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, June 04, 2011

The Legitimacy of Paradox as a Theological Model - Part 1

Pastor Richard Ostella of Westminster Reformed Church in Plymouth, Michigan has graciously granted permission to re-publish his March 2009 ETS paper on theological paradox here at THEOparadox. It is the best concise treatment of the subject I have found. As an example, Pastor Ostella examines the paradox of human responsibility paired with mankind's moral inability. Prepare to be blessed by this excellent study, which will be presented in a series of short segments. New posts in the series will appear at one or two day intervals over the next two to three weeks. Below are the title and introduction.

The Legitimacy of Paradox as a Theological Model: 
Case in Point, Fallen Man does not have Free Will but He has Full Responsibility 
ETS, Midwest, Ashland, Ohio, March 20, 2009 
Richard A. Ostella

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind
(1 Pet. 3.8)


This theme is difficult because it has an unmasking quality. The rub: it is personally crushing to face the facts about ourselves as fallen sinners. Recounting his conversion, Augustine says:
Thou, O Lord…didst turn me round towards myself, taking me from behind my back where I had placed me, unwilling to observe myself; and setting me before my face, that I might see how foul I was, how crooked and defiled, bespotted and ulcerous (Conf. Bk. VIII, par.16). 
Just to question “free will” challenges our self-understanding and raises an instinctive resistance. 
Therefore, to properly engage a study like this of the self, of my self, we need open-minded 
humility. Here, Peter’s call to a humble mind (1 Pet. 3.8) applies to the three things we are about to cover: theological paradox, a case in point, and implications.

PART 2 - Click Here


  1. Yes, I'm leaving a comment on my own blog! I have to say I'm very excited about sharing this material. There are many helpful insights in it, as well as a very powerful Biblical argument against the "free will" doctrine that is so prevalent and often simply assumed in Christian circles today. Stay tuned!

  2. humility: is a good starting point; Christ humbled Himself and He's God (phil. 2); so much more we should aim for humility in such pursuits.

  3. Mike,

    Thanks for your comment, and you make a great point.

    You will probably enjoy Pastor Ostella's extensive footnotes, which will be included in the upcoming posts. He interacts with Van Til, Calvin, Thielicke, Wesley, Kant, Geisler and other notables as he demolishes the idea of free will.

    Btw, thank you for linking here from your fine blog,

    A perfect presuppositionalist blog name, that!



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