Friday, May 23, 2008

A Great New Calvinist Dictionary

Kevin Jackson at Seekadoo has put together a great Calvinist dictionary to help us understand the "truths of Calvinism" better when we interact with our esteemed brethren. This should help us know our place when we engage in the debate.

Calvinist Dictionary

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rising In A Newness Of Life - Regeneration

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Ro 6:4 AV)

That perpetual battle popped up again today. This is one of those struggles between Calvinists and the rest of the Body of Christ that will never cease until the sound of the Trump. When are men regenerated? Before faith or after? Before rising in newness of life or after the old man and his foul deeds is buried? I cannot understand the mind that states the old man is regenerated before faith is evidenced and a new creation (which is what being regenerated refers to) rises in Christ. It makes faith of absolutely no consequence to being born again or saved. Of course our Calvinist friends attempt to separate being born again from being saved but they do so out of a philosophical construct rather than clear scripture. In effect, Calvinists must defend the unscriptural notion of two separate regenerations, one creating a "new old man" and a second regeneration, a new creation, rising out the death of the old man. In a discussion earlier today, a Calvinist fellow suggested that this rising as a new creation, this walking in newness of life following the death and burial of the old man was not being created new or regenerated but was a process of sanctification. While I do not doubt an on-going sanctification as a work of the Holy Spirit in every believer's life, at some point one has to acknowledge there is a newness of life following a death. To regenerate is not to kill but to make new, to recreate.

Paul uses the expression "walk in newness of life" to proclaim the Christian expectation in opposition to the charge of antinomianism. We are to be who we are, new creatures in Christ, born again with the Spirit of God as our guiding light. The passage noted above is not suggesting we will become something new at some point down the road. No, it is an admonishment to become what we are, to bring our condition in Christ at par with our position in Christ. We are already new creations in Christ and God Forbid, as the Apostle put it, that sin should be our norm, our desire or what gives cause to our thoughts and actions. Sinful is not who we are. We are the Righteousness of God by being in Christ and submissive to the desires of the Holy Spirit. We became new creations when that old man of ours, full of sin and deeds uncountable, was put to death through our faith in the LORD Jesus Christ and we rose out of that grave as something new, something not held by our sinful past and one with the LORD instead of enslaved to sinful desire.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Are Calvinists Open Theists?

Richard Coords of Examining Calvinism raised a fascinating question for our Calvinist brethren over on the CARM discussion boards. He asks “Are Calvinists Open Theists who believe that God MUST decree everything in order to know anything?”. The question seeks to examine whether Calvinists constrict the LORD’s omniscience to a pattern of decrees and I for one look forward to the replies IF there is a sound Calvinist willing to step up to the task.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What Is The Sovereignty Of The LORD?

There is no soul in Christ who does not believe it. There is no soul within orthodoxy who demeans it. There are plenty who misapply it. It means, in it's simplest terms, that the LORD is LORD over all. As LORD, He has determined how the order of all things shall be and in the case of mankind, made in His image and endued with rights and privileges shared by no other creation, He has, in His sovereign will, freed men to believe through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ without regard to a partiality of any sort. That is the witness of scripture and is wholly within His sovereign authority.

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Ro 10:8-11 AV)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

While not Arminian specifically, Jerry Vines Ministries is hosting a two day conference on November 6th and 7th, 2008 to discuss and examine Calvinism's TULIP acronym. Rather than conduct a campaign against Calvinism, the conference desires, in its organizers words, "to be a biblical and theological assessment of and response to 5-point Calvinism". The noted speakers will examine each of the points of TULIP over the course of the conference.

John 3:16 - Dr. Jerry Vines

Total Depravity - Dr. Paige Patterson

Unconditional Election - Dr. Richard Land

Limited Atonement - Dr. David Allen

Irresistible Grace - Dr. Steve Lemke

Perseverance of the Saints - Dr. Ken Keathley

John 3:16 to the entire world - Dr. Charles Stanley

For those interested the link below will take you to the info site for this conference.

John 3:16 Conference

Friday, May 09, 2008

Arminius and the Will of Man

On October 30th 1608, the esteemed James Arminius of the University of Leyden appeared before the gathered representatives of the states of Holland at the Hague to deliver an address concerning his sentiments regarding several issues of contention among certain Calvinist sectarians. Much accusation had been made against Arminius by Franciscus Gomarus who had attributed several false beliefs to Arminius and many like-minded followers. Standing an examination by ministers called to consider these charges, Arminius successfully defended his beliefs and teachings and it was following this defense that he offered these sentiments to make clear his positions. One of these positions is a response to a charge still improperly leveled at much of the body of Christ today, the free will of man, or a semi-Pelagian viewpoint not born out by the actual teachings targeted by strict Calvinists such as Gomarus. Arminius made clear his sentiments regarding free will in the following statement that should leave no doubt in the minds of sensible men that Arminians, each reformation minded, do not subscribe to Pelagian ideals nor trust in the good inclinations of natural man. Strict Calvinists continue to broadcast such charges today but as the direct statements of Arminius attest, there is no ground for such accusations.

From A Declaration of the Sentiments of Arminius

This is my opinion concerning the free-will of man: In his primitive condition as he came out of the hands of his creator, man was endowed with such a portion of knowledge, holiness and power, as enabled him to understand, esteem, consider, will, and to perform the true good, according to the commandment delivered to him. Yet none of these acts could he do, except through the assistance of Divine Grace. But in his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections or will, and in all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, consider, will, and perform whatever is truly good. When he is made a partaker of this regeneration or renovation, I consider that, since he is delivered from sin, he is capable of thinking, willing and doing that which is good, but yet not without the continued aids of Divine Grace.

Arminius on the Free Will of Man