Confession 5: SO-OCD, my worst nightmare

What is SO-OCD? It stands for sexual orientation obsessive compulsive disorder. It seems to be rather rare and its effects have reduced what should be the best years of my life to the worst.

We still haven’t answered the question of what it is though. Like R-OCD, SO refers to the types of obsessions one has. Mine are about whether or not I am gay. I’m constantly worrying and concerning myself with my sexuality. Tests are a big part of this. I think of the one I love and I know I’m not gay, but the thoughts attack me consistently. They make me break down in tears. Some nights I weep, waiting until I’m all alone and hiding my pain when I’m not alone. 

It’s a hard road. I didn’t ask for it but it’s a part of my everyday life. I only trust and lean on the Lord and hope that He helps me through my trials.

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Religious Socialism: Theology in Dialogue 

This brief post is inspired by my recent reading of Paul Tillich. As a Tillichian, I accept the basic premise that theology must be done in conversation, or, in other words, in dialogue with the contemporary situation in which the theologian finds himself. In the United States, people in my age group have been enthralled by Bernie Sanders. Sanders claims to be a democratic socialist, one who believes that the democratic institutions of society should be used in the establishment of worker self-ownership of the means of production (socialism). This interest in Socialism comes from an increasing awareness of the socio-economic disaster that has befallen the United States in the past few years. With income inequality, atomization, and job loss on the rise and the average rate of profit on the decline things aren’t looking good. The theologian can’t ignore these issues. He must address them in a theological manner. How one does this is up to further consideration; however, the fact that this task must be undertaken is not. We must address this problem theologically because theology is the only existential science by which man is reunited with himself and reason is reunited with its own depth. In later posts, we will attempt to do just this. For now, I am content to admit that I am a committed religious socialist. 

The Arminian Question: A Hyper-Calvinist Consideration

In one of my previous posts I said that I believe, in contradiction to other Hyper-Calvinists, that Arminians are saved and our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I have come to change my mind concerning Arminianism, as I believe that because of the violence it does against the doctrine of God (the subject of theology proper), soteriology, the doctrine of sin, and anthropology one must condemn Arminianism as heretical and an issue over which one ought to break Christian fellowship of any kind. This comes from a consideration of the doctrines of Inclusivism and Exclusivism. The position one takes on these important matters of doctrine is definitional to Christian fellowship. It is my firm conviction that if Christian fellowship is granted to the Arminian, it should be granted to the Mormon. Let’s define our terms:

Inclusivism: the doctrine that some beliefs are less true than the absolutely true beliefs; however, those less true beliefs will allow you to enter heaven

Exclusivism: there is only one way to heaven which requires proper beliefs in the proper subjects and objects

Exclusivism is the explicit statement of Scripture. The importance of dogmatics is not to be understated. Paul states that there is “one faith” in Ephesians 4:5 and that we should “watch your life and doctrine” in 1 Timothy 4:16. Paul even goes so far as to say that “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” in Galatians 1:8. What does Arminianism affirm exactly that requires us to break fellowship with them? Arminianism affirms five doctrines that are in direct contradiction to the teaching of Scripture.

1. Radical depravity – man is fallen but still has free will

2. Conditional election – there is a condition in man that allows him to become elect

3. Unlimited Atonement – Christ’s death was for all individual men

4. Resistable Grace – God’s graces woos those dead in trespasses and sins but may be resisted

5. Conditional Perserverance – Perserverance is conditioned on the desire to persevere 

Each of these points is directly contrary to the five points of Calvinism accumulated under the acronym TULIP. TULIP is Scriptural, and its denial is a denial of the clear teaching of the word of God. This denial is heresy and should commend Christians to sever fellowship with Arminians.

Equal Ultimacy: A Consideration of Romans 9:11-13

The problem of equal ultimacy is something that I have spoken on decisively in the past. It is a position that I endorse and I am not ashamed that I hold to what some consider to be a “horrible doctrine.” For those who have not read my previous post, equal ultimacy is the doctrine that God’s decree of election is symmetrical. Today we will be taking a look at the strongest Scriptural support for this belief: Romans 9:11-13. This passage relies on a symmetrical parallel in order to make the desired point, and, unlike Dr. Sproul, we will not avoid the possibility of an equal ultimacy interpretation simply because of a detestation of the doctrine. Let us begin with our exegesis.

before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

There are a few important points to note about this striking passage of Scripture. Before the twins had done any good or bad (prior to their birth) God selected which one would be the object of His holy hatred and which would be the object of His holy love. We know that human beings are born in sin (Psalm 51:5) and so it must be the case that the twins have truly done no evil or have been tainted by sin in any way. 

We then read that God begins at the moment of moral neutrality so that “His purpose according to election might stand.” If God began at a moment of moral inneutrality then there would be some condition inherent in man that would cause God to choose whom He would judge and whom He would love.

Finally, we see the symmetry between love and hate in vs 13. Jacob became, through God’s elective decree, the object of divine love and Esau, through the same decree, became the object of divine hate.

All Things for Good: God’s Care for His People – Pastoral Application of Romans 8:28-39

Recently, a lot of my posts (okay almost all of them) have been specifically about the calvinism vs arminianism and the calvinism vs hyper-calvinism debate. Someone I love very dearly struggles with many things and this post is dedicated to them. It isn’t what I would call high theology en toto, rather it is a pastoral examination of the implications of one of my favorite passages of Scripture. Pastoral implications are the practical side of theology, and should never be understated in any theological study. Today we will be looking at Romans 8, specifically vs 28-39.

Paul,.before all things, was concerned with the pastoral applications of his teachings. The christian walk with God was always something incredibly important to him. He starts off the passage under consideration with an astonishing point. He says:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Wow. Simply wow. All things work together for the good of those who love God! But who could possibly love God? As we read earlier, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)” Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about being the one’s who first must love God. As Paul elsewhere states, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)” It was God who first loved us, enough to send Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, to die for us. It is also God, who, according to the second clause of vs 28, called a people according to His divine and holy purpose. What does He do for these people He calls? And how can we be sure all things will work together for our good? Let us continue on with Paul’s argument.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30 ESV)

We should note three main things about this passage oft called the “golden chain of redemption.”

  1. God is the subject
  2. All of the verbs are active, finite, past tense
  3. “those whom” is consistently the direct object of these verbs

You might ask me here why any of this is important. Well, it sets the ground for the entirety of Paul’s argument in the rest of Romans 8 and Romans 9. This, in simple terms, is Paul’s doctrine of divine election. Now we are in a position to answer the question of what God does for the “those whom.” Firstly, God foreknew (in an active sense, denoting a knowledge based upon a free choice of God to create) these people for whom all things will work together for their good. Secondly, God predestines them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Jesus Christ). What does this mean? In his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (3:18)” Our being conformed into the image of Christ is our joining in union with Him. Paul’s reference here to the veil of the hand of the Lord upon Moses’ face, for no man may see God and live (Exodus 33), is important. We have seen and have intimate communion with the Son, our mediator, who is the express image of God’s very being (Hebrews 1:3). No longer are we cut off from God because of our sins; rather, through Christ, we have been brought near. Thirdly, God calls them. Fourthly, God justifies them. He makes men, through grace and by faith (Ephesians 2:8-10), holy and righteous before Him through the imputed righteousness of His Son Christ Jesus. Finally, He glorifies them. He brings them to glory. Amen! All of this is one, interwoven argument that cannot be separated. We already have a partial answer to the question of how all things may work out for the good of those that love God; however, let us press forward.

Before we receive the rest of the answer to our question, we must reasonably ask who the “those whom” are. Paul does not hesitate to tell us. He says:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 ESV)

Us! As we shall see, the “those whom” is replaced by the personal pronoun “us.” We, as believers, are the ones for whom all things work to our good. We are the recipients of God’s justificatory work through the imputation of His Son’s righteousness. That is why Paul may boldly proclaim “if God is for us, who can be against us?” If we have the omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, merciful God on our side who purposes all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11) then who could possibly be strong enough to stand against us in this life? Paul goes on:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:32-39 ESV)

Us, us, us, us, God’s elect, us. Can you see the great mercy and love of God towards His people? Christ is interceding, for us. Christ died, for us. God justifies, us. God gives all things, to us. What can separate us from the love of our Heavenly Father? Nothing. If we follow Paul’s argument, the reason we can have a surety that all things will according to our good is that God, the sovereign creator of all things,.is in control. How blessed we are!

 

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?: Facing Up to Equal Ultimacy

I recently finished up R.C. Sproul’s Chosen By God and one of his chapters focuses on the question of “double predestination.” Double predestination raises many eyebrows from non-Calvinists and Calvinists alike. Many will say “God definitely elects to salvation but there is no way that He would ever elect to reprobation!” The obvious problem with this is that even a non-selection is a choice. God still chooses to not elect some and to work sanctification in the hearts of some. The real issue is not double predestination, but whether or not God’s predestination is symmetrical or not. Another way to say it is: Is God’s predestining of humans active-active or active-passive (as R.C. Sproul likes to put it)? I am one of those dreaded Hyper-Calvinists who believes that God’s predestination is symmetrical, or, in other words, I believe in equal ultimacy. What is equal ultimacy though? For our purposes, we can define equal ultimacy is:

Equal Ultimacy: the doctrine that God works sanctification in the hearts of His elect and unbelief in the hearts of the reprobate

For the purposes of this discussion, Arminians are to be left to the wayside. This is an intramural discussion among Calvinists.

Dr. Sproul does not base his conclusions on the Bible, rather he bases conclusion on an emotional objection. His objection is one shared by all of the advocates of active-passive predestination. He says something of this kind. “Equal Ultimacy makes God the author of sin and surely that does violence to the character of God! God is all-good and surely He cannot work unbelief, which is a sin, in the heart of the reprobate!” Here we must agree in part. God is surely not the author of sin (as we are told that God cannot sin in Jas. 1:13 and other passages); however, that does not mean that God is not the source of sin. What is the difference? To be a source is to be the dwelling or place from which something springs; however, to be the author is to be the active producer of something. You will then say to me, “Ok fine, but doesn’t your definition assume that God is the author of unbelief? Aren’t you contradicting yourself?” Well, I don’t think so. God is the source of all things. In His decree of election and reprobation, God decides who will and who will not be saved. Part of not being saved is the sin of unbelief, as well as any number of accompanying sins. God, in His creative decree, which proceeded His elective decree (see my article on Supralapsarianism), He decreed that unbelievers would not believe. How can God be sure if the unbeliever will continue in His unbelief if, He in some sense, did not actively decree their unbelief and it’s working out in their life?

 

The Antinomian Controversy: A Statement – Part 1

Okay, it’s confession time. I am an Antinomian. Gasp. That wasn’t so hard was it? For uttering that statement many might consider me a heretic; however, I believe that a thorough and consistent interpretation of Romans 6 and 7 will demonstrate my position. What is my position though? For our purposes, we will define antinomianism as:

Antinomianism: the doctrine that Christians, under the covenant of grace, are not bound to keep God’s moral law

That already should raise some eyebrows. How can I possibly say that we are not bound to keep God’s moral law? I believe that this position is not as radical as it has historically been made out to be. Let us begin with our exegesis of the text. We begin in Romans 6:

6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.

In these verses, Paul asks a series of questions and then goes on to give a series of rejoinders. There are a few main points to consider; however, the two main dualisms in this passage are:

  1. Dead to Sin/Alive in Christ
  2. Dead to the Law/Alive in Grace

We start in vs 1-4:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

The first question in vs 1 is should believers sin so that grace might abound? Consequently, this is often the exact charge made against antinomians by critics. “If you are against the idea that we have a moral obligation to follow God’s law then you believe you can do anything you want.” Paul’s answer to this question is an emphatic no. We are dead to sin, says Paul, so how shall we goon sinning. If you are dead then you cannot perform any actions whatsoever, so if you are a believer then you cannot continue in sin. It is impossible! Paul then goes on in vs 3-4 to give the importance and  meaning of baptism: that we are buried in the water with Christ and raised, metaphorically, from the dead to spiritual life. The scriptural definition of will is to have certain inclinations to preform certain tasks; therefore, the spiritually alive person has new desires and a new heart to obey God, not out of moral obligations placed on the believer, but out of love and faith.

Vs. 5-14 reads:

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

In this passage Paul makes two main points:

  1. Anyone who is dead to sin is free from sin
  2. Anyone who is no longer a slave to sin is not under the law

These points are of key importance to the antinomian case. For the antinomian, being out from under the law means  being in the covenant of grace, or the system in which man is justified by faith alone (Romans 5:1) and not moral obligations or law keeping. The death of Christ, Paul says, was death to sin once and for all. As participants in Christ’s death, we too are no longer alive to sin but dead to it. Not only are we dead to sin, but we are alive to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord! You may object to me here on the basis of vs 12-13; however, if one only remembers that in vs 1-2 Paul says that we are dead to sin, and consequently, dead to the law, then we no longer need to interpret vs 12-13 as being a moral obligation; rather, we should interpret them as being natural inclinations flowing from a changed nature (Ezekial 36:26).

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.

We reach now our final passage of Scripture for this part. Again Paul emphasizes our freedom apart from the law and from sin through Jesus Christ; however, that does not mean that we can willingly sin. The crux of Paul’s argument is that we should present ourselves as instruments of righteousness; however, does that not mean we are bound to some moral obligation? Not at all. In fact, Paul even says “you have come to obey from your heart.” Again, obedience is not a moral obligation. It is something done out of love and even that which is done out of love is ultimately done through the sovereign will of God.

Does God Have Free Will?: A Brief Consideration from a Hyper-Calvinist

Disclaimer: This is not my official answer to this question, nor do I affirm that it is something derived from the text of Scripture in totality. Its just something I’ve been kicking around.

I was recently asked the question of whether God has free will. This question took me aback as I had never really thought about it before. Since I believe God has directly spoken on the character of His nature and the nature of His decrees, I turned to the Scriptures. While the Scriptures speak plentifully and fully as to the nature of the ability of man (something codified in the doctrines of grace as “T”), the Bible says much less about the nature of God’s ability. Let us examine some Scriptures that do speak to what God can and cannot do.

declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:10 ESV)

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3 ESV)

in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; (Titus 1:2-3 ESV)

There seems to be two statements that affirmed in the Scriptures:

  1. God can do whatever He pleases
  2. God cannot sin

Unlike man, who is bound in trespasses and sins and is within a series of temporal and causal relations, God is outside of time and has no constraining factors (or antecedent determinants) acting on Him. The only conceivable constraint on God’s freedom is His omniscience. I believe that God knows all that is logically possible to know, which would include His own actions. Whereas man has no free will whatsoever (because of total nature of man’s depravity, his contextual situation, and God’s omniscience [this view is called Theological Determinism]), God, it seems, must have some form of free will. Here I will appeal to God’s creative decree to solve this issue. Prior to God’s creation of the world, His knowledge of His free actions (actions which have no antecedent determinants) is not contained within His total omniscience as an actuality but only as a potentiality. Since it is God’s divine fiat that determines which potentiality is actualized, there is no determining antecedent that forces God to decree one set of actions over another.

“From the Same Lump”: A Brief Defense of Supralapsarianism

The issue of the order of the decrees of God has been an issue for Reformed folks since the very first generation of reformers. Throughout the Reformed tradition, infralapsarianism has been the dominant position with supralapsarianism being in the minority. While a seemingly unimportant debate, I believe that the logical order of the decrees of God raise serious soteriological issues and bear on how we, as Christians, are to respond to the problem of evil. For the Reformed person, it is obvious that God elects some people to be saved. That point is not in contention. What is in contention is the order in which the elective decree comes and the extent of divine election. These issues are discussed at length in Romans 9, but we will content ourselves to look at the chapter briefly in order to offer an initial defense. Let us begin:

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:10-13 ESV)

Here we should take note of some important points.

  • Jacob and Esau had not yet done good or bad
  • God decreed this in this manner so that “His purpose in election might continue”
  • This was done to take away the ground of works as being the basis for obtaining God’s mercy

The first bullet is the most important. God, before the twins had done good or evil (surely Paul would also exclude them here from having the fallen nature inherited from Adam as we have all fallen through and participated in the sin of Adam [Romans 5:12]), selected the one who would serve and the one who would be served, or the one He loved and the one He hated. This was done on the basis of God’s elective decree. We can be sure that those God loves (His elect) will be saved and those God hates (reprobates) will be punished. Paul then goes on to respond to his potential objector.

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Romans 9:14-18 ESV)

The answer here is simple: God will have mercy on whomever He chooses and He will harden whomever He chooses. How could God freely show mercy and freely harden if God’s decree of election logically proceeds His decree of the Fall, where all men are already rebel sinners who have hardened their hearts against God? God may decide to show mercy to some, but this is simply a theology of divine acceptance, not one of divine election as laid out in the previous passages of Scripture. Paul goes on to say:

Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— (Romans 9:21-23 ESV)

Here we have a rhetorical question on the part of the Apostle. Doesn’t God have the right to make, from the same lump, vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy? The question for the infralapsarian becomes this: How could God make vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy from the same lump if election proceeds the fall, where all are vessels of wrath? Infralapsarians must answer with a consistent interpretation of Romans 9 in order to even begin to get their case off the ground.

A Confession: Unpopular Theological Opinions

I am what some would call a theological enigma. I am generally not accepted in Reformed circles and definitely not in Arminian circles. Some may even doubt my salvation because of the views that I hold. So what exactly am I? I am a Hyper-Calvinist. *Gasp* Now that we have gotten that out of the way we can examine what exactly it means to be a Hyper-Calvinist over and above a traditional Calvinist. The main marks of Hyper-Calvinism are:

  • Supralapsarianism: the view that God’s decree of election logically precedes His decree of creation, the Fall, and redemption through the Cross
  • Equal Ultimacy: God elects human beings to glory and reprobation equally
  • Denial of duty-faith and duty-repentance: “We deny duty faith and duty repentance – these terms signifying that it is every man’s duty to spiritually and savingly repent and believe . We deny also that there is any 1 capability in man by nature to any spiritual good whatever. So that we reject the doctrine that men in a state of nature should be exhorted to believe in or turn to God” (Articles of Faith and Rules Article 26)
  • Gospel invitations: I believe that Gospel invitations should be avoided as they imply creaturely power and are an attack on the doctrines of grace (TULIP)
    • While we believe that the Gospel is to be preached in or proclaimed to all the world, as in Mark 16. 15, we deny offers of grace; that is to say, that the gospel is to be offered indiscriminately to all (Article 29)
    • Therefore, that for ministers in the present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them to savingly repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and, on the other, to deny the doctrine of special redemption.(Article 33)
    • We believe that any such expressions as convey to the hearers the belief that they possess a certain power to flee to the Saviour, to close in with Christ, to receive Christ, while in an unregenerate state, so that unless they do thus close with Christ, etc., they shall perish, are untrue, and must, therefore, be rejected. And we further believe that we have no Scripture warrant to take the exhortations in the Old Testament intended for the Jews in national covenant with God, and apply them in a spiritual and saving sense to unregenerated men. (Article 34)

One of the more contentious views ascribed to Hyper-Calvinism is that Arminians are unsaved. While I believe Arminianism is false and has many unsavory theological implications I do believe that my Arminian brothers are saved. That’s it for this short blog post. I just wanted everyone to be aware of where I stood theologically going forward and I will be putting out defenses of each of these points listed above.