Some Young Calvinists Are Misrepresenting and Even Bashing Arminianism According to Roger Olson

"One day a very fine, eager, passionate theology student followed me from class to my office. . . He sat next to my desk and said (I quote): 'Dr. Olson, I am sorry to tell you this, but you are not a Christian.' "

Dr. Roger Olson (link)

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=132928&picture=no-trespassingA man holding up his hand in a stopping gesture

Remember that scene in The Fugitive (starring Harrison Ford) where Richard Kimble phones U.S. Marshall Sam Gerard from the one-armed man's apartment to say he is trying to solve a puzzle and has just found a big piece (photos and tax returns)?  That's exactly how I felt when I read Dr. Roger Olson's post Would Someone Please Rein in Some of the "Young Calvinists"?

Dr. Olson is Professor of Christian Theology of Ethics at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University. You can read his entire biography here.

What puzzle piece did I just discover in Dr. Olson's article? I believe he revealed the beginnings of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement. Here is what Dr. Olson shared in his post:

It all began…one day in (I think it was) 1985. I had begun teaching theology at evangelical Bethel College and Seminary in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota one year earlier. Very soon after joining that faculty I began to hear from both colleagues and students conflicting opinions about two former Bethel professors: John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Both had left Bethel and gone to teach at other positions before I arrived. (I had met Piper briefly and only in passing when I visited Bethel a couple years before I joined the faculty. He left Bethel to pastor Bethlehem Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis.)

It soon became clear to me that Piper and Grudem had left a “bad taste” in some faculty members’ mouths due to perceived “pontificating” about certain theological and church-related issues. Others, however, were sorry to see them leave and missed them; they felt they had a good influence on the institution and especially the students. I had no opinion—yet. I only knew of Piper through an article he wrote in HIS magazine—the monthly publication of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I still have it in my files; it is about so-called “Christian Hedonism.” I found nothing especially objectionable about the article itself although I realized that many people would misunderstand the meaning of the apparent oxymoron…

One day a very fine, eager, passionate theology student followed me from class to my office. (I still remember his name after all these years!) He sat next to my desk and said (I quote): “Dr. Olson, I am sorry to tell you this, but you are not a Christian.” Naturally, to say the least, I was taken aback. I asked him why he would say that. His answer was “Because you’re not a Calvinist.” I then asked him where he got the idea that a non-Calvinist could not be a Christian. His response: “From my pastor—John Piper.” Years later (in about 1998) I had occasion to speak directly with Piper about that and he insisted that he never said non-Calvinists could not be Christians. I pointed out to him that many of his “Piper cubs” (what we at Bethel came to call students who followed him) believed such. He admitted that was probably true but claimed they were misunderstanding him. Since then I have read many of Piper’s books and watched/listened to many of his podcasts and have indeed never heard him say that a non-Calvinist cannot be a Christian. However, I believe I do see how a naïve, impressionable, young, “newly minted” Calvinist might (mis)interpret some of what he says that way.

So I feel that there is a sense in which, unlike many others who have written and spoken about the YRRM, I was there “at the beginning.”

This was exciting information because Dee and I have suspected for quite some time that the seeds of the Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement (YRRM) were first planted in the hearts and minds of the students at Bethel College, where John Piper and Wayne Grudem taught together. Here is a short bio describing John Piper's education and early career.

http://blackchristiannews.com/blogs/johnpiper/author/wayne-grudem/

Piper taught at Bethel College for six years after finishing his doctorate. Then he was called to pastor Bethlehem Baptist Church where he served until his retirement in 2013.

Wayne Grudem also taught at Bethel College, although his biography fails to mention his early career. (see screen shot below)

http://www.waynegrudem.com/about/

However, John Piper confirmed that he and Wayne Grudem were colleagues at Bethel College (see excerpt below):

Lots of people know that Wayne Grudem and I are the deepest of friends. We love to room together at conferences. We love to do things together with our wives. We were both in seminary together for a season. We have co-edited a book together. We taught together at Bethel College.

Wayne Grudem left Bethel around 1981 and taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) for the next 20 years. In 2001 he began teaching at Phoenix Seminary where he remains. Apparently, one of the factors for the move was finding a better climate for his wife.

It is certainly noteworthy that Bruce Ware (Eternal Subordination of the Son to the Father (ESS) proponent)  taught at Bethel Seminary beginning in 1984. According to an article in the Baptist Press:

Ware joined ETS in 1984 during his first year of teaching at Bethel Seminary and in the years since has been on the front lines of upholding biblical truth within evangelicalism.

The article goes on to state that Bruce Ware joined the Southern Seminary faculty in 1998 where he continues to teach. And here is Ware's bio at the Theopedia website:

http://www.theopedia.com/bruce-wareAnd then there's Tom Schreiner who taught at Bethel Seminary. Todd Wilhelm wrote a post two years ago tying together Bruce Ware and Tom Schreiner, who have been colleagues at Southern Seminary for quite some time.

It is fascinating that these four men who have embraced the Young, Restless, and Reformed Movement – John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, and Tom Schreiner – all spent part of their early careers teaching at either Bethel College or Seminary.  And I believe each one of them contributed to the tome Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womahood which was first published in 1991 (somehow it became Christianity Today's 'Book of the Year'). Blech!

Getting back to the topic of this post, Roger Olson began the article as follows:

For those of you who do not know, I have been involved in a controversy with the American neo-Calvinists (“Young, Restless, Reformed”)—especially their leaders—for many years. While I respect their passion for the glory of God, I have criticized them on for two errors: 1) A rampant, almost endemic (to the movement) arrogance about Calvinism, and 2) A frequent tendency to misrepresent alternative views. Even some Reformed theologians have addressed the first error; very few have stepped up to ask their followers to be fair to non-Calvinist Christians.

Several years ago Roger Olson wrote a book entitled Against Calvinism, which we highly recommend. Olson is being told by his students and others that… 

many eager young, newly minted Calvinists are still going around misrepresenting Arminianism. In most cases, when they are asked where they got their (mis)information they point to another Calvinist. Hardly any that I have talked with or heard about have ever read any true Arminian authors—at least on this subject of divine sovereignty.

Olson goes on to reveal that one reason he started his blog is to correct misinformation and misinterpretation about Arminian theology. Then he explains the crux of his post:

Every once in a while, however, I am contacted by a pastor, youth minister, residence hall director, etc., informing me that they have once again heard some enthusiastic young Calvinist, often returning from a Calvinist-influenced youth conference, bashing Arminianism while misrepresenting it. This pattern is so common that I have come to believe that bashing Arminianism is endemic to the new Calvinism (if not also the “old”). In other words, at least in America if not elsewhere, the new Calvinism is a “coin” with two equally important sides: 1) promoting Calvinism, and 2) bashing Arminianism. Of course, “bashing” is a relative term; must of it is in the eye of the beholder. So let me be specific. Here it means misrepresenting Arminianism in order to turn people away from it. Some who do this what they are doing; others do not know what they are doing.

When those in the Calvinist camp attempt to get the upper hand by misrepresenting and even bashing Arminianism, it says A LOT about their character as well as their movement.

I for one am grateful that Dr. Olson is calling out leaders of the Young, Restless and Reformed Movement and other leading Calvinists and asking them to tell their newly-minted disciples to STOP IT!

Just STOP IT!!!


Comments

Some Young Calvinists Are Misrepresenting and Even Bashing Arminianism According to Roger Olson — 533 Comments

  1. “Several years ago Roger Olson wrote a book entitled Against Calvinism, which we highly recommend.” – Deb

    I will definitely be getting this. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Off-topic announcement.

    Shauna’s son Billy in Texas (Dee wrote about their story) is a growing young man in high school. He needs more clothes and shoes, which Shauna can’t afford on her limited income.
    There is a list of his current needs on the Open Discussion thread and a discussion taking place over there…for anyone interested in buying and sending him some clothing or shoes.
    Thank you!

  3. @ Velour:
    I agree!
    I had a Great Uncle, Fleming Haas, who was principal of one of the first “continuation” high schools in CA. I run into his former students occasionally. One of them told me, “He was a tough S.O.B.! I really needed that.”

  4. “I for one am grateful that Dr. Olson is calling out leaders of the Young, Restless and Reformed Movement and other leading Calvinists and asking them to tell their newly-minted disciples to STOP IT!” – Deb

    The NeoCalvinists/YRR can barely contain themselves. After all, they run around telling each other that they were among God’s Elect/The *Chosen* before the ‘beginning of time’.

    I heard that arrogant drivel from the pastors/elders and hard-core NeoCalvinist members at my ex-gulag, I mean “church”.

  5. I think at the foundation a lot of our theologies and the way we perceive reality can be defense mechanisms and projections, and not actual true belief association and formation: connecting as much as we are able holistically with reality, with what is actually going on around us.

    If someone is operating and forming their views on God based off projection or any other sort of defense mechanism, you get something really strange and cold and non-loving of neighbor, the result feels totalitarian or hostile.

    Or you have the other extreme of a faux-happy persona that is actually in a lot of pain and is a sign of dissociation and unhealthy need to control self, others, etc. Like the former, it is a way to bring about and force your own validation that you are afraid is not there, the real thing you do not want to face. I think the prosperity gospel would represent this in the church.

    It’s interesting as it is coming out that the whole positive thinking mantra movement and “everything is wonderful!” mentality is actually a sign of possible psychological pathology in a person or even a precursor or handmaiden to mental illness or maybe a potential personality disorder.

    Because in that overly positive mindset, you are not correctly engaging with reality, with things as they really are. Life is a mixture of good or bad or up and down and top or bottom type of things and circumstances. Some and maybe most of which you do not have that much control over.

    Saying “It’s sunny!” outside when it’s clearly storming is actually delusion, for instance. And those who live and talk this way tend to socially shame or isolate people who try to point out otherwise as being inferior and “othering” them in different ways. So the hostility is still the end result. So maybe it’s more two sides of the same coin, with the typical *angry* young Calvinists and the prosperity believer, two seemingly polar opposite theological systems, because it all ends with and betrays a form of hostility.

    The young angry Calvinists, they misrepresent others because they do not truly understand or properly attach to their own beliefs. They may hold to their beliefs as a way to not actually deal with certain parts of the self and true suspicions about God they feel uncomfortable with.

    They lack empathy, because they have not truly engaged with their heart and mind all the opposing arguments and perspectives. They have not thought carefully through their own stuff with humility.

    Their theology is ultimately a projection of something or defense mechanism against reality and God while pretending they are engaging reality and God and self. So that it ends up being extremely self-deceptive and can be really hard to overcome or fix or point out to someone or see in yourself if you think and convince others that you are doing the opposite. Theology is often the best way to hide from God, I think!

    If the fruits of the Spirit are not being born in you as you pursue theology, there must be something not being dealt with. And if your theology does not deal with it or is made or formed in such a way as a defense so as you never have to deal with it…where your theology actually cancels out the very things you need to consider…it becomes a house of mirrors and perpetual catch-22’s and a life of cognitive dissonance and defensiveness.

  6. P.S. The Fugitive is one of the best action movies ever made. 🙂

    It still holds up extremely well to this day, Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones were fantastic in it!

  7. I remember the first time I heard a fellow Christian tell me I was not a Christian, then came the maybe I’m not even human diatribe, a follower of Satan, disrupter of the brethren, spiritual abortion, a dog returning to its vomit etc. Most of the time it was said with a bit more tact, sometimes even worse. I gave up trying to be a Christian around this group, you can’t win and winning is the only goal so it’s crazy to try to live in that matrix.

    In my opinion, Mr. Piper has some serious mental health issues and has had some for many years. I may be wrong on this. I think he and his ilk have damaged many young minds.

  8. Yes, new Calvinists certainly love bashing on anyone who doesn’t agree with their brand of theology. Check out the Facebook pages “reformed thug life” and “Simpson’s Calvinist posting.” The immaturity is unbelievable. And yes that’s Simpson’s like the animated series on Fox. Pictures of Homer with Calvin captions and jokes about non-Calvinists.

  9. Deb, just wanted to let you know about a needed correction. You said that Piper taught at Bethel College for “seven” years after finishing his doctorate. The correction would be six years. (1974-1980)

  10. The first time I heard about Calvinism was under conditions that I can only describe as duress. My husband and I had invited a Christian friend over to our home for a visit. Our relationship with this Christian man went back to the days when we had all been in a Christian community that turned into a cult. Things were running quite pleasantly and smoothly in the early part of the visit. Little did we know that our friend had experienced a transformation, the likes of which would result in warnings with raised voice and emotional outbursts.

    Our young teen-aged son liked our friend, so my husband and I left them to chat in the living room while we went into the kitchen. We could only hear bits and pieces of the conversation as our son and friend were talking. Then we started to hear our friend raise his voice at our son. Words like predestination, Romans 8, limited atonement, elect, were coming out of his mouth like a machine gun. My husband and I went into the living room to see what could possibly be wrong. We saw our friend standing over our son who was sitting on the couch, our son so distraught that his face was red and eyes filled with tears. Our friend was insisting that Calvinism (I’d never heard of the word before) was the true interpretation of the Scriptures. Our son was not buying this new religion (at least it was new to us at the time), and our friend was trying to ram it down his throat. I look back on that incident and know now that he was bullying our son, and he had the gall to do it while we weren’t even in the room. Our friend had been Calvinized and we saw an appalling display of arrogance and aggression that shocked us. This is the fruit of the YRR, Neo-Calvinist Movement. They have no hesitation about being rude, caustic and imperious. I will never forget that day as I witnessed the bad fruit, of what I now know to be Neo-Calvinism, on display.

  11. Off-topic prayer request.

    *Please pray for Shauna at 7 a.m. She has job testing in Texas for a county job and she is nervous. (Math, typing, etc.)

    *We have quite a few prayer needs right now and some very serious situations listed on
    E-Church for anyone who wishes to pray for the Body of Christ here.

    Thank you!

  12. You know what a neo-Calvinist says when you don’t regurgitate, word-for-word, these men who have been the paper trail of YRR?

    “You just don’t understand.”

    And many of the criticisms that non-neo-Calvinists give of their faith have been done with a lot of reading and thoughtfulness of their own works.

    Dr. Olson is spot on. They completely misrepresent Arminianism, and clearly have never tried to actually understand it. Since there are more views than Arminianism, such as traditional Baptist “once saved, always saved”, which I believe is sort of a mish-mash with some new ideas thrown in. They will misrepresent that, too.

    It is interesting that these men all taught at the same place. Piper may not have said these words, but what did he assign them to read? Good glory, what did Ware assign them to read, since he’s the one that believes women are lower than dogs?

    But no, Bethel is a Baptist seminary, and I believe we need to go all the way back to Spurgeon for that idea, because, as we’ve all heard a million times, “Calvinism is the gospel”.

    There is another piece of the puzzle that is missing and that is Mohler, and Mohler DID say that any reasonable Christian will become Calvinist. I think it might have been later than this group at Bethel, but maybe there were other similar things at the time. And pretty sure he got those ideas from Spurgeon.

  13. “However, I believe I do see how a naïve, impressionable, young, “newly minted” Calvinist might (mis)interpret some of what he says that way.” (Dr. Olson)

    perhaps the way these young people are confused is that they cannot understand how God could be ‘sovereign’ and give choices at the same time ……

    maybe because they haven’t been taken far enough back into the history of determinism and free will controversies as they have played out not just in the Greek sense, but also in Judaism. The rabbis teach that ‘God is sovereign AND permits choice’, which contradicts the sharp dichotomy the young cling to who may not be mature enough in their abstract thinking to encompass the idea of ‘Both/And’.

    Perhaps a grounding in the history of the philosophical development of the determinism/free will continuum might have helped the young cage-stage Calvinist. Philosophy is something I thought WAS taught in seminaries, but even then, it is a very complex subject which doesn’t absorb well when presented in a perfunctory manner. But when you look at CALVINISM, it is much more about philosophy than theology, in that it is a ‘thought system’ where the parts are based on each other, and cannot stand on their own theologically.

    You have to have some sympathy for the young, and Dr. Olson seems to have very much taken the vulnerability of the young man to heart. 🙂

  14. I was just reading about John the Baptist and realized something. Where is repentance in neo-Calvinism?

    Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’.”

    Romans 2:5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”

    Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”

    2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

    Most interesting to me relative to the neo-Cals is this, as he’s basically not to be proud, as God can make elect from dirt:
    Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”
    Luke 3:8-9 “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

  15. Well, I don’t know Dr. Olson but I can tell you that it was an Arminian Pentecostal church that finally convinced me to leave the church. My wife’s church is adamant they have a lock on true christianity. I’ve heard the same from the practitioners of other denominations, even mainline ones.

  16. ishy wrote:

    Most interesting to me relative to the neo-Cals is this, as he’s basically not to be proud, as God can make elect from dirt:

    If you’re going to be a Calvinist, you have, HAVE to start with the understanding that total depravity applies to YOU, first and foremost. Yet that kind of humility just wasn’t common in my Calvinist associates, and I had my bad days myself.

    I think the real problem is that, because Calvinism here in America is a very intellectual form of Christianity, that it really lends itself to intellectual arrogance. And arrogance and humility don’t pair well together at all.

  17. Off-topic prayer request.

    Folks,

    For those that pray, please pray for Shauna in Texas at 7 a.m. She has to take a variety of tests for a county job (math, computer tests, typing tests, etc.). She is nervous.

    Thank you!

    Regards from California,

    Velour

  18. Velour wrote:

    Off-topic prayer request.

    Folks,

    For those that pray, please pray for Shauna in Texas at 7 a.m. She has to take a variety of tests for a county job (math, computer tests, typing tests, etc.). She is nervous.

    Thank you!

    Regards from California,

    Velour

    Yes. Texas is on Central Time, so for those of us on the East Coast, we need to pray at 8 am for this dear woman.

  19. Eeyore wrote:

    I think the real problem is that, because Calvinism here in America is a very intellectual form of Christianity, that it really lends itself to intellectual arrogance. And arrogance and humility don’t pair well together at all.

    We are seeing the fruit of the New Calvinist movement here in America.

  20. Eeyore wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    Most interesting to me relative to the neo-Cals is this, as he’s basically not to be proud, as God can make elect from dirt:
    If you’re going to be a Calvinist, you have, HAVE to start with the understanding that total depravity applies to YOU, first and foremost. Yet that kind of humility just wasn’t common in my Calvinist associates, and I had my bad days myself.

    I think this is one major area of conflict between neo-Cals and others. By their own theology, they shouldn’t be proud. But they are terribly arrogant. And while they might think we “don’t understand” their theology, many of us at least get this dissonance.

    The funny thing is that I just read an article by Piper on how repentance is necessary and he hinted at his worm theology. But to me, when I see him speak (and I’ve seen him in person), he seems to think quite highly of himself. Especially in some of these videos lately where he’s on a panel, he clearly thinks he is smarter than the others, even though they share the same theology. I don’t see him appropriate his own theology into his actions.

  21. Deb wrote:

    Praying for Shauna

    Yes. Calm nerves, good score, decent job so that she can provide adequately for herself and her son!

  22. Nancy2 wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    Praying for Shauna
    Yes. Calm nerves, good score, decent job so that she can provide adequately for herself and her son!

    Yes!

  23. Oh, my favorite people, the YRR….I am probably hated more by the Neo-Cals than the politicos in my area.
    This hatred spewed by the YRR is indicative of America today, we are so anti-people, in the end, where is Jesus?

  24. Kingfish (Amos and Andy Show) called this the “law of the offspring.”

    “The offspring always springs off higher than what it sprung off of.”

    I do recall jokingly asking Dr. Roger Nicole if he thought God predestines some to be Arminians. He replied with a smile, “Oh, no! God is not the author of Sin.”

  25. 1. I have known Roger Olson for over 12 years, as my spouse and I were in the same church where he worshipped when we first moved to Waco. He is a kind and generous person.

    2. Early in our friendship, Olson, myself, and a philosophy grad student had a conversation about neo-Calvinism. It was clear to me that the problem is a misunderstanding of sovereignty by Calvinists. They make God appear to be like Midas, condemned to do what he sovereignly pre-destined to happen.

    Sovereignty is the authority and the power to do what the sovereign chooses to do. It is not a trap that requires that everything the sovereign would desire happens. The sovereign has a choice. Otherwise, there is no role for anyone else. There is no repentance, no acceptance, no gift, and no way to know whether the sovereign has chosen us or chosen to plant a false belief in us! Neo Calvinism is a false belief system that makes God an evil puppeteer!

  26. I am a-okay with my faith not being viewed as the same religion as the Calvins. I hope they start putting Calvin’s name in nice big letters on their churches and maybe they will split off and become a mean, weird off-branch of Christianity.

  27. L wrote:

    maybe they will split off and become a mean, weird off-branch of Christianity.

    They know they can’t recruit in the numbers they want, which is why they take over established churches and institutions instead. Despite the vehemence of some of their young followers, they really are a small number.

  28. I’m actually a Bethel college grad, and I had Dr. Olson for my Biblical Theology class. He’s a good guy and a fine professor, although a bit “sensitive” when he feels he’s being misunderstood… as Loren Haas mentioned, above, your comments on his blog are likely to be questioned or unapproved if you don’t toe the line. Also, I attended Piper’s church for a while, and had Tom Schreiner as a Sunday School teacher.

    Just wanted to clarify, for anyone that might misunderstand: Yes, Piper, Grudem, and Schreiner all had Bethel connections, but no one should come away from this article thinking Bethel is rigidly Calvinist, the way the SBC and its churches/seminaries are being transformed. In fact, I don’t think Piper/Grudem/Schreiner would have lasted long at Bethel in any case, because their theology didn’t fit very well with the majority of the other profs. Bethel is not a place, for example, where a faculty member equating Calvinism with salvation would feel comfortable among their colleagues.

    Some may remember that Greg Boyd also taught at Bethel, and was at the center of a big mishegoss regarding his beliefs in Openness Theology (which really is neither Calvinist nor Arminian, but distinctive). Bethel is the only higher-ed school of the Baptist General Conference (now renamed “Converge Worldwide”), and several BGC churches (including PIper’s) tried to get the conference’s documents changed to exclude Openness Theology, which they essentially considered heretical. That effort failed, and while Greg Boyd eventually did leave Bethel, it wasn’t before the faculty stood up firmly for his right to teach his beliefs, under the banner of academic freedom.

    So, Bethel and the conference it belongs to certainly have a bigger theological tent than the SBC and its seminaries do.

  29. bendeni wrote:

    So, Bethel and the conference it belongs to certainly have a bigger theological tent than the SBC and its seminaries do.

    While I get you, and I do, I wouldn’t bank on this. This is where SEBTS was 13 years ago when suddenly it became neo-Calvinist. I was there, and there was no gradual change of theology as you imply would be required. It was by force. Mohler had been changing the trustees behind the scenes (and I STILL haven’t figured out how Mohler had the power to do this). People were mad and tried to stop it, and it didn’t happen. Now Southeastern is one of the bastions of neo-Calvinism.

    The neo-Cals are out to take over more denominations. They’ve already started with the Evangelical Free Churches of America, and they’ve even made in-roads with the Assemblies of God. With Piper up there near Bethel, I would not trust that Bethel is safe. I honestly wouldn’t believe many denominations are truly “safe”. It’s in being lax that the SBC was torn asunder.

  30. Christiane wrote:

    The rabbis teach that ‘God is sovereign AND permits choice’, which contradicts the sharp dichotomy the young cling to who may not be mature enough in their abstract thinking to encompass the idea of ‘Both/And’.

    This is how I have always perceived salvation as well. I’m not really smart enough to figure out how they work together, and I’m totally OK with that. All I know (to quote John Newton) is that “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior!”

    When we try to figure out God and put Him in a box and say that He only works in ‘this way or that’, we limit Him. I take comfort from the passages in the Psalms that showed me that I don’t and cannot have God all figured out, because He is in heaven and He “does whatever He pleases.” That’s GOTTA drive these poor guys absolutely nuts! 🙂

  31. Darlene wrote:

    We saw our friend standing over our son who was sitting on the couch, our son so distraught that his face was red and eyes filled with tears. Our friend was insisting that Calvinism (I’d never heard of the word before) was the true interpretation of the Scriptures. Our son was not buying this new religion (at least it was new to us at the time), and our friend was trying to ram it down his throat. I look back on that incident and know now that he was bullying our son, and he had the gall to do it while we weren’t even in the room.

    Darlene, I hope you and/or your husband told this guy where to get off. If any adult treated our teenager that way, I’d be in his face telling him to get the F out of our house, and take his abusive religion with him.

  32. @ ishy:
    Agreed. Any higher-ed school, church, or denomination can lose its distinctives, faster than they might think possible, if they aren’t watching carefully. “Eternal vigilance is the price of security.” It’s disheartening, the WAY it’s happening in the SBC, and I would never say it couldn’t happen at Bethel or its conference. Just trying to clarify where they’re at today, lest someone would see Piper et. al.’s connection in the past from this article, and jump to the conclusion that Bethel is a Calvinist school today.

  33. What love is this?!

    “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you as well, but if they have followed my teaching, they will also follow yours. They will do all these things to you as my disciples because they do not know the one who sent me” (John 15)

  34. bendeni wrote:

    Just trying to clarify where they’re at today, lest someone would see Piper et. al.’s connection in the past from this article, and jump to the conclusion that Bethel is a Calvinist school today.

    I also want to clarify, but the point I was trying to make earlier was not about Bethel, but about where the YRR in Olson’s story got his idea that non-Calvinists are not Christians. I’m sure it had to be Spurgeon. And they were all at Bethel super early in this movement, so I just wonder if they had some sort of discussions about it there–a birthing place so to speak.

    And while many professors may not espouse their own views while teaching in class, they definitely can in what they assign you to read (or not read). For example, my favorite theology prof at LU (the one who made his daughter sign the marriage contract at 13), he only assigned Grudem. And we listened to Grudem read his textbook on tape. All Grudem, all the time. Gee, I wonder if that prof is a neo-Cal now?

  35. When I was a sophomore at Asbury University many years ago, a Freshman asked me which church I attended. I said the Methodist church, as I adored Dr. Semands. That freshman responded, “And you call yourself a Christian?” I later learned he was a Calvinist (so what was he doing at Asbury?), and later than that learned his wife divorced him for spousal abuse. Sigh.

  36. @ Max:

    Max,
    Are you the same “Max” that wrote some time ago that you weren’t a “Calvinist” or an “Arminianist,” but a “Biblicist?” If you did, I must admit that I have latched onto that term myself! I can really identify with it. This post has reminded me of that.

    Sovereignty and free will are much like faith and good works–I don’t readily grasp how they work together, but God DOES and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters!
    I have been a believer for over 40 years and still there is something to be said about the necessity of a “child-likeness” to our faith. The Holy Spirit in me always goes on high alert when someone says that they have all the answers, or can solve our problems with 9 (or whatever number) easy steps!

  37. Deb wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    Further evidence how they go after the young and impressionable.

    “Give me your children and I will make them mine. You will pass away, but they will remain Mine.”
    — A.Hitler, cult leader

    And he wasn’t the only one. Remember the Young Communists’ League and Chairman Mao’s Red Guard? The Iranian students all-in for Ayatollah Khomeini and Islamic Republic in the Iranian Revolution?

  38. ishy wrote:

    L wrote:
    maybe they will split off and become a mean, weird off-branch of Christianity.
    They know they can’t recruit in the numbers they want, which is why they take over established churches and institutions instead. Despite the vehemence of some of their young followers, they really are a small number.

    So were the Communist and Nazi Parties in proportion to their national populations.

  39. NJ wrote:

    Darlene, I hope you and/or your husband told this guy where to get off. If any adult treated our teenager that way, I’d be in his face telling him to get the F out of our house, and take his abusive religion with him.

    At which point, he shakes the dust of your home off his feet and marches out with the Righteousness of the Elect.

    (Notice that in English “Righteousness” is a strongly NEGATIVE word? I wonder why…)

  40. drstevej wrote:

    Kingfish (Amos and Andy Show) called this the “law of the offspring.”

    “The offspring always springs off higher than what it sprung off of.”

    More Calvinist than Calvin, more Islamic than Mohammed, more Bolshevik than Lenin, more Holy than God…

  41. ishy wrote:

    The funny thing is that I just read an article by Piper on how repentance is necessary and he hinted at his worm theology. But to me, when I see him speak (and I’ve seen him in person), he seems to think quite highly of himself.

    A LOT of the Sons of Calvin are very full of themselves.
    After all, THEY’re the Predestined Elect! God’s Speshul Pets!
    (And more important, WE’RE NOT!)

  42. Velour wrote:

    The NeoCalvinists/YRR can barely contain themselves. After all, they run around telling each other that they were among God’s Elect/The *Chosen* before the ‘beginning of time’.

    “RULERS OF TOMORROW! MASTER RACE!”
    — Ralph Bakshi, Wizards

  43. Allie wrote:

    When I was a sophomore at Asbury University many years ago, a Freshman asked me which church I attended. I said the Methodist church, as I adored Dr. Semands. That freshman responded, “And you call yourself a Christian?” I later learned he was a Calvinist (so what was he doing at Asbury?), and later than that learned his wife divorced him for spousal abuse. Sigh.

    Wow. That’s just sick.

  44. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    P.S. In the SF novel The Chosen by David Drake and S.M.Stirling, “The Chosen” are the pseudo-Nazis in the fictional planet’s parallel of WW2. (And being Stirling, he hyped that parallel for all it was worth, even to the point of “The Chosen” being Hochdeutsch-speaking Nordics.)

  45. Eeyore wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    Most interesting to me relative to the neo-Cals is this, as he’s basically not to be proud, as God can make elect from dirt:
    If you’re going to be a Calvinist, you have, HAVE to start with the understanding that total depravity applies to YOU, first and foremost. Yet that kind of humility just wasn’t common in my Calvinist associates, and I had my bad days myself.
    I think the real problem is that, because Calvinism here in America is a very intellectual form of Christianity, that it really lends itself to intellectual arrogance. And arrogance and humility don’t pair well together at all.

    Speaking as a Calvinistic (no neo-, but in the Reformed tradition): This is exactly right. In Reformed thinking, the Spirit’s regenerating work comes first. He gives life to the dead. How can a dead man be proud about being returned to life? How can Lazarus be smug about his resurrection? Intellectual arrogance and Reformed theology should be oxymoronic, but somehow it becomes compatible. What’s extra sad about this: the basic questions deserve the church’s attention. Why spoil intra-Christian dialogue by having one side excommunicate the other over a doctrinal dispute? Kinda spoils the conversation, doesn’t it?

  46. Allie wrote:

    When I was a sophomore at Asbury University many years ago, a Freshman asked me which church I attended. I said the Methodist church, as I adored Dr. Semands. That freshman responded, “And you call yourself a Christian?” I later learned he was a Calvinist (so what was he doing at Asbury?), and later than that learned his wife divorced him for spousal abuse.

    Why am I not surprised?

  47. Geoff Smith wrote:

    Why spoil intra-Christian dialogue by having one side excommunicate the other over a doctrinal dispute?

    These groups ‘eat their own’ and practice excommunications and shunnings against anyone for the slightest dissent or critical thinking skills, i.e. being a Berean.

    Turning on other Christian groups, denominations, and churches is easy once they have practiced and justified doing it ‘in house’ to their own.

  48. Root 66 wrote:

    Are you the same “Max” that wrote some time ago that you weren’t a “Calvinist” or an “Arminianist,” but a “Biblicist?”

    Yes, that would be me. I search the Scripture daily and use the Bible — and only the Bible — for my authority and source of Truth. I’ve been a Christian for over 60 years, a disciplined student of the Word, and a lay teacher/preacher for 40 years. I rely on the Holy Spirit to lead me into Truth as I read it. I hold that the Bible is inerrant, while the teachings of mere men are quite capable of being wrong (whether they be Calvinist or Arminian or any other such label).

  49. Velour wrote:

    Geoff Smith wrote:
    Why spoil intra-Christian dialogue by having one side excommunicate the other over a doctrinal dispute?
    These groups ‘eat their own’ and practice excommunications and shunnings against anyone for the slightest dissent or critical thinking skills, i.e. being a Berean.
    //
    Turning on other Christian groups, denominations, and churches is easy once they have practiced and justified doing it ‘in house’ to their own.

    I agree. I think it’s because they truly don’t want anyone to think, because their hierarchy really comes before and dictates their theology.

    No classical Calvinist I’ve ever known has been like that.

  50. Root 66 wrote:

    Sovereignty and free will are much like faith and good works–I don’t readily grasp how they work together, but God DOES and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters!

    Scripture speaks much about the sovereignty of God. Scripture speaks much about the free will of man. It all works together in a way that is beyond human comprehension. To put the mind of God into a neat systematic theological box is to stand in arrogance before Him.

  51. Max wrote:

    Root 66 wrote:
    Are you the same “Max” that wrote some time ago that you weren’t a “Calvinist” or an “Arminianist,” but a “Biblicist?”
    //
    Yes, that would be me. I search the Scripture daily and use the Bible — and only the Bible — for my authority and source of Truth.

    I like the term “Biblicist” as well, but I tend to really oversimplify when talking to neo-Cals. “I only study the Bible now.”

    What’s really fun is when they ask you if you believe (for example, predestination), say “Yes, there are Scriptural grounds for that”. But when they ask, “But you go to an Arminian church. Do you believe in free will?” And I say “Yes, I believe that, too.”

    I just say “Yes” to anything they quote Scripture for, and it drives them absolutely batty. even if I don’t totally believe something, I usually restate in a way where they won’t catch it. They can’t conceive a theology where both sides are true.

  52. @ bendeni:
    Thanks for your insightful comment! Hopefully our readers will surmise that since these four Neo-Cals – Piper, Grudem, Ware, and Schriner – moved on from Bethel, they found themselves to be a square peg in a round hole while there. It’s interesting how the last two made their way to Southern Seminary. Birds of a feather…

  53. brian wrote:

    I remember the first time I heard a fellow Christian tell me I was not a Christian, then came the maybe I’m not even human diatribe, a follower of Satan, disrupter of the brethren, spiritual abortion, a dog returning to its vomit etc. Most of the time it was said with a bit more tact, sometimes even worse. I gave up trying to be a Christian around this group, you can’t win and winning is the only goal so it’s crazy to try to live in that matrix.

    In my opinion, Mr. Piper has some serious mental health issues and has had some for many years. I may be wrong on this. I think he and his ilk have damaged many young minds.

    I agree with everything you say here…

  54. Allie wrote:

    That freshman responded, “And you call yourself a Christian?” I later learned he was a Calvinist (so what was he doing at Asbury?), and later than that learned his wife divorced him for spousal abuse. Sigh.

    There seems to be so much anger by some of the young Calvinists if you disagree with them. It makes me wonder what they are afraid of?

  55. Deb wrote:

    @ ishy:
    I agree. Hasn‘t Midwestern just gone through such a shift? And Cedarville?

    Midwestern is shifting. That’s not really a surprise. They were the next logical target. SWBTS will probably be next, and I’m betting Patterson will be forced to “retire”. GGBTS might be a holdout. California Baptists have a wholly different flavor, very emergent church.

    Cedarville is duking it out, I think. They probably have a good number of non-Baptist donors.

  56. No one has the right to tell me if I’m a Christian or not. That is between me and God alone. I don’t care who you are, what position you hold in some church, whether your a Calvinists, Armenian, Pentecostal, Catholic, or any other religion. It just doesn’t work that way. Our minds are unique. Some people are very open in their faith in God and some aren’t. I don’t like it when people try to tell me something about myself that they have no business doing. Do they want me to tell them the same thing back. Remember, pointing a finger at me, leaves you 3 pointing back at yourself. I had a physical therapist tell me about 6 weeks ago that I couldn’t be in the amount of pain I said I was in because my MRI didn’t show it. The MRI was wrong. This therapist was wrong. My surgeon proved this therapist wrong. He knew I had more going on in my shoulder. Life is subjective and to let people rule over you when they have no right, has to stop. Pardon me for getting on my soapbox here, but it really gets to me when all these “Men of Gawd” (I say that loosely here) tell everyone that there way is the only way and we have to listen to them, then they lay a guilt trip on you. I’m not buying anything these guys are saying.

  57. ishy wrote:

    Cedarville is duking it out, I think. They probably have a good number of non-Baptist donors.

    I haven’t kept up with my alma mater in recent years, so I hope you’re right. I would hate to see the place flipped to the other side–kind of like in reversi.

    The rest of your comment is scary. I wonder if some time in the future will see an almighty clash between the YRR and the NAR.

  58. @ ishy:

    I remember feeling sad and hearing that warning alarm go off (wah wah!) when I saw from a distance, the celebration and backpatting each other of getting rid of women professors in theology, etc from Cedarville. And I could be wrong, but it seemed like no one who ended up having to leave could talk about it publicly.

    A little confusing to someone who was being told “Yes, precious. You can stay with us and become a professor if you want to some day.”

    Just not in these certain disciplines and even in the allowed disciplines you’ll always have fear in the back of your mind that could change any moment. I didn’t see a very promising or secure pattern for women professors in general (Klouda) for instance, but the neo-Cal or new brigade felt very untrustworthy.

    *No one called me precious, lol…I just replay the double speak in Gollum’s voice.

  59. Deb wrote:

    It’s interesting how the last two made their way to Southern Seminary.

    Grudem's Systematic Theology is their textbook. So he is there in print if not in person. Not sure if that is better or worse.

  60. Jack wrote:

    My wife’s church is adamant they have a lock on true christianity. I’ve heard the same from the practitioners of other denominations, even mainline ones.

    Everyone pretty much thinks they are right – I think that’s natural as if you think you’re wrong, why would you still think a thing?

    But there is a huge difference in thinking you are right and in thinking no one else can be a Christian.

  61. ishy wrote:

    I think this is one major area of conflict between neo-Cals and others. By their own theology, they shouldn’t be proud. But they are terribly arrogant.

    I think the practice of a thing is different from knowing. And they fail utterly at practicing any kind of Christian love.

    And that kind of person was pegged early on in Christianity – it has clearly always existed and always been wrong. You can know all things, you can prophecy, etc but if you don’t have love it’s all worthless.

  62. emily honey wrote:

    I remember feeling sad and hearing that warning alarm go off (wah wah!) when I saw from a distance, the celebration and backpatting each other of getting rid of women professors in theology, etc from Cedarville. And I could be wrong, but it seemed like no one who ended up having to leave could talk about it publicly.

    They were probably under non-disclosure agreements and were afraid to get sued. But I know there’s been a lot of pushback against it, and some of it very public. I think Cedarville got more publicity than all of the SBC seminaries put together over their changes.

    However, there are a lot of non-neo-Calvinist complementarians, so that is one area where they are more likely to win. And sadly, there are even people who call themselves egalitarians who only listen to male teachers. There were probably a lot of people who disagreed, but didn’t feel strongly enough about it to do anything.

  63. The first time I heard someone say someone else was not Christian over theology was a free grace person saying Arminians are not saved. Next time it was an Arminian saying a Catholic was not saved. I’ve heard dispensationalists say that of all not dispensationalists. The Calvinists do not have this one cornered.

    But I will say this: Lordship Salvation is the root of this nonsense. Take away the idea of you must have perfectly understood the gospel and then cleaned up your act in order to get saved, and Arminians, free grace, dispensationalists, Reformed, Lutheran, and Calvinists can all be some of the most joyful, thankful, decent and kind people you ever meet.

    Its the Neo Puritans who are the stinkers.

  64. Harley wrote:

    No one has the right to tell me if I’m a Christian or not.

    Totally agree.

    Remember, according to the 'experts' at my former gulag (Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley), I am NOT a Christian because I wouldn't bow and scrape to the pastors/elders and I used critical thinking skills. That got me "keyed out" (Gram3's TM), excommunicated and shunned for not letting those control freaks control every aspect of my life. They told hundreds of people what a terrible person I was. And before that they did the same to a doctor in his 70's. And before the good doctor, a godly woman who works in finance. No one could fit their standard of 'perfection'. We weren't 'obedient' enough.

    In time, I wonder what dirty secrets will spill out about them.

  65. Lea wrote:

    But there is a huge difference in thinking you are right and in thinking no one else can be a Christian

    I was raised Anglican, that was the reason I was told I was not a Christian. At that time I had not renounced the faith.

  66. ishy wrote:

    I think it’s because they truly don’t want anyone to think, because their hierarchy really comes before and dictates their theology.

    No classical Calvinist I’ve ever known has been like that.

    That has been my experience with classical Calvinism as well.

    I think you have to ask what is actually IMPORTANT to this new breed. We were talking about the book of order at church and there is a huge section on church discipline but it was described as ‘the part you really hope you never need’. Not ‘The part we just can’t WAIT to use!’ You are to be ‘guided’ by the confessions, but not required to agree. Etc.

    There is a difference in focus here that matters. My own view is that this YRR problem is a fusing of fundamentalism (in the negative way), authoritarianism and intellectual snobbery with a huge dose of cultural and anti-women nonsense thrown in. It’s obviously a toxic mix.

  67. ishy wrote:

    I just say “Yes” to anything they quote Scripture for, and it drives them absolutely batty.

    That’s great!

    Scripture has support for a lot of positions. It’s fun to try to hash them out if you enjoy that sort of thing, but I don’t think *knowing* is ultimately the important thing.

  68. Lea wrote:

    Scripture has support for a lot of positions. It’s fun to try to hash them out if you enjoy that sort of thing, but I don’t think *knowing* is ultimately the important thing.

    No. If it were, God would have given us a thousand-volume systematic theology, not a book of stories about how people responded to God.

  69. Does anyone know whether Hank Hanegraff (spelling?), the famous Bible Answer Man, is known for being Calvinist, Arminian, or some cross between the two?

    Apparently he and his wife have just been Chrismated into Eastern Orthodoxy at St Nektarios Church in Charlotte. Who saw *that* coming? (Not I, Rabbi!)

  70. Deb wrote:

    Eeyore wrote:
    I think the real problem is that, because Calvinism here in America is a very intellectual form of Christianity, that it really lends itself to intellectual arrogance. And arrogance and humility don’t pair well together at all.
    We are seeing the fruit of the New Calvinist movement here in America.

    Faux intellectual works better for me. I’ve met many a Calvinista, who regard their selves as most clever…..I think a lot of it is smoke and mirrors. Sounds deep, but it often “borrowed” straight from Calvin, or it’s a mish mash of mysticism.

  71. NJ wrote:

    I would hate to see the place flipped to the other side–kind of like in reversi.

    Oo, that’s a good analogy! Everything can look fine, but if you aren’t seeing further ahead than your opponent, suddenly whole sections of the board can flip over, and you lose.

    People think governance and business meetings are boring, but that’s where we have to watch.

  72. …many eager young, newly minted Calvinists are still going around misrepresenting Arminianism. In most cases, when they are asked where they got their (mis)information they point to another Calvinist.

    This is hardly unique to Neo-Calvinists/YRR-types who seek to purge the church of the ‘evils’ of Arminian theology. The erection and subsequent destruction of a “straw man” is a common logical fallacy and is used in almost every type of polemic, be it theological, political, or wherever opinions run hot and deep.

    For example, when I was younger, I heard that people who drove pick-up trucks would swear allegiance to one of the three major US brands. If you were a “Chevy man” (so to speak), you would say that Ford stood for “Fix Or Replace Daily” and Dodge stood for “Drips Oil, Drops Grease Everywhere”, etc. Obviously those meanings are not true, but straw men erected to bolster the case that Chevy (“Car Has Extensive Valve Rattle On Long Extended Trips”) was a better brand.

  73. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Does anyone know whether Hank Hanegraff (spelling?), the famous Bible Answer Man, is known for being Calvinist, Arminian, or some cross between the two?

    As a member of the Greek Orthodox church, he is neither Calvinist nor Arminian. The Orthodox church, like the Roman Catholics, trace their theology and faith a lot further back than those two gentlemen. I appreciate and envy that my Orthodox brothers and sisters are able to look at this petty squabbling and say – What’s the big deal? It all comes down to the Council of Nicea (which, ironically, automatically excludes Grudem, Ware, etc., for their errant ESS beliefs).

  74. @ Burwell:
    Hi BURWELL,
    I don’t think all Calvinists adhere to ESS. I think it’s just the group that huddles around Ware and Grudem ….. the CBMW group.

    ESS is relatively new on the scene. I think it was drummed up in support of the ‘male headship’ cult that many neo-Cal folk adhere to.

  75. Burwell wrote:

    Obviously those meanings are not true, but straw men erected to bolster the case that Chevy (“Car Has Extensive Valve Rattle On Long Extended Trips”) was a better brand.

    Did you see the If “Real People” Commercials Were Real Life – CHEVY Awards clip?

    Guy: What does quality mean to you?
    Real person: Not a chevy!

    LOL. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSBsq6HBBzw

  76. Burwell wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Does anyone know whether Hank Hanegraff (spelling?), the famous Bible Answer Man, is known for being Calvinist, Arminian, or some cross between the two?
    As a member of the Greek Orthodox church, he is neither Calvinist nor Arminian. The Orthodox church, like the Roman Catholics, trace their theology and faith a lot further back than those two gentlemen. I appreciate and envy that my Orthodox brothers and sisters are able to look at this petty squabbling and say – What’s the big deal? It all comes down to the Council of Nicea (which, ironically, automatically excludes Grudem, Ware, etc., for their errant ESS beliefs).

    Sorry for confusion! I meant was he Calvinist or Arminian before his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy?

    He hails from my general neck of the woods (North Carolina), but I know very little about him. Apparently he was chrismated just this past Saturday (Lazarus Saturday on the Eastern calendar).

    I am heartily happy for him and his wife. My only concern would be: Will he bring fundagelical anti-Catholicism with him into Orthodoxy (and compound it with anti-Westernism to boot)? Some converts to Orthodoxy follow this trajectory, although they usually mellow out of it. Others, happily, do not go in that direction in the first place. (E.g. our own Darlene.)

  77. Mae wrote:

    Faux intellectual works better for me. I’ve met many a Calvinista, who regard their selves as most clever…..I think a lot of it is smoke and mirrors. Sounds deep, but it often “borrowed” straight from Calvin, or it’s a mish mash of mysticism.

    “You don’t need any intellect to be an Intellectual” combined with “See How Clever I Am?” like the Jerk with the Kirk in Moscow?

  78. Christiane wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    was he a ‘fundagelical anti-Catholic’ before his conversion to EOC?
    if he was, that’s a pretty profound change.

    Not that much of a change.
    Both Fundagelicals and More Orthodox Than Thou both hate Rome.
    At which point, he’s just exchanging King Jimmy and Altar Call for Greek Theo-technical language and More Extreme Than Thou Lenten Asceticism.

  79. Christiane wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    was he a ‘fundagelical anti-Catholic’ before his conversion to EOC?
    if he was, that’s a pretty profound change

    I think he was some sort of fundagelical, but I don’t know whether he was particularly anti-Catholic.

  80. Regarding the college kid who said that a Non-Calvinist is not a Christian.

    Doesn’t the Bible say that belief in Jesus (which I take it would also include repentance of sin) is all that makes a person a Christian, or is the building block?

    Where does the Bible say, where did Apostle Paul ever teach, that being a Calvinist, is what makes one a Christian?

    Most people come to conversion based on Jesus, not on John Calvin or TULIP or Calvinism.

    “Calvinism loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so” -that’s not what I was taught when I was a kid

  81. Geoff Smith wrote:

    Why spoil intra-Christian dialogue by having one side excommunicate the other over a doctrinal dispute? Kinda spoils the conversation, doesn’t it?

    Look at the bright side. At least they’re not trying to blow up each other’s Mosques.

  82. Burwell wrote:

    For example, when I was younger, I heard that people who drove pick-up trucks would swear allegiance to one of the three major US brands.

    I come from before pickups became the rage, when they had this reputation:
    Chevy — Maintenance-intensive, but more amenable to “tweaking” — customization and hotrodding.
    Ford — More reliable, easier to maintain (except for the number-one sparkplug on a ’65 Stang…).
    Chrysler — MOPAR and its Hemis. Nuff said.

    And Chevys and Fords were always going “DIE, HERETIC!” on each other.

  83. NJ wrote:

    The rest of your comment is scary. I wonder if some time in the future will see an almighty clash between the YRR and the NAR.

    “The Universe cannot have two Centers.”
    — Kooks Magazine

    “There Can Be Only One.”
    — Highlander

  84. dee wrote:

    There seems to be so much anger by some of the young Calvinists if you disagree with them. It makes me wonder what they are afraid of?

    That THEY might not be Truly Elect.
    So they’re always PROVING They Are.
    At YOUR Expense; in the Zero Sum Game, the only way to climb up is to smash someone else down.

  85. Velour wrote:

    These groups ‘eat their own’ and practice excommunications and shunnings against anyone for the slightest dissent or critical thinking skills

    After the Coup, the Purge.

    What do predators eat after they’ve killed off all the prey?

  86. @ Max:

    Max, I respect you greatly, even if we may not agree on every point.
    You have more Christian maturity and humanity than both of the mega-church honchos in my area combined.

  87. Deb wrote:

    @ Joe Reed:
    Could you please elaborate?

    I’ve heard things like:
    Calvinists don’t believe in evangelism since the elect all get in and the nonelect never can.
    Limited Atonement means people are going to be banging on the doors of heaven begging to get let in only to find out Jesus didn’t die for them so too bad.
    I believe someone in this thread commented already that Calvinists dont believe in repentance.

    Doubtless one can find some ignorant bearded hipster “reformed” who believes some of these things. But they are so far out of the mainstream it’s painful to be accused of believing this stuff, and reveals the ignorance of the accuser, just as this article points out the ignorance of the “Calvinist accusers.”

    It’s always a really tricky thing critiquing someone else’s theology if you don’t understand it as well as they do. Flogging straw men seems to be an art form in the arena of theological “debate”

  88. Joe Reed wrote:

    Doubtless one can find some ignorant bearded hipster “reformed” who believes some of these things. But they are so far out of the mainstream it’s painful to be accused of believing this stuff, and reveals the ignorance of the accuser, just as this article points out the ignorance of the “Calvinist accusers.”

    Joe,

    Are you speaking of traditional Calvinists or about the Young Restless and Reformed,
    NeoCalvinists?

    If it’s traditional Calvinists they are, generally speaking, a mild-mannered bunch,
    accepting of other Christians in other denominations.

    If it’s the Young Restless and Reformed/NeoCalvinists, they are a hateful, arrogant
    bunch with a sick and twisted theology. Yes, they talk about being among God’s Elect,
    and everyone else is destined for Hell. YRR’s and NeoCals can take their Bibles and toss them in the trash. Their religion is worthless. They search the Scriptures but have failed to encounter the Living God. That’s what happens when you’re an arrogant know-it-all.

    I used to be a member of a NeoCalvinist church. I knew it was “off”. It was like Salem Witch Trials II, complete with excommunications and shunnings for any dissent.
    The NeoCals are hateful in their treatment of women. And men too who question them.

    Good riddance!

  89. Joe Reed wrote:

    Doubtless one can find some ignorant bearded hipster “reformed” who believes some of these things. But they are so far out of the mainstream it’s painful to be accused of believing this stuff, and reveals the ignorance of the accuser, just as this article points out the ignorance of the “Calvinist accusers.”

    This is just completely untrue. If you want to argue that some people believe whatever, that’s fine, but it’s pretty much true for any group and is a useless argument. But these beliefs are anything but rare.

    Neo-Calvinists control all the major institutions of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest evangelical denomination in the US, as well as some Presbyterian churches, non-denominational churches, and Evangelical Free Churches of America. Their media outlets (Lifeway, TGC) are the largest provider of Christian materials in the US.

    Neo-Calvinists believe overwhelmingly that it is neo-Calvinistic church membership from which God draws the elect. Therefore, they believe those not in neo-Calvinist churches are not Christians.

    Before you go “accusing” people of ignorance, you should know statistics on what you are talking about. Or if you’re just trolling, know that people here don’t fall it.

  90. ishy wrote:

    Neo-Calvinists believe overwhelmingly that it is neo-Calvinistic church membership from which God draws the elect. Therefore, they believe those not in neo-Calvinist churches are not Christians.

    This is the abuse of the straw man I was referring to.

  91. Joe Reed wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    Neo-Calvinists believe overwhelmingly that it is neo-Calvinistic church membership from which God draws the elect. Therefore, they believe those not in neo-Calvinist churches are not Christians.
    This is the abuse of the straw man I was referring to.

    Neo-Calvinists don’t believe that?

    Note, I never say “Calvinist”. I always refer to this group as neo-Calvinists. They are not classical Calvinists which believe in the creeds and in historical church organizational models. Neo-Calvinists are a subgroup and primarily non-Christian Judaic sect/cult. They believe that Jesus is eternally submissive to God, and do not teach about His ministry in their churches. Even classical Calvinists consider them heretical.

  92. @ ishy:

    Are you saying neo-Calvinists aren’t Christians, am I hearing that correctly? And they don’t talk about Jesus’ ministry?

  93. Joe Reed wrote:

    This is the abuse of the straw man I was referring to.

    So are you a member of a NeoCalvinist church/Young Restless & Reformed?

    What explains your defensiveness to the hateful practices of this group and an honest discussion?

  94. @ Velour:

    I have no idea. They seem to have a reformed bent but take shots at everyone. If one can’t laugh at his/her own caricature, that one is to be pitied!

  95. Velour wrote:

    What explains your defensiveness to the hateful practices of this group and an honest discussion?

    Have I defended their hateful practices and hindered an honest discussion?

  96. Joe Reed wrote:

    Sometimes Arminians misrepresent Calvinism, too

    I would agree with this. It is quite human to demonize others when they make you feel uncomfortable.

  97. Velour wrote:

    Isn’t TGC [The Gospel Coalition] or some such alphabet NeoCal group behind the Babylon Bee?

    They are neo-Calvinist, but not related to TGC. The owner was a big reddit person who posted stuff like that, and decided to make a site out of it. He is still active on reddit sometimes.

  98. Joe Reed wrote:

    Calvinists don’t believe in evangelism since the elect all get in and the nonelect never can.

    I know they believe in evangelism. However, let’s say that a bunch of the elect decide not to evangelism. They may be sinning but it will have not effect on who gets into heaven since the elect will get in-no matter the circumstances, right? Also, if thy decide not to evangelize, that was predetermined and will have no effect on the elect. Explain why I am wrong.

    Joe Reed wrote:

    Limited Atonement means people are going to be banging on the doors of heaven begging to get let in only to find out Jesus didn’t die for them so too bad.

    My understanding is that whoever is elect gets into heaven and the non elect really don’t care because they cannot care since they do not know grace. Am I wrong?

    There s a problem with this. I have seen some Calvinist leaders types leave Calvinist churches and join Arminian churches, Catholic Churches, an Orthodox churches. They are then declared non-Christians by some in the Calvinist crowd. The problem is that they still believe and follow Jesus. So, what his here? Does God give Calvinists some wort of special info on who is saved?

    I will be quoting Tim Challies on Friday, He outright claims that Christ only for the elect who were chosen before time. This is problematic and even some Calvinists have trouble with the L+limited atonement.

  99. dee wrote:

    It is quite human to demonize others when they make you feel uncomfortable.

    True enough. I’ve fallen to that temptation a time or two(hundred!)

    I find it is often helpful to know what other people tend to think you believe, based on whatever label you’ve either adopted or been hit with.

    It helps me understand certain hostilities toward me, since a person might think I believe a certain way, and also reminds me that the person I’m talking with probably doesn’t believe what I think he/she does based on the label I have for him/her.

  100. dee wrote:

    @ ishy:
    Is Trevin Wax involved with it?

    He wasn’t at first. Not sure about it now. The guy who started it is named Adam Ford, and I know he still runs it in name.

  101. ishy wrote:

    but not related to TGC. The owner was a big reddit person who posted stuff like that, and decided to make a site out of it. He is still activ

    The Babylon Bee guy comments often on SBCVoices. I think he needs to post a spoof on why donations are so low for the SBC’s Cooperative Program this year!

  102. dee wrote:

    They may be sinning but it will have not effect on who gets into heaven since the elect will get in-no matter the circumstances, right? Also, if thy decide not to evangelize, that was predetermined and will have no effect on the elect. Explain why I am wrong.

    Every theological system has to have room for mystery, the debate is where to place it. I place it right where you’re talking about in this paragraph. None that the Father has given to the Son will fail to come to Christ. AND, they won’t believe unless they’ve heard, they won’t hear unless someone is sent. I make no pretensions to be able to untangle that, and most mature, secure Calvinists would agree.

  103. dee wrote:

    I will be quoting Tim Challies on Friday, He outright claims that Christ only for the elect who were chosen before time. This is problematic and even some Calvinists have trouble with the L+limited atonement.

    Ha! I want to know why Challies and his cohorts keep standing in pulpits and passing offering plates. If they believe what they preach, what good are their sermons? Is preaching/pastoring just a good way to make a lucrative income?

  104. dee wrote:

    even some Calvinists have trouble with the L+limited atonement.

    I can understand why. It boils down to this: did God punish Jesus for every sin ever committed, and then punishes those same sins a second time on those in hell? Would God punish a sin twice?

  105. @ Lea:

    “Everyone pretty much thinks they are right – I think that’s natural as if you think you’re wrong, why would you still think a thing?

    But there is a huge difference in thinking you are right and in thinking no one else can be a Christian.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    at the very least, the word “biblical” seems rather threadbare to me.

    anyone who uses it just sounds foolish anymore.

  106. I don’t believe that individual neo-Calvinists can’t be Christians, but the neo-Calvinist movement does not teach traditional Christian theology, and that churches avoid teaching Christ because many of the words of Christ go directly against many of their theological tenets.

    For example, covenants that members are required to sign are usually very extensive and require the signer to give up any and all decision making to elders or be punished by excommunication. Jesus said in Matt. 5:37, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” I’ve read some of these covenants, including the one at my former church, and they are quite strong, and they believe elders have ultimate authority and cannot be removed except by other elders.

    Their hardcore belief in ex-communication shows their theological belief that they decide who is saved and who is not. They ex-communicate at a very high rate, and there’s a lot of articles on TWW about that. They only bring people back into their churches who agree to do whatever the elders tell them to do. It’s not an agreement of theological belief, but obedience.

  107. elastigirl wrote:

    anyone who uses it just sounds foolish anymore.

    I think its because they are uninterested in actually crafting an argument for their position at that point. They just expect to handwave your objections away. It’s pretty transparent.

  108. Of course, it’s ridiculous to say that Arminians are not Christians.

    But also disturbing is something Dr. Olson wrote in Against Calvinism. I’ve written about this here before, but I think it bears repeating. In response to a student’s question, Olson said that even if God Himself (and there was no question that He was, indeed, God) told him that Calvinism was correct, he (Olson) would still reject it. I have rarely read anything so arrogant. In effect, Olson is saying that his source of authority is Olson. I’m not saying that, therefore, everything that Olson teaches is false. But I think that this is a clue to his character.

  109. Lea wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    anyone who uses it just sounds foolish anymore.
    //
    I think its because they are uninterested in actually crafting an argument for their position at that point. They just expect to handwave your objections away. It’s pretty transparent.

    I think many just use it because that’s what their friends/pastors/elders say and it sounds so official.

  110. Joe Reed wrote:

    None that the Father has given to the Son will fail to come to Christ. AND, they won’t believe unless they’ve heard, they won’t hear unless someone is sent.

    Whosoever will………. I believe that is whom the Father has given to the Son.

  111. Joe Reed wrote:

    dee wrote:

    even some Calvinists have trouble with the L+limited atonement.

    I can understand why. It boils down to this: did God punish Jesus for every sin ever committed, and then punishes those same sins a second time on those in hell? Would God punish a sin twice?

    Do you believe that Jesus is God?

  112. Joe Reed wrote:

    @ Joe Reed:

    I should be more precise in my language… “did the Father punish the Son…” would be better

    Where does the Bible say that the Father *punished* the Son? That whole notion of penal substitutionary atonement was utterly unknown before the Reformation. (And no, pace Frederica Matthewes-Greene, St Anselm did not teach any such thing.)

    Don’t mean to stir the pot, but this particular view of the Atonement makes my skin crawl. 😉

  113. Joe Reed wrote:

    Every theological system has to have room for mystery,

    Did you know that I predicted your answer as did Roger Olson? The “It’s a mystery” angle is a typical Reformed response. It is a get out of jail free card and this is one of the reasons that the YRR movement is having such a difficult time.

    Joe Reed wrote:

    None that the Father has given to the Son will fail to come to Christ. AND, they won’t believe unless they’ve heard, they won’t hear unless someone is sent

    Actually, there is an answer inherent in Calvinism and that is predeterminsm. This is a particularly sticky issue and I can see why some Calvinists would prefer the mystery answer. As RC Sprouts has said“If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”

    Therefore, God has predetermined the Joe will witness to Sally and Joe has no choice in the matter. In other words, it is not only irresistible grace but irresistible everything. God is moving us as pieces on chess board.

  114. dee wrote:

    God is moving us as pieces on chess board.

    There’s the straw man again. I can’t explain, nor can anyone, the precise interplay between Gods sovereignty and the will of man, but no proper Calvinist believes in human robots.

  115. dee wrote:

    It is a get out of jail free card and this is one of the reasons that the YRR movement is having such a difficult time.

    Perhaps Arminianism has no room for mystery and is a tight theological system with no apparent paradoxes.

    I don’t use mystery as a get out of jail free, I just honestly don’t know how God is completely sovereign and man is responsible for his actions, but both are apparent to me in Scripture.

  116. Joe Reed wrote:

    There’s the straw man again. I can’t explain, nor can anyone, the precise interplay between Gods sovereignty and the will of man, but no proper Calvinist believes in human robots.

    Once again, exactly what Olson was describing. This is not a straw man argument. It is a legitimate question with a legitimate answer which is not well liked because it is difficult. Sproul,no Reformed Calvinist slouch, admits it.

    Explain the statement by RC Sproul, a well respected Calvinist,

  117. Joe Reed wrote:

    no proper Calvinist believes in human robots.

    Give me the name of a *proper Calvinist* that is not some minor footnote. Is RC Sproul one? John Piper?

  118. @ Max:
    We/Me, too. I like the NASB and using the Thompson Chain Reference system so the Bible speaks for itself.

  119. Joe Reed wrote:

    I should be more precise in my language… “did the Father punish the Son…” would be better

    I’ve done quite a lot or research on penal substitution over the last couple of years. I don’t think believing it affects whether or not one is saved, but it certainly leaves one with a very bad view of God. But I found that people who believe also seem to believe that those who don’t believe deny the gospel and are not true Christians. If that is true, then there were no true Christians for the first 1500 years of Christianity. That’s a hard pill to swallow. If you want to see some questions I developed and a list of some of the better links I found, search on “penal substitution” in the interesting items tab under books.

    If one believe that our salvation is primarily about rescue from punishment, then PSA makes some sense. But this is not what was taught for at least the first 1000 years of Christianity (Anselm taught moral satisfaction, but not PSA).

  120. ishy wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Isn’t TGC [The Gospel Coalition] or some such alphabet NeoCal group behind the Babylon Bee?
    They are neo-Calvinist, but not related to TGC. The owner was a big reddit person who posted stuff like that, and decided to make a site out of it. He is still active on reddit sometimes.

    No, we had this discussion awhile back on Twitter. One of the big groups is behind it.
    I’ll do a little research and see if I can find it.

    Babylon Bee wasn’t just started by some random dude. No.

  121. Joe Reed wrote:

    Perhaps Arminianism has no room for mystery and is a tight theological system with no apparent paradoxes.

    I asked you a direct question and you deflected onto me. I asked you a legitimate question that does have an answer in the Calvinist system but it is awkward.

  122. Joe Reed wrote:

    @ Velour:
    I have no idea. They seem to have a reformed bent but take shots at everyone. If one can’t laugh at his/her own caricature, that one is to be pitied!

    There is nothing to laugh about with these abusive, authoritarian, Thought Reform
    NeoCalvinists/Young Restless and Reformed *gulags*. They practice Thought Reform
    techniques like the Chinese Communists, to gain complete control of people. It IS
    brain-washing. And anyone who disagrees pays a very high price.

    I know. I was excommunicated and shunned on some trumped up charge from a NeoCalvinist church, nothing to do with immorality. Before me, a doctor in his 70’s! Before the good doctor, a godly woman in finance.

  123. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    @ Joe Reed:
    I should be more precise in my language… “did the Father punish the Son…” would be better
    Where does the Bible say that the Father *punished* the Son? That whole notion of penal substitutionary atonement was utterly unknown before the Reformation. (And no, pace Frederica Matthewes-Greene, St Anselm did not teach any such thing.)
    Don’t mean to stir the pot, but this particular view of the Atonement makes my skin crawl.

    That’s a very good point.

    By the way, I copied many very good comments, questions, and books that people here had on that subject to the top of the page here under the Interesting tab, and the Books/TV/Movies/ETC. tab so that people could refer to them in the future. Take a look
    some time. Very good stuff!

  124. Ken F wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    I should be more precise in my language… “did the Father punish the Son…” would be better
    I’ve done quite a lot or research on penal substitution over the last couple of years. I don’t think believing it affects whether or not one is saved, but it certainly leaves one with a very bad view of God. But I found that people who believe also seem to believe that those who don’t believe deny the gospel and are not true Christians. If that is true, then there were no true Christians for the first 1500 years of Christianity. That’s a hard pill to swallow. If you want to see some questions I developed and a list of some of the better links I found, search on “penal substitution” in the interesting items tab under books.
    If one believe that our salvation is primarily about rescue from punishment, then PSA makes some sense. But this is not what was taught for at least the first 1000 years of Christianity (Anselm taught moral satisfaction, but not PSA).

    I copied your research to the top of the page under the Interesting tab, the Books/Movies/TV/ETC. tab. Refer people over there. Thanks for sharing all of that with us in the past months.

  125. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Don’t mean to stir the pot, but this particular view of the Atonement makes my skin crawl.

    I am glad that you are here giving us your unique understanding of the church fathers. Thank you.

  126. JeffB wrote:

    Olson said that even if God Himself (and there was no question that He was, indeed, God) told him that Calvinism was correct, he (Olson) would still reject it. I have rarely read anything so arrogant. In effect,

    Olson is telling you just how deeply he feels about this and I would bhquite cautious in taking this literally. Just as you know that Jesus is not a literal rock I would hope that you might understand that Olson is not being literal.

  127. Velour wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    Isn’t TGC [The Gospel Coalition] or some such alphabet NeoCal group behind the Babylon Bee?
    They are neo-Calvinist, but not related to TGC. The owner was a big reddit person who posted stuff like that, and decided to make a site out of it. He is still active on reddit sometimes.
    No, we had this discussion awhile back on Twitter. One of the big groups is behind it.
    I’ll do a little research and see if I can find it.
    Babylon Bee wasn’t just started by some random dude. No.

    Nate Sparks just answered my question on Twitter.

    I was correct that the ‘big dogs’ are behind The Babylon Bee.

    Nate: “It’s Matt Smethurst, executive editor for TGC”

  128. Velour wrote:

    Thanks for sharing all of that with us in the past months.

    After reading so much on the problems with PSA, I cannot understand how anyone can believe in it. One has to either be ignorant of history or be fixed to an ideology. The New-Calvinist preachers who are pushing it should know better. They have no excuse for supporting such a historically, logically, and Biblically unsound view of the atonement. This is probably my favorite refutation: https://www.perichoresis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/God-in-the-Hands-of-Angry-Sinners.pdf. It did not make the list I made earlier because I found it after I collected that list.

  129. dee wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Don’t mean to stir the pot, but this particular view of the Atonement makes my skin crawl.

    I am glad that you are here giving us your unique understanding of the church fathers. Thank you.

    Blush!!! Thank you so much!! I am always kind of afraid that I come on too strong. I know I’ve come across as too hard on people I disagree with about this or that, and I apologize. I know I am just a guest here, and I don’t want to beat people over the head with the Catholic POV!

  130. @ Ken F:

    Waaaah! My phone won’t open your intriguing link. Oh well, I’ll try it on the good ole desktop. 🙂 Thanks to you and Velour for providing these resources.

  131. Ken F wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    My phone won’t open your intriguing link.

    It’s a pdf.

    I know! I finally got it to open. Oh wow, it is simply awesome. More later. Thanks!

  132. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    For the record, Roman Catholics reject PSA. Same with Eastern Orthodox. Luther probably did as well. Anslem cracked the door open, but did not go through it. We can blame John Calvin for PSA.

  133. This is not calvinist or arminian and has nothing to do with sacrifice or substitution and certainly not acts of reparation but:

    Have you all heard of the gospel at easter according to M&M ? It seems to be a teaching tool for kiddies.

    The letter on the M&M can be an M or a W or an E or a three depending on which way you turn the candy.
    M = mercy
    W = worship
    E = easter
    3 = the three days from crucifixion to resurrection

  134. I do not think ESS is compatible with a belief in Jesus as Lord and God. Anything that diminishes Jesus in any way, shape or form, in any meaningful sense, in any way other that Jesus temporarily assuming manhood status to die for our sins, is strictly, in my opinion, of the devil. If Grudem or Piper of Ware or anyone, no matter how big they think they are in evangelicalism, believes that Jesus is eternally subordinate to anyone, then I do not believe that that they know Jesus. Do. Not. Jesus is not a sidelight, He is the whole thing, He is IT. Anything that diminishes that in any way is a pure blooded lie from hell.

  135. JYJames wrote:

    Thompson Chain Reference system

    That’s my sword of choice! I’ve been carrying a “Thompson” for over 40 years … just about wore it out, took it to a Bible binder for repair. While it was in the shop, I picked up another Thompson – a giant print version for later years. The Chain Reference system is a great Bible study resource – glad to hear others use it.

  136. Ken F wrote:

    After reading so much on the problems with PSA, I cannot understand how anyone can believe in it. One has to either be ignorant of history or be fixed to an ideology.

    When I was in-country in the Seventies, I heard of nothing else.

  137. Muff Potter wrote:

    we may not agree on every point

    But we agree that the Main thing is the main thing, the only point that matters. We are kindred spirits, Muff.

  138. Velour wrote:

    If it’s the Young Restless and Reformed/NeoCalvinists, they are a hateful, arrogant
    bunch with a sick and twisted theology.

    Just as the Khmer Rouge was more Marxist than Marx and the Taliban are more Islamic than Mohammed, so the YRR are more Calvinist than Calvin.

  139. @ Law Prof:

    I agree 100% and then some, except for the “temporarily” — which I know you didn’t mean the way I read it! From your context I’m sure you were referring only to Our Lord’s temporary humiliation here on earth, not to His assumption of our humanity thenceforth forever. As I know you would agree, Jesus remains “True God and True Man” unto all ages. In the words of the great Anglican hymn “At the Name of Jesus”:

    Humbled for a season
    To receive a Name
    From the lips of sinners
    Unto whom He came,
    Faithfully He bore it,
    Spotless to the last,
    Brought it up victorious
    When from death He passed.

    Bore it up triumphant
    With its human light,
    Through all ranks of creatures
    To the central height,
    To the throne of Godhead,
    To the Farther’s breast,
    Filled it with the glory
    Of that perfect rest.

    (OK, I am quoting this from memory, so if I messed up any of the lyrics, please bear with me. Thanks!!)

  140. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    I agree 100% and then some, except for the “temporarily” — which I know you didn’t mean the way I read it! From your context I’m sure you were referring only to Our Lord’s temporary humiliation here on earth, not to His assumption of our humanity thenceforth forever.

    Yep, that’s what I meant.

  141. Deb wrote:

    Hasn‘t Midwestern just gone through such a shift?

    Yes, Jason Allen is now President at SBC’s Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City. Prior to that appointment, he was Al Mohler’s executive assistant … surprise, surprise.

  142. The YYRs didn’t start the fire, to quote Billy Joel, it’s been burning for at least since the 90s, when I heard the late John Gerstner say basically the same thing about Arminianism. Coincidentally, Dr. Gerstner was an expert on Jonathan Edwards and authored many works on his writings, including the multi volume “Rat Bib” aka The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards.

  143. Law Prof wrote:

    I do not think ESS is compatible with a belief in Jesus as Lord and God. Anything that diminishes Jesus in any way, shape or form, in any meaningful sense, in any way other that Jesus temporarily assuming manhood status to die for our sins, is strictly, in my opinion, of the devil.

    And everybody said AMEN! New Calvinists talk a lot about God, with only occasional mention of Jesus, and hardly a word about the Holy Spirit. Indeed, their “sermons” drop the names of reformed icons more than Jesus.

  144. NJ wrote:

    I wonder if some time in the future will see an almighty clash between the YRR and the NAR.

    What is the NAR?

  145. JeffB wrote:

    Of course, it’s ridiculous to say that Arminians are not Christians.
    But also disturbing is something Dr. Olson wrote in Against Calvinism. I’ve written about this here before, but I think it bears repeating. In response to a student’s question, Olson said that even if God Himself (and there was no question that He was, indeed, God) told him that Calvinism was correct, he (Olson) would still reject it. I have rarely read anything so arrogant. In effect, Olson is saying that his source of authority is Olson. I’m not saying that, therefore, everything that Olson teaches is false. But I think that this is a clue to his character.

    I think you completely missed the point at what Olson was getting at.
    Olson was not being arrogant, nor was he being disrespectful to The Almighty.
    Rather Olson appears like the rest of us with a shred of commonsense to reject
    this rabid Calvinism as being hateful and preposterous.

    I think if I looked up the word “arrogant” in a dictionary, I would see a group photo
    of Calvinists!

  146. I’m a five point Calvinist and refuse to misrepresent Arminianism. I used to be hard-core about it, but am comfortable in my position. But I’m not saved by holding that belief, so I don’t get worked up about it anymore. It’s intellectually dishonest to misrepresent opposing views, and it doesn’t uphold Christian unity and love. I’d rather “pick on” the Calvinist who’s never read Calvin.

  147. JeffB wrote:

    But also disturbing is something Dr. Olson wrote in Against Calvinism. I’ve written about this here before, but I think it bears repeating. In response to a student’s question, Olson said that even if God Himself (and there was no question that He was, indeed, God) told him that Calvinism was correct, he (Olson) would still reject it. I have rarely read anything so arrogant. In effect, Olson is saying that his source of authority is Olson. I’m not saying that, therefore, everything that Olson teaches is false. But I think that this is a clue to his character.

    Well, I decided some years ago that if there’s a hell and a god is sending people there, I can’t worship that god. In fact, I’d rather go to hell. A lot of people would say that’s arrogant. I’d just say that in this world, we prosecute people for torture. You don’t get to say that torture is wrong and a crime in this life, and perfectly OK in the next life because your god is doing it.

    And yes, this is why I’m outside the charmed circle of the household of faith.

  148. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Does anyone know whether Hank Hanegraff (spelling?), the famous Bible Answer Man, is known for being Calvinist, Arminian, or some cross between the two?
    Apparently he and his wife have just been Chrismated into Eastern Orthodoxy at St Nektarios Church in Charlotte. Who saw *that* coming? (Not I, Rabbi!)

    Catholic Gate Crasher, I have to agree with you. He was a staunch evangelical. I wonder what happened to make the choice of leaving that and becoming Orthodox?

  149. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Where does the Bible say that the Father *punished* the Son

    I’d start with these…

    He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross. 1Peter 2:24

    He (the Father) made Him (the Son) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf. 2Cor. 5:21

    Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29, 36

    The Lord was pleased to crush Him… if He would render Himself as a guilt offering Is. 53:10

  150. dee wrote:

    I asked you a direct question and you deflected onto me. I asked you a legitimate question that does have an answer in the Calvinist system but it is awkward.

    You didn’t like my answer, because it didn’t fit what you think a Calvinist believes. I asked if you might give the same answer I gave to some other point of your theology and you accuse me of deflecting.

    Maybe this helps…
    “Since God attempted to draw the Jews to himself by mild and gentle methods, and gained nothing by such kindness, the criminality of such haughty disdain was far more aggravated… not once and again did God wish to gather them together, but… sent to them the prophets, one after another.” -Calvin on Matt. 23:37.
    You’d assume Calvin would be able to make no sense of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, since why would Calvin’s Jesus weep over the non-elect?

  151. dee wrote:

    Give me the name of a *proper Calvinist* that is not some minor footnote. Is RC Sproul one? John Piper?

    Calvin, for one. Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Sproul, MacArthur (in the last 20 years anyway), Sinclair Ferguson, Alistair Begg.

  152. dee wrote:

    As RC Sprouts has said“If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”

    Yes, I agree with Sproul. Yet “no maverick molecules” doesn’t translate into “no place for personal responsibility and accountability.” This is what is mysterious to me.

    If God created everything, did He create anything outside of His control? Or did He just let go of His creation?

    Or as J I Packer might ask, do you pray for the lost, and if so, why? Do you actually want God to “push” them in a direction they don’t want to go?

  153. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Burwell wrote:
    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Does anyone know whether Hank Hanegraff (spelling?), the famous Bible Answer Man, is known for being Calvinist, Arminian, or some cross between the two?
    As a member of the Greek Orthodox church, he is neither Calvinist nor Arminian. The Orthodox church, like the Roman Catholics, trace their theology and faith a lot further back than those two gentlemen. I appreciate and envy that my Orthodox brothers and sisters are able to look at this petty squabbling and say – What’s the big deal? It all comes down to the Council of Nicea (which, ironically, automatically excludes Grudem, Ware, etc., for their errant ESS beliefs).
    Sorry for confusion! I meant was he Calvinist or Arminian before his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy?
    He hails from my general neck of the woods (North Carolina), but I know very little about him. Apparently he was chrismated just this past Saturday (Lazarus Saturday on the Eastern calendar).
    I am heartily happy for him and his wife. My only concern would be: Will he bring fundagelical anti-Catholicism with him into Orthodoxy (and compound it with anti-Westernism to boot)? Some converts to Orthodoxy follow this trajectory, although they usually mellow out of it. Others, happily, do not go in that direction in the first place. (E.g. our own Darlene.)

    Catholic Gate Crasher, I think the trajectory in which a convert will go depends upon many different variables. If Hanegraaffs local parish is made up of a large percentage of former evangelicals, that could be one of those influences toward becoming the Monk-a-bee convert. If his spiritual adviser is a convert from evangelicalism, that could also be an influence. But Hanegraaff is older so he just might avoid the Cage-Stage Orthodoxy phase that other converts go through. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  154. Christiane wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    was he a ‘fundagelical anti-Catholic’ before his conversion to EOC?
    if he was, that’s a pretty profound change

    Christiane, I used to be one of those anti-Catholic fundagelicals. Jack Chick was my preferred witnessing tract. I stood outside Catholic churches, eager to tell all those poor lost souls that they weren’t saved. Years later, when I met a dear Catholic priest who spent many hours talking with and listening to me, my anti-Catholic scales fell from my eyes. Fr. Perry was a living example of the love of Christ. I could tell many stories about this dear man, but it would evolve into a novelette.

  155. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    @ Joe Reed:
    I should be more precise in my language… “did the Father punish the Son…” would be better
    Where does the Bible say that the Father *punished* the Son? That whole notion of penal substitutionary atonement was utterly unknown before the Reformation. (And no, pace Frederica Matthewes-Greene, St Anselm did not teach any such thing.)
    Don’t mean to stir the pot, but this particular view of the Atonement makes my skin crawl.

    I agree. It makes God out to be a Cosmic Bully. God the Father and Jesus the Son were always One. The Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – cannot be separated. PSA is a distorted view of the relationship of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

  156. I wrote:

    “Olson said that even if God Himself (and there was no question that He was, indeed, God) told him that Calvinism was correct, he (Olson) would still reject it. I have rarely read anything so arrogant.”

    dee wrote:

    “Olson is telling you just how deeply he feels about this and I would be quite cautious in taking this literally. Just as you know that Jesus is not a literal rock I would hope that you might understand that Olson is not being literal.”

    Actually, what Olson wrote (p. 85, Against Calvinism) is that he would no longer worship God if He said that Calvinism is correct. Right before this, he writes, “I knew the only possible answer without a moment’s thought, even though I knew it would shock many people.” He also writes, “Such a God would be a moral monster.” There is no doubt that he means it literally.

  157. JeffB wrote:

    I wrote:
    “Olson said that even if God Himself (and there was no question that He was, indeed, God) told him that Calvinism was correct, he (Olson) would still reject it. I have rarely read anything so arrogant.”
    dee wrote:
    “Olson is telling you just how deeply he feels about this and I would be quite cautious in taking this literally. Just as you know that Jesus is not a literal rock I would hope that you might understand that Olson is not being literal.”
    Actually, what Olson wrote (p. 85, Against Calvinism) is that he would no longer worship God if He said that Calvinism is correct. Right before this, he writes, “I knew the only possible answer without a moment’s thought, even though I knew it would shock many people.” He also writes, “Such a God would be a moral monster.” There is no doubt that he means it literally.

    JeffB,

    Did you take literature in college? Grade(s)? You’re missing the nuances here.

    I still can’t believe that you’re missing the point. Calvinism is a monstrosity and its God is a monster. If the Calvinist god were to speak to Roger Olson, he would (rightfully) reject such a god.

    And I join Roger Olson in this view. I too reject Calvinism and its god, who is NOT God.

  158. Darlene wrote:

    I used to be one of those anti-Catholic fundagelicals. Jack Chick was my preferred witnessing tract. I stood outside Catholic churches, eager to tell all those poor lost souls that they weren’t saved. Years later, when I met a dear Catholic priest who spent many hours talking with and listening to me, my anti-Catholic scales fell from my eyes. Fr. Perry was a living example of the love of Christ.

    Darlene,

    I just have to say that I LOVE hearing your story of transformation. It gives me a hope about others I know in my life who are currently so intractable.

    I think I was intractable for a spell there too while in NeoCalvinism. And then I saw all of the abuse and hurt of dear saints, the control by pastors/elders, their authoritarianism and my anger slowly grew. It simmered for quite a while before I just said, “No”. And then they excommunicated me and ordered me to shunned, like the sweet saints before me.

  159. Joe Reed wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Where does the Bible say that the Father *punished* the Son

    I’d start with these…

    He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross. 1Peter 2:24

    He (the Father) made Him (the Son) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf. 2Cor. 5:21

    Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29, 36

    The Lord was pleased to crush Him… if He would render Himself as a guilt offering Is. 53:10

    None of those passages (with which we are all familiar) say that the Father punished the Son.

  160. Darlene wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Does anyone know whether Hank Hanegraff (spelling?), the famous Bible Answer Man, is known for being Calvinist, Arminian, or some cross between the two?
    Apparently he and his wife have just been Chrismated into Eastern Orthodoxy at St Nektarios Church in Charlotte. Who saw *that* coming? (Not I, Rabbi!)

    Catholic Gate Crasher, I have to agree with you. He was a staunch evangelical. I wonder what happened to make the choice of leaving that and becoming Orthodox?

    There is a photo circulating online from his and his wife’s chrismation. They are kneeling, heads bowed, holding candles. I hafta say that is one of the most beautiful and moving photos ever. It is suffused with humility, if that makes any sense.

    I, too, would very much like to hear his story.

  161. Let’s see…
    In our family we have experienced major healing and avoided major surgery – without Calvinism.
    We have sought God’s guidance and received His answers regarding career majors and employment – without Calvinism.
    We have been provided with lovely homes in healthy and safe neighborhoods – without Calvinism.
    We have witnessed to our pagan relatives and friends and they have become believers – without Calvinism.
    Etc.
    Guess we’ll just carry on in our Christian lives with God working, seeking Him, prayerfully, studying His Word, just like Jesus did – without Calvinism.

  162. I always treasured the idea that God Himself came back for us and healed the breach Himself. The Calvinist ‘punishment’ thing was never what we thought of when we looked at the crucifix. We saw SELF-giving love …. the greater love that lays down its life willingly.

    It was OUR sins that crucified Jesus Christ. WE did it. Hence, we look upon Him Who was slain and we mourn and are brought by the Holy Spirit to the place of repentance and healing. If Lent and Holy Week do nothing more, we are recalled to the words of Zechariah the prophet:
    “Zechariah 12:10
    “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

    And for those who say, but that does apply to ‘us’, I would remind them of the transcendence of all that is holy:

    Revelation 1:7
    “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him–even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.”

    We were saved because we were loved. He came out to meet us when we were still ‘a long way off’. Like the Father in the story of the prodigal son, so is the great love of God for his Creation.

  163. Joe Reed wrote:

    Since God attempted to draw the Jews to himself by mild and gentle methods, and gained nothing by such kindness, the criminality of such haughty disdain was far more aggravated… not once and again did God wish to gather them together, but… sent to them the prophets, one after another.

    Oh yes! God was so gentle in his methods.
    He gently plagued them by the thousands when they looked at him the wrong way. Or complained.
    Here’s a complete listing

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Examples_of_God_personally_killing_people

    Thank goodness Calvin came along. Otherwise we would have been smothered with all that warm & fuzzy gentleness.

  164. Adam Embry wrote:

    I’m a five point Calvinist and refuse to misrepresent Arminianism. I used to be hard-core about it, but am comfortable in my position. But I’m not saved by holding that belief, so I don’t get worked up about it anymore. It’s intellectually dishonest to misrepresent opposing views, and it doesn’t uphold Christian unity and love. I’d rather “pick on” the Calvinist who’s never read Calvin.

    Thank you for not misrepresenting Arminianism, and welcome to TWW!

  165. @ Jack:
    I would say that, in reading ‘literally’ without the wisdom of the Jewish concept of ‘The Ban’, you could view God as a monster;
    but the idea of ‘The Ban’ cannot be taken literally. God is the Source of all that is good. ‘God is love’ and does not act contrary to Himself …. so what IS going on the ‘The Ban’, given that the Ban was about destroying, not just anybody, but the sinful enemies of God and God’s people, the broader concept points towards the destruction of all sin and evil, thoroughly and completely. The deeper meaning of the Ban explains even more clearly why Christians may not do evil ‘that good may come’ of it.

    I have a question. Do Calvinists think that God Himself is the author of evil ?

  166. Velour wrote:

    I too reject Calvinism and its god, who is NOT God.

    I’m not just picking on you Velour, but isn’t the point of this post to say “oh my word! How horrible that some neo-Calvinist seminary student would suggest Arminians aren’t Christians!” Fair enough, I’m with you.

    But this statement of yours that runs the other direction – Calvinists don’t have the right God (hence aren’t Christians) – ought it not be also considered unkind?

  167. Christiane wrote:

    Do Calvinists think that God Himself is the author of evil ?

    Unequivocally – No! They absolutely do not.

    They may say something like “God ordained that evil be, without being the creator of it or approving of it.”

  168. @ Joe Reed:
    I see the word ‘ordained’ and I think maybe the word ‘permitted’ would be more accurate ….

    which begs the philosophical/theological question about the true nature of ‘evil’

    It is said that evil is ‘the absence of good’; but that good is not the same thing as the absence of evil 🙂

    “Good can exist without evil, whereas evil cannot exist without good.”
    (Thomas Aquinas)

    personal note: have been watching a film about puppy mills on Netflix and crying my eyes out …. I think I’ll go to Church and sit for a while in peace

    those pups are so abused and tormented and neglected for years, but when rescued, just want to show love to their rescuers and be loved in return

    Our Risen Lord came back from scourging, crucifixion and death, and His words to mankind were ‘shalom’ ‘peace be to you’

    All of Creation awaits its renewal in Christ.

  169. Muff Potter wrote:

    mega-church honchos

    Mega is overrated! Size doesn’t matter in the Kingdom of God. He is looking for those who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth … and most often finds them in small gatherings of believers, rather than packed houses.

    Honchos like to be in charge – an attitude which prevents such leaders from being servants.

  170. Great point Max!

    This may be a little confusing, however begs the question:

    “So then, our LORD Jesus Christ was either a Calvinist or an Arminian?” Seems to me, Jesus was born of the Spirit of God, died, crucified, and was resurrected for the remission of our sins long before Calvin and the Arminians determined their own theology.

    What happens when we follow and believe on the LORD Jesus Christ, instead of men, people groups and movements?

  171. @ Joe Reed:
    I know that to be true. However, Calvinists must bear the burden that it appears that way. There are differences between Arminians and Calvinists in he view of God ordaining.

    As one who is an Arminian. I believe that God, in general, ordained free will which led to evil as mankind sinned against God and one another.

    There some Calvinists who believe that God specifically ordains particular evil. For example, I know some Calvinists who said that God specifically ordained the death of Jessica Lunsford who was kidnapped raped tortured buried allege and suffocated at the age of 8.

  172. Adam Embry wrote:

    It’s intellectually dishonest to misrepresent opposing views, and it doesn’t uphold Christian unity and love. I’d rather “pick on” the Calvinist who’s never read Calvin.

    Thank you for that. I am one non-Calvinst who has read Calvin extensively and I am surprised when I me calvinists who have not read as much as I have.

  173. Sam wrote:

    Hmm. All this time I thought I was saved… Hmm. Guess not.

    Narcissistic arrogance is best described by those who declare who is saved and who is not saved. That should be left in the Capable Hands of the Father who does decide the issue. He does not need us to advise Him on the matter.

  174. Joe Reed wrote:

    They may say something like “God ordained that evil be, without being the creator of it or approving of it.”

    Definitions of “ordain”:
    1. to invest with ministerial or sacerdotal functions; confer holy orders upon.
    2. to enact or establish by law, edict, etc.
    3. to decree; give orders for.
    4. (of God, fate, etc.) to destine or predestine.
    5. Archaic. to select for or appoint to an office.
    6. to order or command.

    How does God “ordain” something which he neither creates nor approves?

  175. Joe Reed wrote:

    They may say something like “God ordained that evil be, without being the creator of it or approving of it.”

    There is indeed the issue of how the Serpent got into Eden in the first place. If God did not create the Serpent, who did. If the serpent was created good and fell from being the highest created being, then who let it/him still be hanging around in the garden. If God wanted man to never encounter the Serpent then why is there no record that God warned Man about the possible encounter and how to handle it, which is basically saying is ‘don’t eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ in itself evidence that God knew about and perhaps pre-ordained the encounter without pre-ordaining the way in which Man would respond to the encounter?

    Which leads to the possible conclusion that God pre-ordained free will at least to some degree, which is itself an interesting concept.

    I do not think by any chance that every word out of Calvin’s mouth was necessarily wrong, but we certainly have some excessive thinking and behavior today.

  176. Joe Reed wrote:

    You didn’t like my answer, because it didn’t fit what you think a Calvinist believes. I asked if you might give the same answer I gave to some other point of your theology and you accuse me of deflecting.

    I asked you a question and you did deflect. When I ask you what you believe, you should answer it for yourself and not turn it on to me. After you do it answer it, you cans me a question. It should be specific. “Don’t you believe in mysteries?” is too broad.

    Joe Reed wrote:

    “Since God attempted to draw the Jews to himself by mild and gentle methods, and gained nothing by such kindness,

    Mild and gentle? Hmmm-Calvin and I must read different Old Testaments. In fact the gentle and mild comes in with Jesus. The OT showed that no matter how much and how severely God punished the Jews, they were unable to repent for any length of time before screwing up once again.

    This is why we needed a Savior. God loves us very, very much and we are His joy. He predestined a solution from the beginning of time and that was the servant Jesus.

    I have often wondered if Calvin viewed things in such a manner because he lived in a time in which “off with their heads” was seen as a normal response. So, demolishing people groups was considered normal, perhaps?

  177. JeffB wrote:

    Actually, what Olson wrote (p. 85, Against Calvinism) is that he would no longer worship God if He said that Calvinism is correct. Right before this, he writes, “I knew the only possible answer without a moment’s thought, even though I knew it would shock many people.” He also writes, “Such a God would be a moral monster.” There is no doubt that he means it literally

    I have read Olson extensively. I disagree with you on this point.

    Olson knows that such a God does not exist. If he did he would be a monster. If such a monster whispered in his ear and said this stuff is true, then Olson would not follow him. Neither, I believe, would you follow such a monster.

    I think you are making it easy for yourself and others to disregard what Olson is really saying. “See, he wouldn’t believe God if Gd told him that. Therefore, he won’t submit to God.”

    Yo duo know that silly question “Can God created a rock he cannot lift?” Yet seems that you are attempting to apply that logic to Olson’s response.

  178. Karen wrote:

    “So then, our LORD Jesus Christ was either a Calvinist or an Arminian?” Seems to me, Jesus was born of the Spirit of God, died, crucified, and was resurrected for the remission of our sins long before Calvin and the Arminians determined their own theology.

    I heard a kid ask once “Was Jesus a Christian?” Us big people smile and wink at such inquiries, just as God winks at our futile arguments trying to figure Him out! Jesus not only predated Calvin and Arminius, he predated the New Testament which Calvinist and Arminians fuss over regarding diverging interpretations. Jesus transcends the theologies of men. He was the Word! Thus, we would do well to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to Truth about Him, rather than mere men.

    I’ve found that the New Calvinists in my neck of the woods like to hang out in Romans and Ephesians. They LOVE Paul to the point of diminishing Jesus’ words. They focus on the epistles of Paul, jumping over the Gospels of Jesus. When I get the opportunity (or make one), I counsel the youngsters in the following manner: If you read Paul first, you might read Jesus wrong … but if you read Jesus first, the writings of Paul come into perspective. If they appear brain-washed in reformed theology to the point of looking at me like a raccoon in car headlights, I then advise them take their Bibles to a wilderness place for a season, humble themselves, pray and repent, shut out ALL the teachings of men, read the words in red, and pray for power. Few have taken me up on that – it’s so much more exciting to be a part of a movement, than being alone with God.

    Karen wrote:

    What happens when we follow and believe on the LORD Jesus Christ, instead of men, people groups and movements?

    You shall be saved! Salvation doesn’t rest in the teachings of men, aligning yourself with a particular religious group, or participating in the latest movement. Salvation is found in relationship with a person … His name is Jesus! My personal encounter with the living Christ is no match for the debates of men. Someone once said ““A man with an experience is never at the mercy of an argument.” What I know is in my knower; I can’t un-know it even by listening to the most intellectual and articulate attempt to strip Truth out of my soul.

  179. dee wrote:

    Sam wrote:
    Hmm. All this time I thought I was saved… Hmm. Guess not.

    Narcissistic arrogance is best described by those who declares who is saved and who is not saved. That should be left in the Capable Hands of the Father who does decide the issue. He does not need us to advise Him on the matter.

    I have always thought it was a very serious thing indeed to declare someone a non-Christian and I think it is reserved in my mind only for the most evil. I might have felt comfortable declaring Ted Bundy not a Christian, for example. Maybe.

  180. dee wrote:

    I know some Calvinists who said that God specifically ordained the death of Jessica Lunsford who was kidnapped raped tortured buried allege and suffocated at the age of 8.

    I’m curious what you think Gods role in that event was? Is he so devoted to the free will of the creep that he wouldn’t prevent him from doing that wicked act? Or unable to do so? Or able but unwilling?

    Calvinists are not the only ones struggling to explain evil in the face of an omnipotent God.

  181. okrapod wrote:

    There is indeed the issue of how the Serpent got into Eden in the first place. If God did not create the Serpent, who did. If …Which leads to the possible conclusion that God pre-ordained free will at least to some degree, which is itself an interesting concept.

    Or one of the things I mused on after reading Karen ARmstrongs book on genesis, God made man in his own image, and then man sinned. What does that mean, really.

    It could be when God created man in his own image, that included free will. God also created satan and all the fallen angels.

  182. dee wrote:

    Mild and gentle?

    Obviously the judgment scenes are the highlighted ones. Yet consider the centuries between the major judgments, consider the Psalms which speak of the rain falling on the just and the unjust. Consider Gods patience “all day long I have stretched out my hands to a stubborn and obstinate people.”

    Owen makes a great case that the kindness and love of Jesus is no different than the kindness and love of Jesus. Also, consider “the wrath of the Lamb” in Rev. 6, and you will find that Jesus is no cream puff in the face of evil men.

  183. Max,

    Alleluia and Amen to your comment thread. Thank-you for encouraging me in my faith in Jesus alone, for my salvation! Good words!

    Blessings to you.

  184. dee wrote:

    unable to repent for any length of time before screwing up once again.

    Sounds like total depravity 😉

  185. Nancy2 wrote:

    How does God “ordain” something which he neither creates nor approves?

    The death of Jesus would be one example. God hates injustice. Jesus’ trial and crucifixion were a colossal failure of justice. Yet he was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Ungodly people did what God predestined would be done.

    How does that work? Forgive me for pleading mystery again, but at the same time Jesus’ death was an act of great wickedness there was never a doubt in the mind of God it would happen exactly as it did because he ordained that it would.

  186. dee wrote:

    Narcissistic arrogance is best described by those who declare who is saved and who is not saved.

    Like certain mortal men we know of who claim to hold the Keys to the Kingdom?

  187. Joe Reed wrote:

    Ungodly people did what God predestined would be done.

    So, ungodly people are not ungodly by their own choice, but by God’s predestination?

  188. Nancy2 wrote:

    So, ungodly people are not ungodly by their own choice, but by God’s predestination?

    All people are ungodly by nature. In sin we were conceived, and we sin because we are sinners by nature. This is not unique to Calvinism, by the way. Arminians would agree with this, and as I recall I’ve read Dee’s explanation of it, which was very good.

  189. @ Joe Reed:
    You do know that Arminians have no trouble with total depravity, don’t you? They couple that with prevenient grace.

    But for Calvin to say that God treated the jewish people with gentleness seems rather odd to me.

  190. Joe Reed wrote:

    “all day long I have stretched out my hands to a stubborn and obstinate people.”

    That does not mean that God was gentle.Sending people into captivity and slavery for generations was nt gentle and kind, not matter what One ha to say.

    Jesus sacrificed himself on the Cross-showing a different side to God-one who would die for the one of his people. This side was not evident in the OT-merely predestined and hinted at.

  191. Joe Reed wrote:

    Is he so devoted to the free will of the creep that he wouldn’t prevent him from doing that wicked act? Or unable to do so? Or able but unwilling?

    He gave us free will and allowed us to suffer the consequences of our own disobedience. He did not specifically ordain that Jessica Lunsford would die.In other words, God did not move the molecules to make that happen.

  192. Nancy2 wrote:

    So, ungodly people are not ungodly by their own choice, but by God’s predestination?

    Think about it this way, why is Judas condemned for his betrayal of Jesus since we have the recorded words of Jesus to Judas to go ahead and do what he was planning to do? How is that ‘fair’ and also does it mean that Jesus was complicit in the same unjust act of his execution which was in fact also by the will of the Father as demonstrated in Gethsemane?

    If the execution of Jesus was evil, and if Jesus was complicit in it, then one of two things, either Jesus was not God or else God does some things that look like He is complicit with evil. That line of reasoning being only valid if the assumption can be accepted that man knows good and evil when he sees it (which we certainly did not in Eden).

    Which brings us back to mystery. Mystery only being that which we do not yet understand as it has not yet been revealed to us.

    So when Jesus preached apocalyptic judgement with eternal consequences, can we say that this is clear indication that either He was not God or else God does evil, assuming that judgment with consequences is in fact evil?

  193. Joe Reed wrote:

    All people are ungodly by nature. In sin we were conceived, and we sin because we are sinners by nature. This is not unique to Calvinism,

    Yes. We differ among ourselves as to whether we are totally depraved or whether it is just that the image of God in us is only somewhat damaged. We differ I think in what we mean by ‘nature’ and how we got into our pitiful condition-creation or original sin. We differ in what to do about it, if anything. But most of us I believe would think that ungodliness is part of our nature.

  194. Lea wrote:

    Maybe.

    I always remember the thief on the Cross and never negate the possibility of a death bed conversion.

  195. dee wrote:

    But for Calvin to say that God treated the jewish people with gentleness seems rather odd to me.

    Fast forward: Hitler …… Nazis …… concentration camps ….. the captivity, abuse and death of tens of thousands of Jews by various means.
    Were the Nazis a more modern version of the fiery sepents? Did a gentle God “ordain” the holocaust?
    Did God predestined every war, every disease, and every atrocity? I don’t think so.

    I believe that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I believe He knows everything we have done, and everything we will do. But, he leaves us to make those choices/decisions by our own volition.
    I haven’t eaten yet today. I’m going to go get myself a bowl of Corn Pops – a bad choice, maybe. …… but my choice to make, by the freedom God has given to me.

  196. @ Joe Reed:
    Nancy’s question has play, however. There are some Calvinists who declare that God actually decreed for the sin to occur so that He could be glorified.

    This *God glorified* thing can be overplayed. There are some who say that Jesus did not die on the Cross specifically for the sins of men but specifically that God might be glorified. The forgiveness of sins was a secondary benefit for us.

  197. Joe Reed wrote:

    All people are ungodly by nature. In sin we were conceived, and we sin because we are sinners by nature.

    Do Adam and Eve fit this description? Did God make then ungodly when He created them?

  198. Joe Reed wrote:

    Forgive me for pleading mystery again, but at the same time Jesus’ death was an act of great wickedness there was never a doubt in the mind of God it would happen exactly as it did because he ordained that it would.

    Who died on the Cross?
    Did God die on the Cross?
    What wording would you use and why? It’s not really a trick question, but it does separate neo-Cals from the people of orthodox Christianity in a major way.

  199. dee wrote:

    There are some who say that Jesus did not die on the Cross specifically for the sins of men but specifically that God might be glorified. The forgiveness of sins was a secondary benefit for us.

    I never heard that nor thought of it that way, but now that you mention it there is mention of the glorifying of the Father and glorifying of the Son in connection with the death of Jesus-the thing about the voice from heaven saying this for example.

    Have your sources explained why they think it has to be either/or?

  200. dee wrote:

    You do know that Arminians have no trouble with total depravity, don’t you? They couple that with prevenient grace.

    Yes. I’ve read what you have to say on the subject and quite agree.

  201. Nancy2 wrote:

    Do Adam and Eve fit this description? Did God make then ungodly when He created them?

    No, they would be the exception. Westminster would say something like they were created in innocence, and everyone after them is born in sin.

  202. Christiane wrote:

    Who died on the Cross?
    Did God die on the Cross?

    God cannot die. Jesus is God and His deity cannot die. But Jesus is also man, and his humanity could and did die. He retains his humanity forever, but in a glorified immortal state, exemplified in the transfiguration.

  203. dee wrote:

    This *God glorified* thing can be overplayed. There are some who say that Jesus did not die on the Cross specifically for the sins of men but specifically that God might be glorified. The forgiveness of sins was a secondary benefit for us.

    I know what you mean and feel the struggle there, and sometimes feel the same way.

    It comes of asking the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” That is, God wasn’t forced to create anything, so why did He create something? What was His first purpose? After all, he didn’t owe it to us to create us, so why did He? Nobody would be in hell if God didn’t create.
    It’s a tough question because God needs nothing, and is perfectly fulfilled in Himself because of His Trinitarian perfections, but created anyway.

  204. Joe Reed wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    I too reject Calvinism and its god, who is NOT God.
    I’m not just picking on you Velour, but isn’t the point of this post to say “oh my word! How horrible that some neo-Calvinist seminary student would suggest Arminians aren’t Christians!” Fair enough, I’m with you.
    But this statement of yours that runs the other direction – Calvinists don’t have the right God (hence aren’t Christians) – ought it not be also considered unkind?

    No, not really Joe.

    There’s a whole bunch of sincere Christians, myself included, who got sucked into NeoCalvinism. I am glad that I am out. Many of us had the best of intentions in going to church. We just missed all of the danger signs.

    But like LawProf said up the thread, the others in NeoCalvinism tell lies from the pits of Hell. Christians? Only God knows that. I think some may be Christians and may be deceived.
    I think others aren’t Christians at all. They have never encountered Jesus.

  205. dee wrote:

    .In other words, God did not move the molecules to make that happen.

    But why didn’t he stop the molecules that were in motion when the motion was so horrible to Jessica?

  206. Joe Reed wrote:

    Christiane wrote:
    Who died on the Cross?
    Did God die on the Cross?
    God cannot die. Jesus is God and His deity cannot die. But Jesus is also man, and his humanity could and did die. He retains his humanity forever, but in a glorified immortal state, exemplified in the transfiguration.

    So you can separate His “God Part” from His “Man Part”? That sounds an awfully lot like Nestorianism.

  207. Max wrote:

    Size doesn’t matter in the Kingdom of God.

    That is so true.
    It has something to do with ‘the humility of God’, revealed to us by Christ Himself, the Incarnated Lord 🙂

    “Tirian has never traveled between words. So he peaks back through the stable door to see the fading fire beside the stable, Narnia on its last evening.
    Tirian looked round again and could hardly believe his eyes. There was the blue sky overhead, and grassy country spreading as far as he could see in every direction, and his new friends all round him laughing.
    “It seems, then,” said Tirian, smiling himself, “that the stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two different places.”
    “Yes,” said the Lord Digory. “Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
    “Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
    (C.S. Lewis)

    “….Come Root, and Key, and King, and holy Flame,
    O quickened little wick so tightly curled,
    Be folded with us into time and place,
    Unfold for us the mystery of grace
    And make a womb of all this wounded world.
    O heart of heaven beating in the earth,
    O tiny hope within our hopelessness
    Come to be born, to bear us to our birth,
    To touch a dying world with new-made hands
    And make these rags of time our swaddling bands.”
    (Malcolm Guite, from ‘O Emmanuel’

  208. For me, this thread constantly brings to mind Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, which takes a dip into Calvinist theology – “”Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption, and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud,”.

  209. Joe Reed wrote:

    No, they would be the exception. Westminster would say something like they were created in innocence, and everyone after them is born in sin.

    Was the temptation by the serpent, the deception of Eve, and the cooperation of Adam all predestined?

  210. Nancy2 wrote:

    For me, this thread constantly brings to mind Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, which takes a dip into Calvinist theology – “”Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption, and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud,”.

    Doesn’t the Huey Long character (forget name) quote that? IIRC (it’s been *many* years), he tells the narrator/protagonist to dig up some dirt on a morally upright judge(I think?). When the protagonist objects that there *is* no dirt on this blameless man of integrity, the Huey Long character counters that his Presbyterian upbringing taught him there is *always* dirt, and if you dig hard and deep enough, you’ll find it. (Something like that.)

  211. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    So you can separate His “God Part” from His “Man Part”? That sounds an awfully lot like Nestorianism.

    Fully God fully man without separation or confusion of His natures. I’m unable to explain the depths of the hypoststic union but I understand and affirm historic Christianity on the subject.

  212. Nancy2 wrote:

    Was the temptation by the serpent, the deception of Eve, and the cooperation of Adam all predestined?

    Along with the death of Jesus, yes.

    And yet Calvinists would affirm that the only truly free human wills (not bent by sin) belonged to Adam and Eve. That is to say, they sinned of their own free will – just as they were predestined to do.

  213. Velour wrote:

    I think some may be Christians and may be deceived.
    I think others aren’t Christians at all. They have never encountered Jesus.

    This is true in any church. If I could find one that already had done Jesus’ job of perfectly separating the sheep from the goats I’d be curious to check it out!

  214. Personally, I do not believe in Total Depravity. I believe that the Fall profoundly marred us but did not extinguish every last spark of good or light.

    If depravity were total and absolute, then “unregenerate” unbelievers would never do anything good. Yet we see non-Christians doing good things all the time — feeding and sheltering homeless people, raising funds for needy children, helping their neighbors in countless ways, and on and on.

    To ‘splain this, the Reformers had to come up with the notion of Common Grace. But such a notion was entirely novel. It’s not mentioned in the Bible or anywhere in Christian Tradition. The Reformers simply made it up.

    BTW, I claim Christian fellowship with all those who believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior, whether or not they hold to Total Depravity. So yes, although I do not believe in it myself, I certainly do not think it is make-or-break for ecumenical relations or Christian fellowship. 😀

  215. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Well, I decided some years ago that if there’s a hell and a god is sending people there, I can’t worship that god. In fact, I’d rather go to hell. A lot of people would say that’s arrogant. I’d just say that in this world, we prosecute people for torture. You don’t get to say that torture is wrong and a crime in this life, and perfectly OK in the next life because your god is doing it.

    And yes, this is why I’m outside the charmed circle of the household of faith.

    You’re not alone Muslin, I too am outside of the charmed household of faith who believe in hell. To me it makes no sense to create and maintain a monument (hell) to the hatred and cruelty of the devil. Torture of any kind, even to the vilest of the vile, violates my conscience.

  216. Joe Reed wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    Who died on the Cross?
    Did God die on the Cross?

    God cannot die. Jesus is God and His deity cannot die. But Jesus is also man, and his humanity could and did die. He retains his humanity forever, but in a glorified immortal state, exemplified in the transfiguration.

    That seems to be the faith of people like R.C. Sproul.

    But I would suggest that Our Lord Christ is ONE Person with two natures, one nature fully man, and one nature fully God.
    And when you think about it, a ‘nature’ did not die on the Cross, a Person died.

  217. Nancy2 wrote:

    Was the temptation by the serpent, the deception of Eve, and the cooperation of Adam all predestined?

    Or else what? That God lost control of the situation? Not a chance. He either caused it, or set it up that way in the first place, or let it happen for His own reasons.

    Or else, the whole thing is a literary representation of how Man came to the place in his evolutionary development in which he quit being a lower primate and became a yet higher primate able to make more advanced decisions which we now call moral decisions and which we for whatever reason attribute to the involvement of some as yet unproved ultimate being we call God.

  218. Joe Reed wrote:

    And yet Calvinists would affirm that the only truly free human wills (not bent by sin) belonged to Adam and Eve. That is to say, they sinned of their own free will – just as they were predestined to do.

    And I reject Calvinsim, by my own free will – just as I was predestined to do. : ^ )

  219. Thank you, Deb, for another great post. So much good conversation here.

    I have been helped tremendously by the teachings of the late Dr. Walter Martin and Dr. Michael S. Heiser regarding predestination, along with most any other biblical subject.

    Dr. Walter Martin – The Mystery of Predestination:

    https://archive.org/details/Dr.WalterMartinTheMysteryOfPredestination

    Dr. Michael S. Heiser – Predestination and Free Will: A Summary of The Naked Bible Position (The Naked Bible is one of his blogs, and a wealth of great stuff):

    http://drmsh.com/predestination-and-free-will-a-summary-of-the-naked-bibles-position/

    You may also want to check out MIQLAT on Dr. Heiser’s excellent blog. This is a godsend for those of us who need much more than the skimmed milk of Christianity Lite.

    Disclaimer: I have yet to find a scholar/teacher/preacher/pastor that I agree with 100% on every single subject. 🙂

  220. Joe Reed wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    So you can separate His “God Part” from His “Man Part”? That sounds an awfully lot like Nestorianism.
    Fully God fully man without separation or confusion of His natures. I’m unable to explain the depths of the hypoststic union but I understand and affirm historic Christianity on the subject.

    Then in what sense can it be maintained that God did not die on the Cross?

    P.S. I just stole the following from another site. (http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/120495-did-god-die-on-the-cross/)

    ——————————

    This passage from Scripture seems to “nail the issue down,” certainly with all the other references and arguments –
    Act 3:14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
    Act 3:15 and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

    I think most would acknowledge that God alone is “the Author of life.”

    ———————

    The same source quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    The Catechism says,
    68 …… Thus everything in Christ’s human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: “He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity.” 

    469 The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. …..And the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom proclaims and sings: “O only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal being, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, you who without change became man and were crucified, O Christ our God, you who by your death have crushed death, you who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!”

    And again,
    253 The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity.” The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.” In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.” 
    And even in the works of the divine economy, the work is the common work of the three Persons, yet in the way specific to the Person (see CCC 258 for more on this):

    267 Inseparable in what they are, the divine persons are also inseparable in what they do. But within the single divine operation each shows forth what is proper to him in the Trinity, especially in the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    ———————

  221. Christiane wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    Christiane wrote:
    Who died on the Cross?
    Did God die on the Cross?
    God cannot die. Jesus is God and His deity cannot die. But Jesus is also man, and his humanity could and did die. He retains his humanity forever, but in a glorified immortal state, exemplified in the transfiguration.
    That seems to be the faith of people like R.C. Sproul.
    But I would suggest that Our Lord Christ is ONE Person with two natures, one nature fully man, and one nature fully God.
    And when you think about it, a ‘nature’ did not die on the Cross, a Person died.

    Amen, Christiane, and well said. A Person died — whole, inviolable, and inseparably One: True God and True Man.

  222. Joe Reed wrote:

    But why didn’t he stop the molecules that were in motion when the motion was so horrible to Jessica?

    I am not a Calvinist so I cannot answer that question. I don’t buy the molecule statement by Sproul.

  223. okrapod wrote:

    Or else what? That God lost control of the situation? Not a chance. He either caused it, or set it up that way in the first place, or let it happen for His own reasons.

    I made a comment at 11:29 (just now cleared customs) that addresses what I believe.

  224. Christiane wrote:

    the stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two different places

    There has always been the Church within the church. Everything that goes to church ain’t the Church. A remnant is a small thing, not mega.

  225. Joe Reed wrote:

    It’s a tough question because God needs nothing, and is perfectly fulfilled in Himself because of His Trinitarian perfections, but created anyway.

    Will be discussing this tomorrow in a post looking at the word *joy* during Holy Week.

    Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” NIV

    It is really quite simple. He finds joy in his relationship with us. We are a joy to him. He wants to relate to us. He has so much love that it overflows and He has chosen to bestow it on us and somehow that brings Him joy.

    Way too many people believe that God is eternally miffed at us and just barely tolerates us. We are the flies buzzing around His Trinitarian glory. I have never, ever seen that in God. I have known He loves me from the day I first knew Him and that has never wavered for an instant.

    I think we can get too hung up on “God doesn’t need anything” that we overlook that He loves to create and relate to His creation. Look at the Universe. Why do that if He doesn’t want for anything? Maybe part of who He is is a Creator that loves and wants to make things.

    This is an interactive God and He finds joy in it.

  226. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:

    And this is where the neo-Cals began their departure from orthodoxy, at the denial of Who died on the Cross:

    “It’s the God-man Who dies, but death is something that is experienced only by the human nature, because the divine nature isn’t capable of experiencing death.”
    (This excerpt is taken from The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul.)

    from their confusion over ‘Who Christ is’, it was an easier jump for them into ESS, which is where they really went off the rails ….. even authentic Calvinists could not agree with the new teachings of ESS

    In the matter of ‘Who Christ Is’, the departure of the neo-Cals from Christian orthodoxy came in stages apparently, and so did the arrogance grow, with the rewriting of their bible ….

    The early Church focused strongly on the question of ‘Who Christ Was’ because of all the early confusion which led to many heresies.

    R.C. Sproul’s writing shows clearly how far the neo-Cals are from the classic orthodox teachings of Athanasius. Once the teachings of Athanasius were rejected, a lot of doors opened for the neo-Cals to move into their own cult-like teachings about Christ.

  227. Nancy2 wrote:

    And I reject Calvinsim, by my own free will – just as I was predestined to do. : ^ )

    LOL! I was predestined giggle at your comment.

  228. Max wrote:

    I then advise them take their Bibles to a wilderness place for a season, humble themselves, pray and repent, shut out ALL the teachings of men, read the words in red, and pray for power. Few have taken me up on that – it’s so much more exciting to be a part of a movement, than being alone with God.

    I’m doing an intensive study on the life and ministry of Jesus right now, using a harmony of the gospels timeline method. You really can’t understand most things in the Bible without a proper understanding of Christ, I think. A lot of things make so much more sense.

    But even more so, Jesus always shines who God is. The first step to understanding a lot of these questions is starting to get to know God. And as God walked on Earth with us, He was a constant revelation of His character. All the times it says “Jesus had compassion on them” or says “_____ one another”. That is who God is.

    I honestly think a lot of the problems in the five points of Calvinism are that they focus mostly on who men are, not who God is. Not that Calvin made those, but they are quite popular now. And most of neo-Calvinist theology is based on man, not on God. And while I agree with various points, I think they are the utterly wrong focus to take on God and the Bible. It might be easier to think more about man, but God is who we should be focusing on.

  229. Christiane wrote:

    But I would suggest that Our Lord Christ is ONE Person with two natures, one nature fully man, and one nature fully God.
    And when you think about it, a ‘nature’ did not die on the Cross, a Person died.

    You’re quite right and the historic confessions affirm this as do I.

  230. dee wrote:

    Will be discussing this tomorrow in a post looking at the word *joy* during Holy Week.

    Looking forward to this …..

    I wander through the Narnian Chronicles of Lewis during Lent, and I think about how joyless and cold was Narnia under the rule of the Witch …. ‘always winter, never summer’.

    And I think about how joylessness reflects the absence of the Holy Spirit in a Christian community of faith. Sure there are times to mourn, but there are also times even in the midst of mourning, to gather together and set the table and light the candles and give thanks and praise

    ” Alleluia.
    Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us;
    therefore let us keep the feast …..
    For as in Adam all die,
    so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
    Alleluia. “

  231. dee wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    And I reject Calvinsim, by my own free will – just as I was predestined to do. : ^ )

    LOL! I was predestined giggle at your comment.

    Hahaha I was thinking the same thing!

  232. Christiane wrote:

    I wander through the Narnian Chronicles of Lewis during Lent, and I think about how joyless and cold was Narnia under the rule of the Witch …. ‘always winter, never summer’.

    Not only that, but “always winter, and never Christmas”.

  233. @ dee:

    I’m really looking forward to your post. I still struggle sometimes with understanding God’s love and then wondering if I’m a pain to Him when I don’t do what’s right. Maybe it’s rooted in the way I was raised. I don’t know.

  234. Joe Reed wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    But I would suggest that Our Lord Christ is ONE Person with two natures, one nature fully man, and one nature fully God.
    And when you think about it, a ‘nature’ did not die on the Cross, a Person died.

    You’re quite right and the historic confessions affirm this as do I.

    From the Chalcedon Formula:
    ” …..yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the Godbearer;
    one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten,
    recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation;
    the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union,
    but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence,
    not as parted or separated into two persons,
    but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ;
    even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us,
    and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.”

    I do not agree with you that the two natures went their own ways on the Cross. I think the whole Person of Christ died on the Cross, both natures, divine and human. And that is why death could not keep Him, hence His Resurrection after the great ‘Harrowing of Hell’

  235. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Does anyone know whether Hank Hanegraff (spelling?), the famous Bible Answer Man, is known for being Calvinist, Arminian, or some cross between the two?
    Apparently he and his wife have just been Chrismated into Eastern Orthodoxy at St Nektarios Church in Charlotte. Who saw *that* coming? (Not I, Rabbi!)
    Catholic Gate Crasher, I have to agree with you. He was a staunch evangelical. I wonder what happened to make the choice of leaving that and becoming Orthodox?
    There is a photo circulating online from his and his wife’s chrismation. They are kneeling, heads bowed, holding candles. I hafta say that is one of the most beautiful and moving photos ever. It is suffused with humility, if that makes any sense.
    I, too, would very much like to hear his story.

    Already the condemnation is trickling out among the Neo-Calvinists, declaring him NOT to be a Christian any longer. Sigh….
    http://pulpitandpen.org/2017/04/10/the-bible-answer-man-hank-hanegraaff-leaves-the-christian-faith/

  236. Christiane wrote:

    from their confusion over ‘Who Christ is’, it was an easier jump for them into ESS, which is where they really went off the rails ….. even authentic Calvinists could not agree with the new teachings of ESS

    This isn’t directed specifically at you, Christiane, but anyone who can help me out here. (Fair warning: I’m battling a 2- day migraine, a sinus infection, and – I hope – I’m coming out of a CFS “crash”, so my thoughts are a bit muddy.). So correct me if I’m wrong……..

    Concerning ESS: If I understand correctly, ESSers believe that Jesus is eternally subordinate to God basically because he was God’s “begotten” son. IIRC, the phrase “begotten son” is used in the OT in reference to God the Father and God the Son only once (Psalms 2?), and that time it is used in a future tense, yet Jesus existed “in the beginning”. All other times that phrase is used in that way is in the NT – when Jesus was truly, physically “begotten”, and walked the earth as 100% God and 100% man. Wouldn’t that indicate that Jesus was functionally subordinate to God, not eternally, but only during his time on earth in a human body?

  237. When you all get through jostling around with natures and persons and separability or not and what do you mean when you say ‘God’ and what do you mean when you say ‘died’ it might be good to (a) take notes and (b) wander into the questions that some ‘answers’ raise secondarily because the challenge to the idea of a Trinity is about to be in most folks jobs places and schools and probably churches. We are about to be challenged to rethink the Trinity, and quoting bible verses or quoting old dead guys or quoting christian authorities will not convince those who have not already become convinced that those bible verses or old dead guys or authorities must be believed.

    I am not being ugly. I am saying get ready to answer ‘why’ and not just recite ‘what’, however one believes.

  238. @ Nancy2:

    The Nicene Creed calls Jesus ‘eternally begotten’ and some people say that it is this eternal condition of being begotten, the very condition of being the Son and the Father being the Father, is a subordinate position.

  239. I came out of it knowing I could not be a Calvinists and I read all the major well known dudes, including Calvin. Sadly there are no women in that list.

    In the end I came out *not a Calvinist.* Over time, with more reading, I have some down on the side of Armianists. If anyone calls me a Pelagian, semi or otherwise, I shall smack them upside the head.

    I am so glad I did this stuff prior to starting the blog. It is helped me enormously. I do not blame you for your headache. In the end, trust in Jesus and hang on. He loves you.

  240. okrapod wrote:

    I am not being ugly. I am saying get ready to answer ‘why’ and not just recite ‘what’, however one believes.

    I admire you questioning all of this. I did the same thing years ago and continue to ask questions. It is real and God loves you thinking.

  241. @ okrapod:

    Another issue can be in thinking of the relationship of God with time and whether God existed before time and if so whether he created time, and if He then participated in time can He take the whole time thing and His participation in it and retroactively make it never having been even if he destroys time itself in the future. In other words has God trapped Himself in what he has done?

    Have you tried Naprosyn? The neurologist prescribed it for my g’kids migraines.

  242. Talmidah wrote:

    wondering if I’m a pain to Him when I don’t do what’s right.

    You loves you so much that he took care of that on the Cross. It is done. There is nothing you can do to separate you from God’s love. No more *do.* It’s *done.*

    I have found great peace in the liturgy confession in my church. At the end, the pastor reminds us that Jesus has forgiven all my sins, known and unknown. Then we have communion. As I take communion, I sense the Sn with me, enjoying me an loving me in spite of my imperfections.The death covered that-as far as the east is from the West. God wanted it that way.

    Be at peace.

  243. Christiane wrote:

    I wander through the Narnian Chronicles of Lewis during Lent, and I think about how joyless and cold was Narnia under the rule of the Witch …. ‘always winter, never summer’.

    I believe that all Christians with a since of wonder should read The Chronicles of Narnia every 10 years!! Great observation of the the *always winter and never Christmas.*

  244. Talmidah wrote:

    I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible – it’s *great*:

    That’s a great title!

    There are a ton of not at all boring bible stories.

  245. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    After wading through this discussion, I understand why Zen meditators sit on their cushions, face the wall and observe their breathing. This gives me a headache.

    Hee! This is how I get when people start talking about pre-trib/post trib rapture. Except with a little more ‘who even cares’ eyerolling added.

    okrapod wrote:

    Sometimes when things sound crazy it is because they are crazy. That comforts me.

    🙂

  246. Darlene wrote:

    Already the condemnation is trickling out among the Neo-Calvinists, declaring him NOT to be a Christian any longer. Sigh….

    Most of that article was misrepresented nonsense. With poor logic besides.

    I did wonder about those random quotes at the end, but as far as I know they are from complete strangers emailing or commenting? Hardly representative of the church itself (I’m assuming, you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong).

  247. @ Nancy2:
    the simplest explanation is ever got about the Trinity was from a priest, and I don’t know his source, but here it is:

    The Father’s knowledge of Who He is generates the Son and the love between the Father and the Son generates the Holy Spirit

    Since God is love, it is the ‘force’ of love that is operating this eternal generation.

    God is ‘being itself’, eternal and uncreated Light

    As far as the neo-Cal’s thinking, it never has made sense to me, and the minute I heard the ESS ‘doctrine’ I knew it wasn’t anything I had heard before and could not be orthodox.

    You are right about the TEMPORARY situation of Our Lord:
    ” 5 Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, 7 but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (from Philippians, chapter 2)

    The creators of ESS chose to attempt to redefine the Holy Trinity in a way that orthodox Christians have never accepted. And the neo-Cal reason: subordination of women. (sigh)
    That’s enough to give anyone a headache.

    Dear Nancy …. go rest if your head hurts

  248. Dee wrote:

    Great observation of the the *always winter and never Christmas.*

    that was contributed by ‘Serving Kids in Japan’ 🙂

  249. Christiane wrote:

    think the whole Person of Christ died on the Cross, both natures, divine and human.

    The reason the creeds are careful to say “two natures without confusion” is that Jesus was not half-God half-man. If the two natures mixed together Jesus would be super-man and sub-God. So Jesus upholds all things by the power of His word, and got tired, hungry, and died. Deity never thirsts. Humanity is never omnipotent.

    Yet Jesus is one person possessing both natures. Honestly, I think it’s as impossible to fully understand as the Trinity is.

  250. Christiane wrote:

    R.C. Sproul’s writing shows clearly how far the neo-Cals are from the classic orthodox teachings of Athanasius.

    Sproul is a classic Calvinist, not a neo-Cal, and his statement about the death of Jesus is by no means new or novel. The idea that the One Deity dies has some serious implications.

  251. Jack wrote:

    Thank goodness Calvin came along. Otherwise we would have been smothered with all that warm & fuzzy gentleness.

    I watched a Piper video that someone posted to Olson’s site. Piper describes how he was horrified at first when presented with the God of Calvinism. But, he had to submit himself to Scripture, no matter how revolting (my words) this God presented Himself to be. I have heard Calvinists say this many times and I just can’t wrap my mind or heart around such thinking. Thankfully, the Jesus that was presented to me – who was raised in an atheist/agnostic home – by kind Christians, understanding Christians bore no resemblance to this Calvinist god. Instead, they spoke of Jesus gently knocking on the door of my heart, wooing me to Himself. They presented a God of compassion and mercy, who loved me even in the depths of my doubt, confusion, pain, frustration, anger, etc. – a God who they could say loved me. That is not a gospel the Calvinists can preach.

  252. dee wrote:

    This is an interactive God and He finds joy in it.

    I agree with you here. And just as the joyful God is glorious, the glorious God is love. And holy. And just. And in creation all of these attributes are exercised, proving to all creation what an amazing God we have.

  253. Velour wrote:

    “Several years ago Roger Olson wrote a book entitled Against Calvinism, which we highly recommend.” – Deb

    I will definitely be getting this. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Be sure to exercise your Christian charity and discernment by also purchasing “For Calvinism” by Michael Horton to get the other side. Horton and Olson are friends and there is no animosity from either side, I believe, toward the other. However, I will say that Arminians have also used straw man arguments to define “Calvinism” in the same way Deb and others here claim has been done to Arminianism by “Calvinists”.

  254. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I think most would acknowledge that God alone is “the Author of life.”

    Jesus is the Author of life. “All things were made by him.” But you can’t kill deity by making a body bleed, any more than you could kill my soul by poisoning my body. Not all of a person dies when his/her body dies. It’s not strange to understand that even humans possess an immortal undying soul. So it’s not strange to think Jesus died without Deity dying. Hopefully that helps.

  255. So those who believe in ESS do not hold to the Athanasian Creed.

    “And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshiped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.”

  256. Joe Reed wrote:

    The idea that the One Deity dies has some serious implications.

    Yes it certainly does. Some people say to the question did God die, ‘yes’ if you mean God the Son and ‘no’ if you mean God the Father, while others have taken the approach that it depends on what you mean by ‘died’.

    Now I will say this that I think that perhaps some people are attracted to Calvinism, at least to some extent, may be because they find some of the older ideas insufficient or at least insufficiently explained at best. That does not make something either correct or not, I am just hypothesizing regarding what is the attraction of Calvinism.

  257. @ DEW:

    They would say they believe the Athanasian creed. Trueman and other reformed thinkers charge them with violation of the Nicene creed, which they also deny they violate. It comes down to a nuanced definition of “subordination” which in their line of thinking does not violate “equality.”

    Attacking ESS may be all well and good, but it’s really hard to do so without being accused of smiting straw man.

  258. DEW wrote:

    So those who believe in ESS do not hold to the Athanasian Creed.

    Great chunks of protestantism are not creedal. They do not recognize creeds per se as binding. So, many who may agree with what the creed says do not believe it *because* the creed says it, which is a different thing altogether.

  259. Lea wrote:

    Talmidah wrote:

    I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible – it’s *great*:

    That’s a great title!

    There are a ton of not at all boring bible stories.

    I so agree. IMHO, the entire Bible is a collection of ancient, often-strange/weird writings which are easily misunderstood. I like the way Dr. Heiser unpacks everything and uses the original semitic languages, ANE context, etc. He’s also not afraid to delve into subjects such as multiple gods and reincarnation. That’s a breath of fresh air.

  260. Joe Reed wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    I too reject Calvinism and its god, who is NOT God.
    I’m not just picking on you Velour, but isn’t the point of this post to say “oh my word! How horrible that some neo-Calvinist seminary student would suggest Arminians aren’t Christians!” Fair enough, I’m with you.
    But this statement of yours that runs the other direction – Calvinists don’t have the right God (hence aren’t Christians) – ought it not be also considered unkind?

    I won’t answer for Velour, but as an Orthodox Christian I can say the teaching of my church would be that persons can have aberrant, heterodox views about God, but that does not necessarily mean that they aren’t Christians. There is a difference between denouncing something to be unorthodox teaching, and declaring a person NOT to be a Christian (not to be saved). Many (perhaps most?) Christians have wrong views about God at some point in their life. However, we should always hesitate in leaping toward judgments about the salvation of another person. That is a judgment to be made by God, and God alone.

  261. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    To ‘splain this, the Reformers had to come up with the notion of Common Grace. But such a notion was entirely novel. It’s not mentioned in the Bible or anywhere in Christian Tradition. The Reformers simply made it up.

    Because they had to plug a hole in where their Theology was heading.
    It’s a quickie Beta patch.

  262. Joe Reed wrote:

    Yet Jesus is one person possessing both natures

    And Jesus the one Person died on the Cross ….. you cannot say that a part of Him did not die ….. that is not what happened

  263. Joe Reed wrote:

    dee wrote:
    You do know that Arminians have no trouble with total depravity, don’t you? They couple that with prevenient grace.

    Yes. I’ve read what you have to say on the subject and quite agree.

    Total Depravity, Prevariant Grace, Common Grace — at age 61, I just want to know if there’s a cure for death.

  264. okrapod wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    They may say something like “God ordained that evil be, without being the creator of it or approving of it.”

    There is indeed the issue of how the Serpent got into Eden in the first place. If God did not create the Serpent, who did?

    “Maybe someone pulled off a Creation over in the next county?”
    Inherit the Wind, on where Cain got his wife

  265. Christiane wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    Yet Jesus is one person possessing both natures
    And Jesus the one Person died on the Cross ….. you cannot say that a part of Him did not die ….. that is not what happened

    Eggzackly.

    You can say you affirm the ancient Creeds and confessions till the cows come home, but if you insist that only Christ’s humanity died on the Cross, then you are espousing the heresy of Nestorianism.

    I don’t mean to be blunt, but if it walks like a duck…then: Quack!

  266. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Already the condemnation is trickling out among the Neo-Calvinists, declaring him NOT to be a Christian any longer. Sigh….
    http://pulpitandpen.org/2017/04/10/the-bible-answer-man-hank-hanegraaff-leaves-the-christian-faith/

    Yikes!!!!! Lord. Have. Mercy!!

    The ultimate theoretical End State of Protestantism, achieved by A.W.Pink:
    MILLIONS of One True Churches, each with only ONE member, each denouncing all the others as Apostates, Heretics, and Not Really Christian(TM).

  267. Joe Reed wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    R.C. Sproul’s writing shows clearly how far the neo-Cals are from the classic orthodox teachings of Athanasius.

    Sproul is a classic Calvinist, not a neo-Cal, and his statement about the death of Jesus is by no means new or novel. The idea that the One Deity dies has some serious implications.

    I would disagree and say that Sproul is closely identified with the neo-Cal movement and has close ties with others in it and also with CBMW

  268. Christiane wrote:

    from their confusion over ‘Who Christ is’, it was an easier jump for them into ESS, which is where they really went off the rails ….. even authentic Calvinists could not agree with the new teachings of ESS

    Didn’t Arius (who got punched out by St Nicholas) and Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) also preach heavy-duty ESS?

  269. dee wrote:

    Sam wrote:
    Hmm. All this time I thought I was saved… Hmm. Guess not.
    Narcissistic arrogance is best described by those who declare who is saved and who is not saved. That should be left in the Capable Hands of the Father who does decide the issue. He does not need us to advise Him on the matter.

    Amen, Dee! I just read your post now, after posting something very similar. Having once been part of various Christian communities that claimed to know who was saved and who wasn’t, I came to the conclusion that self-righteousness and presumption are motivating factors behind such views. I would also grant that many who participate in such judgments are unaware of what motivates them. We each have our blind spots.

  270. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Total Depravity, Prevariant Grace, Common Grace — at age 61, I just want to know if there’s a cure for death.

    Jesus is the cure for death. Oh grave where is your victory!

  271. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Didn’t Arius (who got punched out by St Nicholas) and Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) also preach heavy-duty ESS?

    They both preached that Jesus was not God, but was created by God. To quote Arius, “there was, when Jesus was not.” ESS wouldn’t affirm that in any way.

  272. I made the mistake of at least starting to read that horrible Pulpit&Pen screed. This jumped out at me:

    The Orthodox Church is a false expression of Christianity, much like the Roman Catholic Church, that is highly driven by graven images and denies the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, and instead, trusts in meritorious works and a sacramental system for salvation.

    Never mind that both Orthodox and Catholics do affirm “grace alone.” Never mind that “salvation by faith alone” occurs nowhere in the Bible — no, not even in the Ephesians passage P&P cites. (Luther added the word “alone.” It’s not in the Biblical text. And apparently these dudes have never read Matthew 25: 31-46, which does not even mention the word “faith.”) Never mind that “driven by graven images” makes no earthly sense. (Driven? WUT?)

    On top of all this…so much bigotry, so much stubborn misunderstanding….

    See, this is why Catholics, Orthodox, and all non-neo-Calvinists of good will need to stop fighting each other. We are in this together, y’all!

  273. dee wrote:

    JeffB wrote:
    Actually, what Olson wrote (p. 85, Against Calvinism) is that he would no longer worship God if He said that Calvinism is correct. Right before this, he writes, “I knew the only possible answer without a moment’s thought, even though I knew it would shock many people.” He also writes, “Such a God would be a moral monster.” There is no doubt that he means it literally
    I have read Olson extensively. I disagree with you on this point.
    Olson knows that such a God does not exist. If he did he would be a monster. If such a monster whispered in his ear and said this stuff is true, then Olson would not follow him. Neither, I believe, would you follow such a monster.
    I think you are making it easy for yourself and others to disregard what Olson is really saying. “See, he wouldn’t believe God if Gd told him that. Therefore, he won’t submit to God.”
    Yo duo know that silly question “Can God created a rock he cannot lift?” Yet seems that you are attempting to apply that logic to Olson’s response.

    Here’s something to consider when looking at Olson’s comment. What if one were presented with the following question: Would you worship God if Islam as ISIS understand him to be, were correct? I think most of us here would answer with an emphatic ‘NO‘!

  274. Here’s another excerpt from the Pulpit & Pen screed:

    …this is merely an example of what happens when professing Christians elevate something other than Scripture as the final authority on all things.

    Question for these dudes: Where does Scripture say that Scripture is “the final authority on all things”?

  275. Joe Reed wrote:

    Attacking ESS may be all well and good, but it’s really hard to do so without being accused of smiting straw man.

    What an interesting way of putting this. Are proponent of EES likely to just roll over in the face of properly logical arguments or will they merely accuse you of things?

  276. dee wrote:

    I think we can get too hung up on “God doesn’t need anything” that we overlook that He loves to create and relate to His creation. Look at the Universe. Why do that if He doesn’t want for anything? Maybe part of who He is is a Creator that loves and wants to make things.

    This is an interactive God and He finds joy in it.

    I believe this too. The god of Calvin created humans only because he could, strictly one sided, and to only aggrandize himself.

    The God I believe in created humans for the same reason Gepetto made Pinocchio, he longed to be loved too.

  277. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    Christiane wrote:
    Who died on the Cross?
    Did God die on the Cross?
    God cannot die. Jesus is God and His deity cannot die. But Jesus is also man, and his humanity could and did die. He retains his humanity forever, but in a glorified immortal state, exemplified in the transfiguration.
    So you can separate His “God Part” from His “Man Part”? That sounds an awfully lot like Nestorianism.

    Exactly what I was thinking. Which would lead me to ask: Is Mary the Theotokos – the mother of God? We know how Nestorius would answer that question.

  278. Is Mary the Theotokos – the mother of God? We know how Nestorius would answer that question.

    Indeed we do. Thank God for the Council of Ephesus!

  279. Darlene wrote:

    Is Mary the Theotokos – the mother of God? We know how Nestorius would answer that question.

    This is one of the points where Catholics and Protestants diverge. Catholics would say yes, Mary is the mother of God, while Protestants believe God is eternal and therefore doesn’t have a mother. The incarnated human nature of Jesus does though or he wouldn’t be truly human.

  280. Christiane wrote:

    “Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
    (C.S. Lewis)

    The uncircumscribable God became circumscribable in the womb of the the Virgin – the Theotokos.

  281. Lea wrote:

    Are proponent of EES likely to just roll over in the face of properly logical arguments or will they merely accuse you of things?

    Depends. Some are actually decent human beings, some are donkeys. Like almost every group of people, there is a mixture of personalities.

  282. Joe Reed wrote:

    Darlene wrote:

    Is Mary the Theotokos – the mother of God? We know how Nestorius would answer that question.

    This is one of the points where Catholics and Protestants diverge. Catholics would say yes, Mary is the mother of God, while Protestants believe God is eternal and therefore doesn’t have a mother. The incarnated human nature of Jesus does though or he wouldn’t be truly human.

    Again, you are separating the inseparable. You cannot separate Our Lord’s human nature from His divine nature. He is one inviolable, inseparable Person. Mary gave birth to a Person — not to a human nature.

    When I gave birth to my sons, I gave birth to whole persons. I don’t go around saying,”I am the mother of 23 chromosomes’ worth of John (my firstborn).” No. I am the mother of John, an inviolable person. Just so, Mary is the Mother of the Person Jesus, Who is both human and divine *inseparably.*

    That was the whole point of the Council of Ephesus. I recommend reading up on it.

  283. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Didn’t Arius (who got punched out by St Nicholas) and Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) also preach heavy-duty ESS?

    clarification: I commented ‘yes’ earlier because i read too quickly ‘Arius’ and ‘punched in nose by St. Nick’ 🙂

    I am not aware of their preaching ESS, but I will check into it. Do you have any links?

  284. Hah!! I just found some quotes from the Reformers themselves affirming that Mary is Mother of God. Yep, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. Gotta walk the dog now but will post excerpts later.

    “But who am I, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” I guess Elizabeth failed to receive the Nestorian memo. 😉

  285. Christiane wrote:

    they cannot understand how God could be ‘sovereign’ and give choices at the same time

    Insightful and simple, thanks. I remember several youth pastors telling us that God would not order us to wear particular clothes, and that we had choices about what to eat. They had to explain this stuff, because they were also teaching us that God should be in every single decision and moment of our lives (or surely we would burn in hell).

    This is how hundreds of us teens were learning to think: Short or long sleeves? Cereal or toast? Surely I had better beseech God about this, lest I be damned!

  286. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Mary gave birth to a Person

    A Person who is Divine and therefore existed in a non-human form from eternity past. The Son took on flesh, without ceasing to ever be the eternal Son. That is, the second person of the Trinity didn’t begin at the conception of Jesus, but the God-man did.

    I affirm that the natures of Jesus are inseparable. But the creeds are careful to say “inseparable, without confusion.”

    Zwingli apparently believed Hercules is in heaven, so nothing surprises me about him anymore!

  287. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    See, this is why Catholics, Orthodox, and all non-neo-Calvinists of good will need to stop fighting each other. We are in this together, y’all!

    Yes, well, launching into a discussion of Mary as God-bearer, much less ‘Mother of God’ is not a good first step down that road.

  288. Joe Reed wrote:

    Yet Jesus is one person possessing both natures. Honestly, I think it’s as impossible to fully understand as the Trinity is.

    in orthodox teaching, Christ is both fully God and fully man

    I think you are wanting for Christ to be on the Cross while you picture His Divine nature standing apart from Him, but that could not happen, no

    it wouldn’t have helped if only a human nature died but not the whole Incarnated Lord, and I can see the implications for a neo-Cal theology that dismisses any thought of the real Presence in holy communion …… so much for the imagery of the Israelites consuming their Pascal lambs to get strength for their journey towards the Holy Land from their exile in Egypt

    “Dying You destroyed our death, rising You restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.”

    Joe, I encourage you to re-examine what you have learned from Ligonier teachings. I know it’s very complex, but it would be worth your time. Please also consider re-examining the mystery of the Incarnation. In any case, I am grateful you have shared your thought here, even if I haven’t agreed with some of them.

  289. Christiane wrote:

    I think you are wanting for Christ to be on the Cross while you picture His Divine nature standing apart from Him, but that could not happen, no

    Thanks for your kind words, and I’ve appreciated the discussion.

    I don’t see the Divine nature “standing apart,” but rather absorbing the wrath of God for sin, since only a Divine Person could propitiate my sin completely. I do say it does not die, but I don’t say that it does not suffer or play any role in redemption, because clearly it does.

  290. Christiane wrote:

    the imagery of the Israelites consuming their Pascal lambs to get strength for their journey towards the Holy Land from their exile in Egypt

    This is something I hadn’t considered before. Interesting idea, I’m gonna mull that over.

  291. Joe Reed wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    Was the temptation by the serpent, the deception of Eve, and the cooperation of Adam all predestined?
    Along with the death of Jesus, yes.
    And yet Calvinists would affirm that the only truly free human wills (not bent by sin) belonged to Adam and Eve. That is to say, they sinned of their own free will – just as they were predestined to do.

    I’m gonna toss in inherited guilt in the mix, something that Calvinists also teach. My church teaches, along with many other faith traditions, that each person when they first sin, do so willingly. Hence, we are culpable for our sin. Also, that we as humans bear the guilt of our own individual sin, and not the guilt of Adam. I think this Calvinistic gloss on sin has bearing on the Calvinist view of Total Depravity, as well as the Calvinistic view on the spiritual destiny of babies dying in the womb and outside he womb.

  292. Emo Philips said it best:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDmeqSzvIFs

    (wait to the end).
    In any event I am certain that YRR folk don’t have a monopoly on saying other believers are not Christian. There are many jokes about this, after all. I recall one about a Baptist who was being shown around heaven being told to be quiet, because they were in the neighborhood of the Catholics, and they thought they were the only ones up there. Substitute your own varieties for Baptists and Catholics.

  293. H.L. Jackson wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    “Several years ago Roger Olson wrote a book entitled Against Calvinism, which we highly recommend.” – Deb
    I will definitely be getting this. Thanks for the recommendation.
    Be sure to exercise your Christian charity and discernment by also purchasing “For Calvinism” by Michael Horton to get the other side. Horton and Olson are friends and there is no animosity from either side, I believe, toward the other. However, I will say that Arminians have also used straw man arguments to define “Calvinism” in the same way Deb and others here claim has been done to Arminianism by “Calvinists”.

    No thanks, H.L., I won’t be buying any book supporting Calvinism.

    I have “practiced discernment”. I had a “tour of duty” of a NeoCalvinist gulag (it doesn’t deserve to be called a *church*) and it was akin to the Salem Witch Trials, Version II.

    I have nothing against fair-minded classical Calvinists. The new “rabid dog” version,is straight out of the pits of Hell in their teaching.

  294. Darlene wrote:

    However, we should always hesitate in leaping toward judgments about the salvation of another person. That is a judgment to be made by God, and God alone.

    Thanks Darlene.

    I made the exact same point to him in reply.

  295. @okrapod, I dunno. Considering that all orthodox Christians for many centuries (including the Reformers) affirmed Mary as Theotokos, I do not see it as this Big Divisive Deal-Breaker.

    Moreover, I never said we all had to agree on everything. Obviously we don’t. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stick together in fellowship and solidarity vs those who would deny we are even Christian!

  296. Joe Reed wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Mary gave birth to a Person

    A Person who is Divine and therefore existed in a non-human form from eternity past. The Son took on flesh, without ceasing to ever be the eternal Son. That is, the second person of the Trinity didn’t begin at the conception of Jesus, but the God-man did.

    I affirm that the natures of Jesus are inseparable. But the creeds are careful to say “inseparable, without confusion.”

    Zwingli apparently believed Hercules is in heaven, so nothing surprises me about him anymore!

    “Inseparable without confusion” does not support the view that only Christ’s humanity died on the Cross. The whole Person Jesus, God and Man, died on the Cross. This is the apostolic Faith. This is what was affirmed at Ephesus.

  297. Joe Reed wrote:

    This is one of the points where Catholics and Protestants diverge. Catholics would say yes, Mary is the mother of God, while Protestants believe God is eternal and therefore doesn’t have a mother. The incarnated human nature of Jesus does though or he wouldn’t be truly human.

    I encourage you to do some reading on this from both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox perspectives. Until I did I completely misunderstood what they meant. “Mother of God” is actually an affirmation of Jesus’ divinity -but that is not obviously apparent until you do some reading on it. It’s very easy to find online explanations. It’s ok to still disagree with them, but I encourage you to do so from a position of understanding rather than from a position of ignorance (I speak from experience).

  298. @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:
    Okrapod is correct that many Protestant people do not view Mary in the way that Catholics do or the Orthodox who also share our strong Marian doctrines …. actually ‘Theotokos’ is from the Orthodox and is their way of saying ‘Mother of God’

    The title affirmed that Christ was God, in the second Person of the Holy Trinity, not half-man and half-God, but God.
    But to Protestant thinking, that is not an acceptable title, since for many, the Incarnation itself does not have the same significance that it has in Catholic and Orthodox doctrines. It’s complicated. Many Protestant women are now taking another look at Mary in the bible and are ‘warming’ to her. I think Mary is deserving of that warmth, yes. 🙂

  299. Joe Reed wrote:

    Attacking ESS may be all well and good, but it’s really hard to do so without being accused of smiting straw man.

    Not sure what you mean, but ESS in its current form was invented for a particular purpose, and that is why Ware and Grudem have so bitterly clung to it. Creed or no creed. Keeping women subordinate in the home and the church was the point and it was necessary to make the Son subordinate to the Father in order to make the 1 Corinthians 11 “formula” say what they needed for it to say.

  300. Joe Reed wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    So you can separate His “God Part” from His “Man Part”? That sounds an awfully lot like Nestorianism.
    Fully God fully man without separation or confusion of His natures. I’m unable to explain the depths of the hypoststic union but I understand and affirm historic Christianity on the subject.

    I definitely think there is a place for mystery in our Christian faith. I just think we need to know where we will assign that mystery. This is why in Orthodoxy we have apophatic theology. There is much that we cannot know about God, but what we can know about Him is actualized and understood in the Person of Jesus Christ. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” So, when that revelation has been known – we can speak and attest to it. (Cataphatic theology)

    Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, fully God and fully Man, died on the cross. The entire second Person of the Holy Trinity died on that cross. The entire Person of Christ experienced death and defeated death. As we sing in the Paschal Troparion: Christ is risen from the grave, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life. If the entire second Person of the Holy Trinity did not experience death and defeat death, then what is not assumed cannot be healed. per Irenaeus.

    Yes, there comes a point when speaking of Christ’s Passion and the Atonement that we must consider mystery. But that mystery should not be spoken of too soon, or too rashly.

    As God Thou didst arise from the tomb in glory, and Thou didst raise the world together with Thyself. And mortal nature praiseth Thee as God, and death hath vanished. And Adam danceth, O Master, and Eve, now free from fetter, rejoiceth as she crieth out: Thou are He, O Christ, that grantest all unto resurrection. – Kontakion of the Resurrection. First Tone.

    When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightening of Thy Divinity. And when Thou didst also raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, all the Hosts of Heaven cried out: O Lifegiver, Christ our God, glory be to Thee. – Kontakion of the Resurrection. Second Tone.

  301. Joe Reed wrote:

    They both preached that Jesus was not God, but was created by God. To quote Arius, “there was, when Jesus was not.” ESS wouldn’t affirm that in any way.

    Knight3, Grudem, Ware, and the others would not affirm that the Son is equal to the Father in authority in any way. Not seeing how that is equal in power and glory.

  302. Christiane wrote:

    That seems to be the faith of people like R.C. Sproul.
    But I would suggest that Our Lord Christ is ONE Person with two natures, one nature fully man, and one nature fully God.
    And when you think about it, a ‘nature’ did not die on the Cross, a Person died.

    Amen, Christiane. The entire Person of Christ, Who was fully God and fully Man, died on the cross of Calvary.

  303. Joe Reed wrote:

    since only a Divine Person could propitiate my sin completely.

    This one word is critical for the PSA argument. It is a Latin translation of the Greek work Hilasterion. It’s not a straightforward word to translate into English. Propitiate literally means “to make favorable.” For God to be propitiated, he would have to first be made unfavorable toward us because of our sin, and then a sacrifice would need to offered to appease him in order to make him favorable toward us once more. This means that God must change based on activity outside of himself. But how can an unchangeable God change? One could say that Jesus changed him, but the Bible tells us that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. And Jesus himself said that he only does what he sees the Father doing. So why did Jesus dine with sinners when the Father is too pure to look at evil and must apparently turn away from sinners? This contradiction needs explanation.

    Another translation for hilasterion is expiation, which means to remove. The Bible is pretty clear that the blood of Jesus cleanses and removes our sin. This translation makes much more sense, but it does not support PSA.

    Another translation of hilasterion is mercy seat – the place of atonement.

    Before assuming that propitiation is the only correct way of viewing the cross, I encourage you to do some research on the other possibilities.

  304. Ken F wrote:

    “Mother of God” is actually an affirmation of Jesus’ divinity -but that is not obviously apparent until you do some reading on it.

    Goodness knows I have read and read on this subject, that is the whole subject of the Marian dogmas, mostly when I was in RCIA and considering converting. So, please don’t tell me I don’t get it, because whether Joe does or not-I do understand what they are saying.

    One of the problems at this time is that the term ‘Mother of God’ calls to mind a whole array of dogmas, and devotional practices and apparitions and chapels and pilgrimages and healing waters and acts of reparation to Mary, not to mention statues and statuettes and banks of candles and organizations and use of the name Mary as part of the name taken in religion by many people, and who knows what all else.

    The use of the term ‘Mother of God’ does not just limit itself in the popular use which pops into people’s minds to some christological statement from the distant past, in spite of whether or not that may be the origin of the belief.

    We are all going to have to tread very lightly with this subject. But to assume that somebody does not know what the Catholic position states is, well, an unjustified conclusion. And to assume that people’s ideas are not impacted by some idea of ‘what that may lead to’ over the years would be to miss some of the personal thinking behind the negativity some experience when the term is used.

  305. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    And when you think about it, a ‘nature’ did not die on the Cross, a Person died.
    Amen, Christiane, and well said. A Person died — whole, inviolable, and inseparably One: True God and True Man.

    Amen, again! I reject, and so does the church throughout the ages, the idea that a “nature” died on the cross. That is heresy. The One God-Man who came to this earth, had to experience death – in His whole and entire being – so that He could trample down death by death and destroy it. And the One True Christ, whole and entire – both God and Man – rose from the grave in His body. This is the Resurrection – the hope of all Christians.

  306. Joe Reed wrote:

    If God created everything, did He create anything outside of His control? Or did He just let go of His creation?

    I see God having a general control so that man will not go beyond his plan For example, I do not believe the Earth will ever be totally destroyed by nuclear weapons or a renegade asteroid.

    However,I believe that God allows for many things to occur that fit within the big picture plan. in other words, I do not think he needs to control where I am going to live, how many kids I have, etc. I believe he allows great latitude in free will.

    I see God less controlling than the average Calvinist. I have a pastor who says that it is his option that some Calvinists love the God controls everything deal. It is a simple equation and if is happens-God willed it.

    John Piper is into this. A tornado strikes and hits a *liberal* Lutheran church. He says God IS punishing them for allowing gay marriage. However, all the liberal Lutheran churches are standing in Norway and Sweden. I find this stuff hogwash and trying to make a controlling God that we can fully understand and explain. http://www.bpnews.net/31109

    Maybe the tornado happened because tornadoes happen in this world.

  307. Joe Reed wrote:

    Sproul is a classic Calvinist, not a neo-Cal, and his statement about the death of Jesus is by no means new or novel.

    But all the New-Calvinists quote him extensively and admire his theology. Here is something he recently a few years ago: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/forsaken-jesus-became-curse/. Some quotes:

    Jesus was the ultimate obscenity.
    All blessedness was removed from his Son, whom he loved, and in its place was the full measure of the divine curse.
    For Jesus to become the curse, he had to be completely forsaken by the Father.
    God cursed him
    It was as if there was a cry from heaven, as if Jesus heard the words “God damn you,” because that’s what it meant to be cursed and under the anathema of the Father.

    These are filthy thoughts. Calvinists are great at citing Psalm 22:1, but they forget to read the rest of the Psalm. Verse 24 has the answer: “For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.” Even the ESV cannot hide the fact that the Father did not forsake or abandon the Son. Men like Sproul are teaching things about God that should be condemned. And this is the model for what a “proper” Calvinists should teach.

  308. Joe Reed wrote:

    Attacking ESS may be all well and good, but it’s really hard to do so without being accused of smiting straw man.

    Joe- I hate to say this but you remind me a little bit of Ken Ham acolytes. They use lingo that is taught them by their fearless leader. Calvinists often use the straw man argument to kill a discussion. No, discussing ESS which has been a hot topic in the Calvinist community is no straw man and it has cause much disagreement and outright problems.

    I will never forget a well known woman my area that I went to hear speaking on raising daughters a number years ago. As she was speaking, I got the oddest feeling of deja vu. It suddenly dawned on me. She was mimicking Anne Lotz’s gestures and inflections to a tee. It drove me nuts.

    So, stop with the straw men and argue your point of view. You can do far better than some of your glorious leaders. be you, not them.

  309. Joe Reed wrote:

    Sproul is a classic Calvinist, not a neo-Cal, and his statement about the death of Jesus is by no means new or novel.

    I just posted a reply but you’ll have to check back later when it clears. In the meantime, please read Psalm 22:1 in light of Psalm 22:24. Calvinists forget to read the whole Psalm and as a result they come to the wrong conclusion.

  310. @ Ken F:

    The discussion in theopedia, which of course writes from a certain perspective, says that several words are translated as ‘propitiation’ in scripture. They advocate that both propitiation and expiation are part of the better understanding of the idea. I am working from memory here, but back when were there not two animals one of which was sacrificed as a propitiation and one of which was driven into the wilderness as an expiation? So, why would animal sacrifice in the OT be a propitiation if propitiation is not something which can be done in the first place?

  311. @ Ken F:

    The supposition that he was referencing the entire psalm is a supposition only. Perhaps that is so and perhaps it is not. The other idea is that he was describing his suffering and/or the idea that he was fulfilling some more OT reference to him. We have no idea which of these ideas he had in mind. We have only suppositions.

  312. Joe Reed wrote:

    They may say something like “God ordained that evil be, without being the creator of it or approving of it.”

    From the Westminster Confession of Faith:

    I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

    This is double-speak. He ordained everything, but didn’t ordain everything. If he ordains the subatomic particles in human brains, then he ordains thoughts and actions, and therefore ordains sins. If he is not the author of sin then he does not ordain whatsoever.

    If God’s sovereignty is unlimited, then no amount of human free will can limit it (by definition). God can truly let humans run amok and not have his sovereignty diminished in any way. We can truly have free will, even the will to choose or reject salvation. That’s what it means for him to be sovereign. If our freewill diminishes God’s sovereignty, it means his sovereignty is limited. But I don’t think any Calvinist would argue for God’s limited sovereignty.

  313. okrapod wrote:

    So, why would animal sacrifice in the OT be a propitiation if propitiation is not something which can be done in the first place?

    It depends on whether or not God needs to be appeased. Is he like the pantheon of human-invented gods that need appeasement, or is he different? This is the big question that determines how the words should be translated.

  314. okrapod wrote:

    The supposition that he was referencing the entire psalm is a supposition only.

    Even if Jesus did not mean to reference the entire Psalm (but there is good evidence that he did), the whole Psalm very accurately describes the crucifixion. So one must explain away verse 24 to maintain the argument that the Calvinists make. Verse 1 has to be taken in context, not isolated.

  315. okrapod wrote:

    please don’t tell me I don’t get it,

    I don’t believe I accused you of this anywhere in this thread, and the comment you relied to was not directed to you. Please chill a bit. I do know from my own experience that I completely misunderstood what is meant by that term, and my misunderstanding was very consistent with all the other evangelicals I knew/know. You are correct that not everyone has this same misunderstanding that I had, but it is still a very common misunderstanding. My only point is that it appears that the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox don’t mean what most of us think they mean when they use that term. But it would be better for people from those traditions to weigh in so that I don’t put words into their mouths. I am still not comfortable with the term for myself, but I have learned that it makes much more sense than I had earlier believed.

  316. @Joe Reed, here are some excerpts from the Reformers re Mary as Mother of God:

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/general/mary.htm

    Pull quotes:

    Luther:

    “She is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God … It is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.”

    Calvin:

    “”Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God.”

  317. Ok, as a Yankee transplant to North Carolina who loves spending tons of time outdoors in our glorious Carolina woods, I just want someone to answer this seemingly intractable theological question: Why did God create ticks?

  318. @Christiane — of course I know that most Protestants do not affirm Mary as Mother of God. I mean, I live in the Bible Belt. 😉

    But some do…including high-church Anglicans and Lutherans of my acquaintance.

    And apparently the Reformers did so also. Who knew?

  319. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Why did God create ticks?

    As a Southern Kentucky country girl, I’m here to tell ya ………. I’ve had ticks on my earlobes, in my hear, between my toes …….. Everywhere, including the unmentionable areas.
    Ticks are among those who revolted against God alongside Lucifer. They are sent out amongst us by the devil himself to torment us! Just wait until you walk through a cluster of a few hundred tiny little hatchlings!

  320. dee wrote:

    So, stop with the straw men and argue your point of view. You can do far better than some of your glorious leaders. be you, not them

    I really don’t care to get into an argument over ESS, and in trying to avoid it. However, almost all the attacks against it claim that it destroys equality between Father and Son, but the proponents of it would adamantly deny that. So when I say “straw man” that’s what I mean – the continual accusation that ESS makes the Son less than the Father. It’s nuanced, and I don’t care to fight about it, so if you’re happy with me leaving it alone I’m happy to leave it alone too.

    My broader point is the same that runs through this thread: if one doesn’t have a real good grasp of someone else’s position: Calvinist, Arminian, Catholic (as I’m learning to do!), Orthodox, or whatever, so often I find myself debating a position I think someone holds but they don’t. And others ascribe me beliefs I don’t hold.

  321. Ken F wrote:

    Do you consider that a proper Calvinist view of our salvation? Would all Calvinists claim that?

    I don’t think its distinctively Calvinistic, but probably most would hold it. It goes like this:

    Why does anyone go to hell? Because of sin.

    Who sends sinners there? God does.

    So what are we “saved” from? God’s judgment.

    Hence, God in Jesus saves sinners from His own justice which demands their punishment.

  322. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    here are some excerpts from the Reformers re Mary as Mother of God:

    Those are fascinating! So I have to disagree with Luther, unless, as Ken pointed out, Catholics define the phrase different than I do.

    If you read Calvin’s quote carefully, you’ll see Elizabeth is the mother of “my Lord” which is technically a term of kingship not deity like if she’d said “mother of my God.” And it is true that the incarnate almighty God was in the womb of Mary.

  323. ishy wrote:

    You really can’t understand most things in the Bible without a proper understanding of Christ

    There is a scarlet thread woven throughout all of Scripture.

  324. @ Joe Reed:
    What bothers me about this logic is that it has to be read into the bible rather than read out of it. One can link verses together to get there, but if Jesus saves us from the Father it means they are not the same essence. That is problematic.

  325. Joe Reed wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    here are some excerpts from the Reformers re Mary as Mother of God:

    Those are fascinating! So I have to disagree with Luther, unless, as Ken pointed out, Catholics define the phrase different than I do.

    If you read Calvin’s quote carefully, you’ll see Elizabeth is the mother of “my Lord” which is technically a term of kingship not deity like if she’d said “mother of my God.” And it is true that the incarnate almighty God was in the womb of Mary.

    Technically a term of kingship? So when Scripture says that no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit, it means we merely must affirm Him as king?? Just like, say, the king of Denmark?

    I am at a loss for words.

  326. Nancy2 wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Why did God create ticks?

    As a Southern Kentucky country girl, I’m here to tell ya ………. I’ve had ticks on my earlobes, in my hear, between my toes …….. Everywhere, including the unmentionable areas.
    Ticks are among those who revolted against God alongside Lucifer. They are sent out amongst us by the devil himself to torment us! Just wait until you walk through a cluster of a few hundred tiny little hatchlings!

    That seems theologically sound to me!

  327. Ken F wrote:

    if Jesus saves us from the Father

    Well, Jesus himself says “depart from Me” in Matt 7, so Jesus saves us from himself in that sense.

    This would be a helpful text… Jesus said we shouldn’t fear him who can kill the body (the devil) but him who is able to cast body and soul into hell (God).

  328. Joe Reed wrote:

    I can’t do better than Jesus

    Oh seriously. Are you claiming that using tactics like claiming someone is using a straw man argument is coming directly from Jesus? You are far smarter than that.

    And if you are saying that your doctrine is from Jesus and I say then same about mine and we disagree, than you know that there is a problem. I know one thing about the Bible. If it is meant to be clear, it is. For example, we all agree that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected.

    The fact that some believe it is a limited atonement while others do not- all Christians who take the Bible seriously, then most of us who are not zealots know that it is not perfectly clear and that interpretation is involved. That is why we have gazillions of denominations.

    Nope, using dismissive tactics like saying someone is making straw men argument is not being like Jesus. He actually cared for those who care about Him and did not attempt to insult them.

  329. Joe Reed wrote:

    @ Catholic Gate-Crasher:

    It depends on context, of course. Not all uses of the Greek “kurios” (Lord) are used in reference to God. So not every time the word is used deity is in view.

    I would submit that it is always used as a title of divinity for Jesus in the NT. Can you name me one instance when it isn’t?

  330. Nancy2 wrote:

    Ticks are among those who revolted against God alongside Lucifer.

    Agreed. Here’s a Wisconsin boy who’ll tell ya’ they’re some nasty little bastards.

  331. Christiane wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    Yet Jesus is one person possessing both natures
    And Jesus the one Person died on the Cross ….. you cannot say that a part of Him did not die ….. that is not what happened

    I’ve been mulling this around in my head the last few hours while I was out and about, and walking our precious Missy pup – as we like to call her. Anyway, I kept trying to remember the exact words to the hymn of the Paschal Troparion which we will be chanting on Saturday evening in celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. So, I searched the Internet and found it (thank you Google), along with some explanation from Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory. Here is the excerpt, taken from a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio:

    …He (Jesus Christ) did not suffer separation from God. He was forsaken and abandoned by God into death, into the hands of evil, but God was always with Him, and He was always with God. He commended His life into the hands of God when He died. He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” and He gave up His spirit and died. And as the Paschal Troparian, the hymn says during the canon, “In the grave with the body, in Sheol with the soul, in as much as Thou art God in Paradise with the thief, on the Throne with the Father and the Holy Spirit was Thou, boundless Christ, filling all things Thyself, uncircumscribed, uncontainable, infinite.

    So there is this mystery of the infinite, glorious God being circumscribed by flesh, and dying in the flesh, and God dies in the flesh, He really dies, and experiences death, but that experience of death is the destruction of death. It is the bringing of the power of God into Sheol to destroy death. God is with Him raising the dead through His dead body.

    I keep going back to this: Christ’s humanity and divinity (deity) cannot be separated. Not ever. That is the foundation from which we must begin and proceed. Otherwise, we have a fickle, capricious god, one who is not actually able to trample down death by death. Rather, this god would be a divided god, unable to accomplish the raising up of humanity from the dead.

    The Resurrection is at the heart of the Christian faith – as Paul said ” If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.” To tinker around with our Blessed Hope as R.C. Sproul does is a flippant and foolish thing to do.

  332. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Christiane wrote:
    Joe Reed wrote:
    Yet Jesus is one person possessing both natures
    And Jesus the one Person died on the Cross ….. you cannot say that a part of Him did not die ….. that is not what happened
    Eggzackly.
    You can say you affirm the ancient Creeds and confessions till the cows come home, but if you insist that only Christ’s humanity died on the Cross, then you are espousing the heresy of Nestorianism.
    I don’t mean to be blunt, but if it walks like a duck…then: Quack!

    I will echo “Eggzackly” as well. We cannot rip the deity and humanity of Christ apart and still claim that we hold to the ancient creeds. We cannot pull apart our Lord’s humanity and divinity and then assume that we are not wandering into the territory of Nestorius. Rather, own up to it – and then attempt to defend Nestorius, since in fact it is his teachings that you (generic you) affirm.

  333. Ken F wrote:

    These are filthy thoughts.

    Yes they are Ken.

    Ken F wrote:

    Men like Sproul are teaching things about God that should be condemned. And this is the model for what a “proper” Calvinists should teach.

    Their god (small ‘g’ intentional) is a monster, and in my opinion, worse than Chemosh and Molech. The God of Abraham isn’t anything like their god.

  334. Joe Reed wrote:

    Christiane wrote:
    R.C. Sproul’s writing shows clearly how far the neo-Cals are from the classic orthodox teachings of Athanasius.
    Sproul is a classic Calvinist, not a neo-Cal, and his statement about the death of Jesus is by no means new or novel. The idea that the One Deity dies has some serious implications.

    Joe, you rare right – Sproul’s teaching isn’t new or novel. These heterodoxies and heresies recycle themselves over the centuries. 😉

  335. Joe Reed wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Is Mary the Theotokos – the mother of God? We know how Nestorius would answer that question.
    This is one of the points where Catholics and Protestants diverge. Catholics would say yes, Mary is the mother of God, while Protestants believe God is eternal and therefore doesn’t have a mother. The incarnated human nature of Jesus does though or he wouldn’t be truly human.

    There you go again, Joe. Dividing Jesus Christ into parts. You are a Nestorian whether you recognize it or not.

  336. dee wrote:

    Oh seriously. Are you claiming that using tactics like claiming someone is using a straw man argument is coming directly from Jesus? You are far smarter than that.

    It was a light-hearted statement, meant to kindly rebuff the idea that I have “glorified leaders.” Sorry if that didn’t come across too well.

  337. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Joe Reed wrote:
    Darlene wrote:
    Is Mary the Theotokos – the mother of God? We know how Nestorius would answer that question.
    This is one of the points where Catholics and Protestants diverge. Catholics would say yes, Mary is the mother of God, while Protestants believe God is eternal and therefore doesn’t have a mother. The incarnated human nature of Jesus does though or he wouldn’t be truly human.
    Again, you are separating the inseparable. You cannot separate Our Lord’s human nature from His divine nature. He is one inviolable, inseparable Person. Mary gave birth to a Person — not to a human nature.
    When I gave birth to my sons, I gave birth to whole persons. I don’t go around saying,”I am the mother of 23 chromosomes’ worth of John (my firstborn).” No. I am the mother of John, an inviolable person. Just so, Mary is the Mother of the Person Jesus, Who is both human and divine *inseparably.*
    That was the whole point of the Council of Ephesus. I recommend reading up on it.

    Maybe we will get through to Joe eventually. 🙂 Honestly, I think the reason that certain Protestant Christians, and current Calvinists in particular, reject Mary as being the Mother of God (the Theotokos) is because they don’t want to be associated with being Roman Catholics. Here’s a question: Did Mary carry God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity in her womb, or just the humanity of Christ?

  338. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I would submit that it is always used as a title of divinity for Jesus in the NT. Can you name me one instance when it isn’t?

    Matt. 6:24, “no man can serve two masters (kurios).”

    Thomas said “my Lord and My God” but I take it that he wasn’t being entirely redundant.

    Heading for bed, enjoyed the visit, God bless you all!

  339. Darlene wrote:

    Did Mary carry God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity in her womb, or just the humanity of Christ?

    She carried God, the second person of the Trinity, incarnate.

    I’m not Nestorian, btw. And I may not be Orthodox or Catholic, but it’s not a distinctive of Calvinist doctrine that deity cannot die.

  340. Ken F wrote:

    But all the New-Calvinists quote him extensively and admire his theology. Here is something he recently a few years ago: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/forsaken-jesus-became-curse/. Some quotes:
    Jesus was the ultimate obscenity.
    All blessedness was removed from his Son, whom he loved, and in its place was the full measure of the divine curse.
    For Jesus to become the curse, he had to be completely forsaken by the Father.
    God cursed him
    It was as if there was a cry from heaven, as if Jesus heard the words “God damn you,” because that’s what it meant to be cursed and under the anathema of the Father.
    These are filthy thoughts.

    Indeed, Ken. Not just filthy thoughts, but blasphemous statements spoken about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This kind of Calvinism is disturbing to the depths of my soul.

  341. Velour wrote:

    I still can’t believe that you’re missing the point. Calvinism is a monstrosity and its God is a monster. If the Calvinist god were to speak to Roger Olson, he would (rightfully) reject such a god.

    And I join Roger Olson in this view. I too reject Calvinism and its god, who is NOT God.

    As I referred to in an earlier comment, the premise of the question is, “*If* it was revealed to you in a way you couldn’t question or deny that the true God *actually is* as Calvinism says and *rules* as Calvinism affirms, would you still worship him?(sic) (The emphases are not added; sorry, I haven’t taken the time to learn how to do italics on this site.) This means that Olson knows that it is the true God who is speaking to him, and yet Olson says that he can no longer worship Him, and even calls the true God a “moral monster.” (p. 85) If this is not arrogance, I don’t know what is. Is it possible that God knows more than we do, and knows whereof He speaks?

  342. dee wrote:

    I have read Olson extensively. I disagree with you on this point.

    Olson knows that such a God does not exist. If he did he would be a monster. If such a monster whispered in his ear and said this stuff is true, then Olson would not follow him. Neither, I believe, would you follow such a monster.

    I think you are making it easy for yourself and others to disregard what Olson is really saying. “See, he wouldn’t believe God if Gd told him that. Therefore, he won’t submit to God.”

    Yo duo know that silly question “Can God created a rock he cannot lift?” Yet seems that you are attempting to apply that logic to Olson’s response.

    Oh, my, please re-read the last paragraph on p. 85. Olson makes clear that, in this hypothesis, WITHOUT A DOUBT, THIS IS THE TRUE GOD SPEAKING TO HIM. I quoted the actual sentence in my reply to Velour. Olson admits that his answer “would shock many people.” I give him credit for not taking the easy way out: He really would tell the true God that he could not worship Him if Calvinism is correct. You and Velour seem to be making excuses for him that he himself would not make.

  343. Joe Reed wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    I would submit that it is always used as a title of divinity for Jesus in the NT. Can you name me one instance when it isn’t?

    Matt. 6:24, “no man can serve two masters (kurios).”

    Thomas said “my Lord and My God” but I take it that he wasn’t being entirely redundant.

    Heading for bed, enjoyed the visit, God bless you all!

    Ok, maybe I wasn’t clear. I meant: When it is applied to JESUS in the New Testament, it is always a title of divinity.

    Can you give me ONE instance in the NT where “kyrios” is applied to Jesus in the NT without the significance of Divinity?

    You mentioned Thomas’s great declaration and implied that his use of “Lord” in that context could not have connoted Divinity since this would be redundant. I respond: This is sheer eisegesis. There is no indication in the context that Thomas meant “Lord” to mean mere king or master. You are reading this into the text. In fact, Thomas is employing a Semitic idiom — parallelism — common throughout the New Testament. The NT abounds with examples of such parallelism — in Our Lord’s parables, for example. So, again, you are reading into the Scriptural text something that isn’t “perspicuously” there. 😉

    In the OT God is routinely called the Lord God. Is that “redundant”? Would you suggest that “Yahweh” does not connote Divinity?

  344. Nancy2 wrote:

    As a Southern Kentucky country girl, I’m here to tell ya ………. I’ve had ticks on my earlobes, in my hear, between my toes …….. Everywhere, including the unmentionable areas.
    Ticks are among those who revolted against God alongside Lucifer. They are sent out amongst us by the devil himself to torment us! Just wait until you walk through a cluster of a few hundred tiny little hatchlings!

    This Georgia girl is pointing at the fire ants…

  345. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Technically a term of kingship? So when Scripture says that no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit, it means we merely must affirm Him as king?? Just like, say, the king of Denmark?
    I am at a loss for words.

    Jesus also said that not everyone who said to Him, Lord! Lord! will enter the kingdom but only those who do the will of the Father in heaven. So-there must be something more complicated about the use of the word ‘Lord’ than a simple concept of the deity of the Christ.

    That would make sense, because the use of words in language often (usually? always?) is accompanied by multiple and complicated understandings.

  346. Darlene wrote:

    Honestly, I think the reason that certain Protestant Christians, and current Calvinists in particular, reject Mary as being the Mother of God (the Theotokos) is because they don’t want to be associated with being Roman Catholics.

    I think that is part of it. Some people think that the idea of ‘Mother of God’ has been an excuse for creating a christian goddess figure, straight out of the pagan strains of thinking that have contaminated christian thought over the centuries. Not a goddess actually, but rather someone too close to that idea to be acceptable. And they say that current Catholic practices in regard to Mary demonstrate this. This is one reason I keep saying that I personally think we have let ourselves get too close to paganism in the process of ‘finding God’ in everything. People are not very good at doing this while not at the same time either (a) looking like they are becoming pagans themselves or else (b) over reacting in the opposite direction and denouncing some sound ideas that do not need to be denounced.

    I did not make this up; I was taught this as a child and youth growing up in a mixed protestant and catholic culture. And a gracious plenty has been written on this, like references to Isis and Horus and whether and how much similarity there may be between the stories of Jesus and Mary as compared to Isis and Horus for example. There is a heap of this sort of thinking about various ideas out there. Or take the idea of whether gods can die, either with or without resurrection. Some people take it so far as to mandate simple worship services absent anything that even looks like some association with ancient pagan practices. Baptist do not light fires as part of a major holiday, for example. Was that not consistent with the pagan practices of the Irish, for example?

    I am not trying to hurt anybody’s feelings, but you will not ‘get through to Joe’ or to people like him or to people at many levels along this continuum of thinking by just re-explaining you position. They know what you think. They believe something different. And you will not change the minds of people by accusing them of not adhering to ancient creeds; their faith is not based in creeds or the pronouncements of church/churches which they believe to have ventured too far afield in this direction.

    In my opinion after two thousand years we are still determining how much Christianity is a continuation and modification of Jewish thought and how much it is a product of Greek philosophy and pagan mythologies. And in my opinion some minds seem to relate to one better than the other. If I were to speculate I might wonder if some of the anti-semitism of the centuries has partly been sustained because of the struggle between the two ways of doing and thinking religion.

  347. Christiane wrote:

    Protestant women are now taking another look at Mary in the bible and are ‘warming’ to her.

    I don’t think protestants were un ‘warm’ to mary, they just don’t pray to her.

  348. Lea wrote:

    I don’t think protestants were un ‘warm’ to mary, they just don’t pray to her.

    Yes, I think that is true. I have never heard one word out of any protestant mouth that criticized Mary as a person. Not ever. Protestants being what they are I do not doubt that somebody has voiced some anti-Mary attitude, but I have never heard anybody do it. They just don’t pray to her, or agree with what the catholics have done with her.

    Here is an analogous thing regarding Jesus. I have listened right much to Amy-Jill Levine on youtube. She has said that Jesus is ‘just so Jewish’ and she has said that in her opinion the Jews ought to own Jesus as an outstanding Jew and teacher, and she said it this way ‘I don’t have to worship him to appreciate his message.’

    I think those attitudes are similar. They both are about how far one takes one’s beliefs and attitudes about some person.

  349. okrapod wrote:

    This is one reason I keep saying that I personally think we have let ourselves get too close to paganism in the process of ‘finding God’ in everything.

    Pantheism …. seeing God in everything is a stark contrast to understanding that God created ‘everything’ from nothing, (ex nihilo) ….. and in realizing this, also knowing that God didn’t NEED His Creation, that it could disappear and He would not be diminished in any way;

    then we can look to Creation as witness to God, Who ‘opened His Hand and created out of love’

    In the teaching of ‘ex nihilo’, we find understanding in the saying that ‘I am Who am’, that God ‘generates’ Creation out of love, and ‘God is being itself’

    “16 For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. ” (Colossians 1)

    Poetry?
    “And I have felt
    A presence that disturbs me with the joy
    Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
    Of something far more deeply interfused,
    Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
    And the round ocean, and the living air,
    And the blue sky, and in the mind of man, 100
    A motion and a spirit, that impels
    All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
    And rolls through all things. ” (Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey)

    There are many, many people for whom the woods and the lakes and mountains become places of prayer. 🙂 There, they ‘get’ in their gut what all the creeds of Christendom cannot give them: a sense of God’s Presence coming near to them.

    ” …. because in His Incarnate Divine Person He has in some way united Himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the Paschal mystery” is offered to all men.”

  350. okrapod wrote:

    They believe something different. And you will not change the minds of people by accusing them of not adhering to ancient creeds; their faith is not based in creeds or the pronouncements of church/churches which they believe to have ventured too far afield in this direction.

    Also, I find the throwing out of ‘heresies’ as a point of argument unconvincing…not that I do not think there can be heretical thought, but the reformation ventured a different series of thoughts that went against the prevailing ones. Who decides what is heresy, then?

  351. Un-warm? When do they even mention her, except at Christmas, and even then only grudgingly? The Bible says: “Henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” When was the last time you heard any Bible preacher call her blessed?

    If that’s warm, I’d sure hate to see cold. 😉

    But getting back to Mother of God: I think what we are missing here is that this title (Theotokos) was officially endorsed at the Council of Ephesus as an integral part of the refutation of Nestorianism. IOW it’s Christological. Like all the decisions of the early councils, it’s all about Christ.

    Okrapod maintains that if we accept the title “Mother of God,” then all sorts of other things must necessarily follow — like icons and statues and candles.

    I would say that it works the other way, too. If we reject Mary as Mother of God, then this leads to Nestorianism and even to semi-Arianism (ESS). I would submit that these are quite possibly worse than icons and statues and candles. (And no, please, we do not worship statues. Or Mary. Really.)

  352. okrapod wrote:

    In my opinion after two thousand years we are still determining how much Christianity is a continuation and modification of Jewish thought and how much it is a product of Greek philosophy and pagan mythologies. And in my opinion some minds seem to relate to one better than the other.

    Interesting. I will think about this one.

  353. @Lea…

    We are referring to the Christological heresies refuted at the early Church councils. Whether you realize it or not, your view of Jesus comes from those early councils, not from the “Bible Alone.” 😉

  354. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    @Lea…
    We are referring to the Christological heresies refuted at the early Church councils. Whether you realize it or not, your view of Jesus comes from those early councils, not from the “Bible Alone.”

    I know what you are referring to. Listen to me or not. Listen to okrapod or not. But don’t then say we should all come together when you won’t.

  355. Lea wrote:

    Also, I find the throwing out of ‘heresies’ as a point of argument unconvincing…not that I do not think there can be heretical thought, but the reformation ventured a different series of thoughts that went against the prevailing ones. Who decides what is heresy, then?

    Absolutely. Any group can call something a heresy, and if they are in power they can try to enforce that decision. But when people do not recognize the authority of the group which made the pronouncement in the first place, then that brings that to a screeching halt as far as the non-authority-recognizing group is concerned.

    Heresy means something that is not consistent with the prevailing (established?) opinion, but who and what constitutes the right to determine what is that opinion/pronouncement which must be accepted?

    Which is why I think that the dividing issue between protestantism and catholicism is not Mary or the Pope but rather the issue of authority.

  356. Lea wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Un-warm? When do they even mention her, except at Christmas, and even then only grudgingly?

    This is such a distortion!

    Not in my experience here in the Bible Belt (where I’ve lived for 27 years).

    I’ve heard radio Bible preachers give sermons about the Great Women of the Bible (OT and NT) without even mentioning Mary. Because apparently driving a tent peg through some dude’s head is more significant in the history of salvation than bearing and raising the Son of God. 😮

  357. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Okrapod maintains that if we accept the title “Mother of God,” then all sorts of other things must necessarily follow — like icons and statues and candles.

    You are misrepresenting what I said. I said that some people look at what the catholics have indeed done with Marian dogma and practices over the years and have said that this is way too close to looking like pagan goddess beliefs.

    You added the idea of necessity to that. if we are going to discuss this we need to be meticulous about not misrepresenting each other. Or else we have to quit criticizing the calvinists and arminians for misrepresenting each other. Sauce for the goose and all that.

  358. Lea wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    @Lea…
    We are referring to the Christological heresies refuted at the early Church councils. Whether you realize it or not, your view of Jesus comes from those early councils, not from the “Bible Alone.”
    I know what you are referring to. Listen to me or not. Listen to okrapod or not. But don’t then say we should all come together when you won’t.

    What do you mean by “when you won’t”? I never said that we all must agree in order to work and band together. I don’t agree with Darlene about Original Sin, but that doesn’t mean I cannot claim Christian fellowship with her.

    My comment up-thread was in reference to those NeoCals who who would deny that we are even Christians. I think all Christians of good will can and should stick together ecumenically against such bigotry. That doesn’t mean we are all going to suddenly agree about everything. Obviously not. But ecumenism does not demand lockstep total agreement. Only good will and agape.

  359. okrapod wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:
    Okrapod maintains that if we accept the title “Mother of God,” then all sorts of other things must necessarily follow — like icons and statues and candles.
    You are misrepresenting what I said. I said that some people look at what the catholics have indeed done with Marian dogma and practices over the years and have said that this is way too close to looking like pagan goddess beliefs.
    You added the idea of necessity to that. if we are going to discuss this we need to be meticulous about not misrepresenting each other. Or else we have to quit criticizing the calvinists and arminians for misrepresenting each other. Sauce for the goose and all that.

    Oh good grief. Sorry…I hereby remove the word “necessarily.” I honestly did not mean it as a deliberate misrepresentation.

    Without it, I think my point still stands WRT the danger of Nestorianism and ESS. Both of which diminish *Jesus,* not Mary.

  360. okrapod wrote:

    Which is why I think that the dividing issue between protestantism and catholicism is not Mary or the Pope but rather the issue of authority.

    It seems important not to separate the role of ‘moral conscience’ from the topic of ‘authority’.

    And it is also interesting that many men of intellect and conscience have come into the Church for reasons of ‘authority’ as a positive.
    Perhaps that is because this teaching is an expression of that authority:
    “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

  361. For Mary, I can say this:
    She pointed to her Son. She did not point to herself. She did request something that still comes down through the millenia as meaningful:
    “Do whatever He tells you.”

    I have no problem with ‘Mater Dei’ as I grew up with it, but it seems to me and still jars me that many, many Protestants have a way of speaking in this way:

    “God told Jesus to ….”
    And when I see that, I almost always want to ask them: “Do you see Jesus as ‘God’?

    Yeah …. it works both ways. Catholics are as easily jarred by some of the Protestant ways of speaking, yes. 🙂

  362. I think if we have any more Catholic vs. Protestant debate here, I will have to call in Dale.

  363. Lol!! Thanks, Ken F. I don’t know who Dale is…maybe a seasoned referee?

    The OP is about young Calvinists who won’t acknowledge Arminians as Christians. I have no problem acknowledging everyone here as a fellow Christian, despite areas of disagreement. I would assume that they extend the same courtesy to me. So…let’s all join hands and sing “Kumbaya.” Happy Holy Thursday!

  364. Christiane wrote:

    For Mary, I can say this:
    She pointed to her Son. She did not point to herself. She did request something that still comes down through the millenia as meaningful:
    “Do whatever He tells you.”

    I have no problem with ‘Mater Dei’ as I grew up with it, but it seems to me and still jars me that many, many Protestants have a way of speaking in this way:

    “God told Jesus to ….”
    And when I see that, I almost always want to ask them: “Do you see Jesus as ‘God’?

    Yeah …. it works both ways. Catholics are as easily jarred by some of the Protestant ways of speaking, yes.

    Ooooh!! That “God told Jesus” stuff always startles me, too. Now that you mention it!

  365. Ken P. wrote:

    I think if we have any more Catholic vs. Protestant debate here, I will have to call in Dale.

    LoL! God bless Dale. And I really mean that.

  366. I fully understand the Protestant reactions/responses when the topic is Mary. I’m not sure if I can convey in text the repulsion I used to have with anything that remotely bore a resemblance to Catolicism. Jack Chick was my “go-to” guy when it came to rebuking Catholics. Oh, and all my dear ex-Catholic friends who could pull from their arsenal the horrors of their up-bringing.

    So, I extend an olive branch to those offended by the term “Mother of God”. I know from experience the reactions that such a phrase can conjure up – rosaries, statues, processions, novenas. Yuk yuk, yuk, & yuk. 🙂

    Now, on to common ground. Ecumenical councils – oh, wait. Creeds – oh, wait. Confessions – oh, wait. God the Son dying on the cross of Calvary – oh wait, maybe it was just His human nature. The Bible – what interpretation would that be? Let’s see, let’s see, let’s see. The Wartburg Watch blog – we all enjoy commenting here. BINGO!!! 🙂

  367. okrapod wrote:

    Heresy means something that is not consistent with the prevailing (established?) opinion, but who and what constitutes the right to determine what is that opinion/pronouncement which must be accepted?

    Which is why I think that the dividing issue between protestantism and catholicism is not Mary or the Pope but rather the issue of authority.

    I concur. To me heresy is nothing more than ‘dissent’, and indeed the word ‘dissent’ is listed as a synonym for ‘heresy’, as in dissenting opinion.
    When I define my terms, I hold to the tenets of Apostle’s Creed and especially their supernatural parameters as non-negotiable axioms.

    All the rest of the stuff? I keep my own counsel as to what’s what, otherwise I’d have swum the Tiber long ago, or gone EO (eastern orthodox) fairly recently. I can’t do the whole enchilada with either of them, I’m too much the free-thinker and free-spirit.

  368. Muff Potter: So you would agree that a belief that Jesus Christ is not God, or that Jesus Christ is a created being can be considered heresy, I assume? Some things, according to “the faith once delivered to all” are heresy. Correct?

  369. Darlene wrote:

    Here’s something to consider when looking at Olson’s comment. What if one were presented with the following question: Would you worship God if Islam as ISIS understand him to be, were correct? I think most of us here would answer with an emphatic ‘NO‘!

    If I knew for sure, without any doubt (as in the Olson hypothesis), that the true, living God was speaking to me, I hope that I would agree with Him no matter how seemingly outlandish what He said to me was. Maybe I would struggle with it, but in the end I don’t see how I could say, “Sorry, God, I just don’t believe it.” Some of the patriarchs struggled with things God told them, but they wound up believing Him BY FAITH, even if they could not do so rationally. We don’t put God to the test; He puts US to the test.

  370. Darlene wrote:

    Oh, and all my dear ex-Catholic friends who could pull from their arsenal the horrors of their up-bringing.

    I don’t know about neo-cals but among the various protestants with whom I have worshipped my entire life the ex-catholics are the most anti-catholic by far. Most protestants in my experience really do not care all that much about the various ‘issues’. Somebody was going back and forth with warm or not warm regarding Mary. No. ‘Indifferent’ would be a better word.

    And I have to tell you that my attitude is mostly indifference. Father set up a bank of candles and a little statuette of Mary back in one corner of the church. Some people were good with that; some were opposed to that. I have chosen indifference because I am sick to death of the whole issue. I think that my position may be the predominant one because nobody much lights any candles. He organized a bunch to pray the rosary together and there are 11-12 who signed up out of a membership of almost one thousand. And my parish now self identifies as ‘anglo-catholic episcopal’. I think we have chosen to minimize the disagreements and just keep on keeping on. I am good with that, as long as it lasts.

  371. Christiane wrote:

    “God told Jesus to ….”
    And when I see that, I almost always want to ask them: “Do you see Jesus as ‘God’?
    Yeah …. it works both ways. Catholics are as easily jarred by some of the Protestant ways of speaking, yes.

    I think we perhaps need to use the terminology ‘the Father’ and ‘the Son’ more like we use the terminology ‘the Holy Spirit’ who is also God. Because the Son is not the Father and the Father is not the Son and we do not believe patripassionism, so when we use the word ‘God’ it can get confusing.

    Like when we note the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism and I think again at the triumphal entry (?) we need a word. We can say ‘God’, or we could say ‘the Father’, and either would be correct.

    I do think that in protestant lingo and in catholic lingo there are differences in use of vocabulary in some circumstances which may not actually be differences in doctrine.

  372. @ okrapod:
    it would seem that the Trinity as ‘God’ is more comfortably expressed in Catholic/OE circles;
    whereas the Trinity expressed in it’s parts appears to something that shows up more in evangelical circles ….. I remember one conversation with a lady who was some denomination that was evangelical, but not prominent. We were discussing the Trinity in a round about way, and I mentioned Christ being ‘God’ and she said ‘no, He’s not God, He is the ‘Son of God’ ….. I didn’t know what to say to her but I remembered that, and wondered even then what was it that she had been taught about the Holy Trinity (?)

    words matter, yes …. but I think are right about this: “I do think that in protestant lingo and in catholic lingo there are differences in use of vocabulary in some circumstances which may not actually be differences in doctrine.”

  373. @ okrapod:
    I also remember and kept this comment about the Holy Spirit, written by a JOE B. who used to comment over on SBCvoices and on Wade’s blog. He identified as Baptist:

    “Q-If God is Spirit and theres the Holy Spirit, arnt they both the Spirit of God and only one Spirit. So the trinity is really one God the father and God the Son. Because the Holy spirit is God the spirit. So instead of three theres only really only two.

    A-No, that is not correct. While God is Himself spirit and does not, nor has He ever had, have a flesh and blood body, He and Jesus both speak of the Holy Spirit as Someone distinct from both of them. For example, in Joel 2:28, God says “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions”. He doesn’t say He will come Himself. Therefore the Holy Spirit must be seperate from God Who is spirit. Further, notice in John 14:16-17 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” Again, observe that Jesus refers to another Helper coming, meaning the Holy Spirit, not God the Father coming. Therefore, I would say that while God is Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is seperate from God.”

    It was after reading Joe’s comment that I realized how MUCH confusion there might be among evangelical people about the nature of the Holy Trinity ….. and I wondered where it had come from, thinking maybe these particular people had been in rogue cults that were not trinitarian in doctrine prior to becoming evangelicals. (?)

    It’s complicated, trying to sort it out, but language which enables us to clarify, can also work the other way, sadly.

  374. Christiane wrote:

    It was after reading Joe’s comment that I realized how MUCH confusion there might be among evangelical people about the nature of the Holy Trinity ….. and I wondered where it had come from, thinking maybe these particular people had been in rogue cults that were not trinitarian in doctrine prior to becoming evangelicals. (?)
    It’s complicated, trying to sort it out, but language which enables us to clarify, can also work the other way, sadly.

    I think a lot of people just don’t ever get a decent education in basic theology, even if they’ve gone to church their whole lives. There are some churches that just don’t do a good job of that, and then for others, they just aren’t paying attention.

    I think if I had gone to a megachuch for years and years, or a tiny church with an uneducated pastor who become a lead pastor right off the bat (which do exist in the Southeast US, and I’m sure elsewhere), I might not have understood anything about the Trinity, either. I don’t think that’s the case with ESS, though, because I think they fabricated that theology to fit their authoritarian teaching. It came after all their efforts to “complementarianize” everyone, and was made by tenured seminary professors.

  375. ishy wrote:

    I think if I had gone to a megachuch for years and years, or a tiny church with an uneducated pastor who become a lead pastor right off the bat (which do exist in the Southeast US, and I’m sure elsewhere), I might not have understood anything about the Trinity, either. I don’t think that’s the case with ESS, though, because I think they fabricated that theology to fit their authoritarian teaching. It came after all their efforts to “complementarianize” everyone, and was made by tenured seminary professors.

    It is sad that people who are unsure of the place of Our Lord in the Holy Trinity are more vulnerable to the people who promote ESS for their own agendas.

    I just hope the children are still taught: “Jesus loves me”
    If they can hold on to that, there is hope, amidst all the other confusion.

  376. @ Christiane:

    I do not think that the concept of a Trinity is high on the list of doctrinal priorities in some churches. For one thing they seem to be totally afraid of the Holy Spirit. That is not the whole picture, but that kind of thinking is there. Like this fellow is all over the place in thinking about guess which doctrine. I am not totally surprised.

  377. But then again, I do not see any of the specific statements in scripture that say exactly what one’s doctrinal position on the Trinity must be as a requirement for conversion/ salvation/ pick some terminology.

    But there is this: if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead,,,,Wait. Who raised whom? How can anybody word a sentence that way? Heathen! Heretic! Poorly taught young believer? Oh, wait, it was Paul to the Romans. Did he not know…Some say he did not and that the current concept of the Trinity had not yet evolved at that time. But wait, if we say…I am not going there.

    You all can wrestle with this. I have resigned from the vocabulary enforcement squad.

  378. ishy wrote:

    L wrote:

    maybe they will split off and become a mean, weird off-branch of Christianity.

    They know they can’t recruit in the numbers they want, which is why they take over established churches and institutions instead. Despite the vehemence of some of their young followers, they really are a small number.

    I attend an a29 church as a non-Calvinist/Arminian (I like the challenge:). It’s marketed as an inter-denominational church. They are very careful and quick to avoid the Calvinist label despite holding to the majority of neo-Cal principles (I know from experience). If they must label themselves then they prefer the label, Reformed Baptist.

  379. @okrapod, WRT the Trinity not being explicit in the Bible:

    I asked this question of Joe Reed way above, and he never responded. I will ask it again, just for the heck of it.

    Where in the Bible does the Bible say that everything has to be in the Bible?

  380. Okrapod, I think I have a new name for you. It’s from a nursery rhyme I memorized as a wee one.

    Mary, Mary quite contrary.

  381. JP wrote:

    I attend an a29 church as a non-Calvinist/Arminian (I like the challenge:). It’s marketed as an inter-denominational church. They are very careful and quick to avoid the Calvinist label despite holding to the majority of neo-Cal principles (I know from experience). If they must label themselves then they prefer the label, Reformed Baptist.

    Ah…I find those unassuming names that Neo-Cals use quite amusing…And deceptive.

  382. @ okrapod:
    In that case, maybe the Oneness Pentecostals are right, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons, and… pick your favorite ‘Christian’ flavor of the month.

  383. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Where in the Bible does the Bible say that everything has to be in the Bible?

    i don’t believe that I ever said that, but it is an interesting question. Meanwhile my denomination and one or more denoms derived from my denom believes in ‘prima scriptura’ not ‘sola scriptura’ so your question, if I understand it, is being asked of the wrong person. Go find somebody who said that and ask them.

    None the less, in my opinion, the alleged/ claimed authors of the NT carry more weight in what they have said because of who the are claimed to have been-at least some of whom may have been actual witnesses and others (Paul) interacted with those who had been actual witnesses. For me, that is miles ahead of just the results of some other writings or the proceedings of church councils and such from later years.

    Thus, prima scriptura, in my opinion and in my christian tradition.

  384. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Where in the Bible does the Bible say that everything has to be in the Bible?

    Sorry I didn’t realize that was directed at me, I thought it was toward the pulpit and pen boys, who I really don’t care to be identified with.

    sola scriptura is one of the five central tenets of the reformation, and while I admittedly couldn’t give you a single proof text that was so clear you couldn’t have another take on it, the Protestant position by and large has affirmed Luther’s stance before the Diet of Worms – unless persuaded by Scripture or eminent reason, we can do no other.

    I recognize my limitations – providing a sufficient defense of sola scriptura in the comments section is frankly beyond my ability but I’m comfortable saying that and also believing in it.

  385. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    @okrapod, WRT the Trinity not being explicit in the Bible:

    I asked this question of Joe Reed way above, and he never responded. I will ask it again, just for the heck of it.

    Where in the Bible does the Bible say that everything has to be in the Bible?

    I’ve heard it said by not a few adherents to Sola Scriptures that the doctrine of the Trinity can be seen quite clearly in reading the Bible. Ecumenical councils aren’t really necessary because of “perspecuity” of Scripture. Make of that what you will. 🙂

  386. Joe Reed wrote:

    Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Where in the Bible does the Bible say that everything has to be in the Bible?

    Sorry I didn’t realize that was directed at me, I thought it was toward the pulpit and pen boys, who I really don’t care to be identified with.

    sola scriptura is one of the five central tenets of the reformation, and while I admittedly couldn’t give you a single proof text that was so clear you couldn’t have another take on it, the Protestant position by and large has affirmed Luther’s stance before the Diet of Worms – unless persuaded by Scripture or eminent reason, we can do no other.

    I recognize my limitations – providing a sufficient defense of sola scriptura in the comments section is frankly beyond my ability but I’m comfortable saying that and also believing in it.

    Thank you, Joe. That is not an answer, but thank you.

    BTW the fact that the Reformers believed something does not ipso facto make it true. 😉

  387. Darlene wrote:

    In that case, maybe the Oneness Pentecostals are right, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons, and… pick your favorite ‘Christian’ flavor of the month.

    I think that the challenge in apologetics will come from Islam. Some people will be saying maybe the Muslims are correct.

  388. Darlene wrote:

    Muff Potter: So you would agree that a belief that Jesus Christ is not God, or that Jesus Christ is a created being can be considered heresy, I assume? Some things, according to “the faith once delivered to all” are heresy. Correct?

    I will agree that the non-beliefs you’ve cited are dissenting opinions which I myself do not agree with. I prefer the descriptor ‘dissenting opinions’ to heresies because it’s kinder and gentler. Heresy conjures up too many bad connotations out of a brutal past in Christian history.

  389. Darlene wrote:

    Where in the Bible does the Bible say that everything has to be in the Bible?

    well, I’m not Joe, but there IS something interesting written IN the Bible that is pertinent about what is NOT in the Bible, or even written at all, which I suppose speaks for the vibrant oral religious traditions of those days:
    “25There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written.” (John 21)

  390. @ Christiane:
    and based on this, I think ‘sola Scripture’ is for those people for whom a vibrant religious oral tradition is something they have rejected in favor of what the Church eventually decided on as ‘canon’ hundreds of years after Christ ascended to heaven.

  391. @ Christiane:

    People. That specifically says they were not written down. It also does not say that they were passed down by tradition. That verse is worthless in this particular discussion, IMO.

    Now there is where Paul enjoined people to remember what he told them not only in writing but also what he had taught them while he was there. That is a far better reference for saying that unwritten tradition has its place. The problem is, we don’t know what it was that he had said that he did not write down. None the less, I do think it is a reference to oral teaching and not just written teaching.

  392. @ Christiane:

    Are you saying that the writings of the apostles were not scripture until the church said they were? That is strange, since Paul instructed that his epistles be read to the whole congregation which was one of the criteria in the decisions regarding canonicity or not-what was actually being used by the church. There is just a real discrepancy in those two lines of thinking.

  393. @ Muff Potter:
    Muff Potter, I get it. Some words have a trigger effect because of one’s experiences. I have the same reaction toward the word biblical. I don’t use that word because of how it has been co-opted by many to control and abuse people.

  394. I just do not think that the front lines for christianity are going to be in revisiting the reformation. Surely we all know enough about what went down to know what we think.

    I think the challenge is going to come from outside christianity-any form of christianity. I think it comes from atheism, from some of the socio-political issues that Francis tends to reference and some that he has not referenced, from non-christian religions especially Islam, and from those of us who do not hesitate to go outside religion altogether and believe in an old earth and stuff like that.

  395. @ okrapod:
    In that case, maybe the Oneness Pentecostals are right, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons, and… pick your favorite ‘Christian’ flavor of the month.okrapod wrote:

    @ Christiane:

    Are you saying that the writings of the apostles were not scripture until the church said they were?

    Oh no, not this discussion…Please. What came first – the church or the bible? Is the church authoritative over the Scriptures or visa versa or do they work in tandem with each other? Or, or, so many similar questions along this line.

    I’ve seen where discussions on this topic go. People who hail from different mindsets end up talking past each other. Be careful when going down this rabbit hole.

  396. I have always been comforted by the fact that the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church agree on almost all doctrines including Marian ones and the central Christological ones, as witnessed here. For me it points to, beneath the surface, the unity of the two churches.

  397. DEW wrote:

    I have always been comforted by the fact that the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church agree on almost all doctrines including Marian ones and the central Christological ones, as witnessed here. For me it points to, beneath the surface, the unity of the two churches.

    Amen, DEW!

  398. @ DEW:
    when I was Catholic school, the nuns told us, that IF we got hit by a bus out in front of the Greek Orthodox Church down the street,
    the priest could come out and give us last rites.

    For me, that sounded like ‘trust’, and so I have trusted the Orthodox as brothers and sisters all these years, since i was a girl. 🙂

    We grow up with attitudes and prejudices that we pick up from people we have trusted when we were little. The nuns never taught us to hate others who were ‘different’. I’m glad for that. I guess they thought we had enough problems, with just being kids. 🙂

  399. Darlene wrote:

    @ Christiane:

    Are you saying that the writings of the apostles were not scripture until the church said they were?

    Oh no, not this discussion…Please. What came first – the church or the bible? Is the church authoritative over the Scriptures or visa versa or do they work in tandem with each other? Or, or, so many similar questions along this line.

    I’ve seen where discussions on this topic go. People who hail from different mindsets end up talking past each other. Be careful when going down this rabbit hole.

    LOL
    THIS is why I value you, Darlene: sane, sensible advice.

    I always enjoy exchanging viewpoints with Okrapod, but that particular topic …. oy vey, and as we prepare for Good Friday

    Actually, I think we’ve done that topic before, but you know at our ages, I wouldn’t be surprised if we probably have forgotten how it all turned out anyway. 🙂

  400. JP wrote:

    I attend an a29 church as a non-Calvinist/Arminian (I like the challenge:).

    I can’t say that I like the challenge, but I have also attended Acts29 churches and SBC-YRR church plants to see what makes these folks tick. Many of my comments on TWW have been based on direct observations of New Calvinist belief and practice. It has been agonizing to sit through their theological gyrations, but I didn’t want to depend on second-hand reports regarding the new reformation (most of which I can confirm). What a mess!

  401. Christiane wrote:

    Actually, I think we’ve done that topic before, but you know at our ages, I wouldn’t be surprised if we probably have forgotten how it all turned out anyway.

    No, we have not, and I do not plan to. Darlene completely misunderstood what I was saying about your hundreds of years later comment, but I doubt that you misunderstood. We can discuss that some time, but not right now.

  402. okrapod wrote:

    We can discuss that some time, but not right now.

    I’d be happy to discuss this when you are ready. I’m too ‘wordy’, wanting to give ‘background’, ‘history’, quotes, etc. and it drives people crazy. St. Paul is a favorite topic, as is canon formation, so that is something to look forward to. I sense you are not ‘okay’, and I hope you feel better soon.

  403. Joe Reed wrote:

    I don’t think its distinctively Calvinistic, but probably most would hold it. It goes like this:
    Why does anyone go to hell? Because of sin.
    Who sends sinners there? God does.
    So what are we “saved” from? God’s judgment.
    Hence, God in Jesus saves sinners from His own justice which demands their punishment.

    The question that needs to be addressed first is the nature of heaven and hell. Are they specific locations or states of being? Are we sent to one or the other by our own choice(s) or by someone/something outside of our will? I had only understood hell from a Western (followign Dantes) type of viewpoint until I started reading Eastern Orthodox theology. Their view of hell is drastically different, and seems to be one of the oldest views of hell among Christians. I find it very compelling.

    You assume that we go to hell because we sin and that God is the one who sends us there. But these are unproven assumptions based on a Western way of thinking about God that has been highly influenced by Roman and Greek paganism.

    The prodigal son’s older brother had a chance to enter the party (heaven?) but chose not to because he had so much contempt for his father (God?). The father came out for both sons, but only one son chose to enter the party. Some people will argue that this is nothing more than an isolated story of a bad father that has no spiritual meaning. But most “orthodox” Christians believe it is a loving father reaching out to both sons, and that it is a picture of the Kingdom of Heaven. Neither son needed to be saved from their father – their father was not the problem, they were.

  404. @ Christiane:

    Never mind dates and quotes. This is about ‘you said’. You previously said, IIRC, in some discussion that the writings were being used in the very early church liturgies. This was in some discussion of liturgy I think. As far as I know that is correct since Paul leaves instructions for his epistles to be read to the whole church.

    Now you are saying that the official process of declaring stuff canonical was hundreds of years later. As far as I know that is also correct.

    So what I am saying is, when did the scripture become the inspired word of God, aka scripture as protestants would understand the term, when it was written and used in the early liturgies or hundreds of years later when the church officially recognized it?

    And, if it should be that the church did not consider some of the writings authentic then why were they using them in the early liturgies?

    If the church has a position that the scriptures were not actually authentic until they became authentic hundreds of years later, then I want to know what that position is and why they say that.

    Forget the details of the long canonization process. Wiki has enough to say on the subject for history buffs. I am asking why you said what you said and what the Catholic Church’s position is concerning the writings during the period before the church made their pronouncements about canonicity.

  405. Ken F wrote:

    Neither son needed to be saved from their father – their father was not the problem, they were.

    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭NASB‬

  406. Darlene wrote:

    I have the same reaction toward the word biblical. I don’t use that word because of how it has been co-opted by many to control and abuse people.

    I too have the same reaction. I had nearly two decades of it in the Calvary Chapel cult.

  407. Christiane wrote:

    “25There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written.” (John 21)

    I love that verse in John’s Gospel.
    It makes me think of William Blake who wrote:

    And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountains green?

  408. okrapod wrote:

    . I am asking why you said what you said and what the Catholic Church’s position is concerning the writings during the period before the church made their pronouncements about canonicity.

    as far as I can figure out, you are referring to this:
    ” @ Christiane:

    “Are you saying that the writings of the apostles were not scripture until the church said they were?”

    in relation to this: “based on this, I think ‘sola Scripture’ is for those people for whom a vibrant religious oral tradition is something they have rejected in favor of what the Church eventually decided on as ‘canon’ hundreds of years after Christ ascended to heaven.”

    I’m not sure how you got your particular question out of what I said, HOWEVER, my comment was based on a previous comment I made, this:

    Christiane wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Where in the Bible does the Bible say that everything has to be in the Bible?

    MY RESPONSE TO DARLENE: “well, I’m not Joe, but there IS something interesting written IN the Bible that is pertinent about what is NOT in the Bible, or even written at all, which I suppose speaks for the vibrant oral religious traditions of those days:
    “25There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written.” (John 21)

    I hope this helps. As far as what the Church considers as ‘inspired’, that would include the oral tradition and the written tradition passed from the Apostles to their disciples which is referred to formally by the Church as ‘the deposit of faith’ ….. ‘oral AND written’ fit into this category, yes

    I’m still not sure what you are wanting to be clarified specifically. (?)

  409. @ okrapod:
    ” @ Christiane:
    “Are you saying that the writings of the apostles were not scripture until the church said they were?”

    I am saying that the INSPIRED ‘deposit of faith’ was more than just what was written down prior to the development of the canon and included both what was authorized by the Apostles to their followers both written AND spoken.

    The canon itself was essentially a culling out of texts that were not considered a part of the written deposit of faith, and there were hundreds of extant texts that were not chosen to be in the canon. I think you know the selection process somewhat already.

    Sometimes the ‘are you saying’ intro confuses a bit. In this case, it did. I hope I responded to what you wanted to know.

  410. Muff Potter wrote:

    And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountains green?

    such a beautiful hymn, almost always sung during occasions where ‘God Save the Queen’ is also sung

    the old legends …. Blake’s poem ….. I can see why you thought of this, yes

  411. Joe Reed wrote:

    Ken F wrote:

    Neither son needed to be saved from their father – their father was not the problem, they were.

    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭NASB‬

    And how does this contradict what KenF said, in any way, shape, or form?

    I myself do not hold to the “River of Fire” view of Hell, which I believe is what KenF is referring to. Nor do I believe that it is the earliest patristic concept of Hell. (Many Early Church Fathers say nothing of the sort.) However, I believe it is a perfectly permissible view of Hell. Because you know what? We don’t know. Scripture has NOT spelled it all out for us. There is room for speculation as long as we stay within the bounds of historic Christian orthodoxy.

    Here is my own view, FWIW, which is certainly not dogma but is, I believe, within the bounds of historic Christian orthodoxy. OK, I am a Molinist. That’s kind of like a Catholic Arminian. Not exactly but kind of. I believe that God condemns no one. Those who end up in Hell have chosen it. I also believe that Jesus pursues every single person on earth with His fathomless Grace, love, and mercy right up to the moment of death. Yes, even those who have never heard of Him by Name (because Western missionaries were too lazy or scared to get off their butts to bring the Gospel to, say, the Andaman Islands or the remote Andes). I also believe that “the final hour abounds in mercy,” as Jesus told St Faustina Kowalska. We all have that one final chance to choose for or against Him. If we have been hardening our hearts all through our lives, then it may be less likely that His Grace can break through. But even then, He can do it, of course; He is Omnipotent God. However, we have to open that tiny chink to let His Grace in. The chink may be microscopic, but that’s OK; His Grace will flood inside. However, I believe that, even at that crucial moment, when Grace abounds superabundantly, some people still refuse Him. They choose Hell. I don’t understand how or why. But they do. And Our Lord gives them what *they* want. And the result is eternal suffering in Hell…yet, once they choose it, their choice is locked in. They rage against God. Even in Hell, they don’t want Heaven. They have completely embraced Anti-God and Anti-Heaven.

    Again, these are my personal views. They are not Catholic Church Teaching. Neither do they conflict with it. The Church does not delve too deeply into this mystery. She affirms that there is a Hell. She does not describe it in detail. Or presume to know exactly who goes there. 🙂

  412. DEW wrote:

    I have always been comforted by the fact that the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church agree on almost all doctrines including Marian ones and the central Christological ones, as witnessed here. For me it points to, beneath the surface, the unity of the two churches.

    DEW, just to clarify, the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics differ in a couple of Marian dogmas. EO does not teach the Immaculate Conception, nor the Assumption. The EO teaches that Mary actually died and so that day is recognized as the Dormition. I would go into greater length but I’m tired. I had a long day. Suffice it to say that there are some significant differences between the two churches, but certainly both churches have many doctrines upon which they agree.

    Although there are differences, neither church would be so harsh as to condemn the other one as not being a genuine Christian Church. The Orthodox Church would go so far as to say it is not her place to judge the salvation of Roman Catholics. Of course, the same would be said for Protestants as well. Orthodox spirituality is such that we first and foremostre should ask God to show us our own sins, and live a life of repentance (as the Lord’s Prayer teaches), and ask God to grant us humility and grace in how we view our neighbors who are not Orthodox. Of course, this is an area in which an honest Orthodox Christian would say he/she stumbles many times through many trespasses and sins. What is vital is that we rise up again after we have stumbled. The critical lesson in our walk with God is to live in hope and not despair – for God is a Good God, Who loves us immeasurably.

  413. Just one clarification to Darlene’s excellent post: Catholics do not have to believe that Our Lady did not die. Most Catholics believe that she did die.

    This is a common misconception about our beliefs. 🙂

  414. Darlene wrote:

    I’ve heard it said by not a few adherents to Sola Scriptures that the doctrine of the Trinity can be seen quite clearly in reading the Bible. Ecumenical councils aren’t really necessary because of “perspecuity” of Scripture. Make of that what you will.

    LOL! Then what was all the fighting about in the fourth century? I guess Scripture wasn’t so “perspicuous” then but suddenly is now. 😀

    Thanks, Darlene. Wishing you and everyone here a blessed Good Friday and joyous Pascha!

  415. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Thanks, Darlene. Wishing you and everyone here a blessed Good Friday and joyous Pascha!

    Catholic Gate Crasher: May you and yours be blessed this Good Friday and may you have a joyous Easter. Today, we commemorate our Lord’s Passion. There at the Cross of Calvary, we are all on level ground as we humble ourselves before the Lord of Glory, Who bled and died for us all.

  416. Darlene wrote:

    uff Potter: So you would agree that a belief that Jesus Christ is not God, or that Jesus Christ is a created being can be considered heresy, I assume? Some things, according to “the faith once delivered to all” are heresy. Correct?

    It’s a fair question Darlene. Sometimes I can be as slippery as Erasmus was when he went round’ and round’ with Luther. Yes to all of your queries above. Let me lay my cards on the table:

    Jesus raised a guy from the dead. A guy whose body had begun to putrefy. How do I know this is true and that it really happened? I don’t. I have no iron-clad Euclidean style proof that it did. It’s simply what I choose to believe. I also choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and by extension, Almighty God in human form. Only the Almighty himself could bring a stinking human corpse back to life.

    Permit me to continue.

    I believe that Jesus is the nexus of all creation. He is the creator and sustainer of all worlds, both seen and unseen (Colossians 1:15-17).

    When he was dying on the cross, the very fabric of reality as we know it began to unravel. Light itself, in a very real and literal sense, was the first to go.

    And when he breathed his last, the whole crustal plate beneath the Levant shook , sobbed, and cried out. Its very creator had been murdered.

  417. @ Muff Potter:

    i love that verse, too. i’ve been bugged by “biblical” for so long… i think even when i was a 6-yr old growing up in church i saw the logic problems, although i couldn’t articulate why.

    to be beholden to “biblical” on any topic is like wearing glasses that have shields & filters on as many sides as possible, to restrict vision as much as possible.

    i love the fact that Jesus and the life he lived are/were as complex, varied, & colorful as any of us. to reduce him or any topic to down the verbiage in the NT is so stupidly short-sighted. leads to all kinds of weird should’s/shouldn’t’s/must not’s & have to’s, backed up merely by “it’s biblical”.

  418. Muff Potter wrote:

    I believe that Jesus is the nexus of all creation. He is the creator and sustainer of all worlds, both seen and unseen (Colossians 1:15-17).

    When he was dying on the cross, the very fabric of reality as we know it began to unravel. Light itself, in a very real and literal sense, was the first to go.

    And when he breathed his last, the whole crustal plate beneath the Levant shook , sobbed, and cried out. Its very creator had been murdered.

    Thank you for writing and sharing this.

  419. Darlene wrote:

    Today, we commemorate our Lord’s Passion. There at the Cross of Calvary, we are all on level ground as we humble ourselves before the Lord of Glory, Who bled and died for us all.

    Amen

  420. Joe Reed wrote:

    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭NASB‬

    Joe,
    A few years ago I would have been making all the same arguments you have been making here. I don’t claim to know what you are thinking on this, but I do recognize the ideas you are presenting. What changed my thinking on all of this is the research I did as Calvinism was destroying the faith of one of my sons over the last few years. He asked very good and hard questions that I was unprepared to answer. By the time I started get to where I am now it was already too late for him. That’s a long story, but the key point is I did quite a lot of extensive reading that got me outside of my comfort zone. I discovered that the answers are not nearly as neatly packages as we would like to believe. I also discovered writings from earlier Christians (such as Athanasius) along with the very rich theology of Eastern Orthodoxy.

    The only way to properly assess PSA and the nature of heaven/hell is to dive into to other sides of the argument. Until you’ve done that, it will be very difficult to have a meaningful dialogue with you. Presenting some key verses is very tempting, but often times misleading. Here’s a good one on God’s judgment to counter what you cited: John 5:22 – “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.” For all the discussion about God’s judgment by the PSA advocates, it turns out that the one who does the judging is Jesus, not the Father. Or did I just take a verse out of context?

    Getting back to John MacArthur’s quote about Jesus saving us from God, what does he mean by “God”? Since Jesus is God, it’s the same thing as saying God saves us from God. That makes no sense unless God is somehow divided in his essence – bi-polar. If he means the Father, then that makes no sense since the Father does not judge us. Looking at John 5:22 in context, Jesus just got done saying he only does what he sees the Father doing. So it cannot mean that the Father turns his head away in disgust, otherwise we would see Jesus doing the same. It’s not possible for Jesus to hang out with sinners if the Father cannot do the same. Verses like this make PSA difficult to swallow.

    Another key verse is Hab 1:13 – “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor.” PSA advocates cite this verse to prove that God is too squeamish to even look at evil. But that is not what the verse says. It’s a quote from the prophet appealing to God to quit approving “those who deal treacherously” and to not remain silent “when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they.” God himself does not say that he cannot look at evil, it’s the prophet saying it as a way to get God to move. PSA advocates are very sloppy with their theology when they cite this verse.

  421. Joe Reed wrote:

    So when I say “straw man” that’s what I mean – the continual accusation that ESS makes the Son less than the Father. It’s nuanced, and I don’t care to fight about it,

    Don’t call it a straw man if you are not prepared to defend your position. You say it is nuanced, and others say it is nonsense to say that unequal in authority is equal in power and glory. Make your case instead of pleading nuance.