Calvinism and Arminianism: 
Myths & Realities

Calvinist, R.C. Sproul: “Arminianism reverses the order of salvation. It has faith preceding regeneration.” (What is Reformed Theology?, p.186, emphasis mine)

In other words, Arminianism has faith preceding a person being made Born Again. But that hardly seems unbiblical. In fact, Ephesians 1:13 reinforces the point that a person must first believe in the Gospel before they are sealed in Christ. The fundamental problem with Calvinism, in this regard, is that it has a person being “in Christ” before they turn and believe in Christ (all of which being necessary for Calvinism, in order to gain access to the regeneration that is alone in Christ). But if a person is already “in Christ” before believing in Christ, then what does believing accomplish, that preemptive placement in Christ hasn’t already accomplished, as it would seem that they are already saved, prior to faith? 

R.C. Sproul: “The sinner, who is dead in sin and in bondage to sin, must somehow shed his chains, revive his spiritual vitality, and exercise faith so that he or she may be born again. In a very real sense regeneration is not so much a gift in this schema as it is a reward for responding to the offer of grace. The Arminian argues that in this schema grace is primary, in that God first offers grace for regeneration. God takes the initiative. He makes the first move and takes the first step. But this step is not decisive. This step may be thwarted by the sinner. If the sinner refuses to cooperate with or assent to this proffered grace, then grace is to no avail.” (What is Reformed Theology?, pp.186-187, emphasis mine)

Sproul should have added: “…and the sinner is thus held accountable for his refusal.” But that would only reveal the problem with Sproul’s Calvinism. Furthermore, in Sproul’s Calvinism, God makes the decisive difference for whether a person believes or not, and thus whether a person ends up in Hell or not, which then of course is contradicted by Matthew 25:41, which teaches that Hell was not made for mankind, but for the devil and his angels. So Calvinism is sold by the appearance of being more pious, as highlighting fallen man’s separation from God, and suggesting that Arminianism makes grace into a  reward, but fails to consider that God is able to reach fallen man, without resorting to the robotics of an Irresistible Grace, and that instead of grace being a reward, that faith is instead the established condition of God, as per John 3:16, for being granted the grace of redemption in eternal life. Calvinists try hard to market Calvinism, but without proper disclosure of what it really is: repackaged Gnosticism.

Calvinist Charge:  Arminians reverse the order of Salvation.

Myth or Reality:  A common complaint by Calvinists is that Arminianism teaches that a person can turn to Christ without first being fully regenerated, as Arminians argue that a person does not receive regeneration in Christ until they have first turned to Christ. Really, the Calvinist position is the much more controversial position, which teaches that a person must first be Born Again, before being able to believe in Christ, and which New Birth only comes from being in Christ, hence with the result that a person must be “in Christ” before believing in Christ.