Grace for All: Elect in Christ or into Christ, that is the Question

“Jacobus Arminius: Reformed and Always Reforming” is the next essay in Grace for All. It is written by J. Matthew Pinson, the President of Welch College and the author of the book Arminian and Baptist (reviewed here). The focus is on presenting Jacob Arminius as a Reformed theologian who held to the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism.415xXkjORGL

In order to defend Arminus as a Reformed theologian, Pinson examines Arminius’ writings showing where his views either fit or strayed from Reformed confessions.

the primary doctrinal difference between Arminius and his strict Calvinist interlocuters [was] how one comes to be in a state of grace or not, that is the doctrine of predestination.

Since the primary area of disagreement is predestination, and that has been the focus of the last two essays in Grace for All, we will briefly look at that aspect of Arminius’ theology.

The problem, as Arminus describes it in Declaration of Sentiments (link), was that Calvinist views on “predestination are considered, by some of those who advocate them, to be the foundation of Christianity”, yet this doctrine “comprises within it neither the whole nor any part of the Gospel”. Continue reading

Grace for All: Exploring Predestination in the Old Testament

David A. Clines, Emeritus Professor (link) at the University of Sheffield, has specialized in the Hebrew language and study of the Old Testament. In Grace for All, David seeks to summarize the predestinarian ideas found in the OT.

415xXkjORGLHe does this, not by focusing on a few passages, but by analyzing the larger themes found in four major collections of the Hebrew Scriptures.

  • Patriarchal histories in Genesis
  • Primeval histories in Genesis
  • Proverbs/Wisdom literature
  • Prophetic literature

In the essay Clines defends this approach and asks the reader to consider how they approach this topic in the Scriptures.

No doubt there are many reasonable inferences that may be made from biblical statements about predestination. But to be faithful to the Bible means in part to follow the Bible’s emphases and not erect mere inferences into essential biblical doctrine.

Continue reading