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Questions on Calvinism:
In the following e-mail exchanges, the e-mailers' questions are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.
>Hey Gary, I was just wondering since 95% of Christians are not Reformed (at least no one I know is) how did that affect your education in seminary. I was just curious? I just started to take some Bible classes, there very good and hopefully won't have any problems with this issue but was just curious.
I was just "converting" to the Reformed position while I was in seminary. I didn't change my views because of the seminary, anything but as it was definitely not Calvinist (a Baptist seminary that basically believe in eternal security, and that's about it).
One of the big influences was a Bible study I was attending that was led by Bob Wright (from whom I have several articles posted on my site). It just so "happened" that everyone who attended that study were Calvinists! And, of course, I was doing a lot of studying on my own on the matter until I became fully convinced of the Calvinist position.
So I was only a full Calvinist for part of the time I was in seminary. But as it was, I really didn't have any problems as the Arminian position wasn't really "pushed" that much.
>Hey Gary the class I'm in is from a Dispensational viewpoint. I've been studying the Bible on my own now for two years but have no idea what Dispensationalism is? What do they believe? Why do you disagree?<
The basic points of dispensationalism are:
3. The Church and Israel are two distinct entities:
4. God dealt with Israel in OT time, but in the Church age he deals with the Church.
5. The pre-trib rapture is necessary to get the Church "out of the way" so God can again deal with Israel.
6. God deals with Israel during the trib.
7. The OT promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled during the trib and the millenium. This includes the rebuilding of the temple during the trib, a new temple for the millenium, and most of all, the land promise.
Those from other viewpoints would disagree with some or even all of the above points.
>Also since I've studied those verses on Sovereignty on your site I notice more of them when I'm reading. While Arminianist might have some verses to try to support what they believe about Salvation, most Christians including myself two months ago and even pastors say "God never makes people do anything." While the Bible clearly teaches God makes people do stuff all the time. I wonder why so many people miss that in their readings. Well, just a few thoughts talk to you later
Once someone gets an idea into their head, its pretty easy to simply ignore verse that contradict it.
>Still doing some studying on Calvinism I have a few questions first what Calvin believed just makes no sense to me if God predestined the Fall then what Adam and Eve did was not really a sin and the whole race was made sinners by God logically this is impossible for me to accept knowing how much God hates sin. They had to have chosen to sin then God by his grace chose to save some while I know this is what you believe and I have no doubt Calvin knew the Scriptures the idea that God predestined the Fall isn't Biblical and extremely extremely illogical to me it wouldn't have been a Fall but a Push.<
Well, Calvin of course believed his view was Biblical, and gives detailed reasons for it in his Institutes. But I do agree with it that there are difficulties with it.
>Also witnessing some say wouldn't make sense, I doubt when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac he thought it made sense to him. I keep his commandments because I love him not because they make sense.<
True. Also, it is a privilege to be used by God, and we grow spiritually when we are.
> And Ester 4:14 is a verse I think could be applied to witnessing.<
[Es 4:14] “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Looks like it to me too. A good verse to show that assurance that God will do something doesn't negate the need to be actively involved in bringing His proposes about.
> Also on your site you say the 5 pts go together and I agree with what you believe but I don't think they are all that obvious you didn't see them until you were translating a verse at Seminary.<
If you're taught Arminianism from before you're saved as I was, it will take quite a while for you to look at things from a different perspective, or even know there IS another perspective.
> But the doctrine of Eternal Security is clearly seen in Scripture at least by me while Unconditional Election is harder to grasp or maybe we just don't want to see it. Well just a few thoughts, I'll be praying for you and your ministry keep up the good work.<
Thank you for the prayers.
P.S. Hurry up with your workbook I have some friends I want to give them to.
My Scripture Workbook should be available in paperback form by mid-October (2000).
Note: My Scripture Workbook is now available from the publisher AuthorHouse and from conventional and online bookstores.
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