Monthly Archives For November 2008

Friday Files: Leonard’s Review of Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities

, posted by Godismyjudge

James Leonard provided a nice summary of Roger Olson’s book: Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. Olson’s book is quickly becoming an Arminian classic. One of Leonard’ key points is “Arminians are not driven to their position because they want to cling to free will, as if it were absolutely precious and the one non-negotiable of the debate. The real issue for Arminians is the character of God. Arminians are driven to their position because they see that Calvinism leads to making God the author and the effecting power of sin, and denying God’s goodness.” (link)

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Edwards on Habits

, posted by Godismyjudge

Background – LFW and responsibility

Under LFW, we are the causal source of our choices (i.e. nothing causally predetermines our choices); we are responsible for our choices. There’s nowhere else to go to. We can’t back track to something else – we are responsible. Under CFW, since our actions are causally predetermined, we can trace back the cause of our actions to something outside of us. Thus, we keep searching for the source of our actions to find out what’s ultimately responsible. When Calvinists say God is the ultimate source, we say they make God ultimately responsible for sin. Even if God establishes a system in which only secondary causes get punished and the primary cause does not (as Calvinists suppose), that doesn’t change the fact that God is ultimately responsible for sin. The issue isn’t one of God’s power or sovereignty, it’s a matter of His goodness and holiness.

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Edwards on Responsibility

, posted by Godismyjudge

Outline of Edwards Arguments in part V.I

  1. Arminians say if something causally predetermines our choices, we are not responsible.
  2. But responsibility is not the cause of choices, it’s in the nature of choices
  3. If responsibility is in the cause of choices, we search through an infinite regression of causes, and nothing is ever responsible.

My Response
Point 1 is close, but not quite accurate. While our actions can be predetermined, our choices cannot be. Choice cannot be predetermined, else it’s not choice. Predeterminism leaves us with only one possible action, but choice requires alternatives (i.e. more than one). A “predetermined choice” is self-contradictory, implying we can choose something we can’t choose. So we think Calvinists are inconsistent for saying we can choose.

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1 John 5:6-8; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

This is he who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

Ok, what in the world is this passage talking about?! Well, let’s see if we can break it down a bit. Blood is clearly referring to the Crucifixtion, and water is referring to baptism. But how does Jesus come (literally “is the coming” in the Greek) through crucifixion and baptism? Is it referring to our redemption and baptism, or His death and baptism? There can be much discussion of this, but for now we will simply go with my opinion.

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Friday Files

, posted by Martin Glynn

The John 3:16 Conference — Southern Baptists and the Challenge of Calvinism: A Reformation Arminian Review

As many of us who are involved with the Arminianism/Calvinism debate know, Calvinism has recently made major in-roads into the Southern Baptist convention. Indeed, this denomination seems to be the epicenter of what has come to be known as “The Calvinist Resurgence”. But what many don’t know is that there are many in the convention that are not happy with this, and they are not taking it lying down.

Very recently, in fact two weeks ago, the convention held a conference which they entitled “The John 3:16 Conference” to counteract this Calvinist movement. A member of SEA, J. Dale Weaver, attended that conference and has given us a short review of what happened. This may have significant ramifications for the SBC in the near future, so I highly recommend this reading to any Baptists out there.

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Edwards on Action

, posted by Godismyjudge

Outline of Edwards’ arguments in part V.II

  1. Arminians say that without self-determining power, we have no power of action, acts are not our own, and we must be passive.
  2. This isn’t the way people use “action” in common speech.
  3. Used this way action is either causeless or an infinite regression of causes.
  4. When we speak of a first cause, if nothing causes something, nothing could prevent it, so therefore it is necessary.
  5. The common notion of action is the effects of the will.
  6. Arminians think of action as self-determination, because the motion of our bodies is caused by our wills – so they assume the same applies to the motion of our wills.
  7. Read Post →

Daniel Gracely, “Divine Sovereignty”

, posted by Godismyjudge

This article is taken from a chapter in Hoodwinked and Happy?: Evangelicals, Calvinism , and Why No One’s Answering the Problem of Evil, by Daniel Gracely, published by Grandma’s Attic Press, © 2006.

Please note that the author of this article is not an Arminian, but that we have made the article available because it has some good material related to the Arminian/Calvinist debate. SEA does not necessarily endorse everything in the article

Please click on the attachment to view Daniel Gracely, “Divine Sovereignty”

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Edwards on Common and Philosophical Necessity

, posted by Godismyjudge

Edwards’ arguments in part V.III and part V.IV

Edwards splits necessity into two categories: natural and moral. Natural necessity relates to our actions, moral necessity relates to our wills. If an act is naturally necessary, it is either against or without our will, and whether we will or not the result is the same. Edwards says that natural necessity is the common meaning of necessity and moral necessity is philosophical. Natural necessity (common necessity) is a sense wholly different than that used in the Calvinist/Arminian debate. Most people go through their whole lives without thinking about moral necessity (philosophical necessity) and its relationship with responsibility.

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The Biblical Doctrines of Grace (Part Two)

, posted by WilliamBirch

For the Calvinist, the “doctrines of grace” is a synonym for TULIP theology. So, do the Biblical Doctrines of Grace of Arminianism also follow a system, such as TULIP? Arminianism proper has not historically employed an acronym as the one used for nearly four centuries by Calvinists.

Let it be stated, however, that if it had not been for the followers of Arminius (the Remonstrants) presenting their five arguments to the state to be approved as orthodox consent, then the TULIP would have never been constructed. And the original order of the Remonstrants was Conditional Election (to those in Christ), Unlimited Atonement, Total Depravity, Resistible Grace, and Conditional Perseverance.

If the Calvinists had strictly followed the Arminian system, it would have spelled ULTIP, which is a bad acronym, considering Ultip is not a word. Worse off, the Arminian acronym would have been CUTRC. The best sense which we could make out of that construct is TRUCC, also not a word.

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The Biblical Doctrines of Grace (Part One)

, posted by WilliamBirch

The word grace, from Genesis 6:8 to Revelation 22:21, is a word meaning “graciousness of manner or act” (literally), or “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life” (figuratively).1

Grace is a special favor bestowed upon an undeserving individual. Thus when a Christian minister quotes Paul as saying, “For it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:8), he or she means that the one saved was saved not by merit but by grace, undeserved favor. This is how to use the word grace biblically. In this we do not go beyond its clear meaning, nor do we fall short of what the Bible teaches.

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1 John 5:4-5; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

For everything born out of God conquers the world and this is the conquest, the conquering of the world: our faith. What is the conquering of the world if not faith that Jesus is the Son of God?

The above is my own translation. I wanted to point out a few grammatical things in the Greek. I think most of the translations miss the power and passion that is there in the Greek, and I hoped to bring that out a bit more.

This passage is a powerful testimony about faith. I recently heard atheist Richard Dawkins say that faith is a dangerous thing, something which threatens the world. This is only partitially true. Faith is a powerful thing, something which can tame the world. Faith drives people to action, even actions which otherwise seem impossible. It is what we have faith in which determines whether it threatens or restores.

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Friday Files

, posted by Martin Glynn

This week, we are starting something new that I intend to do from here on out once a week. For those who may not know, this is not intended to be a blog site. The point of this website is to be a repository of Arminian resources, and a resource itself when debating Calvinists. The purpose of the blog is to draw attention to the many Arminian bloggers that are out there, as well as providing a consistant stream of true Arminian thought.

However, since this is not meant to be a blog site, we wanted to point you to some of the articles that we have here, since they are more dear to the hearts of those of us at SEA. So, every Friday, I’m going to be pointing out a particular article that we have on file here for your review. Articles are longer, and are often far more scholarly.

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What is Libertarian Free Will?

, posted by Godismyjudge

Libertarian Free Will (LFW) is the idea that man is able to choose otherwise than he will choose. It’s contrasted with Compatiblism Free Will (CFW), the idea that free will and determinism are compatible. These are alternative views of the will; both can’t be true about a persons’ will at the same time.

The descriptions “libertarian” and “free” distinguish LFW from CFW, but are otherwise redundant. For those holding to LFW, the will is always at liberty, and is always free, else it’s not a will. Arminius put it: “the will cannot be forced”.

Christ Died for those who Ultimately Perish – Part 3/3

, posted by Godismyjudge

This post is an excerpt from the book review of Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

    2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Peter is prophesying about a falling away. He speaks of false teachers who deny the Lord that bought them.

My argument is simple.

P1: Christ bought the false teachers
P2: the false teachers ultimately perish
C1: therefore Christ bought those that ultimately perish

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Christ died for those who ultimately perish – Part 2/3

, posted by Godismyjudge

This post is an excerpt from the book review of Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

This argument is based on Judas and the Lord’s supper.

Luke 22:
17And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
21But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

This passage is the institution of the Lord’s supper. Christ gives the bread to the disciples (including Judas) and says that it’s given for you. My argument is simple:

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Christ died for those who ultimately perish – Part 1/3

, posted by Godismyjudge

This post is an excerpt from the book review of Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

There are several passages of the word of God that teach that Christ died for those that ultimately perish. These passages don’t teach that Christ died for all, because they only talk about specific groups or even one individual. Never-the-less, these are powerful arguments that Christ died for all, because they disprove substantially every Calvinist argument for limited atonement.

I plan on examining three passages starting with Hebrews 10.

Hebrews 10:

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

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