I posted a number of comments at OB. We will see if the moderator approves them (they haven’t as of yet been approved). I don’t know why I have been placed in that pending status. That is a good thread simply because it shows the difference between a Reformed, covenantal, narratival ontology on the one hand and a static Hellenic one on the other.
Just a thought:
I’ve never met anyone, Romanist or Protestant, who admits to short-changing the Incarnation. I was thinking about this the other day. The denouement of the biblical narrative is neither the Incarnation nor even the Cross, but the Resurrection (and possibly, the sessional reign or premillennial return). Therefore, to be faithful to the “flow” of biblical of the biblical narrative, emphasis should be on these other events.
Someone had correctly rebutted the neo-Socinians by saying that the shedding of blood was necessary, thus putting more emphasis on the cross. The embarrassed replies and admissions to that comment were just hilarious.
This debate came up in Reformed Scholasticism as well. Some Reformed like Rutherford said that it could have been some other way. John Owen (correctly) pointed out the same thing you did. While I agree with Rutherford 98% of the time, I have to demur at this point. Denying that blood was necessary can lead down the road to nominalism.
***my belief in total depravity and inherited guilt made me assume that Christ didn’t assume our totally depraved so called “sin nature”***
This sentence is a true summary of modern Reformed thought and publishing. Correcting it is part of my “project.” If you read the Protestant confessions and Charles Hodge, they specifically reject that gloss on depravity, but the modern Reformed world was interested in other things.
To the others,
The problem with “emphasis” arguments is just that: neither side is necessarily right or wrong. It’s similar to the claim that the East begins with the Persons and the West begins with the essence. Even if correct (and it is not) it doesn’t actually prove anything (since at the end of the day both sides agree).
Ironically, the fundamentalistic premillennialists might be closest to the truth: if the biblical narrative is dynamic and future-moving, then the denouement is in the future (the blessed return).
***I’m not qualified to articulate what are and are not differences in Orthodox vs. Calvinist anthropology***
Reformed anthropology follows Thomism, minus the donum superadditum.
The rest of what you wrote is rather unobjectionable from a Reformed standpoint.
***Not sure how Calvin’s theology of “total depravity” accounts for that.***
1) That’s not what total depravity means. It means our will follows our intellect and the latter is limited in its choice of the good.
2) God took Enoch and Elijah. There really isn’t anything more to the story than that. Surely you aren’t suggesting that they, in a Pelagian fashion, lived such a good life that God rewarded their works?
****As James cited from St. Gregory the Theologian, “what is not assumed in the Incarnation is not saved.”. This refutes the concept of total depravity since Christ was not depraved and thus man could not be saved if he were.****
No, it rebuts the idea, not refutes it. There is a difference. Both sides have a problem: if pressed to hard, the EO position comes close to Pelagianism and is hard-pressed to explain both the universality of sin and the fact that future generations act sinfully.
Crude reformed positions, such as are represented in pop culture, can lead towards Manichean views of human nature. However, the only person who ever held that position was Flavius Illyricus, the Lutheran, and he was condemned. Francis Turretin and Charles Hodge specifically denied that sin was essential to human nature.
***Even temptation is a sign of depravity according to that doctrine, so the temptation is often described as a temptation that is not akin to our own human temptation.***
That is more true of medieval Catholicism than it is of Reformation theology (I can’t help but note the absence of historic Reformed sources following these assertions). Medieval RCC had placed concupiscence before the Fall, ingraining it in human nature (which would make for an interesting discussion to see how Orthodoxy comes down on the question of donum superadditum).
***Calvin’s Total Depravity demands a totally corrupted human Nature able
ONLY to sin***
This is simply false. Calvin’s Institutes praise some of the pagan philosophers. Some of Calvin’s most lyrical lines are about common grace. CF Institutes II.3.3.
While it is true that Calvin does use words like depraved, one needs to take hyperbole into account, but even granting that one needs to ask, “Is so-and-so really saying that no one can do civic good?” If Calvin really believed that, then why did he praise Cicero and extol the common law of nations?
Saying the will is bent towards sin mainly means that humans cannot be the efficient cause in their own salvation. Full stop.