Forgive the labels, by Calvinist I mean:
those who believe that God before the foundation of the world chose all who would believe, not on any basis of their own goodness or even because God saw that they would believe, but solely for His own pleasure,
and by Arminian I mean:
those who believe that salvation is solely dependent on our own decision to believe or disbelieve the gospel.
The labels are for convenience only. Sorry.
Calvinists and Arminians like to fight, and when they fight, the fight invariably ends like this.
Calvinist: I know God has chosen a distinct people for salvation before the foundation of the world.
Arminian: Well, if I believed that, I would just sit at home and never give money to missionaries, never preach, never witness, and just let God do everything. But I know that salvation depends on me spreading the gospel.
Calvinist: I believe that God has chosen the preaching of the gospel to save the elect, but if I believed that salvation depended on me I would just sit at home and never give money to missionaries, never preach, never preach, never witness, because I can’t save anyone.
Arminian: But isn’t that what you do anyway?
Modern Calvinists have a few problems. (Click Here) Among these problems is the big problem. Calvinists (If you are the exception forgive this generalization) have become what we insist they are not. We insist that we believe that God alone can save. We insist that we believe that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We insist that we believe we have the responsibility to spread the Gospel. The problem is we really don’t believe this. Our Calvinistic brothers like William Carey, David Livingston, David Brainerd, and Jonathan Edwards did, and they gave their lives on the mission fields of the world to prove it. But we have not yet resisted the call of comfort and security, to show that we truly believe what we say we believe, that God has chosen preaching to save those who will believe.
At the same time the Arminians, who we say has no right to believe that he will accomplish anything are spreading the gospel (They do preach the same gospel in most cases). They spend their lives telling people they have never known the good news of salvation. Many are tortured, killed, and imprisoned for just that.
What has happened? The truth may be hard for both sides to swallow, but here goes…
The Arminian has more faith in his own abilities than the Calvinist has in God’s abilities. There, I said it. You can start throwing the rotten tomatoes now. The Arminian doesn’t want to hear this because he will insist that his faith is in Christ alone, and the Calvinist hates to be told that he doesn’t believe God is All-Powerful. That does not change the truth of the matter. The Arminian should continue preaching the gospel. I commend him for that. I wish that we would spread the gospel with half the evangelistic fervor that he does. But the fact of the matter is this, he is wrong in depending in his ability to share the gospel in order to evangelize the world.
Now for me and my fellow Calvinists, we must return to our first love, not the Puritans, the Reformers, the Church Fathers, or theological essays, but to God. We once had a magnificent view of God and the view is still there, we’re just admiring the view and not the God. We must return to the place where we first beheld God sitting on the throne of Holiness. We must return to the time when we were consumed by a passion for God’s glory. We must regain our bearings in the sea of Theology, loving God more than doctrine. Let us find our true north in God and God alone and be consumed by His passion for His glory so that we may spread His name to the ends of the earth.
May God grant that I be the first.