Friday, February 12, 2016

This Week in Calvinism - February 12, 2016

  • Roger Olson is pleased with the revised, enlarged, and re-published edition of William Klein's book about "corporate election," finding it "completely compatible with classical Arminian theology."

  • David Murray on the impact of Calvinism on education.

  • A poem by Calvinist Snoopy.

  • Pastor Danny is a bit confused about what Calvinism teaches, but it's nice to hear a sermon against Calvinism that isn't delivered by some insulting, hot-tempered preacher.

  • Get 50% off R. C. Sproul's booklet series Biblical Answers to Life's Crucial Questions. Offer ends February 16.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

How to provoke your children to anger

As fathers, we don't need any help coming up with ways to make our children angry or resentful. It sort of comes naturally to us. Mark Altrogge offers a pretty inclusive list of what some of those things are. We can provoke our children to anger:
  • By constantly criticizing them and not encouraging them. When they feel they can never please us enough.
  • By having double standards – Do as I say, not as I do. Expecting them to do things we don’t do, e.g. ask forgiveness, humble themselves, etc.
  • By anger and harshness
  • By a lack of affection
  • By telling them what to do or not do without giving Biblical reasons (e.g., Do it because I said to do it, or because it’s just wrong).
  • By being offended at their sin because it bothers us, not because it offends God.
Take a moment to read the rest here. And remember that we fathers are sinners too.

Friday, February 05, 2016

This Week in Calvinism - February 5, 2016

  • "Dear non-Calvinist..."

  • Mitch Bogen discusses Bob Dylan's "beautiful Calvinism."

  • Calvinism as an apologetic.

  • Roger Olson writes, "'Reformed' is a spiritual-theological identity not tied to 'five point Calvinism' and certainly not tied to complementarianism or belief in biblical inerrancy."

  • Richard Mouw reflects on Abraham Kuyper's words regarding the mingling of church and state.

  • The impact of Calvinism on culture.

  • From Christianity Today: "American Christians apparently aren't Calvinists when it comes to football." True. Even though I know the outcome of the game is predetermined, I still cheer like an Arminian.

  • Writes Arminian William Birch:
    Calvinists evoke mental images of an impersonal and analytic God who cares primarily about rescuing numbers -- objects -- instead of caring about and loving helpless sinners in need of His grace and mercy. We are presented with a calculated God who gives people cancer, like John Piper's God (link), and who has decreed that people suffer, while they evoke their myriad passions during the suffering He has brought about, while He shows no passion whatsoever.
    When all else fails, create a straw man.

Friday, January 29, 2016

This Week in Calvinism - January 29, 2016

  • Kelly Martinez describes four ways in which Calvinism differs from Lutheranism. Note to Ms. Martinez: do some research on a topic before writing an article. I think you confused the two in a couple of paragraphs, and the tenets of both are a bit more complex than the descriptions you provide.

  • Calvinist Batman tweets: "Can Jesus be kicked out of the Trinity? If you've been united with Christ, why do you think that God would throw you out of the family?"

  • The Pastor with No Answers welcomes as guests Chris Date from the Rethinking Hell Podcast and Leighton Flowers of Soteriology 101. Makes sense.

  • Jon Bloom of Desiring God discusses how to have intimacy with God.

  • Are you up to a reading challenge? Perhaps you can keep pace with Tim Challies. He has already read 11 books so far this year. Yeah, I'm a bit behind.

Friday, January 22, 2016

This Week in Calvinism - January 22, 2016

  • Isaiah 5:4 turned out to be the stumbling block that caused one forum member to turn away from Calvinism. But if you can prove to him, using Isaiah 5 alone, that this passage does indeed teach determinism, he's willing to reconsider his position. I'm reminded of a quote from Jonathan Swift: "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."

  • Regarding the hardening of Israel spoken of in the book of Deuteronomy, Jay Guin writes:
    In short, for Israel to be hardened, God need only let them be their natural selves. He doesn't have to override their free will and force them to reject him.

    Now, this sound suspiciously like election, except that God never forces anyone to accept him. If we don't really choose God, then our love isn't real. For us to truly love God, we must be free not to love God. And so some of us will inevitably make the foolish choice to reject God.
    There isn't a Calvinist I know who would say that those who have had their heart of stone replaced by a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) don't really choose God.

  • Why do so many evangelicals support Donald Trump? Adele M. Stan puts the blame on "Calvinism's veneration of the rich and damnation of the poor." Trump is a billionaire, so he is obviously one of God's elect. Yeah, that's exactly how Calvinists think.

  • Roger Olson has a bone to pick with John Piper (shocking, right?) regarding that whole "Christian hedonism" thing, namely, the following statement by Piper: "It is unbiblical and arrogant to try to worship God for any other reason than the pleasure that is to be had in him" Dr. Olson concludes:
    I worship and service God because, in the inimitable lyrics of my colleague Terry York he is "worthy of worship, worthy of praise." I do look forward to the joy that comes from worshiping and serving God, but that is no part of my motive.
    Remember, this is the same Roger Olson who once admitted that he would not worship God if it were proven that Calvinism is true, since "[s]uch a God would be a moral monster."

  • Tim Challies discusses eight ways to grow in the fear of God.

Friday, January 15, 2016

This Week in Calvinism - January 15, 2016

  • There can be times when it isn't a good idea to try to convince someone of the doctrines of grace.

  • Calvinism isn't cool.

  • Will Graham writes, "We are brothers and sisters in Christ—whether we be Calvinists or Arminians—so, as we continue preaching the Word of God together, let us love one another, serve one another and glorify our great God and Saviour together with all of our strength."

  • Sanctification is not passive.

  • Why does Satan exist? For Christ's glory and our joy.

  • Tim Challies presents amazing one-star reviews of great books, such as The Holiness of God and the ESV Study Bible.

  • Rich Pierce reviews James White's debate with Leighton Flowers on Romans 9.

Friday, January 08, 2016

This Week in Calvinism - January 8, 2016

Friday, December 18, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - December 12, 2015

  • In an item I had missed last week, The National's Chris Bambery wrote an article comparing Scotland's 17th century Calvinists to modern Islamic terrorists (Daesh/ISIS): "But for all their heroism and sacrifice they were fighting for a land ruled by the Presbyterian elect – with no room for unbelievers. Their dream for Scotland was not so far from Daesh's for its Caliphate."

  • Some of Bambery's readers voiced their frustration with the article.

  • To get in the last word, Bambery responded to their responses:
    Lastly, I am not going to debate theology with my critics but in response I cannot resist quoting a man from Fettercairn, Kincardine, who was threatened with excommunication in 1748.

    He responded: “What care I? The Pope of Rome excommunicates you every year ... and what the waur are ye o' that?”

  • Speaking of comparing Calvinists to terrorists, Andreas Whittam Smith believes the turmoil in the Middle East is no worse than what happened in Europe during the "era of Calvinism."

  • Leighton Flowers thinks he has found a quandary in compatibilism: if God has ordained all things according to his unchangeable decree, then is he not restraining his own unchangeable decree every time he restrains evil?

  • William Birch writes, "If God has decreed sin and evil, from before the world was created, then God is the worse (sic) sinner in the known universe." The only alternative I see is that God was powerless to prevent sin and evil from entering into the world. Which means what? That we have to choose between an evil God or a weak God?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why atheists are so frustrated

If I had to sum up, in a nutshell, why atheists always seem so frustrated, it would be this: Atheists live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance. How else can you describe a person who believes he has no beliefs, and that his denial of truth is true?

Case in point:

Friday, December 11, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - December 11, 2015

  • Regarding 2 Peter 3:9, Jordan Cooper writes, "God's saving will embraces all of his creation. We thus affirm the Calvinistic belief monergism, while simultaneously affirming the Arminian commitment to universal grace."

  • Calvinism obliterated? No, not really. It's the same arguments we've all heard before, but at least he puts a little effort into it.

  • Unlike this KJV-only Baptist preacher. He attempts to refute Calvinism by showing that our doctrine "is a bunch of garbage. It's a bunch of hogwash for a bunch of lazy people that don't want to do anything for God."

  • Tim Challies shares his top books of 2015.

  • James White responds to Steve Hays's accusations regarding Islam. Looking back several years at how Mr. Hays was so gung ho about waging war in the Middle East and torturing Muslims in the name of "national security," I find myself less than sympathetic to his position.

Friday, December 04, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - December 4, 2015

  • A member of a Pentacostal theology group on Facebook asks:
    One problem with both arminianism and Calvinism is that one believes a loving God created man knowing most would burn in the lake of fire and the other believes he chooses people to burn eternally on the lake of fire. BUT what if the torment wasn't eternal? What if the JWs are right on that? What if it is the destruction of the being?
    Or what if the Calvinists are right about compatibilism?

  • Devin Logan of Newsmax lists three ways in which Calvinism has influenced American capitalism: 1) success as an indicator of character, 2) capitalist work ethic, and 3) mass incarceration. I'm surprised he didn't mention burning heretics at the stake.

  • Plunge your mind into the ocean of God's sovereignty.

  • Four steps toward joy in repentance.

  • Quiet time doesn't earn God's grace.

  • In a follow-up comment to his article about confronting the lunatic fringe of evangelicalism, Roger Olson clarifies that he does not "consider Calvinists our evangelical lunatic fringe." Whew! What a relief!

Friday, November 27, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - November 27, 2015

  • Joel Tay thinks we should ease up on cage-stage Calvinists: "The zeal of those who are passionate about the gospel and the sovereignty of God is something to be commended and even encouraged." I have no doubt that some may be truly zealous for the gospel, but what may seem like zeal in many new Calvinists is little more than intellectual bravado. The trick is in knowing the difference.

  • Austin Wartner preaches against Calvinism from John 3:16. Yeah, nothing new here. Same straw man arguments and confusion about what Calvinism actually teaches.

  • Richard Bushey explains how Job answers the central objection to Calvinism.

  • In the latest audio edition of The Berean Call newsletter, T. A. McMahon discusses the enigma of Calvinism in light of the fact that Augustine was a Catholic: "I cannot comprehend how any Bible-believing Christian can possible accept Calvin's view of predestination and God's sovereignty, which he took primarily from the writings of Saint Augustine."

  • Jack Cottrell attempts to refute the Calvinistic interpretation of John 6:65, saying that there is a difference between how Jesus called the 12 disciples and how he calls men to salvation. And, because "we know that Judas defied and frustrated this desire (will) of Jesus," the Calvinistic interpretation can't possibly be correct.

  • Gearing up for Christmas? Here are some new titles from Desiring God.

  • This week's Free Stuff Fridays over at Challies.com is sponsored by CBD Reformed.

Friday, November 20, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - November 20, 2015

  • Why am I always suspicious of those who claim to have "a more balanced view" than Calvinism or Arminianism?

  • "Rev." Celia Hastings believes many people find Calvin's theology "abstract and confusing." She writes:
    Perhaps the Bible's message of sin and salvation is easier to understand in shepherding terms. From this view the prophet Isaiah describes original sin: "All of us, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us goes our own way." A sheep goes its own way to its own peril. When a sheep falls on its back it is helpless to get up on its own. Left alone it will die within hours. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, searches for the fallen ones and restores them – and even gives his life for the sheep. Jesus' self-giving love shows the way to the great unity and peace of original Shalom.
    So, Jesus died on the cross simply to show the way to peace? How about first looking at what Jesus had to say about who his sheep are? John 10:25-29 comes to mind.

  • Steve Sewell goes after Calvinism's "unsound interpretation" of John 6.

  • Let me get this straight. If we don't want to be labeled as liberals, then we must accept that true Calvinism is kinism. I am always saddened when racism rears its ugly head within Calvinist circles. It would be wise to steer clear of any group that says, "We affirm that all men, of every race, ethnicity, and tribe, are created in the image of God. However..."

  • Tim Challies recommends a great way to get to know the book of Romans.

Friday, November 13, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - November 13, 2015

  • Sam Waldron completes his series "21 Misunderstandings of Calvinism."

  • According to Greg Boyd, Calvinism misses the point about salvation:
    The Father "draws" people (or not) in response to their hearts. If a human heart is unwilling, however, it is hardened to God's leading and comes under the influence of Satan.

    God wants all to be saved and is working in every human heart to get each person to accept the Gospel. But people can and do resist God's influence and thwart his will for their lives (see e.g. Lk 7:30). When a heart has been successfully opened, however, God goes further and "draws" that person to Jesus Christ.
    Sounds a lot to me like Boyd is saying man is ultimately in control of his own salvation.

  • Phillip Holmes discusses the mind-blowing grace of God.

  • Andrew, of Beyond Calvinism, attempts to dismantle the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9.

  • Arminian William Birch sees a waning of Calvinism, which has historically seen periods of ebb and flow: "Arminianism, on the other hand, is not burdened with popularity and decline. Arminian theology, the theology of the early Church fathers, carries a perpetual flow, constantly, invariably present within the Church."

  • On a "Radio Free Geneva" episode of The Dividing Line, James White responds to a sermon by Pastor Ronnie W. Rogers at Truett-McConnell College. Rogers's points are fleshed out in more detail here and here.

  • Todd Still, dean of Baylor University's Truett Theological Seminary, doesn't want to see Calvinism dividing Baptist churches.
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