Saturday, February 16, 2008

Calvinism, Arminianism and John 6:44

I've been a little busy lately, but I wanted to share some food for thought with some folks.

Brian Bosse has written on his blog A Logical Analysis of John 6:44. He also provides a link to the .pdf file of his paper which is here. It's a very interesting and maybe a somewhat difficult read.

He concludes:
given the Arminian understanding of universal atonement one is left with Universalism, while the Calvinistic understanding of a limited atonement is consistent.

Enjoy!

Mark

9 comments:

David Waltz said...

Hmmmm…have your read Kendall’s book, Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649, in which in argues that Calvin did not teach “limited atonement”? The book is certainly controversial, but Kendall’s take on Calvin cannot be easily dismissed.

Further, there are some ‘Calvinists’ who hold to universal redemption within a TULIP schema.

And lastly, Brian Bosse’s view on Arminianism seems a bit strained. Since I am not here to defend Arminianism, I shall let an Arminian speak for himself:

http://arminianperspectives.blogspot.com/2007/07/does-john-644-teach-irresistible-grace.html



Note: Info on Kendall’s book can be found here -

http://books.google.com/books?id=8GCqAQAACAAJ&dq=Calvin+and+English+Calvinism+to+1649&ie=ISO-8859-1



Grace and peace,

David

James Swan said...

David,

Certainly, you must be aware, that Kendall's book has come under much scrutiny from many reviewers. I suggest you begin with Paul Helm, Calvin and the Calvinists (Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth, 1998).

When he reissued his book, Dr. Kendall chose not to respond to any of the many works that negatively reviewed his book over the last twenty years.

johnMark said...

David,

Thanks for your concerns though James answered one of them as far as Kendall goes.

The link you gave for Arminianism is speaking about irresistible grace and not the atonement that Bosse was speaking about. Not to mention, Bosse is only concerned with logically analyzing John 6:44 and not all facets of Arminianism.

Mark

GeneMBridges said...

Kendall's work has also been addressed by Jonathan Rainbow in The Will of God and the Cross . Also, William Cunningham anticipates much of Kendall's work, in The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation . In short much of what Kendall says was being said in the 19th century. It's also worth noting that the School of Samur, today, regards Amyraut as an aberration and his understanding of Calvin inaccurate. As I recall, also, one of the criticisms some have had of the Calvin/Amyraut thesis is that its mainly English speaking people who have advanced it, which they take to be indicative of something other than a fair reading of either source that is involved in their conclusions. Richard Muller's work has also taken up the broader contours of the Calvin vs. the Calvinists school(s), as there are several permutations of it out there, but I do not recall, as yet, a specific work on the atonement issue coming from his perspective yet, aside from Helm, Roger Nicole, and Jonathan Rainbow.

James Swan said...

If I recall, Rainbow's book was hard to get, though I did get my copy5 years ago. Maybe it's easier to find now.

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Calvinist site; please visit TheAmericanVIew.com

David Waltz said...

Hi James,

You posted:

>> Certainly, you must be aware, that Kendall's book has come under much scrutiny from many reviewers.>>

Me: Yes I am, hence this from my previous post: “The book is certainly controversial…”

I own, and have read Helm’s Calvin and the Calvinists. Note the following from his book:

“Calvin, not being a universalist, could be said to be committed to definite atonement, even though he does not commit himself to definite atonement. And, it could be added, there is a sound reason for this. There was no occasion for Calvin to enter into argument about the matter, for before the Arminian controversy the extent of the atonement had not been debated expressly within the Reformed churches” (p. 18).

That Kendall’s book has received a considerable amount of ‘heat’ from committed Calvinists should come as no surprise to anyone. The Puritans development of Calvin’s thought may in fact be the most consistent one, but it is most certainly not the only viable one.


Grace and peace,

David

P.S. Helm’s comments concerning development within the Calvinist paradigm can be equally applied to many of the later developments within the Catholic paradigm—right?

David Waltz said...

Hello Gene,

You wrote:

>>Richard Muller's work has also taken up the broader contours of the Calvin vs. the Calvinists school(s), as there are several permutations of it out there, but I do not recall, as yet, a specific work on the atonement issue coming from his perspective yet, aside from Helm, Roger Nicole, and Jonathan Rainbow.>>

Richard Muller’s 4-volume work Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics is perhaps the most outstanding Reformed work since the 19th century (though less than conservative Reformed types would probably argue for Barth’s systheo). It has been a good three years since I last read through it, but from what I remember, Muller’s emphasis is on various trajectories and developments within the Reformed paradigm, comparing them with each, rather than with Calvin himself.

I have not read anything by Rainbow, but have read the following contribution by Nicole:

http://www.apuritansmind.com/Arminianism/NicoleRogerCalvinsLimitedAtonement.htm

Is the above what you were thinking of when you mentioned Nicole, or was it something else?


Grace and peace,

David

GeneMBridges said...

Yes, and there's also a book dedicated to him that, I think, touches on the issues around this same thesis in some of the essays. That would be The Glory of the Atonement. Also, some others have written along the lines of the "Calvin vs. the Calvinists" territory (by addressing, for example Beza and others) in Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment . You might also want to check out After Calvin by Muller. There's another one by him I want, but I'm not telling which one lest somebody find out and get it before I do. There are only 2 copies available right now.

Rainbow's book isn't too difficult to get. I got mine a couple of years ago via Amazon. I see it's only $25 now. You have to search by title not author to find it. Go figure.

The Theology of the Cross in Historical Perspective (Distinguished Dissertations in Christian Theology)
by Anna Madsen (Author) might have some material in it, but I've not read it so I don't know offhand.

I know Dr. Muller is working, I believe with Drs. Trueman and Clark at WTSCA on a series of books dealing with this broader topic. James or the other James (sorry, it was just too obvious a play on words not to say it) could try contacting one of them to find out if any work was coming down the pipeline on the atonement issue.