18

Calvinists indeed believe they can only make educated guesses about others; if someone you thought was saved falls away, the conclusion is they were never actually saved. But Calvinism teaches that "infallible assurance of faith" is available to believers about themselves. The Grounds of Assurance The Westminster Confession of Faith says in chapter 18: ...


16

Because he wants to, and certainly not because of anything they've done or will do. One of the central tenants of this concept for Calvinists is that it's not what you do (or have done, or even will do) that merits you salvation. It is wholly and completely the grace of God, not just that you were chosen, but that you were then called, and then compelled to ...


15

There are Reformed Christians who are not Presbyterian (or at least wouldn't call themselves that), especially in the Dutch or Continental tradition such as the RCUS and URCNA. There are also Presbyterians that are not Reformed, such as many in the PCUSA, who would be better called "liberal". Further complicating the matter is that, as Brian Johnson pointed ...


14

I see three questions beneath your one question, and I will handle them each separately. Are Calvinists allowed to disagree with Calvin? First of all, they get their name from him because they are believed to be in accord with him on most/all doctrine, not because they get their doctrine from him, although he is of course a highly esteemed and respected ...


13

Summary: Calvinists interpret these passages as referring to God's righteousness and justice — that he is a fair judge, consistently judging sin as wrong, whether committed by rich or poor, strong or weak, native or foreigner. They do not indicate that God's gracious gifts – wealth, strength, and even salvation – are distributed equally to all. Calvinists ...


12

The important thing to remember is that each of the items in TULIP was a response to the (Arminian) Remonstrants own five point rejection of Calvinism. Thus the simple reason why faith is omitted is because the Remonstrants weren't critiquing the place of faith, per se, but the place of grace in salvation. Because TULIP is a response to a critique, the ...


12

If you do research on Calvinism, Jansenism, Pelagianism, etc., you might find the term "sufficient grace" bandied about. The trouble is, depending on who's using it, it's defined differently, which makes it a not terribly useful term. So I'll try here to clear up who uses the term and what they mean by it. Catholics and Arminians use the term "sufficient ...


11

Background Although Calvinism and Arminianism are often presented as polar opposites, they have a common heritage. Jacobus Arminius studied under Calvinist teachers and was himself a Calvinist when he began his ministry. So it's not a surprise that the two systems share a common framework. But Arminius eventually questioned some of the tenets of Calvinism, ...


11

There is nothing absolutely specific in the Westminster Confession about Roman Catholic baptism. What there is supports its validity. However there was a long-established acceptance of baptism by Roman Catholic priests, even more than by laymen or even women, and the Westminster Confession says nothing against it. Perhaps more significantly, actions speak ...


10

As expected, "once saved, always saved" advocates (I'll use "reformed" as shorthand for this) generally agree that both the second and third types of soil represent people who were never saved. Broadly speaking, they make these points: The four soils represent four types of people or hearts: the unresponsive, the impulsive, the ...


10

The typical Calvinist response to this question is captured well by Wayne Grudem in his Systematic Theology: [1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9] speak of God's revealed will (telling us what we should do), not his hidden will (his eternal plans for what will happen). The verses simply tell us that God invites and commands every person to repent and come to ...


10

Yes and no. That is, in simple terms: No, the doctrine of the Trinity is not "finalized" or "completed" – Reformed theologians regularly debate the intricacies of this doctrine Yes, the doctrine of the Trinity is "finalized" – anyone who rejects the fundamentals of the Trinity would generally not be considered "Reformed." Your quote of the Westminster ...


10

I can see how this would look confusing and logically incoherent, but the reason that 5 statements, each about "something alone" can co-exist is that each of them achieves something different "alone". This can make more sense to look at, by chaining three of them together, as per the first line of the summary of "Faith alone" here. Justification is by ...


10

You've fallen into a common trap of examining a single piece of a theological system by importing that piece into your own construct rather than seeing how it fits into its own context. A Reformed understanding of soteriology is dependent on several interwoven ideas about God and his role in creation. Note this assumption in your question is not ...


10

It is clear from John Knox's words, recorded at his meeting with Queen Mary at Holyrood in 1561 (accompanied by Lord James Stewart) that the reformer regarded the Papacy to be an intrusion and the mass to be an idolatrous sacrifice. He quite clearly regards both to be without warrant, from their inception. ‘Take one of the chief points, Madam, which this ...


9

Yes, if you read "because" as indicating a causal relationship, no if it's just giving the reason or purpose. "Because of our justification" might suggest that some action done by us is the cause of the resurrection. That's a problem for Reformed theology, and probably not just for us either, as it's a bit logically and temporally difficult. If we read "...


9

More or less, yes, but the question is slightly misleading by the word 'only' (but about that later). As this discussion is so complex and visited by so many people with so many quotations, etc., I prefer to try and give you a summary view from many years studying many books on the subject. Mine is not the 'only view' but really on this question you can ...


9

John Piper is a Five Point Calvinist. From the limited atonement section of Bethlehem Baptist Church's doctrinal position "What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism" (compiled by Piper and "the Council of Elders"): On the other hand we do not limit the power and effectiveness of the atonement. We simply say that in the cross God had in view the ...


9

If you (say you) have faith but don't have works, do you really have faith? Works are the result of faith. They don't save you. If you have faith, it is only natural that you will have works. James's question is to people who have no works. Why don't you have any works? Where is your faith? Matthew 12:33 (NASB) "Make a tree good and its fruit will be ...


9

While the idea of God's sovereignty is closely associated with Reformed theology, other traditions also deal with it. Here are a few examples from prominent authors from various traditions. Lutheran: Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, 170: Scripture describes God a) in His supreme majesty, as independent of anything outside Himself, or as absolutely sovereign ...


9

From Calvin's commentary on Ephesians 2:2 : We may now draw from it also this inference, that ungodly men have no excuse in being driven by Satan to commit all sorts of crimes. Whence comes it that they are subject to his tyranny, but because they are rebels against God? If none are the slaves of Satan, but those who have renounced the service, and refuse ...


8

The summary in Mike's answer seems accurate. I would like to add some further background and primary sources. Evidently, Calvin felt it necessary to write to Sir William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth I's chief adviser, when Calvin's messenger told him that the queen was unhappy with Calvin because of Knox's Monstrous Regiment, which was written in Geneva. In reply, ...


8

The TULIP acronym is intended to define the Calvinist position - however it is not intended to define that position relative to non-Christians, it is intended to define it relative to other Christians. It doesn't include doctrines that are considered basic to Christianity, or Protestantism. So you will find no emphasis on: Necessity of faith; Primacy of ...


8

Yes, salvation can still be considered a gift. In general, something can be considered a gift if it: Is positive/desirable Is given rather than earned (otherwise it should be called a wage) Is given without obligation of repayment (otherwise it should be called a loan) Whether a gift can be resisted or not has no bearing on its "giftiness". According to ...


8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GrwL5pXHbc This video is very helpful at seeing the overlap and distinctions between Reformed Baptist theology and Dispensationalism. First of all, you'd have to define Reformed Baptist. I prefer to define it as someone who holds to the 1689 London Baptist Confession. The LBCF1689 is a covenantal confession which by ...


8

James is writing his epistle to "my brethren" (1:2), who are already of the church, so he is not writing to unbelievers to tell them how to be saved from their sins an get right with God. His readers have already come to Jesus and had their sins washed away in the blood of the Lamb, been justified by faith, and entered into a saving relationship with God. ...


8

Because some things cannot be accomplished by the application of power. Suppose I asked you to draw a 4-sided triangle. You would presumably reply that this is impossible, because a triangle by definition has only 3 sides. Suppose I then say, Well, what if you had 10 really strong men to help? Then could you do it? Of course the logical reply is that it ...


8

[...] does the mere act of seeking God mean that the person must be elect? Yes. Reformed theology must be understood wholesale. If you pick and choose some ideas and don't put them in the context of all the other ideas it stops making much sense. This has to do with the presuppositions involved. From a Reformed perspective the answer to this question is ...


8

John Calvin does indeed treat this verse. He says:1 By saying אולי, auli, “if peradventure,” he made use of a common mode of speaking. God indeed has perfect knowledge of all events, nor had he any doubt respecting what would take place, when the prophets had discharged their duties; but what is pointed out here, and also condemned, is the obstinacy of the ...


8

Let me answer a few of your side-concerns before I get to your main question. Reformed theology stresses that God created the universe for one purpose: to glorify him fully I'm not certain how you're using the phrase "glorify him fully", but it could be interpreted to mean that God felt that he wasn't being glorified enough prior to creation, and ...


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