Friday, January 18, 2008

This Week in Calvinism - January 18, 2008

  • Breaking news! A multitude of evangelicals gather together to discuss "concerns about the growth of Calvinism and the rise of a Willow Creek-style of non-confrontational evangelism within Southern Baptist churches." OK, there were only 15 people in attendance, but the Baptist Press apparently thought it was worth reporting. If you're expecting anything significant to come out of this meeting, don't bother. Those who view Calvinism as the enemy can't seem to make the link between a departure from the biblically sound doctrines of grace and the empty, hollow gospel of the seeker-friendly movement.

  • Timmy Brister shares his thoughts on this ground-breaking summit.

  • Having trouble refuting a Calvinist? Try the Ray Benfield approach:
    1. Take three verses that have one or two words in common -- one verse from the beginning of the Bible, one from the middle, and one from the end, each preferably from a different author -- and link them together, regardless of their respective contexts, as if they were meant to convey one, continuous thought.
    2. Follow those verses up with a bold, conclusive statement like "Christ died for all! Everyone is 'elected' into the 'book of life.' Only those denying Christ will have their names removed."
    3. Most importantly, ignore all passages (like Psalm 14:1-3, Jeremiah 13:23, Mark 7:21, John 1:12-13, John 6:44, Romans 8:7-8, Romans 9:14-16, Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Corinthians 2:14, etc.) that refute your synergistic, free-will belief that man has the ability to choose God.
    VoilĂ ! Your Calvinist foe will hang his head in shame and slither back under the rock from whence he came.

  • Doug Wilson on a return to a more jovial Calvinism.

  • Pyromaniac Frank Turk interviews Tim Challies, who is currently touring the blogosphere to discuss his new book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment.

  • Are Calvinism and science natural enemies? This blogger moved away from a Reformed view toward an open theistic view, "becoming more and more convinced that taking science seriously as a Christian entails an open view of God. Science points us toward a God for whom randomness (or, to use a more philosophical term, contingency) is an essential ingredient in the process of creation." Of course, this doesn't coincide with scripture. God created the world, and it was good (Genesis 1). God created man (Genesis 2). Man sinned, and sin ravaged all of creation (Genesis 3). But all of this was meant to occur, because God's plan of redemption, including Christ's death on the cross, was determined long before the beginning of time (Ephesians 1:4-7, 1st Peter 1:18-20). There is no randomness in creation; God is in complete control of all things (Deuteronomy 32:39, Job 1:21-22, Isaiah 45:7, Jeremiah 31:35, Amos 3:6, James 4:14-15). To deny this is to deny the truth of scripture, and if we do that, we are saying that God isn't who he says he is. We might as well make the claim that God doesn't exist at all. Just because our finite, mortal minds cannot fully comprehend the universe in which we live doesn't mean we should ascribe our own human limitations to our almighty Creator.

  • It may be the middle of winter, but the TULIPs are blooming: "Long considered more Arminian in orientation -- emphasizing an individual's need to respond to the gospel rather than God's election in salvation -- the nation's largest Protestant denomination is grappling with doctrines of grace and election amid a seminary-led revival."

    C.L. Dyck said...

    {You raise some excellent questions -- questions I have been pondering more often lately. Along with Christianized fiction, you could throw in fictionalized Christianity. It seems many of us today want our fiction enhanced with truth (but not so much that it's no longer fiction) and our truth made more palatable with fiction (but just enough so that we can still lay claim to the truth). Does that make sense?}

    Augh! Yes, way too much sense. We're going through this in our church right now. In one discussion, somebody actually used the argument, "Well, word meanings can change."

    Maybe in human culture, but this is God we're talking about, like, hello. It prompts the question, so what other word meanings in the Bible can change? But the churchian culture answers that amply. Yuck.

    Thanks for stopping by.


    Malachi_Abaddon said...

    Interesting article from the NC pastor. That article makes it seem that he supports a sinless perfectionism (from the way that he very selectively quotes Scripture). Though to be fair, I would have to read more to be sure.

    John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

    Hope you visit, please, our Reformed site and listen to some of our radio shows --- and comment. Below our “Mission Statement.” Thanks and God bless you all – and God does bless us when we obey Him…John Lofton, Editor, Recovering Republican.

    Mission Statement
    “For the nation and kingdom that shall not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” — Isaiah 60:12.

    As Christians, we are commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ to teach all nations — including ours — to observe all things He has commanded (Matthew 28:18-20). This means bringing into captivity to Christ all areas of life and thought. This means destroying arguments that are against the knowledge of God (II Corinthians 10:5). In obedience to these commands of our Lord, this Web site is established. We covet your prayers for our success in obeying Him.

    We are seriously concerned about, deeply grieved by and lament the fact that far too many of today’s so-called “Christian leaders” are a sinful embarrassment and are responsible for the cause of Christ being mocked and ridiculed. By being, first, cheerleaders for the Republican Party, they have dishonored their Lord and sold their Christian birthright for a mess of partisan political pottage. These individuals and organizations are Christian in name only, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” From such, it is added, we must turn away.

    Secular, Christless conservatism — even when it is supposedly “compassionate” — will not defeat secular, Christless liberalism because to God they are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and, thus, predestined to failure.

    More than 100 years ago, speaking of the secular, Christless conservatism of his time, the great Southern Presbyterian theologian, Robert L. Dabney, observed:

    “[Its] history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It tends to risk nothing serious for the sake of truth.”

    Amen! And what Dabney says has been proven with a vengeance in modern times, under recent Republican Administrations and Congresses who were supported enthusiastically by individuals and organizations who called themselves “Christian” but who, alas, when judged by their fruits, were not.

    To those who will accuse of us of desiring and trying to bring about “a Christian America,” we unashamedly plead guilty though the accusation is far too modest and somewhat muddled. To be sure, we desire a Christian America, and a Christian world, a Christian galaxy and a Christian universe. And, over time, by His grace, we hope to demonstrate that all these things already belong to the Lord Jesus Christ because He created them all and they are His property. This is why all knees must bow to the Lord and all tongues confess that He is the Lord — because He is!

    Jude 1:3 3

    “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (KJV)

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