Grace for All: The Problem is Proof Texting and the Solution is…

“Exegetical Notes on Calvinist Texts” is the next essay in Grace for All. It is written by Grant R. Osborne, professor of New Testament at TEDS (link). Osborne is also a prolific author, having written numerous commentaries and books, including the Hermeneutical Spiral (a Christianity Today 1993 Critics Choice Award winner).

For Osborne, theological problems are the result of “proof texting”.

The problem is that in the past, systematic theology has by and large taken passages out of context, grouped them together in a logical order, and in many cases made them say things not intended by the original authors.

If “proof texting” is the problem, then what is the solution?

The answer is to be found in the methods of biblical theology

Does that mean there is no place for systematic theology? Before we tackle that question let’s make sure we understand what it meant by the terms systematic and biblical theology.

What is systematic theology? Continue reading

Philosophize with him!

A Calvinist writer, Randy Seiver, with whom I have engaged in discussion from time to time has written a post asking several questions about prevenient grace. Most of the questions center around how enabling grace works and whether it can be resistible.

Plato_School_of_athens_800px-Raffael_067I am not going to tackle these questions in this post. Instead I am going to tackle something he says in part of his opening statement. Before posing questions, Randy lays down two charges against those who reject Calvinism. The first is that they have a system built on philosophy. The second is that their system is not a biblical one.

I would like to pose a few “philosophical” questions about their position … . Since their position is a philosophical and not a biblical one, I should be permitted to ask what they call “philosophical questions.”

It is this set of charges that I want to address.

Before we begin we need to ask and answer two questions.

  • What is philosophy?
  • What does it mean to be Biblical?

Continue reading

An Ancient Theologian explains Tradition

Irenaeus, a 2nd century theologian, defended Christianity from the Gnostic philosophies that were popular at the time. His 5 volume work, Against Heresies, dedicates the first two volumes to describing the Gnostic views and then precedes to dismantle them in the remaining volumes.

saint_irenaeus_oflyonsThroughout the work we are invited to explore the fundamental beliefs of the early church as they are contrasted with the opposing system.

Underlying Irenaeus’ defense lies the questions: how do we know what the truth is? and how do we decide between different interpretations of Scripture?

The heretics did not just offer a different worldview. They were using Scriptures to uphold their ideas – which centered on two gods – a good one and an evil one. It was the evil god who created the physical world that we must rid ourselves of. Continue reading