I’ve been trying to watch an online discussion concerning the pros and cons of Calvinism via Ed Stetzer’s program The Exchange (video embedded below) without much success. For some reason, the video keeps freezing up on me. However, I did get far enough to hear one of the contributors, Michael Horton recommend that viewers take a look at the Canon of Dort for themselves. The Canons of Dort is the official judgement of the Dutch Reformed Church issued in 1619 in response to the five main points of contention between Arminianism and Calvinism. Having never read them entirely, I looked them up.
I’m glad I did. The Canons expand upon the popular TULIP acronym that summarizes the positions of the traditional five-point Calvinist. Each point is illustrated point by point with Scripture references in most cases. For anyone who desires to know more about the Calvinist/Reformed position, the Canons are an excellent source. Each point of contention is divided into two segments. First, the Reformed/Calvinist position is illustrated, then the challenges offered by Arminianism are refuted. It’s good stuff. I highly recommend it.I would suggest that it is good reading whether you consider yourself an Arminian or a Calvinist. The former will understand the opposing opinions better and the latter will learn more about what it is they profess to believe.
For the record, I consider myself a Calvinist (for the most part anyway). The problems I have with the traditional five points are mainly semantic (you can read more of my thoughts here) and my judgement of Canons are no different. I agree with them for the most part and and only take issue with a couple of minor semantic phrases. However, I must admit that I do my best to look for common ground between the Arminian and Reformed/Calvinist positions. Both camps are, after all, sitting under the umbrella of Christianity. My personal motto is Christ first, Calvinism and Arminianism second – with generous loads of grace offered to each.
I’m also dispensational, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Below is a link to the aforementioned Canons. I have also embedded the video from the exchange show. I may write more about the Arminian-Calvinist debate in the future along with how a dispensational view effects both. It is a topic I find as interesting as it is complex.