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'Doctrines of Grace', as Michael described, is a term often used in place of saying 'Calvinism'. Unfortunately, the use of the term has the side effect of branding any competing theory as "not" being a Doctrine or theory of grace. As such, this term can detract from the true Doctrine of Grace; the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as cause division in the church if misused. It also can be a misnomer, depending on how it is understood. While doctrine in general is simply something that is 'taught', in Christian terminology Doctrine generally refers to the basic teachings of faith in which all Christians agree. [https://ebible.com/statement_of_faith]. For example, one important Doctrine is the teaching that "Jesus died for our sins". http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/doctrine/ Upon the foundations of Christ, scripture, Doctrine, and the teachings of the Apostles, further teachings can be built. Many teachings can be derived through systematic theology, or by studying the word, etc, and this is good for going beyond basic teachings to maturity. While it is beneficial to study these topics and other topics that build upon core Doctrine, we should avoid the extremes; the one of taking a teaching of man as 'gospel truth', the other of using no discernment or studying scripture at all. Not every view is equal in terms of scriptural support. The first extreme leads to division, such as denominations fracturing from others, each believing it has the whole 'truth'. The second extreme leads to moral relativism and spiritual stagnation. In the case of 'Doctrines of Grace', it nears the first extreme as it is often used in a 'superior' sense to the gospel, as if the five points summarized the gospel or the gospel was contained in them. It should be used in an inferior sense, as should be all other teachings/theories that seek basis in the gospel and scripture, but are not Core Doctrine of themselves or even explicit scripture. Whatever phrases we use, we should be careful in daily conversation to avoid confusion and division where possible. The terms/buzzwords we use should neither put other believers down by implication or advance a personal view as superior, nor cause confusion between Core Doctrine and other teachings/theories for younger believers or non-believers. As for the actual theory of Calvinism, the Church has debated for hundreds of years on the matter. There are 5 point Calvinists, 4 point, Aminians, people who identify with both, people who reject both theories, Provisionalists, those with no opinion, people who pick points from several views, Molinists, etc. Michael covers the support verses for Calvanism above, and a contrary analysis is here; http://ebible.com/answers/17319?ori=167400. **** Having covered what the term 'Doctrines of Grace' means in common usage, let us turn to scripture and look at what the core "Doctrines of Grace" are: Grace is Christ; the gift of God; God revealed. (Heb 1:3, I Cor 1:4-5, John 4:10) Grace is salvation offered to all people in Christ: (Titus 2:11, John 12:3-33, Matt 4:12-17, Psalm 67:1-3) Grace is salvation granted through faith (Eph 2:8-10, Rom 5:1-2, Joel 2:32), not by works of law. Grace is Christ delivered to death that we might live: (Rom 4:25, Gal 2:20-21, Rom 5:6-8) Grace is the gift of justification; being declared righteous; through Christ: (Rom 5:12-19) Grace is pardon from God's wrath, and reconciliation with God: (Rom 5:6-11) Grace is eternal life granted to those who believe: (John 3:16-17, Rom 6:23, John 1:1-3) Grace is the Holy Spirit dwelling with us: (Acts 19:2, Eph 4:30, I Cor 6:19) Grace is God's regeneration of believers into new creations under the headship of Christ: (Rom 6, Gal 6:16, II Cor 5:17, Col 3:5-11) Grace is our adoption as sons: (Gal 4:4-6, Rom 8:15) Etc. These are the true "Doctrines of Grace".
At some time in our life all Christian’s may struggle with questions like: When a sinner is saved, who chooses whom—does God choose the sinner, or does the sinner choose God? Did Christ die for the sins of everyone, or just the people He saves? These questions are directly related to the sovereignty of God, election, predestination, perseverance and “free will”. Yes, “Doctrines of Grace” are associated with Calvinism, first taught by the Apostles, vital to sound biblical understanding but not without difficulty. Our “nature” inherently desires to be the one-in-control. From the beginning in the Garden of Eden we wanted to be like God in knowing good and evil. Our “nature” shared with Satan that desire of wanting to be God like or like God knowing all things. “Control” is the issue and what we all struggle with it in an understanding and acceptance of the Doctrines of Grace, but as we continue to die-to-self we eventually come to an understanding that God is in Control and I am not - It is truly “All about Him” and not about ME! The “Doctrines of Grace” is an acknowledgement that God is Sovereign and in Control. Romans 9:11-16 (KJV 1611). “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then (it is not of him that willeth), (nor of him that runneth), but (of God that sheweth mercy)”. Romans 8:27-33 (KJV 1611) “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the (will of God). And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to (his purpose). For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's (elect)? It is God that (justifieth)”. So, I hope the sinner who is saved when confronted with, “Who’s in Control Here”? The answer would be GOD not me! “When your will is God's will, you will have your will.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon Our views are based on what we believe in regards to the following: Total Depravity” of Man or does one hold to Pelagianism - the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid. If a person truly believes in Total Depravity (man is dead in sin) the remaining points Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints naturally follow. If (man is dead in sin) then what can a dead man do?Unless, first awakened, regenerated - quickened? How do we view salvation: monergistic or synergistic - the biblical evidence supports the monergistic view of salvation - (Hebrews 12:2) God is the author and perfector of our salvation. (Philippians 1:6) He who began a good work in us will perfect it on the day of Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8-9) If salvation is solely based on God’s saving grace, then there is no room for us to boast, and all the glory goes to Him. (gotquestions : Monergism vs Synergism). Or does one hold to a Semi-Pelagian View - That man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will, and that man can cooperate with God's grace even to the keeping of his faith through human effort - meaning that God responds to the initial effort of person and that God's grace is not absolutely necessary to maintain faith. Meaning that it is no longer - grace. (Grace is the completely unmerited and freely given favor of God upon the sinner; but, if man is the one who first seeks God, then God is responding to the good effort of seeking him. This would mean that God is offering a proper response to the initial effort of man. This is not grace but what is due to the person who chooses to believe in God apart from God's initial effort. Semi-Pelagianism is a weaker form of Pelagianism a heresy derived from Pelagius who lived in the 5th century A.D. and was a teacher in Rome). Semi-Pelagianism (advocated by Cassian at Marseilles, 5th Century) did not deny original sin and its effects upon the human soul and will; but, it taught that God and man cooperate to achieve man's salvation. Considering the aforementioned: Which view brings greater Glory to God? We might also ask someone’s definition of the word Sovereignty? Grace? Mercy? Predestination? Election? Chosen? Regeneration? Quickening? Foreknowledge? Would not regeneration not precede faith? (Luke 17:5) “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith”. Where does the word Freewill appear in Scripture? Who is the Author and Finisher of our Faith : God or God with (man’s) input? Or, again, Who is in Control God or Man? It cannot be both based on the Law of Non-Contradiction : (A and Non-A cannot both be true in the same time and in the same space). So, it is either A (God) or Non-A (Man) but not both or there would be a contradiction. If Man is in Control and not God - and we have the call of the Holy Spirit and (man can turn him down) - Does that mean that the power in Man is greater than the power in God? Strange the beliefs of Arminius our spokes person in the Freewill discussion. “But in his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of any by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good, but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections or will, and in all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, consider, will, and perform whatever is truly good. When he is made a partaker of this regeneration or renovation, I consider that, since he is delivered from sin, he is capable of thinking, willing, and doing that which is good, but yet not without the continued aids of Divine Grace.” ― James Arminius “Predestination therefore, as it regards the thing itself, is the Decree of the good pleasure of God in Christ, by which He resolved within Himself from all eternity, to justify, adopt, and endow with everlasting life, to the praise of His own glorious grace, believers on whom He had decreed to bestow faith.” ― James Arminius
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