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

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“Discrediting Christ” Through Inerrancy?

Some bible critics have claimed that defenders of inerrancy “discredit Christ” by taking qualities that properly belong to Christ, and then attributing them to Scripture. For example, any true Christian will affirm that Christ is sinless and perfect. Inerrantists go one step further; they “take” this property of sinless perfection and “give” it of the Bible. And this, we’re told, is a problem. Well, how so? Continue reading

Does the “Letter of Scripture” Kill?

In the past few posts (see here, here, and here), we’ve looked at this idea that the Bible isn’t authoritative; only Jesus is. The Bible isn’t perfect and error-free; only our Saviour is. At first glance, these assertions have the ring of piety. Unfortunately, the least bit of probing exposes the painful fact that they are supported by demonstrably invalid arguments. That is, they aren’t supported at all. As far as being logically mistaken goes, this is almost as bad as it gets—a bit like adding 7 and 5, not getting 12, and then pressing ahead blissfully unaware of one’s mathematical gaffe. If we’re going to claim that the bible is non-authoritative and non-inerrant Bible—call this the ‘Errant Scripture View’ (ESV, for short)—it should be on the basis of proper reasoning. Continue reading

Are Epimenides and Paul in Error?

One of the “go to” passages for those who deny inerrancy is Paul’s quotation of Epimenides in Titus 1:12 – “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” According to Paul, “This testimony is true.” According to the critics, Paul is guilty of incoherence or at least overstatement. He gets carried away, oversimplifies matters, and consequently lapses into error. So what about this charge? Does it, perhaps, oversimply things? Continue reading

Is False Scripture Useful?

Paul says to Timothy that “All Scripture is God-breathed…and useful” (2 Tim 3:16). So we should use it. That seems right. Recently, however, I’ve noticed some pastors and professors claiming that even if what God breathes out is flatly in error, this shouldn’t deter us from making good use of it. Scripture might be false (and no doubt is in many places), but it’s useful all the same. Our question is: Is that right? Continue reading

What Makes Something ‘Christian’?

In a previous post I argued that it’s not always “lame” (to quote Gregory Thornbury, President of The Kings College) to use ‘Christian’ as an adjective. While I did provide an example of at least one case where it could be helpful (e.g., “Christian philosophy”), I didn’t say much about what makes something Christian. To fix that shortcoming it might be helpful to consider a comment attributed to the President of my own school, Gary Nelson. During a forum this past January, President Nelson spoke about what makes, and what doesn’t make, for a “Christian Seminary.”1 The Tyndale Seminary Student Association relayed part of his talk at the forum in the tweet below.

Continue reading