Tim Challies, noted author and blogger, wrote a post called “8 Features of the Best Kind of Calvinism“. In this post he examines Ian Hamilton’s new short booklet What Is Experiential Calvinism? (amazon). The answer is that Calvinism is much “deeper and richer” than TULIP. Another reviewer (link) of this work writes:
Calvinism has sadly been reduced to five points and characterized as a cold academic system of thought. Ian Hamilton has set out to recast it in a light that is more true to its heritage and intent.
Challies’ post goes on to list 8 features of experiential Calvinism. Many of these “marks of experiential Calvinism”, listed in Challies’ post, are captured in “Heart-Warming Calvinism”, an article by Ian Hamilton (link).
I offered my thoughts as a comment and repost them, with some additions, here.
I often hear Calvinists express frustration along the lines that Calvinism is a view that means more than TULIP. As someone who does not adhere to Reformed doctrines, I still would heartily agree; Calvinism is much more than TULIP. There is much common ground between Calvinists and non-Reformers. That can be seen in these features, however, because most of them are not exclusively Calvinism. They are Christian. Continue reading →
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.
Throughout 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 →
In the last post we examined the idea of using the early church theologians as guides to help us make sure that we are rightly interpreting Scripture and evaluating doctrine. In this post we will explore how the principles presented in that post might work when the “bowling ball is thrown down the alley”. Or using the more common expression when the “rubber meets the road”.
Before we go much further let’s make sure we understand what this post sets out to do and what it does not set out to do. Each of the case studies presented in this post are not meant to be a full treatment on the subject.There are other aspects that can be brought into the discussion to provide a more robust examination. Obviously, it is not my goal to settle each of these doctrinal debates in this post.The main point of this post is to highlight how the early church writings can be used as part of a theological argument. Continue reading →