Two Calvinists Clash over the Trinity and Immutability

From John Frames’ Scholasticism for Evangelicals: Thoughts on All That Is In God by James Dolezal:

Dolezal understands that there is a problem here for those who advocate a changeless God. He admits that much biblical language is “mutabilist” (19). And he thinks the problem is adequately solved by saying that this language is nonliteral, accommodationist, anthropomorphic. He cites Bavinck’s statement that “Scripture does not contain a few scattered anthropomorphisms but is anthropomorphic through and through” (20). These convey “something true about God, though not under a form of modality proper to him” (20). The modality proper to God asserts that God does not change, even in the ways the accommodated biblical language suggests that he does. This doctrine actually contradicts the meaning of the accommodated language.

But Dolezal never seems to understand the consequences of this distinction. It implies that Jesus did not “literally” become man, suffer, and die for us. He was not literally born of a virgin. He did not work literal miracles. Of course Dolezal confesses that there is “something true” about these doctrines of the faith, but every heretic in the history of Christianity has been willing to say that much.


  1. Wonderful article Christopher!

    Bottom line for the Calvinist is that he solely reserves for himself and himself alone – the exclusive right to make god in his own image.

    And the big joke here is – in order to evade the scrutiny of rational reasoning – he must manufacture an endless stream of new imaginative inventions.

    Resulting in the reality that the god he imagines is inescapably mutable.

    What a hoot!! :-]

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