Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Am I becoming a Calvinist?

Is this a good or bad thing?

It was (and to some degree still is) that I would refuse (repeat REFUSE) to debate over the issue of whether the deal is: 'Once saved always saved', or 'You can lose your salvation' because I had not made up my mind.
 
Calvinists go for the first one it seems, I was inclined towards the second, but refused to be commited either way.
 
How did the Calvinists explain 'falling away', which described by the second group also as 'losing your salvation'.  The only way to explain the second group's beliefs is that there are those who confess that Jesus is lord (second, and only visible, part of Romans 10:9) that then 'lost faith', they turned away.  The first group explained them as people who were never saved in the first place.  This always seemed to me as a cop-out (I hate those).  They were making claims they couldn't prove.  They were making assumptions about people which no-one could ever know was true to prove themselves, assuming that they never really believed.  This seemed to me as a flimsy support.  But then losing salvation is losing the promise it seems.  The promise of eternal life etc..
 
But then over one issue, looking at it from both side's views, each side had a flimsy (read stupid) basis on something (I am not known for subtlety when it comes to people having views obviously contradicted by the Bible - the Bible calls the stupid [Proverbs etc] so I have no qualms about thinking they are stupid-but I won't insult them).  The issue was the people who 'fell away'.  I shall critique the views I have heard in my life:
 
Group 2:
"Those who fell away, lost their salvation"
I interpret this exclamation in the following ways:
a) They were saved before they fell away and now are not saved.
b) Salvation is a gift from God, they lost this gift rejecting it (But they did have it while they were still accepting it).
c) Salvation is a promise to the faithful.  By losing their salvation they have lost their promise to them by God.
My interpretations (I shall write what I think, using some of my philosophical thought processes):
a) The term 'saved' by itself sounds eternal.  By saying that they have lost salvation, this salvation is in some way not eternal.  This implication as I see it is not right.  For salvation is the gift of eternal life.  So the result of the gift from God lasts for eternity.  This leads to question (b)
b) Can you lose gifts from God?  This question here by itself I would instinctively say no to.  But is this answer right?  God is merciful, God is kind, God NEVER breaks His promises.  He promised the gift of eternal life to the faithful.  The gift comes with a promise, so then you cannot lose this gift from God.  You cannot lose any gifts from God (I seem to have stepped into the Calvinist camp here through my logic, let's see how this continues - I am observing my logic like you as an external observer).  (I have just searched for the common saying "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" and have not found it in the KJV)  The previous statement may not be quite true, but I have so far logically concluded it is, if it isn't I'd still conclude thus far that "You can't lose this gift (eternal life) from God".  So now, through my logic (which may be flawed) I have definitely stepped into the Calvinist camp.  I am now thinking: "God promises eternal life to those who confess with their mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart God raised Him from the dead (Ro 10:9).  So those with faith get the promise of eternal life, if they lose their faith, then the 2nd Group say they were saved but they lose their salvation.  For them to be correct God has to break His promise, so Group 2 are wrong."  But now I think "Is God really breaking His promise?" - They no longer have faith so they no longer deserve salvation, as faith is a definite 'prerequisite' (for want of a better word) for salvation (not to confuse this statement as equating faith with works), countless bible verses, but Ro4:16 says "the promise comes by faith" and Ro3:28 "For we maintain that man is justified by faith apart from observing the law".  So they have no faith, so it seems that they don't deserve salavtion.  This then leads to the first point of Group 1.
c) Answered in (b).
 
Group 1:
Those who fall away were never saved in the first place.  They did not have the faith, it just appeared to us that they did.
To continue from answer (b) above:
Answer (b) above finished with "They had faith, and were saved, but now they've lost faith, so they don't deserve salvation, therefore they are no longer saved."
Well this point and the conclusion of (b) agree that both of these people are doomed, but they disagree on the initial state of these people.  So the question here is "Were they initially saved or not?"  Group 1 say no, Group 2 say yes.  A clear disagreement here.  This appears to be the fundamental difference between the two groups, all other differences arise from this.  So then who is right?  It here now that I shall throw a few more Bible verses into the fray:
V1 - 1Jn5:4 "For everyone who is born of God will overcome the world."
V2 - James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseverese under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."
V3 - Gal3:11 "The righteous live by faith."
V4 - Heb 10:38 "But my righteous one lives by faith, if he shrinks back I will not be pleased with him."
V5 - Ro 12:3 "..in accordance with the faith God has given you."
V6 - 1Co12:8-9 "To one there is given...faith.."
V7 - 1Jn5:18 "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him."
These should do, but I can't remember another passage I think you pointed out to me in which it talks about those who have faith and the results of them having it, and it implies clearly that if you have genuine faith, you won't lose it - that if you 'lose your faith' you really never had faith in the first place.  If you remember this passgae could you please remind me of it.
V1 and V7 says that those with faith in God (born of Him) will not be overcome by the world (lose faith etc) and will be kept safe.  V2 says that he who does not lose his faith will receive eternal life.  V3 says you are righteous if you live by faith, if you lose faith you were not righteous, and to get to heaven you need to be righteous. V5 and V6 say that our faith is A GIFT FROM GOD.  From this I ask that if you 'lose your faith' has God given you faith, then taken it away?  Then I'd ask why.
V4 could be used to support Group 2, but in light of the other verses it doesn't.
So I conclude that God gives us our faith, and we do not lose that faith. (What is that passage?  It is probably the easiest passage to base this all on.)
So it seems Group 1 is right, they were not initially saved, they did not have true faith.
 
But there is another 'sect' of people within Group 1 who I have heard say:
Those who fall away are still saved.
Well this is comforting to us if we have Christian friends who have 'fallen away'.  We can lean on this and say that they are still going to heaven.  What a dangerous thought!    Believing this could lead us to not try hard to bring them back (direct violation of the Bible - don't remember exactly where)  But as I have been convinced, they did not have faith to begin with, so I conclude that the people who say "Those who fall away are still saved", an extreme of "once saved always saved" are wrong.  They are assuming by external observations that strongly suggested to them that the person who 'fell away' was saved initially.  This is a dangerous assumption, and I believe they are wrong.  All the verses above oppose this belief.
 
So it seems that saying that those who 'fall away' did not have faith or were not saved initially is not a cop-out as it seemed before.
 
So I seem to have now concluded that the Calvinists are right.
Any comments?
(If the above makes no sense it is because everything was just laid out as I thought of it)
 
See Ya!