Below are some comments I made long ago in my perseverance series against the idea that the writer of Hebrews is addressing his warnings of falling away to those whose faith is not genuine, or describing those with non-genuine faith. My comments are followed by more recent comments by Scot McKnight against O’Brien’s false faith interpretation. The specific language of the warnings and the way the believers are described and addressed simply will not allow for the false faith interpretation. The writer of Hebrews is describing genuine believers who have fallen away from faith and salvation and admonishing those with genuine faith to endure less they too fall way and forfeit salvation.
Monthly Archives For April 2012
“Theology is the study of God and his ways. For all we know, dung beetles may study us and our ways and call it humanology. If so, we would probably be more touched and amused than irritated. One hopes that God feels likewise.”
Pretention and Certainty
“And you think your stuff doesn’t stink.” The adage may sound crass, but the problem it highlights is crass: pretention. There are few things more repulsive than pretention. The teenager who knows it all, the sports fan who has never lost an argument, the theology major who has unlocked all the mysteries of the universe. An hour locked in a room with any of the aforementioned persons is enough to make the strongest heart weak.
The purpose of this post is to define Arminian soteriology. Arminianism in general is the views of James Arminius. Of course, Arminius’ views span more then just salvation. They include the freewill of man, God’s providence, the entrance of sin into the world and foreknowledge. This post is specific to the topic of salvation.
I was going to write a second post on corporate election, but I am postponing it to look at something which Alan Kurschner has recently put out on Dr. James White’s blog. He calls it a primer though it is more like propaganda. A primer for a debate should lay out both positions simply in the way in which the respective parties would approve. SEA has attempted to do just that with our own primer. However, Kurschner has absolutely failed in this regard. Indeed, I would suspect that this is simply supposed to poison the well for anyone new to the debate. So I am going to examine this primer to see how it really holds up to scrutiny:
One of John Wesley’s finest contributions to theology was his understanding of prevenient grace. Broadly speaking, this is the grace that “goes before”—that grace which precedes human action and reflects God’s heart to pursue his…
Roger E. Olson, PhD writes:
“Theodicy”–The attempt to justify the ways of God in the face of the problem of evil.
A friendly correspondent sent me this URL to an article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education:
The article is entitled The Naked Truth by Ron Rosenbaum (author of Explaining Hitler). It states the classical theodicy problem very powerfully–using an obscure line from an obscure Bob Dylan lyric.
In a nutshell, the author’s argument is that, in light of the holocaust, people must give up believing in God.
This question was once posed to Dr. Roger Olson, and I’ve been thinking it over: if I became convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God really did govern the way that Calvinists claim He governs, would I still worship Him? It is an interesting question.
First of all, I want to state that I agree with Olson that if God governs the way in which Calvinists claim He does, then He would be immoral by His own standards. I recognize that Calvinists don’t believe that God is immoral, but they are simply being inconsistent on this point IMO. So my understanding of the question is this: could I worship an immoral God?
The answer is yes and no. It is important to note that worship is not simply giving thanks and showing affection. It is also veneration to a recognized authority. Because God is God, and God is king, He deserves that veneration; that worship.
This is a brief snippet from Dr. Roger Olson’s post: “About judging God’s morality” Recently, an acquaintance asked me if I am guilty of “judging God’s morality.” He explained that his reason for asking is…
I have noticed a new tactic from Calvinists—accusing Arminians of “judging God” (cf. Roger Olson’s post about this from January of 2012). But is that a fair accusation? Can we judge God?
First of all, we have to ask what in the world it means to judge God. Let’s first take it in the broadest sense: Do we have the right to make a judgment about whether God is good or bad? Well, clearly we do, since the Bible declares God to be good, and calls us to recognize His goodness. Declaring God to be good is judging Him; judging Him to be good that is. So clearly we are allowed to do this.
Alright, well perhaps our Calvinist friends mean something different when they say judge. So let us consider the most restrictive/literal sense: a judge presiding over a court of law. However, this doesn’t really make sense either since we can’t really pass a verdict on God. At least we can’t enforce one.
In the book Against Calvinism, Roger Olson asserts that Calvinism damages God’s reputation, and that it (unintentionally) turns God into a moral monster who is hardly distinguishable from the devil. Olson doesn’t argue that Calvinists affirm that God is like the devil. Rather, in his view it is the logical implication of Calvinism. It’s a strong assertion, but I agree. John Wesley did also.
This was written by SEA member Bob Anderson in response to John Piper’s recent post “What Made It OK for God to Kill Women, Children in Old Testament?” He gave us permission to post it…
Ware is a 4 point Calvinist who affirms unlimited atonement. This overview of the issue of the extent of the atonement is useful for its arguments against limited atonement (see the attachment). But beware of…
Or “Say hello to my little friend!”
What I mean by Proof-texting
There are four different ways to interact with Scripture within a discussion:
- Exegesis: Carefully breaking down the meaning of a text through grammar, definitions, and context.
- Quoting: Repeating word for word what a particular passage says.
- Referencing: Just naming the Book, chapter, and verses to which you are referring.
- Inferencing: Integrating Scripture into what you are saying without reference to origin, by summarizing, partial quotation, or other means.
Naturally, we would like to exegete whenever possible. However, anytime in which you quote, reference, or inference Scripture in order to demonstrate the validity of the point which you are arguing, you are in a sense proof-texting.
Some Calvinists suggest that God’s foreknowledge is based on His plan and/or knowledge of causal relations rather then based on the future. I thought I would look up what the church fathers had to say on the subject of God’s foreknowledge and freewill. Here are the results.
Diodore of Tarsus (circa 390)
This text [Romans 8:29-30] does not take away our free will. It uses the word foreknew before predestined. Now it is clear that foreknowledge does not by itself impose any particular behavior. What is said here would be clearer if we started from the end and worked backwards. Whom did God glorify? Those whom he justified. Whom did he predestine? Those whom he foreknew, who were called according to his plan, i.e., who demonstrated that they were worthy to be called by his plan and made conformable to Christ. (Romans (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. New Testament, volume 6. Edited by Thomas Oden. P 235)
In Bavinck’s article on supralapsarian and infralapsarian predestination (link), he disagrees with supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism about 90% of the time, so we get very few glimpses of what he actually believes. I went through the article and pulled out all the positive statements by Bavinck about predestination. I came out with 10 statements. Upon examining the statements, I noted that the majority of them are either in tension with each other or leave a major term undefined.
Statements in tension with each other (i.e. that seem to move in opposite directions – although they don’t formally contradict each other, no reconciliation is provided):
The purpose of this paper is to delineate Arminius’ view on regeneration. The Arminian view on regeneration is frequently been mischaracterized, both by Calvinistic opponents, as well as adherents to his views. His view is often mischaracterized as semi-Pelagian (the view that man initiates salvation, but God completes) and sometimes go as far as to say Arminius denied original sin. Since the goal of this paper is to outline Arminius’ view, and not to defend the doctrines themselves, there will be a large number of quotations from Arminius and only a limited amount of scriptural exegesis.
In celebration of Good Friday and Easter, we felt it best to review a well known text from some young, insightful exegetes.
Calvinists have put out a DVD called “Amazing Grace,” which makes the following charge against Arminianism:
One Calvinist explains: “Arminianism has real implications for the doctrine of Scripture. How can God superintend men’s words so carefully and so precisely so as to ensure an inerrant Scripture, if God is a God who allows absolute freedom, and allows sinners, like the apostle Paul, or sinners like the apostle Peter, to make absolute choices. If the Arminian God is inspiring Scripture, we would expect it to be filled with some mistakes, because that’s the nature of freedom. If on the other hand, we have the sovereign God who exercises His good providence for the purpose of mercy upon His creatures, then we can expect that there are times when He does not allow freedom, in order, for a particular task to be accomplished, thus superintending every single word that the Apostle Peter writes. Though the Apostle Peter, as we know, is prone to sin.” (Amazing Grace DVD)
UK preacher David Pawson now has a website up where all of his teachings can be downloaded for free. If you’re looking for a good source of Arminian audio, this is the jackpot. Site here: DavidPawson.org
Be sure to check out his series about the character of God, under the “Christian Belief” category.
Pawson includes a lot of historical facts in his presentations, which history buffs will enjoy. He comes from a conservative/charismatic/Wesleyan view. He has done expository preaching on almost every book of the Bible.
Interesting fact: Pawson is a direct descendent of John Pawson, who was a friend of John Wesley, and one of the first Methodist preachers.
John Piper and Pietism Posted on April 1, 2012 by Roger E. Olson, PhD Recently John Piper declared himself a pietistic Reformed person. See: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/marchweb-only/john-piper-racism-reconciliation.html?utm_source=ctweekly-html&utm_medium=eNews&utm_term=3050084&utm_content=122851977&utm_campaign=2012 As someone who likes to think of myself as a…