A friend emailed me an article by Myk Habets on: The Doctrine of Election in Evangelical Calvinism: T. F. Torrance as a Case Study in the Irish Theological Quarterly 73 (2008) 334–354. I am very excited to dig into this piece, here is an abstract given at the front end of the article:
Representing what may be termed ‘evangelical Calvinism,’ Thomas Forsyth Torrance’s doctrine of election is, with critical modifications, recommended as a model worthy of contemporary acceptance. Torrance follows Barth’s christologically conditioned doctrine of election closely, but not slavishly, and presents a view of universal atonement and even universal pardon, but not universal salvation. Torrance contends that the word ‘predestination’ emphasizes the sovereign freedom of grace and so the ‘pre-’ in predestination refers neither to a temporal nor to a logical prius, but simply to God Himself, the Eternal. For God, election is not an event of the past but rather an action internal to God (a se). Because Christ is the ground of election, and Christ came in space–time, election took on a temporal component. Election derives from the Divine initiative of grace and Torrance is highly critical of Arminian theology at this point, accusing it of being semi-Pelagian; he is equally critical of Roman Catholicism which, according to Torrance, is also semi-Pelagian if not Pelagian outright. ~Myk Habets Carey Baptist College Auckland
I think this article promises to be very enlightening, I’ll let you know what I find. Also, per the last clause of the abstract (on Pelagianism), I realize that nobody likes to labeled that way; but I agree with the notion that Roman Catholic/Arminian/Classic Calvinism represent versions of Pelagianism. I think this is so because of the prior commitment to a “Classical” or “Thomistic” framing of Theology Proper; more on this later — I’ll be interested to see how Habets unpacks and critiques TFT’s thought here.