Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Wonderful Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die
And find that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here
By grace draw near and bless your name

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were and off'ring far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul my life my all

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die
And find that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here
By grace draw near and bless your name

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Question for John Calvin

Calvin clearly understood his detractors' objections to the extreme and illogical position he had taken. Consider the questions they were asking, as reported to us by Calvin himself:

"Why should God blame men for the things the necessity of which he has imposed by his own predestination? What could they do? Could they struggle with his decrees? ... It is not just ... to punish them for things the principal cause of which is in the predestination of God." (Institutes III, xxiii, 6)

Does Calvin give a scriptural answer?


His answer is theological intimidation:

"This... is the scoffing language which profane tongues employ" (ibid)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Deuteronomy 28:63

A comment to my last post used Deut 28:63 as a counter of sorts to the original post. Yet upon closer inspection, the verse proves unconducive to a Calvinist argument:

Deut 28:63 teaches:

if X then Y:
If you rebel, then God will take pleasure in destroying you.
X = your freewill response
Y = God’s contingent response

Calvinism inverts and teaches:

if Y then X
If God is pleased to destroy you, then you will rebel.
Y = God’s freewill response
X = your contingent response

This is contradictory to the verse, as is their theology:
If you are reprobate then you will rebel.
If you are elect then you will persevere.

According to their system, God’s good pleasure determines our response. But the verse teaches otherwise.

Although some non-Calvinists may be faulted for teaching that there is never any sense in which God is pleased to destroy sinners (for there is a sense), Calvinists are faulted for inverting the nature of the contingent agency.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Science-Fiction Story

A Science Fiction Story

John Calvin:

"Those therefore whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them..." (Institutes, III, xxiii, 1)

"...the divine will... is itself, and justly ought to be, the cause of all that exists ... God, whose pleasure it is to inflict punishment ... no other cause can be adduced... than the secret counsel of God..." (Institutes III, xxiii, 4)

"If we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will. When God is said to visit in mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will." (Institutes, III, xxii, 11)

"I... ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless it so seemed meet with God [sic]? ... The decree, I admit, is dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree... God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it." (Institutes, III, xxiii, 7)

"Paul teaches us that the ruin of the wicked is not only foreseen by the Lord, but also ordained by his counsel and his will... not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been created for this very end -- that they may perish" (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

"... he arranges all things by his sovereign counsel in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction...God ... arranges and disposes of them at his pleasure... all events take place by his sovereign appointment" (Institutes III, xxiii, 6)

"...each has been created for one or other of these ends, [therefore] we say that he has been predestined to life or to death" (Institutes III, xxi, 5)

Imagine a science fiction story in which in a future time an advanced group of scientists learn how to create human-like creatures. Imagine that some of these creatures are created to be tortured for the pleasure of these scientists. Would we not conclude that the scientists in our fictional story were immoral, cruel, and even sadistic for doing such a thing? Has not the Calvinist painted an even worse portrait of God?

"It was certainly loving of God to predestine the salvation of His people, those the Bible calls the 'elect or chosen ones.' It is the non-elect that are the problem. If some people are not elected unto salvation then it would seem that God is not all that loving toward them. For them it seems that it would have been more loving of God not to have allowed them to be born. That may indeed be the case." (R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God, 36)

("Not all that loving toward them" may be one of the greatest theological understatements of all time!)


Sunday, October 02, 2005

First Entry

This message represents my first foray into the world of blogging. With all the time that I have spent on various message boards discussing and debating the Bible, this experience may turn out to be a rest! I could sure use it.