Friday, January 25, 2013
Saturday, July 7, 2012
This youtube clip is by former Calvinist, Steven L. Hitchcock, and author of "Recanting Calvinism" and I thought that he did a nice presentation on Romans chapter 9. In fact, he has several youtube clips, offering his explanation on why he recanted from Calvinism:
I have offered my own thoughts on the book of Romans here:
My next post will be a book review of "Calvinism: A Road to Nowhere", which is the author's explanation of why he felt that Calvinist arguments seemed to have a logical disfunction. Part of that disfunction brings to mind something that Calvinists sometimes will say: "Live like an Arminian, but think like a Calvinist." Having heard it espoused by my own Calvinist brother in Law, I wondered, "Why should an 'alleged' truth function, or misfunction, like that? So that will be something that I keep an eye on, as I review that book in my next Blog post.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
SBC stands for "Southern Baptist Convention," and you could make the argument that the SBC is: 1) Arminian, 2) Calvinist, 3) Neither and 4) Both.
In my estimation, when considering the John 3:16 Conference, apologetics books, recent activity within the SBC and the general consensus of SBC Presidents, it appears that a fair case can be made that the SBC leans most closely towards being functionally an "OSAS Arminian" denomination, even though the label itself is officially rejected. I tend not to get into the history of the Southern Baptist movement, because that is not really relevant to the question of whether the SBC is presently a Calvinist or Arminian denomination. The SBC Church that I presently attend is First Baptist Church Downtown Jacksonville, pastored by Mac Brunson, who espouses a theological perspective very closely resembling that of Jerry Vines, who sponsored the John 3:16 Conference. As a member of the Society of Evangelical Arminians, I may be biased in my outlook, but this is my perspective, for what it's worth.
Refer to Roger Olson's article as well.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Calvinist, John Piper, explains: “The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy displaying and magnifying His glory forever.”
Piper adds: “God’s eternal, radical, ultimate commitment to His own self-exaltation permeates Scripture. His aim is to be exalted, glorified, admired, magnified, praised and reverenced is seen to be the ultimate goal of all creation, all providence, and all saving acts.”
According to the video, non-Calvinist Christians are “megalomaniacs” if we think that God has done anything for us, or given us the gift of Christ, when in reality, everything that God has done, He has done for Himself, and for His own glory, and we just happen to be the beneficiaries of what God has done for Himself. As an illustration, Calvary is summed up this way: “Even Jesus’ death on the cross was for Him, for His glory, for His name sake. We just happened to be the beneficiaries of it.” Of course, the Calvinist forgot to add: “...if you are one of the secret elect.” That’s raw Calvinism, and the question is whether Calvinistic values align with God’s values.
To investigate, consider 1st Corinthians chapters 1 & 2, which are the values chapters, in which God’s values are contrasted with the world’s values. The Jews valued strength, and any Messiah who would not take on the Romans and rebuild a Jewish empire, was not a Messiah worth having. The Greeks valued the things of the world, and to just live it up, because this is the only world that is, and for anyone to deny himself in this life in favor of an imaginary world to come is just foolish (not knowing that the world was made by hands that are not seen). So the world despises what God values, and the book of Corinthians illustrates God’s usage of what *He* values in order to shame what the world values, that is, by using the weak, poor and humble in order to shame the strong, rich and noble.
Now ask yourself this question: What is the underlying value system of Calvinism and what is the underlying value system of Arminianism?
The Calvinist value-system values sovereignty, power, omnipotence, control, glory, and Calvinists say of the Arminian God that He is “weak,” that He “fails,” that He is “feeble” and “waits in quiet impotence at the door of man’s heart.” In contrast, the Arminian value-system values God’s love, God’s character, God’s mercy and God’s patience. Perhaps Calvinism values those things as well, but only to the extent to effectuate divine self-glorification, in order to flaunt attributes. So it stands to reason that if God despises what the world values, and if Calvinism values some of the very same things (power, control and glory), then it stands to reason that God despises Calvinism. That’s just simple deduction, and the numbers add up to Calvinism being an affront to God.
Footnote: Despite my differences of opinion with Todd Friel's Calvinistic beliefs, I'm thrilled that he is a Christian, and there are many issues in which Calvinists and Arminians enjoy fellowship and agreement. The Calvinist/Arminian controversy does not represent the totality of Christian theology, as there are many things that we can agree on, and stand together in.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
The thrust of the disinformation could go something along the lines of: This could not have been a Rapture because of A, B and C, and then the devil would simply have to fill in the blanks. What follows is one potential scenario. The first part “A” would have to be a straw man argument, that is, some kind of easy softball that immediately wins the rational mind into agreement. The second part “B” will have to be a genuine appeal to the core values of a liberal. The third part “C” will have to be a bald-faced lie that is designed to get the deceived to emotionally root against any Rapture explanation.
So the disinformation could go something along the lines of: We know that this could not have been “The Rapture” because, A) [here comes a strawman argument] there were no cataclysmic catastrophes involving rolling earthquakes around the globe, starting with New Zealand. (Chuckle chuckle.) So we can safely rule out any wild Rapture theories. [People like Harold Camping have helped to make such strawman arguments very easy to construct.] Secondly, we know that this could not have been a Rapture because, B) [and here comes the emotional appeal] good people of all faiths are still here, and God would not leave behind indisputably good people who, in some cases, have spent an entire lifetime devoting themselves to the noble causes of social justice, in order to make this world a better place for all of humanity. Thirdly, we know that this could not have been a Rapture because, C) [here comes the bald-faced lie to get people to root against a Rapture explanation] if a Rapture did take place, it would mean that we are all damned, and are we going to give in to fear and doubt, or are we going get back on our feet, and rise to meet these new challenges? I can tell you that we will not give in to wild conspiracy theories, but instead, deal with the realities that face us, which in the end, will only serve to make us a better and strong society because of it.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Two points that I thought interesting were the following:
1) There are two ways to look at the reality of sin in our universe. Either God’s plan will succeed despite the existence of sin, and that sin contributes nothing positive to the cosmos, or according to Calvinism (or at least Determinism), God’s plans will succeed through the utilitarian necessity of purpose-based, God-ordained sin, insomuch that the success of God’s plan required the existence of sin, which sin, Determinism holds was immutably scripted by God, in which there exists no form of independent thought, outside of God’s own predeterminations. However, I operate under the assumption that God doesn't need sin, and never did, in order to obtain the most amount of glory. I think that God uses sin, but I don't think that He needs it for any reason, and I agree with Roger Olson that sin contributes nothing positive to the cosmos. God will be perfectly glorified throughout eternity future, without the existence of a single sin. It is completely unnecessary to God's goodness and glory. Sin was born in the angelic realm through the rebellion of Satan and his fallen angels and born in the earthly realm through the rebellion of Adam and Eve. God didn't create it, never needed it, never wanted it, but will use it, proving that He can still achieve success despite it. When Calvinists differ, Arminians accuse them of diminishing God's goodness and ultimately making God and the devil indistinguishable, and then kaboom!, Calvinists erupt. It's an odd thing to me, but it was kind of a humorous moment in the youtube clip. "Read my book," says Olson, "and I'll see you back here."
2) The prevailing Calvinist view is that in order for a particular theology to be considered truly "God-centered," human decision must play no role in salvation, whatsoever. But if you suppose that God possessed the power and sovereign freedom to select either the Calvinist or Arminian plan of salvation, then it seems to follow that either hypothetical plan of salvation would be "God-centered," simply by virtue of the fact that He chose it, and is getting the most out of it, as opposed to whatever alternative option that He could have chosen instead. So even if human decision played a role in salvation, that is, for a person to either accept or reject God's offer and provision of grace at Calvary, I gather that it would still have to be considered, "God-centered," and I think that the argument works both ways. You can look at it from a bunch of different angles, and claim one alternative as superior to another (in terms of God-centeredness), but ultimately, it seems that the mere fact of God's choice guarantees that the plan selected (whichever it may be) has be God-centered by definition. I think this also applies to the sovereignty arguments. For instance, if you suppose that God could have preferred and chosen the Arminian plan of salvation over the Calvinist plan of salvation, then if the former was in fact what God had selected, it could not detract from His sovereignty if that's what He had chosen from His sovereign prerogative to choose it. A non-Calvinist Baptist pastor once stated from the pulpit, "I believe that God is so sovereign that free will presents no problem to His sovereignty." That's why I think that it's silly to suppose that God could have chosen the less-sovereign plan of salvation, since either one would be THE sovereign plan if it results from His sovereign right to choose it. In other words, the whole argument on God-centeredness and sovereignty is fundamentally silly.
Monday, April 11, 2011
"Son, I have pastored for 30 years (any answer that starts out like that is bound to be good), and during that time I have married 'em, and I have buried 'em (which is to say that in his pastoral duties, he has performed both weddings and funerals), and I can tell you that when you bury 'em, they STAY dead...No, it's the ones that you marry that comes back to haunt ya. You put 'em in the ground; they stay there. They behave themselves. Nah, you marry 'em, and they are COMING BACK, and they WILL getcha."
I guess the Jersey Devil didn't scare him at all, but a couple devils at the alter apparently got him pretty good.