jump to navigation

Calvinism? Arminianism? What’s all the fuss about? October 14, 2010

Posted by Henry in Denominations.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In spite of Christ’s desire that we should all come into the unity of the faith, the church today has found itself in a place that is at odds with New Testament Christianity. The church today (i.e. the “protestant” church) seeks to assume the role of the true church (the ecclesia of Christ) yet it could not be any more divided on theoretical perspectives and denominational dogma. Not only did the reformation movement engender a split from the Catholic church to form the Protestant movement but it also create a schism within itself along theological schools of thought. Thus today we have descriptive terms such as Lutheranism, Calvinism or Arminianism by which Protestants may define themselves. Personally I refuse to subscribe to such limiting terms though fully recognising that it is not about personal sentiments but rather what the scriptural position should be. I therefore resent any notion that one cannot truly understand what Christianity means (or should mean) unless view through the eyes of Martin Luther, John Calvin or Jacobus Arminius, from whom the three theological schools aforementioned have been named.

It is interesting to note however that the divisions along doctrinal lines are nothing new to the church, since even the apostle Paul had to address this very same issue of division within the ranks of the Corinthian church. Paul writing to the Corinthian church therefore says this:

10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor 1)

We see from this passage that the Corinthians were displaying the same behaviour being displayed in the church today, whereby one says I am of Luther, another of Calvin and another of Arminius. But I implore the church to heed Paul’s admonition here. Afterall is Christ divided or was Calvin or Arminius crucified for you or were you baptised in their name?

11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. (John 17:11)

22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:22-23)