On the Absurdity of Calvinism, part 1c of 7: Last Introduction, Seriously

Okay, sorry, I know this is getting ridiculous. But I keep having “introductory” thoughts I want to share. I know we’re all very excited to get past the introductory remarks and into the real body of work, but I can’t continue without just a couple more things. I’ll keep it very brief.

First, I will be citing a plethora of Scripture verses which stand in contrast to Calvinistic thought. (P.S. all my direct citations will be from the NET Bible, which is a phenomenal translation and study tool.) I’ve been combing Scripture for a week now in search of such verses, to make my argument as Biblically comprehensive as possible in such a brief period of time. Lo and behold, I’ve also come across plenty of verses whose plain reading stands solidly in favor of Calvinist ideals. For me to deny the existence of such verses would be as silly as a Calvinist denying the existence of their own Scriptural problems. But here is exactly why I have chosen a destructive rather than constructive approach in my writing: any theology which must systematically force the entire Bible to fit into a single well-defined framework will inevitably be met with resistance from Scripture itself. I do not advocate such a theology because I don’t have one. I defy Calvinism because it is one. It is better for us as Christians to live with the tension of Scripture – and still apply it to our lives, behavior, and mission as the Church – than to expend needless energy and conduct intellectual gymnastics to force Scripture to fit a mold it simply refuses to. It’s perfectly okay for a Christian to not fully understand the Bible, even to question it; as Wes Howard-Brook says, “Living in the questions is much less certain, but full of life.”

That said, if you are irrepressibly bothered by the fact that I am not offering a specific alternative to Calvinism – if you simply must have a contrasting option to latch onto – you should leave this blog, not bother reading the rest of this series, and head over here to listen to the incredible Bruxy Cavey‘s sermon series on Calvinism. In seven comprehensive and well-designed sermons, Bruxy replaces “TULIP” with “GRACE” and exegetes a fantastic alternative structure for understanding these ideas we’re discussing. Bruxy calls his position “Arminian”, but it’s not Arminian in a traditional sense, specifically in the sense that Packer criticizes Arminianism (see part 2). Most importantly, it is Anabaptist – the third branch of Christianity, besides Catholicism and Protestantism – and emphasizes the fact that this whole debate is irrelevant anyway. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with every little thing he says, but I certainly favor a lot of it, and his sermons and notes have provided me with some excellent notes above and beyond those I came up with. So if you read these posts AND check out the sermons, you’ll definitely notice some overlap. Additionally, even if you don’t check out the sermons, you should click that link to Bruxy’s website and read his seven blog posts called “What’s the Word on Scripture?” He really explains the purpose of the Bible and our approach to it in a beautiful way. Hat tip to my brother in Christ who pointed me to Bruxy’s sermons. Thanks!

Oh, and by the way…you might ask why I’m not structuring my series as an attack on TULIP. Two reasons. One, I’m structuring it as a response to Packer’s essay, which is not based on TULIP; and two, as any good Calvinist will tell you (Packer included), TULIP isn’t really five points, it’s five consequences of one point (“God’s sovereignty”). If any one point fails, essentially all five do. So it’s not really worthwhile to try to discredit each of the five separately. Besides, it’ll come about naturally as we go; I will note often when verses or points apply to one or more specific aspects of TULIP.

Now, as promised – on to part 2.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: On The Absurdity Of Calvinism, part 2 of 7: Discourse Issues « Not By Hands
  2. Trackback: On the Absurdity of Calvinism, part 5 of 7: Evangelical Doublethink « Not By Hands
  3. Trackback: On The Absurdity Of Calvinism, part 1 of 7: Introduction | Not By Hands

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