Have Calvinists taken a passage on the characteristic of a Christian, and rendered it the causation of becoming a Christian?
There is no question that the Holy Spirit gives the new creature in Christ (2Cor 5:17), gifts, among which includes a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) In fact, it is through the Holy Spirit that Christians are able to confess Christ as Lord: "No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit." (1st Corinthians 12:3)
In order to understand Calvinism, you must know that one of its most central teachings is that unless a man is made Born Again, he cannot believe in the Gospel. In this way, Calvinism teaches that a man must be made preemptively Born Again in Christ, in order to repent, believe and be saved. Arminianism, in contrast, teaches that a person is not made Born Again in Christ until after he has been sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit, as per Ephesians 1:13. So here you see the divergence. Also realize that a contrast among Calvinism and Arminianism is NOT whether man is depraved, but the solution to man's depravity. Is the solution a preemptive new birth in Christ, as per Calvinism, or is it the supernatural power of the living and active, faith-producing Gospel (Romans 10:17), as per Arminianism? Arminians often ask of Calvinists: Do you believe that the Gospel is powerful enough to persuade any unregenerate sinner to confess his sins and repent? The Arminian feels that the Calvinist answer is "Yes," only if it's accompanied by a preemptive new birth in Christ, which the Arminian ultimately takes as a "No" answer.
So it's here at 1st John 5:1 that the Calvinist attempts to prove that one must be made born of God in order to believe in God and become saved. However, the Arminian protests that such is not the point of the apostle John, who is merely identifying the marks of true Christians, from false pretenders. So is the Arminian protest, a valid one?
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