Monthly Archives For April 2010

God’s Foreknowledge – Peter, Judas and Christ

, posted by Godismyjudge

I recently read Greg Boyd’s explanation of Christ’s foretelling Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s denial. The basic issue is that in open theism, a free choice cannot be foreknown. Boyd’s states that at the time of their sins, Judas and Peter were not free (i.e. they couldn’t choose remain faithful to Christ). But since their prior free choices had formed their character, they were still responsible even if not free at that specific moment. (Boyd on Peter, Boyd on Judas)

While I suspect this explanation is unsound for multiple reasons, let’s for the moment grant that it’s true. What about cases were the future is foretold, yet counterfactual ability is asserted?

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Is Arminianism a neo-Manichaeanism?

, posted by WilliamBirch

[THIS HAS BEEN EDITED. ALL REFERENCES TO THE ORIGINAL CALVINIST AUTHOR BEING RESPONDED TO HAVE BEEN REMOVED.]

Bhagwan, Ishvara, Maheshvara, Parameshvara, Paramatman, Para Brahman, Adi Purusha, Vishnu, Krishna, Rama, Ek Onkar, Satnam, Nirankar, Shoghi Effendi, Shangdi, Shen, Apollo, Ceres, Diana, Juno, Jupiter, Minerva, Vesta, Zeus, Hermes, Allah, Ra, Osiris, Isis, Ma’at, Amun, these are just some of the names of thousands of various gods from various religions worshiped throughout history.

Intentionally ommitted from this list is the Christian God, the true and living God (John 17:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 John 2:8, 5:20; Rev. 19:11), Yahweh (YHWH, Exodus 3:14, the I Am). One cannot place the one true God in the same categorical list of false gods, who do not truly exist (cf. 1 Cor. 10:19).

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Calvinism is the Gospel vs. Jesus is the Gospel

, posted by WilliamBirch

Heresies are born out of the mindset that one’s theology and only one’s theology can possibly be the sole orthodox position viable for Christians. When an individual cannot at least acknowledge that he or she could be wrong on some theological points, the cult-mindset has set in. But know this, friends, only God’s Word is completely accurate. Our understanding of his Word can be inaccurate. Russell Henry Stafford writes:

    I was brought up in the Arminian tradition, and those early influences confirmed the natural abhorrence which I take it that all who know the living Christ in the living pages of the Gospels must feel for the distinctive dogmas of Calvinism.

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The Idiot’s Guide to the New Perspective on Paul

, posted by Kevin Jackson

It is difficult to find a brief layman’s explanation of the “New Perspectives on Paul” (NPP). To rectify the problem I humbly offer “The Idiot’s Guide to the New Perspective on Paul”

An analogy:
Imagine a church that has the following rule: EVERYONE WHO ATTENDS THIS CHURCH MUST WEAR A SUIT. The church has the rule to keep out the bums, reasoning that bums can’t afford suits.

The people in the church know very well that wearing a suit in and of itself doesn’t make one a Christian. They simply have the requirement for the purpose of excluding others who are not like them. They want the church for themselves, and want to keep the bums out.

In this analogy the root problem is that Christians want to exclude others. There is nothing inherently wrong with someone wanting to wear a suit. The problem is that they are using their preference for suits as an arbitrary rule to exclude others.

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Friday Files: Benson on Proverbs 16:1

, posted by Godismyjudge

Benson’s comments on Proverbs 16:1 are short and sweet so here are his words:

Proverbs 16:1 To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.

That is, in short, 1st, Man may purpose; he hath a freedom of thought and of will permitted him; he may form his projects, and lay his schemes as he thinks best; but, after all, 2d, God disposeth ; he easily can, and often does, cross man’s purposes, and break his measures: nor can man proceed with success in any undertaking, nor carry into execution any design, without God’s assistance and blessing. It was a curse that was prepared in Balaam’s heart, but the answer of the tongue was a blessing.

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Does Atonement for all lead to Universalism?

, posted by neborg

A common question that Calvinists pose to the Arminian is “If Jesus died for all, then why aren’t all saved?” John Owen popularised this argument with his “triple dilemma” or “triple choice” where he said [paraphrased] that “Jesus died for either all sins of all men, all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men.”

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Don’t Be a Jerk

, posted by SEA

We would do well to apply the message of the cartoon in the attachment to the Arminian/Calvinist debate (see the attachment). The debate is very important, ultimately having to do with the character of God….

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Review of “Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport”

, posted by Richard Coords

The motivation for this book is an attempt to recognize the way in which Calvinism connects with non-Calvinists, and why those who *are* Calvinists, do not run away in horror, but zealously embrace its theology. Author, Richard Mouw, recognizes that Calvinism does not always come across well, and best observes this in a movie entitled, Hardcore, in which a Calvinist elder, Jake, explains his TULIP theology to a curious lost woman in a Las Vegas airport, Niki, who in response to an explanation of TULIP Calvinism, exclaims: “I thought I was ****ed up.” (p.13)

Mouw writes: “I have been thinking about writing this book ever since I saw the film Hardcore. A movie with a title like that will not strike most folks as an obvious source of inspiration for some reflections on how to be a Calvinist in the twenty-first century, so I had better explain myself.” (p.11)

(The now Atheist director of Hardcore was raised as a Christian and graduated from Calvin College.)

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Arminius answers Beckwith

, posted by Godismyjudge

Beckwith states: Because the list of canonical books is itself not found in Scripture—as one can find the Ten Commandments or the names of Christ’s Apostles—any such list, whether Protestant or Catholic, would be an item of extra-Biblical theological knowledge. (link)

Arminius responds:

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Another Middle Knowledge Passage

, posted by Godismyjudge

Middle knowledge is mostly an implication of the scriptural truths of God’s providential governance of the world and man’s choices. But there are some passages that do directly teach that God knows what we would do in various circumstances. I came across a passage supporting middle knowledge this week:

In Deuteronomy 28, Moses first tells of all the blessings the people will receive if the follow God’s commands: 1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.”

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Do Calvinists Yearn for a Deeper Understanding of Responsibility?

, posted by Godismyjudge

I recently listened to a lecture by Ronald Nash, where he recounts a conversation he had with J. I. Packer. They are both Calvinists. Nash brings up the subject of Middle Knowledge. Packer says that it is Arminian. Nash says no, that it could be used by Reformers to maintain God’s total sovereign control and still preserve responsibility. Packer says that he may have a point there. Here’s a link to the clip. (link) The conversation is about 11 minutes in.

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Exegeting Romans 3:10-18

, posted by WilliamBirch

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Christians at Rome, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, asks, in chapter three, if there is advantage to being a Jew, or in the practice of…

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Friday Files: JOHN WESLEY AND JONATHAN EDWARDS ON RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

, posted by Godismyjudge

Robert Doyle Smith’s articles JOHN WESLEY AND JONATHAN EDWARDS ON RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS, summarizes the similarities and differences between John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards. Of course they disagreed on Calvinism/Arminianism. But they strongly agreed that the beginning of conversion is realizing that you are a sinner in need of God’s grace and both of their preaching styles reflected that ideal. Interestly, both men struggled with assurance of salvation early in life. They disagreed on the topics of the imputed righteousness of Christ and also entire sanctification.

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Is There Trauma in Sovereignty? A Response to James Swan by Brennon Hartshorn

, posted by bossmanham

Arminians and other Libertarians are concerned with determinism, the proposition that all of our actions are made necessary by God in some way. We are concerned because determinism seems to make God the author of sin.

The compatibilist wants to show that we can still be free and responsible for our own actions and they can be determined. David Hume, a skeptic philosopher, tried to show this is the case on a naturalistic framework. Theist determinists adopt some of Hume’s arguments and augment them in order to argue that it is possible that all our actions have been pre-determined, but we freely do those actions and are therefore responsible for them. There have also been other attempts at trying to show that this is possible.

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The Meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

, posted by Eric Landstrom

As I sit in my office this Good Friday, the very day of the year that we remember as the day that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made atonement for the sins of the world through his crucifixion, I’m left to contemplate what the Bible and history offer to teach us about the meaning of Easter Sunday, the meaning the resurrection if we take care to pause and listen. Although foretold as early as the Garden* that our Lord would provide a Savior, Hebrews 11:17-19 offers us a commentary on Genesis 22 where we are retold the narrative of how Abraham offered his only son, Isaac, up to God as a blood sacrifice. With eyes filled with faith, Abraham sought to offer Isaac to the Lord because he believed that our Lord would resurrect Isaac. Although the Lord stayed Abraham’s hand, Abraham’s belief that the Lord would raise Isaac up again (cf. Heb.

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Friday Files: Abasciano – Clearing Up Misconceptions about Corporate Election

, posted by Godismyjudge

In Brian Abasciano’s article Clearing Up Misconceptions about Corporate Election, he explains that corporate election is primarily corporate and secondarily individual, but it’s a mistake to think of corporate election to the exclusion of the individual. In corporate election, the election of the group is a consequence of the election of the corporate head and representative. Thus the nation of Israel is chosen in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and believers are chosen in Christ. Just as in OT times, individuals were free to join or leave the group, so also, in the new covenant, individuals are free to join or leave.

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