“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9 NKJV). Does God love those whom He has allegedly, according to Calvinism, not unconditionally elected unto faith and salvation? Fritz Guy writes: “If the preeminent characteristic of God is love, and if God is the source of all reality, there can be little doubt about the universal scope of God’s love. It is unthinkable that the divine love is restricted to a fortunate part of creation and that another (perhaps even larger) part is excluded [merely by a decree].”1
Monthly Archives For July 2011
After posting my exegesis of Romans 9, I deemed a follow-up series of posts necessary to show why the observations made therein are relevant to the debate on the conditionality of election. Interestingly, I’ve had…
Reputable Arminian Steve Witzki has contributed substantially to the Wikipedia article on “Conditional Preservation of the Saints,” which basically amounts to preservation and security in salvation by faith in harmony with so much of the Christian life. We are chosen by faith, justified by faith, regenerated by faith, saved by faith, sanctified by faith, and persevere by faith. Steve has helped to make the Wikipedia article an excellent source of information about this biblical doctrine.
This morning I slept in. It was delightful. Unfortunately while I was sleeping in, our dog Largo was following his nature. He needed to be let outside so that he could take care of business. But no one let him out. So, he went into the corner of the basement and…well you can probably guess what he did.
So, the question arises, whose fault is it that Largo made a mess in the corner? Was it his fault? Or was it my fault? The compatibilist and libertarian answer this question differently.
The compatibilist says that free will lies in following one’s nature, thus it was Largo’s fault. Largo has been commanded to do his business outside. Largo broke the command, and “chose” to relieve himself in the basement instead.
I’ve written plenty on this topic before, this is what I consider the strongest argument against inevitable perseverance/eternal security in a nutshell:
The primary purpose of a warning is to provide incentive to avoid its consequences.
A warning that can’t provide such incentive is effectively nullified in its purpose as a warning.
A warning can’t provide such incentive to a person who believes its consequences to be unrealistic.
A warning is therefore effectively nullified with regards to a person who believes its consequences to be unrealistic.
With that in mind,
The Bible sincerely warns believers against falling away from the faith and perishing.
Original post. Related Fallacies: Conflation Hasty Generalization Oversimplification Tim Prussic attempts to salvage his hopeless case after I pointed out his fallacious reasoning concerning God’s aseity. Tim makes a tenuous appeal to divine simplicity; in…
Romans 9 is one of the most controversial and often-misinterpreted passages of scripture among evangelicals. Controversy, however, should not make us timid when it comes to the things of God. This inspired chapter is valuable for teaching doctrine, and should not be ignored or glossed over. At the same time, it should not be treated as a comprehensive statement of Christian soteriology by itself, for the chapter is not written in isolation, but is strongly rooted in the context of both Testaments, touching on concepts present in the other Pauline epistles and the gospels, and quoting from the Old Testament frequently. The goal of this writing is a sound, objective exegesis of Romans 9 to explain the principles therein, expound upon its themes, and to show where and how its teachings fit into the contexts of the rest of the book of Romans, and scripture as a whole. All quotes are from the NKJV unless otherwise specified.
Original post. Related fallacies: Non Sequitur Equivocation Special Pleading One apparent ramification of holding to both libertarian free will and God’s omniscience is that God (apparently) derives His knowledge of our choices from us, since…
Am I recommending some comments by staunch Calvinist John Piper? Yes indeed. I disagree vehemently with him about Calvinism and Arminianism, but count him as a brother in Christ, an erudite Christian scholar, and a…
or: The 5-Pointer’s Impossibility of a Sincere Gospel Offer to All Men
The SharperIron website (SI) recently contacted SEA regarding presenting Arminianism to the SI community. The motivation for this request is quite valid and a point not often made – many people oppose Calvinism without providing a formed view of their own thoughts on salvation. Below is a response (written by Dan Chapa of SEA) which is also posted on SI with the intent of generating discussion. (link )
Phil Johnson of John MacArthur’s Grace to You has authored a post entitled “The Problem for Arminians”. Quoting Phil:
If God knows every detail of the future with infallible certainty, then (by definition) the outcome of all things is already determined. And if things are predetermined but God did not ordain whatsoever comes to pass, then you have two choices:
1. A higher sovereignty belongs to some being (or beings) other than God. That is idolatry.
2. Some impersonal force did the determining. That is fatalism.
“[Arminianism] denies sola fide (faith alone) by changing the character of faith so that it is basically a work.” (Rev. Richard Phillips [Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals], Is Arminianism a Biblical View or Is it Heresy?)
“Nay, the doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works, lifted up; for he always thinks faith is a work of the creature and a condition of his acceptance. It is as false to say that man is saved by faith as a work, as that he is saved by the deeds of the law” (Spurgeon, C.H., “Effects of Sound Doctrine”)
A charge typically leveled by Calvinists is that Christians who don’t believe in irresistible grace would have some reason to boast in their faith. John Hendryx concisely expresses this fallacious line of reasoning:
The question we need to be asking ourselves is, “what makes us to differ from other men who do not believe?” … the grace of God in Christ or the will of man? If we say “the will of man” it is a boast and therefore not the kind of faith that is contrasted with works in the Bible. (Hendryx, J., ‘Can Faith Ever Be Considered a Work?’)
Continuing with the series on Romans 9, we’ll now address the issue of God’s prerogative in saving who He wishes and how Calvinists often misinterpret its implications.
God’s Prerogative Reaffirmed
When speaking to zealous Calvinists, especially those who are very young and/or “educated” by internet echo chambers, the strawmen abound. It’s not uncommon to hear nonsense like,
“Arminians believe that man uses faith to save himself!”
“Free will means that God HAS to save someone who chooses to have faith!”
“The poor Arminian god can’t save people because he’s not sovereign enough to make them believe!”
4 point Arminian and SEA member Dr. Phil Fernandes debated Calvinist Chris Comis on the topic of whether 5 point Calvinism is biblical on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011, at Grace Community Church in Auburn, WA. The video for the debate in 4 parts, links to the debate audio in 5 parts, and bios of Dr. Fernandes and Mr. Comis are listed below.
In the West we take for granted our freedom of religion. In a context where the State has a measure of government into the affairs of the Church, an individual is not permitted to spout off any notion he or she desires. This ecclesiological method is meant to protect the Church from heretics and schismatics. But during Arminius’s time, the Church and State had not yet settled its alleged orthodoxy with regard to the doctrines of election and predestination. Arminius scholar Carl Bangs examines in this brief post the questions of Church and State associated with the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the teachings of Jacob Arminius. Bangs writes the following.
Difficult as it may be to fathom, aiming to attribute all things to the glory and honor of God through Jesus Christ has the potential to lead a person to dishonor Him. For example, should someone declare to murder another human being for the glory and honor of God, such would actually bring Him shame and dishonor, for God commands: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Gen. 9:6 NKJV). Therefore, if anyone claims that he or she commits an evil for the glory of God through Jesus Christ, then we know that person is not speaking according to the truth of God’s Word.