Friday, June 03, 2016

This Week in Calvinism - June 3, 2016

  • William Thornton hopes the upcoming SBC election isn't about Calvinism. But nominee Steve Gaines seems to be focusing on that topic.

  • Is atheistic determinism similar to Calvinism?

  • "In Calvinism," writes William Birch, "God did not merely foreknow acts of evil, but He concocted evil acts in His mind to be carried out by certain persons, He decreed them from eternity past, and He then brings them into reality by His own secret methods." So, naturally, if we cannot read God's mind and know exactly why he decreed certain evil acts, then God cannot possibly have a reason decreeing certain evil acts, therefore Calvinism is wrong.

  • Jon Bloom writes, "You don't have to know God's will if you are confident in God's word."

  • For whom did Christ die?


THEOparadox said...

William Birch continues to construct great feathery men of straw in his inane preoccupation with attacking Calvinism. Calvinists do not believe that God "concocted evil acts." Rather, Calvinists affirm with Joseph that God ordained that fallen humans should themselves be allowed to concoct acts which they "meant for evil," which He Himself "meant for good" according to the Biblical text (and, by a sovereign, transcendent and incomprehensible wisdom, succeeded in achieving good through them). Arminianism looks impressive through the cracked and man-centered lens of Mr. Birch's twisted caricatures of "Calvinism." In reality, Arminianism cannot conceive of a God who is so good as to be capable of using the creature's evil acts to bring about His own good purposes. Would that he might deal with the real article. Perhaps someday.

Ironically, Birch makes no appeal to Scripture and even commends open theism in the process. Such "grandiloquent" illusions.


Anonymous said...

Right, so, as long as God has a good reason for concocting evil, it's okay! How tragic that Calvinists must try their hardest to wiggle out of the problems their own theology creates. God dreamed up all the evil He wanted to bring into the reality of a future-history, since He influences the desires and decisions of all people (Calvin, Grudem, Piper), and decreed whatsoever should take place (Westminster), and, as long as God has a good reason for decreeing the rape of that two year old, well, that's just biblical and hunky dory for Calvinists.

One wonders if Calvinists even think hard about the statements they claims as "biblical" or if they are just used to regurgitating whatever any Calvinist has taught in its five hundred year history. While the inept response of "THEOparadox" appears so very striking the novice Calvinist, he, among so many other tragic Calvinists, fails to even be consistent with his own professed beleifs: "In reality, Arminianism cannot conceive of a God who is so good as to be capable of using the creature's evil acts to bring about His own good purposes. Would that he might deal with the real article. Perhaps someday." Capable of "using the creature's evil acts to bring about His own good purposes"? Do you even believe in historic Calvinism?

Who decreed those evil acts? Who first concocted that those deeds were to be carried out in the future? Who exhaustively and meticulously brings into reality, influencing the desires and decisions of wicked people to carry out their wickedness, so that God can, allegedly, show up as the Hero to fix the problems He decreed? The Calvinist God does!

Seriously, guys, if you're not even going to be consistent within your own system, then you need to abandon your philosophical and man-made hermeneutic altogether.

THEOparadox said...

Decreeing an act is not the same thing as concocting or committing it. Good and evil are both ordained--however, they are ordained differently--such that God is credited for all good, and evil springs only from the errant creature.

Calvinists do not believe God created evil. See Augustine's distinctions regarding the ontology of good and evil (in the Enchiridion, for example), along with the multitudes of similar examinations of this topic which have been offered by Augustinian theologians down through the centuries (actually, according to Roger Olson, the well-established Augustinian theodicy even predates Augustine). In other words, this is well worn ground. It is even found in C.S. Lewis, by the way.

Yes, I do hold to historic Calvinism. Do you know what it is?

drwayman said...

Theo said, "Yes, I do hold to historic Calvinism. Do you know what it is?"

Depends upon one's definition of "it" Trying to get calvinists to agree on what "it" is is like trying to nail jello to a wall. Even in the face of Historic Calvinist documents they can't agree.

THEOparadox said...

Said the pot to the kettle ... because we all know there is 100% agreement amongst Arminians, with no points of significant disagreement or divergent opinion within their ranks, right?

drwayman said...

Theo - Thanks for your comment. Yes, there are some disagreements among Arminians, yet almost all of them agree on Arminius' writings. The Calvinists on the other hand, repeatedly disagree with Calvin. For example, when a horrid teaching of Calvin is quoted to a calvinist, they often say, "Oh, I don't follow Calvin. I follow Edwards." Then you quote a horrid teaching of Edwards to another Calvinist, and they say, "Oh, I don't follow Edwards, I follow Piper (which btw is Edwards repackaged)." Then you talk to another Calvinist and they say, "I don't follow Piper, he's a populist and not a theologian (in spite of the fact his doctor is in theology)." Then you have Clarkians and Westboroites who are consistent in their Calvinism that Calvinists try to distance themselves as far away from. Then you have people who say they are "biblicists" IMHO experience, most of the turn out to be Calvinist, they just don't want the moniker.

In Arminianism, it's pretty simple. There are classic Arminians and Wesleyan-Arminians. All others are not Arminians as one must believe in total depravity (our area of agreement with Calvinists) to be a true Arminian. Otherwise, you are just a non-calvinist which is what pelagians and semi-pelagians are.

For your edification, I have placed URL here for the FACTS of Salvation: A summary of Arminian theology - The Biblical Doctrines of Grace:

Lee Shelton said...

Open theism is the logical end of Arminian thought because it's the only way around the "Calvinist conundrum" of God being the "author of evil." Here are the choices before us:

a) God decreed evil acts to take place for his ultimate glory.
b) God knowingly created a world in which people would freely commit evil acts.

In each of these scenarios, all evil acts are predetermined in the sense that it is absolutely certain they will happen. I have yet to see an Arminian provide a satisfactory answer to this, and Mr. Birch certainly failed to do so in his article. The best Arminians can do is resort to open theism (God cannot fully know what will happen), or simply dismiss the issue and equate "decreeing evil" with "concocting evil."

The most evil act in the history of creation, the execution of the innocent Son of God, was, to borrow a phrase from Mr. Birch, "decreed, rendered certain, and brought into reality." And I think even the most ardent Arminian would have to agree that God had an ultimate purpose for that.

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