Here's something new: Christians are fighting amongst themselves over doctrine. This time it's Calvinism... again.

A distinctive issue in Calvinist theology that often is used to represent the whole is the system's particular soteriology, its doctrine of salvation. This doctrine holds that humans are incapable of adding anything to obtain salvation and that God alone is the initiator at every stage of salvation—including the formation of faith and every decision to follow Christ. This doctrine was definitively formulated and codified during the Synod of Dort (1618-1619), which rejected an alternative system known as Arminianism.[citation needed]

Calvinism is sometimes identified with "Augustinianism" because the central issues of Calvinistic soteriology were articulated by St. Augustine in his dispute with the British monk Pelagius. In contrast to the free-will position advocated by Charles Finney and other dissenters, Calvinism places strong emphasis on both the abiding goodness of the original creation and the total ruin of human accomplishments and the frustration of the whole creation caused by sin. It therefore views salvation as a new work of creation by God, rather than an achievement of those who are saved from sin and death.

I'm not a "five-point Calvinist" (say, three-and-a-half) but all of my disagreements with a Calvinist would center largely on semantics rather than practical matters. Unfortunately, theologians and philosophers love to argue about seemingly important matters that have little or no practical impact on anyone's lives. Fortunately the Bible provides us instructions on how to deal with "disputable matters" that don't really affect anyone: "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters" and "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way".

The primary dangers I've seen emerge from disputation over Calvinism are:

1. Disagreements in the church that lead to division, destruction of fellowship, and distraction from evangelism and ministry.

2. Apathy towards evangelism on the part of Calvinists. After all, if God's grace is irresistible then why make too much effort spreading it? Let God worry about it himself.

I encourage my fellow believers to focus at least as much effort on serving the lost and sharing the gospel as we do debating theology among ourselves.

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