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Justin Taylor

 

As a former cage-Calvinist and one still absolutely persuaded (a) that the Bible teaches “Calvinistic” soteriology and not “Arminian” soterieology and (b) that it has deep implications for understanding the Bible and the Christian life—I found this perspective from Robert Peterson and Michael Williams helpful:

 

By and large, Calvinists feel duty bound to attack Arminianism at every opportunity. And far too often the debate between Calvinists and Arminians has failed to glorify God, promote understanding or honor one another as fellow members of the body of Christ. It is our aim, however, to treat our Arminian brothers and sisters in Christ as we would want to be treated. . . .

 

The Arminian Christian believes that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh to save sinners and that the saving work of Christ comes to the sinner by way of the grace of God received through faith. Whatever issues relevant to salvation we disagree upon, let us agree on this: the Calvinist and the Arminian are brothers in Christ. Both belong to the household of faith. The issue of debate is not between belief and unbelief but rather which of two Christian perspectives better represents the biblical portrayal of the divine-human relationship in salvation and the contributions of both God and man in human history.

 

Christians may disagree with each other, and disagree profoundly over issues close to the center of the faith, yet affirm one another as fellow believers. For some on both sides, we are sure that this might seem to subtract from the seriousness of the divide between Calvinism and Arminianism. We do not seek to disvalue the issues of contention. They are real and important. . . . But neither do we want to overestimate the debate. In the division between Christianity and Islam, the Arminian is our brother. . . .

 

With all of the foregoing in mind, we will seek to write under a number of self-imposed strictures that we hope will help us in addressing the issues of the contention without adding to the strife of the debate. Far too often, polemical works are not actually targeted at the other side of the debate. That is to say, they are not aimed at engaging the other side in discussion, or at seeking to persuade the other of the plausibility or truth of the author’s own position. Many of the discussions we have read—from both sides of the debate—seem to be written to those who already agree with the author. The point often seems to be one of arming one’s own troops, giving them ammunition for future firefights.

 

We will not follow this strategy. We write as Calvinists to Arminians, as persons who hold the Word of God precious and worthy of our most careful reflection to other believers who share that same commitment of the heart.

 

—Peterson and Williams, Why I Am Not an Arminian (IVP, 2004), pp. 10-14.

 

HT: Dane Ortlund, who considers this book “one of the clearest and most persuasive defenses of Reformed soteriology available.”

 

Some readers will recall the conversation between Calvinist Charles Simeon (1759-1836) and Arminian John Wesley (1703-1791) about their commonality amidst the controversy:

 

[simeon] Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions. Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?

 

[Wesley] Yes, I do indeed.

 

[simeon] And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?

 

[Wesley] Yes, solely through Christ.

 

[simeon] But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

 

[Wesley] No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

 

[simeon] Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?

 

[Wesley] No.

 

[simeon] What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?

 

[Wesley] Yes, altogether.

 

[simeon] And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?

 

[Wesley] Yes, I have no hope but in Him.

 

[simeon] Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things where in we agree.

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I think there's an "ism" for this, but I forgot what it is. I believe that some people are predestined and that others have free will.

 

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We all have a will which is enslaved to sin. Believers have the Holy Spirit, who wars against our sin nature (our sinful will). All things are predestined from the beginning, including who is saved and who is not. Also, what might help is in Matthew 13, the parable of the wheat and the tares. Don't forget to read Jesus' interpretation of the parable.

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I think there's an "ism" for this, but I forgot what it is. I believe that some people are predestined and that others have free will.

 

I ask that you define "free will," how do you mean it, Phillip. Do you mean Free will in an autonomous sense?

 

In Genesis 3:5 there are double lies being offered to Eve:

  • She would be like gods, and thus independent, able to rule over herself apart from God.
  • There is not one God, but many gods; each is sovereign over himself or herself.

Therefore, there are some deceived into thinking they have free will.. And before anyone says that the Serpent was telling the truth... . I refer them to John 8:44

 

God bless,

William

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I ask that you define "free will," how do you mean it, Phillip. Do you mean Free will in an autonomous sense?

 

In Genesis 3:5 there are double lies being offered to Eve:

  • She would be like gods, and thus independent, able to rule over herself apart from God.
  • There is not one God, but many gods; each is sovereign over himself or herself.

Therefore, there are some deceived into thinking they have free will.. And before anyone says that the Serpent was telling the truth... . I refer them to John 8:44

 

God bless,

William

 

Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action. I just looked it up and MOLINISM is the belief that I was referring to. [in basic terms, Molinists hold that in addition to knowing everything that does or will happen, God also knows what His creatures would freely choose if placed in any circumstance. Molina was Roman Catholic, but some of his biggest advocates are Protestant.

 

*I copied the definitions from Wikipedia. I sure wish that website was around back when I was in college, it would have saved me a lot of time. But then again, the internet wasn't even around when I was in college. ;)

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Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action.I just looked it up and MOLINISM is the belief that I was referring to. In basic terms, Molinists hold that in addition to knowing everything that does or will happen, God also knows what His creatures would freely choose if placed in any circumstance. Molina was Roman Catholic, but some of his biggest advocates are Protestant.

 

*I copied the definitions from Wikipedia. I sure wish that website was around back when I was in college, it would have saved me a lot of time. But then again, the internet wasn't even around when I was in college. ;)

 

Thanks for clarifying Phillip. Although I would sincerely disagree if one means that they can freely choose or go against their sin nature in an unregenerate state (Total Depravity). A man cannot flap his arms and fly because of his human nature, or another words go against his natural unregenerate condition. John 10:26 says, "but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep." Notice the verse does not say you are not among my sheep because you do not believe. It says you do not believe because you are not my sheep. To even suggest or ask someone to believe without regeneration is to suggest or ask someone to have blind faith, because man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom of God without being born again or from above John 3; Exodus 4:11; Jeremiah 5:21. Though, we do not know who or when someone will be regenerate, we are to preach the Gospel to all men without distinction.

 

Ezekiel 36:25-27 - 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a]

 

Notice the Regeneration of the Holy Spirit causes one to be receptive and obedient to the word of God in Ezekiel 36:27. Moreover, in John 3 Jesus made an allusion to these passages when He again said, man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom without being born again or from above (regeneration).

 

If you would like to know more on the Reformed view: What does "Rebirth", "Born Again", "Born from Above" or "Regeneration" Mean?

 

Lastly, of course God knows what His creatures would do if placed in any circumstance, He is Sovereign and ordains all things coming to pass Isaiah 45:7. However, the circumstances revolving around man's salvation comes through Regeneration before faith, and is not left up to chance (what can a dead man do?). Man is dead in an unregenerate state and can do no goodness, but this is not to say man cannot do good by human standards. He is spiritually dead towards God in both sin and trespasses. If man found faith in himself or any goodness for that matter would that not be righteous? But Scripture tells us none are righteous Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-12. To suggest man in his natural state is righteous is to suggest there was never need for Christ. To say man has free will is to base the argument on a faulty premise. There are no Scriptures that contradict other Scriptures concerning the state of man's depravity, and the seriousness of his condition due to sin. Any apparent contradictions are through one's own interpretation.

 

God bless, Brother,

William

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Thanks for clarifying Phillip. Although I would sincerely disagree if one means that they can freely choose or go against their sin nature in an unregenerate state (Total Depravity). A man cannot flap his arms and fly because of his human nature, or another words go against his natural unregenerate condition. John 10:26 says, "but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep." Notice the verse does not say you are not among my sheep because you do not believe. It says you do not believe because you are not my sheep. To even suggest or ask someone to believe without regeneration is to suggest or ask someone to have blind faith, because man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom of God without being born again or from above John 3; Exodus 4:11; Jeremiah 5:21. Though, we do not know who or when someone will be regenerate, we are to preach the Gospel to all men without distinction.

 

 

 

Notice the Regeneration of the Holy Spirit causes one to be receptive and obedient to the word of God in Ezekiel 36:27. Moreover, in John 3 Jesus made an allusion to these passages when He again said, man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom without being born again or from above (regeneration).

 

If you would like to know more on the Reformed view: What does "Rebirth", "Born Again", "Born from Above" or "Regeneration" Mean?

 

Lastly, of course God knows what His creatures would do if placed in any circumstance, He is Sovereign and ordains all things coming to pass Isaiah 45:7. However, the circumstances revolving around man's salvation comes through Regeneration before faith, and is not left up to chance (what can a dead man do?). Man is dead in an unregenerate state and can do no goodness, but this is not to say man cannot do good by human standards. He is spiritually dead towards God in both sin and trespasses. If man found faith in himself or any goodness for that matter would that not be righteous? But Scripture tells us none are righteous Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-12. To suggest man in his natural state is righteous is to suggest there was never need for Christ. To say man has free will is to base the argument on a faulty premise. There are no Scriptures that contradict other Scriptures concerning the state of man's depravity, and the seriousness of his condition due to sin. Any apparent contradictions are through one's own interpretation.

 

God bless, Brother,

William

 

 

Thanks for clarifying Phillip. Although I would sincerely disagree if one means that they can freely choose or go against their sin nature in an unregenerate state (Total Depravity). A man cannot flap his arms and fly because of his human nature, or another words go against his natural unregenerate condition. John 10:26 says, "but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep." Notice the verse does not say you are not among my sheep because you do not believe. It says you do not believe because you are not my sheep. To even suggest or ask someone to believe without regeneration is to suggest or ask someone to have blind faith, because man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom of God without being born again or from above John 3; Exodus 4:11; Jeremiah 5:21. Though, we do not know who or when someone will be regenerate, we are to preach the Gospel to all men without distinction.

 

 

 

Notice the Regeneration of the Holy Spirit causes one to be receptive and obedient to the word of God in Ezekiel 36:27. Moreover, in John 3 Jesus made an allusion to these passages when He again said, man cannot see let alone enter the kingdom without being born again or from above (regeneration).

 

If you would like to know more on the Reformed view: What does "Rebirth", "Born Again", "Born from Above" or "Regeneration" Mean?

 

Lastly, of course God knows what His creatures would do if placed in any circumstance, He is Sovereign and ordains all things coming to pass Isaiah 45:7. However, the circumstances revolving around man's salvation comes through Regeneration before faith, and is not left up to chance (what can a dead man do?). Man is dead in an unregenerate state and can do no goodness, but this is not to say man cannot do good by human standards. He is spiritually dead towards God in both sin and trespasses. If man found faith in himself or any goodness for that matter would that not be righteous? But Scripture tells us none are righteous Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-12. To suggest man in his natural state is righteous is to suggest there was never need for Christ. To say man has free will is to base the argument on a faulty premise. There are no Scriptures that contradict other Scriptures concerning the state of man's depravity, and the seriousness of his condition due to sin. Any apparent contradictions are through one's own interpretation.

 

God bless, Brother,

William

 

 

We agree to disagree and that's what makes America great. I'm not totally predestination, and I'm not totally free will either. I believe there's a Biblical case for both. We'll all find out come Judgement day. ;) You're a nice guy William, and I appreciate that. I used to use a board where they threatened to ban me for not being hyper Calvinist. And there's probably a board that would do the same if I wasn't 100% on the free will train. So thank you for letting me share even though we disagree.

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We agree to disagree and that's what makes America great. I'm not totally predestination, and I'm not totally free will either. I believe there's a Biblical case for both. We'll all find out come Judgement day. ;)

 

I respect you not wishing to involve yourself in these debates. However, if you wish to know more on this subject: Amazing Grace - The History and Theology of Calvinism

 

God bless,

William

 

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I respect you not wishing to involve yourself in these debates. However, if you wish to know more on this subject: Amazing Grace - The History and Theology of Calvinism

 

God bless,

William

 

 

I'm already familiar with it, and I'm also familiar with the Arminian view. And there is Biblical scripture that supports both views. I believe in the what the Bible say's, so I'm never going to pick one over the other. And there are some huge Protestant denominations that don't chose one view over the other either. The Southern Baptist Convention doesn't have an official view and neither does the Christian and Missionary Alliance or the Evangelical Free Church of America, just to name a view. I'm not going to question what God did or didn't do or can or can't do. That's one argument that I want to stay clear of. :)

 

I'm a Non-Denominational Protestant and I attend a Calvary Chapel church. I noticed that when signing up for this forum there was a section to choose a denomination and it had Calvary Chapel on the list. Calvary Chapel is not a denomination. They're not opposed to denominations, but they are not one either. They're a movement of like minded churches but they don't have an official leader or governing body.

 

There's a book called Calvary Chapel Distinctives that explains it. http://www.calvarycch.org/content/images/Calvary_Chapel_Distinctives%20%20high%20lighted%20on%20Rapture_1329805785.pdf

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Calvary Chapel is not a denomination. They're not opposed to denominations, but they are not one either. They're a movement of like minded churches but they don't have an official leader or governing body.

 

I am very familiar with Calvary Chapel. The section in which Calvary is listed falls under denominations/faith groups, and movements. I attended Calvary Chapel myself for six years. My endeavor stopped after a one on one discussion with my then pastor. They are extremely Anti-Reformed and Arminian.

 

“5-point Calvinism”- a hyper-Calvinistic view that leaves no room for free will; specifically, we reject the belief that Jesus’ atonement was limited (we believe He died for all people), and we reject the assertion that God’s wooing grace cannot be resisted or that He has elected some people to go to hell (we believe that anyone who wills to come to Christ may do so).

 

One would however not know that, because Calvary does a wonderful job of avoiding doctrine.

 

Glad you have found a church you enjoy. And don't worry, I won't mention my own personal experience to the point of driving you away. I am delighted that you have found and joined us...

 

God bless,

William

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I am very familiar with Calvary Chapel. The section in which Calvary is listed falls under denominations/faith groups, and movements. I attended Calvary Chapel myself for six years. My endeavor stopped after a one on one discussion with my then pastor. They are extremely Anti-Reformed and Arminian.

 

 

 

One would however not know that, because Calvary does a wonderful job of avoiding doctrine.

 

God bless,

William

 

 

Well, that's where you went and lost a forum member. Spreading lies that is irresponsible. Goodbye William. You're obviously led by ego and I don't want any part of that either. Adios.

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Well, that's where you went and lost a forum member. Spreading lies that is irresponsible. Goodbye William. You're obviously led by ego and I don't want any part of that either. Adios.

 

I am not lying, nor am I spreading them. If anything great can be said about Calvary Chapel... they produce a lot of people that leave there for Reformed Churches. I merely shared my own experience:

 

 

 

I hope you'll reconsider, but if not, then I understand.

 

God bless,

William

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Justin Taylor

 

As a former cage-Calvinist and one still absolutely persuaded (a) that the Bible teaches “Calvinistic” soteriology and not “Arminian” soterieology and (b) that it has deep implications for understanding the Bible and the Christian life—I found this perspective from Robert Peterson and Michael Williams helpful:

 

By and large, Calvinists feel duty bound to attack Arminianism at every opportunity. And far too often the debate between Calvinists and Arminians has failed to glorify God, promote understanding or honor one another as fellow members of the body of Christ. It is our aim, however, to treat our Arminian brothers and sisters in Christ as we would want to be treated. . . .

 

The Arminian Christian believes that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh to save sinners and that the saving work of Christ comes to the sinner by way of the grace of God received through faith. Whatever issues relevant to salvation we disagree upon, let us agree on this: the Calvinist and the Arminian are brothers in Christ. Both belong to the household of faith. The issue of debate is not between belief and unbelief but rather which of two Christian perspectives better represents the biblical portrayal of the divine-human relationship in salvation and the contributions of both God and man in human history.

 

Christians may disagree with each other, and disagree profoundly over issues close to the center of the faith, yet affirm one another as fellow believers. For some on both sides, we are sure that this might seem to subtract from the seriousness of the divide between Calvinism and Arminianism. We do not seek to disvalue the issues of contention. They are real and important. . . . But neither do we want to overestimate the debate. In the division between Christianity and Islam, the Arminian is our brother. . . .

 

With all of the foregoing in mind, we will seek to write under a number of self-imposed strictures that we hope will help us in addressing the issues of the contention without adding to the strife of the debate. Far too often, polemical works are not actually targeted at the other side of the debate. That is to say, they are not aimed at engaging the other side in discussion, or at seeking to persuade the other of the plausibility or truth of the author’s own position. Many of the discussions we have read—from both sides of the debate—seem to be written to those who already agree with the author. The point often seems to be one of arming one’s own troops, giving them ammunition for future firefights.

 

We will not follow this strategy. We write as Calvinists to Arminians, as persons who hold the Word of God precious and worthy of our most careful reflection to other believers who share that same commitment of the heart.

 

—Peterson and Williams, Why I Am Not an Arminian (IVP, 2004), pp. 10-14.

 

HT: Dane Ortlund, who considers this book “one of the clearest and most persuasive defenses of Reformed soteriology available.”

 

Some readers will recall the conversation between Calvinist Charles Simeon (1759-1836) and Arminian John Wesley (1703-1791) about their commonality amidst the controversy:

 

[simeon] Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions. Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?

 

[Wesley] Yes, I do indeed.

 

[simeon] And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?

 

[Wesley] Yes, solely through Christ.

 

[simeon] But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?

 

[Wesley] No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.

 

[simeon] Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?

 

[Wesley] No.

 

[simeon] What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?

 

[Wesley] Yes, altogether.

 

[simeon] And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?

 

[Wesley] Yes, I have no hope but in Him.

 

[simeon] Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things where in we agree.

 

Amusing irony seeing such an irenic, conciliatory post, given that the site lumps Arminianism under the "heresy" banner.

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Amusing irony seeing such an irenic, conciliatory post, given that the site lumps Arminianism under the "heresy" banner.

 

Hello NorrinRadd,

 

Seems that you have noticed the Reformed Protestant "leaning" of the forum's design? Most all are welcome. If you have any suggestions for special categories or sub-forums please by all means create a post in Suggestions and Questions.

 

Hope to learn more about you. See you around the forum!

 

God bless,

William

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http://evangelicalarminians.org/

 

There is a survey: Are you an Arminian and don't even know it?

 

I feel many Christians believe in Free Will, though they may never have read a word of Arminius, I think it is the majority position both now and back through the history of the Church.

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45 minutes ago, Anto9us said:

http://evangelicalarminians.org/

 

There is a survey: Are you an Arminian and don't even know it?

 

I feel many Christians believe in Free Will, though they may never have read a word of Arminius, I think it is the majority position both now and back through the history of the Church.

I think about all unbelievers are Pelagian, that is, anyone which relies on their own works or efforts for salvation. Pelagianism is the default position of the natural man (unregenerate). There are plenty of new Christians which are Pelagian too. Of course Arminianism isn't Pelagianism, it just conveys Pelagianism (conditional election). For this reason, the Synod of Dort used some familiar language when condemning Arminianism as heretical.

 

On each hand, end, or extreme we have Pelagianism and Calvinism. Augustinianism completed in Calvinism. Arminianism comes between Pelagianism and Calvinism as the system of compromises and is developed Semi-Pelagianism.

 

God bless,

William

 

 

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9 hours ago, William said:

I think about all unbelievers are Pelagian,

I think many 'christians' are too! There are actually very few genuine Arminians around today

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I think the ancient church basically decided on a version of Semi-Pelagianism in the conflict between Pelagius and Augustine.  Neither one got his way.

 

"Arminianism comes between Pelagianism and Calvinism" -- well, of course it does;  just as the ancient church did 1000 years before Calvin -- and rather than say it was "compromising" I would say it was "avoiding extremes" 

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On 4/8/2015 at 6:49 PM, William said:

By and large, Calvinists feel duty bound to attack Arminianism at every opportunity.

 

Thx for the honesty.

 

What is a "cage-Calvinist" ?

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2 minutes ago, Anto9us said:

I think the ancient church basically decided on a version of Semi-Pelagianism in the conflict between Pelagius and Augustine.  Neither one got his way.

 

"Arminianism comes between Pelagianism and Calvinism" -- well, of course it does;  just as the ancient church did 1000 years before Calvin -- and rather than say it was "compromising" I would say it was "avoiding extremes" 

The early church which followed the principle of sola scriptura sided with Augustine. It wasn't until later that the Catholic church pivoted:

 

Pelagianism was condemned. Six years after the council of Carthage a general council of African Churches reaffirmed the anathemas of 412 AD. Zosimus sided with Pelagius in 412, he wrote a letter condemning the anathema of Carthage. Of course having the support of Scripture, the leaders of the Carthagian Council disregarded the Bishop and his letter. Philip Schaff noted church historian observes, "This temporary favor of the bishop of Rome towards the Pelagian heresy is a significant presage of the indulgence of later popes for pelagianizing tendencies". It was these later "pelagianizing tendencies" that lead to the works-righteousness advocated by the bishop of Rome that later led to the Roman Catholic belief system. This was a pivotal moment in church history. Cornelius Otto Jansen like Martin Luther believed the early Church of Rome departed from its position that all of life was by the grace of God. And like Augustine Jansen taught that man's spirit was dead in sin, and therefore needed to be regenerated. Jansen understood that this was something that happened to man by God's grace and not something man made happen by his faith. In 1713 Pope Clement the XI issued a Papal Bull denouncing over 100 statements, many of which were actual quotes of Augustine. A Church that once sided with Augustine now sided with Pelagius.

 

Read more:

 

 God bless,

William

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20 minutes ago, Anto9us said:

 

Thx for the honesty.

Some are more inclined to argue the night away than others. Cage Stage Calvinism is what usually occurs when someone grasps the doctrines of Calvinism, that is, what Scripture systematically conveys.

 

 

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