Category Archives for Calvinism

Summarize Traditionalism

December 15, 2017

By Leighton Flowers
Director of Apologetics for Texas Baptists

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at soteriology 101, and is used by permission.

I was recently asked if there was one passage that succinctly summarizes the Traditional perspective. Of course, no one passage says everything that could be said for any soteriological worldview, but if I were forced to choose one passage it would be this one:

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” – Proverbs? ?28:13-14? ?

For a more detailed explanation on what Traditionalism stands for please watch this:

Calvinists Believe in Unequal Grace

December 5, 2017

By Ronnie Rogers, Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church Norman, OK

Calvinists are deterministic in the compatible style.[1] All determinists argue that events happen because they were determined to happen in the way they happened. Events are the result of God’s determined plan and salvation cannot be conditioned upon faith.

Arguing for determinism, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange wrote, “The singling out of one from another must finally be sought not in the human will, but in God who singles out one from another by His Grace.”[2] He cites such verses as 1 Corinthians 4:7, Romans 9:15, and Philippians 2:14.[3]

He specifically engages the issue of libertarian free choice in his argument against Molinism. He provides a good example of how determinists argue against libertarian freedom in general and as related to salvation in particular. Garrigou-Lagrange says, “Let us suppose that Peter and Judas situated in equal circumstances receive equal prevenient grace; then God sees Peter consenting to accept that grace, and hence singling himself out from Judas who does not consent, not on account of the grace, for an equal grace is indifferently offered to each. Therefore it is because the will decides to accept the grace. Thus do all Thomists argue against Molina, and they thus affirm as revealed the principle that can be called ‘the principle of predilection,’ namely, that no one would be better than another unless he were loved more and helped more by God.’”[4] Here are my thoughts on his comments according to my understanding of Scripture.

  1. The principle of predilection highlights Calvinism’s commitment to the deterministic inequality of God’s love and grace (Peter could not have made a better choice without God providing him more love and grace than Judas). It also equates a person being better than another because he made a better decision. As Calvinists see it, if Peter exercises his will to believe, he is better than Judas because he made a better decision. But that is not actually true. Simply making a better choice does not necessarily make or demonstrate the person doing so is essentially better than someone else; it only demonstrates the choice is better.

    Humans are essentially equal (Gen 1:26–27), even the ones who make bad decisions. According to libertarian freedom, Peter is not saved because he is a better person even though he did make a better choice, which is precisely the nature of libertarian beings—choosing between options, some of which are better or worse than their counterparts. Sometimes the better person, non-essentially speaking, may actually make a worse choice than his less noble counterpart within a given range of options. For example, we see this when an atheist or thief may make a better choice than a Christian in the context of a particular choice, range of options, or an equivalent opportunity. This does not entail that the atheist, person without God in his life, is better than the Christian in whom God dwells. 

Once the better choice is made by Peter, the consequences of salvation do clearly make Peter an essentially better person, but obviously that is only because of grace. Therefore, according to Extensivism, both the choice and the betterment resulting from the choice are due to the grace of God.[5] To wit, no aspect of salvation in Extensivism (or existence for that matter) happens apart from grace. It is neither necessary nor expected that this fit Calvinism’s determinism; only that it fits what we find in Scripture. Thomists (Calvinists) seem not to be able to conceptualize God’s plan being comprised of his equal love and help for everyone, including grace-enabled freedom to choose differently. We should not be surprised to find Calvinism’s exclusivism here since it pervades the core tenets of Calvinism—unconditional election, limited atonement, and selective regeneration.

  1. Garrigou-Lagrange relates the will to grace differently than seems best. Although he begins his argument by saying there is “equal prevenient grace,” he then seems to move the will to a place that at least appears to be less dependent upon grace. He says, “God sees Peter consenting to accept that grace . . . not on account of the grace . . . Therefore it is because the will decides to accept the grace.” 

First, I would note it is not the will per se that decides, but it is the libertarianly-endowed Peter and Judas as the efficient causes of their actions who decide. Each decides and carries out his decision by exercising his will. Second, being so constituted to possess libertarian freedom is solely a grace act of God in creation, and therefore, not some rogue force operating outside or contrary to the plan and grace of God; it would only seem to be so in a Calvinistically-determined system. Third, the ability to exercise their will in choosing is always by grace, regardless of their choice. Peter’s choice to consent was no more a choice provisioned by grace than Judas’s choice to not consent. Each is able to choose differently because it was the will of God for man to be able to do so. That is to say, God’s endowment of man with libertarian freedom does not attenuate the need for and presence of grace. Consequently, Garrigou-Lagrange’s issue seems to be with God’s decision to endow man with libertarian freedom. What if God said to him, I chose for the will to work libertarianly rather than deterministically as you teach? Would he say that cannot be?

  1.  Garrigou-Lagrange seems to contend that equal grace must result in the same outcome. This seems to presuppose the correctness of determinism, which necessitates a rejection of otherwise choice. Looking at it in reverse, different outcomes necessarily demonstrate either an unequal grace opportunity or that something outside of grace is in play; here it is the will. It seems he is willing to accept libertarian freedom so long as it means one can only choose a certain action given the same past, opportunity—libertarianism compatibly defined.

    This idea is either explicit or implicit in all the arguments I have encountered that contend if salvation is conditioned upon faith, then the person who gets saved is either wiser or more virtuous than the one who does not; therefore, he is saved by a mixture of grace and human merit. If their argument was correct, such can only mean that man receives some of the glory or credit for his salvation. I think the premise that equal grace must result in the same outcome is invalid. He also appears to presuppose that God’s granting of grace is only given to procure a determined choice rather than the certainty of otherwise choice. To wit, determinists make the only possible goal of grace to be a predetermined outcome rather than an outcome resulting from grace-enabled otherwise choice; they simply assume determinism is correct before the conclusion, thereby, subtly and unjustifiably superimposing the restraints of determinism upon Extensivism. Garrigou-Lagrange does not demonstrate why grace is so restricted apart from determinism. 

It may be cogently argued that equal grace is the raison d’être (reason for being) for otherwise choice resulting in different outcomes, as Extensivism contends. Garrigou-Lagrange says that Peter’s singling himself out is “not on account of the grace, for an equal grace is indifferently offered to each. Therefore it is because the will decides to accept the grace.” In this, he presupposes, but does not demonstrate, if individuals can exercise their will differently given the same grace, that such ability cannot be the result of grace. But there is actually no reason, outside of a deterministic system, why a person’s freedom to will different outcomes cannot be because of grace as indeed Extensivism argues.

He is simply limiting the purpose of grace to ensure a certain outcome rather than grace enabling man, at times, to create different outcomes. This means that Garrigou-Lagrange’s limitation is not imposed by Scripture, logic, the inability of God, or a deficiency of grace, but rather determinism’s narrowness precludes such a state of affairs. He seems to have simply drawn his conclusion that the equal grace did not include the will (technically the efficient cause) to be able to choose differently within the same grace, which is, in fact, the essence of libertarian freedom. Therefore he says that the singling out is “not on account of grace” (if libertarian freedom was true). But Extensivism contends that the singling out is precisely because of grace that affords otherwise choice in an equal opportunity.

  1. Garrigou-Lagrange seems to elide the grace permitting Judas’s choice. He notes only Peter’s act of “singling himself out.” Of course, Peter’s choice did single him out, but did not Judas, having the same grace opportunity, single himself out by not consenting to the invitation of the sovereign God? One may easily infer, as I do, that his argument (about how libertarian freedom operates) includes the reality that Judas’s act to reject God was not one of grace; at least if he does consider it so, it is neither stated nor obvious. However, I contend that every sin and thought of defiance about or regarding the sovereign that does not lead to instant obliteration from the face of the earth and being hurled into eternal torment is because of grace. One does not so choose and then continue to live because of some intrinsic merit of the person (Rom 2:4; Acts 17:26–31).

    Libertarian freedom is given and operates only because of and in God’s grace, and it is God’s will that a person exercises his will. God does not desire man to choose evil, but he does desire man to make an actual choice between accessible options, which happens only in the context of grace. Libertarian freedom entails that different people, given the same opportunity, can make different choices because equal grace does not necessitate equal outcomes.
  1. Garrigou-Lagrange indicates that Calvinism’s compatible and decretal freedom is all grace, but yet libertarian freedom cannot be by grace, as though God is incapable of such a feat. Although I do not accept Calvinism and compatibilism, I do believe if God did choose to so operate, it would be by grace; it is not something beyond the ability of God. Calvinists seem to either find it impossible, or they are unwilling to consider the same is true of libertarian freedom. Maybe because it requires thinking God is not limited to determinism.

    It is clear to me that whether God endowed man with a compatible free will or a libertarian free will, each would have been designed by God and given by God. Therefore, each is, including all its entailments, by God’s grace. According to Compatibilism, the person freely chooses but does not have a choice. God decided this by grace. The result of the determined person’s choice is a determined act of the grace-provided will. According to Libertarianism, the person chooses between accessible options. God decided this by grace. The result of the non-determined person’s choice is a non-determined act of the grace-provided will.

Garrigou-Lagrange’s portrayal is that if a person can by an exercise of his will choose a better outcome than someone else, it demonstrates a greater grace and love from God. This conclusion is true in Calvinism’s determinism but it is not demonstrated in Scripture nor is it logically necessary in a non-deterministic approach such as Extensivism. Extensivism contends Scripture teaches everything is by grace, including libertarian freedom and its entailments.

[1] Compatibilism contends that determinism and moral responsibility (free choice) are compatible; hence the name. Free choice is not attained by lessening the deterministic nature of compatibilism. Rather, it is derived from defining free choice to mean so long as one chooses from his greatest desire, he has made a free choice. Importantly, the greatest desire is determined; consequently, compatibilism provides only a determined free choice.
[2] Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The One God, tr Dom. Bede Rose (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1944), 462. Garrigou-Lagrange was a prominent 20th century neo-Thomist. See also Thomas P. Flint, Divine Providence, The Molinist Account, ed. William P. Alston (New York: Cornell University Press), 117.
[3] “Theological Determinism” from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource, http://www.iep.utm.edu/theo-det/ accessed 1/3/16. See responses by indeterminists to his argument.
[4] Garrigou-Lagrange, One God, 463, quoted by Flint, Divine Providence.
[5] Extensivist is used in the place of non-Calvinist.

 

The Reformation and SBC Calvinism

November 30, 2017

By Dr. Leighton Flowers
Director of Apologetics for Texas Baptists

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at soteriology101 and is used by permission.

For audio only CLICK HERE.

The original article from the Illinois Baptist Paper referenced in this broadcast can be found by CLICKING HERE.


Is being “Reformed” synonymous with being “Calvinistic?”

No. The fact of the matter is that not all Reformers were five-point Calvinists. Many in Western Christianity have come to think of “Reformed Theology” as being synonymous with “Calvinistic Soteriology,” but that is historically inaccurate. Dr. Roger Olson explains:

“One of the major irritants (for me and many others) about the ‘Young, Restless, Reformed’ movement is its leaders’ and followers’ tendency to identify ‘Reformed’ extremely narrowly—as focused on ‘the doctrines of grace’ (as they call them) meaning T.U.L.I.P.  The movement ought to be called ‘Young, Restless, Calvinist.’ Somehow that just doesn’t have the same ‘ring’ as ‘Young, Restless, Reformed,’ though. The problem is that the leading spokesmen for the movement would exclude many more classically Reformed people as not truly Reformed. And yet most of them are not ‘truly Reformed’ by the standards recognized by the World Communion of Reformed Churches! (All of those denominations practice infant baptism.)… Arminius and the early Remonstrants were historically-theologically Reformed. They just disagreed with the narrow definition of ‘Reformed’ being touted by the likes of Franciscus Gomarus and Prince Maurice (the power behind the Synod of Dort). The Reformed Churches of the United Provinces (Netherlands) by all accounts did not then (before Dort) have any authoritative doctrinal standards that excluded the Remonstrants who could gladly affirm the Heidelberg Catechism even though they wanted it revised. It was Dort that made Arminianism ‘heretical’ within the Reformed Churches of the United Provinces. And many Reformed theologians around Europe did not agree with Dort; some from England walked out of the Synod when they saw what a kangaroo court it was and how narrowly ‘Reformed’ was being defined there.”[1]

It is easy to minimalize the grand historical narrative by focusing attention on those scholars who best represent our given theological perspective. Human nature drives us all to paint the former advocates of our perspective in the best possible light while potentially neglecting to reflect upon the views of other lesser known Christian leaders. If experience tells us anything, however, the popularity and influence of any particular leader does not validate his or her beliefs.

Granted, Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin were highly influential leaders of the Reformation. However, their views—though more closely aligned with TULIP soteriology—are a far cry from the five-point Calvinistic views resurging today. For instance, many scholars, including those sympathetic to Calvinistic soteriology, acknowledge that Calvin tended toward “unlimited atonement” in contrast to the more rigid limitations that became popularized in the later development of Calvinistic predestinarianism.[2]

In fact, if Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin lived today while maintaining their 16th century theological convictions, very few modern day Calvinists would even dare to be associated with them. These three well-known reformers held to some very questionable beliefs and practices. For instance, Calvin believed the sacrament of the Eucharist provided the “undoubted assurance of eternal life to our minds, but also secures the immortality of our flesh,”[3] while Luther condoned bigamy[4] and was known for his foul language. Philipp Melanchthon, Luther’s co-worker and friend, admitted that he could “neither deny, nor excuse, or praise” Luther’s vulgarity.[5] More shockingly, these two Reformers were known to have condoned the use of torture and even burning to death those who disagreed with them theologically. (Note: Please read this article in its entirety before critiquing it as being unfairly biased against Calvinistic believers.)

Luther believed the Anabaptist practice of “every member functioning in the church” was from “the pit of hell.” Within two decades, hundreds of laws were passed making this “Anabaptist heresy” a capital offense. As a result, many Bible-believing Christians were burned to death for their convictions with Luther’s encouragement and blessing.[6]

In Geneva, where Calvin ruled, a child was beheaded for striking his parents, and his own step-daughter and son-in-law were executed for adultery. Jacques Gruet dared to disagree with Calvin, calling him “ambitious” and a “haughty hypocrite.” Calvin ordered Gruet to be nailed to a stake by his feet where he was tortured until eventually beheaded for “blasphemy and rebellion.”[7] A friend of Calvin, Sabastian Castellio, rebuked his intolerance and cruelty by saying in part, “If Christ himself came to Geneva, he would be crucified. For Geneva is not a place of Christian liberty. It is ruled by a new pope [John Calvin], but one who burns men alive while the pope at Rome strangles them first.”[8]

In contrast, lesser-known leaders, like Balthasar Hubmaier, laid the foundation for the Reformation while standing for Christian liberty, believer’s baptism, and many of the same Christ-like values we hold to today. Before the rise of Luther or Calvin, Hubmaier—and others like him—took on the abuses of the Catholic church while defending even the atheist’s right to live in peace. While Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and many other reformers who left Catholicism continued to rely on state powers for the execution of “heretics,” great men like Hubmaier stood for Christian love and respect, even for his enemies, which sounds a lot like Jesus.[9]

Hubmaier was a popular preacher in his day and is said to have baptized around six thousand persons in Nikolsburg alone. Not long after enduring months of torture for teaching believer’s baptism, under the rule of Ulrich Zwingli, Hubmaier and his wife were arrested by authorities and tried for heresy. On March 10, 1528, he was burned alive. Three days later, his wife was tossed into a river with a large stone tied around her neck.[10]

Hubmaier taught a non-Calvinistic soteriology. He believed that it was by the means of the gospel that God takes the initiative in drawing all people to himself. As the gospel is proclaimed, God’s Spirit convicts human hearts and leads them to confess Christ. While God takes the initiative, he does not make the decision for man.  By His “attracting, drawing will . . . God wills and draws all men unto salvation.  Yet the choice is still left to man, since God wants him without pressure, unconstrained, under no compulsion.” [11] According to Hubmaier’s own testimony, his belief that God genuinely loved and desired the salvation of all His enemies influenced his views on religious liberty. He argued, “a heretic is not convinced by our act, either with the sword or with fire, but only with patience and prayer.”[12]

The simple fact is that not all Reformers held to the five-point Calvinistic soteriology being popularized today. Little attention, for instance, is given to the influence of the Protestant Anabaptists or Christian Brethren movement which flourished in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and other countries during the 16th century. Anabaptists were most notably associated with the doctrine of adult believer’s baptism, the separation of church and state, and voluntary church membership. But history reveals that their soteriology, as it developed, was anything but Calvinistic. While there was no direct link from the Anabaptists to the growth of the Baptist churches in England, it is very likely that the latter were influenced in their beliefs and attitudes by the former.[13]

But, even if we were to limit our historical studies to the inner circle at the heart of what has been popularized as the Reformation’s beginnings, one cannot overlook the influence of Reformed theologian, Phillip Melanchthon. An influential friend of both Martin Luther and John Calvin, Melanchthon accepted an invitation to become the University of Wittenberg’s first professor of Greek, where he worked closely with the other more notable Reformers. Melanchthon went on to publish the Loci communes rerum theologicarum (“Theological Commonplaces”), the first systematic treatment of Reformation thought, and The Augsburg Confession, a popular statement later to be endorsed by the Lutheran Church.[14]

Modern Calvinistic scholars understandably highlight the role of men like Luther, given his treatise The Bondage of the Will, but Melanchthon (the arguably more accomplished scholar) is often overlooked. And Calvin, though a close friend, took great issue with Melanchthon’s soteriology, as would most Calvinistic scholars today.[15] Melanchthon affirmed a more corporate approach to the doctrine of predestination, while rejecting the typical Calvinistic view that God predetermines to save some individuals to the neglect of the rest. For instance, Melanchthon wrote,

“The eternal fate of individuals was in their own hands at the moment when they heard the Spirit-illumined Gospel promises. Altogether, therefore, the choice for a saving faith in Jesus had three origins: the Word, the Spirit, and the individual free will.”[16]

No scholar worth his salt could make the case that Philipp Melanchthon was not a significant 16th century Biblical scholar who deserves at least as much recognition for his role in the Reformation as the likes of Calvin, Zwingli and even Luther. In fact, Robert Kolb’s research demonstrates that the majority of expositors followed Melanchthon rather than Luther in saying that Romans 9, while not exalting human merit, does not deny a general atonement that human beings must appropriate by a free decision. These included former students of Melanchthon like George Major, Niels Hemmingsen, and Cyriakus Spangenberg. Most Lutheran interpreters after Luther, owing to Melanchthon’s influence, not only adopted a corporate theological reading of Romans 9, but also insisted on some human role in faith and repentance, which leads to salvation.[17] To deny those of us in the soteriological line of men like Melanchthon the “Reformed” label on the basis of our theological differences is not only historically inaccurate, but it is somewhat insulting.[18]

Suppose Dallas Cowboy football stars, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin got together and uniquely set themselves apart under the label “Real Super Bowl Champions,” so as to contrast themselves with other teammates such as Mark Tuinei, Erik Williams, Kevin Gogan, Nate Newton and Mark Stepnoski, simply because they were lesser-known in their given positions as offensive linemen. They played no less of a role in the success of the Cowboys Super Bowl victory than the more popular players. Aikman, Smith, and Irvin would be the first to admit this fact, and they certainly know it would be incredibly insulting to insinuate otherwise by adopting a label that implied such a distinction.

Likewise, not all Protestants of the “Protestant Reformation” became well known, nor did they all play the same role in bringing correction to the errors of the Catholic church. And they certainly did not all agree with each other on every point of theology. So, when did it become acceptable for a particular stream of Protestants within the movement to lay claim to the “Reformed” label on the basis of one relatively small soteriological distinction? We hope to set the historical record straight and reclaim a label that has never been unique to those who affirm the TULIP systematic. We too are Reformed and are continuing to reform according to the Word of God. Therefore we too can declare, “Happy Reformation Day!”


NOTE: Many of the citations and quotes on Luther and Calvin can be found in journal articles submitted by Frank Viola under his series, “Shocking beliefs.” Viola puts these facts in right perspective saying, “The point is not to put the greatest influencers of the Christian faith in a bad light or disregard their legacy. Rather, it’s the opposite. It’s to show that even the most influential Christians who have changed the lives of countless people for good — Calvin [or Luther] being one of them — believed things that were surprising, shocking, and even outrageous. So tread carefully the next time you come across another follower Jesus who doesn’t believe just like you do on every doctrinal point.” Web site accessed: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/

[1] Roger Olson, Is Arminianism “Reformed?” web site: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2014/02/is-arminianism-reformed/

[2] As, e.g., in M. Charles Bell, “Was Calvin a Calvinist,” Scottish Journal of Theology, 36/4 (1983), pp. 535-540; idem, “Calvin and the Extent of Atonement,” in Evangelical Quarterly, 55 (April, 1983), pp. 115-123; James B. Torrance, “The Incarnation and Limited Atonement,” in Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology, 2 (1984), pp. 32-40; Kevin Dixon Kennedy, Union with Christ and the Extent of the Atonement (New York: Peter Lang, 2002). Source from: Richard A. Muller, Was Calvin a Calvinist? Or, Did Calvin (or Anyone Else in the Early Modern Era) Plant the “TULIP”? web site: https://www.calvin.edu/meeter/Was%20Calvin%20a%20Calvinist-12-26-09.pdf

[3] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.32.

[4] Luther wrote, “I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter.” Luther in De Wette II, 459.

[5] His books, Hans Worst and Table Talk contain unseemly and lascivious expressions and sentiments. The Swiss Protestant reformer Bullinger said of Luther, “Alas, it is as clear as daylight and undeniable that no one has ever written more vulgarly, more coarsely, more unbecomingly, in matters of faith, and Christian modesty, and in all serious matters, than Luther. There are writings by Luther so muddy, so swinish, so vulgar and coarse, which would not be excused in a shepherd of pigs rather than in a shepherd of souls.”

[6] Peter Hoover, Secret of the Strength, Benchmark Press, 1999, pp. 59, 198. Hoover clearly states that Luther and his friends believed that the practice of “the sitter’s seat” — the open sharing for mutual edification they envisioned in 1 Cor. 14 — was to be “dealt with only by fire, water, and the sword . . . Luther gave his blessing to the death sentence upon the Anabaptists . . . for the preservation of the public order” (p. 59). In addition, Hoover points out that “Martin Luther and his colleagues met at Speyer on the Rhein in 1529 . . . At that time they passed a resolution: ‘Every Anabaptist, both male and female, shall be put to death by fire, sword, or in some other way’” (p. 198).

[7] All of the above information about Geneva can be found in Will Durant, The Reformation, pp. 472-476. Durant cites his sources. See also Calvin’s Geneva: An Experiment in Christian Theocracy – published in The Radical Resurgence and Calvin’s Geneva: Applied Critical Thinking – published in The Radical Resurgence

[8] Quoted in How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West by Perez Zagorin.

[9] Hubmaier’s treatise, Concerning Heretics and Those Who Burn Them(1524), was the first treatise on behalf of complete freedom of religion produced in the sixteenth century.  He argued that the nature of the gospel precludes coercion and insisted that the state has no jurisdiction in religious matters.  He extended liberty even to law abiding atheists, “It is well and good that the secular authority puts to death the criminals who do physical harm to the defenseless, Romans 13.  But no one may injure the atheist who wishes nothing for himself other than to forsake the gospel.” (Estep, Anabaptist Beginnings, p. 51)

[10] Bergsten, Torsten. Balthasar Hubmaier: Anabaptist Theologian and Martyr. Translated and edited by Irwin Barnes and William Estep. Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1978.

[11] Balthasar Hubmaier: Schriften. Edited by Gennar Westin and Torsten Bergsten. (Heidelberg, Germany: Guetersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1962), 322

[12] Hubmaier’s treatise, Concerning Heretics and Those Who Burn Them (1524), 202

[13] Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia (copyright 1993, 1994)

[14] Clyde L. Manschreck, Philipp Melanchthon: German theologian. Encyclopaedia Britannica; web site: http://www.britannica.com/biography/Philipp-Melanchthon

[15] Gregory B. Graybill, Evangelical Free Will: Philipp Melanchthon’s Doctrinal Journey on the Origins of Faith. Oxford Theological Monographs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 342.

[16] Ibid., 313-314.

[17] Robert Kolb, “Melanchthon’s Influence on the Exegesis of His Students: The Case of Romans 9,” Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) and the Commentary, ed. Timothy J. Wengert and M. Patrick Graham (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), 201-205; Kolb, “Nikolaus von Amsdorf on Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy: A Lutheran’s Doctrine of Double Predestination,” Harvard Theological Review 69:3-4 (July-October 1976): 329.

[18] Certain labels adopted by Calvinists tend to make insulting implications. For instance, Dr. Michael Brown, a former Calvinist and notable Hebrew scholar observes, “I’m fully aware that ‘the doctrines of grace’ is a terminus technicus (albeit a popular one) for Calvinism, and I know that some of you use it here without the slightest condescension on your part, but as a non-Calvinist, I find the term offensive. I revel in God’s grace as much as any Calvinist I have ever met or ever read, and every Arminian I have ever met who sang Amazing Grace did so with amazement and astonishment. I fervently hold to the doctrines of grace!” Michael Brown, commentary on his Line of Fire radio program. Web site: http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2010/03/25/march-25-2010/

 

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