Introducing “Theology in View.” A New Video Blog By Yours Truly

So here we go.

I’m beginning a new project, one that involves much scribbling and theology.  Yes.  That’s right.  A video blog designed to communicate theology in a short, fresh, generally tasty, and slightly humorous fashion.

I have many topics I would like to cover, but as you can imagine, the process of coordinating voice to drawings is, well, not terribly easy.  So I hope to kick these out a couple times a month.  But no promises.  Some will be more theologically advanced (like the one here).  And some will be more elementary.  I will probably call them “Theology for Noobs.”

Naturally, I would covet any help you might toss my way, such as sharing the video on Facebook (or subscribing on YouTube).  To the degree that people find these enjoyable and helpful, to that same degree I will feel compelled to draw little Reformed stick men!

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Nathan Eshelman March 15, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    Austin, Your doodles are fun and your nails are well kempt. Both of these things are useful in these types of videos.

    I watched the video last night and thought about it some before bed; here’s a couple of thoughts as I struggle to make the same connections that you make in the video.

    Is there a correlation between the Corinthians eating judgment and them becoming apostate? Christians can fall into sin and that not necessarily mean that they are going to become or may have become apostate. The whole argument in the video seems to hang on the the idea that these certain dead believers in Corinth were a step from losing the faith—I don’t see that in the text and yet that’s a really important theological point in your thesis.

    The Canons of Dort say in 5.5: “Now, by such enormous sins they greatly offend God, incur the guilt of death, grieve the Holy Spirit, break off the exercise of faith, most grievously wound the conscience, now and then for a time lose the sense of grace (2 Sam 12; Eph 4:30), until, upon their returning into the way by true and earnest repentance, God’s fatherly countenance shines again upon them (Ps 32:3-5; Num 6:25).”

    Death for sin, in reformed soteriology, is not presented as a way that God–who establishes second causes–keeps his believers from apostasy–otherwise we’d all probably die on the day we were saved… at least I would have been dead years ago. This idea presented in the video, reminds me of one of the rejections of errors in the Canons of Dort:

    “That the perseverance of the faithful is not an effect of election, or any gift of God purchased by the death of Christ; but that it is a condition of the new covenant, which is to be performed on man’s part…” (Rejections, Article 5)

    To me the whole idea of God killing off a saint to “keep him from apostasy” sounds like the idea of perseverance being a “condition of the new covenant” rather than a effect of salvation. Does that make sense? Although I understand that you are reaching across the aisle to embrace our Arminian brethren; it seems that the Canons already speak to the issue and reject something of what is being said.

    Maybe I am overthinking this, or maybe I am just not philosophical enough—but as an argument, it seems off to me. It does not sound like reformed soteriology. Can you maybe shed some more light on what you are thinking and maybe point me to some other resources that speak of this?

    Thanks so much, Austin.

    • Austin Brown March 15, 2017 at 9:39 pm #

      Greetings,

      That was a close call! I didn’t even think about my finger nails! Truth be told, there was probably a 50/50 chance that things could have been unsightly.

      To your points, allow me to bullet some thoughts:

      One: On the Arminian scheme, imagine that Joe sheep is going to fall away 5 years from now. If God wants to see Joe sheep avoid hell, it seems to me that one viable option (that would not violate libertarian freedom) would be to have Joe contract a deadly disease well before the moment of apostasy. This is conceptually quite reasonable.

      Two: Now if we try to put flesh on this concept, it seems like 1 Cor 11:32 fits the bill, at least tangentially. Here is why. a) Some Christians were sick and dead. b) This was due to judgment. c) This judgment happened so that they would not be condemned with the world. Thus, (d) presumably those who were judged and killed did not go to hell because, after all, the judgment was to keep that very thing from happening. That is the stated reason.

      If you read the passage differently, I would certainly be curious to know how you see it.

      Three: Either way, conceptually or textually, the Arminian has to reckon with why all of God’s sheep do not inherit final salvation when a viable option of preservation is available. God could orchestrate death before the day of rebellion. If He doesn’t do it for any or all, why not?

      Four: Now what puzzles me a bit is this statement you made, “To me the whole idea of God killing off a saint to ‘keep him from apostasy’ sounds like the idea of perseverance being a ‘condition of the new covenant’ rather than a effect of salvation.”

      It’s puzzling to me because in my mind both are true. Perseverance is necessary under the NC. And perseverance is an effect of salvation. In the case of the former, I take the warnings to mean that if a person engages in apostasy X, then Y damnation will follow. And I believe this warning applies to both Christians real and spurious. After all, God preserves His sheep; and the very notion of preservation implies protection from a negative. Thus, God preserves His sheep from what? The warnings. Which mean apostasy and damnation.

      Five: I see this concept expressed in (off the top of my head) Edwards (in Justification by faith alone), Piper, Robert Reymond, Hodge, and Thomas Schreiner (His book The Race Set Before Us).

      Six: Thanks for the thoughts and questions! Genuinely! Do follow up.

  2. Kyle Borg March 16, 2017 at 10:51 am #

    Austin,

    Love this concept! It’s creative and you do it well.

    But can you help me understand what you’re saying a bit more. It sure sounds to me like you’re saying that what God does, he does in response to what man could/would do. Is that correct?

    • Austin Brown March 16, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

      Kyle,

      Note that this is an Arminian conundrum, not a Calvinist one. Or more to the point, who am I addressing? An internal inconsistency can only occur internally to a system.

      But even at that, I would still want to point to a passage like Exodus 13:17-18. Would you say God took into account the actions of men and acted accordingly in history?

      For the sake of pure transparency, I would happily affix shower curtains decorated with the text of Westminster Confession chapter 3 in my bathroom… if but my wife would allow such a wondrous thing to occur.

      • Kyle Borg March 17, 2017 at 9:29 am #

        Austin,

        We’re all glad Rebekah does not let you affix that on your shower curtain…where mildew and soap scum destroy! 🙂

        It sounds to me that you’re saying the decree is contingent upon foreknowledge. I was just curious if that’s what you are saying, and if you simply adopted the logic of Arminianism for the sake of argumentation.

        Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.