Monthly Archives: August 2009

Interesting Links – 8/29/09

Did God send a tornado as a warning to the Evangelical Lutheran Church? John Piper says yes. Greg Boyd says no.

Blogger Ed Thompkins has a post entitled: What is Arminianism and Why am I an Arminian?

Blogger “cpyeager” thinks that John MacArthur has misrepresented Arminian theology.

A Nazarene/Wesleyan/Free Methodist merger? The Nazarenes have a motion to explore this. A Nazarene discussion board comments on it here. Wesleyan Keith Drury muses here.

Peter Lumpkins thinks that there is a tendency among some Calvinists for “artificial exegesis which leads to overstated conclusions. ” He gives an example of R.C. Sproul and John 6:44.

For whom did Christ die? Three views: Calvinist (Paul Helm), Amyraldian (Michael Jensen), Arminian (Ben Witherington).

You Might be a Presbyterian if… (a little good natured Presbyterian humor)


Filed under Interesting Links

Audio Link: Ephesians 1 Sermon by Greg Boyd

Here is an mp3 link to a sermon by Greg Boyd where he preaches on Ephesians 1: 3-10. He critiques Calvinistic predestination. Boyd is the pastor of the Woodland Hills Church in Minneapolis, MN. He’s a well known open theist.

Link: 6/26/1994 – Predestination: Good News or Bad?

Boyd makes the following points against the Calvinist interpretation of Eph 1.
1. One must believe to be saved. Whoever believes is saved.
2. Human beings are moral agents, and are responsible for their sins. God does not program what our decisions are.
3. God doesn’t always get what he wants from humanity. Because of our moral agency, things happen that God does not prefer. Hell is a testimony of this fact.
4. God is love. God loves every person. God’s loving nature is incompatible with Calvinistic election.

Boyd positively interprets Ephesians 1 as follows:
1. Predestination is corporate, not individual – he gives a funny analogy here about eating chicken.
2. God chooses us in Christ. If you are in Christ, you are predestined.
3. We are not worthy of predestination, but in God’s eyes we are worth it.


Filed under Arminian Audio, Ephesians 1, Greg Boyd

Search Queries

Here are some of the more interesting search queries that have lead people to this blog. (My comments are in italics)

arminians don’t like to be called fundamentalists (True enough)
are all the tenth avenue north boys married?
are muslims allowed to touch a pig?
arminians burn stake (I hope they mean Arminians burn steak)
c.s. lewis calvinist quotes (good luck on that one)
calvinists vs arminians football audio
can an egyptian touch a pig (what is it with pigs?)
can demons be sent to the pit now?
catholic saints with name reed, jackson, or jack
cool arminian
does romans 9 talk about israel
frankenstein vs. bible
green baggins enns (tricksy hobbitses!)
indiana wesleyan greek witherington blog (sounds interesting!)
iranian arminian news (it’s nice to see someone misspell Armenian)
is wesleyan arminianism heresy (I hope not)
jesus brings the pizza painting
john piper is an idiot (Piper is a lot of things, idiot is not one of them)
quotes with the word felicitous in it (I have one in mind)
slave owners preached eternal security (really?)
swine flu pizza substitition
what is samantha jones saying to richard (several queries for “samantha jones”, odd.)
where is peter enns now? (Where is Waldo now?)
why arminians are idiots (Because God decreed it?)


Filed under about, humor

Pursuing Righteousness by Faith

What is pursuing righteousness by faith? In Romans 9, Paul speaks of pursuing righteousness by faith rather than works:

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone. –Romans 9:30-32 ESV

First, it is helpful to be familiar with the Biblical definition of righteousness. In English we often define righteousness as being moral and upright. This is something that a person must do himself. However, Paul had a different understanding than the English context. Biblically speaking, righteousness means to have a right standing before God. While righteousness also carries a sense of being moral, it is secondary and based not on ourselves, but our standing with God. Understanding this context helps to explain the problem that Israel had. Israel was trying to earn the right to stand before God by working for it with their self righteousness. In this they failed. It is impossible to earn a right standing before God by one’s self righteousness.

One might reasonably ask, how then can righteousness (right relationship) be pursued at all, given that we cannot work towards it? It is possible through faith in Jesus. Paul goes on to explain:

Romans 10:8-13: The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We learn in this passage that a right standing before God is possible. Not by works, but by faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord saves those who call on his name. The faith described here is ongoing. It is available to everyone who believes and confesses Jesus Christ. Faith is possible for all! Not because of our goodness, but because God desires to be in right relationship with us, and is already at work in us. His word is near to us and in us.

Pursing righteousness by faith is to pursue Jesus Christ himself. We are promised that everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.

Faith is not something that a person intellectually assents to once and is then is finished with. Rather, faith is an ongoing dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ. What distinguishes faith from works? It is trust in Jesus instead of ourselves. Faith by definition is Christ centered. We trust in Jesus to keep us in right standing with the Father. We trust in Jesus to conform us to his own image.

Moses under the inspiration of the Spirit wrote about this kind of faith in Deuteronomy 30. Paul had this passage in mind and quoted parts of it in Romans 10. In Deut 30 we learn that:

  • Faith is not too difficult or beyond our reach
  • It is very near to us, in our mouth and heart so that we may obey.
  • It is set before us.
  • It is God (Christ) centered. We are to love God, walk in his ways, and to keep his decrees.
  • It is something that we can forfeit, by turning our dependence away from God or allowing ourselves to be drawn from him.
  • It is a choice. We are admonished to chose life, for the LORD is our life.

What is striking about Romans 10 and Deut 30 is that the faith described in these chapters is precisely the Arminian definition of faith. Faith is not given to a few and hidden from most. Instead, faith is possible for all, because God wants to be in a right relationship with all of his creation. Faith in Jesus is not beyond our reach because God has made it possible through his work in us. It is genuinely available to all.

Pursuing righteousness by faith is a choice to trust Jesus Christ instead of ourselves. Not because of who we are, but because of what Jesus Christ has done. He will never fail us.


Filed under Deuteronomy 30, faith, Romans 10, Romans 9

Arminian Audio: James White / Roger and Faith Forster

Justin Brierly, host of the UK program Unbelievable, recently hosted two discussions between James White (Calvinist) and Roger and Faith Forster (Arminians). Rumor has it that that Greg Boyd was originally supposed to participate too, but was unable to make it. (HT: darinhouston)

The broadcasts are available to download as a podcasts, or by clicking on the audio links on the front page of the site. Go to the August 1 and August 8, 2009 episodes. Run time is an hour and 20 minutes for each episode.

James White is a well known Calvinist apologist. Roger and Faith Forster are Arminians, they pastor Ichthus Fellowship in London. Roger also co-authored the book “God’s Strategy in Human History“.

I have listened to the first episode, but not the second. The debate was pretty good. James White was his typical self (long winded and imputing incorrect positions to his opponents). The Forsters capably represented the Arminian view. I was particularly impressed with Faith Forster, who was not afraid of calling White out on his usual tactics.


Filed under Arminian Audio

Interesting Links – 8/15/09

Calvin Leaves a Divided Legacy in South Africa. “Now, as Protestants worldwide mark the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth, South Africans are remembering how the followers of the Protestant reformer were counted among the most strident supporters of apartheid, and eventually also among its most vociferous opponents.”

Christianity Today has an interesting article about mega church seminaries. It mentions Mars Hill Seattle (Driscoll), Bethlehem Baptist (Piper) and Saddlback (Warren).

The blog Forest View is doing a detailed review of Roger Olson’s book, Arminian Theology, Myths and Realities. Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Lutheran Paul T. McCain argues that Calvin hijacked the Reformation. “I consider it a great tragedy that John Calvin did so much to corrupt the genuine evangelical Reformation of the Western Church. The errors that flow from Calvin’s theology of a limited atonement, an irresistible grace and a predestination of some to hell, are a corruption of the Scriptures and the Gospel of Christ.” (HT: Wesley Wong)

Rev. Ronnie W. Rogers, who identifies himself as Calvinistic, has an excellent post that illustrates the problems with the “different types of love” argument that Calvinists sometimes make. He writes, “If God does not love everyone enough to at least offer a real chance to receive the help that they desperately need, e.g. salvation, how can we do so, based on the commands to love as He loves?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Interesting Links

Christian Traditions Selector Quiz

Here’s a pretty good “what church tradition are you” type quiz. At least it pegged me about right. :) I had to view the source code to post the results, don’t know if I missed an easier way.

HT: Nick Norelli

Your Christian Traditions Selector Results

(100%) 1: Methodist/Wesleyan/Nazarene

(97%) 2: Pentecostal/Charismatic/
Assemblies of God

(91%) 3: Anabaptist (Mennonite/Quaker etc.)

(77%) 4: Church of Christ/Campbellite

(76%) 5: Baptist (non-Calvinistic)/Plymouth

(67%) 6: Congregational/United Church of Christ

(64%) 7: Baptist (Reformed/Particular/

(56%) 8: Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England

(53%) 9: Presbyterian/Reformed

(53%) 10: Seventh-Day Adventist

(50%) 11: Eastern Orthodox

(42%) 12: Lutheran

(36%) 13: Roman Catholic


Filed under quiz

Interesting Links 8-8-09

Peter Lumpkins writes about the misuse of the word “monergism” among Calvinistic Southern Baptists.

Ben Henshaw asks: Do you really want to claim John Calvin as your homeboy? Check out the reply thread on this one.

Speaking of which, you can get your Arminian homeboy apparel here.

Chris Skinner asks, does all mean all?

Between Two Worlds (Justin Taylor’s Calvinist blog) has a link to a series by Colin Hansen that looks at the dynamics of the Reformed Resurgence. (HT: Brian Abasciano)

Were the tunes to Wesley brother’s hymns based on tavern songs? That’s not true says Larry Withham. It is a wide spread misconception.

Don Heatly writes about the “myth” of the young progressive Christian. “I have been astounded by the disconnect between what I read younger generations are looking for in a church, and what many actually gravitate toward.”

Scot McKnight has re-posted a letter regarding how a pastor should deal with “pesky Calvinists”. There are lots of interesting comments in the thread.


Filed under Interesting Links

"Fun" Calvinist Quotes on Arminian Theology

Here are some less than flattering quotes about Arminian theology from various Calvinists. You can click on the author’s name if you’re interested in the original context. As an Arminian there’s really not much to say in reply to this kind of stuff. I have decided to use my God given free will to make fun of the quotes. My random thoughts are in italics. Don’t take them any more seriously than you take the Calvinist quotes. :) 

Agustus Toplady: If we sum up the evidence that has been given, we shall find its amount to be, that Arminianism came from the Church of Rome, and leads back again to the pit whence it was digged.

Now there you go again playing the Catholic card. If you can’t successfully debate your opponents, you can always fall back and call them Catholics. By the way, “Agustus” sounds pretty ROMAN to me. You might want to take a look in the mirror buddy. Mind if I call you Gus for short? Growing up I had a dog named Gus. He was a cool little schnauzer. He could urinate on command. That chubby chocolate eating kid from Willy Wonka was also named “Agustus”. That movie is one of my favorites. The Gene Wilder one, not the lame Johnny Depp one. Favorite Augustus line: “I feel very sorry for Wonka. It’s gonna cost him a fortune in fudge!”

John Owen: Who would have thought that our church would ever have given entertainment to these Belgic semi-Pelagians, who have cast dirt upon the faces and raked up the ashes of all those great and pious souls whom God magnified, in using as his instruments to reform his church; to the least of which the whole troop of Arminians shall never make themselves equal, though they swell till they break?

But Gus said that the Arminians were dug from the pit of Rome. Now you think that they’re entertained dirt casting Belgic semi-Pelagians? What the hey? Arminius was DUTCH, not Belgic. Belgic = Catholic. I hope you’re not trying to play the Catholic card again. To help you remember the difference between Belgium and Holland, try memorizing the following: “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much.” Or here’s another: “Remonstrants, common sense.” Or you can simply visualize a windmill. At any rate, at least Arminius wasn’t French. No pious souls have ever come from France. Well, there was Joan of Arc. But she was Catholic AND a female leader – no doubt that’s two strikes in your book.
Christopher Ness: Lest this overflowing deluge of Arminianism should bring destruction upon us, there is great need that some servants of Christ should run to stop the further spreading of this plague and leprosy.

I like the word “deluge”. It looks like “fudge” and makes me hungry for chocolate. Anyway, you’re forgetting your theology again dude. Leprous Arminianism was decreed by God for his glory. Who are you oh man to talk back to the overflowing deluge? Besides, if someone tried to run and stop it, that would be a WORK, and that would give him something to boast about. Not to mention that he would get all wet. Also, I like your last name. It reminds me of Nessie.

Charles Spurgeon: And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.

Can I call you Chuck? You’re right, the work of the Redeemer is nothing without the the gratuitous addition of exhaustive determinism. And don’t even get me going about those heretical Arminians, a bunch of tramps and thieves – the whole lot of them. As a side note, your own private opinion isn’t private anymore if you put it into print. And what does Touchstone have to do with anything? Touchstone is just the front for Disney’s R-rated movies. I fail to see how that is relevant. Oh wait…R-minian. I get it. Cute word play there Chuck.

John Piper: Here’s my rule of thumb: the more responsible a person is to shape the thoughts of others about God, the less Arminianism should be tolerated. Therefore church members should not be excommunicated for this view but elders and pastors and seminary and college teachers should be expected to hold the more fully biblical view of grace.

Whew, I had a scare there for a second. Glad I’m just a lowly church member! That means that you have to tolerate me. I’ll stick to warming pews so that you can’t kick me out. Don’t worry, I won’t do something rash like become an elder. Don’t tell Chuck, but I have my own private opinion that we should run off the Supralapsarians. By the way, since y’all live in the same town, you should stop and have coffee some time with Greg Boyd. It could be a teaching moment, as Obama likes to say. You could discuss something interesting, like whether or not God decreed the Minnesota bridge collapse.

R.C. Sproul: I agree with Packer and Johnston that Arminianism contains un-Christian elements in it and that their view of the relationship between faith and regeneration is fundamentally un-Christian. Is this error so egregious that it is fatal to salvation? People often ask if I believe Arminians are Christians? I usually answer, “Yes, barely.” They are Christians by what we call a felicitous inconsistency.

I’m curious, what does R.C. stand for? I’m guessing that it doesn’t stand for Roman Catholic. Maybe Remote Control? “Remote Control Sproul” has a very nice flow to it, plus it is consistent with your theology. Whatever R.C stands for, it makes me thirsty for a cola. Back to the subject at hand. Weren’t the egregious un-Christian elements of Arminianism decreed by God? And since your answer must be ‘yes’, I want to know was what was God thinking of when he came up with that particular felicitous inconsistency? Can you answer that without referring to Deut 29:29? Another thing I’m wondering about: how can anything be fatal to a fatalist?

John MacArthur: The question comes, “Can somebody who holds an Arminian view be a Christian?” And I would hate to say they couldn’t be. I really believe that it is possible to be Arminian and to be a Christian…to misunderstand your human capability, to misunderstand the election, to misunderstand the extent of the atonement, even to misunderstand the irresistible nature of God’s saving grace, and even to think you could lose your salvation. But, at the same time–while being confused or ignorant of those things–to know that you’re a sinner and know that the only way of salvation is through Jesus Christ. I guess you could say that someone could be an Arminian and push those points far enough, where they could jeopardize my confidence that they really are a Christian. You could push the point of not being totally depraved far enough where you’re actually being saved by your own works, by your own belief, by your own ingenuity, by your own self-induced faith. And you could get to the point where you could really wonder whether someone understands that it’s all a work of God.

Uh oh, the last thing I want to do is jeopardize your confidence, John. I’m probably going to lose some self-induced sleep over that one. By the way, it almost sounds like you think that Arminians can lose their salvation by thinking that they can lose their salvation. Now THAT would be a felicitous inconsistency.

C Matthew McMahon: Arminianism is not something hidden under a stone, but lives in full view, and in direct opposition, to the Gospel. It is a deceiving doctrine of demons wrought up from the pit of hell, where, in the consummation of the age, it will be cast for all eternity with the devil that spawned it and the false teachers who propagated it.

Devil spawned doctrine of demons huh? Tell me how you really feel C Matthew. Hmm, what does C stand for? Catholic? Sorry, redundant joke. Do you know how you can easily recognize demons? They’re the ones who like to burn human beings at the stake. By the way, are you any relation to Ed or Jim? Naw, probably not, they’re a lot nicer. And how did a hyper-Calvinist get on this list? Oh well, what’s done is done. Que sera sera I always say.


Filed under Arminianism, Calvinism, humor