This week we will be talking again with Dr. David Baggett, co-author of Good God and professor of apologetics at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, about the doctrine of election and the love of God. Besides the main topic, we will hit on a number of related issues, like love and the necessity of free will, and the role that philosophy ought to play (if any) in interpreting the Bible.
Most of this discussion takes place with a critique of Calvinism. Because conversations like these can be so divisive, Dr. Baggett wanted to give a brief statement to explain his motivation and to set the tone for the discussion. Here’s the statement:
I hope nothing here causes any discord or division; they’re just some reflections I have about the nature of God as essentially loving and what that seems to imply, and to my thinking they comport with the best biblical exegesis available, though I don’t claim to be a biblical scholar. To me this focus on God’s essentially loving nature seems a crucial part of moral apologetics, but I really do sincerely hope that those who may disagree with me on some of these issues don’t take any offense. It’s surely not intended. Christians of diverse stripes agree on much more than what they disagree about, and as Lewis once said, sometimes one of our disagreements is the importance of our disagreements. At times I’ve overstated the differences, and regret that, but here it’s my intention just to lay out how I see things, how some of the pieces fit together, and folks can do with it as they will. And if they disagree, that’s fine. There’s mental space and ample prerogative to do so, and I won’t be offended. But irrespective of our differences, as believers we all need to learn to love one another, and I only hope what I say here contributes to that rather than detracts from it. These discussions are important, but we’ve got to strive to avoid their becoming needlessly divisive.
Photo: “God’s Open Door Church (air conditioned) by Tom Hart. CC License.