The "Stronghold" of Arminianism

Theo1689

Well-known member
Seth made two statements here, and tried to link them together:

I used to talk about the stronghold of Calvinism.

This statement is false. Calvinism is not a "stronghold".

Biblically a stronghold is something that grabs your attention, makes you feel like you are on the inside track, puffs up your ego, blinds you to anything that opposes your view and strangely, causes a bitter spirit.

I think this statement is true. But while Seth tried to link the "stronghold" to "Calvinism", I believe the "stronghold" to the position of criticizing Calvinism.

First of all, Seth pretends to be a "mind-reader", and projects negative feelings and attitudes onto Calvinists:

Biblically a stronghold is something that grabs your attention, makes you feel like you are on the inside track, puffs up your ego, blinds you to anything that opposes your view and strangely, causes a bitter spirit.

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Part 1: The Survey:

So my first question is for the Calvinists here, and ONLY the CALVINISTS here, since non-Calvinists cannot read the minds or hearts of Calvinists. Let's be fair.

Calvinists:

1) Do you feel like Calvinism puts you on some "inside track" (whatever that means)?
[_] Yes
[_] No

2) Do you feel that Calvinism "puffs up your ego"?
[_] Yes
[_] No

3) Do you find that Calvinism "binds you to anything that opposes your view"?
[_] Yes
[_] No

4) Do you find that Calvinism "causes a bitter spirit"?
[_] Yes
[_] No

----------------------------------

Part 2: My Answers:


Here are my answers;

1) Do you feel like Calvinism puts you on some "inside track" (whatever that means)?

Definitely not. I don't believe one must be a "Calvinist" to be saved. I have many Arminian friends, and I am confident of their salvation. So Calvinism didn't put me on any "inside track."

2) Do you feel that Calvinism "puffs up your ego"?

Definitely not.
Historically, and experientially, Calvinism HUMBLES the sinner. I don't know whether it's Calvinism per se, or simply being more mature in the faith (or perhaps a combination of both), that makes one more sensitive to their sins, to the point where we can sincerely say with Paul, "I am the chief of sinners."

I remember back when I first recognized that Calvinism was God's truth, that made God in my eyes a million times bigger, and a million times more holy. It made me a million times worse of a sinner, and it made God's grace a million times greater. It was a TRULY humbling experience.

3) Do you find that Calvinism "binds you to anything that opposes your view"?

Definitely not.
Maybe it's because I used to be an Arminian (and this seems to be the experience of most Calvinists, that they were first Arminians), that we understand Arminianism. Or maybe it's partly because I'm a teacher by trade, and one of the skills we need is to understand where our audience is coming from, to better communicate with them. But I think I'm pretty good at "playing devil's advocate". I understand what non-Calvinists believe, I simply disagree with it, because I believe the Bible.

4) Do you find that Calvinism "causes a bitter spirit"?

Definitely not. Calvinism causes a peaceful spirit, and a grateful spirit.
I'm guessing the comment about "Calvinism" allegedly "causes a bitter spirit" comes from one's experience in this forum, and people don't like it when you disagree with them, so each side thinks the other side is "bitter". But that isn't because of "Calvinism". If anything, if an Arminian finds it "bitter" because a Calvinist disagrees with them, that would mean that it is ARMINIANISM causes the "bitter spirit".


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Part 3: My Commentary:


Ironically, I believe that the "spirit" that Seth wrongly projects onto Calvinism, doesn't come from Arminianism, but it comes from "anti-Calvinism", which is adversarial by nature.

I say this for two reasons:

1) It is the anti-Calvinist who came up with these "attributes", and tried to project them onto Calvinism and Calvinists. So they didn't originate from Calvinists, but from anti-Calvinists.

But more specifically:

1) Do you feel like anti-Calvinism puts you on some "inside track" (whatever that means)?

There is definitely an attitude of "superiority" among people who attack Calvinism.
But since I'm not sure what "inside track" means, I won't comment further.

2) Do you feel that anti-Calvinism "puffs up your ego"?

As said above, anti-Calvinists convey at attitude of superiority and infallibility.
There is only ONE truth. Theirs.
There is only ONE interpretation. Theirs.
That's why there is no need to exegete the Scriptures they quote (when they quote Scriptures at all).
That's why they feel they never have to answer our questions.

And the "Free will" theology PROMOTES "ego".
Since they were the ones who "chose" Christ, when others didn't.
They were more "spiritual", or "more intelligent", or "made a better choice", or whatever was "better" in them than in those who don't choose Christ, or those who don't hold to "free will".

3) Do you find that anti-Calvinism "binds you to anything that opposes your view"?

I have been here on CARM for many years, and critics of Calvinism have NEVER actually addressed what we actually believe. They attack straw-men of what we believe. They take our doctrines, and incorporate them into THEIR paradigm (which we don't hold), and attack the "monster" that they've created, which is not what we believe.

And they don't know the passages which CAUSED us to accept Calvinism, they only address passages which they think CONTRADICT Calvinism. As I've said many times, in order to most fully address a doctrine, you have to deal with ALL the passages which speak to it, not just one (or two) "proof-texts" against it.

4) Do you find that anti-Calvinism "causes a bitter spirit"?

It is well, known that discussions in politics or religion tend to get heated, and that is regardless of one's particular view. There is animosity on this board, and that is undeniable. We are not holding hands here and singing "kumbayah". Although I truly believe that we could have FAR better amicable discussions than we presently do, and that fact that we don't is a shame. I've mentioned a couple of times that I had a ten-year-long email exchange with a Mormon, many years ago, and despite the fact that we disagreed on just about EVERYTHING, we were never hateful towards one another, but kept a friendly and respectful tone throughout. And the fact that in general, this who claim the name "Christ" are unable to do likewise is frankly shameful.

In general, I think any "bitter spirit" here is caused more by individual personalities, than it is to a particular soteriology.

But I think Arminianism does play a part. Calvinists understand why some people don't come to Christ, and why some people refuse to accept Calvinism. It's God's will. He doesn't make us all identical. But Arminians seems to think that we all have the "potential" to accept Arminian theology, and it seems that they think that if they repeat their beliefs enough times, we'll finally "understand" (as if we didn't already), and agree with them. And when we never do, they get bitter, because to them it's our fault, not God's. So yes, I think Arminianism tends to allow more "bitterness" in its adherents than Calvinism does.

So thank you, Seth, for allowing us to understand that any "stronghold" comes from Arminianism, not Calvinism.
 
Never experienced a discussion of C vs A within a church. First year seminarians including myself asked questions in class about it. In my first theology course the professor was very kind when I asked a dumb question about election.

Back home in our church we were too busy dealing with monism in various manifestations to be concerned about anything else. In the last 50 years I seen more people drift into monism than any other -ism. An old friend was married to a baptist pastor for 30 years. She was a monist and had been since her teens. She got along by being non-confrontational. Her husband died and she stopped hanging out with church people.She is a big fan of Richard Rohr.

Open Theism is a different topic.
 
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civic

Well-known member
No to 1-4- its just the opposite as it brings humility and gratitude for my Savior, Redeemer and Lord knowing I had nothing to do with my Salvation and He has Everything to do with my salvation from beginning to the end. As I always say and confirm the Scriptures which say: Salvation is of the Lord !

I guess I have a stronghold if one calls being born of the spirit, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit in my life equates to a stronghold in ones mind. :)

That is a perverted view IMHO and a great misuse and abuse of the word but that is in essence what sethproton is implying with Calvinists calling the Holy Spirit a stronghold.

hope this helps !!!
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
3) Do you find that anti-Calvinism "binds you to anything that opposes your view"?

This point can actually be tested somewhat objectively.

My friend James White got himself into counter-cult ministry when his sister-in-law was visited by Mormons. James was asked to participate in the discussion, since he just got his theology degree. He knew theology, but didn't really know Mormonism. He was able to respond to the mishies pretty well, but realized he had to learn a lot more about Mormonism. And so he did. He's written two books on it (and co-authored a book on cults), and he used to take a group of Christians to the Mormon "General Conference" in SLC every April and October, and witness to the Mormons there.

He tells a story about when he came across another Christian trying to evangelize a Mormon, and he was doing a terrible job, showing complete ignorance in what Mormons actually believe, and was arguing straw-man after straw-man. So James stepped in and started tearing down his straw-men, explaining to them what Mormons ACTUALLY believe. The Mormon actually thanked him for correcting the Christian in all his errors. This actually caused the Mormon to respect James, not only for honouring the truth and facts about what people believe, but because James had demonstrated that he had actually taken the time to understand Mormonism, and understand it well enough to be able to explain it correctly.

There is a Mormon presently in the "Apologetics" forum, trying to attack faith alone. And pretty much all he does is quote James 2:24, and then proclaims himself "the winner". Of course, I've walked through James 2 with him many, many times, and he simply ignores it. I've cited many other "not by works" passages, but he refuses to address them.

So this last time when he brought up James 2:24 as the "trump" card, I simply asked him, "Can you explain to us your understanding of how we have addressed this?" And I know for a fact that he will refuse to do so. And I'm pretty sure that he is unable to do so, because he doesn't seem interested in any view than his own.

I find the same thing with the "regular" non-Calvinists here. They seem to refuse that there even EXISTS any view that opposes their view. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's why Seth throws around the "stronghold" insult so often. We can't possibly have a valid understanding that disagrees with him, so the only reason he can think of for why we disagree with him is, "we must be under a stronghold". He couldn't possibly be mistaken, after all. There couldn't possibly be any alternative understandings, after all....
 

Redeemed

Well-known member
Never experienced a discussion of C vs A within a church. First year seminarians including myself asked questions in class about it. In my first theology course the professor was very kind when I asked a dumb question about election.

Back home in our church we were too busy dealing with monism in various manifestations to be concerned about anything else. In the last 50 years I seen more people drift into monism than any other -ism. An old friend was married to a baptist pastor for 30 years. She was a monist and had been since her teens. She got along by being non-confrontational. Her husband died and she stopped hanging out with church people.She is a big fan of Richard Rohr.
Just when we thought it was safe to go in the water! Up jumps monismo_O
 

Redeemed

Well-known member
No to 1-4- its just the opposite as it brings humility and gratitude for my Savior, Redeemer and Lord knowing I had nothing to do with my Salvation and He has Everything to do with my salvation from beginning to the end. As I always say and confirm the Scriptures which say: Salvation is of the Lord !

I guess I have a stronghold if one calls being born of the spirit, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit in my life equates to a stronghold in ones mind. :)

That is a perverted view IMHO and a great misuse and abuse of the word but that is in essence what sethproton is implying with Calvinists calling the Holy Spirit a stronghold.

hope this helps !!!
I always say " If I had to help God out with my salvation it would get messed up for sure". The Good News is Jesus is The Answer! His🎁 of salvation!
 

Redeemed

Well-known member
This point can actually be tested somewhat objectively.

My friend James White got himself into counter-cult ministry when his sister-in-law was visited by Mormons. James was asked to participate in the discussion, since he just got his theology degree. He knew theology, but didn't really know Mormonism. He was able to respond to the mishies pretty well, but realized he had to learn a lot more about Mormonism. And so he did. He's written two books on it (and co-authored a book on cults), and he used to take a group of Christians to the Mormon "General Conference" in SLC every April and October, and witness to the Mormons there.

He tells a story about when he came across another Christian trying to evangelize a Mormon, and he was doing a terrible job, showing complete ignorance in what Mormons actually believe, and was arguing straw-man after straw-man. So James stepped in and started tearing down his straw-men, explaining to them what Mormons ACTUALLY believe. The Mormon actually thanked him for correcting the Christian in all his errors. This actually caused the Mormon to respect James, not only for honouring the truth and facts about what people believe, but because James had demonstrated that he had actually taken the time to understand Mormonism, and understand it well enough to be able to explain it correctly.

There is a Mormon presently in the "Apologetics" forum, trying to attack faith alone. And pretty much all he does is quote James 2:24, and then proclaims himself "the winner". Of course, I've walked through James 2 with him many, many times, and he simply ignores it. I've cited many other "not by works" passages, but he refuses to address them.

So this last time when he brought up James 2:24 as the "trump" card, I simply asked him, "Can you explain to us your understanding of how we have addressed this?" And I know for a fact that he will refuse to do so. And I'm pretty sure that he is unable to do so, because he doesn't seem interested in any view than his own.

I find the same thing with the "regular" non-Calvinists here. They seem to refuse that there even EXISTS any view that opposes their view. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's why Seth throws around the "stronghold" insult so often. We can't possibly have a valid understanding that disagrees with him, so the only reason he can think of for why we disagree with him is, "we must be under a stronghold". He couldn't possibly be mistaken, after all. There couldn't possibly be any alternative understandings, after all....
Look that's why your one of the 'Big Dogs", someone has the chase these heretics our of the yard. But I'll stand behind you like a Chihuahua and bark.
 

Redeemed

Well-known member
4) Do you find that Calvinism "causes a bitter spirit"?
no

I find that in watching quite a few video debates between non-Calvinists and Calvinists that they start out fairly well then as the non-Calvinist starts to lose the debate they get angry. Then it just goes downhill all the way. The Calvinists always seem to stay cool calm and collected and the non-Calvinists go into a rant. The difference here is the non-Calvinists seem to be always in rant mode. I love how the ignore feature works on this board. I can see what you guys say back to the posters being ignored and I don't have to know what they're saying because they just say the same old garbage over and over. None of its edifying none of its uplifting just hateful and derogative.

I come here to find topics of things for me to study out. I really don't come here to argue with people. There are some pretty cool people you know what you're talking about. And I like to read what they have to say. In other words I come here to learn stuff. Right now I'm doing another study on free will that's led me to another study on predestination. Some have a myself a good old time hope you're doing the same.
 
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