Monthly Archives: August 2010

What’s Wrong With Calvinism? by Jerry Walls

Here’s a good article from the Society of Evangelical Arminians, comparing compatibilism and libertarian free will: What’s Wrong With Calvinism? By Asbury Seminary professor Jerry Walls.

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Women Are Called to Preach – Part 1

The prevalence of women preachers is a fair measure of the spirituality of a church, a country, or an age. As the church grows more apostolic and more deeply spiritual, women preachers and workers abound in that church; as it grows more worldly and cold, the ministry of women is despised and gradually ceases altogether.C.E. Brown

Christian women should be  encouraged to be preachers of the gospel. Scripture affirms it, Jesus modeled it, and the the Apostles supported it. Women in leadership reflect the coming of God’s kingdom.

Jesus included women in his ministry
One of the revolutionary aspects of Jesus’ earthly ministry was the way he included women in everything. He rejected the assigned gender roles of his society (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus taught women. He healed women, calling one a “daughter of Abraham” (Luke 13:15-16). He treated women with dignity, valued them, and encouraged them to participate in his ministry (Luke 8:1-3). He did all this in a society where women were valued no more than dogs.

Jesus consented to the Samaritan woman proclaiming him as the Christ.
John 4:7-41 records the remarkable story of the Samaritan woman at the well, the first person in John’s gospel to whom Jesus revealed that he was the Messiah. Jesus entrusted this non-Jewish woman to proclaim him as the Christ to her people. John records that, Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:39).  The Samaritan woman openly testified Jesus as the Christ.  People heard her and believed. Her testimony was blessed and it bore fruit.

Women were entrusted to be the first to proclaim the Lord’s resurrection.
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her (John 20:18). All four gospels record that women were the first to see the empty tomb, and the first to proclaim the Lord’s resurrection (Mathew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). Women were the first to share the good news. Jesus trusted women in this role.  We ought to be able to as well, following his example.

Women are liberated in Christ.
In Christ, a woman is as valuable as a man. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galations 3:28). There was a time when Christians tolerated racial supremacy and slavery. Today we recognize that these practices are sinful. Likewise, exclusion of women from ministry is sinful.  It denies the full value and potential of a person created in the image of God to do good things for him.  Itt denies the woman in her God given calling, and quenches the Holy Spirit.

Women in leadership reflect the healing of creation.
The oppression of women was not part of God’s original plan. Man’s dominion is a result of the fall (Genesis 3:16). In Christ, we overcome the sin of the fall. We look forward to creation being liberated from its bondage. Women in leadership reflect the way God intended for things to be. They give evidence of a healed creation.

A thistle free garden
Some argue that women should stay subservient because it was part of God’s curse at the fall. Using this line of reasoning, one should also argue that a garden full of thistles is better than a weeded one, given that thistles were part of Adam’s curse (Genesis 3:17). A weed free garden is beautiful, useful, and better reflects God’s original intent. Likewise, women in leadership reflect God’s intent. It is good and right to honor and support women in their calling as they follow Christ. In doing so we declare the coming of the kingdom of God, and we have a foretaste of what is to come.

Women led in the early church.
Scripture indicates that women prophesied and taught in the early church. They were accepted in these roles by the Apostles. Phillip the evangelist had four daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9). Peter, quoting the prophet Joel, declared that “your sons and daughters will prophesy” (Acts 2:17). The prophesy of women is mentioned in 1 Cor 11:15. Pricilla and her husband Aquilla are mentioned as leaders who helped disciple Paul. It is significant that Pricilla is listed first when the couple is named. This would have been a very unusual way of addressing a married couple at the time, and strongly indicates that Pricilla was the more active leader of the two. (Acts 18:2-3,18, 26; Romans 16:3-4; 1 Cor 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19). Lydia, a friend of Paul, ministered from her house (Acts 16:13-15,40). Nympha ran a house church (Col 4:15). The book of Second John was written to an unnamed woman. It is apparent from the context that she was in a leadership role. Paul mentions Phoebe as a leader (deacon) of the church in Cenchrea (Romans 16:1-2). Junia is mentioned as outstanding among the apostles (Romans 16:7).

Conclusion:
Women should preach because God desires it. Jesus was the first to allow women to preach. His disciples followed him in that practice. Women are blessed by God in this role.  Women in leadership reflect a healthy church.

Next up: Part 2 – Scriptural Prohibitions?

See also: Women Leaders in the Wesleyan Movements

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Clark Pinnock (1937-2010)

Well known theologian Clark Pinnock has died.    He will be missed.

Greg Boyd: Clark Pinnock has finished the race!

Roger Olson: Remembering Clark Pinnock: Postconservative Evangelical Par Excellence

Thomas J Oord: Clark Pinnock Passes on to Glory

Justin Taylor: Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010)

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Welcome to Wesleyan Arminain at WordPress!

Well, I decided to make the big move to WordPress.  If you follow the blog, please update your bookmarks and feeds!

All of the posts from blogspot have been imported, although I’ve noticed that the formatting is messed up on some of them.

I hope to get all of my side links moved over eventually, to maintain some of the look and feel of the old blog.  I actually prefer some of the options of blogspot, but have become increasingly frustrated with the comment moderation options there.  The old blog will stay up (to help with link backs, etc).

Let me know what you think, and thanks for stopping by!

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How Revelation 3:20 Creates a Dilemma for Calvinism

In Revelation 1,2, and 3 John prophesies to the seven churches in Asia. The last group he addresses is the church in Laodicea. After addressing the Ladocians, he concludes with the following prophesy:

(Jesus speaking) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:20-22

This passage can be interpreted in two ways, both of which present problems for Calvinism.

Interpretation #1: This passage is applicable to everyone. Although Jesus is addressing the Ladocians, he uses universal language (“If anyone..”, “he who has an ear…”). Thus this passage has application to everyone and helps to establish the doctrine of prevenient grace. This is usually the Arminian position.

Interpretation #2: Jesus is speaking only to the church in Laodicea, or to only to the seven churches in Asia. This passage is meant to apply to the original audience, and has no application to non-believers today. This is usually the Calvinist position.

If interpretation #1 is correct, we have a clear example of prevenient grace. The passage illustrates both the universal scope of grace, and the ability to resist grace. Jesus knocks on the door of each person, and the person can choose whether or not to open the door.

If interpretation #2 is correct, the Calvinist unwittingly creates another problem for himself. He disproves the doctrine of eternal security. Immediately prior Jesus speaks of “spitting out” the Ladocians because they are neither hot nor cold. If Jesus is addressing only Ladocian believers, the passage indicates that those same believers can become apostate (bold mine):

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.Revelation 3:14-16

So the Calvinist is left with a dilemma. If the passage applies to non-believers, it teaches prevenient grace. If the passage applies to Ladocian believers, it teaches the possibility of apostasy.

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