H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
Blogroll
 
T.U.L.I.P.
  • - Endorsed
  • - Indifferent
  • - Contested
 
Autobiographical
 
Profile
Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
 
The Buzz


Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
Email Me
email
Friday, December 02, 2005
The root problem...
debateThere is a discussion going on over at Rose Cole's blog about Calvinism.

If you are as I am, you have no real heart or stomach to debate theology - and I don't mean to imply that there is a debate going on over there - there isn't, it is a civil discussion about the five articles of Calvinism.

Notwithstanding, I love to share what the Lord has shown me in the past with other believers. But, like most people I find it tiresome to refute error point by point ad infinitim. I have found in my own walk, that it is often think to find out where the root problem is, before jumping in and discussing the conclusions.

My wife, God bless her, had a very rough time with algebra in school, and because her understanding of algebra was tenative and even lacking, she really had a tough time with trigonometry - which in turn made calculus a nightmare. It wasn't that calculus was too complex for my wife to understand - it was that my wife, in her earlier education, had missed some of the cruicial building blocks that should have been in place by the time she was dealing with higher order mathematics.

Really, if I showed my wife the solution to a simple calculus problem she would likely comprehend it, but as the problems became larger and deeper, she would need to fall back on prior knowledge that she either doesn't possess or possesses and doesn't understand - the result being that at that moment when she needs to rely on a firm foundation that isn't there - calculus becomes incomprehensible to her.

In the same way, when we reject, refuse, or simply fail to comprehend the premise we will certainly be forced to reject the conclusion. Explaining the conclusion ad infinitim doesn't help the person one bit, since the reason they reject the conclusion is because they have rejected the premise.

The underlaying premise of Arminianism is that a person's will is sovereign, that is, that people, of their own free will, determine to come to Christ and after they have done so, Christ responds to their repentant cry for salvation by "saving" them.

Now, if you are a Calvinist, your eyes are already open to what is wrong with that picture, and no argument of man can close them. Not that you are more spiritual than someone who doesn't see it - but because you have accepted election at being entirely a sovereign act of God.

Typically, the Arminian has cannot couple the idea of free will with the idea of election, and so in order to compensate for man's free will, the Arminian compromises the sovereignty of God. The most common construct paints God as foreknowing who will chose to follow Christ, and then making His election based upon what men have done in the future.

To suggest otherwise, according to this line of thinking, turns men into robots -- automatrons who do not really have free will.

The implications of that are staggering. If I chose Christ, and His choice of me was only reactionary - that is, a response to my own choosing - that means I have something to boast about, because I am wiser than all those people who don't respond to the gospel arn't I? Surely I am! What sort of fool rejects the gospel? They loved their sin more than Christ, but not me - I am better than that because I freely chose to follow Christ - I therefore loved my God more than I loved my sin - which makes me better than them by any standard.

In fact, I would have every reason under creation to boast - because I made the right choice when others didn't - I weighed the facts and I did the research -- my own intellect drew me to Christ, and when I chose Christ I showed myself to be better than those who don't since I did so in my own strength. I am saved because I made it happen - and I have good reason to boast, because I did better than those who don't choose Christ!

Of course I am using hyperbole to make the point - we know that no one comes to Christ except the Father draws them (john 6:44). "Draw me and I will run after Thee" (Song 1:4) says the scripture. Not that God drags people who hate Him kicking and screaming into hell, while slamming the door in the face of people who are desperately seeking to be with Him.

The bible makes it plain -- no one seeks God (Is. 64:7). That is, the picture of people trying to get into heaven on their own strength runs contrary to scripture. No one (left to their own devices) is trying to find God.

The root problem therefore is that Arminians haven't understood or perhaps accepted what the bible teaches on this point - that no one is seeking after God. Because they do not accept that, they must redefine election in such a way that man elects himself, but God gets the credit (which is why man can apparently lose his salvation effectively un-electing himself).

Pelagianism when distilled, boils down to this - you are responsible to save yourself - the church condemned the thought as heresy in 431 A.D. at the third ecumenical Council (Council of Ephesus), but its zombified revenant continues to haunt Christianity today.

So when I find myself speaking with those who are in opposition to what was taught at the Synod of Dordt, my very first response is to go to the root of the matter.

Now, because I linked to Rose's blog, I ought to add "a rider" to this post -- I am not charging people with heresy over there, nor is my post a reaction to something I saw there.
posted by Daniel @ 12:36 PM  
25 Comments:
  • At 3:26 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger marc said…

    Daniel,

    This was good. I too am "refraining" from disputation on this subject (who know how long it will last... apparently not too long). One error (at least I'd call it that) I've seen in the discussion on Rose's blog and elswhere is the equating of belief with the will. That linking then leads to all kind of supposed biblical defenses for the arminian view. Like "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved" If beleive is a matter of will, than that's an Arminian pillar text... but if belief is from the Lord (ie. Faith) well thats a horse of a different color. Like in algebra, you make a mistake early in the problem and it carries throughout.


    P.S. How long do you think before Antonio shows up and cuts-and-pastes a lengthy comment in here. ;-). Just kidding Antonio... sort of.

     
  • At 3:49 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    I find I would rather spend time in prayer about a person than try and convince them by my "arguments" - one thing I am finding refreshing about Rose's current theme is that it is genuine, not the typical lobbing of proof text volleys, to be answered with the knee-jerk counter scripture volleys - until the circle is complete and one is endlessly quoting verses back and forth - there seem to be some geniune hearts over there, and so I didn't mind linking to it.

    Antonio's avatar speaks volumes... ;-)

     
  • At 4:04 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger marc said…

    How can you not appreciate Rose? I think even she is look forward to getting the TULIP series of posts behind her though.

     
  • At 4:14 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Daniel, so many labels :~) ...
    Arminian ... Pelagian ... I told you, I just want to be called a questioner of Calvinism because there are things in both of those other systems that I find abhorrent ... I can't embrace them either. Thanks for praying for me!

    Marc is right. I am looking forward to the end of it, especially because I think I can embrace the final point of TULIP (if I'm understanding it right).

     
  • At 4:17 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    As much as I would like the idea of having posts that regularly have 50+ comments attached to them - I don't think I could handle the "success"

    I do appreciate Rose - my wife and I were praying about it last night - my desire being that if I am doctrinally confused that my eyes would be opened, and the same for Rose.

     
  • At 4:34 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Rose~ said…

    You are nice, Daniel, just like I said in my "endorsement".

    One thing, though, in this post of yours ...

    Isn't the gospel contrary to pride .. seeing that you have nothing to offer God ... seeing your utter wretched helplessness? So then, in your post, the person who is boasting, are they proud of being humbled? :~)

     
  • At 4:35 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Rose - I admire anyone who is honest enough to examine what they believe to see if it is biblical. In fact, I worry about people who don't ;-)

    Calvinism teaches that God is entirely sovereign in election - the rest of it is just the description of what that looks like. The only way a person can reject any part of Calvinism is when (to a greater or lesser degree) they reject some or all of God's sovereignty in the process of salvation.

    I am decidedly supralapsarian in my theology - that is, I believe that God knew beforehand that Adam would sin and that all mankind thereafter would follow Adam in sin, and therefore that all mankind would be condemned - and that in spite of this, God determined to create "creation" anyway (permitting the fall) - but prior to creating creation God further determined with Christ to elect a particular portion of those (otherwise condemned children of Adam) onto salvation that would be made possible through the incarnation of Christ who would offer Himself as a propitiatory sacrifice to purchase those whom God elected. Only then did God create man, and permit Adam to fall. Then God sent Christ (as determined beforehand) to sacrifice himself for those elect (and only for those elect), and finally, God Himself draws those same elect to Himself through the person of Jesus Christ.

     
  • At 4:43 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Another thing - it is wrong to think that God creates people and forces them to go to hell - that is not right.

    God gives men free will, and men use that free will to reject God thereby earning a place in hell. God isn't forcing them to go to hell by not having mercy on them - he is simply allowing them to freely reject him.

    If I give one of my children an ice cream and none of the others, I am not punishing the others - I am simply being generous to one. The only way the others can feel jilted is if they imagine that generosity that isn't equalateral is therefore evil. God doesn't have to save anyone.

    Really, if God created Adam knowing full well that Adam would sin and condemn not only himself but all his progeny to eternal hell - God is certainly in the right to go ahead and create Adam and let him fall. This doesn't make God culpable for Adam's sin - nor does it make God evil for carrying out the punishment.

    God could save no one, and allow us all to sin and go to hell - never once offering anyone salvation - and God would be absolutely just in doing it because we had the freedom to sin and we did so.

    When we begin to see that this is actually true - we begin to marvel - not that God sends sinners to hell - but that God saves some in the first place!

    v-word:okzne (The Okay Zone)

     
  • At 5:41 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Bazooka-Joe said…

    Wow Daniel that's some deep stuff right there. Right got me thinking. Thanks for that great blog.

    Question: is Arminianism the same as "wesleyan"?

     
  • At 8:08 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Wesley was an Arminian - vehemently denying predestination, but I wouldn't equate the two per se. I don't think I have ever met a Calvinist Wesleyan though.

     
  • At 11:07 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Antonio said…

    Neat that I get talked about when I am not around!

    Marc, I suppose you can defame Zane Hodges based upon you reading his texts rather than listening to his detractors.

    Marc says:
    ----------
    That linking then leads to all kind of supposed biblical defenses for the arminian view. Like "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved" If beleive is a matter of will, than that's an Arminian pillar text... but if belief is from the Lord (ie. Faith) well thats a horse of a different color
    ----------

    What is the reductio ad absurdum to this assertion?

    Paul enjoining people to demand faith from God?

    Paul commanding people to appropriate God's faith?

    Is this how are we to understand Acts 16:31?

    Is not the will being entreated here? Is this not imperatival?

    If you are right, wouldn't Paul rather say:

    Lam 3:26
    ...hope and wait quietly
    For the salvation of the LORD.
    [if, peradventure, you are elect. Otherwise... you may end up waiting for a very long time...]

    James 2:14ff (Post 3)

    Antonio

     
  • At 11:08 PM, December 02, 2005, Blogger Antonio said…

    Where it says the first "Marc" it was actually addressed to Daniel. The second "Marc" is the correct mark.

    Antonio

     
  • At 1:25 AM, December 03, 2005, Blogger JIBBS said…

    Antonio

    You explain Acts 13:48 so Dan has something to deal with too.

    JIBBS

    BTW, great stuff, Daniel, for a guy who "has no real heart or stomach to debate theology".
    :)

     
  • At 9:05 AM, December 03, 2005, Blogger marc said…

    ahhhh yes.

     
  • At 2:00 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Antonio said…

    Jibbs,

    go to:

    Acts 13:48

    For a great SHORT article on this passage.

    I see Marc did not want to answer my question.

    There sure are alot of pre-requisites for getting my questions answered around here!

    Antonio

     
  • At 2:13 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Antonio: I suppose you can defame Zane Hodges based upon you reading his texts rather than listening to his detractors.

    (?)

    I believe I said, "Antonio's avatar speaks volumes..."

    Unless I am mistaken, and I don't mind being corrected, your avatar says this about you:

    1] I admire Zane Hodges
    2] I have a pet theology
    3] My pet theology is free grace
    4] I like to defend my pet theology.
    5] I like to defend my pet theology even when no one is attacking it.

    Now, perhaps you would only recognize the first point as being true - so I don't want to stand on my own observation - but as the scriptures say - let the prophets be subject to the prophets.

    Brothers and sisters, am I way out to lunch here, or is this what this avatar seems to be suggesting?

     
  • At 2:30 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger marc said…

    First off Daniel, you are in NO postion to attack anyone elses Avatar at this point in time... So let me do it.

    Antonio,
    What Daniel said. Also that is why its fruitless to answer you.

    Daniel,
    see my comment in Doxo's most recent Poem post from about 2 hours ago. I arrived at the same conclusion.

     
  • At 4:34 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Marc - you are right, I am certainly one to talk. I think my own avatar says:

    1] I admire Tim Burton
    2] I have a pet snake
    3] My pet snake is dead
    4] I like to pretend I'm a snake
    5] I like to pretend I'm a snake around other people.

    What's with blogger? My v-word continues to be "smenita" and I can't post anywhere.

     
  • At 4:34 PM, December 03, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    I had to shut off word verification just to post this!

     
  • At 12:24 AM, December 04, 2005, Blogger Candy in Sierras said…

    I like the idea that God's grace is efficient for the saints and sufficient for the world. no one is without excuse. Also...Wesley once was Calvinist and a close friend of George Whitefield. They ministered together for awhile. Wesley left the Doctrines of Grace for an emphasis on personal holiness. One wonderful piece of literature is the letter that George Whitefield wrote to Wesley concerning Wesley's departure from truth. If you google George Whitefield and Wesley letter, you should be able to find it. Whitefield was very honest with Wesley with his dismay and concerns and their friendship was severed for awhile. Wesley did preach at Whitefield's funeral though.

     
  • At 12:54 AM, December 04, 2005, Blogger Antonio said…

    Daniel, blogger was doing the same thing with me earlier, with the same v-word.

    Hey, the observations that you can make concerning your avatar are pretty funny.

     
  • At 10:35 AM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, it's just my observation but I find many "Calvinists" have also left the Doctrines of Grace and are emphasizing holiness as the only assurance of salvation. Having read the "Life of John Wesley", I was deeply impacted by his life of service and commitment to the cause of Christ and the gospel. I was also surprised to see his unbelief in predestination, and yet at the same time his immense heart for the lost. Could it be perhaps, that a wrong understanding of Calvinism makes one lazy in the matter of evangelism? Or maybe underscores our responsibility to the command of Christ to go into all the world and preach the gospel?

     
  • At 12:03 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim - I truly haven't noticed "holiness" as being especially pronounced amongst Calvinists as a means of assurance. That isn't to suggest that this isn't so - just that I haven't observed it first hand, so I am less than qualified to really remark on it.

    Could it be perhaps, that a wrong understanding of Calvinism makes one lazy in the matter of evangelism? Or maybe underscores our responsibility to the command of Christ to go into all the world and preach the gospel?

    HyperCalvinism (a perversion of the genuine doctrine, and regarded as such by calvinists) teaches that we don't need to evangelize the lost since those who are elect will be saved even if they don't hear the gospel. If someone has fallen for that perversion of calvinism - then yes - their theology could make them lazy in the matter of evangelism.

    Having a correct theology however, doesn't necessarily translate into healthy evangelism...

    Having correct doctrine doesn't make a believer mature in the Lord. Their growth will likely be "cleaner" because of their doctrine - but the accuracy of their theology doesn't in any way translate into maturity in the faith. There are theology professors who are not even saved who have better theology than genuine believers who have grown deep in the Lord even in the absence of pristine theology.

    There is one, and only one reason why believers do not want to witness for Christ, and that is because they are spiritually too immature to do so. I don't force my infants to marry and attempt to produce children because creation has taught us that until a child matures, they won't be capable of producing their own offspring.

    Likewise, until the Spirit comes upon a believer in fullness - that is, when the believer finally dies on the cross - then they receive power to become God's witness on earth - and you won't need to train them how to do it, anymore than we might have to train a lusting stallion what do to in the field full of mares.

    The church that invests itself in growing believers into Christ-likeness will find that when the seeds fall to the ground, a crop will grow.

    Not that salesmanship doesn't work - surely if you knock on a hundred doors you can sell the gospel to someone - but that is pumping like a fiend to get a trickle when scripture describes the life that flows out of us as bring a river.

    Scripture does not teach us to wait until we are living the crucified life before we start sharing the gospel. I am not suggesting that this is what believers ought to do. There is no excuse for not sharing the gospel when God opens a door. I am simply offering my understanding of why we have "lazy evangelism" in the church.

    Dan

     
  • At 12:32 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Jim said…

    Thanks Dan, I totally agree concerning doctrine related to spiritual maturity.

    However, I have seen great zeal for the gospel in the lives of newly born believers. They do not yet realize that it's "uncool" to talk about Jesus and share their faith with their friends. It seems the more we become "spiritual" the more we refrain from sharing Christ with our coworkers, neighbors, etc. Why is this?

    Could it be that we have had the door slammed in our face one too many times, or maybe we have grown cold to the state of the lost, or maybe the task seems insurmountable?

    There are a myriad of reasons, but basically we are not getting the job done. Where is the love that compels us to speak to our neighbors and friends?

    Even for myself, everytime I attempt to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, I find myself battling fear and unbelief. They probably are not interested anyways, or they won't agree,etc, etc.

    Or maybe, I am ashamed to be associated with Christ and face the scorn of rejection?

    How will they hear without a preacher? Lord here am I, send me!

    May this be our prayer today!

     
  • At 1:26 PM, December 06, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    When did it become uncool to talk about Jesus? ;-)

     
Post a Comment
<< Home
 
 
 
Previous Posts
 
Archives
 
Links
 
Atom Feed
Atom Feed
 
Copyright
Creative Commons License
Text posted on this site
is licensed under a
Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5
License
.