Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dr. Scot McKnight, the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University, wrote this at his blog:

I found two major weaknesses in Calvinism’s theology (and also a disorientation in its architecture): first, the emphasis of its architecture is not the emphasis of the Bible. Its focus on God’s Sovereignty, which very quickly becomes much less a doctrine of grace than a doctrine of control and theodicy etc, and its overemphasis on human depravity are not the emphases I found in the Bible. I do not dispute the presence of these themes; I dispute this is where the gravity of emphasis is found in the Bible…

I think part of the problem has to do with Paul's letter to the Romans. If Paul is trying to help Jewish believers understand why the Gentile believers don't have to follow the law (which I beleive is a significant objective of Paul's in this letter), he has to emphasize our inability to save ourselves. Over time, and given the abuses of the church at Luther's time, this emphasis became all the more important, thus elevating human depravity in the Calvinistic system to a totality that essentially eliminates any concept of humans as created in the image of God.

McKnight continues,
Second, the exegesis of Calvinism on crucial passages I found wanting and sometimes dead wrong.

He goes on to question eternal security in a series of blogs on the book of Hebrews. While I tend to like Calvin's insistence on grace and the work of God in salvation (and thus I accept eternal security, though perhaps not quite in the same way the Calvinist does) I do believe we are free to reject this gift (hence the difference with Calvin). This would seem to square with his reading of Hebrews…we are free to reject.

Several interesting posts at his blog. Worth bookmarking and checking often.


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