Archive for the ‘Chart’ Category

Real Varieties of Calvinism

December 8, 2008

Can there be real, recognizable varieties of Calvinism? My previous post may have suggested that there could not be such recognizable varieties. That’s not the case. There are several ways in which Calvinism could be divided. For example, with respect to the salvation of infants who die in infancy, there are four Calvinist views, namely that all, some, or none such infants are saved, the fourth position being that because Scripture does not tell us, we simply don’t know. Dordt adopted an apparent position of “some,” namely such children of believing parents. Others, out of a great tenderness of heart, have suggested that all infants (regardless of their parents) who die in infancy are saved.

Another way in which a taxonomy of Calvinism has been proposed is with respect to the logical (not temporal) order of decrees. The following chart may help, in which in addition to the two Calvinist positions, I’ve also included the Arminian and classical Amyraldian positions:

Arminian Amyraldian Infra-Lapsarian Supra-Lapsarian
Permission of Fall Permission of Fall Permission of Fall Election of Some to Glory
Death of Christ Death of Christ Election of Some to Mercy Permission of Fall
Universal Prevenient Grace Election of Some to Moral Ability Death of Christ Death of Christ
Predestination of Those who Make Good use of Grace Holy Spirit to Work Moral Ability in Elect Holy Spirit to Save the Elect Holy Spirit to Save the Elect
Sanctification of the Predestined Sanctification of the Elect Sanctification of the Elect Sanctification of the Elect

(For Warfield’s more detailed chart, click here)

It should be noted that there are Calvinists in both the “Infra” and “Supra” lapsarian camps. The descriptions Infra-Lapsarian and Supra-Lapsarian refer to the relation of the decree of Election to the decree of the fall (the “lapse” in “lapsarian”). Infra-Lapsarians believe that God elected some fallen men to Salvation/Mercy (infra = after), whereas Supra-Lapsarians believe that God elected men first to Glory (supra = before), and then decreed the fall as a means to that end. Of course, both camps are discussing the logical order, not the temporal order. There have been notable reformers in both camps.

Turretin was a notable Infra-Lapsarian. Twisse, on the other hand, was a notable Supra-Lapsarian. The Synod of Dordt seems to have favored the infra view, while the Westminster Assembly seems to have favored the supra view, while neither council addressed the issue as such in so many words (i.e.neither body specifically stated that God first in the logical order decreed the fall, or first in the logical order decreed to bring some men to glory).

It’s generally held in Calvinist circles that both views (infra and supra) are within the bounds of orthodoxy, although, of course, both views cannot be correct. Some people wishing to include Amyraldians as Calvinists have proposed a three-fold division of Calvinism, with Supra being “high,” Infra being “moderate,” and classical Amyraldianism being “low.” There are a number of problems with this view, the greatest being that the classical Amyraldian position has a fundamental error with respect to the atonement, namely that it makes the atonement, with respect to the decrees, indefinite. This error is not present in a “lesser degree” in the infra view and likewise is not mirrored by an excessively definite (is such a thing even possible?) view of the atonement in the supra view. In short, the problem can be expressed as their being no single variable that permits scaling across the three groups.

Instead, the attempted justification for the scaling lies in the fact that the decree of election is earliest in the logical order in the supra view, then the infra, then the Amyraldian, and logically latest (among evangelical groups) in the Arminian view. This justification seems rather artificial, but at least is not totally arbitrary. In any event, though it would tend to provide a way of categorizing people that does not rely simply on buzz-words.

It should be noted that there are a number of Calvinists who don’t take a particularly emphatic (or explicit) view with respect to the order of decrees. Thus, for example, Dr. White has mentioned that he has a “modified supralapsarian” position, but I haven’t seen a detailed explanation of what means by that (link to source) (I should note that the link itself is a good example of Dr. White distinguishing his own position from hyper-Calvinism long before the recent slander-fest on that topic — see also this further discussion). The reason for such lack of discussion is that this issue, whether the decree to permit the fall precedes or follows the decree of election, is a relatively minor point. It is not something that would require men to divide fellowship, at least that is my position.



Five Points Compared to a Few Soteriologies

December 5, 2008

For those interested, I thought it would fun to provide a tableshowing acceptance of TULIP’s various petals (T = Total Depravity, U =Unconditional Election, L = Limited Atonement, I = Irresistible Grace,P = Perseverance of the Saints).

Pelagian No No No No No
Pelagian ES No No No No Yes
Arminian Yes* No No No No*
Arminian ES No No No No Yes
Amyraldian Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Calvinism Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

There is an asterisk by two items in the Arminian chart. The first asterisk is because many Arminians claim to hold to Total Depravity.What they mean by that is not what Calvinists mean by it, though,hence the asterisk. The second asterisk is because some Arminians reject, some affirm, and some leave open the question of whether true believers persevere. The “ES” stands for “eternal security.” Oddly,some Pelagians hold to eternal security.-TurretinFan

Warfield’s Famous Chart on the Plan of Salvation

April 24, 2008

Since the topic of Supralapsarianism, Infralapsarianism, Amyraldianism, and Arminianism have come up repeatedly on this blog, I think it may be helpful for my readers to have a chance to those different views arranged in textbook fashion by B. B. Warfield:

Please note that you will probably have to click on the image to be able to view it in a readable size, unless you have some sort of eagle eyes.


UPDATE: Please note that in case you don’t like the scanned image above, Vox Veritatis has found and posted a more readable version (here).

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