Is being a Calvinist or Arminian a prerequisite to salvation?

We are saved through by grace through faith, which is a gift from God and not by works. We were dead in our sins and made alive by God when we were born again. And we were created to do good works.

Ephesians 2:1-9

 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

But while our salvation is the work of God, what we believe matters.  That is to say, our salvation IS based on the object of our belief and what He did.

Romans 10:9

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

If we dont believe in God, then we are not saved. If we dont believe God sent His Son to live a sinless life, suffer and die for our sins, and raised Him again on the third day, then we are not saved.

Christ is clear, we must believe in Him.

John 3:16-18

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

This is the gospel Paul said he taught:
1 Corinthians 15:1-5

1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

But where did Christ say we need to be 5 pointers to be saved? Where does it say we need to be Arminian to be saved?

Paul taught us after salvation that it was not something that depended upon us, but upon God. But we still have to believe in the saving work of Christ to be saved.

I think to claim someone is not saved merely because they believe their salvation depended in some part upon their choice, or because they believe their salvation depended totally upon God, is missing the fact that God didn’t claim believing God did it all, or that we had a choice, is a prerequisite for salvation.

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4 Responses

  1. “I think to claim someone is not saved merely because they believe their salvation depended in some part upon their choice, or because they believe their salvation depended totally upon God, is missing the fact that God didn’t claim believing God did it all, or that we had a choice, is a prerequisite for salvation.”

    If it was that important to God, I’m sure He would have been clearer.

    I think that a lot of this exclusivism is Pharisaism revisited. And I like being right, so I don’t think that God loves people who think I’m wrong.

    Of course, Jesus isn’t just there to stroke my ego.

    Great post.

  2. Ken, I wrote the post in response to what seemed to me to be contempt for people who did not believe like they did – claiming it was another gospel or another god the “heretics” believed. I understand the need to stand against false doctrine, but that just seemed a bit over the top to me.

  3. I agree completely.

    For my own part, I think that we all probably have a couple of things wrong about the exact mechanics of Chrsitianity. Most of those, we’ll find out in Heaven, shrug and say, “Oh, well. I guess you were right.”

    I do know a couple of people who are adamantly convinced that if you don’t believe in predestination, then you don’t believe in a sovereign God, and are therefore not a Christian. And one who says that if you do, then you haven’t really made a choice to follow Jesus, and therefore can’t be saved.

    I expect that they’ll all meet on the other side and make up.

    It’s not like we’re talking universalism or something … that, I could see being a hindrance. My theory is that if God didn’t see it as so important as to write it clearly in Scripture, we shouldn’t make up doctrine to fill it in.

    Family in-fighting is really sad.

    • I agree! I am sure all of us have some of it wrong, even though we are led by the Holy Spirit. Why do I say that? Because we are human and misunderstand and sometimes let our wills get in the way of God.

      Some things ARE a hill worth dying for, but others simply arent.

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