One Man’s Suggestions for Calvinists and Non-Calvinists, Part 2

April 5, 2013

by Ronnie Rogers

Non-Calvinism’s challenge is to develop systematic theologies and comprehensive systematic interpretive approaches that seek to explain the soteriological perplexities of Scripture biblically, consistently, and comprehensively.

This suggestion is not intended to depreciate nor ignore works in this area (particularly some superb individual books addressing various aspects of Calvinism), but rather to draw attention to the need for considerably more to be done. I am primarily thinking of theologies that can be used in SBC theological training of students and pastors who, when aware of the disquieting realities of Calvinism, reject Calvinism.

It seems clear to me that Calvinists have, quite admirably, written voluminously in this area whereas those who are neither properly classified as Calvinists nor Arminians have done little in comparison. I think this is a grave shortcoming. Further, I believe that the written systemization of such beliefs, readily available in Calvinism, is very appealing to people who value systematic thinking. I am one such person, and that was a particular draw of Calvinism for me. I could actually see the systematic outlay of the interrelationship of individual concepts.

It has been my experience that professors who clearly demur to being called a Calvinist are left to rely far too heavily upon Calvinistic theologies while merely noting their disagreements with such. This approach is neither fair to Calvinism nor does it offer a viable alternative to other than a personalized Calvinism. It seems obvious to me that Calvinist theologies voluminously outnumber comparable works by those of us who rightly shun being labeled an Arminian or Calvinist. While correcting this deficit will clearly take time, it is nevertheless essential that it is corrected. There are many exceptionally qualified theologians to admirably accomplish this task if we can disabuse ourselves from an unhealthy reliance upon easier paths, which can only perpetuate the status quo.

Some of the characteristics of the approach that I am proposing:

First, this approach moves beyond merely the deconstruction of or noting disagreements with Calvinism. By this I am not suggesting the abandonment of serious critiques of Calvinism, but rather that along with exposing its weaknesses, much more time must be given to constructing thorough and systematic biblical alternatives for our schools, pastors, and serious laymen. Particular attention must be given to soteriology. While critiquing the weaknesses of Calvinism is essential, it is a woefully inadequate theological destination. For example, it is one thing to biblically critique Calvinism’s view of predestination, but it is quite another to offer a biblical alternative as a part of a thorough systematic approach.

Second, this approach does not rely merely upon Calvinism, Arminianism, Molinism, etc., nor does it shun any understanding associated or compatible with any of them merely because it is so associated. Simple agreement with certain components of a theological system neither makes nor necessitates one being identified with said system—all such dismissive labeling notwithstanding. Theological designations (Calvinist, Arminian, Traditionalist, etc.) of one’s position should be determined by the adherent rather than by his adversaries. Then, we can freely and respectfully engage one another’s biblical fidelity and internal consistency based upon a person’s chosen identification.

Third, this approach develops positive theological designations to replace popular negative terms such as non-Calvinist, and 1, 2, or 3 point Calvinist. I think some are seeking to do this with terms like “Traditionalist”[1] and “Biblicist” without an adjective, which is not to say one cannot be a “Calvinistic Biblicist” unless one so intends, and I do not. It is to say, just because one chooses to reject being a Calvinist Biblicist or Arminian Biblicist, one should not be banished from using the designation Biblicist.

I have identified those who claim to be 1, 2 or 3 point Calvinists as Minor Calvinists. Although I once accepted such designations as valid and helpful, I no longer see them as such. I have used such designations to describe myself during the latter days of my migration away from Calvinism. I now believe these designations to be invalid since they represent such personalized understandings of “Calvinism” that they become incapable of correctly reflecting the essence of Calvinism; consequently, they obscure what true Calvinism teaches and thereby obscure the disquieting realities of Calvinism; thus, they necessarily facilitate the dialogue to nowhere.

I think the following problems inherent in using “non-Calvinist” or 1, 2, or 3 point Calvinist as a theological designation beckon disabusing ourselves from their use. First, they make Calvinism, ipso facto, the standard (or starting point) from which all perspectives are derived and evaluated. Second, they are by their nature negative appellations, which seem at best to be a somewhat lazy way to describe one’s biblical perspective (although I have been guilty of such in the past). Third, they create an unnecessary and prejudiced trajectory toward Calvinism within Baptist life; for example, when one becomes a Baptist or enters into ministry, the only question to be decided is what kind of Calvinist one is or is to become. Lastly, they are fecund terms for double talk.

I only refer to myself as a Disenchanted Calvinist, when emphasizing my migration from Calvinism. As far as my soteriological position, I would label myself as either a simple Biblicist or an Extensivist. By calling myself a Biblicist, I do not mean, in any sense, that someone who disagrees with me may not be a Biblicist. I use Extensivism as a descriptive of how I would more particularly summarize my precise soteriology.

An Extensivist “believes that man was created in the image of God with otherwise choice and that God’s salvation plan is comprehensive, involving an all-inclusive unconditional offer of salvation and eternal security of the believer; reception of which is conditioned upon grace-enabled faith rather than a narrow plan involving a limited actual offer of salvation restricted to the unconditionally elected, or any plan that, in any way, conditions salvation upon merely a humanly generated faith from fallen man.”

Extensivism may have some things in common with Calvinism, Arminianism, or Molinism, but it neither relies on nor seeks consistency with any of them. Further, similarities do not equal sameness. Extensivism seeks only to present a comprehensive, consistent system of soteriology that is reflective of the totality of Scripture.

I have sought to articulate the ideas of Extensivism in my book, Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism. I am continuing to develop these ideas, which I hope to write about in another book at some point in the future.

One final thought, and I am not seeking to be overly reductionistic; it seems to me that if someone rejects unconditional election, then he cannot be an actual Calvinist for that is at the heart of Calvinism. If a person accepts unconditional election, then he can rightly don the title Calvinist, which then moves the question from one of legitimacy to one of consistency. I do not even believe that four point Calvinism actually addresses the most troubling aspects of Calvinism if it maintains unconditional election; although, it seems to at first glance because of its acceptance of unlimited atonement.

© 2013 Ronnie W. Rogers

Rogers---Ronnie---Staff-100

Ronnie Rogers is senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla.



[1] As defined in “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.”

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Jake Fowler

Pastor Roger,

Thank you again for an excellent post on this topic. I also find it frustrating to have a vast amount of theological books from mainly the Calvinistic camp. And in reading Norman Geisler’s Systematic Theology, he constantly paints his soteriological section with the strokes of “extreme Calvinist says”, “extreme Arminian says”, or “moderate Calvinist/Aminian says.” It would be commendable to have such a systematic theology that has separate views represented properly and unashamedly claim, “this is what the Bible says.”

Second, I’m curious about your Extensivist view. You seen to claim for universal plausible unconditional provision of salvation enabled by grace. Would you say that all men are unconditionally under the same affects of the fall? If all men are under the same propensity to believe and under the same affects of the fall, what would make a believer better than a nonbeliever that he should choose Christ? Also, do you have any Biblical proof texts for the Extensivist view?

Thank you so much for any consideration of these questions. I understand your time is valuable, and I am truly honored if you spend any of it on this comment. Please understand my comments are in no way intended to “bash” this article, but rather to properly and fully exegete the scriptures.

soli Deo omnis gloria,
B. Jacob Fowler

Ron F. Hale

Ronnie,
I thank you greatly for challenging one of the greatest weaknesses in the non-Calvinist camp – to become more prolific in our biblical and theological writings. And as you say: “To develop systematic theologies and comprehensive systematic interpretive approaches that seek to explain the soteriological perplexities of Scripture biblically, consistently, and comprehensively.”

It seems that when I was studying for ministry in the 70’s, most of the guys wanted to be a preacher/pastor. Our dream was to become a good preacher and eventually pastor a great church. The focus seemed to be on developing great sermons and even turning a series of sermons into a book. Back then, the little books by Convention Press and Broadman Press helped develop some pastors into better and better authors and developed and promoted certain pastor/writers within our convention as budding heroes to younger pastors. Today most of the heroes of young Southern Baptists are outside our denomination.

I remember asking a fellow student at Union University (late 70s) what his ministry goal was and he said, “I want to be a theologian.” I’m sure that I looked at him in a weird way because I had never encountered such a person before. Now it seems that fewer ministerial students desire to be pastors and more want to be theologians/professors, therefore, we will be producing many more writers.

One of the positive aspects of the ongoing tension and talks in SBC life among Calvinists and non-Calvinists is that it has forced non-Calvinists to spend more serious time in theological studies while developing their writing skills. This has been true in my case. While most of my buddies were pastoring small churches and working an extra job through college and seminary just to survive — we may become “gentlemen theologians” in our latter years smile).

Thanks again for your courage to make both sides either love you or throw stones at you. Thanks for sharing your journey!

Blessings!

rhutchin

If I understand Jake Fowler’s comments, his second paragraph hits the nail on the head. Let me expand on that.

Dr, Rogers describes himself as an extensivist who believes in “grace-enabled faith.” By grace-enabled, he means that a person cannot be saved without God first acting to enable the person to believe in Christ. So, the original condition of each people is that of Totally Depravity in the Calvinist sense of inability. No person can exercise faith in Christ until enabled by God to do so. That puts God in control of salvation. The only difference between that person who accepts Christ and the person who does not can be traced back to God’s action regarding enablement. Nothing else has changed.

In his book, Dr. Rogers writes, “…I mean that by grace, God gave man the ability to believe the gospel or not believe the gospel;…(thus the person has real free choice)” (p1) If God were to “equally” enable each person to believe the gospel then all would make the same decision, either all would choose to believe or all would choose not to believe. If God enables people to believe the gospel but in an unequal manner (whatever that might be), then we can get the result that some choose to believe and some choose not to believe. BUT, this is election by God – the Calvinist conclusion that Dr. Rogers wants to reject. Grace-enablement necessarily leads to election in the Calvinist sense.

Dr. Rogers writes, “…much more time must be given to constructing thorough and systematic biblical alternatives [to Calvinism]…” The difficulty in doing this is seen in Dr. Rogers current belief in which he wants to frame an alternative to Calvinism but is unable to do so (and doesn’t seem to realize it).

The only alternative to Calvinism (as argued by Lawrence Vance in his book, “The Other Side of Calvinism) is to reject the Calvinist concept of Total Depravity = Total Inability and thereby reject the need for “grace-enabling” faith. However, that solution leads to a Pelagian system of salvation.

Rejecting Calvinism is one thing; developing a viable theological alternative is the trick.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Just out of curiosity. How do you define grace? How do you understand “enabling grace” versus “irresistible grace”? How do you understand the operation of grace? How do your understandings of these things line up with the 1st century understanding of grace, as any of the original Biblical audiences would have understood it, which is as a function in the social economy to establish or boost the honor of a patron to potential clients in the patron/client reciprocity system that was prevalent in the ancient world?

    Please demonstrate you actually know what you are talking about when tossing around the word grace and how it relates to soteriology. Saying “unmerited favor” or some such ain’t gonna cut it. Please give an informed answer to my questions above.

    Perhaps once we get this sorted out, we can see if your understanding of election matches what the original Biblical audience understands about election.

    16-17th century post-medieval definitions from later, highly contextualized, individualist, overly-existential, protesting fair-skinned Europeans won’t cut it for exegesis and Biblical understanding.

      rhutchin

      Defining grace is one challenge for the non-Calvinists but it is the manner in which grace affects the choices people make that is the overriding issue. If the non-Calvinist accepts the Calvinist notion of Total Depravity = Total Inability (to believe in Christ), then God’s enabling a person to believe in Christ by grace (however that term is defined) is necessarily the determining factor in whether a person believes in Christ (because it is the only variable that changes the person) and that amounts to election by God as the Calvinists explain.

      You quibble over the definition of grace when the issue is that which grace accomplishes. God, in His wisdom and perfection, had a plan and purpose in extending grace to people and we have no reason to think that God could not, and did not, accomplish that which He set out to do.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Defining grace is not at all a challenge for scholarship and the people who read it.

        I am not interested in theological jibber-jabber.

        If you haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about, just say so.

          rhutchin

          I maintain that the definition of “grace” does not affect that which grace does and therefore, will not resolve the issues before us (as Dr. Rogers brings up). Regardless how we define grace, the issue is still that which grace does; the impact it has on the totally depraved individual. If you and I develop two technically different definitions of grace, the issue of what grace does is still unresolved – and it is that which grace does that is at issue in the debate over Calvinism.

          If you want to play around with a definition of grace, let’s take it to another forum (you can chose) that is better for discussions that get into nitty-gritty details and can take time to flesh out.

            Johnathan Pritchett

            Here is as good as any. What we define grace as, and how it functions matters to the issues you want to get into. I maintain that there can be no discussion of that until the foundations are laid, so no assumptions that may or may not even be relevant are dragged in.

            There is only one way to understand what grace is and how it functions, an it is that which the original audiences understood in their social matrix.

            What I want to know is if your definition and description of its operation and function matches what the Biblical authors meant.

Malcolm Yarnell

Excellent thoughts, as always, Dr Rogers. Thank you.

Adam Harwood

Good article. I agree that non-Calvinists should write more books. Perhaps the imbalance could be explained as follows: Non-Cal’s already see their view in the plain reading of Scripture. Calvinist brothers, however, must write extensive explanations to justify a system comprised of several positions which are not explicitly found in the Bible, such as an eternal decree, limited atonement, and the system known as covenant theology. Blessings, gentlemen.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    I think the imbalance has more to do with publishers and also those selected to be editors of commentary series’ than anything else. There is no shortage of non-Reformed evangelical publishing out there. Most of which topples Calvinist scholarship.

    The problem is that almost all of it is outside the SBC non-Reformed perspective.

    So it isn’t just Calvinists in general getting more print. It is that Southern Baptists aren’t getting the offers, Calvinist or otherwise.

    I mean, besides getting the *cough*pish-posh consistently refuted in the secondary literature*cough* from the dynamic duo of SBTS (Schreiner/Ware), not much popular publishing comes from Southern Baptists on theology or Biblical commentaries at all, Calvinist or otherwise.

    SBC scholarship is anemic these days in general when it comes to theology, and we don’t often get our best SBC Calvinist scholars to publish much. Thank goodness Jonathan T. Pennington is doing an update commentary on Matthew for Pillar. I find him rather insightful (and no, I didn’t say “insightful for a Calvinist”), and wish his publishing output was more than the dynamic duo’s output from the SBC Calvinists like him. . .

    Lydia

    “Perhaps the imbalance could be explained as follows: Non-Cal’s already see their view in the plain reading of Scripture. Calvinist brothers, however, must write extensive explanations to justify a system comprised of several positions which are not explicitly found in the Bible, such as an eternal decree, limited atonement, and the system known as covenant theology. ”

    Bingo. This has been my problem with Calvinism from the time I thought it might be the anecdote to the shallow seeker movement. It has to be “read into” scripture and different definitions have to be learned for what should be universal ones.

    I have gotten the impression from much of the Reformed movement that Christianity really started in the 16th Century and they must read that era’s position back into scripture. Hence, the need for the Institutes and even today all the books explaining how it works. No need for the Holy Spirit? Especially when humans have no volition.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Yeah, as I pointed out above. Reformed Theology is just a much later, highly contextualized, post-Medieval, individualist, overly-existential theology for protesting fair-skinned Europeans.

      All theology is contextual theology. The only “universal” theology is whatever the original audience heard and we must strive to get back to that.

      The problem with Reformed theology is that it assumes the 1st Century Ancient Near East is like the much later West. Reformed theology comprehends nothing of collectivism, corporate identity, honor/shame culture, the social economy and reciprocity of the patron/client system, and comes up with private, overly-embellished theological definitions for every day words like grace, justification, faith, foreknowledge, etc. that are found in numerous pagan literature and the generic meanings are no different in the Bible than they were in any other literature (which is why illiterate peasants could comprehend the Epistles being read to them, since they are written in Greek the common folk understood). Calvinism makes up a lot of concepts irrelevant to Scripture and then insists it finds them there.

      To put it simply, the particulars of Calvinism are untenable. It brings a wrong set of presuppositions to the text. Since it is impossible that the certain Bible passages they appeal to mean what they say they mean, it is impossible for Calvinism to be true. Period.

      Now, I don’t fault the Reformers for being absolutely ignorant of the social science data and language meanings of the Ancient Near East. I can fault modern Calvinists for maintaining it though. I can even fault the Reformers for not listening to theology outside the West, since 2/3 of the entire world has a more similar social matrix and worldview as the ANE than the West did then (as do now). We can also even fault the 5th Century North African Bishop Augustine for not having the slightest idea about things either, and just making up a bunch of stuff in isolation and ignorance of what the Bible was actually talking about.

      Go back to the earliest post-Biblical sources, and Calvinist ideas are nowhere. Did the Apostles imply concepts the earliest Fathers embraced? Those who were actually taught by them? Did Paul think like a Pharisee, or like those who rejected Christ, like the determinist groups such as the Essenes (Jewish group), Gnostics, and Epicureans (pagan groups)? I think the answer is quite simple.

rogersrw

rhutchin says:
“In his book, Dr. Rogers writes, “…I mean that by grace, God gave man the ability to believe the gospel or not believe the gospel;…(thus the person has real free choice)” (p1) If God were to “equally” enable each person to believe the gospel then all would make the same decision, either all would choose to believe or all would choose not to believe. If God enables people to believe the gospel but in an unequal manner (whatever that might be), then we can get the result that some choose to believe and some choose not to believe. BUT, this is election by God – the Calvinist conclusion that Dr. Rogers wants to reject. Grace-enablement necessarily leads to election in the Calvinist sense.”
My dear brother, I must admit, that each time I read your comments regarding my position, I am perplexed indeed. Maybe I am communicatively challenged. If you have seriously read my book, and draw the conclusions that you do, I doubt that I can say anything that will help (although I did so yesterday and now). It is one thing to disagree, but your path is quite different than simple disagreement.
1. You have clearly misrepresented my position and options available outside of Calvinism. I assume that you have done so unintentionally. God created man with a libertarian free will not a compatible as Calvinists’ believe. When God by grace enables man to have a real choice it is, unlike Calvinism’s compatibilism, that if man chooses to believe he could have done otherwise, and if he chooses to reject the gospel he could have done otherwise. Thus, man is not only grace enabled to believe, but to disbelieve with full knowledge. To wit, man is enabled and not caused.
2. Total depravity is not incompatible with either Adam or fallen man grace enabled having a choice to believe or not believe. Please do not superimpose the entailments of Calvinism on me because it is absolutely unwarranted. Of Course it would be if I accepted compatibilism, which I do not.
3. As long as you evaluate other views through the prism of Calvinism, you will always reach false conclusions about others positions because it is Calvinism that we reject; hence, of course our position is different. To argue that there is no position but Calvinism that can believe in biblically defined total depravity is symptomatic of the inability of some Calvinists to have serious soteriological discussions and thereby helping them and others.

    rhutchin

    In your book, you define the depravity of man as “ …making man utterly incapable of turning to or relating to God in any meaningful way without God initiating and enabling him to do so.” (p21) Then, “I further affirm that God sufficiently supplies man with the necessary grace in order to be able to exercise faith in Christ unto salvation and eternal life, or to resist the genuine offer of salvation unto eternal damnation.” Does this mean what it says? Did you really mean “utterly”?

    The original condition of man as described above is that all people resist the offer of salvation unto their eternal damnation. Perhaps the issue is whether they are grace enabled to resist a “genuine” offer.”

    So, the practical implication of grace is that it enables a person “to exercise faith in Christ unto salvation.” Thus, enabling grace leads to some people believing in Christ where they did not do so before because they could not.

    The issue seems to be whether God extends grace to those who then continue to reject Christ as they have been doing all along. What did grace accomplish and what did God intend to accomplish with these people? That God even extended grace to these people is speculative because we see no change in their behavior. Before grace, they reject Christ; after grace, they reject Christ.

    To the believer, God says, “By grace, you are saved.” We never read where God said to the unbeliever, “By grace, you could have chosen to be saved.”

    As to your points in your comment.

    1. If I misrepresent your position, it is because I did not understand it (even though I think I did).
    2. No complaint on total depravity. The question is whether God grace enables those who do not believe before grace and do not believe after grace. How would we know that grace was extended to them?
    3. I don’t argue that there is no position but Calvinism, but that people are unable to articulate a position different than Calvinism (while erroneously claiming otherwise).

rogersrw

Ron
Thanks, and I always appreciate your comments and insights.

Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers)

Just what I suspected, within the first 5 comments the term “Pelagian” has made is way into the conversation. Now we not only have to clearly state what we are saying, which we always have done, but we have to also not use terms or illustrations to even imply Pelagian leanings. This is a loosing proposition. Any time someone denies unconditional election or any part of the 5 points of the Calvinistic system we will be labled heretics in the order of Pelagius.

It is time to draw the line and let’s move on.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Yup.

    rhutchin

    What position do you see Lawrence Vance advancing in his book?

Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers)

Ben,

I don’t know if your comment is tongue in cheek and you are joking or not. However, if you are joking you should say so. If you are not joking you are revealing the very issue that drives the non-Calvinists to their acidic rhetoric. Do you really believe that non-Calvinists are not as “theologically minded, educated, and able to put the doctrines of Scripture to paper well”?

    Ben Simpson

    Tim, my comment to Adam that perhaps he is “right about Calvinists needing to write more books because their doctrine is not found in the Bible but it also may be that Calvinists tend to be more theologically minded, educated, and able to put the doctrines of Scripture to paper well” was indeed tongue in cheek. However, Dr Harwood’s were not.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    I am sure he does really believe that. Which is why he said it. Of course, around here, I have found the opposite to be true. Every time I hear a Calvinist whine about “Scripture” and “exegesis”, many of us put plenty on offer, and are met with crickets from our Calvinist brethren.

    They want to engage in rhetoric for sport, which I am fine with since I do likewise in return, but whenever meat is requested, meat has been offered, and they move on to offer more rhetoric somewhere down the thread avoiding the very theological meat they demanded, and usually just rehash the same rubbish that was already refuted…rhutchin being the prime example of this behavior with his rehashing the same old tired rhetoric day after day after day though it has been refuted time and time again. .

    Happens here all the time, with a few exceptions (for instance, he guy Randall who came for a while at least would do some engagement on the actual Biblical data when it was offered).

volfan007

I think Dr. Harwood is right; to a point. Also, a lot of Calvinists tend to be more interested in academic pursuits. They like being in the library, and spending time on the computer. While, most Non Calvinists are more interested in actually Pastoring Churches; reaching out to lost people; and doing ministry.

Also, this may be one of the reasons that most Trads have not written more systematic theology books, etc. They are more interested in preaching, pastoring, and winning souls. They’re more concerned about visiting thier people in the hospitals and funeral homes. They’re more interested in having wildgame suppers, and Easter egg hunts, and other such events, in order to reach out to the lost of thier town.

BUT, I am very, very thrilled that we’ve got such Trads stepping up, who are very intellectual, like Dr. Yarnell, Dr. Harwood, Dr. Emir Caner, Dr. Page Patterson, and so many others. May God increase thier tribe.

David

    volfan007

    Tim Rogers,

    Notice that I did NOT include your name in the above list of intellectual Trads, who are stepping up. :)

    David :)

    Scott

    “Also, a lot of Calvinists tend to be more interested in academic pursuits. They like being in the library, and spending time on the computer. While, most Non Calvinists are more interested in actually Pastoring Churches; reaching out to lost people; and doing ministry.

    Also, this may be one of the reasons that most Trads have not written more systematic theology books, etc. They are more interested in preaching, pastoring, and winning souls. They’re more concerned about visiting thier people in the hospitals and funeral homes. They’re more interested in having wildgame suppers, and Easter egg hunts, and other such events, in order to reach out to the lost of thier town. ”

    You talk a lot about arrogant Calvinists who say things that foster disunity. Go back and read this comment David, do you see something that promotes unity in your words? Do you see something that extends the olive branch to your Calvinistic brothers? Or do you, with one really broad brush, paint your brothers in Christ as caring more about academics than people?

    Ryan Abernathy

    Wow David. That is completely untrue. Not sure why you feel the need to demean Calvinists in this way. The Doctrines of Grace compel me to do all of the things you mention above. In fact, the Calvinists I interact with on a daily basis are doing all the things you mention and more AND they are studying and doing doing theology in their cultural contexts making the Gospel more comprehensible to their hearers.

    Maybe you need to meet some different Calvinists? :)

    I appreciate Ronnie’s posts and think this one is very important for my non-Calvinist brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, most of what I read as of late coming from the non-Cal camp is how they disagree with Calvinism. ‘d like to see more about how they wrestle with the complexities surrounding depravity/Adamic sin, how God saves those who have not had a chance to hear yet, how the age of accountability is derived/innocence of infants, etc.

    I like to read people who I do not agree with so I can find places of unity and cooperation.

      Johnathan Pritchett

      “I like to read people who I do not agree with so I can find places of unity and cooperation.”

      I do to, I was once a Calvinist, but I never stopped reading in the Reformed tradition. I have benefited greatly from the points of agreement I have with Calvinists, and sharpen my own mind in disagreeing where I disagree to make certain my theology is consistent and my rejection of their position is valid.

      I am hard on Calvinists here sometimes, but only in reaction to hubris. My pastor is a Calvinist, and we get along fine. The church is mission-minded, engaged, and theological minded.

      I don’t think it is an either/or thing between camps.

      As for seeing more, this blog’s archives have tons of discussion on the matters of your interest. I personally am more interested in seeing and promoting a positive vision of theology rather than doing theology by counterpoint.

      Whenever not on the internet, the conversations with those whom I disagree are always rewarding. On the internet, they tend to get hostile. That’s fine, it is how things are, and I don’t think it is entirely wrong. Better they get that way online than in person as far as I am concerned.

wingedfooted1

Calvinists always ask the question….

“If grace is offered to all, then why does one sinner believe the gospel and not the other? Is it grace? Or is it something else?”

So I want to ask the calvinist a question…..

Why does one born again believer accept calvinism and not the other? Is it grace? Or is it something else?

rogersrw

Jake Fowler says,
“If all men are under the same propensity to believe and under the same affects of the fall, what would make a believer better than a nonbeliever that he should choose Christ?”
1. The issue is not that a believer is better (that idea may arise from viewing my position through the lens of compatibilism, which I reject). With a Libertarian free choice, it simply means that one can choose to believe the gospel or not believe the gospel, and whichever he did in fact do, he could have done otherwise. No one is better. They are not under the same “propensity”, but rather have the grace enablement of God to have the same freedom to choose to believe or not believe.
2. Extensivism (as would other approaches that do not accept Calvinism) believes that God created Adam with the ability to choose to obey or distrust God and disobey—such salvific choices do not exist in Calvinism. Of course, God knew what man with true otherwise choice would do, and that is why God’s sovereign choice to create such freedom included coextensively creating and providing redemption.
3. I simply believe the Scripture is quite ubiquitously clear that God graciously offered the gospel to all unconditionally, but requires the reception of the gospel to be by grace enabled faith. Faith is not the reason for salvation but the means of receiving salvation. Man did not determine his fate by himself, but rather God (because of what is in God i.e. perfect love, mercy etc, and not what is in man) determined to create man with otherwise choice; hence, God sovereignly chose this path.
4. I do give a host of Scriptures in my book. Others who neither claim to be Calvinists nor Arminian do likewise in their writings. There are several things that God does that I categorize as grace enablements. To mention just a few. We believe the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17) and the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11) and that God really does love His created humanity and both desires and provided for their salvation through grace enabled faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-10) provides a sufficient call to salvation to all who hear. Any freedom that man exercises redounds to the glory of God since He sovereignly created man as He did, and just as sovereignly chose to grant him sufficiently to be able to be delivered from his just dessert. Total depravity, biblically defined, does not require regeneration prior to faith. The necessity of that order is Calvinism’s embracing of compatibilism.
5. We simply believe that when Jesus came preaching the gospel (Mark 1:14-15) and calling on the hearers to repent and belive that the gospel was good news to everyone because everyone to whom He spoke could be delivered from their just dessert by the grace of God. Further, that Jesus really desired them to be saved and believed they could be saved; therefore, Jesus had not helped develop a plan that excluded many hearers, which would not be good news.

see other comments I made yesterday with regard to this

    Jake Fowler

    Pastor Rogers,

    Thank you so much for the reply, I truly appreciate it! You’re a wonderful pastor to be able to handle such pastoral stresses and still reply to minor comments such as mine. Please know that I am praying for you.

    1. I would conclude that the issue is the believer is better. The believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, is justified, is being sanctified, and will be glorified. Most non-reformed views say that the God who does not provide an equal opportunity for everyone’s salvation is not omnibenevolent (and usually say the reformed view of God is like a “Divine rapist”). Now, if we can conclude the regenerate man is better than the unregenerate man, it begs the question, “how”? If the regenerate man is better because of a decision or choice he has made, would that imply a reason to boast? It seems much more Biblical to conclude the regenerate man is better because of God (Matt. 22:14, Mark 13:20, Eph. 1:4, 11, Col. 3:12, 1 Thes. 1:4, 2 Thes. 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2, 2:9, Rev. 17:14).

    2. I believe most Calvinists believes before the fall, man had the ability to sin or to not sin, just like post-regeneration; however I could be wrong, I’m not exactly the smartest person. I also do not believe comparing pre-fall man and post-fall man can be conclusive.

    3. God sovereignly choosing to give all men free choice in regards to salvation logically concludes God must not elect whom He wills to salvation. Where does the Bible say man elected God, or man predestined God to be His? Biblically, God genuinely invites every man to salvation, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14; however I may not be exercising proper exegesis on that parable; please correct me if that is the case).

    4. Romans 1:16 says, “everyone who believes” (limited) not simply everyone. You claim God gives everyone the same grace enablements to believe. This in your view would make God “fair”, correct? If this is the case, then the same logical conclusions say God is unfair for not giving everyone the same propensity for salvation. For example, there are people today who will die without ever hearing the Gospel? Is God unfair to those who do not hear? Either one must conclude God is unfair, or that God is completely fair in choosing whom He wills.

    5. In accordance with Biblical Total Depravity (Romans 3:9-18, Jer. 17:9, Ps. 51:5, 58:3, Eph. 2:1-5, John 8:34 etc..) God can genuinely invite all men with no result. Especially notice 1 Cor. 2:14. God truly desires all men to be saved and genuinely invites all men; however, all natural men do not accept the things of the Spirit of God. God must then elect whom He saves unconditionally. This is the assurance of salvation. I can be assured of my salvation not because of anything I have ever done, I can know I was able to believe in God not because of anything I choice I made. God saves me, not because I was raised in better circumstances where I heard the Gospel, not because I am better than any other person and was able to choose Him, but because He choose to for reasons beyond anybody’s comprehension (especially my own!).

    I truly appreciate all the dialogue! All of this really helps me be more conclusive on my soteriological views. I do continue to pray that a non-Reformed person can put together a Biblical systematic theology so I can conclude Calvinism is not Biblical, or that I will truly not be judged/hated at my school for believing the Doctrines of Grace are Biblical. I am praying for you, Pastor Rogers, so that you will be filled with encouragement and the power of God in the stressful and trying times the pastorate can provide. May the Lord bless all your endeavors that show your love for Him.

    soli Deo omnis gloria,
    B. Jacob Fowler

rogersrw

Johnathan Pritchett says:
“Just out of curiosity. How do you define grace? How do you understand “enabling grace” versus “irresistible grace”?”

Very simply, grace is grace. The difference lies in how we view God’s sovereign decision to create and then redeem. It is all in the words “enabling” and “irresistible”. Calvinism understands that God’s sovereignty functions by Him predeterming man’s salvific choices through creating man with a compatible will; that the gospel therefore requires a new nature, which God graciously chose to provide for only some of His creation thereby predeterming their free choosing to believe but without a choice.
Whereas, I believe that God is able to be sovereign over beings He created with true otherwise choice. The difference is not the grace, but whether or not God sovereignly chose to move to enable all to be able to choose to obey or disobey in the garden and with respect to the gospel, or to move upon only some so that they are unable to resist believing.
It appears that Calvinism’s understanding of God’s ability to be sovereign requires that He predetermines man’s salvific choice through a newly forced nature that leads inexorably to a free choosing without a choice actually diminishes grace and God’s sovereignty. The difference is whether God chose to exercise grace “enablement” or grace “inability to resist”. I believe the Scripture is both lucid and ubiquitous in proclaiming the former.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    LOL

    I was talking to rhutchin. ;)

    Since you answered though… Grace actually isn’t simply grace. Grace as understood in the Ancient Near East is a benefaction with concrete content. Grace isn’t mere disposition, and isn’t a thing in itself (i.e. grace is simply grace).

      rhutchin

      “…benefaction with concrete content…” I like that. I don’t think it is the best definition possible.

      Might we add, “…benefaction with concrete content…granted solely at the pleasure of the one extending grace…”

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Indeed we can and should. It is in-obligated, which is better than saying unerited, since that implies that patrons have no freedom to extend grace for whatever reasons they see fit.

        For example, humility “merits”, in a sense, grace from God. (James 4:6) That doesn’t mean merit as in earns it, but merit as in God has decided that persons with such disposition are persons whom He decided to extend benefaction as opposed to proud persons. It is unobligated, but it isn’t extended for an arbitrary reason. If “unmerited” was the right understanding. This verse is meaningless because God may just as well extend benefaction to the proud and humble alike.

          rhutchin

          Of course, nothing is arbitrary with God because He is perfect, especially perfect in wisdom.

          Thus, we can add, “…benefaction with concrete content…granted solely at the pleasure of the one extending grace…without respect to any distinction between those to whom grace is extended and those denied such grace…”

            Johnathan Pritchett

            Well, it seems there is a distinction between the proud and humble in James 4:6 and cross-references.

            As such, there is no clear cut way to suggest that grace is extended at all times in all cases without any distinction between those to whom grace is extended and those denied such grace. Some are denied such grace extended to the humble because of pride. So here we have one case in which your additional definitional content doesn’t work, and is thus not inherent to the definition.

    rhutchin

    ‘The difference is whether God chose to exercise grace “enablement” or grace “inability to resist.”‘

    I don’t think Calvinists have great difficulty with the term, “grace enablement.” They add that the result of grace enablement is that some then find themselves drawn to the gospel and its message irresistible and that those so drawn are the elect known to God already. As to the non-elect, they continue to respond to the gospel with disdain, considering it foolishness, as they have always done – so, the Calvinist ask, in what meaningful way can we say that they were grace-enabled?

rogersrw

Ben

I posted a response to your comments, but it was a little late. Just wanted to make sure you knew. Thanks.

    Ben Simpson

    Please feel free to post what you said again. A least I’ll know what you’re talking about. Thanks!

Rick Patrick

Since the primary need is in the area of soteriology, instead of writing an entirely new systematic theology encompassing all doctrines, what if Drs. Allen, Lemke, Yarnell and Harwood simply wrote a “Systematic Soteriology” that could focus our attention where it is needed most?

    Norm Miller

    And you can be the ‘color’ commentator. — Norm

    Jim G.

    Hi Rick,

    I don’t think the primary need is soteriology. There is an almost-hidden, but very important difference in the doctrine of God that actually underlies all of the soteriological questions. It goes all the way back to “de Trinitate” and the Latin division between God in himself and God in the economy. If that division is healed, the soteriological squabbles disappear.

    Jim G.

      Jim G.

      Not to mention serious differences about theological methodology (hermeneutical concerns, the extent to which philosophy should inform theology, arguments from experience, etc. – most of these fall on Augustine), providence, perhaps creation, anthropology, sin/evil, and as a result of the imminent/economic divide, Christology. It is an entire systematic difference that leads to soteriology. But that’s just my two cents.

      Jim G.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Yeah, there is a need for a complete systematic that is coherent from start to finish. Towns doesn’t cut it for an SBC systematic.

JB

WF1,

I can’t speak for anyone else, but my acceptance of Calvinist doctrine happened while I sat under an excellent bible teacher who explained those ideas in great detail to me. I suppose it depends on who teaches that born again believer as to whether or not they embrace those teachings.

Since you brought it up, could you give an answer to the question?

“If grace is offered to all, then why does one sinner believe the gospel and not the other? Is it grace? Or is it something else?”

    wingedfooted1

    JB,

    So do you credit your embracing of calvinism to your own wisdom? Are you more spiritual than other born again believers? Does one’s acceptance or rejection of calvinism depend upon who teaches it?

JB

WF1,

You said,

“So do you credit your embracing of calvinism to your own wisdom?”

I never said that and no.

“Are you more spiritual than other born again believers?”

I never said that and of course not.

“Does one’s acceptance or rejection of calvinism depend upon who teaches it?”

Not necessarily. I think that whatever tradition or teaching you find yourself in will usually direct your thinking. If you are asking about the ultimate cause. I would say that God decrees everything and everything has a purpose.

Would you mind addressing the question you initially raised?

“If grace is offered to all, then why does one sinner believe the gospel and not the other? Is it grace? Or is it something else?”

    Christian

    Could it be the sinner’s choice? :)

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Ding.

      This doesn’t strike me as a question that is derived from reading Scripture, but one that is brought to reading Scripture based on bad presuppositions. It assumes T.U.L.I.P. and then asks a question that makes no sense in the presumed framework. This is a post-Biblical question, not a Biblical one .

      The Bible gives multiple reasons why some people repent and other do not. Every Christian and non-Christian on the planet will give a different reason why they repented and believed or didn’t. That doesn’t exclude what God is doing in them, but it doesn’t mean there is one theological answer either. To say “it was all of grace and nothing about me that I repented and believed” doesn’t actually answer their own question they are asking us to answer if they would simply think about the question they are asking.

        JB

        Christian,

        Ok, what drives some men to make that choice and not others?

        Johnathan,

        John 3:1-8, There is one answer. God chooses and the Holy Spirit makes it happen.

          wingedfooted1

          JB,

          Keep reading.

          You will find the Lord’s answer to Nicodemus’ question “how can this (born from above) be?” in verse 14 (to the calvinist’s dismay). You might want to check that out.

            Johnathan Pritchett

            Yeah, man did JB offer something nowhere in the text. Par for the course for Calvinism.

            JB

            WF1,

            Verse 14 says “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.”

            Calvinists and non-Calvinists all agree that whoever believes in Christ will be saved. I don’t disagree with that at all. Verses 1-8 explains that a man must be born again before he can even see the kingdom. That gives us a reason why some men believe and some don’t.

            JB

            Johnathan,

            Nowhere in the text? Really? Christ spends 15 verses explaining that you must be born again to even see the kingdom and that the birth comes from the Holy Spirit. That is who will believe. Then he explains that anyone who believes will be saved. The text directly address the question of why some men believe and others don’t.

            sbcissues

            JB…
            Interesting you mention the work of the Holy Spirit in new birth… hopefully that will be the focus tomorrow… be interested in your take there.

            Johnathan Pritchett

            JB, you are implying something that is not there.

            To be born again, you must believe. One is not cured to look at the snake, they look to the snake to be cured. Likewise, one is not born again to believe, but believe to be born again.

    wingedfooted1

    JB,

    So after all the “this that and the other thing” we finally get down to the root cause.

    “I would say that God decrees everything and everything has a purpose.”

    So ultimately the reason you accepted calvinism is because God decreed it. And the reason I rejected calvinism is because God decreed it. In regards to the gospel, I guess you and I just hit the “divine lotto”.

    Now regarding the question of why one believes the gospel and the other doesn’t, I could only speak to the reason why I believed it. I can’t answer for the person who didn’t. We would have to ask him (I’m sure he has his own reason). But I can say it wasn’t due to a lack of grace, much less a decree.

    Acts 14:1….
    At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.

    The reason a great number believed was precisely because Paul and Barnabas spoke so effectively.

    Acts 28:23-24….
    He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.

    Some were convinced or persuaded, but others were not.

    I know this goes against the calvinistic grain, but it sounds like to me these folks had a choice to make.

Chuck Fuller

We’re at an ironic juncture in the SBC when the Calvinists talk mission and the nonCalvinists talk theology.

Robert

Johnathan,

You make some very good points about why this question is misguied. The fact is that people believe for different reasons and they also disbelieve for different reasons as well. I do a lot of evangelism and work with a lot of people in doing it. One of the things we also do is followup which means we ask lots and lots of people both why they decided to begin following Jesus as well as why they are choosing to reject Him. And thers is no single answer but instead many of them.

But while you are correct that people both believe and disbelieve for different reasons: I think you are missing where this calvinist/detrminist is coming from. He is repeating an old determinist argument which frames things as either a person believed solely due to God’s grace (seen as irresistable of course by the determinits) or they believed “on their own.” That is why determinists will also ask their “what makes you to differ argument” as well. It is a set up question so that they can then argue well if it is ANYTHING you did why then you would have reason to boast. The determiinst wants to corner the noncalvinist so that it appears that a person decides to trust Jesus because he is somehow more wiser or more spiritual than the other person who did not believe. But you are correct it is all a framing game coming from a perspective that is packed with deterministic assumptions/presuppositoins.

It is sad these folks are so into arguing for their determinism that they have not actually evanggelized many people and so they have not actually heard from real people that people believe and disbelieve for various reasons.

Robert

    Johnathan Pritchett

    “I think you are missing where this calvinist/detrminist is coming from. He is repeating an old determinist argument which frames things as either a person believed solely due to God’s grace (seen as irresistable of course by the determinits) or they believed “on their own.” That is why determinists will also ask their “what makes you to differ argument” as well.”

    Actually, that is the very thing I addressed. ;)

    Hence, my criticism of the typical Calvinist answer in my second paragraph.

    Calvinists misunderstand Paul’s comments on boasting. He himself says “let he who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:17

    While we both recognize the framing game, how do you answer the question from the corner you so want to avoid?

Preach BlackMan Preach

The Old Testament doctrinal system was given in the writings of Moses and the prophets to the nation Israel and stood consistently until John the Baptist. No other dogma dimmished or added to the Law and the prophets. There was a seamless transition to the apostles doctrines by the “One” who gave Moses the law and then fullfilled the Law by Himself being The Prophet Moses spoke of to come. God in these last days has spoken unto us by this “One”, His Son. With all due respect to my Calvinist brothers and sisters, when these falible men of the Reformation and those who followed them are spoken of, talked about with little to no regard for The Lord Jesus Christ that in it self must be questioned. My first encounter with a Reformed “Baptist” Bro. challenged what I believed and taught the New Testament Church in the Black community. History doesn’t make “one” out of these two ( Reformed- Baptist ) from the Protestant Reformation which was baffling to me. If I hadn’t been grounded in the teachings of Christ “commanded” His apostles to “obey” and commit only to “faithful” men, my post would be different in here, let me tell you. Listen, these same men of the Protestant Reformation banished and put to “flight” all, and I mean all those whom opposed them, injuring and yes killing others. Saul gave his explanation for persecuting the Church of Jesus Christ, before his “conversion” stating it was old fashion “ignorance”. I submitt to you so did Calvin, (ignorance) Zwingli, (ignorance) and others, with the only difference they were so-called Christian leaders of their era. History spoken of nowadays by Reformers are too kind to these individuals and we all know it. T.U.L.I.P and all other acronyms perish in the Light of Christ and Biblical Theology. Most of todays Reformer’s were actually introduced to this belief system when they were transitioning from one denomination to another or from one local fellowship to another or yes, let’s not forget higher education.

I had one of James White clones tell me after he couldn’t refute the wisdom of God in the Scriptures, and I quote “You will not change any of us! As I tell the folk I minister to, if you truly want to know the truth God will reveal it you but you must accept the truth. I reject Calvinism but love my brethren who embrace this dogma. All of the Reformed brethren I’m aquainted with were believers “long” before they became so-called Calvinist.

Preach BlackMan Preach

There isn’t an arguement made that hasn’t been made and answered Scripturally over the centuries. The only difference now is the words used have become “bigger’ and take “longer” to look up.

Preach BlackMan Preach

I’ll be standing out here . . . with the Son of God who died for the sins of the whole world and the men He was given by our Father of whom it was said, “these that have turned the world upside down are come hither also!

Robert

In answer to your question. I usually make two points in response to this framing game. First, I want it out in the open that the determinist is committing the logical fallacy of complex question (most people are familiar with the famous example of the complex fallacy game illustrated by the question: “have you stopped beating your wife?” This fallacy occurs when a question contains assumptions that are questionable or you disagree with, in this case the question assumes that you did in fact abuse your wife in the past. It then precedes based upon this false assumption so that no matter how you answer the question you will look bad or be in trouble. If you answer Yes you are saying you are continuing to do so. If you answer No you are still admitting that you did so in the past, in reality you never did, so this type question sets you up to fall. So first I want this all out in the open so that people can see what is going on, how the determinist is setting up the noncalvinist with a complex question.

The other important thing to do is to bring up the fact that the Paul in Romans explicitly says about the nature of saving faith that IT EXCLUDES BOASTING. If that is true, and it has to be as it is what the Bible explictly presents then we know any argument that claims that if people have saving faith that they will boast has to be false. And our own experience of coming to faith bears this out. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, shows you your own sinfulness, shows you what your sin deserves, etc. etc. If you then have a faith response to the gospel it is what I often characterize as a “begging faith.” You are begging God to save you, not congratulating yourself about your decision to trust or patting yourself on the back about your faith. No, you are more like the publican who could not even look up (in contrast to the Pharisee who said look at me look at how much better I am than that publican over there! In my own experience I experienced this “begging fait” and have seen it in many others when they come to faith in Christ. If someone has the attitude of: how lucky God is to have me as one of his own. Then I have real doubts they are actually saved persons. God hates pride, resists the proud, gives grace to the humble. And you see this clearly when people have genuine saving faith.

So you point out that the fallacy of complex question is being committed and you present the explicit biblical teaching that faith excludes boasting. If someone keeps arguing for their determinism at that point, you are wasting your time if you continue to try to persuade them otherwise.

Robert

    Preach BlackMan Preach

    Begging faith, now there’s a term Brother Lazarus would get all choked up over, let me assure you of that Brother Robert. It is exactly as you said “begging” faith, “saving” faith if you please, out of sheer despair concerning God’s truth regarding the sinner and his sin and the desire to be saved from sin rather than live any longer therein. Excellent assessment!

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Indeed. Well said.

    JB

    Robert,

    So, because I asked a question that WF1 brought up about why some people believe and others don’t, I’m boasting? And if someone is boasting then they aren’t actually saved?

      Robert

      Either JB must have some difficulty reading the English language OR JB has chosen to intentionally twist my words beyond recognition.

      I wrote about how by its very nature a saving faith EXCLUDES BOASTING. Others had no difficulty understanding what I meant as shown by their responses. As this is the nature of saving faith I sometimes refer to it as “begging faith.” My point was that **according to scripture** when someone **chooses to put their trust in Christ for salvation**, they do so in a **humble manner**. No boasting is involved, they do not congratulate themselves that they made the choice to trust, do not pat themselves on the back about it, no pride is involved at all.

      And in my post I said ******nothing about JB****** whatsoever.

      And yet JB now writes:

      “So, because I asked a question that WF1 brought up about why some people believe and others don’t, I’m boasting? And if someone is boasting then they aren’t actually saved?”

      JB where did I ever say that *****you***** were boasting?

      Show me in any of my words where I ever said or even implied this.

      In fact I did not even make any reference to JB.

      Regarding JB’s second question.

      I said that if someone boasts about their initial faith I would question their salvation as genuine saving faith does not work that way (here is what I actually said: “If someone has the attitude of: how lucky God is to have me as one of his own. Then I have real doubts they are actually saved persons. God hates pride, resists the proud, gives grace to the humble. And you see this clearly when people have genuine saving faith.”).

      Again, by its very nature faith is not boastful, it excludes boasting.

      And I never said that believers never boast, unfortunately, at times even genuine believers may boast in a sinful manner.

      I was not talking about whether or not those who are already believers ever boast in a sinful way (sometimes they do): rather, I was talking about when a person comes to faith in Christ they will not be boasting. Instead they will experience begging faith and will approach God and seek his forgiveness in a very humble and contrite way.

      Robert

Mary S.

What is not covered in this article, is what Ben Simpson pointed out in the previous article: The Double Talk of Traditionalists. Also, I saw this poem in Reformed Humor today and thought perhaps this also sheds light on weakness. Aren’t most Trads Dispensationalists?

A Poem in good fun:

My hope is built on nothing less than Scofield’s notes and Moody Press
I dare not trust the preterist claim, but wholly lean on Lindsay’s name
On Darby’s solid rock I stand and hold to God’s progressive plan
And hold to God’s progressive plan.

Though all the plans of God may change, all seven ages he’ll arrange
His one command that must prevail is love the Jews and Israel
On Darby’s solid rock I stand and hold to God’s progressive plan
And hold to God’s progressive plan.

Sinai’s law was just a faze but now replaced with Jesus’ grace
And through the trib which I’ve outlined, I know I won’t be left behind
On Darby’s solid rock I stand and hold to God’s progressive plan
And hold to God’s progressive plan

Through the age before the mil I’ll pay for Israel’s every bill
To Dispy’s cause I’ll ever look for it’s implied in Jesus’ book
On Darby’s solid rock I stand and hold to God’s progressive plan
And hold to God’s progressive plan

    Johnathan Pritchett

    LOL

    “Aren’t most Trads Dispensationalists?”

    Yes (sadly).

    I’m not. In fact, I embrace a form of Covenant theology and am a partial-preterist myself.

    I’m just not into Calvinism. Calvinists get soteriology wrong, but they don’t get everything wrong.

    It is also worth noting that this position is that of most conservative Methodists, but who are Arminian/Wesleyan and reject OSAS.

    I’d argue that (conservative) Methodists are technically more “Reformed” than “Reformed Baptists”.(who are primarily just soteriological Calvinists AND ALSO many are dispensationalists by the way).

    This popular idea, propagated by Calvinists, that “Reformed” simply means “Calvinist soteriology” is actually a deceitful, intellectually bankrupt assertion.

    Ron F. Hale

    Mary S,
    Since you enjoy poetry, I came across this little poem written by a strong Calvinist:

    We are God’s elect
    The rest be damned
    There’s room enough in hell for you
    We won’t have heaven crammed.

      Mary S.

      Thanks Ron. I’m not a strong Calvinist. I never even called myself a Calvinist in my life… till posting at this blog, and I reject limited atonement. Not completely sure if I’m a 4-point Calvinist or not…but I might be.

      I’m with Johnathan Pritchett, however, in rejecting Dispensationalism.

JB

Robert,

I did misread your comment. Sorry about that. I would absolutely agree that one comes to God with a begging faith, but I believe that God changes our hearts in order to bring us to the point of repentance. As for the boasting thing, I’m just wary of making any kind of statement that says “if you do/don’t do this, then you are not saved.”

randallcofield

What does it say of a soteriological paradigm when, after 2,000 years of Christian thought, that paradigm has yet to be extrapolated within the published framework of either a Biblical Theology or a Systematic Theology?

    Norm Miller

    It may say that such an extrapolation is unnecessary because said theology is found in the Bible. — Norm

      randallcofield

      Non-Calvinism’s challenge is to develop systematic theologies and comprehensive systematic interpretive approaches that seek to explain the soteriological perplexities of Scripture biblically, consistently, and comprehensively.–Ronnie Rogers

        Norm Miller

        Point well-taken, Randall. However, unless I misunderstood Pastor Rogers, at least a part of his call that you have cited is motivated by what he sees as a non-Cal tome to answer the Cal ones. — Norm

    Mary S.

    Is there really no Traditionalist systematic theology or biblical theology outlining this? That surprises me greatly as I think even Pentecostals have written such books (and they certainly are not known for works of theology). It is surprising.

    I hope this isn’t out of line. But it reminded me of the Justice who said that the idea of gay-marriage is newer than the internet or cell phones.

    Are the Trads ideas on soteriology also so new? When did Eric Hankins publish the Traditional Statement, last May??

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Well, Schreiner only recently released a new systematic theology book from a Reformed Baptist perspective.

      I’d say that Elmer Towns systematic theology book represents most of what Trads believe. But it isn’t very scholarly.

      The trouble is that most systematic books, especially the popular ones, come from folks like Grudem, Geisler, or older ones like Barclay, and then there are the Reformed Presbyterian ones and the Arminian ones. etc.

      There are many standard texts, but not representative of a cohesive view. Even many Reformed Baptists differ with Schriener on this or that point.

      Usually, people make do with the best that is on offer and state their areas of agreement or disagreement with it.

      I don’t think a Trad systematic theology book would represent me in all areas, as I am certain that if it were a complete volume, the section on eschatology would be pre-millennial dispensationalism. That’s fine though.

      No one agrees with every point in any book. Such is the way of things.

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