Archetypes of theology

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by ScottEmerson, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. ScottEmerson

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    If we were to assume that certain types of people tended to lean towards a certain type of theology, whether Arminian and Calvinist, what would our groups look like?

    For example, I have found that many Calvinists have come from very hyper-Arminian backgrounds, got saved, and then began leaning towards Calvinism. I have also seen from personal experience that those with legalistic parents tend to become Calvinists - I can think of three prime examples right now.

    I have also found that the majority of first-generation Christians, who have not been raised in church at all, but came to a saving knowledge of Christ, tend to be Arminian after reading the SCriptures. Those who are Messianic Jews are Arminian in nature in general as well.

    What other generalizations are out there that you all can come with? (Again, we are just playing with the assumption that certain people are drawn to certain understandings of the nature of God, the WOrd, and the will of man.)
     
  2. npetreley

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    I always thought it was beneficial to avoid unsubstantiated generalizations. Would you share with us the reason why you want to enumerate them and focus on them?
     
  3. Scott J

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    Not to incite a riot and to some degree present company excluded, I have found that most people who demand that their religion be rational and based on what scripture says have been calvinistic... even if they never new the term. On the other hand I have found that most people who are heavily swayed by experential religion and what they feeeel about what scripture says are almost uniformly arminian- definitely non-calvinists.

    It seems to boil down to whether you trust your reason more or your feelings more.
     
  4. npetreley

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    I strongly disagree. I believed in free will because it seemed the most logical and rational. I even tried to write an apologetics piece about it, laying out the whole salvation problem and solution in rational terms, with the assumption that free will is the pivotal factor. I couldn't make my piece harmonize with scripture, so I eventually gave up on it.

    In sharp contrast, calvinism is not at all rational. It makes perfect sense that God would pick people who choose to believe in Him. It makes no sense at all (to me) that God would elect certain people and not give us a clue what His criteria is for choosing them. Yet that's what scripture teaches.

    So it seems to me that it boils down to whether you trust your reason, your feelings, or scripture. I trust scripture.
     
  5. swaimj

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    So that's why there are calvinists. They are mentally handicapped and socially challenged!!! :D :D :D

    Seriously, I don't think its wise to generalize about whether there is a type of person who becomes a calvinist based on my impressions of the calvinists I have met. If you do a statistical study of calvinists and come up with some patterns of the psyche, that's valid. Otherwise, any statements of this kind are purely speculative.

    I will make this observation about the entire discussion of God's sovereignty and human responsibility. Many of the statements of orthodox Christianity address issues that arose in the church as the church advanced westward. Questions like "Is Jesus fully God?" "Is Jesus fully man?" "What is the definition of the trinity?" are questions that are never specifically raised or addressed in apostolic writings. The questions arose as a result of the gospel message encountering the philisophical and linear thinking of western culture. It was left to later theologians to formulate answers to these questions based upon the biblical material.

    The question "Is God sovereign or does man have free will?" is a question that arises out of that same western mindset. Calvinism is the answer that addresses that question the way a western, philosophical, linear thinker would. Therefore, it has great appeal to the western mind.

    I see passages in which elements of soveriegnty and human responsibility are presented together by the biblical writer with no hint that he is disturbed by the implication. I therefore conclude that both are true and both are valid just as they are presented. I don't feel a great need to "resolve" the difficulty. My disagreement with calvinism is that it creates a philisophical problem in the text and attempts to resolve it; "it" being a philisophical problem not detected by the writer. In this regard, I consider calvnism to be a product of western cultural mindset and I regard its conclusions to be unnecessary.
     
  6. Scott J

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    This is definitely not an attack on you but I would categorize "seemed" as a feeling- not rational/logical/factual deduction.
    Perhaps I didn't communicate very well. This is exactly what I was talking about. It doesn't harmonize because feelings lead to an interpretation of the facts rather than the facts leading to the feeling.

    My turn. I disagree. Calvinism is coherent and based on what scripture says rather than what human sensibility desires it to say.
     
  7. npetreley

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    This is definitely not an attack on you but I would categorize "seemed" as a feeling- not rational/logical/factual deduction. </font>[/QUOTE]I don't take it as an attack, but it's wrong. I am saying it certainly seems logical (intellectually speaking), as I said later on in the post. I was not talking about it "feeling logical".

    That's exactly how I'd describe the problem with arminianism. So who is right - you or me? It is your perception of how calvinists vs. arminians think/feel vs. my perceptions. That's pretty meaningless in a debate. Which is why I questioned the value of this thread in the first place.
     
  8. Frogman

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    Swaimj,

    Though I disagree with you, (I am a Calvinist). I think you had an excellent post...oh...except for the mentally handicapped and socially challenged part :D .

    But do you think that eastern thought does not show a God who does what he wants to and asks who can question him?

    Isn't the NT the opening of the Old? Thus, what is veiled in the Old should be revealed in the New.

    Was it man's free-will or God's Sovereignty that called Abram from Ur, Israel from Egypt, David to the throne, etc?

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  9. npetreley

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    Although I'm on the side of "God is sovereign and man does not have free will (with respect to salvation)," that question still reads to me like, "Is grape soda fizzy or do you like orange soda?"

    ;)
     
  10. swaimj

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    As to the call specifically, that was entirely God. As to the outworking of salvation history, God is sovereign. As to the actions of man in time, man has to ability to make real and consequential choices. My point is that both are presented in scripture and I acept both. To say that one must trump the other is to change the meaning of the writer's presentation. I don't think I should do that and I don't think it's necessary.

    Npetreley, the other day I made a comment along the lines of "God is sovereign and man is a puppet". You immediately jumped in and (using a philosophical term) told me that I was misrepresenting the calvinist position. So, while you believe that God is sovereign and man has no free will, you also seem to think that your point of view can be overstated. I think there may be hope for you yet! ;) [​IMG]
     
  11. Frogman

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    I'm not so sure we can show from scripture that man can resist God's will and call.

    I am sure in my own life I could not.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  12. npetreley

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    Apparenlty the flight path of my comments were about 35,000 ft. over your head. It has nothing to do with overstatement. My point is the same about both your comment and your question. They are flawed because they depend on reducing the issue to two options without first establishing that they are the only options possible. (I believe it would be impossible for you to establish that.)

    It doesn't matter whether you ask the question, "Does man have free will or is man a puppet?" or "Is God sovereign or does man have free will?" Both questions assume no third (or fourth, or fifth) option.
     
  13. swaimj

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    There you go again, humbly insinuating that people disagree with you because they are too stupid to understand. Maybe the oxygen at 35,000 feet is too thin and you are the one who is not thinking straight! [​IMG]

    But you are doing even worse. You are saying that there is only one option available. God is sovereign and man has no free-will. But that is certainly not true and I will prove it upon your reading of this post. When you read it, you will make a free choice to respond to me or not. I'll watch this thread and see how you choose to exercise your free will. [​IMG]

    But the second one is the option you gave. I am glad you now see that it is not valid.
     
  14. ScottEmerson

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    They are not unsubstantiated. They are observances of different people and their perceptions of doctrine. I suppose we could do an analysis of faith based upon MBTI types, or something like that, but I'm not interested, really, in doing a scientific study, though it'd be cool to read one. I stand by my initial observances, and I wonder if those would be accepted as they have not been challenged.
     
  15. npetreley

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    But the second one is the option you gave.</font>[/QUOTE]I recognize the words, but the way you string them together doesn't seem to make any sense. I didn't give options. I didn't ask the question. I told you my conclusion. Do you understand how that differs from a question?

    When you ask a question like "Is God sovereign or does man have free will?" it imposes only two options on the person you are addressing: God is sovereign OR man has free will. That is a logical fallacy.

    When you say "I believe God is sovereign and man does not have free will with respect to salvation" (you keep missing that second part, by the way), it is an assertion. It is not based on the logical fallacy of limited options. It doesn't even communicate how many options were considered before reaching that conclusion.

    Perhaps we have a language barrier here or something, because this all seems both simple and obvious to me.
     
  16. swaimj

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    Yes, it is an assertion. It is an assertion which you have neither proven nor for which you have even advanced an argument. And the original purpose of my statement (which was purposely absurd, but of course that's been explained to you before)was to point out the absurdity of your assertion, for it respresents a false choice just as surely as mine does.

    Also, the qualifier "with respect to salvation" does not help your case. God knows the end from the beginning and planned it all. The impact of his soveriegnty on time is the same whether we're talking about a person calling out to God for salvation or whether we are talking about a person choosing the color of his socks. God is sovereign in the same sense over both. God knows all and plans all, that applies to man and his ability to make minor decisions as well as major ones; decisions of eternal spiritual consequence or decisions of trivial minutae. If God is sovereign over salvation and man has no free will, then he is sovereign over choosing socks and man has no free will. If God is not sovereign over the choosing of socks then he is not truly sovereign in any sense.

    Theology that is accurate reconciles God's sovereignty and man's free will consistently, no matter the issue.
     
  17. Eric B

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    The eastern church experiences God through contemplation of divine mysteries, but in this issue probably would not take it to the point of positing "man is unable, but responsible". The Cappadocian fathers for instance even saw Augustine's expressions of the Trinity as too "rationalistic", and this is part of what caused much dissension over that doctrine. too much overspeculation on attributes of God we cannot completly understand, and trying to read these formulations into scripture to try to make it all rational, and bridge seeming paradoxes in scripture. Of course, this can be done either by pure logic, or with feelings mixed in. And Augustine is also the very one who gave us the roots of Calvinistic doctrine!
    Notice, the Eastern church (which also did not deviate as much as Rome) did not suffer Protestants splitting off of them, as well as hundreds of sects and cults springing off from the Protestants over disputes of every biblical issue imaginable.
     
  18. William C

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    I don't need to speak for Swaimj because I feel that he has done a masterful job in this thread of defending his position, but I must interject, if I may.

    I believe Swaimj was arguing that its the western mind that asks and attempts to answer this question, "Is God Sovereign or does man have free will?" Any one who can understand basic English can see that Swaimj doesn't believe this question is a "good question," in fact, he seems to argue that the question shouldn't even be asked much less attempted to be answered. Swaimj seemed to say that he accepts both God's Sovereignty and man's free will as being true because that is the way in which the authors of scripture present them without explaination or conflict.

    It was Augustine, a man who never knew Greek, and later Calvin who fomulated an answer to this question by ultimately saying, "God is Sovereign and man does NOT have a free will," thus creating a system with other deeper paradoxes that cause confusion, division and devisivness among the brethern.

    Nick, you seem to be arguing that the question is a logical fallacy because it makes you choose "either...or" and that is exactly what Swaimj has been saying all along, it's not "either...or" it is "both..and". It's your system that is asking and attempting to answer this question by having only one of these two options, not him.

    Your attacking the wrong person, you need to attack the systemizers of your western minded system.
     
  19. William C

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    The eastern church experiences God through contemplation of divine mysteries, but in this issue probably would not take it to the point of positing "man is unable, but responsible". The Cappadocian fathers for instance even saw Augustine's expressions of the Trinity as too "rationalistic", and this is part of what caused much dissension over that doctrine. too much overspeculation on attributes of God we cannot completly understand, and trying to read these formulations into scripture to try to make it all rational, and bridge seeming paradoxes in scripture. Of course, this can be done either by pure logic, or with feelings mixed in. And Augustine is also the very one who gave us the roots of Calvinistic doctrine!
    Notice, the Eastern church (which also did not deviate as much as Rome) did not suffer Protestants splitting off of them, as well as hundreds of sects and cults springing off from the Protestants over disputes of every biblical issue imaginable.
    </font>[/QUOTE][​IMG] [​IMG] Great stuff.

    It would do us all well to do an indepth study on Eastern verses Western thought in regard to Christianity's development.
     
  20. Frogman

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    I may be wrong, but I still perceive the eastern mind declares God to be Sovereign in all his ways and leaves it at that and no one considers it necessary for man to have a free will choice to make their Creator just.

    Was The authors of the Bible of the Eastern mind set?

    Bro. Dallas~0)
     

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