Calvinism, Arminianism, & Vocabulary

We are going through Christian Theology in Sunday school, and this week we were covering both the similarities and differences between Calvinism and Arminianism. We focused on two passages in Ephesians (1:4-6 and 2:8-9).

For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will— to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son.

and

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.

The emphasis in class was on how each group understands key words in Scripture like grace, faith, and election.

Each group uses these words – but they do not mean what the other group thinks they mean. Definitions for these words were explored using key documents like the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Canons of the Synod of Dort, and the writings of Arminius.

Here are the slides (pdf)

Bring Out Your Dead (A look at Death in Ephesians 2)

The passage in Ephesians 2 starts off highlighting our need for a Savior.

And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived … and were by nature children of wrath … (Eph 2:1-3 NET)

Eric-Idle-Monty-Python-Holy-Grail-bring-out-deadPaul addresses the Ephesians as those who were dead. In doing so he leaves the reader hanging.

This chapter, as noted in the translation notes in the NET, starts off with an incomplete sentence. The participle finds its completion in verse 4 and 5 where we learn that we are “made alive together with Christ”.

What does Paul mean by the term “dead”?

Some possibilities include:

  • physical death
  • spiritual death
  • the natural inability to do good or respond to the gospel

Continue reading