Monthly Archives For May 2011

The Validity and Urgency of the Altar Call

, posted by arminianbaptist

In recent years, many Calvinists have severely critiqued the altar call, claiming that it is an Arminian innovation designed to manipulate people into making a faith commitment. While many an altar call may indeed be characterized as manipulative and fleshly, there is such a thing as a Spiritual altar call, and it is an appropriate part of Christian worship, arising not out of a misguided Arminianism, but out of biblical urgencies.

The altar call is a natural progression of the sermon. Whether the sermon is evangelistic or meant to challenge believers, the sermon is designed to move individuals toward change in their lives. There should be at least a little movement toward Christ-likeness in every listening-believer’s life, and if the Spirit is calling individuals to make a significant decision, there should be an opportunity for people to make their decisions public. The altar call, then, is an opportunity for people to give public testimony, and this is right and good.

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Arminianism, Calvinism, Open Theism & Universalism

, posted by neborg

Here are some thoughts of SEA members on the relationship between
Arminianism, Calvinism, Open Theism, and Universalism. Sometimes
Calvinists accuse Arminianism of being the stepping stone to Open
Theism or Universalism, but is this accusation really founded?

It is true that there is a relationship between the different groups,
but in some ways, it is actually Calvinism that is closer to Open
Theism and Universalism.

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Atonement – Under Attack

, posted by wrachele

[Editor’s note: This review is of the book, Gabriel N. E. Fluhrer (ed.), Atonement (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 2010).]

This slim collection of essays is rooted in the proposition that the doctrine of atonement is under attack. While I agree that there are a number of views about the nature of atonement and what it accomplished, I dispute the idea that the doctrine itself is under attack. Given the publisher (P & R Publishing) and the group who assembled the project, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, I believe the perceived challenge is to the application of the the Penal Substitution theory. It is not clear as to why this distinction isn’t made clear other than the possible notion that any other theory is so far outside of the range of discussion that it can simply be dismissed.

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Calvinism and Harold Camping

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Harold Camping, the fellow who’s teaching that the world will end on May 21, 20011, comes from a staunchly Calvinist background. This, of course, doesn’t prove that Calvinism is wrong, only that one of its adherents is loopy. I’m just glad he’s not a loopy Arminian.

In the pamphlet, “God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan” (1), Camping lays out a detailed systematic argument for the TULIP. Some quotes:

“…It is totally God’s sovereign grace that He saves one and leaves another under His just wrath.”

“As a matter of fact, He [Jesus] did die only for those who were elected of God.”

“Who then can be saved? All of God’s elect will, without fail, be saved.”

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Is It Biblical To Say That God Foreordains Sin?

, posted by Matthew Murphy

Calvinism teaches that: “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeable ordain whatsoever comes to pass.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 3:1) It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if all things whatsoever are foreordained by God, then God foreordains sin. The idea that God foreordains sin should be abhorrent to Christians, yet it is simply the logical conclusion of Calvinism. Not only is it the logical conclusion of the Calvinistic system, but Calvinists themselves freely declare that God foreordains sin:

“God moves the tongues of men to blaspheme.” (Franciscus Gomarus, as quoted in Laurence Vance, The Other Side of Calvinism, p.254)

“Sin is one of the ‘whatsoevers’ that have ‘come to pass’, all of which are ‘ordained’.” (W.G.T. Shedd, Calvinism: Pure and Mixed)

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Wesley on Acts 13:48

, posted by Godismyjudge

At first, I wasn’t a big fan of Wesley’s interpretation of Acts 13:48, but lately I have come to admire it’s simplicity. Wesley doesn’t get into technical debates about passive vs. middle voice, disputes about translating tasso as ordain vs. dispose or discussions about reflexive meanings with and without the reflexive pronoun. He is just straight and to the point. Here’s the passage and Wesley’s comments:

———————–

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An Examination of James White

, posted by Kevin Jackson

In the book The Potters Freedom, Calvinist James White sets forth a parable called “The King and the Castle.” The purpose of the parable is to explain why (in White’s view) the concept of “Limited Atonement” does not impugn the character of God. White contrasts his story with one written by non-Calvinist Norm Geisler. A summary of Geisler’s parable can be found here: The Farmer, the Boys, and the Pond.

Here is a paraphrase of “The King and the Castle”:

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Augustine on Falling from Grace

, posted by Godismyjudge

The fifth point of Calvinism is Perseverance of the Saints. The Westminster Confession defines Perseverance of the Saints as:

They, whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. (link)

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Chrysostom on the ‘drawing’ and ‘giving’ in John 6

, posted by Godismyjudge

Chrysostom makes a great point. John 6:45 really helps explain John 6:37 and 44. God teaches and we learn, if we choose to, but some choose not to learn. Those that learn from the Father are the Father’s. (John 17:6) The Father gives those that learn to the Son. Here are the passages and Chrysostom’s comments [emphasis mine]:

John 6:37
All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.

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