Sola Scriptura=Unconditional Election?

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Post by Del » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:30 pm

I always thought that Sola Scriptura was an axiom for Protestants. They can't prove or disprove Sola; they just accept it as a given fact and move on from there.

I also thought that Calvin's TULIP were five axioms that he used to guide his understanding of Scripture. Once again, Scripture neither proves nor disproves TULIP, but together they form an internally consistent theology.

(I suppose that a good Calvinist apologist can make a case that Scripture requires TULIP. I know that good Catholic apologists use Scripture to refute TULIP. So we don't need to grind that here.)

At any rate, to take this back to Colton's original question:
Sola and Unconditional Election do not seem to follow one from the other. Both are axioms of faith.
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Post by wosbald » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:46 pm

+JMJ+
colton wrote:
Dug wrote:
Colton wrote:Total depravity =sola Scriptura= X would have been better.
I don't have a dog in this fight and this is an ancillary discussion (which I'm not intending to instigate), but don't see that sola scriptura follows inexorably from Total Depravity at all.
It'd be better if someone who believes this would explain it because I think your point is important. Explaining things I don't believe is good mental exercise, but my head hurts from it, so I'm just sure I won't do their view justice. :egor:

This thread has opened a much bigger can of worms that I though it would. I just wanted to find out the different ways that Protestants put the sola puzzle together because the Calvinists seemed to have it it on lock, but I guess I was a bit (or a lot :) ) naïve to think that would be simple.
Maybe it would be easier if you simply took Total Depravity out of the equation, especially since the subject header doesn't mention it.
Del wrote:At any rate, to take this back to Colton's original question:
Sola and Unconditional Election do not seem to follow one from the other. Both are axioms of faith.
I think that it's fair to say:
  • Total Depravity = Unconditional Election
  • Sola Scriptura = or ≠ Unconditional Election/Total Depravity




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Post by colton » Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:19 am

wosbald wrote:+JMJ+

Maybe it would be easier if you simply took Total Depravity out of the equation, especially since the subject header doesn't mention it.
Good idea. If we pare it back to the original question, the answer is no.

Dug, now that I'm nice and energized by four hours of sleep, I understand your point, and you're right. Unconditional election follows from total depravity, not sola(of course, Wesleyans would say prevenient grace follows total depravity, but at any rate, I understand it now). Thanks for pointing that out.

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Post by LieutenantGibGib » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:58 pm

colton wrote:Lieutenant,

Thanks for the link; the essay was very helpful (though I confess I only had time to skim it). I think I've got my head wrapped around prevenient grace. I'm still curious whether that doctrine holds that the new grace of will was extended as a result of Christ's death. It doesn't really matter I guess, but do you know?
No I don't really.

I think prevenient grace is basically like the general grace God extends towards the Universe to limit evil and keep things ticking over etc, except it has the 'added extra' of making all men able to respond to the gospel.

As I understand, St Augustine also believed in what he called prevenient grace, though I think he held that this grace was only extended to the elect. But it had the effect of making the predestined able to respond to God. The Wesleyan concept is similar, except that it is extended to all men.

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Post by colton » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:34 am

Now that I've had some time to digest this thread, I have one more question if you'll indulge me. Cansola Scripturawork outside total depravity? This thread has shown thatsolais not necessary to total depravity, unconditional election, or prevenient grace, but is there a coherent system which bases its epistemology onsolawhile rejecting total depravity?

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Post by PipeAndPint » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:38 am

colton wrote:This thread has shown thatsolais not necessary to total depravity
Did it?
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Post by colton » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:05 pm

PipeAndPint wrote:
colton wrote:This thread has shown thatsolais not necessary to total depravity
Did it?
Sorry I wasn't clear, it showed thatsoladoes not follow inexorably from total depravity (i.e. Dug's point that the td=ue formula can still work withoutsola,or Wosbald's that one could theoretically propose Total Depravity + Magesterium = Unconditional Election, where ue reveals the magesterium's authority). Do you believesolafollows inexorably from total depravity, or did you just disagree with my misstatement?

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Post by PipeAndPint » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:50 pm

colton wrote:Do you believesolafollows inexorably from total depravity, or did you just disagree with my misstatement?
I believe it follows inexorably. If man is totally depraved, then he cannot be trusted to know on his own who God is or what he requires for salvation. God must tell him, and he must stick to all of - and only - what God says.
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Post by colton » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:00 pm

PipeAndPint wrote:
colton wrote:Do you believesolafollows inexorably from total depravity, or did you just disagree with my misstatement?
I believe it follows inexorably. If man is totally depraved, then he cannot be trusted to know on his own who God is or what he requires for salvation. God must tell him, and he must stick to all of - and only - what God says.
"Sola something" follows inexorably, but on a logical level, it needn't be scripture. As Wosbald pointed out, we could postulate that through God's unconditional election, he reveals to the elect that the Magisterium is infallible. It would be heretical from both the Calvinist and Catholic perspectives, but it's theoretically possible becausesola Scripturadoesn't follow inexorably from total depravity, only "sola sometime-other-than-ourselves" does. Of course, if one believes that he or she is among the elect, and has been awakened to the truth that the Bible is infallible, then he or she wouldn't accept the above formula, but that doesn't mean it's not logically possible within the framework of total depravity and unconditional election. Where in that line of thought do you think I've gone wrong?

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Post by PipeAndPint » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:23 pm

colton wrote:
PipeAndPint wrote:
colton wrote:Do you believesolafollows inexorably from total depravity, or did you just disagree with my misstatement?
I believe it follows inexorably. If man is totally depraved, then he cannot be trusted to know on his own who God is or what he requires for salvation. God must tell him, and he must stick to all of - and only - what God says.
"Sola something" follows inexorably, but on a logical level, it needn't be scripture. As Wosbald pointed out, we could postulate that through God's unconditional election, he reveals to the elect that the Magisterium is infallible. It would be heretical from both the Calvinist and Catholic perspectives, but it's theoretically possible becausesola Scripturadoesn't follow inexorably from total depravity, only "sola sometime-other-than-ourselves" does. Of course, if one believes that he or she is among the elect, and has been awakened to the truth that the Bible is infallible, then he or she wouldn't accept the above formula, but that doesn't mean it's not logically possible within the framework of total depravity and unconditional election. Where in that line of thought do you think I've gone wrong?
Total depravity implies all humans born of ordinary generation are thoroughly sinful. A supposedly infallible Magisterium comprised of human beings (if that is what wosbald proposed) is a contradiction of total depravity.

So I think the weak point is thinking that the Magisterium - which, if you accept total depravity, contains totally depraved human beings - could function as an infallible guide in the way that Scripture can. It does not work.

That said, I have no intention to reargue the thread.
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Post by Del » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:28 pm

colton wrote:
PipeAndPint wrote:
colton wrote:Do you believesolafollows inexorably from total depravity, or did you just disagree with my misstatement?
I believe it follows inexorably. If man is totally depraved, then he cannot be trusted to know on his own who God is or what he requires for salvation. God must tell him, and he must stick to all of - and only - what God says.
"Sola something" follows inexorably, but on a logical level, it needn't be scripture. As Wosbald pointed out, we could postulate that through God's unconditional election, he reveals to the elect that the Magisterium is infallible. It would be heretical from both the Calvinist and Catholic perspectives, but it's theoretically possible becausesola Scripturadoesn't follow inexorably from total depravity, only "sola sometime-other-than-ourselves" does. Of course, if one believes that he or she is among the elect, and has been awakened to the truth that the Bible is infallible, then he or she wouldn't accept the above formula, but that doesn't mean it's not logically possible within the framework of total depravity and unconditional election. Where in that line of thought do you think I've gone wrong?
I am impressed, Little Drummer Boy!

I have been toying with a similar thought... If I were one the Protestant Fathers, disgusted with the Catholic Church and rejecting its magesterium, then I would also have to reject its Scripture. I'd keep the Scriptures around as testimony, but I couldn't trust the Bible to be "inerrant" if there there were no infallible source to guide me.

What then would I keep, as the "true revelation" of Christ? I would say that the one, true saving grace that Christ gave us was the Sacraments... Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Reconciliation, Marriage, and Anointing the Sick. (More or less... I might be tempted to modify the list. I'd throw out the deuterocanonical sacraments....)

I guess my "Protestant church" would look more like the Orthodox than like than a modern Protestant sect. But under the theology of Sola Sacramenta, we wouldn't rely on the Bible as much as the Orthodox do.
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Post by LushMojo » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:31 pm

Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.

But that's not what this thread is about. Yay total depravity! (insert intelligent comments here)
Dug wrote:
Colton wrote:Total depravity =sola Scriptura= X would have been better.
I don't have a dog in this fight and this is an ancillary discussion (which I'm not intending to instigate), but don't see that sola scriptura follows inexorably from Total Depravity at all.

The Holy Scriptures didn't float down on a cloud, but were the product of the Holy Spirit working through human agency, both in their writing and in their definitive recognition as canonical. (Although not all of us may think of it in those terms, all Christians who affirm the inerrancy of Scripture subscribe to a doctrine of infallibility. Protestants believe that the human authors of the God-breathed Scriptures were preserved from error by the Holy Spirit in their writing of those particular books. The Catholic doctrine is different in degree, not in kind.)

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Post by Del » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:49 pm

LushMojo wrote:Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.

But that's not what this thread is about. Yay total depravity! (insert intelligent comments here)
I can trust the Holy Spirit to guard and guide....

I can't buy into this "total depravity" thing though. But... all of Calvinism is new to me. It looks dour and despairing and insane on the surface, but there might be a peace and beauty underneath it all that has persuaded so many Christians through the centuries.

I try to imagine that "total depravity" is the same as concupiscence... a natural tendency toward sin that requires grace and an effort of the will to overcome.
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Post by LushMojo » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:53 pm

Is there an alternate term though? My wife has used "total depravity" to describe a perfect weekend for years now and I'm having trouble making a disconnect.
Del wrote:
LushMojo wrote:Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.

But that's not what this thread is about. Yay total depravity! (insert intelligent comments here)
I can trust the Holy Spirit to guard and guide....

I can't buy into this "total depravity" thing though. But... all of Calvinism is new to me. It looks dour and despairing and insane on the surface, but there might be a peace and beauty underneath it all that has persuaded so many Christians through the centuries.

I try to imagine that "total depravity" is the same as concupiscence... a natural tendency toward sin that requires grace and an effort of the will to overcome.

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Post by PipeAndPint » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:53 pm

LushMojo wrote:Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.
Do you believe that Christ was fully God & fully man, yet without sin?
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Post by Del » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:22 pm

LushMojo wrote:Is there an alternate term though? My wife has used "total depravity" to describe a perfect weekend for years now and I'm having trouble making a disconnect.
I wanna party with her! :wink:
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Post by Del » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:25 pm

PipeAndPint wrote:
LushMojo wrote:Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.
Do you believe that Christ was fully God & fully man, yet without sin?
Christ indeed had a human nature that was FULLY human.

Our human nature is not FULLY human... our human nature is fallen.
Some Saints, with great grace and perseverence, achieve a new life in Christ that is fully human.

Mary, in particular, is called "the New Eve" for several reasons, including the grace that she was born in God, just as Adam and Eve were.
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Post by LushMojo » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:31 pm

PipeAndPint wrote:
LushMojo wrote:Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.
Do you believe that Christ was fully God & fully man, yet without sin?
Unquestionably.

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Post by LushMojo » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:32 pm

Del wrote:
LushMojo wrote:Is there an alternate term though? My wife has used "total depravity" to describe a perfect weekend for years now and I'm having trouble making a disconnect.
I wanna party with her! :wink:
Yeah, you and everyone else I know. ;-)

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Post by PipeAndPint » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:12 am

LushMojo wrote:
PipeAndPint wrote:
LushMojo wrote:Man, I really wish I could fully buy into the whole inerrancy thing. I've been a Christian for 3 decades and just can't seem to trust that point. I believe that God can, in fact, do anything He sets out to do, but when men become involved I just don't see error being reduced to zero.
Do you believe that Christ was fully God & fully man, yet without sin?
Unquestionably.
If Christ the living Word can be fully divine, fully man, yet without error - is not possible that the same can be true of the written Word?
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