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)

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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.

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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?)

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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.

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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.

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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?”

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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
Brethren/Fundamentalist

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

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

(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

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