Saturday, October 20, 2007

Risky business

Another possible interpretation of Sandlin’s claim is that God takes a risk in the sense that he is risking failure by loving men and women who will not love him in return. This makes sense if you buy into the premise that God doesn’t know—much less control—the outcome. He doesn’t know in advance of that fact who will respond in kind. So his redemptive overtures will fail in a certain number of cases.

That’s consistent with open theism. Yet Sandlin says that open theism postulates a false god. In Calvinism, by contrast, God not only foreknows who will reciprocate, but he foreordains their favorable response—as well as decreeing the impenitent disbelief of the reprobate. So there is no risk factor since the love of God will never fail to achieve its purpose.

I believe that Sandlin used to be a Calvinist. Does he still adhere to that aspect of Calvinism, or does he relegate it to pagan theology?

8 comments:

  1. Steve Jackson10/20/2007 1:22 PM

    Sandlin was a Calvinist and was associated with R. J. Rushdoony. In fact, I listened to tapes during which he criticized Pinnock and Barth. I knew he had warmed up to Barth (and Bloesch), but Pinnock is even worse.

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  2. Calvinism is so concerned about God possibly being seen as "failing." Basically, Calvinism says that God has to make all men robots then save some by taking control of them, or he will fail. And Jesus had to die for only some people, otherwise, he'd be a failure to the Calvinist. Isn't it interesting how no Arminian or person who beleives in corporate election or whatever alternates to Calvinism there are, ever even contemplates the possibility of God failing. But the Calvinist seems to always be looking for failure in God.

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  3. I'm not agreeing with Sandalin. I don't even know who he is or what he actually said. I just see that Calvinism has an unhealthy fear of God failing. I think deep down most Calvinists must think that God did fail. Otherwise the preoccupation with failure wouldn't exist.

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  4. We do not want to see God as a failure, for this is man's part:

    "He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?"--Dan. 4:35.

    Proverbs 19:21
    Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

    Man's plans fail, not God's. So, why not be on the lookout for theologies that make God a failure?

    Calvinism does not teach that God must make men robots. You argue ignoratio elenchi.

    We don't argue that "Jesus had to die for some people, or else he'd be a failure." Any person Jesus dies for will be saved, we argue. If he had died for all men, all men would be saved. So, he doesn't need to die for "some" men to succeed, he needs to save those he died for to succed. If he died for men who will not be saved, he failed in his attempt.

    You don't contemplate God failing in salvation because you limmit the saving nature of the atonement. So, not saving someone he died for isn't a failure - cause he didn't even actually die for *them,* he died for the *possibility* of their salvation. So, anyone can apply procrustean hermeneutics to the Bible and "save face" for their version of god.

    We don't have an "unhealthy fear of God failing." He said he cannot fail. Thus any theology that makes him out to be a failure, is bad theology. In any event, I'd rather have a "fear of my God being a failure" than a "fear of God controlling all the details of His world." But this "fear" is understandable. What room is left for you to be a star? A hero? "The man?" Stud muffin? Or any other creature worshipping event.

    Watch how egomakarios will come back to my objections. He's not concerned about "always looking out to protect theologies which make God out to be a failure" because he's too busy making sure that *he* isn't seen as a failure! Nice form ego! Keep preaching that old time anthroprocentric theology, brotha.

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  5. Calvinism is so concerned about God possibly being seen as "failing." Basically, Calvinism says that God has to make all men robots then save some by taking control of them, or he will fail. And Jesus had to die for only some people, otherwise, he'd be a failure to the Calvinist. Isn't it interesting how no Arminian or person who beleives in corporate election or whatever alternates to Calvinism there are, ever even contemplates the possibility of God failing. But the Calvinist seems to always be looking for failure in God.

    Of course, in your scheme of things, Jesus died for all people and God desires to save them all - but fails. In fact, He can't help but fail, since not all for whom Christ died are saved.

    So, while the Calvinist obsesses about God failing - you and the Arminians live in a state of denial.

    So, the fact that nobody on that other side of the aisle "never contemplates" God "failing" is, by no means, a credit to your position. It is a monumental testament to its irrationality.

    Further, it's a common "Arminian" argument that Calvinism somehow threatens evangelistic work - so, I beg to differ, Arminians are quite obsessed with God "failing." It's a gigantic exercise in mirror-reading of course, and you are left to ponder how, exactly, God does not accomplish all that He desires.

    Also, can you quote any representative Reformed theologian that believes God "basically makes men robots by 'taking control' of them. I think not. This is just a tendentious characterization that is easily dismissed, since it amounts to an argument from analogy minus an argument. Robots do not have wills; left to their own devices, robots do nothing on their own. Calvinism also has a doctrine of providence that includes a distinction between primary and secondary causality, you should read the standard confessions. It would help your case if you would refrain from such obviously fallacious reasoning.

    And as Paul points out, we don't argue that Jesus had to die for some or He'd be a failure. Rather, we argue that had He died for all, all would be saved. These are not convertible ideas. The wonder is that He chose to die for any single one of us.

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  6. "Of course, in your scheme of things, Jesus died for all people and God desires to save them all - but fails. In fact, He can't help but fail, since not all for whom Christ died are saved."

    I don't in any wise consider it a failure that Christ died for people who will not accept his sacrifice. Rather, in that, God succeeds by showing his love for all men, even those who would be lost. Basically, in my view, God always succeeds because he is God. in your view, God only succeeds if he does what you tell him to do.

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  7. don't in any wise consider it a failure that Christ died for people who will not accept his sacrifice
    Evidence you live in a state of complete denial.

    Rather, in that, God succeeds by showing his love for all men, even those who would be lost.
    Where does Scripture state that God loves all men redemptively? Calvinism does not deny that God loves all men - read for example D. A. Carson's work, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. Rather, we deny that God loves them all redemptively. If that was true, all men would be saved.

    Your God is the god who would see a burning building full of orphans and would open the doors, drag a hose hooked to a hydrant and yell, "Fire" but would stand by idlely while watching the building burn down. He would never enter the building to save anybody.

    Yes, that is sooo much more "successful." So, what you'd done is define "success" not according to Scripture, but your apriorisitic notion of what constitutes success. If the Calvinists has done this, it is no less applicable to your own POV.

    Basically, in my view, God always succeeds because he is God. Of course, Calvinism says the same thing, so this is no reply at all. What it does show is that you and I have radically different concepts of God. My God is the God of classical Christian theism and the Bible. Yours strongly resembles the Watchmaker god of Deism.

    in your view, God only succeeds if he does what you tell him to do.

    So you say but fail, yet again, to demonstrate. How is this not applicable to your POV. We affirm that God sets out to do and accomplishes His purpose.

    In your view, to avoid universalism, you must say that God makes a way of salvation but actually saves nobody. This is like the Watchmaker god who "wind up" creation and steps away to watch it. In our view, God elects some and reprobates others. There is no failure at all to save anybody that He intends to save. Your god's intentions are frustrated, for you are left to say that god has a real intention to save everybody but some are not saved. Like I said beforehand, you're far more concerned about "failure" than we are, for you simply negate the power of God to save by reducing His intention to save from an actuality to a potentiality.

    Also, I'll take your silence here as a tacit admission that your other arguments were failures since, yet again, you fail to provide responses to much of what we have to say - for example to your assertions that God is a cosmic puppeteer.

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  8. "I don't in any wise consider it a failure that Christ died for people who will not accept his sacrifice."

    And the little league left fielder isn't a failure for dropping that fly ball that was hit to him. All the kids get trophies. In fact, no one kept score. If you take away the the stakes, then no one is a failure because everyone is a winner. Caring about nothing is the losers way to win.

    "Rather, in that, God succeeds by showing his love for all men, even those who would be lost."

    So his death was superfluous. Furthermore, he said that he shows his great love for people by dying for his friends. You've just made his love for us a slap in the face. Should my wife get upset if I tell her that I show my love for her by buying roses, and then I buy every girl in the world roses?

    "Basically, in my view, God always succeeds because he is God."

    That's real helpful. Thanks.

    "in your view, God only succeeds if he does what you tell him to do."

    Ooo, good one. C'mon, is this the best you got?

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