2008April14, Monday

The Reformed View, Redivivus

Posted in My Life, Theology at 12:46 by Trey Austin

First, i have been criticized for claiming that James White’s view is not “the Reformed view.” My dear brother, TurretinFan (whoever he is), made that the heart of his critique of me. At least Peter Pike, who commented on TurretinFan’s post and on my own, actually read what i wrote with something like an intention to understand what i was actually saying, and so he saw that my point was not that my own view is only Reformed view and Jame’s White’s isn’t. That’s precisely what i was objecting to!

When White debates election, Calvinism, or any related topics, he speaks of the Reformed view or the Reformed perspective as if there is only one! That’s just the point: there isn’t only one, on practically every issue within the Reformed world. As i point out in my post that TurretinFan linked, there is more than one way to flesh out what “limited atonement” actually is (contrary to the claims of the High Calvinists), but the same is true of those who have a different view of the free offer, the covenants, baptism, God’s love for all men, God’s will, etc, etc., etc. My problem is with those who speak that way is that they have taken one strain of Reformed thought (almost to a man, scholastic Puritanism) and hold it out as if it’s the only view that qualifies as “Reformed.”

Well, not everyone who is a Calvinist thinks Ames’s or Owen’s views are helpful, either in fleshing out the doctrine of the atonement or in how to respond to Arminians, nor does everyone who is a Calvinist believe that the only thing we can call “the will of God” or that is “his desire” is that which comes to pass. But those disagreements don’t make us not Reformed–and it certainly doesn’t make us Amyraldian. There is great breadth and variety within the Reformed world, not one view on practically any subject that can qualify as *THE* Reformed view (please note the italics of the word “the” in the title of my original post, which TurretinFan apparently didn’t).

It is important to distinguish between what is Reformed and what is right. There are views that are wrong that are within the pale of Reformed thought, but their being within the braoder Reformed camp doesn’t make them right, especially since not all views which fit within it, especially ones that contradict one another, can be right at the same time. So, understand, i’m arguing not that White’s view is not Reformed, nor am i arguing that it’s biblically wrong (though, i think it is), i am arguing that it’s only one among many Reformed views on the issue of God’s will concerning the salvation of the non-elect.

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