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Sovereignty of God and Calvinism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Charles Meadows, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows New Member

    Dec 4, 2003
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    Hi all,

    Another thought on which I would like feedback from those in the reformed circles.

    I absolutely support the sovereignty of God and believe that the 5 points were formulated, in a large part, to defend this doctrine. A such I do agree basically with all five points. My disagreement is with the degree of importance "calvinists" give the 5 points as absolutes - but that is another thread...

    The position of the Franciscans, like Occam and Biel, seems to be in a way very compatible with God's absolute sovereignty - perhaps even more so than the stricter calvinist positions. This stance, associated with the name "nominalism" suggests that God is so completely "other" that He is not bound by any description or rule. This concept easily fits the idea of a covenant since the nominalist sees God as able to do whatever He wants. That is He could damn the righteous and justify the guilty if He wanted. Obviosuly He does not because this is not what God does - but He could if He so wanted. As such He could easily enter into a very very unequal covenant. In fact I think Melanchthon ended up surprisingly close to the nominalists in his attemopt to distance Lutheranism from Osiander. Indeed while reformed thought in general is a definite move towards orthodoxy (away from catholic heterodoxy) it from monolithic on any salient issue, including imputation of righteousness, piety, the atonement. This heterogeneity of thought is to me a bit incompatible not with reformed theology - but with the rigidity imposed on it by many well-meaning orthodox practitioners.

    So my question then is this...

    Is there room for some movement in "calvinist" doctrines.

    For example the atonement must be limited from an a posteriori perspective (since not all are saved) but seems in another way not limited given the apparent choice given the believer...
  2. J.D.

    J.D. Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 21, 2006
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    One of the acient questions is "Are things good because God does them or is God good because he does good things?"

    The biblical answer is that everything God does is good, and he only does good because it is His character to do so. It's not that He must answer to some higher law or authority, but that He is consistent with His own nature.

    And logically speaking, it is nonsense to say that God, or anyone esle, can simply choose to do things that are not consistent with their character and desires.

    People are always clamouring for a compromise "middle" position between Calvinsim and whatever. Some study in philosophical determinism will show that the positions of the reformers and Dort represents the "middle ground" in which God is sovereign yet man is responsble. This is "compatiblism". Non-theistic determinism has as its source a mindless, pointless "fate". Theistic determinism (aka Calvinsim) has as its source an intelligent, loving God, and all those things He has determined ultimately work toward justice and glory.