Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two Mysteries: One Way of Viewing the Calvinism v. Arminianism Debate

I think a lot about the Calvinism vs Arminianism debate. For the uninitiated, Calvinism and Arminianism are paradigms for interpreting the Biblical Scriptures. There is a lot of overlap between them in terms of what they affirm and what they deny, but the reason they are typically viewed in opposition to one another is because of their differing views over the issue of predestination.

Both paradigms affirm that Heaven and Hell are realities, but disagree over the role of human decision in determining who goes where. Calvinists believe the Bible teaches that God has chosen who will go to Heaven and who will not prior to the creation of the world. Some people have been chosen for salvation, others for condemnation. Those who have been chosen for salvation will manifest their chosen-ness by coming to faith in Christ at some point in their lives, whereas those who have been chosen for destruction will never come to faith. Arminians, on the other hand, believe that God has chosen to make it possible for all people to come to faith. People, then, have some actual power of choice to say "yes" or "no" to the love, grace, and revelation that God offers (whether this is precisely what classical Arminianism argues I can't say for sure, but it is what most people who call themselves Arminian today actually believe).