Contend Earnestly: Debate is Over

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Debate is Over

In case you didn't see Nate's comment I will repost it here with some follow up thoughts and guidance for what will still come after this.

Nate's comment:

Hey guys...alright here is the deal. I have already emailed Seth earlier today to inform him of my decision to drop out of this debate. I know it may come as a disappointment to some (very much so to me) but please hear me out. I stated a few days ago that this was originally intended to be only a few emails back and forth between Seth and I discussing Calvinism and my beliefs, not for the intent of changing our views necessarily (though that wasnt out of the question) but more as clarification because Seth seemed like he thought Dr. Goetsch painted Calvinists all wrong and it appeared to me that Seth and many others on here painted fundamentalists (in no way Arminian) wrong. Thats really what has evolved into this large scale debate...which is ok. The problem is, I have nowhere near the time to put into this what I need to, and seemingly every night I am spending hours reading posts and responding, as well as studying and its kinda wearing me out. I have certainly had much more to answer than Seth. This is not only difficult to do because of a hectic schedule outside of this debate, but it has also led to very little time to spend with my family just about every night. I can't do that anymore, it just doesnt seem right.

I am truly sorry for those who are disappointed and wanted to see this debate continue. Trust me, I love debating and arguing, and I didn't even get to my good points yet!! =) But alas, my set up with Seth was to probably go a week or two...and it has already been almost two weeks and we are still discussing total depravity. Hopefully you guys understand.

Let me also add that it has become increasingly clear that no one is going to change their position. You all seem pretty entrenched in Calvinism and I couldn't believe more in my beliefs. The biggest problem I have ever had with any Calvinist is when I've been told that evangelism is not really necessary. It was nice to hear from everyone on here that evangelism is important to them. To me, that is without a doubt the biggest issue. Also, I'm sorry for any comments that were deemed offensive...they were not meant to be so. With that, I bid you all farewell. I thanked Seth for his participation and I will thank you all too for your participation and for caring about God's word and the things of God as much as I do. I consider you all brothers in Christ, no matter what our disagreement on these issues. And I do sincerely feel bad for backing out, as I dont consider myself a quitter. But I just figured better early on than in the middle when this already commanding an overwhelming amount of my time, more than I really can give.

Thanks guys, hopefully you all understand. Seth, thanks for opening your blog to those who dont believe like you do.

God Bless


The one thing that I do want to point to, that I emailed Nate about, is the fact of us being Calvinists who evangelize.

Here was my email to Nate:

I would also ask you to know that if you believe that Calvinism has no reason to invoke evangelism (which is really, in the end fatalism), you need to use the same logic with your own beliefs. Which would mean me telling you that if you believe one can "resist" God's effectual call, then I could as easily draw the conclusion that if you don't resist and you do believe you have something to boast about. Which would be a work, and then you have a works based salvation. I could also say that if you believe in free will that you also need to take that to the end and say that God cannot know the future and you become an open theist. But, I don't believe either of those to be true.

There is a line that people cross (hyper Calvinism/fatalism and Open Theism) but all Calvinists and all free will people don’t cross that line and neither should act as though the other will ultimately end up there. If you believe it about the opposing side, you must use that same logic with your own belief system. This is actually what made me stop saying that all free willers have to end up as Open Theist, because I am no fatalist, but figured I had to end up there being that is the danger of Calvinism. Does that make sense?

I have actually challenged my Calvinist friends, including some "high ranking" ones (whatever that means) that we can not say that Arminians, or free will believers, are open theists, because once we do that we must come to the conclusion that Calvinism will come to be fatalism.

So, just because a belief in theology can lead somewhere, does not mean that is where it HAS to lead. This has taken some time for me to mature in this area...

Usually these Calvinists will say that Arminians are not saved and that Calvinism is the only true Gospel (whatever that means) but know that historical Calvinism was not this way. Just look at Whitefield and Wesley.

End of email

The one thing to note that I find very interesting is that Nate did not want to continue because he could see that none of us were going to change:

"Let me also add that it has become increasingly clear that no one is going to change their position. You all seem pretty entrenched in Calvinism and I couldn't believe more in my beliefs."

This is going to sound rude, but it is really just an observation. Is this not the thinking of ALL free willers? "If I don't see it working, then I will either give up, or change my style to try and get them to change." This is the danger. That it is what I do, how I present, my style that changes or convinces people. Not God. Calvinism on the other hand, knows that we must merely honor God and His message, and it is His work, not our own that brings about change. I honestly believe that we take a higher and stronger stance on Isaiah 55:11 and lean on that more than we lean on the outward appearance of belief. We understand that all we are, are seed planters, not the cause of growth. We are patient farmers.

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

What I am going to do is continue to post on the 5 points of Calvinism and hopefully will come to some good conversations throughout these days.

Soli Deo Gloria


Juan said...


I was learning both views!


Bob Hayton said...

I too am upset the debate is over. I think with Seth that we need to have a higher view of Scripture and of the Spirit. We should feel confident that our position is Biblical and that the Bible reasons for it should be enough to convince others.

Many conclude such debates are worthless, but after many months of debating with my brother over Calvinism, and other issues, eventually I came to see Calvinism as what the Bible taught.

Thanks for hosting the debate that wasn't, Seth. Looking forward to a discussion of the other 4 points.

risen_soul said...

As a former arminian, I can understand how frusterating it can be to argue a Biblical Calvinist... mainly because it's the only consitent position one can hold when dealing with the Scriptures and you can't prove them wrong.

That's why I became one.

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