Thursday, June 3, 2010

Arminianism vs. Calvinism Part 2

So by now all of you have had plenty of time to digest my last post and hopefully search the Scriptures for yourself to see what the disciples of Jacobus Arminius believed when the put together their five points. Now we will look at what the disciples of John Calvin put together to refute the five points of Arminianism; the Five Points of Calvinism, better known as "T.U.L.I.P.", and I'll show you why they use those letters as their acronym. I will use again the following material, taken from "Romans: an Interpretive outline", by David N. Steele and Curtis Thomas, Baptist ministers in Little Rock, Arkansas, contrasts the Five Points of Calvinism with the Five Points of Arminianism in the clearest and most concise form that I have found anywhere. Each of these books is published by the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Phillipsburg, N.J.

1. Total Inability or Total Depravity

Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not - indeed he cannot - choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ - it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a port of God's gift of salvation - it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner's gift to God.

2. Unconditional Election

God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner's choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

3. Particular Redemption or Limited Atonement

Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation.

4. The Efficacious Call of the Spirit or Irresistible Grace

In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

5. Perseverance of the Saints

All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.

According to Calvinism:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

My thanks to the above authors for their hard work and diligence in studying the above doctrines and writing a great book about Romans.

So now that you see the two belief systems contrasted, I pray you to study your Bible FOR YOURSELF, and see what is the true, biblical doctrine of salvation. As I have already stated, I am a firm believer in Calvinism, although I am starting to not like the label "calvinism". What John Calvin believed, he gained from his intense, thorough study of Scripture. He concurred with Augustine, who concurred with Paul the Apostle, who wrote most of the New Testament, and it's in his epistles that we see most clearly the Doctrine of Predestination. When you see God for who He truly is, the Sovereign Creator of the Universe, and understand that He can do WHATEVER HE WANTS TO WHOMEVER HE WANTS, and you look at all of Scripture in this proper light of God's Sovereign character, you see it all making more sense.

All throughout Scripture, we see God CHOOSING people, most of them don't even want the job that God CALLS them to. Moses tried to get out of his calling, Jonah went to Tarshish, "away from the presence of the Lord" (Jonah 1:3), Paul was killing Christians until Jesus knocked him to the ground in Acts 9:1-7. Not one of them "bowed their head, and 'accepted' Jesus into their heart". In fact, I don't see in Scripture ANYWHERE that that is the way to become a believer in Christ.

It is my belief that it is a great sin of pride to make man sovereign in salvation, and reduce the Omnipotent, God of the Universe into a weak, sissified, needy, Messiah who sits in heaven wringing His hands, hoping that mankind will accept Him into their hearts. Most churches today preach a watered-down , synergistic gospel, meaning that man meets God halfway and that salvation is a combined effort of man and God agreeing together. They also preach in this gospel that you can be saved, and then "lose" your salvation by sinning again. This makes God even weaker, if He cannot keep His own unto the end. Read John 17, Jesus' prayer to God, read Philippians 1:6, Romans 8 & 9, etc, etc....if you are TRULY SAVED(born again), then you are SAVED FOREVER. Period.

The Arminian gospel sickens me, because it blasphemes the Holy, Righteous Name and Character of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please click on the below link and study the study guide which leads you through the bible for yourself to increase your faith, increase your knowledge of the One to whom you owe your very life and breath, see Him for who He truly is, and worship Him now and forever.

Thanks again to all my faithful readers, and please pass this blog along to others if they have questions about the five points. I welcome any and all comments, and if you have a topic you'd like to see me discuss, please feel free to email me at

And if you have tech questions, head on over to my tech blog at:

Until next time...may the Lord bless all who read this. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What are the differences between Arminianism and Calvinism, and can't I just call myself a Christian? Part 1

Greetings all in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I apologize for not posting recently, either here or on my tech blog "A Mouse In Every Hand", ( , but for those of you who know me personally, I have been quite busy, and I like to put some substance into my blogs, so you know that they are not just the rantings and ravings of a man with a computer and no life.

I have recently discovered a Pastor named Francis Chan, who Pastors a church in Simi Valley, California. (For those interested, his website is: Now at first glance, judging by the size of his church and his informal style of preaching, I, (incorrectly I believe) assumed him to be Arminian in his form of theology, as opposed to Calvinistic. I say this because I read the "Eternity Bible College" Statement of Faith (see here: I bring him up because I was just listening to a review of his book "Crazy Love" by the Reformed Forum, and their thoughts on him, and I got to thinking about what we call ourselves these days in regards to out faith. Personally, I am beginning to hate both of those terms, because although I firmly am opposed Arminian beliefs, I almost hate to call my self a "Calvinist", because I do not follow John Calvin. I follow Jesus Christ. I will tell you what I mean...

There are basically two major schools of thought regarding Salvation; Arminianism and Calvinism. I say basically two, because there are those who pervert both beliefs, and are hybrids of both. But for now, I will focus on only the major tenets of these two main belliefs.

As you probably already guessed, these two schools of thought are named after the theologians who made them popular; Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609), and John Calvin (Middle French: Jean Cauvin) (1509–1564). As you can see by dates that they lived, they were not contemporaries of each other. They lived during the times of the Reformation of the Church approx 500 years ago.

Now, I will not go over both doctrines in this post, I will only begin with Arminianism. I begin with Arminianism because between Arminianism and Calvinism as they're broken down into "5 points", it actually came first. Although Calvin lived first, Jacobus Arminius wrote against what Calvin taught. I will elaborate more about this in my conclusion. My next post, in a few days, will go over Calvinism, and then I will conclude on a third post (hopefully)! The reason I do this is I want all of my readers to examine each of the beliefs against Scripture. We should all get our beliefs straight from the bible, not because "so-and-so" taught us, but what does the Bible say? What does God say about all this? Both belief systems are broken down into "5 points", and so here are the Five Points of Arminianism:

(The following material, taken from "Romans: an Interpretive outline", by David N. Steele and Curtis Thomas, Baptist ministers in Little Rock, Arkansas, contrasts the Five Points of Calvinism with the Five Points of Arminianism in the clearest and most concise form that I have found anywhere. Each of these books is published by the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Phillipsburg, N.J.)

1. Free-Will or Human Ability

Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man's freedom. Each sinner posses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man's freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God's Spirit and be regenerated or resist God's grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit's assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man's act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner's gift to God; it is man's contribution to salvation.

2. Conditional Election

God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man's will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner's choice of Christ, not God's choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

3. Universal Redemption or General Atonement

Christ's redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually put away anyone's sins. Christ's redemption becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it.

4. The Holy Spirit Can Be Effectually Resisted

The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation; He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit's call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man's contribution) proceeds and makes possible the new birth. Thus, man's free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ's saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God's grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be, and often is, resisted and thwarted by man.

5. Falling from Grace

Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, etc.

All Arminians have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ - that once a sinner is regenerated, he can never be lost.

According to Arminianism:

Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) - man's response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, "choose" to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man's will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation.

Until next time, read your Bible!!! May the Lord bless all who read this and may you truly know the Risen Lord Jesus Christ and may He truly know you. Thanks for reading.

Soli Deo Gloria

Michael Lee Merriman

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Unceasing Blessings of Christ

Today I was blessed with another day of life. Many on this planet were not. I woke up this morning; many did not. I was able to have breakfast this morning; many were not. I slept in a bed in a home last night; many did not. I was able to open my Bible and study the infallible, awesome Word of Almighty God this morning; many were not, some because of violent persecution I may never know the likes of.

I try to recognize every single blessing in my life, no matter how great or how small. Passing an accident on the freeway, I see God's mercy in the fact that that was not me. Every breath I take in my slowly dying body, I see God's grace and mercy, and wonder "why me, Lord, why me?" When there are so many hurting children, so many other people on this planet, I wonder, "why did You choose ME?"

Yet, I realize and am assured of my Salvation and adoption in Christ Jesus. And I humbly seek to give every breath I have back to Him for His purposes and His will to be accomplished on this earth. And I long to see my risen Lord face to face, and I wonder if tomorrow will be the day that I see my Lord and my King Jesus Christ. And someday, that tomorrow will finally come. Though I know not when.

So until then, I will continue to be amazed at the love my Father in heaven has shown for me by sending His only begotten Son to die for my sins, and I will continually acknowledge the unceasing blessings of Christ in my life, as He pours out His grace and mercy upon me without measure.

I love my God and my King Jesus Christ, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my mind. And I will not take my hand off the plow and follow anyone else but Christ, so long as there is breath in this earthly body, for the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

In the blessed Name of Jesus Christ,


May God truly bless each and every one of you and all you do for His kingdom and His glory.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Razor Clams and the Sovereignty of God

Wow. We went digging for Razor Clams this morning at Long Beach, having left home at 4:45am and just getting home about 45 minutes ago. What an awesome time we had though. It was my first time, and Dave helped me get my first 3, then I found 5 more on my own. We spent close to three hours digging, and the Lord kept the rain back until we were done, thankfully. Then we spent the afternoon driving around the Long Beach/Oysterville area looking at houses and property for sale. Dave, Sabina, Zoe and Mattea all fell in love with 2 different properties, one that was approx 9 acres and the other an even 10 acres. We prayed over them, and I ask all of you to do the same. The Buhrmasters have become more than family to me over the past 7 years, and I will miss all of them immensely when I leave to go to Tennessee for Bible College. I pray that the Lord will bless them with the property they desire and open all doors for it to happen.

The title of today's post, "Razor Clams and the Sovereignty of God", stems from the fact that it is God Himself who commands the waters and tells them how far they may go onto dry land. The Ocean is a powerful, awesome force, that as we've seen in recent years can destroy homes, trees, buildings, etc. Look at what happened to New Orleans. Utter destruction. And yet, as I was knee-deep in water digging for the elusive Razor Clam, watching the waves crash all around me, and looking out at the miles of ocean that lay before me, I was humbled and thankful that I serve a Holy, Righteous, and Sovereign God who set everything into motion by His Word and chose to become flesh and pay the full cost for my sins, and elect me unto Eternal Life. It is only by His Sovereign Will that any will be saved, not by any works of the flesh. Especially not by the "will" of man, as some would have you believe. No, salvation is of the Lord, from beginning to end, and "I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6 ESV). Soli Deo Gloria ~ To God Alone Be The Glory. Amen and may the Lord bless all you do for His kingdom and may He be glorified in your life. In Jesus' Name, amen.

In the Beginning....

So here I go, venturing into the world of the "blog"...I want to begin by praying that it is my desire that God will be glorified with every word I type, and may all who read this blog come to a true knowledge of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, and may the reality of the Reformation cause a new Reformation within each of our hearts and the "modern, mainstream" church that has become much like the Laodicean church. I ask this in the blessed Name of Jesus Christ. Amen