Recent Articles

Monergism, Synergism, and Arminianism

, posted by bossmanham

It is often charged by Calvinists that Arminians believe that man must work with God to procure their salvation. Man must make a move toward God and then God will make a move toward them. It is often described as God meeting man half way. Is this what is taught by Arminians? Did Jacobus Arminius believe this way?

The answer is no. Arminians believe the work of salvation is started and completed by God. The Bible says in order for man to come to God, He must draw them to Himself (John 6:44). Arminians believe the initial work of salvation is done by God. God must do this, because due to the effects of sin, man’s will toward faith in Christ has been lost and destroyed. God must free the person’s will in order for them to make a conscious decision whether to accept His gift of grace or not.

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Arminius (and Arminians) on Monergism vs. Synergism

, posted by WilliamBirch

Arminius’s comments are presented here in the first person, as though he were addressing you personally.

On the issue of Free Will, Grace, and Synergism, let me ask, “What liberty does the will have in a sinful state?” I distinguished between five kinds of liberty as applied to the will: freedom from control of one who commands, freedom from the government of a superior, freedom from necessity, freedom from sin and its dominion, and freedom from misery. The first two apply only to God; the last, to man, but only before the fall. As for freedom from necessity, it is the very essence of the will. Without it, the will would not be the will.

Let this be distinguished from Pelagianism. I say that the will which is free from necessity may not be free from sin. That is the point in question. Is there within man a freedom of will from sin and its dominion, and how far does it extend? Or rather, what are the powers of the whole man to understand, to will, and to do that which is good? The question must be further restricted to spiritual good. The question, then, is briefly: What is the power of free will in fallen man to perform spiritual good?

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Ephesians 1:17; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

…that the God of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation on the knowledge of Him…

This verse is a verse about the Father, and, I believe, describes the relationship He has to both the Son and the Spirit. What is more important here is that the context of this passage is prayer for the Ephesians.

In the last couple of verses, Paul said that he has been praying for the Ephesians constantly. Here, he says what he is praying. He does not pray for wealth, prestige, or more numbers. Instead, he prays that they have wisdom and understanding.

I think this is a very good pastoral lesson. Often pastors are motivated by the wrong goals. They try and teach the congregation how to live more comfortably, or what are the right doctrines to have, etc… Instead, Paul’s pastoral heart calls for them to be like Solomon: wise in the ways of God.

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Friday Files: Benson on John 6

, posted by Godismyjudge

Benson’s comments on the ‘giving’ and ‘drawing’ in John 6 (Volume 4 pages 563-565) are reasonably simple. First, Benson notes the passage teaches man’s depravity; no man can believe in Christ to the saving of his soul, unless God give him power. The Father draws men to Christ by the several proofs wherewith he has supported his mission, by the doctrine of his gospel, and by those influences of his grace, which are necessary to give men a right discernment of the evidences of religion, and of the certainly and importance of the great truths of it, and to impress these things deeply on their minds. This drawing is powerful but not irresistible as can be seen in Jeremiah 31:3 “With loving kindness have drawn thee”, John 12:32 “If l be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me”, and Hosea 11:4, God “drew Israel with the cords of a man, with bands of love”.

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The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

By J.C. Thibodaux

Related Fallacies:
Oversimplification
Strawman
False Dilemma

One of the most telling signs of the fallacious nature of Calvinist apologetics in general is its heavy reliance upon caricatures and misrepresentation of the beliefs of other Christians. There are few things more frustrating than trying to explain a concept to someone who simply takes one aspect of what is being said, and runs with it in a half-baked attempt to disprove it, heedless of any details or qualifications, yet this very tactic is something of a staple among Calvinism’s more vocal proponents.

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The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

Related Fallacies:
Begging the Question
Special Pleading [given that God has power of contrary choice]
False Dichotomy

If all men are neutral in prevenient grace was it by chance that one believed and not another? – [A Prayer That a Synergist Won’t Pray (An Open Challenge to All Synergists) – yet another winner by John Hendryx]

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The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

Related Fallacies:
Strawman
“Bait and Switch”

“Why are you a Christian and your friends aren’t? … Is it because you are smarter than your friend?” (The Pelagian Captivity of the Church, R.C. Sproul)

…I believe it can be demonstrated with finality that prevenient grace merely begs the question and that under such influences the final decision to believe the gospel still does come from a persons’ “natural capacity” and innate “moral ability”. (typical mischaracterization from John Hendryx)

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Interesting Links – 8/16/09

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Calvin Leaves a Divided Legacy in South Africa. “Now, as Protestants worldwide mark the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth, South Africans are remembering how the followers of the Protestant reformer were counted among the most strident supporters of apartheid, and eventually also among its most vociferous opponents.”

Christianity Today has an interesting article about mega church seminaries. It mentions Mars Hill Seattle (Driscoll), Bethlehem Baptist (Piper) and Saddlback (Warren).

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Ephesians 1:15-16; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

Because of this, and because I heard about your faith in Lord Jesus and about your love toward all the saints, I’ve not stopped praying for you, recalling you to mind in my prayers.

The thrust of this passage is about prayer. At first it hits us as a bit of a surprise. This first section in Ephesians is so full of high theology that one hardly expects the sudden intrusion of something practical. But I think this points out an important feature of Christianity.

Many times Christianity is described as a reflective faith. We have a deep history of serious theological and philosophical reflection. However, as much of American evangelicalism has aptly demonstrated, it can also be a very practical faith, and can exist and act separately from high level theology.

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Friday Files: Benson on Acts 13:48

, posted by Godismyjudge

Joseph Benson makes several key points in his commentaries on Acts 13:48 page 772. He argues that the Calvinist translation of tasso entails reprobation and impugns the God’s character. He argues that the Calvinist view breaks down the parallel of the rejection in verse 46 with the acceptance in verse 48. He notes that tasso is never understood as predestination and is frequently dispose, place, or appoint.

Benson then makes a vital point: “the Syriac, likewise, one of the most ancient versions of the New Testament, has rendered the passage in the same sense, which is of great moment, as that translation was made before the meaning of this place was disputed by the different sects and parties of Christians.” Benson then he shows that a wide array of scholars translate tasso as ‘disposed’ rather than ‘ordained’ including: Doddridge, Hammond, Heylin, Waterland, Whitby, Dodd and Sellon.

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The Fallacies of Calvinist Apologetics

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

Related Fallacies: Begging the question

Calvinists often pose questions along the lines of, “If 2 people are given the same grace, why does one receive it and another reject it?” This question was popularized on the internet by John Hendryx at monergism.com, who in one rendition of this particular fallacy states: “If prevenient grace places us in a neutral state, then what motivates one man to believe and not another? … What principle in him made him choose what he did?” [A Prayer That a Synergist Won’t Pray (An Open Challenge to All Synergists), John Hendryx]

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The Failure of God?

, posted by SEA

The following post is comprised of comments submitted to our website by sirhemlock@yahoo.com, slightly revised with the author’s permission. Insofar as such infamous “failed God” arguments clearly assume the doctrine of irresistible grace (grace=force/deterministic salvation)…

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Ephesians 1:13-14; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

In whom you also have heard the word of truth: the gospel of your salvation by which, having believed, you were sealed by the promised Holy Spirit who is the down payment of our allotment, toward the portion’s redemption, to the praise of His glory.

Interpretation

It is important to note how this passage relates to what proceeds it. The switch from speaking in the first person plural (‘we’) to the second person plural here (‘you’) emphasizes that before this point Paul was not talking about the Ephesians. Thus, all of the glorious inheritance that was being talked about before this only belonged to Paul and some group that he is a member of. Based on the rest of the context, this can be shown to be the Jews.

As such, what Paul has essentially been saying is that God as given the Jews this glorious inheritance. However, in this passage he adds that now we (i.e. the Gentiles) have now been added to this inheritance because we heard the gospel, and believed it.

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Friday Files: Whitby on Acts 13:48

, posted by Godismyjudge

Dr. Whitby discusses Acts 13:48 in his Discorses on the 5 Points, page 70. First, he gives three problems with the Calvinist translation and then provides multiple examples of how tasso ‘ordained’ is often translated ‘disposed’.

Election entails reprobation and so what necessity could there be, ‘that the word of God should be first preached to them as we read, verse 46. Was it only that their damnation might be greater? This impugns God’s character.

The Apostle gives this reason why he turned from the Jews to the Gentiles,—because ‘the Jews had thrust away the word of God from them, and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life; (verse 46,) but that’s not a good reason to turn from the Jews to the Gentiles, since the Jews were just rejecting because they had to.

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Roger Olson Hits A Triple Out Of The Park

, posted by A.M. Mallett

I have come to appreciate Dr. Olson’s perspectives on Arminian apologetics over the past few years. The Society of Evangelical Arminians recently posted a well written commentary by Olson considering Scot McKnight’s recent blog posts taking the “Neo-Reformed” theological sects to task. There is a growing albeit relatively small sect prospering in some internet circles and among a handful of well known Calvinist ministries that has become somewhat militant in their sectarian zeal. Castigating non-Calvinists as being on the very edge of orthodoxy if not implying having been cast over the precipice, these zealous defenders of their mostly rejected dogma appear to have staked a claim of exclusiveness with regard to scriptural and Christian truth. These souls are encountered regularly on the various discussion boards and Calvinist blogs promoting an almost vitriolic assault on a broad expanse of Christian evangelicalism.

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Hyper-Calvinism: The Logical Conclusion of Regular Calvinism?

, posted by SEA

Calvinist Phil Johnson has said, “History teaches us that hyper-Calvinism is as much a threat to true Calvinism as Arminianism is. Virtually every revival of true Calvinism since the Puritan era has been hijacked, crippled, or ultimately killed by hyper-Calvinist influences” (http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm).

Might this be because hyper-Calvinism is the logical conclusion to the distinctive doctrines of Calvinism? Perhaps regular Calvinism simply refuses to go where its own doctrine logically leads because where it leads contradicts the Bible so blatantly.

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A.W. Tozer on the Sovereignty of God

, posted by Kevin Jackson

Here is a great quote by A.W. Tozer on the sovereignty of God:

“God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, “What doest thou?” Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.”

A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, chapter 22 “The Sovereignty of God”

Book can be found online here:
http://www.geocities.com/johncw7000/tozerknowledgeoftheholy.html

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