Saturday, January 11, 2014

Recycled Calvinism

Some of our Calvinist friends are not amused by the MUPPETs. That's too bad as I think it's great. Here are a couple wise theologians getting to the point.


MUPPET Theology

I've been absent for most of the several past months as far as this site is concerned. Hopefully I can remedy that. It is a discipline issue with me as I post on this blog for my own benefit and purpose since there are so  many other sites and bloggers more  talented and knowledgeable than myself. In any event, the following has been making the rounds on the internet and I think it is just plain clever.




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation (repost)



By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1789 and President George Washington's Address (repost)

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1789 and President George Washington's Address

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
- George Washington

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just the F.A.C.T.S.

http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvation-a-summary-of-arminian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/

Dr. Brian Abasciano has done a superb job with this.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jerry Walls Refuting Calvinist Soteriology

J. Matthew Pinson, Arminius' Position on the Atonement of Christ

One of the frequent misrepresentations made by our interlocutors in their zeal to challenge Arminian doctrine is the charge that Arminians are by default subscribers to the Governmental theory of the Atonement of Christ. While this theory does have a substantial ground among our Wesleyan-Methodist brethren, it is not the common position of classical or Reformed Arminians, Free Will Baptists or several other groups that share aspects of our soteriology. As with all atonement theories, they are just that, theories developed to express a theological perspective of the intricacies of Christ's work at Calvary. None of us hold a lock on such understanding and all of us might be and are likely to be wrong on some aspect of whatever theory we subscribe to. Nonetheless, it is prudent to keep the record clear on what we as classical Arminians do subscribe to. The following essay was published a few years ago by the President of Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN, J. Matthew Pinson, himself a noted Arminian scholar. The link to the original article is noted below.


THE NATURE OF ATONEMENT IN THE THEOLOGY OF JACOBUS ARMINIUS
J. Matthew Pinson

Jacobus Arminius is one of the best known and least studied theologians in the history of Christianity. His writings have been neglected by Calvinists and Arminians alike. Calvinists have disliked him because of his opposition to scholastic predestinarian theology. Most Arminians have neglected him because what little they have read of him reminds them more of Calvinism than they like. Arminius scholar Carl Bangs is correct when he says that most modern treatments of Arminius assume a definition of Arminianism that does not come from Arminius. Bangs states that most interpreters of Arminianism

begin with a preconception of what Arminius should be expected to say, then look in his published works, and do not find exactly what they are looking for. They show impatience and disappointment with his Calvinism, and shift the inquiry into some later period when Arminianism turns out to be what they are looking for—a non-Calvinistic, synergistic, and perhaps semi-Pelagian system. 

This is the approach many scholars have taken toward Arminius regarding his doctrine of atonement. For example, the Calvinist scholar Robert L. Reymond has said that the Arminian theory of atonement is the governmental theory, which “denies that Christ’s death was intended to pay the penalty for sin.” He claims that the governmental theory’s “germinal teachings are in Arminius.” Similarly, well-known Wesleyan-Arminian scholar James K. Grider states: “A spillover from Calvinism into Arminianism has occurred
in recent decades. Thus many Arminians whose theology is not very precise say that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Yet such a view is foreign to Arminianism.”

Recent scholars have taken one of two positions on the soteriology of Jacobus Arminius. One group says that his theology was a development of the Dutch Reformed theology of his day, while the other says that it was a departure from those Reformed categories. Scholars such as Carl Bangs and John Mark Hicks fall into the first category, while Richard Muller is a recent example of scholars who fit the second.

This article is representative of the first perspective. It argues that Arminius’s concept of the nature of atonement was consistent with the theology of atonement that characterized Reformed theology in the seventeenth century. This conclusion is not surprising, given Arminius’s description of himself as a Reformed theologian and his repeated affirmation of the Belgic Confession of Faith and Heidelberg Catechism. He made this clear in a letter to the Palatine Ambassador, Hippolytus a Collibus, in 1608: “I confidently declare that I have never taught anything, either in the church or in the university, which contravenes the sacred writings that ought to be with us the sole rule of thinking and of speaking, or which is opposed to the Belgic Confession or to the Heidelberg Catechism, that are our stricter formularies of consent.” Given the dearth of scholarship on Arminius’s theology of atonement and the current debates on the nature of atonement in the evangelical community, an understanding of Arminius’s doctrine of atonement provides fresh and valuable insight.

Read the full published article here.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Dr. Michael Brown vs. Dr. James White Concerning Predestination

The entire recent debate between these two men is available at SEA for no cost.

http://evangelicalarminians.org/dr-michael-brown-vs-dr-james-white-on-predestination-election-and-the-will-of-god/

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Goodness of God ... The Root of Arminian Theology

The following passage is a concise summation of what could be the defining principle of Arminian theology. It is certainly representative of my embrace of classical or Reformation Arminianism.

... It is clear that Arminius holds to a so-called "classical" doctrine of God. Within the simplicity of the Triune life, God is infinite goodness. Arminius understands this conviction to be grounded in the biblical revelation and articulated in the Christian tradition with the use of scholastic categories. It is utterly bedrock for his theology, and as we will see, it is particularly important for his doctrines of providence and predestination. Within the simplicity of the divine life, there are no parts or pieces -- thus there can be no competing wills within God. Within the perfection of divine aseity, God can lack nothing and can have no need -- not even the need for glorification through the display of justice or wrath. It is, for Arminius, literally unthinkable that the God of perfect, simple goodness and holy, unalterable love might create humans in his image for the purpose of destruction. On the contrary, humans can begin to glorify God by understanding that the divine purposes and the divine actions are perfectly in accord with the pure and simple goodness of the divine nature... Jacob Arminius, Theologian of Grace, Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall  Oxford University Press, NY, 2012, p. 81

This orthodox and ancient position is such a contrast to that of our Calvinist friends and their hyper-sovereignty and divine determinism doctrines. This exploration of Arminian theology is a must read in my opinion and I expect Stanglin and McCall's efforts will become a modern definitive work on the "root underpinnings" of classical Arminian theology.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Renowned Commentator Albert Barnes on the Extent of the Atonement

From the SEA website.


Albert Barnes (1798-1870), who was a graduate of Princeton Seminary and a long-time Presbyterian pastor (in New Jersey and then Philadelphia), is well known for his Notes: Explanatory and Practical, which covers the entire New Testament and portions of the Old Testament. Despite being from a Calvinist denomination, he was a proponent of unlimited atonement, which only underscores how obviously scriptural the doctrine is–even many Calvinists affirm it.
Here are some comments from Barnes in favor of unlimited atonement:
On 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: “For the love of Christ constraineth us
because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and
that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto
themselves but unto him which died for them and rose again.”–
“The phrase ‘for all’ (huper panton) obviously means for all
mankind; for every man. This is an exceedingly important expression in
regard to the extent of the atonement which the Lord Jesus made; and while
it proves that his death was vicarious, that is, in the place of others,
and for their sakes, it demonstrates also that the atonement was general,
and had, in itself considered, no limitation, and no particular reference
to any class or condition of men, and no particular applicability to one
class more than to another. There was nothing in the nature of the
atonement that limited it to any one class or condition; there was nothing
in the design that made it, in itself, any more applicable to one portion
of mankind than to another. And whatever be true in regard to the fact as
to its actual applicability, or in regard to the purpose of God to apply
it, it is demonstrated by this passage that his death had an original
applicability to all, and that the merits of that death were sufficient to
save all.

Read the rest here.