Two questions for Calvinists

As those of you who know me realize, I really enjoy working through the theology of Calvinism / Arminianism, although I don’t like the belligerence that characterizes both sides of the discussion at times.

I just posted this on facebook to a Calvinist friend:

“There are two questions I’ve not heard satisfactory Calvinist responses to (most don’t even understand the question). I’d love to hear your take.

1. The most natural interpretation of Calvinism, to my mind, is basically “Faith is a work. No work of ours can save us. Therefore faith is a work of God alone.” But Romans 4:1-6, under the most natural interpretation, implies that faith is *not* a work. Do you agree?

2. Most Calvinists believe that God alone elects who will *get* saved, but seem to lapse back into something Arminian-like when it comes to *sanctification*. If I were Calvinist, I would insist that we have no more choice in how well we follow Christ after salvation than we had in getting saved before. Every one of the common Calvinist arguments applies as strongly to sanctification as to justification. Even Paul says “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, *yet not I, but the grace of God with me*.” [1 Corinthians 15:10].

So some Christians are chosen to follow Christ more completely in this life than others.

What do you think?”

To my readers, too: what do *you* think?

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1 thought on “Two questions for Calvinists

  1. Haven’t ever heard a “Calvinist” say that “faith is a work.” Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 12:3). Since God created us, all that we have is a gift from Him. My right hand is a gift; I didn’t request it and I didn’t have to accept it. In Him we live and move and have our being.

    Are faith and works so difficult? If you find me to be a credible physician and you’ve come to me for help with some dis-ease, then you will do what I prescribe. You see, first you had faith in me in a narrow area of life, health care. This faith was the pre-requisite of your “doing” or “working” what I prescribed.

    Perhaps you had two or several medical opinions about what you should do. Where you had the strongest “faith” would be where your “doing” would be manifest.

    Jesus says; “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things I say?” (Luke 6:26). This coincides with Jesus saying, “Not every one who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21).

    Regarding your second question; have you read anything about the 5 points formulated at the Synod of Dort? The 5th point regards the perseverance of the saints. Just as the 5 points stand together as a unit, so does justification, sanctification, and glorification. We are not justified in one way and then sanctified in another. I recommend Loraine Boettner’s book “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/boettner/predest.html

    Thanks for the good questions.

    Jesus has the words of life and so we (ought to) believe Him about everything He says. We are saved by works, but it is by the works of Jesus. He never sins. I am a sinner, therefore I cannot be saved by my works. God gave me faith in Jesus and through faith imputed His works to me.

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