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2012.07.06

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Mary

Peter, more good stuff.

I think it's really sad that the TS has exposed so many unteachable spirits. The TS has exposed so many who claimed to know what the "other side" believes and the TS has shown they really had no clue. And yet what we see is that what Trads believe doesn't fit into a box and since it doesn't fit into a box it must be heresy or just bad scholarship with no thought behind it. None of the critics can think for a minute that maybe there are things they just don't know. Maybe there are ways to look at the Bible they haven't been taught/learned. What we have are a bunch of elites who know everything and since the TS isn't fitting with what they know it must be something abhorrent. There are people who believe they've come to the end of knowledge and really there's nothing more they can learn. If there scholars and high priests don't teach it than it must be bad and declared heresy.

peter lumpkins

Yes, and some of these guys--including some either still in seminary or not even yet enrolled in seminary who are college students--will say of this SBC theological giant, "he's a heretic" or "he's a Semi-Pelagian" or "he's a Liberal"...Why? For the reason you suggest--they are not aware of his presence in Baptist life or can recognize the position he embraces. Talk about being cheated of our heritage! Founders used to complain that all the "Founders" were ignored, etc. What was their solution? Rather than educating people about the "other side" of our history or the neglected part of our history, they simply started telling people there is no "other side" of our history...

With that, I am...
Peter

Adam Harwood

Peter,

You have discovered the root of the unbiblical theology found within the SBC since the adoption of the BFM 1963: W. T. Conner.

Oh, wait. This view isn't unbiblical; it simply differs at certain points with Calvinism.

Your research is timely and well done. Thank you.

In Him,

Adam

peter lumpkins

Dr. Harwood,

Thank you, but to you we owe a wealth of debt for your book, The Spiritual Condition of Infants, a book which concludes very similarly to our theological Texan.

Grace, brother.

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

"Conner's theology still displays his own acumen; his theological works reflect a biblical rather than systematic approach."

Lord Jesus, let that be the driver for all of us!

Clint

Found this online:http://www.reformedreader.org/conner.htm

Walter Thomas Conner
1877-1952

Both Conner's life and theology were grounded upon an abiding confidence in the validity of evangelical Christian conversion. He was baptised by W.M. Reynolds and received into the fellowship of Harmony Baptist Church at Caps, TX.

As a professor at Southwestern Theological Seminary, Conner used A.H. Strong's Systematic Theology. From 1918 until 1922 he used The Christian Religion in its Doctrinal Expression by E.Y. Mullins. In 1922, Conner began to use his own notes in mimeographed from and in 1926 shifted to his book, A System of Christian Doctrine. In later years he required the reading of his Revelation and God and The Gospel of Redemption. Conner basically agreed with the position of John Calvin and Emil Brunner that general revelation is not salvific but the basis for human accountability and preparatory for the revelation in Jesus Christ. Following Strong, he did not attempt to espouse a specific theory as to the process of divine inspiration of the Bible, and, following Mullins, he utilized the concept of progressive revelation.

Redemption, a major theme in Conner's theology, includes election, the work of Christ, becoming a Christian, the Christian life, the church, and last things. But it is not the self-election of believers by repentance and faith or merely God's foreknowing who would repent and believe. God is responsible for faith, but not unbelief. Hence, Conner has been classified under "modified Calvinistic predestination."

Conner taught one general resurrection of all humans at the time of the second coming of Jesus, whereas in 1945 he, following T. P. Stafford, inclined toward the view that resurrection bodies are received at death and resurrection itself will accompany the second coming. In 1924 Conner inclined toward postmillennialism, but in 1945 he identified himself generally with Amillennialism.

Bio from "Baptist Theologians", Timothy George and David S. Dockery

peter lumpkins

Thanks for the info. Not sure it sheds new light upon Conner's biblical anthropology, however.

Lord bless.

With that, I am...
Peter

Lydia

What a treasure to find! I especially love this:

•"Let me say that I think Romans 5:12-21 has been given too prominent and determinative a place in Paul's doctrine of sin--in fact, in the whole discussion of sin in Christian theology... in Romans 5:12-21, Paul is not discussing primarily the question of sin and condemnation. In this passage he is discussing the sweep of Christ's redemptive work." (p.287)

YES!

peter lumpkins

Lydia,

What I didn't quote in that section was, Conner argues that if one wants to understand Paul's view of sin, one does not find it in 5:12ff but in 1:18-3:20. There the apostle gives a full explanation of sin, and sin in the context of those three chapters is definitively actual transgression before God. It has nothing to do with some type of "imputed guilt" which he says is the creation of post-apostolic theologians not the Apostle Paul.

My first textbook in 1980 for a theology class at Boyce was Conner's The Gospel of Redemption. Too bad he's been buried and forgotten by today's professors...

With that, I am...
Peter

Clint

I ain't no Greek man, but Paul done listed the words sin and transgression no less than 10 times in chapter 5.

peter lumpkins

Clint,

Conner did not argue Paul didn't mention sin in Romans 5:12-21 nor even the absence of a sinful nature resulting from Adam's fall. Rather he suggested imputed guilt is not found there. The only guilt Conner sees is in Romans 1:18-3:20 but it is a guilt based not upon Adam's sin imputed to us but a personal guilt for transgressing God's commands ourselves.

Conner makes much out of Paul's phrase in 5:12ff "much more" (pp.287ff). He argues Paul is showing with this phrase how "much more" we gained in Christ's redemption than we lost in Adam's fall. Paul draws a parallel between Adam and Christ in relation to fallen humanity, including a contrast, etc. For Conner, Paul clearly meant to show that humans personally deserve the condemnation that rests upon them not because they allegedly "sinned in Adam" but because they personally, willingly, maliciously, and deliberately sinned against God themselves.

With that, I am...
Peter

Lydia

"What I didn't quote in that section was, Conner argues that if one wants to understand Paul's view of sin, one does not find it in 5:12ff but in 1:18-3:20. There the apostle gives a full explanation of sin, and sin in the context of those three chapters is definitively actual transgression before God. It has nothing to do with some type of "imputed guilt" which he says is the creation of post-apostolic theologians not the Apostle Paul."

Exactly. For example:

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath , when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

I sometimes think the problem is ignoring historical context, too. Where do they find imputed guilt at all in Romans? It is read into the text.

"My first textbook in 1980 for a theology class at Boyce was Conner's The Gospel of Redemption. Too bad he's been buried and forgotten by today's professors... "

I wonder if any recent SBTS students or grads could tell us if they have read Conner for class at SBTS? A good education is well rounded. To understand Marx better, I should read also read Von Misses or Hayek. To understand the policies of Calvin Coolidge, I should read narratives about New Deal policies, FDR's decisions and how he came to them and the result. ("The Forgotten Man" is excellent!)

To be indoctrinated is to be ignorant..... as I well know.

carl peterson

Peter,

Interesting read but hard to get past the sentence about Clavinists trying to build upon a system of man and not the Bible. I know many Calvinists and most believe that their doctrine (I am Calvinist also) is what the Bible teaches. I just do not think that sentence is very helpful for good dialogue.

I wonder what Conner did with Romans 5:17-18. It seems to me to teach that through Adam's sin all people are condemned. Through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners. Paul does not say that they received an inclination to sin but that they were made sinners through the act and thus condemned.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.

(Romans 5:18-19 ESV)

peter lumpkins

Carl,

Don't know what you're referencing about "Clavinists trying to build upon a system of man and not the Bible."

As for what Conner did with R5:17-18, he did not see those verses explicitly affirming an imputed sinful guilt from Adamic sin but only suggesting an inherited sinful nature from Adamic sin, a notion, by the way, which perfectly carries over into the BF&M which states, "whereby his [Adam's] posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation" (embolden added).

Hence, the distinction Conner draws is embedded within our own BFM2K, the same distinction, by the way, that Al Mohler approved when he sat on the 2000 BF&M committee.

With that, I am...
Peter

carl peterson

Peter,

This is what I was referencing. "Like many other historic Southern Baptists, Conner is described as more aligned with biblicism than human systematization of God's Word so often found in historic scholastic Calvinism." That is what this quote sounds like to me. Also given the context in the next paragraphs it seems warranted.

Okay I thought he would look at Romans 5:17-19 in that way. But how does he do that? The verses seem to point out that we are condemned because of the sin of Adam. It is not just that we received an inclination towards sin but also that we are condemned because of his action. Just as we are freed by Christ's action. I understand that the instrumental cause of our reception of the gift is through faith in Christ. But if we only receive the guilt through our own sin then it is our own condemnation not Adam's that we receive. So I am wondering how he exegetes and interprets the verses in question. They seem to be hard ones for his view and the Traditional Baptist view.

CARL

Ron Hale

Peter,
As always, I enjoyed your article and research! Great seeing you in NOLA.
Ron

Mary

I think it's interesting as you watch these "discusions" and you can see how there can't really be unity.

The YRR own all facts, theological definitions, scholarshp etc. You must admit that only their facts, definitions, scholars matter and are superior. You cannot bring into the discussions facts, definitions, scholars that are not in their box. Those facts, definitions are not worthy becuase they don't agree with Calvinist. Therefore, you get into this circular reasoning, only Calvinists can understand Calvinism but also only Calvinist understand what it is poor creatures of inferior spiritually and biblical intellect believe. You will be given a perjorative label if you happen to be so inferior as to reject Calvinism. It doesn't matter if you reject the label because not being a Calvinist what you think doesn't count. Calvinists declare the debate has been had and they have won the debate so everything is settled and we will be fitted with the labels they deem appropriate - but hey UNITY!

Oh and don't claim the name Baptist for yourself either because that's mean to imply that you are not arminian/semi-pelegian/humanist/hertic but Baptis. If you are not a Calvinist you do not have any right to declare yourself anything except those perjorative names acceptable to the Calvinists. And don't you dare claim that your view have a whole lot of years in the SBC and so rightly can be labeled Traditional because only the work that Calvinist have done in the SBC matters - nothing the Traditionalist have done means anything and so those who reject Calvinism cannot give themselves a label. Because obviously only Calvinists get to label anyone.

Joe

"YRR owns all the ... scholarship." Well, you're right.

The pastor on SBC Today self published his book. Cross Books is the self publisher branch of Lifeway (who you probably think is all Calvinistic). I'm not saying it's not good, but self-published books are a different ballgame than getting published by Zondervan, B&H, Crossway, IVP, Baker, Eerdmans, etc.

If you compare the scholarship coming out of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southeastern to Southwestern and New Orleans, there is a huge disparity. Does the faulty at Mid-America and Golden Gate write? Southern's faculty is academically prolific. Their graduates, not just the faculty members, are now writing the commentaries with major publishing companies. From what I can tell, NOBTS's only faculty member who's written a commentary is Dennis Cole's Number's commentary for NAC. Now, SWBTS does have a Jonathan Edwards school who's published, and of course, Dr Yarnell is published. But, overall, the theology, history, and language departments at Southern are consistently cranking out scholarly works. Southeastern's history department is holding its own, and it already has an established Greek department that publishes, especially Dr Kostenberger.

I wish there wasn't a disparity in the scholarship between the SBC seminaries, but there is. The publishing is evidence of that.

Ian D. Elsasser

Peter,

James Dunn’s explanation of Romans 5.13-14 would seem to support W. T. Connor’s interpretation of Romans 5:

“The point Paul is making therefore is that all humankind is under the power of sin, as evidenced by their sinful acts (that is, acts done in disregard for God and his glory as creator–cf. 1:20-23). But not all sinful acts are held by God as transgression, only those committed in deliberate breach of a divine command. Presumably therefore Paul also implies a coordinate distinction between death as a consequence of sin and death as a punishment for sin. He does see death as a punishment deserved or merited b willful self-seeking (1:32; cf. 6:23), but in the analysis of the human condition here death is the power of sin rather than under the power of God, the inescapable consequence of failure to live in dependence on the one power which can defeat death. In short, Paul could be said to hold a doctrine of original sin, in the sense that from the beginning everyone has been under the power of sin with death as the consequence, but not a doctrine of original guilt, since individuals are only held responsible for deliberate acts of defiance against God and his law. This in turn implies that Paul’s gospel had in view not only those laboring under a sense of guilt but all those subject to sin and death, and that the divine solution he offered was at a fundamental level more redemptive than punitive (cf. 3:25-26).”

(James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1-8, Word Biblical Commentary. Waco: Word Books, Incorporated, 1988, p. 291)

Lydia

Joe, As one who knows a tiny bit about that arena, publishers go with who and what is popular at the moment who is in the popular group. It is not usually the content that makes the decision but the market viability. Who publishes the ESV? Go check out their site and see whose books they also publish.

I always found it strange that SBC Calvinists promote the ESV when we have the Holman until I started connecting dots.

So never believe it is about content or "scholarship". It is all about marketing: A ready made market. All it takes is one promo at a popular conference or on social media and a few blurbs from other celebs on the jacket and in the Christian market you could well have a winner.

I have been gratified that over the last 50 years or so people keep finding in attics and other places all over Europe the writings of Anabaptists who were not allowed to distribute their writings and were on the run so they really could not write a lot. Most did in prison. What a treasure from those not popular at the time.

Sometimes we are impressed with worldly success when maybe we should look elsewhere. Just a thought.

Joe

Oh, so content doesn't matter? Give me a break. Four seminaries matter when it comes to first level academia: Southern, Westminster, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and possibly Dallas, though they've declined in recent times. If you want to get an education, go to SBTS or SEBTS. If you want to get an easy diploma, go to NOBTS. Everyone looking at seminaries knows that, as students select seminaries based on professors. And NOBTS professors, are for the most part, are all homegrown. It's the University of Phoenix of seminaries.

And by the way, I can see why other commenters on here get frustrated with your remarks, and you do seem to be consistently commenting on everyone in here (I saw the discussion about Dr Nettles). That one lady was right but rude - you really must wait for the next comment to pop up.

The simple fact is, if you're looking to purchase a commentary or theology text from an SBC Arminian, the pool you can draw from is quite small. Surely they can get published, right? Surely the seminaries they teach at want them to get published, right? And I'm not talking about David Platt type books, I'm talking about academic works. Where are the SBC Arminian exegetes? **crickets** Of course, if it's just the market dictating who gets published and only Calvinists are getting published, well that means the Calvinists are the only ones reading, doing exegesis, doing historical theology ...

peter lumpkins

"Joe"

Unless, you have something to contribute along the lines of the subject of this post, I'll ask you to knock it off. You're making assertions not only irrelevant to the thread, you're making asinine assertions you have no way of proving other than your own personal opinion.

With that, I am...
Peter

P.S. "Joe" if you're going to trash 5 of 6 SBC seminaries, you're not going to do it further anonymously. Either tell us who you are, or go back to lurking but not commenting

carl peterson

Joe,

I am a Calvinist but I can't agree with your statements about the other southern baptist seminaries besides SEBTS and SBTS. As one who has graduated seminary I quickly found out that sometimes (really often) the best teachers were not the most published. some can write and some can teach. Very few can do both. I personally found some great teachers at SWBTS. One of my profs. is now at Reformed Theological in Orlando. Also I know of many profs. at SWBTS that were writing commentaries. One that i knew very well wrote one volume of the NAC. The NAC is one of commentaries I like the most (as series go). While I enjoy Mohler and the many different profs at SBTS, they ain't the only fish in the Southern Baptist academic world. BTW also Donald Whitney (who I believe is now at SBTS)used to be prominent member of the Midwestern faculty.

Anyways I read a ton and know many different kinds of scholars. From the Reformed to the eastern orthodox. I have spoke to them and dialogued about theological issues with them personally. So I know what I am talking about here.

CARL

peter lumpkins

Ian

It's been too long. Hope you've been well. Yes, Dunn is a good contemporary example of scholarship perhaps substantiating Conner's view. Others could be added.

One reason I've not engaged the exegetical issue is, while Carl's question is a good one--arguably the chief one since, in the end, the thing mattering most is solid biblical exegesis--the exegetical question on Rom 5 is quite beside the point of this piece on history. It's not whether Conner got Rom 5 right, it's whether, as a major, commonly-respected SBC scholar-theologian, he concluded Rom 5 taught the imputation of Adam's sin. He did not.

Grace, brother. May this coming Lord's Day prove a good one for you.

With that, I am...
Peter

Hobart M. Tucker

Joe,

The problem is that theorists are running the SBC rather than men who actually have built churches under the leading of the Holy Spirit. We don't need more academic elite passing off gnosticism as sacred text.

-- HMT

Hobart M. Tucker

BTW, Joe, who is more homegrown than Al Mohler and Danny Akin? SBTS hired a number of Presbyterians from Trinity after conservatives fired the liberals, but other than that there has been a lot of academic incest in Louisville.
-- HMT


Joe

HMT, who are the Presbyterians at Southern? Are their professors baptizing babies there? I had not heard of that. That must be a new development.

Johnathan Pritchett

Often erroneous double-predestination-peddling Calvinist Thomas Schreiner, in his Baker Romans commentary regarding 5:12-21, isn't too far off from this either. He actually wrote the sentence "...and if Paul's teaching sounds Pelagian, so be it". (p. 275) :)

Of course, he then rightly goes on to understand the "original death" view as the proper alternative off the grid of Augustine that avoids Pelagianism.

It is still funny though that a Calvinist could even write that sentence. And, it is about the only exegesis he got right in the whole commentary regarding debated passages.

Rick Patrick

Joe,

My last name, of which I am unashamed, is Patrick. Yours?

I am also unashamed to be a graduate of Southwestern Seminary, whose published professors include Dr. David Allen, Dr. Malcolm Yarnell, Dr. Paige Patterson, Dr. Craig Blaising, Dr. William Dembski, Dr. Roy Fish, and many, many others.

You may not even realize it, but your attitude sounds elitist and filled with intellectual snobbery. I don't mind you being "true to your school." Even the Beach Boys support that. But to demean the other Southern Baptist Seminaries in favor of Southern only reveals the elitist and tribal attitude recently condemned by Dr. Mohler, Dr. Page and Dr. Wright.

Hobart M. Tucker

Joe,

Without going through the whole list, I recall that Schreiner and Seifrid are of the Presbyterian tradition. I will pull up the faculty list online, but I remember that somewhere in the number of eight of the faculty came from similar backgrounds.

I think it is fair to suggest that most people who see the sign for "Southern Presbyterian Seminary" in Louisville think it refers to Mohler's fiefdom.

-- HMT

Johnathan Pritchett

CARL

You wrote, "The verses seem to point out that we are condemned because of the sin of Adam."

You are correct, we are all condemned because of the sin of Adam. This is what I take from the text as well.

However, this is a "what is the case" statement, the question is "how this is the case", and Paul gives his understanding of it without the Augustinian baggage.

The only answers Paul gives is that all have sinned (5:12), and it means personally sinned, and not the Augustine version of "all sinned in Adam". As Schreiner points out, the verb in the phrase πάντες ἥμαρτον usually refers to personal sins throughout Scripture (see page 275). Also, verses 13-14 make no sense if this referred to corporate sin in Adam, to say nothing of corporate guilt which is nowhere in the text at all, because Paul is giving an account of sin without trespass having occurred between Adam and Moses without the SAME sin of Adam being committed i.e. "even THOSE who did not..." in verse 13.

They have all sinned because death reigns (5:14, 5:17) and that sin reigns in death (v.21). As a result of Adam's death, all are born separated from God under the reign of death and sin, and so sin accordingly.

This is all Paul says by way of explanation of the "how". If it is good enough for Paul, it is good enough for me.

It is worth noting that Schreiner states that the passage can't even mean "born corrupt".

Furthermore, it is important to note that guilt can't be imputed since there is simply NO imputation of any sin whatsoever between Adam and Moses. (also V. 13-14).

Thus, imputation of any sort, sin or guilt, is not even a requirement for sinners to perish for sin (Romans 2:12a), so the whole notion of imputation of sin or guilt from Adam to his posterity is ruled out by the very passage people claim teaches that very thing.

So, unless one posits that the imputation of Adam's sin befell the whole human race after Moses, but skipped all the generations of humans in between...which, of course, is nonsensical rubbish, then the notion of imputed guilt, or even imputed sin of Adam, needs to be discarded.

The only thing we can surmise from this passage is that death reigns from Adam's sin (Paul says this explicitly in 1 Cor. 15:22 "in Adam, all die), and sin itself reigns in death.

If we are to use the word "imputed" for anything, the most we could even say is that the consequences of Adam's sin are "imputed", or befall his posterity.

Other than that, I wholeheartedly agree with Conner, this passage is mainly about how awesome Jesus is and the grand sweep of His obedience in redemption.

Hobart M. Tucker

... and Parker.

-- HMT

Lydia

Peter, I love reading your historical finds and Johnathan's exegesis of Romans.

Maybe I am in the minority but to read Romans from the Calvinistic bent is for it to become dark and despairing instead of a narrative of redemption.

Debbie Kaufman

Lydia: God reaching down and changing a heart is anything but dark to me. It's a message of hope, it all points to Christ and not us. Looking to Christ and not ourselves for salvation. It takes our eyes off of man and onto Christ alone.

To know that when I pray, God is laying that person on my heart in order for me to be a witness, a participant in what he is going to do is anything but dark. To know that it doesn't even depend on someone's rejection because God can change that rejection is anything but dark. It's almighty God. And the question would be, do we trust Him to decide no matter what? Or do we trust ourselves more?

Les Prouty

Lydia,

"Maybe I am in the minority"

You are. Debbie has it right. To read Romans any way besides a recognition of God's sovereignty over every molecule in the universe is well, hopeless.

Lydia

" And the question would be, do we trust Him to decide no matter what? Or do we trust ourselves more"

Debbie, I consider such questions condescending and "projecting" onto others what is not the case at all. It is akin to saying; if you do not believe like me then you don't trust God.

I am simply done playing those pedantic, heretic hunting games.

I believe God is totally Sovereign over His own Sovereignty. I simply do not subscribe to the Augustinian/Calvinist interpretive grid.

If that makes me a minority, so be it.

Mary

Lydia, and the implication that anyone who's not a Calvinist must be looking to themselves and not Christ is pretty insulting.

No Lydia, I don't think you're in the minority at all when you don't believe that the ultimate reason why someone is in hell is simply because God didn't choose them. I don't see what's so comforting if you have unbelievers in your family and they are headed to hell or maybe you're afraid loved ones are already there, but somehow it makes you feel better to say "well God didn't choose them so thats that, but hey I'm in. Yipee!"

Johnathan Pritchett

"To read Romans any way besides a recognition of God's sovereignty over every molecule in the universe is well, hopeless."

What has God's sovereignty to with exegesis that rejects Calvinist interpretations? That was Lydia's point...about exegesis of texts...which not even remotely related to the issue of God's sovereignty. All Christian exegesis maximizes God's sovereignty behind every interpretation.

Every Christian believes in the absolute, maximal sovereignty of God. Who is above God? No one. Hence, God is absolutely and maximally sovereign.

What has that to do with anything Lydia said?

Oh, right...nothing whatsoever.

On another matter entirely, speaking of sovereignty and molecules...it is the determinism of Reformed theology that has the idea that if God sovereignly gives libertarian freedom to His image bearers, it would render the God of the cosmos into a feckless, helpless wimp scared of molecules and unable to do anything whatsoever, including delivering on His promises if such freedom is given to His creatures (an unimpeachable inference from Sproul, Chosen By God, p. 16).

This sort of view of God is very low regarding God's sovereignty and attributes. People who affirm libertarianism have such a bigger view of God's majestic power and all-infinite attributes and complete faith in God's ability to have absolute and complete dominion over every aspect of His creation AS HE CREATED IT.

So, it isn't the non-Reformed bunch who low-ball God's sovereignty, control, and power over all creation. It is the Calvinists, or at least those who are completely muddled in their thinking like Sproul.

Jim G.

Hi Jonathan,

Just to piggy-back on what you said, meticulous determinism is the chief metaphysical-interpretive construct of the Augustinian-Calvinist synthesis. It is the lens through which those in that tradition read the Bible.

Determinism (despite the best attempts at historical revisionism by both John Gill and Steve Lawson) was unknown in Christian tradition before the end of the fourth century. Even Augustine himself was not a thorough-going determinist, because he did hold to some sorts of free will (depending on what he was writing at the time). His interpreters later on (Gottschalk, Thomas Bradwardine, Gregory of Rimini, and John Wycliffe) set up the sixteenth-century determinism of Zwingli, Calvin, and others.

There are multiple reasons why I reject the deterministic hermeneutic of the Augustinian-Calvinist synthesis. They include the inescapable conclusion that God is the architect of evil, the strange division of the will of God into a secret and revealed aspect, the testimony of Jesus Christ, the reality of satan as an enemy, and ultimately our existence in the image of God makes determinism impossible to live out in our daily lives.

Good stuff. I love the "original death" idea. I think that Rom 8:2 helps with Paul's allusion to the law of sin and death. Adam sinned, which brought forth death, which causes deeper sin, which deepens death - it's a vicious cycle. Adam's offspring are born in a state of death, which causes sin, and on it goes.

Jim G.

Johnathan Pritchett

Jim G.

Oddly enough, Dr. Lawson was my pastor for many years at the Bible Church of Little Rock. I grew up Calvinist. I took his comments he had made to task on my blog about a year or so ago on a similar issue.

http://crankycontrarianchristiancommentary.com/2011/07/07/critiquing-my-former-pastor-dr-lawsons-recent-comments-regarding-his-calvinist-man-centered-view-of-election-couched-in-a-god-talk-smokescreen/

Quite so regarding Romans 8:2. Especially since Romans 5:20 explicitly states that the law came along to multiply the trespass.

Anyway, I am quite aware of historical revisionism by Calvinists...especially regarding Calvin himself and his poor, Popish character.

Same with Augustine, who Calvinists try to make out as being something other than the baby-dunking, sex-hating, Mary-worshiping, transubstantiation-teaching, Pope-loving, sacrificial mass-believing, neo-gnostic Catholic that he was. To say nothing of Calvinists pretending Augustine wasn't an astoundingly poor exegete (read his parable comments for a good laugh) who knew less Greek than my nine year old son knows. Heck, Augustine's argumentative skills were so poor that he couldn't even beat Pelagius before the popes until after Pelagius died.

Some heroes of the faith they are...

Debbie Kaufman

My question as I study is simply what does the Bible say and if it agrees with what these guys are teaching then I have to believe it. If not I don't believe it. It's that simple. I see it as agreeing in soteriology. Therefore I believe it and agree with it. As did Bunyan, Spurgeon, Gill, and many other Baptists from the 1600's to the present.

Mary

Debbie, believe it our not that's what we all do - look at the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate God's Word to us. Where you will always get in trouble is where you insult those who disagree with on an argument that has been going on for over 500 years - implying you know something more about Sovereignty, you believe God more, those who disagree with you don't put Christ first or hey maybe you are the only one simpy trying to see what the Bible says. Try showing respect to those who disagree with you. Take a look at your last swipe listing your Calvinist idols - why say something like that unless you want to lord it over everyone and put yourself in the line of great theologians.

volfan007

Jonathan,

I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments, Brother. You are one smart cookie, BTW. You explain things about Calvinism, and the passages of Scripture, which show a great understanding and wisdom and grasp of the teachings. And, I for one, am glad to read what you write.

God bless you, Brother.

David

Lydia

Volfie (I saw someone call you that and thought it sounded Euro-cool),

Johnathan grew up Calvinist which I think helps his perspective. We did not grow up with Calvin and Augustine. His blog is great. Check it out. Link above.

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