Monthly Archives For December 2009

A Problem for Open Theism

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Open Theists deny God’s foreknowledge because they believe that if the future is known it is determined. Calvinists and Open Theists agree on a principle of foreknowledge. If the future is certain, it is necessary.

Calvinists affirm the exhaustive foreknowledge of God, and thereby deny the possibility of libertarian free will. Open Theists take the other route. They affirm libertarian free will, and thereby deny the possibility of God’s exhaustive foreknowledge.

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Proof-texting Presuppositions with John 6:44, 65

, posted by Eric Landstrom

Proof-texting Presuppositions with John 6:44, 65

    John 6:44 and 6:65 are commonly used as proof-texts that more often than not reveal the exegete’s presuppositions that are imposed upon the Gospel According to John than I believe John the Evangelist hoped to present in his Gospel. John 6:65 reads, “And he said, ‘Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father,’ ” and John 6:44 reads, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    From reading these two texts, where does one find evidence from these texts to make the following Calvinist assertions?

      Is predestination found in the text? No. Only if the reader pours it in.

      Is individual election found in the text? No. Only if the reader pours it in.

      Is eternal security found in the text? No. Only if the reader pours it in.

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New Book: John Calvin Goes to Berkeley

, posted by Richard Coords

What happens when a dogmatic Calvinist attempts “Reformation” within an on-campus, Christian organization of college students, who are relatively inexperienced in the Free Will vs. Predestination controversy? What happens when the dogmatic Calvinist becomes even more vigilant, when pressured by his aggressive Calvinist Pastor, using the threat of withholding his recommendation for admission to the Calvinistic, Westminster Theological Seminary? What happens when the inexperienced, non-Calvinist students take up the noble challenge of believing in God for an answer to the age old mystery on Predestination? What happens when the pressures of college life gets in the way of their research? What if that college is the University of California at Berkeley, or more affectionately known as “Beserkeley”? Find out, in the new book, “John Calvin Goes To Berkeley”?

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Enjoying The Good News Of Christ

, posted by SEA

[The following post was authored by Ben Henshaw, and has undergone some revision with the author's permission for inclusion here.]

Calvinists often argue that God’s love has failed if Christ’s atonement was made for all and yet not all are saved. I find it strange that Calvinists, who are so quick to criticize Arminians for holding to a man centered religion, argue that unless man responds to God’s love in saving faith, then His love for them has somehow failed. How is it that they feel comfortable equating the success or failure of God’s love with man’s response to that love? Is the nature or validity of God’s love dependant on man’s response? Doesn’t that seem a little man centered?

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Gerald Owens, The Incarnation as Divine Self-Defintion

, posted by geraldowens

Fundamentally, salvation is very simple. In 1 John 4:14-15 we read:

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.[NIV]

This central claim of Christianity is the most controversial: that a man who looked like everyone else and had a body just like everyone else’s that died like everyone else’s, was God. To deny that claim it is to depart from Orthodoxy Christianity as seen by both Calvinists and Arminians. However, its implications call into question some of the core assumptions of Calvinism, for what definition of God permits Jesus to be God?

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Interesting Links 12-20-09

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Ben Witherington has Handel’s Messiah, the Story Behind the Classic. He notes that, “John Wesley was one of the ones who saw an early performance of this work. In his Journal he commented “there were some parts that were affecting, but I doubt it has staying power”.”

The history of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The original lyrics were written by Charles Wesley and then modified by George Whitefield (which reportedly made Charles furious). “Hark! how all the welkin rings”, perhaps Whitefield was right on this one. It’s good to see that a combined Arminian / Calvinist effort turned out a great classic Christmas song, even if Charles was displeased.

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The Lazy Man’s Guide to Refuting Edwards and Compatibilism

, posted by SEA

Recently we posted a list of resources that refute Jonathan Edwards and Calvinistic compatibilism and defend genuine free will (http://evangelicalarminians.org/Determinism-Refuting-Edwards-and-Calvinist-Compatibilism-and-Arguments-against-Genuine-Free-Will). Some of them are pretty hefty. So if you would like to get to the heart of the debate by reading something relatively brief that refutes the main thrust of compatibilism as it is frequently presented by Calvinists today, then take a look at

Thomas Ralston on Freedom of the Will Part 9: The Doctrine of Motives
(http://evangelicalarminians.org/node/328).

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Outcomes, Foreknowledge, and Free Will

, posted by WilliamBirch

Posted by Robert (submitted to SEA on 10-21-09). I believe that I have come upon an insight that, though very simple to understand, does a great job of unlocking the supposed problem of the compatibility…

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Al Jolson vs. Toby Mac Theology

, posted by SEA

1) Calvinist theology found in the opening lyrics to a famous song by Al Jolson:

YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU

You made me love you
I didn’t want to do it
I didn’t want to do it
You made me want you
And all the time you knew it
I guess you always knew it

You made me happy sometimes
Sometimes you made me glad
But there were times, dear
You made me feel so bad

2) Better theology by Toby Mac:

I WAS MADE TO LOVE YOU (chorus)

That I was made to love You
I was made to find You
I was made just for You
Made to adore You
I was made to love and be loved by You
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And You said You’d keep me never would You leave me
I was made to love
And be loved by You

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John Calvin Personally Admits to Killing Servetus

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Calvin apologists take different approaches to defending their theological hero with regards to the Servetus execution. One such approach is to say that Calvin was not culpable for the killing of Servetus, since he did not personally have the power or authority to put him to death. Unfortunately, for the Calvin apologist who takes this approach, Melanchthon and Calvin (who makes use of Melanchthon’s pronouncement in his own defense) would disagree. Calvin writes,

    Let Baudouin abuse me as long as he will, provided that, by the judgment of Melanchthon, posterity owes me a debt of gratitude for having purged the Church of so pernicious a monster. (emphasis mine)

Therefore, Calvin was proud to take personal credit for “purg[ing] the church of so pernicious a monster [as Servetus].”

Writing in 1561 to the Marquis Paet (chamberlain to the King of Navarre), Calvin said,

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The Simplicity of Salvation

, posted by Richard Coords

The Simplicity of Salvation — by Christopher Skinner

We cannot save ourselves from God’s wrath but God has provided salvation for us. It is easy to be saved.

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The Jealousy of God and Calvinism

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. -Exodus 34:14

A disturbing aspect of Calvinism is how it does damage to God’s character. By improperly defining the sovereignty of God, Calvinists cannot adequately account for other aspects of God’s character.

Calvinism is not compatible with the jealousy of God. If depraved humanity is doing what God has decreed, the jealousy of God is not real. If God’s jealousy is genuine, determinism must be false. God’s is jealous because his people, whom he loves, are not in relationship with him as he would prefer.

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The Calvinists Who Became Arminians at Dort

, posted by Kevin Jackson

One of the fascinating facts of history is the “conversion” to Arminianism of several of the Calvinists who participated in the proceedings at the Synod of Dort. Below are accounts of three Calvinists, two whom changed their views during the actual proceedings, and one who had already changed his opinion prior.

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Does the Gospel According to Calvinism Offer Salvation to Anyone at all?

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Dr. Picirilli thinks not. After making the point that Calvinists believe that those reprobates who hear the gospel cannot truly respond to the offer of salvation, he further observes that,

    Furthermore, in the Calvinistic system, the gospel is not really offering salvation to any, since neither the elect nor the non-elect can accept the offer or meet its conditions. In fact, the “conditions” are not really conditions in the Calvinist system. They are part of the “package” of salvation benefits given to the elect by virtue of the death of Christ for them.

    Without realizing it, the Calvinist is finally saying that repentance and faith (as the gift of God in the salvation “package”) are being offered to all who will repent and believe, when in fact none can do so. This reduces to pure tautology and is no offer at all. (Grace, Faith, Free Will, pp. 117, 118, emphasis his)

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