Are Calvinism and Arminianism just points of debate for theologians, or do they actually have real-life implications on our relationship with God?
Is the Calvinist-Arminian debate overblown? It’s a question today from a young man, a listener to the podcast who writes us this: “Pastor John, hello! I’ve argued about predestination and free will with fellow believers for years. I’m a five-point Calvinist. But lately these conversations have grown tiresome to me. No amount of debate seems to settle all the questions. And I recently read a letter by C.S. Lewis where he called the Calvinist-Arminian debate pretty much pointless because it only answers questions about this life, answers meaningless in eternity.
“He wrote, ‘Both the statement that our final destination is already settled [Calvinism] and the view that it still may be either heaven or hell [Arminianism], seem to me to imply the ultimate reality of time, which I don’t believe in. The controversy is one I can’t join on either side, for I think that in the real (timeless) world it is meaningless’ (Collected Letters, 2:703). I think Lewis raises a fair question: Is this whole debate time-bound? And even within time, I find myself more and more asking, What is the real-life fallout? Is the practical and spiritual value of Calvinism for this life significantly better? If so, how?”