Peter Pike (a.k.a. “Calvindude”) over at Triablogue has been interacting with another blogger, Persiflage, a self-described non-Arminian non-Calvinist. Pike said that he would continue interacting with Persiflage, but I too would like to address some of the arguments that Persiflage was making.
First, I'd like to say that it's refreshing to have a non-Calvinist that doesn't get extremely emotional like the Campbellite Pelagians that come around the internet and do drive-by comments spewing their ignorance. Persiflage seems to show critical thinking skills and is open to the arguments that we have to present. It’s easy when one is in a back-and-forth behind a keyboard to get insulting, forgetting that your opponent is a brother in Christ. It seems that Persiflage has lived up to this standard so far, and so, I intend to do the same.
Having said these things, I have noticed from a few statements made by Persiflage that I can expect a typical Dave Hunt / Norman Geisler style straw-man attack on Calvinist doctrine. For example, take a few quotes from this post:
“So consider this a short introduction to a 5 part series. First of all, I'm not Arimian. I don't believe in universalism and I don't believe that a Christian can lose his salvation…With this ths series of 5 essays, I'm going to explain why I can't agree to any of the 5. I used to think I believed in at least 2 of them, but then I heard the "offical explanation" and couldn't even find Scripture to support my belief in those.”
Now, I may be proven wrong when he does his post on the Perseverance of the Saints and actually comes out supporting a Free-Grace Movement Dispensational Once-Saved-Always-Saved doctrine, but I’ve a got a feeling that I’m going to see the standard Adrian Rodgers style “Calvinists believe that the saints persevere on their own willpower” straw-man.
Also, here’s another from this comment:
“Charles Spurgeon, himself a Calvinist, disbelieved in "Double Predestination" however. Spurgeon said - "I cannot imagine a more ready instrument in the hands of Satan for the ruin of souls than a minister who tells sinners it is not their duty to repent of their sins ... who has the arrogance to call himself a gospel minister, while he teaches that God hates some men infinitely and unchangeably for no reason whatever but simply becauses he chooses to do so. O my brethren. May the Lord save you from the charmer, and keep you ever deaf to the voice of error." - quoted in Iain H. Murray's 'Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism: A Battle for Gospel Preaching'”
However, this equivocates on the term ‘Predestination’. John Calvin and R.C. Sproul use the term differently than Spurgeon and other modern theologians. In Medieval scholastic terminology, ‘Predestination’ simply meant God’s foreordination in general, whether it be through primary or secondary causation (another distinction that Persiflage refuses to acknowledge in Reformed theology). Most modern Reformed theologians, however, define ‘Predestination’ as God acting in Himself (i.e. monergistically) to bring about the electing decree. Thus, God works His irresistable grace upon men in regeneration resulting in faith, justification, sanctification, perseverance, and eventually glorification. The opposite side of predestination of the elect is the ‘Reprobation’ of the non-elect which is defined as God simply allowing the non-elect to go their own way and freely choose damnation rather than faith. While God decrees both, God is active in history toward the elect but passive toward the non-elect. Thus, Spurgeon would agree with Calvin and Sproul once the terms are properly defined.
Also, it is a straw-man to say that if God decrees something, then man doesn't have to respond in faith since this ignores the distinction between means and ends.
There also seems to be a misunderstanding of what the term 'decree' means. The decree is simply God's ***plan*** from before creation. The decree does not affect anything in itself.
There is an equivocation on what the term “free” means as Persiflage begs-the-question against Compatibilism by assuming that the only kind of freedom possible is Libertarian Free-Will Action Theory (LFW) and the Priciple of Alternative Possibility (PAP).
Anyway, it’s getting late, and so I’ll start with a post tomorrow on the Decree of God and its proper definition.