Debate on Calvinistic Compatibilism Part 5: Derek Responds

 

Matt,

Thank you for your questions.

Yes, I believe unreservedly that God, as per the Scripture verses listed above (and many others) has sovereignly and transcendently ordained everything about my life, just as He says in His Word, which I gladly embrace above my own best thoughts and reasonings.

I am a little surprised at your last two questions. Surely you know the phrase, “God uses means,” which is often repeated by Calvinists when the doctrine of Providence is misinterpreted or misapplied. Providence is a “live” and enlivening doctrine, as opposed to blind fatalism, which can only lead to apathy and passivity. Belief in God’s providential and active use of means is part of the reason why Calvinists have often led the way in missions and Evangelism, as well as prayer and discipleship. They believe that God has ordained His people to be used as a means of good in this world.

Moreover, I thank God that He has blessed me with the joys of interacting with fellow believers around these interesting topics. Whether you are convinced or changed is ultimately up to Him (though you also bear responsibility). Thinking deeply with my brothers is part of the good that He has ordained for me (and occasionally it is part of the suffering :)). This is also very often a means of sanctification. And it fills me with joy to see Christians gathered around the Scriptures and digging in for deeper understanding. Gifts freely given.

Again, I am surprised that you ask these questions, since you do not seem to be ignorant of Calvinistic history and perspectives.

It is important to remember that mainstream Calvinists have historically embraced both the hidden will of God (primarily as a lens for interpreting our circumstances) and the revealed will of God (as the standard by which our real choices and motives are judged). If the truth about God’s sovereign decree is applied in a way that violates Scripture (e.g. to excuse sin, justify apathy, or abdicate evangelism), it is self-defeating and obviously misappropriated. One learns to put the brakes on certain logical leaps that seem inevitable (much as Paul did in Romans 3, 6 and 9). Logic remarkably similar to Robert’s appears in Romans 3, where Paul addresses the very same kinds of apparently logical arguments and simply dismisses them as obviously unbiblical and unworthy of God.

Would any of us say that Paul refused to accept the unavoidable logical implications of his doctrine? Well, that would be perilous!

Romans 3:5-8 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?–as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Do you see the similarities in the extension of logic, wherein a genuine truth is misapplied? It is all to easy to “speak in a human way” and overlook the fact that we are dealing with divine truths, and not mere syllogisms. Studying these passages in Romans makes me hesitant to go running headlong after seemingly plausible arguments without referring back to Scripture again and again as the infallible guide.

Blessings,
Derek

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About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I am unmarried yet blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an even more broken and apathetic church.
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