Lewis Sperry Chafer ( 1871-1952 )

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Rippon, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. Rippon

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    I do not want to derail the subject on another thread . Chafer started Dallas Theological Seminary and is noted for his 8-volume systematic . Here I will give a Benjamin B. Warfield quote about Chafer . This in reference to his alleged Calvinism . I had said he was a quasi-Calvinist . That might have been too generous on my part . He might have considered himself as a Calvinist , but I think it was more along Norm Geiseler's " Moderate Calvinism " . ( There is no way that Geisler qualifies as even a moderate Calvinist -- if such an animal exists . ) BBW's quote is found in George Marsden's : " Fundamentalism and American Culture " ( p. 98 )

    ... the Keswick teacher was plagued by two inconsistent systems of religion struggling together in his mind . One was Calvinist , so that he and his coterie of evangelists and Bible teachers often spoke of God's grace doing all ; but behind this Calvinist exterior lurked the spectres of Pelagius , Arminius , and Wesley , all of whom made God's gracious working subject to human determination . [ The combination was -- Rip ] at once curiously pretentious and curiously shallow .
     
  2. Pipedude

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    It isn't necessary to absolutize the word "all." Calvinists, of all people, should know that. Guys like Chafer are not being inconsistent if they use such language.

    Normal people can easily understand someone saying "I couldn't do anything, I was helpless, he did it all" if he had been pulled to safety from drowning or if he had recovered from a terminal illness by taking medicine. The fact that he took ahold of the life preserver or opened his lips so that the medicine could be poured down his throat does not make such language inappropriate or inaccurate.

    To allege that such folk are crediting part of their salvation to themselves is just silly.
     
  3. 2BHizown

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    That why that analogy of the life preserver and medicine are totally erroneous!

    Man is spiritually dead, totally unable to do for himself, able to choose only what is against God, until God regenerates his heart and gifts him with repentance and faith!

    Scripture tells us we were dead in sin! How descriptive does the word 'dead' need to be to show one is not able to make a choice for God. An unregenerate man cannot choose for God as it is an impossibility!

    Chafer was no calvinist. I would say very few calvinist come out of DTS. That would be a wonder!
     
  4. Humblesmith

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    My goodness, they're cannibilizing themselves again. Perhaps they've packed themselves in too tight, and they have started to eat each other instead of the neighbors. How awful.

    But regarding Warfield and Chafer, I daresay the good Warfield could scarcely be in a position to evaluate Chafer's Systematic Theology, since Warfield died in 1921 and Chafer's theology wasn't published until 1948. Evaluating a young teacher at a Keswick conference is a bit different than carefully evaluating someone's 8-volume work which was published over 30 years later. In that regard, I think it best to give both Warfield and Chafer the benefit of the doubt. Using the quote as it was here is a bit of a whitewash.

    Regarding Chafer's Calvinism, he wrote the entire Volume 3, and part of Volume 7, to clarify this. Since his name has been inserted into the arminian ad-hominem machine, I feel a bit of an obligation to speak in his defense. I respectfully suggest that Chafer's works be consulted before we are so quick to attack him. Therefore I will merely pick a couple of passages and post here. There are more, since Volume 3 has lengthy quotes denouncing Arminianism and supporting divine election in it's fullest sense.

    I'll post a couple of quotes in the next message.
     
    #4 Humblesmith, Sep 27, 2006
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  5. El_Guero

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    but, he was a "young teacher at a Keswick conference"?
     
  6. Humblesmith

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    1. God Has by Election Chosen Some to Salvation, But Not All. This truth, too often resisted for want of an understanding of the nature of God, or of the position He occupies in relation to His creatures, is reasonable; but it is distinctly a revelation. This, as before stated, cannot be doubted by those who are amenable to the Word of God. It is disclosed concerning individuals that they were chosen in the Lord (Rom. 16:13), chosen to salvation (2 Thess. 2:13), chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), predestined to the adoption of sons (Eph. 1:5), elect according to the foreknowledge of God (1 Pet. 1:2), vessels of mercy which He hath before prepared unto glory (Rom. 9:23). There can be no question raised but that these passages contemplate an act of God by which some are chosen, but not all. The idea of election, or selection, cannot be applied to an entire class as unrelated to any others. Hidden in the word election is the implied truth, which is unavoidably a part of it, that others are not chosen, or are passed by. This suggests again the distinction, already particularized when discussing the divine decrees, that predestination points either to election or retribution, and that election cannot be understood in any other light than that others—the nonelect—are passed by. The thought expressed by the word election cannot be modified. It asserts an express intention on the part of God to confer salvation on certain persons, but not all. It is not a mere purpose to give salvation to those who may believe; it rather determines who will believe.​
     
  7. Humblesmith

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    Chafer goes on to say:

    3. Election Does Not Rest Merely on Foreknowledge. The obvious distinction between foreknowledge and foreordination, or predestination, has been the occasion for much discussion, there being those who assert that God, by His foreknowledge, discriminated between those who by their own choice would accept salvation and those who would not, and, being thus informed, God was able to predestinate those He knew would believe. The superficial character of this notion is seen (1) in the fact that foreknowledge and foreordination, or predestination, could not be placed in a sequence. Nothing could be foreknown as certain that had not been made certain by foreordination, nor could anything be foreordained that was not foreknown. Of three passages bearing on the relationship between these two divine activities, two mention foreknowledge first in order, while the other reverses this arrangement. In Romans 8:29 it is written, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate”; and in 1 Peter 1:2 believers are addressed as “elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” But in Acts 2:23, where the divine purpose in Christ’s death is in view, it is said: “him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” (2) The Scriptures declare that that which cometh to pass is foreordained of God and not merely foreknown. Salvation is by grace apart from works. Men are not saved because of good works whether anticipated or realized. Election is according to grace and not according to works. If salvation be by grace, it is no more of works, and if it be by works, it is no more of grace (Rom. 11:5–6). In the light of this revelation, it is impossible to build a foreseen structure of works as the ground of any person’s salvation. Similarly, there is divine authority for denying that faith and personal holiness, even foreseen, determine divine election. The Bible reverses this order by declaring that election is unto faith and holiness. It is no slight error to confuse these issues and make faith and holiness the cause and election the effect. Faith can serve no greater purpose than to be the means by which that which God has determined may be realized. Referring again to passages already cited, it will be seen that God chose from the beginning those to be saved, and predestinated them to “belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13); and He chose some before the foundation of the world that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). Thus it is revealed that men are not first holy and then elect; but they are first elect and that election is unto holiness. As an illustration of this order in the truth, the Apostle refers to the divine choice of Jacob over Esau before they were born and before they had done either good or evil. All this, it is said, is to the end that the divine election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth (Rom. 9:10–13). It may be added that acceptable works and qualities are not resident in any fallen human being, except these characteristics are wrought in the human heart by divine energy. It would therefore be folly to expect that God would foresee in men what could never exist. Doubtless, multitudes of people cling to a conditional election lest they be forced to recognize the depravity of man.
    4. Divine Election is Immutable. Not only will that which was determined in past ages be brought to fruition, but it is immutable. It is claimed by those who give an undue emphasis to the ability of the human will, that God’s purposes in salvation may be frustrated, that the elect of today may, because of human determination, become the nonelect of tomorrow. It is implied that God can do no more than to adjust Himself to the will of man, and His determination concerning His creatures may change. In reply to this idea, it may be remarked that God has never created a human will as an instrument to defeat His own purpose. He creates them that they may serve His immutable will. Since God is the Creator of all things, it is absurd to suppose that He who creates cannot determine the choice and destiny of that which He has wrought. Referring to those who had erred and by their unbelief had “overthrown the faith of some,” the Apostle declares in assuring terms, “Nevertheless the foundation of God [His eternal purpose] standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Tim. 2:18-19). Human language cannot express a more positive assertion than that which appears in Romans 8:30: “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” The text, in harmony with all the Bible, states that all who are predestinated are called, that all who are called are justified, and that all who are justified are glorified. There could not be one more or one less, else God has failed in the realization of His good pleasure.​

    Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Systematic Theology. Originally published: Dallas, Tex. : Dallas Seminary Press, 1947-1948., Vol. 3, Page 172-174. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993.





    Again, there are a book full of these. Chafer goes on to rip arminianism rather soundly.
     
  8. 2BHizown

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    I hardly think that discussing whether or not one is calvinist should be considered an 'attack' as you stated! It would be a consideration or an opinion rather than an 'attack'! No attack was intended for sure!
     
  9. Humblesmith

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    Using the phrase "at once curiously pretentious and curiously shallow" in the same post as his major work, and doing it without qualification, as if this was representative of his life work, is not exactly a reasoned debate on his beliefs. And the way most folks today use the term "arminianism" it is indeed an ad-hominem. We can question people's beliefs in light of scripture, but generalizing Chafer as arminian and pelagian does not align with his clear teachings. We are too fast and loose and quick to label people.

    I didn't mean to imply that I was questioning anyone's intentions.
     
    #9 Humblesmith, Sep 27, 2006
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  10. LeBuick

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    Our Siminary used Chafer so I refer back to him for clarification. Do you have his work electronically or is it on a website? If website, can you give me the link? I have the hard cover books.
     
  11. Humblesmith

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    His Systematic Theology has been available electronically for the Logos bible software system, which is what I have. Logos originaly said it was a limited edition, but last time I checked, they were still selling it.

    The books are cheaper. I've just recently seen them at a reduced price of about 50 bucks. (BTW, ChristianBook Distributors are selling a complete version of Warfield for a great price.)

    What seminary did you go to that used Chafer? DTS was the only one that I know of, and I've been told that Chafer is not a required purchase there anymore.
     
  12. LeBuick

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    UTS in Monroe, LA.
     
  13. EdSutton

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    What does the inititals UTS stand for?

    Ed
     
  14. LeBuick

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    United Theological Siminary. Small school, not really on the map but it be me alma matta
     
  15. Humblesmith

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    Chafer

    It strikes me that this thread is representative of what is typical of the whole calvinist discussion. It seems like too often we've left behind the idea of bible study, trying to figure out how election fits in with the other teachings of repentence and human responsibility, and instead are focusing too much on who fits into which category, so that we can label them.

    I confess that I have sometimes been guilty of this as well. In an effort to discern and teach the truth, we sometimes end up depending on what others say, and fail to be accurate in our evaluations. For example, the OP has a trustworthy teacher, Warfield, apparently making a statement about one instance where he heard Chafer speak. Therefore Chafer and his life work are categorized based on this. But there is no way that anyone could read Vol 3 of Chafer's theology and come to the conclusion that was presented in the post.

    We must be very careful when we believe what others say about a third party, even if the source is one we trust. Read them for yourself before you speak to correct their teachings.

    I've learned of several teachers who are otherwise trustworthy, but have totally misrepresented what some teachers actually teach. Let's all be more careful........heresy demands us to speak out, yes. But let's just make sure that we're correct first. Check with the original source materials first, then vigourously defend the truth based on fact.
     
  16. Rippon

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    I don't know where you got the idea that Warfield heard Chafer speak and then attacked him in print . BB Warfield never did a written evaluation of a person's oral address . Warfield wrote articles and also wrote critical reviews of the works of others .

    I have two big volumes of Warfield's but his review of Chafer isn't there . I would imagine that he reviewed a 40-some year old Chafer .

    If anyone knows anything about Chafer , they should be aware that he was a very careful author . You may disagree with him -- but he was one who knew his subject matter very well . I have not read Chafer's Systematic . On Saturday I paged through it . What I read confirmed what BBW said . I read a lot . But I do not have the time to read everything . I do trust Warfield . Perhaps I will go over Chafer's works more in-depth in the future . But you must understand this -- if one says he was not an authentic Calvinist -- that does not mean he was a rank heretic . I am surprised that a number of non-Calvinists here have interpreted it in that light .
     
  17. HankD

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    My Alma Mater used it and I still have my copy of Chafer's Systematic Theology from the same:

    Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary at KCMO.

    http://apps.collegeboard.com/search/CollegeDetail.jsp?collegeId=430&type=adv

    http://www.calvary.edu/college/index.html
    http://www.calvary.edu/seminary/index.html

    I must admit that I don't know if they still use Chafer's.

    I graduated in 1972.

    (post-edit)
    Apparently not, I went to the Theology syllabi of the both the college and seminary and neither listed Chafer, but there were many Ryrie and JI Packer texts required.

    HankD
     
    #17 HankD, Oct 1, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2006
  18. whatever

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    The allegation is that we are not just really very extremely sick in our sin, but that we are dead in our sin, and therefore we are unable to grab a life preserver or open our lips or whatever other extra-biblical analogy you like. Our lives don't need to be preserved - life needs to be given. If God didn't grab the life preserver or open the lips then He didn't really do it all, no matter how much you assert that He did.

    P.S. - Isn't it funny that it is the Calvinists insisting that "all" really means "all"?
     
  19. EdSutton

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    Just not "all" the time! :confused: :rolleyes: :smilewinkgrin: :laugh:

    Ed
     
  20. HankD

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    How do you mean this? Is this an ad hominem?

    What about these passages

    Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

    1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

    HankD​
     

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