John Piper vs. Don Thorsen

John Piper vs. Don Thorsen October 23, 2013

This recent post at John Piper’s site (by Jonathan Parnell, but repeating what I’ve heard from Piper for years) is why we need books like Don Thorsen’s fair-minded and accurate sketch of what both Wesley and Calvin believe (Calvin vs. Wesley).  Those who will but read Roger Olson’s erudite and source-quoting Arminian Theology will be well-informed of what Arminians believe. I have highlighted in bold the caricature-like descriptions.

Either Jesus died to save his church or he didn’t. There isn’t a third option.

Either he gave himself up for his bride, as Ephesians 5:25 tells us, or he died to create the possibility of her salvation that depends upon the skills of human decision-making.

Are we dead in our sins, as Ephesians 2:1–3 says, or are we slightly impaired? Are we “far from the peaceful shore” or are we gone, sunken to the bottom of the ocean with no chance of resuscitation? Does God toss us a floatation device, or does he raise us from the dead?

Was the cross of Christ a triumph over sin and evil, as Colossians 2:14–15 says, or was it just a nice first-move? Is Jesus victorious for the sake of his church, or did he spot us a few points? Did he suffer at Golgotha to demonstrate God’s grace to sinners, or was it a presentation of sorta-kinda-maybe hope for those smart enough to understand?

Did Jesus drain the dregs of God’s wrath meant for his people, or did he merely mute original sin and leave the destiny of our eternal souls in our own hands?

How we answer these questions has everything to do with what we think about our sin and the glory of Jesus, and therefore, it gets at the heart of the gospel.

Standing where Piper stands, one can see why he’d repudiate Wesleyan thinking and speak like this. In return, some Wesleyans will say Calvin’s God is a Sadomasochist Tyrant. How far do we get when we speak to and of one another like this?


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