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!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Legitimacy of Paradox as a Theological Model - Part 6

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. To understand these thoughts in context, please begin with part 1.

Six inter-related reasons support this claim.14 These things may come to us as personal assault.15 We want the mirror on the wall to speak, but not to tell the truth of our natural ugliness. Thus, we need to approach the following reasons cautiously knowing that it is difficult to be true to thine own self. There is some overlap.

 1) Free will doctrine fragments the person 

Fallen man does not have free will because Scripture does not speak of having a “free will” but of being a free person. But fallen man is not a free person; He is enslaved to sin and free from righteousness: When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness (Rom. 6.20). He, the person, not his will, must be set free for righteousness (Rom. 6.18). Thus, in Scripture, there is no such “thing” as a free will; there is only a free person who chooses and decides accordingly in contrast to an enslaved person who chooses and decides accordingly. 

Pastor Ostella's Footnotes

14 For clarity I state them in a blunt way; the intent is not dogmatism but efficiency. My goal is irenic.  
15 We deceive ourselves with illusions and when the conscience is disquieted by God’s law, “it begins to fear that it might be living in illusion and untruth, that its values and calculations are unfounded, that it is moving in the wrong direction…this law [is] the great disrupting of the presupposed illusion of the “You ought and therefore you can”…a self-entrenching against God…In this illusion man himself is the subject who commands; he is autonomous …refusing to acknowledge God…God makes contact with man at the point where man digs in against him, at the nerve of man’s curving in upon himself. The contact is thus a new creation and a new birth…miracle (Helmut Thielicke, The Evangelical Faith: Prolegomena, the Relation of Theology to Modern Thought Forms [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974] 144-146.

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