Calvinism spotted in a Pentacostal Church

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  • Calvinism spotted in a Pentacostal Church

    I didn't know where else to post this, but I am so excited that I may burst ...

    Although those on-line tests to find the denomination whose beliefs most closely match your own have pegged me as a 100% match for 'Reformed Baptist', I have been attending and active in a small Pentacostal church (approximately 100 people on a Sunday) for over a decade. This past Sunday the message from the Pastor was on 'You have no Faith on your own, it is a gift from God" and today, Thursday, the message at the mid-week service from a member who is a retired pastor and invited to teach was on Ephesians 1 (the whole chapter) with an emphasis on Predestination, Election and Eternal Security.

    So say what you want, the Holy Spirit is alive and well in at least one small Pentacostal Church.
    To God be ALL the Glory and Honor and Praise, Forever.
    Amen.

    Arthur

  • #2
    Some Pentecostals think you can lose your salvation a hundred times every day, once after each sin (how many times did Christ die?). But, once-saved-always-saved is popular, too (but, no take-backs, even though they think your initial salvation was your choice in the fist place). Yet, I don't think I've ever heard a Pentecostal come out and say our faith is our doing. It's more like something they never think about.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by atpollard View Post
      I didn't know where else to post this, but I am so excited that I may burst ...

      Although those on-line tests to find the denomination whose beliefs most closely match your own have pegged me as a 100% match for 'Reformed Baptist', I have been attending and active in a small Pentacostal church (approximately 100 people on a Sunday) for over a decade. This past Sunday the message from the Pastor was on 'You have no Faith on your own, it is a gift from God" and today, Thursday, the message at the mid-week service from a member who is a retired pastor and invited to teach was on Ephesians 1 (the whole chapter) with an emphasis on Predestination, Election and Eternal Security.

      So say what you want, the Holy Spirit is alive and well in at least one small Pentacostal Church.
      To God be ALL the Glory and Honor and Praise, Forever.
      Amen.

      Arthur

      That's awesome!

      You are blessed my friend. I too was part of a small Pentecostal church for years. Sadly the Lord allowed it to fall apart(he moved his faithful servants to new homes), due to corruption within the local denomination/church. I discovered the Reformed faith and now I am not sure where I fit anymore. My wife and I are planning on checking out local Presbyterian churches.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by AWorkInProgress View Post


        That's awesome!

        You are blessed my friend. I too was part of a small Pentecostal church for years. Sadly the Lord allowed it to fall apart(he moved his faithful servants to new homes), due to corruption within the local denomination/church. I discovered the Reformed faith and now I am not sure where I fit anymore. My wife and I are planning on checking out local Presbyterian churches.
        Hi AWorkInProgress.

        If you don't know already to stay away from the PCUSA, then if I may suggest that. Since you're wanting to discover the Reformed faith, I recommend the Orthodox Presbyterian Church or Presbyterian Church of America. The OPC's churches can be found using the locator on the OPC website: OPC

        Be sure to write us about your experience in the General Faith category under Reformed/Presbyterian. I'm sure others can benefit from your experience.

        God bless,
        William
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        • #5
          I have not heard of Pentecostals being Calvinist as well, although, what you mentioned does not cover all the tenets of Calvinism. I definitely see a need for a balance, which is lacking on both sides in many churches. I absolutely agree that we are chosen, but also that we choose because God is calling us. My basic disagreement with Calvinism is over the issues of limited atonement and the idea that it is totally impossible for a believer to fall away. There are just so many times in scripture where we are told to endure to the end, to remain in Him, that I just don't see how we can say it is impossible for someone not to endure. We are secure, as long as we remain in Him, and no one will ever accidentally cease to remain. But considering that scriptures also predict a great apostasy to come, I think we are putting people at risk of becoming one of those who falls away if we teach the that it is impossible for this to happen, as they will then have a false sense of security.
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          • #6
            @DancingLady
            In general, I don't think that Pentacostals are Calvinists. What they tend to have in common (outside of an emphasis on the charismata) is an independent local organization rather than a large, national or international denomination. So like ice cream, they come in lots of flavors. My local Pentacostal church is probably influenced by the Pastor's Moravian heritage and the Baptist expatriates that call it home. In general, it reaches out to and attracts people who would not step foot in most 'respectable' churches. We joke at the men's group that you have to work pretty hard to come in and confess a sin that someone in this room hasn't already done ... and probably done worse. So it may not be typical of Pentacostalism in general.

            From my understanding of limited atonement, that is really a semantics disagreement. Both sides believe the same thing, they just 'hear' what the other side is saying wrong. I have no doubt that MANY will correct me if I get this wrong, but the two choices are:
            1. Christ's death on the cross forgave all sin so EVERYONE is going to heaven.
            2. CHrist's death on the cross forgave the sin of the saints so THEY are going to heaven.
            That is the only limitation. All sin COULD be forgiven (Jesus death was suffient for the task) but not all sin WAS forgiven (some are going to hell). I strongly suspect that your objection is NOT that you believe that Jesus forgave all so everyone is going to heaven. So it is a problem with Calvinists doing a crappy job of articulating our beliefs.

            Falling away is a point that I will yield to you scripturally. Not because I believe that you are correct, but because I believe that both positions are Biblically defensible. It is, in my opinion, a point upon which people of faith can agree to disagree until we get to heaven ... and I can say 'I told you so'. (I am just kidding). :)

            I have a personal story about perseverance and faith. I came to Christianity from Athiesim and worse. My first few decades were a tumultuous walk, in which the possibility of falling away did not encourage me to draw near to God, but rather tormented me with constant doubts about whether I could make it and foolish, paralyzingly fears about 'the unpardonable sin' all birthed from a flawed understanding of this strange (OTHER) Triune God that had seized hold of me. For me, the beauty of Calvinism is the beauty that Luther found from WORKS. If it is ALL ABOUT GOD, then my job becomes to abide. To be loved. And as a child who is loved, I gain the freedom, from WORKS, freedom from FEAR, freedom from ME ... I am free to love as I have been loved.

            So I, personally, prefer to risk a false sense of security to obtain the freedom to love over a false sense of guilt that drives me from the throne in fear.
            Your Mileage May Vary.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by atpollard View Post
              From my understanding of limited atonement, that is really a semantics disagreement. Both sides believe the same thing, they just 'hear' what the other side is saying wrong. I have no doubt that MANY will correct me if I get this wrong, but the two choices are:
              1. Christ's death on the cross forgave all sin so EVERYONE is going to heaven.
              2. CHrist's death on the cross forgave the sin of the saints so THEY are going to heaven.
              That is the only limitation. All sin COULD be forgiven (Jesus death was suffient for the task) but not all sin WAS forgiven (some are going to hell). I strongly suspect that your objection is NOT that you believe that Jesus forgave all so everyone is going to heaven. So it is a problem with Calvinists doing a crappy job of articulating our beliefs.

              Howdy atpollard and dancinglady,

              Your first choice option is actually unlimited atonement where all are saved which is a belief held in Universalism.

              Limited Atonement is believed by Arminians and Calvinist, but for different reasons. Arminians believe that the atonement is limited by man's choice. Calvinist argue the atonement is limited by design, though the blood of Christ was sufficient for the whole world it was only efficient for the Elect's sake (not a drop of blood was wasted in vain). Take John 3:19-20 for example, according to Luther, the bondage of the human heart that keeps it from coming to Christ is not that light is lacking, but that darkness is loved, and light is hated. This is a real bondage. These are real cannots, and they are the kind of cannots — the kind of inabilities — that are blameworthy, culpable. Because they are not things we are forced to do against our will; they are our will.

              And, as you have mentioned the works of Luther tend to profess the Sovereignty of God, and the bondage of man's will. The Arminian belief in limited atonement by man's choice (free will), brings to question whether God is sovereign or man. If, from an Arminian's perspective, man's salvation is limited only by his choice, and God decides to save that man, and the man says no, then God is powerless. Man is therefore Sovereign and not God. However, this really misses the crux of the issue, the limitation isn't actually caused by man's choice, but his sinful nature which binds or limits his ability as found in the doctrine of Total Depravity.

              Originally posted by atpollard View Post
              I believe that both positions are Biblically defensible. It is, in my opinion, a point upon which people of faith can agree to disagree until we get to heaven ... and I can say 'I told you so'. (I am just kidding).
              I'll leave one of Luther's writings to Erasmus as food for thought:

              It is in the highest degree wholesome and necessary, for a Christian to know whether or not his will has anything to do in matters pertaining to salvation. Indeed let me tell you, that is the hinge on which our discussion turns. . . . For if I am ignorant of the nature, extent, and limits of what I can and must do with reference to God, I shall be equally ignorant and uncertain of the nature, extent, and limits of what God can and will do in me. . . . Now, if I am ignorant of God’s works and power, I am ignorant of God himself; and if I do not know God, I cannot worship, praise, give thanks, or serve Him, for I do not know how much I should attribute to myself and how much to Him. (quoted in Luther Selections, 179)
              Erasmus believed that the fallen human will contributed its own decisive self-determining power to the act of faith and the pursuit of holiness was, in Luther’s mind, a perilous underestimation of the desperate condition of man without Christ.

              God bless,
              William
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              • #8
                Thanks for the input, William.

                I have observed that most people who claim to object to "limited atonement" are objecting to what they believe is a claim in the insufficiency of Christ's offering as the 'limitation'. Frankly, that is a claim that I would also find objectionable. Once it is clarified that "limited" is really the opposite of "universal", then, as you point out, the Calvinist and Arminian positions are much closer than either is to Universalism.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                  Thanks for the input, William.

                  I have observed that most people who claim to object to "limited atonement" are objecting to what they believe is a claim in the insufficiency of Christ's offering as the 'limitation'. Frankly, that is a claim that I would also find objectionable. Once it is clarified that "limited" is really the opposite of "universal", then, as you point out, the Calvinist and Arminian positions are much closer than either is to Universalism.
                  The ISSUE that seems to be prevalent in the Calvie position (however it's rationalized) which simply put, states that God arbitrarily Selected folks (romans 9) either "Before the fall" (Supralapsarianism) or immediately AFTER the fall (Infralapsarianism) unconditionally to be ELECT. (the "U" in Tulip)

                  And IF you are "Elect", then God WILL draw you to HIM, YOU WILL BE SAVED, AND You WILL persevere until you die. AND YOU HAVE NO CHOICE, OR OPTIONS IN THE MATTER. (the "I", and "P" in Tulip.

                  Antithetically, if you're NOT ELECT - then you WILL NOT be saved, and you will perish in hell when you die (the "L" in Tulip) - AND YOU HAVE NO CHOICE, OR OPTIONS IN THE MATTER.

                  Calvinists will bend over backwards to claim that none of the above is "Accurate", but in the final analysis, it still works out that it IS according to their systematic.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bob Carabbio View Post
                    Calvinists will bend over backwards to claim that none of the above is "Accurate", but in the final analysis, it still works out that it IS according to their systematic.
                    Hello Bob, and welcome to Christforums.

                    As to your post above you mean like this:

                    No one can come to me (Total Depravity)
                    unless the Father (Unconditional Election)
                    who sent me draws him. (Irr. Grace)
                    And I will raise him up (Limited Atonement)
                    on the last day. (Perseverance of the Saints)

                    And of course you have a choice, I know no Calvinist that argue man is without choice. So you're going to have to be more specific than that!

                    God bless,
                    William

                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William View Post

                      Hello Bob, and welcome to Christforums.

                      As to your post above you mean like this:

                      No one can come to me (Total Depravity)
                      unless the Father (Unconditional Election)
                      who sent me draws him. (Irr. Grace)
                      And I will raise him up (Limited Atonement)
                      on the last day. (Perseverance of the Saints)

                      And of course you have a choice, I know no Calvinist that argue man is without choice. So you're going to have to be more specific than that!

                      God bless,
                      William
                      How can there be a Choice if God's "Grace" is irresistable?? that would be a contradiction of terms. And in the case of those who Are NOT ELECT, how can there be a choice since Father doesn't draw.??

                      You apparently aren't aware of Calvinist "Sovereign Gracers".

                      And your version of "Calvinism" sounds just like standard "Arminianism".
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bob Carabbio View Post

                        How can there be a Choice if God's "Grace" is irresistable?? that would be a contradiction of terms. And in the case of those who Are NOT ELECT, how can there be a choice since Father doesn't draw.??

                        You apparently aren't aware of Calvinist "Sovereign Gracers".

                        And your version of "Calvinism" sounds just like standard "Arminianism".
                        Hello and Welcome, Bob.

                        I thought of the same inherent contradiction when William listed "Irresistable" Grace and "choice" together without any further explanation.
                        However, I don't think I want to let you off the hook that easy either ... ;)

                        Jesus DID SAY (John 6:44) "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him."
                        Did he mean it?
                        Doesn't that land all of those same 'Calvinist' accusations right at Jesus' feet?

                        Does God draw EVERYONE? (Romans 11:7 "What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened,")

                        Can man RESIST the 'draw' of God? (sort of a slap in the face to omnipotent, isn't it? Isaiah 55:11 "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.")
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bob Carabbio View Post
                          How can there be a Choice if God's "Grace" is irresistable?? that would be a contradiction of terms. And in the case of those who Are NOT ELECT, how can there be a choice since Father doesn't draw.??
                          G'day Bob,

                          Lemme give you a choice. You can choose to flap your arms like a bird and reach the heavens or you can stand there and not even try. Cross your arms and make pouty faces all day long. If you just stand there, you will be held accountable. Matter of fact even if you try you'll be held accountable. If you're a Pentecostal now raise your hands, spread them wide and clap! (excuse my humor). Just because you choose to try doesn't mean you're capable and successful. There are no participation awards given here. A human is limited by his nature in the bird example, just like the Depraved/Natural man is limited by his sin nature and can never reach heaven though he may choose to try.

                          Matter of fact, Jesus says man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom of heaven without regeneration first (monergism). And taking John 6:44 into the equation, he cannot even approach the object of our faith (Jesus Christ) without the Father first drawing them to Jesus.

                          The choice is clearly yours.

                          For clarification, Calvinist do not argue man is without choice. The bible clearly suggests man has choice, and even distinguishes between a will that is not compelled by Law (free will) and a will compelled by Law. However, Calvinist argue man does not have an autonomous or libertarian will. Clearly man has choice, and he is held accountable. Responsibility rests squarely on man's shoulders, though any opportunity may pass him over. That is, unless you'd like to bring the necessity of God's intervention on part of the Elect, Grace (effectual), or even the imputed Righteousness of Christ alone into the equation?

                          Soli Deo Gloria Click image for larger version

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                          God bless,
                          William
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by William View Post
                            Jesus says man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom of heaven without regeneration first (monergism).
                            Without Being BORN AGAIN of the Spirit (saved), that is, of course.

                            "Regeneration" is a "religious Buzz-Word" that means different things to different religious paradigms. There's no Question that one NOT BORN AGAIN / Not Christian is incapable of discerning the "kingdom of God.

                            And taking John 6:44 into the equation, he cannot even approach the object of our faith (Jesus Christ) without the Father first drawing them to Jesus.
                            BINGO!!! no "Drawing" no salvation. That's also a given.

                            Calvinist do not argue man is without choice.
                            Depends on which "Flavor of Calvinism" you're talking about. HARD LINE (Sovereign Gracer) Calvies certainly DO say the there's NO CHOICE, and the "L" and the "I" prove it.

                            The bible clearly suggests man has choice
                            True, as Arminians have taught all along, - BUT until there's "Conviction of SIN", there's no way in. HE convicts of SIN, and ONLY AT THAT TIME can you surrender and repent - OR Cut and run away back into death AS I did many times before the "last time".
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bob Carabbio View Post
                              Without Being BORN AGAIN of the Spirit (saved), that is, of course. "Regeneration" is a religious Buzz-Word that means different things to different religious paradigms. There's no Question that one NOT BORN AGAIN / Not Christian is incapable of discerning the "kingdom of God.
                              So that there is no misunderstanding: Link

                              God bless,
                              William
                              Comment>
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