Friday, February 22, 2008

Problem With Page... Repenting on a Previous Point

I must repent for some of my last blog. First, I was incredulous and somewhat miffed upon reading the Trouble With Tulip, and therefore some of my comments were supercilious. I must admit, I love Frank Page as a brother in Christ and as a capable leader of our Convention. He is , I am sure, a good scholar. The Trouble With Tulip was written on a popular level and is not a scholarly endeavor. However, I do stand by my critique of the message of the book. Page seems to suggest that all Calvinists are hypers. Church history is full of 5-point Calvinists who were not only evangelical, but were the cornerstones of frontier missions such as William Carey, Adoniram Judson, the Haldain brothers, John Patterson, etc. etc.

Secondly, I have been a student of reformed theology for 20 years and I have never heard the claim that Page makes on page 21 of The trouble with Tulip that "the image of God in human beings was totally destroyed" according to Calvin. It is interesting there is no footnote there, because I believe Page made that up. Here is what Calvin says regarding the image of God in man, "The concept of the image of God emerges clearly as we see the skills in which he excels, and which reflect God's glory. However, a more accurate assessment still comes from looking at God's remedy for sin. It is undeniable that when Adam fell from grace, he became alienated from God. So, although we know that the image of God was not completely wiped out, it was so damaged that what remains is an ugly deformity. Our salvation begins with that new start which we receive from Christ. This is why he is called the second Adam, because he restores us to wholeness." (Institutes, Abridged Edition, Baker, 1986). Again, this shows a total lack of what Calvinism represnts on the part of Dr. Page. According to Spurgeon, Calvinism was simply a nickname for the gospel itself (from a Defense of Calvinism by C.H. Spurgeon).

I am no advocate of double-predestination, but Dr. Page says " God never predestined a person to hell"(p.55) and suggests that he cannot find any reference to such in the Bible. I need to point out Judas. He is prophesied about clearly in the Old Testament. He was chosen by Christ as a disciple, and Jesus called him the Son of Perdition (hell). Blanket statements about what God can or can not do should be assessed in light of the Bible and should never be made hastily.

Dr. Page suggests that Calvin substituted absolute Sovereignty for grace through faith(p.16-17 Trouble With Tulip). Page dosent seem to understand that grace and faith as well as sovereignty are attributes of God. God is graceful, God is Faithful and God is Sovreign. Can we not see that all these work together. More later...

The Problem With Page and the Trouble With Tulip shall be continued...

6 comments:

Gordan Runyan said...

I may yet join you in needing to repent, but I'm still in the stage of being mortified and appalled.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

thanks for the comment. I'm afraid my repentance is only on my insulting comments towards his scholorship not towards his doctrine. I think I want to start a project like Tom Ascol did in Florida and send every pastor a copy of Amazing Grace the History of Calvinism, or at least a copy of Spurgeon's a Defense of Calvinism.Maybe that would help.
Blessings!

Rev. said...

Surfin' the net and came across your blog. Appreciate the humility and the forthrightness. It's difficult at times, isn't it, walking the tightrope between humility and conviction?

P.S. (There is no reason to apologize on the doctrine side of the issue).

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Rev. thanks for your comment. May the grace of God guard our hearts and minds. There are some others who have done a far better job than I in critique of Page's book. I would also refer you to reformedmafia.blogspot.com and Jefferson Park Baptist Church website.

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Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Thanks Massagem, I appreciate your comments. Unfortunately, I am a very bad blogger and the worst speller I know apart from my six year old son, so I hope you will bear with me.