Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two Blog Reviews

Yesterday Roger Olson posted what he believes is "The first fatal flaw in the Calvinist system" it is a rather interesting position. The basic argument is that the statements "God has predestined all things for his Glory" and "certain heresies (probably all heresies) detract from, diminish, demean God’s glory and rob God of his glory" are incompatible. I assume the specific Calvinist he is referring to is Bruce Ware and the specific heresy is Open Theism. It is no secret that Olson is sympathetic toward Open Theism, and finds Reformed Theology less than biblical.

At first glance this does look like a very tough situation for the Calvinist. However I believe that this is more of a rhetorical argument than an actual one. I believe that the word glory is being used in two different ways in the previous resolution. In the first statement the Calvinist would be speaking of God's self Glorification, the second statement would be perhaps better worded, something like "certain heresies (probably all heresies) dishonor God or perhaps more strongly are sins against God." This I believe is Dr. Olson's real problem with Calvinism, the idea that God can be completely sovereign over creation, and still hold men responsible for their actions. However isn't this just what God does with regards to Assyria and Israel? God uses a wicked people to punish his people and then punishes this wicked people for the sins they committed. (Isaiah 10)

Also the Christian cannot escape the cross of Christ. Clearly this even was foreordained by God, and in one sense is the most dishonorable act ever worked by the hands of men, yet in it God is glorified. These men are still held responsible for their sins against the Creator, but God is glorified in their sin. (Acts 2:23) Furthermore Dr. Olson is simply asking the question that Paul answered almost 2000 years ago, "shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? By No Means!" Allow me to rephrase it "If God predestined our sin should we continue in sin that his glory might abound? By No Means!" "How does God still find fault, for who could resist the will of God? Who are you oh man to answer back to God?"

So to recap some Calvinist's could have been a little more precise with their language, indeed are we not all guilty of this at some point or another? The real problem for Dr. Olson is not heresy at all it is how God can find fault in men when he has foreordained them to do the sins they do. Perhaps Dr. Olson would like the explanation given by the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen, "Men will always do what God predetermined, but God has predetermined that they do it freely, that they do it according to their own wishes." This is indeed mysterious but to go past this understanding is to escape the limits of scripture, and to deny one or the other is to deny scripture, something that is not an option for the christian.

My second blog review comes from someone by the name of Dwayna Lizt, who is the president of Lighting the Way Worldwide. Dwayna is a CCM singer (forgive me if she identifies with some other genre) who appears to have been raised Southern Baptist, and through some trying times in her life was introduced to the doctrines of Grace, from what I read on her organizations site she has had a pretty rough life.

Unfortunately she has started labeling a good, Christian pastors, as new aged heretic. Just a word on this, I doubt she has read the book considering she is judging it by its cover. Even so is the subtitle "Practices that Transform" necessarily "New Age"? This understanding is a very limited understanding of how God works. God uses the means of preaching to bring sinners to him, however I somehow doubt she would be against a book on preaching with the subtitle, "Preaching that Transforms." Such a book may be far very heretical, but it might also be a great text on the art of biblical preaching. Likewise Paul tells us, "brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9 Emphasis mine. It would seem that Paul is instructing the Christians at Philippi to use these practices so God can transform them through them.

The real reson Ms. Lizt showed up on my radar was because she posted a blog condemning us heathens who can enjoy Porter while meditating on the word of God. This is to be expected coming from a lady raised in the bible belt, as noted before the reason for the removal of wine is churches was a marketing scheme that took hold like wildfire in the south. Also people often forget that Jesus started his career preaching the gospel as a bartender to drunk men and women, in part by making them more wine. Although she quotes scripture, never cited, on why we "shouldn't" drink at a bible study she conveniently neglects the passages which show us that wine is a gift and indeed a good thing. Also she pictures the Bride of Christ sitting on a barstool with whiskey and beer all around, saying the Bride is worth a lot more. I agree the Bride of Christ deserves the best wine, strong drink, and beer not the light beer nor well whiskey that she is trying to portray her around.

Some drink for though for Ms. Lizt.
But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’ - Judges 9:13

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart. - Psalm 104:14-15

Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the LORD. - Zechariah 10:7

Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. - Proverbs 31:6-7

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. - Isaiah 55:1

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. - Isaiah 25:6

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) - Genesis 14:18

And of course:
And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. - Deuteronomy 14:24-26

As you can see while being drunk is not a good thing, drinking in moderation is. It is holy and good and blessed by God for the children of men, do not let your tradition blind you to this.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. - The Apostle Paul