the 5 Points , between the lines

Posted: August 20, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christian Theology, Christianity, Discipleship, Reformed Theology

“We need to make plain that total depravity is not just badness, but blindness to beauty and deadness to joy; and unconditional election means that the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before we ever existed; and that limited atonement is the assurance that indestructible joy in God is infallibly secured for us by the blood of the covenant; and irresistible grace is the commitment and power of God’s love to make sure we don’t hold on to suicidal pleasures, and to set us free by the sovereign power of superior delights; and that the perseverance of the saints is the almighty work of God to keep us, through all affliction and suffering, for an inheritance of pleasures at God’s right hand forever.”


John Piper

  1. Trey Medley says:

    As poetic as that may sound, it’s only half of the story there. Total Depravity is the incapability of anyone doing any good ever without Christ. (So Gandhi is not only burning in hell, but none of the things he did were any good.) Unconditional Election means that God plays a kind of roulette game with souls. Limited atonement means that God is more concerned with keeping people out that willing that “all should be saved” (1 John). And Irresistible grace sounds very close to spiritual rape. We can’t love God (total depravity) and so God makes us love him, against our will. Don’t whitewash it. While there may be a place for hearing what Calvin and those at Dort have to say, it’s nowhere near as gentle as John Piper is making it out to be here.

  2. boydmonster says:

    Trey, I think the best practice in engaging with ideologies or theologies that we don’t agree with is to engage with the best, not the worst, that they put forward. You seem to have fallen pitfall to putting forward the worst articulation of Reformed Theology and generalizing it for anyone who holds to this doctrine. It’s not that I mind having my theology questioned. I simply think that you have created a different theology than what I hold and criticized it. It’s a strawman argument. Your argument seems to boil down to “John Piper might be saying ‘x’, but what he means is ‘y’.” It’s poor dialogue and inaccurate. I would simply argue that the Calvinism you’ve outlined is nothing like what either I hold or what the 500 years worth of Calvinism I’m familiar with consistently articulate. My recommendation would be to talk to people that hold the positions you criticize and state what you think they believe until they say “exactly, you said it better than I could.” At that point you can begin to positively critique it. As it stands, you’ve only convinced me that you don’t know Reformed Theology.

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