Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On God's Creation And God's Election

Anyone that reads Reformed theology will soon come to know that God's elective acts are firmly rooted in God's creative acts. Whereas all Reformed theology gets it right to tie the act of God's creating to God's electing---I must part ways with the Calvinist stripe of Reformed theology on several points of Tulip theology. First of all, Tulip theology is mainly associated with predestination though predestination has nothing to do with Tulip theology. Here are all the points of Tulip: Total Hereditary Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints. I agree with most all of these points except for the way that Calvinists define them.

On Total Depravity---whereas depravity of humanity is true, no state of depravity is total or else experience of God's salvific power would be impossible even if by the sole act of God. Rather humanity is in a state of spiritual blindness until the Holy Spirit prompts individuals to respond to God's effectual call. Arminian Today: Article 3: An Arminian Commentary on the Five Articles of the Remonstrance, Classical Arminianism: WHAT IS CLASSICAL ARMINIANISM? PART THREE: TOTAL DEPRAVITY, John Fletcher on Being “Dead in Sin” Once then when an individual responds to God's effectual call via the Holy Spirit's prompting then the individual's will is totally freed from the bondage of sin.

Election is both conditional and unconditional depending on the ontological and empirical object and subject of election. Unconditional election then is only true of Christ, for Christ is both elected and reprobated for us in the event of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion and in the harrowing of hell. Jesus as elected one pertains to Jesus being elected as both God and man for us from the foundation of the world. Jesus was reprobated for us in the moment during His Incarnation that He became sin for us at the advent of the Cross. http://theevangelicalcalvinist.blogspot.com/2009/08/karl-barths-election-alternative-to.html, ::: How Barth’s Doctrine of Election Informs His Doctrine of Justification ::: The election of individual believers then is conditional upon Christ then as all who are in Christ are elected in Christ and must continue in faith and belief in Christ in order to be saved. Classical Arminianism: EN CHRISTO Election then is a matter of Christological truth rather than a random and arbitrary act of determinism.

The Atonement is both limited and unlimited depending on the effects of the Atonement one is talking about. The full effects of the Atonement are limited in scope but not in number. The scope by which the Atonement's full effects are limited is that only those who have true faith and belief in Christ shall be saved---which is the full effect of the Atonement---salvation. Arminian Today: The Extent of the Atonement, Classical Arminianism: LIMITED ATONEMENT: BIBLICAL MANDATE OR SYSTEMATIC PRESUMPTION? (PART ONE), Classical Arminianism: LIMITED ATONEMENT: BIBLICAL MANDATE OR SYSTEMATIC PRESUMPTION? (PART TWO) However the Atonement is unlimited in extent and range as the world is continually in a state of reconciliation and redemption and no one is beyond redemption. Also as Article IV of the Saxon Visitation Articles states:
Article IV. On Predestination and the Eternal Providence of God.
The pure and true Doctrine of our Churches on this Article.

1] That Christ died for all men, and, as the Lamb of God, took away the sins of the whole world.

2] That God created no man for condemnation; but wills that all men should be saved and arrive at the knowledge of truth. He therefore commands all to hear Christ, his Son, in the gospel; and promises, by his hearing, the virtue and operation of the Holy Ghost for conversion and salvation.

3] That many men, by their own fault, perish: some, who will not hear the gospel concerning Christ; some, who again fall from grace, either by fundamental error, or by sins against conscience.

4] That all sinners who repent will be received into favor; and none will be excluded, though his sins be red as blood; since the mercy of God is greater than the sins of the whole world, and God hath mercy on all his works.
Scripture also testifies that Jesus has sheep in other pastures and that they will know Him by His voice.

Next Grace is unconditional but resistible hence those unwilling to believe or continue in belief in Christ. Classical Arminianism: "I" for IRRESISTIBLE GRACE, Arminian Today: Prevenient Grace Compared With Irrestible Grace,The Arminian and Calvinist Ordo Salutis: A Brief Comparative Study Wesley on the resistibility of grace:
It is generally supposed, that repentance and faith are only the gate of religion; that they are necessary only at the beginning of our Christian course, when we are setting out in the way to the kingdom.... And this is undoubtedly true, that there is a repentance and a faith, which are, more especially, necessary at the beginning: a repentance, which is a conviction of our utter sinfulness, and guiltiness, and helplessness.... But, notwithstanding this, there is also a repentance and a faith (taking the words in another sense, a sense not quite the same, nor yet entirely different) which are requisite after we have "believed the gospel;" yea, and in every subsequent stage of our Christian course, or we cannot "run the race which is set before us." And this repentance and faith are full as necessary, in order to our continuance and growth in grace, as the former faith and repentance were, in order to our entering into the kingdom of God.

Finally there is a perseverance of the saints but it is not a "once saved always saved" type of perseverance but one centered and contingent upon continued faith and belief in Christ. Luther on falling from grace also from the Saxon Visitation Articles:
The False and Erroneous doctrine of the Calvinists On Predestination and the Providence of God.
1] That Christ did not die for all men, but only for the elect.

2] That God created the greater part of mankind for eternal damnation, and wills not that the greater part should be converted and live.

3] That the elected and regenerated can not lose faith and the Holy Spirit, or be damned, though they commit great sins and crimes of every kind.

4] That those who are not elect are necessarily damned, and can not arrive at salvation, though they be baptized a thousand times, and receive the Eucharist every day, and lead as blameless a life as ever can be led.

Source: The Creeds of Christendom, Volume III, by Philip Schaff (Copyright, 1877, by Harper & Brothers.
http://classicalarminianism.blogspot.com/search/label/Perseverance%20of%20the%20Saints,Arminian Today: Perseverance: The False and the True, http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/category/perseverance/page/2/

Anyways these are my personal views upon which I believe the Doctrine Of Election either stands or falls. However when you get down to it, your views on election are informed by that which you find most consistent with God's self-revelation in Christ. See also: Martin Luther and the Doctrine of Predestination and http://threehierarchies.blogspot.com/2005/08/lutheranism-between-calvinism-and.html.

No comments: