Friday, June 21, 2013

This Week in Calvinism - June 21, 2013

  • Tim Brister offers his take on the "Baptist Battle of Calvinism."

  • Joe Aguillard, president of Louisiana College, in a recent interview, claims he doesn't like labels. That may explain why he has a hard time distinguishing between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism.

  • At long last, Roger Olson responds to the statement from the SBC's Calvinism Advisory Committee. "When I read this statement," he writes, "I want it to be adopted, with proper modifications, by American evangelicals as a whole."

  • Alan Kurschner sets the record straight regarding a disturbing rumor that has been circulating about Calvinists.

  • "Predestination." You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


John Daniel Holloway said...

I am the author of that last blog. Are you saying predestination doesn't mean what *I* think it means, or what people in general think it means?

J. Brian McKillop said...

How did the "Princess Bride" make it into this week's post!

p.s. You are now the 3rd blogger I have known to reference PB - DJP and myself being the other 2.

THEOparadox said...

So, according to one of these posts, God elects and predestines, but only in broad and general ways. I wonder what prevents Him from being more specific?

And Luke must have mixed up the order when he said, "all who were appointed to eternal life believed."

I'm a little upset now to learn that the Bible only makes it appear that God is sovereign over the salvation of individuals. I can only hope words like "save" and "forgive" don't also functionally mean the opposite of their apparent meanings. [/sarcasm]

Lee Shelton said...

JDH, I think you are using the term "predestination" in a way that it isn't used in scripture. It means exactly what it says: God predestined individual believers to salvation. Given the various contexts in which it is used, there is no other interpretation.

You said, "Before Christ, Israel was the elect." Paul makes it quite clear that God's promise didn't fail. There is still an elect people from Israel. That was the whole point of Romans 11. Believing Gentiles have been grafted into that remnant, and the elect (a term that was explained in much more detail in the NT than it was in the OT) now comprise the "holy nation" talked about in 1 Peter 2:9 .

John Daniel Holloway said...

I'm sorry, Lee, but that's simply not true.
Augustine and others after him attributed to predestination a meaning that goes beyond what the word actually provides.
Predestine doesn't say God predestined individual believers to salvation. You act s if the word explicitly means this, or the Bible explicitly says this, but neither is true.

Lee Shelton said...

Your definition of predestined requires exegetical gymnastics. It's much simpler to look at the context in which it is used. In regard to salvation, you seem to believe that individuals become predestined after the fact, which doesn't make sense, especially given the prefix "pre" in the word.

John Daniel Holloway said...

1) "Exegetical gymnastics" = researching to find out what the original authors meant. Simply reading the Bible at face value is often dangerous, as it can lead to making conclusions that the original authors never intended.

2) I'm not saying individuals are predestined after the fact. I'm saying when predestination is referred to, it is not referring to individuals at all--it's referring to Christ and all who are in Christ. That all who are in Christ will be saved was predestined.

Lee Shelton said...

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified" (Romans 8:29-30). Paul is not talking about individual believers here? "Those whom he foreknew" seems pretty clear.

John Daniel Holloway said...

"Those whom" is not referring to specific individuals. In Romans 11:2, the people of Israel in general are referred to as those whom God foreknew. In this sense, 'those whom' refer to a corporate body--those who are in Christ.

Lee Shelton said...

I see from glancing through your blog that you are a universalist, so I now understand why you choose to see predestination as something that applies only to groups and not individuals. In your theology, individual election makes no sense because everyone is going to the same place eventually.

John Daniel Holloway said...

My understanding of predestination came before my affirmation of universal reconciliation.
And I didn't merely choose to see predestination that way; studying the biblical text brought me to that conclusion.

Thanks for the conversation!
By the way, I dig the Princess Bride quote. My wife and I use it all the time.

God bless!

Steve Finnell said...

Do men receive faith, that saves, because God arbitrarily bestows them with faith? Does God predetermined who will be saved and them cause them to have faith so they can be saved? No and No.

Faith comes from hearing God's word preached.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.(NKJV)

Romans 10:14 How they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?(NKJV)

Faith comes when men believe the gospel. Faith is not forced on men by God.


Ephesians 2:8 is used to prove that faith is a gift from God, however, that is not what is says.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God,(NKJV)

Salvation is the gift from God. Faith is not the gift.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Why would Jesus condemn men who do not believe if God is the one who arbitrarily bestows faith on men so they can be saved?

To have faith that Jesus is the Son of God is a choice. To trust in God is a choice. To believe that God resurrected Jesus from the grave is a choice. To believe that Jesus is both Lord and Christ is a choice. God does not force men to have faith. Saving faith is the not a gift from God. Salvation is the gift from God.


1. Hear the gospel. Romans 10:17
2. Believe. John 3:16
3. Confess. Romans 10:9
4. Repent. Acts 3:19
5. Be baptized in water. Acts 2:38

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