Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Walls on what's wrong with Calvinism

Here. 

21 comments:

steve said...

It's my impression that Walls is a coward. When he attacks Calvinism, he does softball interviews or pop venues where he's unlikely to run up against sophisticated resistance, where he basically controls the setting.

I haven't seen him get into direct debates with Reformed philosophers or Reformed commentators. He plays it safe. Picks on easy targets. Puts buffers between himself and the real competition.

You can also see that in his acknowledgements.

Bilbo said...

Randal Rauser has assured me that Calvinism and Universalism can both be believed in consistently. Therefore, based on his theological authority, I hope that Calvinism is true. I know that God wants all men (and women) to be saved, and would therefore predestine all of them for salvation. In other words, given that Calvinism and Universalism are compatible, Calvinism implies Universalism.

B.L.T. said...

Bilbo, just because proposition a is doesn’t contradict b that doesn’t mean that a implies or vice versa. However, I do think that given the assumption that goodness and moral values are attributes of God’s nature and thus define who He is, one must conclude that God predestined all men to be saved if the Calvinist is correct. The only way that I can see that the Calvinist could avoid such a conclusion is to propose a pure Divine Command Theory of ethics, meaning God defines what is good, just and moral, and thus can predestine some men to hell and others to heaven without committing an injustice.

B.L.T. said...

Perhaps its just that I haven’t kept myself as up to date on Calvinist literature as I should, but I know of no convincing counter-arguments to many of this lecturer’s points.

steve said...

I've discussed Walls on a number of occasions. For instance:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/10/impugning-god.html

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-arminian-funhouse.html

steve said...

Bilbo said...

"I know that God wants all men (and women) to be saved, and would therefore predestine all of them for salvation. In other words, given that Calvinism and Universalism are compatible, Calvinism implies Universalism."

i) That's grafting Arminian atonement onto Calvinist predestination. It isn't Calvinism or Arminianism.

ii) Universalism has a different concept of God, sin, justice, and mercy.

iii) Many Arminians reject penal substitution–as well as imputation. Therefore, Arminians and Calvinists have different models of atonement and justification. The difference is qualitative, not quantitative.

steve said...

B.L.T. said...

"However, I do think that given the assumption that goodness and moral values are attributes of God’s nature and thus define who He is, one must conclude that God predestined all men to be saved if the Calvinist is correct. The only way that I can see that the Calvinist could avoid such a conclusion is to propose a pure Divine Command Theory of ethics, meaning God defines what is good, just and moral, and thus can predestine some men to hell and others to heaven without committing an injustice."

Actually, the conundrum in Scripture is how a good God can justify *any* of the wicked. So you have the issue precisely backwards, as far as moral values are concerned.

Bilbo said...

Hi BLT,

We agree.

Bilbo said...

Hi Steve,

Are you denying that Calvinism and Universalism are compatible?

B.L.T. said...

Steve, you’re missing my point. Obviously scripture teaches that men are wicked. But if as Calvinists maintain men are wicked ultimately because of God’s determining action, then I fail to see how man has any responsibility for his wickedness. Given that Calvinists also seem committed to the idea that God actively punishes the wicked it seems difficult for me to understand how Calvinism makes sense given scriptural assumptions. It seems self-evident to me that someone must have moral responsibility in order to be punished justly, and one can only have moral responsibility if it was ultimately up to them to commit an evil act, or not.

Zach said...

BLT--nailed it.

steve said...

Bilbo said...

"Are you denying that Calvinism and Universalism are compatible?"

Short answer: yes, that's what I'm denying.

I suppose the argument is that if God can predestine anyone to salvation, then God can predestine everyone to salvation.

However, there's more to Calvinism than predestination.

steve said...

B.L.T. said...

"Steve, you’re missing my point. Obviously scripture teaches that men are wicked. But if as Calvinists maintain men are wicked ultimately because of God’s determining action, then I fail to see how man has any responsibility for his wickedness. Given that Calvinists also seem committed to the idea that God actively punishes the wicked it seems difficult for me to understand how Calvinism makes sense given scriptural assumptions. It seems self-evident to me that someone must have moral responsibility in order to be punished justly, and one can only have moral responsibility if it was ultimately up to them to commit an evil act, or not."

Since you haven't shown from Scripture that libertarian freedom is a precondition of moral responsibility, you haven't shown that Calvinism is nonsensical given Scriptural assumptions.

Instead, you appealed to what you deem to be "self-evident," but, of course, many philosophers don't consider libertarian freedom to be self-evident.

Zach said...

Steve I think you have gotten the disagreement well encapsulated: how far do you think argument and reason can go to bridge the divide?

Mike Darus said...

Walls does a poor job representing the Calvinist position. This discredits his arguments against it. He would have done a better job describing the Calvinist position on freedom if he did a better job on total depravity. Under Calvinism, libertarian freedom was enjoyed by Adam but not since. It is only under Arminianism that prevenient grace gives everyone the ability to choose. Calvinism denies that this ability is given to all. His introduction of the "Calvinist Conundrum" magnifies his erroneous representation of Calvinism.

ingx24 said...

of course, many philosophers don't consider libertarian freedom to be self-evident.

While I am not a Calvinist, I do have to agree with this statement. I am skeptical about the idea of libertarian free will, but not for theological reasons or for reasons related to physics or materialism. Rather, I'm skeptical about libertarian free will because of the idea of psychological determinism: it seems that every one of our thoughts and decisions is caused by something else, whether that something else is another mental state or an external physical state. That said, I don't think psychological determinism is incompatible with free will in the same way that physical determinism is - in the case of physical determinism, all our actions and decisions are determined by mindless laws of physics; in the case of merely psychological determinism, our choices can still be causally efficacious.

Bilbo said...

Hi Steve,

I'm not a theologian, so I was just accepting the authority of a theologian that Calvinism and Universalism are compatible. However, if you are going to deny that, I think you need to provide an argument of some kind.

steve said...

I've addressed Jerry's lecture:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2013/05/coercing-god.html

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2013/05/must-god-love-me.html

Papalinton said...

What's wrong with Calvinism?

Goodness gracious. Where does one begin? Like every and all religious movements since the dawn of time, Calvinism is simply another example of the schismatic nature of religious belief. As Prof David Eller so elegantly notes:

"....religions do not and cannot progress the way that, say, science can progress. When science progresses, it abandons old and false ideas. Once we discovered oxygen and the principles of combustion, we stopped thinking that there was a substance called phlogiston. .......... Science and reason are SUBSTITUTIVE and ELIMINATIVE: new ideas replace old ideas. Religion is ADDITIVE and/or SCHISMATIC: new ideas proliferate alongside old ideas. For instance, the development of Protestantism did not put an end to Catholicism, and the development of Christianity did not put an end to Judaism. With science, we get BETTER. With religion, we get MORE."

Calvinism, Arminianism, Baptismism, Catho-holicism, Jehovah's Witnessism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Adventism, Mormonism, Universalism, Congregationalism, Restorationism, Anabaptism, Miaphysitism, Assyrianism, Copticism, Pietism, Quakerism, Hamishism, Pentacostalism, Ttrinitarianism, Esotericism, Syncretism. Jesus H Christ on a bike. How many more -isms do the nutters have to add to the list of SCHISMS to demonstrate the seamless capacity of christianity and the infinite variety it can morph into?

When is enough enough already?

Bilbo said...

Hi Steve,

Do those links explain why Calvinism and Universalism are incompatible?

Steve Finnell said...

SAVING FAITH COMES FROM HEARING GOD'S WORD
Do men receive faith, that saves, because God arbitrarily bestows them with faith? Does God predetermined who will be saved and them cause them to have faith so they can be saved? No and No.

Faith comes from hearing God's word preached.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.(NKJV)

Romans 10:14 How they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?(NKJV)

Faith comes when men believe the gospel. Faith is not forced on men by God.

MISUNDERSTOOD PROOF-TEXT EPHESIANS 2:8

Ephesians 2:8 is used to prove that faith is a gift from God, however, that is not what is says.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God,(NKJV)

Salvation is the gift from God. Faith is not the gift.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Why would Jesus condemn men who do not believe if God is the one who arbitrarily bestows faith on men so they can be saved?

To have faith that Jesus is the Son of God is a choice. To trust in God is a choice. To believe that God resurrected Jesus from the grave is a choice. To believe that Jesus is both Lord and Christ is a choice. God does not force men to have faith. Saving faith is the not a gift from God. Salvation is the gift from God.

WHAT MUST MEN DO TO BE SAVED?

1. Hear the gospel. Romans 10:17
2. Believe. John 3:16
3. Confess. Romans 10:9
4. Repent. Acts 3:19
5. Be baptized in water. Acts 2:38


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