Monthly Archives For February 2010

Ephesians 2:11-12; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

Therefore, remember that at one point you — the Gentiles in terms of flesh, the ones called “foreskin” by those called “the circumcised”, a handmade thing of flesh — that at that time, you were separate from Christ, ostracized from the people of Israel, and aliens in terms of the covenants of promise: having no hope and being without God in the world.

Sometimes we forget that we were the Gentiles. We were those cut off from the promises of God; aliens from the covenants made with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. It is only in the blood of Jesus Christ that we are brought near to God.

This is part of God’s whole project: To redeem all of humanity through Israel. But the first stage of that was redeeming Israel, and the rest of us were set aside until Israel was ready for the Messiah to come.

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The Reciprocal Dynamic of Grace

, posted by Eric Landstrom

A reciprocal dynamic of acting and reacting occurs in any relationship between persons. If we lived in a clockwork universe operating under Calvinist assumptions of predestinating decrees, then we would be little more than very complicated turing machines modeled after game theory, like von Neumann’s automation of cellular activity. At issue then is whether or not a living, dynamic relationship exists between a computer program and its creator?

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Romans 5:6: Who are the Ungodly?

, posted by bossmanham

A single verse I think speaks volumes about the extent of Christ’s atonement is Romans 5:6. Paul writes, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (NASB). Paul tells us here explicitly who Christ died for; the ungodly. Now, many Calvinists claim that Jesus only died for a select few on the cross. He only paid for the sins of the elect. But if this is the case, then Romans 5:6 would indicate that the non-elect aren’t ungodly, since Christ died for the ungodly. Or it means, as the Arminian insists, that Christ really did die for the ungodly; namely all those who are at odds with God because of their sin, who Paul identifies as every individual on earth (Romans 3:23).

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Ephesians 2:10; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared for us to do.The beautiful thing about this verse is how close one feels with God when thinking that He has shaped us with His own hands. Many times we wonder why God would love us so much. Well, for much of the same reason why I still have some art projects I made in 6th grade. It isn’t the quality of the piece, it is its relationship with me. Likewise, it is our relationship with God that causes God to love us so.

But it is also important to remember the context. Overall Paul is comparing faith to works, where faith is the means of salvation instead of what humans would expect: works. So why does Paul take the time to celebrate good works in this verse? After all, that is precisely what he is doing.

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Ben Witherington – Hebrews 6

, posted by Kevin Jackson

On Wed, February 13, 2008, Dr. Ben Witherington posted “Christian Apostasy and Hebrews 6” on his blog. It is an excerpt from a book he would later publish entitled The Indelible Image. Witherington is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary.

(Click on PDF to view article, PDF compiled by Steve Witzki)

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Friday Files

, posted by Godismyjudge

Shortly after the death of James Arminius in 1609, his followers summarized his views into the five points of the remonstrants. At Dort, the Calvinists requested a clarification of the remonstrants views. Lead by Episcopius, they drafted the Opinions of the Remonstrants, which expand on the five points. They are organized under the original five points (conditional election, unlimited atonement, total depravity, resistible grace and perseverance) and should be seen as sub-points under the five points of the remonstrants.

On election, they have three subpoints objecting to supra-lapsarianism, one objecting to infra-lapsarianism and three more subpoints defining conditional election. Additionally, they added two points rejecting the damnation of children of believers, if the children die in infancy.

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Church History vs. Calvinism (Part Two)

, posted by WilliamBirch

Emperor Constantine (AD 272-337), according to Laurence M. Vance,

    became the sole ruler of the Western branch of the Roman empire after defeating Maxentius (c. 283-312) at the famous Battle of the Mulvian Bridge, near Rome, in 312. It was here that Constantine claimed to have seen a vision of a shining cross that led to his victory. . . .

    After supposedly attributing his victory to the “Christian God,” Constantine joined with Licinius (c. 265-325), one of the emperors of the East, in issuing in 313, at Milan, a decree of toleration toward Christianity.1

By this time, the marriage of the Church to the state would be her downfall. Thus, in many cases, the redeemed sat alongside the unredeemed in every church service. Theodosius, Constantine’s successor, by AD 381, proclaimed to all people that they “steadfastly adhere to the religion which was taught by St. Peter to the Romans, which has been faithfully preserved by tradition.”2

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Church History vs. Calvinism (Part One)

, posted by WilliamBirch

To say that any semblance of a Calvinistic framework is entirely absent from the teachings of the early Church fathers, as will become evident shortly, is an understatement. Ironically enough, however, John Calvin was not the originator of a predestinarian construction, strictly speaking. The founder of this doctrine was none other than St. Augustine (AD 354-430).

According to Vance, “The influence of Augustine upon history in general and Christianity in particular is incalculable — but not surprising — since, like Calvin, he was an extensively prolific writer. . . . When a modern Calvinist endeavors to substantiate Calvinism by an appeal to men, the first name mentioned is always that of Augustine.”1

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Ironside on Calvinism

, posted by SEA

Taken from: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/8145

Ironside on Calvinism

“Turn to your Bible and read for yourself in the only two chapters in which this word predestinate or predestinated is found. The first is Romans 8:29-30, the other chapter is Ephesians 1:5 and 11. You will note that there is no reference in these four verses to either heaven or hell but to Christ-likeness eventually. Nowhere are we told in scripture that God predestinated one man to be saved and another to be lost. Men are to be saved or lost eternally because of their attitude towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Predestination means that someday all the redeemed shall become just like the Lord Jesus”

“D.L. Moody used to put it very simply the elect are the ‘whosoever wills’ the non-elect ‘whosoever wont’s’. This is exactly what scripture teaches, the invitation is to all, those who accept it are the elect. Remember, we are never told that Christ died for the elect”.

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Ephesians 2:8-9; A Devotion

, posted by Martin Glynn

For you see it is from grace that you have been saved through faith; not from yourself. This is a gift of God, not from works so that none may boast.

Ah yes, we are all familiar with this verse. I think it is important to understand what Paul’s theology is here really. It is important to note that the basic clause of the first sentence is “you have been saved through faith”. Everything else in that first sentence, and even the entire above passage, relies on us understanding that this is the basic view that Paul has about the salvation process. Indeed, the fact of salvation by faith isn’t even Paul’s point; it is Paul’s assumption.

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Friday Files: Davis – The Perseverance of the Saints: A History of the Doctrine

, posted by Godismyjudge

John Davis’ article “The Perseverance of the Saints: A History of the Doctrine” outlines the thought around perseverance and assurance through certain key theologians and churches through the history of the Christianity.

Davis starts with Augustine who held that not everyone who is regenerated and justified receives the gift of final perseverance and a person cannot know if they will presevere until the end. Aquinas held a similar view to Augustine. Luther held a similar view as well, but he added that while a person cannot know if they will presevere until the end, they may know that they are currently saved.

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Some Basic Thoughts on “Decisional Regeneration” From an Arminian Perspective

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Someone asked a while back in the comments thread to one of my blog posts what I thought of “Decisional Regeneration”. Since this is a rather new label being thrown around mostly by Calvinists in a seeming attempt to mock a view of salvation conditioned by faith, it is important to address. Rather than write a new post I will just quote my initial response to the question below:

    I think “decisional regeneration” is a hard phrase to pin down and is just thrown around as a slander by Calvinists towards those who do not believe that regeneration precedes faith or that regeneration is irresistibly and unconditionally given to the “elect” alone. But there can be much more to it and so I wanted to be clear as to what your specific concern was.

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In Defense of Resistible Grace to Retain the Goodness of God

, posted by bossmanham

To Calvinists, God’s grace is irresistible. This follows naturally in their entire scheme of salvation by logical necessity. It is a point that must stand or the system falls. If God has not made His grace that moves the heart of man, convicts them of their sins, and enables them to come to Him irresistibly, then the Arminian is correct in that man has the ability to choose to resist that grace when it is presented to them. The question is, What does the Bible say, and What does that which we know about the character of God say?

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The Universality of Jesus’ Drawing All to Him (John 12:32)

, posted by arminianbaptist

Regarding the Calvinist claims that the “all” of John 12:32 actually means “all kinds….”

Why would John the Evangelist craft his gospel to emphasise that God wants “all KINDS” of people to be saved–as if anyone would ever disagree with such an inane statement. In the context of the fourth Gospel, saying God wants to save “all KINDS” of people to be saved is a truism which should go without saying–unless there was a real Jew-Gentile conflict going on in John’s Gospel–which there isn’t. The only narrative in John’s Gospel where diversity in election (“all KINDS”) could be viewed as the emphasis is John 4 (the Samaritan woman), but this theme is not emphasised elsewhere.

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Ephesians 2:6-7; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

And also with Christ, God has raised us up and sat us down in the celestrial realms by Christ Jesus so that within these coming times He has shown, in His kindness, the overwhelming riches of His graciousness over us by Christ Jesus.

Because these devotions are based upon my translation of the text, I discovered that not only was it nearly impossible to keep up with it around Christmas time, but that once I lost track of it, it was difficult to start up again. So, I am sorry that I haven’t been attending to this for a month.

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Friday Files: Hunt – Why Simple Foreknowledge is Still Useful

, posted by Godismyjudge

In Dave Hunt’s article, Why Simple Foreknowledge is Still Useful, Hunt argues that God uses simple foreknowledge providentially. His primary case is a rock, paper scissors example: The lynchpin of my argument was a counterexample, developed at length and with great care. It involved a version of rock-paper-scissors played between God and Satan. In this version God first declares rock, paper, or scissors, but only mentally, without revealing it; Satan then makes a libertarian free decision to declare rock, paper, or scissors; finally, God reveals what he declared. I claimed that the open theist God, who lacks simple foreknowledge, might well lose this game: victory is not guaranteed.

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The Calvinist Dictionary (Satire)

, posted by Kevin Jackson

A dictionary to help Arminians better understand Calvinist terminology.
(Don’t take this too seriously, this is meant in good fun)

All: The elect

Altar Call: An insult to God

Arminianism:
Man centered theology

Assurance:
hoping that you’re elect

Augustine:
The first church father.

Calvinism:
The gospel

Call (effectual):
to be irresistibly dragged

Call (general):
God’s justification to condemn the reprobate.

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