Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Best Calvinist Primer You Can Read

Having read the Institutes a few times and making myself familiar with several of the leading lights of the Calvinist faith, I think I have found the holy grail of understanding Calvinist doctrine. It is written in a subtle fashion, hopefully for throwing the two dimensional riffraff off balance. Give it a try and see if it doesn't bring some clarity to the matter of understanding the myriad of Calvinist teachings bumping into each other.

Read the article here.

Bitter Orange

Re-post from Dec 30, 2010 ...

We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.

The 2nd Council of Orange met to stir the pot of contention. Well, perhaps they didn't think of it like that but looking back at the canon pronouncements that came out of that council in 529 AD, they covered considerable controversial ground. Prevenient grace, total depravity, semi-Augustinianism, semi-Pelagianism, strict determinism, baptism, free will and all the questions swirling around these topics continue to generate a lot of controversy today. Perhaps the most notable contribution of 2nd Orange was its affirmation of the total depravity of man in his natural state and the necessity of prevenient grace to give any impetus to natural man to accomplish or perform any good. The council determined that faith itself and every aspect of salvation is by grace and not through any innate capability of men. These decisions form the basis for western orthodox understandings of total depravity as it regards fallen man and present the case against the predilections of the Pelagians or semi-Pelagians. As orthodox Arminians, we can be grateful for the distinctions made by this council and turn to the document to refute misplaced allegations made against us by the Neo-Reformed in accusing us of the errors of Pelagius and his close follower, Caelestius.

It is the allegations made by Neo-Reformed polemicists that raise the hackles of non-Calvinists and give cause to question their knowledge of the document they brandish. Along with the challenges to the doctrines of man's fallen condition via the semi-Pelagians, 2nd Orange also addressed the aberrant teachings of some who took Augustine's predestination teachings to infer that the LORD predestined all men, some to salvation and others to eternal reprobation. Such teachings were regarded by the elders of the church to have God foreordaining or predestining men to sin and were abhorred as such. Essentially, double predestination was deemed to be anathema and equivalent of making God to be the effecter or author of sin. Today's moderate Calvinists strenuously object to the implication made by this examination while some of their harsher advocates make little effort to distance themselves from the hard determinism that brought about this anathematizing. None of this would really matter were it not for the abuse of 2nd Orange against non-Calvinists through the accusation of Pelagianism. These accusations have always rung hollow but they continue even to this day, among those that intellectually know better than to repeat the charges. Oddly, every time the Calvinist swings his accusing club relying on Orange, he receives a doubly disabling return blow by his own hand. Every instance of shouting "free will Pelagian" gives the retort of "damnable heretic" if the canons of 2nd Orange are his weapon of choice. Eventually, the Calvinist clubs himself senseless, rhetorically speaking. The following provide further links and information on this matter.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Arminius on Faith in God and Christ

I have reposted this entry in coordination of exploring the relationship between faith and regeneration as it pertains to Arminius' soteriology. This was originally posted on Sept 04, 2010.

The following comments reflect Arminius' thoughts regarding faith in God and the person and work of Jesus Christ.
1. In the preceding disputation, we have treated on the first part of that obedience which is yielded to the vocation of God. The second part now follows, which is called "the obedience of faith."
2. Faith, generally, is the assent given to truth; and divine faith is that which is given to truth divinely revealed. The foundation on which divine faith rests is two-fold — the one external and out of or beyond the mind — the other internal and in the mind.
(1.) The external foundation of faith is the very veracity of God who makes the declaration, and who can declare nothing that is false.
(2.) The internal foundation of faith is two-fold — both the general idea by which we know that God is true — and the knowledge by which we know that it is the word of God. Faith is also two-fold, according to the mode of revelation, being both legal and evangelical, of which the latter comes under our present consideration, and tends to God and Christ.
3. Evangelical faith is an assent of the mind, produced by the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, in sinners, who, through the law, know and acknowledge their sins, and are penitent on account of them, by which they are not only fully persuaded within themselves that Jesus Christ has been constituted by God the author of salvation to those who obey him, and that he is their own Savior if they have believed in him, and by which they also believe in him as such, and through him on God as the benevolent Father in him, to the salvation of believers and to the glory of Christ and God.
4. The object of faith is not only the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but likewise Christ himself who is here constituted by God the author of salvation to those that obey him.
5. The form is the assent that is given to an object of this description; which assent is not acquired by a course of reasoning from principles known by nature; but it is an assent infused above the order of nature, which, yet, is confirmed and increased by the daily exercises of prayers and mortification of the flesh, and by the practice of good works. Knowledge is antecedent to faith; for the Son of God is beheld before a sinner believes on him. But trust or confidence is consequent to it; for, through faith, confidence is placed in Christ, and through him in God.
6. The author of faith is the Holy Spirit, whom the Son sends from the Father, as his advocate and substitute, who may manage his cause in the world and against it. The instrument is the gospel, or the word of faith, containing the meaning concerning God and Christ which the Spirit proposes to the understanding, and of which he there works a persuasion.
7. The subject in which it resides, is the mind, not only as it acknowledges this object to be true, but likewise to be good, which the word of the gospel declares. Wherefore, it belongs not only to the theoretical understanding, but likewise to that of the affections, which is practical.
8. The subject to which [it is directed], or the object about which [it is occupied], is sinful man, acknowledging his sins, and penitent on account of them. For this faith is necessary for salvation to him who believes; but it is unnecessary to one who is not a sinner; and, therefore, no one except a sinner, can know or acknowledge Christ for his Savior, for he is the Savior of sinners. The end, which we intend for our own benefit, is salvation in its nature. But the chief end is the glory of God through Jesus Christ.
"Was the faith of the patriarchs under the covenants of promise, the same as ours under the New Testament, with regard to its substance?" We answer in the affirmative.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Misrepresentation - Soteriology 101

An interesting read ...


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why Hyper-Calvinism Is Consistent Calvinism - Roger E.Olson

Why Hyper-Calvinism Is Consistent Calvinism

I know, I know. I will be accused of being “uncharitable” simply for deconstructing Calvinism. Apparently what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander. I have at least twenty-five volumes about Calvinism by leading Calvinist theologians on my bookshelf (and these are only examples of contemporary Calvinism!). All contain attempted deconstructions of Arminianism—attempts to demonstrate its inner contradictions and its ultimate illegitimacy as biblical theology. I don’t consider that “uncharitable” so long as the authors do not misrepresent Arminian theology—which they often do. Even then I don’t consider it uncharitable unless I suspect they knew better or should have known better. I do consider it uncharitable when they say things like “Arminians are Christians—just barely” and “Arminianism is on the brink of heresy” and the best explanation for Arminianism is “demonic deception” and “one can no more be an ‘Arminian evangelical’ than a ‘Catholic evangelical’.” I don’t take offense or consider it uncharitable when a Calvinist says Arminianism is “profoundly mistaken” or that Arminians are guilty of a “felicitous inconsistency.” I disagree but do not take offense or consider such claims “uncharitable.”

Read more:

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.

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