Calvinists sometimes argue that the fact that some people are good and others bad is evidence that God predetermines all things. The Calvinist arguments run down two distinct tracts: 1) a forking maneuver and 2) an incoherence argument against libertarian free will. The forking maneuver looks something like this: either man or God is the difference maker – if it’s man, we have something to brag about, if it’s God, libertarian free will is undone. The incoherence argument runs something like this: the difference is due either to nature or circumstances, so something causes the difference or it’s random – in neither case does the agent have the type of control required for libertarian free will. The purpose of this post is to show that this argument is an inversion of Chrysostom’s argument supporting libertarian freedom.
Monthly Archives For April 2011
John Wagner recently edited and republished Daniel Whedon’s Freedom of the Will: A Wesleyan response to Jonathan Edwards. The book is an outstanding refutation of Edward’s Inquiry into the Will. Whedon seeks and engages top authors and arguments like Hobbs’ argument (later adopted by Locke and Edwards) that free will is incoherent, because it either amounts to a causeless cause or infinite regression of causes. Whedon responds by pointing out 1) the will is the cause of choice (74); 2) defining indeterministic causes (38-39); and 3) explaining that indeterministic causes account for either choice (71-72). In other words, indeterministic causes explain the goal of our choices (or reason for our choices), but the will is the cause we choose this goal, not that goal. This is essentially agent causation.
Here are some thoughts that I had when I decided to dig deep into John chapter 6:
I recently read Michael Patton’s post on the canon of scripture, Dave Armstrong’s response, and Turretinfan’s debate with Matthew Bellisario on sola scriptura. Before I continue, let me make it clear that I agree with sola scriptura and reject the Catholic explanation of the rule of faith. Further, I think Michael and Turretinfan did a good job overall, and were more convincing than their Catholic opponents. Nevertheless, both Michael Patton and Turretinfan made maneuvers that surprised me, and in my opinion weakened their defense of sola scriptura.
Browsing through my stack of readings this morning I came across a beautiful quote by A.W. Tozer that I would like to keep fresh in my mind for a while. It is taken from his book entitled Man – The Dwelling Place of God, out of chapter 26, “The Wrath of God: What is it”. As with most of Tozer’s books, it is a great read and is presented by a wonderful saint of God:
Let a man question the inspiration of the Scriptures and a curious, even monstrous, inversion takes place: thereafter he judges the Word instead of letting the Word judge him; he determines what the Word should teach instead of permitting it to determine what he should believe; he edits, amends, strikes out, adds at his pleasure; but always he sits above the Word and makes it amenable to him instead of kneeling before God and becoming amenable to the Word …
This question is a bit of a problem for Catholics, because their councils come along over a thousand years after the writing of scripture and require you to believe some things not explicitly taught in…
In a previous post I suggested that when it comes to interpreting non-Calvinistic Church history or representing Arminian or non-Calvinistic theology, many Calvinists cannot be trusted. We find very few academic exceptions (and this can also be admitted of some Arminians or non-Calvinists regarding Calvinism). One such exception, however, is Calvinist Richard A. Muller, who notes that “the theology of Jacob Arminius has been neglected both by his admirers and by his detractors.”1 Though Muller disagrees with Arminius’s theology, he generally understands and mostly accurately represents Arminius (with a few exceptions).
Here are some edited comments, short but sweet, from a member of our private discussion group:
The following quote is by RC Sproul, SR.
“Every sin is an act of cosmic treason, a futile attempt to dethrone God in His sovereign authority.”
No matter how long I’ve been involved in the A vs. C debate, I absolutely cannot reconcile in my mind how God ISN’T the author of sin if Calvinism is true given Calvinism’s doctrine of exhaustive divine determinism.
In turn, this quote by Sproul would be false if Calvinism is true, since our sins would reinforce God’s sovereignty.
In my Evangelism class at The College at Southeastern, composed of both seminary and college students, the professor had the class form groups of four in order for each group to construct a gospel tract, each group having its own leader (chosen by date of birth). The leader of our group was taking advice from the other members and was very open to suggestions. When he declared that we were nearly finished, except for a few statements which needed to be nuanced, I responded, “Wait, but we have yet to inform the person what to do with this information.” He responded, “Well, I’m against anything like ‘pray this prayer after me.'” I agreed and said, “Is that our only option? We must tell the person to trust in Christ.” He was not fond of that idea.
Man’s faith and Freedom is a collection of 5 essays and a sermon presented at the 1960 Arminius Symposium in Holland in 1960. Instead of giving the overall volume mixed reviews, I will review each essay separately.
Dr. Brian Abasciano has done a guest post in the blog of his publisher, T&T Clark/Continuum, introducing his new book on Romans 9:10-18. We have reproduced the post below, which was taken from http://tandtclark.typepad.com/ttc/2011/04/a-guest-post-from-brian-j-abasciano.html :
You probably thought you would never see an article by a Triabloguer (notorious internet Calvinists) posted here at the Society of Evangelical Arminians. But here it is, since it embodies our conviction that Arminians and…
This is the second of a series on the authorship of sin that came about as a result of discussions and observations on this post. Part 1 and the first section of this post address Calvinist claims that Arminians “also make God the author of sin.”
When discussing authorship implying the origination of sin, the argument inevitably arises, “but if sin originates in people, people still originate from God, therefore sin originates from God as well!” Not quite. Beings capable of sin originated from within God, it doesn’t follow that their rebellion itself came from within Him.
[Editor’s note: This post was originally posted at http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/, so any time references are no longer applicable.]
A few weeks ago I wrote on a fallacy common to Calvinist apologetics, namely, that they often claim that while they teach exhaustive determinism, they still claim that God isn’t the author of sin. It garnered substantially more responses than I expected. To clarify things and answer some common questions/objections, I’m putting together a synopsis of the relevant arguments (this is part 1).
“All I have tried to do here is show how clearly, succinctly and simply that Calvinism does NOT charge God with the authorship of sin and so (to employ the somewhat aggressive language of Scripture) to shut the mouths of the gainsayers. If any have a case against Calvinism, then let it be based on truth and not on falsehood and slander.” – Colin Maxwell, Do Calvinists believe and teach that God is the Author of Sin?
Colin Maxwell put up the page linked to above showing various quotes from prominent Calvinist sources indicating that they do not believe or teach that God is the author of sin. His point apparently, judging from the content and page’s title, is to stop non-Calvinists from ‘slandering’ them by claiming they teach such a thing.
Problems with this logic
Distinguished Arminian scholar Ben Witherington III has reviewed Rob Bell’s Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived chapter by chapter in a series of posts at his blog:
Preface and Chapter 1: http://www.patheos.com/community/bibleandculture/2011/03/23/do-not-ask-for-whom-the-bell-tolls-a-chapter-by-chapter-review-of-love-wins/
Chapter 2: http://www.patheos.com/community/bibleandculture/2011/03/24/for-whom-the-bell-tolls-part-two-for-heavens-sake/
Chaper 3: http://www.patheos.com/community/bibleandculture/2011/03/27/for-whom-the-bell-tolls%E2%80%A6%E2%80%A6-chapter-three-bell%E2%80%99s-hell/
Chaper 4: http://www.patheos.com/community/bibleandculture/2011/03/29/%E2%80%98for-whom-the-bell-tolls%E2%80%A6%E2%80%99-chapter-four-does-god-always-get-what-he-wants/
Chaper 5: http://www.patheos.com/community/bibleandculture/2011/03/30/%E2%80%98for-whom-the-bell-tolls%E2%80%A6-%E2%80%99-chapter-five-dying-to-live/
Classical Arminianism is one of the best resources available for those who are interested in Arminian theology. F. Leroy Forlines is a senior theologian from the Free Will Baptist camp and this volume represents Arminian…
We have made a minor change to our statement of faith (http://evangelicalarminians.org/sof), which must be affirmed to join the society and which members must continue to affirm to remain in the society. This change has been made to make the statement clearer and smoother, and to underscore our belief in unlimited atonement, which is nonetheless already addressed elsewhere in the statement.
In article 3 of our statement of faith, we have changed this affirmation about Jesus:
- He lived a sinless life, dying on the cross as a substitute and sacrifice for sinners
to this affirmation:
- He lived a sinless life and died on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for all sinners
All members of the society must agree with the revised statement of faith to remain in the society.
Praise Jesus for dying as a substitute and sacrifice for all sinners! What love and grace!!