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Archive for the ‘Arminianism’ Category

I’ve been laughing at the SPNC for the past 15 years. It should be clear that there’s nothing new here. However, it should also be clear that there is a great deal of amusement. Catechism is important, but it is even more important which catechism you choose. Can I get an Ay-men?!

1. Q: What is the chief end of each individual Christian?
A: Each individual Christian’s chief end is to get saved. This is the first and great commandment.

2. Q: And what is the second great commandment?
A: The second, which is like unto it, is to get as many others saved as he can.

3. Q: What one work is required of thee for thy salvation?
A: It is required of me for my salvation that I make a Decision for Christ, which meaneth to accept Him into my heart to be my personal lord and saviour… that’s right savioUr. That’s the spiritual way of spelling that word.

4. Q: At what time must thou perform this work?
A: I must perform this work at such time as I have reached the Age of Accountability.

5. Q: At what time wilt thou have reached this Age?
A: That is a trick question. (more…)

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I woke up early today (6 AM) and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to start the day early. Part of that early start was some devotional reading though 2 Thessalonians. Very interesting letter, to be sure.

Saint Paul of Tarsus

One interesting part is that Paul boldly asserts what many Christians simply do not believe: “God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess 2:13-14). Both classical Arminianism and historic Semi-Pelagianism (in different ways) assert that God chooses us because we choose him. Paul (as we shall see, contrasting the believers with the ungodly Gospel deniers of Thessaloniki) artlessly asserts that God chose the Thessalonian Christians. At this point, I pause to wait for all the yeahbuts… (more…)

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I ran across a gorgeous little ditty from John Calvin today. It fits into the discussion about God’s will and the salvation of people. Calvin’s little tract is called “Articles concerning Predestination”; it’s found in a volume translated and edited by J.K.S. Reid entitled Calvin: Theological Treatises. In that the article is short, I will reproduce the whole thing below and then add some comments afterward.

Articles concerning Predestination

Before the first man was created, God in his eternal counsel had determined what he willed to be done with the whole human race.

In the hidden counsel of God it was determined that Adam should fall from the unimpaired condition of his nature, and by his defection should involve all his posterity in sentence of eternal death.

Upon the same decree depends the distinction between elect and reprobate: as he adopted some for himself for salvation, he destined others for eternal ruin. (more…)

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Here’s one of the things I’ve been wondering for years: what do people actually mean when they utter or write the words “God want everyone to be saved”? These words are commonly used; it is regularly asserted of God that he wants everyone to be saved. In this post, I do not offer an answer to this question. This is partly because I don’t tend to use this sort of language. Even so, I do seek to understand what folks mean when they use it. Thus, I want to press beyond sloganizing and get past mere equivocation. I want to begin to explore some different possible meanings of that proposition to see if I can make sense out of them without doing damage to classical Christian theology. What I mean by that is that Christians have almost always (rightly) held that God is self-consistent, that is, consistent with himself. Now, sometimes it takes some work for us to understand that consistency, but it is always there. So, let’s move forward and consider possible meanings for this very common sentiment. (more…)

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Don't be a hater...

For the past 14 years I’ve been engaged in theological discussion. I’ve grown a tremendous amount through these discussions, and I owe my eschatology and ethics (for starters) to brothers in Christ who took the time to *argue* with me.  Now, when I say *argue*, I don’t mean be a jerk or call nasty names. What it means that brothers were willing to listen to my ideas with understanding and engage with them. They were willing to love me enough to challenge my false notions. This is what brothers are for… well, at least one thing they’re for.

Most of my theological discussions have taken place face-to-face (or, more accurately, side-to-side). My deep preference is to sit down with a brother, light up a cigar (more…)

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What's the Problem?

With all the hubbub surrounding the atonement of late, some comments have surfaced that are quite interesting as to what people think Calvinists think (and say). These comments are telling, as some of them indicate that Calvinism’s being opposed, but  not fully understood. (That, by the way, is a VERY important point, as “Ready! Fire! Aim!” is not the best method.) One of my friends (a genuinely intelligent, well read, and well-intentioned brother in Christ) made this comment:

So once again “everyone who believes” is justified. Reminds me of John’s gospel saying “whosoever will”. Funny how these phrases keep popping up in regard to the unlimited extent of the atonement.

Now, of course it is a non sequitur to think that “whosoever will” implies an “unlimited extent” to the atonement. (more…)

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This is how I make people feel.

Causing embarrassment in others is nothing new to me… just ask my immediate family. I own it. I do dumb stuff. I think even mere Facebook friends would agree. Well, it seems I’ve outdone even myself this time. I’ve gone and made my friend, Billy Birch, all embarrassed by my lack of exegetical prowess. These are new and uncharted waters for me. Usually it’s my lack of taste, decorum, or personal hygiene that causes others to blush in embarrassment, not my lack of exegetical prowess. Let’s see what I can do to sort all this out.

Indulge me, kind reader, to remind you the purpose of my post, the one that’s caused all this embarrassment. I set out to list a handful of texts from which Calvinists have historically drawn their doctrine of limited atonement. I decided to compose this short list (more…)

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