayer" is inconsistent with what you believe. If you believe with the Bible and the canon that it is "by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought" then you are a monergist.

    But if you "make the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and do not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10), then you have embraced synergism and have believed contrary to the Scripture and the council.

    Wow! Did you go to the Common Anglican's blog and check out the post and replies concerning this blog? I've honestly never seen anything like it. I feel like we're bugs under a microscope, but more importantly I'm truly horrified that people who so obviously "possess" truth can stand in such abhorence of the same. Very fitting that he references Hebrews 6 on this page.

    It all boils down to this...

    Either salvation is ALL of God, or it is not all of God, from start to finish and everything in between as John has pointed out. I confirm the former as Holy Writ testifies to and compels me believe.

    All of my life, prior to my conversion in 1993, I've heard the gospel preached countless time...countless times. And without fail I would always willingly reject it. Then one day in February of the year of my conversion while a faithful brother was telling me the gospel (the same as I've always heard before), my eyes were suddenly opened to that which I was previously always blind to. My heart, which had always been cold, hard, and unresponsive toward the things of God, was suddenly warmed, softened and drawn in to the beauty, excellency, and majesty of Christ. My spirit soared as if released from the blackest of prisons. I was now truly alive!

    Why? What happened?

    Did all of a sudden I just *snap* myself out of my spiritually dead stupor? Or as is pointed out elsewhere, did I instantaneously become "wiser" in receiving the grace of God so as to make better use of it then I had prior? Did I cause myself to be humble enough to accept that which I pridefully cast aside before? If I answer yes to any of these question then I allow room for my flesh to boast. And this robs God of the glory only due to Him alone.

    But if I say that the only reason I became *wiser* or more *humble* is because of the grace of God ALONE, then I confirm what monergism simply sets forth...by myself I can do nothing, including placing my faith in the risen Savior. For I know the wickedness of my own heart (scripturally and experientially). A heart that has always gladly rejected the gospel. But when the love and grace of God made alive in me that which was once dead, I effectually, and willingly, embraced the One who died for my soul.

    On another point, Mr Anglican points out that the term election is used to refer to the corporate body of believers, and well it does. But it is not restricted to this lone use of the word. Who constitutes this corporate body of believers but individual believers? When the Apostle exhorts us to make our election sure, this is something that we have to individually do by an honest examination of our own life and spirtual condition in light of the Word of God.

    But even if the term election only has biblical grounds for *corporate* election (which I do not believe to be the case based on the whole counsel of God's Word), then who is it that places me in this corporate body: myself or Christ? Did I pull my spiritual bootstraps up and walk into this corporate body or did Christ raise this spiritually dead creature and claim him as His own? If it is the latter, then we must concede individual election.

    You said>>As far as I'm aware, no orthodox Christian theological system ever does this. Not Catholicism or Arminianism (in any of it's known varieties). Neither are Pelagian, semi-pelagian, or are "works based" in the sense that you define it here. This is the biggest misnomer of modern evangelical 5-Point Calvinism and it is the quickest way to strong-arm unknowledgeable opponents into accepting the strawman you propose (like Mike here).

    >>Demonstrably false.Mercy and justice are separate categories in ethics. To be merciful something must be undeserved. To be “just” either a standard of justice must be satisfied or something must be deserved. Mercy can satisfy justice if somebody else takes the penalty for a wrong act so that the Judge can extend mercy to somebody else. The Arminian, by grounding election in foreseen faith ultimately makes God unjust, because all people believe for different reasons. In fact, it is the same kind of favoritism that James condemns, because this faith arises as an intrinsic foreseen characteristic in those persons. This is not true equality. Calvinists believe the ground, or anchor, the reason for electing (choosing) (by the way, “elect” is another Bible word, thus election is a doctrine taught in Scripture) some and allowing others to continue in sin is found only in God and is not done with respect to either foreseen faith or foreseen wickedness. (Eph. 1, Romans 9). This is truly "just" because people are all in the hands of a God who alone is perfectly just and loving and does nothing arbitrarily and will always do the right thing. These other systems all move salvation from the category of mercy into the category of remunerative justice.

    >>For example, the word "elect" refers to the entire people of God, not to certain individuals within that group

    To begin with this is an assertion without an argument. The elect are the entire people of God. Nobody denies this. The people of God are all called, justified, and glorified. Calvinism does not say that only a small number within that number are elect, unless you believe that unregenerate and unsaved persons are elect.

    It would behoove you to read Romans 8. Romans 9, which you cited, does not stand in isolation from Romans 8:29ff. Who are the elect in this text? In addition, Paul in Romans 9 says that not all who are of Israel are Israel. This is Paul's exact wording, and he is lamenting the fact that not all of the covenant community of Israel are being saved. Ergo, "the elect" are not defined as "the whole people of God" inclusive of a nation with an undetermined number of members and composed of persons who are unregenerate. Rather the elect are composed of persons who are regenerate now or persons who have yet to be called, justified, etc.

    Second, Calvin is but one of many. To assert that our terminology stems from Luther, then Calvin, and others without respect the exegesis of Scripture is simply as ignorant, if not moreso, coming from an Anglican, and I use that designation loosely. I'd further add that Calvin knew the Early Church Fathers better than his Catholic opponents, cf. the disputations at Lausanne on Scripture.

    >>sthe fancy footwork to deny that Hebrews 6 talks about loosing the state of justification

    The form of this text is an ad hominem reducio ad absurdum argument.

    The writer specifically says in 6:9 that his readers have not done these things, for things do not comport with the signs of being saved at all. The passage proves that faith in Christ can be limited to external items and thus false faith. It does not refer to genuine believers at all.

    Throughout this letter, the author’s emphasis is on the phenomenology rather than psychology of faith. His few references to the work of the Spirit are confined to the Spirit’s agency in inspiration and the charismata or sign-gifts.

    What does it mean, then, to the author of Hebrews, to have tasted of the Spirit? It isn’t enough to say that they tasted of the Holy Spirit. You have to ask how the work of the Spirit is delineated in the Book of Hebrews. Is this equivalent to regeneration—or inspiration? Is this about the New Birth? Or is it related to the agency of the Holy Spirit in the authorship of Scripture? Are they resisting the grace of regeneration? Or are they resisting the voice of the Spirit speaking in Scripture?

    The text never mentions the psychology of faith, only the externals of believing. To taste of the Spirit is to dabble, to flirt, not to imbibe fully. The people are resisting the grace of the inspiration of Scripture, the evidences of miracles, and the offer of the gospel to them, not their own internal regeneration and salvation.

    In terms of the trajectory and flow of the argument, the leading theme in Hebrews is not the danger of apostasy, but the supremacy of Christ. The author mounts a spiral argument to show that Christ is superior to the prophets and the angels, to Moses and Aaron. Arminians end up refocusing the argument away from Christ to the danger of apostasy. These admonitions come within a larger framework, the supremacy of Christ. If Christ, as the high priest of his people, cannot save his people from apostasy, then how is he superior to the prophets and the angels, to Moses and Aaron? What does the high priestly intercession of Christ amount to if he cannot preserve his people from damnation?

    These are exegetical concerns.

    >>asserting that those who are "apparantly" justified because their works follow their faith, instead of teh obvious meaning that "a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." The term "justified" in James 2 talks about being made righteous in terms of salvation, and does not mean "being made apparant to all."

    Yet earler, you stated that no orthodox soteriology is not works based. You have successfully contradicted your own premise, because you affirm an admixture of works and faith, pure Galatianism. In addition, you've committed semantic inflation. The disputant will equate the mere occurrence of a word with a whole doctrine associated with the word.

    For example, a Catholic, in your case, an Anglican who wants to be a Catholic since here you flatly deny Sola Fide, will compare and contrast Paul’s doctrine of justification with James’ doctrine of justification. But the mere fact that James uses the word “justification” doesn’t mean that he even has a doctrine of justification. That would depend, not on the occurrence of the word, in isolation, but on a larger argument. Words and concepts are two different things. Here, James is talking about James being declared righteous by whom and in what context? What error is he addressing? The error James assails is faith without works; justification without sanctification; salvation without new life.

    Regarding the interpretation of Scripture prior to the Reformation. I beg to differ. Here are just a few:

    Gottschalk (A.D. 803-869)
    Why did the Lord say to the Pharisees: 'You do not believe, because you are not of my sheep' (Jn. 10.26), if not because He saw them as having been predestined to eternal death, not as having been purchased for eternal life at the price of his blood.' (Tractates, 48: translated by John V. Fesko).

    Hieronymus (Jerome) A.D. 390
    Christ is sacrificed for the salvation of believers...Not all are redeemed, for not all shall be saved, but the remnant...All those who are redeemed and delivered by Thy blood return to Zion, which Thou hast prepared for Thyself by Thine own blood...Christ came to redeem Zion with His blood. But lest we should think that all are Zion or every one in Zion is truly redeemed of the Lord, who are redeemed by the blood of Christ form the Church...He did not give His life for every man, but for many, that is, for those who would believe (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 294).

    Epiphanius (A.D. 390) In a debate with certain Pagans who did not believe...
    ...Thou art not of the number of them who were bought with blood, O Manes, because thou deniest the blood...He gave his life for His own sheep. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 293-294).

    Anselm (A.D. 1033-1109)
    If you die in unbelief, Christ did not die for you. (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 294).

    Ambrose (A.D. 380)
    Can He damn thee, whom He hath redeemed from death, for whom He offered Himself, whose life He knows is the reward of His own death? (Horton, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, p. 293).

    Polycarp: "'by grace ye are saved, not of works,' but by the will of God through Jesus Christ....If we please Him in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, 'we shall also reign together with Him,' provided only we believe....Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, 'who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,' 'who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,' but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him." (Epistle to the Philippians, 1, 5, 8)

    Clement of Rome: "And we who through his will have been called in Christ Jesus are justified, not by ourselves, or through our wisdom or understanding or godliness, or the works that we have done in holiness of heart, but by faith, by which all men from the beginning have been justified by Almighty God, to whom be glory world without end. Amen. What, then, shall we do, brethren? Shall we cease from well-doing, and abandon charity? May the Master never allow that this should happen to us! but let us rather with diligence and zeal hasten to fulfil every good work. For the Maker and Lord of all things rejoiceth in his works. By his supreme power he founded the heavens, and by his incomprehensible understanding he ordered them. The earth he separated from the water that surrounded it, and fixed it on the firm foundation of his own will. The animals which inhabit therein he commanded to be by his ordinance. Having made beforehand the sea and the animals that are therein, he shut them in by his own power. Man, the most excellent of all animals, infinite in faculty, he moulded with his holy and faultless hands, in the impress of his likeness. For thus saith God: Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness. And God made man. Male and female made he them. When, therefore, he had finished all things, he praised and blessed them, and said, Be fruitful, and multiply. Let us see, therefore, how all the just have been adorned with good works. Yea, the Lord himself rejoiced when he had adorned himself with his works. Having, therefore, this example, let us come in without shrinking to his will; let us work with all our strength the work of righteousness." (32-33)

    It's sometimes argued that Clement was only excluding works we do in our own strength, not works God empowers us to do. But notice the closing words in the quote above. Clement encourages people to do works "with all our strength". In the previous chapter, he had excluded from the gospel works "done in holiness of heart", which can only be good works.

    GeneMBridges, (et al):

    Calvin's usage of the Fathers, and the difference in the kinds of "works", a term I used to describe both works-based salvation, (of the Law, like in Galatians which synergism denies) and good works (which are deeds done by men but sanctified by Christ alone by grace alone).

    I would argue along these lines. I also would point out this post.

    Common Anglican

    Simply asked (as others have already mentioned above) if God grants two persons an equal amount of grace, that is, two persons who are now without the Holy Spirit (or unsaved people), why do you believe one person responds positively to the gospel and not the other person? It cannot be grace that makes them to differ, because both had grace, so what makes the difference must be something entirely apart from the grace of Jesus Christ. If it be humility, was it not grace that made one humble? Whatever it is, if it be not grace that makes one differ then it would be be a natural virtue that one had and not the other.

    What say you? I don't want to read a book, just a simple explanation will suffice.

    Jesus says (John 8), "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43"Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
    44"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

    Clearly, their very nature is what drove them irresistibly to make sinful choices. Only the Son can set them free. "if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."


    Mr. Anglican

    Disclosure: Just so you know where the persons on this blog and most all Reformed Christian stand... that while we believe Arminians may be saved, we do not believe Roman Catholics to be saved. No amount of covenant faithfulness is enough to maintin our justification before God. We believe the RC view denies the sufficiency of the work of Christ to both grant and preserve our salvation. We affirm that we believe and obey because of Christ's work of grace in us, not in order to attain or maintain it. If we have faith or go to be batized, it is because God first did a work of grace in us, not visa versa.

    However, we do believe that in the hearing of God's word, many lay Roman Catholics may perhaps be saved, in spite of the apostate and ruinous teaching of their leaders.

    Also we totally reject New Perspectivism of Tom Wright outright as heresy. While we respect NTWs historical studies, we believe his view of justification to be UTTER nonsense and a distortion of the pure gospel of Christ. Again, no amount of Covenant faithfulness can maintain our just standing before God. That is the work of Christ alone.

    Whether you know this or not I do not know, but you should be aware of this I think



    Ah, yes, I knew you'd come back with an armload of caveats not in your original statement. Now you're trying to mount a salvation operation. It simply will not work.

    Your position restricts "works" to "signs of covenant identity." "Works in Galatians and Romans is a much broader designation. You're assuming, without benefit of argument that sacramental works are effacious means of grace. This is NPP. I would argue this is heresy.

    Galatians does discuss works in such a manner as you note in your blog entry, but Galatians references Romans 3:20, which is a broader designation. What Paul says about works of the law in Galatians stands underwritten by an even broader notion of the relationship between faith and works in Romans itself. For you to cite this text in your favor is to commit semantic inflation yet again, for what Paul says in Galatians is not the same as that which he notes in Paul, but what he says in Romans underwrites the reasons he says what he says in Galatians.

    We can test this easily: Can a man be justified without baptism or any other marker of covenant identity? Yes or no. What Catholic says that it is possible to find salvation outside the Church? Even if you include Protestant communions, would this include those that affirm justification by faith alone with out covenant identity markers of any kind?

    In addition, I deny that infants are part of the covenant community. If this is an argument you wish to make, then you will need to justify paedobaptism before you can proceed in any discusssions with me on covenant identity markers.

    Your position is invalid for a number of reasons:
    a. Paul does not only say that we are not justified by the works of the law, but that we are not justified by works, using a general term.

    In the preceding sections of Romans antecedent to Romans 3:20, like 2:12, the law is obviously not the ceremonial law that is in view.

    In addition, if you are correct then when Paul says the law reveals sin, he would have to infer that circumcision or any other covenant marker reveals sin as well. This is nowhere supported in Scripture.

    Moreover, 4:9-12 asks the question whether righteousness apart from works is only available to the
    circumcised. The very posing of the question implies that "works" cannot be restricted to circumcision, for Paul
    assumes that he has already proved that righteousness is apart from works. Now he asks whether this righteousness apart from works is available only to the circumcised.

    The appeal to David’s
    experience constitutes further proof that when righteousness is excluded by “works of law” Paul
    is thinking of failure to obey the law, not the exaltation of “boundary markers.” David’s
    “righteousness apart from works” ( , Rom 4:6) is further described in v 7as the blessing of forgiveness for lawless deeds and sins. David’s  ananomai and hartiai(v 7) are
    another way of describing the works that are said to be lacking in v 6. Paul is not
    implying that David’s sins consisted in an overemphasis on circumcision and other “boundary
    markers” so that Gentiles were excluded from the people of God. His “lawless acts” and “sins”
    described here are general terms for one who sins by disobeying the law. The connection between David’s failure to perform the necessary “works” in 4:6 and Paul’s claim that righteousness is “apart from works of law” (3:28) suggests that the reason “works of law” do not
    justify is because of failure to obey the whole law.

    If we are not justified by works of the ceremonial law, how does that exclude boasting, as long as we are justified by our own excellence, or virtue or goodness or our own or works of righteousness we have done?

    Your position on Galatians is invalid, for when Paul says that "the that are under the law are under the curse," he makes it evident that he does not only mean ceremonial law.

    Paul maintains that righteousness cannot be gained by “works of law” because of failure to obey the
    whole law. For example, the opponents who advocated circumcision “do not observe the law”( Gal 6:12). Of course, the opponents were circumcised and
    observed purity laws, and Paul resists the adversaries’ attempt to require Gentiles to observe
    these laws. But Paul's point here is that obedience to the entire law is incumbent upon his
    opponents, and they are not succeeding in keeping it. Such an exegesis of Gal 6:12 fits with the
    warning delivered to anyone who would receive circumcision in Gal 5:3, viz., he is obligated to
    do the whole law.

    You appeal to the Fathers, but you should appeal to the exegesis of Scripture. In addition, we know the closest parallels in Second Temple Jewish literature also suggest that the term “works of law” refers generally to the whole law, and it is not clear in these texts that the focus is on laws which separate Jews from Gentiles.

    In Paul's view circumcision is linked with a commitment to observe the rest of the law, and his warning in 5:3 implies he views such observance to be impossible. Thus it is this inability that underwrites what he says about the value of circumcision. The latter is a subset of the former.

    The problem with your objection is that it turns on a misunderstanding of synergism in Arminianism and Catholcism. Arminianism simply moves salvation out of the category of mercy into the category of remunerative jusitice, but the faith of the individual is undivided. However, election is passive, based on foreseen faith. Regeneration is made dependent on antecedent faith. Only the cross is in view. At best true Arminianism is di/bi-nitarian, and the Arminian could argue that prevenient grace underwrites his faith, but then he must still answer this question: What causes one to differ from the other. Any answer he gives will involve him improving on the grace offered to him, thus making his faith in some way meritorious. God elects him to salvation, because he improved on the grace given to him. Was he more spiritual? Smarter? More afraid?

    Because regeneration is dependent on faith in Arminianism, salvation is moved into the category of remunerative justice and out of the category of mercy. Ditto in sacramentalist soteriologies in which baptism regenerates or is sin as automatically effacious for all who receive it. In confessional Calvinism, the Father, Son, and Spirit are all active from beginning to end in a Trinitarian manner. The sacraments are a means of grace, even in Reformed Baptist sacramentology, but in Presbyterian soteriology, baptism is not so annexed to salvation that one must be baptized to be saved, and is without value if the infant does not believe. Ditto for unbaptized adults who are baptized.

    In Catholicism, the faith of the individual is divided between the merits of Christ, his own merit, and the congruent merit of the saints. It mixes faith and works, and like Federal Visionism equivocates on the meaning of works to infer that it is covenant faithfulness. In short, perseverance because the qua practice qua practice necessary to be justified before God. What causeth one to persevere and not another then, if everybody bearing the covenant markers has the same amount of grace. You've only moved the problem back a step (regressive fallacy) and you have further divided the faith of the individual and substituted a merit based system, the very thing that both Galatians (through the denial that covenant markers confere justification) and Romans, by abrogating all meritorious works, whether they are ceremonial, civil, or moral denies. It is faith alone that justifies. This faith results in sanctification, but justification is not be conflated with sanctification. That is an elementary level confusion on your part that has no basis in Scripture.

    Your position as an Anglo-Catholic is harmonious with those in the Auburn Avenue group it seems. Baptism is linked with a commitment to observe the rest of the law. You deny ex operae operato sacramentalism, but you treat the sacraments as if they are the means of uniting us to Christ; to be in the church is to be truly united to Christ, thus electd, and thus "saved." You must persevere in covenant faithfulness (which none of us deny, per the perseverance of the saints, but we do not say that justification itself hinges on it), but the paradigm is different. For you, you are justified if you persevere. The biblical pattern is that one is justified and one perseveres as a result. What God declares is effaciously done by God.

    Tell us, sir, how is your view, then, functionally different from Galatianism? You have merely changed the covenant ceremony from circumsion to the Christian sacraments. The essence of salvation is not in such a view to lay hold of what Jesus accomplished by faith alone, but rather is the maintaining of what one has already received by virtue of membership in the visible church, whatever church that may be, through, presumably the sacraments, not merely the Word. If a person can lose their salvation if they are not faithful to the covenant, then justification cannot be a one time, past tense, permanent declaration of God that a person is righteous based on the merits of Christ. (This would necessarily apply to Arminianism as well), because it would make justification a goal or process.

    For you or your readers to somehow conclude that Calvinists should logically conclude that Arminians are not Christians, however, is patently false. I read one of your commenters stating that we here are casting 99.9 % of other Christians on the dunghill. You didn't bother to correct him.

    This is fallacious as well, because Calvinism distinguishes between the gospel and the doctrines of grace. The essence of the Gospel is not a precise doctrinal formulation of how the forgiveness purchased by Christ's blood comes to the believing sinner. Rather it is the convicted sinner's realization that Christ alone, because of His substitutionary death for sinners, can save Him from his sins and the condemnation he so richly deserves, joined with a plea to Christ for mercy.

    To say that if the Arminian gospel is not the true gospel, then Arminians are not saved is muddled in several respects. Arminian theology is an admixture of truth and error. It can be taken in either a more evangelical direction or else a more Pelagian direction. We are saved by election, but not by believing in election. Because election is true, we should believe in it and commend that belief to others, but one of the things which makes sovereign grace to be sovereign is that it can save men and women with a defective theological understanding--up to a point.

    What, exactly, is there in the offer of the gospel (or whatever we want to call it) that we should not urge upon elect and reprobate alike? Take repentance. Don't all men have a moral duty to obey God? And if they sin, don't they have an obligation to repent? Total depravity subtracts from their ability, but not their duty. To say otherwise is to say that the more wicked we are, the less responsible we are for sin. By that line of logic, the more evil I am, the more innocent I am. Talk about another gospel! What about faith in Christ? If it is true that Christ is the Savior of the world and the Lord of the universe, then shouldn't everyone believe that and trust in him? Isn't there a standing obligation on the part of everyone to believe in whatever is true?

    Ah, but if Christ didn't die for the reprobate, then they are not qualified to believe in him, right? Wrong! It's Arminians who define the offer of the gospel in those terms. In the examples of Gospel preaching in the New Testament, you never run across a conversion formula which consists of believing that Christ died for me as a condition of salvation. The *fact* that Christ died for the elect alone is a condition of salvation, but *believing* that Christ died for the elect alone is not a condition of salvation.

    In Reformed theology, we draw a distinction between a credible profession of faith and a saving profession of faith. For purposes of church membership, cooperation with other denominational entities, etc., since we cannot know of a certainty who is or isn't saved, we only require a credible profession of faith. A saving profession of faith lies solely between an individual and God.

    For example, a Catholic that affirms the current dogmas of Rome cannot offer a credible profession of faith to a consistent Protestant. But whether a Catholic can offer a saving profession of faith is a different question. The answer varies on a case-by-case basis. It is easier to say who isn't saved than to say who is.

    To be a Christian is to be, among other things, a Christian believer. One must believe certain things, and not believe certain other, contrary things. On the one hand, some dogmas are damnable dogmas. On the other hand, the Bible lays out certain saving articles of faith. This is God's criterion, not ours. We did not invent it. By the same token, how God applies that criterion in any individual case is up to God, not to us. We are not the judge, God is the Judge. To take a concrete example, Scripture teaches Sola Fide (faith alone) (Romans; Galatians). An individual is saved by faith in Christ and saved by the sole and sufficient merit of Christ.

    However, in Catholic dogma, one is saved by the merit of Christ plus the merit of the saints plus one's own congruent merit. And this results in a divided faith. That is why a Catholic cannot give a consistent Protestant a credible profession of faith. In fairness, Protestants are more prone to give a Catholic church member a pass on the credible profession of faith than they do a Catholic bishop or the Pope or some of their lay apologists, because they very clearly have bought into the full range of Catholic dogmas.

    Any of the following creeds/confessions could supply the basis for a credible profession of faith:

    1. The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Christian Religion

    2. The Formula of Concord

    3. The Baptist Faith & Message (any version)(http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp)

    4. The C&MA statement of faith
    (http://www.cmalliance.org/whoweare/doctrine.jsp)

    5. The JFJ statement of faith (http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/statementoffaith)

    6. The EFCA statement of faith (http://www.efca.org/about/doctrine/)

    7. The Campus Crusade statement of faith (http://www.ccci.org/statement_of_faith.html)

    8. The AG statement of faith (http://www.ag.org/top/beliefs/truths.cfm)

    These are all broadly evangelical affirmations of faith. Notice, not all are Reformed. Some are Lutheran; some are Arminian. By contrast, Trent or Vatican II does not supply the basis for a credible profession of faith. Still, it is possible for a Catholic to be saved, unlike a Muslim or Mormon or other suchlike.

    Regarding Arminianism and Calvinists talking about what the others teach:

    Let's contextualize this. The 5 Points of Calvinism stand in direct contradiction to the Five Points of the Remonstrants. Calvinists are saying nothing about Arminians that Arminians have not readily admitted. The Five Points of Calvinism are simply the written response to the Five Points of Arminianism, so Calvinists knew full well what the Arminians were teaching from the beginning. We know what they believe, because the codified version of what we believe soteriologically was written in response to their codification.

    Likewise, Dort also recognized that Arminianism is simply Roman Catholicism without the sacramentalism. Both are committed to libertarian free will, a premise that Arminians frequently admit comes from outside of Scripture. Both repudiate any form of eternal security. Catholicism calls having assurance of your salvation the sin of presumption in the Council of Trent. (Ironic, considering the Pope got a free pass to heaven, but I digress.... Classic Arminianism waffles on the total depravity issue. Wesley taught it as stridently as any Calvinist, and the Remonstrants were inconsistent with it in the Opinions. Rome repudiates it completely. Election is conditional. What passes for predestination is just election based on foreseen faith and merit. The scope of the atonement is general, and, in current Roman soteriology Muslims may be able to enter heaven apart from faith in Christ. Grace can be resisted. On these essentials, Rome and the Remonstrants are as one, with the exception of the inclusion of infidels.

    On the means by which they are dispensed, however, they differ. Arminians tend to shy away from sacramentalism. Catholics do not. Catholics affirm baptismal regeneration/efficacy. Arminians, with a few exceptions, do not. Arminians repudiate the sacrifice of the Mass. Catholics do not. Arminians' faith is undivided in practice, though not in principle, because, in principle, one would have to admit he chose Christ because he was more spiritual, intellectual, or better equipped than his unregenerate friend, exactly the argument made by Graves. With regard to Christ’s merit through His active and passive obedience and the atonement, that alone is the merit for our salvation. The Arminian's faith is undivided. A Catholic faith that buys the full run of Rome's dogma's is divided between three types of merit, including his/her own.

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