Friday, June 01, 2007

A missing soteriological critique?

(Image from Wikipedia)

Short on time again today as this semester winds down and students' essays come pouring in, I'm going to focus on merely one point -- a perplexing aside, in fact, that Robert Koons makes about Calvinism in his essay "A Lutheran's Case for Roman Catholicism":
If we say, with the Calvinists, that Christ has died only for believers, we make faith into a human work that merits salvation in conjunction with Christ’s life and passion. Roman Catholics join with Lutherans in rejecting this error: Christ’s life and passion is the sole meritorious cause of our salvation. (pdf, pages 40-41)
I don't know Calvinist theology in any detail, but this looks like a travesty of what Calvinists believe. My understanding on this Calvinist point is that Calvinists teach that believers only believe because they have been drawn to faith through God's "irresistable grace," a saving grace extended not as a reward for human works of merit but out of an "inscrutable" soteriological decision that God made -- "before the foundations of the world" -- to save certain individuals, the elect, "because it pleased him to do so."

You'll notice that I'm quoting without providing citations. That's because I have these expressions in my head but don't know precisely where they come from, aside from casual conversations with Calvinists over the years -- with the exception of Ephesians 1:4-5, where Paul uses the expression "before the foundations of the world" in referring to God's decision to bestow grace.

I therefore do not know precisely what point Koons is making here, for it directly contradicts what Calvinists explicitly teach. I have to assume that he is alluding to some critique making the argument that Calvinism -- despite intentions to the contrary -- implicitly treats faith as a human work that merits salvation.

I'd have to see this missing soteriological critique before commenting further. Meanwhile, does anybody know what Koons is talking about?

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At 7:56 AM, Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Are you still around?

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Am I still blogging, you mean? If so, yes, I'm still around.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:50 AM, Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Soteriology? Today's religious assumptions are poppycock. Murder cannot be a direct benefit.

At 3:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks for your input. It doesn't answer my question, but thanks anyway.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:43 AM, Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Maybe you don't get the answer all at once and maybe the correct answer is far different than the religious scribes you are comparing? Perhaps. Isn't it possible that Luther had no idea of what he was talking about and RCCism is worse off than that? Koons? Never heard of him myself.
Got a question for you tho. It seems to me that you are using theology and soteriology as the same thing?

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

My question is whether Koons is accurately presenting Calvinist soteriology, not whether Calvinism, Lutheranism, or Catholicism has the real truth.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:01 AM, Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Even if Koons did it is still in error. No man's murder is a direct benefit.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Okay, thanks.

Jeffery Hodges

@ @ @

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

You are welcome.


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