March 2, 2010

Dr. Brown Tackles the Controversies and Answers Your Questions (including An Update on Same-Sex “Marriage,” and More on Cessationism and Calvinism)

Note: Part of today’s show was not recorded due to a studio problem; we apologize for the inconvenience.

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14 Comments
  1. Hey Dr. Brown, great show. Seeing as your on the topic of controversies for the week, perhaps you can explain why you seem to favor using “Yahweh” or YHWH prior to YHVH, for the Tetragrammaton. I understand you hold a Ph.D in Semitic languages but what I don’t understand why you believe there is a “w” sound in Hebrew. Maybe you can clear this up on your show or through the forums here.

    Thank you, and God bless you sir!
    שלום עליכם

  2. Eric,

    The older pronunciation of “vav” in Hebrew was “waw” — a “w” rather than a “v.” This is widely known and accepted, and there is evidence for it in the other Semitic languages such as Arabic, where the consonant is still pronounced “w” (as in walad in Arabic, which is similar to yeled in Hebrew).

  3. When we read Biblical Hebrew should we be reading Vav as Waw? Also, in modern Hebrew – how would you pronounce יהוה ?

    Thank you for your answer, I don’t know how to respond really I am still a student learning day by day.

  4. Hey Dr. Brown, on the topic of questions from the Hebrew Bible, I have a few questions about what I’ve been reading in Leviticus.

    The first question has to do with the mention of “azazel” in Lev. 16. Should the word be translated scapegoat (or something along those lines), or is it actually a name for a wilderness demon?

    Second, Lev. 27:29 stands out to me as an awesome passage and I was wondering what it means. The NET Bible reads: “Any human being who is permanently dedicated must not be ransomed; such a person must be put to death.” The context of the laws of redemption seems to indicate that this is not referring to capital punishment but rather to offerings, since the preceding verse mentions animals, property, and things “permanently devoted” to the Lord.

  5. Dr. Brown,

    Hi, how are you? I noticed that you made a comment on your show regarding my recent post about Calvinism. Though you disagree with me, I’m still quite honored that a vague reference of me was made on the air!

    That said, I thought I would make a final comment on this particular issue.

    You said on your show that Calvinism is a “rich, important subject” and that you take “strong exception” to my suggestion that Calvinists are not saved.

    With respect to your position, could you please explain to me the purpose of the recent blogs and radio programs regarding your strong differences with Calvinism? What is the motivation behind your considerable efforts to refute the Calvinist positions? Why go to all of the trouble if there is really no consequence in adhering to this doctrine? It seems like a very great effort in futility.

    If you say that as a biblical scholar you want to encourage proper Christology and soteriology then why is my concern for their “salvation” such a stretch? TULIP deals with salvific issues and if TULIP is wrong and I adhere to TULIP do I merely receive a brief, uncomfortable look from God in the hereafter?

    The author of scripture is Jesus. If I say that the Jesus in whom I have believed, has or has not performed certain salvific acts, and these acts are contrary to sound doctrine, then why would I not be at risk in having received a counterfeit?

    Are we doing Calvinists favors by minimizing the consequences of their beliefs for the purposes of unity?

    I truly understand your unwillingness to question the salvation of men like Edwards & Whitefield (etc). We should rightly pause before taking such a position. However, my conscience compels me to say to all Calvinists – “Repent. Please, this could be quite serious. Turn away from this doctrine.”

    Blessings,
    Greg

  6. Greg,

    Glad you felt honored! 🙂

    A quick response:

    1) I received lots of emails about Calvinism and wanted to address those emails, hence bringing it up on the air.

    2) I believe there is real error in Calvinism but that it preserves the fundamentals of gospel necessary for salvation, without a doubt. If you listen to a passionate Calvinist preach to the lost, you’ll say Amen to his or her presentation (at least the ones I’ve heard). It’s the theology behind the presentation that needs to be corrected.

    3) I believe there are important points that Calvinism seeks to emphasize, in particular that we are beholden to God and not Him to us, a truth that is often lost on the Western, often humanistic Church.

    4) That being said, I do have serious concerns about the effects of Calvinism on many believers — yes, there are consequences to doctrinal error — and because of that, I will continue to try to help people have a more biblical view of the subject. As for calling Calvinists to “repent” of their Calvinism, I could only really do that if I felt that the person realized that their view was unbiblical yet refused to abandon it. Otherwise, I would urge them to reconsider their views rather than repent of them.

    Feel free to differ with me, and please don’t take it personally if I fail to respond further, due to my standard time constraint issues.

  7. Dr. Brown,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I’m blessed indeed.

    Right after reading your response I happened upon this YouTube about abortion. The first 20 seconds blew me away and is, quite surprisingly, an awesome illustration of one of the many difficulties I have with Calvinism (not to beat a dead horse). The whole video is impressive and I think you’ll enjoy it if you haven’t watched it already.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOR1wUqvJS4&feature=player_embedded

    Blessings,
    Greg

  8. I was wondering…didn’t Calvin persecute the Anabaptists and others he thought were “Heretics”?

  9. Nathaniel,

    I never said with absolute certainty that Calvinists are not saved. However, I AM concerned that this could be a possibility. The essence of my argument has been made above. TULIP deals with issues of salvation. Therefore, if TULIP is wrong then the logical conclusion (IMHO) is that a person’s salvation could be in jeopardy.

    2 Corinthians 11 mentions “another Jesus.” If, with respect to the atonement, you have believed in an unbiblical Jesus, then it seems logical that there could be a consequence (perhaps serious) for this position.

    The arguments for or against the tenets of Calvinism have already been made in previous blogs. I’m not interested in debating those questions further at this time. My current issue deals strictly with the question of salvation and whether or not the perceived degree of error reaches a level that causes someone to be accursed such as in Galatians 1.

    Assuming that TULIP is entirely incorrect, I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say about my reasonings. Naturally, the reverse argument could be made. I’m open to debate.

    God Bless,
    Greg

  10. Greg,

    “2 Corinthians 11 mentions “another Jesus.” If, with respect to the atonement, you have believed in an unbiblical Jesus, then it seems logical that there could be a consequence (perhaps serious) for this position.”

    I see what you’re saying. How accurate must we be in our picture of who God is in order to be saved? Obviously, our understanding of God grows deeper and deeper, but it never bottoms out. So in a sense we (through reading and communion with God) are always correcting inaccuracies about God in our own mind. But your point seems to be if Calvinism is false, is the distortion of God great enough to effect our salvation? For someone who takes TULIP to the extreme, the answer is their salvation may be in question.

    However, many Christians who affirm Calvinism will reject something they may cohere to TULIP but does not correspond to Scripture. For instance, the attitude of Hyper Calvinists towards evangelism may cohere to TULIP but it certainly does not correspond to the teachings of the Bible. No true Calvinist go that far because Christians who are Calvinists are Biblical people. If you read the writings of the Reformers, you will see that. Charles Spurgeon was bold enough to say that Calvinism was the Gospel. If we look at his life and preaching, we would see, I think, a life that corresponds to the way Scripture says it should be.

    Let’s go the other way, John Wesley hated the doctrine of predestination. If he was wrong, is he in hell? I don’t think so because I see man who understood the basic tenets of the Gospel and lived accordingly even though I think he was in error.

    I guess my point is the line at times can be difficult. I think some Roman Catholics are Christians though true RCC doctrine distorts the Gospel. There are also self-affirmed Calvinists who are not saved. Many American Christians when confronted with various doctrines of the Trinity may actually affirm a heretical form before they are taught the correct doctrine. There are some clear heresies, but there are times where you can assent to correct doctrine and still be in a state of condemnation. I think if you examine the lives of Christians who affirm Calvinism, you will find that most of them live in communion with God as Christians should.

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