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Friday, December 21, 2007

Triablogue: The metaphysics of freewill

Triablogue: The metaphysics of freewill

This is from the comment section of "The Metaphysics of freewill" on the triablogue site. What I am posting is my second response. IF you click on the link it should take you to the post where all the comments are at.

Genembridges comments are "italicized".

And what we are saying is that, no matter how you cast it, you are still going to get back to LFW being a rationalistic plank around which the system is structured. Running to the love of God is just an ethical objection that gets to the same place, so it only backs the question up one step. Libertarianism is, as I pointed out, fundamental to Arminianism in a way that compatibilism is not in Calvinism. We don't structure our theology around compatibilism.

I could say the samething about Calvinism and Determinism.
Determinism is a rationalistic plank around which the system of Calvinism is structured. Running to God's sovereignty is just an objection that gets to the same place, so it only backs the question up one step.

Determinism is, as I pointed out, fundamental to Calvinism in a way that Free will is to Arminianism.

We all know that compatibilism is soft Determinism and Calvinism has a hard deterministic side.

So yes I would agree that Calvinism is not limited to soft determinism. But Determinism in and of itself is fundamental to Calvinism.

You can't have Calvinism without it.

Olson also tries to draw a distinction using this principle between "Arminians of the head" and "Arminians of the heart" in that same book. As reviewers of that book have pointed out,that's a useful way of him getting to rule out many Arminians with whom he might disagree, like Episcopius, Van Limborch, etc. For these men, it always got back to LFW. See, for example, Episcopius, Opera Theologica 1.9. These men denied things like the innate knowledge of God in man. Episcopius spoke of such a thing as first notions which compel the mind to assent, "if anyone is willing to be in any way led by reason.

No one said Arminianism was a monolith. Yet, in saying this about Arminianism you are making it seem as if Calvinism is monolithic and that is far from the truth.

You have hard determinists and soft determinists. You even have Hard determinists that believe God is the author of sin in which the WCF(westminister confession of Faith) says is something God is not.

So calvinists disagree among themselves. And yes.....I have debated both Hard Determinists as well as Soft I know that you guys do the samething that Olsen does in his book.

Why is it ok for Calvinism to have more than one system of thought on this issue, but it's not ok for Arminians and other free willers to have different schools of thought on this same issue?

You want to put us in a little box and give us rules of what we can and can't believe.

But the truth is....if you refuse to take us at our own word about the issue then you will always build a strawman argument.

Well of course not, we wouldn't expect them too, but on the contrary, that's a very common thing for them to say from their pulpits. I've interacted with many, and heard many a sermon. I'll also repeat myself yet again, I was taught systematic theology by a classic Arminian using the work of Thomas Oden as a base text, so it isn't as if I am unaware of what they teach. I've also interacted
with my fair share in many forums. They bring up their synergism and when we point out that they are making grace quantitative and not qualitative, they point to UPG as doing the lion's share of the work, which, of course, proves our point for us. We can substitute any set of numbers, as long as grace gets more than 50 percent, but the end result is the same

Every group has some form of "folk theology". and I might be wrong, but I think Thomas Oden is a modernist/liberal. I like his Ancient christian commentary series. but all the people I quoted were "conservative Arminians".

A classical Arminian is someone that believes in original sin and total inability. They are more likely not to say some of the things you said above.

Also Synergism has always been a part of christianity. Even when Augustine changed into a Determinist in his older years/ later writings.

Synergism still wasn't destroyed. The western local council of Orange still tought a certain form of synergism.

So in my mind the Calvinists depart even from western creedal orthodoxy. You guys embrace the hard monergism of Augustin that was constantly rejected by the western Church.

The Eastern Church never embraced those things. So what you are fighting for is a make believe system that had it's roots in Augustine. The Christian Faith never came from Augustine.

Also grace is both "quantitative as well as qualitative"

It is both. It is not an either or thing.

It is a both and thing.

We are aware of this, and we are also aware that Augustine is not our rule of faith.

Some Calvinists I talk to online believe that Augustinianism is nothing more than Calvinism before John Calvin. I think the Jansenists are a better representative of Augustine's later works/teachings.

The people who wrote the book "why I am not an Arminian" believe that the council of Orange supported a moderate form of Augustinianism whereas Calvinism stayed true to Augustine's harder teachings.

So to say you don't follow Augustine is not really true. You may not follow him on "every issue", but you do follow him on alot of issues.

Calvinism would not exist if it wasn't for Augustine changing his mind in his older years. You owe him alot, but then again you are a Reformed Baptist.

I don't see how a Baptist can be "Reformed"......A baptist can hold to the 5 points of Calvinism, but holding to the 5 points in and of itself doesn't make one "REFORMED".

You might think "scripture" is your rule of Faith. But you are only fooling yourself if you truely think that. The BIBLE didn't fall from the sky. You look at scripture with the lenses of a JOHN CALVIN and through him Augustine.

I hope I didn't hurt your feelings when I said that I didn't know how a Baptist can be Reformed. I was raised Baptist. My congregation were a mixed bunch of "Calvinistic"(because I don't want to say the word "reformed" when talking about Calvinistic Baptist) and "Arminian".

Care to try to mount an exegetical refutation of Reformed theology's action theory? Let's try, for example, to determine where in Scripture we find libertarian action theory. This is necessary for the Arminian to show. As a species of libertarian yourself, please, do for us what no other has been able to do.

It is implied in scripure. That is if we are talking about "REAL CHOICES."

But we can talk about this latter.

We are also aware that you replace Augustine's "speculations" with the speculations of others. We've been over this many times with the Orthodox on this blog."

I disagree. The Faith was handed to the Saints. Augustine's "peculiar" doctrines were noval.

The doctrine of Free will was always tought in the CHURCH. The fact that "christian determinism" has it's roots in Augustine is evidence that "we" are not the ones with the "speculations".

At least on this issue.

In the Protestant World those who fight against "Dispensationalism" always use the tactic that it began in the Protestant Churches in the 18 hundreds.

You guys do this to show that it's scripture interpretation was a noval one and most likely not true.

I'm using the same tactic you guys use on them.

Yet it's ok if it's used against "Dispensationalism" but when this same method is used against you guys it's "foul play".

Good for you. Where's the supporting argument that explains its meaning? Why does one man believe and not another given the constraints of LFW?

What are your beliefs in regards to Adam and Eve having free will? How were they able to choose? How were they able to fall?

Are you a Determinist when it comes to pre-fall ADAM and EVE? Or are you a LFW in regards to pre-fall Adam and Eve?

My answer depends on your answer.

Of course, I am not one who equates Semi-Pelagianism and Arminianism. Rather, I characterize it as semi-Augustinian, so this is irrelevant to my position. That said, when Calvinists characterize Arminianism as semi-Pelagianism they are doing so at the functional level, for they cash out at functionally the same place.

I could say the samething about calvinists and Fatalists. On the functional level they cash out at the same place.



Godismyjudge said...


I am surprised Gene doesn't see he is committed to compatiblism as the Arminian is to LFW.

God bless,

Jnorm said...


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