Protestants and a Churchless Tradition: “Sola” vs. “Solo” Scriptura

One of my ongoing fascinations is what I have come to refer to in my head as “the Evangelical appropriation of tradition.” Charismatics are celebrating Lent. Baptists are talking about the Eucharist. The inscrutable maybe-universalist and now Oprah-darling Rob Bell is even using the phrase the tradition. Maybe this tradition stuff isn’t so bad. I can branch out a little. I can…

The Great Apostasy: John Calvin and the Fall of the Church

Did John Calvin believe in the “Fall of the Church”?  That is, did he believe that the early Church apostatized from Apostolic doctrine and worship, and that true Christianity was not restored until the Protestant Reformation?  The “Fall of the Church” is widely held among Protestants but some readers on my personal weblog deny that Calvin held this view, calling it a “canard.”…

Why I Stopped Being a Calvinist (Part 5): A Deformed Christology

By Robin Phillips A Deformed Christology About the same time that my wife and I started to question Monergism, we began to be interested in the early ecumenical councils of the church. We were fascinated to learn that the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681) had provided a framework for understanding the relationship between the human and the divine when it rejected the heresies…

Why I Stopped Being a Calvinist (Part 4): The Heresy of Monergism

By Robin Phillips The Heresy of Monergism If all Calvinism were to be encapsulated by a single term it would be the word Monergism. The term comes from the Greek mono meaning “one,” and erg meaning “work,” and describes the notion that salvation is affected by only one agent, namely God. As R.C. Sproul explains it, “A monergistic work is a work…

Why I Stopped Being a Calvinist (Part 3): Calvinism Dislocates God From our Experience of Him

Calvinism Dislocates God From our Experience of Him By Robin Phillips We have seen in Part 2 of this series that Calvinism essentially asserts that God has two sides of His character, a side that delights to show mercy and a side that delights to punish sin. Both these sides must be expressed. By redeeming the elect, God’s love and mercy are…

Why I Stopped Being a Calvinist (Part 2): Calvinism Destroys God’s Justice

By Robin Phillips Calvinism Destroys God’s Justice “May the Lord curse you and abandon you. May the Lord keep you in darkness and give you only judgment without grace. May the Lord turn his back upon you and remove his peace from you forever.” These words, taken from a popular R.C. Sproul video, starkly reveal the dark underbelly of the Calvinist’s concept…

Why I Stopped Being a Calvinist (Part 1): Calvinism presents a dehistoricized Bible

By Robin Phillips Introduction My wife and I used to be Calvinists (or ‘reformed’ as we liked to say), and we wanted our children to grow the same. We attended a Calvinist church and taught reformed theology to our children. Beginning in 2012, however, we began to grow increasingly uncomfortable with the primary doctrinal tenets of this perspective. We still have respect…

Leithart on Sophiology and Andrew Louth

Peter Leithart is a prolific writer, and this typically necessitates that one be a prolific reader, as well. He often shares insights from his current reads over at First Things, and there was an example of this Friday (Dec. 6) where he shared thoughts on Andrew Louth’s Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology (IVP/SPCK 2013). In this particular entry, Leithart offers brief commentary in…

Are Conversions to Orthodoxy Tragic? A Response to Leithart

In his latest post at First Things, Leithart laments about ‘cross-Christian conversions,’ naming them ‘tragic.’ Are such conversions really tragic, or has Leithart missed the mark when it comes to explaining the Orthodox-Catholic vision of the Church and Holy Tradition?

Necromancy, Idolatry and the Superiority of Protestant Culture

Once in a while, someone writes or says something about Orthodoxy (and, in this case, several related traditions) that is just so incorrect in so many ways that one doesn’t really even know where to begin. This is one of those times. It’s one thing to disagree with a tradition. It’s something else entirely to get the basic facts about it so…