Friday, October 09, 2009

This Week in Calvinism - October 9, 2009

  • Philip Stephens would like to see Arminians and Calvinists drop the labels and get along.

  • Chris Roberts is surprised "that Calvinists are the ones accused of being divisive." I don't get it either, especially when we aren't the ones throwing the word "heresy" around.

  • Calvinism a "balance wheel" for Christendom?

  • Triablogue's Steve Hays writes, "At a specific level, Calvinism is a theology of hope and thanksgiving. We believe that God has a plan for the world. That everything happens according to his plan. Even the evils we see and experience in this world are there as a means to a greater good. For a Calvinist, the whole world is God's world. Light and shade."

  • Two quick apologetic tips on the Trinity.

16 comments:

William Watson Birch said...

Calvinism is a theology of hope and thanksgiving. We believe that God has a plan for the world.

Oh c'mon now! Calvinism holds hope for an individual to be elect, "hopefully." God's "plan" for the world is to redeem some people. Where's the "hope" for the non-elect?

And also, as I've witnessed on the Internet and in conferences held around the nation, Calvinist's are slapping the "heresy" label on Arminianism far more than are Arminians toward Calvinism. I would reconsider posting that comment.

Moreover, as to Philip Stevens' comment, I think we can maintain the labels and get along. I get along fine with most Calvinists. Just because we disagree on theological issues does not mean that we aren't "getting along" in everyday life.

Respectfully,
Billy

William Watson Birch said...

And what a coincidence that I received this on facebook today:

I'm so glad I've posted my notes on the false, I repeat false
doctrines of Arminianism, which I hope more people who claim to be
Calvinists will read, understand, and get on board with, and stop
compromising. Arminianism is a heretical system that puts man at the center...his will, his efforts, his faith, his everything ...


Truly, this could not have been posted at a more ironic time than today, when you stated, "I don't get it either, especially when we aren't the ones throwing the word 'heresy' around."

Phil said...

Will, you do realize that if God foresaw people would not have faith and would not choose Him, and created them anyway, then the Arminian has the same problem he accuses the Calvinist of. Doesn't sound like much hope in that to me.

William Watson Birch said...

Phil,

But "hope" isn't based on God's foreknowledge of future actions or choices. The individual still could have been saved - that is hope.

Unconditional election and reprobation gives no hope, unless one "hopes" to be among the elect. Arminians, therefore, are not faced with the same dilemma in the least.

William Watson Birch said...

Phil,

BTW, your comment on a post suggests: To say God allows us free choice as to whether His plan will be successful as He predicted it would mean that people have as much power as God.

I am "hopeful" that you realize this is not Arminianism. It doesn't work as a syllogism either:

1 God as Omnipotent allows us free choice
2 Free choice grants people power to choose
3 Therefore, people are Omnipotent

Would you say that God is capable of foreknowing a future free act?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

A fine collection of articles this week, Lee!

Mr. Birch, when will you accept your loving corrections and rebukes from Steve Hays? Don't harden your heart before it's too late.

Pax.

William Watson Birch said...

"Truth",

"Corrections and rebukes" from Hays are anything but genuine love.

Do you not mean, before God hardens my heart ;)

Phil said...

Yes, but you are only debating a high Calvinist, of which I am not one. Were I I would agree with your assessment and say something stupid like, "well God did it for His glory. Do you really think He would die for the people already in hell?" Classic Calvinists face no such difficulty, we believe God died for all men but especially the elect. There is not a person who the offer of eternal life is not valid for.

But as Calvinist I say your philosophy offers no hope to men. Hope is the promise that we will be saved, not the promise we might be saved. As totally deprived creatures unless God directly intervenes we will not be saved.
Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

William Watson Birch said...

Phil,

As totally depraved creatures, unless God directly intervenes, we will not be saved.

We agree wholeheartedly.

Hope is the promise that we will be saved, not the promise we might be saved.

And how is one saved? Automatically, according to an eternal, electoral decree? Or by faith in Christ Jesus? The latter is the biblical answer; and it is impossible for you to provide scriptural warrant that anyone is saved automatically by decree.

But as a Calvinist, I say your philosophy offers no hope to men.

Calvinism = God has elected to unconditionally save some people and unconditionally reprobate the majority.

This equals hope.

Arminianism = God has conditionally elected to save those who will believe in Christ (1 Cor. 1:21) and conditionally reprobate those who reject Him.

This does not offer hope.

Really? Is that really what you're positing?

Phil said...

Hope is the promise that we will be saved, not the promise we might be saved.
And how is one saved? Automatically, according to an eternal, electoral decree? Or by faith in Christ Jesus? The latter is the biblical answer; and it is impossible for you to provide scriptural warrant that anyone is saved automatically by decree.

Here you are actually making a distinction where none exists. Decree is absolutely necessary to save, the point in time we are saved is by faith. The decree comes to award faith, or to enable it, or to begin faith at a certain point. The decree is not a magical "YOU! *POOF* SAVE!" alternative to faith in Christ.


Calvinism = God has elected to unconditionally save some people and unconditionally reprobate the majority. This equals hope.


Well I think that we are done here. I suspected you were an Ariminan like I was who had the potential to add "God will not let the elect go" and become a moderate Calvinist, but this is just the standard thoughtless crap I refuse to engage with. I never said God reprobates the majority of people. But yes that statement would actually be accurate if we understand that reprobation is what you Arminians call free will. That is, God issues a free invitation to accept Him. It is not a decree like election it, it is merely the absense of election.

Arminianism = God has conditionally elected to save those who will believe in Christ (1 Cor. 1:21) and conditionally reprobate those who reject Him.

Far better to say God saves those who believe, and rejects those who reject Him. The problem here is how does God elect anything conditionally? Either He elects it or not. You ought to say
Arminianism = Man chooses who will be saved and who will not be. Man can be saved by choosing Christ, or not saved by rejecting Him.

I don't discuss theology with people who vilify my position without understanding it (high Calvinists are the worst people in this respect) so thanks for talking with me on this.
Phil

William Watson Birch said...

Phil,

You're being emotional and ridiculous. But thank you for the circus ride. BTW, I think that "strict" Calvinism is far more consistent than what you're promoting.

God bless.

Phil said...

Heb 5:11-14.

William Watson Birch said...

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

John said...

I liked the post by Chris Roberts too. Yes, those are some strong words against us "heretics."

Philip said...

I was on here, and I didn't even know it.

philipstephens said...

I was on here, and I didn't even know it.

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