Reformed Theology Discussion

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Reformed Theology Discussion

#1

Post by Canuckster1127 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:29 am

I'm starting this thread after having observed for a long time many of the discussions that take place on our board and indeed, several that are going on right now. I've said, and for the most part, stood by in the past and declined the invitation to dive into these discussions for a variety of reasons.

First, I've very rarely seen such discussions prove a positive benefit in my life and I've many time observed friendships and relationships obliterated between people who otherwise believe in Jesus Christ and name Him as Savior. I've had in my own life and watching others, over time as well a concern as to how such conversations can be conducted in keeping with admonitions within Scripture against dissension, quarrelsomeness and to demonstrate love and patience with one another. It can be done, but as I said, at least in my observation, it's rare.

In past conversations I've let drop a few of my observations and thoughts on Reformed theology and I've been called by those who either took offense or who wanted to understand why I have those views. For the most part, I've declined to do that for reasons that include the above and also a recognition that things of this nature can be highly personal, and involve including life experiences and observations, which is a different realm than just examining things from a strictly religious or philosophical perspective.

I'm declining to do this on other already ongoing threads because I think they have enough participants and back and forth and what I'm going to do here is coming from a different direction. Others are welcome to chime in and agree, disagree (or shake your head in a bewildered fashion) ask questions etc. For my part, I'm going to do my best to keep this from being just another descent into Arminianism vs. Calvinism etc. I doubt I'll succeed but I'm going to try. I'm going to do my very best however to be as generous and objective as I can be and avoid making any unfair generalizations or harsh statements. Again, I'll likely fail in this, at least in the eyes of those who disagree with me, but upfront, I'm going to do my best.

Up front, I don't describe myself as Arminian or Calvinist/Reformed any longer. In the past, I've had exposure and been part of organizations or fellowships that could have both emphases. As many of you know, I've left organized Christianity. Even while I was in formal ministry I was part of a denomination that declined for the most part to take a stand or engage on many of the finer points of the issues, focusing instead upon Jesus Christ and His functioning as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King and then upon Foreign MIssions as an integral part of those functions. I've also spent a good part of my life in Reformed Churches. I was raised Anglican and I spent about 10 years working and attending a Reformed Church up until a few years ago when I made the decision to change as noted above. It wasn't an easy decision and there was hurt involved as well, so I will confess up front that there are emotional ties for me in this conversation that can produce some heat when pressed upon.

So first I want to lay down some definitions and terms so that people will know what I'm thinking and where I am coming from as well.

I think a lot of the conversation that takes place in these areas is doomed to failure because people end up talking past one another, using the same words but with different meanings attached and understood. When this happens rather than addressing those issues frustration will set in and people will up the volume, continually repeating and restating the same arguments or positions and be frustrated when others either don't understand them (which is easier to bear) or worse, just don't agree with them, which is very difficult for some people to accept for reasons that can be both personal and also noble given what they believe is at stake; if not a person's salvation, at least some core teachings and practices within people's lives.

So when I talk about Reformed Theology this is what I am thinking, and pay attention, because it might differ from what some participating on this board think or understand. It has always been my understanding that Reformed Theology is about more than "Calvinism" or "TULIP" although these are the terms or elements that get used rather quickly. Reformed theology as I observed it and understood it while I was working within and a part of it, was focused upon joint confessions of believers in actual churches and it's not about who the latest popular teacher is or the latest line of reasoning that has taken hold in some area or another. There have been some recent developments, at least in the US, that have resulted in some movements being labeled as "Neo-Calvinism" or Neo-Reformed." For the most part, speaking very generally, what these are, are movements that have lifted Reformed Theology and taken it out of the context of such confessions and placed them into different contexts.

Reformed Theology, historically as I understand it, and in terms how I think the Reformed people I know and the traditions I was a part of have a focus upon what is sometimes called Covenental Theology. Most Reformed fellowships reject what is sometimes described as Hyper-Calvinism (more on this later) and have a focus upon God's Sovereignty and Grace. Reformed Theology views the sacraments of Baptism and Communion, as actual means and expressions of that Grace rather than just acts of commitment or remembrance within the community of believers. Included within most Reformed communities as well is a clear recognition of the roles and callings of Elders and Pastors who have specific charges and responsibilities.

Again, this is very general. Reformed Tradition is much broader than just what I've stated here, but at grass roots, most would include these elements, even if some of the approaches and structures vary.

I don't think very much is gained when we choose to define someone else's views for them. It's very common in these types of discussion for misrepresentations to enter into the picture and instead of listening and hearing what another person is saying, we're quick to refer back to our canned presentations to show that they're wrong, while we, of course, are right. We should believe that we're right or there's no point in believing or espousing something, but I also believe we need to step back and listen first. A practice I've often advocated is that you don't have the right to try to correct someone until you can, to their satisfaction, with charity, describe back to them what they are saying so that they know you've heard and you understand, even if you may not agree in whole or part.

Usually Arminians represent Calvinists with a desire to tie them to the extremes of their movement, or "hyper-Calvinism". Calvinists return the favor by representing Arminians by the extremes of their movement as Pelagianists or Semi-Pelagianists (Pelagianism means denying grace in favor of a works based salvation.) I'm going to try my best to avoid that and deal with the middle of things and avoid the temptation to reduce other positions in that manner.

So this is my start. Before I move on, if any think I've completely missed the boat and have no idea what I'm talking about, then go ahead and correct me. I'll try to follow my own advice and listen. I hope you'll stop and think for a moment what I'm starting with here and give me that same grace.
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#2

Post by Canuckster1127 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:21 am

So, to start things off, I'm going to make a few statements that I hope will temper any interaction that may take place on this thread.

I don't believe Calvinism or Reformed Theology is a cult or wrong to the degree that any who follow it are unable to know Christ and God. On the contrary, I believe Reformed Theology and Calvinism are a rich Christ centered tradition with the best motives underlying it.

While I am, without apology, "against" Calvinism in toto or in whole, I believe there is much within it that is right. It's a part of the Christian Tradition and heritage for many and it seeks to honor God and promote Christian community. I can and have worshipped with Reformed and Calvinist people and could again (assuming I could get by the whole institutional thing that I'm not on board with any longer.) I am against elements of the system, not seeking to pass judgement upon those within the tradition, many of whom I believe are genuine believers and children of God. I admit that I am at times offended by those Calvinists who equate their tradition and doctrinal constructs as synonomous with the gospel of Christ and the only authentic expression of faith that there is. I find that type of attitude both condescending, arrogant and also remarkably ignorant of Church History for the prior 1500 years before Reformed theology began to form. That said, Calvinists are not the only ones liable to that attitude and practice and I confess that I need to step back myself from time to time and be reminded that neither I nor my knowledge are the measure of other people's faith and relationship in Christ.

I have read Calvin's Institutes in full as well as many of the Reformed confessions that emerged at the time of the reformation. I've tried when doing this, though I confess it's been many years ago, and my views were different at the time, to let Calvin speak for himself and not just accept what today passes as "Calvinism." It may surprise some people but the popular "TULIP" acronym was unknown to Calvin but was a later contrivance to summarize the primary points. Much of what is called Calvinism today, is in fact not solely from Calvin's writing but represents further extension of his platforms to a form of their logical conclusions. I don't claim to be a reformed theology expert, but I think I've read enough from Calvin, Zwingli, Boice, and more recently from Sproul and Piper, combined with my time in reformed fellowships to have a reasonably grounded perspective.

So, I'll hold off for a while here before continuing with more of the substance of what I have to say. If anyone has questions or wants to save time and brand me a heretic right off the bat, go ahead and do it now. It'll save time. ;)
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#3

Post by B. W. » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:07 am

Canuckster1127 wrote:So, to start things off, I'm going to make a few statements that I hope will temper any interaction that may take place on this thread.

I don't believe Calvinism or Reformed Theology is a cult or wrong to the degree that any who follow it are unable to know Christ and God. On the contrary, I believe Reformed Theology and Calvinism are a rich Christ centered tradition with the best motives underlying it.

While I am, without apology, "against" Calvinism in toto or in whole, I believe there is much within it that is right. It's a part of the Christian Tradition and heritage for many and it seeks to honor God and promote Christian community. I can and have worshipped with Reformed and Calvinist people and could again (assuming I could get by the whole institutional thing that I'm not on board with any longer.) I am against elements of the system, not seeking to pass judgement upon those within the tradition, many of whom I believe are genuine believers and children of God. I admit that I am at times offended by those Calvinists who equate their tradition and doctrinal constructs as synonomous with the gospel of Christ and the only authentic expression of faith that there is. I find that type of attitude both condescending, arrogant and also remarkably ignorant of Church History for the prior 1500 years before Reformed theology began to form. That said, Calvinists are not the only ones liable to that attitude and practice and I confess that I need to step back myself from time to time and be reminded that neither I nor my knowledge are the measure of other people's faith and relationship in Christ.

I have read Calvin's Institutes in full as well as many of the Reformed confessions that emerged at the time of the reformation. I've tried when doing this, though I confess it's been many years ago, and my views were different at the time, to let Calvin speak for himself and not just accept what today passes as "Calvinism." It may surprise some people but the popular "TULIP" acronym was unknown to Calvin but was a later contrivance (in Holland of course) to summarize the primary points. Much of what is called Calvinism today, is in fact not solely from Calvin's writing but represents further extension of his platforms to a form of their logical conclusions. I don't claim to be a reformed theology expert, but I think I've read enough from Calvin, Zwingli, Boice, and more recently from Sproul and Piper, combined with my time in reformed fellowships to have a reasonably grounded perspective.

So, I'll hold off for a while here before continuing with more of the substance of what I have to say. If anyone has questions or wants to save time and brand me a heretic right off the bat, go ahead and do it now. It'll save time. ;)
You experessed my own views very well in your post Bart so I cannot add anymore than say Ditto... :clap:

The failure to define terms causes much missunderstanding between the two, just as you stated Bart. If we can get past that, much progress can be made...

Amen!
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#4

Post by Canuckster1127 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:57 pm

OK. I haven't heard any cries of gross misrepresentation and so I'm going to assume, I've done a reasonably fair job of laying down some groundwork.

I'm also going to preface some of what I'm going to say, by stating that most of my personal issues are more with Neo-Calvinists or Neo-Reformed leaders today than so much with mainstream traditional Calvinists or Reformed churches. In my life, I've watched a denomination here in the US, that I was originally licensed to preach in, be absolutely decimated over the past couple of decades by a strong academic leader who in effect, in my opinion and observation, managed a coupe and masterfully moved his denomination which has never historically been particularly Calvinist (Southern Baptist) to the point where that denomination has lost immense numbers of member churches and formal members by making some issues that we're accepted in their past as being OK to disagree upon, suddenly cardinal issues over which professors could be thrown out of university positions for being "too liberal" or apparently just as bad; being women. This denomination is fairly loosely associated in that member churches are quite independent and have a great deal of autonomy to manage their local affairs and even many elements of their Statements of Faith which are not necessarily identical from church to church. The power within the denomination falls in two primary areas, Educational Institutions and Missions Boards. By making things like Young Earth Creationism (which isn't necessarily a Calvinist issue per se) a litmus test for professors and missionary candidates, this person (and I'm not afraid to name him as he's a very public person and as such is fair game for examination and discussion) managed to take hold of the institutions of his denomination and exclude people with whom he disagreed but who were in no way outside of the traditions, history and theology of his denomination and manufactured what can only be described as a radical shift to where now many SBC colleges and Seminaries have been take over by 5 point Calvinists. Rest assured though, they still claim to have diversity .... there's a few 4 point Calvinists there who help to balance things out ... (and yes, I'm being sarcastic.)

Now, the point of this thread is not to dwell on these issues. I'm putting them on the table up front so that those who maybe don't know me so well (and maybe even those who do) understand that I'm human and I feel hurt and anger over my perspective of watching these events and the impact that they had on me as a young man and minister at that time and since have followed. I know people and families who were treated, in my opinion, very unfairly and very poorly by some who used their appeal to "truth" as justification for their weilding of power to exclude others who were professing brothers and sisters in Christ and the aftershocks are still reverberating. It's hard for me at times to separate those experiences and observations from the theology that was used and still is used to justify many of the actions taken. In fairness, counter-examples could probably be found of opposite things taking place, and I don't dispute that. Those lack the personal intensity and impact of my own experience but I recognize that there's no shortage of hurt or injustice in the world over which to take offense.

So, when at times in the past, if I've seemed sharp or unexplainably strong, that is part of the reason why.

As I mentioned, I think much of the debate in America today is now somewhat different than the old Arminianism/Calvinism debates in Europe. I think we have a new generation of evangelical and reformed leadership that is being applied in different contexts than the full "reformed" package that was Reformed, Covenantal and Community based. I see popular leaders today who are outside of that reformed tradition who are introducing elements that are somewhat out of balance with what the entire package has been in the past. Again, to name name's I'm thinking somewhat of leaders like Albert Moehler (OK, that's who I was talking about earlier), John Piper and Mark Driscoll. There are others who tie into some of this new movement including R.C. Sproul who is still fully reformed but often a source through Ligonier Ministries for teaching and support in this movement) and John F. MacArthur too has been an influential voice in some of this newer movement.

I'm going to try to keep out of a lot of this as I progress and deal more with the elements of reformed theology and practice that trouble me, and keep focused on those issues rather than the personalities. I have no dog in any of these fights as my career and local church involvement no longer are influenced by any of these factors.

So, for any of whom these comments seem off the wall or unusual, feel free to just set them aside. I think it's important to remember that when we deal with issues like this, no matter how much we want to try and represent them as just issues of intellect and truth, that there are living and breathing human beings behind them, many of whom have stories to tell and wounds and scars along the way. My purpose in revealing and mentioning these things here are to self-reveal and own my own scars and hurts picked-up along the way.

So enough of that for now. Onward to more of the nuts and bolts of the issues involved.
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#5

Post by Canuckster1127 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:51 pm

As I put my thoughts together, I'd recommend this article to those who want to understand a little more of what I'm saying about the rise of Neo-Calvinism. It's written by a Professor of Reformed Theology, at Western Theological Seminary. As much as I can. I'll draw from Reformed sources speaking of Reformed theology so that I don't make the mistake I caution others against, of not allowing those with whom we disagree to define their own positions.

http://www.jtoddbillings.com/pastor-as- ... rary/262-2

This hits on a lot of the issues I've touched on to start. It gives a little history as well that helps to put some things into perspective.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#6

Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:19 am

Canuckster1127 wrote:As I put my thoughts together, I'd recommend this article to those who want to understand a little more of what I'm saying about the rise of Neo-Calvinism. It's written by a Professor of Reformed Theology, at Western Theological Seminary. As much as I can. I'll draw from Reformed sources speaking of Reformed theology so that I don't make the mistake I caution others against, of not allowing those with whom we disagree to define their own positions.

http://www.jtoddbillings.com/pastor-as- ... rary/262-2

This hits on a lot of the issues I've touched on to start. It gives a little history as well that helps to put some things into perspective.
Very good article Bart and sums up what I have noticed too...
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#7

Post by neo-x » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:40 am

Wonderful article Bart.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#8

Post by domokunrox » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:00 am

Good thread. I like your approach.

I agree with the article.

I think counter apologetics is immensively difficult. Its hard to be prepared for this sort of theological issues. I have less experience in dealing with this particular issue, but it sure does leave a nasty taste in everyones mouth these past few weeks, doesn't it? Most of he time, I do find that these discussions are pointless. I think there are bigger problems we are going to be facing, like the unitarian universalism church for example. However, this issue isn't far behind.

However, I am optimistic here. We need to talk about it. Developing an apologia would be helpful. Getting some info would be helpful instead of semantics.

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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

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Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:29 am

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm optimistic too. Sometimes when things are in the heat of the exchange it becomes very difficult to separate issues from personalities. Too, our deepest beliefs about God and Christ are very close to our personal identity. That's true of all of us. It's never comfortable when people turn their guns as it were, against us.

What I hope to do here, and I've been asked several times to justify or demonstrate the comments I've made in other threads, is present as positively and respectfully as I can why I think the way I do about the rise of Calvinism's influence. It's much easier and much less threatening to speak positively for what I believe. It's not comfortable when things are focused more on the why do I reject elements of this major branch of Christendom while affirming that there is much there that is rich and Christ centered. I hope too that through this exercise that we can temper some of the other conversations that take place on this site. By stating together, and interacting as well with those who who disagree and wish to challenge us, hopefully we can raise the tone and if there cannot be full agreement, let us then strive for understanding and charitable respect for one another.
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#10

Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:12 am

OK, so as I begin here, and I've tried to make clear what I'm not trying to do, this is what I am going to present as I move through this.

1. Calvinism is not the only, and not the best way to understand and interpret Scripture. It is a possible way of looking at things, but it tends to isolate texts and construct arguments that are not always consistent with the whole counsel of Scripture.

2. Calvinism stands apart from several deeply rooted tenets of Historical Christianity.

3. Calvinism falls into contradictions that cannot be internally reconciled. There is room for mystery in all forms of Christian faith. Calvinism, however, tends to take things as logically far as they can be taken and then appeals to mystery when things cannot be reconciled. Chief among these is the necessary concept that God is the author of sin and evil. Many Calvinists deny that their belief system necessitates this conclusion. It is however, a necessary consequence and conclusion of the the whole of the belief system, I believe this in spite those who deny it. Sheer contradiction of this nature is a clear sign of error in my opinion. Contradiction of this degree is not "mystery."

Along the way, I'm also going to talk about Scholasticism and what some of the historical roots are of Calvinism to put it into the context of the times in which it developed and arose.

That's what I'm aiming to do with this thread.

I fully expect that several of my brothers and sisters will take exception to these representations and will respond in defense and that's expected and fine. I'll try to interact as I can, but I'm also going to keep moving ahead so that I can get through this and get it "out there." We have several threads going currently that are focused on the "back and forth" of things. I've been specifically asked by some to justify why I make some of the comments that I do about Calvinism and Reformed Theology. I accept and wouldn't expect anything but a challenge to some or all of what I've stated from those who hold these systems dear. My comments are directed to the system of belief and not the quality of the people who sincerely believe these things.

This is a tall order to try and accomplish on a thread of this nature and it would be easy to get bogged down in the back and forth that will no doubt come of it. My goal is not to convince everyone and debate them into agreeing with me. I accept that there will be disagreement. Where that exists it's my hope that we'll identify where the disagreement lies and strive for understanding, if agreement is not possible. That should, I hope, help to keep us from the way that many of these threads go where threads are taken off track. For my part however, know that if I think an element has been discussed enough and is beginning to cycle and become repetative, my plan is just to note that, summarize our positions, agree to disagree where necessary and then move on.
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#11

Post by B. W. » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:30 am

Canuckster1127 wrote: OK, so as I begin here, and I've tried to make clear what I'm not trying to do, this is what I am going to present as I move through this.

1. Calvinism is not the only, and not the best way to understand and interpret Scripture. It is a possible way of looking at things, but it tends to isolate texts and construct arguments that are not always consistent with the whole counsel of Scripture.
Agree and Neo Calvinism indeed isolates texts using the scholastic model prevalent during John Calvin’s day. Mr. Calvin was educated to become a Lawyer and thus his education would have been heavily influence by Greek philosophic logic models and scholastic reasoning. Also, that educational model was the norm for those days and time and the influence of these logic constructs linger on in Neo Calvinism.
Canuckster1127 wrote:2. Calvinism stands apart from several deeply rooted tenets of Historical Christianity.
Agree – this is due to the mode of educational system of the 1500’s thru early 1800’s of that western scholastic model in how it constructs an argument from the position of Lawyer speak and argues from those positions, to win a case. Such model leaves or little or no room, for exploration of new evidence.
Canuckster1127 wrote:3. Calvinism falls into contradictions that cannot be internally reconciled. There is room for mystery in all forms of Christian faith. Calvinism, however, tends to take things as logically far as they can be taken and then appeals to mystery when things cannot be reconciled. Chief among these is the necessary concept that God is the author of sin and evil. Many Calvinists deny that their belief system necessitates this conclusion. It is however, a necessary consequence and conclusion of the the whole of the belief system, I believe this in spite those who deny it. Sheer contradiction of this nature is a clear sign of error in my opinion. Contradiction of this degree is not "mystery."

Along the way, I'm also going to talk about Scholasticism and what some of the historical roots are of Calvinism to put it into the context of the times in which it developed and arose.

That's what I'm aiming to do with this thread.
Agree, this would be a good honest place to start and look forward to reading more.
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

#12

Post by Gman » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:52 pm

Canuckster1127 wrote: 3. Calvinism falls into contradictions that cannot be internally reconciled. There is room for mystery in all forms of Christian faith. Calvinism, however, tends to take things as logically far as they can be taken and then appeals to mystery when things cannot be reconciled. Chief among these is the necessary concept that God is the author of sin and evil. Many Calvinists deny that their belief system necessitates this conclusion. It is however, a necessary consequence and conclusion of the the whole of the belief system, I believe this in spite those who deny it. Sheer contradiction of this nature is a clear sign of error in my opinion. Contradiction of this degree is not "mystery."
Very tricky stuff.. Both my parents went to Calvin College and were Calvinists... Yikes. I think they both would have cried at this statement. But yes I see the contradictions too in Calvinism..
Canuckster1127 wrote:I fully expect that several of my brothers and sisters will take exception to these representations and will respond in defense and that's expected and fine. I'll try to interact as I can, but I'm also going to keep moving ahead so that I can get through this and get it "out there." We have several threads going currently that are focused on the "back and forth" of things. I've been specifically asked by some to justify why I make some of the comments that I do about Calvinism and Reformed Theology. I accept and wouldn't expect anything but a challenge to some or all of what I've stated from those who hold these systems dear. My comments are directed to the system of belief and not the quality of the people who sincerely believe these things.

This is a tall order to try and accomplish on a thread of this nature and it would be easy to get bogged down in the back and forth that will no doubt come of it. My goal is not to convince everyone and debate them into agreeing with me. I accept that there will be disagreement. Where that exists it's my hope that we'll identify where the disagreement lies and strive for understanding, if agreement is not possible. That should, I hope, help to keep us from the way that many of these threads go where threads are taken off track. For my part however, know that if I think an element has been discussed enough and is beginning to cycle and become repetative, my plan is just to note that, summarize our positions, agree to disagree where necessary and then move on.
In a nutshell, the way I see this with predestination and all is that G-d sees the paths we take, but that also doesn't necessarily means He over steps our freedom of choice either. There is also a part of me that feels we can catch G-d off guard too but not to the point where it dissolves His justice.

In a nutshell... ;)
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Canuckster1127
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

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Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:51 pm

That's true G-man and frankly, the terms Calvinist and Reformed can be pretty slippery depending upon who is speaking and what the measures used are. Technically, Arminians are reformed too. Calvin College, if I remember correctly is in Michigan? It's actually a Dutch Reformed school if I recall right and it would fall more in the camp of the author of the article I posted earlier. Correct me if I'm wrong in that, please.

That might help too to clarify some things too. It's unavoidable that I am going to the use the terms "reformed" and "calvinist" on this thread and it's going to seem at times to be broad sweeping statements. Todays Neo-Calvinist movement has gravitated to the TULIP as the defining differentiator as to who is truly Calvinist or Reformed. As the article I put up points up, historically there's a lot more to be reformed in the historical sense of the word than just the TULIP. Yet, that's what's getting the attention now as that element has been elevated.

When I used the terms Calvinist or reformed, just so we're clear, I'm speaking more of Neo-Calvinism and to some extent High-Calvinism and not necessarily lumping all Calvinists and Reformed beliefs together.
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

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Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:08 pm

Just to provide some resources too, these are links to the major confessions of the Reformed movement that you might see referred to in other threads.

The Heidelberg Catechism - http://www.reformed.org/documents/index ... lberg.html

The Belgic Confession - http://www.reformed.org/documents/index ... ssion.html

The Canons of Dordt - http://www.reformed.org/documents/index ... dordt.html

The Westminster Confession - http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/

When these are cited or referred to, you can click on the links and see the source material and see for yourself what they specifically say.
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Re: Reformed Theology Discussion

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Post by August » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:29 pm

I appreciate the hard work you are putting into this, and I am going to refrain from commenting, as I am kinda burned out on that other thread.

My personal background is a lot more Dutch Reformed, in fact almost exclusively so, and I don't find too much edifying in the work of the neo-Calvinists, as you call them. In my opinion the Dutch Reformed were a lot more advanced in many ways, but especially in their desire to stay true to Scripture and see God as sovereign over all aspects of reality.

I will comment on one thing, the link you posted earlier from the seminary is from the theological school of the Reformed Church in America, and they are one of the more liberal reformed church denominations. The article still made some good points, but I am wary of that specific direction.
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