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"Burning Bush 2.0: How Pop Culture Replaced the Prophet"
Explore a whimsical and sincere examination of the ways God communicates with us—sometimes subtly and secretly—through our media and entertainment streams.
This book is not so much a critique of American revivalism as it is a critique of the Moral Government theory of the atonement of Christ. Beisner takes the adherents of this theory to task for denying the complete foreknowledge of God, the total depravity of sinful humanity, and the substitutionary atonement of Christ to pay the price for our sins.
The MGT theory is that Christ died to satisfy God's moral government, but that it wasn't needed ot pay for original sin. Defenders of this theory also teach that we have to respond to the saving message of Christ and that we have the moral ability to do this (in spite of Ephesians 2:1-3, Romans 5:12-19, and other texts).
Beisner calls the book Evangelical Heathenism because holders of the MGT theory consider themselves evangelical and John Wesley considers them heathens (Strange reasoning if you ask me).
But I do think that Beisner succeeds in showing the errors of MGT thinking, and he calls on adherents of theory to repent and turn to the real God of the Bible.
I like how Beisner quotes extensively from Arminian literature to show that MGT is NOT a native Arminian idea. Beisner is also one of the few people who knows his stuff well enough to acknowledge that Arminius and Wesley believed in the total depravity of man and that we cannot save ourselves. I appreciate this very much because many Calvinist writers are dishonest and ignorant about Arminianism, and do not know that Classical Arminians would never accept the Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian ideas of MGT theorists.
Way to go Calvin Beisner!
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Over the past few years we have seen a rise in Moral Government Theology through the rising of the open theism movement with Greg Boyd, Richard Rice, and Clark Pinnock. MGT often counters Calvinism as well so many react to Calvinism by reading Moral Government theologians such as Charles Finney or Gordon Olson. In this book, E. Calvin Beisner examines moral government theology and what it believes. Few in our day understand where MGT has come from nor what it embraces. Some see MGT as nothing more than an extension of Arminianism but this is not the truth as Beisner shows by quoting from Arminians such as John Wesley or Richard Watson and even Arminius himself. He shows that Calvinism and Arminianism share many common teachings about the gospel of Jesus Christ but not so with Moral Government Theology.
Often called "revival theology", Beisner quotes from many Moral Government theologians and teachers such as Finney, Gordon Olson, and Winkie Pratney. He shows just what they teach about sin, salvation, and the foreknowledge of God. Beisner shows that the open view of God has its roots in moral government teachings and not orthodox Christianity. Beisner does a good job of allowing MG teachers to speak for themselves and then he compares their statements to Scripture and then to Calvinist and Arminian theologians.
Overall I do recommend this book and believe that Beisner does a good job of presenting moral government theology. His voice is one of the few speaking out against the movement and, as far as I know, the only book on the issue. I do believe it is good reading that will benefit disciples of Jesus.
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