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?

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(Almost) Wednesday with Wesley: The Reasonable Faith is of Grace

As theologians we can often get wrapped up in thinking about God and the Scriptures. We want to understand our Creator and the truths that He has revealed. In order to do that we must use logic and reasoJohn_Wesleyn. John Wesley cautioned those who would minimize the need for reason in theology and in living a virtuous life.

Wesley was a strong proponent of the use of reason. But was wise in reminding us of its limitations. Continue reading

Wednesday with Wesley: On Undervaluing Reason

Reason and logic are an important part of daily life and decision making. However, there are some Christians that undervalue the use of reason. They interpret “walking by faith” as rejecting logic and ignoring the need for plans. In Sermon #70, John Wesley “impartially” considered the use of reason and those who did not value it.

Even [in the earliest times] there were not wanting well-meaning men who, not having much reason themselves, imagined that reason was of no use in religion; yea, rather, that it was a hinderance to it.

And there has not been wanting a succession of men who have believed and asserted the same thing. But never was there a greater number of these in the Christian Church, at least in Britain, than at this day.

John_WesleyRoger Olson sees the same problem among Christians today as Wesley did in his day.

[Some Christians] appeal to “faith” as if that means blind faith, unexamined belief, in truths delivered by authority. It is more spiritual, they say, to believe against logic and evidence than to believe with them.

The passage 1 Cor 14:20, which formed the basis of the sermon, tells us to be men in our understanding. Wesley’s notes on this passage remind us (as did Paul) that we have the responsibility to not only use our reason but to develop our abilities in this area.

Knowing religion was not designed to destroy any of our natural faculties, but to exalt and improve them, our reason in particular.

Without Reason we can’t understand the Scriptures

Wesley would challenge Christians who rejected reason to explain how they would understand the Scriptures. Continue reading