Questions about the LIP part of TULIP

After reading this article, cin.org/users/james/files/tulip.htm

A Tiptoe Through TULIP, I am confused by some of the claims of Limited Atonement, Irresistable Grace, and by Perseverance of the Saints–especially in the Calvinist view.

These are my questions:
#1 Limited Atonement: How do Christians in the vein of Calvin, deal with verses such as John 4:42 and 1 John 2:2? I understand and agree with the idea of Limited “Efficacious” Atonement, mostly because it doesn’t compromise free-will, but that’s not the Calvinist view, and I’d like to understand their method of reasoning.

#2 Irresistible Grace: I believe that God gives grace freely and abundantly. However, I believe we can choose not to accept God’s gifts. I guess that makes me of the Molinist camp? My question is, what is the Calvinst view of free-will in conjunction with the Thomist view of Irresistible Grace?

#3Perseverance of the Saints: I understand the concept–(although again, I’m not sure how free-will works in the Calvinist view)–but my primary question is how one can feel **assured he is among the persevering saints **and claim “I am saved” meaning “I will go to heaven”. Where does one have proof that they are truly the “elect” and will persevere to the end? It appears that the only proof is the negative–that if one lives a Christ centered life and “appears” saved, but subsequently falls away…they were never “in fact” predestined to salvation. So where is the “assurance” that an individual is “actually” among the elect and therefore really assured. One is only assured “IF” they are among the elect, and he can only know that he is actually among the elect after he’s persevered to the end. See…I’m pretty confused on this one…

In advance…thanks for the help…

As I used to understand it, and have heard others say, “world” here refers to the world as a geographic area, not all the people in it. In other words, Jesus died for people in every nation, but not every person in every nation. Sounds strained, I (now) know, but when you come to the bible with your theology already formed…

#2 Irresistible Grace: I believe that God gives grace freely and abundantly. However, I believe we can choose not to accept God’s gifts. I guess that makes me of the Molinist camp? My question is, what is the Calvinst view of free-will in conjunction with the Thomist view of Irresistible Grace?

This gets pretty hairy, and I could never presume to speak for all Calvinists. Everyone has their own opinion, really. But if grace is irresistible, then free will, as the Catholic Church understands it, goes down the toilet. God chooses you for salvation. He gives you grace. You become saved. God does it. You do nothing. When pointed out that people obviously have free will, people then start distinguishing free will from free agency, which is, as far as I understand it, a way of affirming free will without affirming free will. But basically… no free will. No cooperation on our part.

#3Perseverance of the Saints: I understand the concept–(although again, I’m not sure how free-will works in the Calvinist view)–but my primary question is how one can feel **assured he is among the persevering saints **and claim “I am saved” meaning “I will go to heaven”. Where does one have proof that they are truly the “elect” and will persevere to the end? It appears that the only proof is the negative–that if one lives a Christ centered life and “appears” saved, but subsequently falls away…they were never “in fact” predestined to salvation. So where is the “assurance” that an individual is “actually” among the elect and therefore really assured. One is only assured “IF” they are among the elect, and he can only know that he is actually among the elect after he’s persevered to the end. See…I’m pretty confused on this one…

You are less confused than you think. You have, I think, understood their position, and hit the nail on the head as far as its central flaw. Many people eventually end up confessing that they never were sure they were saved. Take me, for instance. I thought I was one of the elect at the beginning, but as the initial zeal from my conversion started to fade, and old habits crept back in, I started to doubt whether I was one of the elect. And if I am not one of the elect, there is nothing I can do about it. God chooses, right, not me. And now that I am Catholic, some of the Calvinists who would have staked their lives on my perseverance now say I was never one of them. Ultimately, they would say that you know you are among the elect by the fruit (good works) in your life. But how good is good enough? Grandstanding aside, it really isn’t that different from the Catholic perspective. You know you are in a state of grace because you frequent the sacraments, your conscience is clear, and you are striving for holiness (however much you fail).

[quote=st_felicity]After reading this article, cin.org/users/james/files/tulip.htm

A Tiptoe Through TULIP, I am confused by some of the claims of Limited Atonement, Irresistable Grace, and by Perseverance of the Saints–especially in the Calvinist view.

These are my questions:
#1 Limited Atonement: How do Christians in the vein of Calvin, deal with verses such as John 4:42 and 1 John 2:2? I understand and agree with the idea of Limited “Efficacious” Atonement, mostly because it doesn’t compromise free-will, but that’s not the Calvinist view, and I’d like to understand their method of reasoning.

#2 Irresistible Grace: I believe that God gives grace freely and abundantly. However, I believe we can choose not to accept God’s gifts. I guess that makes me of the Molinist camp? My question is, what is the Calvinst view of free-will in conjunction with the Thomist view of Irresistible Grace?

#3Perseverance of the Saints: I understand the concept–(although again, I’m not sure how free-will works in the Calvinist view)–but my primary question is how one can feel **assured he is among the persevering saints **and claim “I am saved” meaning “I will go to heaven”. Where does one have proof that they are truly the “elect” and will persevere to the end? It appears that the only proof is the negative–that if one lives a Christ centered life and “appears” saved, but subsequently falls away…they were never “in fact” predestined to salvation. So where is the “assurance” that an individual is “actually” among the elect and therefore really assured. One is only assured “IF” they are among the elect, and he can only know that he is actually among the elect after he’s persevered to the end. See…I’m pretty confused on this one…

In advance…thanks for the help…
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2. I think the story of Jonah is a good example of Irresistable Grace. Jonah was told by God to go to Ninevah. He didn’t want to go, and went in another direction. However, he didn’t escape and ended up going to Ninevah. He couldn’t resist God.

3. The proof is that You actually believe. If you really believe God then you are saved. You can’t know whether or not a person is a part of the elect just by looking at them. It is something that you can know about yourself. You and God are the only ones who know what you truly believe, and if you believe Jesus died for your sins and accept it then you are apart of the elect.

I think if you believe that Christ died for every person on Earth. Then you deny the power of Christ’s blood. If Christ paid the price for everyone, but not all people go to heaven. That doesn’t seem just. It isn’t just to hold people accountable for a debt that has already been paid.

I don’t know if that answers your questions

[quote=bjcros]2. I think the story of Jonah is a good example of Irresistable Grace…
[/quote]

I understand that…but even so, where does it say Jonah was saved–I mean…I believe God puts us in the places we need to be and points us in the right direction and nudges us persaistantly…And sometimes we have to be complete idiots not to listen to Him–I mean why is that an example of irresistable grace and not just God’s merciful direction, (and of course a prefigurement of Jesus’). When God nudges us with his grace, He is loving us by doing this…On that other thread you gave an example of pharoh’s heart being hardened–do you think God does that too–like he has an anti-grace?

  1. The proof is that You actually believe. If you really believe God then you are saved. … believe Jesus died for your sins and accept it then you are apart of the elect.

But like the poster above called John Henry (you steel drivin’ man!!!) What about his story…

[quote=John Henry]Take me, for instance. I thought I was one of the elect at the beginning, but as the initial zeal from my conversion started to fade, and old habits crept back in, I started to doubt whether I was one of the elect. And if I am not one of the elect, there is nothing I can do about it. God chooses, right, not me. And now that I am Catholic, some of the Calvinists who would have staked their lives on my perseverance now say I was never one of them.
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So since I believe Jesus died for my sins…You would consider me “saved” and part of the elect?

I think if you believe that Christ died for every person on Earth. Then you deny the power of Christ’s blood. If Christ paid the price for everyone, but not all people go to heaven. That doesn’t seem just. It isn’t just to hold people accountable for a debt that has already been paid.

This is why I want to know about Calvinist’s view of free will… I don’t think you would deny that God is “capable” of saving everyone…so…why doesn’t he–the Bible says he wants all to be saved…That tells me He has relinquished the choice to other than Himself–What is your view on that?

people then start distinguishing free will from free agency, which is, as far as I understand it, a way of affirming free will without affirming free will. But basically… no free will. No cooperation on our part.

What is free agency?

Grandstanding aside, it really isn’t that different from the Catholic perspective. You know you are in a state of grace because you frequent the sacraments, your conscience is clear, and you are striving for holiness (however much you fail).

I agree it sounds very similar except that one word “assured” hangs me up. I understand full confidence…but assuredness seems presumptive to me–like I’m telling God --you owe me, now pay-up.

[quote=st_felicity]What is free agency?
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As I understand it, the distinction is this. All human beings have free agency, meaning they can choose between several options. But our will is not free, in that we are not able to choose between all the moral options available. We can choose, so we are free agents. But we cannot choose good, because we are in bondage to sin. Presumably, our free agency is expressed by choosing between several forms of evil. I guess, from their perspective, if our will were free, then we would always go around doing good and not sin.

Of course, Catholic teaching is that man can know some of the truth about God and do some naturally good works apart from grace, but not many, and not for long. And none of the works are meritorious of Heaven until in a state of grace.

I agree it sounds very similar except that one word “assured” hangs me up. I understand full confidence

…but assuredness seems presumptive to me–like I’m telling God --you owe me, now pay-up.

You are right. There is a subtle distinction which seems to make a more than subtle difference.

[quote=John_Henry] We can choose, so we are free agents. But we cannot choose good, because we are in bondage to sin. Presumably, our free agency is expressed by choosing between several forms of evil. I guess, from their perspective, if our will were free, then we would always go around doing good and not sin.
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And in the Calvinist theology is it likewise the reverse? If we are the elect (and a free agent) are we free to choose evil AND good–except that sort of evil that would lead us to damnation?

If that’s the case–it still leaves me with the question–WHY? Why would God create us at all? In this method of thinking, we’re in-effect meat robots. What is love with out the choice to love or not? It’s programming. It seems too much a mathematical equasion: either the product is positive or negative right from the get-go and that leave the whole process without hope. IyamwhatIyamandthatsallthatIyam…

You are right. There is a subtle distinction which seems to make a more than subtle difference.

Absolutely nothing subtle about the difference!:thumbsup:

[quote=st_felicity]And in the Calvinist theology is it likewise the reverse? If we are the elect (and a free agent) are we free to choose evil AND good–except that sort of evil that would lead us to damnation?
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The part you quoted, and then responded to, I was actually speaking “as a Calvinist”. They believe, as I understand it, that all humans have free agency (the ability to choose), but that humans do not have free will (their will is in bondage to sin, and therefore cannot choose morally good actions). Therefore it seems they believe that humans, outside of grace, can only choose between various kinds of evil. All our choices are sin. Which is something Trent denied.

Catholic thinking is that, outside of grace, humans can sometimes choose morally good actions, but not often and not for long. Thus, even though we admit that some good actions are possible by unregenerate humans, those humans are still in need of the gift of sanctifying grace. (I am only saying this to try to clarify my own thinking.) With sanctifying grace, human beings are capable of keeping the commandments, although struggling venially.

If that’s the case–it still leaves me with the question–WHY? Why would God create us at all? In this method of thinking, we’re in-effect meat robots. What is love with out the choice to love or not? It’s programming. It seems too much a mathematical equasion: either the product is positive or negative right from the get-go and that leave the whole process without hope. IyamwhatIyamandthatsallthatIyam…

It does indeed leave you with that question. Especially with respect to those who are not elect. They merely fulfill the reason they were made, which is to be damned. There is a lot of nuanced language in an attempt to get around this horror, but I have never really been able to get around it.

[quote=John_Henry] All our choices are sin. Which is something Trent denied.
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I got-cha! It’s just the absence of grace that allows our sinful nature to manifest (in the Calvinist view). The elect can ignore grace–but not to the extent that they would undermine their salvation because they “couldn’t” (it’s not in their programming…)

There is a lot of nuanced language in an attempt to get around this horror, but I have never really been able to get around it.

Thank you so much for your answers and your patience…I felt I needed to better understand what was being said, because I could tell that in my conversations with people with this belief system, there was some point of communication breakdown…I wasn’t getting where they were coming from, and (obviously) what i assumed to be a “given” in theological thinking–actually isn’t so for all. (P,S, I STILL think Catholicism–what is taught by the magesterium, not necessarily the practice of all the Church’s members-- is the only theological postition that is clear and “LOGICAL” and well reasoned (without contradictions).

THANKS AGAIN!
F.

[quote=st_felicity]I STILL think Catholicism–what is taught by the magesterium, not necessarily the practice of all the Church’s members-- is the only theological postition that is clear and “LOGICAL” and well reasoned (without contradictions).
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I feel the Catholic position is the best because it is comfortable with the concept of Mystery. The interplay of free will and grace is, as far as I can see, an impenetrable mystery. Throughout history, people (the Pelagians) have tried to overplay free will at the expense of grace, and others (the Reformers) have overplayed grace at the expense of free will. All such attempts were made, I think, because people don’t like not knowing how things work. But I think the CC has walked that fine line of saying, “We don’t necessarily get it, but you cannot deny that grace is absolutely necessary for salvation and you cannot deny that man remains free to cooperate with or reject grace. Make of it what you will, but them’s the facts.”

[quote=John_Henry]I feel the Catholic position is the best because it is comfortable with the concept of Mystery. The interplay of free will and grace is, as far as I can see, an impenetrable mystery.
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I have blind spots to things that I assume are a given…like Mystery…I fail to recognize that others don’t see that there is a limit to our ability to comprehend the infinite nature of God…but you are right–the Catholic Church’s embrace of Mystery is indeed part of what I see as “logical”–while others may see it as a way of excusing difficult theological concepts–I see it as strength and humility.

Thanks again!

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