Monthly Archives For January 2011

Jack Cottrell: Election, Calvinism, and the Bible

, posted by Kevin Jackson

This was a two part essay posted on facebook by theologian Jack Cottrell. The original posts can be found here: part1,part2. Dr. Cottrell has graciously permitted us to post it here at SEA for our edification and sharing.

QUESTION: The New Testament speaks of God as “choosing” or “electing” us, and Christians are called “the chosen ones” or “the elect.” This sounds like determinism, or Calvinism. How can such language be reconciled with free will?

Read Post →

“When in Rome” and Irresistable Grace

, posted by Kevin Jackson

I recently saw the movie When In Rome. What’s fascinating about the movie is that the plot bears a lot of similarity to the Calvinistic concept of irresistible grace. [Warning, spoilers ahead]

In the movie, the female lead (Beth) picks some coins from out of a wishing fountain in Rome. What she doesn’t realize is that the fountain is magical. When she took the coins from the pool it put a spell over the men who threw the coins in, and they are all now passionately in love with her. The problem is that there is a guy that she really does like, and he is also smitten with her. He is trying to convince her that he really loves her, but she thinks his love is not genuine because of the magical fountain. But the thing is, he never threw a coin into the fountain. He really does love her.

Read Post →

Questions for Calvinists

, posted by Kevin Jackson

by Kevin Jackson

Here are some questions for Calvinists. Most of these have to do with God’s character. These are genuine questions that I as an Arminian haven’t heard good answers for, and help explain why I’m not a Calvinist. You’ll notice that there aren’t a lot of questions about “free will,” as this isn’t important to Arminianism, except to the extent that it is used to protect God’s character. Comments to original post may be made HERE.

If sovereignty means that God freely and unchangeably ordains whatsoever comes to pass, why does evil exist?

Read Post →

The Meaning of “World” in First John

, posted by Kevin Jackson

The letter of First John makes several direct references to the universality of Jesus’ atonement.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2 NIV – bold mine)

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. -1 John 4:14

In these passages John states that Jesus atoned for the sins of the whole world, and came to be Savior of the the world. The Greek word for world is kosmos. The English word “cosmos” is derived from this word.

Calvinists sometimes assert that kosmos in the context of John’s letter is limited to “to elect individuals from all nations”. The problem is that this interpretation is not applied consistently. And it does not make sense in context of how John uses the word elsewhere in the letter.

Read Post →

Inclusivism, Arminianism and Liberalism

, posted by WilliamBirch

by Roger Olson

When someone drags out the tired, old canard that Arminianism leads to liberalism in theology I know he (or she) knows little about theology. The same is true when someone classifies inclusivism as “liberal.”

Let’s define “liberal theology.” Far too many people use it to mean any theology with which they disagree. For example, open theism has been called “liberal.” What’s “liberal” about it? (Except perhaps in one meaning of “liberal” as open-minded, but that’s not what the critics mean.) It’s not rooted in liberal thinking; it’s rooted in biblical interpretation. Call it heretical, if you insist (that’s another argument), but calling it “liberal” is simply ignorant. All the leading open theists believe strongly in the supernatural and base their claims on the Bible.

Let’s get back to some serious defining and using of terms so that they are more than just snarl words meant to evoke negative emotions.

Read Post →

New Book Announcement: Arminus Speaks: Essential Writings on Predestination, Free Will, and the Nature of God

, posted by SEA

We are happy to announce the publication of Arminius Speaks: Essential Writings on Predestination, Free Will, and the Nature of God, edited by SEA member John D. Wagner and dedicated to SEA.

Here is a book description and some endorsements (for an attractive flier with a picture of the book on it and information on the publisher, see the attachment to this post; the book can be purchased at a discount through the publisher’s website [less expensive than listed on the flier]):

James Arminius is one of the most maligned and misunderstood theologians in
church history. In an era of major debate over predestination, free will, and
related concepts, Arminius was accused of being Pelagian, Semi-Pelagian, or a
heretic of all sorts. This is a trend that started in his time and has continued
to this day.

The truth is that he was a brilliant theologian who shook the foundations of
Calvinism to the core. Yet he was quite orthodox in his thinking, as he had

Read Post →

James White on Romans 9

, posted by Godismyjudge

I recently listened to James White’s explanation of Romans 9. I was surprised by his technique. He did very little explaining of the scripture, or showing the connection between the text and Calvinism. Rather, he went verse-by-verse attacking non-Calvinist interpretations of the passage. White made very few positive assertions about what the text means; and none of them supported Calvinism. It was as if he assumed the passage teaches Calvinism and he made no efforts to justify that claim. That’s not exegesis and in debate it’s a shift of the burden of proof.

Read Post →

God and the Miners

, posted by WilliamBirch

As reported by CNN International, all 33 of the Chilean miners were rescued from their desperate plight. Most of the survivors were released from the hospital yesterday afternoon, 14 October 2010. This event reminded me of something Jesus once said: “Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them — do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did” (Luke 13:4-5 NRSV). As these miners were rescued from certain death, I am also reminded of God’s desire that all people be saved (1 Tim. 2:4).

Read Post →

The History of Anglicanism and Arminianism

, posted by WilliamBirch

Anglicanism’s theological roots (those of the established Church of England) were grounded in Roman Catholic ideology in its initial stage. Roman Catholic site New Advent states: “Before the breach with Rome under Henry VIII there was absolutely no doctrinal difference between the faith of Englishmen and the rest of Catholic Christendom, and ‘Anglicanism’, as connoting a separate or independent religious system, was unknown.” When Pope Clement VII (dependent upon the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Catherine of Aragon’s nephew) refused to grant Henry a divorce from his wife Catherine of Aragon, who had failed to produce Henry with a male heir1 (also, Henry was obsessed with and wanted to marry Anne Boleyn), he sanctioned The Act of Royal Supremacy in 1534 (which was revived by Elizabeth I, as well as successive English reigns, until 1833). By this act, Henry situated himself as Head of the Church of England.

Read Post →

JESUS MODERATES DEBATE BETWEEN CALVIN AND ARMINIUS (SATIRE)

, posted by WilliamBirch

In heaven, Jesus decided to host and moderate a debate between Calvin and Arminius, reserving the right if need be to question each man’s answer. Being perfected, Christ understood that both men would seek only to bring Him honor and glory, and such could now be done in their sin-free existence: there would be no tempers flared in this godly exchange. So, the stage was set with Calvin on the left, Christ the moderator in the center, and Arminius on the right. The first question was asked of Arminius, while Calvin would follow with a response.

Q: “Why, Arminius, did you teach that I had died for all people equally?”

Read Post →

Calvinism Myths

, posted by Martin Glynn

I was recently pointed to this post by Calvinist Michael C. Patton, who I respect a great deal. Here he lists 12 myths that he believes are levied against Calvinism. I wanted to review a couple of these and add my own thoughts on them. Some I think are legitamate myths, some I really do not.

Read Post →

A Good Analogy to the ULI of TULIP

, posted by WilliamBirch

by Roger Olson

Arminian scholar William Klein provides this analogy to help understand the difference between classical, high Calvinist soteriology and Arminian soteriology (posted here with his permission):

Possible Analogy for ‘the biblical doctrine of Election’
W. Klein

Background

1. There exists a devastating famine among the poverty-stricken Srennis. They bear responsibility for the famine for they refused to engage in proper planning or farming techniques that could have sustained them though the time of drought. They depleted the land, and it has become worthless. The people are all destitute, without food, money, or hope.

2. Their only chance for survival is to leave their barren land and travel across the sea to a place where there is enough food.

3. Alas, such a voyage would cost each person the equivalent of $100 for the boat trip. There are boats that could be made available, but not a one of the Srennis has any money left, let alone $100.

Read Post →