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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.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006
I am a Calvinist...

Jim, over at Faith Classics asked this question the other day, "Are fruit and works synonymous?"

Rather than answer Jim directly, I thought it would be good to handle the question generically, and especially in such a way as to dispel some of the mythology about Calvinism that is either generated or perpetuated by certain Arminians. I am not suggesting that Jim is doing this by the way, rather in responding to Jim's question I see an opportunity to put to rest some of the old wives tales being told about Calvinism by the very people who are least fit to do so.

I would add also, that like most Calvinistic Baptists, I do not subscribe to that sort of practical syllogism that leads to covenant theology; that is, I am no covenant theologian. I mention this up front to avoid some tangents.

For those of who are don't know what "practical syllogism" is: it is a logical construction (c.f. Aristotle) that reasons in this way:

"all cogs are red" and
"bloggo is a cog" Therefore
"bloggo is red."
Theologically speaking, this is the core logistic about which covenant theology orbits. Beginning with a premise a conclusion is drawn which is then turned around submitted as the premise of a new inference, like building a house of cards one layer upon the previous layer, ad infinitum. In covenant theology you eventually argue yourself into baptizing infants because the house of cards you have built requires you to replace the old covenant sacrament of circumcision with the new covenant sacrament of baptism - thus according to covenant theology, you enter the new covenant - not because Christ has immersed (baptized) you into "the body of Christ" - that is, not by being saved, but rather you enter the new covenant by being immersed (baptized) in water, whether you are a willing participant in the procedure or not.

As a computer programmer however, I am careful to apply the adage: "Garbage in, garbage out..." to my theological views. I know that any conclusion I arrive at syllogistically is only as valid as the premise that inferred it. Because this is self evident, I am careful to limit my use of syllogism to the plain truths of scripture - rejecting as "input" anything that would have to be inferred - especially if these same inferences rely on a particular interpretive slant.

In the book of Isaiah, the prophet describes how Israel had fallen backward, and become broken, snared and caught because "the word of the Lord was to them, precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little". Plainly stated, Israel erred (theologically and practically) when they embraced practical syllogism (building one precept upon a previous precept rather than upon a definite truth).

What I am saying is that having examined and rejected those major premises ("inputs")that eventually infer (via practical syllogism) the standard "covenant theology" position, I want it understood that I am not a Covenant Theologian. Sometimes people presume that since most (all?) Covenant Theologians are Calvinists that all Calvinists must therefore be Covenant Theologians; and I must affirm vigorously that they are not. That would be like saying that since All dogs have fur, everything that has fur is a dog.

Okay, have I pre-loaded this thought enough?? Onto the topic at hand...

Perhaps the best place to begin is Colossians 1:9-10 ("For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;") ...since this passage ties the two thoughts together in the same context. The idea Paul describes here is being "fruitful" -in- every good work.

Note: Paul doesn't say fruitful by every good work.

The preposition translated as "in" in the Greek is "en" - and it means in, or among - had Paul wanted to say "through good works" he would have used the preposition "dia" - had he wanted to say "according (or corresponding) to good works" he would have used the preposition "kata" - had Paul wanted to say "by good works" he would have used the preposition "hupo" - my point is that we want to avoid being sloppy in our interpretation here - that is, we want to be certain that had Paul meant to say "bearing fruit corresponding to/according to/through/by good works - he could have, and would have done so explicitly. His word choice however suggests that he understood a distinction between the two, and it is that distinction that I hope to expound.

I believe that Paul's prayer for the Colossians would be empty and redundant when he prays that they bear fruit in every good work if there wasn't a possibility of doing good works without bearing fruit . We note that if every good work always bears fruit then one would not need to pray for those same good works to bear fruit as they would (by this supposed nature) always bear fruit.

This shows us that there is a possibility of doing "good works" without actually bearing fruit, and this we know not only from Paul's usage, but from our own experience. We see the "Mother Teresas" of this world doing good works, and in fact, we see many people in every cult and world religion doing good works - but we don't imagine that God's Spirit is producing fruit in them. Thus we draw a hard line between good works and fruit, even if we haven't articulated the exact nature of the distinction at this point. A person may bear fruit in good works, but good works do not generate fruit in a person.

I have so far given the standard position I expect a Calvinist to have (though I cannot speak for all Calvinists).

In John 15 we read, "
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
Here Christ argues from the lesser to the greater - just as the Vine produces fruit in the branch (lesser), so too it is Christ who produces the fruit in the believer (greater) and not the believer himself or the works that the believer does.

Plugging this truth back into Paul's prayer, we observe that Paul is really praying that Christ will produce fruit -in- every good work that each believer obediently performs.

The Calvinist recognizes that because it is Christ who is producing the fruit (as opposed to the believer), it must follow that all true believers will always produce "fruit" (some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred fold).

This is not to be confused with the notion that "every genuine faith is evidenced by good works" - since most right thinking Calvinists would agree that good works are not necessarily indicative of saving faith. I don't deny that there may be some (who wear the label: "Calvinist") who might believe and even teach others that good works the evidence of saving faith - but by and large this is the exception and not the rule. If a Calvinist believers this or teaches it one must understand that this particular quirk has nothing to do with Calvinism and everything to do with the personal theology of that particular believer - and only that believer. We wouldn't imagine that every Europeans is a spouse abuser just because we know one or two who abuse their spouses; in the same manner we accept that there may be a Calvinist out there thinks that you have to do good works to be saved - but this isn't a charge against Calvinism, rather it is charged against the man himself. We must keep the two separate in our thinking if we are to avoid spiritual bigotism.

It happens from time to time that a Calvinist will rightly affirm the nature of genuine faith - that genuine faith is always evidenced by genuine fruit, but this thought will be twisted by the hearer and transformed into the idea that "Good works are the only evidence of genuine salvation" - as though the Calvinist were saying that one must prove they are a Christian to themselves, the world, and God above, by performing good works, and that failure to do so indicates a disingenuous faith. I have watched in morbid fascination, even (otherwise) godly men put these sort of words in the mouths of their brothers in Christ - then defame their brothers for having supposedly "said" them. Surely our enemy slaps his knee in delight every time this happens.

The Calvinist affirms that works do not determine your salvation while insisting that genuine salvation cannot be fruitless. Notwithstanding, the typical Calvinist recognizes that some of the saints at Corinth died because they continued in disobedience; they recognize that Annanias and Sapphira died before the whole church because of their sin - that is, they recognize that it is indeed possible for a Christian to fall into a lapse of disobedience so profound that the Lord chastises them by taking them home. What I am saying is that (most) Calvinists are not witless buffoons - they recognize that it is entirely possible to be saved and yet at some point in life be living in fruitless disobedience. But the Calvinists argues that "as many as God loves He chastens and rebukes" and "if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons." The Calvinist rightly expects God to deal with the lawlessness of legitimate sons, and reasons from scripture that "wayward saints" receive chastisement where wayward "counterfeit saints" do not.

The Calvinist therefore denies that a true saint can live as though he were unregenerate - that is the Calvinist says along with John that no true believer can "continue in sin" because God's seed (Christ) is in them. We are not saved (the Calvinist says) by professing to be saved, we are saved by faith - those who are saved are a new creation in Christ, and because they are, they do not continue to live as they used to live. Because Christ is in every true believer, every true believer bears fruit immediately - but that isn't to say that this fruit is always clear and evident to the observer (Christ implied that even the angels couldn't always accurately discern who the genuine wheat was and who was only chaff).

Simply put, the Calvinist believes:
That all believers bear fruit (since it is Christ who produces that fruit in the true believer);

That this same fruit is manifest in (but in no way produced by) good works;

That while good works in and of themselves are not necessarily proofs of genuine salvation, yet a lack of the same is indicative of either [1] a false conversion or [2] a wayward walk that will manifest itself as genuine only in that God himself will chastise that son whom He loves.


It isn't a Calvinist "thing" (therefore) to insist that once a person is saved they must immediately embark on a regiment of good works in order to secure, prove, or maintain their salvation. This notion doesn't come from Calvinism, but is painted onto Calvinism by people who ought to know better but don't.

Jim says in the comment section of that same post:
It is true that our views are formed by prior generations and many times we are not aware of the factors that caused us to hold certain perspectives.


Typically, (and I don't suggest that this is what Jim is doing, rather I am only noting how this sort of reasoning is typically used) this sort of reasoning is used to summarily dismiss what others believe without having to go through examining it to see whether it is true or not. I can't apply the dismissive to myself however, since I came to 95% of my theological opinions by studying scripture in isolation. I point that out because a statement like that can be tossed out as a way to dismiss the Calvinist on fruit bearing - painting all things Calvinistic as tradition more than a personal conviction - an inheritance that one receives with ample theological baggage which supposedly cripples one spiritually or something like that. Again, poor Jim, I don't suppose for a minute that he wasn't suggesting anything of the sort, but this same rhetoric he uses has been used traditionally by many in the way I have described.

That is why I point out that I didn't even know the first thing about "theology" (or the reformation for that matter) until I had been a Christian for some time. I read the bible cover to cover about a half dozen times before I ever heard of John Calvin or any of the labels we bandy about nowadays. Truly I was well established in my Calvinistic understanding of scripture before I ever embarked on any study of theology. My presumption was that everyone who read the bible and believed must believe it in the same way that I did. It is the sort of naivete that a new believer would have. I knew that the Lord wanted me to attend and join a church long before I determined to do so. In my pride I imagined that I would be treated with contempt because I hadn't become a Christian as a child. I was worried that everyone would be looking down their noses at me spiritually speaking because they had been Christians for so long and I had only just come into the fold. I was worried that I would not understand all their exalted speech and profound biblical wisdom - so I stayed home and read the bible over and over again. Eventually however God overcame my pride in this area and I began to attend a church - it was then that I discovered that what I believed had a label, and that others didn't believe the same as me. Even though I hadn't studied the reformation or church history (Luther? Wasn't he that preacher who was assassinated when film was still in black and white?) yet I had come to the same conclusion as the reformers came to, even though I came to them in isolation as it were.

Because my own views have not been overly impacted by previous generational teachings my testimony itself shows that the Calvinistic persuasion in this matter is not generated by or inherited through previous generational teachings or traditional interpretations or what have you. An honest contemplation therefore cannot use history or inheritance to suggest that the Calvinistic understanding of these things is flawed. Sadly, or perhaps "appropriately" - if we are sincere in knowing the truth about these matters, we ought to be careful what we toss away and what we keep.

Okay - back to fruit/works.

The relationship between "fruit" and "good works" is this: every genuine believer will bear fruit, and furthermore this same fruit is typically (but not necessarily) borne out when we engage in good works. Not that good works produce fruit, but that the Lord produces the fruit when we submit ourselves to Him in doing those good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to do.

A man might give all he has to the poor - a tremendous "good work;" but the same man is helpless in that he cannot make himself love the poor. Anyone who gives all they have to the poor when they do not really love the poor has done a fruitless good work.

Likewise, anyone who recognizes their lovelessness, and confesses their lovelessness to God, calling on Him to cleanse them of it, into these hearts the Lord will pour a genuine love for the poor - and this same love will produce drive a believer to do good works for the poor, but we do well to note that the fruit is there long before the works show up.

That is the heart of the difference as I see it, and I am a Calvinist.
posted by Daniel @ 9:33 AM  
23 Comments:
  • At 4:39 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, I am profoundly honoured you would take the time to respond in such depth to my post.

    You have quite a few points here that I would like to chew on before discussing. First, are you saying that you do not hold to covenant theology? That is refreshing.

    Daniel, I think you are somewhat of an anomoly is christian circles. Those of us who grew up in the church were naturally exposed to the viewpoints our mentors held and more than likely ascribe to those views even today. Of course that is not a hard and fast rule.

    I think your conclusion's in your personal searching of God's word are truly admirable.

    Last point for now, I think the use of 'I AM' by Molson Canadian is very offensive as it is a direct mockery of God's very nature and character as described by Christ Himself.

    God bless brother,
    Jim

     
  • At 7:49 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    I read Jim's question a little differently than Daniel has answered it, although I find Daniel's post most instructive.
    To the question, "Are works and fruit synonymous?", I would simply answer No. Perhaps more precisely Not necessarily.
    Fruit can be in the form of works, since spiritual fruit can include leading people to Christ, giving money or resources, etc.
    But fruits aren't themselves limited to being works. I think Jim's question is a good one because I believe they are terms that are too easily interchanged among believers today, but weren't meant to be as Scripture was written.
    Scripture indicates different kinds of spiritual fruit, such as attitudes that characterize a Spirit-led believer (Gal 5:22- 23, "but the fruit of the Spirit...") or righteous actions (Romans 6:22, "But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness..." and Phil 4:17, "...but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.")
    This blog is a work, the fruit of which Daniel may never know this side of heaven - certainly at least not to the fruit's full extent.
    For example, I recently cited an illustration he wrote in an entry many months ago about how the early Apostolic church didn't have seminaries, but discipled believers personally. In a women's fellowship meeting last night, as the few who gather were lamenting low numbers and the lack of spiritual interest in the younger mothers of the church, I brought up the illustration Daniel had used in his blog. Without his ministry through this site, I wouldn't have drawn on that. Biblically, it's also correct as the older women are to instruct the younger, but we all need to be discipled. We're submitting this issue to the Lord for Him to lead us in this matter of discipleship in our church body.
    I just wanted to point out that as an example, this "work" of Daniel's will bear "fruit" far and wide (as will other blogs, I'm just citing his because it's one I've used now and again). Incidentally, Daniel, I hope you don't mind. I know that you would agree that it's the Lord doing His work through you. I should perhaps have asked as considerately as I've noticed others doing, but instead I just ran with it. (I have sent segments of what you write in your blog via email when someone I know is struggling with particular issue or I think it will be edifying to a certain believer, but I always include the URL and indicate it's a blog that they may find of interest.)
    Sorry for the long way of answering No. Works and fruit are not synonymous. But I thought Daniel's blog is actually a good example of a 'work' that will produce 'fruit' unseen.

     
  • At 9:05 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Jeremy Weaver said…

    Good job, Daniel.
    Maybe you can teach me how to write stuff like this sometime?:-)

    I like what Paul says in Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit is;
    love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and gentleness.
    None of these things are actions, yet they produce actions that are consistent with them.

     
  • At 8:07 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim - I had never thought of the Molson campaign as anything more than a profitable pimping of the growing liberal "anti-american" sentiment to sell more beer to the wishy-washies of Canada. The campaign said very little about what a Canadian is, and plenty about what distinguishes a Canadian from an American. I personally found that marketing scheme offensive only because it painted Canadians as hockey loving, flannel wearing, and proud to not be americans. I saw nothing religious about it; Yes, "I AM" is the English rendering of the name that God gave Himself to Moses, but there was nothing in the marketing campaign that drew a connection between the two as far as I could tell. How else (in English) would one describe the fact that they were something, except in the first person predicate nominative? If someone asks me what I do, I say, "I am a computer programmer" and when I do so I do not intend nor imagine that I am slighting God by doing so.

    Because Molson's marketing says nothing about God, and because they use the English the way one would expect - I never for a moment (until I read your post) imagined that this was a connection. I wonder if their add campaign is sacriligious in other languages or only in English?

    Whatever the case, I do note the Period after "I AM." and before "CANADIAN" in their adds, and now that you have planted this seed, I must pause and wonder if our enemy hasn't put it there...

    Whatever the case, foul or coincidence, if you find my header for this post offends in the same manner, let me know. Surely my intent is satire and not to offend either man or God.

    Eunice - I am *so* glad that you decided to post that. Thanks!

    Susan - I hereby give you permission to use anything on my site without notifying me.

    Jeremy - I think you are splendid just the way you are - a bright jewel God has put in the church; what a shame had da vinci wanted to be more like Michaelangelo? (or in our case, had Joe Smith wished to be more like John Doe.)

     
  • At 8:16 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim - I almost forgot; You are correct in surmising that I am no covenant theologian.

    I suspect that there are two ways to become a Calvinist. The first and perhaps more historical way, is to read the bible and see it first hand. The second and perhaps more common way today is to inherit it from someone else. The trouble with inheriting it from someone else is that it becomes a prejudice rather than a belief. They same is true of Arminianism of course - most Arminians inherit their views from their parents and/or their churches, but some very few learn it from scripture directly.

    Just as it is annoying to "de-program" a Calvinist who came to his theology by studying the theological positions of other Calvinists, so too it is annoying to have to de-program like minded Arminians.

    I have far more in common with an Arminian who has learned his theology from scripture than I have with a Calvinist who is only a Calvinist because his friends and family are Calvinists. By this I mean, our hearts are similarly held captive to the word of God.

     
  • At 11:06 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, I was under a false impression that Calvinism was synonymous with Covenant theology, therefore I had a bad taste in my mouth for both. I appreciate you dissecting the difference here.

    I also sincerely respect and appreciate your desire to let scripture interpret scripture. It is sad how we let our minds become biased by the opinions of others.

    As for the Molson advertising, it has bothered me a lot for quite a while now as I saw the blatant use of this phrase not simply to denote what a Canadian is but as a purposeful attempt to mock the name of God. I do understand your use of this little "ism" as satirical. :)

    BTW, Ray Comfort put out a good tract on this issue (a Canadian one) in which he exposes this use of 'I AM'.

    Blessings brother,
    Jim

     
  • At 11:36 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I wish you had posted a link to Ray Comfort's tract - I really like his tracts.

     
  • At 11:40 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I have far more in common with an Arminian who has learned his theology from scripture than I have with a Calvinist who is only a Calvinist because his friends and family are Calvinists. By this I mean, our hearts are similarly held captive to the word of God.

    This might not have been too clear - I meant I have more in common with a Christian who has a heart similar to mine than I have with a Christian who shares the same theology as I do...

    Sigh - text is sometimes a friend, and sometimes it is the town drunk - so incoherent that only those who know the drunk can understand what is being said. ;-)

     
  • At 11:44 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I updated the original post a bit by the way - not enough to warrant a re-read, but just in case anyone does go back and look at it, they will see that I re-arranged a thought or two, and changed some formatting.

    What can I say? I thought it needed a bit more polish.

    Dan
    /\/
    \/\

     
  • At 12:18 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Yes I really like Ray Comfort's ministry as well. If I can find it, I will send you a link.

    Jim

     
  • At 1:37 PM, March 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Loved the I am Canadian commercials - except for the "I am." part. Always left me feeling uncomfortable seeing the huge words on a billboard - connected to selling beer. Was it mocking God? Or just the use of english to make a statement.
    Still, it was fun to hear all the wonderful ways we are 'the best' eh!

    For Ray Comfort check out
    http://www.livingwaterscanada.com/
    is the Canadian address for
    http://www.livingwaters.com/index.shtml

    Thanks for the Calvinist info. I'm having trouble sorting through all the big word definitions - so for now, I guess I'm just a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, saved from God's wrath by the amazing price Jesus paid through his death and resurrection.

    Eunice

     
  • At 4:49 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Eunice - I try not to use big words, and if I do, I like to define them. Don't hesitate to ask what I mean when I (or someone else in the comments perhaps) uses a term that isn't clear.

    Sometimes we want to be seen as intelligent, or perhaps well educated, so we begin to elucidate our thoughts in a more bookish, even extra-colloquial vernacular. (did you notice my sudden shift to intellectual snobbery mode? It started with elucidate.)

    Seriously if a person doesn't understand that some words are meant for seminary, and others for public consumption, well, it is like shooting themselves in the foot, since they don't come off as well educated, they just come off as intellectual snobs.

    I suppose I am on a bit of a rant, sorry about that. My point is only that I am happy to explain words, or thoughts that aren't clear, and I do expect that most of the people who post here are likeminded.

    Dan
    <><

     
  • At 7:15 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Hey, Daniel. So, you decided to write a post instead of answering Jim's post with a really long comment. That is a great idea! Truth be told, that is probably why a lot of us started blogs and began making posts - so as not to post posts as comments. Tis true for me anyways.

    Oh shucks - look at all that dribble I just entered as a comment.

    Anyways, you say:
    Sometimes people presume that since most (all?) Covenant Theologians are Calvinists that all Calvinists must therefore be Covenant Theologians; and I must affirm vigorously that they are not.

    What about "Reformed" and "Calvinist"? To your understanding, are these labels pretty interchangeable? If not, then I am really confused!

    After reading a lot of Reformed blogs and seeing graphics like these, I get this idea!
    ;~)
    God bless you, brother.

    You said:
    I have far more in common with an Arminian who has learned his theology from scripture than I have with a Calvinist who is only a Calvinist because his friends and family are Calvinists. By this I mean, our hearts are similarly held captive to the word of God.
    This might not have been too clear - I meant I have more in common with a Christian who has a heart similar to mine than I have with a Christian who shares the same theology as I do...


    Amen, Daniel. I appreciate people that affirm the Bible is the Word of God and look to it for answers ... instead of their tradition or their church. Hear from God yourself! So true.

    Oh, I should have just written a post!

     
  • At 9:46 PM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Rose - I like that Arminian advisory - very snarky!

    It would be -very- difficult to be reformed and *not* be a Calvinist, but one can certainly be a Calvinist without being reformed.

    It goes back to the it would be difficult for a dog (reformed person) to not have fur (be a Calvinist), but simply having fur (being a Calvinist) doesn't make you a dog (reformed).

    Does that help?
    ;-)

     
  • At 9:29 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Dan, maybe this is a stupid question but are are reformed people always of the covenant theology persuasion?

    IOW, are reformed and covenant theology synonymous? Just trying to get my head around some of these distinctions.

    Jim

     
  • At 9:49 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Hi Dan,
    Yes, I knew that ... since there are Dispensationalist Calvinists. (silliness). I do think that it would be rare to find a Reformed non-Calvinist, though, as you say, thus the graphic.

    All this talk of fur and dogs and Reformed makes me think of petting the dog backwards. Have a great day!

     
  • At 9:51 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    I meant silliness in the sense that I was being silly by asking if the terms were interchangeable, not that Dispensational Calvinists are silly. (Phew! I am glad I caught that one! It is easy to be misunderstood in blogdom and to unintentionally offend)

     
  • At 10:39 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    As a former Lutheran, I can tell you that Covenant Theology definitely does not automatically include Calvinism. Calvin is a heretic in Lutheran circles. I was warned at every opportunity about the dangers of Calvinism. Dispensationalism was only slightly less evil.

     
  • At 11:22 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    David, do the Lutherans in the U.S. preach the gospel?

     
  • At 11:39 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    Jim,

    It depends on what you mean by "Lutheran."

    Mostly, they do not. Mainstream Lutheranism is very liberal, a far cry from anything Luther would endorse.

    However, there are a few small Lutheran denominations, such as the one I was raised in, that are still faithful to Scripture. I don't agree with their sacrementalism or ecclesiology, and their soteriology is not precisely the same as mine, but I could fellowship with them and recommend them to anyone who insists on a Lutheran church.

     
  • At 11:53 AM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Thanks David, we are sure stigmatized by labels today.

     
  • At 12:15 PM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I must have a very bad connection because I have tried about three times to post a comment and each time I lost my post.

    Jim you asked, "are reformed people always of the covenant theology persuasion?"

    Not always. The trouble with Stereotypes is that they never seem applicable to the people we want to apply them to.

     
  • At 12:28 PM, March 10, 2006, Blogger the bishop's wife said…

    Well I have to say...I loved the *I AM Calvinist* sign.

    Must be because:

    I am Calvinist.
    I am Canadian.
    I am Reformed.
    I am Baptistic.

    In light of the chatter I might add:

    I do not subscribe to covenant theology either...but reformed nonetheless!

    I enjoyed visiting your site.

     
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