This will be the first post in what is quite likely going to be a very long series…
Over the last couple of months the topic of Calvinism versus Arminianism has become an item in many conversations both in personal as well as church settings. Those that have invested some time in reading up on either of them will quickly come to the conclusion that this has been a hot and debated topic for the last couple hundred years, and still is. And although the seems to be that lately the Calvinists are “winning” (do a Google search on “New Calvinism”) this doesn’t mean they are right (although I am not saying that they are wrong either). In order to get a basic feel for the debate I have read some documents and studies, listened to some teachings, and I can say that from what I have read and heard and from personal knowledge of the Bible you could say I am a Calvinist. But, this doesn’t mean that I am one hundred percent convinced of this, nor that I understand fully why (and/or could argue against). At first I thought I would call this series “Calminianism,” for it is quite certain that neither John Calvin nor Jacob Arminius was one hundred percent right in their statements and so the truth is to some extent a mixture of the two, but I want to avoid the assumption as a starting point.
In any case, it is always good to come to your own convictions on any teaching in the Bible, and thus this is also the case here. But I must admit that I was, and maybe still am, hesitant to study this one for it is a doctrine that is not only spread throughout the whole Bible (which means I have to read through the whole Bible from the angle of this doctrine), but is also often implicit in the text (meaning that many if not all of the verses which are used to defend either side always have to been seen in the context of the Bible as a whole, and cannot be viewed isolated). So, this is quite the study, but I have decided to take it on nonetheless.
My approach is going to be a bit unusual maybe, hence my statement that this will be a very long series over a very long time. In my studies and subsequent blogs I am not going to defend or attack either Calvinism or Arminianism. I am also not going to study the verses which are commonly listed in their defense and build my conviction from that. I am also not going to do biographical studies on the two main characters (although maybe I will do that at the end). But here is what I am going to do: I will start off this series with just a generic study on these five points and whether these doctrines are central or peripheral; then I will take a look at the Bible as a whole in light of these five points; then I will study out each individual book of the Bible in light of these five points; and then at the very end I will start drawing conclusions on what the Bible says about these five points.
So, I am looking forward to this series, but please don’t expect a new blog post on this every couple of days as most of this study will take a long time.