Not long ago, I was reading Malachi when I was struck by a verse commonly quoted in the Calvinist circle. In Malachi 1:2b-3a, God tells Israel, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.” The Apostle Paul later cites this in Romans 9:13. Calvinists often deploy it as evidence of individual, unconditional election. It … Continue reading "Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated"
This is something that I wrote elsewhere but thought would be good to share here. Are we mindless robots? We self-evidently have mind, so we can’t be mindless strictly. Also, our minds play a role in the exercise of will. We are differentiated from robots in a number of ways, but the existence of subjective … Continue reading "A Brief Q&A on Free Will"
The classical Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement is problematic in several ways, even if it does contain a nugget of truth. One of these problems is simply bad exegesis, which in turn results from an unbiblical hermeneutic. A key place where this problem manifests itself is in limited atonement prooftexts like this one: She will … Continue reading "He Died for His People, Not the Elect"
I just ran across an article by Tom Ascol titled, “Is There Really No Biblical Support for Unconditional Election?” I think the answer to that question is rather close to a “Yes,” at least if “unconditional election” is defined as in classical Calvinism. But of course the article argues otherwise. In response to those who … Continue reading "Is There Really Any Biblical Support for Unconditional Election?"
For my last (rather delayed) post on Karl Barth’s doctrine of providence according to Darren Kennedy, I want to briefly address the way that heaven and, interestingly, the angels function in the whole structure. According to Kennedy, heaven and the angels are actually quite important to Barth’s providence. Why this would be the case might not be obvious at all to … Continue reading "Karl Barth on Providence and Heaven"
A quote from Calvin’s Institutes: Innumerable are the evils that beset human life; innumerable, too, the deaths that threaten it. We need not go beyond ourselves: since our body is the receptacle of a thousand diseases—in fact holds within itself and fosters the causes of diseases—a man cannot go about unburdened by many forms of his … Continue reading "Calvin the Existentialist"
Honestly, as much as I strenuously oppose the doctrine of limited atonement on logical and theological grounds, my most confident and compelling reasons are simply Biblical. I don’t think Scripture supports the doctrine in any way, shape, or form, but in fact entirely and completely contradicts it. I think T. F. Torrance was altogether correct in … Continue reading "The Backward Hermeneutic of Limited Atonement"
Something occurred to me last night when I was reading Herman Bavinck on the infra/supralapsarian debate in classical Calvinism. (‘Twas a pretty good read, by the way. Bavinck is probably the best that classical, federal Reformed theology has to offer.) A strange dilemma seems to appear in the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional, individual election. Specifically, the relation between … Continue reading "A Riddle of Love and Election"
As I posted some time ago, Evangelical Calvinism has a highly Christological approach to election which, in the history of salvation, involves several “layers.” The election of Christ in eternity has as its correspondence a movement of historical election which takes place through several stages/layers of covenant (all of which, of course, mediate the one covenant of … Continue reading "Layered, Christological Election as a Biblical Story"
In my last post about D. M. Kennedy’s thesis on Karl Barth’s doctrine of providence, I overviewed the way Barth addressed the question of evil in the world and the divine will. God gives sin and evil space for existence in His opposition to it; His “No” to human evil defines it and gives it concrete existence … Continue reading "Barth on Providence and Double-Agency"