Monthly Archives For March 2011

“The Prodigal Son” and Arminian Theology

, posted by Kevin Jackson

One of Jesus’ best known parables is the story of “The Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-32). The parable is particularly relevant to Arminian theology. It shows the extent of freedom that God gives to his children. It illustrates the nature of his love. And it shows how He goes about reconciliation.

The parable presents a picture that is in harmony with the Arminian understanding of God. Restored relationship is what is important to God. It is so important that he will set aside his rights and his honor in order to be reconciled with his children. Let’s take a look at the parable:

The Father gives the younger son what he requests.

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The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

Related Fallacies:
Oversimplification
Non-Sequitur
Slippery Slope

“The choices are not between Calvinism and Arminianism; it’s between Calvinism and universalism. Arminianism is a self-contradictory mess that can never defend itself.” – James White

This is a favorite rhetorical jab of many Calvinists, but is in fact one of the more obvious fallacies they often employ. The logic behind it is simple and can be summed up with the statement:

“If Christ’s death saves, and Christ died for everyone, then everyone would be saved.”

Seems pretty easy, right?

Problems with this logic

Turns out the simplicity of the argument is its weakness, because it masks a hidden difference in underlying assumptions. The critical distinction lies in the first part of the sentence, “…Christ’s death saves….”

The differences in viewpoint on atonement

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Michael Bird on Calvinistic Synergism

, posted by SEA

Some good comments from Calvinist Michael Bird, admitting that Calvinism (not just Arminianism) involves synergism (in the context of talking about Universalism):

Calvinists like to tout themselves as holding to a form of monergism whereby God alone works salvation in the individual, while those horrid Arminians and Catholics purportedly teach a synergism of divine and human wills. The problem is that any system of theology, including Calvinism, that recognizes a tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility is going to entertain some form of synergism. Unless humans are nothing more than puppets there is always going to be the objective work of God countenanced with the subjective response of humanity to the divine work.

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Our Common Enemy

, posted by WilliamBirch

I mentioned recently that Arminians and Calvinists are not enemies (even though there are people in both camps who at times disagree — or at least behave as though they disagree — with this statement)….

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The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart

, posted by Kevin Jackson

The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. -Exodus 4:21 NIV

A recurring theme in Exodus is the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh repeatedly goes back on his word and refuses to release the Israelites as he promised. At first Pharaoh hardens his own heart. Then God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. Each time after God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh changes his mind and refuses to let the Israelites go.

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The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

Related Fallacies:
Special Pleading (Double Standard)
Equivocation
Straw man

“Of course, this raises the question, why does their God save a person to damn him? Why not simply leave him in his unsaved state?” – Steve Hays, Tender Mercies

To get a better view of this fallacy, let’s examine the author’s argument more fully from the analogy he gives:

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Two Important Books Coming Out This Year

, posted by SEA

Here are two books to be on the lookout for this year: Roger Olson, Against Calvinism is scheduled to come out in October of this year (2011). There is no information available yet at the…

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James Arminius On the One Will of God

, posted by WilliamBirch

There is a connection between the Understanding of God and His Will that is overlooked or neglected by those who hold to a two wills in God theory. In this post we will discover what Arminius believed about God’s Knowledge or Understanding, and its relation to the one Will of God, with its various distinctives.

THE UNDERSTANDING OF GOD

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The Theological Fatalist’s Modal Fallacy

, posted by bossmanham

Theological fatalists posit that God’s foreknowledge of future events mean that it is not possible for anything other than what happens to happen. Since God knows every event that will happen, then aren’t those events necessary?

This mode of thinking works out like this:

1) Necessarily, if God foreknows x will happen, then x will happen
2) God foreknows x will happen
3) Therefore, necessarily x will happen

which would take the form:

□ P -> Q
P
___
□ Q

But this is a non sequitur. All that would actually follow from the premises displayed is Q. In terms of God’s foreknowledge, all that would follow is that x will happen, not that necessarily x will happen.

Theological fatalists have tried to remedy this by positing that the second premise is also necessary. So the argument would go:

1) Necessarily, if God foreknows x will happen, then x will happen
2′) Necessarily, God foreknows x will happen
3) Therefore, necessarily x will happen

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About Heretics: Should They Be Persecuted?

, posted by Matthew Murphy

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Prov. 19:11; ESV)

“This is certain that the better a man knows the truth, the less is he inclined to condemn, as appears in the case of Christ and the apostles. But he who lightly condemns others shows thereby that he knows nothing precisely, because he cannot bear others, for to know is to know how to put into practice. He who does not know how to act mercifully and kindly does not know the nature of mercy and kindness, just as he who cannot blush does not know the nature of shame.” (Sebastian Castellio)

Abstract:

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Universalism and Arminianism at Odds

, posted by WilliamBirch

The theology of Moises Amyraut (1596-1664) should not be overlooked, for the simple reason that Amyraldianism (sometimes referred to as four-point Calvinism) was another departure from or reformation of Classical Calvinism.

Amyraut believed that he was the accurate interpreter of Calvin and that the high or strict Calvinists (supralapsarians) were to be blamed for the “Arminian error.” Brian Armstrong shares Amyraut’s thoughts on predestination when he writes:

    The usual approach to Amyraut’s doctrine of predestination has been to summarize his Brief Traitte, singling out the doctrines which are at variance with the teaching of Calvinist orthodoxy.

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Arminius on the Sovereignty and Providence of God concerning the Problem of Evil

, posted by WilliamBirch

Arminius comments:

    We have already said that in sin the act, or the cessation from action, and ‘the transgression of the law’ come under consideration: But the Efficiency of God about evil concerns both the act itself and its viciousness, and it does this whether we have regard to the beginning of sin, to its progress, or to its end and consummation.1

What Arminius is trying to avoid is the constructing of his exegetical theology which is free from charging or making God the author of sin. What does it mean to make God the author of sin? First, let us define sin. The Larger Catechism states that sin is “any want [lack] of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.”2 This definition works as well as any other.

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