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Theology

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities, seminaries, and schools of divinity.

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CALVINISM •Total Depravity Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23). •Unconditional Election He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21). •Limited Atonement Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all). •Irresistible Grace When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that "it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy"; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out," (John 6:37). •Perseverance of the Saints You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return. ARMIN This list was compiled about a year ago by many members of The Society of Evangelical Arminians. •Verses that show election is conditional Matthew 11:28-30 - Salvation is an invite to those who will come. John 3:16 John 4:42 John 6:40 John 6:51 - Must eat of the bread of life to receive benefit. Acts 13:39 Romans 1:16-17 Romans 9:30 Romans 5:1-2 - It is through faith that we are made a part of Christ. Ephesians 1:13 1 Timothy 4:10 - Jesus died for all, but there is a specific subset that receives the benefits, namely those who believe. 1 Peter 1:1-2 - Election is according to God's foreknowing who shall believe. •Verses that show the atonement is available for all 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 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. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 - All died, yet Christ died for all. 1 Timothy 2:3-6 - God desires all men to be saved, and gave Himself for all 1 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. 2 Peter 3:9 1 John 4:14 1 John 2:2 - Jesus is the propitiation, not just for believers, but for the whole world. John 4:42 Revelation 22:17 •Verses that show grace is resistible Jeremiah 7:24 Luke 7:30 Acts 7:51 - Blatant resistance of the Holy Spirit. It is proper to infer that if they didn't resist, they would have been led to repentance. Romans 10:16 - Not all who hear will believe. 2 Corinthians 6:1 - One can receive God's grace, yet not appropriate it in their lives. •Verses that show we must remain in Christ to be secure Romans 11:17-24 1 Corinthians 15:2 Ephesians 5:3-7 Colossians 1:21-23 2 Peter 1:10 2 Peter 2:20-22 Hebrews 6:4-6 Hebrews 10:26 James 1:12; 5:19-20 • Libertarian free will offering verses Exodus 35:29; 36:3 Leviticus 7:16; 22:18, 21, 23; 23:38 Numbers 15:3; 29:39 Deuteronomy 12:6, 17; 16:10 2 Chronicles 31:14; 35:8 Ezra 1:4, 6; 3:5; 7:16; 8:28 Psalm 119:108 Ezekiel 46:12 Amos 4:5 Isaiah 1:19-20 - Can choose to be obedient or rebel. Ezekiel 33:11 - Have the ability to choose from different options. Luke 7:30 - Pharisees rejected what God wanted for them. John 7:17 - A person must want to do what God is giving them the grace to do. This verse shows that God allows things He doesn't want to happen. 1 Corinthians 7:37 - Power over own will--not necessitated--that's the definition of LFW. 1 Corinthians 10:13 •Prevenient grace Jeremiah 31:3 John 16:7-11 Romans 2:4 - It is God's grace that leads us to repentance. Romans 10:14-17 - One must hear God's word to come to faith. Titus 2:11 - God's grace leads to repentance. •Sin is not from God Jeremiah 7:24 James 1:13-15 1 John 2:16 Now concerning that Great Debate! 'Does God choose me or do I choose Him' The answer is simply: Yes. Very often are we presented with such binaries within Evangelical Theology. This specific one is a 'false binary' because both sides are true. I'll try and string this together for you giving you Arminian verses then Calvinist versus. Versus like: Isaiah 53:6, John 3:16-17, Romans 5:6, 1 Timothy 2:3-6 and TONS more but here's how I like we should look at Unlimited Atonement. Christ did in fact die for the whole world by granting everyone a certain common grace. For example God 'for He so loved the world' He allows us all to have life. As we know it earthly life is far better than eternally contentious torment in hell so I'd consider that grace, if Christ did in fact die for only the elected then everyone else would not experience one drop of grace thus be thrown into damnation. Another example is the influence of Christian thought. Look at America. We know that every one in America isn't a Christian but weather people admit it or not American was founded with Christian influence. Consider this: •Human Dignity, Value and Worth — We get this from Creation, we are made in the image of God. (Gen 1:26-27) because God placed us above plants and animals we have value and worth. I believe this is why when we see a someone starving, mutilated, or hurt when we here someone was murdered we respond 'that's awful.' •Charity vs Naturalism, Darwinism- 'survival of the fittest' — I'd submit to you that Christian thought is a huge reason why we help other people with unselfish giving i.e. missions or donations. If survival of the fittest were true, if someone claimed to be a true Darwinist or Evolutionist he or she would walk into a room full of handicapped people and have no problem letting them die because they aren't able to take care of them selves •Rule of law vs Rule of might. — Christianity is a law based 'religion' Christians submit to authority not to the guy with the biggest stick. We can see the parallel of rule of law in our own government. If rule of might was prevalent then people would die all the time and no one would care. Furthermore rule of might leads to dictators and nations such as North Korea and Cuba. •Private property rights. — "You shall not covet your neighbor's house … or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17. What does this imply? That we can own property right? As you know we can own property here in the states and not worry about someone coming by and taking our house. •Education. — Lastly the education of people is ultimately from Christian thought. Think about it. The Bible is the written word of God, so people can learn about God they must be able to read so they must be taught. Most of the men in the Bible were teachers, Jesus was a teacher. Furthermore the Ivy League schools here in the states were at one point seminaries. Unlimited Atonement is a pretty big circle haha inside of that we have of course Limited Atonement. I can wrap this up quickly on the Calvinist side - it's pretty simple. Christ died for the 'elect' in a SAVING way or these elect are saved from eternal torment and experience a GREATER grace then those who are not elect. Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33) I can agree with Calvinist when they say Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). Calvinism would say 'Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all.' I would say 'Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all and efficacious for all but, for some more so. See that was painless. This verse binds this binary together nicely I think; "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of ALL men, especially of BELIEVERS." 1 Timothy 4:10 I hope this helps and makes sense... enjoy!!

Contributed by Adrian Anderson

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