Top Arminian based commentary on the book of Romans

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John | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 20 2013 5:17 PM

Whyndell Grizzard:

Well I just checked all my "reformed" commentaries on Romans, and they all address Rom. 9.30-33, maybe someone has misled you?

So every Calvinist commentary you have ever looked at deals honestly with the conclusion? I know better than that my friend. I have never seen any Calvinist commentary that agreed with Pauls conclusion. In fact, Romans 9:33 says exactly the same thing as John 3:16. How many times have you ever heard a Calvinist commentator deal with the statement "whosoever believes" (v33) when dealing with Romans 9? Surprise

A long time ago I read Geislers "Chosen but free" and James Whites "Potters Freedom". (neither available on Logos). In Whites chapter on Romans 9 he stopped his commentary at verse 24, and called it the "crescendo" and "conclusion". I couldn't believe it, but nothing beyond verse 24 helped his case so he just ignored it.

White didn't address it, and I wanted to see what the best Calvinist commentaries had to say on the matter. White recommended John Piper, and called it the best exegesis of Romans 9 available. So I took a look. Piper didn't even make it to verse 24. He stopped at verse 23 after 256 pages of "exegesis" if you want to call it that.

Don't take my word for it, see for yourself: The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23

According to White, this is the best Calvinist "exegesis" of Romans 9 available, and it totally ignores Pauls own conclusion to what he had written.

 

 

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Evan Boardman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 20 2013 6:03 PM

John maybe you should start a thread asking what the ttop Calvinist based commentary is. 

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Robert Harner | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 20 2013 6:21 PM

Had to document this  Cool

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John | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 20 2013 7:21 PM

Thanks Robert, I hadn't even noticed Big Smile

Evan Boardman:

John maybe you should start a thread asking what the top Calvinist based commentary is. 

I like John Calvin's commentary. I have his monstrosity in print on my bookshelf. And I find him to be much less extreme than the theological construct that bears his name today. For example, in Romans 9:13 Calvin correctly points out that Esau is representative of the nation of Edom. Where White and others who claim the entire passage is teaching election of individuals have God hating the individual named Esau. Calvin also clearly rejects limited atonement in his commentary, making him a mere 4 pointer Wink

 

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Evan Boardman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Aug 20 2013 11:51 PM

John:
I like John Calvin's commentary. I have his monstrosity in print on my bookshelf. And I find him to be much less extreme than the theological construct that bears his name today.

Richard Muller wrote a number of books proving that Calvin and Calvinist have one and the same theology. One is coming out in Logo's the 26th of this month, in a Baker collection  www.logos.com/product/28496/baker-academic-reformation-history-collection

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 1:47 AM

elnwood:
Does Witherington claim to not be Wesleyan? I mean, I'm a Calvinist and a Baptist, but I can critique Calvinists and Baptists all day

The book is not about denominational ties, but about systems of theology, so he doesn't say whether or not he's a Wesleyan. Essentially his point is that any of the detailed statements of faiths/systematic theologies can only give that level of detail by going beyond the text of the Bible. His argument, therefore, is that we should be faithful to what the Bible "actually says", rather than trying to mould the Bible into a particular hermeneutical framework.

My copy of The Problem with Evangelical Theology is in print, and I'm too lazy to type out large portions! But the quote below is from Indelible Image, which I do have in Logos:

"Upon further review, it turns out that the biblical texts mean something other than what Calvinists and Arminians thought."

The New Testament is innocent of our later theological agendas and buzzwords and categories, whether we think of patristic theology or Thomist theology or Lutheran theology or Calvinist theology or Wesleyan theology or dispensational theology or pentecostal theology. 

"I must insist that the proper order of things is that discovering and discerning the character of Old Testament theology and New Testament theology on its own merits must be seen as a necessarily prior enterprise to the constructing of a biblical theology, not least because we have all seen what happens when the Bible is read through the grid of later Calvinist or Arminian or Lutheran or Orthodox or Catholic systematic theology: the biblical text is read anachronistically and is gerrymandered for various later theological purposes and battles of which the biblical writers were innocent and ignorant. In short, distortion of the meaning of biblical texts happens over and over again as the attempt is made to make them fit a preexisting theological schema."

And this from his commentary on Hebrews:

"It will be worthwhile to lay out the traditional interpretations of this text by Calvinists and Arminians to show the different assumptions brought to the task of interpretation in each case. Theological systems, while not bad in themselves, can often lead to very strained interpretations of biblical texts, especially when the system is the primary intellectual grid through which the text is being read. This can easily be illustrated from a close reading of Protestant commentaries on Hebrews 6:1–6 since the Reformation. Differences of interpretation are usually based on whether a Calvinist or an Arminian is reading this text."

And one more from Indelible Image, again:

As I said in an earlier work, The Problem with Evangelical Theology it is precisely in our distinctives that the various evangelical and orthodox (both Catholic and Orthodox) theologies are exegetically weakest, and this ought to tell us something. The theology of sinless perfection, the theology of eternal security and divine predetermination, the theology of necessary second blessing and necessary glossolalia, the theology of sacramental salvation, the theology of continued human priesthoods and patriarchal privileges in both the family and the family of faith, the theology of rapture and two peoples of God, the theology of one particular denomination or church having a lock on God’s truth, the theology of Marian sinlessness and childlessness (other than Jesus)—all these shipwreck on the hard rocks of the New Testament and the theological and ethical expositions of the New Testament writers.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 4:08 AM

Mark Barnes:

And this from his commentary on Hebrews:

"It will be worthwhile to lay out the traditional interpretations of this text by Calvinists and Arminians to show the different assumptions brought to the task of interpretation in each case. Theological systems, while not bad in themselves, can often lead to very strained interpretations of biblical texts, especially when the system is the primary intellectual grid through which the text is being read. This can easily be illustrated from a close reading of Protestant commentaries on Hebrews 6:1–6 since the Reformation. Differences of interpretation are usually based on whether a Calvinist or an Arminian is reading this text."

Is this a Logos resource? Could not find it on the Logos website. Although Witherington wrote most of the  Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series, the Hebrews volume is by David deSilva.

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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 4:13 AM

Jack Caviness:
Is this a Logos resource? Could not find it on the Logos website

See here https://www.logos.com/product/9681/ivp-new-testament-studies-collection

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John | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 6:04 AM

Evan Boardman:

Richard Muller wrote a number of books proving that Calvin and Calvinist have one and the same theology. One is coming out in Logo's the 26th of this month, in a Baker collection  www.logos.com/product/28496/baker-academic-reformation-history-collection

Calvinism is not a monolithe. There are various interpretations. And it is not uncommon to see the more extreme Calvinists labeling moderate Calvinists "Arminians". All in All, its a futile debate that benefits no one, and historically was the cause of much bloodshed and pain.

The reformation could have been a whole-hearted return back to the Bible, but unfortunately it was more a picking and choosing of what parts of Romans Catholicism to toss out. This is why I think reaching a good church history (like Schaff's, who was reformed) sheds a lot more light on the debate than the books out there to "prove" their view is correct.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 6:08 AM

John:
I think reaching a good church history (like Schaff's, who was reformed) sheds a lot more light on the debate than the books out there to "prove" their view is correct.

Thanks for the recommendation. Yes

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 6:14 AM

alabama24:

John:
I think reaching a good church history (like Schaff's, who was reformed) sheds a lot more light on the debate than the books out there to "prove" their view is correct.

Thanks for the recommendation. Yes

For those who consider it: Note that this resource is part of two bundles that are much less expensive than the individual book (plus numerous base packages)

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 6:19 AM

alabama24:

John:
I think reaching a good church history (like Schaff's, who was reformed) sheds a lot more light on the debate than the books out there to "prove" their view is correct.

Thanks for the recommendation. Yes

I have not yet read this but it has been officially on my "To Read List" so it has moved up further as a priority.

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elnwood | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 9:02 AM

Mark Barnes:

elnwood:
Does Witherington claim to not be Wesleyan? I mean, I'm a Calvinist and a Baptist, but I can critique Calvinists and Baptists all day

The book is not about denominational ties, but about systems of theology, so he doesn't say whether or not he's a Wesleyan.

Here's a YouTube video, with the description "Dr. Ben Witherington III discusses why he considers the Wesleyan understanding of the gospel to be most faithful to Scripture."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sG08YuAZEU

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Evan Boardman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 10:55 AM

Well, it' not so surprising that people misunderstand  Calvin, Witherington is alive and people can't agree what he stands for.

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 12:02 PM

Mark Barnes:

 

"I must insist that the proper order of things is that discovering and discerning the character of Old Testament theology and New Testament theology on its own merits must be seen as a necessarily prior enterprise to the constructing of a biblical theology, not least because we have all seen what happens when the Bible is read through the grid of later Calvinist or Arminian or Lutheran or Orthodox or Catholic systematic theology:

 

What an interesting point of view from Mr. Witherington, however, I disagree.  His insistence on the order of knowledge and systemization as stated above is impractical and ultimately counter-productive. Is every student of the Bible to start from ground zero, inductively "discovering and discerning the character of Old Testament and New Testament theology" and only then be allowed to construct conclusions re: a biblical theology?  Is there no framework (aka: theology) that guides the student's "discovering and discerning" before he is allowed to construct his biblical theology?  I doubt that that is true even where Mr. Witherington teaches.  A genuinely inductive-only methodology would lead to countless numbers of students chasing down all sorts of theological bunny trails in the weeds, in all directions.  But if, in fact, there are to be guidelines to the students' journey of discovery, then whose guidelines are to be used? 

The fact is, every single one of us stands on the shoulders of and has adopted to one degree or another the theology of those who have gone before ... whether it is Ch Fathers, Aquinas, the Reformers, Moises Amyrault, Wesley, Arminius, Bunyan, Toplady, Owen, the Westminster divines, Mary Baker Glover Eddy, Scofield, Walvoord, Ryrie, TBN and their coterie of teachers, or whoever.

There is absolutely no problem [imo] with first adopting any school or system of theology as a starting point and then using deduction (and induction) to check the plumb, followed by modifications to the system as the Word and the Spirit lead/teach.  Sometimes those modifications only require a readjustment of a brick or two here or there, sometimes a section needs to be rebuilt, sometimes the entire wall needs to be torn down with the adoption of another to replace it. 

The problem that I think Witherington is trying to address is when one stagnates in any system and/or lazily accepts all tenets -  lacking any ability or desire to question or to critically analyze.  When this happens, sola scriptura is essentially thrown out of the window and the creed/confession/teacher/system is substituted and becomes the de facto authoritative rule of faith and practice ... stated another way, tradition becomes authoritative over the Word and the Spirit ... and that can be just as true of Reformed, or Wesleyan, or Arminian, or Dispensational, or any other system.

-----------------------

BTW, in response to the OP's question I was going to suggest Geisler's Chosen But Free but in checking the Scripture index I see that he only covers up to Ro 9:29.

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee(Psa 65:4a)

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 1:36 PM

Ted Hans:

Jack Caviness:
Is this a Logos resource? Could not find it on the Logos website

See here https://www.logos.com/product/9681/ivp-new-testament-studies-collection

Thank you for the link, but believe I will pass. Have no desire to spend that much to have the one commentary that interests me.

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Jim Wait | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 1:40 PM

The best commentary on ROMANS is the NIB commentary vol10.  N T Wright has spent his whole academic life teaching and writing about the book of Romans.  

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 1:44 PM

JRS:

There is absolutely no problem [imo] with first adopting any school or system of theology as a starting point and then using deduction (and induction) to check the plumb, followed by modifications to the system as the Word and the Spirit lead/teach.  Sometimes those modifications only require a readjustment of a brick or two here or there, sometimes a section needs to be rebuilt, sometimes the entire wall needs to be torn down with the adoption of another to replace it. 

The problem that I think Witherington is trying to address is when one stagnates in any system and/or lazily accepts all tenets -  lacking any ability or desire to question or to critically analyze.  When this happens, sola scriptura is essentially thrown out of the window and the creed/confession/teacher/system is substituted and becomes the de facto authoritative rule of faith and practice ... stated another way, tradition becomes authoritative over the Word and the Spirit ... and that can be just as true of Reformed, or Wesleyan, or Arminian, or Dispensational, or any other system.

Very good analysis.

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Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 3:21 PM

My goodness, I am so surprised that we could not settle the Calvinist - Arminian debate in this thread.  After all, something that the Church has debated for over 1,500 years shouldn't take our brilliant minds more than on Logos forum thread to settle.  Should it?

Especially if everyone would see reason and agree that I am right. 

Opps, isn't most of this out of bounds for this forum?

Wink

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Aug 21 2013 3:25 PM

Mark Barnes:

elnwood:
Does Witherington claim to not be Wesleyan? I mean, I'm a Calvinist and a Baptist, but I can critique Calvinists and Baptists all day

The book is not about denominational ties, but about systems of theology, so he doesn't say whether or not he's a Wesleyan. Essentially his point is that any of the detailed statements of faiths/systematic theologies can only give that level of detail by going beyond the text of the Bible. His argument, therefore, is that we should be faithful to what the Bible "actually says", rather than trying to mould the Bible into a particular hermeneutical framework.

My copy of The Problem with Evangelical Theology is in print, and I'm too lazy to type out large portions! But the quote below is from Indelible Image, which I do have in Logos:

"Upon further review, it turns out that the biblical texts mean something other than what Calvinists and Arminians thought."

The New Testament is innocent of our later theological agendas and buzzwords and categories, whether we think of patristic theology or Thomist theology or Lutheran theology or Calvinist theology or Wesleyan theology or dispensational theology or pentecostal theology. 

"I must insist that the proper order of things is that discovering and discerning the character of Old Testament theology and New Testament theology on its own merits must be seen as a necessarily prior enterprise to the constructing of a biblical theology, not least because we have all seen what happens when the Bible is read through the grid of later Calvinist or Arminian or Lutheran or Orthodox or Catholic systematic theology: the biblical text is read anachronistically and is gerrymandered for various later theological purposes and battles of which the biblical writers were innocent and ignorant. In short, distortion of the meaning of biblical texts happens over and over again as the attempt is made to make them fit a preexisting theological schema."

And this from his commentary on Hebrews:

"It will be worthwhile to lay out the traditional interpretations of this text by Calvinists and Arminians to show the different assumptions brought to the task of interpretation in each case. Theological systems, while not bad in themselves, can often lead to very strained interpretations of biblical texts, especially when the system is the primary intellectual grid through which the text is being read. This can easily be illustrated from a close reading of Protestant commentaries on Hebrews 6:1–6 since the Reformation. Differences of interpretation are usually based on whether a Calvinist or an Arminian is reading this text."

And one more from Indelible Image, again:

As I said in an earlier work, The Problem with Evangelical Theology it is precisely in our distinctives that the various evangelical and orthodox (both Catholic and Orthodox) theologies are exegetically weakest, and this ought to tell us something. The theology of sinless perfection, the theology of eternal security and divine predetermination, the theology of necessary second blessing and necessary glossolalia, the theology of sacramental salvation, the theology of continued human priesthoods and patriarchal privileges in both the family and the family of faith, the theology of rapture and two peoples of God, the theology of one particular denomination or church having a lock on God’s truth, the theology of Marian sinlessness and childlessness (other than Jesus)—all these shipwreck on the hard rocks of the New Testament and the theological and ethical expositions of the New Testament writers.

Ben Witherington claims to be a Wesleyan in theology.  He is a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, one of the leading schools of Wesleyan theology in the world.  You have to profess Wesleyan theology to teach there.  Ben has done so.  While he does critique both Wesleyan and Calvinist theology, he does not renounce his Wesleyan theology. 

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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