Archive for November, 2007

Thoughts on the Atonement and God’s Love

November 30, 2007

Here’s a good clarifying post on the love of God in Christ’s death (link). While the linked article goes a lit bit off the topic of the on-going Atonement Debate, it certainly hits some of the high points while addressing the difference between the Calvinist and Arminian positions.


A Good Clarifying Post on the Love of God in Christ’s Death

November 30, 2007

Here’s a good clarifying post on the love of God in Christ’s death. (link)


A Quick Comparison – A Sidebar to the Atonement Debate

November 30, 2007

Today, I stubled across this article (link).
If you have in interest in the ongoing atonement debate, you should compare that article with the post I presented (here).

He makes a couple of additional points that I do not (specifically regarding soter being anarthous in the verse in question, and the historical Greek usage of the term soter), but my reading is that he is mostly in agreement with what I wrote (though, of course, since he wrote first, we should say it the other way ’round).


P.S. Seth: you do not have to respond to Dr. Baugh’s paper, of course, as I’m not including this comparison as part of the debate. It’s just interesting to note the similarities between the my post and the paper.

Christology – Christ was Like Us

November 30, 2007

Folks who have been questioning how Christ, our impeccable Lord God, could be like us, may enjoy reading (and discussing, there – not here) this short but good article from the Green Bagginses.


P.S. And my link to the article is not an endorsement of the comments, since most anyone can post comments on GB.

You Just ask the Saints to Pray for You, Really?

November 30, 2007

Sometimes RCC apologists try to get around the “only mediator” passage of the Bible, by saying something like: “Haven’t you ever asked your friends to pray for you? That’s just what we are asking when we pray to ‘Saints’.”

And sometimes, certainly, that is true. Some of the prayers to saints, are meta-prayers: they are prayers for prayers.

But that’s a misleading claim, for many of the prayers, particularly those to Mary, are not just requests for prayers.

Consider this prayer to Mary, provided at the conclusion of the pope’s encyclical of earlier today:

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!”

And that’s a fairly tame, ecumenical version. Consider this:

Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea,
help me and show me herein
that you are my Mother.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of Heaven and Earth,
I humbly beseech you
from the bottom of my heart,
to succor me in this necessity;
there are none that can withstand your power.


It’s ironic that those who deny the irresistible nature of God’s saving grace, thereby implicitly denying God’s omnipotence, affirm the super-omnipotence of Mary, while worshipping her in a way that clearly violates the first commandment.


Muslims and Catholics – Same god

November 29, 2007

From the pope’s recent letter in response to the open letter by 138 Muslim scholars:

Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God, the provident Creator and universal Judge who at the end of time will deal with each person according to his or her actions. We are all called to commit ourselves totally to him and to obey his sacred will.

If the pope believes in the same god as the Muslims, then the pope is no Christian.

For all things were made by the Logos, and it is Christ who will come again in Judgment – yet Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus Christ and consequently demonstrate that they do not know the Father – indeed they do not know God at all – for if they did, they would not reject His Son.

If the pope is lying to the Muslims in order to create goodwill … or if Roman Catholics would like to deny that the pope is saying what the letter says … I leave readers to draw their own conclusions.


An Excellent, Substantial yet Interesting Apologetic

November 29, 2007

Obviously, the writer of this post (link) is much more interesting to read than I am, and he still puts on an excellent Apologetic performance. Good reading, good theology, and good riddance to the fallacies disposed of in the post.


P.S. I’d particularly recommend this for anyone who just suffered through reading Hoffer’s style-focused substance-free 20k word post. (link)

Style over Substance? Really?

November 29, 2007

Paul Hoffer has written – and his accomplice Dave Armstrong has posted – a 22,000 word document, that addresses Dr. James White’s alleged practice of: “By using Plurium Interrogationum in debate, he promotes style over substance.” (source)

This is classic pot calling the kettle black. Hoffer provides a 22,000 word article criticizing stlye, and then has the gumption to assert as his first criticism in the conclusion that Dr. White’s use of standard cross-examination debate “promotes style over substance.”

It’s an adquate response to Hoffer simply to point out that cross-examination is standard in debate, standard in court, and when properly used is excellent for exposing the truth of the matter (which is why it is used in debate and court).

But shouldn’t Paul Hoffer know that? Isn’t he a lawyer? Is Paul Hoffer this Paul Hoffer?


A Quick Response to Godismyjudge

November 28, 2007

Godismyjudge wrote (to someone else):

You speak of ability and possibility in a divided sense. That is, given X man is able to do A, but if you consider all factors (including Y), man is unable to do A. When I say man is able to do either A or B, I am speaking in a compound sense, including all factors. You are saying X doesn’t prevent the man from doing A, but Y does. I am saying no preceding cause renders him unable.You said if man is physically able to do something, LFW entails that he is able to do it.

This is not what LFW is saying. LFW says that given all preceding causes (physical, mental, spiritual…) man is able to do this or that. LFW states man has ability in a compound sense, not a divided sense. Thus even if a man is able to do something physically (ie a divided sense of ability), that action still might not be within the scope of LFW, if something else prevents it.

If I said I am able to lift a 10 lbs weight, but not a 1,000 lbs weight, what am I saying? Am I saying that I can lift a 10 lbs weight, even if I don’t have a 10 lbs weight? No. Am I saying that my muscles might lift a 10 lbs weight even if my brain tells them not to try? No. What I am sayings is that given the opportunity and my decision to try, my body can perform the task (provided nothing interferes). But if I have the opportunity to lift a 1,000 lbs weight, and I decide to try, my body cannot perform the task. So saying I am able to lift 10 lbs is speaking generally. Speaking generally is a divided sense, not considering certain things.

I have been lurking in the shadows of Godismyjudge’s intereaction with Triablogue, but could no longer resist when I read the above summary explanation.

I think its one of the better explanations I’ve seen from an LFW advocate.

The problem has several heads:

1) The convention of saying “I can bench 150 lbs.” even when there is no ready way to do so conveniently at hand, is perfectly normal. Saying that I “can bench 150 lbs.” meaning that I am in a compound, LFW position to be about to do so is not a normal way of talking.

That’s not inherently bad. After all, we can use words in philosophy in specific technical ways that the words are not used in common speech. I do that with “foreknowledge,” and rightly so. But,

2) If G admits that he is using the term philosophically, not conventionally, he has to acknowledge that Scripture references to “choice,” “choosing,” and the like are using that term in the conventional sense (at least in most cases), and that the burden is on G to establish some reason to suppose that the term is being used in the specialized, technical, philosophical sense that G needs. And,

3) If G admits that the divided sense is the conventional sense, then he has to acknowledge that the Calvinist interpretation of the word is the conventional sense, and, thus, that the various referneces to “choice,” “choosing,” etc. are generally consistent with Calvinism. Additionally,

4) It’s not at all clear that early Christian users of the term “free will” such as Justin Martyr (as it is widely believed) or Augustine (which seems still more certain) meant it in the compound and not the divided sense, and

5) In fact, it may be hard to find (and I’ll leave this to the LFW proponents, if they like) anyone before the scholastics, and probably not until the 17th or 18th century, that so defines “free will.” In fact, I cannot specifically recall where Arminius himself so defined “free will,” though my depth in Arminius surely pales compared to that of some of the Arminians that have stopped by this blog in the past. Likewise,

6) This compound sense of LFW is not necessarily the sense of LFW that tends to find support among the general populace of folks who embrace LFW (which is demonstrable from their difficulty in properly enunciating it as G has done). So,

7) The easiest and best thing for G to do would be simply to discard this view of LFW as an unnecessary and vain philosophical construct that tends to confuse and obscure the issue (through appeals to intuitions that are connected with the conventional sense of the term), in favor of the conventional definition of freedom of will in a divided sense.

I realize that the quotation above was G’s attempt to explain what he thinks, not WHY he thinks it. It is bound to be assertive, not demonstrative, for that very reason. I am not faulting him for that, and I’m not planning to publish any comments that just say “G hasn’t demonstrated that LFW exists.” I agree: he has not; but he wasn’t trying to do so, and assertion has its proper place.


Should the "Real" Turretin Interest You

November 27, 2007

Here’s the beginning (two topics so far) of a reading outline of Turretin’s Institutes:

UPDATE: And here’s the way to find his Latin originals on Google:


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