- Kevin Gutzman of The American Conservative reviews the book Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic. Author Mark David Hall says, "I am not arguing that Calvinism was the only influence on Sherman and his colleagues, simply that it was a very important influence that needs to be taken more seriously if we are to appreciate the political theory and actions of many of America's founders."
- According to Greg Horton of the Kansas City Star, "One aspect of Calvinism that makes traditional Baptists deeply uncomfortable is the doctrine of 'predestination,' the idea that Jesus died on the cross only for humans whom God had elected to save, not for everyone."
- "That idea," writes the Associated Press, "does not sit well with many non-Calvinist Baptists, who believe Jesus died for the whole world."
- By the way, the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Houston on June 11 and 12.
- Thomas Hill shares some of the highlights from the convention.
- Wade Burleson, in a post entitled "How to Kiss Calvinism Goodbye: The Gracious Way to Depart from the Doctrine of God's Distinguishing Love," writes, "To rightly believe in God's sovereignty and God's unconditional love you must either be a Calvinist or a universalist."
- Roger Olson takes issue with the implication "that universal salvation is the only alternative to Calvinism."
- An inspiring free will poster from Eddie Eddings.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Jon Bloom of Desiring God discusses a problem I believe most of us suffer from more often than we like to admit:
Spiritual sluggishness is not to be tolerated; it's to be fought. It's potentially a faith-race abortifacient (Hebrews 3:19). It's a weight that needs to be laid aside (Hebrews 12:2). So how do you do that?Read the full article here.
Spiritual sluggishness is common to man (1 Corinthians 10:13). We all experience it. In the slog of our long faith-race and the adversity we encounter from the world, our flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:2–3), there are times the reward gets obscured by confusion and discouragements.
- Identify the doubt. Sluggishness has a cause. What is sapping your faith?
- Repent. Unbelief is a sin. Seek to actively turn from it.
- Target that unbelief with biblical truth. Stop whatever else you may be doing for devotional reading and focus on and pray through texts that deal directly with this issue. Lay aside your other book reading and read things that address this doubt.
- Don't go it alone. Humble yourself and share your struggle with trusted counselors God has given you. Our great Coach often speaks through assistant coaches (Hebrews 3:13).
Though we may not want them, these are when we most need our Coach's exhortations. They may sting, they may humble us, but they are laced with mercy because they help clear our muddled minds, shake off the lethargy, and run again with endurance.
Friday, June 07, 2013
- Adam Harwood lists five reasons why he's thankful for the SBC Calvinism committee's report.
- It seems the report is receiving pretty good reviews all-around.
- Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard believes the root of all conflict at the school is Calvinism.
- There are Calvinist Baptists, so why are there no Lutheran Baptists?
- No, really, why not?
- Calvinism aside, fewer Americans believe that religion is influential on daily American lives.
- Roger Olson has some ideas for a children's book after hearing of the recent publication of Help, Mom! There are Arminians Under My Bed!
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Sunday, June 02, 2013
Saturday, June 01, 2013
Friday, May 31, 2013
- An old straw man presented as a "new argument" against Calvinism.
- Battle lines are being drawn in the Sovereign Grace Ministries controversy.
- Remember the Calvinism Advisory Committee set up by the SBC? It has finally released its statement on the issue, entitled "Truth, Trust, and Testimony in a Time of Tension." So I guess that means the issue is settled once and for all.
- Denny Burk writes, "This is a good statement, one that I hope that Southern Baptists will unify around." Also endorsing the statement are notable Calvinists like Mark Dever, Tom Ascol, and Al Mohler.
- Peter Lumpkins, in a rare display of disciplined restraint, says, "I do not want to comment on the report itself before carefully reading it first." I'm sure we're all waiting with bated breath for his well-reasoned response.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Also interviewed was theologian and author Christian George, the Jewell and Joe L. Huitt Assistant Professor of Religious Education at Oklahoma Baptist University. It was while he was studying in London a few years ago that George discovered 11 journals kept by the Prince of Preachers during the early years of his ministry. The journals contain unpublished sermons and various drawings of birds, showing Spurgeon's artistic side:
Professor George is currently transcribing Spurgeon's journals for publication.
Friday, May 24, 2013
- Bob Burnett, in a typical liberal rant about how those who support people keeping more of their own money are not real Christians, writes:
During the eighties American Calvinism morphed into a conservative political ideology with the formation of the Christian Right. James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, and others preached on political subjects and touted conservative "Christian" candidates.Of all the names one could associate with Calvinism, these are the ones he chooses? Maybe I need to brush up on my history.
- Blogger Ritzhaus also confuses Calvinists with Republicans:
I just liked The Christian Left on facebook recently and have enjoyed their perspective. Today, they reposted a blog from Frank Schaffer about how Calvinism and the right wing Republicans have combined and really no longer follow Christ. This trend in American Evangelicalism took over my old church and is a faith killer.I'm beginning to feel insulted that I'm automatically perceived as a Republican just because I'm a Calvinist.
- I would agree that Romans 9 "isn't about Calvinism." In fact, I'd be willing to bet that Paul had never even heard of John Calvin.
- If the theme of the Bible is "God's gracious plan to redeem needy sinners," then it makes sense why we see his mercy in so many messed-up families in scripture.
- Rachel Held Evans is upset over John Piper's "abusive" theology. Following the Oklahoma tornadoes, Piper posted on Twitter:
"Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead." Job 1:19Apparently, people expect that when you quote a verse from scripture you are obligated to include an in-depth explanation in the same tweet. Sorry, but Twitter's 140-character limit kind of hinders one from doing that. That's why Piper followed that up with another:
"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped." Job 1:20God is worthy of worship even in the midst of tragedy. Yeah, that's abusive, all right.
- Adam Ericksen takes it a step further, calling Piper's theology "satanic." He writes:
John Piper calls himself a Christian, but I don't think he knows Jesus. Whenever Jesus talks about natural disasters they are just that, natural disasters. He never blames anyone for them; instead he points to them as an opportunity to show God's love. Jesus was once asked, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" He responded, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned." Then the power of God worked through Jesus to stop the accusations and heal the man.Come on, Adam. If you're going to quote John 9:3, can't you at least read the rest of the verse? It says, "...but that the works of God might be displayed in him." The man's blindness served a purpose. What was the purpose? That the works of God might be displayed.
- John Piper explains the essence of those now-infamous tweets:
When tragedy strikes my life, I find it stabilizing and hope-giving to see the stories of the sheer factuality of other's losses, especially when they endured them the way Job did. Job really grieved. He really agonized. He collapsed to the ground. He wept. He shaved his head. This was, in my mind, a pattern of what must surely happen in Oklahoma. I thought it would help. But when I saw how so many were not experiencing it that way, I took them down.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Romans 13 is often used as an appeal for Christians not to resist government. "Reformed Libertarian" C. Jay Engel has written an interesting and thoughtful post on that particular passage. Here's an excerpt:
There are four overall points that can be gathered in this passage.Read the full article here.
1. God is sovereign and he has a plan. He can use evil to achieve the ends that he has ordained before the foundations of time. In the original context: God exists over Nero.
2. In our gospel-oriented ministry, we are not seeking to overthrow the government. When Paul wrote this he understood that it might have reached Nero's hands. It was wise of him to make sure Nero understood that there was no Christian movement to take over. All governments from the dawn of time until today, are jealous governments, always scared that someone will steal the throne. In the original context: Nero, we are not aiming for your throne.
3. Government has a mandate to submit to the higher law of God by only punishing the wicked and not the good. Anything beyond that is abuse of power. Therefore, as the absolute libertarians would advocate, it is wrong for the government to forbid the spontaneous arising of other governments. There is no mandate in scripture telling the government that it must have a monopoly on governing services. In the original context: Nero, you have a purpose; submit to it.
4. Turn the other cheek. We must practice daily Christian character. In the original context: Apply my lessons [in Romans 12] to even the government.
To conclude, from a libertarian standpoint, it is important to note that a governing entity is the means by which God has decided to carry out justice. This in no way should be assumed to be a defense of the morality of the State itself. This passage can only be assumed to be a defense of the existence of an entity that practices the pursuance of justice. God has given law. Man has rights to his life and his property because God has entrusted him with those things. And what God has given, man cannot take away. This is the law Justice consists of protecting these rights, this law. This is the only role of a governing institution.
Friday, May 17, 2013
- Another Protestant crosses the Tiber. Lucas Westman begins a series of posts describing his journey from Pentecostalism to Reformed theology to Catholicism.
- Paul Dohse makes less and less sense every time I check out his blog: "Calvinist's (sic) don't often know their right hand from their left hand because Reformed theology communicates from an entirely different metaphysical construct than the norm." Give me a good ol' anti-Calvinist rant from Roger "The God of Calvinism Is a Moral Monster" Olson any day.
- Looking for a list of straw man arguments to refute Calvinism? Here's a list of 22 of them for a start.
- Steve Hays of Triablogue begins a running commentary on a lecture given by Jerry Walls at Houston Baptist University entitled "What's Wrong with Calvinism?"
- Calvinists and classical Arminians agree on imputed sin and total inability.
- Dr. Kevin McFadden discusses how Southern Baptists should approach theological disagreements.
- Here is a recap of recent John Piper messages from around the country.
Friday, May 10, 2013
- Rev. Fred Luter, president of the SBC, is trying to unite Southern Baptists, wanting to see the denomination move beyond the Calvinism issue and join together.
- Apparently following President Luter's advice, Ronnie Rogers of SBC Today explains what one can and cannot believe as a Calvinist in what I call his "You might not be a Calvinist if..." series (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5).
- One woman's journey from Calvinism to "progressive Christianity."
- Bill Holdridge shares a few thoughts on Calvinism from Pastor Doug Hileman, who sums up his thoughts this way:
Having shackled themselves with presuppositions that have no mandate in Scripture, Calvinists have embraced a system of theology that is neat, tidy, marvelously logical, and paradoxically, quite unreasonable. They have fallen prey to the same temptation as the early Church Fathers—leading with logic rather than scripture.I guess that explains why no Calvinist has ever been able to defend his position using scripture.
- Rabid anti-Calvinist Paul Dohse believes that Calvinists reject the Trinity in that we "make God the Father and the Holy Spirit lesser forms of Jesus Christ." Trust me. It makes even less sense when he explains it.
- C. Michael Patton on doubting Calvinists.
- Andre Fuller: Defender of the biblical gospel.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Friday, May 03, 2013
- Peter Lumpkins seems thrilled to discover yet another straw man to attack in his crusade against Calvinism.
- Does Hebrews 6:4-8 refute Calvinism? No, but some people still like to keep that passage in their arsenal.
- Randal Rauser blasts his Calvinist critics while at the same time playing the "some of my closest friends are Calvinist theologians" card.
- Steve Hays blasts back.
- Jemar Tisby discusses what African-Americans bring to Reformed theology.