Table of Contents


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Introductory Thoughts

Chapter 1 – The Main Thesis: The Hermeneutical Divide

Chapter 2 – Sovereignty and Salvation: A Summary of the Non-Calvinist View

PART 1 – ASSESSING CALVINIST DOCTRINE AND THOUGHT

Chapter 3 – The Calvinist Theological and Soteriological Doctrines

A Brief Summary of Calvinist Theology and Soteriology

God’s Eternal Decree and Sovereignty

Predestination, Unconditional Election and Effectual Calling

The Calvinist’s TULIP Soteriology

A Preliminary Critique of Calvinist Determinism

Conclusions

Chapter 4 – Why the Calvinist Views of Sovereignty and Salvation Are Certainly False

William Lane Craig’s Five-Fold Critique of Calvinist Determinism

Chapter 5 – The Nature and Scope of the Calvinist Difficulties

Logical Concerns

Theological Concerns

Ethical and Moral Concerns

Existential and Epistemological Concerns

Ministry Concerns

Hermeneutical & Interpretive Concerns

Conclusions

Chapter 6 – What is at Stake? The Character of God and the Truth of the Gospel

The Character of God

The Truth of the Gospel

Walls, Dongell and Allen on the Importance of the Controversy

The Gospel is at Stake

Calvinists Claim Calvinism is the Biblical Gospel

Two Mutually Exclusive Gospels

Moody and Bryson on What is at Stake in This Controversy: The Gospel

The Evangelical Church in Intellectual, Soteriological and Gospel Denial

The Full Revelation of God’s Thoughts and Saving Will for Us “In Christ”

The Spirit as the Spirit of Truth Affirms the True Gospel

The Theological and Hermeneutical Divides

Critical Hermeneutical Concerns for Reformed Calvinists

PART 2 – INTERPRETATION AND HERMENEUTICS

Chapter 7 – The Indispensability of Reason and Logic in Biblical Interpretation

Milton S. Terry on Reason in Interpretation

The Proper Relationship between Faith and Reason

Norman Geisler on the Nature and Use of Logic

Calvinists Affirm Logic and Reason

Confusing Reason with Rationalism

The Mysteries of the Faith: Beyond Reason or Against Reason

Tolerance, Love and Respect is Not Incoherence or Theological Relativism

The Role of Philosophical Reflection and Moral Intuition in Exegesis and Hermeneutics

Baggett, Walls and Lewis on Whether God is Good as We know Goodness

Craig and Moreland on the Indispensable Role of Philosophy

Robert Audi: Reason, Logic and Justified Beliefs

Robert Audi: Natural Theology, Natural Reason and the Resolution of Religious Disagreement

Ravi Zacharias on Critical Thinking and Logic

David Allen, Leighton Flowers, Exegesis and Contradiction: 1 Timothy 2:1-6

David Allen, Leighton Flowers, God’s Love and Logical Entailment

Vincent Cheung, David Allen, Leighton Flowers and Logical and Moral Entailments

C. A. Campbell and the Role of Reason in Religion and Faith

C. A. Campbell: Defining a Contradiction and J. I. Packer’s Bad Advice

J. I. Packer: Paradox, Antinomy and Real Contradiction

Concluding Thoughts on J. I. Packer’s “Antinomy” and Suppression of Reason

Summary Remarks

Chapter 8 – Calvinist Attempts to Justify Sovereignty as Theistic Determinism

Determinism: The Fundamental Problem in Calvinist Thought

James Montgomery Boice

Gordon Clark

Sober Questions for Calvinists on Interpretive Coherence

A Non-Deterministic Understanding of God’s Sovereignty

A Case in Point: The Atonement

Compatibilism

John Feinberg on Compatibilism

Three Observations on Agency and Will

Compatibilism: Agency, Personhood and a Free, Individuated Will

Calvinist Compatibilism: Divine Preemption of the Human Will

William Lane Craig on Compatibilism’s Denial of Indeterminacy and Contingency

Jerry Walls: Compatibilism is a Real Contradiction

The Huge Implication

The Calvinist Conundrum

Consistent Calvinists

Inconsistent Calvinists

What is a Real Contradiction?

“Core Calvinism” and the “Bona Fide” Offer of the Gospel to All Persons

Curious Bedfellows and the Three Insuperable Difficulties for Calvinist Determinism

Other Calvinist Attempts to Explain the Problems Created by Their Determinism

Os Guinness: “The Bible Teaches Both” and “Use as Needed”

David Basinger Refutes the “Theologians of Paradox” and “Apparent Contradiction”

More on “Apparent” Contradiction

“Tensions” and the Content of “the Gospel”

The Flight to “Mystery” – Piper and Basinger

More on Divine “Mystery” – Keathley, Lewis and Sproul

“Mystery” Obscures God’s Saving Will and Purposes

Incomprehensibility – Piper, Craig and Tozer

What Does “Faith Seeking Understanding” Mean?

The Taxi-Cab Fallacy

The Futility of “Means” and “Second Causes” to Justify Theistic Determinism

The Futility of “Second Causes”

The Futility of “God Works through Means”

Calvinist Determinism, God as the Author of Sin and the Delusion of Ought

A “Second Cause” or Human Primary Cause?

Calvinist’s Can’t Complain

The Biblical Implausibility of an Inevitable Comprehensive Theistic Determinism

Can Incoherent Interpretations Be Valid Interpretations?

Chapter 9 – Reason as Problematic for Calvinist Interpretation

Schreiner and Ware – Logic or Exegesis: The False Dichotomy

Exegesis: An Excuse to Avoid the Probative Force of Logical and Moral Reflection

Faith Seeking Understanding or an a priori Doctrine Seeking Justification

Schreiner and Ware Ignore Logic and Morals, Claim Complexity and Flee to Mystery

Determinism Motivates to Pray

Determinism a Bulwark for Suffering

What Is the Purpose of Schreiner and Ware’s Book?

Non-Calvinists Can’t Tolerate Mystery?

Schreiner and Ware Know They Have Insurmountable Problems

Philosophy and the Authority of Scripture

The Popular Reactions to Calvinism

Helm, Calvin and Castellio on Reason and Common Sense

Schreiner and Ware, Logic or Exegesis: The False Dichotomy Continued

Piper on James 4: How Exegesis Devoid of Coherence Distorts the Meaning of a Text

Gospel Joy

Sacrificial Love

Fearless Witness

Confident Planning

What Piper Failed to Address

John Lennox on Exegesis, Theistic Determinism and Interpretive Consistency

Lennox and Carson: What Calvinists Fear Most – The Scrutiny of Logical Reflection and Moral Intuition

Philosophy as the Handmaid of Exegesis

Eric Hankins and Leighton Flowers: Logic Demands We Reject Calvinism

Hankins and Grudem: Reprobation as a Necessary Implication and Ways of Avoidance

Flowers, Hankins and Craig: Logical Contradiction is Proof That a Doctrine is Wrong

Schreiner Affirms and Denies Logic

The Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) to the Rescue

Chapter 10 – The Calvinist Suppression of Logical Reasoning, Moral Intuition and Common Sense

Calvin and the Suppression of Reason

J. I. Packer and the Suppression of Reason

J. I. Packer – Why Every Christian Believes in Calvinist Determinism and Some Just Don’t Know It.

Packer on Prayer and Salvation

J. D. Greear and the Suppression of Reason

Kevin DeYoung and the Suppression of Reason

R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur and Ligon Duncan and the Suppression of Reason

Peterson and Williams and the Suppression of Reason

Piper, Fatalism and the Suppression of Reason

Piper and the Suppression of Moral Intuition

Piper and the Suppression of Reason

Martin Luther and the Suppression of Reason

More on Luther and the Suppression of Common Sense and Natural Reason

Bryson, Feinberg and Palmer on Accepting the Nonsense of Calvinism

Richard Mayhue and John MacArthur and the Suppression of Reason

The Problematic Nature of MacArthur’s and Mayhue’s Interpretive Perspective

EXCURSUS: Non-Calvinist Alternative Perspectives on Romans 9-11

John Calvin – Subduing the Pride of the Human Spirit

Homer A. Kent, Jr. – Ephesians 1 and the Suppression of Reason

Calvinist Theological Proclivities vs. A Hermeneutic of Coherence

Schreiner, Ware and Luther Revisited

EXCURSUS: “Faith Seeking Understanding” With Input From C. S. Lewis

Hermeneutics, the Evangelical Church and the Gospel

Concluding Remarks and Hermeneutical Reflections

EXCURSUS: John Hendryx and the False Dichotomy

Chapter 11 – Examples of Calvinist Interpretive Incoherence

Introduction to Chapter 11

Example 1 – David Allen and John Owen on John 3:16

Example 2 – Jeremy Evans’ Intellectual Movement Away From Calvinist Thought

Example 3 – Millard Erickson: A Moderate Calvinist Assesses Limited Atonement

Example 4 – Practical Ministry: Ecclesial Incoherence, Impact Prayer Cards and the Sanctity of Life

Calvary Church: Doctrinal and Ecclesial Inconsistency and the Bible Teaches Both

Practical Implications: Impact Prayer, Evangelism and Moderate Calvinism

Impact Prayer: The Plan of Salvation and Evangelism

Impact Prayer: God’s Sovereignty and Petitionary Prayer

Moderate Calvinism and the Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

Some Practical Implications: Doctrinal and Theological Indifference

Example 5 – D. A. Carson’s Bad Advice to Young Reformed Preachers

Calvinism and Hermeneutical Relativism

Calvinism and the Problem of Truth Correspondence

Example 6 – D. A. Carson’s “In The Last Analysis” A Priori Commitment to Unconditional Election

Example 7 – D. A. Carson: ‘Response’ Determines Destiny

Example 8 – James Ayers Cannot Come to Terms with Calvinist Predestination

Example 9 – Erwin Lutzer’s Inconsistency on Election and Predestination

Losing Your Mind and Soul: Intimidation. Confusion and the Suppression of Reason

God’s Love and Human Value

Natural Disasters: We Escape Judgment by Repentance

Proving Your Unconditional Election

Testing Deterministic Unconditional Election by Contingent Conditional Faith

Example 10 – Erwin Lutzer on How You Can Know You Are Among the Elect

Come to Christ and Know You’re a Member of the Elect

The Gospel Irrelevance of Unconditional Election

Hermeneutical Conclusions

Example 11 – Erwin Lutzer’s Blatant Contradiction

Example 12 – Erwin Lutzer: How His Calvinism Expunges His Good News

Example 13 – J. I. Packer’s ‘Double-Talk’ and the Insincerity of the Gospel

Example 14 – Kenneth O. Gangel on 2 Peter 1:10 and 3:9

Example 15 – Greg Koukl on How He Became a Christian

Example 16 – Greg Koukl on Why Jesus Spoke in Parables

Example 17 – John S. Feinberg on Determinism vs. Fatalism; A Distinction without a Difference

Example 18 – Fred H. Klooster on the Sovereignty of God

Example 19 – J. D. Greear’s Gospel Inconsistency

Greear on Ephesians 1

Back to Greear’s Book: Gospel and Calvinist Soteriological Incoherence

J. D. Greear on a Gospel-Centered Church

Example 20 – Greg Gilbert’s Book “What is the Gospel?” and Theological Inconsistency

What Is the Gospel?

Conclusions

Example 21 – John Piper on the Gospel and the “Royal Decree” of “Your Sovereign”

Example 22 – Os Guinness: Both Are True, Use Them As Needed

Example 23 – Mohler on Naturalistic Determinism and Theistic Determinism: A Distinction without a Difference

Example 24 – John MacArthur on Victimization: How He Defeats His Own Calvinism

Example 25 – Josh Moody: An Examination of “No Other Gospel”

Calvinists Hide Their Calvinism: The Ethical Problem and Double-Talk

Example 26 – Ryken v. Ryken: Calvinist Inconsistency In Light of Billy Graham’s Gospel

Billy Graham’s Message of “Good News”

Dr. Ryken and the Billy Graham Center Dedication

The Wheaton Challenge

Chapter 12 – A Hermeneutic of Coherence: Principles and Issues in Exegesis and Interpretation

Inspired Scripture as Our Common Ground and Authority

Calvinism v. Non-Calvinism: The Hermeneutical Divide

The Westminster Confession on Coherence, Perspicuity and Scripture Interprets Scripture

Hermeneutics and Exegesis Defined

Coherence as Integral to Authorial Intent, Context and Comprehensiveness

Authorial Intent

Authorial Intent and Coherence

Context and Coherence

Comprehensiveness, Consistency and Coherence

The Hermeneutical Circle and the Hermeneutical Spiral

E. D. Hirsch

E. D. Hirsch and Certainty

E. D. Hirsch on the Hermeneutical Circle and Interpretive Responsibility

E. D. Hirsch on Genre and the Hermeneutical Circle

E. D. Hirsch on Exegesis, Context, Plausibility and Coherence

E. D. Hirsch on Validation, Probability and Plausibility

E. D. Hirsch and a Logic of Validation

E. D. Hirsch on Particular Exegesis, Interpretation of the Whole and Probability

Grant Osborne

The Hermeneutical Spiral and Interpretive Coherence

Grant Osborne: Coherence and the Role of Philosophy in Theology

Grant Osborne: On Coherence, Comprehensiveness, Consistency, and Non-Contradiction

Carson, Osborne and Hirsch: Preunderstanding, Coherence, Adequacy and Comprehensiveness

An Example of Calvinist Incoherence: Are Our Eternal Destinies Fixed or Unfixed?

Distinctive Challenges for “Evangelicals”

Concluding Observations

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