Thursday, September 14, 2006

Simple Math

"Sola gratia", or "grace alone" is a doctrine that is affirmed by the vast majority of protestant Christianity. But it has been my experience that protestants outside of the reformed traditions only pay lip service to this doctrine. That is, they will affirm sola gratia on the one hand, while emptying the term of all meaning on the other. Case in point:

We believe in salvation by "Grace" plus nothing and minus nothing. The conditions to salvation are repentance and faith in Jesus the Christ:

This statement comes from Covington Seminary's statement of faith. Immediatly, the Calvinist sees a very basic problem. It is here stated that salvation is by grace plus nothing and minus nothing. Leaving the "minus" out, we can put it another way:

Grace + Nothing = Salvation


G + N = S

Now, this would be in accordance with Sola Gratia if the statement stopped here. But it doesn't. The statement goes on to say that salvation is conditioned on two other things. That is, two conditions are added to the above formula so that now we have:

Grace + Faith + Repentance = Salvation


G + F + R = S

As just stated, the problem is obvious to a Calvinist. The statement started with positing that salvation came by grace plus or minus nothing only to turn around and say that salvation came by grace, repentance, and faith. In the above formulas, nothing (N) cannot be equivalent to faith (F) and repentance (R) because to suggest this would be to deny the reality of faith and repentance in Christian doctrine. Thus, for the Christian, it is one or the other and not both. And while I'm sure that Covington Theological Seminary is a fine institution of Christian learning, someone over there needs some classes in remedial math.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Visitors From The Blogosphere

This Labor Day, I would like to give a shout-out to all the reformed bloggers who have taken the time to post their thoughts here at Conversations.

Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure - Mike was the first to link my blog on his site (many thanks Mike!). One of Mike's most recent posts discusses the crucial doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Bob Ladwig of The Puritan's Sword - Bob has recently drawn attention to the fact that Joel Osteen has released a board game version of his "Best Life Now" book (oh brother).

Thomas W.S. of Doctrine Matters - Tom's latest post is an excerpt from John Newton's "Evil Long I Took Delight". Check it out!

Bartimaeus of The Five Points of Calvinism Defended - Bartimaeus' most recent entry highlights an excerpt from the August 2006 issue of Tabletalk written by RC Sproul.

J.D. of Did You Hear What You Just Said? - J.D.'s most recent entry is 3 months old but is still an eye-opening testimony to the lengths that non-Calvinists will go to in arguing against the doctrines of grace. In my opinion, J.D. should post more often because, as my previous entry shows, there are plenty of "Arminian sayings" on the web to draw attention to.

Jason Robertson of Fide-O - Yeah I know, as if this guy needs a plug from me! Anyway Jason's most recent post concerns the covenant of works and is, as always, an interesting read.

Pilgrim of Slaves of Righteousness - Pilgrim's latest is a light-hearted comparison between himself and Charles Spurgeon.

David McCrory of Covenant Corner - David recently linked to an eye-opening article that discusses Wal-Mart's involvment with homosexual activism.

Lady Raven of The Reforming of the Raven - Now, "Lady Raven" has several different blogs that appear to be dedicated to several of her many (and unusual) interests. From what I can tell, the one I've linked to here is where she blogs on her views as a reformed Christian. This entry is particuliarly interesting as she discusses what it means to be offended in our day.

And lastly, Gene Bridges of Triablogue and Strange Baptist Fire - Gene reportedly had a rough time of it this past week so everyone is encouraged to pray for him. Also, I would like to thank Gene for letting all us Star Trek fans know about the new SFX in upcoming episodes of the original Star Trek!