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Oct 30, 2006

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Christopher Redman

Hey Peter,

I'm not sure if you are planning to add anything but your post indicates that Arminians champion the concept of "prevenient grace".

What is the biblical support for this notion? (I know well the biblical teaching of "moral inability" that we hold)

Chris

volfan007

peter,

this interview with dr. olsen is very enlightening. very good. very interesting. its good to finally hear a true arminian declare what they believe, instead of hearing the five pointers tell us what arminians beleive. its not exactly what we are hearing from the five pointers.

thanks again.

from the beautiful hills of tn in this fall season...the leaves are beautiful,

volfan007

peter

Chris,

I trust your Lord's Day was gracious. As for previenient grace, I did ask Dr. Olson about it and he gave an abbreviated definition of it. His answer will appear hopefully this week. It is still to be transcribed.

Peace. With that ,I am...

Peter

peter

Volfan,

Thank you Volfan, my brother. It's interesting that given the recent hoopla over Dr. Vines alledgedly denying a fair deal to Calvinism, Arminians nonetheless complain just as adamantly that Calvinists misunderstand their view.

Mercy tonight. With that, I am...

Peter

SelahV

Peter: prevenient grace...oh my goodness. How many kinds of grace are there, Peter? And Do all those church denominations: Church of Christ, Nazarene,etc. know they are Evangelical Armenians? And exactly what does evangelical mean here? I find words have different meanings to different people. can you help me out? selahV

peter

SelahV,

Good morning. Isn't the world of theology fun? Always and ever coming up with terms and phrases to "explain" better the Bible?

As for "evangelical" it is a label that has, since the mid-twentieth century become synonomous with "conservative christianity", though admittedly it is, in our culture, a term fallen in horrible disrepute. Hardly a conservative scholar exists--outside "churchy" jobs anyway--who wants to wear the label in public...kinda like their underwear...

As for Church of Christ and others knowing they are "evangelical arminians" I am quite sure the more educated ones are keenly aware similarly to other religious groups knowing their roots.

You know well the CC, however, and my guess is many of them would insist they are just "Christians". What I'd give for us all to just be able to say that! (For the record, SelahV. "Armenian"--the way you spelled it--is an ethnic term. "Arminian" is the theological term used here and elsewhere. Thought you'd like to know :)

"Prevenient Grace", ah? Well, I am no expert on it. After all, I am not an Arminian :) But it is no surprise that Arminians possess terms that sum up their positions. And yes, there are "different kinds" of grace that all admit--"common grace" (all people get it), "efficacious grace" (in Calvinist thinking, for the Elect to be saved) are two examples.

Thus, Arminians speak of "prevenient grace", which is simply grace that "goes before". One example of this type of grace God gives is found in John on Christ's lips when He says "when He is come [that is, the Holy Spirit], He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, of judgement".

The Holy Spirit's prior work, opening up the heart of the unbeliever, making their sin real to them is "grace that goes before", that is "prevenient grace"

Thus for critics to spaek of Arminians believing that persons are saved completely by their own free will are actually mistaken. They ignore the vibrant teaching of Arminians about "prior grace".

I hope I did not give you more than you asked for, SelahV. Dr. Olson answers the question much better that I. Have a great day. With that, I am...

Peter

volfan007

the more i study calvinism and arminianism...i guess i am a theological zebra. i am a two point arminian and a three point calvinist. i am also stuck somewhere between dispensational thought and covenant theology. i am a premillinial, pre-trib. guy, and i believe in grace of all sorts. whew!

it's enough to make a fellars head hurt.

peter,
i prefer to just be a christian who believes the bible and seeks after God. why do these guys always try to make us get into thier boxes with them?

from the hills of tn,

volfan007

peter

Volfan,

Thank you for your colorful analogy of a theological zebra. I shall join you in your herd. However, know that even zebras have stripes of all sizes, shades and designs. Before long, my Brother Volfan, we would be discussing whose stripes are best suited for proper zebracity

As for our Calvinists and/or Arminian brothers seeking to persuade, I think it is just the nature of the issue before us. We are dealing with eternal matters here, similar to college football, etc. Thus we obviously will attempt to bring folks over to "our team" do you not agree?

Grace for this evening. With that, I am...

Peter

Christopher Redman

"And when the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment."

Is this a feeling of conviction that the whole world is aware of or is this a judicial conviction that is sealed by the finished work of Christ, ie: going away, and the coming of the Holy Spirit?

See, if this is a judicial conviction, this is not prevenient grace. Where do you think I fall?

Chris

peter

Chris,

For others' benefit, John 16.7-11: http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=John+16.7-11

I am afraid, Chris, I cannot answer your question, in part, because Jesus does not answer it either. Nor do I see the necessity of creating a distinction here between what you call "judicial" conviction on the one hand and a mere "feeling" of conviction on the other.

Do the words Jesus speak here cry out for this distinction you make, or are you bringing other interpretive conclusions from elsewhere to this text, would be my question for you to consider, Chris.

In addition, you have that tiny, worrisome little word that always seems to be the burr under the mare's saddle for Calvinists--"world". I suppose, if Calvinists have their way here, Jesus speaks in riddles again to the "world of the elect", does He not? :)

With that, I am...

Peter

SelahV

So, Peter: No, you didn't give me more than I asked for. And although I am enjoying Olson's answers to your questions because I never heard of an Arminian till this blogsite, I rather NEED, if you will, explanations such as you give. And since my site has collected a few readers, they have also told me they are reading you with interest because you speak so plainly. So, please feel free to interpret for me and correct my spelling. I am illiterate in theology per se, and find no offense in being corrected on spelling or anything else for that matter. After all, I acknowledge I'm not perfect...hee hee, makes it easier to be a woman. Thanks for the lesson tonite. I shall study this a bit more. selahV

Christopher Redman

The only ones worried about "world" are you non-calvinists. I don't have any problem with it.

However, since as you say Jesus did not specify the exact type of conviction that was brought by His finished work and the coming of the Holy Spirit, to say this is prevenient grace is forcing the text equally as much as you claim I force it toward a "judicial" conviction.

CR

peter

CR,

I stand content, my Brother Chris, to allow the readers to decide for themselves who may be forcing the text on this particular point.

Grace. With that, I am...

peter

volfan007

boy, the five pointers are hoping mad about a pastor named harrell who is the head of the executive board saying that the two main problems in sbc life today is worship styles and five point calvinism. lol. i mean, they are fit to be tied. talking about debates and shipping rev. harrel discourses on five pointism thru fed ex and all that stuff. lol.

oh boy, peter. they sure do like to fight and blame others for the fight, dont they?

volfan007

volfan007

oh yeah,

chris,

who cares what some of the sbc pastors and churches of a long time ago used to be? i dont care if they wore polka dot pajamas. what matters is that we follow what Gods Word teaches today.

i mean, yall have a founders ministry and act like yall are trying to take the sbc back to its roots. lol. who wants to go back to the 1700's?

just because some men were in error about thier theology back then, doesnt mean that we have to stay in that error, or extreme.

volfan007

SelahV

Oh my goodness! Can't you boys play nice? selahV

Timotheos

Boys never play nice...it takes a man, however, to earnestly (and substantively) contend ;~0

SelahV

Whoa, Timotheos! I get such vocabulary lessons from you! Do you preach like you write? :) Or do you just contend that way on blogs? selahV

Timotheos

SelahV,

I am sure my verbiage in the blogosphere does not equal that which I exercise from the pulpit.

If you desire and can endure the event, some well-meaning soul in our fellowship has posted recent audio of my preaching before the Lord's supper (click on my name at the bottom of my post and then go to sermon audio). The internet listener has the distinct advantage of being able to press the "stop" button when they have heard enough - a luxury that those listening live sometimes wish they had :~). So you may judge whether I come at all close to preaching like I write.

For my part, I have a hard time listening to myself. Our fellowship is very patient and attentive, for which I am most thankful.

Grace and peace,

Timotheos

Christopher Redman

I think I can see why volfan asked if my blessing toward him was sincere. I think deep down he knows that he didn't deserve it. :-)

Oh, but that's what the doctrines of grace are all about!

Chris

DJ

Yo there Bro. This looks excellent, true? >>>>

Calvinists in the Hands of an Angry Arminian
A Brief Response to Roger Olson
Part 1 of 3
by Gary L. W. Johnson
Pastor, The Church Of The Redeemer in Mesa, AZ
http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/11/calvinists-in-hands-of-angry-arminian.html

What say ye? Is he correct? I believe he is and I was a Pentecostal once!!! I don't think I was an Arminian though. Now I am more sure than ever that I am a Christian and I just love the truth found within the Reformed Faith. And I love proclaiming the whole counsel of God to the lost.

I'm really looking forward to reading Gary L. W. Johnson's next two parts of his critique and studying up the Scripture references.

love

DJ

"What the Arminian wants to do is to arouse man's activity: what we want to do is to kill it once for all---to show him that he is lost and ruined, and that his activities are not now at all equal to the work of conversion; that he must look upward. They seek to make the man stand up: we seek to bring him down, and make him feel that there he lies in the hand of God, and that his business is to submit himself to God, and cry aloud, 'Lord, save, or we perish.' We hold that man is never so near grace as when he begins to feel he can do nothing at all. When he says, 'I can pray, I can believe, I can do this, and I can do the other,' marks of self-sufficiency and arrogance are on his brow." - C. H. Spurgeon

volfan07

i too seek to help men see that they can do nothing at all...that they must surrender to the Lord. they must trust solely in the grace of God. what does that make me?

btw, chris, i dont remember you blessing me, nor do i remember not accepting it. what are you talking about? if you want to bless me, i would love to accept it, my bro.


volfan007

SelahV

Chris: You are such a gracious man! Sincerely. If you were not, you wouldn't keep coming back here to dialog, knowing full well that Volfan is going to be Volfan. :)
SelahV

SelahV

Volfan: Let me be a witness. Chris offered it. I read it on one thread somewhere. You questioned the sincerity of it. But I figured you guys were just toying with each other as you seem to enjoy doing. :) At least that is my interpretation of the spirit of things. You two have a way of poking and goading far beyond the realms of doctrinal debate, if ya know what I mean. Love you both...selahV

SelahV

Timotheos: Hooking up DSL has disabled my audio and video capability. When I get that fixed, I will indeed listen to your sermon. selahV

peter

DJ,

Thank you for stopping by even if to apparently adverstise an alternative understanding of Olson's fine work. I very much like diversity.

I did take the time to read briefly the review at the site you suggested. This is my opinion--and mine alone, of course--unfortunately the good brothers whom you recommend to us do not at all enlighten us as to the value of Dr. Olson's work.

Rather they simply attack Dr. Olson himself. The very first paragraph sets the pace for the rest of the review. They write: "Millard Erickson, who served as a colleague with Olson, nonetheless took exception to Olson's repeated use of pejorative and inflammatory language that frequently appear in his writings" and then cite a source where this allegedly happened.

Perhaps Ericksson did do such. I don't know. However, from my gleaning of the source the y cite--and I did it quickly so I very well may be mistaken here--no such thing was written by Erickson that I can locate. If it exists, I would be happy for the pages numbers (for the record, as I checked the notes section in the volumne, many were wrong or non-existent, so the source may be valid) to be included here on this thread.

Thanks again for stopping by. And, know, my DJ, I celebrate thoroughly with you in your new found freedom in the Reformed faith. As for me, I still squeeze a heck of a lot of juice out of my old one.

With that, I am...

Peter

Christopher Redman

While reading Pyromaniacs link cited above by DJ, I came across a most troubling statment-

"Olson has openly defended the Open-theists in the pages of Christianity Today (Jan 9, 1995, p. 30), and so it comes as no surprise to hear him say, "I consider open theism a legitimate evangelical and Arminian option even though I have not yet adopted it as my own perspective" (198). Olson acknowledges that Open-theists like his good friend (8) Clark Pinnock, argues that their view is consistent Arminianism (198)."

I would say that Olson is flirting with disaster.

volfan007

selah,

what do you mean when you say that volfan is going to be volfan? just wondering, cause it doesnt sound like you think its a good thing....like chris being chris is a good thing?

well, i guess people just dont understand me.


volfan007


Christopher Redman

Yes, Chris being Chris is a good thing!!!!

volfan007

chris,

lol. amen.

volfan007

SelahV

Volfan: I'm saying you are being who you are and that's the way you are. And I, personally, have NO complaints about you my dear Volfan. As far as a good thing? I in no way consider you a bad thing. But should anyone else want to eliminate you from their conversations, all they have to do is ignore you. They don't have to respond. If they don't like what you have to say, then they can do what I do when I come across a blogger whom I think is blah, blah, blah-ing. They can scroll down and look at the next one. So those who goad have every expectation of being goaded back or they wouldn't goad. You see, Volfan, I don't have a dog in the fight. I have very little comprehension regarding the dialogs on theology. Doesn't matter to me whether people believe in Calvin, Coolidge, or Arminius (hope I spelled him right, Peter). I just want folks to believe in Jesus. And I am assured from your posts and Chris's that you both believe in Him. So that said, and probably overstated, I've got to go clean some windows. Talk to ya'll tonite. God bless your day! SelahV

DJ

Peter, my old rock, it's great to know you like diversity so long as that diversity is the truth, huh? Leave no stone unturned. One does not want to be responsible for spreading error, eh? Fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Brother, from the small amount I have read of your writings I can see you love truth yet much truth is still hidden from you. True? Especially biblical truths encapsulated within what is fondly or derogatorily called, "Calvinism."

"--and I did it quickly so I very well may be mistaken here--no such thing was written by Erickson that I can locate. If it exists, I would be happy for the pages numbers (for the record, as I checked the notes section in the volumne, many were wrong or non-existent, so the source may be valid) to be included here on this thread."

Man, I sure hope Mr. Johnson is not telling fibs about what Erickson said or anything about professor Olson for that matter. I hope the source of the references are sorted out.

"Rather they simply attack Dr. Olson himself." <<<<

No, Mr. Johnson does not attack Dr. Olson himself, not from what I read. Bro., one of us is right and one of is wrong but we both cannot be right.

"According to Arminianism: Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) - man's response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, "choose" to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man's will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation.

According to Calvinism: Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation."

Taken from The Five Points of CALVINISM - Defined, Defended, Documented. David N. Steele and Curtis Thomas, are Baptist ministers in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their contrast of the Five Points of Calvinism with the Five Points of Arminianism is the clearest and most concise form found for the edification of the average student.

I reckon you should get yourself a copy of the above said book and study it and memorize as if your very life depended on it. Please.

"Questions that must be answered biblically by all Arminians:
What makes you to differ from others? Grace or faith? If your neighbor was given the same grace as you prior to faith, why do you believe in Christ, while your unbelieving neighbor does not? How did your hostility to Christ turn to love for Him? Is this something you were innately gifted with (but not your neighbor?) Is it grace that makes you to differ from other men or your free will? If by grace then why don't all men have the same response? As a natural man were you more spiritually sensitive, wise or did you naturually generate affection for Christ? Did you disarm your own hostility to Christ? Was the humility itself needed to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel, from grace or from your autonomous free will? Does God love you because of your obedience to His command to believe? Does not that make the love of God conditional, in the Arminian scheme? Can you thank God for your faith? Or is this the one thing you can thank yourself for?"

What do you reckon Bro., is the above thought provoking? What do you think?

I'm still looking forward to pastor Gary L. W. Johnson's next two reports. Are you?

Blessings

love

DJ

peter

DJ,

I must say, my dear Brother, I simply cannot not like you. Though wordy, I very much enjoyed your post and believe we could have some good chat (please don't take that as an invitation to be even more wordy, however :)

Actually I've read Steele & Thomas and find them quite good as do you. As I am looking on the book shelf in front of me, I count 19 individual books about Calvinism written by Calvinists--besides 11 Systematic theologies by mainstream Calvinists. My point is simple, my DJ, and it certainly is not an attempt to impress you with anything about my reading habits.

Rather, if I want to fully understand Calvinism, I must read Calvinists--not all the time mind you. But I must somewhere along the line engage the system itself, not what somebody says Calvinism is.

Contrarily, if I want to understand Arminianism, I must engage Arminians themselves, not what somebody says Arminiansim is. That said, my brother DJ (I am assuming you are brother and not sister:), were I you, I would listen to Olson himself rather than what somebody tells you of Olson. After all, he is self-identified as an Arminian. From my perspective, I want to know from Arminians why they are Arminians and not non-Arminians.

In the end, I count Steele & Thomas' assessment of Arminianism something to which to respectfully listen but surely not top priority. Actually, I'd rather fully understand Jacob Arminius himself than ten thousand interpretations of him.

Have a great evening DJ. Please come back. With that, I am...

Peter

SelahV

DJ: Haven't read Peter's response to your "thought provoking" post. However, the delivery in which it was presented SHOUTS vociferously at me. And it smacks my brain into next month. But praise the Lord! My heart is still intact and I'm still connected to that precious Vine. The challenge set before me, and other folks I have reading about Calvinism via this site, is whose spirit most resembles the Messenger of Whom they are humble ambassadors. My only connection with Calvinists has been via the blogs I've been reading. Thankfully, there are those whose temperament have given me license to be open with my questions. I'm sorry to report, you are not among those I could come to and feel comfortable with to help me be "enlightened" with the truth. God forgive me if I mis-speak. But sometimes the engagement of "men who contend" leaves me seeking comfort in the streets of Bagdad.
NOW, if you will excuse me, I'm going to post this and scroll back up and see Peter's response. God have mercy on you, brother. God have mercy. SelahV

SelahV

Peter, dear brother...as always I am not surprised. You spoke to the question and not the questions. I hope you are aware that about all that will be copied and pasted into someone's blogsite will be the first sentence of your reply...surely not the heat with which you were slimed just now. I had intended to go and read the posts which DJ had highlighted in an earlier post. However, now I shall just skip it and go read Proverbs 12 a few more times and try to "memorize" it. SelahV

Michael Westmoreland-White

This is definitely a book I want to read. However, I am not sure about Olsen's Head vs. Heart categories. He seems to associate "head" Calvinists or "head" Arminians with liberals in each group and conservatives in each group with "heart." But that clearly won't work: Schleiermacher was a pietist, a person of the heart. Charles Hodge was clearly of the head. Other examples abound.

peter

Michael,

Thank you, Michael, for your keen observation. I think you are essentially correct that examples abound to challenge Olson's head vs. heart distinction. A couple of thoughts though:

Olson does a better job in his book as you will see in teasing out the distinction further. Though, with you, I feel somewhere surely there exists the pesty little cross-over.

Olson actually borrowed the "heart vs "head" anaolgy from Alan P.F. Sell, a British theologian who, in turn, boworred it from, as I recall, historical theologian, G.F. Nutall. Thus it possesses a little history.

May the Lord our Lord bless you today, Michael. With that, I am...

Peter

DJ

Bro. Peter, you really are a chip off the old block. I betcha in real life you are a huggable cuddly teddy bear.

Hey, what do you think of what Kim Riddlebarger has to say? >>>

Dissed by Roger Olson

"A number of you have asked me about my thoughts on Roger Olson's new book, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (IVP). I am one of those mean-spirited Calvinists singled out by Olson for supposedly misrepresenting Arminianism and Arminians. I have not read Olson's book yet, but will certainly get around to it, since it is an important occasion when a noted Arminian theologian, like Olson, enters into direct debate with Reformed theology and its advocates."
http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/the-latest-post/2006/11/2/dissed-by-roger-olson.html

Bro, do you believe first then God regenerates you or does God regenerate you first then you believe? Is salvation of God's people God's decision or is it man's decision? Is it our "yes" or "no" decision that gives God the ok to whether he regenerates us or not? But ultimately it is up to us? Before the very foundations of the world?

Because if it is believing first, then all the devils and demons will be saved too won't they, including Satan, because they believe God exists don't they?

SelahV, God bless you.

love

DJ

PS. I really worked at keeping this post shorter. :-)

SelahV

DJ: Thanks. You too, a million times mine. SelahV

Michael Westmoreland-White

Thanks for the blessing, Peter. It have "taken" since the church retreat I went on this weekend was wonderful.

Daniel Kropf

With regards to the word "convict" in John 16:8. It can only mean reprove, convince, or to tell a fault not "judicial" conviction.

Unless you are willing to argue that when it is used in Matt. 18:15 Christ is telling us to "judicially" convict those who sin against us.

Johnny McJohns

I can't take this book seriously if its author doesn't understand what he is talking about.

1. Finney was a full blown Pelagian, not a semi-Pelagian.

2.
a. Arminian theology is not semi-Pelagian theology, but all Arminians must be semi-Pelagian in presuppositions (duh, what is working with prevenient grace in order to accomplish our salvation? why do we choose as opposed to one who does not?)
b. Arminians fail to recognize that our fallen state is just that--- a state we are in. We are separated from a salvific realtionship with God and therefore we have no power to do what is good. We must be placed into a salvific relationship with God (i.e., forgiven/restored into His presence). Essentially, one must be saved in order to overcome his fallen state. To state otherwise is to assume semi-Pelagian ideas of man and the fall. So laugh all he wants, they're not that far off from one another.

Maybe you should talk to an Arminian who actually understands Arminian theology in its presupps as well.

peter

Dear Johnny,

Poor, Poor Arminians. I simply feel sorry for them. They cannot at all get anything straight. They must be the most ignorant creatures our Lord has allowed to survive.

For after all, they cannot understand Calvinism. They're always getting it wrong. We know so because Calvinists tell us so.

And, to make it worse, they do not even understand Arminianism even though they claim to be an Arminian! We know this because again, the Calvinist tells us so.

Thank you, Johnny for your splendid insight, my Brother.

Have a grace-filled day. With that, I am...

Peter

Johnny McJohns

Peter, good argument. Thanks again for showing that all you have on your side is sarcasm without any substance. I gave you the historical and philosophical arguments that any theologian with a brain would admit. You gave me vintage egocentric Peter Frank. Thank you again for showing that you and your Arminian friends have to spit at people instead of engage them. With that I am....

A Guy Who Thinks He Knows Better Than Everyone Else Because He Takes An Illogical "Middle-Ground" Agnostic Position (Oh wait, that's you).

BTW, when you slander someone in a demeaning way for speaking the truth, you will still be judged for it by our Lord whether you put some empty blessing on the end of it or not.

Have a horrible day until you humble yourself and give an attitude of respect to those who know more than you do.

peter

Dear Johnny

I am on my handheld so I will be brief. There exists innumerable sites on which you may write anything you wish with impunity.

Unhappily for you SBC Tommorrow is not one of them. Here we encourage lively interaction while respecting others no matter how wrong their views appear. Consider this my Brother Johnny your one and only warning.

With that I am...
Peter

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