Monthly Archives For July 2010

Friday Files: The New Perspective and Ephesians

, posted by Martin Glynn

Not everyone agrees with the New Perspective on Paul (NPP). Naturally, with any new perspective, there are many who are excited about it, many who are against it, and many who know nothing about it. It is no different within SEA. Our members span this full spectrum, since adherence or rejection of it is not part of our statement of faith. For those who are interested in theology, especially this debate, it is one of the most exciting discussions going on right now.

NPP is usually talked about in how it affects our reading of Galatians and Romans. Here, one of our members discusses it’s impact on the very important book of Ephesians. I hope you enjoy:

The New Perspective and Ephesians

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The Influence of Arminius on American Theology

, posted by WilliamBirch

The following is part of Gerald O. McCulloh’s address presented at the Arminius Symposium in Holland, August 1960. He stated that it was his honor to chronicle the influence of the theology of the great Dutch theologian, Jacobus Arminius, noting how the “discussions and disputations which exerted great influence in shaping Protestant Christianity in Holland, England, and America [can] be heard again to warn against doctrinal neglect or errors and to lead to new understandings of Christian truth.”1 McCulloh writes the following.

In the theological education and personal development of a person preparing for the ministry of the church, Arminius’ emphases upon God’s will in Christ to redeem all men, and that portion of responsibility which rests upon the Christian in the life under grace unto sanctification, are essential in the intellectual and spiritual equipment of the man. . . .

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Arminius and the Structure of Society

, posted by WilliamBirch

The following is part of James Luther Adams’ address presented at the Arminius Symposium in Holland, August 1960: “Arminius and the Structure of Society.”

Not as a total stranger does the citizen of Massachusetts visit Amsterdam, a seat of the old Dutch Republic. Not as a stranger does a member of Harvard University join in this celebration of the four-hundredth anniversary of Jacobus Arminius. Many are the spiritual children of the Dutch Republic and also of Arminius who have contributed to the heritage of Massachusetts and of America in both politics and religion. . . .

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Nichols

, posted by Godismyjudge

James Nichols did a great amout of work getting Arminian books published, but he also wrote a bit himself. Here’s his work Calvinism and Arminianism Compared in Their Principles and Tendency. (link)

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Friday Files: Answering Greg Elmquist’s “Four Unanswerable Questions”

, posted by Martin Glynn

Many of us here at SEA have a passion to correct the errors about Arminianism that are being pushed by those that care more about being angry about it than actually knowing what it is. It always surprises me how upset Calvinists are that God made us believe something other than Calvinism.

Anyway, this blog post is a wonderful example of such an issue. A certain Calvinist named Greg Elmquist attempted to disprove Arminianism in one of the silliest displays that we have seen. We are showing you this as the kind of attitude that we come across all the time. If you are an Arminian, and have come across this kind before, understand that you are not alone. If you are a Calvinist, please take this as a lesson that arguing against a caricature of someone’s beliefs only makes that person laugh at you. If you are going to disagree with us, please take the time to learn what we say.

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Answers to Common Calvinist Questions

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Some answers to common Calvinist questions:

Q: Why does one person believe in Jesus and not another?
Q: Man is dead. How can a dead person believe or do anything?
Q: If man is dead in sin, how can he believe outside of the grace of God?
Q: If man can make choices, doesn’t that weaken God’s sovereignty?
Q: If man can make choices, how can God have exhaustive knowledge of the future?
Q: Here are [insert list of scriptures] to prove that Calvinism is true.
Q: Doesn’t Arminian Theology lead to boasting because man contributed to his salvation?

Q: Why does one person believe in Jesus and not another?
A. This question assumes a deterministic framework. Each person is a unique being who has the God given capability to make his own choices ex nihilo. One person believes and not another because one chose to believe, and the other did not.

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Limborch

, posted by Godismyjudge

Philip van Limborch (1633-1712) wrote the first complete Remonstrant Systematic Theology. Though he slighted original sin and had questionable views on total depravity, he still does make some very strong points against Calvinism. Here’s an Engish translation of his work entitled “A Compleat System, or Body of Divinity, both Speculative and Practical”: (link)

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Friday Files: Taking Up My Cross

, posted by Martin Glynn

A. M. Mallet writes a solid blog entry about how the Arminian interpretation of Mt 16:24 is often misrepresented. Many of us here are here because of how often our view is misunderstood, and equated with positions that we don’t hold. This entry is a wonderful example of how we get lumped in with completely disparate views.

Please enjoy Taking Up My Cross.

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Arminius’ Nine Questions For the Synod of Dort

, posted by royingle

Arminius died in 1609, which was nine years before the Synod of Dort convened in 1618-1619. Yet it was his original ideas, teachings, and requests that led to the infamous Synod. From the writings of Arminius, it appears that he had hopes that the national synod would be a place for him to 1) defend himself against all charges of heresy, and 2) to defend his views regarding changes he saw needed in the Calvinistic confessions of faith. Arminius felt that the Scriptures were the highest authority to appeal to, and he felt that the Confessions of faith and Catechisms needed to be changed in light of clear teaching in Scripture. The Calvinists of his day disagreed and argued that the Confessions and Catechisms were the judges of what true believers should confess and believe (and it appears to me to be regardless of what Scripture said).

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Arminian Minute: Is Unconditional Election Good News for the Despairing Soul?

, posted by postpre

Does Calvinism (with its upholding of unconditional election) really have good news for the despairing sinner? At most, a Calvinist can tell a disturbed soul that they could be among God’s elect. But, is such a response sufficient enough to engender hope in the heart of the broken? No, it is not. Nothing short of full assurance (no “could be’s”) that one can turn to God for relief from guilt will do.

The following YouTube video interacts with a 2003 sermon of John Piper’s and seriously questions whether the belief in unconditional election is good news for the despairing soul.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdanH9-uaYA

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Ephesians 2:14; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

For He is our peace, having made both into one and having broken down1 that wall2 which divides us3, that hostility by His flesh.

Is there a greater verse to demonstrate the notion of how corporate election works? God has created for Himself a people out of the seed of Abraham. It is this people that He has choosen, and it is through this people that He works.

But through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, that distinction between the seed of Abraham and the rest of the seed of Adam is broken down. Now all who are in Christ are one and are part of the same people: the people of Christ. When we say we are Christians, we are saying that we are part of the soveriegn government of the King of Kings: the Lord Christ who reigns over all the other lords. That is now our nationality; that is our allegiance.

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Arminius vs. Calvin on Assurance of Salvation and Perseverance

, posted by WilliamBirch

Some have argued that Arminianism offers little assurance that one will finally be saved due to the notion, which many Arminians hold, that a believer can lose his or her salvation. What may astound you is that Arminianism actually holds to a more firm case for the believer’s perseverance than does Calvinism.

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Arminius vs. Calvin on Total Depravity

, posted by WilliamBirch

Total Depravity teaches that every single human being has been affected by the fall. Every part of a person has been affected; hence, total depravity. This has never meant that people are as bad as they could be. This doctrine insists that no one can do anything meritorious for salvation, nor be good enough for salvation. Not only do people not keep God’s law perfectly, but they are also unable to do so (Rom. 8:7).

The doctrine of Total Depravity is also known as Total Inability. The apostle Paul writes: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14 NIV). Thus people cannot understand spiritual truths, i.e. the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10) without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

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Arminius vs. Calvin on Unconditional Election

, posted by WilliamBirch

That the doctrine of election (or, as some would have it, predestination) is taught in Scripture is rarely denied. There are those who teach that election or predestination is only related to salvation via means of Christian service. For example, Jack Cottrell writes:

    Among those predestined to fill specific roles in the accomplishment of redemption, the primary character is the Redeemer himself, Jesus of Nazareth. The election of Jesus is the central and primary act of predestination. . . . At times other individuals were chosen for special roles in order to facilitate God’s purposes. . . . As instruments for establishing the church another group of individuals were chosen, namely, the apostles. . . . That such election was for service and not salvation is seen from the fact that even Judas is among the chosen twelve (Luke 6:13; John 6:70), though his predetermined role was that of the betrayer of Jesus (John 6:71).1

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Arminius vs. Calvin on Limited Atonement

, posted by WilliamBirch

Theologians are divided as to whether Calvin held to an Unlimited or Limited view of the Atonement. And while most Christians, whether Arminian, non-Calvinist, Amyraldian, or four-point compatibilist Calvinist, would agree that Christ’s atoning sacrifice was sufficient for all but efficient only for the elect, hard determinist, supralapsarian, five-point Calvinists insist that the intent of the atonement was ever and only for the unconditionally elect.

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Arminius vs. Calvin on Irresistible Grace

, posted by WilliamBirch

Irresistible Grace, also known as Effectual Calling, is, according to Calvinist Wayne Grudem, “an act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith.”1

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