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Solas

Spurgeon's Parallel Lines and Compatibilism?

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I believe Spurgeon is spot on with these two quotes. 

How does this differ with 'compatibilism', if at all?

 

Quote

That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring. (New Park Street Pulpit, 4:337)

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Quote

I believe in predestination, yea, even in its very jots and tittles. I believe that the path of a single grain of dust in the March wind is ordained and settled by a decree which cannot be violated; that every word and thought of man, every flittering of a sparrow’s wing, every flight of a fly...that everything, in fact is foreknown and foreordained. But I do equally believe in the free agency of man, that man acts as he wills, especially in moral operations — choosing the evil with a will that is unbiased by anything that comes from God, biased only by his own depravity of heart and the perverseness of his habits; choosing the right too, with perfect freedom, though sacredly guided and led by the Holy Spirit...I believe that man is as accountable as if there were no destiny whatever...Where these two truths meet I do not know, nor do I want to know. They do not puzzle me, since I have given up my mind to believing them both.(Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 15, 458).

 

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10 hours ago, Solas said:

I believe Spurgeon is spot on with these two quotes. 

How does this differ with 'compatibilism', if at all?

What Spurgeon is conveying is the true doctrine of "Predestination" as a 5 Point Calvinist.

 

As far as how either differ with compatibilism (I don't see how that came up from Spurgeon) my question is why try to harmonize the Scriptural with something non-Scriptural or a worldly philosophy? Since this is a very repetitive theme on this board I'm quoting myself from elsewhere on the board:

 

"I always have to ask what a person means by "free will". Most often people simply mean "choice". A lot of such people actually have little or no knowledge of the theology (Calvinism) which is rather sensitive to such choice of words. Having said that, you're right in that Calvinist affirm a man's choice, if that's all they mean by free will. It is when Calvinist begin emphasizing accountability and responsibility for decisions made by reprobate that a lot of contention begins to surface. For example, someone against Calvinism may suggest that the burden of sin is on God's shoulders and he is accountable and responsible for our sins. On the surface that appears to mean much more than the advocate for the reprobate means. In one way Jesus Christ is accountable and responsible for our sins and us as our federal head. However, the reprobate chooses or decides to reject Jesus Christ. They shall be held accountable and responsible for their own sins before God. I have no problem acknowledging such points and even emphasizing them."

 

10 hours ago, Solas said:

I believe in predestination, yea, even in its very jots and tittles. I believe that the path of a single grain of dust in the March wind is ordained and settled by a decree which cannot be violated; that every word and thought of man, every flittering of a sparrow’s wing, every flight of a fly...that everything, in fact is foreknown and foreordained. (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 15, 458).

 

God "works all things after the counsel of his will" Ephesians 1:11.

This "all things" includes the fall of sparrows Matthew 10:29,

the rolling of dice Proverbs 16:33,

the slaughter of his people Psalm 44:11,

the decisions of kings Proverbs 21:1,

the failing of sight Exodus 4:11,

the sickness of children 2 Samuel 12:15,

the loss and gain of money 1 Samuel 2:7,

the suffering of saints 1 Peter 4:19,

the completion of travel plans James 4:15,

the persecution of Christians Hebrews 12:4-7,

the repentance of souls 2 Timothy 2:25,

the gift of faith Philippians 1:29,

the pursuit of holiness Philippians 3:12-13,

the growth of believers Hebrews 6:3,

the giving of life and the taking in death 1 Samuel 2:6,

and the crucifixion of his Son Acts 4:27-28.

From the smallest thing to the greatest thing, good and evil, happy and sad, pagan and Christian, pain and pleasure - God governs them all for His wise and just and good purposes Isaiah 46:10. Lest we miss the point, the Bible speaks most clearly to this in the most painful situations.

After losing all ten of his children in the collapse of his son's house, Job says, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD" Job 1:21.

After being covered with boils he says, "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" Job 2:10.

 

10 hours ago, Solas said:

But I do equally believe in the free agency of man, that man acts as he wills, especially in moral operations — choosing the evil with a will that is unbiased by anything that comes from God, biased only by his own depravity of heart and the perverseness of his habits; choosing the right too, with perfect freedom, though sacredly guided and led by the Holy Spirit...I believe that man is as accountable as if there were no destiny whatever...Where these two truths meet I do not know, nor do I want to know. They do not puzzle me, since I have given up my mind to believing them both.(Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 15, 458).

 

There is a PDF located in this post that I think you'd enjoy on the subject:

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, William said:

As far as how either differ with compatibilism (I don't see how that came up from Spurgeon) my question is why try to harmonize the Scriptural with something non-Scriptural or a worldly philosophy? Since this is a very repetitive theme on this board I'm quoting myself from elsewhere on the board:

 

Spurgeon didn't bring it up. I did because I mainly agree with Spurgeon on these matters, and when I explained it to a pastor he said it was 'theological compatibilism' where God is 100% sovereign and we are 100% responsible. As I read and have read Spurgeon this seems to be what he is saying.

2 hours ago, William said:

. A lot of such people actually have little or no knowledge of the theology (Calvinism) which is rather sensitive to such choice of words.

I know that the thrust of Calvin's theology is centered around 'Covenants' as he doesn't delve into predestination of the elect until Book III of His Institutes. But it seems modern day Calvinists would place it in Book I if they had their way. 

Edited by Solas

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2 minutes ago, Solas said:

I know that the thrust of Calvin's theology is centered around 'Covenants' as he doesn't delve into predestination of the elect until Book III of His Institutes. But it seems modern day Calvinists would place it in Book I if they had their way. 

Calvinistic theology is Scripture centered. 

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3 minutes ago, Solas said:

I explained it to a pastor he said it was 'theological compatibilism' where God is 100% sovereign and we are 100% responsible.

Thanks for the clarification but that's not how'd I explain compatibilism. The difference is in what Spurgeon stated:

 

2 hours ago, William said:

Spurgeon: choosing the evil with a will that is unbiased by anything that comes from God, biased only by his own depravity of heart and the perverseness of his habits; choosing the right too, with perfect freedom, though sacredly guided and led by the Holy Spirit.

While one chooses what they desire their desire is rooted in the heart which is either natural or from above. In other words, there is bondage of the will. One is a slave to sin or a slave to God.

 

This of course is not defined as autonomous or libertarian "free will" and is why I most always ask what a person means by "free will".

 

God bless,

William

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7 minutes ago, Becky said:

Calvinistic theology is Scripture centered. 

I think he means Reformed Theology is also Covenant theologically. Reformed Theology umbrellas Monergism, Calvinism, Covenant, Amillennialism, and Cessationalism (not an exhaustive list). Lots of people use Reformed and Calvinist synonymously.

 

@Solas Calvinism is Soteriology which is a branch of essential theology. Though, you're right to suggest that Calvinist are Covenant in theology rather than Dispensational. This is not to say that there aren't Calvinist which claim to be Dispensational but those that usually do are less than 5 Point Calvinist.

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5 minutes ago, Becky said:

Calvinistic theology is Scripture centered. 

I'm not affirming or disputing that.

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3 minutes ago, Solas said:

I'm not affirming or disputing that.

We'll see if we can entice you to step down from the fence sitting 😉

 

In the meantime I hope you're in information gathering mode.

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6 minutes ago, William said:

Thanks for the clarification but that's not how'd I explain compatibilism. The difference is in what Spurgeon stated:

 

While one chooses what they desire their desire is rooted in the heart which is either natural or from above. In other words, there is bondage of the will. One is a slave to sin or a slave to God.

 

This of course is not defined as autonomous or libertarian "free will" and is why I most always ask what a person means by "free will".

 

God bless,

William

Yes, I realize that and I don't hold to free will especially amongst those who are slaves to sin, satan and the dictates of the flesh.

2 minutes ago, William said:

We'll see if we can entice you to step down from the fence sitting 😉

HA HA. You mean that 100%/100% fence? lol

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8 minutes ago, William said:

I think he means Reformed Theology is also Covenant theologically. Reformed Theology umbrellas Monergism, Calvinism, Covenant, Amillennialism, and Cessationalism. Lots of people use Reformed and Calvinist synonymously.

 

@Solas Calvinism is Soteriology which is a branch of essential theology. Though, you're right to suggest that Calvinist are Covenant in theology rather than Dispensational. This is not to say that there aren't Calvinist which claim to be Dispensational but those that usually do are less than 5 Point Calvinist.

Personally, I like the term 'Reformational' centering on the 5 Solas.

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47 minutes ago, Solas said:

Personally, I like the term 'Reformational' centering on the 5 Solas.

Ah, and this is where things can become tricky. Protestant ought to convey the 5 Solas as they were principles which were reestablished in the Protestant Reformation. If you were to ask me who were the first Protestants and who are an example Protestant today I would say Lutherans. With the risk of upsetting my Lutheran brethren the Reformation seemingly ceased after the death of Martin Luther whereas Reformed Presbyterians continued in the spirit of the Reformation (Calvin, Knox, Zwingli) etc. Of course my Lutheran brethren often suggest that we Reformed have taken the Apostolic doctrine too far.

 

Lutherans and Calvinist are both Monergism and adhere to the principles of the 5 Solas. Monergism is conveyed in the first 2 Points of the TULIP. Calvinist usually lose Lutherans upon the L in Limited Atonement where the theology of the first two points is taken out to a theological conclusion. The T and U for Total Depravity and Unconditional Election are affirmed by Monergist. Light heartedly I say Calvinist received our name from Lutherans. I can imagine Lutherans discouragingly calling out, "those blasted Calvinist"! in theological debate.

 

22 minutes ago, William said:

I like the term 'Reformational' centering on the 5 Solas

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda (the church must always be reformed).

 

I prefer Christ centric doctrine as opposed to Calvinist and Arminian having their verses each verse belongs to Christ's. The doctrines we teach ought to be Apostolic and Apostolic ought to be Christ centric.

 

I personally believe Calvinism is the best "method" to present and teach the true Gospel. The hermeneutical lens of Calvinism brings the Gospel to clarity.

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4 minutes ago, William said:

Ah, and this is where things can become tricky. Protestant ought to convey the 5 Solas as they were principles which were reestablished in the Protestant Reformation. If you were to ask me who were the first Protestants and who are an example of those distinct Protestants I would say that Lutherans are true Protestants. With the risk of upsetting my Lutheran brethren the Reformation ceased after the death of Martin Luther whereas Presbyterians continued in the spirit of the Reformation (Calvin, Knox, Zwingli) etc.

 

Lutherans and Calvinist are both Monergism in theology as conveyed in the first 2 Points in the TULIP. Where Calvinist usually lose Lutherans is upon the L in Limited Atonement where the theology of the first two points is taken out to a theological conclusion. We Calvinist actually received our name from Lutherans as Christians received their name in Antioch. I can imagine Lutherans discouragingly calling out, "those blasted Calvinist"!

 

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda

I have been in a few Lutheran and Calvinistic Churches. Unfortunately, any thing that is not 'Lutheran' is called 'Reformed' by the Lutherans (some know better) and anyone that does not hold to the '5 points' of Dortrecht is an Arminian (some know better).

  My beef with both (maybe I am mistaken) is while they tout 'sola scriptura', they unbiblically hold to a Church-State relationship, so much so that often the first question asked, in many of these Churches, is 'what is your last name?' ; hoping to hear something like Schmidt (Lutheran) or van den Berg (Dutch Reformed). I'm not sure if this is tied in with their practice of infant baptism resulting in many unregenerate folks believing they are saved or what.

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33 minutes ago, William said:

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda (the church must always be reformed).

 

I prefer Christ centric doctrine as opposed to Calvinist and Arminian having their verses each verse belongs to Christ's. The doctrines we teach ought to be Apostolic and Apostolic ought to be Christ centric.

 

I personally believe Calvinism is the best "method" to present and teach the true Gospel. The hermeneutical lens of Calvinism brings the Gospel to clarity

I agree with the Christocentric /redemptive approach to Scripture and that part attracted me to Lutheran theology as well as others like Spurgeon and Martyn Lloyd Jones.

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24 minutes ago, Solas said:

My beef with both (maybe I am mistaken) is while they tout 'sola scriptura', they unbiblically hold to a Church-State relationship, so much so that often the first question asked, in many of these Churches, is 'what is your last name?' ; hoping to hear something like Schmidt (Lutheran) or van den Berg (Dutch Reformed). I'm not sure if this is tied in with their practice of infant baptism resulting in many unregenerate folks believing they are saved or what.

I'm rather unclear as to what you mean by Church-State relationship. Are you referring to Theonomy?

 

Theological labels and mentioning the person which developed the doctrine in question is rather proper because we are crediting the person for their works. It is also far more simpler to convey our theological stream by saying we are either Arian or Trinitarian etc., rather than having to explain every detail of our theology. Of course the invitation to exhaust ourselves is welcome but many people inquiring about what we believe seldom really mean I'm going to sit here and listen to you for days.

 

Regarding unregenerate folks are you meaning like circumcised in the OT Covenant believing they were saved when not all Israel is Israel?

 

As far as what they believe regarding their eternal destiny it isn't my place to say. Just as many adults which have professed faith and walked away in Credo-Baptist churches exists.

 

There is a difference between baptismal regeneration and covenant/household baptism which falls under the umbrella term Paedo baptist.

 

Lutherans and Reformed Presbyterians are Paedo Baptist but the distinction is that Lutherans are baptismal regenerist and Reformed are not.

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, William said:
56 minutes ago, Solas said:

 

I'm rather unclear as to what you mean by Church-State relationship. Are you referring to Theonomy?

 

More like national identity, Lutherans=German; Reformed = Dutch; Presbyterian = Scottish etc (approx).

 

43 minutes ago, William said:

As far as the theological labels it is considered proper to credit the person which developed the doctrine in question. It is also far more simpler to convey our theological stream by saying we are either Arian or Trinitarian etc., rather than having to explain every detail of our theology. Of course the invitation to exhaust ourselves is welcome but many people inquiring about what we believe seldom really mean I'm going to sit here and listen to you for days.

I wasn't quibbling about the labels (they are a necessary shorthand in giving an approximate of where one stands) but the 'all or nothing' approach by some. e.g. 'since you are not a 5 point, you must be Arminian' or 'if you are not a Lutheran, then you are in the Reformed camp'.

 

43 minutes ago, William said:

Regarding unregenerate folks are you meaning like circumcised in the OT Covenant believing they were saved when not all Israel is Israel?

Yes, those without true faith, without which there is no new birth...

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (2Co 5:17)
 

1 Peter 1:23 (KJV) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

43 minutes ago, William said:

As far as what they believe regarding their eternal destiny it isn't my place to say. Just as many adults which have professed faith and walked away in Credo-Baptist churches exists.

 

True there are unregenerate in both. My concern is the ongoing object of their faith, as I heard over and over in Lutheran circles, "remember your baptism". I suppose in some today it is 'remember the aisle you walked down'.

 

43 minutes ago, William said:

There is a difference between baptismal regeneration and covenant/household baptism which falls under the umbrella term Paedo baptist.

 

Lutherans and Reformed Presbyterians are Paedo Baptist but the distinction is that Lutherans are baptismal regenerist and Reformed are not.

I definitely don't hold to baptismal regeneration, I suppose covenant /household baptism has some merit (e.g. 1Cor 7:14b).

 

 

Edited by Solas
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19 hours ago, Solas said:

I believe Spurgeon is spot on with these two quotes. 

How does this differ with 'compatibilism', if at all?

 

I have often heard that Compatibilism is sometimes called or equated with Soft Determinism. 

 

Quote

So where does Calvinism fall on this issue? Since Calvinists believe that we can be held morally responsible for our choices, and therefore we have whatever kind of freedom is necessary for moral responsibility, Calvinists are clearly soft determinists with respect to that kind of freedom. (link)

 

"Soft Determinism is the theory that human behaviour and actions are wholly determined by causal events, but human free will does exist when defined as the capacity to act according to one's nature (which is shaped by external factors such as heredity, society and upbringing)." (link)

 

"Soft determinism suggests that some behaviours are more constrained than others and that there is an element of free will in all behavior." (link)

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1 hour ago, Ben Asher said:

Calvinists are clearly soft determinists with respect to that kind of freedom. (link)

 

  One of the concluding remarks in that link is quite interesting and is a propos to the OP...

 

Quote

So where does Calvinism fall on this issue? Since Calvinists believe that we can be held morally responsible for our choices, and therefore we have whatever kind of freedom is necessary for moral responsibility, Calvinists are clearly softdeterminists with respect to that kind of freedom. If I’m right that mainstream historic Calvinism represents some version of causal divine determinism, then to be more specific we should say that Calvinists are soft causal divine determinists. Admittedly that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and I can’t see the t-shirt catching on, but at least it has the virtue of philosophical precision!

 

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On 4/13/2019 at 7:46 AM, William said:

 

 

There is a PDF located in this post that I think you'd enjoy on the subject:

 

 

Reading over this just now (haven't finished), I came across this quote at the top of page #4...

Quote

 Here man calls God to account and demands that because he initiates to believe the Gospel, God is required to save them. So God’s sovereignty consists in submitting himself to and making sure the wills of men are carried out. God is not free in ordaining anything because He is subject to the will of men that he values very much even more important and above himself.

I'm just wondering. Did man 'initiate' by his believing? Or did God initiate by first presenting a Gospel promise, i.e. something to believe in? If the latter is the case, man is not acting autonomously, is he?

(back to reading)

 

(mid page 4)

Quote

Man makes the call first independently out of his own self-determination of good and bad. Then it is God’s turn to follow up on man’s actions and decisions, whether to clean them up if they are sinful, or to bless them if they are good.

But isn't  it God that first sets the parameters? (Besides, all come as confessing sinners in need of a Savior, as none are good).

Edited by Solas

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