According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, October 4, 2013

Don Thorsen, Calvin vs Wesley - "Sovereignty v. Freedom"

The Big One in Calvin vs. Wesley

Wesley, notably again, believed God voluntarily chose to limit his sovereignty by granting humans (what he called) “free grace” or what we might call human freedom or free will. “Wesley thought that Calvin could not avoid making God ultimately responsible for evil” (33). I agree that Calvin’s logic of holding two together and contending that we are not to ask or know how they relate is not compelling. If God determined it — meticulous providence or meticulous sovereignty — and humans could not resist it, then it is not free or compatible. Calvin puts it this way: “God wills that humans want to act the way they are foreordained to act” (34).
Wesley did not think humans could do anything to earn redemption; everything good done is by the grace of God. In essence, Wesley follows a large bloc of the Christian tradition in arguing for a measured human freedom by grace in the power of the Spirit.
Hence, Calvin’s (at least later in his career) double predestination is detested by Wesley. Calvin diminishes the freedom of God’s sovereignty and God’s love and goodness… etc. So for him [Wesley] election is connected to divine foreknowledge, but what humans choose to do in that foreknowledge is prompted by God’s prevenient gift of grace. That grace, then, is the grace of human freedom to choose. God’s predestination is more connected to God’s general will*. He asked, “How can the Judge of all the earth consign them [the damned] to everlasting fire, for what was in effect his own act and deed?” (38). That is the difference.
Wesley preferred the expression of “free grace” over “free will.” It was God’s grace to give humans freedom.
Thorsen finishes with a discussion of monergism vs. synergism: [respectively,} "one divine will determining all" vs. "a divine human cooperative," though these are not terms from either Calvin or Wesley [but from later systematic theologians - res].
* * * * * *


Perhaps this might help... Wesleyanism (or Arminianism) does invokes God's foreknowledge as an ontological reality, otherwise the process of redemption would not have been planned even as creation was being planned. This would make of God a blundering builder and architect having to implement Plan B of Redemption after discovering sin to have ruined His Plan A of original creation. So, in terms of ontological reality, God did both plan for, purposed, and foreknew, His involvement in creational redemption.
But what was not decreed by God is His exacted foreknowledge upon His indeterminate creation and free-willed mankind. Even as sin reduces man's freedom, so by divine fiat of redemption would God purposely enhance man's freedom leaving to both creation and humanity an open future. A future as much open to sin and destruction as it is to holiness and redemption. Though God foreknows His plans for redemption He leaves it open to ourselves to submit to His plans. But not without the provision of His Spirit who woos all towards God's will - and not just some (elect) as Calvinism would teach. To the Arminian, the "elect of God" are those men and women who obey God's call of redemption - not by God's foreknowledge, but by their own Spirit-driven calling founded upon God's (prevenient) grace.
- R.E. Slater

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