Friday, October 30, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 30, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The story behind one of America's most endearing photographs

I've lived in Minnesota most of my life, and although I grew up seeing various versions of this iconic photograph, I never knew of its Minnesota origin:
Eric Enstrom was a Swedish American photographer who lived and worked in the mining town of Bovey. Around 1920 (some accounts date the event to 1918), an itinerant salesman named Charles Wilden visited his studio. Impressed by what he recognized as kindness in the man's face, Enstrom asked Wilden to pose for a picture. He had Wilden clasp his hands and bow his head, as in prayer, while seated at a table with an arrangement of household objects, including a book, a loaf of bread, and a bowl of soup. He called the photograph "Grace."

Enstrom composed "Grace" to represent survival in the face of hardship. He later connected it to World War I and the heavy toll the trenches of Europe had taken on American lives, as well as the rationing faced by Minnesotans on the home front. In a 1961 interview, he explained his intention to capture an image that would inspire thankfulness in people who had endured privations during the war. By highlighting Wilden's devout posture and humble surroundings, he aimed to evoke the spirit of religious faith, thankfulness, and humility he associated with many of the newly arrived European immigrants to Minnesota.
Read the full article here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 23, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 16, 2015

  • Do you have "adult onset Calvinism"? Know the early warning signs.

  • Robert Pate has his mind made up: "It is not humanly possible to have faith in the mean, cruel, unjust, unrighteous God of Calvinism."

  • As David Murray points out, there's more to Calvinism than TULIP.

  • Murray also notes that there's more to the doctrines of grace than the doctrines of grace.

  • He discusses three ways in which the doctrines of grace can be presented...

  • ...and addresses five major distortions of Calvinism.

  • Hip-hop artist Trip Lee talks about his journey towards the doctrines of grace.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Onion pretty much nails total depravity

Billy Mumy stars as the depraved Anthony
Fremont in "It's a Good Life," one of the
best episodes of The Twilight Zone.
The Onion is at its most brilliant when it treads that fine line between satire and reality. This article on children being "unrepentant sociopaths" is one such example. Here's an excerpt:
According to renowned child psychologist Dr. Pritha Singh, author of Born Without Souls, diagnosing preadolecents as sociopaths is primarily a theoretical interest, as the disorder is considered untreatable.

“We’ve tried behavior modification therapies, but children actually learn from our techniques and become even more adept at manipulating others while concealing their shameless misanthropy,” Singh said. “Sadly, experience has taught us there is little hope for rehabilitation.”

“Just look at the way most adults act,” Singh added.
Of course, all unregenerate human beings are unrepentant sociopaths, which makes the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives all the more amazing.

Friday, October 09, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 9, 2015

  • Former Calvinist Austin Fischer, writing a guest post on Roger Olson's blog, admits that monergism may be true, but it isn't necesary:
    Because when one realizes every creature—not to mention space-time itself!!!—is sustained, nanosecond by nanosecond, by the wild and unconditioned generosity of God, monergism is simply unnecessary. It might still be true, but it is not necessary. The infinite God, Being behind all being, does not need monergism to protect his glory.

  • In response to a question about Lutheranism, Calvinism, and the Renaissance, a teacher writes:
    The Reformation remains one of the most important developments in history, and its occurrence during the years of the Renaissance was no accident. Luther and Calvin did not so much respond to the challenges of the Renaissance as they exploited it for their own purposes, irrespective of how one views the split of the Church into two major halves.

  • Jamaican journalist Ian Boyne finds Calvinism to be "intellectually revolting and repulsive," especially the belief that the unsaved will suffer eternal, conscious torment: "Calvinists, particularly, have no qualms about teaching the doctrine of an ever-burning hell. In fact, they would be quite offended at my temerity in questioning this 'clear biblical truth.'" Offended? No. Saddened? Yes.

  • Joel Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, thinks evangelicals today would do well to learn from the Reformers and Puritans: "They consistently aim to apply the Word of God to the heart, and yet do so by illuminating the mind and addressing the conscience with the claims of truth."

  • Can a sound biblical theology be maintained without Calvinism? Dr. Tom Nettles writes, "Though the human heart can pervert any system of thought, the non-Calvinist system in its emphasis on heightening human autonomy and diminishing divine efficiency creates wider berths for deception about the character of salvation."

  • "As a very young Christian," writes Mark Shea, "I had just had my first taste of the destructive power of Calvinism and its cold diagrammatic god that might or might not love you depending on whether he felt like capriciously damning you."

Friday, October 02, 2015

This Week in Calvinism - October 2, 2015

  • How do we know that Calvinists are not Christians? Because the Bible tells us that heretics are not saved. Um...yeah.

  • Sheldon Long wants you to watch four videos that purport to expose Calvinism as error. Nothing new here.

  • According to Jennie M. Xue of Singapore, non-Christian Indonesians may be confused "as to why the U.S., as a country established on the spirit of Christianity, does not reflect the [economic] values urged by the Pope." The reason? Calvinism, of course.

  • Joel Watts responds to Charles Spurgeon's claim that "Calvinism is the gospel":
    There is no greater sin than that which is exemplified by Spurgeon, who would set aside the Gospel of Jesus preached for 1500 years before Calvin and without Calvinism and to reject everything else but Calvinism as a sign of the Gospel. This requires a self-delusion so powerful that it cannot help but prove absolute depravity.
    That quote from Spurgeon comes from "A Defense of Calvinism." Perhaps Mr. Watts should take time to read the entire thing rather than create a straw man argument based on one sentence.

  • Dr. Rick Patrick expresses his concern about "Youth Targeted Calvinism." Yes, we have to keep our children safe from preying Calvinists. We wouldn't want them turning out to be like John Piper, R. C. Sproul, or even Charles Spurgeon.

  • Dr. James White responds to Dr. Patrick in the first part of the Oct. 1 episode of The Dividing Line.
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