Thursday, November 8, 2007

Enjoying Consistent Calvinism

I have recently been accused of being an inconsistent Arminian because I reject Open Theism. I find it interesting that Calvinists are so concerned with consistency seeing as how they both affirm that God causes all things and is yet somehow not the author of sin.

I admit that I love consistency. I reject Calvinism primarily because I find no support for it in the pages of Scripture, and secondarily because it is so internally inconsistent. I admire Calvinists who are not afraid to "take it in the face", so to speak, and call God the author of sin. "Traditional" Calvinists call these types "hyper" Calvinists, but in the spirit of my recent conversation, I think it is more accurate to just call them "consistent" Calvinists.

Vincent Young is an example of such a bravely consistent Calvinistic fellow, and I direct my Calvinist readers to his blog to enjoy his consistency. I especially recommend The Author of Sin, Compatibilist Freedom, and Confusion in Calvinism . Enjoy.

For more fun with inconsitency within Calvinism, I recommend Objections to Calvinism As It Is.

11 comments:

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I think Cheung's theology is a bit wacky myself, but as you say, one thing you can't call him is inconsistent.

Classical Arminianism said...

Hey guys,

Someone is challenging me on 2Thess. 2.13 and Mark 13.20 (that God specifically elects whom He will save).

Any thoughts on those two verses (in their contexts)?

Much thanks,

Billy

Sean Babu said...

Over at my blog I've talked some about how this inconsistency reminds me of the battered wife syndrome:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2rctlu

kangeroodort said...

Hey Billy,

I looked at both of those passages and I fail to see how they could be used to prove unconditional election. They are obviously dealing with the elect, but whether that election is conditional or unconditional is difficult to determine from those texts. In fact, Weslyans have long pointed to 2 Thess. 2:13 as an example of conditional election [based not on an eternal decree, but by sactification by faith]. It should also be noted that "from the beginning" could mean "from the beginning of our ministry". There is no contextual reason to see "from the beginning" as "from eternity", etc.

The Mark passage only asserts that God will be merciful to His elect in the coming tribulation. Nothing is said concerning how the elect became elect [conditionally, or unconditionally].

That is just my quick assessment of the passages. I will look at them some more when I get the time. Hope that helps.

God Bless,
Ben

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Billy,

I'm an individual election guy myself (2 Thess 2 being one of the reasons). I would respond, 'So what?' If you are willing to argue within that logical framework for sake of argument, you could point out that (assuming that election is individual) that God choosing someone specifically does not automatically make His choice unconditional. I usually bring in 1 Peter 1:2,

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Classical Arminianism said...

Thank you both for your help. You are right: I noticed also that God chose to save "through sanctification by the Spirit AND faith in the truth," both are conditions.

My Reformed friend said that the sanctification granted AND the faith granted were both by God and He does so toward those He has elected.

Thanks again,

Billy

Godismyjudge said...

"I think Cheung's theology is a bit wacky myself, but as you say, one thing you can't call him is inconsistent."

Cheung defines classic terms like "author of sin" and "hard determinism" in non-traditional ways. His approach is sensationalistic. But I think what he means is no different than most hard core Calvinists think. They just use different terms.

God Bless,
Dan

Tom said...

kangeroodort,

The consistency of the reformed position is one of the things I find compelling about it. Having said that, I will admit that I have had a hard time with the argument about God being the author of sin. It is one of the areas that I am not yet comfortable with my ability to answer if I am challenged on it. It seems logical to me that if God ordains all that happens then He must be the author of sin. Many will reject that though.

Another area of reformed theology that seems to give many problems is reprobation. Again, it seems logical that if God chooses whom He will save then He is also choosing those whom He will predestine to destruction. Not choosing is still a choice.

Anyway, I agree that we all need to be consistent in our theology. When we find an inconsistency we must correct it or abandon our theology completely.

kangeroodort said...

Tom,

I appreciate your honesty. If your brain works like mine, then you will not be able to find any satisfactory answers to the inconsistency within Calvinism. May God bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

Ben

Anonymous said...

I'd call them Real Calvinists as opposed to Sissy Calvinists but I admire neither of them.

BTW, I'd like to see why you reject Open Theism (because I have no idea what it is). Yes, I know I could go read a bunch of Calvinist sites on the net bashing it, but all I would get from that would be caricatures.

kangeroodort said...

BTW, I'd like to see why you reject Open Theism (because I have no idea what it is). Yes, I know I could go read a bunch of Calvinist sites on the net bashing it, but all I would get from that would be caricatures.

I provided a link [in the post] that might help you with the definition. The basic idea that Classical Arminians find untenable, is that God cannot perfectly know the future [with regards to things that are contingent]. God can predict free will choices with great accuracy, but He cannot be certain what choices we will make.

Open Theists do not claim to deny omniscience. They redefine it to mean that God can only know what things are "knowable". They deny that libertarian free choice is knowable until the choice is actually made in time. Therefore, they conclude that God cannot possibly know our future choices because they do not yet "exist" to be known by Him.

Hope that helps.

God Bless,
Ben