Top Arminian based commentary on the book of Romans

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 4:27 AM

Bruce Dunning:

Wild Eagle:

JRS:

I agree.  I would like to see Geisler's CBF paired with White's The Potter's Freedom and offered as a Logos mini-collection.  I think it would make a much more stimulating read than the Horton/Olson pairing.

I love the Horton/Olson pairing. Pairing Geisler's CBF with White's The Potter's Freedom would also a very good idea

Yes

Horton and Olson are both professors with a long history of sholarship in their field. They treat each other quite gentlemanly. It's a pleasure to listen to them debating or to read the books back to back.   

But Geisler and White? Do they even play in the same league? I've occasionally listened to some of these "Radio Geneva" podcasts and found them to be abysmally bad - needless ad hominem attacks, pushing against strawmen and always a snide remark agains some totally unrelated pet-adversaries of choice... is this really the best horse Calvinist apologetics have in the stable? I can understand why this guy "wins" debates, but is it worth reading books by him?

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 4:39 AM

NB.Mick:
But Geisler and White? Do they even play in the same league? I've occasionally listened to some of these "Radio Geneva" podcasts and found them to be abysmally bad - needless ad hominem attacks, pushing against strawmen and always a snide remark agains some totally unrelated pet-adversaries of choice... is this really the best horse Calvinist apologetics have in the stable? I can understand why this guy "wins" debates, but is it worth reading books by him?

I didn't realize that this was the case with them. I guess we were spoiled with Horton and Olson and I forget that not everyone approaches this with the same dignity and respect as the two of them.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 4:41 AM

Wild Eagle:

I am studying the book of Romans. So far, the top commentaries I looked lean toward Calvinism. I would really like to see Arminian view point (Especially Romans 9-11), Can anyone suggest which commentary I should use.

PS: I am looking more scholarly commentary rather than devotional... 

I addition to commentaries, maybe this JETS-article by Brian Abasciano helps. He discusses the question of election on Romans 9 and interacts a lot with Calvinist-leaning commentaries, esecially Schreiner's BECNT volume (if you have the Logos resource, hopefully you will find many links to follow). Abasciano has authored two books on Paul's use of the OT in Romans 9 (only until verse 18...), but AFAIK no full-fledged commentary on Romans.

 

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 5:45 AM

David Paul:
Fwiw, I've made the point a few times in the past that in the argument between Calvinists and Arminians, the correct choice is neither.

Geeked

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Peter Keay | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 6:04 AM

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: 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."

All those statements just seem so silly after reading non-Christian exegetical works on Scripture. Because they all start with a statement something like, "We have all seen what happens when the Bible is read through the grid of later Christian 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."

It's so awesome that he can approach the text without any theological presuppositions Roll Eyes

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Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 7:29 AM

NB.Mick:

I addition to commentaries, maybe this JETS-article by Brian Abasciano helps. He discusses the question of election on Romans 9 and interacts a lot with Calvinist-leaning commentaries, esecially Schreiner's BECNT volume (if you have the Logos resource, hopefully you will find many links to follow). Abasciano has authored two books on Paul's use of the OT in Romans 9 (only until verse 18...), but AFAIK no full-fledged commentary on Romans.

Thank you NB.Mick for referring to this article. I do have it in Logos. Currently I am reading Forlines, F. Leroy Romans and finding it very helpful. He grabbed my attention because he  taught the book of Romans for over 40 years. I think the next one will be IVP Romans by Grant R. Osborne, but I am still waiting for dynamic price for The IVP New Testament Commentary Update (IVPNTC) (5 vols.) because I own one volume. 

Black's NT and Lenski cant afford it yet :(

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 8:04 AM

Wild Eagle:

Thank you NB.Mick for referring to this article. I do have it in Logos.

You're welcome!

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 8:17 AM

NB.Mick:

... I've occasionally listened to some of these "Radio Geneva" podcasts and found them to be abysmally bad - needless ad hominem attacks, pushing against strawmen and always a snide remark agains some totally unrelated pet-adversaries of choice... is this really the best horse Calvinist apologetics have in the stable? I can understand why this guy "wins" debates, but is it worth reading books by him?

Hmmm.  I am reminded of Mr. Darcy's statement, "My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed!".

You are, of course, free to think as you please re: White.  While I am certainly not a shill for the man and he is more than capable of defending himself, I think your evaluation may be tinged with a little more negative hyperbole than what is fair.    

Consider: The following list of people have high praise for The Potter's Freedom and have allowed their names and their comments/praise to be published in TPF.  You may not recognize all of the names but it is a fairly weighty collection to be sure.   It seems odd to me that men of this caliber would willingly and publically endorse such a rapscallion and his work.

Preface by Phillip R. Johnson; Executive Director of John MacArthur's Grace To You Ministry Elder of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA

Foreword by R. C. Sproul, Jr.; Editor-in-Chief, TableTalk Magazine

Douglas Wilson, Pastor; Editor of Credenda Agenda Magazine

Joel Nederhood, Pastor; Host of The Back to God Hour

Jay Adams, Ph.D.; Westminster Seminary, Escondido, California

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.; Bahnsen Theological Seminary

Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor, Moody Church, Chicago

Jim Elliff, President, Christian Communicators Worldwide

Dr. Tom J. Nettles, Author of By His Grace & For His Glory

Fred G. Zaspel, Pastor, Author of The Theology of Fulfillment

Rev. Richard D. Phillips, Assoc. Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA; V. P., Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Nelson D. Kloosterman, Th.D.; Professor of Ethics and New Testament, Mid-America Reformed Seminary

Dr. Joel R. Beeke, Author, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Robert Reymond, Ph.D.; Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Author of A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith

Dr. Joseph C. Morecraft, III, Author, Pastor of Chalcedon Presbyterian Church, Cumming, GA; Publisher of The Counsel of Chalcedon

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., A.B., Th.M., Th.D.; Former Prof. of New Testament & Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary; Former Prof. of Bible & Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

David King, Pastor, Dayspring Presbyterian Church, Forsyth, GA

J. Ligon Duncan III, Ph.D.; Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS; Adjunct Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary

Dr. Fred A. Malone, Author, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA; Southern Baptist Founders Ministries Board Member

Dr. Jonathan Gerstner, Author, Pastor, Baltimore, MD

Maurice Roberts, Editor, Banner of Truth Magazine, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Buddy Boone, Radio Program Director, WHVN, Charlotte, NC; WCGC, Belmont, NC; WAVO, Rock Hill, SC

George Grant, Author; Pres., Bannockburn College, Franklin, TN

Bill Ascol, Chairman of the Board, Southern Baptist Founders Ministries, Shreveport, LA

Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Dr. Joe B. Nesom, Southern Baptist Founders Ministries, Jackson, LA

Edward L. Dalcour, President, Department of Christian Defense

Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., Ph.D., President, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Taylors, SC

James M. Renihan, Ph.D., Dean, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies at Westminster Seminary in California

 

 

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

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Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 8:51 AM

NB.Mick:

 commentaries, maybe this JETS-article by Brian Abasciano helps. He discusses the question of election on Romans 9 and interacts a lot with Calvinist-leaning commentaries, esecially Schreiner's BECNT volume (if you have the Logos resource, hopefully you will find many links to follow). Abasciano has authored two books on Paul's use of the OT in Romans 9 (only until verse 18...), but AFAIK no full-fledged commentary on Romans.

I found also two of his books, but sadly they are locked in a bundle:

Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9.1–9: An Intertextual and Theological Exegesis by Brian J. Abasciano
Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9.10–18: An Intertextual and Theological Exegesis by Brian J. Abasciano

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 9:01 AM

Do they publish commentaries in Armenia?  Wink

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 9:34 AM

JRS:

NB.Mick:

... I've occasionally listened to some of these "Radio Geneva" podcasts and found them to be abysmally bad - needless ad hominem attacks, pushing against strawmen and always a snide remark agains some totally unrelated pet-adversaries of choice... is this really the best horse Calvinist apologetics have in the stable? I can understand why this guy "wins" debates, but is it worth reading books by him?

(...)  I think your evaluation may be tinged with a little more negative hyperbole than what is fair.    

Consider: The following list of people have high praise for The Potter's Freedom and have allowed their names and their comments/praise to be published in TPF.  You may not recognize all of the names but it is a fairly weighty collection to be sure.   It seems odd to me that men of this caliber would willingly and publically endorse such a rapscallion and his work.

JRS,

OT: as a non-native speaker I enjoy the opportunity to learn new words in this forum. I never encountered the word "rapscallion" before, but it seems the dictionaries give it a somewhat negative meaning oscillating between someone who dislikes rules and breaks them to someone who intentionally deceives others for his personal gain. While Mr. White may be able to live from his speaking activity, and may have bolstered his reputation with a questionable doctorate, I would never think he'd intentionally deceive people about Calvinism, the Doctrines of Grace or such things. I think he believes them and wants to do everything in his capability to fight for the truth. /OT

What I posted was my personal impression from listening/watching some of White's video podcasts. I didn't evaluate "The Potter's Freedom", but wrote about my impression from the author's public appearance in his videos. I think I can prove every one of the items I listed after the dash - whether this makes them bad or rather successful (Ha, now somebody is telling these ... off!) is in the eye of the beholder. Obviously, some people like them. But a discussion of this is well beyond the Logos forum rules. My question - and it really is a question - was, whether he switches to another personality and really is capable of working on a level that would make reading his answer to Geisler worthwile.

Regarding the long list of endorsers (apart from the fact that many books are endorsed when the endorsers have read only a very short abstract of a book - if so): you are right, even though I think I'm well-read in the Calvinism debate, there are names I didn't recognize - and some I did recognize and have my private opinion on. However, a lot of those people camp out at far entrenched positions in this debate, making me wonder whether they wouldn't endorse anything that comes from "a friend" and shoots in the generally right direction.

That said, from the "look into" pages of the current 2009 edition of White's book, it seems to be a hard but civil discussion of Chosen But Free, that adresses some of the less stellar points in Geisler's work and otherwise delivers a discussion of the usual biblical passages from a reformed perspective. So, I think, it could make a worthwile addition to the James White collection.

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 9:38 AM

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

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Michael | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 9:54 AM

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm trying to put all of this in perspective.  The bio's that I've quickly read on Geisler and White seem to indicate that they are both reformed evangelicals.  I'm guessing (and this is purely a guess) that Geisler is a moderate calvinist and White is a strict calvinist? Would this be correct?

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 10:51 AM

Doc B:
For what it is worth, Armenians are citizens of an Eastern European country.

Actually, the ancient Armenia is divided between several modern states, plus a lot of Armenians had to flee the area a century ago, due to the Armenian genocide,  so an 'Armenian' can refer to:

  • a member of the Armenian people (living anywhere)
  • a citizen of the state of Armenia (whether of Armenian decent or not)
  • a member of the Armenian Orthodox Church (living anywhere, and being of whatever ethnicity)
  • (possibly) a person whose native language is Armenian.

In this case, if the thread was really about an "Armenian based commentary", I would have assumed that to mean an Armenian Orthodox commentary.

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 11:05 AM

Michael:

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm trying to put all of this in perspective.  The bio's that I've quickly read on Geisler and White seem to indicate that they are both reformed evangelicals.  I'm guessing (and this is purely a guess) that Geisler is a moderate calvinist and White is a strict calvinist? Would this be correct?

I know this is getting way off topic from the OP's question but let me answer quickly and then I am going to stop posting.

The labels can be tricky and are weak attempts to describe locations on a free will <--> deterministic continuum.  I say they are weak because often they are descriptors that are relative - based upon one's own location/perspective on that continuum.  In other words, to some one who feels strongly that man's will is free, autonomous, and self-determinant (even to the point that not even God can overrule it), everyone to the right of him might be termed a "calvinist" or an "extreme calvinist".  In a similar way, if a person believes firmly in the "Doctrines of Grace" as summarized in the 5 points of "TULIP" acronym, he or she might label anyone who holds to fewer than all five points as Pelagian/Arminian/Weslyan etc. 

And then just to keep everyone confused, the terms can be used pejoratively by all sides regardless of meaning.

The problem is debate without mutually-agreed upon defintions ... everyone just assumes that everybody else knows precisely what he or she means by the terminology ... and so the accusation of "name-calling" gets bandied about all of the time not to mention hurt feelings, etc. 

To answer your specific question:

1) White is a thorough-going Reformed/Calvinist apologist/theologian who holds to all five points. Many would consider him to be radical, extreme, hyper, etc. while many others would consider him to be solidly in the Reformed tradition.  The term 'strict Calvinist' (correctly defined) might be appropriate.

2) Geisler, I believe, considers himself to be a two maybe three point Calvinist generally, and in Chosen But Free has attempted to define a happy middle between Calvinism on the one hand and the Arminian model on the other.  Hence, the title which implies that one is chosen/elect by God and yet simultaneously free to choose.  Many would consider him to be Arminian regardless of what he labels himself while others might call him a Calvinistic Arminian (i.e., an Arminian with Calvinist tendencies on some points). The term 'moderate Calvinist' (correctly defined) might be appropriate.

Nota Bene: If I am wrong in any of these characterizations or labels - in ANY way - let me apologize profusely right here and now.  No malice was intended or implied.  I am rending my clothes even now.  I am like dung.  I am a man of unclean lips.  UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!  Run away, run away!

 

Fini.

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

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Michael | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 11:23 AM

Thank you JRS! 

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Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 11:29 AM

JRS:

I know this is getting way off topic from the OP's question but let me answer quickly and then I am going to stop posting.

Thank you JRS, yours and other posts gave me insights about the authors, and I really appreciate it.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 11:34 AM

JRS:

The labels can be tricky and are weak attempts to describe locations on a free will <--> deterministic continuum.  I say they are weak because often they are descriptors that are relative - based upon one's own location/perspective on that continuum.  In other words, to some one who feels strongly that man's will is free, autonomous, and self-determinant (even to the point that not even God can overrule it), everyone to the right of him might be termed a "calvinist" or an "extreme calvinist".  In a similar way, if a person believes firmly in the "Doctrines of Grace" as summarized in the 5 points of "TULIP" acronym, he or she might label anyone who holds to fewer than all five points as Pelagian/Arminian/Weslyan etc. 

And then just to keep everyone confused, the terms can be used pejoratively by all sides regardless of meaning. (...)

1) White is a thorough-going Reformed/Calvinist apologist/theologian who holds to all five points. Many would consider him to be radical, extreme, hyper, etc. while many others would consider him to be solidly in the Reformed tradition.  The term 'strict Calvinist' (correctly defined) might be appropriate.

2) Geisler, I believe, considers himself to be a two maybe three point Calvinist generally, and in Chosen But Free has attempted to define a happy middle between Calvinism on the one hand and the Arminian model on the other.  Hence, the title which implies that one is chosen/elect by God and yet simultaneously free to choose.  Many would consider him to be Arminian regardless of what he labels himself while others might call him a Calvinistic Arminian (i.e., an Arminian with Calvinist tendencies on some points). The term 'moderate Calvinist' (correctly defined) might be appropriate.

Yes imho a very good post. Congrats.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 2:46 PM

JRS:
2) Geisler, I believe, considers himself to be a two maybe three point Calvinist generally, and in Chosen But Free has attempted to define a happy middle between Calvinism on the one hand and the Arminian model on the other.  Hence, the title which implies that one is chosen/elect by God and yet simultaneously free to choose.  Many would consider him to be Arminian regardless of what he labels himself while others might call him a Calvinistic Arminian (i.e., an Arminian with Calvinist tendencies on some points). The term 'moderate Calvinist' (correctly defined) might be appropriate.

I don't know White, but this is a very good analysis of Geisler.

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 23 2013 3:44 PM

Jack Caviness:

JRS:
2) Geisler, I believe, considers himself to be a two maybe three point Calvinist generally, and in Chosen But Free has attempted to define a happy middle between Calvinism on the one hand and the Arminian model on the other.  Hence, the title which implies that one is chosen/elect by God and yet simultaneously free to choose.  Many would consider him to be Arminian regardless of what he labels himself while others might call him a Calvinistic Arminian (i.e., an Arminian with Calvinist tendencies on some points). The term 'moderate Calvinist' (correctly defined) might be appropriate.

I don't know White, but this is a very good analysis of Geisler.

To attempt to define his position as "moderate Calvinism" Geisler is seeking to portray historic mainstream Calvinism as an extreme strand of the tradition which to put it bluntly is ridiculous. Calvinism may or may not be extreme but if it is it is it is Calvinism generally that is extreme not the mainstream variant, Geisler is attempting to libel (or I suppose he would say "expose") the whole historic framework by redefining an unorthodox position as being the yardstick by which the whole tradition is judged.

For good or ill Calvinism is a highly systematised framework from which it is not really possible to remove a tenant without the whole system collapsing into self contradiction.

 

      

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