Traditionalism

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Traditionalism is a non-Calvinist school of soteriology. It is neither Calvinist nor Armenian, but rather emphasizes corporate election and libertarian free will.[1]

Beliefs

  • Traditionalism affirms that the Gospel is the good news that God, through Jesus Christ, has made a way for any who will to accept salvation.
  • It affirms that God loves everyone and wishes for every person to come to salvation.
  • It denies total inability, and that most are predestined for Hell.
  • It affirms that because of Adam's sin, mankind has inherited a sinful nature.
  • It denies that "inherited sin" is responsible for each mans condemnation, but rather one's own sin.
  • It denies that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit's drawing through the gospel, though not because of his actions.
  • It affirms that the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.
  • It denies that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith.
  • It denies that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will
  • It denies that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.
  • It affirms that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.
  • It denies that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted.
  • It denies that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.
  • It affirms that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.
  • It denies that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.
  • It affirms that, in reference to salvation, election speaks of God’s eternal, gracious, and certain plan in Christ to have a people who are His by repentance and faith.
  • It denies that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation.
  • It affirms God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation
  • It denies that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.
  • It affirms that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.
  • It denies that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person.
  • It denies that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.
  • It affirms that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.
  • It denies that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken.
  • It affirms that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth.
  • It affirms that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.
  • It denies that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

References