It seems we have been made to suffer…

We have been teaching a class on the Foundations of the Christian Life. We are using C. Michael Patton’s book, Now That I’m a Christian, as a guide (see review here).

This week we tackled several questions related to God and evil – questions like ‘what is evil’ and how do we address the ‘problem of evil’.

While the mindless philosopher C3PO may be right that “we seem to be made to suffer”, the question is how does this fit with the notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and good God. Why is it that “bad things” happen to “good” people? Continue reading

Blogging through Grace for All: Evil is a tough pill to swallow when one holds to Theological Determinism

Glen Shellrude, Professor of New Testament at Alliance Theological Seminary (link, blog) offers us, what may be the longest titled article in Grace415xXkjORGL For All, “Calvinistic and Problematic Readings of the NT Texts, or Why I am not a Calvinist”. The essay is based on his 2010 talk at the Evangelical Theological Society. The content of that talk was later published in Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry in 2011 (pdf), before appearing in this collection.

Throughout the essay, Shellrude tackles numerous problems with Calvinism and its adherence to theological determinism. If I were to summarize the essay, it might look something like this cartoon of Calvin (the one with the tiger named Hobbes) staring disdainfully at his food. CH_Yuck2When Calvinists are presented with the full ramification of their views, they, like Calvin with his food, will find that it isn’t very appetizing. The more they poke around and examine it the more unsettling the view becomes. At some point they must decide to adopt another more historical and Scriptural view or let Calvinism (and the paradoxes it creates) consume them.

Shellrude’s contention is that Calvinism presents a

view of God that represents him as having two distinct wills which are deeply conflicted and contradictory

Continue reading