Christianity 201

November 6, 2011

The Five Points of Arminianism

For the past month, Bruxy Cavey, the teaching pastor of The Meeting House, Canada’s largest multi-site church and author of The End of Religion (NavPress) has been going through the issues of Calvinism.  He states almost weekly that the “issues” are actually “non-issues” for Arminians, but for Calvinists there is a sense in which The Five Points of Calvinism equals “The Gospel;” an observation with which I would concur.  He’s tackling the issue somewhat because of requests, and somewhat because in a very real sense, if you say nothing, then the largest number of voices and loudest voices in the room appear to be the only voices.

Most of you know that the Calvinist doctrine in its most basic form is represented by the acronym TULIP.  I won’t repeat the points here, but it is ubiquitous on the internet.  (This one is typical, or this one.)

Now, Bruxy didn’t say this, but I recently heard that the Arminian position should be represented by DAISY,  but not the acronym as I just typed it, but the word “daisy” in the sense of “He loves me…  He loves me not…  He loves me…  He loves me not…”   Call it dry theological humor.

Bruxy instead used the acronym GRACE:

God’s Broken Image – God’s image in us has been tarnished and corrupted through sin, yet still remains a functional aspect of our community.  Our will needs help but is not inert.

Reborn through Faith – God offers salvation as a free gift of grace and we receive it through faith.  In the Bible faith is normally presented as the route to spiritual life, not the result of it.

Atonement for All – When we share the gospel with someone we can honestly tell them that Jesus died for their sins, not just an unknown few called the elect.

Chosen and choosing – God’s grace may be compelling but it is not overpowering. We can accept or reject God’s will to save us.  It is this point of contact, where the chosen chooses back that loving relationship grows.

Empowered to mature and endure – Through the Holy Spirit within us individually and collective, God keeps us, sustains us and gives us all we need to grow in His grace.

You can check out the sermon series at The Meeting House website, click on “teaching” and then select either an audio or video format in the series tab “Chosen and Choosing.”  Most sermons run about 45 minutes; there’s a Q&A section included; you can download notes and slides; but the short movie clips aren’t included for copyright reasons.

…However, in preparing today’s little doctrinal discussion, I discovered there really is a DAISY, which was located at this website.  Who knew?

T = Total Depravity D = Deliberate Sin
U = Unconditional Election A = All-Encompassing Call
L = Limited Atonement I = Infinite Love
I = Irresistible Grace S = Spontaneous Faith
P = Perseverance of the Saints Y = Yieldedness of the Saints

Some people find this sort of discussion tiresome, but if the Christian experience involves getting to know God better and drawing closer to Him, there is much to be uncovered in his dealings with his creation.  In other words, part of the doctrine of God will be interdependent on how we understand the doctrine of man.   And of course, all this has bearing on how we interpret and explain the doctrine of salvation.   

Even though I said that for some, such as Arminians, these things are less of an issue, I think it’s important at some point along your Christian journey to evolve your own personal position, to know where you stand.  Having crossed the line of faith, it may seem moot to you at this point, but your position will say much about how you understand the nature of God.

So take a piece of paper and write down what you think. 

But write in pencil, in case you want to make some adjustments later in your Christian experience. 

~Paul Wilkinson