This article is worth printing out and giving to your Arminian friends!
Many Arminians labor under the misapprehension that the case for Calvinism begins and ends with Rom 9. In my observation, that’s common due to their self-reinforcing ignorance of the exegetical literature.
In this post I’m going to quote a number of Reformed prooftexts, in canonical order, then quote interpretive comments by various scholars. So the post has a simple structure: I quote a text of Scripture, then I quote one or more scholars expounding the passage. Taken by themselves, Reformed prooftexts might seem to beg the question by presupposing a Reformed interpretation thereof. (Arminian prooftexting is open to the same objection.) I’ve gone beyond bare prooftexting to provide exegetical arguments for the Reformed interpretation.
I’m doing this in part for the benefit of laymen who don’t have easy access to the best modern commentaries. But it’s also useful to have some of this material collated, at one’s fingertips.
Although both Calvinists and Arminians have their one-verse prooftexts, Reformed theological method is based less on snappy one-liners than tracing out the flow or argument or narrative flow of larger blocks of Scripture (e.g. Gen 37-50; Exod 4-14; Isa 40-48; Jn 6, 10-12, 17; Rom 9-11; Eph 1-2, 4).
I’ll quote Calvinists, Arminians, an open theist, and some scholars I don’t know how to classify. All the quotes will support or be consistent with Reformed theology. You might wonder why a non-Calvinist scholar would offer an interpretation consist with, or supportive of, Calvinism. One reason is that some commentators compartmentalize exegetical and systematic theology. They think you should interpret each book on its own terms, without shoehorning passages into a harmonious system of doctrine. Likewise, some scholars think some verses are more Calvinistic while others are more Arminian. They don’t interpret one in relation to the other. In addition, some liberal scholars don’t think Scripture has a consistent theological message.
This post is not exhaustive, either in terms of Reformed prooftexts or supporting arguments. It’s a sampler. It understates the exegetical case for Calvinism.
Tags: Arminianism calvinism prooftexts Reformed Theology