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Calvinism: The most plausible biblical doctrine

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/21/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 955 times Debate No: 25742
Debate Rounds (4)
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Calvinism is the most plausible doctrine portrayed in the bible.


Calvinism[1][2] (Reformed theology) - Best summarized by the acronym TULIP.

Total Depravity - Man is utterly and completely sinful
Unconditional election - God's grace is given freely
Limited atonement - Only some are chosen
Iirresistible grace - Those who are chosen cannot resist God
Perseverance of the saints - A person who is chosen cannot lose their salvation


1R. Acceptance / defining terms
2R. Opening statements(Pro) / Rebuttals (Con)
3R. Rebuttals / questions
4R. Conclusions / Final rebuttals / No new arguments

For this debate we will be assuming the bible is true, and that it cannot contradict itself (which it can't ;])

Let's get it on!



I accept my competitors challenge and definitions and am looking forward to taking a walk together.

May the true nature of God be made more clear in our struggle with Him!

I reserve the option to use all translations of the bible including original Greek and Aramaic to get closer to the root of the Word. I would also like the option to use other books available at the time of the birth of Christianity that are no longer included in the canonical bible by men who did not live during Jesus's time. Materials Jesus and the disciples would have had available to them at the time to better understand their motives and views and possible other writings of their hands. This would include the nag hammadi library and the dead sea scrolls that predate the NT. Subject to my competitors agreement. If he does not agree, I will work with what I can of what remains accepted as inspired words by this time periods consensus.

Ready for opening statements!
Debate Round No. 1


Much thanks to my opponent for accepting this challenge, and being gracious enough to allow me a second go at it ;).

- Total Depravity -
Within the bible are many wondrous and mind boggling stories, philosophies, and messages. Much of which man has little chance of understanding. The doctrine of total depravity however, isn't among them.

The bible cuts deeply into the root of sin, and helps us identify it plainly: It is, the human heart.

The thing that produces our desires, thoughts, and deeds, is the most corrupt.

In Jeremiah, we read:

9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

From this, are very important implications. 1st, 'deceitful' combined with 'above all things'-- 2nd, 'beyond cure'. It is critical to recognize, that in our sinful nature, we are beyond cure; not able to be cured or fixed.

Is this too much to draw from such a light passage? Absolutely not, so we will examine a few others.

Mathew 15
16 "Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them. 17 "Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them."

This passage supplements the doctrine well; so we see the details of our depravity, and to the true problem of evil. Our deeds will visibly condemn us and count against us in this life, but our thoughts and desires are what is weighed. This speaks volumes against the possibility of man being good, and only contaminated by evil; Evil is from man, and is produced from his heart; nothing he wills is good. I will proceed to Romans 7:

10 As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."

This isn't very intuitive stuff, and hearing it definitely stifles our nature; this much I admit. However, the doctrine is sound, and I will expound further if needed in a later round.

- Unconditional Election -
What else could follow from such a crippling doctrine? There are but 2 options: Death or Grace.

We've seen the way God views our sinful nature but you have not heard his standards yet; let us examine scripture!

Matthew 22
35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Christ makes the LAW simple, and gently inserts the sword of truth. Mans deceitful, and wicked heart must love God fully, and love his neighbor as himself. To what degree!?

Matthew 5
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

We are now, in absolutely no position to earn favor in God's eyes, and further more none of us seek to be. How then is a person elected?

Ephesians 1
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Romans 9
11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

God selects his chosen, through a purpose of his own; in spite of the will of man. There is no condition for this election, only grace-- which he has freely given us in his Son.

- Limited Atonement -
Since we've establish the condition of man, and the gracious method of election, we know that man is hopeless, and God chooses whom he wants, for his reasons and purpose-- not because of man's will, desire, or deeds.

If this is so, then we have to ask, what is the offer? where is the 'just accept Jesus in your heart'?

It doesn't exist, but in the mind of the deceived.

John 15
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Christ chooses, who he will save, and those he will save will 'last' (I'll save this for Perseverance of the saints).

This means, that only those whom God's chosen, for his own reasons, aside from human will, without option, will Christ's sacrifice atone for. This includes all men; from any ethnic background, Jew and gentile alike.

- Irresistible Grace -
The last 2 doctrines in the TULIP are reinforced by the strength and honor of God's promises.

In fact, if the doctrine of TD be true, then there is no other method of salvation possible, BUT Irresistible Grace-- for none would 'accept' this gift.

To be clear, though, irresistible grace is not to be confused with being something that comes along and over powers all men who encounter it; this would be a false understanding. Rather, IG is the belief that the holy spirit can overcome resistance, and in fact does over come the resistance of the elect.

It is well known that man resist the holy spirit, and most are allowed to resist it, for the purpose of God, and for the pleasure of his will; we return to Romans 9:

19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?" 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

This will be an affirmation of the type of resistance being referred to in 'Irresistible Grace'. The purpose is God's, and what happens, HE wills. Grace is produced, applied, and accomplished solely by God. The elect, are sinful vessels of the holy spirit, carried into final salvation.

- Perseverance of the Saints -
This is the final doctrine, which must proceed from the others. Since man is totally depraved but given grace freely; resistant of the will, but over powered by the holy spirit, he cannot fall away from grace. The elect are whom I speak of, not of those who go out. Let us be clear with scripture:

1 John 2
19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

God chooses his elect, before the world, and he enters them despite their will, and he completes his work in them to the end. If some one leaves, it was because they never belonged, for nothing in all creation can remove them from God's hand:

Romans 9
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The will of the world is overcome, and will of God is done.


My opponent has brought up many good points on the nature of men. There can be no doubt of our capability to do wrong when we look at the world. But does this mean we are incapable of doing right? Totally depraved as Calvinism asserts? Would God make us this way then ask man to "become perfect" if he could not?

Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

I propose that God is not mocking Abram nor asking a impossibility. God expects Abram to walk perfectly before Him.

Other examples of man being perfect in God's sight even before Jesus's walk:
2 Kings 2 2 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel."
But Elisha said, "As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel.

3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, "Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?"
"Yes, I know," Elisha replied, "so be quiet."

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.

Here Elijah is just taken into heaven, without test or word from God. I propose he had already sed God Test and was found a worthy man In the Lords eyes.

Also Enoch was similarly taken into heaven. Gen 5:24 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

He walked faithful and God took him. So here are examples of men who are found worthy in God eyes.

My opponent uses passages that assert that "all men" do not seek God. Yet above are examples of men who not only sought God but found God and where found worthy of being i presence of God. These are from different books of the 66 that remain as the bible we accept today.

If we were incapable of working out our salvation, why is it written: Philippians 2:12-13
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. "

Not only are we to "work out our own salvation" but it is God working in us to will and do of his good pleasure. Both are needed. Our working and God will it is obvious that God already wills. So that when we actively of our own will align it with God's, there can be no failure.

Does God choose some for salvation and some for damnation?
1 Tim. 2:3-4 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" .
2 Pet. 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance".

Twice here it says God wills all men be saved, that none should perish, and all should come to repentance. So why do some not? Because he has given us free will and choice, to obey or not to obey. If we are forced or predetermined and have no will to do or not do then God is "Ba'al" tyrannical lord and master, and not the husband of our souls.

Hosea 2:16 "And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me "My Husband," and no longer will you call me "My Baal."

Many times in the past men have regarded the One True God as such, and He is telling us in that day Israel will refer to God as Husband.

So who is Israel? Let's look at the story of Jacob.
Gen 32:22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob"s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."

But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
27 The man asked him, "What is your name?"

"Jacob," he answered.
28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome."

Jacob over-came by shear will power to not let go until blessed and God blessed him as Ishra (to struggle) -El (God)

Not only did this man wrestle with a man/angel/god (there are 3 different translations) but by shear willpower and was found worthy to be blessed because of that willingness!!! He worked out his salvation with indomitable zeal! And God was "impressed" with this man and blessed him and the rest of his generations.

If we are incapable of over-coming, if only the elect are to be saved,...why would Jesus say this in Rev 3:21 "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne." Because we are capable and are directly invited by the Son of God Himself!

And in closing I highlight the eternal mercy of God who wills that none are to be lost. And indeed are....though it might not be a pleasant chastisement!

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person"s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved"even though only as one escaping through the flames.

Even though what the unwise builder is burned up, he the builder himself is saved, even as though one escaping through a wall of fire.

So let us build wisely and always speak greatly of God's perfect justice and perfect mercy. Surely He is greater and more magnanimous than our greatest imaginings!

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


Paradox_7 forfeited this round.


Archistrategos forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Paradox_7 forfeited this round.


Archistrategos forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sola.Gratia 3 years ago
its so funny how people say that Calvinism is not biblical yet, if people who say they are Christians actually took the time to study and test it, they'd see how Biblical it is.. Sorry Paradox_7 that I was unable to vote.
Posted by Archistrategos 4 years ago
No worries, I did too =)

So we shall proceed with one less round yes?
Posted by Paradox_7 4 years ago
not gonna make it.. sigh.. Just continue with your argument, and I'll take the loss. Apologies.
Posted by Archistrategos 4 years ago
Archistrategos like it!

And my blasted keyboard keeps cutting out here and obvious in my posting :/ must proofread closer.......freakin 1000 dollar calculator! *chuckle*
Posted by Paradox_7 4 years ago
You've got to be kidding me..

A doctrine is derrived from what is portrayed in the bible. Calvinism is just a silly title, and only denominates a certain groups understanding of what is portrayed in the bible.

So no calvinism isn't interpreted by the bible (this is obvious), but it is a doctrine that best describes what is portrayed in the bible.
Posted by Kali 4 years ago
To portray is to depict, to act out or describe the features of. Calvinism is an interpretation of the Bible, the Bible is not an interpretation of Calvinism.
Posted by Paradox_7 4 years ago
If it's the most accurate interpretation, its portrayed in the bible.
Posted by Kali 4 years ago
Easy Con win. Calvinism isn't portrayed in the Bible. Whether or not it's the most accurate interpretation of the Bible is irrelevant.
Posted by Paradox_7 4 years ago
A couple correctionsz:

The passage i referenced 'Romans 7' is actually Romans 3; and at the end, in Perseverance of the Saints-- it's Romans 8 not 9.
Posted by Paradox_7 4 years ago
This the same as our previous debate; unfortunately i did not follow thru in enough time, so Archy was kind enough to allow a 'redo'. (l0l).
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
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