Leighton Flowers’ Nestorian Understanding of Salvation

Leighton Flowers just yesterday Tweeted the following:

The fact that God is 100% responsible for our salvation doesn’t change the fact that we are 100% responsible for repenting in faith in response to His gospel appeal. We are responsible for our choice to repent and He is responsible for His choice to forgive. #Provisionism

My Tweet response was:

Sounds like Nestorianism if you frame this is in Christological rather than abstract soteriological terms.

One of the proponents of Flowers’ soteriology, who I am “currently” friends with on Facebook responded to my comment this way:

Dumb comment. Nestorianism asserted Jesus was two persons. This has no correlation to Sot101’s post.

When people, like Warren McGrew comments the way he did above, they don’t last long with me on my FB roll. Be that as it may, let me offer a quick clarification on why I said that Flowers’ soteriology is Nestorian.

As Christians we think theology from Jesus Christ; from the emphases and categories He brings with His gift bearing life for us. If that premise holds, then in order for the Christian to think soteriological themes, they are charged with doing so from a principially Christ concentrated lens. This is why I recast Flowers’ soteriological thinking in and through an christological analogy. Once we make that move we come to see how Flowers’ soteriological pronouncement fits Nestorian rather than Chalcedonian orthodox categories. Flowers presents a competitive relationship between Divine and human agency, as if there are “two” distinct ‘persons’ represented in the singular event of salvation. But the hypostatic union wherein God and humanity become one, in the brining together of the two-natures of the Divine and human into the singular person of the Christ, militates against thinking salvation in competitive or dualistic terms. This is why I noted that Flowers’ presentation is Nestorian; it thinks salvation through a lens of two competitive persons, in an abstract manner, rather than through the singular person of Jesus Christ who serves as the mediary of the Godward to human and humanward to God movement in the once and for all ‘faith’ delivered for the saints.

If we attempt to squeeze Flowers’ soterio-logic into the Chalcedonian frame I just noted what we end up with is a Nestorian conception of salvation wherein we have the person of God, represented by Jesus, and the person of humanity, represented by Jesus as the Archimedean point wherein salvation can or cannot obtain; depending on what the person, represented exemplarily by the person of Jesus, decides to do with the offer of salvation. Jesus is instrumentalized through adoptionistic premises wherein the Divine person associated with the man Jesus is only in ‘accidental’ relation rather than one grounded in the very personhood of the Monarxia (Godhead)—wherein the eternal Logos, Jesus Christ, finds his personalising personhood, in His relationship with the Father by the Holy Spirit, which He graciously gives to us in His vicarious humanity.

Flowers, McGrew et al. don’t think things this way. But they should if they want to offer the people a robustly Christ-centered, and thus biblical conception of salvation.    

4 thoughts on “Leighton Flowers’ Nestorian Understanding of Salvation

  1. Hi Bobby: Thanks for your robust and sound doctrine on Salvation. I appreciate/treasure it very much. Flowers et al. are really Pelagian in their soteriology though they deny, it’s obvious the way they present their ideas and argue. You are correct, Flowers soteriology really fits with Nestorian concept – Human agency is presented to compete with the Divine agency in obtaining Salvation. This is ridiculous… My goodness…

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  2. @jtlesala,

    Thank you! And you are right, no matter how much doth Flowers et al protest he/they are genuinely Pelagian; if that designation has any meaning at all (and it does). But yes, LF is actually Nestorian too. Man, he needs to really start to think theologically at some point. Errors abound otherwise.

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  3. “Did God actually say…” and so in the seemingly simple challenge the necessity of precision in thinking theologically is established. It is a disciplined and demanding engagement to be tempered only by the love of God demonstrated in Christ’s sacrificial life and death. Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift! (and gifts).

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