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Posts Tagged ‘Greg Boyd

Greg Boyd On Romans 9 And Election

I am not an open theist but I do share the same concerns about divine determinism with Greg Boyd.  He has written a series of articles on Romans 9 and election.  I do recommend it.  You can find the first post here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/23/2015 at 2:01 PM

The Purpose of Satan

This post is simply a question that I am studying out right now.  My reading in both the Bible and in books will begin to reflect my thoughts on the subject.  I am pondering Satan both his creation and his fall and his purpose in the overall plan of God.  Satan is a subject that popular culture enjoys ignoring and even seeking to make him a myth.  I am sure Satan would love nothing more than people to ignore him and to pretend he does not exist.  I simply cannot ignore him because the Bible does not ignore him.

Yet why did God create Satan and why did God allow him to fall?  These answers are not easy.  Whether a Calvinist who holds to divine determinism and would view Satan as part of the plan of God and the will of God to us Arminians who hold that God is exhaustive in His foreknowledge and thus He knew that Satan would fall but He created him to the open theist who holds that Satan reflects the reality that God created a world that is free and thus Satan fell out of his own free will and his rebellion continues to this day.  In fact, Dr. Greg Boyd has written two books on the subject of spiritual warfare and free will theism.  Dr. Boyd, an open theist and perhaps the leading theologian among them, believes that the cross itself shows that God is at war with Satan.  Satan is not equal but he does war against God and against His plans.

I am sure that you too have heard much about Satan and some was good and some was bad.  I remember fearing Satan when I was lost especially as a boy.  I feared that Satan was out to kill me as I heard from John 10:10.  When I was first saved, I encountered people who saw the devil everywhere.  I remember going to hear an African brother speak and he said that he had seen Satan and his demons many times in Africa.  He went on to say that he had seen the same demons at the mall earlier that day not so much in possession of souls but in the love of money and the boasting of life (James 4:13-16).  I personally watched a man try to cast a demon out of woman.  It was more bizarre than biblical.  However, I did see a woman once drop on the floor of a church and begin to move like a snake on the floor.  A man in the back came up and begin to cast a demon out and she let out a horrible sounding cry from deep within.  She was delivered that night and became a prayer warrior at that church.

I do believe in Satan.  I have never met him as far as I know.  I pray that I don’t.  However, I know that Jesus is victorious and I know that He has already overcome (Hebrews 2:14).  What I want to study is why does Satan exist?  What is his purpose?  Does Scripture give us answers to these questions?  What do we make of Satan if in fact there is no true free will?  Why does Satan tempt disciples of Jesus if in fact they are secure forever?

I may post on these topics from time to time but I simply wanted to throw these questions out there as to what I am pondering in my mind these days.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/18/2013 at 9:47 PM

Posted in Satan

Tagged with , , , ,

What is Divine Determinism?

Dr. Roger Olson, in his book Against Calvinism, uses a term that is familiar to most Arminians but possibly not as familiar even to some Calvinists and that is the term “Divine Determinism.”  What does this term mean?  The simple definition would be the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty to the most minute things.  In other words, in Calvinism God not only controls all things but He also causes all things.  He is the ultimate cause.  Because God is sovereign, argues the Calvinist, then by definition He must be the cause of all things since He would both know and cause all things for one purpose: His own.  Therefore, all things that take place from the salvation of a soul to the murder of an infant happen because God caused it to happen.  To back up his view, Olson let’s Calvinists speak for themselves.  He quotes from modern Calvinists such as R.C. Sproul Sr. or John Piper to show that they mean that God causes all things.

The Arminian does believe in the sovereignty of God.  We would differ with the view that God causes all things.  We believe that God does control all things and He does know all things but we would stop short of saying that He causes all things.  We believe that through His foreknowledge, God does know all that will happen (Romans 8:29).  God knows the beginning from the end.  But does this mean that God then must cause all things to be sovereign over them?  The Arminian answer is no.  God maintains the right to step into our history for His purposes as the incarnation of God shows us in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:17-18).  God can and does often shape history for His purposes and we may not always understand His ways but in the end we can trust in the goodness of God (Romans 8:28).

Does everything happen for a reason?  Does the loss of a newborn baby through it choking on its umbilical cord bring glory to God?  Does the Holocaust bring honor to the name of Jesus?  Of course not!  Even Calvinists would acknowledge this.  But the difference is that some Calvinists (though not all) have a view of God that He must control and even cause the sinful acts of men.  I remember one guy in college arguing even with fellow Calvinists that God caused Adam and Eve to sin for His glory (Genesis 3:1-8).  He said to deny otherwise would limit God.  Arminians believe that God created the world and He chose sovereignly to create a world with limited free will.  I say “limited” because we can’t do whatever we want to.  God does set the limits even of our sins.  For example, God did allow the people of Germany to bring Hitler to power but He did not cause them to nor did He allow Hitler to destroy the entire world.  He allowed general freedom with boundaries.

Obviously the issue of free will and the sovereignty of God is not an easy to understand teaching.  Charles Spurgeon was correct when asked how do you reconcile the two teachings in Scripture when he answered, “You don’t have to reconcile friends.”  The Bible teaches both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.  Both doctrines are true.  Even we Arminians agree that God sovereignly draws the lost to Himself through the gospel.  However, we believe that the grace of God is irresistible otherwise we have no true freedom which in turn would not be true love.  I want my wife to love me because she chooses to love me and not because I make her love me.  The same is true for God (John 3:16).  He gave His Son for the sins of the world (John 1:29) but only those who repent are saved (Acts 2:38-39, 41).

Greg Boyd calls the Calvinist view of the sovereignty of God as “divine blueprint” meaning that God is like a builder who has a blueprint and He sticks by His blueprint and plans the blueprint out to the last inch.  Boyd says that there is no comfort in such a view no matter how you try to teach this belief.  In fact, one writer insists that such a view only leads to a “whatever” view in that even our sins are predetermined by God so if I look at pornography and indulge in sinful acts, so be it since God sovereignly knew I would and He even caused my sin for His glory.  John Piper points to the crucifixion of Jesus as proof positive that God ordains even sinful acts of men (Acts 2:23).  Piper calls the cross evidence of the greatest sin yet planned by God.  And yet Piper believes that the Romans and the Jews will all be held accountable for their sins despite the fact that they were not initially caused by them but by God Himself before the creation of the world.  Arminians would differ with Piper saying that while the cross was no doubt the plan of God, that He foreknew the events does not mean that He caused them.  Acts 2:23 makes it clear that God did foreknow the cross.

I know some of my Calvinist brethren find comfort that God controls every minute detail of life.  I can see some comfort in that at least in a world where we are in chaos from one day to the next.  The belief that God is in control is not limited to Calvinism and we Arminians should rejoice in that.  God does control all things (Psalm 24:1).  The psalmist was correct of course when he wrote, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).  We can be thankful that God has given us free will but that this free will is limited to the extent that God allows (Acts 4:27-28).  God foreknows all things but this does mean that He causes all things.  He moves for His glory.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/21/2011 at 10:35 AM

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