Are you the Kind of Calvinist an Arminian Can Approve?
The preachers who “play it safe” enough for nobody to notice their “Calvinism” easily do so because they are really Arminians
Any “gospel” which says that Christ died in common for every sinner but that not all these sinners receive a common salvation is logically saying that Christ’s death is not enough for any sinner.
In John chapter 10, Jesus says that he dies for the sheep. Jesus also says that those who do not believe do not do so because they are not his sheep.
There are many all statements in the NT. II Cor 5:14-15 identifies the “died for all” with the “all have died”. This is representative substitution. Some Arminians give lip-service to the idea of penal substitution. More logically consistent Arminians denies that this is the nature of the atonement.
In any case, unless you are an universalist, then you cannot teach from II Cor 5:14-15 that non-elect sinners have died.
To go to one more “all” statement, Romans 5:18 teaches that one trespass (Adam’s by imputation) led to condemnation for all, so one act of righteousness (Christ’s death) leads to justification and life for all. Again, unless you are an universalist, you cannot read this to teach the justification of every sinner. Neither can you read it to mean the possibility of justification, if extra conditions are met.
Even though all the elect are born in Adam, they do not stay in Adam. Only the elect are in view on both sides of a verse like Romans 5:18 (also I Cor 15:22, where the resurrection of the non-elect is not in view).
I do not teach that Christ died for all sinners. I do teach that Christ will save all for whom He died. There are many differences between Calvinists, but any “Calvinist” who denies that Christ will save all for whom He died is not a Calvinist.
A propitiation which does not propitiate is not a real propitiation. A redemption which pays the price but does not redeem is not a redemption.
Arminians assume that the default baseline interpretation of John 3:16 is what Billy Graham says, that Jesus loves everybody that He died to give everybody a chance. John 3:16 teaches that only as many as believe in Him will not perish. It does not teach that Jesus died to condemn anybody or to make anybody an offer. It certainly does not teach that God loves those who perish.
Anybody who denies that the death of Christ is what makes the difference between saved and lost will self-righteously add something else to the equation, something other than Christ’s death, to make the difference between saved and lost., Anybody who teaches that Christ died for every sinner but not every sinner is saved, is thereby conditioning salvation on something in the sinner being saved, even if they give God the credit for putting that something there.
Isaiah 53;11—“out of the anguish of his blood he shall see and be satisfied, by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”
My point is not simply about the extent or intent of the cross; it’s about the nature and necessity of that death. This “justice” which demands salvation for all for whom Christ died is the joy of my life.
To give some NT texts: John 17:2 “You have given the Son authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given Him.” The Lord Jesus asks for the elect, not for the world (in this text, the non-elect, not everybody) based on the fact that “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work you gave me to do.”
Christ’s justice, the righteousness of the last Adam, leads to eternal life, according to Romans 5:21. As Romans 8:10 teaches, “the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” II Peter 1:1 teaches that those who are given faith in the gospel obtain that faith “by the righteousness of our God and Savior Christ.”
Calvinists like John Piper say that they are also Arminians (plus some more). I am not like them. I am not an Arminian also. While they do philosophy about “common grace” and “offering what Christ didn’t do”, I am sticking with Scripture. They are welcome to all the labels like classical and evangelical.
Lutherans teach baptismal regeneration and that the once justified can become apostate and that Christ died for all sinners. While Lutherans are not exactly Arminians, I am not bound to a Reformed confession. I am content to talk about the righteousness, the justice, what really happened at the death of Christ.
I judge that Arminians are still ignorant of the gospel, not yet Christians. The nicer and kinder Calvinists of whom Arminians approve judge that I am simply ignorant, and that I am incapable of understanding what I read from them.
I appreciate it when Arminians and tolerant Calvinists begin to see that we are not talking about two versions of the same thing, with one group being on the better side of the road.
There is no contradiction between the idea of God saving as many as believe, and the many Scripture texts which teach that God has chosen some sinners to salvation, and to believe. I Cor 1:16 “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
It is a false Calvinism which would teach that God saves people apart from the true gospel. I Cor 1:16 teaches that the message of the cross (the death, what was it for, what difference did it make?) is the power of God. Where there is a false gospel, there is no power of God to save. The necessity of believing the gospel by no means contradicts the truth that “God chose you to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (II Thess 2:13)
The false teachers of adding circumcision do not deny that Jesus died, but they deny that the death alone saves. Since Arminians teach that Jesus died for every sinner, but not every sinner will be saved, then Arminians also deny that the death alone saves. It’s something else added which must save, according to their view.
The Scripture teaches that there is a repentance which does not please God, and a repentance which does. Any repenting that thinks that it’s the extra thing (besides the cross alone) which will make the cross work is a repenting which God finds to be an abomination. Such a repenting sets itself up in competition with Christ’s death.
Some Arminians think there is only kind of Calvinism, the kind they know, the kind which they approve.
Unconditional election is incompatible with “the free offer”. I agree on this point with Arminians against all those Reformed people in the middle. That being the case, I find it ironic that these same Arminians fault me for not being an “orthodox Calvinist”.
If their point is that “orthodox Calvinists” contradict themselves, then why would they want me to be one of those guys. Unless of course they need a strawman which says that all Calvinists contradict themselves!