Friday, April 30, 2010

A Serious Resource for the Study of Arminius and Limborch

Dr. John Mark Hicks has made available his dissertation entitled The Theology of Grace in the Thought of Jacobus Arminius and Philip van Limborch: A Study in the Development of Seventeenth Century Dutch Arminianism.
While not published in book form at this time, the dissertation has been cited academically, notably in Dr. Roger Olson's Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. I will certainly have this on my reading list for the coming weeks.

Censored by a Triabloke … drat, what will I ever do?

I generally avoid wasting bandwidth at a couple of internet sites run by some of the knuckleheaded extreme Calvinists out there. Marc Carpenter's "Outside The Camp" craziness and the Triabloke blogspot site run by a guy named Hays are a couple of them. Occasionally I will browse and toy with a response to a comment but I generally do so with fairly low expectations of receiving anything of merit to note. I jumped into the comment section of the latter site to reply to an inquiry made by a poor visitor who seemed unaware of what lurked in the Triabloke bushes.

He wrote:

Is there any mystery to the relationship between God's sovereignty and human action?
As you know, W.L. Craig cited Turretin to show that Reformed theologians are "self-confessedly left with a mystery." When I read your material, I get the impression that you don't think there is any mystery involved.

I replied with the following:

The quandary exists among both Calvinists and Arminians. For the Arminian, the tension is with explaining why one turns to the LORD and another resists. We do not know. However, with the Calvinist, the antinomy is irreconcilable. Divine determinism is excused from responsibility. From the Arminian perspective, the Calvinist conflict between divine determination and human accountability does far more damage to God's character and goodness than our lack of comprehension for why a man resists the grace of God and another does not resist.

I guess it was too much to throw at the poor soul because Hays censored my remark to avoid giving him that kind of dangerous information. It's too bad the guy who made the inquiry didn't have an email or blog contact. I would have avoided the post.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Semper Reformanda! My Arminian Fellows

Thinking of this phrase earlier, I wondered how many Google hits I could find with this sedate phrase. I came up with 66,900, with safe search on obviously to keep the Triabloke bloggers at bay. At least the first two or three pages were mostly hardcore Calvinist websites obviously pleased to mouth a phrase few of them have paused to consider. Always reforming is the catch phrase or more historically, Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda loosely translated as the church reformed, always reforming. I can understand Luther's purpose and his mindset that we should always have reform in mind when dealing with the doctrines of the church to guard against ingrained error. I have never understood the Calvinist entrenchment of their dogmatic instruction as anything to be held up as semper reformanda. If anything could be held to be consistent and accurate to the intent of the phrase, it would be Arminius and his challenge of what he demonstrated to be gross error and deviation from simple scriptural truths. Always examining scripture and reforming oneself from the poorly devised doctrines that call for review, the true Reformation minded soul should be open to examination, receptive to clearly expressed scriptural truths, averse to antinomic conclusions. If anything at all, the Arminian can proclaim Semper Reformanda and do so with clearer conviction than the Calvinist who never budges from long rebutted dogma. For that matter we might reclaim the phrase Doctrines of Grace and give it proper due.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some Interesting Links to Keep Handy Regarding the Orthodoxy of Libertarian Free Will vs. Calvinist Determinism

Arminian Chronicles provides an interesting collection of quotes of the Early Church Fathers supporting the orthodoxy of libertarian free will.

Kevin Jackson of the Wesleyan Arminian blog offered a link of ECF quotes providing much the same as Dan at Arminian Chronicles.

The following offers another collection of quotes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh, How the World Hates Christ and His Disciples

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you." (Joh 15:18-16:4 AV)

Of course we should not be surprised but at times the vitriolic spite is shocking. Pray for those who hold you in contempt.

Signs and Wonders … A Quandary for the Neo-Calvinist

"And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all [quarters], he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named ├ćneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, ├ćneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord." (Ac 9:32-35 AV)

Let's marry that to this …

"Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." (John 4:48 AV)

How is it that people can come to believe and turn to the LORD through the witness of signs and wonders? I suppose it is much the same as knowing that the power of God unto salvation is found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16). Our Calvinist fellows would have us believe that salvation is through some caricature of predestinated election independent of any response on the part of men and women yet here we see men and women witnessing miracles and believing because of it. How do Calvinists explain themselves to the children of God?

(Thanks to Richard Coords for the thought on this subject)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

An Outline of the FACTS of Arminianism vs. the TULIP of Calvinism

The Society of Evangelical Arminians provides this wonderful comparison of the facts of Christianity as most Christians understand them with the dogma derived from the machinations of Calvinism's Synod of Dordt. Dr. Brian Abasciano and Martin Glynn provide the comparison on the SEA website.