Thanks for visiting my site!
You can read about its purposes below and also view the “The Good News” page to read about the gospel and hear it preached as the good news that it truly is.
The “Table of Contents” menu contains a structured presentation of my material. I will be adding more chapters in the future so please visit periodically. I am continually editing these chapters to correct errors and improve clarity of thought and argument. I am presently editing Chapter 9 “Reason as Problematic for Calvinist Interpretation.” There are also “Papers,” Posts” and “Open Letters” that may be of interest.
I welcome constructive discussion, comments and critiques about any of the material on this site.
This site has two purposes.
The first is to tell readers about the “good news” of salvation in Jesus Christ. The New Testament Greek word euangelion means “good news.” It is the meaning behind our English word gospel. The content and nature of the gospel message is good news. You can read about it here.
The second purpose is to defend the gospel as the “good news.” The site’s name, “goodnewsapologetics,” links “good news” with the word “apologetics” which is from the Greek apologia meaning to present a reasoned defense of a position. Thus, this site strives to provide a reasoned defense of the gospel message as the “good news” that it is.
Defend it against what, you ask? There are many philosophies, religions and worldviews that mitigate against the Christian gospel, but this site will focus on the soteriological and theological differences between the Calvinist and non-Calvinist interpretations of the Scriptures.
I submit that these Calvinist and non-Calvinist interpretations present two mutually exclusive soteriologies that entail two mutually exclusive gospel messages. As such, they both cannot be the truth of Scripture or the gospel. They are very different soteriologies with very different implications as to whether or not the content of the gospel message remains “good news.”
Calvinism is characterized by what I and many philosophers, theologians and laymen consider insurmountable logical and moral difficulties of incoherence, inconsistency and contradiction. Calvinism has been thoroughly critiqued and found wanting by those of us who take logical and moral coherence on board in our hermeneutic. When all is said and done, the essential difference between a Calvinist and a non-Calvinist has to do with whether logical reflection and moral intuition are considered interpretively significant or not. We both hold to Scripture’s divine inspiration. It is, therefore, the sole authority for Christian faith and practice. We also recognize the importance of hermeneutical factors like the historical context, literary genre and context, original languages, etc., and therefore acknowledge that the grammatical-historical methodology is essential to proper interpretation. But when Calvinists insist that a deterministic definition of divine sovereignty is the result of a proper exegesis of the biblical text and therefore always to be defended as such, then the problematic logical and moral entailments that are a direct result of this theistic determinism must be deemed by the Calvinist as hermeneutically insignificant. The substantial problems raised by logical reflection upon God’s sovereignty defined deterministically, along with the difficulties such a view generates given our moral intuitions, are ultimately not considered interpretively significant when inquiring into whether or not the Calvinist has properly interpreted Scripture. For the Calvinist, these problems cannot and do not serve as reliable indicators for determining whether or not they have correctly understood the text in this regard. They claim the Bible teaches their deterministic doctrine of sovereignty and “doctrines of grace” regardless of the logical and moral incoherence they generate. Hence, for the Calvinist, logical and moral coherence ultimately hold no hermeneutical weight in determining the validity of one’s interpretive conclusions. If the Calvinist insists that their deterministic definition of divine sovereignty is the correct interpretation of Scripture regardless of the fact that it spawns interpretive incoherence, inconsistency and contradiction, then the Calvinist is saying that logical and moral reasoning cannot be utilized to determine the validity of an interpretation. We can see that this raises the question as to whether or not logical and moral coherence are indispensable to good interpretation and whether or not they are reliable indicators of the validity or invalidity of a proposed interpretation.
The thesis I will defend is that sound biblical interpretation requires coherence, consistency and non-contradiction. Interestingly enough most Calvinists would agree, yet they will abandon this position when it comes to their interpretations of the eternal decree, sovereignty, unconditional election and predestination. It can be definitively demonstrated that their interpretations produce incoherence, inconsistency and/or contradiction with other biblical truths and experiential realities. At this point they will claim that their exegetical conclusions and doctrinal claims are incomprehensible and a divine mystery and that it is the inadequacy of fallen human reason that is the cause of our logical and moral bewilderment. I submit, rather, that the problem lies in their interpretation of Scripture. Simply put, the Calvinist is misinterpreting the relevant texts.
In effect, the Calvinist is legitimizing and operating under a hermeneutic of incoherence. I submit that this Calvinist hermeneutic of incoherence is exegetically, theologically and intellectually untenable. In contrast, a hermeneutic of coherence is an exegetically, theologically and intellectually responsible hermeneutic. This site will provide the evidences and arguments for those statements in a responsible, respectful and scholarly manner. I will also demonstrate the positive and negative implications these different soteriologies have upon the gospel message and argue that a non-Calvinist soteriology and gospel message coherently accounts for more of the biblical witness whereas Calvinism does not and cannot. The non-Calvinist position has the advantage of explanatory power and explanatory scope. Although coherence alone is not a sufficient condition for determining the validity of interpretative claims, it is a necessary condition. The same applies to any non-Calvinist position. Yet the advantage of these positions is that they do not suffer from the incoherence, inconsistency and contradiction evident in Calvinism. It is because Calvinism is found wanting in these ways that we can be sure that it is not the teaching of Scripture.
Incoherence, inconsistency and contradiction are inherent in Calvinism because of its determinism. This determinism is in contradiction to the overwhelming testimony of Scripture to substantial, meaningful human freedom, personal and moral responsibility and culpability, contingency, possibility, potentiality and divine judgment. This is reason enough for rejecting it. The admonition of I. A. Richards is in order here when he states, “We cannot have it both ways, and no sneers at the limitations of logic…amend the dilemma.”
Renewing the life of the mind in the evangelical church, holding each other accountable to intellectual and moral integrity in biblical interpretation and exposition, and adhering to admonitions like those of Richards, so as to come to a consensus on what constitutes a truly sound, evangelical hermeneutic, are all essential for resolving this age-old controversy.
 I. A. Richards, Principles of Literary Criticism, chap. xxv as found in C. S. Lewis, Miracles, (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1960), 12.