Friday, July 27, 2007

This Week in Calvinism - July 27, 2007

  • David Heddle reminds us that "worrying if one is chosen" ain't just a Calvinist "problem." It's just as bad or worse for Arminians. Better to stop worrying and enjoy your salvation.

  • Dr. Nelson Price has a problem with "covert Calvinists" who are sneaking into church leadership positions by not being open and honest about what they believe. One of the telltale signs that a church has suffered such subversiveness: "Many no longer conclude worship with an invitation or promote soul winning." *Gasp!* I'm sure Charles Finney is rolling over in his grave.

  • Andrew, over at Strange Baptist Fire, responds to Dr. Price's charges (Part 1 - Part 2).

  • How do you maintain a fair and balanced approach to the Calvinism-Arminianism debate? Why, interpret Calvinist doctrine from an Arminian perspective, of course. And remember: God chose you because you first chose him.

  • James M. Hamilton Jr. reviews the book A Piety above the Common Standard: Jesse Mercer and Evangelistic Calvinism, by Anthony L. Chute.

  • If God has the time and power to save all people, and if he is absolutely good, is he not obligated to do just that? So begins this discussion at

  • Seth McBee, blogging at Contend Earnestly, is hosting an e-mail debate on Calvinism. You can read Part 1 here.

  • John Hendryx discusses a few of the doctrinal errors that can arise when we fail to see Jesus Christ as the interpretive key to scripture. (I would add dispensationalism to his list.)

  • John Shore, writing for, thinks he has solved once and for all the age-old debate of free will vs. predestination: "When we're outside of God's grace -- when we've chosen to be Fallen Independent Types -- we have free will, because we've then placed ourselves outside of God's purview. But when we're with God -- when we've surrendered ourselves to the reality of God's presence within us -- then we don't have free will, because then our will is subsumed by the larger will of God." Sounds like someone needs to read Luther's The Bondage of the Will.

  • Even some non-Calvinists realize that faith is not a choice.

    Anonymous said...

    I've heard Calvinists accused of injecting Greek philosophy into Christian theology, but as I see it, the whole discussion of "Libertarian free will" (which is what the Arminian proposes, is a massive injection of a foreign philosophical concept into Christianity!

    The commands and decrees of God as presented in Scripture have well-defined, Scriptural purposes that don't depend on the Arminian's definition of free will for their potency. A commandment to keep the Sabbath holy, for example, does not require a human willingness or lack thereof to give it "purpose"; the purpose is to bring about a result, just as any command that you or I may give. When I tell my son to do something, I'm not concerned with the fact that he's exercising his free will; I want him to stop hitting his sister, or playing with his food, or whatever!

    Speaking of a more properly defined free will, I saw something good a little while ago. Now, I will use the word "deterministic" in a logical sense, not in a fatalistic sense. Anyhow, someone presented a syllogism which I would sum up thus:

    - A free agent (an actor with free will) is one who can control his own actions (thoughts, deeds, etc).
    - Moreover, free agency requires reliability in decision-making. That is, given the same set of antecedents, the same decision will be made.
    - Ergo, free will must be logically deterministic. Given a set of specific preconditions, logically a free agent must produce a reliable, consistent result.
    - If this is -not- the case, what kind of free will are we talking about? One minute I choose one thing, the next minute I choose another, given the same choice? This is the human equivalent of a random number generator!
    - Note that this doesn't imply that everyone always makes rational decisions, or that we must even "properly" make our decisions via strictly logical means. It merely states that the underlying mechanism must be well-ordered for free will to make sense.
    - One might point out that the human decision-making process is often quite broken, inconsistent, and not well-ordered; people -do- sometimes make different decisions given the same set of preconditions, and/or inappropriately process antecedents (whether knowledge, experience, current conditions, etc). But that's not an argument for a free will... that's an argument for a broken and enslaved will, which is exactly what we Calvinists believe man naturally possesses anyway!

    John Shore said...

    Sounds like someone needs to stop being snarky and condescending.

    Lee Shelton said...

    Sorry, John, but I don't see how this is more snarky and condescending than what you wrote.

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