Monday, November 26, 2012

The flower fades (Tulip ...and Roses)

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8)

The Ascended Jesus—the once crucified Christ, together with the Father, pours out the Holy Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2). The gift of the Holy Spirit, is necessary, in order to hear and receive the gospel, the wonderful Word of God’s redeeming grace in Christ. Christ himself, by the Spirit, imparts the gospel to our hearts so that, through faith, our minds are profoundly changed, and we come to know God as Father, and ourselves as new creatures 'in' the Son, forgiven and redeemed for genuine life.

Try as they may, even the very best theologians have weakness and deficiencies, and so does their teaching.  The gospel cannot be reduced to a formula, or put into a nutshell. It can however be imparted to the very simplest person (even in the womb—as with John the prophetic cousin of Jesus), and to the most intelligent mind and even the most complex of human beings, by the Holy Spirit’s power.

For many years, in an attempt to help people in their faith and understanding, five important elements of the gospel, have been set forth in Calvinist teaching in the following manner, under the heading of TULIP.

T     Total Depravity
U     Unconditional Grace
L     Limited Atonement
I      Irresistible Grace
P     Perseverance of the Saints

Without going into the detail, the system had weaknesses, though it was and is fiercely defended.

The whole system really needed qualification and renewal, through gracious conversation. It has rightly come in for some criticism. It is the work of human beings and is not a tradition that should be elevated to the high standing of Holy Scripture, for example.

The flower fades.

The TULIP has faded. In recent times, someone has joyfully chosen to renew the beauty of this rather lonely tulip, by bringing in a bunch of freshly picked ROSES.

I set it forth briefly for your help, (as I found it set forth by another):

R           Radical Depravity           
O           Overcoming Grace
S            Sovereign Election
E            Eternal Life
S            Singular Redemption

I am grateful to Kenneth Keathley for his explanation, here below:

What are the tenets of ROSES, in contrast to TULIP?

Radical depravity: The old term, total depravity, gives the impression that fallen humanity always is as bad as it possibly can be.  The new term, radical depravity, more correctly emphasizes that every aspect of our being is affected by the Fall and renders us incapable of saving ourselves. 

Overcoming grace: The old term, irresistible grace, seems to imply that God saves a person against his will.  The new term, overcoming grace, highlights that it is God’s persistent beckoning that overcomes our wicked obstinacy. 

Sovereign election: Often the term unconditional election is presented in such as way as to give the impression that those who die without receiving Christ did so because God never desired their salvation in the first place.  The replacement label, sovereign election, affirms that God desires the salvation of all, yet accentuates that our salvation is not based on us choosing God, but on God choosing us.

Eternal life: The old term, perseverance of the saints, leads to the notion that a believer’s assurance is based on his ability to persevere rather than on the fact he is declared righteous in Christ.  The purpose of the new term, eternal life, is to stress that believers enjoy a transformed life that is preserved and we are given a faith which will remain. 

Singular redemption:  A particularly unfortunate concept, limited atonement, teaches that Christ died only for the elect and gives the impression that there is something lacking in the Atonement.  The new term, singular redemption, emphasizes that Christ died sufficiently for every person, but efficiently only for those who believe.

Kenneth's post is found at:

Thanks Kenneth. 
As has been said: "The best theology is doxology."
Praise the Lord for the freshness of a new day.


1 comment:

Trevor said...

Oh, I see Kenneth (whom I quote) has taken the work of another, and added in some of his own work... with some alterations....of which other Reformed thinkers are critical... oh dear...

All the best - as you hunt down the red herrings, and wild geese!