As a semi-public figure in ministry, I get this question about Calvinism versus Arminianism all the time. Although, as a ministry, we don’t publicly take a stand on this issue, I love what my friend Ray Comfort from Living Waters had to say about these two doctrines. Check it out!
“Why I’m neither Calvinist nor Arminian…
How do God’s sovereign grace and man’s responsibility to turn to Him fit together? For example, Ezekiel 33:11 says, “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die…?”
It is clear from Scripture that He grants us repentance (Acts 5:31; 11:18), and He also gives us faith as a gift (Romans 12:3), but He then commands all men everywhere to repent and to have faith (believe). See Mark 1:15; Acts 17:30.
We also read that “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13), and of cause John 3:16 says “whoever believes on Him shall not perish.” Whoever means whoever.
Charles Spurgeon proclaimed divine sovereignty yet he also preached man’s responsibility, although he admitted that he didn’t understand how they fit together.
Consider his exhortations to the sinner: “Believe in Jesus, and though you are now in slippery places your feet shall soon be set upon a rock of safety”; “Sinner fly to Christ”; “O sinner, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God…”
And he preached that it is the sinner’s responsibility to trust in the Savior: “Trust Christ with your soul and He will save it. I know you will not do this unless the Holy Spirit constrains you, but this does not remove your responsibility.”
The Arminian and Calvinist views are diametrically opposed to each other, yet believers on both sides point to a multitude of verses to back their theology. If you choose one view or the other, don’t let your choice cut you off from others who may believe differently.
Is it possible that the two opposing truths can walk together? It is if all that is missing is some information for them to harmonize. The day will come when we will understand all things (see 1 Corinthians 13:12), and it is then that we will be glad that we didn’t cause division in the Church, and “sow discord among brethren,” something God hates (Proverbs 6:19).
Sadly, Church history has shown us that Christ-centered men of God have clashed over these issues (e.g., Wesley and Whitefield). More recently I have seen brethren make a theological stand and much to their dismay they were marked by their home church as troublemakers. Fine missionaries have been pulled from the field, pastors fired from the ministry, and churches have split because of this issue.
So, if you do think you have it worked out, be careful that you strive to keep unity among the brethren, and then focus on your God-given commission. Firefighters exist to fight fires, not to fight each other. When the firing squad stands in a circle, it makes the enemy happy.
Every moment that you and I spend arguing about theological interpretation is time we have lost forever that could have been spent in prayer for the unsaved or in seeking to save that which is lost.
I wouldn’t be surprised if much of the contention for this issue isn’t based on a supposed love of the truth, but is rooted in sinful pride.”