A Courteous Contrararian


Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - Jan• 13•15

I believe in predestination but not Calvinist version of it.

That’s not even true, I would agree with John Calvin as to an informal definition: Predestination is God determining before birth that some people will be followers of his. I only disagree with his ideas about who is in the chosen group and who is not. He would say everyone “saved” is by default part of the group that is pre-chosen, and that’s where I disagree.

Arminians, and I hope i’m not misrepresenting them either, also agree that those that are saved have been pre-chosen, but the reason God pre-chose them was because he knew they were going to decide to be saved. Because God knows every possible permutation of reality that could ever possibly have occurred or could possibly ever occur from the speaking into existence of the universe onward. I can’t really agree with any of that but I do agree with them when they interpret the Bible to mean that people have a real choice as to whether of not to follow Jesus.

Calvinists say, how could people have a choice if they have been predestined according to the Bible?

Arminians say, why would God offer us the choice so often in the Bible if we couldn’t choose differently than we do anyway?

They both have solid answers to the questions, and refutations of those answers, and refutations of the refutations. I followed a C vs A debate thread for years. Both sides quoted chapter and verse. The fiercest battlefields are spread across scripture: John 6, John 3, Ephesians 1, Romans 8 and 11, Genesis 2 and 12, to name a few. The funny thing is, both sides use these common chapters for their proofs. One side says look at verse 24 and the other side says yeah, but look at verse 37, and the other side says you’re ignoring verse 24. They speak at each other rather than looking for a conclusion that can match scripture. Both sides have to dismiss certain verses in light of other verses.

I think they’re both right. Well, they’re both right when the point to their proof verses. They are both wrong when they dismiss the other side’s proof verses. I talked about power distorting doctrine in my previous post and here’s how I can tell power’s at play here. They have to dismiss the opponent’s point of view.

If they could stop doing that, if they could validate their opposition, they could come to a conclusion that better matches reality and the Bible. It’s so simple. They’re both right! Problem solved. Let’s move on to the next subject, okay?

The fact that you think I’m crazy, that both sides can’t possibly be right, shows me how deeply the battle lines have been drawn. You personally may be neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian but their positions have become so deeply entrenched that you can’t think of a third alternative, let alone a third alternative in which they are both right, or least you couldn’t until you read what I wrote above. So let me explain my crazy idea.

Starting in the next post.



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