Friday, April 12, 2013

God Is Love As The Starting Point

It has been too long since I posted here at EC In Plain Language. Let me remedy that now. This post will be less ordered than others, and more of a reflection upon what has drawn me into the mood of what Myk Habets and I have labeled 'Evangelical Calvinism'.

What I am afraid of is that I am becoming what I don't want to be. Evangelical Calvinism is identifying a mood within the Reformed tradition that has a full court positive theology to offer. This means that the ultimate end of Evangelical Calvinism is not to find our self identity by what we are against; instead Evangelical Calvinism is about who and what we are for (Christ and His kingdom). I have too often reverted to the Fundamentalist mode of constructing theology from what I am against, or at least so using other expressions of Reformed theology in a way that makes it look like Evangelical Calvinism is nothing more than a negation of whatever that particular expression of Reformed theology is.

In Evangelical Calvinism edited book Myk and I end the volume with 15 theological theses that state what we are for, theologically. For the most part they are positive in orientation, and only identify where we differ from others in order to provide foil and better context for what we are actually for without demeaning, per se, the theologies that are necessarily at odds with our own stated approach. Here are the Fifteen Theses:

1. The Holy Trinity is the absolute ground and grammar of all epistemology, theology, and worship.
2. The primacy of God’s triune life is grounded in love, for “God is love.”
3. There is one covenant of grace.
4. God is primarily covenantal and not contractual in his dealings with humanity.
5. Election is christologically conditioned.
6. Grace precedes law.
7. Assurance is of the essence of faith.
8. Evangelical Calvinism endorses a supralapsarian Christology which emphasizes the doctrine of the primacy of Christ.
9. Evangelical Calvinism is a form of dialectical theology.
10. Evangelical Calvinism places an emphasis upon the doctrine of union with/in Christ whereby all the benefits of Christ are ours.
11. Christ lived, died, and rose again for all humanity, thus Evangelical Calvinism affirms a doctrine of universal atonement.
12. Universalism is not a corollary of universal redemption and is not constitutive for Evangelical Calvinism.
13. There is no legitimate theological concept of double predestination as construed in the tradition of Reformed Scholasticism.
14. The atonement is multifaceted and must not be reduced to one culturally conditioned atonement theory but, rather, to a theologically unified but multi-faceted atonement model.
15. Evangelical Calvinism is in continuity with the Reformed confessional tradition.

Now of course each statement as given in the book is provided with elaboration and further development coordinate with each of the statement's sentiment.

What I want to emphasize through this is that Myk and myself are identifying something has a vibrant life and trajectory of its own. In other words it is a positive approach to thinking theologically and biblically.

And as far as I am concerned, the first two theses are indeed the most important. God is love.