Jack Cottrell’s Critique of Bruce Ware’s Infralapsarian Calvinism

SEA has linked to a few PDF s of Jack Cottrell’s various responses to others from the Perspectives on Election: Five Views book.  Cottrell argues for the Classical Arminian view of individual conditional election based on foreseen faith.  He sees many of the election passages in Scripture as corporate but only as corporate election to service or the fulfilling of a certain purpose, and not to salvation.  Passages dealing with election to salvation he sees as election based on foreseen faith.  While I disagree with Cottrell in that I see corporate election passages as including election to salvation and reject the Classical “election based on foreseen faith” view, I do regard him as one of the strongest and most well argued proponents of the Classical view.  Below is a link to his critique of Bruce Ware’s infralapsarian Calvinist position.  Here is an excerpt from the essay:

One last claim draws my attention, namely, that God has two wills in reference to the salvation of individuals, namely, his “universal saving will” (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9) and his “specific and inviolable will” to save only some of those whom he desires to save (23-4).  According to Ware, God does in fact will not to save some people whom he could save and actually wants to save. Why does he will not to save them? Because his own glory and his greater values and higher purposes require him to send them to hell anyway (25). This horrible idea is based almost solely on Romans 9:22-24, a text horribly distorted to draw the conclusion that the “glorious display” of God’s just wrath against deserving sinners all the more glorifies the grace of God in saving the elect. And only when God thus displays both his wrath and his grace will “the fullness of his matchless glory” be manifest. And surely “the glory of God is the supreme value of God” (25). Thus in effect God’s very nature requires him to do something that is contrary to his own will.

I should think that if one is proceeding through his interpretation of Romans 9, 7 using the Calvinist template of unconditional election and reprobation of individuals as his guide, by the time he gets to 9:22-24 and finds himself forced to draw such conclusions as the above, he would immediately say, “Something is wrong with this picture! Something is wrong with this concept! Something is wrong with this system!” Indeed there is. That “something” is Calvinism. [source]

Other critiques by Cottrell in the same book:

Response to Universalist  Thomas Talbott

Response to Supralapsarian Calvinist Robert L. Reymond

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One Response

  1. As for the Reprobate, Catholics believe that God predestines no one to hell. Scripture says God loves the world (John 3:16); He desires all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) and that He has no pleasure on the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11).

    The belief that God predestines no one to evil has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church.

    We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. Council of Orange (529 AD)

    If any one saith, that it is not in man’s power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema.
    Council of Trent, Canon VI of the Decrees on Justification

    God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.
    Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1037

    Because God predestines no one to hell, Catholics believe He gives His Grace, through Christ, to everyone and calls every one, no exception, to salvation.

    For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men. (Titus 2:11)

    For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)

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