Visual Theology and the Order of Salvation

One final blog post on Tim Challie’s visual theology. This one is on the order of salvation.

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2 comments

  1. Capps, I have enjoyed the Visual Theology Series and as a visual learner it works for me.

    Regarding this post, I am assuming that the Challie is a Calvinist and therefore it might surprising to some of your readers that this orthodox Catholic priest finds merit and teachable points in the author’s illustration of the plan to salvation.

    I am assuming that Challie’s 9 Step process is a new or more contemporary Calvinist spin on the traditional Calvinist 5 point TULIP (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saint). Is Challie’s presentation the current preferred model for Calvinist? Additionally, I struggle to line his steps up to the traditional model of Calvin’s plan to salvation.

    Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1275) would propose a plan to salvation that clearly influenced Calvin in his thinking and probably this more contemporary model. However, there are some nuisances to be noted:

    In regards to election, I understand that there are some in Calvinist circles who debate whether God positively chooses, rather than merely foresees, those who will come to him. From my perspective the ‘merely foresees’ who will response to the election fits my pastoral sensibilities. I assume that Challie is working from unconditional election, what are your thoughts?

    Where does LIMITED ATONEMENT fit into Challie’s process? As a Catholic, it would be important for me to note that that the atonement is limited in efficacy, if not in sufficiency. I would make the distinction that the atonement was limited in that God only intended it to be efficacious for the elect although he intended it to be sufficient for ALL.

    In the end I think there are ways for a Catholic to understand Calvin’s version/Challie of plan to salvation, while wrestling with the apparently divisive denominational issues of predestination and grace.

    Below is a great article that summarizes the Catholic and Calvinist teachings on the plan to salvation, drawing the similarities as well as noting the differences. I encourage any reader to who wants to delve more deeply into this to read it.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/TULIP.htm

    1. Father Dandurand, so great to hear from you as always my friend! Your thoughts are always refreshing and challenging. This is a conversation you and I will have to pick up in another context as well. I do think this is a more contemporary model that builds on some of the key elements of Calvin’s views. I’m not certain, but it is my assumption that Challies works from an unconditional election perspective…not so sure on where he stands on limited atonement. I would be very interested in reading Aquinas on this issue…please point me in the right direction on where to go to get his take. I am very interested in the doctrine of election and the atonement especially when they are removed from a philosophical discussion and explored for their pastoral intent and impact. In the NT these are deeply pastoral issues that drill down into the heart of God’s love, kindness and compassion. All too often these issues are divisive and debated when they ought to be deeply humbling, encouraging and ultimately pushing us to worship.

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