A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.” The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on. Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on.
Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the helicopter reluctantly flew away. Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!” To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”
The Calvinism and Arminianism debate has been going on for a while and I’m sure that this topic will continue on. I’m definitely not going to be able to knock down all of the arguments in one article. To summarize, Calvinism has five points simplified by the word TULIP. This is an acronym for: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
Arminianism has different objections to this. I find that some people are not totally on one side of the coin or another. Some are five point, four point, or even three point Calvinist. I am a zero point Calvinist, lol. I personally believe in what is called Provisionism. I would encourage you to subscribe to Leighton Flowers’ YouTube Channel called Soteriology101 for more information on Calvinism. I also encourage you to have a conversation with those in your church. Hear them out when they share their thoughts about this topic. You will grow in your faith. Remember those who are Reformed are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the Movie Jumanji, Welcome to the Jungle we see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson play a video game character who has special strengths and weaknesses. Dwayne’s strengths include speed, fearlessness, climbing, boomerang, and smoldering intensity. This final strength is used as comedy. He reads the words, “smoldering intensity?” and then he looks of to the distance with the stare down while dramatic music plays, and the other characters see the look as almost irresistible. The movie is being self aware of how some action movies have these cheesy scenes where the main male actor has this look of intensity. To me as a watch this I think of the fourth point of Calvinism, the idea of Irresistible Grace. When God wants to save us, is His grace irresistible? Does He glare like the Rock and does it cause us to be saved? No, we all receive it by a choice. We all accept God’s grace because of what he has done for us.
It’s also important to note that not all Calvinists call it irresistible grace. For instance John Piper does believe that the Holy Spirit can be resisted, he would point out that God can override out unbelief through His sovereign will. Piper has said, “He (God) can make Christ look so compelling that our resistance is broken and we freely go to him and freely believe in him”. Personally, I think that is error. Although I do enjoy many of John Piper’s word for the Lord. One of my favorite quotes from Piper was from a 2014 Sermon where he was talking about TULIP. He said, “I love people more than I do theology!” What a great attitude. I wish that all of us would have a passion for the Scriptures like he has.
When someone is drowning, they are in dire need of salvation. Does God only have a select group of people that He elects to be rescued? No God sends all of us a way of escape. Sometimes it is through and Friend, Pastor, a Family member, or a Missionary. God’s desire is for us to use our faith and jump in the boat. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance..” God does not want anyone to perish. I believe that all means all. I would love for everyone in this world to do the right thing, but not all do. We are all given the ability to choose. God sent Salvation to everyone, it’s time for us to get onboard.