Why Calvanism and Arminianism Are Complimentary
IntroductionI recently saw something that claims that the current church is Arminian (man seeks God) rather than Calvanist (God seeks man). I would like show that both of these are both wrong and right.
The Garden of EdenNotice that when God confronted Adam for his sin, Adam wasn't seeking God. It was God who was seeking Adam (not like God didn't already know where Adam was). God didn't force Adam to repent: in fact, Adam didn't repent at all. He wanted a relationship with God on his own terms: he wanted God to agree with him that it wasn't his fault. Of course Adam was lying, so God wasn't going to agree with him on that point. Notice that while God sought Adam, God didn't twist Adam's arm and force him to repent. Both views are complimentary when viewed together, because the truth of the Word doesn't totally agree with either. God sought man but didn't force him to do something, and man didn't seek God.
Cain and AbelNotice that Cain and Abel both sought God, in the sense that they brought their sacrifices to God. When Cain was upset, God sought Cain by telling Cain to watch out because sin was around the corner. God didn't force Cain to do right. When Cain killed Abel, he didn't seek God or seek forgiveness: God came and found him. But God didn't force Cain to repent either. Both views are complimentary: God sought Cain but didn't force him to repent, but Cain didn't seek God either.
Noah and the ArkHowever, now here's an interesting twist. It is not recorded that God sought out Noah, but that instead "Noah found grace", meaning Noah was looking for it. However, while Noah sought grace, Noah didn't force God to give that grace: God gave the grace. So again both views aren't totally correct, but viewed together, they average out to reality.
Various General Facts About Jesus
With the birth, life, and death of Jesus, I
some interesting nuggets of truth. God was seeking
sent the only One Who could fix the problem: His Only
did everything to seek us: He directly came to seek us in
He even sacrificed His Own Son, as the scripture says.
God force us to accept His Son? No. In fact, it's
thing because if we had knew what we were doing, I doubt we
wanted to do it. It was our sin that put Jesus on the
it was God's will to put Jesus on the cross. But we sure
seek God at that moment: in fact, we were away from God and we
want to have anything to do with God. So both views
correct, but together they are.
Look at Jesus' life. He didn't force anyone to follow Him: in fact, at times His followers' ranks increased and decreased. He did say it in a way that would be seen as a command: "Follow Me". But He didn't force anyone to follow Him. Consider that one rich person who asked what Jesus wanted for him to follow Jesus. Jesus went over the commandments, and the rich person said that he was obeying them. Jesus then said "good, now sell everything you have and follow Me". But the rich person didn't: he left depressed because he had many possessions and didn't want to sell them all. Jesus didn't force him to follow. But the 12 disciples did.
It's interesting to note that while Mathew 5:18-22 says that Jesus called Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. Mark 1:16-20 also repeats the same basic story. In Luke 5:1-11, however, we get "more of the story". Jesus asked Simon Peter to launch out so He could teach, and then told him to launch out deeper and drop nets. Of course, if Jesus had commanded and Simon had failed to obey.... We see that Simon, while he disagreed, did like Jesus said. There's choice involved there. So when they got back to land, they forsook everything and followed Jesus. Forsaking is a choice.
In John 1:35-51 we find another story: two of the disciples (John and Andrew, it is thought) followed Jesus based on what John the Baptist said. But Jesus turned around and asked them what they seek. It's interesting here: the disciples were seeking Christ. Jesus draws them in by offering to let them see where He is staying. Simon joins them soon, because Andrew went out and brought him to Jesus. We see a lot of choice here, and we don't see Jesus commanding their followership this time. Then we see Jesus telling Philip to follow him, but then Philip goes and gets Nathaniel. Nathaniel is sceptical, so Jesus says something to get Nathaniel talking. Nathaniel asks how Jesus knows him and Jesus readily proves that He is God (i.e. omniscient). This proves it to Nathaniel and he is happy to have found the Christ.
It's very interesting how the Bible seems to go back and forth, if you are one who is only arminian or calvanistic in your theology. I would suggest that neither of these are correct, and that the correct viewpoint is both of these in harmony with each other.
Part 1 of the Equation: CalvanismCalvanism is corrent in that God is seeking us. God has been seeking for us to come back into fellowship with Him ever since time began: in the Garden, the first human beings, and while on earth. However, this logic can cause problems when it is said that all who are chosen by God will become saved and have no choice to resist grace. This can lead to many evil-sounding conclusions.
One is of being chosen without our choice in the matter. If someone wants to know God, and the Bible says that God does not resist those who draw near to Him in their heart, can we really turn "God chooses us" into "no, you're not chosen"? I've heard that this has been said before by well-meaning preachers as to why someone cannot be saved. This sounds very illogical, and is not representative of mainstream Calvanism, but at the same time it is not right.
Another rather nasty conclusion that could be made is that only some are chosen, therefore God has already chosen who gets to go to heaven and who does not. By not choosing some people, that leads to the logical conclusion that God has rejected some people. Would a truly loving, seeking God reject some? Would he damn them to hell in advance? This isn't logical, but I've heard talk similar to this before. It's not representative of Calvanism's original intent, however.
Jesus Christ died for the sins of the entire world: all mankind past and present, as the Bible also says. However, this is God seeking us: He sought all of us. Without God seeking us and doing everything to bring us back, we would have no hope. Just because we seek God doesn't mean He must impart grace to us: who are we to tell God what to do? However, I think that Calvanism is not 100% accurate. Close but not totally true. God created us to worship Him, but also gave us a will.
Part 2 of the Equation: ArminianismArminiasm is correct that those who are saved seek God: God doesn't force us to be saved any more than He forces us to choose. If God forced us to choose or not choose, it would be His fault as to where our eternal destination was. We do seek God. Not all of us, but we do. And the Bible says that likewise those who seek God will find God.
But also we cannot assume that we can some times choose to seek God and some times not. We can, but it's illogical. It's not us that initiates salvation: it's been initiated and is waiting right there for us to accept it. We aren't saved by our will but by a combination of God's will and ours. And honestly there are times where we aren't seeking God but God is seeking us: He doesn't force us to accept His grace, but He also doesn't wait for our whim. God knows the future, and knows who will accept Him and who won't. We, as human beings, cannot predict or know the future. We must trust in God. However, God created us to know Him and worship Him.
ConclusionSalvation is both man and God seeking each other. God cannot force us to accept Him any more than we can force God to seek us. God sought us on the cross. We must seek God. Both Calvanism and Arminianism at their extremes are incorrent, and the best view is a balance between the two. Don't discount the power and will of God, and don't discount man's choice.
This is a story I've heard several times before, but it illustrates the point. As you walk down a trail in the woods, you see a fork in the trail. One path is to God, the other is to continue on with your own life. You must choose a path. You choose the path that leads to God. As you are walking down this path, a half mile down, you see a sign that proclaims "YOU WERE CHOSEN BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN TO KNOW GOD".
So it's both: you were chosen, and you also chose.