Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Great Article from James Anderson

Two weeks ago, James Anderson posted a great article on his site, Analogical Thoughts. He examines the claim, made by some non-Calvinist Christians, that Calvinism undermines assurance of salvation. Anderson compares the possibilities for assurance within the framework of Calvinism to those found in Arminianism. That part is quite good by itself, but then he makes an interesting and unexpected tie-in with the doctrine of inerrancy. It's well worth taking the time to read.


"I’m pretty sure that by now I’ve heard all the major objections to Calvinism. Some of them deserve to be taken seriously, although none are weighty enough to overturn the balance (or rather imbalance) of biblical evidence. Other objections, however, I find hard to credit at all. An example of the latter is the claim that the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election undermines assurance of salvation."

"God’s secret will is nothing other than what God from eternity has infallibly ordained will take place in history. But then it follows that God’s secret will is, by definition, being progressively revealed moment by moment — and can therefore be known as easily as any historical fact."

"On the Calvinist view, only the elect come to saving faith in Christ (leaving aside exceptional cases, such as those dying in infancy). It therefore follows that if a person — let’s call him Sam — has a saving faith in Christ then he must be elect. So the question of whether or not Sam is elect translates immediately into the question of whether or not Sam has saving faith in Christ. Answer the latter and you’ve immediately answered the former."

"So the Reformed doctrine of perseverance has this crucial implication: if I have saving faith today then I will also have saving faith on my final day — and thus be eternally saved. So if I’m justified in believing (on the basis of the biblical tests) that I have saving faith today, then I’m also justified in believing that I will be finally saved. In other words, I have an assurance of salvation worth having!"

"Consequently it seems clear to me that it isn’t Calvinism that undermines the doctrine of assurance; on the contrary, it’s Arminianism. Calvinism alone has the theological capital to fund the assurance that Christ has indeed prepared a place for us."

Bonus Video: Jadon Lavik singing "Blessed Assurance." Whether you're a Calvinist, Arminian or other, I pray you have it!

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