Letters to my Reformed friend (part one).

5 thoughts on “Letters to my Reformed friend (part one).”

  1. Josh,
    I usually agree and believe similarly in the things you discuss. I also enjoy you in depth, understandable explanations of these topics. I enjoyed reading Andy’s reply and think it is amazing to have such a friend. It did get me to wondering though. If you (and myself) greatly deny Calvinist views, are we also attributing limitations to God?
    Thank you for your wonderful thoughts.
    Erica

  2. Josh,
    I usually agree and believe similarly in the things you discuss. I also enjoy your in depth, understandable explanations of these topics. I enjoyed reading Andy’s reply and think it is amazing to have such a friend. It did get me to wondering though. If you (and myself) greatly deny Calvinist views, are we also attributing limitations to God?
    Thank you for your wonderful thoughts.
    Erica

  3. Afternoon Josh and Andy,

    I wish to add a snippit of clarification. I also subscribe to a reformed view. I would like, if you’ll be patient with my rambling, a slight nuance. Firstly regarding determinism. I am constantly on the fence with this. Depending on the day, you might catch me as a hard determinist or a soft determinist. As I’ve always understood it, open theism just cannot satisfy the description of God biblically without a tremendous amount of hermeneutical leaps.

    I have two things that I would like to add,
    First: Josh, on the will of God, theologians on both sides of the fence will acknowledge a difference between the decree of God (that eternal, pre-set plan of all that will happen) and his will of divine pleasure (think about your Ezekiel passage or the 1 peter passage). Many theologians will slice it different ways but there is also his moral will (such as he would will no one to lie). The determinist will appeal to the fact that things happen that displease God, and likewise Chirst himself would have rather ‘let this cup pass from me.’ And yet he did that which did not please him in order to win what did, namely, the bride. To use a humanly example, a student might not desire to study but nevertheless will do so if he desires a good grade. Piper (who calls himself a 7 point calvinist, thus putting himself on the extreme side of the movement), he would say that God’s ultimate goal is the display of his glory. Meaning that he might determine to allow rape and murder to display his divine glory in justice or mercy.

    Now I personally do not subscribe that specific explanation of God’s sovereignty. I am simply stating what I held to for years and what is often given as the explanation of your contention. It works remarkably well when you don’t have to tell it to the crying mother of a dead child.

    So as a determinist (hard or soft) then, how do I explain this? That brings me to the second thing that I would like to add:
    Will is obviously limited, we cannot at any moment do anything except that which we desire to do. We are limited by our desires, as well as the available options. For example, the first showbread show that I went to there was a young guy there wearing a read shirt that read, “Arminianism: I choose this shirt,” then on the back, “Calvinism: this shirt choose me.” I couldn’t help but laugh at such a straw man but nevertheless it made me wonder exactly how many shirts he owned and out of that number how many were clean? How many were appropriate in Texas in summer? How many were appropriate at a raw rock show? How did his desire to spread his Arminianism affect his decision? How much did his pride force him to consider these things?
    You see, the question is not the determination of the God’s will but the limitation of Mans. Who determined the limitation? The creator. When did he enact this? At the creation. I hold to what is called the theory of multiple worlds. In that God had at his disposal the ability to enact the creation in which I freely choose to type this response or the world in which I freely choose to pass over the link on facebook. Since, I’m here, you can see which one I believe he decided to enact. This allows every decision of Man to be free insofar as he is enabled by the options at his disposal to decide. This seems, to me at least, to be the best harmony of the biblical claim of his divine foreknowledge, divine decree, transcendent kingship, immanent presence, divine justice, and the presence of evil in the world.

    I hope that I’m not overstepping any boundaries in such a long reply. Perhaps this is not what you were looking for in the comments section. If so please feel free to delete this. Also, if you’re ever North of Dallas hit me up. I’d love to treat you to a cup of coffee or have you over for dinner.
    Keep up the art brother,
    Mike Duncan

    1. Hey Mike! Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply.

      I am indeed familiar with the issues you raise here inasmuch as I have heard them presented from various parties in the Reformed camp. It may not surprise you that they do not quench my distaste for the Reformed view. Even so, it’s always helpful to have a view presented by the view-holder and not its opponent alone, so thank you!

      I hope that as this “letters” series continues—if you find time to join us—or as you come across more information and resources you might come to better understand the Open View and the way it deals with any alleged “hermeneutical leaps,” even if you do not change teams.

      Thanks again, Mike! I’ll certainly take you up on that coffee next time we’re in your neck of the woods!

      Josh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s