Monthly Archives For March 2010

Infralapsarian (Moderate) Calvinism’s Doctrine of Unconditional Election

, posted by WilliamBirch

from The Arminian site.

Did God create some souls for hell and others for heaven, as John Calvin1 insisted? Calvinist C. H. Spurgeon, quoted from Kenneth D. Keathley, Professor of Theology and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in his book, Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach, writes the following: “Do you believe that God created man and arbitrarily, sovereignly — it is the same thing — created that man, with no other intention, than that of damning him? Made him, and yet, for no other reason than that of destroying him forever? Well, if you can believe it, I pity you, that is all I can say: you deserve pity, that you should think so meanly of God, whose mercy endureth forever.”2

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Conflating Arminianism and Secularism

, posted by WilliamBirch

Calvinist Southern Baptist pastor Mark E. Dever, having reviewed Richard A. Muller’s 1991 book, God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius, notes, in his concluding remarks:

    Personally, as a pastor with Reformed [he means Calvinist] convictions, I found this book to be a telling intellectual journey, suggestive of the unwitting capitulations [surrendering] made by our Arminian brothers and sisters to secularism itself. At the end of the day, in a consistent Arminianism, the understanding of God and of humanity must be seen to be “rational” by the world around. Therefore I fear that their notions of God and of humanity can rise no further than the surrounding unbelieving culture. As an evangelical pastor in postmodern America, this is my fear. I pray that I am wrong.

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James White and Turretinfan on 1 John 5:1

, posted by Godismyjudge

James White and company have used 1 John 5:1 to argue that regeneration comes before faith. (link) I actually called in to the Dividing Line (James White’s webcast) to explain to him my take on the passage and why I do not think it teaches faith precedes regeneration. It’s at the end of the hour long program. (link) James White objected to my approach on the air and Turretinfan has objected to it on his blog as well (link). I would like to briefly summarize the issue, explain the text and then respond to Turretinfan.

1 John 5:1 states: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

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Calvinism and Arminianism Compared

, posted by Steve Witzki

In 1824, James Nichols wrote a two volume book called: Calvinism and Arminianism Compared in Their Principles and Tendency. In his Introduction he states that Arminianism has “been frequently (and I may add purposely) misrepresented . . . .” He goes on to quote a Calvinist, “who, notwithstanding the prejudices of his party, has produced one of the most impartial, correct, moderate, and comprehensive accounts of the scriptural system of Arminius, that have been published in the English language, and one that contains a manly refutation of the errors with which that system has been falsely charged”

Click on pdf to read more.

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Friday Files: Ryrie “The Extent of the Atonement”

, posted by Godismyjudge

In Charles Ryrie’s article “The Extent of the Atonement” he first defines the key issue. Ryrie disagrees with Berkhof that the key issue is if Christ came into the world to save all men or only the elect. Instead Ryrie frames the issue in term of did Christ make provision for the salvation of all people or not?

Next Ryrie deals with exegetical considerations. He digs into 2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 2:2, 1 Timothy 2:4-6, 4:10, Hebrews 2:9, John 3:16, and Acts 17:30. In each case Ryrie shows how the text teaches unlimited atonement and points out the problems with alternative explanations.

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Does the Atonement Actually Save Anyone?

, posted by WilliamBirch

Calvinist James White insists that the message Christians should give to the lost is that Jesus does not “merely try” to save them but that He “saves them perfectly” (Youtube video link, beginning at 28:15). By “perfectly” White means that God has by a mere decree unconditionally chosen to save (regenerate and bring to faith) certain of the lost and unconditionally damned the rest of mankind. This is not hyper-Calvinism or some form of philosophical-theological, first-century pagan fatalism. This is basic, Classical Calvinism.

Nevermind that the apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instructed a young pastor named Timothy that God our Savior “desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 NASB). Statements throughout the New Testament such as this one must experience a vast change in prima facie meaning in order to support Calvinism.

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J.P. Moreland on Complementarity, Agency Theory, and the God-of-the-Gaps

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Though the article is not primarily concerned with free will or defending free will, it does contain a good comparison between libertarian free will and compatibilism from a top notch and well respected Christian philosopher. While the author does not take the time to argue strongly for his position, he does present the libertarian view of human freedom as far more rational and consistent than the compatibilist view. SEA does not necessarily endorse all of the views expressed in this article. Please click the link below to view the article:

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Philosophy/PSCF3-97Moreland.html

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Kenneth Keathley and the Doctrine of Overcoming Grace

, posted by WilliamBirch

Kenneth D. Keathley, Professor of Theology and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, has completed his latest book, Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach, published by B&H Academic. Today’s post will interact with his chapter on Overcoming Grace (pp. 101-37).

From the back cover of the book, one reads the following: “Salvation and Sovereignty begins with author Kenneth Keathley asking, ‘What shall a Christian do who is convinced of certain central tenets of Calvinism but not its corollaries [conclusions]?’ Like many, he suspects the usual Calvinist understanding of sovereignty (that God is the cause of all things) is not sustained by the biblical witness as a whole.”

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Some Excellent and Concise Comments on Free Will, the Bondage of Sin, and Prevenient Grace

, posted by Ben Henshaw

Overall, the following comments by F. Leroy Forlines are an excellent representation of the Arminian viewpoint:

“Freedom of will is a freedom within a framework of possibilities. It is not absolute freedom. Man cannot be God. He cannot be an angel. The freedom of a human being is in the framework of the possibilities provided by human nature. Also, influences brought to bear on the will have a bearing on the framework of possibilities.

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Ephesians 2:13; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

But now, in Christ Jesus, you, being once distant, have become close by Christ’s blood.

It is important to remember that Paul’s primary concern in the book of Ephesians is dealing with the Gentile believers in relation to the Jews. Often we become so concerned with this verse or that verse that we forget Paul’s greater discussion.

The big question when considering this verse is “what were we far away from”? The answer is in the last verse: we were far away from God and His covenant people. The language is verse 12 is not merely talking about separation from God, but also separation from Israel. To Paul, these are two sides of the same coin. To be separate from God’s people is to be separate from God’s promises, and thus from God Himself.

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Friday Files: Marshall “The Problem of Apostasy in New Testament Theology”

, posted by Godismyjudge

I. Howard Marshall’s article “The Problem of Apostasy in New Testament Theology” was part of a symposium in honor of Dale Moody and serves as an epilogue to Marshall’s book Kept by the Power of God: A Study of Perseverance and falling Away. Marshall presents the three reasons Calvinists reject the idea the true believers fall away: 1) they regard the texts which appear to teach the final security of the believer as the clear and central teaching of Scripture, 2) unconditional election and definitive atonement logically lead to perseverance of the elect and 3) the sense of security provided by perseverance of the saints is important to the Christian life.

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Arminianism vs. Calvinism: The FACTS vs. TULIP Acronyms

, posted by Martin Glynn

One of the most frustrating aspects of the Arminian and Calvinist debate is the amount of misunderstanding that goes on about the two positions. We have found that caricatures of both sides seem to be more common than honest descriptions. This site has been devoted to bringing clarity as to what defines the Arminian position, and promoting the position while being fair to Calvinism.

We have just set up a new primary link that gives a detailed comparison between the Arminian and Calvinist sides. You will find it under An Outline of the FACTS of Arminianism vs. the TULIP of Calvinism

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Here’s an Offer You Can’t Refuse

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

In our frequent exchanges with those who accept the idea of exhaustive determinism, we often hear that it’s not a fair comparison to say that their philosophy makes people into robots, radio controlled planes, puppets (to include sockpuppets), or some similar deterministic automaton. They insist, despite every aspect of our being and our decisions having been meticulously crafted due to the ‘Potter’s freedom,’ people actually do things of their own free will and are thus themselves still responsible for their own actions. For anyone who believes this to be a viable line of reasoning, we present a special offer….

Announcer:

“Ever had that urge to accomplish something truly vile, but don’t want to be held responsible? Well your wait is over! Introducing:

Radio-controlled, flying free-agent ceramic sock-bots!

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Retraction Concerning Some Improperly Used Quotes of Calvin

, posted by SEA

We recently ran a blog post entitled “Some Chilling Quotes of John Calvin” (http://evangelicalarminians.org/SEA.march-2010.some-chilling-quotes-of-John-Calvin) that used two of three quotes improperly, and we apologize for the error. Someone alerted us to a response he put together (www.corkfpc.com/chill.html) demonstrating that, out of context, one of the quotes gave the wrong impression of Calvin’s meaning, and that another quote was actually Calvin quoting an opponent’s characterization of Calvin’s view for the purpose of denying that to be his view. However, the SEA member who provided the quotes to us has written a response explaining that he did not intend to quote improperly and detailing why the quotes remain chilling in light of Calvin’s theology and other things he said: http://examiningcalvinism.blogspot.com/2010/03/clarification-on-chilling-quotes.html. There was no problem with use of the third quote from that post; it remains chilling without qualification.

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Calvinist Scholar Finds: “The Remonstrants Clearly Were Not Pelagians”

, posted by SEA

    “The Remonstrants clearly were not Pelagians.”

You would think that such a statement comes from the lips or pen of an Arminian scholar or pastor, but it originally came from Reformed Baptist scholar Mark A. Ellis, who had even pastored a Reformed Baptist church. This quote appears in Ellis’ introduction to his landmark scholarly translation of The Arminian Confession of 1621 (Mark A. Ellis [trans. and ed.], The Arminian Confession of 1621 [Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2005]). We are excited to be able to make this introduction available.* Click on this link to read the story behind this historically significant document.

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Friday Files: Audio File of Dr. Pinson on the Albert Mohler Show

, posted by Godismyjudge

On SEA’s links and books page, there is an interview with Drs. Matt Pinson and Mark Dever discussing Calvin and Calvinism (link). The moderator is a Calvinist and it shows at times, but overall he asks good questions and generates interesting discussion. Dr. Pinson does a nice job explaining the basics of Arminianism as well as explaining areas where Calvinists and Arminians can work together.

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A Fatal Flaw in Calvinism

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

A Necessary Implication of Determinism

One of the primary tenets of mainstream Calvinism is the concept of exhaustive determinism (which I’ll refer to as ‘determinism’ here) — all that is and occurs in the universe is exactly as God has exhaustively decreed it to be. In such a worldview, man doesn’t have a will that’s truly free, but does everything exactly as it was predetermined for him. Consequently, there’s no real contingency upon man concerning what God does. God has (in this determinist worldview) unconditionally decreed that His will be done, and His will is in no way conditioned upon anything men say or do. To this, Jack Cottrell makes the point,

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Mission Possible: A Response to Shai Linne

, posted by WilliamBirch

The following is an edited response to Shai Linne’s Limited Atonement rap
song, “Mission Accomplished.” The original version was posted by “Murray” in the comments at the Gadgetry, Thoughts, Unleashed! blog. What is in brackets has been re-written or re-worded for this posting on SEA.

_____
Well excuse me Mr. Linne, but I think you’re confused.
And there are one or two verses which you have misused.

It’s true – God only saves the group He’s elected.
But that doesn’t mean we’re born preselected.

The “children of promise” He’s chosen to save;
All who seek God through works remain in the grave.

And God truly desires all men to believe;
His words in The Book weren’t meant to deceive.

_____
And the elect themselves were just like all others,
Once children of wrath, just like their brothers.

So even if His death was selective,

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