Tuesday, October 03, 2006

considering calvinism / out of blogging range

1) I'll be out of blogging range until Sunday, October 8.

2) The reason I'll be out of blogging range is because I'm going to the Leadership Institute at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City.

3) You may or may not know that almost all of John Piper's writings are avaialable online for free at www.desiringgod.org. Yesterday, I read his article What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism. It is a good biblical explanation and defense of the 5 points of Calvinism, which are:
T- Total Depravity
U- Unconditional Election
L- Limited Atonement
I- Irresistable Grace
P- Perseverance of the Saints

Wesley and we Methodists have never been Calvinist, but rather Arminian. An Arminian believes that Christ's atonement covers the sins of every member of the human race, and that through God's grace, we have the free will to receive the benefits of that atonement or not. I have never understood how someone could believe in limited atonement. However, I don't want to be Arminian because I have been indoctrinated with Arminianism and never seriously considered Calvinism.

I have to admit that I found Piper's defense of Calvinism challenging, and worth consideration. If you feel like reading through it and giving me your feedback I'd be interested in hearing what others thought.

PS. A practical application of this issue might be this: If a United Methodist clergy person became persuaded of Calvinist theology would he be bound to hand in his credentials?

PSS. I am not a Calvinist, but a Wesleyan Arminian.

7 comments:

Greg Hazelrig said...

I hope you get a lot out of the Institute. I've read a couple of Hamilton's books. I would love to hear about your experience when you get back.

Anonymous said...

Good luck and learn practical theology to share at the Institute. Our UMC needs leaders (ie. conservatives like yourself).

I am neither Calvinist or Arminian in my theoloogical position.

As a former Roman Catholic, I rejected the doctrine of predestination in all forms. I still hold to that position.

I have never studied Calvin's Institutes of Religion. (No thanks, I'll stick with scripture. ) I hate to admit but that are many charateristics to John Calvin, the man, that I find detestable. That may be something that keeps me from accepting his systematic theology.

One may argue that John Wesley never had a "systematic theology" and may not have accepted the teachings of James Arminius "lock, stock, and barrel" (as we say in Texas). Again, I have done a very low level study of Arminius".

My theology is somewhere between Dr. John Rice, Dr. Chuck Missler, and Dr. Jack Graham.

Simply,

Whosoever will can come to the Lord Jesus.

(This rejects the doctrine of predestination.)

I believe in the doctrine of free will.

I believe in Unlimited Atonement. (Jesus died for the sins of all, not just the elect.)

I believe in total depravity of the sinner.

I believe in assurrance of salvation. That ye may know...

I reject the doctrine of Christian Perfection yet I am an avid reader of holiness studies.

I study Albert Outler and Tom Oden and am influenced greatly by paleo-orthodoxy.
My favorite Calvinists are John Piper, Allister Begg, RC Sproul, and John MacArthur.

My favorite fundamentalists are Dr. John Rice, David Cloud, David Jerimiah, Dr. Jack Graham, and Dr. David McKinley.


But if you must know, I am more Hobbesian that Calvinist.

John Flores
Friso, Texas

Anonymous said...

Jason,

Don't quote me but.

1) If the UMC can have a bishop (Bishop Sprague) deny the virgin birth and the resurrecion of Jesus..

2) If the UMC can have a few UMC clergy come out of the closet and tell all they are homosexual...

3) If the UMC can have a few clergy perform a "marriage ceremony" for same sex couples..

4) If the UMC can have a few clergy state they have a Universalist view of salvation...

5) If the UMC can have a few clergy that reimage God as a female person of Sophia...

Then why can't we have a few Calvinistic Methodists in the UMC?
(What would John Wesley say?)


Or a number of UMC evangelists preaching in the parking lots of UMC churches that doctrine does matter, that we must be born again and become new creatures in Christ and turn away from sin. They may recount Wesley preaching to the established church (Anglican) that had lost its way and make a comparision to the UMC bureacracy that has lost it way and how "church people" need to be truly converted and preached in old school Welseyan fashion of the need for salvation and the reality of hell. (Would that be a little much?)

John Flores
Frisco, Texas

Joel Thomas said...

Jason,

I'll be there too. Hope to get a chance to talk to you. This will be my 4th year to attend.

Out of range? Maybe not completely if you have a spare moment or two. COR provides a significant number of wired internet ready computers in convenient locations at no charge.

Anonymous said...

Free-Wi is a blessing. So are free internet kiosks.

John Flores
Friso, Texas

Sola Gratia said...

You mentioned this post, "I don't see how anyone could believe in limited atonement,".

I'm not sure if you have ever heard this by Jon Owens but here it is:

1) Christ died for all the sins of all men,
2)Christ died for all the sins of some men,
3)Christ died for some sins of all men.

If the last is true than everyone would have sins to answer for, and none are saved.
If the second is true then God justifies His elect people with the blood of Christ (Owens said 'and this is truth).
But it the first is true than why are not all men saved? You may say because of unbelief, or because he 'chose not to repent'. To this I ask, is this a sin? If it is than Christ has already paid the penalty for it. And if it is not than why would people go to hell for it?

Hope this has been of some help!

PS: Thanks for being honest and self proclaiming to be an arminian. Most people will not =-)

Wesley said...

Yes, a defiant rejection of God’s grace i.e, act of unbelief, is a sin.
However, we Arminians or Wesleyans make a distinction between the unlimited/universal extent of Lord Jesus’ atonement and the benefit of atonement actually applied, which is only to those who believe, and perservere to the end.

Wesley Wong
Malaysia