Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Romo gets $67.5M over 6 years

more power to him... He's earned it by putting up great numbers, bouncing back from a whoopsie, leading the cowboys into one of their best starts I can remember and being the face of the franchise. I think the future looks good.

Hope there is enough money left to sign Newman, Barber (restricted free agent), Adams, Jones and Crayton.

Tank Johnson

Recently the Cowboys signed one Terry "Tank" Johnson to play nose tackle. This was quite a controversial move because Tank was suspended for a history of issues including gun charges and an alleged DWI. Tank was a free agent because the Bears cut him after he messed up his last chance with them.

Why did the Cowboys do it? In part because they lost Jason Ferrason their starting nose tackle in the first game of the season for the season. Not that Jason's backup Jay Ratliff is doing a bad job. I like Ratliff quite a bit. He's quick and can generate a good inside pass rush. I think of Ratliff as more than his previous role of nickel pass rusher. But Ratliff is small by NFL nose tackle standards.

But I don't think that's the main reason. I think Jerry Jones wanted to pass up on a bargain. Tank is a good player and he was dirt cheap (basically free). The cowboys cut Nate Jones to make room on their roster for Tank. They signed Tank for $800K but he only gets a prorated amount for this year due to the suspension, so he will end up with ~$300K this year. They resigned Nate for about $300K less than he was making before. Ouch, talk about pay cuts... But he did clear wavers so the rest of the NFL passed on paying him what he was making before. So the net is that they got Tank for free this year. This is one of those look how smart I am moves by Jerry.

My opinion. Give the guy a shot. If he messes up once, cut him. It's not like he has a big signing bonus or guaranteed money so no financial risk. And once we get Ferguson back we might not need him out on the field. By all player accounts Tank is personable and not a locker room issue. Let's give Tank a shot. Tank, don't let us down!!!

Is Compatibalism Mutually Exclusive with Arminianism?

Yes, they are mutually exclusive. Both can't be true at the same time.

Compatiblism is the idea that determinism is compatible with human freedom. Determinism is the idea that everything that happens had a preceding cause such that it necessarily happens and the opposite cannot happen. Freedom (as compatiblists explain it) is freedom from compulsion. IE no one is forcing you to do something you don't want to do. You are able to act according to your strongest desire. However you are unable to act contrary to your strongest desire. And that desire comes from our nature and our nature comes in part from God's creating us the way He did and in part from God putting us in the circumstances He does, and in no part from us as an indeterministic cause of our actions.

Arminianism is both a philosophical and a soterialogical system. As a philosophical system, it embraces libertarian free will and denies determinism outright. This can be seen clearly from the writings of its founder James Arminius and any Arminian who writes about free will.

As a soteriological system its not compatible with compatiblism. The point were this is perhaps easiest to see is resistible grace. Now it's true that God could create us with a nature capable of resisting some amount of grace. Calvinists agree to this. But under compatiblism that grace could never be said to be:

1) suitable for the salvation of those who will be lost (because their nature is to reject it)
2) intended by God for their salvation (because God gave them that nature which rejects)
3) something they are able to respond to (because they are still not able to act contrary to their nature)
4) what makes salvation possible (because it's impossible that they should act contrary to their strongest desire)
5) rightly called grace (because it was not intended for their eternal benefit, but rather to make their eternal judgement more severe)

Closely related to the resistible grace point is the point on conditional election. If compatiblism is true, God cannot be said to conditionally elect, but rather to unconditionally elect. He chooses what nature to create man with and what circumstances to put him in to shape that nature. So He has predetermined whether or not they will believe and they are unable to do otherwise than what He has predetermined for them.

So with resistible grace and conditional election we can see that compatiblism is incompatible with Arminianism.

The other three points of Arminianism: Christ dieing for all, conditional security and depravity are consistent with compatiblism. This can be seen in the cases of

Amyraldian (who taught Christ died for all):

http://www.theopedia.com/Order_of_God

Augustine (who taught people can fall from grace):

http://www.geocities.com/freewilltheology/agustineonfallingfromgrace.html

and Calvinists who teach man are depraved.

Dan

Monday, October 29, 2007

Compatiblistic Agent Causation

Recently, a poster named Remonstrant shared a few sites arguing for compatiblistic determinism and asked me whether I thought compatiblism was mutually exclusive with Arminianism. I would like to address this in two parts. First, I wanted to provide some comments on the article then answer the question of how the view squares with Arminianism.

This article by Ned Markosian was the longest and most in depth:

http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/nmarkos/Papers/Comtac.pdf

In it Ned advocates for a view in which Agent Causation and Compatible Determinism co-exist. Ned argues that 1) Compatible Determinism is the best way of explaining Agent Causation, as it resolves various issues with indeterministic Agent Causation and 2) Agent Causation (even if Compatiblistic) is sufficient to explain moral responsibility.

My take…

Ned proposes various definitions of Agent Causation, all of which fail in one aspect or another. But Ned’s point is that agent causation is compatible with compatible determinism. This is why the definitions he provides fail. He didn’t provide a definition which entails indeterminism. Here’s one: The event is caused by the agent and nothing outside the agent necessitates the agent’s causing the event. This definition is relatively simple and works under all the scenarios Ned provides.

So I disagree that compatible determinism is compatible with Agent Causation. In fact, the beauty of Agent Causation is that it states inderministic causation in positive, not negative, terms. What I mean is that indeterminism states that the sum total of prior causes does not necessitate the event. This is a statement of what does not take place. This is helpful, but definitions are about what things are not what they are not. Agent Causation simply points to the source, the Agent, to the exclusion of all other sources. So Agent Causation states positively what indeterministic causation states negatively. What Ned is talking about is something else, and shouldn’t be called Agent Causation so as not to lead to confusion and equivocation.

This is the primary problem I have with Ned’s article, or at least his critique of indeterminisic Agent Causation. It misdefines Agent Causation in order to get it to fit in with Compatible Determinism.

The other point of the article is that this new theory of Agent Causation (I wish he would use a different term) which fits with compatible determinism provides a reasonable explanation of responsibility. Here I disagree as well.

I have two objections. First, (similar to the objection above) the causation described is not Agent Causation, rather it’s event causation. Second, it does not explain responsibility.

If people react deterministically based on their nature at the time, their actions happen via a chain of events. What’s the difference between this and an eight ball's motion being determined by the combination of its location and the strike of the cue? Yes, people's personalities can change over time, but so can the location of the eight ball. Both are acted upon and react out of their nature. This is event causation.

As for responsibility, Ned himself admits his theory yields surprising results (ie a man whose nature is altered by aliens such that he can’t avoid killing is still responsible). Is such a man responsible? I don’t think so, but let’s suppose he was. Wouldn’t we also still want to trace responsibility back to the aliens as well? So this theory isn’t helpful with the problem of evil. It has the same problem all compatiblistic determinism has. We want to track things back to the source to find responsibility.

Dan

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Here's the 5th and final article of the Remonstrants:

ART. V. That those who an incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his lifegiving spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand; and if only they are ready for the conflict. and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled, nor plucked out of Christ's hands, according to the word of Christ, John x. 28: "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." But whether they are capable. through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our minds.

The first part basically says that God preserves the willing. Both Calvinists and Arminians agree on this. The controversy is what if one is unwilling? On this point the Remonstrants did not take a stance.

Here there is a great variety of opinions and because the Remonstrants didn't take a firm stance, they all fit under Armininianism.

Those of the free grace movement claim that no matter how far one falls away, even into unbelief, they are still saved. This is one extreme.

A very small minority of Weslians claim that unless one dies in sinless perfection, they are not saved. This is the other extreme.

Between we have all manor of views, so I will just share my own. Perseverance is necessary for salvation. God preserves His people through middle knowledge, such that we can, but will not fall away. God, knowing how we will choose in various circumstances, puts us only in those circumstances that keep us in the faith. Breaking the Law of Moses could never causes us to loose our salvation, but unbelief could. But God keeps us from unbelief.

Resistable Grace

Here's the 4th article of the Remonstrants:

ART. IV. That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of an good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without that prevenient or assisting; awakening, following, and co-operative grace, elm neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But, as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, inasmuch as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost, -Acts vii., and elsewhere in many places.

This one's fairly simple. We need God's grace for salvation, but that grace is resistible. Calvinists agree that we need grace for salvation, but disagree that grace is resistable. They assert that God's grace for salvation is irresistible. They say that for those God is trying to save, they must believe and cannot not believe. But Arminians say they can either believe or not believe.

For the most part Arminians agree on this point. There is however a difference between Arminian monergists and Arminian synergists on this point.

Arminian synergists say we cooperate with God during conversion. God starts things but we work together with God while we come to faith.

Arminian monergists say that God starts and completes conversion alone, without any effort on our part. We are able to resists, but not able to help. So there is nothing we actually do. The choice is in not doing, not resisting. For Armininian monergists, faith is a gift from God, but we can reject the gift. This is the view that I hold to.

But this is a minor difference. The key point here is that grace is resistible.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Depravity

Here's the third article of the Remonstrants:

ART. III. That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free-will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. b: "Without me ye can do nothing."

This of course is teaching man in a fallen state is lost and sinfully and can do nothing to bring bring about his salvation. This agrees with the Calvinistic point on total depravity.

On this point Arminians agree. Arminians are not Pelagians or Semi-Pelagians. (ie the view point that man can save himself or that man initiates salvation and God completes it.) No. For the Arminian, man needs grace in order to be saved.

There are however, differing views in the Arminian camp on how regeneration works. This article states regeneration comes before faith. That's my viewpoint and what I understand Arminius' viewpoint to be as well. To this, Calvinists agree. But what Calvinists and Arminians mean by regeneration is different. Calvinists see regeneration as a one time event. Arminians look at regeneration as a process with various stages. Here's an article that talks about this a bit more:

http://www.geocities.com/freewilltheology/arminiusonregeneration.html

Some Arminians, most notably Wesley disagree. They say God draws man through prevenient grace, man believes and then they are regenerated. This difference tends to be semantic and not real, because what they describe as prevenient grace corresponds to what I would term as the early stages of regeneration.

But the main point here is that Arminiams and Calvinists agree that fallen man can do nothing in and of himself to be saved.

Christ died for all men

Here's the second point of the Remonstrants:

ART. II. That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption, and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins, except the believer, according to the word of the Gospel of John iii. 16: "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"; and in the First Epistle of John ii. 2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only. but also for the sins of the whole world."

This one's simple. Christ died for everybody but only believers actually end up in heaven. Calvinists claim that Christ didn't die for everyone.

How does this work? In the passover, the lamb was killed and it's blood was applied. It's a two step process. In the case of Christ He died for everyone, but His blood is applied only to believers. But for those that are lost, Christ did:

1) die for them
2) offer to save them
3) intended to save them
4) provided for their salvation

However:

1) Christ does not advocate or intercede for them
2) The Father does not justify them
3) they are not forgiven.

Calvinists generally collapse these two steps into one either through "eternal justification" or God's absolute purpose to save only the elect. But by dividing this into two pieces, Arminians teach that Christ died for all men.

Here again, there are two viewpoints under the general view that Christ died for all. The first is penal substitution, the second is called the Governmental Theory of Atonement.

Under the first viewpoint, Christ paid the penalty of our sins. The wages of sin is death. Christ died for us. Therefore, Christ paid the penalty for us. This is my viewpoint.

This viewpoint comes under attack by Calvinists who claim an unjust double payment. How can Christ and the damned pay the same penalty? The answer is that God has to mercifully accept Christ's payment as a substitute for their paying, and even if Christ died, if God does not accept Christ's death on their behalf, they must pay.

But other Arminians are persuaded by the Calvinist argument and deny that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Rather, Christ is a "public display of justice" in which God shows His displeasure for sins, but it's not a penalty.

Either viewpoint is Armininian and the key thing is that Christ died for all men, not just the elect.

Conditional Election

Here's the first article of the Remonstrants:

ARTICLE I. That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ's sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John iii. 36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," and according to other passages of Scripture also.

The first thing to note here is that God is choosing to save out of the fallen & sinful race. This distinguishes Arminianism from supra-lapsarianism, as they see election from pre-fallen and uncreated mankind. This aspect however, does not distinguish Arminianism from sub-lapsarian Calvinists.

The second point of note is the condition of faith. This is different that sub-lapsarian Calvinists as well who do not think that God contemplated man as in faith when He elected them. Hence, for them, faith is not a condition for election. But for Arminians faith is a condition for election.

Now how does this work exactly? There are three primary Arminian views of election/predestination.

1) based on foreseen future faith
2) Corporate election
3) Middle knowledge of faith

The first view is that God looks down the corridors of time, sees who believe and chooses to save them. This view has been criticised as somewhat of a rubberstamp, because if God sees their faith as already future, His choice doesn't change that.

The second view is that God chooses to save the category of believers. Christ is the ship, who's destination is heaven and God chooses to save anyone on the ship, but no one has to be on the ship. In this view, no individual person is chosen.

The third view is God chooses to save those who He knows would believe under a circumstance of God's choosing. God know how people would choose under different circumstances, chooses one circumstance and as a consequence chooses certain people. This is the view that I hold to. It was made popular by Molina, and arguably it was Arminius' view. Here's an discussion of Arminius on that point:

http://www.geocities.com/freewilltheology/arminiusonmiddleknowledge.html

Any of these three positions above fall under conditional election or Arminianism. They are at variance with the Calvinist tenet, unconditional election.

What is an Arminian?

An Arminian (strictly defined) is one who holds to the 5 points of the Remonstrants (Arminius' followers). More broadly defined Arminians are non-Calvinist Protestants. Here's a link to the 5 points of the Remonstrants.

http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc09/htm/iv.vii.cliii.htm

I intend to go through the points and look at each one.

Vikings Recap

Recapping the last game against the Vikings....

We had a nice win over the Vikings 24-14. Romo was doing quite well the first half, but did next to nothing in the second half. He hurt his hamstring and I really wonder if he could throw the ball more than 20 years. The cowboys had to rely on the run in the second half. Marion Barber did a great job, rushing for a touchdown and also stringing together a series of important first downs late in the game. Two big plays canceled each other, the Vikings running back a fumble and the Cowboys running back a blocked kick.

The Cowboys defense played good but not great. Roy Williams finally made a play!!! The pass rush looked great and Hatcher forced Adrian Peterson to fumble. Nice to see Hatcher develop. Gregg Ellis did well in his first start, getting 2 sacks. He's got 4 on the year, but looks to pressure Ware who has 6 but with 5 more games than Ellis. With Ware, Ellis, and Spencer we should get the QB all day.

The game ball goes to the Vikings coach. He started Tavaris Jackson as Vikings QB, who looks like he doesn't have a cue as to what he needs to do. The coach also only gave Adrian Peterson 12 carries. With a back like that, he should get 20+ a game. This one could have been a lot closer.

I Thessalonians

Having just read I Thessalonians, here are a few of my comments.

The primary topics of the book are: persecution, Christ’s return, sexual purity and love. The occasion for the book was Paul’s hearing that the Thessalonians church was persevering through great persecution. Paul had only spent a month in Thessalonica and was chased away all to quickly. He had wanted to teach them more and feared that the Gospel hadn’t had sufficient time to sink into the community. But when he heard they were doing well and undergoing persecution triumphantly he wrote them to praise them, continue his teaching and explain his desire to see them.

A few key passages that stuck out for me were:

1Th 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Here we have faith, hope and love, which reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Which comes first and what’s the right order? Faith, hope or love? I think we first have to believe something is possible in order to hope for it to happen. So faith comes before hope. And hope comes before love, because people who hope for eternal life come to love God.
It’s interesting how Paul puts this: work of faith, labor of love, patience of hope. Faith, love & hope produce our actions. Hope especially was producing the Thessalonians’ perseverance through tribulation.

Another passage that stood out was:

1Th 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
1Th 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
1Th 2:6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
1Th 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
1Th 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

Here Paul shares the right attitude Christians should have for witnessing. We are not to be attention seeking, flashy or to sugar coat things to trick people into coming to church. Rather we are to be sincere, gentle, loving and willing to sacrifice. This is a tough one into today’s age, where the gospel is watered down to produce numbers. God tries the hearts.

One final passage for now:

1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

A few things. First off, I find it interesting that even though Paul had only been at Thessolonica for a few months, he go into the topics of the resurrection, Christ’s return and the rapture with them. These were newbies in the faith, yet this is what Paul wanted to focus them in on. I have heard that Luther & Calvin (theological giants) avoid talking about end times. But Paul didn’t.

Another thing I notice is the contrast between this passage and Revelations 20.

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

The interesting contrast here is that in Revelation Christ is coming to reign for 1000 years on earth, but in Thessalonians Christ catches up His people to Him in the clouds. This has implications in the pre-tribulation/post-tribulation debate. Those in the post-tribulation camp would likely say that this is one event. After the tribulation, the dead in Christ rise up and we are all caught up for a reunion in the sky. But we don’t go up to heaven we come back down to earth to reign with Christ. Those in the pre-tribulation camp say that this must be two separate events.

The last and probably most important point here is that Paul used this message to comfort the Thessalonians as they were being killed for their faith. Don’t worry about death, Christ will come again and you will be raised up. We will win in the end.

Debate Challenge to Turretinfan - Romans 9

Recently I asked Turretinfan if he would be interested in a debate on the correct interpretation of Romans 9. This came about through an aritcle I wrote on Romans 9 about 5 years ago. Here’s a link:


http://www.geocities.com/freewilltheology/romans9.html

Turretinfan mentioned he objected to practically every aspect of my interpretation, but we haven’t had an opportunity to go through the passage together. So I figured this would be a good way to do so. I have proposed some rules as to how to approach the debate and asked him to take a shot at the resolution. We will see where this goes.

Friday, October 26, 2007

State of the Union

The Cowboys are 6-1 going into the buy week. It's good their getting a chance to rest. The main thing right now is for Tony Romo to recover from his hamstring injury as he got hurt during the last game.
The big picture is:

1) The Cowboys have a solid QB in Romo. Granted every once in a while he has a bad day, but he's the type of QB who can win a superbowl.

2) The 2 RB system is more or less effective. Marion Barber is perhaps a bit better than Jones, but the combo is really tough to deal with.

3) The defense is getting healthy and better. They are starting to put on a good pass rush which is key.

4) We have the best record in the NFC and only lost to the Patriots who are a machine. That said, we haven't beaten any really good teams so far, but we have won the games we were supposed to.

5) I think we have a legit shot at going to the superbowl this year.

My Testamony

I grew up in a Christian home and God saved me when I was very young. When I was 5 years old I went foreword one night at the service and the pastor expressed concern because I was young. We went back to his office and after we talked for a while and he asked me some questions he permitted me to be baptized. So I was baptized when I was 5. To be honest, I don't recall a time in my life when I wasn't trusting in Christ for my salvation.

I realize this isn't much of a dramatic testimony. Some people can go on and on about how God saved them out of this or that sinful lifestyle and can talk about a drastic change in there life. I was a bit young for that. So that's a cool story they have to tell. But I get to say how God has been with me all along, and I have had a relationship with Christ for most of my life. The Gospel really is quite simple. I am a sinner, Christ is the Son of God and the only Savior, heaven is sweet, hell is hot, and by what Christ did through His death, burial and resurrection, my sins are forgiven.

Who was Episcopius?

Simon Bisscop (better known by his Latinized last name, Episcopius) was James Arminius’ student and close friend. He attended the University of Leiden when the hot debates between Arminius and Gomarus were going on. He visited Arminius on his death bed and after Arminius died, Episcopius experienced persicution, being excluded from the Lord’s table and blocked from the pastorate. Episcopius was one of the authors and 43 signers of the 5 points of the Remonstrants.

http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc09/htm/iv.vii.cliii.htm

After that Episcopius became a professor of theology at Leiden, but there he experience the same controversy that Amrinius did. Only now the conflict had gotten too hot and had moved from verbal to physical. Arminians were being attached in the streets. They needed protection. Episcopius saw only one answer, a national synod. Wtnbogaert, the leader of the Reomstrants, feared for his life and fled the country, leaving Episcopius as the Arminian leader going into the synod of Dort.

The synod itself was heavily slanted towards the Calvinists. 13 of the 400+ participants were Armininan and they were treated as the accused, not equals. Episcopius was the spokesman for the Arminians. They were not allowed to criticizes Calvinist positions and after they figured out that the synod was not going to be balanced, they walked out.

The council lead to two documents, the Cannons of Dort which give us the famous 5 points of Calvinism:

http://www.all-of-grace.org/dort.html

and the Arminian confession which Episcopius authored:

http://www.christianheritageworks.com/arminianfaith.htm

As a result of the synod, Johan van Oldenbarneveldt the political supporter of the Remonstrans was killed, Hugo Grotius was imprisoned and Simon Episcopius was exiled. 20 years latter Episcopius returned and started a Remonstrant College.

I chose Episcopius as a name for this site, both because his name is a bit more obscure than my usual handle “Godismyjudge” which had already been taken, and also because Episcopius is a good reminder of where I come from.

Dan

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Why I am an Arminian

This is my first entry so I figured I would start with why I am an Arminian. I grew up in a conservative Baptist church, which unbeknownst to me, was more Calvinist then Arminian. They taught both predestination and freewill and said it was all a mystery.

When I was in high school a friend challenged my views. I hadn't really thought about any of the issues and he was strong in the word. I couldn't answer his questions but was leery of some of his interpretations of scripture.

But after a while I broke down. The first point of Calvinism that I agreed with was Total Depravity. I read Luther's Bondage of the Will and that was it. To this day, I have never question that view. At that time, I called myself a Calvinists.

But one night while I was reading scripture I came across Hebrews 10:26-29. I was shocked. Why hadn't this passage ever been talked about in Church. Up till this point, I had never questioned eternal security.

I decided not to decided anything. I spent the next two years researching the issue. And I came out of that process an Arminian.