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Thread: One on Two - Calvinism: Knight with assuranceagent and Ask Mr Religion

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    AA and AMR... so we make decisions based on our inclinations. Seems impossible that anyone could disagree with that.

    Where do our inclinations come from?
    I don't think you can narrow it down to a single source.

    It is a combination of nature and nurture and even, at times, God.

    I believe with regard to our moral decisions, our inclinations are governed by the mastery of our nature -- be that by sin or grace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    I don't think you can narrow it down to a single source.

    It is a combination of nature and nurture and even, at times, God.

    I believe with regard to our moral decisions, our inclinations are governed by the mastery of our nature -- be that by sin or grace.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    I would say that our inclinations at any given moment are a function of things like circumstances, experience, likes, dislikes, parents, and character/nature.

    AMR
    That certainly seems reasonable to me.

    Maybe our inclinations are the very thing that makes us.... us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    That certainly seems reasonable to me.

    Maybe our inclinations are the very thing that makes us.... us.
    That's kind of a chicken/egg issue, I think.

    Does our nature motivate our inclinations or do our inclinations define our nature...

    I tend to lean towards the former.

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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    That's kind of a chicken/egg issue, I think.

    Does our nature motivate our inclinations or do our inclinations define our nature...

    I tend to lean towards the former.
    So do I.

    The moral agentís will does not control itself, nor does the will control the nature, instead the moral agentís nature controls the will and therefore the moral agentís nature determines the moral agentís choices. In other words there are limitations on who a person is and what the person desires and wills. The personís freedom is self-determined and exercised within these limitations.

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    Earlier in the thread I asked....

    What do you think is the number one thing(s) that Open Theists (on TOL) misunderstand and misrepresent about Calvinism?

    Both of you gave excellent answers.

    My next question is similar...

    What do you think is the number one thing(s) that Calvinists (on TOL) misunderstand and misrepresent about Calvinism?

    What are some things that make you cringe when a Calvinist or settled theist states on TOL or elsewhere?
    Last edited by Knight; January 27th, 2010 at 06:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    Earlier in the thread I asked....

    What do you think is the number one thing(s) that Open Theists (on TOL) misunderstand and misrepresent about Calvinism?

    My next question is similar...

    What do you think is the number one thing(s) that Calvinists (on TOL) misunderstand and misrepresent about Calvinism?

    What are some things that make you cringe when a Calvinist or settled theist states on TOL or elsewhere?
    I cringe most any time a "radical" Calvinist opens their mouth. It has more to do with presentation than content (though often content is at issue also). It seems the more radical the Calvinistic views, the more vitriolic the presentation. (And while I know that opens up a potential vulnerability to faulty conclusions by the opponents of Calvinism, it's the truth.)

    In my experience, most people base their impressions of Calvinism on the utterances of the most radical among us (some signigficantly more "radical" even than Calvin) and the same radicals serve to confirm all the fears and misgivings about Calvinist theology each and every time they open their mouths.

    Say, for instance, there was a "Calvinist" who claimed to hold to unconditional election...but then presented it as though his/her own election were a thing to boast about and lord over others. And then to make matters worse, this same individual might claim that anyone who disagrees with him/her is reprobate. (Not that this would ever happen, mind you. Just hypothetically, of course. )

    What impression might that leave with those who already claim that Calvinism is "elitist"?

    Honestly, I could make a pretty extensive list. I think much of the damage that has been done to Calvinism has been at the hands of it's most ardent supporters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    Say, for instance, there was a "Calvinist" who claimed to hold to unconditional election...but then presented it as though his/her own election were a thing to boast about and lord over others.
    In regard to Calvinism I can see how that boasting would seem so awful, it might be taken as the worst type of "nanny nanny poo poo" ever uttered.

    Yet boasting about our salvation seems to be one of the few things that God actually wants us to boast about.

    People often point to Ephesians 2:8-9 as evidence that we play no part in our salvation not even a part in choosing to allow God to save us.

    Yet I think that's overstating the case. While we shouldn't boast that we saved ourselves (because we didn't) we should boast that we chose to allow God to save us because that's a smart choice. It's like the difference between boasting that we chose to buy a well made clock but not boasting that we made the clock when we didn't.

    Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

    If those who are saved don't boast about being in the Body why would anyone else want to join?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    In regard to Calvinism I can see how that boasting would seem so awful, it might be taken as the worst type of "nanny nanny poo poo" ever uttered.

    Yet boasting about our salvation seems to be one of the few things that God actually wants us to boast about.

    People often point to Ephesians 2:8-9 as evidence that we play no part in our salvation not even a part in choosing to allow God to save us.

    Yet I think that's overstating the case. While we shouldn't boast that we saved ourselves (because we didn't) we should boast that we chose to allow God to save us because that's a smart choice. It's like the difference between boasting that we chose to buy a well made clock but not boasting that we made the clock when we didn't.

    Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

    If those who are saved don't boast about being in the Body why would anyone else want to join?
    Well, since this isn't a debate thread, I'll simply point out that we would differ on the clock illustration in that I couldn't even boast in the choice of clock since it was a gift to me in the purest sense.

    That said, I can boast of my Savior all day long and shout from the rooftops those things that only He can accomplish.

    To boast in something I neither earned nor deserved simply doesn't make much sense to me. And election and the gift of salvation given as a result are just such undeserved and unearned gifts.


    And in other news, you know what we're missing?

    Buffalo wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    And in other news, you know what we're missing?

    Buffalo wings.
    Excellent point! Waiter!!!!! Bring this man some hot wings this instant!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    Earlier in the thread I asked....

    What do you think is the number one thing(s) that Open Theists (on TOL) misunderstand and misrepresent about Calvinism?

    My next question is similar...

    What do you think is the number one thing(s) that Calvinists (on TOL) misunderstand and misrepresent about Calvinism?

    What are some things that make you cringe when a Calvinist or settled theist states on TOL or elsewhere?
    A wonderful question, Knight!

    I am glad AA posted a reply, for I was actually wondering, “where do I begin?” There are so many things I could point to that I start “cringing” when I see what is being written. That said, the author(s) of some of these posts are not persons who label themselves Calvinists. Whew!

    Within TOL there are very few who will call themselves “Calvinists”. I know because I keep track of them. And most are no longer very active within TOL. I usually try to invite them to my moderated :squint: TOL Reformed Theology Social Group, too. (Forgive the plug, Knight!)

    Things that have me often scrambling to PM or post a clarification usually revolve around the following:

    1. Posts that imply fatalistic notions about Calvinism. Let me explain.

    Calvinists will agree with but one aspect of fatalism, by holding that the decree of God renders future events certain. Arminians will claim the same thing. So far, so good. This is the only aspect of fatalism that agrees with Calvinism, as all other aspects of fatalism are heathen doctrines.

    According to fatalism, all certainly determined events are the result of some universal law of necessary causation. This causation acts blindly, and is the result of some unintelligent force that produces its ends without respect for the moral free agency of the agents involved. Fatalism leaves no consideration for motive, choice, means, conditions, final ends or purposes, just the simple outplaying of necessity.

    Unlike fatalism, Calvinism makes it clear that the decree of God implies a wholly comprehensive plan from an infinitely wise, benevolent, righteous, and omnipotent Father. His plan is not determined by mere will, but according to the very counsel of His will. The counsel of God’s will makes certain the best ends, and adopts the best means so that these ends are in fact attained. Furthermore, God’s plan is not executed by the mere force of His power, instead, God’s plan is executed through the means of all types of second causes, whether these causes are free or are necessary, with each cause pre-adapted to its function or place, and each acting without constraint according to its nature.

    So, when I read posts by the few who explicitly claim to be Calvinists, that imply men are but robots, sock puppets, etc., I see a failure to recognize the above, and to recognize that the difference between man and machine is infinite, especially when considering differences between intelligence, motives, free agency, and the mechanical forces acting upon the mere matter of a machine.

    2. Posts that imply anyone who is not a Calvinist is lost, hell-bound, and sin-bent.

    I think this is along the same lines as AA’s own beefs with other Calvinists. There is not a single Calvinist of repute from the past or in the present, who would dare to make such a claim.

    Lastly, and one of my most annoying, is

    3. Posts from Calvinists that imply another Calvinist is just not Calvinistic enough or is not even a true Calvinist.

    Yes, there will be some who claim to be Calvinists, but upon closer examination, they may be nothing more that confused Arminians, especially those self-proclaimed Calvinists who call themselves four-pointers. I regularly correct such claims and welcome any other Calvinist who would do the same.

    Other than this, there is no doubt that there are matters of differences between Calvinists, such as supralapsarian versus infralapsarian perspectives, Sabbath-keeping, Gospel free offers, cessationism, common grace, or equal ultimacy. That said, when I see another person, claiming to be a Calvinist, especially within TOL, where such claims are subject to great examination by so many non-Calvinists, taking another Calvinist to task, directly or indirectly, and claiming this person is somehow less than a real Calvinist, I am at first greatly annoyed, and when I have calmed myself, greatly saddened.

    I guess these are my top three, in no particular order, answers to your question.

    Speaking of chicken wings, it reminds me of the following, which must be read aloud:

    C M Wangs?
    M R Nut Wangs
    O S A R Wangs!
    Lil Be! M R Wangs!

    Now you are officially able to speak the mother tongue of the South!

    AMR
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    I agree with all of that.

    In fact, and in the interest of full-disclosure, I often wonder if I'm a Calvinist or aren't I...

    My position is difficult. On the one hand, I hold to all five points of Calvinist soteriology. For that reason, most label me a Calvinist from the outset.

    But when it becomes apparent that I take a more moderate stance than some, (I won't mention any names because I don't like to approach things from that Nangle ) particularly with regard to issues such as determinism and double predestination (not to mention being infralapsarian like my not-quite-Calvinist-enough cohort across the table here... *gestures to AMR* ) the tone shifts and suddenly I'm no longer a Calvinist.

    As I mentioned before, I think that most people define their views of Calvinism according to the more... fervent of those among us and therefore see Calvinism as encompassing the most radical of all of these positions. As such, I've generally found it easier to deny the label, "Calvinist."

    What it really boils down to is this:

    I think most consider me a Calvinist. Even godrulz, who tells me every time we talk that I'm not a Calvinist, seems to forget that he said that in between conversations.

    I don't consider myself a Calvinist, but it's not because I reject the label so much as it is that I don't really think I fit conveniently into ANY neatly labeled box...and neither do I think most do.

    I think the failing is in clearly defining the line that dilineates a Calvinist from a non-Calvinist.

    Knight, you are an Open Theist. But you don't fit neatly into that box. Specifically, you believe that the gift of salvation is irrevocable. OSAS. Many (most?) Open Theists do not share this view, if I recall. But no one questions that you are an Open Theist because the defining characteristic of Open Theism is that the future is not settled in it's entirety.

    So where is that line within Calvinism? What is the defining characteristic? Should there be one? Or should Calvinism be viewed as a sum of parts -- a complete system of theology that derives it's definition from it's namesake?

    Should it be just a matter of TULIP? Becuase Augustine was remarkably similar in many of his views.

    AMR, Knight? Your thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    Knight, you are an Open Theist. But you don't fit neatly into that box. Specifically, you believe that the gift of salvation is irrevocable. OSAS. Many (most?) Open Theists do not share this view, if I recall. But no one questions that you are an Open Theist because the defining characteristic of Open Theism is that the future is not settled in it's entirety.
    I only know a few Open theists who do not accept OSAS so it seems the opposite to me, yet I understand your point. That's why some of this stuff gets tricky and muddled. I do my best to separate out the Open Theism theology from the other theologies.

    In my opinion Open theism and the notion of a settled or unsettled future is completely separate from soteriology, dispensationalism and other theologies. I realize that not everyone agrees with me on that point.

    So where is that line within Calvinism? What is the defining characteristic? Should there be one? Or should Calvinism be viewed as a sum of parts -- a complete system of theology that derives it's definition from it's namesake?
    Those are good questions for both Calvinism and Open theism.

    I guess that's why we so often skip the Calvinism label and use a term such as: settled theism. Some folks call Open Theism "unsettled theism" but that term doesn't really fit Open Theism because in open theism some aspects of the future are indeed settled. So it seems to me that the term settled theism fits Calvinism and Arminianism without being insulting or inaccurate. While "unsettled theism" doesn't seem to accurately describe open theism, although I certainly don't make a big deal out of it when people use the term unsettled theism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    So where is that line within Calvinism? What is the defining characteristic? Should there be one? Or should Calvinism be viewed as a sum of parts -- a complete system of theology that derives it's definition from it's namesake?

    Should it be just a matter of TULIP? Becuase Augustine was remarkably similar in many of his views.

    AMR, Knight? Your thoughts?
    After abandoning attempts to clearly distinguish between Calvinís comprehensive system of theology versus what the masses assume, a Calvinist is simply someone who subscribes to the Reformed correction to the Arminians given at Dordt on only five very specific teachings. The correction became what is known as the TULIP acrostic, which by the way, was not an abbreviation that Calvin came up with, as so many seem to think. I have outlined the meanings of TULIP in my initial post in this thread.

    So, yes, to me at least when in forums that are not Reformed-centric, the Calvinist label a simply a matter of TULIP, the doctrines of grace. I say this because it becomes too tiresome to point out to others that the Reformed systematics of Calvin encompassed an entire theology of faith, worship, church order, and praxis. Unfortunately, no one seems to want to move past TULIP when discussing Calvinism. Sigh.

    Thusly, I have abandoned any attempt to classify Calvinism as Reformed, since the latter is much more than just a bow to TULIP, versus a comprehensive theological system of biblical doctrine, practice, and piety embodied in such Confessions as the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    In other words, not all TULIPs are Reformed, but all Reformed are TULIPs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    After abandoning attempts to clearly distinguish between Calvinís comprehensive system of theology versus what the masses assume, a Calvinist is simply someone who subscribes to the Reformed correction to the Arminians given at Dordt on only five very specific teachings. The correction became what is known as the TULIP acrostic, which by the way, was not an abbreviation that Calvin came up with, as so many seem to think. I have outlined the meanings of TULIP in my initial post in this thread.

    So, yes, to me at least when in forums that are not Reformed-centric, the Calvinist label a simply a matter of TULIP, the doctrines of grace. I say this because it becomes too tiresome to point out to others that the Reformed systematics of Calvin encompassed an entire theology of faith, worship, church order, and praxis. Unfortunately, no one seems to want to move past TULIP when discussing Calvinism. Sigh.

    Thusly, I have abandoned any attempt to classify Calvinism as Reformed, since the latter is much more than just a bow to TULIP, versus a comprehensive theological system of biblical doctrine, practice, and piety embodied in such Confessions as the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    In other words, not all TULIPs are Reformed, but all Reformed are TULIPs.

    AMR
    In that case, I are TULIP therefore I are Calvinist.

    As for the "unsettled theist" moniker...one could make the same point of "Open Theism," since it is not true to the Open Theist that all of the future lies open.

    Though I think, in the end, the label that matters most is: Christian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by assuranceagent View Post
    Though I think, in the end, the label that matters most is: Christian.
    Amen to that brother.
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