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Calvinism and Arminianism

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SOVEREIGNTY, FREEWILL

AND

SALVATION

PROF. M. M. NINAN

CONTENTS

PREFACE

CHAPTER ONE AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO 1

CHAPTER TWO PELAGIUS 12

CHAPTER THREE SEMI PELAGIANISM 23

CHAPTER FOUR CALVINISM 37

CHAPTER FIVE JACOB ARMINIUS 56

CHAPTER SIX MOLINISM AND METHODISM 110

CHAPTER SEVEN SOME DETAILS 119

CHAPTER EIGHT SOME PARADOXES AND THEIR SOLUTIONS 140


SOVEREIGNTY, FREEWILL

AND

SALVATION

PROF. M. M. NINAN

PREFACE

What we have received from our Fathers, this we proclaim to you without hesitation, that

“God is Love”. There is no other definition of God. This God who is love, is our Father.

Adam was the son of God, and all mankind thus are the children of God. We call Him, “Our

Father, Who is in Heaven”. God so loved the world that he gave. His love is fully

expressed on the cross. Father awaits the return of the prodigals. Love never fails.

“He who sat on the throne, the Sovereign said: “Behold, I am making all things New.”

He also said “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Rev. 21:5.

Yes indeed, the whole creation itself will be renewed, regenerated and made new.

We do not proclaim a tyrant king.

We proclaim a loving God who incarnated on the earth to carry the lost sons back home.

In Jesus, He taught us what we are and how we are related. He lived and died leaving us a

way back to the Father. His mercy because of his love will follow us all the days of life and

even beyond our earthly life.

He poured out his glory to provide me space to live as son. This included his limiting himself

of his Omni attributes of Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient because He is Omnibenevolent.

He breathed into me to give me life. Even when I was lost, he came searching

after me to carry me home. He wants me to be like him to go and die for my brothers as

he himself did.

We are witnesses to the Father’s Love.

Prof. M.M.Ninan

Normal, IL

2017


SOVEREIGNTY, FREEWILL AND SALVATION

PROF. M. M. NINAN

SOVEREIGNTY, FREEWILL

AND

SALVATION

PROF. M. M. NINAN

CHAPTER ONE

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO

As the early church began to establish as institutional churches, it became necessary to

make it clear what Christianity means. One of the major problem they faced was the

problem of God’s sovereignty, the freedom of will of man and how salvation of man is

related to them.

If God alone existed with total sovereignty over all with the Omni properties, it leaves no

place for a human (for that matter for any being) to exist

If God is Omni-Present and He fills all dimensions of existence, where will man exist?

If God is Omni-Scient, If He knows the past, present and the future and everything must be

predestined even long before you were born, then where is the freedom of choice.

If there is no freedom of choice that leaves no responsibility on man with respct to his

action.

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Even every act including sin is determined before all creation, leaves no responsibility on on

the person who does it -(He has to do it) and it will be injustice to punish the person for

something on which he had no power. It is the Omni-potent God who does everything

including sinning; indirectly through his creation. God will then become the author of

sin even though it is done by man. Thus we see that if God is Sovereign with all the Omni,

then humans are simply robots and are not really responsible to their actions. It is all

preprogrammed into the creation, planned even before creation by the creator.

The 4 robots from the University of Bremen (Germany), Rajesh, Penny, Sheldon and Leonard, are all 60 cm

high and are members of the soccer team that won the Robot Football World Cup in Austria in 2009.

If this is the reality, then the whole story of human fall, cross, resurrection, heaven and hell

are only a child play. God himself turns into a cruel monster and the creation reduces to a

machine. Heaven and hell are nothing but a cock and bull story play acted by an old kid.

In the 8 th c AD an Indian theologian found a way out. Sankara’s Advaita Vedanta proposed

that “all that we see as real are really only a dream in the mind of Brahman”. May be

Brahman is having a bad dream.

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Christians have asserted all through history that God is real and all that he created is also

real. At least as far as the creatures are concerned all that they live and experience are

real. The pain, the suffering, the emotions, joy and sorrow are all real to the ones that are

involved.

The bible, the Christian scripture as we have it today, defined through generations, do

support both the sovereignty of God and the freewill of man. Bible is clear that “We move

and have our being in Him.” It is this paradox that was being grapled by theologians through

the ages. They form two groups: Predestinarians and Freewillians. If God is real and the

creation is real how can we maintain sovereignty of God and Freedom of the real Sons of

God?. It is this struggle that is being traced in this book.

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AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO

St. Monica the mother of Augustine and St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430)

Christianity came to North Africa in the Roman era. According to historian Theodor

Mommsen what is now Mediterranean Algeria was fully Christian by the fifth century. A

notable Berber Christian of Algeria was Saint Augustine (and his mother Saint Monica),

important saints of Roman Catholicism. Christianity's influence declined during the chaotic

period of the Vandal invasions but was strengthened in the succeeding Byzantine period.

After the Arab invasions of the 7th century, Christianity began to gradually disappear

Berber Algeria

The traditional Berber religion is the ancient and native set of beliefs and deities

adhered to by the Berber autochthones of North Africa. Many ancient Berber beliefs were

developed locally whereas others were influenced over time through contact with other

traditional African religions (such as the Ancient Egyptian religion), or borrowed during

antiquity from the Punic religion, Judaism, Iberian mythology, and the Hellenistic religion.

The veneration of saints which exists among the modern Berbers in the form of

Maraboutism was absorbed into Roman Churches through the influence of Augustine.

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The life of St. Augustine began in 354 AD, born at Thagaste, Numidia (now Souk Ahras,

Algeria). on Nov l3 as the son of a Roman official in North Africa. His father, Patricius,

was a Roman pagan and of a violent disposition but got baptized just before his death

(apparently because of the belief that baptism is washing away of sin. His mother,

Monica, (who was later made a saint in the Catholic Church) was astrong Roman Catholic

and brought Augustine in Christian faith. (As a child, Augustine himself fell dangerously ill,

he desired baptism and his mother got everything ready for it: but he suddenly grew better,

and it was put off.)

He went to Carthage in 370 AD when he was still 17. He studied rhetoric and fell into loose

living. At Carthage, he entered into relations with a woman (to whom he remained

faithful until he sent her away from him 15 years later). She bore him a son, Adeodatus, in

372AD. His father had died in 371AD, but he continued at Carthage and switched to

philosophy He studied the Scriptures but from a subjective attitude. It was during this

period he joined the Gnostic heretic group of Manichaean - the Mani who came to India

and reduced Christianity there into Hinduism - a combination of pagan religions and

philosophy.

In 383AD he departed to Rome, and opened a school or rhetoric. He was appointed by

the government as a teacher in Milan. His mother joined him there. In Milan, Saint

Augustine came under the influence of Saint Ambrose the bishop. During his

philosophical journey, Augustine experienced a great deal of pain and suffering in his life.

He went through phases of severe depression and debilitating grief. He witnessed things

that just couldn’t be reconciled with theological doctrine. It was this irreconcilable tradeoff

between truth and evil that kept Augustine jumping from philosophy to philosophy for over

a decade.

At the age of 31, Augustine had a supernatural experience Soon after, Pontitian, an

African, came to visit Augustine and his friend Alipius; he told them about two men who

had been suddenly turned to the service of God by reading about the life of Saint Anthony.

Augustine said to Alipius: "What are we doing to let the unlearned seize Heaven by force,

whilst we with all our knowledge remain behind, cowardly and heartless, wallowing in our

sins? Because they have outstripped us and gone before, are we ashamed to follow them?

Is it not more shameful not even to follow them?" As he spoke these words he heard a

child's voice singing "Tolle lege! Tolle lege!" (Take up and read! Take up and read!). He took

the bible and openned it and read the first chapter that met his eyes: "Let us walk

honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness,

not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for

the flesh, fulfil the lusts thereof." (Romans 13:13-14). This was his turning point.

Augustine continued to struggle with the obvious pain, suffering and evil allowed by God. In

his first book, On Order (386 AD), Augustine wrote:

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“There is nothing that even the most gifted people desire more than to finally

understand how, taking into account the amount of evil in this world, one can still

believe that God cares about human affairs.”

For the next forty years, Augustine grappled with the reality of this paradox. He focused on

God’s nature in scripture and God’s apparent desire for humanity. He determined that God

created us for a relationship with him, and that authentic relationship is impossible with

puppets. Apparently, God wanted us to have the capacity to freely choose or reject him. Of

course, if we have free will, we have the capacity to choose love or hate -- good or evil.

Apparently after several years he reversed his theology to exclude freewilll and assign God

as predetermining everyone’s life arbitrarily.

From that time, Saint Augustine went back to Tagaste, his native city, and lived for three

years with his friends and shared a life of prayer, study and poverty. All things were in

common and were distributed according to everyone's needs. He had no idea of becoming

a priest, but in 391 he was ordained as an assistant to Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, and he had

to move to that city.

He established a sort of monastery in his house, living with Saint Alipius, Saint Evodius,

Saint Possidius and others according to the rule of the holy Apostles. Valerius who had an

impediment in speaking appointed Saint Augustine to preach in his own presence and he

has not interrupted the course of his sermons until his death (nearly 400 sermons). He

vigorously opposed the Manicheans and the Donatists.

In 395 AD he was consecrated bishop as co-adjutor to Valerius, and succeeded him in the

see of Hippo on his death soon after.

He established regular and common life in his episcopal residence, and required all the

priests, deacons, and subdeacons to renounce property and come together and live as a

commune as in the early Apostolic period and established the "Rules of Saint Augustine".

Augustine died on August 28, 430, after having lived 76 years

Augustine wrote over 100 works in Latin, many of them texts on Christian doctrine and

apologetic works against various heresies.

He is best known for the "Confessiones" ("Confessions", a personal account of his early life,

completed in about 397),

"De civitate Dei" ("The City of God", consisting of 22 books started in 413 and finished in

426, dealing with God, martyrdom, Jews and other Christian philosophies) and

"De Trinitate" ("On the Trinity", consisting of 15 books written over the final 30 years of his

life, in which he developed the "psychological analogy" of the Trinity).

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THEOLOGY OF AUGUSTINE

It was Augustine who practically determined the Catholic doctrines as the church freed

from persecution and came to its own in Rome.

According to Rome the theological stand of Augustine on predestination and free will is

given as follows:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02091a.htm

https://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/AUGUSTIN.HTM

Massa damnata theory, which says that the whole human race has the original sin

transmitted to them from Adam and they are all guilty of sin and are worthy of hell

without any personal sin.

God is absolute Master, by His grace, of all the determinations of the will;

man remains free, even under the action of grace;

the reconciliation of these two truths rests on the manner of the Divine government.

Absolute sovereignty of God over the will

…... that not only does every meritorious act require

supernatural grace, but also that every act of virtue,

even of infidels, should be ascribed to a Gift of God,

to a specially efficacious providence which has

prepared this good movement of the will

(Retractations, I, ix, n. 6). ……that the will cannot

accomplish that act of natural virtue, but it is a fact

that without this providential benefit it would not. ….

The fact has been too much lost sight of that Augustine distinguishes very explicitly two

orders of grace:

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the grace of natural virtues (the simple gift of Providence, which prepares efficacious

motives for the will); and grace for salutary and supernatural acts, given with the first

preludes of faith. This is the grace of all men, a grace which even strangers and infidels

(filii concubinarum, as St. Augustine says) can receive (De Patientiâ, xxvii, n. 28).

The latter is the grace of the sons, gratia fliorum;

Man remains free, even under the action of grace

The second principle, the affirmation of liberty even under the action of efficacious grace,

has always been safeguarded, and there is not one of his anti-Pelagian works even of the

latest, which does not positively proclaim a complete power of choice in man;

"not but what it does not depend on the free choice of the will to embrace the faith or

reject it, but in the elect this will is prepared by God" (De Prædest. SS., n. 10).

This is an evasive way of reconciling freewill and sovereignty.

choice is prepared by God”

In the elect the “free

De gratia Christi 25, 26: "For not only has God given us our ability and helps it, but He

even works [brings about] willing and acting in us; not that we do not will or that we do

not act, but that without His help we neither will anything good nor do it"

De gratia et libero arbitrio 16, 32: "It is certain that we will when we will; but He brings

it about that we will good. . . . It is certain that we act when we act, but He brings it

about that we act, providing most effective powers to the will."

The reconciliation of these two truths

But is there not between these two principles an irremediable antinomy?

If the freewill is dead, what else can God do. He mercifully gives the salvation by giving

some the ability to choose to believe in Jesus.

De gratia et libero arbitrio 6. 15: "If then your merits are God's gifts, God does not crown

your merits as your merits, but as His gifts."

On the one hand, there is affirmed an absolute and unreserved power in God of directing

the choice of our will, of converting every hardened sinner, or of letting every created will

harden itself; and on the other hand, it is affirmed that the rejection or acceptance of grace

or of temptation depends on our free will. Is not this a contradiction?

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Reconciliation of of the freewill and God’s action:

The Theory of Divine Government of wills

Here are the main lines of this theory:

The will never decides without a motive, without the attraction of some good which it

perceives in the object. God manipulates the situation by providing the right motive to

force the will to decide. It is like the provision of a haystack on one side for a hungry

donkey. What will donkey do?

“St. Augustine has remarked that man is not the master of his first thoughts; he can exert an

influence on the course of his reflections, but he himself cannot determine the objects, the

images, and, consequently, the motives which present themselves to his mind. Now, as

chance is only a word, it is God who determines at His pleasure these first perceptions of

men, either by the prepared providential action of exterior causes, or interiorly by a Divine

illumination given to the soul. — let us take one last step with Augustine:

Not only does God send at His pleasure those attractive motives which inspire the will with

its determinations, but, before choosing between these illuminations of the natural and the

supernatural order, God knows the response which the soul, with all freedom, will make to

each of them.”

It is this aspect that Molinists developed later in history.

The spiritually dead man comes to the point of choice. The

Sovereign picks him up and puts him in some where which God

knew the dead man would have chosen,

”predestination by the choice of the vocation which is foreseen as

efficacious.” “Grace helps him to the right choice for the elect”.

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There is an inherent contradiction in the theory of predestination in Augustine.

Speaking to the Manichæans he says: "All can be saved if they wish";

and in his "Retractations" (I, x) he affirms "It is true, entirely true, that all men can, if they

wish."

In his sermons he says to all:

"It depends on you to be elect" (In Ps. cxx, n. 11, etc.);

"Who are the elect? You, if you wish it" (In Ps. lxxiii, n. 5).

Double Predestination as Divine Will

Ad Simplicianum 1, 2, 16: "Therefore all men are . . . one condemned mass [massa damnata]

of sin, that owes a debt of punishment to the divine and supreme justice. Whether it [the

debt] be exacted, or whether it be condoned, there is no injustice."

City of God 21, 12: "Hence there is a condemned mass of the whole human race . . . so that

no one would be freed from this just and due punishment except by mercy and undue

grace; and so the human race is divided [into two parts] so that in some it may be shown

what merciful grace can do, in others, what just vengeance can do. . . . In it [punishment]

there are many more than in [mercy] so that in this way there may be shown what is due to

all."

(4) Epistle 190. 3. 12: He said that reprobates are so much more numerous than the saved

that "by an incomparable number they are more numerous than those whom He deigned

to predestine as sons of the promise to the glory of His kingdom; so that by the very

number of those rejected, it might be shown that the number, howsoever large, of the

justly damned is of no importance with a just God. . . ." Which implies that God does not

will all to be saved: hence Augustine's explicit denial, several times, of the words of 1 Tim

2:4. Hence too, as we said above, God does not really love anyone: He merely uses a few to

show mercy.”

On the predestination of the saints 17: "Let us, then, understand the call by which the elect

are made elect: they are not persons who are chosen because they have believed, but they

are persons who are chosen so that they may believe. For even the Lord Himself made this

call sufficiently clear when He said: 'You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.’”

On the merits and remission of sins 2, 17, 26: "Men are not willing to do what is right either

because the fact that it is right is hidden from the, or because it does not please them. It is

from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes

known, and that which did not please become sweet. The reason why they are not helped

[by grace] is in themselves, not in God, whether they are predestined to damnation

because of the wickedness of their pride, or whether they are to be judged and emended,

contrary to the wickedness of their pride if they are sons of mercy." [written 411].

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Augustine on Free Will

“Tiny babies are not weighed down by their own sin, but they are being burdened with the

sin of another.”

“A man’s free will avails for nothing except to sin.”

"It is, therefore, in the power of the wicked to sin; but that in sinning they should do this or

that by that wickedness is not in their power, but in God's, who divides the darkness and

regulates it; so that hence even what they do contrary to God's will is not fulfilled except it

be God's will.“

“Men’s evil wills are prepared by God and predestination.

God, in his timeless wisdom had decided to prepare only the will of a few.”

Original Sin on children and need of baptism

Death came from sin, not man's physical nature.

Infants must be baptized to be cleansed from original sin.

No good works can come without God's grace.

Children dying without baptism are excluded from both the Kingdom of heaven and eternal

life.

No one can escape the struggle within Augustine once the theory of Original Sin was firmly

assumed by him. There is no other way than a double predestination. Freewill is a myth.

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CHAPTER TWO

PELAGIUS

“God is completely holy and perfectly just”,

he argued:

”God wouldn’t command us to do something that He knows we don’t have the ability to

do.” (“Be ye holy even as I am holy,”) “For God to command us to do something that He

knows we can’t do is simply cruel.”

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In Celtic Art, Celtic knots (also known as 'endless knots' or 'mystic knots') are series of

overlapping or interwoven knots which have no clear start or end.

Pelegius

Pelagius was an early British theologian that lived toward the end of the Fourth century and

the beginning of the fifth century (c.354 - c, 420 AD). Of the origin of Pelagius almost

nothing is known. He is certainly of Celtic Origin and belonged to the Celtic Christianity

which is considered as a Church independent of the Catholic Church which probably were

taken over by the Roman Catholic Church after the Roman conquest of Britain.

The word "Celtic" refers to people who lived in Britain and Western Europe from 500 BC

and 400 AD. Celts were of the Iron Age and lived in small villages which were led by warrior

chiefs. What we know of are only through the time honored oral traditions. These tells of

the bravery and magic of the Celts, and celebrate their rich history.

The name Pelegius is supposed to be a Hellenized form of the Cymric Morgan (sea

begotten). His contemporaries understood that he was of British (probably of Irish) birth,

and gave him the appellation Brita. He was a large ponderous person, heavy both in body

and mind (Jerome, "stolidissimus et Scotorum pultibus praegravatus").

Pelagius was influenced by the monastic enthusiasm which had been kindled in Gaul

(modern day France) by Saint Athanasius (A.D.336), and which, through the energy of Saint

Martin of Tours (A.D. 361), rapidly communicated itself to the Briton and Scots. For, though

Pelagius remained a layman throughout his life, and though he never appears in any strict

connection with a cenobite fraternity, yet he adhered to monastic discipline ("veluti

monachus"), and distinguished himself by his purity of life and exceptional sanctity

("egregie Christianus"). Even his opponents could not find any fault in his life.

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Celtic Warrior

He went to Rome in the beginning of the 5th century (his earliest known writing is of date

405) as a Christian monk and found a scandalously low tone of morality prevalent in all the

Rome. This he attributed to the total predestination teachings of Augustine who taught that

irrespective of the way one lived, the destiny of every person was determined even before

he was even born and nothing could change that. He wanted to correct the fallacy of

Augustinian double pre-destination theology.

Pelegius while living in Rome, was actively involved in teaching and exhorting Christians to

live a righteous and holy life. His teachings were aimed at pointing out, godly conduct

versus evil conduct. As a monk, Pelagius was a strong proponent of a rigorous lifestyle, and

therefore, he was highly devoted to controlling his personal conduct and doing only those

things which were good to do.

As an ascetic monk, Pelagius believed that the Christian life consisted of a continued

struggle with oneself even in the midst of a society which forces man to be selfish to

overcome sin and attain salvation by deliberately choosing good over evil.

During his sojourn in Rome he composed several works:

"De fide Trinitatis libri III", now lost;

"Eclogarum ex divinis Scripturis liber unus",

"Commentarii in epistolas S. Pauli",

Augustinian theology gave the feeling that it does not matter what you do, you have got

the end as predetermined by God before even you were thought of. It is to remove this

Pelegius presented the remonstrations . But his remonstrations were met by the plea of

human weakness.

To remove this plea by exhibiting the actual powers of human nature became his first

object.

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It seemed to him that the Augustinian doctrine of total depravity and of the consequent

bondage of the will both cut the sinew of all human effort and threw upon God the blame

which really belonged to man. His favorite maxim was, "If I ought, I can." God will not and

cannot ask anything from man, if it cannot be done by him. Hence his insistence on the

freedom of the will.

The need for free will of every person in contrast to double predestination is based on the

obvious condition that a man is responsible for his action only based on his ability.

“Ability limits Obligation”

“God cannot ask Man that which he cannot perform”

“Man is not responsible to his actions unless he has the choice and the ability”

“It is not justice to punish for actions or non actions that are beyond the ability of

the person”

These are the basic premises of Pelegianism.

According to the Pelagian theology, Adam had the choice, he violated the law which he

could have avoided and so incurred sin on his own. According to the scriptures, Adam’s

sin does not cause punishment to the children, and the freedom which Adam enjoyed in

the choice and his ability did not cause damage to his children.

Here is the clear statement:

Will God charge Adam’s sin to his children?

Ezekiel 18:19- 21

"Yet you say,

'Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity?'

When the son has practiced justice and righteousness

and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live.

"The person who sins will die.

The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity,

nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity;

the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself,

and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.

"But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and

observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely

live; he shall not die.…”

It follows that we are uninjured by the sin of Adam, save in so far as the evil example of our

predecessors misleads and influences us (non propagine sed exemplo). There is, in fact,

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no such thing as original sin, sin being a thing of will and not of nature; for if it could be of

nature, our sin would be chargeable on God the creator. There seems to be confusion

between individual responsibility and the collective responsibility in all this free will

predestination debate. It all seems to be based on individuals whereas there are reasons

that are communal than individual. Even when Jesus established his communities, they all

went selfish and the communes failed very often, because of one person (as in the case of

Judas Iscariot) or a couple (as in Ananias and Saphira). As far as we know none of the

early communities survived. When it emerged it was in the form of a hierarchial system of

power and authority as in the Catholic Church. Instead of being servants of one another,

all Christian Church and the saved believers formed a structure, based on power and

authority, based on “who rules over whom.”

These are the teachings of Pelegius

The first assumption of Pelegius was the rejection of the concept of Original Sin and the

conseqent teaching that man lost his freewill as a result. If anything is transmitted

genetically according to Pelegius it is this freedom upon which Adam acted in partaking of

the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even God agrees that their eyes

were openned and Adam and Eve became like God.

According to Aurelius, bishop of Carthage,

who charged Coelestius the disciple of Pelegius as holding.

(1) that Adam would have died even if he had not sinned;

(2) that the sin of Adam injured himself alone, not the human race;

(3) that newborn children are in the same condition in which Adam was before the fall;

(4) that the whole human race does not die because of Adam's death or sin, nor will the

race rise again because of the resurrection of Christ;

(5) that the law gives entrance to heaven as well as the gospel;

(6) that even before the coming of Jesus Christ there were men who were entirely

without sin.

To these propositions a seventh is sometimes added, "that infants, though unbaptized,

have eternal life", a corollary from he third.

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Man can make the choice = Man still has the freewill even after Adam’s fall

Every human being today has the choice

To follow God or to Go to hell. It is his choice. Bible clearly sets these choices before

people in the OT and in the NT.

Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV) Choose Whom You Will Serve

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the

gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if

it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the

gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in

whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (NIV) See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and

destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to

him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the

LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow

down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be

destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and

possess.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you

life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may

live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For

the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your

fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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Joshua 24:15 Choose for yourselves "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD,

choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers

served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are

living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Those who have chosen God’s way in the OT

Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

Psalm 119:173 Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.

Job 34:4 "Let us choose for ourselves what is right; Let us know among ourselves what is

good.

Job 34:33 "Shall He recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it? For you must

choose, and not I; Therefore declare what you know.

Luke 21:14 "So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves;

Jesus said:

John 11:25-26 "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were

dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever lives and believeth in me shall never die. Do you

believe this?"

Matthew 6:25 "Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My

sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own

soul?"

John 5:39-40 "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and

these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may

have life."

Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he

will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who

sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."

Colossians 3:5-7 "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth:

fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because

of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you

yourselves once walked when you lived in them."

Romans 5:17 "For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more

those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life

through the One, Jesus Christ."

James 1:12"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved,

he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

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"We distinguish three things -

the ability, the will, the act

(posse, velle, esse).

the ability is in nature, and must be referred to God,

who has bestowed this on His creature;

the other two, the will and the act, must be referred to individual person,

because they flow from the fountain of free will" (Aug., Degr. ch. 4).

Celestius the disciple of Pelegius

Celestius, (flourished 5th centuryc. 401 - c. 500), was one of the first and probably the most

outstanding of the disciples of Pelagius. It was probably because of Celestius, Pelegius’

teachings were heard far and wide. Celestius was practicing law in Rome when they met.

Celestius, probably was an Italian, who had been trained as a lawyer, one who later

abandoned his profession for an ascetic life.

When Rome was sacked by the Goths (410) the two friends crossed to Africa. there Pelagius

once or twice met with Augustine, but very shortly sailed for Palestine, where he justly

expected that his opinions would be more cordially received.

Celestius remained in Carthage with the view of receiving ordination. But Aurelius, bishop

of Carthage, being warned against him, summoned a synod, at which Paulinus, a deacon of

Milan, charged Celestius with holding the six errors mentioned above.

Celestius did not deny that he held these opinions, but he maintained that they were open

questions, on which the Church had never pronounced. The synod, notwithstanding,

condemned and excommunicated him. Celestius, after a futile appeal to Rome, went to

Ephesus, and there received ordination.

In Palestine Pelagius lived unmolested and revered, until in 415 Orosius, a Spanish priest,

came from Augustine, who in the meantime had written to warn Jerome against him. The

result was that in June of that year Pelagius was cited by Jerome before John bishop of

Jerusalem, and charged with holding that ‘man may be without sin, if only he desires it”. In

December of the same year Pelagius was summoned before a synod of fourteen bishops at

Diospolis (Lydda). Pelagius repudiated the assertion of Celestius, that "the divine grace

and help is not granted to individual acts, but consists in free will, and in the giving of the

law and instruction." At the same time he affirmed that a man is able, if he likes, to live

without sin and keep the commandments of God, inasmuch as God gives him this ability.

The synod was satisfied with these statements, and pronounced Pelagius to be in

agreement with Catholic teaching.

North African Church as a whole resented the decisions of Diospolis, and in AD 416 sent up

from their synods of Carthage and Mileve (in Numidia) an appeal to Innocent, bishop of

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Rome, who, flattered by the tribute thus paid to the see of Rome, decided the question in

favor of the African synods.

When the Goths menaced Rome about 409AD, the two men went first to Sicily and then,

about 410AD, to North Africa, where Celestius remained after Pelagius left for Palestine in

411AD. During a visit to Carthage, Paulinus, a deacon of Milan, accused Celestius of denying

the existence of original sin and the remission of sins by baptism. Celestius was condemned

at the Council of Carthage (412AD). It was presided over by Bishop St. Aurelius. Soon after

Celestius left for Ephesus (near modern Selçuk, Turkey).

Celestius’ propaganda and Pelagius’ writings succeeded in making many converts. It also

evoked strong reaction also. St. Jerome, the great Latin biblical scholar, and Bishop St.

Augustine of Hippo were among them.

St. Jerome, in one of his passionate invectives, calls Celestius

“a blockhead swollen with Scotch portage.” He goes on to describe Celestius a “great,

corpulent. barking dog, fitter to kick with his heels than to bite with his teeth: a Cerberus,

who, with his menter Pluto (so Pelegius is designated), deserved to be knocked on the

head, and so put to eternal silence."

The Councils and Condemnations

http://www.fourthcentury.com/index.php/council-of-rome-ad-417-2/

This eventually led to the condemnation of Celestius and Pelagius at the Council of

Diospolis (modern Lod, Israel) in 415AD and at two African councils in 416. Although they

were excommunicated in 417 ADby Pope St. Innocent I, the succeeding pope, St. Zosimus,

was sympathetic to them

Date

Location

Chaired by

Number of

Participants

Key Participants

Purpose

Key Events

415 AD

Diospolis (=Lydda)

John II of Jerusalem

14

Council of Milev (AD 416)

Date 416

Location

Number of

Participants

Key Participants

Pelagius; Deacon Anianus

To address the accusations against Pelagius

Pelagius condemned the theses attributed to him by the accusation of Eros of Arles

and Lazzarus of Aix; Pelagius restored to communion

Milev

61 provincial bishops

Silvanus of Numidia; Alypius; St. Augustine; Severus of Milev; Fortunatus of Citha;

Possidius

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Key Events

Letter sent to Innocent I requesting the condemnation of Caelestius and Pelagius’

heresies

Council of Carthage (AD 416)

Date 416

Location

Key

Participants

Key Events

Carthage

Bishops of Proconsularis; Aurelius; Alypius; Augustine; Euodius; Possidius

Confirmation of the conclusions come to at Carthage in 412; condemnation of Pelagius

and Caelestius; synodal letter sent to Innocent

Council of Rome (AD 417)

Date 417

Location

Summoned by

Chaired by

Key Participants

Purpose

Key Events

Rome

Innocent

Innocent

Caelestius; Pelagius; Innocent

To condemn Caelestius and Pelagius

Innocent confirmed the condemnation of Caelestius and Pelagius but allowed for future

forgiveness and reinstatement

Celestius visited Pope Zosimus, whom he impressed and who, after receiving a profession

of faith from Pelagius, accused the African bishops in 417 AD of having acted precipitately.

Violent outbreaks by the Pelagians in Rome caused the Western Roman emperor Flavius

Honorius to condemn Pelagianism and exile Celestius from Italy. Meanwhile, Celestius, who

had been commanded to appear before the pope, ignored the summons and fled from

Rome. Thereupon, Zosimus excommunicated him and condemned Pelagianism. The Council

of Ephesus (431AD) also condemned him.

Pelagians—whose proponent Pelagius had been excommunicated on Jan. 27, 417AD, by

Innocent and who in general were condemned by the African bishops—appealed to Rome,

being successfully represented by Celestius (Caelestius). After receiving a profession of faith

from Pelagius, Zosimus sent a strongly worded letter to the African bishops on Sept. 21,

417AD, accusing them of having acted precipitately in their condemnation. However, the

next year Zosimus, again doubting Pelagius’ orthodoxy, read his commentary on Romans;

shocked by its doctrine, he commanded Celestius to appear before him for examination.

Celestius fled Rome, thereby appearing self-condemned, and Zosimus issued the Epistola

tractoria (“Epistolary Sermon”) that excommunicated Pelagius and Celestius and

condemned their doctrine. Pelagius, horrified by his excommunication, departed, probably

for Egypt.

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Though Innocent's successor, Zosimus, wavered for some time, he at length fell in with the

rest. For, simultaneously with the largely attended African synod which finally condemned

Pelagianism in the West, an imperial edict was issued at Ravenna by Emperor Honorius on

the 30th of April 418, enacting that not only Pelagius and Celestius but all who accepted

their opinions should suffer confiscation of goods and irrevocable banishment.

Council of Rome (418AD)

Date

Location

Chaired by

418AD

Rome

Zosimus

Purpose To reexamine the conclusion of Rome in 417

Key Event

Condemnation of Pelagianism; publication of Epistola tractoria

Thus prompted the Roman bishop, Zosimus, drew up a circular petition inviting all the

bishops of Christendom to subscribe to a condemnation of Pelagian opinions. Nineteen

Italian bishops refused, among them Julian of Eclanum in Apulia, a man of good birth,

approved sanctity and great capacity, came forward in support of Pelegian thought. But

the Eastern Churches confirmed the decision of the West in Ephesus 431AD. Pelagius

himself disappeared from the scene after 420AD; Celestius was last seen at Constantinople

seeking the aid of the Patriarch, Nestorius in 428AD.

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CHAPTER THREE

SEMI PELAGIANISM

John Cassian of Marseilles (Massilia)(360-435 AD)

Saint John Cassian, John the Ascetic, or John Cassian the Roman, was a Christian monk and

theologian celebrated in both the Western and Eastern Churches

St. John was born in the Danube Delta in what is now Dobrogea, Romania, in about 360

(some sources instead place him as a native of Gaul). In 382 he entered a monastery in

Bethlehem and after several years there was granted permission, along with his friend St.

Germanus of Dobrogea, to visit the Desert Fathers in Egypt. They remained in Egypt until

399, except for a brief period when they returned to Bethlehem and were released from

the monastery there.

Upon leaving Egypt they went to Constantinople, where they met St. John Chrysostom, who

ordained St. John Cassian as a deacon. He had to leave Constantinople in 403 when

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Chrysostom was exiled, eventually settling close to Marseilles, where he was ordained

priest and founded two monasteries, one for women and one for men.

St. John's most famous works are the Institutes, which detail how to live the monastic life,

and the Conferences, which provide details of conversations between John and Germanus

and the Desert Fathers.

St.John Cassian was a comtemporary of both Augustine and Pelegius and he proposed a

median mode of the two extreme teachings. He wrote The Institutes and Conferences

where he proposed a modiified form of Pelegius’ teaching. The advocates of this system

were known as Massilians

who rejected the doctrine of predestination as a vain speculation of mischievous tendency.

"The Semi-Pelagian doctrine taught by John Cassian (d. 440) admits that divine grace

(assistance) is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God and live, yet holds that, from

the nature of the human will, man may first spontaneously, of himself, desire and attempt

to choose and obey God. They deny the necessity of prevenient but admit the necessity of

cooperative grace and conceive regeneration as the product of this cooperative grace." A.A.

Hodge

Faustus, bishop of Priez, in France, from A. D. 427 to A. D. 480, was one of the most

distinguished and successful advocates of this doctrine, which was permanently accepted

by the Eastern Church, It was widely disseminated throughout the West, until it was

condemned by the synods of Orange and Valence, A. D. 529. However it was in effect

accepted by the Roman Church as is evident in their statement of faith.

He teaches that the grace of God always invites, precedes and helps our will, and whatever

gain freedom of will may attain for its pious effect is not its own desert, but the gift of

grace." This is none other than the historical error of Semi-pelagianism/Arminianism, call it

what you will. See his writing, On Grace and Free Will: his famous Conference XIII.

B.B. Warfield said:

"But Pelagianism did not so die as not to leave a legacy behind it. "Remainders

of Pelagianism" soon showed themselves in Southern Gaul, where a body of

monastic leaders attempted to find a middle ground on which they could

stand,

by allowing the Augustineian doctrine of assisting grace,

but retaining the Pelagian conception of our self-determination to good.

We first hear of them in 428, through letters from two laymen, Prosper and

Hilary, to Augustine, as men who accepted original sin and the necessity of

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grace, but asserted that men began their turning to God, and God helped

their beginning. They taught that all men are sinners, and that they derive

their sin from Adam; that they can by no means save themselves, but need

God's assisting grace; and that this grace is gratuitous in the sense that men

cannot really deserve it, and yet that it is not irresistible, nor given always

without the occasion of its gift having been determined by men's attitude

towards God; so that, though not given on account of the merits of men, it is

given according to those merits, actual or foreseen. The leader of this new

movement was John Cassian, a pupil of Chrysostom (to whom he attributed

all that was good in his life and will), and the fountain-head of Gallic

monasticism; and its chief champion at a somewhat later day was Faustus of

Rhegium (Riez)."

Led by John Cassian, Hilary of Arles, Vincent of Lerins, and Faustus of Riez, joined in the

controversy. These men objected to a number of points in the Augustinian doctrine of sin

and grace, namely, the assertion of the total bondage of the will, of the priority and

irresistibility of grace, and of predestinarian thought. They partly agreed with Augustine as

to the seriousness of sin, yet they regarded his doctrine of predestination as new, therefore

in conflict with tradition and dangerous because it makes all human efforts superfluous.

In opposition to Augustinianism, Cassian taught that though a sickness is inherited through

Adam's sin,

human free will has not been entirely obliterated.

Divine grace is indispensable for salvation,

but it does not necessarily need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the

weakness of human volition, the will takes the initiative toward God. In other words,

divine grace and human free will must work together in salvation.

In opposition to the stark predestinarianism of Augustine, Cassian held to the doctrine of

God's universal will to save, and that predestination is simply divine foreknowledge of who

will chose God.

Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Arminians are in full agreement.

All three reject

the teaching of monergistic regeneration

believing that man has retained the free willl to choose God and turn to God even

after Adam’s fall.

Even Augustine discovered that the monks of Adrumetum found themselves

either sunk to the verge of despair or provoked to licentiousness by his

predestinarian teaching. he wrote two elaborate treatises to show that when God

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ordains the end He also ordains the means, and if any man is ordained to life

eternal he is thereby ordained to holiness and zealous effort.

The disputes (419-428) of St. Augustine with Julian of Eclanum

Through the vigorous measures adopted in 418, Pelagianism was indeed condemned, but

not crushed. Among the eighteen bishops of Italy who were exiled on account of their

refusal to sign the papal decree, Julian, Bishop of Eclanum, a city of Apulia now deserted,

was the first to protest against the "Tractoria" of Zosimus.

Julian of Eclanum (Latin: Iulianus Aeclanensis, Italian: Giuliano di Eclano) (c. 386 – c. 455)

was bishop of Eclanum, near today's Benevento (Italy). He was a distinguished leader of the

Pelagians of 5th century

When the cases of Pelagius and Coelestius were reopened by Zosimus, shortly after the

death of Innocent, Julian seems to have expressed himself strongly in their favour in the

hearing of Mercator; and when Zosimus issued his Epistola Tractoria 577 against the

Pelagians (417 CE) and sent it to the bishops of the East and West for subscription, Julian

was among those who refused. He was accordingly deposed, and afterwards exiled under

the edicts issued by the emperor Honorius in March 418.

Highly educated and skilled in philosophy and dialectics, he assumed the leadership

among the Pelagians. But to fight for Pelagianism now meant to fight against

Augustine.who seems to have been a close family friend of Julian.The literary feud set in at

once. After a long series of defence by letters and books Julian and his friends were then

driven from Constantinople by an imperial edict. A comprehensive account of Pelagianism,

which brings out into strong relief the diametrically opposed views of the author, was

furnished by Augustine in 428 in the final chapter of his work, "De haeresibus" (P.L., XLII, 21

sqq.). Augustine's last writings published before his death (430) were no longer aimed

against Pelagianism but against Semipelagianism.

After the death of Theodore of Mopsuestia (428), Julian of Eclanum left the hospitable city

of Cilicia and in 429 we meet him unexpectedly in company with his fellow exiles Bishops

Florus, Orontius, and Fabius, and the Court of the Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople,

who willingly supported the fugitives. It was here, too, in 429, that Caelestius emerged

again as the protégé of the patriarch; this is his last appearance in history; for from now on

all trace of him is lost. But the exiled bishops did not long enjoy the protection of Nestorius.

When Marius Mercator, a layman and friend of St. Augustine, who was then present in

Constantinople, heard of the machinations of the Pelagians in the imperial city, he

composed towards the end of 429 his "Commonitorium super nomine Caelestii" (P.L., XLVIII,

63 sqq.), in which he exposed the shameful life and the heretical character of Nestorius'

wards. The result was that the Emperor Theodosius II decreed their banishment in 430.

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Towards the close of 430 Celestine convened a council at Rome, which condemned Julian

and others once more

Julian: “You [ie. Augustine] think that your Lord is capable of committing a crime against

justice such as is hardly conceivable even among the barbarians.”

Julian accused Augustine of Manicheism and of making God the creator of both good and

evil.

“We maintain that men are the work of God, and that no one is forced unwillingly by His

power either into evil or good, but that man does either good or ill of his own will; but that

in a good work he is always assisted by God’s grace, while in evil he is incited by the

suggestions of the devil.”

Last traces of Pelagianism (429-529)

After the Council of Ephesus (431), Pelagianism no more disturbed the Greek Church, so

that the Greek historians of the fifth century do not even mention either the controversy or

the names of the Peleginists.

But the heresy continued to smoulder in the West and died out very slowly. The main

centres were Gaul and Britain. About Gaul we are told that a synod, held probably at Troyes

in 429, was compelled to take steps against the Pelagians. It also sent Bishops Germanus of

Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes to Britain to fight the rampant heresy, which received

powerful support from two pupils of Pelagius, Agricola and Fastidius (cf. Caspari, "Letters,

Treatises and Sermons from the two last Centuries of Ecclesiastical Antiquity", pp. 1-167,

Christiana, 1891).

Almost a century later, Wales was the centre of Pelagian intrigues. For the saintly

Archbishop David of Menevia participated in 519 in the Synod of Brefy, which directed its

attacks against the Pelagians residing there, and after he was made Primate of Cambria, he

himself convened a synod against them.

In Ireland also Pelagius's "Commentary on St. Paul", was in use long afterwards.

With the Second Synod of Orange (529) Pelagianism ceased to be an issue with

the western churches. Augustine's doctrine of sin and grace was adopted as

the anthropology, or teaching on sinful man of the Western Church. They

stood with Augustine in his classical position that God could not have chosen

men based on their decision for good, because they would never have chosen

the good, being unable to do so. However his double pre-destination came in

disrepute in time. This stand is known as Semi-Augustinianism which became

the accepted stand of the Roman Catholic Church.

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Declaration was approved by Pope Boniface ll in 531

“This indeed we salubriously profess and believe. that in every good work we

do not embark by ourselves and only later are assisted by the pity of God, but

that he himself inspires faith and love of him in us beforehand. without any of

our good deeds preceding.“ Regarding the role of human labor. The Definitio

declared. “After grace has been accepted through baptism. all of the baptized.

if they wish to labor faithfully. can and ought to fulfil that which pertains to the

salvation of the soul. with the assistance and cooperation of Christ."

This declaration was approved by Pope Boniface ll in 531. and was indeed the

final word on the role of grace. It affirmed that salvation was available to all,

and conclusively rejected full Augustinian predestination. These doctrines were

repressed during the early Medieval period, and would become prominent

again in the Gottschalk controversy in the 9th century, again repressed and

would return in the teachings of Wycliff and Hus, precursors to the

Reformation

http://www.instonebrewer.com/visualSermons/originalSin/_Sermon.htm

Semi-Pelagianism proposed that:·

Human nature is neither good nor bad, but sick.

Just as a sick person can’t quite do whatever he’d like to do, so likewise through the fall into

sin man’s capacities became restricted. His free will remained, but was weakened by the fall.

Man, then, can still decide to request and receive help. ·

Man’s need for grace:

Although Semi-Pelagianism believes in man’s need for God’s grace (for man is too sick to

help himself), man by his free will is able to decide whether he wants God’s grace.

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Whereas Pelagius taught that salvation is totally man’s own doing, and

Augustine taught that salvation is totally from God,

Semi-Pelagianism teaches that salvation is a combination of the efforts of BOTH man and

God.

According to Semi-Pelagianism, salvation = God’s grace + man’s acceptance of grace.

Man can only be saved if man decides to co-operate with God and accepts the grace God

offers him. ·

God’s sovereignty:

Semi-Pelagianism restricts the sovereignty of God in that it is limited by man’s decision to

co-operate with God or not.

God’s offer of salvation can be refused by man and so return to God empty.

Though God may wish to save someone, He can only do so if that person is interested in

taking Him up on the offer.

Over the course of time, Semi-Pelagian or Semi-Augustine doctrine became the

official theology of the Roman Catholic Church, and remains so even today.

Middle Ages

Thomas Aquinas (c1225–1274) : William of Ockham (1288- 1347):

(1266-1308) :

Duns Scotus

Thomas Aquinas, the most influential Catholic theologian of the Middle Ages, taught that,

from man’s fallen state, there were three steps to salvation:

1. Infusion of grace (infusio gratiae)- God infuses grace into the human soul - the

Christian now has faith and, with it, the ability to do good - this step is entirely God’s

work and is not done by man, and once a man has faith, he can never entirely lose it -

however, faith alone is not enough for salvation;

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2. Faith formed by charity (fides caritate formata)- with man’s free will restored, man

must now do his best to do good works in order to have a faith formed by charity;

and then

3. Condign merit (meritum de condigno) - God then judges and awards eternal life on

the basis of these good works which Aquinas called man’s condign merit.

Aquinas believed that by this system, he had reconciled

Ephesians 2:8 "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift

of God" and

James 2:20,24 "faith without works is dead" "by works a man is justified and not by faith

only", and had provided an exposition of the Bible's teaching on salvation compatible with

Augustine's teachings.

A second stream of medieval thought, commonly referred to as the Ockhamists after

William of Ockham (English Franciscan friar 1285-1347) and also including Duns Scotus

(John Duns died 1308) and Gabriel Biel(1425 –1495) rejected Aquinas’ system as

destroying man’s free will.

The Ockhamists argued that if a man loved God simply because of "infused grace", then

man did not love God freely. They argued that before a man received an infusion of grace,

man must do his best in a state of nature (i.e. based on man’s reason and inborn moral

sense). They argued that just as God awards eternal life on the basis of man’s condign merit

for doing his best to do good works after receiving faith as a gift from God, so too, the

original infusion of grace was given to man on the basis of "congruent merit", a reward for

man’s doing his best in a state of nature. (Unlike condign merit, which is fully deserved by

man, congruent merit is not fully deserved, and includes a measure of grace on God's part.

Congruent merit is therefore also sometimes called "semimerit". According to the

Ockhamists, a gracious God awards an individual with congruent merit when he or she does

the best that he or she is able to do.)

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http://www.thesumma.info/reality/reality12.php by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P.

https://www.academia.edu/30914487/Thomism_and_Predestination

Aquinas believed in free will and not a strict monergism.

“God, therefore, is the first cause, who moves causes both natural and voluntary.

And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their actions from being

natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being

voluntary; but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them, for He operates in

each thing according to his own nature.”

Thomists generally hold, includes these four elements:

a) God wills, as purpose of the universe, the manifestation of His goodness.

b) Among possible worlds known to Him by simple intelligence, anterior to any

decree of His will, He selected as suited to that purpose this present world, which

involves,

first, an order of nature subordinated to the order of grace,

second, the permission of sin,

third, the hypostatic order of redemptive Incarnation.

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c) He freely chooses, as means suited to manifest His divine goodness, this present

world with all its orders and parts.

d) He commands the execution of this choice of decree by the imperium, an

intellectual act, which presupposes two efficacious acts of will, one the intention of

purpose, the other the choice of means. Divine providence consists, properly and

formally, in this imperium, whereas divine government is the execution in time of

that eternal plan which is providence.

Hence we see that providence presupposes, not merely God's conditional, inefficacious,

antecedent will, but also God's consequent, absolute, efficacious will, to manifest His

goodness through His own chosen ways and means, by the present orders of nature and of

grace, which includes permission of sin with the consequent order of redemptive

Incarnation.

This order manifestly presupposes,

first, God's antecedent will to save all men in virtue of which He makes really and truly

possible to all men the fulfilling of His precepts.

Secondly, God's consequent will to save all men who will in fact be saved. Thus

predestination, by its object, is a part, the highest part of providence.

Is providence infallible?

Thomists in general answer Yes, with a distinction.

Providence, inasmuch as it presupposes God's consequent will, is infallible, both in the end

to be obtained and in the ways and means that lead to that end. But in as far as it

presupposes solely God's antecedent will, it is infallible only with regard to ways and means.

Here lies the distinction between general Providence, which makes salvation genuinely

possible for all men, and predestination, which infallibly leads the elect to their preordained

good.

All creation down to tiniest detail is ruled by providence.

"Not a sparrow falls to earth without your Father's permission."

"The very hairs of your head are numbered."

Hence the question arises: How can providence govern these multitudinous details, without

suppressing contingency, fortune, and liberty, without being responsible for evil?

St. Thomas answers: "Since every agent acts for an end, the preordaining of ways and

means to reach that end extends, when the First Cause is in question, as far as extends the

efficient causality of that First Cause. Now that causality extends to all created things, not

only as regards their specific characters, but also to their utmost individual differences.

Hence all created reality must be preordained by God to its end, must be, that is, subject to

providence." Even the least detail of the material world is still a reality, hence known by

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God, since He is cause not only of its form, but also of its matter, which is the principle of all

individual differences.

When we talk of events which men ascribe to fortune, good or evil, we must remember that

we are dealing only with the second causes of those events. In relation to the First Cause

such events are in no wise accidental and fortuitous, since God eternally foresees all results,

however surprising to men, that come from complicated series of created causes.

Evil as such is not a positive something, but is the privation of good in the created thing.

God permits it only because He is strong enough and good enough to draw from evil a

higher good, the crown of martyrdom, say, from persecution. And God's causality, as we

saw above, far from destroying, actualizes liberty. The mode of contingency, and the

mode of liberty, says St. Thomas, being modes of created being, fall under divine

Providence, the universal cause of being. A great poet expresses with equal perfection

sentiments the strongest or the sweetest. God, who can do all things He wills as He wills,

can bring it about that the stone falls necessarily and that man acts freely. God moves each

creature according to the nature which He gave to that creature.

Here emerges a rule for Christian life. We must work out our salvation, certainly. But the

chief element in that work is to abandon ourselves to providence, to God's wisdom and

goodness. We rest more surely on God's design than on our own best intentions. Our only

fear must be that we are not entirely submissive to God's designs. To those who love God,

who persevere in His love, all things work together unto good. [430] This abandonment

evidently does not dispense us from doing our utmost to fulfill the divine will signified by

precepts, counsels, and the events of life. But, that done, we can and should abandon

ourselves completely to God's pleasure, however hidden and mysterious. Such

abandonment is a higher form of hope; it is a union of confidence and love of God for His

own sake. Its prayer unites petition and adoration. It does not pray, indeed, to change the

dispositions of providence. But it does come from God, who draws it forth from our heart,

like an earthly father, who, resolved on a gift to his child, leads the child first to ask for the

gift.

Predestination

What we here attempt is a summary of the principles which underlie Thomistic doctrine on

the high mystery of predestination.

1. Scriptural Foundation

St. Thomas studied deeply those texts in St. John and St. Paul which express the mystery of

predestination, its gratuitousness, and its infallibility. Here follow the chief texts.

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a) "Those whom Thou gavest Me have I kept: and none of them is lost but the son of

perdition that the Scripture may be fulfilled."

b) "My sheep hear My voice. And I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them life

everlasting: and they shall not perish forever. And no man shall pluck them out of My hand.

That which My Father hath given Me is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of

the hand of My Father."

c) "For many are called, but few are chosen."

St. Thomas, based on tradition, interprets these texts as follows: There are elect souls,

chosen by God from all eternity. They will be infallibly saved; if they fall, God will raise them

up, their merits will not be lost. Others, like the son of perdition, will be lost. Yet God never

commands the impossible, and gives to all men genuine power to fulfill His precepts at the

moment when these precepts bind according to the individual's knowledge. Repentance

was genuinely possible for Judas, but the act did not come into existence. Remark again the

distance between potency and act. The mystery lies chiefly in harmonizing God's universal

will of salvation with the predestination, not of all, but of a certain number known only to

God.

This same mystery we find often affirmed by St. Paul, implicitly and explicitly. Here are the

chief texts.

a) "For what distinguisheth thee? or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if

thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received? " [435] This is

equivalent to saying: No one would be better than another, were he not more loved and

strengthened by God, though for all the fulfillment of God's precepts is genuinely possible.

"It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will."

b) "He chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world that we should be

holy and unspotted in His sight. He hath predestinated us to be His adopted children

through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to make shine forth the

glory of His grace, by which He has made us pleasing in His eyes, in His beloved son."

This text speaks explicitly of predestination. So St. Augustine. So St. Thomas and his school.

St. Thomas sets in relief both the good pleasure of God's will and the designs of God's mind,

to show the eternal freedom of the act of predestination.

c) "We know that to them who love God all things work together unto good, to those who

are called according to His designs. For those whom He foreknew, these also He

predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His son, that His son might be the

firstborn among many brethren. And whom He predestinated, these He also called, and

whom He called, these He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified."

"Those whom He foreknew, these also He predestinated." How does St. Thomas, following

St. Augustine, understand these salient words? Nowhere does he understand them of

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simple prevision of our merits. Such a meaning has no foundation in St. Paul, and is

excluded by many of his affirmations. [439] The real meaning is this: "Those whom God

foreknew with divine benevolence, these He predestinated." And for what purpose? That

His Son might be the first among many brethren. This is the genuine meaning of

"foreknew."

d) This same idea appears clearly in the commentary on Romans, [ where St. Paul is

magnifying the sovereign independence of God in dispensing His graces. The Jews, the

chosen people of old, have been rejected by reason of their unbelief, and salvation is being

announced to the pagans. St. Paul sets forth the underlying principle of God's predilection,

applicable both to nation and to individuals:

"What shall we say? Is there injustice in God? Far from it. For He says to Moses: 'I will have

mercy on whom I will, I will have compassion on whom I will. ' This then depends not on

him who wills, not on him who runs, but on God who shows mercy." [441] If predestination

includes a positive act of God, hardening of the heart, on the contrary, is only permitted by

God and comes from the evil use which man makes of his freedom. Let no man, then, call

God to account. Hence the conclusions: "Oh unsounded depth of God's wisdom and

knowledge! How incomprehensible are His judgments, how unsearchable His ways!. Who

hath first given to Him, that recompense should be made? For of Him and by Him and in

Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen."

Definition of Predestination

The Scripture texts just quoted are the foundation of the doctrine, Augustinian and

Thomistic, of predestination.

The definition of St. Augustine runs thus: Predestination is God's foreknowledge and

preparation of those gifts whereby all those who are saved are infallibly saved. By

predestination, he says elsewhere, God foreknew what He Himself would do. .

The definition of St. Thomas runs thus: That plan in God's mind whereby He sends the

rational creature to that eternal life which is its goal, is called predestination, for to

destine means to send.

This definition agrees with that of St. Augustine. In God's mind there is an eternal

plan whereby this man, this angel, reaches his supernatural end. This plan, divinely

ordained and decreed, includes the efficacious ways and means which lead this man,

this angel, to his ultimate goal. This is the doctrine of Scripture. This is the doctrine

of the two saints, Augustine and Thomas.

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Martin Luther (1483-1541)

Augustinian Monk

“Free will is really a fiction… everything takes place by absolute necessity.”

(Luther, Assertio, 36)

"All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it

was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it;

who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and

who should be justified and who should be condemned."

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CHAPTER FOUR

CALVINISM

Romans 9:15

"I (God) will have mercy on whom I have mercy,

and I

will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

"It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort,

but

on God's mercy.

Although there had been significant earlier attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church

before Luther – such as those of Jan Hus, Peter Waldo, and John Wycliffe – Martin Luther is

widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with his 1517 work The Ninety-Five

Theses.

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Luther began by criticizing the sale of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority

over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation

in the gospel. The Protestant position, however, would come to incorporate doctrinal

changes such as a complete reliance on Scripture as a source of proper belief (sola scriptura)

and the belief that only faith, and not good deeds, bring salvation (sola fide). The core

motivation behind these changes was theological, though many other factors played a part,

including the rise of nationalism, the Western Schism that eroded faith in the Papacy, the

perceived corruption of the Roman Curia, the impact of humanism, and the new learning of

the Renaissance that questioned much traditional thought.

A generation divided John Calvin from Martin Luther, whom he never met. Yet they were

almost always referred together in the context of protestant reformation.

“This man, John Calvin undoubtedly the greatest of Protestant divines, and perhaps, after St.

Augustine, the most perseveringly followed by his disciples of any Western writer on

theology, was born at Noyon in Picardy, France, 10 July, 1509, and died at Geneva, 27 May,

1564.

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“http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03195b.htm

Citation: C N Trueman "John Calvin"

historylearningsite.co.uk. The History Learning Site, 16 Mar 2015. 22 Jul 2017.

Jean Calvin was raised in a staunch Roman Catholic family. The local bishop employed

Calvin’s father as an administrator in the town’s cathedral. The father, in turn, wanted John

to become a priest. Because of close ties with the bishop and his noble family, John’s

playmates and classmates in Noyon (and later in Paris) were aristocratic and culturally

influential in his early life.

At the age of 14 Calvin went to Paris to study at the College de Marche in preparation for

university. His studies consisted of seven subjects: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic,

geometry, astronomy, and music. Toward the end of 1523 Calvin transferred to the more

famous College Montaigu. While in Paris he changed his name to its Latin form, Ioannis

Calvinus, which in French became Jean Calvin. During this time, Calvin’s education was paid

for in part by income from a couple of small parishes. So although the new theological

teachings of individuals like Luther and Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples were spreading

throughout Paris, Calvin was closely tied to the Roman Church. However, by 1527 Calvin

had developed friendships with individuals who were reform-minded. These contacts set

the stage for Calvin’s eventual switch to the Reformed faith. Also, at this time Calvin's

father advised him to study law rather than theology.

By 1528 Calvin moved to Orleans to study civil law. The following years found Calvin

studying in various places and under various scholars. By 1532 Calvin finished his law

studies and also published his first book, a commentary on De Clementia by the Roman

philosopher, Seneca. The following year Calvin fled Paris because of contacts with

individuals who through lectures and writings opposed the Roman Catholic Church. It is

thought that in 1533 Calvin experienced the sudden and unexpected conversion and

grasped Protestantism.

He knew that he will be considered a heretics by the Catholic church and hence for the next

three years, Calvin lived in various places outside of France under various names. He

studied on his own, preached, and began work on his first edition of the Institutes—an

instant best seller. By 1536 Calvin had disengaged himself from the Roman Catholic Church

and made plans to permanently leave France and go to Strasbourg. However, war had

broken out between Francis I and Charles V, so Calvin decided to make a one-night detour

to Geneva.

Geneva was a French-speaking Swiss city. At the time of Calvin’s arrival the city was

struggling between two independence against two authorities who were trying to exercise

control over Geneva. The first was the Dukes of Savoy and the second was the Bishop of

Geneva. In May 1536 the city adopted religious reform:

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1) monasteries were dissolved

2) Mass was abolished

3) Papal authority renounced

Even within the reformation there were two groups - those who wanted mild reform (such

as no compulsory church attendance) and those who demanded radical reform such as

Calvin and Farel. The mild reformers were called the Libertines and they wanted

magistrates firmly in control of the clergy. Calvin wanted a city controlled by the clergy – a

theocracy. In 1538, the Libertines won the day and Farel and Calvin fled the city and went

to Strasbourg.

But Calvin’s fame in Geneva preceded him. Farel, a local reformer, invited him to stay in

Geneva and threatened him with God’s anger if he did not. Thus began a long, difficult, yet

ultimately fruitful relationship with that city. He began as a lecturer and preacher, but by

1538 was asked to leave because of theological conflicts. He went to Strasbourg until 1541.

Libertines had fallen from power in 1540. In 1541 the Council of Geneva requested that

he return to Geneva. He did so and remained in Geneva until his death May 27, 1564. . It

took Calvin 14 years before he could fully impose his version of liturgy, doctrine,

organisation of the church and moral behaviour.

The church controlled all aspects of life. Eventually Geneva became theocratic.

In 1555, the city council gave the consistory the right to excommunicate offenders. Only

after this date was a strict moral code imposed and every sin was made a crime e.g. no

work or pleasure on a Sunday; no extravagance in dress. If you were excommunicated you

were banished from the city. Blasphemy could be punished by death; lewd singing could be

punished by your tongue being pierced.

The state had to obey the teachings of the church, according to Calvin, and once he had

managed to ensure this power, he felt confident enough to shut down taverns – though

this was actually done by magistrates – and replace them with “evangelical refreshment

places” where you could drink alcohol but this was accompanied by Bible readings. Meals

(in public) were preceded by the saying of grace.

The city itself was not democratic but were controlled by the aristocracy.. These 1,500 men

had a right to elect the city council which governed the city’s 13,000 people. Calvin turned

out to be a dictator under the name of God. When the Spanish scholar called Michael

Servetus came to Geneva in 1553. and questioned concept of Trinity.Calvin burnt him as a

heretic. In May 1555, the Libertines attempted a take-over of Geneva which was a

disaster. The ringleaders were caught and executed and this success further strengthened

Calvin’s hand.

Calvin left the Roman Catholic Church around 1530 and joined the Reformation in 1537.

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“Among all those who have been born of women, there has not risen a greater than John

Calvin; no age, before him ever produced his equal, and no age afterwards has seen his rival.

In theology, he stands alone, shining like a bright fixed star, while other leaders and

teachers can only circle round him, at a great distance — as comets go streaming through

space — with nothing like his glory or his permanence” . . . “the longer I live the clearer

does it appear that John Calvin’s system is the nearest to perfection.”~ Charles Spurgeon

“Calvin was the cruel and unopposed dictator of Geneva.”~ From ‘John Calvin’ in The Oxford

Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by FL Cross and EA Livingstone, (OUP: New York,

1974, 2nd ed.), p. 223.

“The famous Calvin whom we regard as the apostle of Geneva raised himself up to the

rank of Pope of the Protestants.”~ VoltaireHe died at age 54. But he was incredibly

productive.

Romans 9:15 "I (God) will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on

whom I have compassion."It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on

God's mercy.

Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

Successor to Calvin in Geneva

Created what now called Calvinism with the acronym now used as

TULIP

Supralapsarianism as opposed to infralapsarianism

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Supralapsarianism / antelapsarianism (“before the lapse”) puts God’s decrees in the

following order:

(1) God decreed the election of some and the eternal condemnation of others,

(2) God decreed to create those elected and eternally condemned,

(3) God decreed to permit the fall, and

(4) God decreed to provide salvation for the elect through Jesus Christ.

Supralapsarianism focuses on God ordaining the fall, creating certain people for the sole

purpose of being condemned, and then providing salvation for only those whom He had

elected.

Sublapsarianism (“under the lapse”) put God’s decrees in the following order:

(1) God decreed to create human beings,

(2) God decreed to permit the fall,

(3) God decreed to provide salvation sufficient to all, and

(4) God decreed to choose some to receive this salvation.

The only difference between infralapsarianism and sublapsarianism is whether God first

decreed to provide salvation through Jesus Christ and then chose some to be saved, or

vice-versa.

Infralapsarianism (“after the lapse”) puts God’s decrees in the following order:

(1) God decreed the creation of mankind,

(2) God decreed mankind would be allowed to fall into sin through their own

self-determination, (3) God decreed to save some of the fallen, and

(4) God decreed to provide Jesus Christ as the Redeemer. I

nfralapsarianism focuses on God allowing the fall and providing salvation.

This is by far the majority Reformed (or Calvinistic) view.

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Calvinism

http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/

The Five Points of Calvinism

This system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dordt

in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy

Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into "five

points" in answer to the unscriptural five points submitted by

the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610.

According to Calvinism:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God.

The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death

effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly

obey the Gospel.

The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace

alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

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Total Depravity (Total Inability)

T

Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists

speak of humans as "totally depraved," they are making an extensive, rather than an

intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part

of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is

intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12).

Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of

the gospel (Mark 4:11f).

This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a

knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive

through Christ

(Ephesians 2:1-5).

Unconditional Election

U

Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was

pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object

of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would "accept" the

offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for

glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the

foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).

This doctrine does not rule out, however, man's responsibility to believe in the redeeming

work of God the Son (John 3:16-18). Scripture presents a tension between God's

sovereignty in salvation, and man's responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve.

Both are true -- to deny man's responsibility is to affirm an unbiblical hyper-calvinism; to

deny God's sovereignty is to affirm an unbiblical Arminianism.

The elect are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, though good works will never

bridge the gulf between man and God that was formed in the Fall, good works are a result

of God's saving grace. This is what Peter means when he admonishes the Christian reader

to make his "calling" and "election" sure (2 Peter 1:10). Bearing the fruit of good works is an

indication that God has sown seeds of grace in fertile soil.

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

L

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Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, "for whose sins did

Christ atone?" The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save

(John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically,

Christ died for the invisible Church -- the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear

the name "Christian" (Ephesians 5:25).

This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited

Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any

that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ's death was not a death of potential

atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus' death was a potential, symbolic atonement

for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ's act of

atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy

the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved.

Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation

that Christ died for sinners, and that he will not lose any of those for whom he died!

Irresistible Grace

The result of God's Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call

of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word

of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of

him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44),

and the very Spirit of God leads God's beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a

comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts and

wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!

Perseverance of the Saints

I

P

Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has

saved) will remain in God's hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in

heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by

God, he will remain in God's stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about

in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ

assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the "last day"

(John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ's promise that

he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect.

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Notice that there’s no “A” for Assurance – ie you can’t be sure you are saved

- Calvin preached against those who presumed to be sure during this lifetime

- you only knew someone was elect if they kept believing to the end of their life

- if they didn’t keep believing, then they weren’t a real believer in the first place

- God knows who the real elect are, but they themselves cannot know for sure

- living a Christian lifestyle helps to suggest you are elect, but doesn’t make you

elect because salvation doesn’t depend on anything you choose to do.

http://www.instonebrewer.com/visuamons/Sovereignty/_Sermon.htm

God's Sovereignty is Exhaustive

God has determined everything which will take place in the universe by his decrees in past

eternity ~ including who will be saved and who will be condemned in hell (reprobation).

God is Sovereign. He is the King of all creation. He can do anything He wants. If he takes

you and gives a seat in his palace, He get the glory. If He puts you in hell for eternity

burning in fire also, He gets the glory. This is what Sovereigns are. A Feudal Lord

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TOTAL DEPRAVITY means total inability. Human spiritual

death is defined in an extreme way as a total inability to

please God in any way, including inability to repent and

believe the gospel of Christ. People are seen as spiritual

corpses.

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION

Before we were even born, God has decided and decreed who

will be saved and who will go to hell apart from anything we

do or can do. His basis for this choice is an unrevealed

mystery.

LIMITED ATONEMENT

Christ died only for the “elect,” who were sovereignly chosen

in past eternity. God does not really love the “non-elect.”

Many say that He hates them.

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

The “elect” are directly and irresistibly regenerated before

they believe, since they cannot first exercise saving faith.

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

We cannot really be sure we are among the “elect” unless we persevere until the end. We

must constantly search our hearts to

make sure we are not counterfeits

“May the Lord curse you and abandon you.

May the Lord keep you in darkness and give

you only judgment without grace. May the

Lord turn his back upon you and remove his

peace from you forever.” These words, taken

from a popular R.C. Sproul video, starkly reveal

the dark underbelly of the Calvinist’s concept

of justice.

Curse Motif of the Atonement, RC Sproul

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjqkhyTaGeE&feat

ure=youtu.be

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GOD CREATED SINNERS FOR A PURPOSE:

God hates evil so much that He must ensure its eternal

perpetuation, for if in a trillion years from now there was

even a millisecond of time in which God didn’t have a

group of sinners to be angry at, then this would be tragic

as one whole part of His character (justice) would be

unable to be expressed.

As Douglas Wilson once put it on his blog,

“In a world without sin, two of God’s most glorious attributes—His justice

and His mercy—would go undisplayed. This, obviously, would be horrible …

In a world without sin and evil, at least two attributes of God would have gone

unrevealed and unmanifested, those attributes being wrath and mercy. Since

this is obviously intolerable, God determined to direct our affairs the way that

He did.

Jonathan Edwards expressed a similar idea when he wrote:

“It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the

same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God’s glory should be

complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every

beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a

proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly

manifested, and another not at all …

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Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful

greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be,

unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of

God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory

would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love,

and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth

at all. If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin,

there could be no manifestation of God’s holiness in hatred of sin, or in

showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it. There would

be no manifestation of God’s grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be

pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he

bestowed, his goodness would not be so much prized and admired … So evil

is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the

completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world;

because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the

sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of

the creature must be proportionably imperfect.

The same notion is present in the works of Saint Augustine:

“…if all had remained condemned to the punishment entailed by just

condemnation, then God’s merciful grace would not have been seen at work

in anyone, on the other hand, if all had been transferred from darkness to light,

the truth of God’s vengeance would not have been made evident.” —City of

God 21.11

Augustine defends this view by comparing it to the beauty of antithesis that we find in

literature:

“[Man’s] future evil state … enrich[es] the course of world history by the

kind of antithesis which gives beauty to a poem. ‘Antithesis’ provides the

most attractive figures in literary compositions … The opposition of such

contraries gives an added beauty to speech; and in the same way there is a

beauty in the composition of the world’s history arising from the antithesis of

contraries—a kind of eloquence in events, instead of words.” —City of

God 11.17

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Shocking Beliefs of John Calvin

These actions from one who believed the correctness of a Sovereign is not surprising

really. It is the natural outcome of the faith.

This is the justice of God in Action in Calvinism.

April 8, 2015 by Frank Viola

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/shockingbeliefsofjohncalvin/

1. Calvin believed that executing unrepentant heretics was justified.

The best known example of this is when Calvin consented to the execution of Michael

Servetus, a man who denied the Trinity and infant baptism. Servetus burned for one hour

simply because of his theological views.

In addition to Servetus, Jerome Bolsec was arrested and imprisoned for challenging Calvin

during a lecture, then banished from the city. Calvin wrote privately about the matter

saying that he wished Bolsec were “rotting in a ditch.”

Jacques Gruet was also a man who disagreed with Calvin. He called Calvin an ambitious and

haughty hypocrite. The administrations of Geneva tortured Gruet twice daily until he

confessed, and with Calvin’s concurrence, Gruet was tied to a stake, his feet were nailed to

it, and his head was cut off for blasphemy and rebellion.

Pierre Ameaux was charged with slandering Calvin at a private gathering. He was to pay a

fine, but Calvin wasn’t satisfied with the penalty, so Ameaux spent two months in prison,

lost his job, and was paraded through town kneeling to confess his libel, also paying for the

trial expense.

2. Calvin believed that the Eucharist provides an undoubted assurance of eternal life.

3. Calvin believed that the Reformed Church (his church) was the true Church and there

was no salvation outside of it.

4. Calvin believed it was acceptable to lambast his opponents with vicious names.

5. Calvin believed that the Old Testament capital offenses should be enforced today.

The city of Geneva was ruled by the clergy, which was composed of five pastors and twelve

lay elders chosen by Geneva’s Council. But Calvin’s voice was the most influential in the city.

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Here are some laws and facts about Geneva under Calvin’s authority:

* Each household had to attend Sunday morning services. If there was preaching on

weekdays, all had to attend also. (There were only a few exceptions, and Calvin preached

three to four times a week.)

* If a person came to the service after the sermon had begun, he was warned. If he

continued, he would have to pay a fine.

* Heresy was regarded as an insult to God and treason to the state and was punished by

death.

* Witchcraft was a capital crime. In one year, 14 alleged witches were sent to the stake on

the charge that they persuaded satan to afflict Geneva with the plague.

* Clergy were to abstain from hunting, gambling, feasting, commerce, secular amusements,

and had to accept annual visitations and moral scrutiny by church superiors.

* Gambling, card-playing, frequenting taverns, dancing, indecent or irreligious songs,

immodesty in dress were all prohibited.

* The allowable color and quantity of clothing and the number of dishes permissible at a

meal were specified by law.

* A woman was jailed for arranging her hair to an “immoral height.”

* Children were to be named after Old Testament characters. A rebellious father served

four days in prison for insisting on naming his son Claude instead of Abraham.

* To speak disrespectfully of Calvin or the clergy was a crime. A first violation was punished

by a reprimand. Further violations with fines. Persistent violations were met with

imprisonment or banishment.

* Fornication was punished by exile or drowning.

* Adultery, blasphemy, and idolatry was punished with death.

* In the year 1558-1559, there were 414 prosecutions for moral offenses.

* As everywhere in the 16th century, torture was often used to obtain confessions or

evidence.

* Between 1542-1564, there were 76 banishments. The total population of Geneva then

was 20,000.

* Calvin’s own step-daughter and son-in-law were among those condemned for adultery

and executed.

* In Geneva, there was little distinction between religion and morality. The existing records

of the Council for this period reveal a high percentage of illegitimate children, abandoned

infants, forced marriages, and sentences of death.

* In one case, a child was beheaded for striking his parents. (Following Old Testament

Mosaic law, Calvin believed it was scriptural to execute rebellious children and those who

commit adultery.)

* During a period of 17 years when Calvin was leading Geneva, there were 139 recorded

executions in the city.

Sabastian Castellio, a friend of Calvin’s who urged him to repent of his intolerance, made

the shocking remark,

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“If Christ himself came to Geneva, he would be crucified. For Geneva is not a place of

Christian liberty. It is ruled by a new pope [John Calvin], but one who burns men alive while

the pope at Rome strangles them first.”

Castellio also made this remark:

“Can we imagine Christ ordering a man to be burned alive for advocating adult baptism?

The Mosaic laws calling for the death of a heretic were superceded by the law of Christ,

which is one of mercy not of despotism and terror.”

6. Calvin believed that Jewish people were impious, dishonest, lacked common sense,

were greedy, and should die without pity.

7. Calvin believed that God did not create all humans on equal terms, but created some

individuals for eternal damnation.

This idea is known as “double predestination.” According to this view, God predestines

some to salvation and others to destruction. While this idea will not be shocking to some

Christians, particularly Calvinists, the idea that God would knowing create some

individuals so as to destroy them eternally in the end is shocking to many believers.

According to Calvin, “The predestination by which God adopts some to the hope of life, and

adjudges others to eternal death, no man who would be thought pious ventures simply to

deny . . . By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined

with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created

on equal terms, but some

are preordained to eternal

life, others to eternal

damnation; and, accordingly,

as each has been created for

one or other of these ends,

we say that he has been

predestinated to life or to

death.”

Chapter 21 of Book III of

John Calvin’s Institutes of

the Christian Religion is

called “Of the eternal

election, by which God has

predestinated some to

salvation, and others to

destruction.”

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AMYRALDISM

FOUR POINT CALVINISM

Moses Amyraut (1596–1664)

Amyraldism (sometimes Amyraldianism)

is also known as

the School of Saumur, post redemptionism, moderate Calvinism, four-point Calvinism,

or

hypothetical universalism

It is the belief that God decreed Christ's atonement, prior to his decree of election, for all

alike if they believe, but he then elected those whom he will bring to faith in Christ, seeing

that none would believe on their own, and thereby preserving the Calvinist doctrine of

unconditional election. The efficacy of the atonement remains limited to those who believe.

This doctrine is named after its formulator Moses Amyraut, and is still viewed as a variety of

Calvinism in that it maintains the particularity of sovereign grace in the application of the

atonement.

Hypothetical universalist teachings may be found in the writings of early Reformed

theologians including Heinrich Bullinger, Wolfgang Musculus, Zacharias Ursinus, and

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Girolamo Zanchi. Several theologians who signed the Canons of Dort were hypothetical

universalists.

Amyraut maintained the Calvinistic premises of an eternal foreordination and

foreknowledge of God, whereby he caused all things to pass, the good efficiently, the bad

permissively. He also admitted the double decree of election and reprobation, but his view

on double predestination is modified slightly by his view of double election. He also taught

that God foreordained a universal salvation through the universal sacrifice of Christ offered

to all alike, on condition of faith, so that on the part of God's will and desire, the grace is

universal, but as regards the condition it is particular, or only for those who do not reject it

which would thereby make it ineffective.

The friends of Amyraut urged the love, benevolence, and impartial justice of God as well as

the numerous passages in Scripture which teach that God loves 'the whole world', that he

will have 'all men to be saved', that Christ died 'not for our sins only, but also for the sins of

the whole world', that 'he shut up all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all'. On the

other hand, it was objected that God does not really will and intend what is never

accomplished; that he could not purpose an end without providing adequate means; God

did not actually offer salvation to all; and that a hypothetical universalism based on an

unlikely condition is an unfruitful abstraction.

The national Synods at Alençon, 1637; at Charenton, 1645; and at Loudun, 1659 (the last

synod permitted by the French government), decided against the excommunication of

Amyraut but delimited his views in order to avoid further variance with historic Reformed

orthodoxy.

Amyraldism has come under fire in recent years by contemporary Calvinist theologians who

argue that one simply cannot accept that Christ died for all people in the world if not all are

saved.

That belief either requires

a second payment for sin at the judgment, (a second cross?)

or abandonment of the penal substitution theory of the atonement.

the adoption of a form of universal reconciliation,

Actually it is not necessary that all should be saved if Christ died for all, if there is freewill

ability which can resist grace and the call of the cross. Actually the substitution theory stand

to trial on:

(Ezekiel 18:20)--"The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the

father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)

Opposed baptismal regeneration

Supported Double Predestination

“Those individuals who end up damned forever in hell are also eternally determined by God

for that fate.”

HYPER CALVINSTS: 5 point Calvinists: TULIP

Calvinist who believe in all 5 points are "5-point" Calvinist.

AMYRALDIANISTS: 4 point Calvinists:TUIP

Calvinist who don’t accept the controversial "L" of "TULIP"Limited Atonement

-- who accept that God died for the sins of all humanity on the cross, not just

"the elect," are "4-point" Calvinists (or Amyraldianists).>>>>

1 Point Calvinists

Some Baptists modify all but the last point (Perseverance of the Saints) of the

TULIP out of a desire tn maintain the role of the human free will to make a

"personal decision“ for Christ, the human "personal decision" bringing G0d‘s

saving faith. They sometimes call themselves "1-point" Calvinists.

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CHAPTER FIVE

JACOB ARMINIUS

The year Jacob Arminius was born (in Oudewater, Holland), John Calvin was busy

establishing the Genevan Academy to propagate his ideas of predestination. About that

same time, Guido de Brès wrote the first edition of the Belgic Confession, which became

one of the basic doctrinal standards of Dutch Calvinism. As Arminius grew up, arguments

over Calvin's teachings interrupted those over Spanish rule. By the time Arminius was 14,

William the Silent, Holland's king, was a Calvinist.

Arminius began to question Calvinism (especially its view of grace and predestination) in his

early 20s, but rather than fight for his views at the Geneva Academy, where he had studied

under Calvin's successor, Theodore Beza, he left quietly. When Genevan authorities became

angry at Arminius's defense of French humanist Peter Ramus, Arminius left for Basel. He

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was offered a doctorate there but turned it down on the grounds that his youth (he was

only 24 or 25) would bring dishonor to the title.

It was his study of the Epistle to the Romans as an Amsterdam minister that set Jacob

Arminius firmly against Calvinism. Though he was accused of Pelagianism (an overemphasis

on free will) and other heresies, his critics brought no proof of the charges.

In 1606, while professor of theology at Leiden, Arminius delivered an address titled "On

Reconciling Religious Dissensions among Christians":

Still, he continued to be disturbed by the determinism of Calvinism, and he called for a

national synod to resolve the conflicts and to look critically at two crucial Calvinist

documents, the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. The synod finally met but

not until nine years after Arminius died (in good standing with the Dutch Reformed Church),

and eight years after the Remonstrance was issued, which developed and articulated the

key themes of what is today called Arminian theology. Arminianism since has influenced

key figures in church history, such as John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

But by the time Arminius died, the theological landscape was shifting again, and Arminius's

anti-Calvinist theology was spreading rapidly across Europe.

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Arminianism saw the function of grace only as a force that help to raise the insight to a

new level of human understanding so that man can make a better choice in life.

Whatever the case, it is man’s free will that is responsible for the choice and responsibility

solely lie on man.

Arminius said that the relationship between God and man is one of cooperative assistance

as a father helping his son to make up their mind about his future. The Holy Spirit is not

overcoming a hostile crying and yelling child to salvation, but as lovingly guiding and

assisting the person’s natural faculties to respond to God. Holy Spirit is persuasive not

compulsive. Man can resist and prevent the Grace of God from providing help.

Arminianism

was formally presented as a theological statement

submitted by 45 ministers to the Dutch government.

A Synod of Dort (1618-1619)

was called and five Articles of Remonstrance were considered that stated the following:

1. Conditional Election:

“Salvation (and condemnation on the day of judgment) was conditioned by the

graciously-enabled faith (or unbelief) of man;”

(See: John 1:7; John 12:32, Acts 17:30-31; Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians 4:1-7; 2 Peter

3:9)

2. Atonement for All

“The Atonement is qualitatively adequate for all men,

“yet that no one actually enjoys [experiences] this forgiveness of sins, except the

believer …” and thus is limited to only those who trust in Christ;”

(See: Joshua 24:14-25; John 3:16; Romans 3:19-Romans 5; Galatians 3:6-26;

Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:10)

3. Saving Grace:Total Depravity

“’That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will,’ and

unaided by the Holy Spirit, no person is able to respond to God’s will;”

(See: Psalms 73:25-28; Isaiah 12:1-4; Isaiah 29:13; John 6:44-45; John 12:32; Romans

10:17; Hebrews 10:38-39)

4. Resistable Grace:

“The (Christian) grace ‘of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of

any good,’ yet man may resist the Holy Spirit; and

(See: Matthew 12:30-32; Romans 13:1-2; ; 1 Corinthians 13: Ephesians 4:30; 2

Timothy 3:8; 1 Thessalonian 5:19)

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5. Assurance in Christ: Conditional Security

“Believers are able to resist sin through grace, and Christ will keep them from falling;

but whether they are beyond the possibility of ultimately forsaking God or ‘becoming

devoid of grace … must be more particularly determined from the Scriptures.’”

The Synod of Dort was held in 1618-1619 on the issues raised by Arminius among the

reformers.

The decision reached was against those proposed by the remonstrants.

continued to be held by many denominations over Calvinism

But Arminianism

Arminianism may be represented by the acronym

FACTS:

Freed by Grace (to Believe)

Atonement for All

Conditional Election

Total Depravity

Security in Christ

These points broadly and roughly correspond to the historic Articles of Remonstrance

(though they are not specifically a representation of them), which were composed in July

1610 by early Arminians and constitute the first formal summary of Arminian theology.

Article numbers have been indicated for each point for convenient comparison. The points

are presented here by logical order rather than acronym order to facilitate explanation

most helpfully.

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Conditional Election (Article 1)

• God has sovereignly decided to choose only those who have faith in His Son, Jesus

Christ, for salvation and his eternal blessing.

• God has foreknown from eternity which individuals would believe in Christ.

• Among Arminians, there are two different views of election conditioned on faith:

1. Individual election: The classic view in which God individually chose each

believer based upon His foreknowledge of each one’s faith and so predestined

each to eternal life

2. Corporate election: Election to salvation is primarily of the Church as a people

and embraces individuals only in faith-union with Christ the Chosen One and as

members of his people. Since the election of the individual derives from the

election of Christ and the corporate people of God, individuals become elect

when they believe and remain elect only as long as they believe.

(For more on corporate election, see here.)

Atonement for All (Article 2)

• God loves the world and desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge

of the truth.

• Therefore, God gave his only Son to die for the sins of the whole world so as to

provide forgiveness and salvation for all people.

• While God has provided for the salvation of all people by Christ’s sacrificial and

substitutionary death for all, the benefits of Christ’s death are received by grace

through faith and are only effective for those who believe.

Total Depravity (Article 3)

• Humanity was created in the image of God, good and upright, but fell from its

original sinless state through willful disobedience, leaving humanity sinful, separated

from God, and under the sentence of divine condemnation.

• Total depravity does not mean that human beings are as bad as they could be, but

that sin impacts every part of a person’s being and that people now have a sinful

nature with a natural inclination toward sin, making every human being

fundamentally corrupt at heart.

• Therefore, human beings are not able to think, will, nor do anything good in and of

themselves, including merit favor from God, save ourselves from the judgment and

condemnation of God that we deserve for our sin, or even believe the gospel.

• If anyone is to be saved, God must take the initiative.

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Freed by Grace {to Believe} (Article 4)

• Because of Total Depravity and Atonement for All (as described above), God calls all

people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, and graciously enables those

who hear the gospel to respond to it positively in faith.

• God regenerates those who believe in Christ (faith logically precedes regeneration).

• God’s saving grace is resistible, which is to say that he dispenses his calling, drawing,

and convicting grace (which would bring us to salvation if responded to with faith) in

such a way that we may reject it. Those who hear the gospel may either accept it by

grace or reject it to their own eternal destruction.

• Apart from the realm of pleasing the Lord and doing spiritual good, people often

have free will, which means that, with respect to an action, they can at least either

do the action or refrain from doing it. People often have genuine choices and are

therefore correspondingly able to make choices.

• God has ultimate and absolute free will. His choice to supernaturally free the will of

sinners by his grace to believe in Christ is a matter of the exercise of his own free will

and sovereignty.

Security in Christ (Article 5)

• Since salvation comes through faith in Christ, the security of our salvation continues

by faith in Christ.

• Just as the Holy Spirit empowered us to believe in Christ, so he empowers us to

continue believing in Christ.

• God protects our faith relationship with him from any outside force irresistibly

snatching us away from Christ or our faith, and he preserves us in salvation as long as

we trust in Christ.

• Arminians have differing views of whether Scripture teaches that believers can

forsake faith in Christ and so perish (the traditional view, held by most Arminians), or

whether God irresistibly keeps believers from forsaking their faith and therefore

entering into eternal condemnation (as unbelievers).

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The Works of James Arminius - Vol. 1

A Declaration of the Sentiments of Arminius

ON Predestination, Divine Providence, the freedom of the will, the grace of God, the

Divinity of the Son of God, and the justification of man before God.

“I. ON PREDESTINATION

The first and most important article in religion on which I have to offer my views, and which

for many years past has engaged my attention, is the Predestination of God, that is, the

Election of men to salvation, and the Reprobation of them to destruction. Commencing

with this article, I will first explain what is taught concerning it, both in discourses and

writings, by certain persons in our Churches, and in the University of Leyden. I will

afterwards declare my own views and thoughts on the same subject, while I shew my

opinion on what they advance.

On this article there is no uniform and simple opinion among the teachers of our Churches;

but there is some variation in certain parts of it in which they differ from each other.

1. The first opinion, which I reject, but which is espoused by those [Supralapsarians] who

assume the very highest ground of this is Predestination.

The opinion of those who take the highest ground on this point, as it is generally contained

in their writings, is to this effect:

"(1). God by an eternal and immutable decree has predestinated, from among men, (whom

he did not consider as being then created, much less as being fallen,) certain individuals to

everlasting life, and others to eternal destruction, without any regard whatever to

righteousness or sin, to obedience or disobedience, but purely of his own good pleasure, to

demonstrate the glory of his justice and mercy; or, (as others assert,) to demonstrate his

saving grace, wisdom and free uncontrollable power.

"2. In addition to this decree, God has pre-ordained certain determinate means which

pertain to its execution, and this by an eternal and immutable decree. These means

necessarily follow by virtue of the preceding decree, and necessarily bring him who has

been predestinated, to the end which has been fore-ordained for him. Some of these

means belong in common both to the decree of election and that of rejection, and others of

them are specially restricted to the one decree or to the other.

"3. The means common to both the decrees, are three: the first is, the creation of man in

the upright [or erect] state of original righteousness, or after the image and likeness of God

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in righteousness and true holiness. The second is, the permission of the fall of Adam, or the

ordination of God that man should sin, and become corrupt or vitiated. The third is, the loss

or the removal of original righteousness and of the image of God, and a being concluded

under sin and condemnation.

"4. For unless God had created some men, he would not have had any upon whom he

might either bestow eternal life, or superinduce everlasting death. Unless he had created

them in righteousness and true holiness, he would himself have been the author of sin, and

would by this means have possessed no right either to punish them to the praise of his

justice, or to save them to the praise of his mercy. Unless they had themselves sinned, and

by the demerit of sin had rendered themselves guilty of death, there would have been no

room for the demonstration either of justice or of mercy.

"5. The means pre-ordained for the execution of the decree of election, are also these three.

The first is, the pre-ordination, or the giving of Jesus Christ as a Mediator and a Savior, who

might by his meet deserve, [or purchase,] for all the elect and for them only, the lost

righteousness and life, and might communicate them by his own power [Or virtue]. The

second is, the call [or vocation] to faith outwardly by the word, but inwardly by his Spirit, in

the mind, affections and will; by an operation of such efficacy that the elect person of

necessity yields assent and obedience to the vocation, in so much that it is not possible for

him to do otherwise than believe and be obedient to this vocation. From hence arise

justification and sanctification through the blood of Christ and his Spirit, and from them the

existence of all good works. And all that, manifestly by means of the same force and

necessity. The third is, that which keeps and preserves the elect in faith, holiness, and a zeal

for good works; or, it is the gift of perseverance; the virtue of which is such, that believing

and elect persons not only do not sin with a full and entire will, or do not fall away totally

from faith and grace, but it likewise is neither possible for them to sin with a full and

perfect will, nor to fall away totally or finally from faith and grace.

"6. The two last of these means [vocation and perseverance,] belong only to the elect who

are of adult age. But God employs a shorter way to salvation, by which he conducts those

children of believers and saints who depart out of this life before they arrive at years of

maturity; that is, provided they belong to the number of the elect, (who are known to God

alone,) for God bestows on them Christ as their Savior, and gives them to Christ, to save

them by his blood and Holy Spirit, without actual faith and perseverance in it [faith]; and

this he does according to the promise of the covenant of grace, I will be a God unto you,

and unto your seed after you.

"7. The means pertaining to the execution of the decree of reprobation to eternal death,

are partly such as peculiarly belong to all those who are rejected and reprobate, whether

they ever arrive at years of maturity or die before that period; and they are partly such as

are proper only to some of them. The mean that is common to all the reprobate, is

desertion in sin, by denying to them that saving grace which is sufficient and necessary to

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the salvation of any one. This negation [or denial,] consists of two parts. For, in the first

place, God did not will that Christ should die for them [the reprobate,] or become their

Savior, and this neither in reference to the antecedent will of God, (as some persons call it,)

nor in reference to his sufficient will, or the value of the price of reconciliation; because this

price was not offered for reprobates, either with respect to the decree of God, or its virtue

and efficacy.

(1.) But the other part of this negation [or denial] is, that God is unwilling to communicate

the Spirit of Christ to reprobates, yet without such communication they can neither be

made partakers of Christ nor of his benefits.

"8. The mean which belongs properly only to some of the reprobates, is obduration, [or the

act of hardening,] which befalls those of them who have attained to years of maturity,

either because they have very frequently and enormously sinned against the law of God, or

because they have rejected the grace of the gospel.

(1.) To the execution of the first species of induration, or hardening, belong the illumination

of their conscience by means of knowledge, and its conviction of the righteousness of the

law. For it is impossible that this law should not necessarily detain them in unrighteousness,

to render them inexcusable.

(2.) For the execution of the second species of induration, God employs a call by the

preaching of his gospel, which call is inefficacious and insufficient both in respect to the

decree of God, and to its issue or event. This calling is either only an external one, which it

is neither in their desire nor in their power to obey. Or it is likewise an internal one, by

which some of them may be excited in their understandings to accept and believe the

things which they hear; but yet it is only with such a faith as that with which the devils are

endowed when they believe and tremble. Others of them are excited and conducted still

further, so as to desire in a certain measure to taste the heavenly gift. But the latter are, of

all others, the most unhappy, because they are raised up on high, that they may be brought

down with a heavier fall. And this fate it is impossible for them to escape, for they must of

necessity return to their vomit, and depart or fall away from the faith.

"9. From this decree of Divine election and reprobation, and from this administration of the

means which pertain to the execution of both of them, it follows, that the elect are

necessarily saved, it being impossible for them to perish — and that the reprobate are

necessarily damned, it being impossible for them to be saved; and all this from the absolute

purpose [or determination] of God, which is altogether antecedent to all things, and to all

those causes which are either in things themselves or can possibly result from them."

These opinions concerning predestination are considered, by some of those who advocate

them, to be the foundation of Christianity, salvation and of its certainty. On these

sentiments they suppose, "is founded the sure and undoubted consolation of all believers,

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which is capable of rendering their consciences tranquil; and on them also depends the

praise of the grace of God, so that if any contradiction be offered to this doctrine, God is

necessarily deprived of the glory of his grace, and then the merit of salvation is attributed

to the free will of man and to his own powers and strength, which ascription savors of

Pelagianism."

These then are the causes which are offered why the advocates of these sentiments labor

with a common anxiety to retain the purity of such a doctrine in their churches and why

they oppose themselves to all those innovations which are at variance with them.

1. MY SENTIMENTS ON THE PRECEDING SCHEME OF PREDESTINATION.

But, for my own part, to speak my sentiments with freedom, and yet with a salvo in favor of

a better judgment, I am of opinion, that this doctrine of theirs contains many things that

are both false and impertinent, and at an utter disagreement with each other; all the

instances of which, the present time will not permit me to recount, but I will subject it to an

examination only in those parts which are most prominent and extensive. I shall, therefore,

propose to myself four principal heads, which are of the greatest importance in this

doctrine; and when I have in the first place explained of what kind they are, I will

afterwards declare more fully the judgment and sentiments which I have formed

concerning them. They are the following:

"1. That God has absolutely and precisely decreed to save certain particular men by his

mercy or grace, but to condemn others by his justice: and to do all this without having any

regard in such decree to righteousness or sin, obedience or disobedience, which could

possibly exist on the part of one class of men or of the other.

"2. That, for the execution of the preceding decree, God determined to create Adam, and

all men in him, in an upright state of original righteousness; besides which he also ordained

them to commit sin, that they might thus become guilty of eternal condemnation and be

deprived of original righteousness.

"3. That those persons whom God has thus positively willed to save, he has decreed not

only to salvation but also to the means which pertain to it; (that is, to conduct and bring

them to faith in Christ Jesus, and to perseverance in that faith ;) and that He also in reality

leads them to these results by a grace and power that are irresistible, so that it is not

possible for them to do otherwise than believe, persevere in faith, and be saved.

"4. That to those whom, by his absolute will, God has fore-ordained to perdition, he has

also decreed to deny that grace which is necessary and sufficient for salvation, and does not

in reality confer it upon them; so that they are neither placed in a possible condition nor in

any capacity of believing or of being saved."

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After a diligent contemplation and examination of these four heads, in the fear of the Lord,

I make the following declaration respecting this doctrine of predestination.

2. I REJECT THIS PREDESTINATION FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

I. Because it is not the foundation of Christianity, of Salvation, or of its certainty.

1. It is not the foundation of Christianity:

(1.) For this Predestination is not that decree of God by which Christ is appointed by God to

be the Savior, the Head, and the Foundation of those who will be made heirs of salvation.

Yet that decree is the only foundation of Christianity.

(2.) For the doctrine of this Predestination is not that doctrine by which, through faith, we

as lively stones are built up into Christ, the only corner stone, and are inserted into him as

the members of the body are joined to their head.

2. It is not the foundation of Salvation:

(1.) For this Predestination is not that decree of the good pleasure of God in Christ Jesus on

which alone our salvation rests and depends.

(2.) The doctrine of this Predestination is not the foundation of Salvation: for it is not "the

power of God to salvation to every one that believeth :" because through it "the

righteousness of God" is not "revealed from faith to faith."

3. Nor is it the foundation of the certainty of salvation: For that is dependent upon this

decree, "they who believe, shall be saved :" I believe, therefore, I shall be saved. But the

doctrine of this Predestination embraces within itself neither the first nor the second

member of the syllogism.

This is likewise confessed by some persons in these words: "we do not wish to state that

the knowledge of this [Predestination] is the foundation of Christianity or of salvation, or

that it is necessary to salvation in the same manner as the doctrine of the Gospel," etc.

II. This doctrine of Predestination comprises within it neither the whole nor any part of the

Gospel. For, according to the tenor of the discourses delivered by John and Christ, as they

are described to us by the Evangelist, and according to the doctrine of the Apostles and

Christ after his ascension, the Gospel consists partly of an injunction to repent and believe,

and partly of a promise to bestow forgiveness of sins, the grace of the Spirit, and life eternal.

But this Predestination belongs neither to the injunction to repent and believe, nor to the

annexed promise. Nay, this doctrine does not even teach what kind of men in general God

has predestinated, which is properly the doctrine of the Gospel; but it embraces within

itself a certain mystery, which is known only to God, who is the Predestinater, and in which

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mystery are comprehended what particular persons and how many he has decreed to save

and to condemn. From these premises I draw a further conclusion, that this doctrine of

Predestination is not necessary to salvation, either as an object of knowledge, belief, hope,

or performance. A Confession to this effect has been made by a certain learned man, in the

theses which he has proposed for discussion on this subject, in the following words:

"Wherefore the gospel cannot be simply termed the book or the revelation of

Predestination, but only in a relative sense. Because it does not absolutely denote either

the matter of the number or the form; that is, it neither declares how many persons in

particular, nor (with a few exceptions,) who they are, but only the description of them in

general, whom God has predestinated."

III. This doctrine was never admitted, decreed, or approved in any Council, either general or

particular, for the first six hundred years after Christ.

1. Not in the General Council of Nice, in which sentence was given against Arius and in favor

of the Deity and Consubstantiality of the Son of God. Not in the first Council of

Constantinople, in which a decree was passed against Macedonius, respecting the Deity of

the Holy Spirit. Not in the Council of Ephesus, which determined against Nestorius, and in

favor of the Unity of the Person of the Son of God. Not in that of Chalcedon, which

condemned Eutyches, and determined, "that in one and the same person of our Lord Jesus

Christ, there were two distinct natures, which differ from each other in their essence." Not

in the second Council of Constantinople, in which Peter, Bishop of Antioch, and Anthymus,

Bishop of Constantinople, with certain other persons, were condemned for having asserted

"that the Father had likewise suffered," as well as the Son. Nor in the third Council of

Constantinople, in which the Monothelites were condemned for having asserted "that

there was only one will and operation in Jesus Christ."

2. But this doctrine was not discussed or confirmed in particular Councils, such as that of

Jerusalem, Orange, or even that of Mela in Africa, which was held against Pelagius and his

errors, as is apparent from the articles of doctrine which were then decreed both against

his person and his false opinions.

But so far was Augustine’s doctrine of Predestination from being received in those councils,

that when Celestinus, the Bishop of Rome, who was his contemporary, wrote to the Bishops

of France, and condemned the doctrines of the Pelagians, he concluded his epistle in these

words: "but as we dare not despise, so neither do we deem it necessary to defend the more

profound and difficult parts of the questions which occur in this controversy, and which

have been treated to a very great extent by those who opposed the heretics. Because we

believe, that whatever the writings according to the forementioned rules of the Apostolic

See have taught us, is amply sufficient for confessing the grace of God, from whose work,

credit and authority not a little must be subtracted or withdrawn," etc. In reference to the

rules which were laid down by Celestinus in that epistle, and which had been decreed in the

three preceding particular Councils, we shall experience no difficulty in agreeing together

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about them, especially in regard to those matters which are necessary to the establishment

of grace in opposition to Pelagius and his errors.

IV. None of those Doctors or Divines of the Church who held correct and orthodox

sentiments for the first six hundred years after the birth of Christ, ever brought this

doctrine forward or gave it their approval. Neither was it professed and approved by a

single individual of those who shewed themselves the principal and keenest defenders of

grace against Pelagius. Of this description, it is evident, were St. Jerome, Augustine, the

author of the treatise entitled, De Vocatione Gentium, ["The calling of the Gentiles,"]

Prosper of Aquitaine, Hilary, Fulgentius, and Orosius. This is very apparent from their

writings.

V. It neither agrees nor corresponds with the Harmony of those confessions which were

printed and published together in one volume at Geneva, in the name of the Reformed and

Protestant Churches. If that harmony of Confessions be faithfully consulted, it will appear

that many of them do not speak in the same manner concerning Predestination; that some

of them only incidentally mention it; and that they evidently never once touch upon those

heads of the doctrine, which are now in great repute and particularly urged in the

preceding scheme of Predestination, and which I have already adduced. Nor does any single

Confession deliver this doctrine in the same manner as it has just now been propounded by

me. The Confessions of Bohemia, England and Wirtemburgh, and the first Helvetian [Swiss]

Confession, and that of the four cities of Strasburgh, Constance, Memmingen, and Lindau,

make no mention of this Predestination. Those of Basle and Saxony, only take a very

cursory notice of it in three words. The Augustan Confession speaks of it in such a manner

as to induce the Genevan editors to think, that some annotation was necessary on their

part, to give us a previous warning. The last of the Helvetian [Swiss] Confessions, to which a

great portion of the Reformed Churches have expressed their assent and which they have

subscribed, likewise speaks of it in such a strain as makes me very desirous to see what

method can possibly be adopted to give it any accordance with that doctrine of

Predestination which I have just now advanced. Yet this [Swiss] Confession is that which has

obtained the approbation of the Churches of Geneva and Savoy.

VI. Without the least contention or caviling, it may very properly be made a question of

doubt, whether this doctrine agrees with the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg

Catechism; as I shall briefly demonstrate.

1. In the 14th Article of the Dutch Confession, these expression occur: "Man knowingly and

willingly subjected himself to sin, and, consequently, to death and cursing, while he lent an

ear to the deceiving words and impostures of the devil," etc. From this sentence I conclude,

that man did not sin on account of any necessity through a preceding decree of

Predestination: which inference is diametrically opposed to that doctrine of Predestination

against which I now contend. Then, in the 16th Article, which treats of the eternal election

of God, these words are contained: "God shewed himself Merciful, by delivering from

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damnation, and by saving, those persons whom, in his eternal and immutable counsel and

cording to his gratuitous goodness, he chose in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any regard to

their works. And he shewed himself just, in leaving others in that their fall and perdition

into which they had precipitated themselves." It is not obvious to me, how these words are

consistent with this doctrine of Predestination.

2. In the 20th question of the Heidelberg Catechism, we read: "salvation through Christ is

not given [restored] to all them who had perished in Adam, but to those only who are

engrafted into Christ by the faith, and who embrace his benefits." From this sentence I infer,

that God has not absolutely Predestinated any men to salvation; but that he has in his

decree considered [or looked upon] them as believers. This deduction is at open conflict

with the first and third points of this Predestination. In the 54th question of the same

Catechism, it is said: "I believe that, from the beginning to the end of the world, the Son of

God out of the entire race of mankind doth by his word and Spirit gather or collect unto

himself a company chosen unto eternal life and agreeing together in the true faith." In this

sentence "election to eternal life," and "agreement in the faith," stand in mutual

juxtaposition; and in such a manner, that the latter is not rendered subordinate to the

former, which, according to these sentiments on Predestination ought to have been done.

In that case the words should have been placed in the following order: "the son of God calls

and gathers to himself, by his word and Spirit, a company chosen to eternal life, that they

may believe and agree together in the true faith."

Since such are the statements of our Confession and Catechism, no reason whatever exists,

why those who embrace and defend these sentiments on Predestination, should either

violently endeavor to obtrude them on their colleagues and on the Church of Christ; or why

they should take it amiss, and put the worst construction upon it, when any thing is taught

in the Church or University that is not exactly accordant with their doctrine, or that is

opposed to it.

VII. I affirm, that this doctrine is repugnant to the Nature of God, but particularly to those

Attributes of his nature by which he performs and manages all things, his wisdom, justice,

and goodness.

1. It is repugnant to his wisdom in three ways.

(1.) Because it represents God as decreeing something for a particular end [or purpose]

which neither is nor can be good: which is, that God created something for eternal

perdition to the praise of his justice.

(2.) Because it states, that the object which God proposed to himself by this Predestination,

was, to demonstrate the glory of his mercy and justice: But this glory he cannot

demonstrate, except by an act that is contrary at once to his mercy and his justice, of which

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description is that decree of God in which he determined that man should sin and be

rendered miserable.

(3.) Because it changes and inverts the order of the two-fold wisdom of God, as it is

displayed to us in the Scriptures. For it asserts, that God has absolutely predetermined to

save men by the mercy and wisdom that are comprehended in the doctrine of the cross of

Christ, without having foreseen this circumstance, that it was impossible for man (and that,

truly, through his own fault,) to be saved by the wisdom which was revealed in the law and

which was infused into him at the period of his creation: When the scripture asserts, on the

contrary, that "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe;"

that is,

"by the doctrine of the cross, after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew

not God." (1 Corinthians 1:21.)

2. It is repugnant to the justice of God, not only in reference to that attribute denoting in

God a love of righteousness and a hatred of iniquity, but also in reference to its being a

perpetual and constant desire in him to render to every one that which is his due.

(1.) It is at variance with the first of these ideas of justice in the following manner: Because

it affirms, that God has absolutely willed to save certain individual men, and has decreed

their salvation without having the least regard to righteousness or obedience: The proper

inference from which, is, that God loves such men far more than his own justice [or

righteousness.]

(2.) It is opposed to the second idea of his justice: Because it affirms, that God wishes to

subject his creature to misery, (which cannot possibly have any existence except as the

punishment of sin,) although, at the same time, he does not look upon [or consider] the

creature as a sinner, and therefore as not obnoxious either to wrath or to punishment. This

is the manner in which it lays down the position, that God has willed to give to the creature

not only something which does not belong to it, but which is connected with its greatest

injury. Which is another act directly opposed to his justice. In accordance, therefore, with

this doctrine, God, in the first place, detracts from himself that which is his own, [or his

right,] and then imparts to the creature what does not belong to it, to its great misery and

unhappiness.

3. It is also repugnant to the Goodness of God. Goodness is an affection [or disposition] in

God to communicate his own good so far as his justice considers and admits to be fitting

and proper. But in this doctrine the following act is attributed to God, that, of himself, and

induced to it by nothing external, he wills the greatest evil to his creatures; and that from

all eternity he has pre-ordained that evil for them, or pre-determined to impart it to them,

even before he resolved to bestow upon them any portion of good. For this doctrine states,

that God willed to damn; and, that he might be able to do this, be willed to create; although

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creation is the first egress [or going forth] of God’s goodness towards his creatures. How

vastly different are such statements as these from that expansive goodness of God by

which he confers benefits not only on the unworthy, but also on the evil, the unjust and on

those who are deserving of punishment, which trait of Divine beneficence in our Father

who is in heaven, we are commanded to imitate. (Matthew 5:45.)

VIII. Such a doctrine of Predestination is contrary to the nature of man, in regard to his

having been created after the Divine image in the knowledge of God and in righteousness,

in regard to his having been created with freedom of will, and in regard to his having been

created with a disposition and aptitude for the enjoyment of life eternal. These three

circumstance, respecting him, may be deduced from the following brief expressions: "Do

this, and live :" (Romans 10:5 .) "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."

(Genesis 2:17.) If man be deprived of any of these qualifications, such admonitions as these

cannot possibly be effective in exciting him to obedience.

1. This doctrine is inconsistent with the Divine image, which consists of the knowledge of

God and holiness. For according to this knowledge and righteousness man was qualified

and empowered, he was also laid under an obligation to know God, to love, worship, and

serve him. But by the intervention, or rather by the prevention, of this Predestination, it

was pre-ordained that man should be formed vicious and should commit sin, that is, that he

should neither know God, love, worship, nor serve him; and that he should not perform

that which by the image of God, he was well qualified and empowered to do, and which he

was bound to perform. This is tantamount to such a declaration as the following, which any

one might make: "God did undoubtedly create man after his own image, in righteousness

and true holiness; but, notwithstanding this, he fore-ordained and decreed, that man

should become impure and unrighteous, that is, should be made conformable to the image

of Satan."

2. This doctrine is inconsistent with the freedom of the will, in which and with which man

was created by God. For it prevents the exercise of this liberty, by binding or determining

the will absolutely to one object, that is, to do this thing precisely, or to do that. God,

therefore, according to this statement, may be blamed for the one or the other of these

two things, (with which let no man charge his Maker!) either for creating man with freedom

of will, or for hindering him in the use of his own liberty after he had formed him a free

agent. In the former of these two cases, God is chargeable with a want of consideration, in

the latter with mutability. And in both, with being injurious to man as well as to himself.

3. This Predestination is prejudicial to man in regard to the inclination and capacity for the

eternal fruition of salvation, with which he was endowed at the period of his creation. For,

since by this Predestination it has been pre-determined, that the greater part of mankind

shall not be made partakers of salvation, but shall fall into everlasting condemnation, and

since this predetermination took place even before the decree had passed for creating man,

such persons are deprived of something, for the desire of which they have been endowed

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by God with a natural inclination. This great privation they suffer, not in consequence of

any preceding sin or demerit of their own, but simply and solely through this sort of

Predestination.

IX. This Predestination is diametrically opposed to the Act of Creation.

1. For creation is a communication of good according to the intrinsic property of its nature.

But, creation of this description, whose intent or design is, to make a way through itself by

which the reprobation that had been previously determined may obtain its object, is not a

communication of good. For we ought to form our estimate and judgment of every good,

from the mind and intention of Him who is the Donor, and from the end to which or on

account of which it is bestowed. In the present instance, the intention of the Donor would

have been, to condemn, which is an act that could not possibly affect any one except a

creature; and the end or event of creation would have been the eternal perdition of the

creature. In that case creation would not have been a communication of any good, but a

preparation for the greatest evil both according to the very intention of the Creator and the

actual issue of the matter; and according to the words of Christ, "it had seen good for that

man, if he had never been born!" (Matthew 26:24.)

2. Reprobation is an act of hatred, and from hatred derives its origin. But creation does not

proceed from hatred; it is not therefore a way or means, which belongs to the execution of

the decree of reprobation.

3. Creation is a perfect act of God, by which he has manifested his wisdom, goodness and

omnipotence: It is not therefore subordinate to the end of any other preceding work or

action of God. But it is rather to be viewed as that act of God, which necessarily precedes

and is antecedent to all other acts that he can possibly either decree or undertake. Unless

God had formed a previous conception of the work of creation, he could not have decreed

actually to undertake any other act; and until he had executed the work of creation, he

could by no means have completed any other operation.

4. All the actions of God which tend to the condemnation of his creatures, are strange work

or foreign to him; because God consents to them, for some other cause that is quite

extraneous. But creation is not an action that is foreign to God, but it is proper to him. It is

eminently an action most appropriate to Him, and to which he could be moved by no other

external cause, because it is the very first of the Divine acts, and, till it was done, nothing

could have any actual existence, except God himself; for every thing else that has a being,

came into existence through this action.

5. If creation be the way and means through which God willed the execution of the decree

of his reprobation, he was more inclined to will the act of reprobation than that of creation;

and he consequently derived greater satisfaction from the act of condemning certain of his

innocent creatures, than in the act of their creation.

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6. Lastly. Creation cannot be a way or means of reprobation according to the absolute

purpose of God: because, after the creation was completed, it was in the power of man still

to have remained obedient to the divine commands, and not to commit sin; to render this

possible, while God had on one part bestowed on him sufficient strength and power, he

had also on the other placed sufficient impediments; a circumstance most diametrically

opposed to a Predestination of this description.

X. This doctrine is at open hostility with the Nature of Eternal Life, and the titles by which it

is signally distinguished in the Scriptures. For it is called "the inheritance of the sons of

God ;" (Titus 3:7,) but those alone are the sons of God, according to the doctrine of the

Gospel, "who believe in the name of Jesus Christ." (John 1:12.) It is also called, "the reward

of obedience," (Matthew 5:12,) and of "the labor of love;" (Hebrews 6:10,)

"the recompense of those who fight the good fight and who run well, a crown of

righteousness," etc. (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.) God therefore has not, from his

own absolute decree, without any consideration or regard whatever to faith and obedience,

appointed to any man, or determined to appoint to him, life eternal.

XI This Predestination is also opposed to the Nature of Eternal Death, and to those

appellations by which it is described in Scripture. For it is called "the wages of sin; (Romans

6:23,) the punishment of everlasting destruction, which shall be recompensed to them that

know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; (2 Thessalonians 1:8,

9,) the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, (Matthew 25:41,) a fire which

shall devour the enemies and adversaries of God." (Hebrews 10:27.) God, therefore, has

not, by any absolute decree without respect to sin and disobedience, prepared eternal

death for any person.

XII This Predestination is inconsistent with the Nature and Properties of Sin in two ways:

1. Because sin is called "disobedience" and "rebellion," neither of which terms can possibly

apply to any person who by a preceding divine decree is placed under an unavoidable

necessity of sinning.

2. Because sin is the meritorious cause of damnation. But the meritorious cause which

moves the Divine will to reprobate, is according to justice; and it induces God, who holds

sin in abhorrence, to will reprobation. Sin, therefore, which is a cause, cannot be placed

among the means, by which God executes the decree or will of reprobation.

XIII. This doctrine is likewise repugnant to the Nature of Divine Grace, and as far as its

powers permit, it effects its destruction. Under whatever specious pretenses it may be

asserted, that "this kind of Predestination is most admirably adapted and quite necessary

for the establishment of grace," yet it destroys it in three ways:

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1. Because grace is so attempered and commingled with the nature of man, as not to

destroy within him the liberty of his will, but to give it a right direction, to correct its

depravity, and to allow man to possess his own proper notions. While, on the contrary, this

Predestination introduces such a species of grace, as takes away free will and hinders its

exercise.

2. Because the representations of grace which the scriptures contain, are such as describe it

capable of "being resisted, (Acts, 7:51,) and received in vain;" (2 Corinthians 6:1,) and that it

is possible for man to avoid yielding his assent to it; and to refuse all co-operation with it.

(Hebrews 12:15; Matthew 23:37; Luke 7:30.) While, on the contrary, this Predestination

affirms, that grace is a certain irresistible force and operation.

3. Because, according to the primary intention and chief design of God, grace conduces to

the good of those persons to whom it is offered and by whom it is received: while, on the

contrary, this doctrine drags along with it the assertion, that grace is offered even to certain

reprobates, and is so far communicated to them as to illuminate their understandings and

to excite within them a taste for the heavenly gifts, only for this end and purpose, that, in

proportion to the height to which they are elevated, the abyss into which they are

precipitated may be the deeper, and their fall the heavier; and that they may both merit

and receive the greater perdition.

XIV. The doctrine of this Predestination is Injurious to the Glory of God, which does not

consist of a declaration of liberty or authority, nor of a demonstration of anger and power,

except to such an extent as that declaration and demonstration may be consistent with

justice, and with a perpetual reservation in behalf of the honor of God’s goodness. But,

according to this doctrine, it follows that God is the author of sin, which may be proved by

four arguments:

1. One of its positions is, that God has absolutely decreed to demonstrate his glory by

punitive justice and mercy, in the salvation of some men, and in the damnation of others,

which neither was done, nor could have possibly been done, unless sin had entered into the

world.

2. This doctrine affirms, that, in order to obtain his object, God ordained that man should

commit sin, and be rendered vitiated; and, from this Divine ordination or appointment, the

fall of man necessarily followed.

3. It asserts that God has denied to man, or has withdrawn from him, such a portion of

grace as is sufficient and necessary to enable him to avoid sin, and that this was done

before man had sinned: which is an act that amounts to the same as if God had prescribed

a law to man, which it would be utterly impossible for him to fulfill, when the nature in

which he had been created was taken into consideration.

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4. It ascribes to God certain operations with regard to man, both external and internal, both

mediate (by means of the intervention of other creatures) and immediate — which Divine

operations being once admitted, man must necessarily commit sin, by that necessity which

the schoolmen call "a consequential necessity antecedent to the thing itself," and which

totally destroys the freedom of the will. Such an act does this doctrine attribute to God, and

represents it to proceed from his primary and chief intention, without any foreknowledge

of an inclination, will, or action on the part of man.

From these premises, we deduce, as a further conclusion, that God really sins. Because,

according to this doctrine, he moves to sin by an act that is unavoidable, and according to

his own purpose and primary intention, without having received any previous inducement

to such an act from any preceding sin or demerit in man.

From the same position we might also infer, that God is the only sinner. For man, who is

impelled by an irresistible force to commit sin, (that is, to perpetrate some deed that has

been prohibited,) cannot be said to sin himself.

As a legitimate consequence it also follows, that sin is not sin, since whatever that be which

God does, it neither can be sin, nor ought any of his acts to receive that appellation.

Besides the instances which I have already recounted, there is another method by which

this doctrine inflicts a deep wound on the honor of God — but these, it is probable, will be

considered at present to be amply sufficient.

XV. This doctrine is highly dishonorable to Jesus Christ our Savior. For,

1. It entirely excludes him from that decree of Predestination which predestinates the end:

and it affirms, that men were predestinated to be saved, before Christ was predestinated to

save them; and thus it argues, that he is not the foundation of election.

2. It denies, that Christ is the meritorious cause, that again obtained for us the salvation

which we had lost, by placing him as only a subordinate cause of that salvation which had

been already foreordained, and thus only a minister and instrument to apply that salvation

unto us. This indeed is in evident congruity with the opinion which states "that God has

absolutely willed the salvation of certain men, by the first and supreme decree which he

passed, and on which all his other decrees depend and are consequent." If this be true, it

was therefore impossible for the salvation of such men to have been lost, and therefore

unnecessary for it to be repaired and in some sort regained afresh, and discovered, by the

merit of Christ, who was fore-ordained a Savior for them alone.

XVI. This doctrine is also hurtful to the salvation of men.

1. Because it prevents that saving and godly sorrow for sins that have been committed,

which cannot exist in those who have no consciousness of sin. But it is obvious, that the

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man who has committed sin through the unavoidable necessity of the decree of God,

cannot possibly have this kind of consciousness of sin. (2 Corinthians 7:10.)

2. Because it removes all pious solicitude about being converted from sin unto God. For he

can feel no such concern who is entirely passive and conducts himself like a dead man, with

respect not only to his discernment and perception of the grace of God that is exciting and

assisting, but also to his assent and obedience to it; and who is converted by such an

irresistible impulse, that he not only cannot avoid being sensible of the grace of God which

knocks within him, but he must likewise of necessity yield his assent to it, and thus convert

himself, or rather be converted. Such a person it is evident, cannot produce within his heart

or conceive in his mind this solicitude, except he have previously felt the same irresistible

motion. And if he should produce within his heart any such concern, it would be in vain and

without the least advantage. For that cannot be a true solicitude, which is not produced in

the heart by any other means except by an irresistible force according to the absolute

purpose and intention of God to effect his salvation. (Revelation 2:3; 3:2.)

3. Because it restrains, in persons that are converted, all zeal and studious regard for good

works, since it declares "that the regenerate cannot perform either more or less good than

they do." For he that is actuated or impelled by saving grace, must work, and cannot

discontinue his labor; but he that is not actuated by the same grace, can do nothing, and

finds it necessary to cease from all attempts. (Titus 3:14.)

4. Because it extinguishes the zeal for prayer, which yet is an efficacious means instituted

by God for asking and obtaining all kinds of blessings from him, but principally the great one

of salvation. (Luke 11:1-13.) But from the circumstance of it having been before determined

by an immutable and inevitable decree, that this description of men [the elect] should

obtain salvation, prayer cannot on any account be a means for asking and obtaining that

salvation. It can only be a mode of worshipping God; because according to the absolute

decree of his Predestination he has determined that such men shall be saved.

5. It takes away all that most salutary fear and trembling with which we are commanded to

work out our own salvation. (Philippians 2:12) for it states "that he who is elected and

believes, cannot sin with that full and entire willingness with which sin is committed by the

ungodly; and that they cannot either totally or finally fall away from faith or grace."

6. Because it produces within men a despair both of performing that which their duty

requires and of obtaining that towards which their desires are directed. For when they are

taught that the grace of God (which is really necessary to the performance of the least

portion of good) is denied to the majority of mankind, according to an absolute and

peremptory decree of God — — and that such grace is denied because, by a preceding

decree equally absolute, God has determined not to confer salvation on them but

damnation; when they are thus taught, it is scarcely possible for any other result to ensue,

than that the individual who cannot even with great difficulty work a persuasion within

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himself of his being elected, should soon consider himself included in the number of the

reprobate. From such an apprehension as this, must arise a certain despair of performing

righteousness and obtaining salvation.

XVII. This doctrine inverts the order of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For in the Gospel God

requires repentance and faith on the part of man, by promising to him life everlasting, if he

consent to become a convert and a believer. (Mark 1:15; 16:16.) But it is stated in this

[Supralapsarian] decree of Predestination, that it is God’s absolute will, to bestow salvation

on certain particular men, and that he willed at the same time absolutely to give those very

individuals repentance and faith, by means of an irresistible force, because it was his will

and pleasure to save them. In the Gospel, God denounces eternal death on the impenitent

and unbelieving. (John 3:36.) And those threats contribute to the purpose which he has in

view, that he may by such means deter them from unbelief and thus may save them. But by

this decree of Predestination it is taught, that God wills not to confer on certain individual

men that grace which is necessary for conversion and faith because he has absolutely

decreed their condemnation.

The Gospel says,

"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believeth in

him should have everlasting life." (John 3:16.) But this doctrine declares; "that God so loved

those whom he had absolutely elected to eternal life, as to give his son to them alone, and

by an irresistible force to produce within them faith on him." To embrace the whole in few

words, the Gospel says, "fulfill the command, and thou shalt obtain the promise; believe,

and thou shalt live." But this [supralapsarian] doctrine says, "since it is my will to give thee

life, it is therefore my will to give thee faith:" which is a real and most manifest inversion of

the Gospel.

XVIII. This Predestination is in open hostility to the ministry of the Gospel.

1. For if God by an irresistible power quicken him who is dead in trespasses and sins, no

man can be a minister and "a laborer together with God," (1 Corinthians 3:9,) nor can the

word preached by man be the instrument of grace and of the Spirit, any more than a

creature could have been an instrument of grace in the first creation, or a dispenser of that

grace in the resurrection of the body from the dead.

2. Because by this Predestination the ministry of the gospel is made "the savor of death

unto death" in the case of the majority of those who hear it, (2 Corinthians 2:14-16,) as well

as an instrument of condemnation, according to the primary design and absolute intention

of God, without any consideration of previous rebellion.

3. Because, according to this doctrine, baptism, when administered to many reprobate

children, (who yet are the offspring of parents that believe and are God’s covenant people,)

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is evidently a seal [or ratification] of nothing, and thus becomes entirely useless, in

accordance with the primary and absolute intention of God, without any fault [or culpability]

on the part of the infants themselves, to whom it is administered in obedience to the Divine

command.

4. Because it hinders public prayers from being offered to God in a becoming and suitable

manner, that is, with faith, and in confidence that they will be profitable to all the hearers

of the word; when there are many among them, whom God is not only unwilling to save,

but whom by his absolute, eternal, and immutable will, (which is antecedent to all things

and causes whatever,) it is his will and pleasure to damn: In the mean time, when the

apostle commands prayers and supplications to be made for all men, he adds this reason,

"for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be

saved,

and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-4.)

5. The constitution of this doctrine is such, as very easily to render pastors and teachers

slothful and negligent in the exercise of their ministry: Because, from this doctrine it

appears to them as though it were impossible for all their diligence to be useful to any

persons, except to those only whom God absolutely and precisely wills to save, and who

cannot possibly perish; and as though all their negligence could be hurtful to none, except

to those alone whom God absolutely wills to destroy, who must of necessity perish, and to

whom a contrary fate is impossible.

XIX. This doctrine completely subverts the foundation of religion in general, and of the

Christian Religion in particular.

1. The foundation of religion considered in general, is a two-fold love of God; without which

there neither is nor can be any religion: The first of them is a love for righteousness [or

justice] which gives existence to his hatred of sin. The second is a love for the creature who

is endowed with reason, and (in the matter now before us,) it is a love for man, according

to the expression of the Apostle to the Hebrews. "for he that cometh to God must believe

that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (11:6.) God’s love of

righteousness is manifested by this circumstance, that it is not his will and pleasure to

bestow eternal life on any except on "those who seek him." God’s love of man consists in

his being willing to give him eternal life, if he seek Him.

A mutual relation subsists between these two kinds of love, which is this. The latter species

of love, which extends itself to the creatures, cannot come into exercise, except so far as it

is permitted by the former, [the love of righteousness]: The former love, therefore, is by far

the most excellent species; but in every direction there is abundant scope for the

emanations of the latter, [the love of the creature,] except where the former [the love of

righteousness] has placed some impediment in the range of its exercise. The first of these

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consequences is most evidently proved from the circumstance of God’s condemning man

on account of sin, although he loves him in the relation in which he stands as his creature;

which would by no means have been done, had he loved man more than righteousness, [or

justice,] and had he evinced a stronger aversion to the eternal misery of man than to his

disobedience. But the second consequence is proved by this argument, that God condemns

no person, except on account of sin; and that he saves such a multitude of men who turn

themselves away [or are converted] from sin; which he could not do, unless it was his will

to allow as abundant scope to his love for the creatures, as is permitted by righteousness

[or justice] under the regulation of the Divine judgment.

But this [Supralapsarian] doctrine inverts this order and mutual relation in two ways:

(1.) The one is when it states, that God wills absolutely to save certain particular men,

without having had in that his intention the least reference or regard to their obedience.

This is the manner in which it places the love of God to man before his love of

righteousness, and lays down the position — that God loves men (as such) more than

righteousness, and evinces a stronger aversion to their misery than to their sin and

disobedience.

(2.) The other is when it asserts, on the contrary, that God wills absolutely to damn certain

particular men without manifesting in his decree any consideration of their disobedience. In

this manner it detracts from his love to the creature that which belongs to it; while it

teaches, that God hates the creature, without any cause or necessity derived from his love

of righteousness and his hatred of iniquity. In which case, it is not true, "that sin is the

primary object of God’s hatred, and its only meritorious cause." The great influence and

potency which this consideration possesses in subverting the foundation of religion, may be

appropriately described by the following simile: Suppose a son to say, "My father is such a

great lover of righteousness and equity, that, notwithstanding I am his beloved son, he

would disinherit me if I were found disobedient to him. Obedience, therefore, is a duty

which I must sedulously cultivate, and which is highly incumbent upon me, if I wish to be his

heir." Suppose another son to say: "My father’s love for me is so great, that he is absolutely

resolved to make me his heir. There is, therefore, no necessity for my earnestly striving to

yield him obedience; for, according to his unchangeable will, I shall become his heir. Nay, he

will by an irresistible force draw me to obey him, rather than not suffer me to be made his

heir." But such reasoning as the latter is diametrically opposed to the doctrine contained in

the following words of John the Baptist:

"And think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: For I say unto you,

that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (Matthew 3:9.)

2. But the Christian religion also has its superstructure built upon this two-fold love as a

foundation. This love, however, is to be considered in a manner somewhat different, in

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consequence of the change in the condition of man, who, when he had been created after

the image of God and in his favor, became by his own fault a sinner and an enemy to God.

(1.) God’s love of righteousness [or justice] on which the Christian religion rests, is, first,

that righteousness which he declared only once, which was in Christ; because it was his will

that sin should not be expiated in any other way than by the blood and death of his Son,

and that Christ should not be admitted before him as an Advocate, Deprecator and

Intercessor, except when sprinkled by his own blood. But this love of righteousness is,

secondly, that which he daily manifests in the preaching of the gospel, in which he declares

it to be his will to grant a communication of Christ and his benefits to no man, except to

him who becomes converted and believes in Christ.

(2.) God’s love of miserable sinners, on which likewise the Christian religion is founded, is,

first, that love by which he gave his Son for them, and constituted him a Savior of those

who obey him. But this love of sinners is, secondly, that by which he hath required

obedience, not according to the rigor and severity to which he was entitled by his own

supreme right, but according to his grace and clemency, and with the addition of a promise

of the remission of sins, provided fallen man repent. The [supralapsarian] doctrine of

Predestination is, in two ways, opposed to this two-fold foundation: first, by stating, "that

God has such a great love for certain sinners, that it was his will absolutely to save them

before he had given satisfaction, through Christ Jesus, to his love of righteousness, [or

justice,] and that he thus willed their salvation even in his own fore-knowledge and

according to his determinate purpose."

Besides, it totally and most completely overturns this foundation, by teaching it to be

"God’s pleasure, that satisfaction should be paid to his justice, [or righteousness,] because

he willed absolutely to save such persons:" which is nothing less, than to make his love for

justice, manifested in Christ, subordinate to his love for sinful man whom it is his will

absolutely to save. Secondly. It opposes itself to this foundation, by teaching, "that it is the

will of God absolutely to damn certain sinners without any consideration of their

impenitency;" when at the same time a most plenary and complete satisfaction had been

rendered, in Christ Jesus, to God’s love of righteousness [or justice] and to his hatred of sin.

So that nothing now can hinder the possibility of his extending mercy to the sinner,

whosoever he may be, except the condition of repentance. Unless some person should

choose to assert, what is stated in this doctrine, "that it has been God’s will to act towards

the greater part of mankind with the same severity as he exercised towards the devil and

his angels, or even with greater, since it was his pleasure that neither Christ nor his gospel

should be productive of greater blessings to them than to the devils, and since, according to

the first offense, the door of grace is as much closed against them as it is against the evil

angels." Yet each of those angels sinned, by himself in his own proper person, through his

individual maliciousness, and by his voluntary act; while men sinned, only in Adam their

parent, before they had been brought into existence.

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But, that we may more clearly understand the fact of this two-fold love being the

foundation of all religion and the manner in which it is so, with the mutual correspondence

that subsists between each other, as we have already described them, it will be profitable

for us to contemplate with greater attention the following words of the Apostle to the

Hebrews: "He that cometh to God, must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of

them that diligently seek Him." In these words two things are laid down as foundations to

religion, in opposition to two fiery darts of Satan, which are the most pernicious pests to it,

and each of which is able by itself to overturn and extirpate all religion. One of them is

security, the other despair. Security operates, when a man permits himself, that, how

inattentive soever he may be to the worship of God, he will not be damned, but will obtain

salvation. Despair is in operation, when a person entertains a persuasion, that, whatever

degree of reverence he may evince towards God, he will not receive any remuneration. In

what human mind soever either of these pests is fostered, it is impossible that any true and

proper worship of God can there reside. Now both of them are overturned by the words of

the Apostle: For if a man firmly believes, "that God will bestow eternal life on those alone

who seek Him, but that He will inflict on the rest death eternal," he can on no account

indulge himself in security. And if he likewise believes, that "God is truly a rewarder of

those who diligently seek Him," by applying himself to the search he will not be in danger of

falling into despair. The foundation of the former kind of faith by which a man firmly

believes, "that God will bestow eternal life on none except on those who seek Him," is that

love which God bears to his own righteousness, [or justice,] and which is greater than that

which he entertains for man. And, by this alone, all cause of security is removed. But the

foundation of the latter kind of faith, "that God will undoubtedly be a rewarder of those

who diligently seek Him," is that great love for man which neither will nor can prevent God

from effecting salvation for him, except he be hindered by his still greater love for

righteousness or justice. Yet the latter kind of love is so far from operating as a hindrance to

God from becoming a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, that on the contrary, it

promotes in every possible way the bestowment of that reward. Those persons, therefore,

who seek God, can by no means indulge in a single doubt concerning his readiness to

remunerate. And it is this which acts as a preservative against despair or distrust. Since this

is the actual state of the case, this two-fold love, and the mutual relation which each part of

it bears to the other and which we have just unfolded, are the foundations of religion,

without which no religion can possibly exist. That doctrine, therefore, which is in open

hostility to this mutual love and to the relation that mutually subsists between them, is, at

the same time, subversive of the foundation of all religion.

XX. Lastly. This doctrine of Predestination has been rejected both in former times and in our

own days, by the greater part of the professors of Christianity.

1. But, omitting all mention of the periods that occurred in former ages, facts themselves

declare, that the Lutheran and Anabaptist Churches, as well as that of Rome, account this

to be an erroneous doctrine.

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2. However highly Luther and Melancthon might at the very commencement of the

reformation, have approved of this doctrine, they afterwards deserted it. This change in

Melancthon is quite apparent from his latter writings: And those who style themselves

"Luther’s disciples," make the same statement respecting their master, while they contend

that on this subject he made a more distinct and copious declaration of his sentiments,

instead of entirely abandoning those which he formerly entertained. But Philip Melancthon

believed that this doctrine did not differ greatly from the fate of the Stoics: This appears

from many of his writings, but more particularly in a certain letter which he addressed to

Gasper Peucer, and in which, among other things, he states: "Laelius writes to me and says,

that the controversy respecting the Stoical Fate is agitated with such uncommon fervor at

Geneva, that one individual is cast into prison because he happened to differ from Zeno. O

unhappy times! When the doctrine of salvation is thus obscured by certain strange

disputes!"

3. All the Danish Churches embrace a doctrine quite opposed to this, as is obvious from the

writings of Nicholas Hemmingius in his treatise on Universal Grace, in which he declares

that the contest between him and his adversaries consisted in the determination of these

two points: "do the Elect believe ," or, "are believers the true elect?" He considers "those

persons who maintain the former position, to hold sentiments agreeable to the doctrine of

the Manichees and Stoics; and those who maintain the latter point, are in obvious

agreement with Moses and the Prophets, with Christ and his Apostles."

4. Besides, by many of the inhabitants of these our own provinces, this doctrine is

accounted a grievance of such a nature, as to cause several of them to affirm, that on

account of it, they neither can nor will have any communion with our Church. Others of

them have united themselves with our Churches, but not without entering a protest, "that

they cannot possibly give their consent to this doctrine." But, on account of this kind of

Predestination, our Churches have been deserted by not a few individuals, who formerly

held the same opinions as ourselves: Others, also, have threatened to depart from us,

unless they be fully assured that the Church holds no opinion of this description.

5. There is likewise no point of doctrine which the Papists, Anabaptists, and Lutherans

oppose with greater vehemence than this, and through whose sides they create a worse

opinion of our Churches or procure for them a greater portion of hatred, and thus bring

into disrepute all the doctrines which we profess. They likewise affirm "that of all the

blasphemies against God which the mind of man can conceive or his tongue can express,

there is none so foul as not to be deduced by fair consequence from this opinion of our

doctors."

6. Lastly. Of all the difficulties and controversies which have arisen in these our Churches

since the time of the Reformation, there is none that has not had its origin in this doctrine,

or that has not, at least, been mixed with it. What I have here said will be found true, if we

bring to our recollection the controversies which existed at Leyden in the affair of Koolhaes,

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at Gouda in that of Herman Herberts, at Horn with respect to Cornelius Wiggerston, and at

Mendenblich in the affair of Tako Sybrants. This consideration was not among the last of

those motives which induced me to give my most diligent attention to this head of doctrine,

and endeavor to prevent our Churches from suffering any detriment from it; because, from

it, the Papists have derived much of their increase. While all pious teachers ought most

heartily to desire the destruction of Popery, as they would that of the kingdom of Antichrist,

they ought with the greatest zeal, to engage in the attempt, and as far as it is within their

power, to make the most efficient preparations for its overthrow.

The preceding views are, in brief, those which I hold respecting this novel doctrine of

Predestination. I have propounded it with all good faith from the very expressions of the

authors themselves, that I might not seem to invent and attribute to them any thing which I

was not able clearly to prove from their writings.

3. A SECOND KIND OF PREDESTINATION.

But some other of our doctors state the subject of God’s Predestination in a manner

somewhat different. We will cursorily touch upon the two modes which they employ.

Among some of them the following opinion is prevalent:

1. God determined within himself, by an eternal and immutable decree, to make (according

to his own good pleasure,) the smaller portion out of the general mass of mankind

partakers of his grace and glory, to the praise of his own glorious grace. But according to his

pleasure he also passed by the greater portion of men, and left them in their own nature,

which is incapable of every thing supernatural, [or beyond itself,] and did not communicate

to them that saving and supernatural grace by which their nature, (if it still retained its

integrity,) might be strengthened, or by which, if it were corrupted, it might be restored —

for a demonstration of his own liberty. Yet after God had made these men sinners and

guilty of death, he punished them with death eternal — for a demonstration of his own

justice.

2. Predestination is to be considered in respect to its end and to the means which tend to it.

But these persons employ the word "Predestination" in its special acceptation for election

and oppose it to reprobation.

(1.) In respect to its end, (which is salvation, and an illustration of the glorious grace of God,)

man is considered in common and absolutely, such as he is in his own nature.

(2.) But in respect to the means, man is considered as perishing from himself and in himself,

and as guilty in Adam.

3. In the decree concerning the end, the following gradations are to be regarded.

(1.) The prescience of God, by which he foreknew those whom he had predestinated. Then

(2.) The Divine prefinition, [or predetermination,] by which he foreordained the salvation of

those persons by whom he had foreknown.

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First, by electing them from all eternity: and secondly, by preparing for them grace in this

life, and glory in the world to come.

4. The means which belong to the execution of this Predestination, are

(1.) Christ himself:

(2.) An efficacious call to faith in Christ, from which justification takes its origin:

(3.) The gift of perseverance unto the end.

5. As far as we are capable of comprehending their scheme of reprobation it consists of two

acts, that of preterition and that of predamnatian. It is antecedent to all things, and to all

causes which are either in the things themselves or which arise out of them; that is, it has

no regard whatever to any sin, and only views man in an absolute and general aspect.

6. Two means are fore-ordained for the execution of the act of preterition:

(1.) Dereliction [or abandoning] in a state of nature, which by itself is incapable of every

thing supernatural: and

(2.) Non-communication [or a negation] of supernatural grace, by which their nature (if in a

state of integrity,) might be strengthened, and (if in a state of corruption,) might be

restored.

7. Predamnation is antecedent to all things, yet it does by no means exist without a

fore-knowledge of the causes of damnation. It views man as a sinner, obnoxious to

damnation in Adam, and as on this account perishing through the necessity of Divine

justice.

8. The means ordained for the execution of this predamnation, are

(1.) Just desertion, which is either that of exploration, [or examination,] in which God does

not confer his grace, or that of punishment when God takes away from a man all his saving

gifts, and delivers him over to the power of Satan.

(2.) The second means are induration or hardening, and those consequences which usually

follow even to the real damnation of the person reprobated.

4. A THIRD KIND OF PREDESTINATION.

But others among our doctors state their sentiments on this subject in the following

manner:

1. Because God willed within himself from all eternity to make a decree by which he might

elect certain men and reprobate the rest, he viewed and considered the human race not

only as created but likewise as fallen or corrupt, and on that account obnoxious to cursing

and malediction. Out of this lapsed and accursed state God determined to liberate certain

individuals and freely to save them by his grace, for a declaration of his mercy; but he

resolved in his own just judgment to leave the rest under the curse [or malediction] for a

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declaration of his justice. In both these cases God acts without the least consideration of

repentance and faith in those whom he elects, or of impenitence and unbelief in those

whom he reprobates.

2. The special means which relate particularly to the execution both of election and

reprobation, are the very same as those which we have already expounded in the first of

these kinds of Predestination, with the exception of those means which are common both

to election and reprobation; because this [third] opinion places the fall of man, not as a

means fore-ordained for the execution of the preceding decree of Predestination, but as

something that might furnish a fixed purpose or occasion for making this decree of

Predestination.

5. MY JUDGMENT RESPECTING THE TWO LAST DESCRIBED SCHEMES OF PREDESTINATION.

Both these opinions, as they outwardly pretend, differ from the first in this point — that

neither of them lays down the creation or the fall as a mediate cause fore-ordained by God

for the execution of the preceding decree of Predestination. Yet, with regard to the fall,

some diversity may be perceived in the two latter opinions. For the second kind of

Predestination places election, with regard to the end, before the fall; it also places before

that event preterition, [or passing by,] which is the first part of reprobation. While the third

kind does not allow any part of election and reprobation to commence till after the fall of

man. But, among the causes which seem to have induced the inventors of the two latter

schemes to deliver the doctrine of Predestination in this manner, and not to ascend to such

a great height as the inventors of the first scheme have done, this is not the least — that

they have been desirous of using the greatest precaution, lest it might be concluded from

their doctrine that God is the author of sin, with as much show of probability as, (according

to the intimation of some of those who yield their assent to both the latter kinds,) it is

deducible from the first description of Predestination.

Yet if we be willing to inspect these two latter opinions a little more closely, and in

particular if we accurately examine the second and third kind and compare them with other

sentiments of the same author concerning some subjects of our religion, we shall discover,

that the fall of Adam cannot possibly, according to their views, be considered in any other

manner than as a necessary means for the execution of the preceding decree of

Predestination.

1. In reference to the second of the three, this is apparent from two reasons comprised in

it:

The first of these reasons is that which states God to have determined by the decree of

reprobation to deny to man that grace which was necessary for the confirmation and

strengthening of his nature, that it might not be corrupted by sin; which amounts to this,

that God decreed not to bestow that grace which was necessary to avoid sin; and from this

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must necessarily follow the transgression of man, as proceeding from a law imposed on him.

The fall of man is therefore a means ordained for the execution of the decree of

reprobation.

The second of these reasons is that which states the two parts of reprobation to be

preterition and predamnation. These two parts, according to that decree, are connected

together by a necessary and mutual bond, and are equally extensive. For, all those whom

God passed by in conferring Divine grace, are likewise damned. Indeed no others are

damned, except those who are the subjects of this act of preterition. From this therefore it

may be concluded, that "sin must necessarily follow from the decree of reprobation or

preterition, because, if it were otherwise, it might possibly happen, that a person who had

been passed by, might not commit sin, and from that circumstance might not become liable

to damnation; since sin is the sole meritorious cause of damnation: and thus certain of

those individuals who had been passed by, might neither be saved nor damned — which is

great absurdity.

This second opinion on Predestination, therefore, falls into the same inconvenience as the

first. For it not only does not avoid that [conclusion of making God the author of sin,] but

while those who profess it make the attempt, they fall into a palpable and absurd

self-contradiction — while, in reference to this point, the first of these opinions is alike

throughout and consistent with itself.

2. The third of these schemes of Predestination would escape this rock to much better

effect, did not the patrons of it, while declaring their sentiments on Predestination and

providence, employ certain expressions, from which the necessity of the fall might be

deduced. Yet this necessity cannot possibly have any other origin than some degree of

Predestination.

(1.) One of these explanatory expressions is their description of the Divine permission, by

which God permits sin. Some of them describe it thus: "permission is the withdrawing of

that Divine grace, by which, when God executes the decrees of his will through rational

creatures, he either does not reveal to the creature that divine will of his own by which he

wills that action to be performed, or does not bend the will of the creature to yield

obedience in that act to the Divine will." To these expressions, the following are

immediately subjoined: "if this be a correct statement, the creature commits sin through

necessity, yet voluntarily and without restraint." If it be objected that "this description does

not comport with that permission by which God permitted the sin of Adam:" We also

entertain the same opinion about it. Yet it follows, as a consequence, from this very

description, that "other sins are committed through necessity."

(2.) Of a similar tendency are the expressions which some of them use, when they contend,

that the declaration of the glory of God, which must necessarily be illustrated, is placed in

"the demonstration of mercy and of punitive justice." But such a demonstration could not

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have been made, unless sin, and misery through sin, had entered into the world, to form at

least some degree of misery for the least sin. And in this manner is sin also necessarily

introduced, through the necessity of such a demonstration of the Divine glory. Since the fall

of Adam is already laid down to be necessary, and, on that account, to be a means for

executing the preceding decree of Predestination; creation itself is likewise at the same

time laid down as a means subservient to the execution of the same decree. For the fall

cannot be necessarily consequent upon the creation, except through the decree of

Predestination, which cannot be placed between the creation and the fall, but is prefixed to

both of them, as having the precedence, and ordaining creation for the fall, and both of

them for executing one and the same decree — to demonstrate the justice of God in the

punishment of sin, and his mercy in its remission. Because, if this were not the case, that

which must necessarily ensue from the act of creation had not seen intended by God when

he created, which is to suppose an impossibility. But let it be granted, that the necessity of

the fall of Adam cannot be deduced from either of the two latter opinions, yet all the

preceding arguments which have been produced against the first opinion, are, after a

trifling modification to suit the varied purpose, equally valid against the two latter. This

would be very apparent, if, to demonstrate it, a conference were to be instituted.

6. MY OWN SENTIMENTS ON PREDESTINATION.

I have hitherto been stating those opinions concerning the article of Predestination which

are inculcated in our Churches and in the University of Leyden, and of which I disapprove. I

have at the same time produced my own reasons, why I form such an unfavorable

judgment concerning them; and I will now declare my own opinions on this subject, which

are of such a description as, according to my views, appear most conformable to the word

of God.

1. The first absolute decree of God concerning the salvation of sinful man, is that by which

he decreed to appoint his Son, Jesus Christ, for a Mediator, Redeemer, Savior, Priest and

King, who might destroy sin by his own death, might by his obedience obtain the salvation

which had been lost, and might communicate it by his own virtue.

2. The second precise and absolute decree of God, is that in which he decreed to receive

into favor those who repent and believe, and, in Christ, for his sake and through Him, to

effect the salvation of such penitents and believers as persevered to the end; but to leave

in sin, and under wrath, all impenitent persons and unbelievers, and to damn them as

aliens from Christ.

3. The third Divine decree is that by which God decreed to administer in a sufficient and

efficacious manner the means which were necessary for repentance and faith; and to have

such administration instituted

(1.) according to the Divine Wisdom, by which God knows what is proper and becoming

both to his mercy and his severity, and

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(2.) according to Divine Justice, by which He is prepared to adopt whatever his wisdom may

prescribe and put it in execution.

4. To these succeeds the fourth decree, by which God decreed to save and damn certain

particular persons. This decree has its foundation in the foreknowledge of God, by which he

knew from all eternity those individuals who would, through his preventing grace, believe,

and, through his subsequent grace would persevere, according to the before described

administration of those means which are suitable and proper for conversion and faith; and,

by which foreknowledge, he likewise knew those who would not believe and persevere.

Predestination, when thus explained, is

1. The foundation of Christianity, and of salvation and its certainty.

2. It is the sum and the matter of the gospel; nay, it is the gospel itself, and on that account

necessary to be believed in order to salvation, as far as the two first articles are concerned.

3. It has had no need of being examined or determined by any council, either general or

particular, since it is contained in the scriptures clearly and expressly in so many words; and

no contradiction has ever yet been offered to it by any orthodox Divine.

4. It has constantly been acknowledged and taught by all Christian teachers who held

correct and orthodox sentiments.

5. It agrees with that harmony of all confessions, which has been published by the

protestant Churches.

6. It likewise agrees most excellently with the Dutch Confession and Catechism. This

concord is such, that if in the Sixteenth article these two expressions "those persons whom"

and "others," be explained by the words "believers" and "unbelievers" these opinions of

mine on Predestination will be comprehended in that article with the greatest clearness.

This is the reason why I directed the thesis to be composed in the very words of the

Confession, when, on one occasion, I had to hold a public disputation before my private

class in the University. This kind of Predestination also agrees with the reasoning contained

in the twentieth and the fifty-fourth question of the Catechism.

7. It is also in excellent accordance with the nature of God — with his wisdom, goodness,

and righteousness; because it contains the principal matter of all of them, and is the

clearest demonstration of the Divine wisdom, goodness, and righteousness [or justice]

8. It is agreeable in every point with the nature of man — in what form soever that nature

may be contemplated, whether in the primitive state of creation, in that of the fall, or in

that of restoration.

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9. It is in complete concert with the act of creation, by affirming that the creation itself is a

real communication of good, both from the intention of God, and with regard to the very

end or event; that it had its origin in the goodness of God; that whatever has a reference to

its continuance and preservation, proceeds from Divine love; and that this act of creation is

a perfect and appropriate work of God, in which he is at complaisance with himself, and by

which he obtained all things necessary for an unsinning state.

10. It agrees with the nature of life eternal, and with the honorable titles by which that life

is designated in the scriptures.

11. It also agrees with the nature of death eternal, and with the names by which that death

is distinguished in scripture.

12. It states sin to be a real disobedience, and the meritorious cause of condemnation; and

on this account, it is in the most perfect agreement with the fall and with sin.

13. In every particular, it harmonizes with the nature of grace, by ascribing to it all those

things which agree with it, [or adapted to it,] and by reconciling it most completely to the

righteousness of God and to the nature and liberty of the human will.

14. It conduces most conspicuously to declare the glory of God, his justice and his mercy. It

also represents God as the cause of all good and of our salvation, and man as the cause of

sin and of his own damnation.

15. It contributes to the honor of Jesus Christ, by placing him for the foundation of

Predestination and the meritorious as well as communicative cause of salvation.

16. It greatly promotes the salvation of men: It is also the power, and the very means which

lead to salvation — by exciting and creating within the mind of man sorrow on account of

sin, a solicitude about his conversion, faith in Jesus Christ, a studious desire to perform

good works, and zeal in prayer — and by causing men to work out their salvation with fear

and trembling. It likewise prevents despair, as far as such prevention is necessary.

17. It confirms and establishes that order according to which the gospel ought to be

preached,

(1.) By requiring repentance and faith —

(2.) And then by promising remission of sins, the grace of the spirit, and life eternal.

18. It strengthens the ministry of the gospel, and renders it profitable with respect to

preaching, the administration of the sacraments and public prayers.

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19. It is the foundation of the Christian religion; because in it, the two-fold love of God may

be united together — God’s love of righteousness [or justice], and his love of men, may,

with the greatest consistency, be reconciled to each other.

20. Lastly. This doctrine of Predestination, has always been approved by the great majority

of professing Christians, and even now, in these days, it enjoys the same extensive

patronage. It cannot afford any person just cause for expressing his aversion to it; nor can it

give any pretext for contention in the Christian Church.

It is therefore much to be desired, that men would proceed no further in this matter, and

would not attempt to investigate the unsearchable judgments of God — at least that they

would not proceed beyond the point at which those judgments have been clearly revealed

in the scriptures.

This, my most potent Lords, is all that I intend now to declare to your mightinesses,

respecting the doctrine of Predestination, about which there exists such a great controversy

in the Church of Christ. If it would not prove too tedious to your Lordships, I have some

other propositions which I could wish to state, because they contribute to a full declaration

of my sentiments, and tend to the same purpose as that for which I have been ordered to

attend in this place by your mightinesses.

There are certain other articles of the Christian religion, which possess a close affinity to the

doctrine of Predestination, and which are in a great measure dependent on it: Of this

description are the providence of God, the free-will of man, the perseverance of saints, and

the certainty of salvation. On these topics, if not disagreeable to your mightinesses, I will in

a brief manner relate my opinion. ……………….

III. THE FREE-WILL OF MAN

This is my opinion concerning the free-will of man: In his primitive condition as he came out

of the hands of his creator, man was endowed with such a portion of knowledge, holiness

and power, as enabled him to understand, esteem, consider, will, and to perform the true

good, according to the commandment delivered to him. Yet none of these acts could he do,

except through the assistance of Divine Grace. But in his lapsed and sinful state, man is not

capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is

necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections or will, and in

all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to

understand, esteem, consider, will, and perform whatever is truly good. When he is made a

partaker of this regeneration or renovation, I consider that, since he is delivered from sin,

he is capable of thinking, willing and doing that which is good, but yet not without the

continued aids of Divine Grace.

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IV. THE GRACE OF GOD

In reference to Divine Grace, I believe,

1. It is a gratuitous affection by which God is kindly affected towards a miserable sinner,

and according to which he, in the first place, gives his Son, "that whosoever believers in him

might have eternal life," and, afterwards, he justifies him in Christ Jesus and for his sake,

and adopts him into the right of sons, unto salvation.

2. It is an infusion (both into the human understanding and into the will and affections,) of

all those gifts of the Holy Spirit which appertain to the regeneration and renewing of man

— such as faith, hope, charity, etc.; for, without these gracious gifts, man is not sufficient to

think, will, or do any thing that is good.

3. It is that perpetual assistance and continued aid of the Holy Spirit, according to which He

acts upon and excites to good the man who has been already renewed, by infusing into him

salutary cogitations, and by inspiring him with good desires, that he may thus actually will

whatever is good; and according to which God may then will and work together with man,

that man may perform whatever he wills.

In this manner, I ascribe to grace the commencement, the continuance and the

consummation of all good, and to such an extent do I carry its influence, that a man, though

already regenerate, can neither conceive, will, nor do any good at all, nor resist any evil

temptation, without this preventing and exciting, this following and co-operating grace.

From this statement it will clearly appear, that I by no means do injustice to grace, by

attributing, as it is reported of me, too much to man’s free-will. For the whole controversy

reduces itself to the solution of this question, "is the grace of God a certain irresistible

force?" That is, the controversy does not relate to those actions or operations which may

be ascribed to grace, (for I acknowledge and inculcate as many of these actions or

operations as any man ever did,) but it relates solely to the mode of operation, whether it

be irresistible or not. With respect to which, I believe, according to the scriptures, that

many persons resist the Holy Spirit and reject the grace that is offered.

V. THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

My sentiments respecting the perseverance of the saints are, that those persons who have

been grafted into Christ by true faith, and have thus been made partakers of his life-giving

Spirit, possess sufficient powers [or strength] to fight against Satan, sin, the world and their

own flesh, and to gain the victory over these enemies — yet not without the assistance of

the grace of the same Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ also by his Spirit assists them in all their

temptations, and affords them the ready aid of his hand; and, provided they stand

prepared for the battle, implore his help, and be not wanting to themselves, Christ

preserves them from falling. So that it is not possible for them, by any of the cunning

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craftiness or power of Satan, to be either seduced or dragged out of the hands of Christ.

But I think it is useful and will be quite necessary in our first convention, [or Synod] to

institute a diligent inquiry from the Scriptures, whether it is not possible for some

individuals through negligence to desert the commencement of their existence in Christ, to

cleave again to the present evil world, to decline from the sound doctrine which was once

delivered to them, to lose a good conscience, and to cause Divine grace to be ineffectual.

Though I here openly and ingenuously affirm, I never taught that a true believer can, either

totally or finally fall away from the faith, and perish; yet I will not conceal, that there are

passages of scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect; and those answers to them

which I have been permitted to see, are not of such a kind as to approve themselves on all

points to my understanding. On the other hand, certain passages are produced for the

contrary doctrine [of unconditional perseverance] which are worthy of much consideration.

VI. THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

With regard to the certainty [or assurance] of salvation, my opinion is, that it is possible for

him who believes in Jesus Christ to be certain and persuaded, and, if his heart condemn him

not, he is now in reality assured, that he is a son of God, and stands in the grace of Jesus

Christ. Such a certainty is wrought in the mind, as well by the action of the Holy Spirit

inwardly actuating the believer and by the fruits of faith, as from his own conscience, and

the testimony of God’s Spirit witnessing together with his conscience. I also believe, that it

is possible for such a person, with an assured confidence in the grace of God and his mercy

in Christ, to depart out of this life, and to appear before the throne of grace, without any

anxious fear or terrific dread: and yet this person should constantly pray,

"O lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant!"

But, since "God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things," and since a man judges

not his own self — yea, though a man know nothing by himself, yet is he not thereby

justified, but he who judgeth him is the Lord, (1 John 3:19; 1 Corinthians 4:3,) I dare not [on

this account] place this assurance [or certainty] on an equality with that by which we know

there is a God, and that Christ is the Savior of the world. Yet it will be proper to make the

extent of the boundaries of this assurance, a subject of inquiry in our convention.

VII. THE PERFECTION OF BELIEVERS IN THIS LIFE

Beside those doctrines on which I have treated, there is now much discussion among us

respecting the perfection of believers, or regenerated persons, in this life; and it is reported,

that I entertain sentiments on this subject, which are very improper, and nearly allied to

those of the Pelagians, viz: "that it is possible for the regenerate in this life perfectly to keep

God’s precepts." To this I reply, though these might have been my sentiments yet I ought

not on this account to be considered a Pelagian, either partly or entirely, provided I had

only added that "they could do this by the grace of Christ, and by no means without it." But

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while I never asserted, that a believer could perfectly keep the precepts of Christ in this life,

I never denied it, but always left it as a matter which has still to be decided. For I have

contented myself with those sentiments which St. Augustine has expressed on this subject,

whose words have frequently quoted in the University, and have usually subjoined, that I

had no addition to make to them.

Augustine says, "four questions may claim our attention on this topic. The first is, was there

ever yet a man without sin, one who from the beginning of life to its termination never

committed sin? The second, has there ever been, is there now, or can there possibly be, an

individual who does not sin, that is, who has attained to such a state of perfection in this

life as not to commit sin, but perfectly to fulfill the law of God? The third, is it possible for a

man in this life to exist without sin? The fourth, if it be possible for a man to be without sin,

why has such an individual never yet been found?" St. Augustine says, that such a person as

is described in the first question never yet lived, or will hereafter be brought into existence,

with the exception of Jesus Christ. He does not think, that any man has attained to such

perfection in this life as is portrayed in the second question. With regard to the third, he

thinks it possible for a man to be without sin, by means of the grace of Christ and free-will.

In answer to the fourth, man does not do what it is possible for him by the grace of Christ

to perform, either because that which is good escapes his observation, or because in it he

places no part of his delight." From this quotation it is apparent, that St. Augustine, one of

the most strenuous adversaries of the Pelagian doctrine, retained this sentiment, that "it is

possible for a man to live in this world without sin."

Beside this, the same Christian father says, "let Pelagius confess, that it is possible for man

to be without sin, in no other way than by the grace of Christ, and we will be at peace with

each other." The opinion of Pelagius appeared to St. Augustine to be this — "that man

could fulfill the law of God by his own proffer strength and ability; but with still "greater

facility by means of the grace of Christ." I have already most abundantly stated the great

distance at which I stand from such a sentiment; in addition to which I now declare, that I

account this sentiment of Pelagius to be heretical, and diametrically opposed to these

words of Christ, "Without me ye can do nothing:" (John 15:5.) It is likewise very destructive,

and inflicts a most grievous wound on the glory of Christ.

I cannot see that anything is contained in all I have hitherto produced respecting my

sentiments, on account of which any person ought to be "afraid of appearing in the

presence of God," and from which it might be feared that any mischievous consequences

can possibly arise. Yet because every day brings me fresh information about reports

concerning me, "that I carry in my breast destructive sentiments and heresies," I cannot

possibly conceive to what points those charges can relate, except perhaps they draw some

such pretext from my opinion concerning the Divinity of the Son of God, and the

justification of man before God. Indeed, I have lately learnt, that there has been much

public conversation, and many rumors have been circulated, respecting my opinion on both

these points of doctrine, particularly since the last conference [between Gomarus and

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myself] before the Counselors of the Supreme Court. This is one reason why I think, that I

shall not be acting unadvisedly if I disclose to your mightinesses the real state of the whole

matter. ………………….

The Works of James Arminius - Vol. 1

Nine Theological Questions

Exhibited By The Deputies Of The Synod, To Their Lordships The Curators Of The University

Of Leyden, For The Purpose Of Obtaining An Answer To Each Of Them From The Professors

Of Divinity; And The Replies Which James Arminius Gave To Them, In November, 1605.

With Other Nine Opposite Questions

THE NINE QUESTIONS: NINE OPPOSITE QUESTIONS

1. Which is first, Election, or Faith Truly Foreseen, so that God elected his people

according to faith foreseen?

1. Is the decree "for bestowing Faith on any one," previous to that by which is appointed

"the Necessity of Faith to salvation?"

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

The equivocation in the word "Election," makes it impossible to answer this question in any

other manner, than by distinction. If therefore "Election" denotes "the decree which is

according to election concerning the justification and salvation of believers." I say Election

is prior to Faith, as being that by which Faith is appointed as the means of obtaining

salvation. But if it signifies "the decree by which God determines to bestow salvation on

some one," then Faith foreseen is prior to Election. For as believers alone are saved, so only

believers are predestinated to salvation. But the Scriptures know no Election, by which God

precisely and absolutely has determined to save anyone without having first considered

him as a believer. For such an Election would be at variance with the decree by which he

hath determined to save none but believers.

QUESTION OPPOSITE QUESTION

2. If it be said, "that God, by his eternal decree, has determined and governs all things

and every thing, even the depraved wills of men, to appointed good ends," does it follow

from this, that God is the author of sin?

2. Is "to determine or direct all things and every thing, even the depraved wills of men, to

appointed good ends," the same thing as "to determine that man be made corrupt, by

which a way may be opened for executing God’s absolute decree concerning damning some

men through wrath, and saving others through mercy?"

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ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

Sin is the transgression of the law; therefore, God will be the author of sin, if He cause any

man to transgress the law. This is done by denying or taking away what is necessary for

fulfilling the law, or by impelling men to sin. But if this "determination" be that of a will

which is already depraved, since it does not signify the denying or the removing of grace

nor a corrupt impelling to sin, it follows, that the consequence of this cannot be that God is

the author of sin. But if this "determination" denote the decree of God by which He

resolved that the will should become depraved, and that man should commit sin, then it

follows from this that God is the author of sin.

QUESTION OPPOSITE QUESTION

3. Does original sin, of itself, render man obnoxious to eternal death, even without the

addition of any actual sin? Or is the guilt of original sin taken away from all and every one

by the benefits of Christ the Mediator?

3. If some men are condemned solely on account of the sin committed by Adam, and others

on account of their rejection of the Gospel, are there not two peremptory decrees

concerning the damnation of men, and two judgments, one Legal, the other Evangelical?

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

Those things which in this question are placed in opposition to each other, easily agree

together. For original sin can render man obnoxious to eternal death, and its guilt can be

taken away from all men by Christ. Indeed, in order that guilt may be removed, it is

necessary that men be previously rendered guilty. But to reply to each part separately: It is

perversely said, that "original sin renders a man obnoxious to death," since that sin is the

punishment of Adam’s actual sin, which punishment is preceded by guilt, that is, an

obligation to the punishment denounced by the law. With regard to the second member of

the question, it is very easily answered by the distinction of the soliciting, obtaining, and the

application of the benefits of Christ. For as a participation of Christ’s benefits consists in

faith alone, it follows that, if among these benefits "deliverance from this guilt" be one,

believers only are delivered from it, since they are those upon whom the wrath of God does

not abide.

QUESTION OPPOSITE QUESTION

4. Are the works of the unregenerate, which proceed from the powers of nature, so

pleasing to God, as to induce Him on account of them to confer supernatural and saving

grace on those who perform them?

4. Are a serious consciousness of sin, and an initial fear so pleasing to God, that by them He

is induced to forgive sins, and to create a filial fear?

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ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

Christ says, "To him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken

away even that which he hath." Not, indeed, because such is the worthiness and the

excellence of the use of any blessing conferred by God, either according to nature or to

grace, that God should be moved by its merits to confer greater benefits; but, because such

are the benignity and liberality of God, that, though these works are unworthy, yet He

rewards them with a larger blessing. Therefore, as the word "pleasing" admits of two

meanings, we can reply to the question proposed in two ways — either affirmatively, if that

word be viewed as signifying "to please," "to find favor in his eyes," and "to obtain

complacency for itself;" or negatively if "placeo" be received for that which it also signifies,

"to please by its own excellence." Yet it might be said, that good works are rewarded, in a

moral view, not so much through the powers of nature, as by some operation in them of

the Holy Spirit.

QUESTION OPPOSITE QUESTION

5. Can God now, in his own right, require faith from fallen man in Christ, which he cannot

have of himself? But does God bestow on all and every one, to whom the Gospel is

preached, sufficient grace by which they may believe, if they will?

5. Can God require that man to believe in Jesus Christ, for whom He has determined by an

absolute decree that Christ should not die, and to whom by the same decree He has

determined to refuse the grace necessary for believing?

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

The parts of this question are not opposed to each other; on the contrary, they are at the

most perfect agreement. So that the latter clause may be considered the rendering of a

reason, why God may require from fallen man faith in Christ, which he cannot have of

himself. For God may require this, since he has determined to bestow on man sufficient

grace by which he may believe. Perhaps, therefore, the question may be thus corrected:

"Can God, now, in his own right, demand from fallen man faith in Christ, which he cannot

have of himself, though God neither bestows on him, nor is ready to bestow, sufficient

grace by which he may believe?" This question will be answered by a direct negative. God

cannot by any right demand from fallen man faith in Christ, which he cannot have of

himself, except God has either bestowed, or is ready to bestow, sufficient grace by which

he may believe if he will. Nor do I perceive what is false in that reply, or to what heresy it

has affinity. It has no alliance with the Pelagian heresy: for Pelagius maintained, that with

the exception of the preaching of the Gospel, no internal grace is required to produce faith

in the minds of men. But what is of more consequence, this reply is not opposed to St.

Augustine’s doctrine of Predestination; "yet this doctrine of his, we do not account it

necessary to establish," as Innocent, the Roman Pontiff, has observed.

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6. Is justifying faith the effect and the mere gift of God alone, who calls, illuminates, and

reforms the will? and is it peculiar to the elect alone from all eternity?

6. Can that be called a mere gift which, though offered by the pure liberality of Him who

makes the offer, is still capable of being rejected by him to whom it is offered? But does a

voluntary acceptance render it unworthy of the name of a gift? It may likewise be asked, "Is

faith bestowed on these who are to be saved? Or is salvation bestowed on those who have

faith?" Or can both these questions be answered affirmatively in a different respect? If they

can, how is it then that there is not in those decrees a circle, in which nothing is first and

nothing last?

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

A double question requires a double answer.

(1.) To the first I reply, Faith is the effect of God illuminating the mind and sealing the heart,

and it is his mere gift.

(2.) To the second I answer, by making a distinction in the word Election. If it be understood

as signifying Election to salvation; since this, according to the scriptures, is the election of

believers, it cannot be said, "Faith is bestowed on the elect, or on those who are to be

saved," but that "believers are elected and saved." But if it be received for the decree by

which God determines variously to administer the means necessary to salvation; in this

sense I say that Faith is the gift of God, which is conferred on those only whom He hath

chosen to this, that they may hear the word of God, and be made partakers of the Holy

Spirit.

QUESTION OPPOSITE QUESTION

7. May every one who is a true believer be assured in this life of his individual salvation;

and is it his duty to have this assurance?

7. Does justifying faith precede, in the order of nature, remission of sins, or does it not? And

can any man be bound to any other faith than that which justifies?

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

Since God promises eternal life to all who believe in Christ, it is impossible for him who

believes, and who knows that he believes, to doubt of his own salvation, unless he doubts

of this willingness of God [to perform his promise.] But God does not require him to be

better assured of his individual salvation as a duty which must be performed to himself or

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to Christ; but it is a consequence of that promise, by which God engages to bestow eternal

life on him who believes.

QUESTION OPPOSITE QUESTION

8. May true believers and elect persons entirely lose faith for a season?

8. May any man who has faith and retains it, arrive at such a moment, as, if he were then to

die, he would be damned?

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

Since Election to salvation comprehends within its limits not only Faith, but likewise

perseverance in Faith; and since St. Augustine says, "God has chosen to salvation those who

he sees will afterwards believe by the aid of his preventing or preceding grace, and who will

persevere by the aid of his subsequent or following grace; "believers and the elect are not

correctly taken for the same persons. Omitting, therefore, all notice of the word "Election,"

I reply, believers are sometimes so circumstanced, as not to produce, for a season, any

effect of true faith, not even the actual apprehension of grace and the promises of God, nor

confidence or trust in God and Christ; yet this is the very thing which is necessary to obtain

salvation. But the apostle says, concerning faith, in reference to its being a quality and a

capability of believing, "some, having cast away a good conscience concerning faith, have

made shipwreck."

QUESTION OPPOSITE QUESTION

9. Can believers under the grace of the New Covenant, perfectly observe the law of God

in this life?

9. May God, or may He not, require of those who are partakers of the New Covenant, that

the flesh do not lust against the Spirit, as a duty corresponding with the grace of that

covenant?

ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION

The performance of the law is to be estimated according to the mind of Him who requires it

to be observed. The answer will be two-fold, since He either wills it to be rigidly observed in

the highest degree of perfection, or only according to epieikeian clemency; that is, if he

require this according to clemency, and if the strength or powers which he confers be

proportionate to the demand.

(1.) Man cannot perfectly perform such a law of God, if it be considered as to be performed

according to rigor.

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(2.) But if he require it according to clemency, and if the powers conferred be proportionate,

(which must be acknowledged, since He requires it according to the evangelical covenant,)

the answer is, it can be perfectly observed. But the question about capability is not of such

great importance, "provided a man confesses that it is possible to be done by the grace of

Christ," as St. Augustine justly observes.

REMARKS ON THE PRECEDING QUESTIONS, AND ON THOSE OPPOSED TO THEM

In reply to some queries which Uytenbogard had addressed to Arminius, concerning these

nine questions and their opposites, the latter gave his friend the following explanation, in a

letter dated the 31st of January, 1606:

"1. In answer to the First Question, this is the order of the decrees.

(1.) It is my will to save believers.

(2.) On this man I will bestow faith and preserve him in it.

(3.) I will save this man. For thus does the first of these decrees prescribe, which must

necessarily be placed foremost; because, without this, faith is not necessary to salvation,

and therefore no necessity exists to administer the means for faith. But to this is directly

opposed the opinion which asserts, that faith is bestowed on him on whom God had

previously willed to bestow salvation. For, in this case, it would be his will to save one who

did not believe. All that has been said about the difference of the decree and its execution,

is futile; as if, in fact, God willed salvation to any one prior to faith, and yet not to bestow

salvation on any others than believers. For, beside the consistent agreement of these, [the

decree and its execution,] it is certain that God cannot will to bestow that which, on

account of his previous decree, He cannot bestow. As therefore faith is, in a general manner,

placed before salvation by the first decree; so it must, specially and particularly, be placed

before the salvation of this and that man, even in the special decree which has the

subsequent execution.

"3. To the Third Question I shall in preference oppose the following: Has God determined

peremptorily to act with some men according to the strict rigor of the law, as He did with

the fallen angels, and to act with others according to the grace of the Gospel? If they deny

this, I have what I wish. But if they affirm it, such a sentiment must be overwhelmed with

absurdities; because in such a case God would have acted towards many men with greater

severity, than towards the fallen angels, who, as being creatures purely spiritual, each

sinned of himself, through his own wickedness without persuasion from any one.

"4. They will not be able to deny my Fourth opposite Question. For remission is promised to

those who confess their sins; and the fear is called initial in reference to the filial fear which

follows. If they acknowledge it, but say, ‘Yet God is not induced by them;’ I will then

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command them to erase the same word out of their interrogatory, and in a better form to

enunciate their own opinion.

"5. They will not consider it their duty entirely to deny my Fifth opposing Question. If they

affirm it, they will declare a falsehood, and will incur the ill opinion of all prudent persons,

even of those who are weak. Let them therefore search out what they may place as an

intermediate postulate between theirs and mine, and I will then show that it co-incides

either with their postulate or with mine.

"6. I have placed two questions in opposition to the Sixth, because their question is also a

double one. On the First of them you require no observation. About the Second I have said,

for the sake of explanation, ‘that it is a circle, in which nothing is first and nothing last,’ but

in every part of it a beginning and an end are found — which cannot, without absurdity,

have place in the decrees of God. I ask, has God determined to bestow salvation on those

who believe, or to bestow faith on those who are to be saved? If both of these be asserted,

I ask, which of them is the first, and which the last? They will reply, neither; and it is then a

circle. If they affirm the latter, that God has determined to bestow faith on those who are

to be saved; I will prove, that He has determined to bestow salvation on those who believe,

and shall then have formed a circle, notwithstanding their unwillingness. If they adduce the

different respect, I will endeavor to confute it; which cannot be a work of much difficulty in

so very plain a matter.

"7. In the Seventh opposite Question, I had regard to the expression, is it his duty? for

about its possibility there is no contention. But justifying faith is not that by which I believe

that my sins are remitted; for thus the same thing will be the object and the effect of

justifying faith. By this [justifying faith] I obtain remission of sins, therefore it precedes the

other object; [the remission of sins;] and no one can believe that his sins are remitted,

unless he knows that he believes by a justifying faith. For this reason, also, no one can

believe that his future sins will likewise be remitted, unless he knows that he will believe to

the end. For sins are forgiven to him who believes, and only after they have been

committed; wherefore the promise of forgiveness, which is that of the New Testament,

must be considered as depending on a condition stipulated by God, that is FAITH, without

which there is no covenant.

"8. With respect to the Eighth Question, let a distinction be made between Faith as it is a

quality or habit, and between the same as it is an art. Actual believing justifies, or the act of

believing is imputed for righteousness. Because God requires actual faith; for our capability

to perform which, He infuses that which is habitual. Therefore, as actual faith does not

consist with moral sin, he who falls into mortal sin may be damned. But it is possible for a

believer to fall into mortal sin, of which David is seen as an instance Therefore, he may fall

at such a moment as, if he were then to die, he would be damned. ‘If our heart condemn us

not, then have we confidence toward God.’ Therefore, if it does condemn us, we have no

confidence, we cannot have any; because ‘God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all

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things.’ What is said about the impossibility of this event, because, God has determined not

to take such persons out of the world at that moment, conduces nothing in favor of their

hypothesis. For this is opposed to final destruction, not to temporary, and to their total

destruction for a season, which is the subject of their Eighth Question.

"9. If it be replied to my Ninth opposing Question, that, in the covenant of grace, God

requires a duty which is impossible to man; they will be forced to confess, that, in addition

to this covenant, another is necessary, according to which God pardons a duty not

performed according to that covenant of grace; as it was necessary that there should be

another covenant, by which God might pardon a duty not performed according to the legal

covenant. And thus shall we proceed on ad infinitum. At length we must arrive at the point

from which we can say, God save sinners, of his infinite mercy, which is limited by no

conditions prescribed by his equity. This seems to be an expression which will be entirely

conformable to the whole doctrine of those who urge absolute predestination, For, since

wrath and mercy are opposed to each other, as wrath is infinite, may not mercy too, be

infinite? According to their doctrine, whatever they oppose to the contrary, wrath makes

men sinners, that it may have those whom it can punish. But they expressly say, mercy

makes men believers by an omnipotent force, and preserves them from the possibility of

falling, that it may have those whom it can save. But, as Nicasius Van der Schuer says, if God

could make a sinner, that He might have one whom He could punish; He could also punish

without sin; therefore He could likewise mercifully save without faith. And as Wrath willed

to have a just title for damnation, through the intervention of sin, so it became Mercy to

save, without the intervention of any duty, that it might be manifest that the whole is of

mercy without the semblance of justice. I say, without the semblance of justice; because it

begets faith by an irresistible force, and by an irresistible force it causes man to continue in

faith to the end, and thus necessarily to be saved, according to the decree, he that believes

and perseveres, shall be saved This being laid down, all equity is excluded, as well from the

decree of predestination to salvation, as from that of predestination to death. These

objections, I am conscientiously of opinion, may, without calumny, be made to their

sentiments; and I am prepared to maintain this very thing against any patron whatsoever of

those sentiments. For they do not extricate themselves when they say, that man

spontaneously sins, and believes by a spontaneous motion. For that which is spontaneous,

and that which is natural, are not in opposition. And that which is spontaneous coincides

with that which is absolutely necessary; as, a stone is moved downwards; a beast eats, and

propagates its species; man loves that which is good for himself. But all excuses terminate

in this spontaneous matter."

5. ON PREDESTINATION TO SALVATION, AND ON DAMNATION CONSIDERED IN THE

HIGHEST DEGREE

1. The first in order of the divine decrees is not that of predestination, by which God

foreordained to supernatural ends, and by which he resolved to save and to condemn, to

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declare his mercy and his punitive justice, and to illustrate the glory of his saving grace, and

of his wisdom and power which correspond with that most free grace.

2. The object of predestination to supernatural ends, to salvation and death, to the

demonstration of the mercy and punitive justice, or of the saving grace, the wisdom, and

the most free power of God, is not rational creatures indefinitely foreknown, and capable

of salvation, of damnation, of creation, of falling, and of reparation or of being recovered.

3. Nor is the subject some particular creatures from among those who are considered in

this manner.

4. The difference between the vessels to honor and those to dishonor, that is, of mercy and

wrath, does not appertain to the adorning or perfection of the universe or of the house of

God.

5. The entrance of sin into the world does not appertain to the beauty of the universe.

6. Creation in the upright state of original righteousness is not a means for executing the

decree of predestination, or of election, or of reprobation.

7. It is horrid to affirm, that "the way of reprobation is creation in the upright state of

original righteousness;" (Gomarus, in his Theses on Predestination;) and in this very

assertion are propounded two contrary volitions of God concerning one and the same

thing.

8. It is a horrible affirmation, that "God has predestinated whatsoever men he pleased not

only to damnation, but likewise to the causes of damnation." (Beza, vol. I, fol. 417.)

9. It is a horrible affirmation, that "men are predestinated to eternal death by the naked

will or choice of God, without any demerit on their part." (Calvin, Inst. l. I, c. 2, 3.)

10. This, also, is a horrible affirmation: "Some among men have been created unto life

eternal, and others unto death eternal."

11. It is not a felicitous expression, that "preparation unto destruction is not to be referred

to any other thing, than to the secret counsel of God."

12. Permission for the fall [of Adam] into sin, is not the means of executing the decree of

predestination, or of election, or of reprobation.

13. It is an absurd assertion, that "the demerits of the reprobate are the subordinate means

of bringing them onward to destined destruction."

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14. It is a false assertion, that "the efficient and sufficient cause and matter of

predestination are thus found in those who are reprobated."

15. The elect are not called "vessels of mercy" in the relation of means to the end, but

because mercy is the only moving cause, by which is made the decree itself of

predestination to salvation.

16. No small injury is inflicted on Christ as mediator, when he is called "the subordinate

cause of destined salvation."

17. The predestination of angels and of men differ so much from each other, that no

property of God can be prefixed to both of them unless it be received in an ambiguous

acceptation.

6. ON THE CREATION, AND CHIEFLY THAT OF MAN

1. The creation of things out of nothing is the very first of all the external acts of God; nor is

it possible for any act to be prior to this, or conceived to be prior to it; and the decree

concerning creation is the first of all the decrees of God; because the properties according

to which he performs and operates all things, are, in the first impulse of his nature, and in

his first egress, occupied about nihility or nothing, when those properties are borne, ad

extra, "outwards."

2. God has formed two creatures rational and capable of things divine; ONE of them is

purely spiritual and invisible, and [that is the class of] angels; but the OTHER is partly

corporeal and partly spiritual, visible and invisible, and [that is the class of] men; and the

perfection of this universe seeing to have required the formation of these two [classes of]

creatures.

3. QUERY. — Did it not become the manifold wisdom of God, and was it not suitable to the

difference by which these two rational creatures were distinguished at the very creation,

that, in the mode and circumstances of imparting eternal life to angels and to men, he

might act in a different manner with the former from that which he adopts towards the

latter? It appears that he might do so.

4. But two general methods may be mentally conceived by us, ONE of which is through the

strict observance of the law laid down, without hope of pardon if any transgression were

committed; but the OTHER is through the remission of sins, though a law agreeable to their

nature was likewise to be prescribed by a peremptory decree to men, with whom it was not

the will of God to treat in a strict manner and according to the utmost rigor; and obedience

was to be required from them without a promise or pardon.

5. The image and likeness of God, after which man was created, belongs partly to the very

nature of man, so that, without it, man cannot be man; but it partly consists in those things

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which concern supernatural, heavenly and spiritual things. The former class comprises the

understanding, the affections, and the will, which is free; but the latter, the knowledge of

God and of things divine, righteousness, true holiness, etc.

6. With respect to essence and adequate objects, the faith by which Adam believed in God

is not the same as that by which he believed in God after the promise made concerning the

Blessed Seed, and not the same as that by which we believe the gospel of Christ.

7. Without doing any wrong to God, to Adam, and to the truth itself, it may be said, that in

his primeval state Adam neither received or possessed a Proximate capability of

understanding, believing, or performing any thing whatsoever which could be necessary to

be understood, believed, or performed by him, in any state whatsoever at which it was

possible for him to arrive, either by his own endeavors or by the gift of God, though he

must have had a remote capability, otherwise something essential would still have been to

be created within man himself.

8. The liberty of the will consists in this — when all the requisites for willing or not willing

are laid down, man is still indifferent to will or not to will, to will this rather than that. This

indifference is removed by the previous determination, by which the will is circumscribed

and absolutely determined to the one part or to the other of the contradiction or

contrariety; and this predetermination, therefore, does not consist with the liberty of the

will, which requires not only free capability, but also tree use in the very exercise of it.

9. Internal necessity is as repugnant to liberty as external necessity is; nay, external

necessity does not necessitate to act except by the intervention of that which is internal.

10. Adam either possessed, or had ready and prepared for him, sufficient grace, whether it

were habitual or assisting, to obey the command imposed on him, both that command

which was symbolical and ceremonial, and that which was moral. ………………

10. ON THE CAUSE OF SIN UNIVERSALLY

1. Though sin can be committed by none except by a rational creature, and, therefore,

ceases to be sin by this very circumstance if the cause of it be ascribed to God; yet it seems

possible, by four arguments, to fasten this charge on our divines. "It follows from their

doctrine that God is the author of sin."

2. First reason. — Because they teach that, "without foresight of sin, God absolutely

determined to declare his own glory through punitive justice and mercy, in the salvation of

some men and in the damnation of others."

Or, as others of them assert, "God resolved to illustrate his own glory by the demonstration

of saving grace, wisdom, wrath, ability, and most free power, in the salvation of some

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particular men, and in the eternal damnation of others; which neither can be done, nor has

been done, without the entrance of sin into the world."

3. Second reason. — Because they teach "that, in order to attain to that chief and supreme

end, God ordained that man should sin and become corrupt, by which thing God might

open a way to himself for the execution of this decree."

4. Third reason. — Because they teach "that God has either denied to man, or has

withdrawn from man, before he sinned, grace necessary and sufficient to avoid sin;" which

is equivalent to this — as if God had imposed a law on man which was simply impossible to

be performed or observed by his very nature.

5. Fourth reason. — Because they attribute to God some acts, partly external, partly

mediate, and partly immediate, which, being once laid down, man was not able to do

otherwise than commit sin by necessity of a consequent and antecedent to the thing itself,

which entirely takes away all liberty; yet without this liberty a man cannot be considered, or

reckoned, as being guilty of the commission of sin.

6. A Fifth reason. — Testimonies of the same description may be added in which our

divines assert, in express words, that "the reprobate cannot escape the necessity of sinning,

especially since this kind of necessity is injected through the appointment of God." (Calvin’s

Institutes, Lib. 2, 23.)

11. OF THE FALL OF ADAM

1. Adam was able to continue in goodness and to refrain from sinning, and this in reality

and in reference to the issue, and not only by capability not to be brought into action on

account of some preceding decree of God, or rather not possible to lead to an act by that

preceding decree.

2. Adam sinned freely and voluntarily, without any necessity, either internal or external.

3. Adam did not fall through the decree of God, neither through being ordained to fall nor

through desertion, but through the mere permission of God, which is placed in

subordination to no predestination either to salvation or to death, but which belongs to

providence so far as it is distinguished in opposition to predestination.

4. Adam did not fall necessarily, either with respect to a decree, appointment, desertion, or

permission, from which it is evident what kind of judgment ought to be formed concerning

expressions of the following description:

5. "I confess, indeed, that by the will of God all the sons of Adam have fallen into this

miserable condition in which they are bound and fastened." (Calvin’s Institute, lib. 3, cap.

23.)

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6. "They deny, in express words, the existence of this fact — that it was decreed by God

that Adam should perish by his own defection."

7. "God foreknew what result man would have, became he thus ordained it by his decree."

8. "God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, but by his own will he ordained it."

12. ON ORIGINAL SIN

1. Original sin is not that actual sin by which Adam transgressed the law concerning the tree

of knowledge of good and evil, and on account of which we have all been constituted

sinners, and rendered obnoxious or liable to death and condemnation.

2. QUERIES. — Is original sin only the absence or want of original righteousness and of

primeval holiness, with an inclination to commit sin, which likewise formerly existed in man,

though it was not so vehement nor so inordinate as now it is, on account of the lost favor of

God, his malediction, and the loss of that good by which that inclination was reduced to

order? Or is it a certain infused habit (or acquired ingress) contrary to righteousness and

holiness, after that sin had been committed,

3. Does original sin render men obnoxious to the wrath of God, when they have been

previously constituted sinners on account of the actual sin of Adam, and rendered liable to

damnation?

4. Adam, when considered in this state, after sin and prior to restoration, was not bound at

once to punishment and obedience, but only to punishment. ……………

14. ON PREDESTINATION CONSIDERED AFTER THE FALL

1. QUERIES. — Out of the fallen human race, or out of the mass of corruption and perdition,

has God absolutely chosen some particular men to life, and absolutely reprobated others to

death, without any consideration of the good of the one or of the evil of the other? And

from a just decree, which is both gracious and severe, is there such a requisite condition as

this in the object which God is about to elect and to save, or to reprobate and condemn?

2. Is any man damned with death eternal, solely on account of the sin of Adam?

3. Are those who are thus the elect necessarily saved on account of the efficacy of grace,

which has been destined to them only that they may not be able to do otherwise than

assent to it, as it is irresistible,

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4. Are those who are thus the reprobate necessarily damned, because either no grace at all,

or not sufficient, has been destined to them, that they may assent to it and believe,

5. Or rather, according to St. Augustine, Are those who are thus the elect assuredly saved,

because God decreed to employ grace on them as he knew was suitable and congruous

that they might be persuaded and saved; though if regard be had to the internal efficacy of

grace, they may not be advanced or benefited by it,

6. Are those who have thus been reprobated certainly damned, because God does not

apply to them grace as he knows to be suitable and congruous, though in the mean time

they are supplied with sufficient grace, that they may be able to yield their assent and be

saved,

15. ON THE DECREES OF GOD WHICH CONCERN THE SALVATION OF SINFUL MEN,

ACCORDING TO HIS OWN SENSE

1. The first decree concerning the salvation of sinful men, as that by which God resolves to

appoint his Son Jesus Christ as a savior, mediator, redeemer, high priest, and one who may

expiate sins, by the merit of his own obedience may recover lost salvation, and dispense it

by his efficacy.

2. The SECOND DECREE is that by which God resolves to receive into favor those who

repent and believe, and to save in Christ, on account of Christ, and through Christ, those

who persevere, but to leave under sin and wrath those who are impenitent and unbelievers,

and to condemn them as aliens from Christ.

3. The THIRD DECREE is that by which God resolves to administer such means for

repentance and faith as are necessary, sufficient, and efficacious. And this administration is

directed according to the wisdom of God, by which he knows what is suitable or becoming

to mercy and severity; it is also according to his righteousness, by which he is prepared to

follow and execute [the directions] of his wisdom.

4. From these follows a FOURTH DECREE, concerning the salvation of these particular

persons, and the damnation of those. This rests or depends on the prescience and foresight

of God, by which he foreknew from all eternity what men would, through such

administration, believe by the aid of preventing or preceding grace, and would persevere by

the aid of subsequent or following grace, and who would not believe and persevere.

5. Hence, God is said to "know those who are his;" and the number both of those who are

to be saved, and of those who are to be damned, is certain and fixed, and the quod and the

qui, [the substance and the parties of whom it is composed,] or, as the phrase of the

schools is, both materially and formally.

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6. The second decree [described in § 2] is predestination to salvation, which is the

foundation of Christianity, salvation, and of the assurance of salvation; it is also the matter

of the gospel, and the substance of the doctrine taught by the apostles.

7. But that predestination by which God is said to have decreed to save particular creatures

and persons and to endue them with faith, is neither the foundation of Christianity, of

salvation, nor of the assurance of salvation.

21. ON THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS

1. QUERIES. — Is it possible for true believers to fall away totally and finally:

2. Do some of them, in reality, totally and finally fall from the faith?

3. The opinion which denies "that true believers and regenerate persons are either capable

of falling away or actually do fall away from the faith totally and finally," was never, from

the very times of the apostles down to the present day, accounted by the church as a

catholic doctrine. Neither has that which affirms the contrary ever been reckoned as a

heretical opinion; nay, that which affirms it possible for believers to fall away from the faith,

has always had more supporters in the church of Christ, than that which denies its

possibility of its actually occurring.

22. ON THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

1. QUERIES. — Is it possible for any believer, without a special revelation, to be certain or

assured that he will not decline or fall away from the faith,

2. Are those who have faith, bound to believe that they will not decline from the faith?

3. The affirmative of either of these questions was never accounted in the church of Christ

as a catholic doctrine; and the denial of either of them has never been adjudged by the

church universal as a heresy.

4. The persuasion by which any believer assuredly persuades himself that it is impossible

for him to decline from the faith, or that, at least, he will not decline from the faith, does

not conduce so much to consolation against despair or against the doubting that is adverse

to faith and hope, as it contributes to security, a thing directly opposed to that most

salutary fear with which we are commanded to work out our salvation, and which is

exceedingly necessary in this scene of temptations.

5. He who is of opinion that it is possible for him to decline from the faith, and who,

therefore, is afraid lest he should decline, is neither destitute of necessary consolation, nor

is he on this account, tormented with anxiety of mind. For it suffices to inspire consolation

and to exclude anxiety, when he knows that he will decline from the faith through no force

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of Satan, of sin, or of the world, and through no inclination or weakness of his own flesh,

unless he willingly and of his own accord, yield to temptation, and neglect to work out his

salvation in a conscientious manner.

So here are the basic biblical themes and passages that I think point towards the Arminian

position being more biblical:

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CHAPTER SIX

MOLINISM AND METHODISM

A

MOLINISM

Luis de Molina (1535-1600)

and .

16th Century Spanish Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina (1535-1600), and Pedro da Fonseca

(1528-1599)attempted to reconcile the problem of predestination due to foreknowledge of

God with human free will using the principle of probability.

(Wikipaedia)

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God’s knowledge in a sequence of three logical moments.

The first is God's knowledge of necessary truths or natural knowledge.

Natural Knowledge: God knows the range of all possible worlds.These truths are

independent of God's will and are non-contingent.

This knowledge includes the full range of logical possibilities.

Examples include statements like,

"All bachelors are unmarried" or

"X cannot be A and non-A at the same time,

Everything that could be.

In the same way, at the same place" or

"It is possible that X obtain".

This knowledge is simply the logic of thinking and its relation to the case in consideration.

The second is called “middle knowledge”

It contains the range of possible things that would happen given certain circumstances.

This gives all possibilities. One of this will have to happen.

God knows all the feasible worlds he could create.

Everything that would be.

The third kind of knowledge is God's free knowledge.

This type of knowledge consists of contingent truths that are dependent upon God's will; or

truths that God brings about, that He does not have to bring about.

Examples might include statements like

"God created the earth"

or something particular about this world which God has actualized.

This is called God’s “free knowledge” and it contains the future or what will happen.

God knows all truths about the actual world.

Everything that will be.

In between God’s natural and free knowledge is His middle knowledge (or scientia media)

by which God knows what His free creatures would do under any circumstance.

These are truths that do not have to be true, but are true without God being the primary

cause of them.

"If you entered the ice cream shop, you would choose chocolate" is an example of a

statement God knows via middle.knowledge.

Given a whole array of possible worlds (that God knows), given worlds in which men and

women were free in the relevant indeterministic sense, God knows what they would freely

choose in every possible circumstance.

This is the most probable action or event within the middle distribution.

This is true for all possible people and all possible circumstances. God has this middle

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knowledge by inspection of all the possibilities that the free will of each person

might choose.

This middle knowledge or most probable action in itself does not guarantee the accuracy of

the event happenning. With perfect omniscience of God, why does he need the

probability determination? Not only is middle knowledge unnecessary to an all-knowing,

all-decreeing God, but the Molinists’ conception of free will makes it impossible for God to

exercise providential control over his creation. Why? Because men and women would be

free to resist His decree. God can only bring to pass the actions of free agents via his middle

knowledge of what they would freely do if.

This method of forecast is nothing new in the modern life. We do this with weather

forecast, for predicting share market behavior and many other things.

Further, given the Molinist view of freedom, it is impossible for God to bring about the

conversion of any person by the exercise of His effective call, for in the view of the Molinists

it is always possible for an individual to resist God’s grace. It gives the freedom of will but

not absolute omniscience of God nor absolute predeterminantion of the event happenning.

The actual prophecies in the bible are probably based on this third knowledge. In fact

Bible does not require every prophecy to come to pass exactly because of that. This is

understood because the purpose of prophecy is to correct and redirect.

Debate between Jesuit Molinists and Dominicans

In 1581, a heated argument erupted between the Jesuits, who advocated Molinism, and

the Dominicans, who had a different understanding of God's foreknowledge and the nature

of predestination. In 1597, Pope Clement VIII established the Congregatio de Auxiliis, a

committee whose purpose was to settle this controversy. In 1607, Pope Paul V ended the

quarrel by forbidding each side to accuse the other of heresy, allowing both views to exist

side-by-side in the Catholic Church.

Biblical texts for Molinism

Molinists have often argued that their position is the Biblical one by indicating passages

they understand to teach God's middle knowledge.

Molina advanced the following three texts: 1 Samuel 23:8-14, Proverbs 4:11, and Matthew

11:23. Other passages which Molinists use are Ezekiel 3:6-7, Jeremiah 38:17-18, 1

Corinthians 2:8, Deuteronomy 28:51-57, Matthew 23:27-32, Matthew 12:7, Matthew 24:43,

Luke 16:30-31, and Luke 22:67-68. William Lane Craig has argued at length that many of

Christ's statements seem to indicate middle knowledge. Craig cites the following passages:

Matthew 17:27, John 21:6, John 15:22-24, John 18:36, Luke 4:24-44 and Matthew 26:24.

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Isaiah 46:10–11

10

Declaring the end from the beginning,

And from ancient times things that are not yet done,

Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

And I will do all My pleasure,’

11

Calling a bird of prey from the east,

The man r who executes My counsel, from a far country.

Indeed I have spoken it;

I will also bring it to pass.

I have purposed it;

I will also do it.

In this passage God clearly states how he can bring it to pass by controlling the cause effect

relations and his omnipotence. It appears that even though God can bring it pass, he does

not have to, giving freedom. Freedom is given by the sovereign by not interfering with

the subject. But as Isaiah says God can always bring it pass, if he wants.

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METHODISM

WESLEY’S

EVANGELICAL ARMINIAN POSITION

John Wesley (1703 – 2 March 1791) was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian who

founded the Arminian Methodist movement. The Wesley Methodist Movement began

when Wesley took over open-air preaching started by George Whitefield at Hanham Mount,

Kingswood, and Bristol.

TOTAL DEPRAVITY

Total depravity is affirmed by Wesley, meaning that the fallen human being is

completely helpless and in bondage to sin. This means, contrary to popular

misconception, Wesley does not believe that fallen human beings have an inherent

freedom of the will.

UNIVERSAL ATONEMENT

The atonement is universal in scope. Christ’s death was sufficient to atone for the sins

of the whole world, not only an elect few, as proposed by five-point Calvinism.

PREVENIENT GRACE

Prevenient grace is universally available to all, restoring a measure of freedom so that

the human being can respond to God’s grace. This is how Wesley could affirm that all

human persons were free to respond to God’s grace – but note that the freedom which

humans possess is a measure of freedom (not libertarian freedom) and is by grace, not

an inherent endowment that is retained in fallen humanity.

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IRESISTIBLE GRACE

Grace is resistible and can be rejected, to our own destruction.

all people to himself, but his grace is not coercive.

God is actively drawing

CORPORATE PREDESTINATION

Predestination is therefore based on God’s foreknowledge, not his will. That is, God

corporately predestines all those who respond in faith to salvation, and by

foreknowledge he knows who will respond. His foreknowledge does not cause their

response.

ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

Assurance of salvation is given by the Holy Spirit, who witnesses directly to our adoption

as children of God through Christ, and is also confirmed indirectly by the fruit of the

Spirit.

“What is an Arminian?”

By John Wesley

1. To say, “This man is an Arminian,” has the same effect on many hearers as to say, “This is

a mad dog.” It puts them into a fright at once. They run away from him with all speed and

diligence and will hardly stop, unless to throw a stone at the dreadful and mischievous

animal.

2. The more unintelligible the word is, the better it answers the purpose. Those on whom

it is fixed do not know what to do. Not understanding what it means, they cannot tell

what defense to make or how to clear themselves from the charge. And it is not easy to

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remove the prejudice which others have imbibed, who know no more of it than that it is

“something very bad,” if not “all that is bad!”

3. To clear the meaning, therefore, of this ambiguous term, may be useful to many. To

those who so freely pin this name on others, that they may not say what they do not

understand; to those who hear them, that they may be no longer abused by men saying

what they do not know; and to those on whom the name is fixed, that they may know how

to answer for themselves.

4. It may be necessary to observe, first, that many confound Arminians with Arians. But

this is entirely a different thing; the one has no resemblance to the other. An Arian is one

who denies the Godhead of Christ – we scarcely need say the supreme, eternal Godhead

because there can be no God but the supreme, eternal God, unless we would make two

Gods, a great God and a little one. Now, none have ever more firmly believed or more

strongly asserted the Godhead of Christ than many of the (so called) Arminians have done;

yes, and do at this day. Arminianism therefore (whatever it is) is totally different from

Arianism.

5. The rise of the word was this: James Harmens, in Latin: Jacobus Arminius, was first one of

the ministers of Amsterdam and afterward Professor of Divinity at Leyden. He was

educated at Geneva, but in the year 1591 he began to doubt of the [Calvinist] principles

which he had till then received. And being more and more convinced that they were

wrong, when he was vested with the professorship, he publicly taught what he believed the

truth till, in the year 1609, he died in peace. But a few years after his death, some zealous

men with the Prince of Orange at their head, furiously assaulted all those who held what

were called his opinions. And having procured them to be solemnly condemned, in the

famous Synod of Dort (not so numerous or learned, but full as impartial, as the Council or

Synod of Trent), some were put to death, some banished, some imprisoned for life, all

turned out of their employments, and made incapable of holding any office, either in

Church or State.

6. The errors charged upon these (usually termed Arminians) by their opponents are five:

(1.) That they deny original sin; (2.) That they deny justification by faith; (3.) That they deny

absolute predestination; (4.) That they deny the grace of God to be irresistible; and, (5.)

That they affirm, a believer may fall from grace.

With regard to the first two of these charges they plead, ‘Not Guilty.’ They are entirely

false. No man that ever lived, not John Calvin himself, ever asserted either original sin or

justification by faith in more strong, more clear and express terms than Arminius has

done. These two points, therefore, are to be set out of the question. In these both parties

agree. In this respect, there is not a hair’s breadth difference between Mr. Wesley and Mr.

Whitefield.

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7. But there is an undeniable difference between the Calvinists and Arminians with regard

to the three other questions. Here they divide; the former believe absolute, the latter only

conditional, predestination. The Calvinists hold: God has absolutely decreed from all

eternity to save such and such persons, and no others; and that Christ died for these and

none else. The Arminians hold: God has decreed from all eternity touching all who have

the written word, “One who believes will be saved; one who does not believe will be

condemned.” And in order to this: “Christ died for all, all who were dead in trespasses and

sins”; that is, for every child of Adam, since “in Adam all died.”

8. The Calvinists hold, secondly, that the saving grace of God is absolutely irresistible; that

no one is any more able to resist it than to resist the stroke of lightning. The Arminians

hold that, although there may be some moments in which the grace of God acts irresistibly,

yet in general any one may resist, and that to his eternal ruin, the grace whereby it was the

will of God he should have been eternally saved.

9. The Calvinists hold, thirdly, that a true believer in Christ cannot possibly fall from

grace. The Arminians hold that a true believer may make ‘shipwreck’ of faith and a good

conscience (1 Tim. 1:19), so that he may fall not only foully but finally, so as to perish for

ever.

10. Indeed, the two latter points, irresistible grace and infallible perseverance, are the

natural consequence of the former, of the unconditional decree. For if God has eternally

and absolutely decreed to save such and such persons, it follows both that they cannot

resist His saving grace (else they might miss salvation) and that they cannot finally fall from

that grace which they cannot resist. So that, in effect, the three questions come into one:

“Is predestination absolute or conditional?” The Arminians believe it is conditional; the

Calvinists, that it is absolute.

11. Away, then, with all ambiguity! Away with all expressions which only puzzle the

cause! Let honest men speak out, and not play with hard words which they do not

understand. And how can any man who has never read one page of his writings know

what Arminius held? Let no man bawl against Arminians till he knows what the term

means, and then he will know that Arminians and Calvinists are just upon a level. And

Arminians have as much right to be angry at Calvinists as Calvinists have to be angry at

Arminians. John Calvin was a pious, learned, sensible man; and so was James Harmens.

Many Calvinists are pious, learned, sensible men; and so are many Arminians. Only, the

former hold absolute predestination; the latter, conditional.

12. One word more: is it not the duty of every Arminian preacher, first, never, in public or in

private, to use the word Calvinist as a term of reproach, seeing it is neither better nor

worse than calling names? a practice no more consistent with good sense or good manners

than it is with Christianity. Secondly, to do all that lies in him to prevent his hearers from

doing it, by showing them the sin and folly of it? And is it not equally the duty of every

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Calvinist preacher, first, never in public or in private, in preaching or in conversation, to use

the word Arminian as a term of reproach? Secondly, to do all that lies in him to prevent his

hearers from doing it, by showing them the sin and folly of it; and that the more earnestly

and diligently if they have been accustomed to do so? perhaps encouraged in such by his

own example!

– The Essential Works of John Wesley (2011: Barbour Publishing), pp. 1171-3

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CHAPTER SEVEN

SOME DETAILS

Here are a collection scriptural basis as claimed by the various doctrinal sects collected

from many websites both Calvinistic and Arministic sections.

SCRIPTURAL BASIS OF CALVINISM

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Romans 9

This is a major text quoted by the Calvinists

Romans 9:8-24: This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the

children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9

For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and

Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had

conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were

not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s

purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him

who calls– 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is

written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For

he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have

compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human

will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to

Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my

power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So

then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his

will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded

say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no

right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use

and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath

and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of

wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his

glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– 24

even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the

Gentiles?

Calvinist interpretation:

The passage describes what Sovereignity is all about.

Isaac and Jacob are examples of God’s unconditional election

and Ishmael, Esau and Pharaoh are examples of God’s unconditional reprobation.

Jacob was chosen as against Esaw the first born even before they were born.

The potter metaphor show again the same election of some as against the reprobation of

other pots.

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Taking the text in the context:

The context is in 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for

salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. ”

Salvation is through the gospel.

Salvation is for both the Jew and the Gentile even though Jews were elected first. There is

no partiality in the salvation.

The electrion of the Jew was first. Why is this?

They were elected not for salvation but as to be witnesses and to serve the Gentiles.

Abraham was selected so that the whole mankind may be blessed.

1Gen 22: 8"In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have

obeyed My voice."

Deut. 7:6 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen

you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the

earth. 7"The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in

number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8but because the

LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers,

The same election is repeated in 1 Peter:

1 Peter 2: 8-10 “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they

disobey the message—and to this they were appointed. 9But you are a chosen people, a

royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the

virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10Once you were

not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but

now you have received mercy.…

This election was to be witness. Here again it is not for individuals but for a community - the

church. Of course, the church is a community who believes in Jesus.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the

one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”

In this part Paul explains that Jacob and Easaw represens two nations.

Actually Esau never served Jacob. In fact when Jacob returned home, he pays his homage

to Esau as his elder brother. But the generation of Esau - Edom, did serve generations of

Jacob -Israel. Evidently the verse is talking about the two nations and not individuals.

Election here is of a community.

Thus it is important to note that the text is not trying to describe unconditional election,

but is in fact denying election by lineage. The Jews thought that they were elect by birth

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and justified by works. In other words, the entered the covenant by birth, and maintained it

by works. Paul’s original thesis makes this clear. These examples are not examples of God

choosing Isaac and Jacob, but examples of God not choosing Ishmael and Esau (as well as

their descendants), even though they were both sons of Abraham.

Ephesians 1:3-12: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, for we are

blessed in all spiritual blessings, in the heavenly things, in Christ, seeing that He chose us in

Him before the inception of the world to be holy and unblemished within His presence in

love, thus predestining us into adoption to Him through Jesus Christ, according to the good

judgment of His will in praise of His glory and His grace by which He favoured us in the

Loved One.

Paul is using the concepts of predestination and election to praise God for the inclusion

(or predestining) of the Gentiles in election. Why are these gentiles - as community

outside of Israel - elected? Is there an Abraham behind? There is and more so, because

the whole mankind are sons of Adam, son of God. Hence Paul goes on to say:

3:5-6: In former generation this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has

now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is the Gentiles

have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in

Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Ephesians 2:8

Ephesians 2:8 For you see it is from grace that you have been saved through faith;

not from yourself. This is a gift of God, not from works so that none may boast.

Faith is not something induced. It is something a person chooes. It has nothing to

do with predestination. It in fact supports human freedom

John 6:36-40 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All

that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never

drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will

of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none

of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is

that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I

will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44-45 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,

and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all

be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes

to me.

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The Calvinist interpretation: The text is distinguishing between those that follow Jesus and

those that do not. To be given to the Son implies that the Father unconditionally elected

them and then gave them to the Son. Indeed this is emphasized with the word ‘draw’ in

verse 44 which implies being dragged against your will and is thus a picture of irresistible

grace. Therefore the point of the passage is the futility of these Jews trying to come to Jesus

on their own, and Christ is telling them that they can’t because the Father isn’t drawing

them.

This is actually distinguishing those who believe in Christ because of their faith in God

(essentially talking about the Jews). Jesus is talking to the jews and Jesus came as the

mesiah of the Jews and is as such talking to them. There is no predestination even

indicated.

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word

of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

The confusion over the word tasso translated as ‘ordained’. The word tasso doesn’t mean

‘ordain’. It means ‘to set’ or ‘to position’.

The Greek runs as follows: kai (and) episteusan (believed[aorist {or past} tense]) hosoi (as

many as[nominative {subject}]) esan (were [verb]) tetagmenoi (positioned [nominative

particple]) eis (into) zoen (life[direct object]) aionion (eternal[adjective])

It should read “ as many as were positioned or set their face towards life eternal.”

“And ones who believed were the ones that were set in eternal life”. This is really the

best rendering.

If anything, the text simply implies that eternal life comes by faith.

Jesus says,

John 6:44“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will

raise him up on the last day.”

God decide who will be drawn to Jesus and who won’t be.

John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.”

John 6:65: “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the

Father.”

John 17:6: “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the

world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”

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Romans 8:29-30:

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his

Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he

predestined, he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom

he justified he also glorified.”

Romans 9:14-24:

“What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to

Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I

have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who

has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up,

that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the

earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who

are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have

you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same

lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring

to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels

of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for

vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has

called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

Romans 11:5 Paul states, “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.”

God hardened the heart of Pharaoh.

In Exodus 4:21 God tells Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before

Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that

he will not let the people go.”

Romans 6:17-18 Paul writes, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin

have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were

committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”

Romans 8: 7-8 the Apostle Paul writes, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to

God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh

cannot please God.”

Revelation 3:20? “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and

opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

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Jesus says, “If any one hears my voice . . .” Can a spiritually deaf person hear the voice of

Jesus?

Romans 11:7-8 th “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect

obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor,

eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.’”

He knocks only on the doors of those who can hear and respond. Not on the doors of the

damned.

The Tribal God King picture as presented by Calvin

God does everything for his own glory.

Now how does God bring glory to Himself by making people blind, deaf and mute? How

does God bring glory to Himself by giving people “a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see

and ears that would not hear (Romans 11:8)”?

The human mind doesn’t understand how, but that is how God works so that in damning

you he gets the glory just like a victor king beheads the defeated kings. It reduces YHVH to

a tribal god.

You better change your idea of a loving God who created the whole mankind and the

Universe. He loves them only when he gets the glory. The slightest expresssion of freedom

is destroys that glory and you get the hell. What is the glory God gets when his children are

put in the hell and are eternally tortured? What a great glory is it! Sorry you don’t

understand. But then you are not to understand it. “My thoughts are not your

thoughts……

The picture presented by Calvin of the God is far from the “God is Love” expessed on the

cross.

The Gnostic Origins of Calvinism – October 8, 2013

by Ken Johnson

The Apostle John Corrected Calvinistic Gnostics

The Calvinistic Gnostics believed in the Calvinistic formof predestination and that you

could not know for sure if you were truely saved until you died.

John corrected this Gnostic thought by saying you can know you currently have

eternal life (1 John 5:13; 2:25; 4:17).

John also corrected many other Gnostic thoughts in his epistle such as:

Jesus died for the sins of the world, not just certain people (l John 2:2).

You must continue to believe the gospel the way John taught it to remain saved (2

John 9).

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Christians cannot practice sin (1 John 3:6, 9;5:18).

Follow John‘s gospel, not the Gnostic one (l John 4:6).

Jesus‘ sacrifice is the only way of salvation, not that you were bom saved the way the

Gnostics believed (1John 4:l0, 14).

John Calvin Quotes:

http://www.examiningcalvinism.com/files/Complaints/Charge_Dissonance.html

The Fall, Divine Permission and the Author of Sin

Will of God is the Cause of all Evil, God is not the author of Evil

“First, it must be observed that the will of God is the cause of all things that happen in the

world; and yet God is not the author of evil.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God,

p.169,)

Wrong and Unjust things done by man is the just works of God

“Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and

just works of God. This may seem paradoxical at first sight to some; but at least they should

not be so offended that they will not suffer me to search the word of God for a little to find

out what should be thought here.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169)

God decreed the fall of Adam and did that to please himself

“I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant

children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the

most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is

impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him,

and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should any one here inveigh

against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be

made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen?

Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, it must be directed against predestination.

Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man,

and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.” (The Institutes

of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, section 7)

Evil is by permission but not by ordination

“Here they recur to the distinction between will and permission, the object being to prove

that the wicked perish only by the permission, but not by the will of God. But why do we

say that he permits, but just because he wills? Nor, indeed, is there any probability in the

thing itself—viz. that man brought death upon himself merely by the permission, and not

by the ordination of God; as if God had not determined what he wished the condition of the

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chief of his creatures to be.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23,

section 8)

Evil is decreed to bring what He willed.

“To this opinion of this holy man I subscribe: in sinning, they did what God did not will in

order that God through their evil will might do what He willed.” (Concerning the Eternal

Predestination of God, p.123)

Fall of Adam was ordained but Adam is the one who did it.

“So God in ordaining the fall of man had an end most just and right which holds the name of

sin in abhorrence. Though I affirm that He ordained it so, I do not allow that He is properly

the author of sin.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.123)

God is the willing Author of Evil

“But it is quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows

Him not only willing but the author of them.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God,

p.176)

If you don’t understand it, it is because it is a secret

“If anyone object that this is beyond his comprehension, I confess it. But what wonder if the

immense and incomprehensible majesty of God exceed the limits of our intellect? I am so

far from undertaking the explanation of this sublime, hidden secret, that I wish what I said

at the beginning to be remembered, that those who seek to know more than God has

revealed are crazy. Therefore let us be pleased with instructed ignorance rather than with

the intemperate and inquisitive intoxication of wanting to know more than God allows.”

(Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.123)

“But now, removing from God all proximate causation of the act, I at the same time remove

from Him all guilt and leave man alone liable. It is therefore wicked and calumnious to say

that I make the fall of man one of the works of God. But how it was ordained by the

foreknowledge and decree of God what man’s future was without God being implicated as

associate in the fault as the author or approver of transgression, is clearly a secret so much

excelling the insight of the human mind, that I am not ashamed to confess ignorance.”

(Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.123-124)

Calvinist. R.C. Sproul, states: “But Adam and Eve were not created fallen. They had no sin

nature. They were good creatures with a free will. Yet they chose to sin. Why? I don’t know.

Nor have I found anyone yet who does know.” (Chosen By God, p.31)

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Monergism vs Synergism

Monergism, which comes from a compound Greek word that means “to work alone,” is

the view that God alone effects our salvation. This view is held primarily by Calvinistic and

Reformed traditions and is closely tied to what is known as the “doctrines of grace.”

The Century Dictionary's definition of monergism may be helpful:

"In theology, [monergism is] the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in

regeneration [the new birth] - that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until

regenerated [born again], and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration."

Monergism simply means that

It is God who gives ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart to understand (Deut 29:4, 30:6) .

It is God alone who gives illumination and understanding of His word that we might believe;

It is God who raises us from the dead, who circumcises the heart; unplugs our ears (Ezek

36:26-27);

It is God alone who can give us a new sense that we may, at last, have the moral capacity to

behold His beauty and unsurpassed excellency. The apostle John recorded Jesus saying to

Nicodemus that we naturally love darkness, hate the light and WILL NOT come into the

light (John 3:19, 20).

And since our hardened resistance to God is thus seated in our affections, only God, by His

grace, can lovingly change, overcome and disarm our rebellious disposition. The natural

man, apart from the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, will not come to Christ on his own

since he is at enmity with God and cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14; Rom 8:7).

Reading or hearing the word of God itself cannot elicit saving faith in the reader (or hearer)

unless the Spirit first "germinates" the seed of the word in the heart, which then infallibly

gives rise to our faith and union with Christ. It is said of Lydia that "the Lord opened her

heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul," (Acts 16:14) Likewise, He must also give all

His people spiritual life and understanding if their hearts are to be open and thus turn

(respond) to Christ in faith.

Since faith is infinitely beyond all the power of our unregenerated human nature, it is only

God who can give the spiritual ears to hear and eyes to see the beauty of Christ in the

gospel.

God alone disarms the hostility of the sinner turning his heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

So the problem of conversion is not with the Word or God's Law but with man's prideful

heart.

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The humility required to submit to the gospel (which is beyond man's natural capacity) is,

therefore, not prompted by man's will but by God's mercy (John 1:13; Rom 9:16) since no

one can believe the gospel unless God grants it (John 6:63, 65).

The Spirit must likewise give all His people spiritual life and understanding if their hearts are

to be opened and thus respond to Christ in faith.

Synergism, which also comes from a compound Greek word meaning “to work together,”

is the view that God works together with man in effecting salvation. While monergism is

closely associated with John Calvin, synergism is associated with Jacob Arminius,

James R. Payton discusses the Eastern Orthodox view of the synergism vs monergism

debate as follows:

A distinctive element in the Orthodox understanding of how the Holy Spirit

works deification within us is the doctrine of "synergy"--"working together."

This working together is the collaboration of God's grace and a person's will.

While Western Christianity has argued about the alternatives of "monergism"

and "synergism"--that is, the question of whether salvation is accomplished

only by God or by God and human beings cooperating--this issue did not

become a tension within Orthodoxy. Eastern Christendom has not focused on

the issues of guilt, debt, questions of merit and so on, that flowed from the

juridical approach of the Christian West and made the monergism/synergism

issue a matter of concern. Orthodoxy insists on synergy, but Orthodox teaching

approaches the question of divine grace and human will working together from

quite a different perspective.

The Eastern Orthodox view of synergism holds that "humans beings always have the

freedom to choose, in their personal (gnomic) wills, whether to walk with God or turn from

Him", but "what God does is incomparably more important than what we humans do".

"To describe the relation between the grace of God and human freedom, Orthodoxy uses

the term cooperation or synergy (synergeia); in Paul's words, 'We are fellow-workers

(synergoi) with God' (1 Corinthians iii, 9). If we are to achieve full fellowship with God, we

cannot do so without God's help, yet we must also play our own part: we humans as well as

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God must make our contribution to the common work, although what God does is of

immeasurably greater importance than what we do."[16] "For the regenerated to do

spiritual good — for the works of the believer being contributory to salvation and wrought

by supernatural grace are properly called spiritual — it is necessary that he be guided and

Arminian Protestants share this understanding of synergism, i.e., regeneration as the fruit

of free will's cooperation with grace.

Lutheranism > Monergistic Salvation and Synergistic Damnation

Lutheranism asserts a monergistic salvation and a synergistic damnation.

God wills that all might be saved (1 Tim 2:3-6, Rom. 11:32, etc.) and hence offers the gift of

salvation through the Holy Spirit to all while man is still the uncooperative enemy of God

(Rom. 5:8,10).

The fallen man may continue in resisting God's grace of the free gift of salvation (ex: Matt.

23:37, Heb. 12:25, Acts 7:51, John 16:9, Heb. 12:15, etc.) which will lead to damnation and

the act of non-resistance leads to salvation. Thus man alone bears the responsibility for his

own damnation.

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God did not predestine them to damnation. It is comparable to an offering of

treatybetween the sovereign and the conquerred fallen tribe. If the treaty is accepted,

they remain in the Kingdom of the sovereign in peace. If the offer is rejected the victor

captures the victims and puts them in chains or slavery.

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We see Jesus in Matthew 23:37 saying,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent

unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth

her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

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Divine Laments

There are many divine laments in Scripture. The basic structure of it is that God proclaims

that He regrets what it is that His people are doing. Inherent to the structure of most of the

laments is the concept that God wanted one thing, yet His people did something else. A

short list includes:

• Exodus 32:10

• Number 14:11-12

• Jeremiah 6:9-13

• Jeremiah 7:31

• Jeremiah 13:15-17

• Isaiah 5:1-7

• Matthew 23:37 (and Luke 13:34)

Calvinists argue that everything which happens, God wanted to happen. Indeed, He

decreed that it would happen to establish His plans for creation. However, is that really

biblical? Though there are many divine laments in Scriptures that says man does things

which God never even dreamt of.

They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to

burn their sons and daughters in the fire–something I did not command, nor

did it enter my mind. –Jeremiah 7:31

Potter Metaphor > libertarian free will

The potter metaphor actually teaches that there is no predestination and nothing is

preordained. God reacts to each as it evolves.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:

2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I

went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But

the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter

formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you,

Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the

potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation

or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I

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warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I

had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is

to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not

obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. –

Jeremiah 18:1-10

Universality of Call/Atonement

Ok, time for a bit of prooftexting:

• Isaiah 53:6 – The iniquity of us all was put on Christ.

• Matthew 11:28-30 – Any who come to Christ are welcome.

• Matthew 18:14 – The Father does not wish that any should perish (anti

predestined-reprobation).

• John 1:7 – Jesus intended for all, wants all to believe.

• John 1:29

• John 3:16-17

• John 4:42

• John 6:33, 51

• John 12:32, 47

• Romans 3:23-24 – All have sinned and all have access to justification in Christ Jesus.

• Romans 5:6 – Christ died for the ungodly. Since all are ungodly, Christ died for all.

• Romans 5:15 – Since sin spread to all, Christ’s atonement is meant for all.

• Romans 10:13 – Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

• II Corinthians 5:14-15 – All died, yet Christ died for all.

• I Timothy 2:3-6 – God desires all men to be saved, and gave Himself for all

• I Timothy 4:10

• Titus 2:11 – God’s necessary grace that leads to repentance appears to all.

• Hebrews 2:9 – Jesus tasted death for everyone.

• Hebrews 10:10 – Christ offered once for all.

• II Peter 3:9

• I John 4:14

• I John 2:2 – Jesus is the propitiation, not just for believers, but for the whole world.

• Revelation 22:17

Conditionality of Reward/Punishment (assumed responsibility to the law)

This idea of “the plain sense of Scripture” is known as perspicuity. So let us consider the

perspicuous reading of the following verses:

• Deut 11:26-28: See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the

blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command

you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your

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God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after

other gods that you have not known.

• Josh 24:15: And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom

you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River,

or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house,

we will serve the LORD.”

• Jeremiah 21:8: And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set

before you the way of life and the way of death.

Ezekiel 18:30-31: Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his

ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity

be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and

make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die,

The Corporate Nature of Biblical Election

Election is no exception to this. It is interesting to note that there are no Old Testament

passages on election that teach a concept of personal unconditional election to salvation.

They don’t exist in the New Testament either,

What results is some sense of corporate election: that God operates by choosing a singular

man through whose line a people will be defined as God’s people. In the Old Testament,

this chosen one was Abraham; in the New Testament, it is Jesus. Thus, by being in Christ, i.e.

the nation of Christ, we become part of the chosen: the chosen people of God.

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The Calvinist concept of soveregnty of God is that he is irresistible. That no man could ever

resist the will of Elohim. This is based on a flawed interpretation of Romans 9 as well as

misunderstanding the key terms “foreknown”, “predestined” and “elect”.

Scripture clearly indicates that humans resisted God.

Acts 7:51:“…You men are always resisting the Holy Spirit.”

If in fact the will of God cannot be resisted by man, then all men would be saved.

This is because the scriptures tell us that ALL men have been called by Him to salvation:

(Rom. 5:18)Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so

also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

(1Tim. 2:3-4) This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved

and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

(2Peter. 3:9)9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.

Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to

repentance.

It is clear that God wants all men to be saved. This is simply because all men are children

of God through Adam (Adam was son of God). Since God is love, he loves all his children.

If he is any better than the sinful human fathers, he will want to save all his children. This

is exactly what he did in Jesus. The atonement was for all men.- not limited to a few of his

children.

In fact it seems that these three verses, coupled with the concept of “limited atonement”

(i.e. that only some men will be saved) actually disproves Calvinism.

One key term that is central to Calvinism is “the Elect” does not necesarily indicate

individual persons, but communities or groups of people. In the Old Testamentt

“Elect/Chosen” refers to Israel (Deut. 7:6; 10:15; 14:2; Is. 41:8-9; 42:1;43:20f; 45:4; 65:9, 22

& Ps. 135:4). The elect in the New Testament are those groups of people who have been

born again - who has accepted Jesus. Anyone who did that form part of the elect. We

can see that individual chose to receive christ and God chose to save those who believed.

In this case God could choose them even before they were even born. God has

predestined believers to be conformed to the image of the Son (which in no way indicates

the doctrine of predestination of individuals). In Rom. 9:11-16 Paul cites Gen. 25:23 and

Mal. 1:2-3 to express that Elohim chose to have his chosen linage to pass through Jacob

rather than Esau. It must be noted that this resulted from Esau selling his birthright to Jacob

of his own freewill (Gen. 25:24-34). Elohim “hated” Esau for not cherishing his birthright.

In Rom. 9:17-18 Paul refers to Elohim’s sovereignty when he hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

Paul here quotes Ex. 9:16 and is referring to the material in Ex. 9:15-17. The Calvinist

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misunderstanding here comes from a lack of understanding the idiom Biblical Hebrew. Ex.

4:21 & 9:16 are examples of a common Hebrew idiom in which an active verb is used to

express not the doing of a thing, but permission to do it. (other examples of this idiom: Jer.

4:10, Mt. 6:13a; 2Thes. 2:11; Rom. 1:24-26; Zech. 1:10b). Elohim, has the sovereign right to

further harden the heart of the man who has chosen himself to harden his heart. This does

not conflict with freewill, it is an amplification of freewill. This he did to save the elect.

Finally in Rom. 9:19-23 Paul recounts the parable of the potter and the clay. Out of all

creatures man was created in the image of God - as a bearer of His own image - for noble

purposes. The scripture indictes that since man was created for noble purpose, man will

be used for that. Thus the pur

There are two words which are translated three ways in the KJV these are Strong’s Greek

number 4309 Translated “predestined” and Strong’s Greek number 4267 translated

“foreknow/foreknew” in Rom. 8:29 and 11:2 but as “foreordained” in 1Pt. 1:20.

(this word appears in Acts 2:23; 15:18 = Amos 9:11-12; Rom. 8:29; 11:2 & 1Pt. 1:20)

Some argue that “foreknowledge” does not mean foreordained..

Judaism maintains this concept as the Mishna says: All things are foreknown, but freewill is

given. - m.Avot 3:16

I cannot really understand the difference in the final result. If God knew what will be the

end, is there a chance of the end being different? It has to be fixed. Does that mean God

does not have a hand in the end result.

Rom. 8:29-30 says only that believers are predestined to be conformed to the image of the

Son,

This is already talking about the group who have come to believe. Believers are

predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son. The belief is the human part. God

does not do that. God does not elect people to believe. The elect are the believers.

The same applies to Eph. 1:5, 11 says only that believers are predestined to have a life in

the world to come.

The Calvinist concept of the total depravity of man is largely rooted in a misunderstanding

of Jn. 6:44, 64-65 which states: No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me

draws him. But the point is that Jesus draws all men unto him. This is a statement of

universal redemption.

John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

Thus it is the free will that determines the elect and hence the ultimate destiny.

Jesus said: (John 8:31-32)… if you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed.

And you shall know the truth,and the truth shall make you free.

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CHAPTER EIGHT

SOME PARADOXES AND THEIR SOLUTIONS

What we have seen was the struggle to establish both sovereignty of God and the freedom

of will of man lest we portrait God as a unjust, cruel and selfish. While we have scriptures

to support both sides of the issue we have to conclude that the scriptures we have

contradicts itself.

Since the Bible is the revelation of God to man through history, God is revealed in it in a

way that man can understand using human symbolism and language. Bible is not dictated

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by God. It was transmitted through the Prophets who then wrote them down so that

ordinary people can understand.

The error in our understanding is simply must be the error in our interpretation.

I would start with the concept of God. Evidently God is presented as a Sovereign King with

the ideal Omnis of attributes. This was the familiar concept of the period when the

scripture was written. Judaism presented God as a warrior, zealous, King of Kings and

Lord of Lords. They have described God as a killer God. You don’t need to search much

to see that depiction. These presentation can at best be shadowy. That is why God

himself has to come down, laying down his glory and sit around a group of ordinary people

to show them the real nature of God. It is here I start. The ultimate revelation of who

God is as presented by Jesus. At the end Jesus showed himself to be God himself through

his resurrection and thus confirming his messages.

Jesus showed God not as a Sovereign but as a Father.

characteristics of God and that is simply “God is Love.”

He gave us one definition of the

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Hence all the actions of God in history must be interpreted not in terms of Sovereignty but

in terms of Love of a Father. When this is lost sight of we cannot make sense of the cross.

Most often it is presented as a peace treaty of the Sovereign and not as the expression of

loving father. Yet the bible is clear:

“God so loved the world, that he gave.”

God created Man in his own image as His son.

Creation as an act of Self Sacrifice Love

Even the creation itself was an act of love.

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The real solution to the problem of freewill and predestination was actually handed down

within the Jewish mystic tradition of Kabballah and is known as tzimtzum or tsimtsum

(Hebrew צמצום ṣimṣūm "contraction/constriction/condensation") Here Isaac Luria

proposes that God who is infinite light and omnipresent, as the beginning of the process of

creation "contract" his Ein Sof (infinite) light in order to create a "conceptual empty

space". The contraction implies a hiding of the Omniscience and Omnipresence to provide a

free space where free will can exist. God gave up his glories - at least some of them - to

give space for His children to grow.

This Tsimtzum bypasses the paradox of God’s Sovereignty, Omniscience, Omnipresence and

Omnipotence with Freewill because God is Our Father.

In other worlds God hide himself allowing for a similar space where God himself exists.

Without the freedom on will the creation will remain a robot. God created man so that he

can have a family. God created man a little lesser that God himself even extending to the

divine dimension that man may become co-creators with God - what the Eastern Churches

calls to be Deified transformed into the likeness of God. Just as we give our children the

space to grow, God gives his space for his children to grow - transformed into the likeness

of His Son.

This primordial initial contraction, forming a Khalal/Khalal Hapanui ("vacant space",

) into which new creative light could beam, is denoted by general reference to the הפנוי

tzimtzum. In contrast to earlier, Medieval Kabbalah, this made the first creative act a

concealment/Divine exile rather than unfolding revelation.

חלל

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Because the tzimtzum results in the "empty space" in which spiritual and physical Worlds

and ultimately, free will can exist, God is often referred to as "Ha-Makom" המקום)‏ lit.

"the Place", "the Omnipresent") in Rabbinic literature ("He is the Place of the World, but

the World is not His Place"). In Kabbalistic interpretation, this describes the paradox of

simultaneous Divine presence and absence within the vacuum and resultant Creation.

עלם Relatedly, Olam — the Hebrew for "World/Realm" — is derived from the root

meaning "concealment". This etymology is complementary with the concept of

Tzimtzum in that the subsequent spiritual realms and the ultimate physical universe conceal

to different degrees the infinite spiritual lifeforce of creation. Their progressive diminutions

of the Divine Ohr (Light) from realm to realm in creation are also referred to in the plural as

secondary tzimtzumim (innumerable "condensations/veilings/constrictions" of the

lifeforce). However, these subsequent concealments are found in earlier, Medieval

Kabbalah. The new doctrine of Luria advanced the notion of the primordial withdrawal (a

dilug – radical "leap") in order to reconcile a causal creative chain from the Infinite with

finite Existence.

God’s primordial act of Creation, contracting Himself to make room for the world, becomes

for a model for all human interaction. When the self contracts to make room for the other,

the resulting relations are ones of dialogue rather than conflict, self-effacement rather than

self-assertion, a desire to give rather than a desire to destroy. God is not seeking glory, but

giving himself to his sons.

God is “Our Father”

He did not create robots to call him Dad. We wont like robots as our children. Neither

did God. He gave himself for his children. There was Adam and Eve, the first of his

children from whom the whole mankind evolved. We are His children. Unless we exercise

the freewill that is genetically transmitted from God, we will cease to be human.

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is

good to all and his tender mercies are over all his works. Ps. 165: 8, 9.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.

Isa. 25: 8.

God’s expectation on every human being is that they will be transformed into the likeness

of Christ and behave like him.

Paulos Mar Gregorios "The main tenet of the Orthodox faith is the belief that salvation is

by being united with Christ who is Isvara incarnate. By being united with Him, we are to

grow into God's image by becoming more and more god-like in character, in love, in

goodness and in wisdom. This process of transformation is called theosis or divinization."

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When we unite ourselves unto Christ we become "transformed into the same image from

glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

Christ as "the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation" (Col 1:15),

"every man" to become "mature in Christ" (Col 1:28),

"have come to fullness of life in Him" (Col. 2:10).

"to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13),

to acquire "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16), the heart of Christ (cf. Eph 3:17)

M.M.Thomas

(my brother)

The Prophet of Humanization

"We are not human beings; we are human becomings"

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Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of

her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. Isa. 49: 15.

Sovereignty in the Kingdom of God

Sovereign Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Sovereign of Universe, Jesus.

Again there seems to be a misunderstanding of what sovereigniy really means as applied to

God the Father in relation to his sons humans. Kingdom of God is an upside down Kindom

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of Man as it is today. Even the church has copied the structure and principle of authority

of the Kingdom of this world. This again was clearly explained by Jesus while he was with

his disciples.

Matthew 20: 25-28 But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the

Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be

this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your

servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave just as the Son of

Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

The problem here is really this. How do we parent our children with love and with servant

heart. Jesus being God showed us how. We have turned them all upside down and have

been burning our children for disobedience. Our theology reflects just that.

The problem has always been clear within each family. Children have always rebelled in

growing up and asserting their independence and personality. Belligerence and

disobedience were part of this growing up. How did we dealt with that? Did we burn

them or did we redeem them with our love and even withour lives?

Here then is the resolution of the paradox.

The Arminianism maintains:

FREEDOM OF WILL

1. that freedom of will has not been destroyed by original sin, and

2. that this freedom remains unimpaired under the influence of Divine grace

Freedom is the power of the will to act or not to act, to act this or that way; whereas it is

the characteristic of necessary causes, as animals and inanimate beings, to produce their

effects by an intrinsic necessity.

Predestination was an early scientific misunderstanding of the law of mechanical cause

effect.

The mechanical philosophy is a natural philosophy describing the universe as similar to a

large-scale mechine. The concept of cause effect and that the world acts purely based on

the underlying laws of nature causes everything to be predictable. During period of

reformation and for a few centuries soon after, the philosophical outlook of man became

mechanical. TheMechanical philosophy is associated with the scientific revolution of Early

Modern Europe. One of the first expositions of universal mechanism is found in the opening

passages of Leviathan by Hobbes published in 1651.

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Those who developed idea included philosophers like Pierre Gassendi, Marin Mersenne,

René Descartes; the English thinkers Sir Kenelm Digby, Thomas Hobbes and Walter

Charleton;

and the Dutch natural philosopher Isaac Beeckman.

The

scientists were also involved in its development

which

included Robert Boyle, Galileo Galilei; Nicolas

Lemery

Christiaan Huygens, as well as Sir Isaac Newton

The rise of

science gave rise to the concept that the whole

universe

acts as clockwork following the rigorous laws

which were

established by God which are unchangable. Hence

everything

that happens can be exactly predicted and known

if all

contributing interactions of matter are taken into

account. This leads to absolute predetermination of cosmos. Since God created the

universe, God has already predetermined even the minute detail events of past which

produced the present and which leads to future.

The clockwork universe compares the universe to a mechanical clock. It continues ticking

along, as a perfect machine, with its gears governed by the laws of physics, making every

aspect of the machine predictable.

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The above diagram presents the various possibilities depending on whether physical

determinism is true or false along side of freewill possibility. In the hard core absolute

physical determinism alone hard determinism possible without any possibility of freewill.

With the development of Quantum Theory the concept of hard determinism has been over

ruled even in the physical world. Quantum mechanics leaves enough space of uncertainity

to allow for freewill even within the material realm. Any of the possible states can be thee

final state depending on when the observation takes place. This is known as collapse of

the Wave function of the Universe. .Thus we are left with the probabilistic possibility of

future with large number of possible worlds. Heisenberg uncertainity principles are built

in laws of the world of existence which automatically makes hard determinism

impossible.The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, described as "consciousness causes

collapse [of the wave function]", is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which

consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum

measurement

See my book on Quantum Theology

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However man is not material alone. Matter forms the body. But the life is through the

Spirit of God that was breathed into the earth body by God in the creation. While there

are varying forms of life they are not of the same nature. There are vegetations, birds,

fishes, beasts etc. They all have various forms of life which indicates their existence in

dimensions other than matter. Man alone was created in the image of God with the

breath of God itself - a little lower than God Himself - existing in all the dimensions of

cosmos entering the world of Divine realm itself. Thus whatever predetermination is

possible at other realms, man’s freedom is similar to that of God. This is the sonship of

man.

Freedom of the will is a consequence of intelligence, and as such the most precious gift of

man, an endowment which he can never lose without annihilating his own nature.

Man must of necessity be free in every state of life, actual or possible, whether that state

be the purely natural (status purœ naturœ), or the state of original justice in paradise

(status justitiœ originalis), or the state of fallen nature (status naturœ lapsœ), or the state

of regeneration (status naturœ reparatœ). Were man to be deprived of freedom of will, he

would necessarily degenerate in his nature and sink to the level of the animal.

Since the purely natural state, devoid of supernatural grace and lacking a supernatural

justice, never existed, and since the state of original justice has not been re-established by

Christ's Redemption, man's present state alone is to be taken into consideration in solving

the problem of the relation between grace and free will. In spite of the so called original sin

and concupiscence man is still free, not only with reference to ethical good and evil in his

natural actions, but also in his supernatural salutary works in which Divine grace

co-operates with his will.

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Original Sin

Romans 5:12,19 - sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so

death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many

were made sinners

There is actually no mention of an original sin in the Bible. There is no mention that God

cursed man to die. I have elsewhere shown that the death was actually a blessing of God

on his children so that they may escape eternal hell. Adam’s choice gave importance to

self based actions which in a community brings pain and suffering. To eternally in that

society would be the eternal hell. Hence God gave a short day for man to be awake and

then sleep till Daddy could fix the problem and wake him up. This limitation of day of life

time to 120 years from a 1000 years was just the same expression of God’s love. Yes Sin

came through Adam and one man’s obedience will bring life back.

One man’s disobedience many were made sinners. See my book:

This will come as a new surprise to many especially with the popular

presentation of God as a King in the European Feudal system of the post

middle age period. God's love is expressed in driving his children out of

the Garden of Eden and giving the blessing of Death to reduce the period

of hell mankind will produce by their own choice. Death is the greatest

blessing of God the Father to his children, over riding the eternal hell

they brought themselves by their free choice. One day He will wake his

children up and bring them home. Knowing the power of Love and the

character of God our Father, he will bring not only all his children, even the creation will be

liberated from its bondage to the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. He will indeed make

all things new, and we will have a new day again.

Yetzer Ha-Tov and Yetzer Ha-Ra

In the typical Rabbinic doctrine, with far-reaching consequences in Jewish religious thought,

every human being has two inclinations or instincts, one pulling upwards, the other

downwards. These are the ‘good inclination’—yetzer ha-tov—and the ‘evil

inclination’—yetzer ha-ra. The ‘evil inclination’ is frequently identified in the Rabbinic

literature and elsewhere with the sex instinct but the term also denotes physical appetites

in general, aggressive emotions, and unbridled ambition. Although it is called the ‘evil

inclination’, because it can easily lead to wrongdoing, it really denotes more the propensity

towards evil rather than something evil in itself. Indeed, in the Rabbinic scheme, the ‘evil

inclination’ provides human life with its driving power and as such is essential to human life.

As a well-known Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 9: 7) puts it, were it not for the ‘evil inclination’

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no one would build a house or have children or engage in commerce. This is why, according

to the Midrash, Scripture says: ‘And God saw everything that he had made and behold, it

was very good’ (Genesis 1: 31). ‘Good’ refers to the ‘good inclination’, ‘very good’ to the

‘evil inclination’. It is not too far-fetched to read into this homily the idea that life without

the driving force of the ‘evil inclination’ would no doubt still be good but it would be a

colourless, uncreative, pallid kind of good. That which makes life ‘very good’ is the human

capacity to struggle against the environment and this is impossible without egotistic as well

as altruistic, aggressive as well as peaceful, instincts.

The Rabbinic view is, then, realistic. Human beings are engaged in a constant struggle

against their propensity for evil but if they so desire they can keep it under control. The

means of control are provided by Law: the Torah and the precepts. One of the most

remarkable Rabbinic passages in this connection states that the Torah is the antidote to the

poison of the ‘evil inclination’ (Kiddushin 30b). The meaning appears to be that when the

Torah is studied and when there is submission to its discipline, morbid guilt-feelings are

banished and life is no longer clouded by the fear that the ‘evil inclination’ will bring about

one's ruination. It follows that for the Rabbis the struggle against the ‘evil inclination’ is

never-ending in this life. Nowhere in the Rabbinic literature is there the faintest suggestion

that it is possible for humans permanently to destroy the ‘evil inclination’ in this life. For

the Rabbis, the true hero is, as stated in Ethics of the Fathers (4. 1), one who ‘subdues’ his

‘evil inclination’, one who exercises severe self-control, refusing to yield to temptation. It is

not given to anyone actually to slay the ‘evil inclination’. Nor are there references in the

Rabbinic literature to the idea, prevalent in the Jewish mystical and moralistic literatures, of

‘breaking the evil inclination’.

Both inclinations are necessary for the proper functioning of human society just as each

organ need to function the part assigned to the organ diligently without being a cancer

growth. Adam’s sin was to be like God while yet a child. This cancer caused pain. It

created hell. Father provides a solution which includes a shorter life, till the problem is

solved at the cross.

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Prof. Madathilparampil Mammen Ninan B.Sc., B.Ed., M.Sc., M.Ed., Ph.D.,

Web Site: http://www.talentshare.org/~mm9n

Email: mm9n@hotmail.com

Prof. Ninan was born in Kozhencheri, Kerala, India in a Syrian Christian Family which claims descent from one of

the four families to whom St.Thomas the apostle of Jesus entrusted the gospel. His father Late.Mr.M.M.Mammen

was a publisher Freedom fighter and Christian Reformer. His eldest Brother is the well known theologian Late

Dr.M.M.Thomas, who was the Chairman of the World Council of Churches, the Governor of Nagaland, India and

the Chairman of the Christian Institute of Study of Society and Religion. He belongs to the Malankara Mar Thoma

Church, a reformed church holding the theology of the Eastern Churches which claims a 2000 year old heritage.

He is by profession a Professor of Theoretical Physics and had been a teacher in various universities around

world including Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Sudan, Yemen, India and United States of America. He retired as the

President of the Hindustan Academy of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Affiliated to the University of

Bangalore, India.

He was the first Moderator of the International Christian Fellowship, Sanaa, Yemen and

the Co-founder of the Sudan Pentecostal Church and The Sudan Theological College. He has published over

hundred books in History of Religions, Hinduism and Theology. Mrs. Ponnamma Ninan was a Sociologist and

Teacher who taught in many different countries along with her husband.


Published Books

by Prof.M.M.Ninan

www.mmninan.com

A Study On Baptism

Acts of the Apostle Thomas.Ambedkar's Philosophy of Hinduism and Contemperory Critiques

Angels, Demons and All the Hosts of Heaven and Earth

Apocryphal Thomas

Apostle Paul Architect and Builder of the Church: Life and Mission

Arius: Who is Jesus

Bible Canon

Christ vs. Krishna

Comparitive study of Kuku and Hebrew

Cosmos - The Body of God

Created in the Image of God

Cultural Anthropology.for Missions..

Dalit Theology

Flying Together

Foundations of Faith in Jesus

Four Gospels

Hinduism: A Christian Heresy; What Really Happened in India

History of Christianity in India

Honeymoon in Ethiopia

I AM: Symbols Jesus Used to explain himself

Introduction to Revelation

Introduction to Biblical.Hermeneutics..

Introduction to Revelations

Isavasya Upanishad:The doctrine of the Immanence of Jesus

Jamaica: The Land We Love

James & John: Sons of Thunder

Jiva, Jada & Isvara

Joys of Ghana Col

Katha Upanishad - The Complete...

Kingdom Parables

Krishna Yajur Veda

Laws of Manu

Life and Legacy of M.M.Thomas

Life, Legacy and Theology.of M.M.Thomas..

Lord's Appointed Festivals

Nestorius: Understanding Incarnation


Paintings of Ninan-Life of Christ

Perspectives On The Lord's Table.

Peter and Andrew: The First.Disciples.

Prester John, the Kalabhras.and Mahabali.

Quantum Theology

Reincarnation and Resurrection

Resurrections and Judgments

Rewriting Hindu History: How..do they do it?.

Riddles In Hinduism

Rig Veda

Samaveda

Secrets Of The Prayer Shawl

Semiotics Of Sacraments

Seven Churches

Shukla Yajur Veda

Sin, Death and Beyond

Soteriology

Sri Purusha Suktham: The fullness of Him - With commentary

Symbology of Biblical Numbers

The Apostles

The Biblical Concept of Man

The Book of Revelation

The Christian Understanding.of Trinity..

The Development Of Hinduism

The Development Of Mariolatory

The Emergence Of Hinduism.from Christianity..

The Four Gospels

The Genealogy of Jesus

The Historic Jesus

The Mysteries of the Tallit, Titzit and Teklet

The Mysteries of the Tallit...

The Mystery of Melchizedek

The Name

The Principles of Prosperity in the Kingdom of God

The Prophecy Of Daniel

The Sudan: New Dimensions

The Word Became Flesh

Theodicy

Theology of Paul

Thinking loud on Theodicy, Soteriology,Trinity and Hermeneutics

Thy Kingdom Come

Tilak and the Aryan Origins

Time Line Of Church History

Understanding Sacraments

Waiting for the Redemption...

Wedding Blessings

When was Jesus Born?

Who is the Angel of the Lord?

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