Thursday, June 4, 2009

Conversion and Continuation (Response to Steve)

Steve Hays recently called Arminians (and Josh in particular) hypocrites for not opposing my teaching eternal security. (link) It’s unclear if he means they should oppose eternal security (since he cites case where Josh does) or if Steve means they should oppose me personally. I normal don’t respond to things like this, but since Steve is accusations others (not me, thought Steve is involving me) I thought I should say something. Steve, please consider assuming a more charitable reason other than hypocrisy for the lack of personal opposition.

You’re free to enter, but not to leave. …Both getting saved and staying saved involve the exercise of faith. Believing the Gospel from day to day. Conversion doesn’t require a different sort of faith than the daily walk of faith. Conversion doesn’t require a different source of faith than the daily walk of faith.

Faith isn’t a choice; it’s a result of one. Repentance is a choice, but faith is not. So I disagree the inception and continuation of faith are the same.

On the other hand, we are warned about neglecting not just repudiating salvation (Heb 2:1-3). We can slip away, like a ring slipping off a finger. So while I am not suggesting we should be passive about perseverance or maintaining faith, I am suggesting conversion and continuation are asymmetrical. I think the way it works is that as we work, we see God working in our lives and it strengthens our faith.

What are the Scriptural prooftexts for libertarian freewill? Well, the warning passages of Scripture constitute a locus classicus. …If the warning passages don’t imply that a Christian is free to either persevere in the faith or lose his faith, then there’s no obstacle to saying the exact same thing about other libertarian prooftexts.

I don’t disagree with non-OSAS Arminians on warning passages. I disagree with them on security passages and also in systematization. But I do hold we can fall away, I just don’t think we will.


Riobert said...

Hi Dan,

You **made** me read Steve Hays' drivel, you should be ashamed! :-) Ben did a great job of absolutely destroying Hays' attempted escape from the plain meaning of the 1 Cor. 10 passage. Ben exegeted the passage carefully and correctly and Hays tried to bring up an "interpretation" that would "save" his erroneous calvinistic view on the non-reality of free will as ordinarily understood.

Ben takes the position that one can lose salvation you and others take the position that one does not lose their salvation. We can even disagree agreeably on this. Apparently for Hays who seems ****incapalbe**** of disagreeing agreeably with anyone, he just canot believe that we can do it and do it. He just hates those he disagrees with and so it is understandable that he just cannot conceive that we can disagree agreeably on some things. Hays wants Arminians to be as nasty and non-Christian in their interactions with one another, as he is with EVERYONE HE DISAGREES WITH. Sorry Steve, we aren't obligated or necessitated or predetermined to follow your lousy example whatsoever.

We may and do sometimes disagree but we refuse to be as immature and sinful as Hays is in his manner of disagreeing with people. And there is a simple explanation for this: we are actually doing what the bible says in regards to our interactions with other believers. Hays should try it sometime. If he did so, his manner of posting and even his effectiveness would be transformed. I doubt we will see this change however, Hays' consistent track record is not an encouraging one or good one when it comes to being loving or gracious or biblical in his interactions with others with whom he disagrees.


J.C. Thibodaux said...

Amen Bob! Well stated.

Dan, that is absolutely hysterical! I haven't even really looked at Triawhatchamacalllit in quite some time now, except through yours and Ben's recent interactions with Steve 'appeal to ignorance' Hays. But this one was one of their most ridiculously funny by far. A few comments:

Shouldn’t we expect Thibodaux to apply the same stinging oratory to Dan’s defense of eternal security?

Shouldn’t we expect Thibodaux to post a parallel series of rebuttals to Dan’s defense of eternal security?

For starters, the articles that I wrote which he cites weren't written in reply to anything in why exactly would he expect me to rebut your posts specifically on that basis? The articles he quoted were to make my case against the concept of inevitable perseverance in general and are publicly accessible, meaning that you and everyone else on the web are just as welcome to read them as Hays is.

But when an Arminian says the same thing as a Calvinist, Thibodaux suddenly comes down with an acute case of laryngitis.

Hmmmm... I'm not sure how laryngitis is supposed to affect my ability to type. :D Coincidentally, I actually did engage in a rather lengthy discussion on the issue with several free-will/Arminian believers in eternal security just last Friday. Hays could have of course inquired about whether I ever took time to argue the point with Arminian believers as well, but that really wouldn't be consistent with his 'shoot first, hurl insults later' methodology.

The logic of Arminian ethics is that we should treat everyone the same way because God treats everyone the same way. Since God is no respecter of persons, we should follow his lead.

Actually, no. God doesn't treat everyone the same way. He doesn't respect persons, and because He doesn't show such favoritism, He judges them fairly with the same standard, and treats them accordingly.

Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." (Genesis 4:4-7)

It's no surprise then that my last several discussions about perseverance with Calvinists have have all been quite civil -I didn't even attempt to argue my views on the issue. The big difference? These Calvinists I refer to are rational thinkers and mature Christians who aren't out to dishonestly slander others or twist their words, which sadly seems to be much more than Mr. Hays is capable of as of yet. Such differences in behavior do warrant difference in treatment, compare 1 Timothy 5:1 and Titus 3:10-11.

Lastly, I don't consider Christians that I disagree or debate with to be my enemies. Some of them I may even share a great deal in common with. I've even teamed up with Calvinsts I'd debated to take on proponents of more serious issues (e.g. Atheism, Liberalism, Anti-Trinitarianism). Seeing as the implications that Hays' brand of exhaustive determinism carries with it are very serious indeed, I'm not sure how he can justify his hissy fit over me enjoying your mopping the floor with his necessitarian nonsense.