Extracurricular Activities 7.12.14 — Remembering Morris, Clark Pinnock & Hell, and Arminianism
I never had the privilege of meeting Leon Morris, nor did I ever see him in person or hear him give a lecture, but I would like to write my appreciation of Morris from an autobiographical standpoint. As a young theological student in the 1970s I devoured his books, for he was one of the first scholars I read as a budding student. And how many books there were!
In an hour or so I’ll take part in our summer graduation ceremony in the University of Edinburgh, and one of the pleasures will be the graduation of a particularly fine young New Testament PhD student from a country in the southern hemisphere, a “developing” country. He is one of the most talented PhD students whom I’ve supervised in my years in Edinburgh. His thesis passed easily, and will, I presume, be published in due course, an excellent critical analysis of certain issues in the Gospel of John. I blog here to express a plea on his behalf and on behalf of other young scholars like him from developing nations.
Well-known evangelical — originally conservative and then more progressive — Clark Pinnock came to view eternal conscious punishment as an “outrageous doctrine” (Rethinking Hell, 60). He begins his famous essay with Augustine upon whom he lays responsibility for the traditionalist view. Augustine believed God would torment sinners/the wicked mentally, psychologically and physically endlessly — and when Augustine was challenged how that could happen without their being destroyed, Augustine believed God would ongoingly perform miracles to keep them alive. Quoting John Gerstner, Jonathan Edwards believed the same.
Pinnock thinks this is like the person who delights in watching a cat being tortured in a microwave, and taking delight in it.
Roger Olson Shares Everything You've Wanted to Know About Arminianism
Part One Answers: What is “classical Arminianism?”; Is Arminianism a sect or denomination?; Why identify a theology with a man’s name?; Why is there now a rising interest in Arminianism? Why have blogs and books about a “man-made theology?”; Isn’t there a “middle ground” between Calvinism and Arminianism?
Part Two Answers: What’s the difference between Arminianism and Wesleyanism?; Does Arminianism include belief in absolute free will? If so, how could God have inspired the authors of Scripture?; Doesn’t Arminianism rob God of his sovereignty?
Part Three Answers: Doesn’t Arminianism lead to open theism?; Can an Arminian resolve the mystery of divine foreknowledge with Molinism?; Doesn’t Arminianism imply that the “decisive element in salvation” is the sinner’s free decision to accept Christ, thereby giving saved persons permission to boast of partially meriting their salvation?; Doesn’t Arminianism lead to liberalism in theology?; Is the first principle of Arminianism free will?
In any discussion about the future of religion in America, especially as it relates to stalled growth in churches and denominations, those outside our religious communities find one theory especially compelling. This is the idea: that young Evangelicals are frustrated with Christian orthodoxy’s strict standards of sexual morality. We’re told that these young Evangelicals will soon revolutionize our churches with liberalized views on same-sex marriage, premarital sex, gender identity, and so on. But a new study by a University of Texas sociologist finds that Evangelical Christians ages 18 to 39 are resisting liberalizing trends in the culture.
By the way, if you are interested, the NIV Chronological Bible is 20% off for a very limited time. (Sale ends 7/14/14)
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