Who is a Calvinist?




There are two things that are interesting in the ongoing saga of who is and what is a Calvinist. In an effort to try to determine for myself an answer to this very important question, I have concluded that a Calvinist is an individual that places regeneration before saving faith and repentance. It does not matter if the 3 all are simultaneous or one follows the other; the point is faith and repentance are impossible without regeneration, which is of God’s sole doing. Man does not have the ability nor the capability in and of himself to respond to God in any way apart from and independent of this process of regeneration.

In my study I am convinced that revelation and reconciliation are God’s means of bringing about saving faith in an  individual and NOT regeneration. (See Ro. 1:16; 2 Cor. 2:18-20) In His sovereignty, God is most certainly capable of revealing Himself to those that need to be reconciled to Him. An individual’s response to His revelation is what determines that person’s eternal destiny; God’s will is set; His revelation is given. Our eternity depends on what we do with that revelation.

This is the key difference between Conversionism and Calvinism; Transformed as opposed to Reformed Theology.

Grateful to be in His Grip,

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21 responses to this post.

  1. Both saving faith and repentance are gifts from God. Ephesians 2: 8 makes it clear that faith is a gift from God and repentance follows faith. The question is how do humans, who are dead in their sins and helpless, whose basic nature is to rebel against God, according to Romans 1, become Christians? Well not even the most rank Arminian believes that it happens by a choice of the will. They presuppose prevenient grace as the means. The only problem is that prevenient grace in not mentioned in Scripture. Titus 3 specifically says that we are saved by regeneration, uses a water metaphor. The word for regeneration in the Greek is only used twice in the NT as far as I can tell (also see paliggenesia in the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament). Titus adds also the word renewal, the act of the Holy Spirit on the person. The idea of regeneration is found in the words, born again. It is, in fact what it means to be regenerated. In John three it is literally to be fathered from above. it is passive which means it is something done to us, not something that we ask for or do for ourselves. The contrast there is with physical birth, just as we must be physically born, something we no part in, we must also be born from God. Notice that regeneration comes before the whoever believes in John 3: 16. It is also true in Romans 1: 16 that you cite actually does not tell us what conditions it presupposes, only those who believe. it does not account for how they come to believe. By the way there is no 2 Corinthians 2: 18-20.

    I don’t know how you can make your argument. All know is that God has to mess with a person before they can come to faith. If not, we seem to be left with the Pelagian solution. We are either totally lost with no natural ability to respond to God or we are not totally affected by the fall and we have some ability to choose. I don’t think the latter can be shown at all from Scripture.

    Reply

  2. Randy,

    Sorry. Your use of Ephesians 2 to refer to faith as the gift or “it” that Paul is referring too is incorrect. The “it” refers to salvation; salvation and not faith are what Paul is referring too as he finishes his statement, “not of works lest any man should boast.” Salvation is not of works, not faith.

    The question for Calvinists is “how do humans who are dead in their sins and helpless, whose basic nature is to rebel against God becomes Christians.” As you already know… I do not believe in the extent of “total depravity” that Calvinism proposes to support their theory of limited atonement. It is interesting to me that you referenced Romans 1 to support your remark dealing with man’s depraved condition. Romans 1 does more to debunk the whole argument of total depravity than it does support it. In fact, Romans 1 says nothing about man’s “nature to rebel against God.” It does address man’s unrighteousness…. ”18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness… so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

    It is clear to me that Paul is speaking about individuals who have all the revelation they need to respond to God’s invitation to believe but THEY refused to do so… it does not appear that they did not believe because God failed to give the ability to do so. He says… “they knew God”… they knew who He was and all that He had done… but they did not glorify Him as God… and because of the choices they made, their hearts were darkened. This fact alone tears the whole notion of total depravity and man’s being dead in his sins… and needing to be regenerated to even respond to God…

    Look at what Paul writes… their hearts were darkened… they became fools…

    “24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

    Here is a good question for you… why would God give them over to a “debased mind” if they were already dead? This whole passage makes absolutely no sense if the Calvinist’s 1st point is accurate. It is impossible to make something dead debased.

    If man is totally lost as I contend, then this passage makes more sense. As men refuse God’s revelation and efforts to reconcile them to Him, THEN He gives them over to a debased mind and seeking to be wise they become fools.

    Colossians 1:19-20 is the correct passage… which I am sure you already know. I will make that correction.

    As for your presentation on regeneration, I have referenced that already. We both agree that regeneration is essential in the salvific process. We differ in our placement. Your statement, “Titus 3 specifically says that we are saved by regeneration, uses a water metaphor.” Here is the verse that I am assuming you are referring to: ”4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

    I am sorry but I do not see Titus saying anything about regeneration proceeding saving faith in this passage. This passage says that God “saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit… that He poured on us… that having BEEN JUSTIFIED by His grace…

    Those that He saved are those who have believed in God. In all fairness, there is no mention of regeneration leading to believing faith. In fact, there is NO PLACE in the Scriptures that I am aware of where the Holy Spirit takes up residence in a person’s heart until he first believes and repents. The indwelling is the guarantee of the saved person’s redemption in glory.

    Finally, you said, “All know is that God has to mess with a person before they can come to faith. If not, we seem to be left with the Pelagian solution. We are either totally lost with no natural ability to respond to God or we are not totally affected by the fall and we have some ability to choose. I don’t think the latter can be shown at all from Scripture.” We actually agree on your first statement.

    “All know is that God has to mess with a person before they can come to faith.” I do not personally like your choice of words here but am giving you the benefit of the doubt. The difference in our positions it seems to me, is WHAT it is that God does for the lost person to allow him to come to saving faith in Christ Jesus.

    You seem and Calvinists most certainly claim that regeneration is what God does to lead a person to saving faith. When God regenerates or makes a person alive, he WILL respond in faith and WILL repent and come to salvation or I say, spiritual adoption.

    I do not believe God regenerates but rather touches sinful man by revelation and reconciliation and that is what allows a lost man to come to God in saving faith and repentance which brings regeneration or new birth. So neither of us is guilty of the Pelagian position.

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

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    Reply

    • I did not read past your first statement. I don’t know how much Greek you had but it refers both to salvation and faith. Denying proper exegesis does not help your case.

      Reply

  3. Bob, if you do not believe in the total depravity of man, you are not within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy of any kind, except certain forms of Roman Catholicism. Not even Arminians believe what you are saying.

    Reply

    • I hate to disappoint you but I am not really concerned with what Calvinists or Arminians believe about anything. I have my own thoughts and am simply expressing them. I do not have any problem with the depravity of man; my problem is the extent that Calvinism takes that depravity. If a man is “dead” as Calvinism proposes, then it seems to me he ought to be unable to sin! Dead men cannot sin. Also… this whole notion that God has to regenerate man before He can reveal Himself or reconcile anyone to Him challenges His sovereignty…. in a serious way.

      So… lets do a little bit better job of landing accusations… I am busy as well… a little more specificity in your comments would be appreciated. if i err… be a little more specific where and how I err as opposed to all these generalized accusatory statements…

      Grateful to be in His Grip

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      Reply

      • I took it that you knew what I was talking about. I will be micro detailed if necessary. To be spiritually dead is to be a sinner, you don’t have to do anything, everything a spiritually dead person does is sin. A spiritually dead person cannot not sin.

        And no, regeneration does not challenge God’s sovereignty. God does not have to save anyone. He is not under any obligation. Whatever God does, he does it out of grace. So, man is dead, God redeems them by regeneration, by making them alive spiritually again. He does this by means of the cross. Christ is our penal substitute (even Dr. Irby taught that) His act is an act of grace, the cross takes seriously our sin and the debt we owe. What is even better is that we are justified which means we are declared righteous even when we have yet to become holy and righteous in and of ourselves.

        What challenges the sovereignty of God is the notion that our condition is not as serious as the Bible says that some how we can rise up and place our trust in Christ. your view on this is similar to Abelard who said that we see Christ suffer on the cross and we are so moved by that act, we come to accept him. In a similar manner, you think revelation comes and people believe because of revelation when Romans clearly says that is not the case.

        The fall is complete, there is no reserve. To think that we are not so fallen is exactly what Pelagius believed and taught. He did not say that man is not fallen but that he was not completely fallen. And that part that is not fallen can choose to follow Christ. But that is so contrary to Scripture. No one comes to Christ except that the Father gives them to the Son according to John.

        No one does their own theology. We are a part of an ancient community that has passed down its sacred book and it teaches for 2000 years. you have heard countless sermons and preached countless sermons. Hopefully you have read theology and biblical studies. No one does theology on their own. And if you were doing it on your own you should oppose all who don’t agree with you and i would imagine that would be a lot of folk, you would be an island to yourself. It would be Bobism. And I do not think that you are an island. if you have one unique thought in your life time you will be among the most gifted humans in history, few us ever have a unique thought. My point is that you are not doing this in isolation, it is not even possible.

  4. The revelation he is talking about is natural revelation. the judgment for their not responding to God that they see in nature is more depravity. Their nature was unbelief. It was their nature because they are dead.

    I did not say that regeneration preceded faith in Titus, I said it did in John 3

    Your arguments don’t hold water. Part of the problem is you don’t understand what you are opposed to. You need to take the next couple of years and read some primary sources and see what Calvinists really say.

    I am still shocked that you would buy into Pelagian beliefs for the sake of opposing Calvinsim. I am very concerned that you are going down this road, it can only lead to a tragic end. The logical outcome of your belief is there is no need for the Gospel at all.

    Reply

    • Since I flunked mind reading 101, I can only comment on what you wrote… here is what you said, “Titus 3 specifically says that we are saved by regeneration, uses a water metaphor. The word for regeneration in the Greek is only used twice in the NT as far as I can tell (also see paliggenesia in the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament). Titus adds also the word renewal, the act of the Holy Spirit on the person. The idea of regeneration is found in the words, born again. It is, in fact what it means to be regenerated. In John three it is literally to be fathered from above. it is passive which means it is something done to us, not something that we ask for or do for ourselves.”

      If we are “saved by regeneration” then it by default means that regeneration precedes faith. As for John 3… you wrote…
      In John three it is literally to be fathered from above. it is passive which means it is something done to us, not something that we ask for or do for ourselves. The contrast there is with physical birth, just as we must be physically born, something we no part in, we must also be born from God. Notice that regeneration comes before the whoever believes in John 3: 16.

      Here is an interesting side bar to your contention that since “regeneration or being born again” is written before John 3:16 that regeneration comes before believing… well I guess you are correct, grammatically but not theologically. Notice what Jesus says in verse 12… which also follows the “born again” passage… If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things?

      The earthly things must have referred to being born again, although it is indeed necessary to see the kingdom of heaven, but the spiritual follows… in verses 14 and following. so…

      This passage does not validate the issue of regeneration predeeding faith.

      Grateful to be in His Grip

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      Reply

    • This reply is a response to the previous comment… that for some reason has no reply button… you wrote… “To be spiritually dead is to be a sinner, you don’t have to do anything, everything a spiritually dead person does is sin. A spiritually dead person cannot not sin.”

      I haev no real problem with this being a definition of depravity with one exception… When God through the work of the Holy Spirit begins to reveal Himself to that sinner, through a variety of means, be it His Word or the preaching or teaching of His Word, man can respond in believing faith to His revelation of Himself to that person. This spiritually dead person cannot on his own apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit get up one day and decided on his own, “I think I will become a Christian today.”

      Again this is where you and I differ in our theological positions with regard to salvation… when I got saved it was because God revealed to me that I was lost and that I needed what Jesus did for me on the cross and the way for me to receive His free gift of salvation was for me to place my faith in Him and Him alone and His grace alone etc… and in repentance he would hear my cry and whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. That is what I did and I am confident that is what you did and that is why God did what He did… when you got saved… I will guarantee you that you had no idea what Calvinism even was..

      Our faith in the Promised Son and the promises of a covenant relationship with Him are what made us part of God’s forever family… not His supreme choice in plucking us out of the pits of hell …

      You wrote… your view on this is similar to Abelard who said that we see Christ suffer on the cross and we are so moved by that act, we come to accept him.
      You keep making these characterizing statements that have no basis. I have never said or even thought for that matter that anyone was so moved by the cross that they would accept Him on that basis. I do believe as John 3:14-15 says… And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

      God did not force anyone to look at the serpent and be saved… but everyone who did was saved. How are we to be saved today? By looking to the One raised up on that cross and believe in Him.

      You wrote, “In a similar manner, you think revelation comes and people believe because of revelation when Romans clearly says that is not the case.”

      Now we may be getting somewhere. elaborate on this will you. be careful in advance… since we BOTH believe in the soverignty of God… if you try to contend that God is incapable of revealing Himself to a lost person and unable to reconcile that lost person to Himself then we are going to have some serious problems.

      Just thought I would share that reservation in advance.

      As far as the comments on my theology adn their validity… I am simply going to ignore. I said I am not obligated to anyone’s particular theological position… Since you became a Calvinist AFTER you got saved… (making that assumption of course) then you of all people cannot criticize me for having my own convicions independent of some theological system! Yours is adopted from its inception. I have not put those glasses on… so I dont read the Bible with that tint. Sorry… actually I am not sorry. Just convicted and convinced.

      Still grateful to be in His Grip

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      Reply

  5. I appreciate your concern… but trust me… I have no Pelagian theology in my system… Adam did not set a bad example nor did Jesus set a good example… so no thank you… I am not in that camp. And one other thing… I am not buying into some other belief system for the sake of opposing Calvinism. I oppose Calvinism. Period. The fact that I oppose Calvinism has nothing to do with what I actually do believe. I believe what I believe and am learning every day… and it is because of what I believe that I oppose Calvinism. Actually… perhaps the reason you think the way you do is because every Southern Baptist Calvinist that I know became a Calvinist AFTER they got saved and heard about Calvinism from another Calvinist (most in higher education) … well I ain’t in that camp. Sorry.

    You and I go a long way back… and you know that I am not a dummy. So to accuse me of not understanding what I am opposed to is a cheap shot. Just because you and I disagree on things is no excuse for you to make blanket derogatory statements about my understanding.

    Now as for your assertion that Paul is speaking of natural revelation is very interesting. You accuse me of poor exegesis in another post dealing with Ephesians 2… and now you try to get me to swallow this Kool-Aide you are dishing up in Romans 1? Come on. Natural revelation does not even exist outside the Calvinist confines… and I dont care what kind of revelation you want to assign to Romans 1… there is no reason for God to give a sinner over to a reprobate mind if he is already so depraved he cannot respond to God in the first place unless God does something to Him first! That is like saying God is killing him twice… he is already dead spiritually so God is going to give Him over to a reprobate mind.

    Sorry… no go on that one.

    Still Grateful to be in His Grip!

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    Reply

    • I just read 7 commentaries on Ephesians and all agree that faith is included in the “that not of yourselves”

      Romans 1 is in regard to inner truth, ie what should be known because we are made in the image of God, and what is seen in nature, the attributes of God in beauty and order. And despite knowing God they continue to sin, continue to follow the depravity of their hearts, so God turns them over to their depravity as further judgment.

      I did not take a cheap shot but you are not doing very well in either historical knowledge, theological reason and you don’t seem to do much with biblical exegesis. I have taught masters level and college level and they work you have shown here would not fly in class. you can get mad at me and claim I am taking a cheap shot or you could buck up and do a much better job. But I am telling that if a real Calvinist reads this stuff, they are going fall out laughing.

      Reply

  6. As far as your assertion that “it” refers to both salvation and faith… I had my share of NT Greek… have translated several books in the Bible and even this one as a matter of fact. All that aside, you need to explain to me how the Greek supports your position… as I read this passage, you can leave out the phrase “through faith” and the verse does not lose any of its meaning. For by grace are you saved; it is a or the gift of God. In this case, I will respectfully maintain my position that the gift refers to salvation and not faith. Faith is absolutely essential to salvation but salvation and not faith is the gift that Paul is referring to.

    Grateful to be in His Grip

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    Reply

    • Both grace and faith are feminine. Touto is neuter. Most commentaries take it that the neuter covers the entire sentence, not just the word grace or saved. Here saves is a passive perfect participle meaning you have been saved and still are saved by grace through which neither is from yourself but is a gift from God.

      Reply

      • You wrote… “I did not take a cheap shot but you are not doing very well in either historical knowledge, theological reason and you don’t seem to do much with biblical exegesis. I have taught masters level and college level and they work you have shown here would not fly in class.” If your exegetical expertise is reflected in this explanation of “faith” being included in the “it” or “gift” then I probably would fail your class. In your response, you did not even mention “faith” at all… nor did you mention “gift”. You did not mention that “you are saved” is plural… not singular… so it is doubtful that it is as good a proof text as you contend it is. God’s gift is salvation. Salvation is by or because of faith… which is a proper translation of “dia”… if anyone read this passage without calvinistic lenses on, they would not place faith with salvation as the gift. Salvation is God’s gift to men.

        Period.

        Grateful to be in His Grip

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  7. Bob I am not trying to be mean but I am a fierce debater. I know what I am talking about. I was trained this way and it comes to me naturally as well. What I can tell is that you have never sat in a doctoral seminar and had to defend a paper against your peers. Since those days I have maintained my scholarly pursuits, I read all the time and I read widely, biblical studies, theology, philosophy, etc. I have 4 or five friends who I could carry on a fierce debate and everyone is happy (two of them use to live in Palaka). I just assume that everyone is that way.

    Reply

  8. This is not hurting my feelings… I am equally a capable debater and I do attempt to stay on target and try to be specific in my comments as opposed to general… I pay attention to everything that is said because I do not claim to know all the answers… I just want someone to point out to me WHY and WHERE my statements are incorrect and not some generalized accusations that no arminian or calvinist would agree with my position… Pelagian or Oprah or whoever is in my camp. I am comfortable being in my own shoes… so if I am all alone that is perfectly fine with me.

    If Calvinists laugh at me… that is fine. I am glad to brighten someone’s day. As far as i am concerned, not one comment has been aimed at my primary point that revelation and reconciliation and NOT regeneration precede saving faith … which is the principle point that I have made to this point.

    It seems to me that we have majored on the minors and have not even touched the majors…

    When I debated, I liked going for the jugular as opposed to slapping at issues.

    Grateful to be in His Grip

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    Reply

  9. I focused on the idea of faith being a gift from God, the rest of what you said is superfluous. If you can find a commentary by a reputable scholar who says that faith is not included in the phrase, “and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God,” then I will carry this further. Otherwise I don’t see any reason to further discuss it because you can’t afford to read Scripture properly here. You are reading meaning back into the text so it agrees with you, that faith must precede regeneration. And that is my point, it does not, it cannot because believing faith is a work of God in the person.

    Reply

    • i do not have to find a commentary to prove that “faith” is not included in the phrase, “and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God,” … anyone who can read English can see that faith is not in that phrase. That is intended to be cute.

      As to the theological implications, the two phrases through or because of faith and not of yours, are statements that refer to action of the sentence which is “are and having been saved”; again… the two phrases can be omitted and it does not significantly change the thrust of the sentence…

      for by grace you (pl) are having been saved; it is a God gift. I would be tempted to argue that grace is the gift before I would argue that faith is the gift in this passage.

      One of the few statements that I agree with that you have written is this one, “I don’t see any reason to further discuss it because you can’t afford to read Scripture properly here.” I would not have said it but since you did… I thought I would echo it.

      Here is a question for you… you said early on, more than once that you did not consider yourself a Calvinist… can you tell me what about Calvinism you disagree with? We have covered everything but irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints… and given all that you have written… irresistible grace cannot be the issue… and even though I do not believe in the perseverance of the saints as calvinism presents it… I cannot imagine you going there either.

      This will at least change the channel for a little while…

      Grateful to be in His Grip

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      Reply

  10. Grace or Faith: which is the gift of God?

    Without bothering with Greek grammar on this point, I think it is sufficient to read the English and consider which reading makes sense when compared with the rest of scripture.

    Eph 2:5-8 KJV
    (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
    (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
    (7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
    (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    It would seem to me that the ordinary reader would read this and understand that “Grace is not of ourselves” and “Grace is the gift of God.”

    1. Within the context of the surrounding verses, this passage focuses on grace. Verse five speaks of grace, verse seven speaks of grace, and verse eight speaks of grace. Thus, when Paul says “it is the gift of God” he is likely speaking of grace.

    2. By definition, grace is an unmerited gift. When we speak of the grace of God, it is also correct to say that “Grace is the gift of God.” I do not know of anyone who would challenge that grace is not the gift of God. By this same measure, the concept of “faith” being a divine gift defies common sense and seems to only exist within the realm of Reformed Theological circles.

    3. Scripture itself would deny an interpretation that faith itself is a gift. Limiting myself to five examples:

    a) When the disciples could not cast out devils, Jesus blamed their unbelief, and answered If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed” (Matthew 17:20) The faith (or lack thereof) belonged to his disciples.

    b) In John 9:35, Jesus asked a man whether he believed on the Son of God. The man chose to believe (verse 39) and worshiped him. Christ’s question would seem very silly if belief was something that had to be granted.

    c) In Mark 9:29, he spoke to two blind men, and asked them if they had belief. They answered in the affirmative, and Jesus answered “According to your faith be it unto you.” Again, Jesus spoke of their healing as being conditional upon the degree of their faith.

    d) In Matthew 8:10, Jesus even marveled at the faith of a centurion, saying that “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Why would Jesus marvel at faith if it was something that he placed there himself?

    e) In Mark 4:40, Jesus rebukes his disciples for their lack of faith, and even asks them, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Again, this would seem like a very silly question if we assume the Calvinist premise that “faith is the gift of God” and “faith is not of ourselves.”

    Without attempting to argue obscure shades of Greek, the English itself indicates that “grace is the gift of God” and scripture supports this assertion. Grace and salvation are not ourselves, but are offered in response to faith which is of ourselves. Besides this, if faith is something that can be cast off, who is is that makes the decision to cast away that faith? (see 1 Timothy 5:12, below).

    1Ti 5:12 KJV
    (12) Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

    In the context of scripture, our faith might start as small of a grain of mustard seed. Jesus rebuked his disciples for their lack of faith and praised others who showed great faith. Another said “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” God may help our faith, but it seems that we are expected to put something forward on our own.

    In all, Ephesians 2:8 does not seem like a very effective Calvinist proof-text. But if faith really is a divine gift that has nothing to do with ourselves, this should be able to be clearly proven from scripture in an unambiguous manner, not with philosophical questions like “How can a man have faith?”

    Reply

  11. Lets try this another way… Suppose Ephesians 2:8 read: ” 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, not of works, lest anyone should boast; it is the gift of God. What is it that is the most important aspect in this passage? Is it faith? Is it grace or is it salvation?

    Clearly the result of saving faith is what? Salvation. The product of God’s grace is what? Salvation. Neither is beneficial if salvation is not the result. Our Salvation is the single focus of God. Salvation is God’s gift. Which “gift” would you rather have? Grace? Faith? Love? Salvation?

    Grateful to be in His Grace,

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    Reply

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