Monday, January 10, 2011

Across the Spectrum: Chapter 9 - The Salvation Debate

Previous posts have commented on:
Chapter 1 -
The Inspiration Debate
Chapter 2 -
The Providence Debate
Chapter 3 -
The Foreknowledge Debate
Chapter 4 - The Genesis Debate
Chapter 5 - The Divine Image Debate
Chapter 6 - The Human Constitution Debate
Chapter 7 - The Christology Debate
Chapter 8 - The Atonement Debate

Chapter 9: The Salvation Debate
Position 1: TULIP (Calvinist)
Position 2: God wants all to be saved (Arminian)

So here we have another Calvinist vs. Arminian debate. As I said before, I was - more or less - raised a Clavinist and my beliefs have shifted very much towards Arminianism as time has gone on. Much of the material in this chapter parallels previous ones on the Calvinist/Arminian debate. Basically, the Calvinist position is that God chooses the 'elect', all of the elect will be saved, none of the non-elect will be saved, and nothing we humans can do will change that. If God elected you to be saved, you're going to heaven whatever you do, if God did not choose you, you're damned, even if you live a blameless life and seek to follow God's ways. The Arminian position is the flip side of this and claims that people are - in part - responsible for making the choices which determine if they will ultimately be saved or not.

I don't have much to offer on this topic that I haven't said in previous posts. As far as I am concerned, Calvinistic reasoning relies on a few concepts which simply make no sense. The one which makes me most annoyed is the idea that God decides who will be sin, and yet the sinners are held morally responsible for the sins that God decided they would do, so he damns them (eternally) for it. There is no justice or morality in that belief and I must reject it.

The only option that makes rational sense to me here is that people are responsible (at least in part) for their own choices. The way of salvation must be open to all, even if the majority reject it or do not find the path.

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