Wednesday, April 9, 2008

For Exploration of the Issues

Some of our readers may be at the stage of only beginning to explore the issues of Calvinism. If this is you, may I recommend the following list of texts, and what they may have to teach us about the origins of faith and repentance. These are in addition to a few entire chapters of the Bible (Romans 9-11 and Ephesians 1) that lay out the doctrine of Election.

My desire is that you would use these texts as launching points for your study and exploration of these issues. Please do not ignore their contexts, either! Take your time through these, maybe print them off and keep them in your Bible for handy reference.

Where does Faith come from?

Ephesians 2:8; 2 Peter 1:1; Luke 17:5; 1 Timothy 1:14; Romans 10:17 and 12:3; Acts 14:27; 2 Timothy 3:15; Galatians 3:22-23; James 2:5; Acts 3:16; Hebrews 12:2; 1 John 5:4

**** In addition, are all men given this gift? See 2 Thessalonians 3:2****

Where does Repentance come from?

Acts 5:31 and 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; Psalm 80:3, 7, and 19; 1 Samuel 2:25

Where does Belief come from?

John 6:45 and 12:39-40; Romans 6:17 and 11:30; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-13; Acts 13:48; Deuteronomy 29:4 and 30:6; Philippians 1:29

What is the ultimate source of Gospel obedience?

1 Peter 1:2 and 2:8; Jude v.4; Psalm 65:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Peter 1:3; John 15:16, 19

Does God hate anyone?

Psalm 5:5 and 10:3 and 11:5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Romans 9:10-16

Does God actively blind or harden anyone, so that they will not receive the Gospel?

Isaiah 44:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; Matthew 13:10-16; Romans 9:18 and 11:7-10

As a note of caution: Let me stress that the goal in our study of Scripture is not that we should amass a load of proof-texts in the hopes of countering or cancelling out the proof-texts on the other guy's side of the debate. Our goal is to harmonize all of Scripture, and my personal experience was that before I became a Calvinist, I lightly skimmed over all the references I have given above. It's not that there were just as many references that proved Arminianism, but it's that I simply ignored whatever did not seem to fit.

You have to allow your theology to "fit" all these verses! They're inspired too! :)

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