Friday, February 08, 2008

This Week in Calvinism - February 8, 2008

  • Coming March 1, 2008: a Calvinism Forum at Liberty University.

  • Bob Hayton presents the best of his blog from 2007.

  • Does Calvinism lead to radical skepticism? Kyle thinks so. He believes Calvinists want everyone to "accept their system no matter how immoral or illogical it makes God look because Scripture teaches it." He concludes that "Calvinism is self-defeating, unlivable, and most of all unbiblical." One reason he gives is that "even our rational faculties, according to Reformed theologians, have been ruined by the noetic effects of sin. Therefore, we must simply believe Scripture even though it both seems immoral, and irrational." First of all, the straw man argument that Calvinism makes God out to be immoral or illogical is absurd. I could just as easily say that a theological system based on the premise that God created certain people with the full foreknowledge that those people will exercise their "free will," never accept Christ, and end up in hell, is immoral and illogical. Secondly, Calvinism is intrinsically God-centered. God receives all the glory because he is the one in control of his own creation. That's the God we read about in scripture.

  • I have heard a lot of criticism about Calvinism, but blaming it for the war in Iraq? That's a new one. (By the way, the illegal, unconstitutional, immoral invasion of Iraq has more to do with dispensational premillennialism than it does with Calvinism. Just ask John Hagee.)

  • With Part III, Sam Nunnally wraps up his series entitled "Come on, Just How Bad Is Calvinism?" (Part I, Part II) Nunnally thinks Calvinism is really bad and that it gives Christianity a bad name. "Christians loose (sic) the respect of others when we say things like the accidental death of a two year old can do more for Jesus than that child's life could have. We see more popularized versions of this idea in congregational prayers that end all requests with 'if it be thy will ...'" No Calvinist I know will claim to be able to say exactly why God would take a two-year-old. Like anyone else, we cry over the loss of a loved one and grieve along with those who suffer. All we can say with certainty is that the Creator knows more than the creature. After all, God's will is infinitely superior to our own. When it comes to the bad things that happen in this world, we must realize that they are the result of sin. But even the entrance of sin into the world was ordained, as it's ultimate and inevitable destruction brings glory to a just and holy God. The only alternative is to believe that God was powerless to stop sin from entering into the world and that he remains powerless to keep bad things from happening. So, is that the kind of God we want to trust with the salvation and security of our eternal souls? The very hope we have as Christians depends on God's sovereignty over everything.

  • A little background on John Davenant, an influential figure in church history.

  • N. T. Wright fans will appreciate this new perspective on Moses.

  • J. Brian McKillop discusses the logic of both Calvinism and Arminianism. (Yes, believe it or not, even Arminians can be consistent in their theology.)

    Bob Hayton said...

    Thanks for the link, Lee.

    Good to hear of another Bethlehem Blogger.

    Unknown said...

    I loved that story, very funny. You link to some great blogs her. Well done.

    John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

    Hope you visit, please, our Reformed web site Here’s our “Mission Statement.” God bless you all – and He 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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