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.

Friday, November 06, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - November 6, 2015

  • Sam Waldron is already up to points 11, 12, and 13 of his series "21 Misunderstandings of Calvinism."

  • A sermon series on the five fruits of Calvinism.

  • Roger Olson takes issue with the idea that Arminians don't preach a "complete gospel":
    All true, historical, classical Arminians, Arminians of the heart, whole heartily affirm that salvation is a free gift of God that cannot be earned or merited. Preaching that it must be freely accepted "by faith" (trust in Christ Jesus) and that it can be freely rejected, does nothing to lessen the completeness of the "by grace through faith" heart of the gospel—Calvinist objections notwithstanding.

  • Author Joshua Guthman discusses his book about the Primitive Baptists.

  • Get your Reformed gear at

Friday, October 30, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 30, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The story behind one of America's most endearing photographs

I've lived in Minnesota most of my life, and although I grew up seeing various versions of this iconic photograph, I never knew of its Minnesota origin:
Eric Enstrom was a Swedish American photographer who lived and worked in the mining town of Bovey. Around 1920 (some accounts date the event to 1918), an itinerant salesman named Charles Wilden visited his studio. Impressed by what he recognized as kindness in the man's face, Enstrom asked Wilden to pose for a picture. He had Wilden clasp his hands and bow his head, as in prayer, while seated at a table with an arrangement of household objects, including a book, a loaf of bread, and a bowl of soup. He called the photograph "Grace."

Enstrom composed "Grace" to represent survival in the face of hardship. He later connected it to World War I and the heavy toll the trenches of Europe had taken on American lives, as well as the rationing faced by Minnesotans on the home front. In a 1961 interview, he explained his intention to capture an image that would inspire thankfulness in people who had endured privations during the war. By highlighting Wilden's devout posture and humble surroundings, he aimed to evoke the spirit of religious faith, thankfulness, and humility he associated with many of the newly arrived European immigrants to Minnesota.
Read the full article here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 23, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 16, 2015

  • Do you have "adult onset Calvinism"? Know the early warning signs.

  • Robert Pate has his mind made up: "It is not humanly possible to have faith in the mean, cruel, unjust, unrighteous God of Calvinism."

  • As David Murray points out, there's more to Calvinism than TULIP.

  • Murray also notes that there's more to the doctrines of grace than the doctrines of grace.

  • He discusses three ways in which the doctrines of grace can be presented...

  • ...and addresses five major distortions of Calvinism.

  • Hip-hop artist Trip Lee talks about his journey towards the doctrines of grace.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Onion pretty much nails total depravity

Billy Mumy stars as the depraved Anthony
Fremont in "It's a Good Life," one of the
best episodes of The Twilight Zone.
The Onion is at its most brilliant when it treads that fine line between satire and reality. This article on children being "unrepentant sociopaths" is one such example. Here's an excerpt:
According to renowned child psychologist Dr. Pritha Singh, author of Born Without Souls, diagnosing preadolecents as sociopaths is primarily a theoretical interest, as the disorder is considered untreatable.

“We’ve tried behavior modification therapies, but children actually learn from our techniques and become even more adept at manipulating others while concealing their shameless misanthropy,” Singh said. “Sadly, experience has taught us there is little hope for rehabilitation.”

“Just look at the way most adults act,” Singh added.
Of course, all unregenerate human beings are unrepentant sociopaths, which makes the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives all the more amazing.

Friday, October 09, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 9, 2015

  • Former Calvinist Austin Fischer, writing a guest post on Roger Olson's blog, admits that monergism may be true, but it isn't necesary:
    Because when one realizes every creature—not to mention space-time itself!!!—is sustained, nanosecond by nanosecond, by the wild and unconditioned generosity of God, monergism is simply unnecessary. It might still be true, but it is not necessary. The infinite God, Being behind all being, does not need monergism to protect his glory.

  • In response to a question about Lutheranism, Calvinism, and the Renaissance, a teacher writes:
    The Reformation remains one of the most important developments in history, and its occurrence during the years of the Renaissance was no accident. Luther and Calvin did not so much respond to the challenges of the Renaissance as they exploited it for their own purposes, irrespective of how one views the split of the Church into two major halves.

  • Jamaican journalist Ian Boyne finds Calvinism to be "intellectually revolting and repulsive," especially the belief that the unsaved will suffer eternal, conscious torment: "Calvinists, particularly, have no qualms about teaching the doctrine of an ever-burning hell. In fact, they would be quite offended at my temerity in questioning this 'clear biblical truth.'" Offended? No. Saddened? Yes.

  • Joel Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, thinks evangelicals today would do well to learn from the Reformers and Puritans: "They consistently aim to apply the Word of God to the heart, and yet do so by illuminating the mind and addressing the conscience with the claims of truth."

  • Can a sound biblical theology be maintained without Calvinism? Dr. Tom Nettles writes, "Though the human heart can pervert any system of thought, the non-Calvinist system in its emphasis on heightening human autonomy and diminishing divine efficiency creates wider berths for deception about the character of salvation."

  • "As a very young Christian," writes Mark Shea, "I had just had my first taste of the destructive power of Calvinism and its cold diagrammatic god that might or might not love you depending on whether he felt like capriciously damning you."

Friday, October 02, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 2, 2015

  • How do we know that Calvinists are not Christians? Because the Bible tells us that heretics are not saved. Um...yeah.

  • Sheldon Long wants you to watch four videos that purport to expose Calvinism as error. Nothing new here.

  • According to Jennie M. Xue of Singapore, non-Christian Indonesians may be confused "as to why the U.S., as a country established on the spirit of Christianity, does not reflect the [economic] values urged by the Pope." The reason? Calvinism, of course.

  • Joel Watts responds to Charles Spurgeon's claim that "Calvinism is the gospel":
    There is no greater sin than that which is exemplified by Spurgeon, who would set aside the Gospel of Jesus preached for 1500 years before Calvin and without Calvinism and to reject everything else but Calvinism as a sign of the Gospel. This requires a self-delusion so powerful that it cannot help but prove absolute depravity.
    That quote from Spurgeon comes from "A Defense of Calvinism." Perhaps Mr. Watts should take time to read the entire thing rather than create a straw man argument based on one sentence.

  • Dr. Rick Patrick expresses his concern about "Youth Targeted Calvinism." Yes, we have to keep our children safe from preying Calvinists. We wouldn't want them turning out to be like John Piper, R. C. Sproul, or even Charles Spurgeon.

  • Dr. James White responds to Dr. Patrick in the first part of the Oct. 1 episode of The Dividing Line.

Friday, September 25, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - September 25, 2015

  • Unlock God's storehouse of grace.

  • Russell Moore discusses the difference between being offended and being persecuted.

  • Leighton Flowers joins Matt Slick on the Bible-Thumping Wingnut podcast.

  • James White on why he travels overseas to teach.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - September 18, 2015

  • Discussed on Apologia Radio: Debating Calvinism and resisting tyrants

  • Calvin Dude explains why he believes Calvinism is right.

  • Sheila Kennedy knows nothing about Calvinism, yet she lays the blame for America's treatment of the poor (exemplified by our less-than-stellar public transit system) at Calvin's feet.

  • Calvinism's foundational experience.

  • Josh Squires discusses five ways to go from head knowledge to heart application.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gospel-singing brothers on Family Feud

I don't watch Family Feud, and I had never heard of the Wardlaw Brothers before, but I really enjoyed this...

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