All Articles For Contending for the Faith

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CALVIN  Having discussed in several chapters, in Vol. I, Chapter XIV, on his Institutes of the Christian Religion, the creation of angels, Calvin then resumes his discussion of the creation of the world. In this discussion, he is very brief. Later, in chapter XV, he discusses at length the creation of man. Having discussed the creation of the angels, Calvin writes:

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Government We concluded our last article with a quotation from Rev. H. Hoeksema’s Dogmatics. Writing on that phase of God’s providence which is known as Government, Rev. Hoeksema writes that God, when creating the world, did not have all kinds of possibilities in mind, but was moved and prompted by only one purpose. And that one purpose was, not to perfect all things in the first Adam, who was of the earth, earthy, but to bring them to final perfection in Christ, Who is the Lord from heaven.

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God’s Providence and Sin We remarked in our last article that the child of God must have a Scriptural explanation of God’s providence and sin. He must have this explanation, first of all, because of the fact of the power of sin. Sin is so universal and such a terrible reality. To ignore it is simply impossible. Sin has all men within its grasp. And no man is exempt from its results, death and the curse of the living God. With these remarks we are concluding our last article. 

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God’s Providence and Sin We concluded our preceding article with the remark that man, although never sovereignly free, is morally free. Indeed, he does not possess the true freedom of the service of Jehovah. Only Adam, in the state of perfection, was able to choose the good and the evil. The natural man is unable to choose the good, can choose only the evil. The regenerated child of God, in heavenly perfection and immortality, cannot choose the evil, will never again be able to choose the evil. Man, however, although never sovereignly free, is morally free.

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The struggle for the maintenance of the truth goes on unabated in the history of the church of God throughout the ages. That the forces of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism should appear to hold the upper hand in this unceasing conflict need not surprise or discourage us. Indeed, should the opposite be true, then it would be time indeed for us to “sit up and take notice.” 

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In our preceding article, we had begun with a historical survey of, Gottschalk, the champion of the truth, as set forth by Philip Schaff in his History of the Christian Church, Vol. IV, 522, ff. Particularly, we were quoting from Philip Schaff as he wrote about Gottschalk and Rabanus Maurus. Rabanus Maurus, who had in the meantime become archbishop of Mainz, had been urged to refute this “new heresy,” as advocated and taught by Gottschalk.

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At the close of our preceding article we mentioned three contending theories on the doctrine of predestination: the doctrine of absolute predestination was set forth by Gottschalk and defended, though with more moderation and caution, by others; of free will and a conditional predestination; and a third theory as set forth by John Scotus Erigena which was disowned by both of these parties. And we promised to call attention to these contending theories. Now it is true that we are discussing the doctrine of sin in this series of articles.

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In our preceding article we quoted from Philip Schaff in connection with the fall of Adam and its consequences. Pelagius, it was noted, destitute of all idea of the organic wholeness of the race or of human nature, viewed Adam merely as an isolated individual; he gave him no representative place, and therefore his acts no bearing beyond himself. In this article we continue with Philip Schaff, as he now sets forth the Pelagian system with respect to the doctrine of human ability and divine grace. Writing on Pelagius’ doctrine of human ability, Vol. III, 808 ff., he writes as...

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