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Thread: Review:Vance's The Other Side of Calvinism

  1. #11
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Remonstrant View Post
    I take it RBerman and I are in essential agreement on this point.
    100%.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBerman View Post
    I affirm what the "P" ought to be understood to teach, but Vance's confusion is a good example of why "Perseverance" as an abstract idea is not the best way to teach the point. I'd rather just say that Christ never loses any sheep that are truly his.
    OK, but why don't you explain what the petal should be and give us proof texts from the Bible?

    [Typed in the halftime of the Super Duper Bowl. Great sin. So I will not be in heaven. But at least the 'Hawks are winning.]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truthseeker View Post
    OK, but why don't you explain what the petal should be and give us proof texts from the Bible?

    [Typed in the halftime of the Super Duper Bowl. Great sin. So I will not be in heaven. But at least the 'Hawks are winning.]
    Heh.

    Do you really want to derail your book review with Round 201 of "Let's debate Calvinism again"? Do you think such a discussion will have a different outcome this time than any of the other times? All I was trying to do was show how Vance mischaracterizes the point about perseverance/preservation, not debate whether the point, if accurately described, is true.

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    I think it's possible V was not confused and did report accurately what a wide variety of Calvinists said what the P petal means.



    I'm indifferent to whether someone becomes a follower of Christ then strays away, as long as some people do make it to heaven. However, the wide variety of Calvinist "teachings" on the P petal makes me suspect that Calvinism does not really represent the Bible as well as Calvinists claim.



    To be sure, probably after one familiarizes himself with the Calvinist literature, he could rank the Calvinist writers/teachers/preachers from best to worst. Though, I have no idea who is the best Calvinist and V does not say who he thinks is the best. His familiarity with the literature is probably far greater than mine is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truthseeker View Post
    I think it's possible V was not confused and did report accurately what a wide variety of Calvinists said what the P petal means.
    Anything is possible, but my first post in this thread addressed how Vance confuses the issue by treating "perseverance" as a separate thing for men to do, rather than as a way of describing what men experience. If you didn't find my explanation persuasive (You haven't really addressed the substance of my comment as best I can tell), then I don't have anything else to say on the matter at present.

    I'm indifferent to whether someone becomes a follower of Christ then strays away, as long as some people do make it to heaven. However, the wide variety of Calvinist "teachings" on the P petal makes me suspect that Calvinism does not really represent the Bible as well as Calvinists claim.
    I have trouble connecting those two comments in your last sentence here. Why would "diversity in the views of those who call themselves Calvinists" reflect negatively on whether some subset of those collected views was Biblical? Choose pretty much any theological issue of which you can think, and the more detail you look for, the more diversity you'll discover between those who hold similar views. Is that somehow evidence against the general view itself? If you were to focus on the points on which self-described Calvinists agree, a different picture would emerge.

    To be sure, probably after one familiarizes himself with the Calvinist literature, he could rank the Calvinist writers/teachers/preachers from best to worst. Though, I have no idea who is the best Calvinist and V does not say who he thinks is the best. His familiarity with the literature is probably far greater than mine is.
    I'm not even sure what a "best Calvinist" would mean. Some write well for a general audience. Some expound theological detail for academic audiences. Some know the historical fineries. Some know the modern non-Calvinists most in need of refutation on either the scholarly or popular level. And so on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBerman View Post
    Anything is possible, but my first post in this thread addressed how Vance confuses the issue by treating "perseverance" as a separate thing for men to do, rather than as a way of describing what men experience. If you didn't find my explanation persuasive (You haven't really addressed the substance of my comment as best I can tell), then I don't have anything else to say on the matter at present.
    Sorry, I needed to go back to see what I had written, not rely too much on my memory. I didn't explain what V means by "perseverance by the saints." Persevere in following Jesus Christ. In retrospect, I should not have written that about V, perseverance, and work. I would now like us to stop here.
    I have trouble connecting those two comments in your last sentence here. Why would "diversity in the views of those who call themselves Calvinists" reflect negatively on whether some subset of those collected views was Biblical?
    That is possible, but if 99% are not right and only 1% come close, I think most people who think that way would be disinclined to study Calvinism.
    Choose pretty much any theological issue of which you can think, and the more detail you look for, the more diversity you'll discover between those who hold similar views.
    No, the time comes when one must say, "I do not know; you know that the Bible cannot answer every question one can think of." If someone goes beyond that point, phooey on him.
    Is that somehow evidence against the general view itself? If you were to focus on the points on which self-described Calvinists agree, a different picture would emerge.
    Well if you know of such a picture, why don't you describe it to us?
    I'm not even sure what a "best Calvinist" would mean. Some write well for a general audience. Some expound theological detail for academic audiences. Some know the historical fineries. Some know the modern non-Calvinists most in need of refutation on either the scholarly or popular level. And so on.
    Understanding the Bible and explaining what it means to the general people with fidelity to it.

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    Overall, Thomas R. Schreiner and D.A. Carson are two of the most evenhanded Calvinist theologians I am aware of. I have especially benefited from Schreiner's concise work, Run to Win the Prize: Perseverance in the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010).
    Last edited by The Remonstrant; 02-04-2014 at 05:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truthseeker View Post
    Sorry, I needed to go back to see what I had written, not rely too much on my memory. I didn't explain what V means by "perseverance by the saints." Persevere in following Jesus Christ. In retrospect, I should not have written that about V, perseverance, and work. I would now like us to stop here.
    OK.

    That is possible, but if 99% are not right and only 1% come close, I think most people who think that way would be disinclined to study Calvinism.
    If. Not that even Calvinists "study Calvinism" per se. Calvinists study Scripture, and find in it the set of doctrines lumped together as "Calvinism."

    No, the time comes when one must say, "I do not know; you know that the Bible cannot answer every question one can think of." If someone goes beyond that point, phooey on him.
    That is certainly true. Some people want to know how long between Adam and Eve's creation and their sin, or what happened to Jesus as a child, or many other topics that Scripture does not address, and we just have to say, "If God had wanted us to know that right now, he would have told us."

    Well if you know of such a picture, why don't you describe it to us?
    The picture of which I spoke is that although no two people hold identical beliefs, nevertheless there's a readily discernible set of common beliefs among educated folks who call themselves "Calvinists." You're going to get a feel for it not be reading anti-Calvinists such as Vance, but by reading Calvinists themselves.

    Understanding the Bible and explaining what it means to the general people with fidelity to it.
    That would be good. If you'd like to read Calvinists who understand the Bible and can explain it to others at a popular level, a modern list would include folks like Michael Horton, John Piper, John MacArthur, Don Carson, and R.C. Sproul.

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    RBerman, I have changed my mind and would like to continue our dispute over what is meant by perseverance of the saints. If you agree, let me start with the relevant bits from our posts:
    Quote Originally Posted by Truthseeker View Post
    V points out that perseverance by man is work, implying that God's grace is insufficient, needing a man's perseverance to complement it. To the contrary, consider this: When Paul became too proud, God gave him a "thorn in the flesh" that was so unbearable Paul begged the Lord to take it away three times. But the Lord said, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you" (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
    Quote Originally Posted by RBerman View Post
    Vance may "point out" this, but he is incorrect. Perseverance is not a separate work, whether we're talking theologically or otherwise. If I told you go to and "persevere," you would have to ask me: Persevere in doing what? It's really more of a tense modifier, like saying "continually." Grammatically it's a verb, but semantically more like an adverb. Perseverance is simply what men experience: When God has saved someone, changing his heart and bringing the indwelling Holy Spirit, that person will not only profess faith initially, but will persevere in the profession of that faith, and in the experience of a life reflecting union with Christ. As R.C. Sproul says on the matter,
    "Our confidence in the perseverance of the saints does not rest upon our confidence in the saints' ability, in themselves, to persevere... I prefer to speak of the preservation of the saints. The reason true Christians do not fall from grace is that God graciously keeps them from falling. Perseverance is what we do. Preservation is what God does. We persevere because God preserves. ("Chosen By God," 1986, pp 174-175)
    The chronology is this: I wrote a misleading passage, and RBerman teed off on that. Now my turn to slice the ball at a glass window in a neighbor's house. See, I tend to forget what I'd written and rely too much on my memory. Thus, RBerman's post misled me and I wrote a post that didn't help matters.

    This evening (Friday) I re-reviewed V's book and I feel confident enough to explain. Here goes . . . V maintains, "The fifth point of the TULIP, as it was originally formulated and commonly interpreted, is at enmity with eternal security." Later: " . . . whether the "elect" persevere, as defined by the Calvinists, is also of no consequence." [V's emphasis, not mine.]

    V asserts, "The great majority of Calvinists . . .emphasize that the believer perseveres outwardly in the faith"--let me just use one example:

    This doctrine teaches that those who truly have come to saving faith in Christ will persevere in the faith.---Grover E. Gunn

    You see, V was reacting to that doctrine just assserted above when he said that perseverance by man was work [emphasis mine]. I hope now all the confusion is gone.
    The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

    [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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