A Recent Calvinist Strawman

In his post “Why All Arminians are Calvinists,” Dr. Mark Jones represents the Arminian position on divine election (and foreknowledge) as follows:

In the Arminian scheme, God “sees” what would happen based on a conditional future and then chooses based on what he “sees” take place in a purely conditional world. In this scheme, God knows conditionals conditionally.

In sum, Arminianism introduces a separate category, in which the human decision becomes the causal factor that determines the event. It is a form of semi-pelagianism.

This view, he says, “bows to the god of human freedom and makes God the servant of humans.” Well, that certainly doesn’t sound like a good thing, and if true it would certainly be a strike against Arminianism. But is Mark correct? I don’t think so. Continue reading

What’s Not Wrong with Jerry Walls’ Argument Against Calvinism

CASCADE_TemplateIn a guest post (here) on James Anderson’s blog Analogical Thoughts, Daniel Johnson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and co-editor of  Calvinism and the Problem of Evil, claims that a invalid argument lies at the heart of Jerry Walls’ new book Does God Love Everyone? What’s Wrong with Calvinism. I’m afraid that Dr. Johnson is quite mistaken on this point. Prof. Walls’ argument is demonstrably valid.

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Calvinism’s Gospel Tautology

calvinismChristians of every stripe agree that Christ’s substitutionary and atoning work on Calvary’s cross is marvelous beyond comprehension. It is an act of unspeakable mercy, condescension, and grace—on the human level, wholly unearned and uninitiated, a visible and concrete demonstration of God’s love for sinners and enemies (Romans 5:10). As Jesus tells Nicodemus, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

Surely, this is good news—indeed, the best of news—for sinful, fallen humanity. Where would we be without it? It is a pearl of great price, not to be exchanged for even the whole world. Curiously, however, one very influential theological system—Calvinism—bids us to pause at this juncture. Continue reading

Calvinism’s Misplaced Culpability

calvinismCalvinism and TULIP go hand in hand. When you think of the one, it’s rather hard not to think of the other. However, certain qualifications are in order. “The truth is,” says Michael Horton, “there isn’t a central dogma in Calvinism” [link]. We can’t reduce Calvinism to a single doctrine. Nor can it be limited to TULIP. It is more than the acronym. Thus, John S. Feinberg notes that “God’s sovereign control [is] not only over election to salvation, but over all else,” including the future [link]. Well, that goes beyond TULIP proper, which is fair enough. If there is a difficulty for Calvinism, it lies not in its cleaving to the fact of God’s sovereign control, but rather in its proposed control mechanism which, I will suggest, creates more problems than it solves. Continue reading