Chosen But Free By Norman Geisler

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by RunAway, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. RunAway

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    Would like to receive feed-back from any one whose read this book so I may learn more about the subjects involved in this book...I am currently in chapter 3 and would welcome any praise or critique, as well as advise as to what to pay special attention to when I get there...Any thoughts...Thanks
     
  2. webdog

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    Haven't read it, but I guess the discussion here will go like this:

    Arminians = like it
    Calvinists = don't like it
    Neither C or A = like some parts, dislike others

    :)
     
  3. StefanM

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    I can't fathom how Norman Geisler, an intelligent man well known for his work in other fields, can somehow claim to be a Calvinist after redefining all the classic tenets of Calvinism. He understandably doesn't want to be called an Arminian (as his beliefs don't follow that system either), but he is no Calvinist.

    He uses this artificial construct for his entire book. Some points are incredible--like "unconditional election"--on which he asserts is that there are no conditions on God but one on man. That's absurd. If conditions exist, the election is conditional, by definition.
     
  4. RunAway

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    He refers to himself as a moderate Calvinist ; he explains his use of this term as being not Calvinist or Arminian , but somewhere in between...I can understand that as much as someone calling themselves African-American- neither completely African or American- but want to be recognized as both...Not completely a good example but you get the point...He could have just as well called himself a Moderate Arminian...Maybe he flipped a coin....
     
    #4 RunAway, Jan 24, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2009
  5. StefanM

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    A person who rejects the tenets of Calvinism is not a Calvinist. Whether they are Arminian or not depends on other factors. The only remotely Calvinistic about his theology is his belief in eternal security, and his understanding of that differs from classic Calvinistic thought.

    The analogy you use here is not applicable. One can be an African-American, as one can have an African and an American heritage. Geisler is claiming to be a Calvinist (even if only moderate), a title to which he has no legitimate claim.

    At best, he's a one point Calvinist. I'd say he's a four-point Arminian.
     
  6. RunAway

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    What do you mean the analogy I used is not applicable? I said it wasn't perfect but you would get the point...And I believe you did because you said yourself one can be an African-American, as one can have an African and an American heritage. Then you said yourself Geisler may be a 1 point Calvinist and a 4 point Arminian. Looks to me like some of each,even if not equally balanced...And what do you mean he has no legitimate claim to that title? Didn't know 5 Point Calvinist had copy rights to it...Not trying to argue my friend,just making logic....
     
  7. StefanM

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    African and American are not antithetical. One can be both. One cannot be both Arminian and Calvinist, only an amalgamation of the two, which is neither truly Arminian nor Calvinist.

    I used one point Calvinist and four point Arminian because of the common usages of the term. If you are a "1 point Calvinist" (1/5 of the main points), it is inappropriate to refer to yourself as a Calvinist, with the possible exception of the "one point" qualifier.

    Geisler is generally Arminian, though he rejects the concept of a loss of salvation.

    5-Point Calvinists don't have a copyright on the term, but is it not fair to allow the adherents of the system to define their terms? I would propose that a 5-point Calvinist has more right to define Calvinism than a 1-point "Calvinist." Look to the Synod of Dort for your answer here.

    The redefinition of terms only reduces precision in theological discussion. (Neo-orthodoxy displayed the problems here; they used the same terms as traditional Christianity but redefined the terms.) But I say that Geisler does not have the right to redefine the term Calvinist, just as a non-believer does not have the right to redefine the term Christian.
     
  8. RunAway

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    I completely agree...But thats why he explains why he considers himself a moderate Calvinist instead of an 5 point or Extreme Calvinist ,as he puts it....Its just a way of trying to convey his position and I think he does a good job because at a glance anyone would see hes just saying hes just kinda in the middle....Arminians would run him out of town for just his one point so whats a fellow to do when he needs a description of what he believes?
     
  9. swaimj

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    Run-Away,
    It has been quite a while since I have read this book, but I think I have read it through twice. I basicly agree with Geisler's positon. Another book that is widely read on the topic and which is actually a response to Geisler is The Potter's Freedom by James White. That book is a concise argument for the full five-point calvinist position. It deserves to be read and pondered if you are wrestiing with this subject. IMHO, the title of that book represents a misunderstanding of the passage upon which it is based and, once you get beyond that, everything goes down-hill. Of course, discussing that book is the topic for another thread which, if it is started, I will studiously avoid!
     
  10. RunAway

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    And its funny we always pin TULIP to Calvin when it was fifty years after Calvins death that the Synod of Dort coined the ever controversial acronym ... My point being what do we not have the right to redefine, the acronym or the name? Calvin would have had his own definition of the five points...
     
  11. RunAway

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  12. StefanM

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    Calvin was not a "Calvinist," as one cannot be a follower of oneself. Dort, however, is the classic formulation of the system of Calvinism.

    That being said, Dort is far closer to Calvin than Geisler is, IMO. It doesn't make Geisler wrong; it just makes him a non-Calvinist.
     
  13. StefanM

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    Geisler just took a page from John Shelby Spong's playbook here.

    Spong associates himself with Christianity, to which he has no legitimate claim, as he is liberal to the point of denying foundational tenets of the faith. As a former "bishop," he has argued for a new understanding of Christianity.

    Geisler, although obviously FAR more orthodox than Spong, is doing a similar thing with the Calvinism angle. Five-point Calvinists are not "extreme" Calvinists any more than orthodox Christians are "extreme" Christians. I understand Geisler's tension between the Calvinist and Arminian camps, but there is a large number of people in the middle who are neither Calvinist nor Arminian (as an entire system). That doesn't make them moderate Calvinists. It makes them something different.

    I think Geisler is doing violence to the terminology here. For example, I propose a test. I suggest that a preacher who agrees with Geisler go into the average middle-of-the-road Baptist church and proclaim himself a "moderate Calvinist" without any explanation of the term.

    What do you think the church would assume?

    Calvinism generally refers to the belief of Calvin in general, the formulation of the Synod of Dort in particular, or the belief in personal, unconditional election (which, of course did not originate with Calvin). Geisler could not fit any of these definitions.
     
  14. StefanM

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    http://home.flash.net/~thinkman/articles/geisler.htm

    This is a review of the book by a NY Pastor.

    from the review:
     
  15. RunAway

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    That makes sense....

    Good point...

    I see your point... That is a pretty good defense for why Geisler should find another way to tell people what he believes....I understand that argument...Thanks....
     
  16. StefanM

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    I think that Geisler's book would be more effective without the "extreme" Calvinist label he uses. Though I tend more toward the Calvinistic end of the spectrum, some of the arguments in Geisler's book do provoke some thought. One can make a good case for a non-Calvinist position, but I prefer to keep the labels accurate.
     
  17. Marcia

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    I've read this book, although it's been awhile, and I agreed with most of it.

    The problem with criticisms of it is - who defines the labels? I think Geisler does a good job evaluating the beliefs behind the labels and then giving his view on it.

    I personally don't like labels and I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. I get mad when people try to put me in one camp or another, because I fit neither one. I see the tension between both views and between the support for these views in the Bible.
     
  18. StefanM

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    The term "Calvinist" has historical, well-known usage. Geisler simply redefined the term without any warrant whatsoever. Context determines meaning, and the theological context of the past few centuries has outlined what Calvinism is. Geisler cannot simply redefine terminology by fiat.
     
  19. Rippon

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    Have you ever read James White's refutation of Geisler's view in The Potter's Freedom?

    Categorically wrong here Marcia.As an ardent Arminian NG doesn't get to set the ground rules -- especially when he deceitfully calls himself a moderate Calvinist!
     
  20. Rippon

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    I'm in full agreement with this post of yours as well as numbers 12,13,14,and 16.
     

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