Posted tagged ‘Doctrines of Grace’

Steve Lemke on TULIP

October 10, 2008

Since I addressed the T in TULIP in greater detail in my previous post, I will begin with the U of Unconditional election.  While each point of TULIP as addressed by Lemke could (and probably should) be addressed in separate posts, I will am pursuing brevity for the benefit of the reader and should in no wise be taken as a concession for Lemke’s errors.

Unconditional Election

On Unconditional Election, Lemke writes:

“Many Calvinists understand ‘unconditional election’ to mean that salvation is provided by God without any involvement or free choice on the party of the sinner, counting any human response (even assent) as a work.”

Absolutely false. Who are the “many Calvinists” Lemke is referring to who contend that unconditional election removes human responsibility?  Perhaps he is referring to hyper-Calvinists who reject “duty faith.”  Maybe by “free choice of the party of the sinner” he is allowing only for libertarian free will which we find later in his article he advocates.  If that is the case, then yes, Calvinists do not allow for this kind of free will.  This is because the Bible does not allow for libertarian free will (if you will notice in his paper, there are no Scriptural proofs for his arguments).  LFW cannot function with unconditional election, predestination, and divine foreknowledge, and the “power of contrary choice” ultimately makes the human decision the terminal cause in a most arbitrary sense.

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Steve Lemke on Total Depravity

October 7, 2008

Dr. Steve Lemke briefly gives his understanding of the doctrines of grace, otherwise known as the five points of Calvinism, and follows it up with what he calls “a helpful alternative” and “a softer version” in Dr. Timothy George’s acronym of ROSES.  In the following posts, I will interact with Lemke’s understanding of the five points and follow up with his take on George’s ROSES.

Of the five points, Lemke places the greatest emphasis on total depravity.  I do find this helpful because it is an appropriate starting point (only after having addressed the monergistic and theocentric marrow of Calvinism).  One of the first critiques I made of Dr. James Leo Garrett in his six-article presentation of “Dortian Calvinism” is that he devoted little to no attention to the doctrine of total depravity.  So I am glad to see that Lemke has taken up this important doctrine, although I disagree with his understanding of it.

In his description of TULIP, Lemke writes the following on total depravity:

“Understood in the fully Calvinist sense, ‘total depravity’ means that infants are born with original sin, and are thus ‘dead’ spiritually (Eph. 2:1-3), and utterly incapable of responding to God without God’s election.”

In fairness, Lemke is not giving a detailed description of totally depravity, but even in this one sentence summary, there are several errors in his presentation of the Calvinistic understanding of total depravity.  The fact that infants are born with [original] sin is not held only by Calvinists.  Indeed, human inability as a result of sin has been believed by both Arminians and Calvinists.  Responding to God was not directly related to “God’s election” as much as how they understood the nature of God’s grace (saving and efficacious for Calvinists and enabling and prevenient [or persuasive] for Arminians).  In Article III of the Remonstrance (the Arminian declaration), it states:

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Blue Collar Theology 28: TBI TULIP Seminar

May 12, 2008

Having wrestled with the doctrines of grace for more than two years as a college student, I became convinced of the sovereignty of God in salvation both through the study of Scripture and the experience in my own life.  Shortly thereafter, one of the most helpful resources I benefited from was the TBI TULIP Seminar which I purchased in cassette form.  These were messages by John Piper on the five points of Calvinism presented in a humble, fair, and faithful manner, and I tended to return to these messages time and again throughout the years.

A couple of months ago, John Piper again held a TBI Seminar on TULIP, and Desiring God has made the messages available in text, audio, and video format.   I want to recommend this seminar to all Blue-Collar Christians because I believe it is one of the most helpful, accessible, and instructive ways of understanding the doctrines of grace.  Here is the links to each session of the TULIP seminar:

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Assumptions – Irresistible Grace
Part 3: Irresistible Grace – Total Depravity
Part 4: Total Depravity – Unconditional Election
Part 5: Unconditional Election
Part 6: Unconditional Election
Part 7: Limited Atonement
Part 8: Perseverance of the Saints
Part 9: Ten Effects of Believing the Five Points of Calvinism

Unfortunately, the majority of what lay people in churches hear these days regarding Calvinism is by those who are vehemently against it, and rarely if ever are the truths accurately and fairly presented.  As a result, those who disagree with the doctrines of grace are not so much disagreeing with the truths so much as they are disagreeing with the caricatures wherein they have been so poorly packaged.  If you want to know what Calvinists believe, listen and read from the Calvinists, such as this seminar by John Piper.  You still might not agree, but at least you will know that your disagreements are with the facts and not with a false representation of them.  For those of you who do believe in the doctrines of grace, you will find this seminar incredibly enriching and encouraging as scores of Scriptures are unfolded for you.  Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike should appreciate the balanced, humble, and accurate approach Piper takes on TULIP.

Desiring God also has two booklets that might be of interest to you (both are $4).  They are:

* What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism

* TULIP: The Pursuit of God’s Glory in Salvation (the seminar in booklet form)

“What I Wrote in the Front of My Bible”

February 23, 2008

“I wrote in the front of my Bible that it is impossible to read the Bible under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and not find the doctrines of grace on every page.”

– Missionary in Peru, reporting at the True Church Conference