“So Maybe It’s Neither 100%?” Part 1

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So what do you think about salvation being neither all up to you nor all up to God?

Arminianism teaches that God certainly desires that all be saved and has provided redemption for all, but He cannot overcome the “free will” of a person. So God is WILLING BUT UNABLE to save everyone. So you have to do something…or else, too bad?

Calvinism teaches that God is able to save anyone that He desires, but He has chosen to provide redemption to only some. So God is ABLE BUT UNWILLING to save everyone. So God has to do something…or else, too bad?

Is it possible that God is BOTH WILLING AND ABLE to save everyone? That we set our hope on HIM, not theology?

For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10 (NRSV)

He is the savior of ALL people, ESPECIALLY of those who believe. This, I believe, is Real Life Jesus.

8 thoughts on ““So Maybe It’s Neither 100%?” Part 1

  1. I like the way that Arminianism puts it: “God’s sovereign over his own sovereignty – and chooses to limit his own power to give us the chance to choose him.” – I imagine that’s more in line with the main theme of the gospels – with Jesus choosing not to use his power as the son of God to call down an army of angels and overthrow the Romans (which is what people were expecting the Messiah to do.)
    Calvinism’s “if you’re not elect, you can’t be saved even if you wanted to because God’s sovereign power has over-ridden your free will just like how he hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” Doesn’t seem to agree with the Original Jesus’ message of: “The Kingdom of God is at hand / within reach” He didn’t add *if you’re elect in the fine print. He seemed to think anyone who wanted to be saved could be.
    I’ve been watching a tv show called Merlin and I realized that it’s us that don’t like to be viewed in terms of wimpy; Arthur’s uncle is telling him he’s going to look weak while Arthur’s servant is telling him he will look merciful and understanding, compassionate even. It’s us being afraid to be vulnerable that makes us want to avoid weakness; but that’s what Jesus’ role was as the suffering servant – so that’s how I know that he’s closer to the right mark. True, the promise of revelation is a cruel power who leaves behind a terrible body count – but I think that we’ve misread that one, too; just as much as Jesus’ first arrival was misread and misunderstood.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. At different points in my life, I’ve held firmly first to Arminianism and then to Calvinism. Now I’m not so sure that either is completely correct. I can see how both viewpoints shaped my thinking and behavior in unpleasant ways. I’m hoping to put aside “ism’s” and see things with fresh eyes. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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      1. It’s not an easy thing to do – even though it’s been over a year since I last visited certain kinds of churches, all too often I find myself leaning back into those old ways that were part of the problem of why I left. There have been times where I’m like: “I’m glad I’m not like that sinner over there.” And then I stop and think about that – how the ism and tion words in my vocabulary justified my attitude and tendency to be unloving; it detached me from any real responsibility to be compassionate or show empathy.

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      2. My experience exactly! It would be so nice to have the pure and simple faith of a child again with no barriers to just being with Jesus and doing things when things with Jesus. Can that be regained? I wonder. I hope.

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      3. It’s difficult, it seems that Christianity has added so many shades and hues and layers to what should be a simple thing that they’ve made it a complex monstrosity. I think I’ll stick with what Jesus told Martha – only one thing is needed. Kids – they don’t take too well to difficult explanations and confusing words. They see things in plain and simple terms. The trick is to figure out what that one thing is – and I think we can look to Mary to have an idea. She was simply learning from Jesus’ teachings.

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    1. Thank you for your question. It is one that I’ve asked myself as well. In this post and the following post, I’m examining this possibility. Being a visual thinker, seeing theses ideas in graphic form is a help for me.

      I can’t say that I’m advocating universalism in the sense that “If you are a good person of any faith tradition you will be with God forever.” If this were true, then the cross of Christ is unnecessary.

      I am thinking through the possibility that maybe all can and will be saved through the cross of Christ. How would this be accomplished?

      In my current thinking about this possibility, the mental image I have is “God is a consuming fire.” To be in God’s presence is to be exposed to this great power. What is left after this consuming fire has removed all that needs to be removed for a person to be in the presence of God?

      Jesus spoke of hell, so this must be a reality. Is that temporary and remedial or eternal and punitive?

      I think that the message of the cross of Christ is “Let’s deal with this here and now. Later is just too painful to think about.”

      Thanks again for your question. You’ve helped me to clarify for myself!

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Comments are always welcome, however they may not be reviewed and approved as quickly as what I would like due to techology limitations!

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