Thursday, December 24, 2009

Arminian and Calvinist Christmas Cards

(This is a repost from last year. Merry Christmas!)

Arminian Christmas Card:

Calvinist Christmas Card:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Interesting Links - 12/19/09

Ben Witherington has Handel's Messiah, the Story Behind the Classic. He notes that, "John Wesley was one of the ones who saw an early performance of this work. In his Journal he commented "there were some parts that were affecting, but I doubt it has staying power"."

The history of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The original lyrics were written by Charles Wesley and then modified by George Whitefield (which reportedly made Charles furious). "Hark! how all the welkin ring", I think Whitefield was right on this one. It's good to see that a combined Arminian / Calvinist effort turned out a great classic Christmas song, even if Charles was displeased.

Check out the newly updated Wikipedia article: Conditional Perseverance of the Saints. Arminian Steve Witzki has spent time expanding the entry and adding primary sources references for everything.

Dan from Arminian Chronicles is doing a series on Romans 9, 10, and 11. For our Calvinist friends, Romans 10 and 11 are the chapters after Romans 9. ;)

A youtuber named by the name of Providential1611 has done a pretty funny presentation called FREE WILL Answering silly Calvinist challenges. HT: James Brown

Friday, December 18, 2009

Book Review: John Calvin Goes to Berkely

Theology Made Accessible in a Novel.

John Calvin Goes to Berkely (author's website)
John Calvin Goes to Berkely (Amazon link)

This book is the first in a series from University Christian Fellowship. It is a novel that weaves the age old questions of predestination and election into an interesting story line. The local University Christian Fellowship in Cal Berkeley is fractured. One of the members is a staunch high Calvinist. He is attempting to “convert” the rest of the leadership to his point of view, and is receiving outside pressure from his pastor to make this happen. The story revolves around the UCF leadership. Can they be salt and light? How does the fellowship respond to the challenges of a secular university? Can they understand the mystery of predestination? Is it solvable? How will the president Alex Kim cope with the division this issue causes? Can he bring peace and make everyone in the fellowship happy? Or is conflict and separation unavoidable?

The author James McCarthy does a fine job in presenting the major points of Calvinism and Arminianism, and the history behind these movements. The story is written in such a way that these theological points of view are made interesting and accessible to the average reader. It is fair to state that the author comes to basically Arminian conclusions regarding the issues at hand. The book also contains a bit of interesting history about Berkeley. The motto of Berkeley is: Fiat Lux. “Let there be light”. The author is obviously familiar with the campus. The reader will come away with a better understanding of how this rather unique college works.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Giveaway - John Calvin Goes to Berkely

I have an extra review copy of the novel John Calvin Goes to Berkely, signed by the author. It is a fictional account about what happens when a staunch Calvinist pushes his agenda in the local college Christian fellowship. Richard Coords has a review here.

I will give the book to the first person who leaves a comment and meets the following conditions:

1) You run an Arminian friendly blog
2) You are willing to post a review.
3) You live in the USA.

If interested, leave a comment and drop me an email with your mail address. I can be reached at: nampamarinerfan_at_gmail_dot_com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Comparison of Wesleyanism and Classical Arminianism

Wesleyanism and Classical Arminianism have much in common, however, there are a few differences. Here's a list that compares some of the differences in belief. These are generalities, as particular beliefs often vary from person to person. And some of these categories overlap a bit. For example: One's view of sanctification influences one's view of righteousness.

Sanctification / Holiness:
Wesleyans place an emphasis on entire sanctification (although perhaps less so though than they used to). Classical Arminians do not hold to entire sanctification. Wesleyans teach that Christians can be completely sanctified in this lifetime, and can live a holy life. Sanctification is not only inward, it is also outward, and motivates a life of service. John Wesley called this "Holiness of Heart and Life". Some Wesleyans see this as a process. Some see it as an instant second work of grace. Some a combination of the two. J Kenneth Grider has a book about this. Entire Sanctification: The Distinctive Doctrine of Wesleyanism.

Atonement: Wesleyans often hold to the moral government view of the atonement. Jesus suffered and died as a governmental act to show that God was displeased with the sin of man. Anyone who accepts the suffering of Jesus will be saved. Classical Arminians usually hold to substitutionary atonement. Jesus died as a substitute for mankind, taking our place. Those who believe will be saved. It should be noted that John Wesley himself held to substitutionary atonement. However, most of his followers have held to the governmental view, particularly since the late 1800's. This was the view originally articulated by the Remonstrant Hugo Grotius, and later advocated by evangelist Charles Finney, and Methodist theologian John Miley.

Forfeiting Salvation: Wesleyans believe salvation can be forfeited by a deliberately sinful life. It can be regained by repentance. Classical Arminians have different opinions on the matter. Some agree with Wesleyans that salvation can be forfeited and regained. Some believe that if salvation is forfeited it cannot be regained again. Some believe that salvation cannot be forfeited. Arminius himself never took a position on this issue. As a side note, I think there is a trend toward identifying with Classical Arminianism among some in the SBC, because they can still hold to "once saved always saved". This is good. Calvinism has become very divisive among the SBC and the folks who believe that Jesus died for the world are taking another look at Arminianism.

Righteousness: Wesleyans believe in imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness. Classical Arminians generally hold to only imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness is a forensic righteousness before God. It teaches that that we are still sinful at heart after becoming Christians, but God the Father ignores our sin because of our faith in Jesus. When he looks at us he sees the righteousness of Jesus instead of our sin. Imparted righteousness teaches that we are acceptable to the Father because the blood of Jesus has really made us pure and has changed us inside. We are holy in God's sight because Jesus has genuinely made us so.

Spirit Focus: Wesleyans place a priority on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit (healing, prophesy, etc). Charismatic Wesleyans also hold that the gift of tongues is one of the evidences of the filling of the Spirit. Classical Arminians believe in the filling of the Spirit, but generally have less focus on gifts of the Spirit.

Wesleyans are more friendly to open theism, although many also hold to classical foreknowledge. Open theism teaches that God does not exhaustively know the future because the future is open and cannot be known. Classical Arminians believe that God exhaustively knows the future.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Life is Hard - by Heidi Jackson

Here is a song written and sung by my daughter Heidi. I hope it blesses you as it has me.

Life is hard ‘cause we make mistakes.
Life is hard ‘cause we sin.
Life is hard ‘cause we have bad days.
And it’s hard ‘cause we’re far from God.

But God gave us a gift.
For whoever believes in him,
Shall not die, but have eternal life.
There’s no doubt when God’s around
‘cause he loves us, and he’s with us.

Life is hard ‘cause we’re getting sick.
Life is hard ‘cause we’re sad.
Life is hard, cause we’re getting mad.
And it’s hard ‘cause we’re far from God.

Life is hard, cause we get bullied.
Life is hard, cause we’re scared
Life is hard, cause we lose our friends.
And it’s hard ‘cause we’re far from God.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Interesting Links - 11/29/09

Dr. Jeffrey E. Greenway, a UMC Pastor gives a review of the Wesley Study Bible. He comments on the Calvinist resurgence. "In my opinion, the trend of the majority of modern evangelicalism has a Calvinist/Reformed bent...However, I also believe that the world and culture in which most of us find ourselves is ripe for a resurgence of a Wesleyan approach to faith and practice."

Looks like Bill O'Reilly is not a Calvinist. In this video he mentions (in passing) some of the problems of Calvinism. Go to 2:45 for the pithy version. (HT: Contemporary Calvinist)

Blogger Peter Churcher is doing a series called "Out of the Closet", where he gives his reasons for holding to certain doctrines. In this post he explains why he is an Arminian. "Arminianism is a belief in God's grace first and foremost, with an acceptance of our God given free will and responsibility. Arminianism is the belief that we are all spiritually blind and are in need to God's grace."

William Birch gives three reasons why Calvinism should be rejected: Historical Verity Belongs to Arminianism, God is to be Glorified, and Scripture and the Significance of Hermeneutics.

According to Nick Norelli, Christian radio hosts James White (Calvinist) and Michael Brown (Arminian) are looking into a possible debate.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fun Little Poem

A little poetry about a certain opponent of Arminius. :)

Franciscus Gomarus was a Superlapsarius;
He actually gave Adam an excuse,
God had decreed, foreordained Adam's deed
God had precooked Adam's Goose!

(Author unknown, quoted by Vic Reasoner in his audio series on systematic theology, "Attributes of God, part 1")

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Servetus the Evangelical out of the Closet?

Hat tip to Steve Noel.

According to Steve, "Apparently Servetus the Evangelical is a golfer named Kermit Zarley. Never heard of him before but his clues match up with this fellow."

If you don't know who Servetus the Evangelical is, his website is here. Mr Zarley's website is here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Interesting Links - 11/14/09

Wesley the Movie premiers tonight in Winston-Salem, NC. The Winston-Salem Journal has an article about the production. For more info see the movie website or Facebook page. has a good short biography about Calvin: John Calvin - Geneva's Iron Hand.

SLW presents a cure for the TULIP.

The New American (a conservative opinion site) has an article that is critical of Al Gore and his climate change theories. The author, James Heiser, ties Gore's theory to Arminianism. "In a style suited for a culture swamped by typically Arminian thinking, Mr. Gore assures his readers that salvation is in their hands."

Calvinist Tim Haufler takes a look at 1 John 2:2. What does "whole world" mean?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Arminian Audio: Dr. Michael Brown

Here is an audio link to a Christian radio call in show hosted by a person named Dr. Michael Brown. He explains why he is not a Calvinist.

Calvinism vs Arminianism - Part 1: November 4, 2009
Calvinism vs Arminianism - Part 2: November 5, 2009
Why I Am Not a Calvinist – Part 1: November 9, 2009
Why I Am Not a Calvinist – Part 2: November 10, 2009

Also available by podcast

Of interest:
  • He gives an account how he was a Calvinist for five years and then later rejected the system.
  • He became a Calvinist through intellectual studies and not by "being on his knees".
  • For him Calvinism promoted intellectual pride and a lack of spiritual vitality.
  • He noted the tendency of Calvinists to have a fixation on certain doctrines.
HT: Arminian Today

Thursday, November 5, 2009

John Goodwin's "Redemption Redeemed" Online!

The Society of Evangelical Arminians has obtained a PDF of "Redemption Redeemed" by John Goodwin. It can be found here.

From the website:
John Goodwin's Redemption Redeemed may be the best defense of Arminianism ever written. Published in 1651 by the Arminian Puritan John Goodwin (1593-1665), it is written in seventeenth century English with a Puritan writing style, which can make for challenging reading. But it contains tremendous biblical exegesis. The patient reader will be rewarded with a powerful, classic, comprehensive, biblical defense of five point Reformation Arminian theology.
And also:
A revised, shortened edition has been produced, which mildly updates the language and provides excerpts concentrated on defending unlimited atonement from the much larger work made available here: Redemption Redeemed: A Puritan Defense of Unlimited Atonement
Thanks to John Wagner for all the hard work he has done to make these resources available.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Women Leaders in the Wesleyan Movements

This post contains some short biographies of women who were early leaders (prior to 1900) in the various Wesleyan inspired movements. The Methodist, Holiness, and Charismatic movements all have a rich egalitarian history.

Due to the length of this post, many worthy names are omitted. This list should not be considered exhaustive.

Sarah Crosby (1729-1804) Sarah was born in Leeds, Yorkshire. A former Calvinist, she became a Methodist after hearing John Wesley preach. In 1761 she became one of the first female preachers in Methodism. She traveled and preached extensively, with the encouragement of John Wesley.

Barbara Heck (1734-1804) An immigrant from Ireland, Barbara was instrumental in the founding of the Methodist movement in New York state. She is known as the mother of American Methodism. She was a loyalist (supporter of England). After the American Revolution, her family relocated to Canada and she continued her work there.

Mary Bosanquet Fletcher (1739-1815) Mary was an early leader in the Methodist movement. She was a preacher and teacher. She managed a house in London to take care of the poor and destitute. Later in life she married John Fletcher (a close associate of John Wesley). After Mr. Fletcher's death, she continued in ministry for another 30 years.

Jarena Lee (1783-1849) Lee was the first female preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was born in New Jersey (a free state). In 1819 she received permission from the AME to preach. She was an evangelist who traveled throughout the East and Midwestern United States, including the slave states of Virginia and Maryland. She wrote a small autobiography (online here), where she gives a moving account of her conversion, and how she was called to preach. " For as unseemly as it may appear now-a-days for a woman to preach, it should be remembered that nothing is impossible with God. And why should it be thought impossible, heterodox, or improper for a woman to preach? seeing the Savior died for the woman as well as for the man."

Fanny Butterfield Newell (1793-1824) Fanny was the wife of a well known Methodist preacher, and also preached herself. They helped found a Methodist church in Sydney Maine, Fanny preached in the New England states.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) Sojourner was was a fiery Methodist, who spoke on the topics of abolition, women's suffrage, prison reform, and capital punishment. Her early life contains the awful stories common to slave women. She was born in New York and became emancipated when New York outlawed slavery. "Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with Him!"

Juliann Jane Tillman (?-?) Tillman was preacher in the AME in the early part of the 19th century. She was probably an itinerant evangelist. In the early days of the AME, women were permitted to preach, but not to be in leadership in the local church. The lithograph on the left was done in 1844.

Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) Palmer was an evangelist, author, and prayer warrior. She was instrumental in the founding of the American Holiness movement. She had a heart for the poor, and started an inner city mission in New York City. She wrote a book entitled "The Promise of the Father" which advocated women in leadership. "Earnest prayers, long fasting, and burning tears may seem befitting, but cannot move the heart of infinite love to a greater willingness to save. God's time is now. The question is not, What have I been? or What do I expect to be? But, Am I now trusting in Jesus to save to the uttermost? If so, I am now saved from all sin."

Laura Smith Haviland (1808-1898) Laura was the daughter of Quaker leaders and later worked with the Wesleyan Methodists in the fight against slavery. She was a well known abolitionist, and active in the underground railroad (helping African slaves escape to free states). The Wesleyan Methodist church recognized her work by giving her a district appointment (the same authority that a pastor of a church would receive).

Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915) Crosby penned the lyrics for more than 8000 poems and hymns. She sometimes used pseudonyms when writing because publishers were reluctant to fill their hymnals entirely with her work. Crosby memorized long passages of scripture. She was a frequent public speaker, and a sought after revival preacher. She was an advocate of education for the blind (being blinded herself in early childhood). Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Sarah Smith (1822-1908) Known as "Mother Smith", Sarah was a believer in the power of God. She had little formal eduction, knowing only how to write simple print. Originally a timid person, she became a bold prayer warrior after a sanctification experience. At the age of 61, she first felt the call to preach. She joined a group of holiness evangelists who held revival meetings and planted new churches in many different states. These churches eventually formed the "Anderson Church of God" denomination.

Julia Foote (1823-1900) Julia was born in New york, a child of former slaves. She was a longtime member of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ). By the late 1840's she felt a call to preach, and became a traveling evangelist.

Mary Clarke Nind (1825-1905) Mary was a leader in the Methodist missionary movement. She founded the "Woman's Foreign Missionary Society". Originally a Congregationalist, Mary became a Methodist because of her interest in holiness doctrine, and because of her desire to preach the Gospel. She was affectionately called "Our Little Bishop".

Annie Wittenmyer (1827-1900) Nicknamed "God's angel", Annie was best known for her work assisting wounded Union soldiers during the American civil war. President Grant is quoted as saying "No soldier on the firing line gave more heroic service than she did." Annie had a special heart for children. She wrote children's hymns, established Sunday schools, and dedicated time to assisting war orphans. She was was a writer and leader in the Temperance movement. She was active in leadership in the development of the state of Iowa.

Catherine Booth (1829-1890) William and Catherine Booth founded the Salvation Army. Catherine's leadership skills and strong Wesleyan theology were instrumental in the formation of the organization. She often preached to to more affluent audiences, urging them to minister to the poor. She was involved in the temperance movement, seeing the effects of alcohol abuse. Catherine was known as the "Army Mother".

Jennie Fowler Willing (1834-1916) Willing founded the "New York Evangelistic Training School", which was a missionary training center. She was ordained in 1873. She was an early Christian expert on Mormonism, and wrote a book entitled: Mormonism: The Mohammedanism of the West.

Mary Depew (1836-1892) Mary was an evangelist for the Wesleyan Methodists, and was a major influence in the Wesleyan Holiness revival. She preached throughout Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

Amanda Berry Smith (1837-1915) Amanda was known as "the colored evangelist". Born a slave, by 1840 her parents had saved enough money to purchase the family's freedom. They moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania, and joined the abolitionist movement. Amanda taught herself to read by cutting letters from the newspapers that her father brought home. By the 1870's Amanda had become a well known holiness evangelist, frequently preaching at revivals and camp meetings. She traveled throughout the United States. She spent 12 years abroad, doing missionary work in Europe, India, and Africa. She founded an orphanage in Chicago.

Elizabeth Sisson (1843-1934) Elizabeth was a writer, missionary, and preacher. She was an early missionary to India, where she ministered among the Hindus. After returning to the USA she became a popular evangelist and speaker in the young charismatic movement. She was a co-editor for a publication called "Triumph of Faith" (with Carrie Judd, see below). Elizabeth was involved in the founding of the Assemblies of God, and was ordained in 1917.

Anna (Annie) Hanscome (1845? - 1899) Annie was a holiness preacher. In 1890, she founded a church in Malden, Massachusetts. She was ordained in 1892 by a holiness group that would later join the Nazarene church, thus making her the first of many ordained females in the denomination. The church she founded continues today, and is one of the oldest Nazarene churches in existence.

Emma Whittemore (1850-1931) Emma Whittemore was an unlikely leader. She and her husband Sydney and were wealthy New York socialites. They both felt called to serve the poor. Emma was quite timid and shy, until the Holy Spirit called her into service. She founded the "Door of Hope" mission in New York City, which ministered to street girls. The Whittemores became leaders in the Salvation Army, and were also active in the foundation of Gospel Rescue Missions. Emma was a popular public speaker.

Carrie Judd Montgomery (1858-1946) After being bedridden for a number of years, Carrie had an amazing healing experience. Afterwords she began to share her story with others. She was a well respected person, and preached to widely different audiences. She shared her message with multiracial groups, and with any church who would open their doors. She was involved with the Salvation Army, and was acquainted with many leaders in the various Wesleyan-Holiness movements. She was involved in the founding of the Christian Missionary Alliance, and of the Assemblies of God. At a time when many were suspicious of the new Charismatic movement, Carrie was a unifier who helped to promote unity between Holiness and Charismatic groups.

Rachel Bradley. Rachel's motto was "The World for Jesus". She was a Free Methodist. She founded a number of missions and outreach programs in Chicago, the oldest of which was the Olive Branch Mission, established in 1867. At the time, prostitution was rampant in the city, even among young girls, who were bought and sold by the brothels. Rachel took girls off the street and taught them skills in order to give them an alternate means to provide for themselves. The mission is still in operation today.

Helenor M. Davison Helenor M. Davison was a Methodist, and was ordained in 1866 by the North Indiana Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, probably making her the first ordained woman in the American Methodist tradition.

Florence Lee (1859-1958) Florence was an ordained minister in the Pilgrim Holiness Church (A parent body of the Wesleyan Church). She was an evangelist, ran a rescue home in Colorado, was active in the PCH Bible college, and was an editor of a magazine called "The Mission Advance".

Fannie McDowell Hunter (1860-1912?) Fannie was the grand daughter of a Methodist circuit rider. She was a holiness evangelist, and was involved in the founding of the Church of the Nazarene. She wrote a book entitled "Women preachers" which was a compilation of stories of contemporary women preachers.

Dr Lilian Yeomans (1861-1942) Lilian and her mother Amelia were physicians in Manitoba. They learned medicine in Michigan, as Canada did not admit women into med school at the time. They provided health care for women and children, the poor in their community. Lilian became addicted to morphine after using it on the job. After nearly dying, she was healed from the addiction. She gave up her medical practice, and became an evangelist and a missionary to the Cree Indians. She wrote about diving healing and how God had healed her addition. She was a popular speaker on the topic of healing.

Alma B. White (1862-1946) Alma was an amazing woman, yet not without controversy because of her racism. She founded the "Pillar of Fire" church denomination. She was the first female bishop of a denomination in the United States. She was involved in the temperance and woman's suffrage movements.

Rachel Sizelove (1864-1941) Rachel was an itinerant evangelist. Initially a Free Methodist, she became Charismatic after hearing William Seymour preach at the Azuza Street revival in Los Angeles. She founded the original Assembly of God church in Springfield, Missouri.

Mary Lee Cagle (1864-1955) Mary was a holiness preacher from Alabama. She felt the call to preach at a young age, but was discouraged by her family from following the call. She married an evangelist named Robert Lee Harris, and first learned to preach by observing him. After Harris died of tuberculosis, Mary began preaching on her own. She traveled with a group of women evangelists. She also often preached to black congregations. This was quite unusual at the time for a white woman from rural Alabama. She helped to found a number of holiness churches in Alabama, Texas and New Mexico. She was involved in the formation of the Church of the Nazarene.

Santos Elizondo (1867-1941) Santos was born in Mexico. She became a Christian at one of Phineas Bresee's Holiness revivals in Los Angeles. She founded at least two churches, one in El Paso, TX, and another in Juarez, Mexico. She lead Nazarene missions in Mexico for 35 years. While there, she founded orphanages and ministered to the poorest of the poor. Because of her servant heart, she was able to overcome much of the initial Mexican cultural hostility to her work (being Protestant and female were two big strikes). A number of prominent priests and officials attended her funeral.

Elsie Wallace (?-?) In 1897 Elsie founded a holiness mission in Spokane, WA. The mission was "literally filled on its four sides with saloons and places of wickedness." In 1902 the mission was reorganized as a church, and Elsie was unanimously called to become the first pastor. The church exists today as "Spokane First Nazarene Church". Elsie also started churches in Ashland, OR; Boise, ID; Walla Walla, WA and Seattle, WA. In addition, she was a district superintendent (in charge of all churches in a region). The Pentecostal Messenger reported that Pastor Wallace “is indeed one of the best pastors we ha[ve] ever seen anywhere, and is doing a great work."

In memory of my grandmother Lela Jackson. G'ma was an ordained minister (and many other things).

Interesting Links - 11/01/09

The Spokane Examiner has an article entitled: A Methodist's Take on Predestination and Free Will. (HT: Wesley Wong)

Richard Coords takes a look at a dissertation that explores the potential Gnostic influence on Augustine’s doctrine of Predestination.

Blogger Josh Taylor has an excellent piece on Justification by Faith.

Calvinist Kevin DeYoung asks: Can God Know Everything and Still Give Us Free Will? Be sure to see Adam O's comment.

Hyper-Calvinist Bill Parker says Calvinists aren't saved if they defend Arminians.

Destiny or Free Will? Christianity Today's Todd Hertz writes about a new ABC TV series that will "explore the nature of destiny and the human condition."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Problem for Open Theism

Open Theists deny God's foreknowledge because they believe that if the future is known it is determined. Calvinists and Open Theists agree on a principle of foreknowledge. If the future is certain, it is necessary.

Calvinists affirm the exhaustive foreknowledge of God, and thereby deny the possibility of libertarian free will. Open Theists take the other route. They affirm libertarian free will, and thereby deny the possibility of God's exhaustive foreknowledge.

Arminians make a distinction between certainty and necessity. This enables us to affirm both exhaustive foreknowledge and libertarian free will. The fact that something is foreknown by God makes it certain, but it does not make it necessary. If an event is certain but not necessary, libertarian free will is maintained. God knows everything we will do, but his knowing is not the cause of us doing it. Rather, our doing it is the cause of his knowing it. His knowing is dependent on our actions.1

If it's possible for God to know the future with certainty and for man to have free will, there is no reason to be an Open Theist. If the Open Theist recognizes this Arminian distinction, he loses the justification for his system. And in the end, the fact that Open Theism does not recognize the distinction creates big problems for the system.

The Open system is not always open. In order to account for prophesy, Open Theists make a distinction that God can settle portions of the future if he wants to. In the Open system anytime the future is settled, the event is necessary. Or put another way, anytime God has foreknowledge it is because God is going to cause an event to take place. Greg Boyd states it like this:
The open view holds that some of the future is open, not all of it. God can pre-settle as much of the future as he wants to pre-settle. If, in order to fulfill specific prophecies, God needed to providentially orchestrate things so that certain people with evil characters played out their evil intentions in specific ways, he could easily do this, and do so with impunity.2
Notice how what Boyd says sounds exactly like Calvinism! In his view the only way certain foreknowledge can be achieved is by God providentially orchestrating evil people to do evil things. His use of the word "orchestrating" is equivocation. In his view, the only way God can know the future is by settling it himself. God makes certain aspects of the future necessary, and accomplishes this by causing evil people to do evil things. Boyd does not explain how libertarian free will is maintained in this view. He cannot, because God "settling" the future in this way is not compatible with libertarian free will.

Scripture indicates that Jesus had specific foreknowledge of what his disciples would do. This presents problems for the open view given their claim that foreknowledge equals necessity.

Here are two specific examples from Matthew 26:

[Judas' betrayal] When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me." They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord? Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you." Matthew 26:20-25 (NIV)

[Peter's denial and the falling away of the disciples] Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same. Matthew 26:31-35 (NIV)

We see here several examples of the genuine foreknowledge of Jesus - the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, and the falling away of the disciples. If the open view is true, Jesus foreknowledge made these events necessary. The disciples had no free will on any of these matters. By knowing their actions, Jesus made Judas betray him, he made Peter deny him, and he made all of the disciples fall away. Just like in Calvinism, Open Theism has God causing people to do evil things. Remember that in the open view there is no free will if the future is settled.

The only other option is for Open Theists is to contort this passage into some sort of elaborate prediction. This is untenable for several reasons. First, Jesus says "you will" not "I predict that you will". Second, Jesus quotes prophesy: "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written..." Third, the nature of Jesus foreknowledge is too specific for a prediction: Peter will deny Jesus three times before the rooster crows. The only reasonable reading of this passage is that Jesus had genuine foreknowledge of his disciples actions before they made them.

The Arminian view of this passage has no difficulties. The Arminian view imputes no evil to Jesus. Arminians believe that foreknowledge is dependent on the act. Jesus knew that his disciples would do these things, but he did not cause their actions. His knowledge was certain, but it was dependent on the free will actions of the disciples themselves. Thus, Judas is at fault for betraying Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus because he freely chose to. Likewise, Peter is at fault for denying Jesus. Peter denied Jesus because he freely chose to.

In conclusion Open Theism is in error when it does not make a distinction between certainty and necessity. If Open Theists made such a distinction, their system would not be necessary. And by ignoring the distinction, they impugn the goodness of God in the same way Calvinists do.

In the Open view, any time that the future is "settled", God turns into a Calvinist.


1 For a more detailed explanation of the difference between certainty and necessity, see Thomas Ralston, Can Free Agency be Harmonized With Divine Foreknowledge?

2 Greg Boyd, How does an Open Theist explain all the prophecies fulfulled in the life of Jesus?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Roy Houser Gospel Band

Growing up my family always went to church on Sunday nights. Sunday nights were less formal than Sunday mornings. Choruses would be sung, there would be a time for testimonies, the message would be shorter. I liked Sunday nights. I was allowed to wear shorts on Sunday nights.

Occasionally we would be treated to a performance by the Roy Houser Gospel band. More about the band in a moment, but first a little about Roy. He was a saint in his early seventies. He was married and had children and grandchildren who attended our church. Roy was a great guy, his love for the Lord was obvious. He was a person who reached out to others, and declared the love of Jesus.

Roy had his own gospel band. He was the leader, and played the bass guitar. Another lady played the accordion, someone else would play the piano. They had a somewhat folksy style. The band was not terribly talented, probably the reason they always performed on Sunday nights.

The band irritated my mom a little bit. When she heard that they were going to play she would say "oh brother!". I liked the band, but not so much for the quality of music. It was nice to see a group of people playing who obviously loved the Lord.

I first realized that electric guitars weren't evil because Roy had one. He had a bass guitar. It looked like something a rock band might use. My keen young mind realized that if Roy had an electric guitar and brought it to church, electric guitars must not be so bad.

Over the years it seemed like Roy's band might die out. Some of the other performers aged and were unable to play. The band played less often. It made me sad.

But the band was going to live on.

One day Roy came up to me and said "Hey boy! How would you like to play in my band?" Roy never called me by my name. He always said "Hey boy!". I don't think he knew my name. Nonetheless I was honored to play in the band (I played the trumpet). I wasn't the only new person to join. Roy was busy recruiting. The band would survive. A younger group now, with Roy still at bass. We still weren't terribly talented.

One day I realized that fine music wasn't the point of the band. It never had been. For Roy it was about praising the Lord and reaching out to others. He found people, like me, who enjoyed playing music, and who he could minister to. He brought us together. He told us how Jesus had worked in his life, and how Jesus could work in our lives too.

I played in the band until I went to college. After I left, Roy was still busy recruiting other band members.

Roy died about 10 years ago. Today he is no doubt playing his bass guitar for the Lord. I look forward to the day too when I go to heaven. I will see Roy there. I know what he will say too. "Hey boy! How would you like to play in my band?". Then we will play music for the Lord.

Monday, October 19, 2009

400 Years Since the Death of Arminius

Today marks 400 years since the death of Jacob Arminius. It seems an appropriate day to recognize him because it means that he has been in heaven with the Lord for 400 years!

Here are a some sites that are recognizing the day:

SEA and Classical Arminianism: ARMINIUS 400: The Legacy of Jacob Arminius
Arminian Today: The 400th Anniversary of Arminius' death
de Remonstranten: Arminius, Arminianism, and Europe. An International Conference
Brennon's Thoughts: In Memory of Jacob Arminius
The Scriptorium: Arminius the Calvinist
Arminian Chronicles: Arminius' Impact on Calvinism

Reformed Blogs giving props (Hats off to our Reformed brothers!)
Pilgrim People: How Reformed must a Reformed minister be?
Reformed Insights: Calvinists and This Month of October: Some Opportunities

Know of any other sites recognizing the day? Drop me a comment and I'll add it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interesting Links - 10/18/09

Dr. Tim Pierce (pastor and professor) is doing an ongoing series about his journey out of Calvinism - what originally attracted him to it, and why he is no longer a Calvinist. " Part 1, Part2, Part3

Pastor George Zeller writes about the danger of teaching that Christ died only for the elect.

Calvinist Roy Orlund writes about placing love of brethren ahead of doctrinal distinctives. "Whatever divides us emotionally from other Bible-believing, Christ-honoring Christians is a “plus” we’re adding to the gospel. " HT: Seeking Disciple

Who were the Sadducees? Here is a nice little overview by Ken Schenk.

Blogger Jonathan Robinson explains what is wrong with TULIP.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Jealousy of God and Calvinism

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. -Exodus 34:14

A disturbing aspect of Calvinism is how it does damage to God's character. By improperly defining the sovereignty of God, Calvinists cannot adequately account for other aspects of God's character.

Calvinism is not compatible with the jealousy of God. If depraved humanity is doing what God has decreed, the jealousy of God is not real. If God's jealousy is genuine, determinism must be false. God's is jealous because his people, whom he loves, are not in relationship with him as he would prefer.

One of the Hebrew names for God is El Kanna (or El Qanna). Jealous God. El is a title, and indicates an intrinsic aspect of who God is.

El Shaddi - Mighty God
El Olam - Eternal God
El Elyon - Most High God
El Roi - All Seeing God
El Kanna - Jealous God

God's jealousy is on the same level as his qualities that we typically associate with sovereignty - qualities like might and omnipresence.

God is jealous because he is sovereign and his people behave like he is not. God created us and sustains us. He is the only one worthy to be praised and worshiped. He does not settle for being one of many. He is THE one, there is no other. "L
ove the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut 6:5). When we fall short of this command, God is jealous. And rightfully so. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. (Deut 6:13-15)

The prominence of the jealous God is apparent in the second commandment: "You shall not make for yourself an idol....You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God." (Literally: I Yahweh Elohim-of you El Kanna -Exodus 20:4-5 Hebrew interlinear)

The jealous nature of the Lord is often spoken of in scripture (Ex 20:5, 34:14; Deut 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; Jos 24:19; Isa. 9:7; Zech. 1:14, 8:2.)

God's jealousy indicates his commitment. He cannot be jealous if he does not care. God's jealousy indicates his involvement. He cannot be jealous if he created a world that is on fatalistic auto-pilot.

God's jealousy is active. Kanna communicates a sense of being committed to a course of action. It is sometimes translated as zealous. "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end...The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." (literally - kanna of Yahweh Isaiah 9:7 Hebrew interlinear).

In the New Testament, a zealot (like Simon the zealot) was called Kananaios. The zealots were willing to die to free Israel from Rome. God is willing to die to free us from sin. The jealousy of God is not the sort where he sits and pouts. God's jealousy motivated him to send Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. God's jealousy is always a catalyst to action.

Human jealousy is usually a bad thing. It is self-centered and covetous. We want something that is not ours. We selfishly desire someone who does not rightfully belong to us. In relationships, human jealousy is interested in self gratification and not the well being of the other. God desires our well being. He is jealous for our completeness in him. He knows that to be in relationship with him is the only thing that will ever truly fulfill us. God is jealous when we don't follow him. He is jealous for us (Zech 8:2). He is jealous when our loyalties are divided. God wants us to be the people that he intended us to be.

The book of Hoesa gives insight into the jealousy of God. God's relationship with Israel was likened to Hosea's relationship with Gomer.

The LORD said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes." (Hosea 3:1)

The jealousy of God shows his vulnerability. The God of the Bible is hurt and experiences pain when we reject him. As Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea and caused him pain, Israel was unfaithful to God and caused him pain. God's relationship with Israel was based in love, and was like a marriage covenant. When Israel violated its marriage vow, God was jealous. He was jealous because he was rejected by his covenant people whom he loved and cared for.

Jealousy does not make sense in the Calvinist system. Determinism mocks it. Detachment makes it impossible. Arbitrary wrath makes it irrelevant.

The jealousy of God is not genuine in a world where events are inevitably determined. A.W. Pink wrote that:
God did not merely decree to make man, place him upon the earth, and then leave him to his own uncontrolled guidance; instead, He fixed all the circumstances in the lot of individuals, and all the particulars which will comprise the history of the human race from its commencement to its close.
John Calvin wrote:
men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on any thing but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction.
Louis Berkhof wrote:
The decree of God however, carries with it necessity. God has decreed to effectuate all things or, if He has not decreed that, He has at least determined that they must come to pass. He has decided the course of man's life for him.
In Calvinism, God becomes jealous of the course of man's life that he has decided for him! God is jealous that his creatures are behaving in a way that he has inevitably caused. How absurd. Such a shallow concept of jealousy mocks the heart of God.

Jealousy is not genuine if God is detached. Just as Hosea was jealous when Gomer was unfaithful to him, God was jealous when Israel was unfaithful to him. If God was not concerned with Israel, or if God is not concerned with what or who we give affection to, he could not and cannot be jealous. God is jealous because he is affected by our rejection of him. If God is detached and aloof, if he does not participate in genuine relationship, he is not jealous.

Jealousy is not genuine if God's wrath is arbitrary. God is wrathful because he is jealous, and he is jealous because we are separated from him. It is important to remember the active zeal of God's jealousy. God's wrath is displayed in his zealous pursuit of humanity, and is instigated by the possibility of of reconciliation. When God punishes it comes about as a result to his spurned affection (Hosea 7:13). In Calvinism, God's wrath is divorced from reality. It is based on secret arbitrary decrees rather than from the identifiable motivations given in scripture.

In summary, the jealousy of God is genuine. Jealousy is an intrinsic part of God's character. In Calvinism, the jealousy of God is not genuine. Determinism, detachment, and arbitrary punishment make it impossible for God to have genuine jealousy. God's jealousy occurs because he created people for genuine relationship with him, and those people have rejected him instead. The fact that Calvinism cannot account for the jealousy of God demonstrates that the system is false.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Delegates to the Synod of Dort

Below is a complete list of the delegates to the Synod of Dort. The list is pulled from two different sources, so the spelling is not consistent (Some names are Latinized, others Anglicized).

There were no official delegates from several regions. The Dutch states of Holland and West Freisland were excluded. They had attempted to send Simon Episcopius as their delegate, and one of the first acts of the synod was to revoke his status. In France, Louis XIII opposed the synod and prohibited French participation. In Brandenburg (Germany), the Lutherans prohibited representation.

Only official delegates are listed. This excludes deputies, secretaries, observers, etc.

George Carleton (1559–1628)
Joseph Hall (replaced by Goad) (1574–1657)
Thomas Goad (1576–1638)
John Davenant (1576–1641)
Lancelot Andrewes (1555–1626).

Walter Balcanqual (1586–1645)
Samuël Ward (died in 1643)
William Ames (Guilielmus Amesius) (1576–1633).

Heidelberg (Palatine, Germany):
Abraham Scultetus (1566–1624)
Paul Tossanus (1572–1634)
Hendrik Alting (1583–1644).

Hessen (Germany):
Georg Cruciger (1575–1637)
Paul Stein (1585–1643)
Rudolph Goclenius (1547–1628)
Daniel Anglocrator (1569–1635).

Johann Jakob Breitinger (1575–1645)
Wolfgang Mayer (1577–1653)
Sebastian Beck (1583–1654)
Mark Rütimeyer (1580–1647)
Hans Conrad Koch (1564–1643)

Krefeld (Germany):
Herman op den Graeff (1585-1642)

Giovanni Diodati (1576–1649)
Theodore Trochin (1582–1657)

Bremen (Germany):
Ludwig Crocius (1586–1653)
Matthiuas Martinius (1572–1630)
Heinrich Isselburg (1577–1628)

Wetterau (Germany):
Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588–1638)
John Bisterfeld (died in 1619)
Georg Fabricius.

Emden (Germany):
Ritzius Lucas Grimersheim (1568–1631)
Daniël Bernard Eilshemius (1555–1622).

Dutch Theologians (at large)
Johannes Polyander, (1568-1646)
Sibrandus Lubbertus, Professor, Friesland
Franciscus Gomarus, (1563-1641)
Antonius Tysius, Professor, Gelderland
Antonius Walaeus, Professor, Middelburg

Gelderland-Zutphen (The Netherlands)
Gulielmus Stephani, Pastor, Arnhelm
Ellardus a Mehen, Pastor, Harderwick
Johannes Bouillet, Minister, Warnesfield
Jacobus Verheyden, Elder, School Rector, Numeghen

South Holland (The Netherlands)
Balthasar Lydius, Pastor, Dort
Henricus Arnoldi, Preacher, Delf
Gisbertus Voetius, Pastor, Huysden.
Arnoldus Musius, Elder, Dort
Johannes Latius, Elder, Leiden

North Holland (The Netherlands)
Iacobus Triglandius, Minister, Amsterdam
Abrahamus à Dooreslaer, Minister, Enchusen
Samuel Bartholdus, Pastor, Monichodam
Theodorus Heyngius, Elder, Amsterdam
Dominicus ab Heemskerck, Elder, Amsterdam

Zeeland (The Netherlands)
Godefridus Udemannus, Pastor, Zurick-zee
Cornelius Regius, Pastor, Tergoose
Lambertus de Rycke, Pastor, Bergen up Zoon
Josias Vosbergius, Elder, Middleburg
Adrianus Hofferus, Elder, Zurick-zee

Utrecht (The Netherlands)
Johannes Dibbezius, Minister, Utrecht
Arnoldus Oortcampius, Pastor, Amersfoort

Friesland (The Netherlands)
Florentius Johannis, Church member, Snek
Philippus Danielis Eilshemius, Pastor, Harling
Kempo Harinxma à Donia, Elder, Leuerdin
Tacitus ab Aysma, Elder, Buirgirt

Overijssel (The Netherlands)
Casparus Sibelius, Pastor, Deventer
Hermannus Wiferding, Minister, Swoll
Hieronymus Vogelius, Pastor, Hasselt
Iohannes Langius, Preacher, Woolenhoof.
Wilhelmus à Broickhuysenten Doerne, Elder's deputy
Johannes à Lauwick, Elder's deputy

Groningen (The Netherlands)
Cornelius Hillenius, church member, Groningen
Georgius Placius, Pastor, Apingdam
Wolfgangus Agricola, Minister, Bedam
Wigboldus Homerus, Minister, Midwold
Egbertus Halbes, Elder, Groningen
Ioannes Rufelaert, Elder, Stedum

Drenthe (The Netherlands)
Themo ab Asscheberg, Pastor, Meppelen
Patroclus Romelingius, Pastor, Rhuine

Wallon (The Netherlands)
Daniel Colonius, Minister and regent, Leyden
Joannes Crucius, Minister, Harleim
Joannes Doucher, Minister, Vluisshing.
Jeremias de Pours, Minister, Wallon
Everardus Beckerus, Elder, Wallon
Petrus Pontanus, Elder of the Church in Amsterdam

Sources used:
Dutch Delegates: English Translation of the Synod of Dort, 1619
Foreign Delegates:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Arminian Resource: Libarary of Theology

I just ran across this web site: Library of Theology. They have quite a bit of good information relating to the Calvinist / Arminian debate. There are lots of video and audio links.

Much of the content is not classical Arminian (ie open theism, moral government, rejection of original sin, etc). Still, it is a worthwhile resource.

I've listened to some of the audio, which is by a fellow named Kerrigan Skelly. He has a series arguing against the TULIP. He presents to a group of little kids, so he dumbs things down quite a bit. I found his explanation of moral government theory helpful. A good understanding of MGT has always eluded me. :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Interesting Links - 10/03/09

All Arminius, all month! William Birch will be recognizing the work of Arminius on his blog Classical Arminianism. October 19, 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Jacob Arminius.

Calvinist Joshua is becoming increasingly appalled at the behavior of Calvinists on the web.

On the same note, Ryan D. McConnell writes a letter to his Reformed brothers. "Be familiar with the work of Classical can you accurately discuss theology with an opposing theological camp if you don't know what they actually believe?"

Thomas Twitchell states that Southern Baptists will lose the inerrancy war because of Armininans low view of scripture.

Does the Calvinist concept of providence originate from Islam? Blogger Diana West thinks so, She refers to a book that documents Islams' influence on the West. She also notes that tulips come from Turkey. Who knew?

C. Michael Patton tackles the question: Should a Calvinist marry an Arminian? The obvious answer is, "only if he's destined to".

Southern Baptist Robin Foster officially resigns from being a Calvinist. HT: William Birch

Why do Reformed churches serve "deplorably tiny portions of Communion bread and wine"? This blogger speculates.

Move aside Greg Boyd and Babe Ruth. Mariners announcer Mike Blowers provides proof that there is such a thing as divine foreknowledge. Well, maybe not divine, but still unbelievable.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mosaic Bible Giveaway - Nick's Blog

Nick from Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth is giving away a certificate for a free copy of the Holy Bible - Mosaic. Go sign up for your chance! He will decide the winner on October 8th, and announce on October 9th.

Monday, September 28, 2009

You Might be a Calvinist If...

I ran across this list on Tom in the Box, which is pretty good. Billy's comment was great. Here are a few more. Mostly charitable. :)

You might be a Calvinist if....

You rented King Arthur, and turned if off half way through.

You haven't actually read The Shack, but have read several books on why it's heretical.

You got goose bumps on Calvin's 500th birthday.

Pyromania makes you think of Phil Johnson, not Def Leppard.

You can decipher this code: 29:29, 21:1, 6:37, 6:43, 10:26, 8:30, 9:20, 1:4, 2:8

You found the error.

It irritates you when someone says the solas in English.

You added the unreached people widget to your blog, to head off Arminians at the pass.

When someone mentions New Zealand, the first thing you think of is particular redemption.

You hate rap, but listen to Lecrae because his lyrics are so good.

You have a plaque commemorating the Synod of Dort.

You're biggest complaint about John MacArthur is that he doesn't use the ESV.

You've come up with a working theory on how the Holocaust gives God glory.

You've considered moving to Minneapolis.

You initially didn't get the King Arthur reference, but looked it up and now strongly agree.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roger Olson Challenges Calvinists to Rewrite "The Shack"

The Society of Evangelical Armininians has a post today by Roger Olson, where he issues a challenge to Calvinists: Rewrite "The Shack" from the Calvinist view.

Olson writes:
Since most Calvinists are harshly critical of the novel The Shack (which takes a similar approach to theodicy as Greg Boyd in Is God to Blame?) because of its alleged undermining of God's glory and sovereignty, why don't they (or one of them) write a similar novel in which God explains to Mack (or someone like him) why his daughter was kidnapped, raped and murdered--and avoid language about God permitting or allowing it (which is really Arminian language)?

Quite a tall order. I would not relish the idea of explaining why God decrees the rape and murder of a little girl. And that is one of the root problems with Calvinism. If God ordains everything and he is good, then why do evil things happen?

I personally nominate Tim Challies to write the book.

If you are unfamiliar with "The Shack", you have been living in a cave. :) It is a popular and controversial Christian novel. My review is here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The ESV and Romans 16:7

Does anyone know why the ESV translates Romans 16:7 differently than the other major translations? I'm referring to where the ESV says that Andronicus and Junia (a female) were well known to the apostles. All the other major translations make it sound as if they WERE apostles (rather than merely known to them). Is this a legitimate interpretation?

Bold added by me.

ESV: Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

NASB: Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

KJV: Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

NRSV: Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

NIV: Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

TNIV: Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

NLT: Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.

ASV: Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also have been in Christ before me.

(Click to enlarge and see the Greek interlinear text)

Monday, September 21, 2009

How to Worship (Funny Video)

This is funny, particularly since most of it applies pretty close to home. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Interesting Links - 9/19/09

This month's Christianity Today has some articles by Arminians in praise of John Calvin (yes, you read that right). Man of the Bible: What Calvin gets Right, by Ben Witherington. Theologian of the Spirit, by Roger Olson.

This pastor hates Obama, and preached a sermon on why he wishes the president dead. Although the article doesn't state it, I'm going to go way out on a limb and guess that the good reverend is not an Arminian. [update 10-2-09 : the pastor is NOT a Calvinist, although probably not an Arminian either: link - thanks to Rev for pointing this out]

Tim Challies has an article about his visit to Saddleback Church. He attended a service and met with Rick Warren for about 30 minutes.

Ben Witherington previews the NIV 2011.

Calvinist witnessing and Arminian witnessing. If you haven't already seen these clips, they're pretty funny. The Calvinist witnessing one is better of course. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Calvinists Who Became Arminians at Dort

One of the fascinating facts of history is the "conversion" to Arminianism of several of the Calvinists who participated in the proceedings at the Synod of Dort. Below are accounts of three Calvinists, two whom changed their views during the actual proceedings, and one who had already changed his opinion prior.

John Hales (1584-1656): Hales was an English theologian. He was a quiet and gentle man. He was well read, had an excellent memory, and is reported to have had an "exact knowledge of the Greek tongue".1 For some time he was a professor at the college of Eton, where he taught Greek. He was affectionately referred to as "The Ever Memorable Hales". During the proceedings at Dort, Hales was a chaplain for Sir Dudley Carlton, the English ambassador to the Netherlands. He attended Dort at the request of Sir Carlton. During Dort, Hales is reported to have "bade John Calvin good night".2 He became convinced of the merits of Arminianism after hearing Simon Episcopius' defense of Unlimited Atonement and exposition of John 3:16.

Thomas Goad (1576-1638): Goad was an English clergyman. He was fond of poetry and known for his skill in verse. He was a chaplain for George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury. He was a rector in several locations, and was also precentor (music leader) at Saint Paul's Cathedral. Goad was sent to Dort by King James at the request of Abbot. Goad went to the Dort as a Calvinist, but like Hales, he became convinced of Arminianism during the course of the synod. He switched sides and began to defend the Arminians. As a result, he lost much prestige among his colleagues, and his name was omitted (perhaps accidentally) from the acts of the synod. After the synod, Goad returned to his chaplaincy.3

Daniel Tilenus (1563-1633): Tilenus was a Huguenot (French Calvinist). He was a professor at the Presbyterian college of Sedan. He was a staunch Calvinist in his earlier days, but had already embraced the Remonstrants by the time of Dort. Risking his position at Sedan, Tilenus strongly criticized the behavior of the Calvinists at Dort, stating that they treated their Arminian brethren according to "the methods of the Turks"4. As a result of supporting and identifying with Arminians, Tilenus was deposed from his professorship at Sedan. He moved to England at the request of King James, and became a capable defender of Arminian theology.5

(1) The 1917 Harvard Theological Review, Volume 10 Short biography about the life of John Hales.
(2) The Life of John Goodwin by Thomas Jackson, 1872, page 441
(3) Dictionary of National Biography (British) 1885-1900, entry on Thomas Goad
(4) Religious currents and cross-currents: essays on early modern Protestantism, 1999, page 9
(5) Memoirs of Simon Episcopius, By Frederick Calder, 1838, page 456