The New Puritanism Part 3: Michael S. Horton: Holy War With Unholy Weapons -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 22:42 (Spring 2009)
Article: The New Puritanism Part 3: Michael S. Horton: Holy War With Unholy Weapons
Author: Zane C. Hodges


The New Puritanism
Part 3: Michael S. Horton: Holy War With Unholy Weapons1

Zane C. Hodges

Introduction

In the previous issue we began our review of the book, Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation, edited by Michael Horton (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992). This is a symposium book with articles by seven writers, including Horton, who contributes two articles and an introduction.2 Horton is the president of CURE (Christians United for Reformation) which is based in Anaheim, California.

The theological perspective of the writers appears to be that of Dortian (or, five-point) Calvinism. The volume displays considerable hostility toward the Free Grace position. A sense of “holy war” against the theology of grace is not hard to detect in many places in the book. But the weapons employed might be described as unholy weapons.

In the last issue we saw that the book is permeated by false statements (point A) and/or distortions of its opponent’s views (point B). To these unholy weapons we may now add another: the subjugation of biblical soteriology to theological determinism.

C. Soteriology Subjugated To Determinism

If there is one thing five-point Calvinists hold with vigorous tenacity, it is the belief that there can be no human free will at all. With surprising illogic, they usually argue that God cannot be sovereign if man is granted any degree of free will. But this view of God actually diminishes the greatness of His sovereign power. For if God cannot control a universe in which there is genuine free will, and is reduced to the creation of “robots,” then such a God is of truly limited power indeed.

We would argue quite differently. The God of the Bible is in fact great enough to create creatures with genuine powers of choice. Yet so perfect is His omniscience of all choices, possible and actual, that He can devise an almost infinitely complex scenario for mankind in which His sovereign purposes

are all worked out perfectly through—and even in spite of—the free choices made by His creatures. This view of things is sometimes called “Middle Knowledge,” which was briefly referred to in our last article.

The theological determinism found in Christ the Lord is in no way necessitated by the Bible. But since the writers impose it on Scripture, the results are necessarily bad. When the Bible is not allowed to speak beyond the grid of its interpreters, we are not surprised if its voice is ser...

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