Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Taz.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Calvinist or Arminian? The Bottom Line

Calvinist. Arminian. Pelagian. Monergist. Synergist. Amyraldian. Lots of terms. Lots of things to keep up with. Free will. Predestination. Election. Depravity. Perseverence. Grace. There are many others. Sometimes it seems like more than a simple Christian can bear. What is a person to believe about all these things? Is there a clear answer? Can we really know?

Yes. The Bible says that the Bereans were more noble than the Christians in Thessolonica. Another way to think about it is that they had a better bloodline. Why? Because when Paul came and preached to them, they searched the scriptures to see if what they were being taught were true. They were concerned about whether or not Paul's teachings were biblical. And it is here that we draw the final line.

The Bible is our sole rule of faith and practice. That means that everything that is binding on the Christian as far as our beliefs and our way of life, is found in the Bible. God's word is the Bible. God reveals Himself to us through the Bible. It is by the word and the Spirit that God works. It is the Bible that is central to all this.

If you took Jonathan Edwards two volume works, Calvin's Institutes, Hodge's Systematic Theology, Spurgeon's collected sermons, the works of Pink, Gill, Owen, and others ... and if you read all these works with a clear understanding ... you would have a superior theological education. However, one page of scripture is more profitable for your soul than all the works I heave previously mentioned. Why? Because scripture was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. While the others are, no doubt, good men of God, they are not writing under the same direction as those authors of holy scripture.

Calvinist or Arminian? How about learning to be a biblicist? More than anything else it ought to be the Christian's desire to be in conformity with scripture. Spurgeon said it well when he said "I would rather be a thousand times inconsistant with myself than once to be inconsistant with scripture." All of our beliefs ought to be tested against the anvil of scripture. If we find something we believe that does not agree with scripture then we are compelled to reject it and change our beliefs until we line up with the Bible.

I believe we will all align under some system of scripture interpretation. However, every system must be under scripture. Scripture above all!

Be a Calvinist, or be an Arminian, or be something else, but more than anything else be a biblicist! Not all Christians will be Calvinists. Not all will be Arminians. But every one of us, every one without exception, ought to be a Bible believer. And that is the bottom line. And that is the way it ought to be.


Anonymous James said...

Hi Dr. Sneed,
This is James Boyd, aka Wigglesworth from the old Theo Chat days. I greatly appreciate you posting this. Although we may have honest differences of opinion in regards to the application of Scripture, our common ground should be our desire to live and conform our lives and beliefs to it. Very well said!

11:53 AM  
Blogger john said...


It is pleasant to run into you again and to know that you sometimes take in my blog.

I wanted to post this post because I think it is something that is often lost in all the arguing. But it is the most important thing to remember.


7:31 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Agreed!! Souls are on the line and we are arguing semantics rather than teaching and preaching that all men must repent. Now there's no arguing there and it's Biblical to the core.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous James said...

Thank you John. I frequently read both yours and Yaak's blogs, and aggain, I greatly appreciate your posts. You'll be glad to know that I have developed quite an affinity for Spurgeon myself. His book "Finding Peace in Life's Storms" brought me great peace following my sister's death a few years ago, and I am currently reading "The Soul Winner."

2:44 PM  

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