A Blog Slow Down: Working on my Personal Chapter for Evangelical Calvinism V2

My blog is going to go on partial sabbatical for about the next month. Myk Habets and I are involved in co-editing our Volume 2 Evangelical Calvinism book. As some of you might remember we edited our first volume which was released in 2012, and is entitled: Evangelical Calvinism: Essays Resourcing the Continuing Reformation of the ChurchIn order for me to get my personal PICKWICK_Templatechapter completed I’m going to need to devote almost all of my spare time to its composition, and so my blog must suffer some loss. My particular chapter is on the doctrine of assurance of salvation, and it will be critically engaging with one of the theological theses me and Myk co-wrote in our first volume (you can read what that is here). Here is a rough kind of abstract of what my current chapter will aim to accomplish:

What this chapter will argue is that Calvin’s idea, ‘assurance is of the essence of faith,’ is commendable and true; but that Calvin’s own theological framework, particularly with reference to his doctrine of predestination, was unable to consistently support his belief. As noted earlier, we will use Karl Barth as Calvin’s critic, but a critic who, in principle, is supportive of Calvin’s basic idea in regard to assurance. After we analyze the weakness of Calvin’s theological superstructure, through Barth, we will constructively reify Calvin’s belief, relative to assurance, through an alternative offered by Karl Barth, and Scottish theologian, Thomas Torrance. The alternative will re-text Calvin’s doctrine of assurance within Barth’s (and Torrance’s) doctrine of predestination, election, and the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ. It will be argued that the doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Christ and the pistis Christou (i.e. ‘the faith[fulness] of Christ’) provide the proper theological grounding that Calvin’s conception,‘assurance is the essence of faith,’ was in need of in order to be the thick and robust account that Calvin would have wanted.[1] In order to develop the New Testament teaching of pistis Christou (πίστις Χριστοῦ), this chapter will engage in exegetical analysis of this Koine Greek phrase by referencing the works of R. Michael Allen, Michael Bird, Morna Hooker, Douglas Campbell, and N.T. Wright. After these treatments, from both Christian dogmatic and exegetical analyses, the hope will be that we will have come to see that Calvin was heading in the right direction and in tune with our evangelical Calvinist trajectory, but that he simply needed further constructive engagement to shore up some nagging weaknesses in his own theological framework.

Pray that I am able to develop all of this in a cogent and accessible fashion, such that people will be edified and encouraged when they think about this very important pastoral and even, dare I say, psychological locus. When I say I am going on “partial sabbatical” that means that I might post some blog posts here and there, like maybe when I need a break or two from writing this particular chapter for the book. But I just wanted to give you all a heads up as to why my out-put here at the blog will be slowing down for the next month or two. Thanks, and peace.

[1] That is not to say that John Calvin himself would necessarily agree with the new theological framework, or the exegetical analysis that this essay will recast his doctrine of assurance within; but he might be intrigued, hopefully just a little.

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10 thoughts on “A Blog Slow Down: Working on my Personal Chapter for Evangelical Calvinism V2

  1. I had my wife, who is an excellent writer and grammarian, read it through; she didn’t see any real r/o sentences, except for the first one (which I’ve now corrected). The rest of the commas I use in the various sentences are all natural pauses (it helps if you think of it conversationally).

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  2. Maybe it’s our respective fields. With that amount of commas, I’d get all sorts of red marks with the people I work with. But the original comment was a tad tongue in cheek 😉

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  3. It is great to be aware of what all the the great luminosii have concluded. In the end however we need to come back to the confronting question: What think ye of Christ. It is our talk, walk, attitude and orientation to God that is of interest to God; ironically so.

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  4. That’s the point of engaging with doctors of the church; to allow people to come to informed inclusions about what they think of Christ. At the end it isn’t about what we think, but what God in Christ thinks for us; that’s the basis of how we can repent.

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