Monthly Archives For November 2011

Michael Brown: Calvinism Or Arminianism?

, posted by SEA

Dr. Michael Brown, a former Calvinists turned Arminian and member of SEA, presents both sides of the debate between Arminianism and Calvinism in 4 sessions. The goal is for his church to better understand the leading points and opposing points of view to prepare them for conversations concerning this issue. It has a tendency to be a divisive topic. But Dr. Brown presents both in such as way as to equally impress and convince.

Dr. Brown’s presentation may be accessed in 4 You Tube videos (though there is no live video) or 4 audio files.

An outline of the sessions may be found below with the appropriate link for each session provided with its description.

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Book Review: Providence and the Problem of Evil by Richard Swinburne

, posted by SEA

Please follow the link to view J.W. Wartick’s review of Richard Swinburne’s Providence and the Problem of Evil at the “Apologetics 315″ website: http://www.apologetics315.com/2011/11/book-review-providence-and-problem-of.html.

Please note that the comments on the review reveal that the author mistakenly stated that Swinburne rejects the doctrine of original sin, when he actually rejects the doctrine of original guilt. SEA affirms the doctrine of original sin, and allows for differences on the issue of original guilt. For information about Arminian thinking on original sin, see Roger Olson’s post here on SEA entitled, “Arminian Teaching Regarding Original Sin” (http://evangelicalarminians.org/olson.Arminian-Teaching-Regarding-Original-Sin). It is also worth noting that Swinburne is an open theist, a position rejected by SEA.

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Euphemism and Dysphemism

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “Poisoning the Well while Sweetening the Pot”

What I Mean By Euphemism and Dysphemism

Both euphemism and dysphemism are replacing words in order to make a point. With euphemism, you replace a word with another to make an idea sound better (often to be less offensive). With dysphemism, you replace a word with another to make an idea sound worse.

A great example of a rhetorical use of euphemism is the titles “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” Using the prefix “pro” makes both of them sound like they are for something, instead of being against something. Additionally, it makes opposing the position sound bad (who wants to be against choice, or life?). Therefore, naming your position can make your position sound better, while making the other position sound worse.

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Living Out Thanksgiving

, posted by WilliamBirch

We in America tend to focus heavily on being grateful during this season. While being gracious, thankful and grateful is a nice social virtue, as Christians we are called to live out our lives daily being thankful. In our relationships with other followers of Christ, we are to speak to one another “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with [our] heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19 NASB). The manner in which we are to carry this out is continually “giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph. 5:20 NASB).

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Sovereignty, not Determinism

, posted by WilliamBirch

Arminians have a high view of God’s sovereignty, contrary to the caricatures and lies spread of us to the contrary. As a matter of fact, we think Arminians hold to a higher view of God’s sovereignty than do Calvinists, as I was reminded recently from my Arminian brother Johnathan Pritchett. The reason our view is considered “higher” is due to the following. For an omnipotent God, strictly controlling all people is easy and effortless. Like moving chess pieces on a chessboard, the movements are swift and carefree. The pieces move wherever the overseer places them without the slightest challenge whatsoever.

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Idealistic Abstractions

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “Plato: Imagination Taking Shape”*

What I Mean by Idealistic Abstractions

To be abstract means to be “thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances.” To put it more simply (at least for our purposes), something which is abstract is something which is not defined by our five senses. For instance, love, peace, faith, grace, sovereignty, etc. As we can see from the examples, abstraction is quite important for Christianity. Indeed, it is quite important for life, since most subjects deal with abstractions, including science, politics, and even sports.

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My Cat Illustrates the Difference Between Arminianism and Calvinism

, posted by Kevin Jackson

[Humor]

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say. Instead of writing a 2,000 word post on the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism, I have posted two pictures of my cat.

The difference between Arminianism and Calvinism is this: Arminians believe that grace is resistible. Calvinists believe that grace is irresistible.

First, let’s look at the Calvinistic concept of irresistible grace. Those to whom God gives grace will certainly receive it. God’s grace is provided in a way that it is not coercive, because God works in the hearts and minds of the elect in such a way that they freely want to receive what He provides. Below my cat illustrates what this looks like:


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Imago Dei

, posted by Martin Glynn

The concept of being created in the image of God is at the center point of many Christian anthropological positions (anthropology is the study of humanity: what makes humans human). My pastor often says that you should never create a doctrine around a single verse. This is an excellent rule of thumb, and I highly recommend it. But, ironically, when we are talking about being made in the image of God, we have to deal with the fact that this term is actually only used in one passage of all of Scripture: Genesis 1:26-30 (though referenced elsewhere). However, this is a rather important verse. It is specifically the creation of man, and as such gives us what I think is a legitimate exception to the general rule.

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J.I. Packer and Arminianism

, posted by SEA

by Roger Olson

Today I received an e-mail from a reader who asked why I didn’t mention J. I. Packer in either Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities or Against Calvinism. That’s a good question. I didn’t, so now I will.

To the best of my knowledge, the only lengthy, detailed treatment of Arminianism in print by Packer was his Introduction to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ in A Quest for Godliness. It may be found at this web address. There Packer, a Calvinist, completely misrepresents Arminianism. It’s truly shocking how distorted his understanding of Arminianism was then. I don’t know if it’s improved since then or not.

For example, there he wrote that:

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SEA Member Nelson Banuchi Responds To Michael C. Patton On Dr. Olson

, posted by Martin Glynn

Calvinist Michael Patton recently wrote an article in reaction to some of Roger Olson’s rhetoric against Calvinism. Olson has stated: “The God of Calvinism scares me; I’m not sure how to distinguish him from the devil.” Despite the fact the Olson specifically states else where that he believes that Calvinism is Christian, and despite the subjective caveats that Olson places even within that sentence, Patton and others have reacted very strongly what they believe is an Arminian claiming that Calvinists worship another god. Instead of submitting to my impulse to say, “welcome to our world”, I instead wish to highlight a comment that one of our members, Nelson Banuchi, posted on Patton’s blog:

“I can understand Patton’s concern, however, I think he is blowing it up a bit.

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The Implication of the Calvinistic Hermeneutic of Total Depravity

, posted by WilliamBirch

The acronym TULIP1, in my opinion, works well as a system and should be taken as a whole and not in parts. If one accepts the doctrine of Unconditional Election — which is a product of the Calvinist’s view of Total Depravity and Total Inability — then I see no reason for rejecting either the doctrines Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, or of course Perseverance of the Saints. I think the only consistent form of Calvinism is Supralapsarian TULIP Calvinism, and any deviation from such is inconsistent. For the sake of space, I do not care to explain my reasons why; I just want to make those statements and carry on to the main point of the post.

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