01 June 2005

Quick-and-Dirty Calvinism

Bashing Calvinism is the latest fad in blogdom. My turn.

Three years ago Rob Schläpfer had the best Reformed website and book business bar none. It was the place to go if you were looking for material responding to Dave Hunt. Schläpfer's online magazine, Antithesis, was the best-looking and most consistently interesting website I knew—and it was thoroughly Calvinistic.

Michael Spencer, aka the Internet Monk, runs one of the most successful group blogs around. It's a lively theological discussion cast as a virtual tavern. The iMonk gained fame earlier this year by "outing" Joel Osteen's frivolous non-gospel. One of the iMonk's famous early blog entries was titled "Why Calvinism Is Cool." Judging from the network of links, the iMonk's group blog, The Boar's Head Tavern (BHT), has attracted a lot of Calvinist readers.

But last year with little warning, Schläpfer renounced all things Reformed and started giving rave reviews to almost every postmodern oddity and "emergent church" manual that the evangelical publishing houses could crank out. With a bit of fanfare, Schläpfer's mail-order company dropped some of the best Reformed books from their line. Meanwhile, Schläpfer was posting some fiery blasts both publicly and privately against Calvinists and Calvinism. (Some of them—including one sent to me personally—were pretty much in the spirit of Mark 14:71.)

Recently, the iMonk followed suit with a controversial essay, "I'm Not Like You . . . (Calvinists especially)." He closed it with a paragraph that began, "I am not like you. Every day I wander further from the safety of Calvinism into the wideness of God's mercy." Although the text is still in the process of deconstruction at the BHT, it seems like the iMonk and his drinking buddies have decided postmodernism is a lot cooler than Calvinism.

Schläpfer and the iMonk are by no means alone. More serious Calvinist leaders, including John Armstrong and Andrew Sandlin are saying similar things, albeit usually with just a smidge more subtlety.

Jumping off the Calvinist bandwagon and lobbing rotten eggs at the attitudes and culture of "Reformed" folk is clearly le dernier cri in the blogosphere and beyond.

Before we vivisect these gentlemen and their views (something I may eventually want to devote some bloggage to), I think it would be helpful to ponder why Calvinism, which seemed to be the flavor of the month not so long ago, has suddenly become so odious to so many of its one-time friends.

I have to say with all candor that I can somewhat understand the feelings expressed by some of Calvinism's recent critics. Sniff around some of the Calvinist forums on the Internet and it won't be long before you begin to think something is rotten in Geneva.

But I hasten to add that I don't think the problem really lies in Geneva, or in historic Calvinism, or in any of the classic Reformed creeds. I especially don't think the stench arises from any problem with Calvinism per se. In my judgment, the problem is a fairly recent down n' dirty version of callow Calvinism that has flourished chiefly on the Internet and has been made possible only by the new media.

Internet Calvinism and historic Calvinism sometimes have little in common. Consider:

  1. Fanaticism. The strains of hyper-Calvinism that are flourishing today are more harsh and more hyper than any of the historic hyper-Calvinists ever thought about being.

    If you doubt this, check Marc Carpenter's infamous website and read his ridiculous "Heterodoxy Hall of Shame." Carpenter is so hyper-Calvinistic that he has even labeled Calvin a hell-bound heretic for not being Calvinistic enough! He damns Spurgeon, Iain Murray, and even Gordon Clark (whom no one during his lifetime ever accused of not being Calvinistic enough).

    There are some well-trafficked discussion forums out there that look like they're having a contest to see who can be most extreme in their condemnations of Arminianism or most overblown in their affirmation of über-high Calvinism.

    There is a radical extremism among hypers on the Internet that is utterly unheard of even in the darkest corners of hyper-Calvinist history. At least the early hypers like Huntington and Gill had some profitable things to say when they exegeted Scripture.

  2. Non-evangelism. Among more mainstream Calvinists, there are certainly some outstanding men who are earnestly evangelistic (Piper, MacArthur, and even Sproul). But it would be stretching things more than a little bit to insist that modern Calvinism as a movement is known by its passion for evangelism. Where are the Calvinist evangelists? I can think of only one outstanding example: John Blanchard. (There are surely more, but at the moment I can't think of any other famous Calvinists now living who have devoted their ministries primarily to evangelism).

    Of course, I fully realize that the Arminian caricature of historic Calvinism as anti-evangelistic is a total lie. But one could hardly argue that evangelism is a key feature of modern Calvinism. Neither the writings we produce nor the conferences we hold focus much on evangelism.

  3. Polemicism. Today's rank-and-file Calvinists are more in the mold of Pink, Boettner, and J.I. Packer than they are like Spurgeon or Whitefield. In other words, modern Calvinism is producing mostly students and polemicists, not evangelists and preachers. That's because Internet Calvinism is simply too academic and theoretical and not concerned enough with doing, as opposed to hearing, the Word (James 1:22). To a large degree, I think that's what the medium itself encourages.

  4. Anti-intellectualism. This may sound like a contradiction of my previous point, but both tendencies contribute to the superficiality of Internet Calvinism. Want a sample? I recently received an e-mail inquiry that is all too typical of what I have observed for years among Internet Calvinists. Someone whom I do not know and whose name I will not divulge wrote me to ask:
    Can you explain in one paragraph or less how to make sense of the distinction you make between the "decretive" and "preceptive" aspects of God's will? Please don't give me a reading list of books and articles. One paragraph. One sentence if you can do it. Because the whole idea seems loony to me. So far, no one has been able to describe it in a way that makes any sense. I don't have time to read 10 volumes of dead guys' reflections in Puritan prose. And don't refer me to Piper's article on the subject. It's too long and convoluted. I just want a short answer.

    Right. The quick and dirty approach to untangling the mysteries of the universe. And every forum on the Internet, it seems, has at least one or two freshly-enlightened, beardless Calvinists who are convinced that their understanding of everything suddenly became perfect when they embraced the sovereignty of God. Some of them imagine that whatever difficulties they still can't explain can be easily solved by simply moving to a more extreme position.

The upsurge of Calvinism on the Internet in the 1990s seems to have spawned a large and unprecedented movement of jejune Calvinists who wear arrogance as if it were the team uniform. That kind of hotshot, shoot-from-the-hip Calvinism is ugly. I don't blame anyone for being appalled by it. I'm worried about those who think it's a good thing.

Obviously those criticisms are mostly generalizations, and they don't necessarily apply to every Calvinist on the Internet. But (and here's the hard part) I'm willing to admit that there have been times when every one of those criticisms could be legitimately applied to something I wrote or posted to a public forum somewhere. I'll especially confess to my shame that I'm too much of a polemicist and not enough of an evangelist.

Historic Calvinism is not supposed to be that way. Yes, Calvinism is virile; it's relentless when it comes to truth; and it's not always easy to swallow. But it is full of truths that should humble us and fill us with compassion rather than swagger and conceit. The best Calvinism has always been fervently evangelistic, large-hearted, benevolent, merciful, and forgiving. After all, that's what the doctrines of grace are supposed to be all about.

Until we get back there, some of the lumps the Reformed movement is currently taking are well-deserved.

And meanwhile, my advice to young Calvinists is to learn your theology from the historic mainstream Calvinist authors, not from blogs and discussion forums on the Internet. Some of the forums may be helpful in pointing you to more important resources. But if you think of them as a surrogate for seminary, you're probably going to become an ugly Calvinist—and if you get hit in the face with a rotten egg, you probably deserve it.


190 comments:

Tim Challies said...

Amen! It has long since been clear that the worst testament to Calvinism is a lot of the people on the Net who loudly proclaim themselves to be Calvinists. Of course the same is true of Christians in general.

Greg Linscott said...

Well Said, Phil! Well Said!

NeoFundy said...

Right on...I have a great deal of affinity with Calvinism, though many do not include those like me in "the camp." (Amyraldian) I certainly have much less of an affinity with Arminianism. As a pastor, I have seen this "dirty" Calvinism IRL as well.

Mark Loughridge said...

A contender for "Best Blog Post of the Season"

Thanks

Mark said...

Very nice essay, it's refreshing to read a defense of Calvinism in the blogosphere.

Travis Prinzi said...

As one of iMonk's "drinking buddies," I'd say it is indeed ugly Calvinism I don't like. My final paper for my M.A. in theology is contra emergent and pro-reformed.

Solid post, Phil, except for the broad stroke of "the BHT guys are pomo now." Might be better to read the BHT as some folks tossing around ideas rather than a doctrinal dissertation on calvinism and postmodernism.

KP said...

Excellent post, Phil! Thanks. I especially appreciate your alerting us to how this medium can encourage self-deceit that substitutes theorizing about biblical truth for embodying it.

Scott Aniol said...

This reminds me of guys during my college days who said they were Calvinists just because it was controversial at the time. There was no actual substance to what they beleived. They just said they believed in Calvinism, election, limited atonement, etc. In reality they were just controversial Arminians!

ct said...

I think you give too little attention to this part of the subject:

"Yes, Calvinism is virile; it's relentless when it comes to truth; and it's not always easy to swallow."

Evangelism, Calvinist style, is virile and unapologetically a deliverance of hard truth. I know I was evangelized in this way. It seemed harsh at the time, but the seed gets planted and in my case it took root and grew in time.

The people you mention who have turned away from Calvinism were never "there" to begin with. They seek what comforts their carnal mind and what makes them popular in taverns and what not.

Let's also state something important: a Calvinist IS evangelizing just in the act of presenting the hard truth of the Word of God, either in writing or in word. Obviously some do it better than others (some also have more understanding of it than others), but evangelization is not only something that people with ministries and special tax status do. Individuals evangelize the faith every day, everywhere, in many ways. And Calvinists, if they are real Calvinists, are the most successful of all because we present the hard truth boldly and God's elect will hear it when it's presented that way.

Calvinists are good eveangelists because we know that our job is to proclaim boldly the hard truths of the Word of God and if God's elect hear it then it will have effect. We don't go about evangelizing like we are trying to convince or beg people to do something they would rather not do. We have no motivation or need to soft pedal or water down anything. We cast the seed and it takes root in soil it is meant to take root in.

We know that though we can plant the seed, only God can make it grow. Our job is to make the message known to God's elect (by making it known to anybody and everybody) throughout the world.

Habitans in Sicco said...

Travis: "Broad stroke"? "BHT guys are pomo now"?

Apparently you didn't read the same article I did. I was surprised at how generous his comments were about the BHT, especially compared to your blog's recent (but now conspicuously missing) comments about him after his review of NT Wright.

Maybe you guys are just sore because he listed you as "irritating."

Frank Martens said...

Uhhh I have a question (as I raise my hand :)...

And I quote Phil: "Today's rank-and-file Calvinists are more in the mold of Pink, Boettner, and J.I. Packer than they are like Spurgeon or Whitefield".

So, are you suggesting not to read books by A.W. Pink and J.I. Packer? Are they really that off base?

I've never read any of their books, I've heard a lot of good about their material. And the reason I ask, is because my sister is just now reading one of Packer's books, of which I was considering reading after she's done. However, I'd hate to waste my time on nonsense.

Thanks

Kurt N. said...

Actually, "Sicco", we're working as hard as we can to make it into the 'Appalling' category. Gotta set goals, y'know.

Also, the NT Wright was removed following correspondence between Mr. Spencer and Mr. Johnson. It wasn't some big secret.

ct said...

Frank, I think Phil was making a distinction between polemical types and evangelists types regarding those names. I would be very surprised if Phil Johnson was saying that Packer or Boettner were not worth reading. In Pink's case he has been associated with some elements of hyper-Calvinism, yet having said that he is a very sound writer as well.

In fact, J. I. Packer is not even what one might call a hardcore Reformed - or Calvinist - type (I mean, he's an Anglican afterall). He is VERY MUCH worth reading. His Concise Theology is brilliant; his book on the Puritans is extremely interesting (A Quest for Godliness), and his classic, Knowing God, is a...classic. Boettner's Reformed Doctrine of Predestination is so valuable a intro to Calvinism, and so classic at this point, that it is probably getting to the point where it is more admired than read (I admit I've only read parts of it).

Don't forget Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion as well. Reading the actual thing by the guy actually named Calvin is an eye-opener.

Paul said...

As I understand, he means that modern calvinists tend to have their heads in books almost exclusivley... he's lamenting the fact that most calvinists nowadays are theologians rather than evangelists, and that there should be more evangelist calvinists than there are... I may be wrong though...

I only know Packer and Piper's books well, but they're excellent in my opinion...

Good post.

Steve said...

Phil, didn't take you long to figure out how to write way-too-long blog posts. :) Good to have you blogging, and I like the design.

Josh S. said...

A very hardy Amen came from my heart the whole time I read this!

Remo said...

A middle_of_the_road, "ear" tickling communiqué that begs the cultivation of middle ground amongst evangelicals pro and con, who take the Great Commission seriously, ala the Kentucky United Baptists of the nineteenth century. The Chancellor of one Houston University poignantly identified the issue of semantics within the "discussion" of Reformed vs. the_other_side on the issue of Evangelization. It may be high time to quit the Hatin'.

centuri0n said...

Phil --

I keep reading this post from you and I think I am missing the point. Are you saying that non-evangelism, polemicism and anti-intellectualism are the reasons why guys like Schlapfer and iMonk are now angry at "reformed" advocates of a lot of stripes?

I think the problem is much worse than that in the specific cases you have mentioned -- and I say that because of the targets that these fellows and the blog-which-names-itself-in-Latin are not the hypercalvinists, not the Marc Carpenters, not the hacks who start threads entitled "I Hate Arminianism" but are men like yourself, and James White, and David King, and Eric Svendsen, who are not guilty of the sins you list, but are only guilty of challenging the off-the-beaten-path views of those who became turned off.

Your laundry list of "calvinist" sins are completely fair -- and there are plenty of examples of these kinds of Christian quackery (I may in fact be one myself). But to list them as you have here in a way which seems to mitigate some of the actions of the people who you list as being turned off of Calvinism/Reformed theology is less than convincing.

It's a strong stand for something, which is a good way to start a blog. It may be a demonstration of grace on your part, and God bless you for that. But at the same time, I think it does not look closely enough at the "reaction" to "calvinist" errors or those who have been willing to "address" them publicly.

Habitans in Sicco said...

Centuri0n: "I think it does not look closely enough at the 'reaction' to 'calvinist' errors or those who have been willing to 'address' them publicly."

I wouldn't worry. He did say he plans to devote some bloggage to the vivisection of these characters. Judging from the kinds of remarks Phil regularly posts in his annotated bookmarks, I'll be surprised if he lets anyone off the hook.

ct said...

What centuriOn said. I think in my perhaps too long comments above I was trying to get at the same thing. The Discerning Reader guy and the iMonk types really don't like people like James White, and even the softer-toned Steven Hays types (both linked on Phil's blog), i.e. people who understand Calvinism and articulate it clearly and boldly. Calvinism is the Gospel, let's not be afraid to say that if we see it. And when the Gospel is proclaimed it convicts and stings and is hard truth. The carnal mind and man don't like the pure Gospel message.

Mark said...

Phil-as usual a great post. Ol Rob is affectionately known as "Cussin Rob Slapper" over at the FFF. He came on there and threw a real fit with Pappa Bear awhile back. Really unstable.

I hear you my friend. Even though I don't lay claim to the Calvinistic bent, I can go with you on this one. I've been beaten sillier than the poor sap who refused to call Calvin "Master" by the Internet Calvinist Cadets, for years now!

Very interesting, the Theological Controversy Du Jour crowd are going "Emergent" now. They're trading in their Forgotten Spurgeon for an Ipod an earring, some candles and incense and Brian McClaren. They use hip words like "subversive."

Just waiting for Emergent to hit the FFF. LOL.

take care man-enjoying the blog. I tried to do one but got cussed like a dog. And then ol Underwood Hoot showed up...

Mark (The G Man)

Tim Enloe said...

Frank (centuriOn), you are quite correct to observe that the targets of certain forms of criticism of Internet Calvinism (in the persons of the defenders you name) are not the weirdos like Carpenter, but some of the ones that Mr. Johnson lists in his positive category. Nevertheless, you know good and well that the arguments made against those gentlemen are precisely that THEY are the ones who are off the beaten path of the best of the Reformation.

Kurt N. said...

Calvinism is the Gospel

So...if you had had an hour to share with a group of unsaved people the Gospel of Christ, would you use time to go into the 5 Points?

Kevin D. Johnson said...

Heh...how amusing. A blog with this sort of name decrying what this blog and its cronies and colleagues are all about.

I think you ought to rename the blog "Fantasyland". That would be more accurate.

pastorshaun said...

Reminds me of a story Jack Miller once told about a group of charismatics who were staying with him. During their stay they noticed Calvin's Commentaries on the shelf and began to read. Their response was telling. This Calvin is so different than the Calvin everyone talks about. He's so gracious and pastoral.

Amen! Thank you, Phil, for taking us back to the "first things".

Matt Reimer said...

Amen, Phil!

Juice said...

I'm greatly offended by this post! How dare you! How dare you group all of us "beardless Calvinists" as "unevangelical"!

I have not been gifted by God with the ability to grow a beard (and yes, I'm 30 years old), and your shot at us beardless Calvinists hurts deep in my heart. I look at people like you and Douglas Wilson and I realized I can never be the men that you all are.

:-) :-)

Justin Crandall

Jim V. said...

Looks good! Heard about your blog from Eric Svendsen's and James White's blogs. Look forward to checking it out from time to time.

metal dad said...

thanks so much for this article. i hold to the doctrines of grace but more importantly i consider myself first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ. thanks for reminding me of the need to exhibit His grace especially to those i may not agree with.

Denny Burk said...

Double up, AMEN!

"Lord, make me an evangelist, and make me fruitful for your glory."

Thanks for the great word, Phil.

Sincerely,
Denny Burk

John said...

Though he may not be everyone's cup of tea, another Calvinist who's known for evangelism is D. James Kennedy.

Evangelism Explosion is used in something like 200 countries and is at the center of his ministry.

It's a little more pat and decisionalistic than I'd prefer, but on the other hand (to paraphrase D.L. Moody), I like the way he's evangelizing better than the way most other people are not doing it.

burttd said...

The Discerning Reader guy and the iMonk types really don't like people like James White, and even the softer-toned Steven Hays types (both linked on Phil's blog), i.e. people who understand Calvinism and articulate it clearly and boldly.

Perhaps what is not liked about them is the fact that Calvinism seems to be the only thing they talk about, and the only thing said is how wrong you are if you do not agree with them. The idea that every conversation with every other believer has to be about Calvinism has gotten old for some of us who still consider ourselves Calvinist...

Calvinism is the Gospel, let's not be afraid to say that if we see it.

That is the problem. The Gospel is the proclamation of Christ's death for our sins and His resurrection, and the call to faith in Him. Calvinism says *how* that works behind the scenes. Calvinism is the theological analysis of the Gospel - it is NOT the Gospel itself.

The carnal mind and man don't like the pure Gospel message.

True. But it irks me how some Calvinists seem to revel in the scandal, and want to even add to it!

centuri0n said...

To Phil Johnson specifically, I apologize that this is where Tim has decided that he can answer for what he thinks he's trying to do. I have written letters to him at communio in the past and have gotten varying levels of communication back from him.

Tim --

(1) It's disengenuous at best to use Phil's blog comments to broad-brush a retort that you will not answer in specific when questioned.

(2) Your opinion that calling Rome a church without the Gospel is "off the beaten path" is simply wrong. Even Charles Hodge in defending the acceptance of Roman Catholics with valid Christian baptisms does so (a) from a paedobaptist view of the sacrament as it applies to individuals in relationship to the visible church, and (b) from a clear statement that the formal teaching of Rome is out of bounds -- "as a papal body, she is not a church; i.e., her popery and all her corruptions are anti-christian and apostate".

(3) You posted this article at communio on 3/28:

http://www.communiosanctorum.com/?p=18

In it, you cited William Whitaker as saying, "we allow that it is a highly convenient way of finding the true sense of scripture, for devout and learned men to assemble, examine the cause diligently, and investigate the truth; yet with this proviso, that they govern their decision wholly by the scriptures." That's fair enough.

Your comment on this statement was:
{quote}
I am not sure that any Bible-loving Christian (and is there any other kind of Christian?) could have any sort of problem with Whitaker’s “proviso”, for unless one holds that all of divine revelation is not contained in the Scriptures (whether 66 or 73 books is, at this point, irrelevant), then it follows that the Scriptures must be the final verification of anything in the Christian religion since they are the very voice of God Himself.
{/quote}

The problem, of course, is that the Roman Catholic specifically denies this -- in the CCC, and in Trent (and I know naming Trent will be equated with intellectual violence). They do not deny that the Bible is the "voice of God" but, as Whitaker says, "that they govern their decision wholly by the scriptures."

Moreover, Whitaker is also known for a little essay called “THE ROMAN PONTIFF IS THAT ANTICHRIST whose presence scripture prophesied”, 1582. It's quite a read, and in it whatever “proviso” Whitaker was setting forth, it was not in pursuit of “communion sanctorum” with Rome: he thought that anyone who did not flee Roman authority would be subject to “eternal perdition”.

Thus my question: on what basis do you think you can use Whitaker's words in Disputations on Holy Scripture to support communio sanctorum with Rome when Whitaker himself expressly denies that such a thing is possible?

You might have something to say about (1) and (2), but (3) is the direct question and it would be interesting to see how you work that one out.

And completely on a different subject, my calendar says you are going to be married in about 3 weeks, and I hope the preparations are going well. Your success lies there in simply getting out of the way.

centuri0n said...

Burttd:

You are right that, literally speaking, Calvinism is not the Gospel. And frankly I like your summary of the Gospel inspite of its 5-unpointedness.

However, which other descriptions of the Gospel are better in the long run for the church as a whole, the local church in particular, and the believer himself? I can't speak for the rest of the commentators here, but I was convicted by inches to Calvinism before I could tell you that there were 5 points, and every step of the way was a painful stripping off of my self-centeredness in relation to God. Being a Calvinist has made me a better father and husband and church member and employee and employer. (and some {though few in number, and identified as "persons of interest" by local authorities} might say it has made me a better apologist and evangelist and teacher for our local church)

So no: Calvinism is not actually the Gospel. But when you compare it to the other choices, it's got game.

Kurt N. said...

burttd: That is the problem. The Gospel is the proclamation of Christ's death for our sins and His resurrection, and the call to faith in Him. Calvinism says *how* that works behind the scenes. Calvinism is the theological analysis of the Gospel - it is NOT the Gospel itself.

Preach it, man.

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

"Within the Reformed world, a phrase which more of us should be aware of is 'cage stage.' Whenever someone comes into new-found truth (and this often happens with those first coming to embrace Reformed theology), the phrase refers to that period of time where the new (and usually young) convert should be locked up in a cage. That period of time is usually about two years. Of course, there are some pitiful cases that should never be let out, and there are many more evangellyfish who do not ever need to be locked up. But cage stagers, however many of them there are, can do a lot of damage. Ironically, they do much to make the theology they profess to love obnoxious to outsiders. Paul did teach, unambiguously, the doctrine of election. But he also told the Colossians, as the elect of God, to put on tender mercies." -Douglas Wilson, "Hither and Yon"

http://www.tulipedia.org/The_Dangerous_Pursuit_of_Reformed_Theology

ct said...

"So...if you had had an hour to share with a group of unsaved people the Gospel of Christ, would you use time to go into the 5 Points?"

This was directed at me, so... To be honest, for me Calvinist understanding gives you the foundationa to evangelize effectively, but doctrine itself is rarely a part of a person's effectual calling (or regeneration). I mean, I experienced regeneration before knowing any true Biblical doctrine at all in a systematic theology sense. It was effected by hearing the plain Word of God read to me, by myself making the effort to read the Word of God complete, and, earlier to all that, by a bold and sharp rebuke I got from a suprising source when I made fun of some Christians once. (The rebuke was "Jesus saves", which is rather pointed and on-the-mark theology.)

But as a Calvinist, when I evangelize the faith, I find that the the basic "reorientating" that the five points force in you enable me to explain the Gospel to people in terms of vanity, worldly pride, and self-will vs. being God centered and acting from God's will. For me this is an effective way to present the Gospel to the kind of people I know in my life. But Calvinism also makes the evangelizing effective in that we don't beg people or try to convince by watering things down or compromising Biblical doctrine so as not to "offend" people's sensibilities. We are evangelizing God's elect. We can't know who they are, but we know the the pure Word of God and its message will connect with God's elect, if not immediately then in time. That is a Calvinist approach, and it is effective.

mxu said...

Hello,

thanks for a good post. Just to let you know I've linked it.

ct said...

"Perhaps what is not liked about them [White and Hays] is the fact that Calvinism seems to be the only thing they talk about, and the only thing said is how wrong you are if you do not agree with them. The idea that every conversation with every other believer has to be about Calvinism has gotten old for some of us who still consider ourselves Calvinist..."

This was directed at me, so... Do you think you'd have gotten anything different from John Bunyan or John Owen or Jonathan Edwards or Calvin himself? I mean, I sense in your complaint some fake drama. I really don't think you are 'tired' of hearing a guy who is an apologist always talking about Calvinism. Anyway it's a strange request to ask a Calvinist to maybe sprinkle in a little postmodernism or neo-orthodox 'understanding' into the mix.

Anyway, I never get tired of hearing people talk about Calvinism, especially if they are on-the-mark with it. Because it is BIBLICAL DOCTRINE.

When I said Calvinism is the Gospel obviously this is what I meant. Arminianism is not the Gospel, RCism is not the Gospel, JWism is not the Gospel, Mormonism is not the Gospel. Calvinism IS the Gospel.

I said: "The carnal mind and man don't like the pure Gospel message."

You responded: "True. But it irks me how some Calvinists seem to revel in the scandal, and want to even add to it!"

There is law in the Gospel, and the Gospel is supposed to convict! I don't care if when I boldly and clearly state the truth that 'some people' get turned off. That is part of what the Word of God is supposed to do. The Word of God, when proclaimed boldly and accurately (here is where Calvinism comes in) is lively and CUTS. It is not called a sword, a two-edged sword, for nothing!

I say: offend people! If it is the plain, pure Gospel that is doing it then so be it!

Those very offended people, anyway, might just be elect of God who are being delivered the pure, unwatered-down Word of God for the first time in their lives, and it will have effect in them in time!

That is what being bold about preaching the Word is all about. You don't worry about offending people. You are doing them NO FAVORS by not giving them the straight truth to begin with...

burttd said...

xenophon's latest makes all my points for me.

Some calvinists only want to talk about Calvinism.

Some calvinists seem to think only those who believe in Calvinism are Christians.

Some calvinists seem to enjoy giving offense, instead of wishing those who do reject the Gospel could be saved.

All doctrine, no compassion. I seem to recall Paul had something to say about that - something about being a clanging bell?...

And you wonder why some people are no longer eager to identify themselves as Calvinist?

ct said...

"Some calvinists seem to enjoy giving offense, instead of wishing those who do reject the Gospel could be saved."

Look at the above that you wrote and how you totally didn't grasp what was said. Giving offense IS INEVITABLE when you are preaching the pure Biblical message. BUT-- those who take offense could very well be elect of God! Just because people kick and scream (or pout and whine) or whatever when they hear the pure Gospel message for the first time doesn't mean it doesn't - or won't - have effect in them.

It is common human nature that we are usually fighting something most strongly just as we are closest to connecting with it. But the point it you have to preach the hard truth to have this effect. Giving people comfortable, compromised mush is doing them no favors.

You have a fundamental nonunderstanding of what evangelizing is about (and what the Gospel is, i.e. it convicts and is supposed to. There is LAW in the Gospel as much as there is law in the Old Testament. It's suppose to cut you and convict you. The Gospel doctrine of hell (from Jesus' own mouth) is supposed to upset you and outrage you and everything else. But if it is given to you uncompromised it is a seed that will potentially take root and grow in time.)

scott@fattriplets.com said...

Phil,

Great Post and welcome to the blogosphere. I think your list of problems with many Reformed bloggers was spot on. I have often wondered how a person that is characterized (on the internet) primarily as being mean-spirited, uncharitable, ungracious and combative can call themselves a Calvinist. It seems to me that to truly believe sovereign grace ought to cause one to be humble and charitable, even in the defense of the truth.

Scott@fattriplets.com

Mark said...

To The Beardless Calvinists:

Don't despair. You may yet have hope. I'm thoroughly Arminian and Unemergent but I was beardless until 38. Then I managed a goatee that took a good month to grow, but no sides.

Hang in there. You may be predestined to whiskers and just don't know it yet.

Mark (The G Man)

metal dad said...

these words from Albert Martin's pamphlet 'The Practical Implications of Calvinism' have been helpful to me when i get a little too full of myself and my theological preferences:

I say by way of application, do not talk about being a Calvinist simply because your itch for logical consistency has been relieved by Calvinism's theological system.
Have you seen God ?
Have you been brought near to Him ?
That is the issue
I remind you of the words of B. B. Warfield: A Calvinist is a man who has seen God.

The expression, a proud Calvinist, is a misnomer. If a Calvinist is a man who
has seen God as He is high and lifted up, enthroned, then he is a man who
has been brought to brokenness before that throne as was Isaiah. A carnal
Calvinist? Another misnomer! The enthroned One is the holy One, and He
dwells in conscious communion with those who are rightly related to Him
as the enthroned One and as the holy One. These two things are brought
together beautifully in Isaiah 57.15 where the prophet says: '
For thus says the the One
who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity,
whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is
of a contrite and lowly spirit.

Julianne said...

whooo hooo....glad to see this post. I'd read you, but I won't be near a computer for three months. Keep this up. With 40-50 commenters to each post, you're going to have to keep writing...
Soli Deo Gloria!

Peace,

Julianne

Josh said...

Good stuff, Sir.

johnMark said...

Phil,

Great looking blog! I look forward to reading it. Hope to see you on another cruise one day.

God bless,
Mark

lycaphim said...

Yes, I agree! Thankfully my Calvinistic training comes from Monergism.com :-p

Ian said...

Micheal's response.

Mike Morrell said...

As a former PCA-man myself, I jumped off the capital "R" Reformed bandwagon five years ago, but I have looked back.

Your suprisingly generous and informative entry surveys many of the feelings I've had; but I'd like to add one: Calvinists are frequently cold at best and mean at worst.

But, I have to say that I've begun to expeirence some Calvinist healing (not to be confused with sexual healing) at churches that are involved in both Reformed and Emerging conversations--places like Mars Hill in Seattle and All Souls PCA in my very own Atlanta.

And of course as you know, Reformed Baptists make more sense then Presbyterians anyway--folks like John Piper and Jon Zens. All this, and my best friend continues to be a PCA-Calvinist and an accomplished musician, too boot.

So, all of these places and people will continue to hold hallowed spots on my alternative Christian web portal. I, for my part, hold onto a pared-down Calvinism affirming God's sovereignty and our chosen-ness in Christ; but its probably too warm and fuzzy for you.

Michael Spencer said...

it seems like the iMonk and his drinking buddies have decided postmodernism is a lot cooler than Calvinism.

I am sorry to have to point this out, but Mr. Johnson has seriously misrepresented me.

There is not one post, nor one sentence on the internet, on any essay or in any statement I have ever made anywhere, that indicates I have rejected Calvinism to embrace postmodernism.

In fact, saying that I have embraced postmodernism is patently untrue. I have repeatedly stated that I do not understand, nor do I embrace, whatever the Christian Pomo movement is supposed to be about.

I made my position very clear in a post Mr. Johnson did not read. Read "The Imonk and Calvinsim Q&A" at internetmonk.com

Out of 30 BHT posters, perhaps Mr. Johnson can tell me who, other than Kent Runge, has identified themselves as postmodernists? I can tell him at least a dozen who disavow it, and most of us are just trying to figure out what the term means.

I've long ago lost any hope that any one of the truly reformed sheriffs care about what I've actually said, but I've told the truth on this one. I have NOT embraced postmodernism.

TO the guy who said I removed a post as a cover up: The post was removed after a personal apology and exchange of letters.

-Michael Spencer

Nutria Boy said...

Good to see you on the blog barometer Phil! :)

Peter D. Nelson said...

Nicely siad Phil I'm going to bookmark this blog.

Philip S Taylor said...

Great post. That should be enough said on the subject of ugly Calvinism. To all Calvinists - lets start studying our bibles like our lives depended on it; lets start seeking to really know God experientially; lets start killing sin in our own lives; lets start encouraging other brothers and sisters; lets start living and talking the Gospel every day.

johnMark said...

Joey Calvin (Spencer),

Phil didn't say that you literally claimed to reject Calvinism and embrace post-modernism. I believe he is saying that your position has shifted or is shifting from Calvinism to post-modernism. Though, maybe I am wrong.

Mark

Fred Butler said...

I am not totally convinced that we can lay all the blame for a Calvinistic exodus at the feet of wild-eyed, internet fanatics.
I am still scratching my head over Rob's Howard Hughes like meltdown, but I watched the iMonk's train start to derail sometime ago. I can still recall one article he wrote lampooning the Answers in Genesis crowd for reading the Bible wrong and then attempted to argue that Genesis does not really mean what it says. I have read other articles by Spencer addressing different subjects in which he will say the same thing about reading the Bible in other areas. I figure once a person begins to fiddle around with the authoritative infalliblity of God's Word, especially its sufficiency, his or her hermeneutics will become a cage for any foul theological bird.

Fred

Luthersrose said...

I appreciate your insights greatly Phil. As the Apostle Paul has said, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Tim. 1:5, NASB). Cold-hearted orthodoxy can be just as damaging as empty-headed sentimentality. I know that I have been guilty of not bathing the message with the fragrance of humility and grace. Your words are a timely reminder that the "offense" should come from the message proclaimed--not the messenger perturbed.

Michael Spencer said...

I'm a postmodern apostate because I don't agree with Ken Hamm and Kent Hovind's reading of Genesis? Wow. Now that clears things up.

OK, but I think we're gonna need a bigger room for this party, and it's going to include some people you people think are on your team.

BobRyan said...

5 point and 4 point Calvinist Future Scenario:

This scenario “shows" why Calvinism is under such negative review in today's world.

It shows the requirement of 4 and 5 point Calvinism to have the “luxury” of a cold disregard for the non-elect when the time comes and “the non-Elect are finally Known”.

This scenario simply removes that “luxury” in order to emphasize the point 4-5 Pt Calvinism makes about God Himself – vs the view that “God so Loved the World that He Gave…Really” (something that both Arminians and 3-pt Calvinists seem to Agree on).


When the 4 OR 5-point-Calvinist finds himself in heaven enjoying the perfect love, unity and selfless concern for others that is not possible here on this sinful earth - and then peeking over the ramparts of heaven - observes his OWN precious sweet daughter who passed the age of accountability as the MANY of Matt 7 -- now writhing in the agony of eternal roasting in hell - he may well run to his sovereign lord with the cry

"Oh My Lord, my great God and Savior! Couldn't you have done Something for my precious child??"

And of course the answer will come back that Calvinism so loves to hear - "Why of course I COULD - IF I had Cared to"!

"Hallelujah!" cries out the Calvinist - that IS the Gospel I was proclaiming!! Ahh that blissful eternity with calvinism's God that unfairly saved you but not your precious daughter - and you will be praising through all eternity that YOU were spared though she was not.

(For it IS all about the saved in the end) without regard for those in flames

It is Calvinism blessing the fact that He chose You - that it was "unfair" as you say - but it was graciously unfair IN YOUR favor - just not your precious daughter's.

So just enjoy! Enjoy! Unjust Mercy - oh the Calvinist bliss.


(You see the problem when the Calvinist model is not “allowed the luxury" of disregarding the fate of the lost - as in the case above?)

Here we can see Calvinism's view of God who (arbitrarily from the POV of human eyes) selects out the FEW of Matt 7 and loves THEM alone - and then represents that to Calvinists as "So Loving the World". Oh the pure joy that thought must cause the Calvinist mind.

Bob

James Spurgeon said...

Hey Phil, I posted a response in my blog. I would value your thoughts . . .

http://howlingcoyote.blogspot.com/2005/06/predestination-and-evangelism.html

I'm sorry if you have to copy and paste the link. I'm still learning html.

James Spurgeon said...

Let's try that again: http://howlingcoyote.blogspot.com/

ct said...

iMonk, it's like this: if you want to identify yourself as Calvinist or Reformed when you express neo-orthodox and postmodern sympathies then people who are actually Calvinist and Reformed are going to call you on it. Now I know you've already disavowed the Calvinist label, but you are still calling yourself Reformed. You're like the Reformed Catholics, you don't want to give up the light of the Sun altogether, but you want to reflect it like a moon, dully and distortedly. Of course Calvinists will call you on it.

As for 'who is a true Calvinist', start with the five solas, move to the five points, and perhaps separate the men from the boys (or fakes) by seeing who represents in their walk and talk and writings a true valuation for the Word of God as the very 'Word' of the Living God. It's rather easy to discern in people. When you exibit an easy, juvenile giddiness in mocking people who value the Word of God as being the very Word of God, and you easily mock people who are bold in claiming to hold to something called Truth, or who - gasp - take doctrine that represents Biblical Truth seriously then you expose yourself. So be it, just don't call yourself what you're obviously not.

Currently there are many people and groups and movements that want the legitimacy that the names Calvin and Reformed give, but they want it as a false front merely to garner attention or for worse motives, i.e. to distort Biblical doctrine and mislead.

They all engage in the same persecution complex when confronted. It's a pillar of postmodern and liberal thought that it is unlawful to confront a postmodernist or liberal, especially as they're just going about attacking foundations and distorting history, and engaging in good propaganda for their cause. How dare anyone confront them.

James Spurgeon said...

Hey bobryan, I'm sure the people in hell feel a little bit better knowning that God loves them anyway, in spite of his just wrath being poured out on them. That's what hell is - justice, in spite of your attempts to portray it otherwise by picturing 7-year-old girls being cast in there.

Thanks for showing us the other extreme of what Phil was talking about - mean-spirited, cold-blooded, free willies.

Touche.

ct said...

bobryan,

Here is a good, basic Calvinist saying for you to chew on:

"There will be nobody in hell who doesn't want to be there."

Period.

(For explanation see Edwin Palmer - Five Points of Calvinism; or see C. S. Lewis as he wrote on this very theme alot in many of his writings.)

What you are doing, Bob, is you are justifying your desire to maintain a man-centered view and control (rather than conforming to a God centered view) by claiming to be 'more loving' and 'more wise' than God Himself. This is a trait of the unregenerate, but not all is lost: just read the Word of God...humbly. Regeneration is effected when it is by the Word and the Spirit. God knows what is in your heart.

Steve said...

The best part:

Historic Calvinism is not supposed to be that way. Yes, Calvinism is virile; it's relentless when it comes to truth; and it's not always easy to swallow. But it is full of truths that should humble us and fill us with compassion rather than swagger and conceit. The best Calvinism has always been fervently evangelistic, large-hearted, benevolent, merciful, and forgiving. After all, that's what the doctrines of grace are supposed to be all about.

That says it all

Excellent....

Thanks

Steve

the carnal christian said...

what i don't get is the assumption that postmodernism is bad... or wrong. so many are quite gifted at throwing stones at it, yes, but i'm not sure they know much about what they're attacking.

as i understand it, postmodernism rests on the linguistic arguments of poststructuralism (viz Ferdinand de Saussure and Derrida's take on him). instead of just rallying against postmodernism, let's have some of you propose an alternative linguistic theory (or point me to the authors who have done so: you can email me at stephen.wilkins@gmail.com).

ciao,
s

scottj23 said...

I am a fairly new follower of Christ and a young man. I typically do a lot of reading of different blogs but never comment because I have so much to learn (not necessarily from blogs!)and enjoy reading others points of view. I must tell you, though, how discouraging Michael Spencer's (Mr. iMonk take note)blogs are for me as a new Christian. I would have addressed this at your blog but you no longer allow people to comment in disagreement of you or those that sit in your "tavern" and opine. I say this respectfully, Mr. Spencer, but also truthfully. I do not understand you. On one hand you write, "I am not like you" and disavow the Calvinist title and then when confronted you do the quick two-step and point out, well, I really didn't mean what you thought I meant. You are full of double speak. You seem to be quite mixed up and quite possibly not even know what you do believe. I know that you write everything off as "we are just a bunch of guys sitting around having fun" but you do not know who reads your blog and quite frankly, you guys at the BHT are offensive and ungodly with your sarcasm and criticisms. Your incosistencies are glaring. Just a couple of weeks ago you stated that you were on a ride home on the team bus from a baseball game and you offered an apology for words spoken against some who hold to Reformed teachings. You said that that would be the last time that you did such a thing. One week later, you are right back at it. My question to you,sir, is, was this a lie and why did you not stop when you committed to? One week later you are stirring the pot of division again by slandering, jabbing, and making fun of the "truly reformed". I need to ask who the truly reformed are. It is my impression that anyone who disagrees with you, slides into that category. You hurt people with your hateful remarks. Did you turn again to commenting on Reformed folks because you want to be read? I know you feel a desperate need to be a successful writer. Mr. Spencer, from what I have read from you, it is you, your attitudes, your theological confusion, your slander, and your hate slinging which gives ALL of Christianity a poor name. You need to realize that before you speak or before you write, you may be offending and breaking the hearts of those that Christ referred to as "the least of these". You need to stop the constant barrage of attacks which you undertake daily on men who disagree with you in the childish and immature manner in which you do. Perhaps it's time you shut down your imaginary tavern for awhile and come back to reality. It is sad that you seem to be such an angry and hate filled person. I will pray for you.

Kurt N. said...

scottj23
At the BHT, we provide an explanation of who we dub to be the "truly reformed" if you click on the banner. The link is here.

The tavern exists primarily for her patrons. We closed down comments because of an unacceptable signal to noise ratio. Honest, thoughtful feedback is something that was lost in the process and we regret it.

As a young Christian though, if our discussions are causing you to stumble, take the much proffered advice and stick to other sites.

Joanna said...

< The strains of hyper-Calvinism that are flourishing today are more harsh and more hyper than any of the historic hyper-Calvinists ever thought about being. >

In a nutshell-for the past several years I've been reading reformed books (modern ones like Sproul Jr.) and they just about killed my faith. After tears and much confusion (and even anger) I came to realize that Sproul Jr. and others like him must be hyper calvinists. I bagged up all my reformed books minus one or two to get them out of the house, never to return.
The reformed people I have met are arrogant and unloving-period.
I will take your advice Phil and read the historic reformed writers and give reformed theology another chance. Thanks for the idea. :)

tommy said...

scottj23 - you take things way too seriously. The tavern isn't for everyone, I suggest not reading it if it bothers you so much.

An open challenge:
I defy anyone in here to give a definitive explanation of what postmodernism is. And you aren't allowed to say "relativism" or "nihilism", because if it were exactly those things then a new label wouldn't be necessary.

The word "postmodernism" is falling into the same category as "liberal." People have no idea what it means, but if you are one, its bad.

- Tommy Crawford

Travis Prinzi said...

I think it's shocking that people honestly think they can determine the motives (want to be successful as a writer, hate-filled, angry, etc.) of a person who you only know through a few things he or she chooses to write on a computer.

You seem to be quite mixed up and quite possibly not even know what you do believe.

I won't speak for anyone else, but as a BHT guy, let me say this - I am sometimes quite mixed up and not sure what I believe. So I keep clinging to Christ as He is revealed in the Scriptures and trusting that, through solid study, discussion, and community, I'll learn better. Is that ok? Is it alright to be mixed up and unsure sometimes? Or do I have to sit in the corner and wait till I've got all the fine points of theology worked out? Can I ask hard questions? Raise difficult objections? Or is that too much of a threat? Here's a shocker, Reformed folks (and remember, I am one) - we're humans and we're all mixed up. Let's all take a deep breath and learn from each other.

ct said...

An open challenge:
I defy anyone in here to give a definitive explanation of what postmodernism is. And you aren't allowed to say "relativism" or "nihilism", because if it were exactly those things then a new label wouldn't be necessary. The word "postmodernism" is falling into the same category as "liberal." People have no idea what it means, but if you are one, its bad.


Disingenously sceptical epistemology and a palette of sophistical rhetorical conceits used in the ancient dragon's service to sow confusion, challenge reality, defile language (usually always accompanied with spontaneously appearing legal codes to coerce and enforce the new dictates) and deny the existence of objective Truth. All generally to promote 'liberal' goals, i.e. what the devil wants.

BobRyan said...

Xenophon says

"There will be nobody in hell who doesn't want to be there." and then appears to claim that it is "unregenerate" to even "notice" the obvious future scenario where a Calvnist parent might have a lost child and "might care".

Notice his comment where he says " This is a trait of the unregenerate, but not all is lost"

For my part I observe that the claim that "your precious child really really WANTS to burn in hell" could only have been made in blind defense of Calvinsm.

How instructive.



James Spurgeon said Thanks for showing us the other extreme of what Phil was talking about - mean-spirited, cold-blooded, free willies.


Obviously James claims that even noticing that same obvious fact about a future with parents missing children -- is "mean spirited"..

Again. How 'instructive'.

Does Calvinism have "no defense at all"??

In Christ,

Bob

ct said...

Steve Wilkins writes:

instead of just rallying against postmodernism, let's have some of you propose an alternative linguistic theory

McGuffey's Eclectic Readers

BobRyan said...

Calvinism fails for more reasons than those obviously seen in the "Future Calvinist Scenario" posted above.

#1. It fails because "God so Loved the World" John 3:16 -- "really"!.

A key difference between Arminians and 4&5 Pt Calvinists. Arminians believe God "So Loved the World" and Calvinists do not.

#2. It fails because even many Calvinists must admit that Lucifer and Adam were created by God with free will.

They were not "created for failure" so God could be sovereign. Rather - God first sovereignly chose "free will" such that even sinless beings could fail.

#3. It fails because when it claims that foreknowledge limits free will - it makes an argument against God Himself having free will. (Basically Calvinism fails at trying to "be God" and know "How God does it").

We all agree that God has absolute foreknowledge (or at least most agree to this) but "HOW God" enables HIS OWN free will (and that of others ) while still holding to absolute foreknowledge is why God is God - and we are not.

The Calvinist's failure at "trying to BE God" is not a kind of "proof" against free will.

#4. It fails because God shows in many places that God "Sent His Son to be the Atoning Sacrifice for OUR sins and NOT for OUR sins only but for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" 1John 2:2.

And in keeping with that 1 John 4 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Limited Atonement on the cross - rejected even by Calvinists (3 Point Calvinists that is).

ct said...

bobryan, personally I don't want to debate you because you don't appear to have even a passing understanding of Reformed theology.

Just entertain the thought that if Calvinism was as empty as you are so motivated to explain it to be you wouldn't be railing against it so. It comes down to being man-centered vs. being God centered. Your raging is the raging of your self-will and vanity and worldly pride against the hard truths and pure Gospel message of the Word of God. You demand that God and His Plan conform to your demands.

I would just say: first, make an effort to understand that which you currently so rail against (for instance you have no understanding of how Calvinists view free will); and second, ponder and try to see the difference in being conformed to God's Word and will vs. demanding that God's Word and will conform to your carnal, vain demands.

Michael Spencer said...

Well Caroline Trace....Imagine meeting you here!

James Spurgeon said...

BobRyan - [Does Calvinism have "no defense at all"??]

LOL

I'll gladly defend Calvinism any day. Your caricature of it and misunderstandings are another matter.

Everyone who goes to hell goes there as a consequence of his own free will. As was said earlier, they want to be there.

My seven-year-old daughter (I do have one) won't be there.

Again, everyone who goes to hell is guilty and willing. Hell is justice. Deal with it.

ct said...

James Spurgeon, it's a profound statement to meditate upon, that there is nobody in hell who doesn't want to be there. I came across the statement first in Edwin Palmers book on the five points of Calvinism, but then found out that it was a favorite subject of C. S. Lewis (Lewis is actually brilliant on the subject). I have an anthology of Lewis passages on various topics (the Quotable Lewis), one being hell, and he wrote on this subject of man wanting to be in hell, and the psychology of it, and how people use the doctrine of hell as an accusation against God and so on, in his letters and various famous books. I think it's a good, pithy antidote to cut through some of the more common misconceptions of Calvinist (Biblical) theology. I'll type out one of the quotes.

James Spurgeon said...

I would love to see the Lewis quotes! Get a blog and copy & paste them there (or something).

ct said...

"A man can't be taken to hell, or sent to hell: you can only get there on your own steam." - C. S. Lewis, the Dark Tower and Other Stories

"We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment." - Screwtape Letters

Look at this brilliant observation from The Great Divorce:

"What some people say on earth is that the final loss of one soul gives the lie to all the joy of those who are saved...."

"That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it...."

"The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to veto Heaven."

bobryan, this last quote describes what you've been doing...

the carnal christian said...

xeno,

i can understand why my original question piqued you so: fundamentalists are so busy denouncing postmodernism that they've never bothered to read Derrida or any of the others, and so they can't be expected to have written any alternatives to Derrida's use of Saussure--they haven't even read Saussure.

and when a book of quotations makes one an instant expert on Lewis... oh geeze, this is what we've come to? Lewis, who also said that one of the chief reasons for the decline of the 20th century mind was women's emancipation (didn't find that one in your lovely quote book, eh?)...

Lewis is grand, surely, but let's not have him bandied about to settle a disagreement. it's lewd.

anyway, my original question was sincere--i am, in fact, always looking for good book recommendations, though i can see i'm not going to get any from you. i'm sure the loss is mine.

but if anyone else has any reading recommendations that attempt to show precisely why poststructuralism has it wrong, please let me know.

love, everyone
s

ct said...

Carnal Christian, I gave you a book recommendation for linguistic theory to put up against your Derrida and Sass...Saus...(you know): McGuffey's Eclectic Readers.

Did you totally miss that?

(OK, I like grail literature. I like classical historians. Epic poetry. Books with mysterious authorship I tend to be drawn towards. I like books written around the time of the American Revolution, Gibbon, Adam Smith, Montequieu...a little later but similar von Clausewitz... Novels? I am one of the 6 people currently alive who has read War and Peace complete. Derrida? Does a long initiation into Nietzsche count at all? Why do you need a linguistic theory anyway? Didn't humans get by without one of those fairly well for most of history?)

Mr. H said...

To all the storm and noise,let me add the one other defect of too many claiming Calvin's mantle: a want of sanctification. Our words too often betray that we are far from God.

(The all too smug reliance on the doctrine of total depravity only serves to demonstrate the indifference to a real reformation of one's life.)

After all, when theology turns us away from a proper reform of the spirit, that theology can scarcely be accounted true; it's all leaves, not fruit.

ct said...

Carnal, if you havn't skipped out (or if you're back from the Starbucks) here's something (re your request) to knaw on.

Don't neglect the conclusion.

Don A. Elbourne Jr. said...

"Phil Johnson Fans the Flames" added to http://elbourne.org/

I guess my subtile hints to start a blog didn't do the trick. It took a threat from Scott/Ransom at gun point. Whatever works. :)

fickett said...

Well said. I too have noticed a drift from those who used to be solid. I was most distressed by the recent changes in the iMonk, and his move toward Rome.

Rand said...

It truly is a sad thing... the calvinist knows that God will save HIS PEOPLE from their sins by the foolishness of PREACHING, and yet, so few actually PREACH.

This is a grievous sin.

Take care,

BobRyan said...

James - you claim that your seven year old "will not be" in hell.

But Calvinism states that nothing about you or your seven year old "determines" that they will or will not go to hell.

Calvinism says nothing about them determines whether God will decide to actually "Care about them" going to heaven. Nothing says they will be among the FEW of Matt 7.

(And if you are a 5 point Calvinist you can not know anything about them until you see that 10 years from today they do not "Fail to persevere" and thus have assurance "retro-deleted back to today")


Calvinism says that God "COULD" have done something to get them out of hell but "did not care to".

Calvinism focusses on the unjust "mercy" for the FEW of Matt 7 and ignores the plight of the loved ones in hell.

You are faithfully avoiding the obvious fact that Calvinists ADMIT that parents will be in heaven without children making it as well.

How "convenient".

This convenient disregard for the lost in hell is what is eliminated by the "Future Cavlinist Scenario" because it is the child of the Calvinist that does not make. (A case that ALL calvinists admit as valid).

Your blinders-on-can't-think-about response does not form a compelling defense of Calvinism. It just proves how unprepared Calvinists are to deal with the fate of the lost as a close family member.

Calvinism "needs" the ability to have cold disregard for the lost in hell.

Your qoote "They all want to go there anyway" is a perfect illustration of the truth of the Scenario!

Tnanks.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

I continue to be amazed at the total lack of regard for the texts that so fully debunk Calvinism -- among Calvinists.

The way the "details" of those texts are avoided and the lack of careful response to the texts (as seen on this thread) -- is a perfect illustration of that see-no-inconvenient-fact defense tactic so prevalent in Calvinism.

How "instructive".

In Christ,

Bob

James Spurgeon said...

Dearest BobRyan,
I have dealt with your type of misrepresentations so many times that I've lost count.

Why are you so angry?

You wrote: [Your blinders-on-can't-think-about response does not form a compelling defense of Calvinism. It just proves how unprepared Calvinists are to deal with the fate of the lost as a close family member.]

-sigh-

Tell me this. I pastor a church. I have four children and a wife. I am preaching in a Bible conference tonight. I am trying to get a book published. I am trying to get into seminary. I am trying to keep up with two blogs and a web-site.

On the other hand, your mind is obviously made up and you alos quite obviously have a chip on your shoulder and want a fight.

Tell me, what makes you worth my time?

When I see your objections my mind automatically registers, 'been there-done that'.

If you don't care to learn the actual truth, then feel free to keep believing your caricature of it. Okay?

1 Cor. 14:38 (KJV)
But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

ct said...

If it helps, bobryan, most Calvinists come to a point where they recognize - just as Calvin presents it in his Institutes - that the Bible presents mysteries, or leaves things where they reside at a ceiling of mystery beyond which the Bible deems it fit we don't need to be told.

The Bible wants you to get the hard message and to get you to get above your vain thinking and carnal demands that God and His plan be like YOU deem it should be. But there are obviously aspects involved in it all that are wild cards as, for instance, time. God acts from eternity. He is not constrained by time as we perceive time. God can act in the life of all his creation anytime anywhere. What that means for the individual destination of each soul we can't know, but God is not unfair or unjust, and there will be nobody in in hell who doesn't want to be there. (Hell itself, as Calvin himself states, is described figuratively in Scripture, yet it's not a good place because it involves the wrath of God.) God chooses from eternity. 'Before the foundations of the Earth' is just to say eternity.

Now, this is not Biblical, and the Bible, for good reason, doesn't get into issues of God's time vs. man's time; the Bible makes demands and one is that you meet God's Word at its level and not demand that it conform down to your level. This is what the Doctrines of Grace do when you understand them and accept them. It is Biblical doctrine.

God's wisdom is foolishness to man.

If you are evangelizing the faith, in any way you can manage (however the Holy Spirit gives you the ability to contribute to that), you are doing God's work.

David said...

Yeah, Dr. White still won't let me outta my cage!!!

Nobody@Nowhere said...
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Phil Johnson said...

Rob Schläpfer:

If you can actually document where anything I have ever said about you is a "fiction," I'll change it immediately and issue you an apology.

I've made that offer before. It still stands. I have what I believe is a complete record of all my correspondence with you. I'd be happy to share it with you if you need it to jog your memory.

Nobody@Nowhere said...
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Michael Spencer said...

Phil,

You've stated to me in correspondence that what you've said about me was your conclusion upon reading my work.

I've said to you that I NEVER, EVER, ANYWHERE said I was deserting Calvinism for postmodernism, that I have stated clearly in an IM post why I do not call myself a Calvinist, and that I am a Reformation Christian who rejects postmodernism as a theology (whatever that means.)

Now you are telling Rob that you made a similar conclusion about him based on book selections and (excuse the pomo lingo) the conversation going on in his newsletter, which included all types of Reformation Christians.

Why can't you admit that when certain parties wandered out of the back yard into the neighbor's yard, you- like a good big brother- quickly drew worst case scenario conclusions. And you have resorted to the current whipping boy of conservative evangelicals- "Postmodernism"- to spank our little heinies (sp)?

Both Rob and I were motivated away from identifying ourselves as Calvinists/Reformed by the BEHAVIOR of those with that label. NEITHER one of us ever embraced postmodernism. We may have conversed with it, but we never embraced it....and you now know this.

Dealing with the fact that your high profile blog has now announced to the world that I've gone pomo has not been fun, but I think it needs to clearly be said: YOUR EVIDENCE FOR ALL THIS WAS PALTRY. It was a reaction from the Calvinistic blogosphere- which you describe quite well- that has thrown Rob and me into the "Pomo" camps, when neither one of us is going there.

I may have whined and Rob may have cussed, but neither of us deserted Calvinism for Postmodernism.

I tell you, Phil, if everyone who questions Calvinist behavior or likes N.T. Wright is pomo, you're gonna need a bigger blog.

I love and respect you as a brother, but this has been a wrong that ought to be righted.

Michael Spencer, aka Internet Monk

Phil Johnson said...

Michael and Rob:

If you guys really want to pursue this conversation, I'm certainly willing. But both of you have indicated in the past that you wanted me to drop it.

I object to your portrayal of me as a self-appointed "sheriff" who came after you while you were simply minding your own business.

Both of you criticized my views on "the New Perspective" before I ever said a word either publicly or privately to anyone about your views. (Monk, you came after me on your blog in a way that seemed designed mainly to mock and humiliate me.)

So don't try to make it look like I came out of nowhere with a club in my hand, smoke belching from my throat and nostrils and fire in my eyes, just looking for innocent, childlike NT Wright aficionados who were minding their own business—and cold-cocked you.

Monk, you ought to be keenly aware of all this, because I wrote you a lengthy letter about it after reading your remarks about me. Although I asked you—and you agreed—to post my letter at your blog, you have apparently removed every record of that exchange from the archives. I still have copies of your original post and my reply, and I will happily post them here if you really want the facts of how our dispute arose to be a matter for further discussion.

Rob, I also have a private e-mail from you, dated 15 July 2004 in which you said (among other things):

I am officially leaving completely the larger world of Reformed Theology. I disown it. Period. (Emphasis yours.)

Then you added: "You can publish that."

I've never published it verbatim until now, but if you now are going to claim that I have misrepresented you by saying that you have turned against Reformed theology, your own words are a witness against you. If you're continually going to say I have been unkind or ungracious to you, I'll be quite happy to publish the full record of our correspondence (your expletives deleted). Unless you are prepared to give me permission to do that, don't accuse me of misrepresenting you, and stop accusing me of dealing with you ungraciously. You have made a great show of "apologizing" to people for your past conduct and pleading for loving behavior from others, but as far as I can determine, you have never personally apologized to any of the people who were on the receiving end of your obscenity-laden diatribes.

As I said in my list of rules, I don't want to get into a mud-wrestling match here in the comments section of my own blog. You can criticize my views all you like, and I'll let you have your say unmolested. But don't abuse the privilege by lobbing mudballs at my character. Unless you are truly willing to talk these things through in pursuit of real resolution, you both ought to do what you have asked me to do, and drop it.

In all sincerity, if you honestly feel you can demonstrate that I've wronged you, I want to right the wrong. But so far, aside from using my blog as a vehicle to accuse me publicly, neither of you has seemed to want to pursue resolution of your differences with me through a candid, honorable, serious conversation. If you're willing to do that, let's. You both know very well that I will, because I have made every effort to dialogue graciously and amiably with you in the past. I don't think I have ever deliberately said an unkind word to either of you.

Michael Spencer said...

The reason you can't find those posts is simple: The BHT archives are only available for 30 days. The tech guys have automated the BHT to move posts older than 30 days to the BHT archive, a separate blog. The sheer size of the BHT prevents decent searching. Almost 30,000 posts.

I'm not sure what we are "resolving" here. I never left Calvinism to embrace Postmodernism, except in the opinion of two Reformed Baptists. I simply am not going to let this comment thread go on endlessly without saying that every 50 posts or so.

I'm not criticizing your views except as they include me. (Duh) As to BHT posts about your assessment of N.T. Wright, I don't see what they possibly have to do with this discussion other than as some attempt to justify your posting about me and I've already said that one blog deserves another. But that has nothing to do with the fact that I have never, ever, anywhere said I was leaving Calvinism for postmodernism.

This isn't a big personal deal. I haven't called you any names or questioned your integrity or sincerity. It's just that since I'm not dead yet, I'm going to speak to the truth. I have issues with Calvinism. Embracing postmodernism isn't one of them.

Phil Johnson said...

Monk:

Fair enough. Let me also repeat what I have already said to you and to everyone else who has complained that I'm "misrepresenting" you: I never SAID you left Calvinism and declared yourself a pomo. What I said was (and I quote):

"Although the text is still in the process of deconstruction at the BHT, it seems like the iMonk and his drinking buddies have decided postmodernism is a lot cooler than Calvinism" (emphasis added).

It does seem that way to me. Still.

I get it that you don't want to label yourself "postmodern." Most postmodernists reject labels of every kind, so that's not as helpful as what you write in determining how "postmodern" you really are. And I do actually read what you guys post.

(I'm also pretty sure there are a lot more than two of us who think it seems like you guys are way too enthralled with postmodern ways of thinking.)

As you know, I offered to post a statement acknowledging that you reject the label I have applied to you, but you asked me to drop it. You said you wanted the conversation to end. But then when you saw Rob posting here, you joined the dogpile. Hence, my previous post did not come out of a contextual void, and you know it.

Finally, if you still really feel your complaint about being misrepresented has any legitimacy, you ought to consider something I said to you once before, which you passed over in your reply:

I am not what you and others at the BHT continually claim I am, either. You have repeatedly characterized me as a self-appointed "sheriff" of what's "truly Reformed." In reality, though I'm a Particular Baptist by conviction, I am certainly not of the "Reformed" or Sabbatarian variety. I'm "Calvinistic" only in the sense of my soteriology. I might occasionally call myself "Reformed" in that sense, which I fully recognize is not the technical sense of the term. But I am definitely not "truly Reformed" and have never claimed that I am. Yet I'm constantly characterized by you (and others) at the BHT as someone who pretends to be not only TR, but also a "sheriff" of the TR perspective.

So you and I both apparently see ourselves differently from the way we are viewed by each other. So what? I accept that you disagree with me. Who knows? We might both be wrong.

Every 75 comments or so, I'm going to feel compelled to point those things out, too. OK?

ct said...

IMONK WROTE:
But that has nothing to do with the fact that I have never, ever, anywhere said I was leaving Calvinism for postmodernism.

PHILL WROTE:
I get it that you don't want to label yourself "postmodern." Most postmodernists reject labels of every kind, so that's not as helpful as what you write in determining how "postmodern" you really are.


Wasn't it Emerson who said (paraphrase) what you are screams so loud you don't have to tell me what you are.

Your last post on the Boar's Head Tavern (as I write this), iMonk includes this:

Saying a verse is "out of context" doesn't mean the verse is being inappropriately used. I believe that Jesus bought into the worldview of his day, and turned it upside down regularly. I am personally convinced that everything we see about Jesus leads us to the conclusion that the work of the Holy Spirit in the church (the application of Jesus and his message) leads to a position where gender is not an issue in cultures where gender equality is practiced. IOWs, I think if Jesus were here today, his movement would be radically egalitarian, and I think its a major failure not to go there as a church. But we live in times of cultural transition, and I work in a culture that rejects egalitarianism. That's OK. I respect it. It's not a fightin' issue. As I said, I think one's community of faith does a lot to bring the Word off the page and into real life.

This is very postmoderny (even in terminology).

Now, the next step in this dance is someone stating that he's just writing in a virtual tavern and who cares what he writes or if he is or isn't a Calvinist or if he is flirting or having an actual affair with postmodernism?

My response to that is this: Phil Johnson is 'seen' as a standard-bearer for Calvinist, Reformed Theology whether he likes it or not simply because non-sacramentalist Calvinists are 'seen' to be more on-the-mark than any other Calvinists. This is just 'seen' by those with either good will towards Calvinism and by those with bad will towards Calvinism. People 'know' that Calvinists who hold to Calvin's sacramental distinctives are not as bold and on-the-mark as Calvinist who recognize that regeneration is effected by the Word and the Spirit and that that is central to the Gospel message and to the Faith in doctrine and practice.

In a similar way the iMonk draws an audience (of scrutiny, in his case) because he represents a 'type' in the current environment (kind of like a cartoon character with exagerrated features) and thus is interesting to observe. Simple as that.

~ The Billy Goat ~ said...

I am not disillusioned with the soverignty of God or the concept of His soverign grace. If you insist on measuring me on the artifical scale of the "5 Points", mark me down as "4.95". a position I take to deliberitly irritate 5.0's as well as 1.0's.

I am disillusioned with a "Calvinism" and "Reformed theology" that makes Puritan writings and the Reformed confessions equal in authority with Scripture Itself, and that contrary to the express statement of those confessions. (...and I know that not all who call themselves Reformed are guilty of that..)

Real truth sanctifies which means that we should expect to see in someone who claims to have "truth" the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galations.. If I don't see the fruit of the Spirit in your life, why should I be so quick to embrace your understanding of "truth"?

I'm disillusioned with a "Calvinism" that does not have with it the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galations. I Cor. 13 makes clear that kind of "Calvinism," is a "sophia" bereft of agape and as such, is of no profit...

And don't brush me off by saying I was "never really there" as a Calvinist.... Who gave any of you papel authority to pontificate on who "was there" and who "was not"? The only basis for that kind of assumption of authority on your part is sheer arrogance. Bah! Humbug!

God is greater then all of the puny little boxes, Calvinist or otherwise, that we try to put Him in.

Nobody@Nowhere said...
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ct said...

billygoat and rob,

This:

Real truth sanctifies which means that we should expect to see in someone who claims to have "truth" the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galations.. If I don't see the fruit of the Spirit in your life, why should I be so quick to embrace your understanding of "truth"?

is juvenile. Judging doctrine by the actions of humans is about as empty as it gets. Why not judge Calvinism by the history of the Geneva-educated preachers and Puritans and all that was accomplished by Calvinism in history in the dynamic republics that Calvinism engendered and the freedom and discovery and invention and creativity and spreading of the Word of God and being the light of the world that Calvinism so obviously manifested (and still manifests in myriad ways that are not currently seen because they are like the very ground you stand on and air you breathe these days, i.e. such as the role America plays in the world for being an insurer of freedom and for fighting tyranny as she has the last 80 years continuing today)? I mean, if your standard is to judge doctrine by how its adherents behave and what they accomplish, etc.? I.e., if you are going to go that route why pass over such exceptional history and behaviour in the history of humanity on this planet?

You rather sound like atheists (not that I'm saying you're atheists, but follow my point) I often run into who are always *looking* for reasons to not like something or not believe something. When you are doing that then making human behaviour your standard will always give you an endless supply of justification for being critical of something. There is a foundational bad will in the statement quoted above towards what you are purporting to assess in some objective way.

ct said...

I neglected to put an 'anyway' in the above post. Basically my point is if you ARE, afterall, going to judge Calvinism by the actions of humans why not judge by all the positives Calvinism has done in the world and in individuals and populations?

But the main point is, the standard for Biblical doctrine should be is it true?

BobRyan said...

James Spurgeon said
[ Tell me this. I pastor a church. I have four children and a wife. I am preaching in a Bible conference tonight. I am trying to get a book published. I am trying to get into seminary. I am trying to keep up with two blogs and a web-site.

On the other hand, your mind is obviously made up and you alos quite obviously have a chip on your shoulder and want a fight.

Tell me, what makes you worth my time?
]

When dealing with Calvinism one is confined to "stating the obvious" as this is what Cavlinists love to deny.

#1. I did not "make you read" this blog. Please don't ask me why you come here. I am just happy you like to do it.

#2. The "Future Calvinist Scenario" only references THE OBVIOUS.

A- BOTH sides agree there will be Parents in heaven.

B - BOTH sides agree that some Parents will care about their children. (A big shock to some Calvinists).

C. BOTH sides agree that Calvinists claim that "NOTHING ABOUT THE CHILD" determines whether or not God will decide to care about them and "that NOTHING" includes parental connection. (Calvinists hate to think about that one)

D. BOTH sides agree that Calvinism CLAIMS that God sovereignly saves ALL HE CARES to save.

E. BOTH sides agree that the FEW of Matt 7 are those that MAKE it into the NARROW way - and THEY are the ones going to heaven ACCORDING to the text. (if one reads the obvious wording of Matt 7).

So as much as Calvinists "like to pretend" that what is "incredibly obvious" is actually hidden under a rock -- it is not!

It is not "my fault" that this obvious scenario is the RESULT of combining Calvinist ideas into a single scenario for Parents of children.

I simply "observe" that it reflects Calvinism. And helps to expose the incredibly "obvious" flaw in Calvinism's view of God.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

[
Xenophon said...
If it helps, bobryan, most Calvinists come to a point where they recognize - just as Calvin presents it in his Institutes - that the Bible presents mysteries, or leaves things where they reside at a ceiling of mystery
]

My point remains -- the "obvious" elements of Calvinism are clearly identifiable in the "Future Calvinist Scenario".

One can either accept it and say "well yes - Calvinism is pretty ugly when you think about how it will end up -- so I try not to think about it" as you seem to be doing -- or one can try to re-invent hell as some "nice place for children" or one can face the fact that the ARminian view of God is much closer to the Bible.

In the Arminian view "God so Loves the WORLD -- really!!"

That places an entirely different expectation on that "future scenario" where a parent is missing a child.

In Christ,

Bob

Nobody@Nowhere said...
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BobRyan said...

Note to "This" Phil Johnson about the "other" Phil Johnson.

He moved his web page to

http://www.arn.org/authors/johnson.html

You may want to update your BIO section.

BobRyan said...

If one pays close "attention to the details" while reading Matt 7 then it becomes apparent that what Calvinism seeks to define as "election" is in fact nothing more than "arbitrary selection of the FEW over the MANY",

However it is often uncomfortable for Calvinists who believe in that to say it that way. Yet they claim that nothing ABOUT the person determines that they will be among the MAtt 7 FEW selected rather than the Matt 7 MANY rejected.

In essence they seem to say "we can't admit to even calling it innexplicable selection so we call it election".

How instructive.

In Christ,

Bob

ct said...

bobryan, you're just going to have to see it how you see it and continue to scratch your head when you hear or read how Calvinists see it.

(You really, really, though, need to just entertain the possibility that you don't yet have a grasp on that which you are criticizing so lustily...)

Also, you have to at some point come to terms with original sin.

Also, the suffering you describe parents feeling for having a child that is lost is often experienced by parents in this life. It happens. And it often happens no matter what the parents do. (I refer to rebellious children who often show pure hatred towards their parents, irrationally, and are lost to a bad end no matter how much love and effort the parents put in to try to save the child. There is an analogy here.) There is no reason to think that such experience will be a part of the experience of the new heavens and the new earth. Afterall, Saddam Hussein has/had a mother...

And, again, go see how now you are a poisonous snake to God (without being washed in the blood of Christ)...

ct said...

OK, Rob. You've obviously discovered the liberal's pleasure in defending clean water and not-killing-people.

You also don't value Calvinist doctrine and obviously don't consider it to be Biblical doctrine itself. Welcome to the majority.

I don't have your freedom of choice. I have to hold to the truth of the Gospel of Christ having been convicted by it and been made able to see it...

Nobody@Nowhere said...
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James Spurgeon said...

Dearest BobRyan,
Would it make you feel better if we got into a cyber slugfest? You seem so full of anger? Who made you angry? And shouldn't love for truth cause you to at least not caricature my position in a mean way?

Grace,
JTS

James Spurgeon said...

The thing is, Xenophone, bobryan's anger is not about sovereign grace, it is about someone's children going to hell. His problem is with hell, not election.

Bobryan himself believes that some people's children are going to hell (Maybe his own?)
He also believes that they are going there because they are sinners and deserve it and because they never turned to Christ for mercy - just like we do.
He, too, believes that for whatever reason, God did nothing to violate their free will decision, though he could have, and if he would have then perhaps those children would have been saved.

BobRyan believes the same thing we do about it, he just somehow thinks that election robs those individuals in hell of their responsibility or that hell is unjust.

BobRyan said...

Xenophon said...

(obligatory posturing deleted)...

Also, the suffering you describe parents feeling for having a child that is lost is often experienced by parents in this life. ... There is no reason to think that such experience will be a part of the experience of the new heavens and the new earth


At this point I should "confess" that I also made a matching "Future Arminian Scenario" that addresses the SAME problem of a parent grieving over a child that is not saved.

That scenario concludes with this comment by a supposed Calvinist observer..

Of course the Calvinist may say of the Arminian God that we see pictured here "OH how TERRIBLE! How AWFUL" that God would "ALLOW selfless concern for our lost children EVEN for a moment once we are in heaven" (as some have said)... or that "God would LOVE our lost children" (As others have said) -- But I know that "not many" will do so - even among Calvinists because the comparison is obvious - blatant and clear.

Since your idea of "Parents that care about children on earth - but won't care about their precious lost family members once they are in heaven" is applicable to the normal comments I make with my Arminian scenario - I am adding that comment here.

It can also be noted that EVEN the Calvinist Future Scenario - (CFS) prepares for such a response with the introduction.

Remember what it was???

From CFS --

[b]5 and 4 pt Calvinist Future Scenario:[/b]

“Showing” the requirement of 4 and 5 point Calvinism to have the “luxury” of a cold disregard for the non-elect “When the non-Elect are finally Known”.

This scenario simply removes that “luxury” in order to emphasize the point 4-5 Pt Calvinism makes about God Himself – vs the view that “God so Loved the World that He Gave…Really” (something that both Arminians and 3-pt Calvinists seem to Agree on).

[quote]
When the 4 OR 5-point-Calvinist finds himself in heaven enjoying the perfect love, unity and selfless concern for others that is not possible here on this sinful earth - and then peeking over the ramparts of heaven - observes his OWN precious sweet daughter who passed the age of accountability as the MANY of Matt 7 -- now writhing in the agony of eternal roasting in hell - he may well run to his sovereign lord with the cry out ...


Admittedly your response "clings to that Luxury" anyway.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...



James Spurgeon said...

The thing is, Xenophone, bobryan's anger is not about sovereign grace, it is about someone's children going to hell. His problem is with hell, not election.


That is just "wishfull thinking" without paying attention to the details in the post.

Both the Arminian Future Scenario (AFS) and the Calvinist Future Scenario (CFS) show a parent in heaven and a child lost and in hell.

BOTH sides admit that there will be Parents in heaven that have a child that is not saved.

(Obviously).

Trying to re-cast and redefine this as "Arminians have no problem with election just with the idea that a child might go to hell" is pretty silly.

I find it hard to believe you could satisfy your own argument with such a story.

JS said --
Bobryan himself believes that some people's children are going to hell


Now you are back on the "obvious" track. Welcome back.

JS said ---
He also believes that they are going there because they are sinners and deserve it and because they never turned to Christ for mercy - just like we do.
He, too, believes that for whatever reason, God did nothing


That much is not quite true.

I believe that CALVINISM teaches that "God did nothing" to save the lost child but WOULD have IF "He had CARED to"

(Obviously)

AS for the ARMINIAN scenario - it will speak of a God that sent "Wave after wave of drawing MERCY" to BOTH the child AND the Parent. It will show that BOTH Child and Parent refused that impelling mercy but EVENTUALLY the Parent accepted whereas the child just became more stubborn in refusing the supernatural "DRAWING" of God.

As Christ "STood at the door and continually knocked" the parent eventually OPENED the door and the child eventually chose to "Go to another room, farther from the door" --- so to speak.

JS said --
violate their free will decision, though he could have, and if he would have then perhaps those children would have been saved.


Very true. "Robots-is-robots". God never intended to create nothing more than robots. God ENABLES the soul to HEAR the knocking AND to OPEN the door - while Christ is ON THE OUTSIDE knocking.

But never in that scenario does Christ speak of turning the person - alone - on the inside "INTO A ROBOT" so that they MUST open the door.

JS said --

BobRyan believes the same thing we do about it, he just somehow thinks that election robs those individuals in hell of their responsibility or that hell is unjust.
j

It is amazing that you can't even bring yourself to "Say" what the opposing argument IS??!!!

It is one thing to differ with another POV - it is another matter entirely to pretend that you don't know what it is.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...


James Spurgeon said...


Dearest BobRyan,
Would it make you feel better if we got into a cyber slugfest? You seem so full of anger?


This is another ad hominem response rather than dealing with the substance of the challenge to Calvinism. My future Calvinist scenario does not mention you by name - it is addressing "Cavlinism" just like the Opening Post of this particular blog also addresses both Arminianism and Calvinism.

I have not been flattering of your decision not to pay attention to the details of the challenge to the doctrines of CAlvinism and your attack on me saying that you were too busy to speak and why should you waste your time with my post.

I simply "point out the obvious" fact that your response was in no way "substantive" in addressing the points raised.

It did not occur to me that you would consider me to be "angry" simply because I differ with Calvinism and recognize a substantive response from one that is not yet willing to solve the problem posed for Calvinism.

I am happy to caricature your substantive response "to the details" as such -- though I may not agree with Calvinism's solution, I still would enjoy seeing it posted.

I learned a long time ago that anger has no place in an open exchange between people that do not agree on some point of doctrine "If" one wants to benefit from the exchange. That does not mean the two sides have to agree. As long as details are addressed and the response is to the "school of thought" and not necessarily the "individual posting in support of it" -- all can benefit.

In Christ,

Bob

ct said...

bobryan, your ignorance of Calvinism has become officially annoying (to me, for what that's worth). Calvinsim is not fatalism. This is your main cluelessness. Read Calvin, maybe, on election. Read Boettner. Read any of (now) several hundred very good sources to learn what Calvinism is and isn't. MAKE SOME EFFORT. You're beating on a strawman tied to a canard.

At least admit to yourself that of all the Calvinists that have existed in history they weren't Calvinists because they didn't have the understanding of one Bob Ryan. Scale, sir. Get a grasp of it.

And because you've taken my statement that nobody is in hell who doesn't want to be there as 'softening' my Calvinism, let me give you another good Calvinist saying: If God deems me unworthy of His Kingdom I ACCEPT THAT.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. - Job

BobRyan said...

As I have been watching the various ways that Calvinist posters have been ducking and dodging the CFS (Calvinist Future Scenario) while still complaining about it... I found Xeonophon's "solution" quite instructive.


Xeonophon said ...

If God deems me unworthy of His Kingdom I ACCEPT THAT.


Lets "plug that in" to the CFS to see if it changes anything at all!

4 and 5 pt Calvinist Future Scenario:

“Showing” the requirement of 4 and 5 point Calvinism to have the “luxury” of a cold disregard for the non-elect “When the non-Elect are finally Known”. This scenario simply removes that “luxury” in order to emphasize the point 4-5 Pt Calvinism makes about God Himself – vs the view that “God so Loved the World that He Gave…Really” (something that both Arminians and 3-pt Calvinists seem to Agree on).


When the 4 OR 5-point-Calvinist finds himself in heaven enjoying the perfect love, unity and selfless concern for others that is not possible here on this sinful earth - and then peeking over the ramparts of heaven - observes his OWN precious sweet daughter who passed the age of accountability as the MANY of Matt 7 -- now writhing in the agony of eternal roasting in hell - he may well run to his sovereign lord with the cry

"Oh My Lord, my great God and Savior! Couldn't you have done Something for my precious child??"

And of course the answer will come back that Calvinism so loves to hear – "Why of course I COULD - IF I had Cared to"!

"Hallelujah!" cries out the Calvinist - that IS the Gospel I was proclaiming!! Ahh that blissful eternity with calvinism's God that unfairly saved you but not your precious daughter - and you will be praising through all eternity that YOU were spared though she was not. (For it IS all about the saved/elect in the end)

Then you add ----------
"Of course God could just as easily have selected ME as unworthy of His Kingdom and I would gladly ACCEPT THAT as a lost depraved soul I would be still "fully emersed in Calvinism" so I would be ok with His decision. HOW MUCH MORE am I satisified with His saving ME and not my precious, lovely joy-of-my-life little girl!!"



We see Calvinists blessing the fact that He chose You – AND that it was "unfair" as you say - but it was graciously unfair IN YOUR favor - just not your precious daughter's.

And as Xenonphon points out - he thinks that EVEN as a totally depraved LOST person he would be clinging to Calinism STILL and rejoicing at being unworthy and in hell since it would show how God is sovereign in all cases so (much less - worry about the little girl!???). No worries -- it is all great news!!

So just enjoy! Enjoy! Unjust Mercy - oh the Calvinist bliss.
[/i]

( You see the problem when the Calvinist model is not “allowed the luxury" of disregarding the fate of the lost - as in the case above? )

Here we see Calvinism’s view of God who (arbitrarily from the POV of human eyes) selects out the FEW of Matt 7 and loves THEM alone - and then represents that to Calvinists as "So Loving the World". Oh the pure joy that thought must cause the Calvinist mind.


And there we see that Xenonphon's "Solution" does nothing to change the equation. In fact it appears to make it even more unlikely!!

BobRyan said...

Xenonophon said --
At least admit to yourself that of all the Calvinists that have existed in history they weren't Calvinists because they didn't have the understanding of one Bob Ryan. Scale, sir. Get a grasp of it.


This is one of the most creative ways I have seen yet to dodge the actual specifics of the Scenario posted.

I applaud your extreme. You have set a new standard for Calvinists everywhere!

In Christ,

Bob

Justified said...

Hey Bob,

Do you believe there will be any seven year old children in heaven? If so, do you think God could have saved that seven year old if He really wanted to?

I'm trying to understand exactly what it is you are getting at with your "Calvinist Future Scenario". Quite frankly I don't see how that scenario is any different for the Arminian. Help me understand. Thanks.

ct said...

Mr. Spurgeon is right. You just hate the fact of hell and - though you don't seem to recognize it - the fact of original sin.

You also don't recognize that every human being has all the knowledge of God and their situation that they need to convict them written in their heart. Your innocent daughter you so rapturize about is in fact a wicked, unrepentant witch.

You are basically projecting your hatred of God onto Calvinists, because Calvinists actually accept and believe and praise what God Has revealed in His Word.

ct said...

Bob Ryan is an example of why I suspect there are different orders of Christians in Heaven. The way he rails against Calvinists is similar to the say liberals rail against conservatives, with the same cluelessness involved such as in not being able to grasp the various anti-intuitive ways free markets work, or that people are inherently bad and thus that we need police forces and militaries.

The Kingdom of God is a kingdom, afterall, and kingdoms have hierarchy. God's Kingdom will have a natural hierarchy with no fakes or imposters existing at levels they don't belong (i.e. it won't be like what happens in the fallen world here).

So when the Bible says avoid vain arguments with people who deny truth over and over it is saying, recognize hierarchy and chain-of-command and don't waste your effort with a person who is railing at things that exist at a level he is not at.

Bob Ryan is a private continually railing at officers every chance he gets. (And remember, in God's Kingdom in Heaven privates are deservedly privates and officers are deservedly officers; it is what you have in you that puts you there, and makes you move up if you deserve to move up.)

Arminians, God bless them, are privates; and Calvinists are officers. (Again, in the Kingdom of Heaven where privates and officers are what they are because of what is in them, not like in this fallen world where people can reside at levels that don't necessarily correspond with what they have in them and deserve.)

Justified said...

Xenophon said "Arminians, God bless them, are privates; and Calvinists are officers."

Please tell me you are joking.

Kurt N. said...

Oh, xenophon doesn't joke. :)

Ask her about her "evangelism by taunting and belittling" methodology.

Y'all think I'm joking, but I'm not.

ct said...

Well, it's not like I didn't say that in the context of a longish comment. Go back and actually read the comment, then read the thread it is a part of. If you tend to be on bobryan's side your mocking of what I wrote is understandable.

Try to see what you've done is you've read something that is new to you (yet is Biblical), and you kneejerk mocked it.

Paul himself talks of degree of being and degree of reward in heaven, or the Kingdom of Heaven.

To apply scale to some of the more thorny Biblical issues can let in light.

Perhaps you'd rather I'd said that Arminians are in hell?

Your response and the joining in of the BHT person is disappointing.

Anyway, get use to hierarchy in God's Kingdom. A kingdom is not a democracy. With this mocking tone of yours I suppose you might be in for a rude suprise.

ct said...

And for the record because Calvinists actually recognize the sovereignty of God and give God all the glory I don't see it as strange that God would recognize that in terms of reward and just in terms of being.

Notice also twice - twice for emphasis - I dinstinguished hierarchy in God's Kingdom from hierarchy in this fallen world, yet neither of those intentional parts of my comment connected with the above mocking readers.

So be it.

Justified said...

Xenophon said "Paul himself talks of degree of being and degree of reward in heaven, or the Kingdom of Heaven."

Uh yes, but I don't remember Paul saying anything about Calvinists being officers and Arminians being privates. That seems to be something you made up. I thought you were joking. I guess you weren't.

ct said...

It's a simile (or metaphor if I left out a 'like' or similar word). Or analogy, if you prefer.

The subject was 'chain-of-command' hence the military terminology.

Jesus uses chain-of-command to describe faith (with the incident with the centurion). It's a deep and foundational subject in God's revelation...

BobRyan said...

Justified said...

I'm trying to understand exactly what it is you are getting at with your "Calvinist Future Scenario". Quite frankly I don't see how that scenario is any different for the Arminian. Help me understand. Thanks.


Well said.

As you point out - (and as I have stated here) both the Arminian Future Scenario and the Calvinist Future Scenario must anticipate parents being in heaven where a child is not. Whether you take the child at 7 or 8 or 9 or 12 does not matter. Those cases will exist.

Also your point seems to confirm that all in the Calvinist Future Scenario is correct -- and your question seems to be "what other alternative is there".

I readily admit that this is really the "only" option for Calvinism. Those who see it posted and immediately strike out with "how angry, how hateful.." just because the obvious case for Calvnism's future is stated - 'show' that they are not really comfortable with "their inner calvinist" - (Or maybe they have an "inner Arminian"??)

The next post will be the "Arminian Future Scenario" using the SAME end result of a Parent saved AND concerned for their child.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...


Some (Calvinists) have argued that plugging our doctrine into the future scenario to see what we are really saying about God - is not valid since our doctrines may not always fare well in that exposed light of day. So we now plug that same set of conditions and variables that determined the Calvinist future scenario – into an Arminian Future Scenario. Using the same conditions simplifies the “contrast and compare” exercise between Calvinist principles and Arminian ones.

Lets try the Arminian view of the future - where you go to heaven as one of the "FEW" and find that your precious child was one of the "MANY" of Matt 7.

(Note: The obvious premise points.
1. There is a God,
2. there will be a day of judgment,
3. not everyone is going to heaven.

So we would then have the following scenario - that you might "expect" if the doctrines of Grace as seen in the Arminian teachings are true..).

==============================
When you go to the Lord and cry out "Oh my great God and Savior - couldn't you have done Something to spare my precious daughter from the fires of the 2nd death?"

By the doctrines of grace as taught in the Arminian model - ... God may well reply with the words that Arminianism so “expects to hear”


"Why YES my child I loved them with an infinite love as Their tender Heavenly Father JUST as I loved you. I suffered the torments of the second death suffering for EACH and every one of THEIR sins JUST as I did for each and every one of yours!

I drew them to my heart of infinite love JUST as I drew you. I sent WAVE after WAVE of invitation, heart wrenching plea after plea - BUT In all this I did not force myself on them - JUST as I did not force myself on YOU.

”YES I could have FORCED both YOU and your child” to accept my Grace - but instead I Sovereignly Chose to Draw you both to Me and to Give you BOTH the ABILITY to see the light, to CHOOSE life or to CHOOSE your own selfish will. Fully enabled to choose. No trick language, no marketing gimmicks!

So when YOU CHOSE against me - I CAME back with even stronger ties of love and compassion - ENABLING your choice of LIFE JUST as I did with your precious child. Even so when your child refused my Love and eternal salvation I came back also to THEM with wave after wave of mercy and conviction and “Drawing”.

In the end - you finally accepted repentance and salvation but your precious child - OUR precious child - MY precious child -- chose to stand firm on "NO".

My heart of infinite love is broken over that - but I also Sovereignly CHOOSE to enable my children to CHOOSE even if it is to reject my lavish gift of love that suffered fully in their behalf!



Oh what wonderful Grace! What unbiased impartial Love! What sacrifice lavished upon both the saved AND the Lost!
===============================

Of course the Calvinist may say of the Arminian God that we see pictured here "OH how TERRIBLE! How AWFUL" that God would "ALLOW selfless concern for our lost children EVEN for a moment once we are in heaven" (as some have said)... or that "God would LOVE our lost children" (As others have said) -- But I know that "not many" will do so - even among Calvinists because the comparison is obvious - blatant and clear.

BobRyan said...

xonophon said ...

(obligatory rant deleted)...

Arminians, God bless them, are privates; and Calvinists are officers.


Actually I was hard pressed to find "anyting" in that post of yours that was NOT the "obligatory ranting" segment that is always there when someone has run out of answers.

I am surprised you keep doing that.

Are you feeling all right??

Is this just a bad day for you?

I was hoping you would be posting something substantive soon. I thought you might want to contribute to the dialoge.

In Christ,

Bob

Justified said...

Bob,

In the end your Arminian Future Scenario is still no different than the Calvinist Future Scenario. Even in the AFS you admit that God *could have* imposed on the will of the child and *forced* him to be saved. (Your characterization of Calvinist Grace as being *forced* is false, but for the sake of argument let's assume it's true.) If God could have imposed on the will of the child and saved that child then the reason the child is in hell is because God "didn't care to" save that child, even though He had the power to do it.

You can sugarcoat it and say that He really did want to save the child as evidenced by incessant drawing (I wonder how you explain the pagan children who never even hear the name of Jesus) of the child. But in the end He stopped short of saving the child because he "didn't care to" do whatever it took to save the child. He certainly had the power to impose on the child's will if He really wanted to do it.

So in the end the AFS is no different than the CFS as you define them both. Ultimately, under both scenarios, God had the power to save the child but "he didn't care to". So again, I fail to see how your CFS proves anything other than your ignorance of what the doctrines of grace are all about.

BobRyan said...

Justified said ...
So in the end the AFS is no different than the CFS as you define them both. Ultimately, under both scenarios, God had the power to save the child but "he didn't care to".

==========================

In the CFS God "really does not CARE to" as He states and as Calvinism points out explicitly. In that case we have God SHOWING that he cares LESS for the child than the Parent.

In the AFS we see the SAME care and love and concern for the Parent (who IS saved) as for the Child who is NOT with God SHOWING that He cares MORE for the child than EVEN the Parent. In the AFS (as in scripture)we would expect to find God weeping over the child with "All His compassions stirred up within him over their loss".

How you gloss over "The details" and then can "spin that" into "God does not care in the Arminian view JUST as Calvinism would have it in the CFS" is beyond reason! It is simply a blind defense in the form of Calvinism-no-matter-what-the-inconvenient-facts!!

You also "seem to imply" that the details of the CFS are violating something in Calvinism (at least you complain about the scenario) but never show anything to be in actual violation.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

Justified - In your response you claim that "forcing the will of the child" was "What needed to be done" to get them saved and God was not willing to do "What needed to be done" in the AFS case.

Then you deny that "God forces the will".

Where is the logic in that?

Remember -- "Robots-is-robots"

As with Lucifer and Adam - God "Created" and therefore sovereignly CHOSE to create a universe with the prinicple of Free Will. It is because of that choice consistently followed in EVEN the "Drawing of ALL mankind" (which supernaturally enables the choice of ALL mankind) -- and that ALONE - that God is NOT "the author of sin and rebellion".

Hence the very accurate description of God "ON THE OUTSIDE" knocking while the sinner "ON THE INSIDE" must choose to listen and open the door and THEN God and the sinner are infellowship.

The sinner does not one day "rise from the dead and SEE that Christ is already on the inside opening the door for Christ".

IN Christ,

Bob

Justified said...

Bob said “How you gloss over "The details" and then can "spin that" into "God does not care in the Arminian view JUST as Calvinism would have it in the CFS" is beyond reason!”

I didn’t gloss over the details. The details you provided are GROSS misrepresentations of both Calvinism and Arminianism. But that isn’t the point. I granted, for the sake of argument, that your misrepresentations were indeed true and showed that ultimately there is still no difference in the end between the AFS and the CFS.

In the AFS God is able to save the child but he doesn’t care to because He doesn’t want to impose on the child’s will. In the CFS God is able to save the child but he doesn’t care to because, according to you, He only cares about the elect. You act as if the AFS is better than the CFS because God really really tried hard, but you also admit that if God really really wanted to He could have imposed on the will of the child and saved the child. So in the end the only difference between the AFS and the CFS is the *reason* God really didn’t want to save the child. But both scenarios that you have presented portrays a God could have saved the child but cared not to do what it took to do it.

Acolyte said...

By Protestant lights there are no infallible interpretations of Scripture. Calvinism as a theological system is a fallible construction that attempts make sense of the biblical data. As such I don't see how one can say that "Calvinism is the Gospel" without any kind of attenuation such as "as best as we understand it." Since Calvinism is a fallible theological construction there is no good reason to think that it could not be revised and altered in the future because we found out that we were in error in our understanding of the biblical data.

Acolyte said...

By Protestant lights there are no infallible interpretations of Scripture. Calvinism as a theological system is a fallible construction that attempts make sense of the biblical data. As such I don't see how one can say that "Calvinism is the Gospel" without any kind of attenuation such as "as best as we understand it." Since Calvinism is a fallible theological construction there is no good reason to think that it could not be revised and altered in the future because we found out that we were in error in our understanding of the biblical data.

BobRyan said...

Justified said ...
I didn’t gloss over the details. The details you provided are GROSS misrepresentations of both Calvinism and Arminianism. But that isn’t the point.

=========================

I beg to differ. "The details" show that they are exactly accurate. If one can actually show some "detail" that is not true for either Arminians or Calvinist - they have had a while to do it - so far --- nothing.

In Christ,

Bob

ct said...

By Protestant lights there are no infallible interpretations of Scripture.

Calvinists believe that the Bible is straightforward and self-interpreting on all matters of importance.

Calvinism as a theological system is a fallible construction that attempts make sense of the biblical data.

Calvinism is systematic theology derived from Biblical theology (as opposed, to, say, systematic theology that is based on the philosophical categories of, for instance, Aristotle. The Reformation was a return to the Bible and deriving doctrine from the Bible alone.

As such I don't see how one can say that "Calvinism is the Gospel" without any kind of attenuation such as "as best as we understand it."

Any theology (especially new, or seemingly new doctrines or takes on doctrine) needs to be checked by and held to the Standard and Authority of the Word of God itself. This requires effort, though, just as it requires effort to learn Calvinist doctrine (i.e. Biblical doctrine) to begin with. Calvinists don't expect anyone to believe anything without seeing it themselves in the Word of God. Look at what has been produced over the centuries by Reformed, Calvinist theologians and writers. Calvinists aim to educate not dictate.

Since Calvinism is a fallible theological construction there is no good reason to think that it could not be revised and altered in the future because we found out that we were in error in our understanding of the biblical data.

These challenges are made all the time, and it provides opportunity to go back into the Bible and actually see what the Biblical foundations that our doctrine are set on. The fact is, though, theologians tend to be a sharp group, as human groups go, the mischievous ones attempt to push bad doctrine in ways that will get by everybody, and the regenerate theologians are not only sharp but have the Holy Spirit and the discernment that comes with that to see what is happening, but to be savvy enough to question themselves and their doctrine as well. But, as they say, there are no new heresies, and just as that is true apostolic Biblical doctrine is what it is, and once it was recovered by the reformers from the darkness the RCC had buried it under, and once it was put into systematic and confessional form by the great theologians of that day, and as that doctrine has been vetted by Time and has held up over time to much sharp criticism and attacks you have to realize that God didn't make his Revelation a hall of mirrors and it can rather plainly be seen and grasped, and the 'pure theology', as Refomred theology has been called, is that Revelation.

Go ahead and look into N. T. Wright and others who are similar in currently attempting to reformulate or 'correct' Reformed doctrine, it will be an education for you. It is not hard to see, though, just where they veer off the path of the straight and narrow, and it has already been written out and exposed. But, make the effort to see for yourself...

BobRyan said...

Justified said ---
So in the end the only difference between the AFS and the CFS is the *reason* God really didn’t want to save the child. But both scenarios that you have presented portrays a God could have saved the child but cared not to do what it took to do it.
========================

You couldn't BE more wrong.

In the Calvinist model there is no such thing as God doing enough to get person-A saved but then when He does the SAME to Person-B it is NOT enough to save person-B.

That concept does not even exist in Calvinism! So there is no hope of applying Calvinist RULES to the Arminian scenario -- yet you attempt it!!

In Calvinism whatever will save Person-A will ALWAYS also save Person-B God just has to CHOOSE to "do it" to Person-B as well. I Calvinism that is God "CARING" for BOTH!

It is totally bogus to argue that the Arminian system that does have God caring for BOTH and DOES have God doing WHAT is sufficient to SAVE BOTH - is in fact a scenario about God only caring for hte ONE JUST as we see in Calvinism!!

In fact the Arminian model INSISTS that BOTH are FULLY enabled to be saved and God is FULLY engaged in the case of BOTH so that they will be saved. You seek to REMOVE free will from the FREE WILL scenario (to make it like Calvinism) and then argue that God really only CARED to save ONE!!

Injecting Calvinism INTO an Arminian scenario does not work as a way to objectively evaluate and compare the two systems.

----------------

If a teacher provides material and instruction such that ALL students are FULLY able to get an "A" but Sally gets a "D" by being Lazy you can NOT argue "the teacher DID NOT care for Sally" because while all the other students studied and KNEW the Material Sally did not and so it is the UNCARING teacher that did not invent an entirely CALVINIST system and give her an A anyway.

Your objection dies before it ever gets started by trying to insert Calvinism (force the will) into Arminian (FREE WILL).

In Calvinism Bill chooses salvation when enables BECAUSE Calvinism thinks ALL mankid would do that IF enabled!!

In ARminianism aLL mankind ARE enabled but in the realm of FREE WILL they CHOOSE just as Lucifer and Adam CHOSE and the majority of the faithful angels CHOSE to remain faithful.

The model for Arminianism has the teacher working for BOTH and has BOTH fully enabled to get an A AND the teacher fully WANTING BOTH to get an A even to the point of working with them BOTH when they are both somewhat lazy!

CAlvinism thinks that whatever WOULD fully enable them - would find them BOTH choosing "A". Arminianism says "NO" they each will have FREE WILL and will CHOOSE as they WILL.

Calvinism argues that people choose only what "something MAKES them Choose".

Arminianism argues that FREE WILL removes the "MAKES THEM CHOOSE" idea entirely.

Your only point is that IF the teacher had "just GIVEN Sally the A" after teaching the class and ENABLING BOTH Sally and Bill to get "A"s (OR ELSE the teacher did not CARE about Sally at aLL) is without any logic or reason. In fact it INSERTS Calvinism into an Arminian scenario and tries to claim that this proves God was the SAME in both Calvinism and Arminianism!!

A more illogical and biased approach could not be imagines.

In Christ,

Bob

Andrew C. Bain said...

Hi Phil,

You accuse Marc Carpenter of fanaticism, as well as being "harsh", and "ridiculous".

Perhaps you find the following logic harsh:

(1) Arminianism is a false gospel.

(2) All who believe a false gospel are unregenerate.

(3) Therefore all Arminians are unregenerate.

Can't handle that truth Phil? Well, Arminians assert that their "christ" died for everyone, including those who end up in hell. They believe that Christ is not the difference between salvation and damnation -- since they think many for whom he died end up in hell -- but man determines his eternity. They hate John 6, 10 and 17 (and the rest of the Bible) which unequivocally teach that Christ laid done His life only for the elect. So, Arminians are deceieved, but what about the truth? Well, for anyone interested, I'd like to briefly outline what the gospel is. This will not be internet "Calvinism"; this is the gospel which all Christians assent to.

The gospel may be best answered with a couple of questions. Firstly, what do we mean when we say Christ "died for" someone? If by "died for," we mean that Christ suffered the penalty due for their sins (including the sin imputed to them from Adam), then would we not conclude that this person is forgiven, and the Father was satisfied with Christ's vicarious suffering for that person? After all, if Christ was made a curse and made sin on the cross for someone, that work must be 100% sufficient to save that person from hell. Otherwise, you are forced to say that a sinner must add to the work of Christ to be saved, if Christ's death alone does not save. But the Bible says "it is finished", the work is complete. God says that the death of Christ justifies and saves from wrath (Romans 3:24; see also 5:9) reconciles to God (Romans 5:10; see also 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Colossians 1:21) and justifies from all things (Acts 13:39). That's the atonement-side of the gospel in brief. For the righteousness-side, read Romans 3,5,10 and Galatians. Christ is the "end of the Law for righteousness", and by the "obedience of One many will be made righteous". This righteousness (Christ's obedience to the Law) is imputed (charged to the account) of an elect sinner when the Holy Spirit causes them to assent to these propositions of the gospel. At this point in time, God declares this person righteous (justified) by Christ's righteousness (now in their account). Indeed, they are justified from all things, and fully persuaded (no doubt whatsoever, because God has told them in the Bible) that they are elect. All those ordained to eternal life believed; so if you believe, you are elect. And this is not internet "Calvinism", this is the gospel. Repent and believe it Phil!

My second point, or rather, rhetorical question, is -- are those who end up in hell "justified", "saved", and "reconciled"? No. So Arminians who believe that some blood-bought people are in hell, do not understand the atonement (the heart of the gospel). Arminians do not believe in the Just God and Savior of the Bible. They are rank Atheists.

"The one believing in the Son of God has the witness in himself.
The one not believing God has
made Him a LIAR,
because he has not believed in the witness which God has
witnessed concerning His Son." (1 John 5:10 LITV)

Andrew C. Bain
Sydney, Australia
http://www.Godnoliar.com

Justified said...

Bob,

The point I have made that you have yet to address is the fact that even in the AFS God had the ability to save the child in hell but He chose not to do it because He didn't want to impose on the child's will. That's why, in the end, the only difference between the AFS and the CFS is the *reason* God didn't care to save the child.

Please respond to the main point of my posts. Please explain how I am wrong when I say that even in the AFS God COULD HAVE saved the child but He CHOSE NOT TO do everything (including imposing on the child's will)necessary to accomplish that salvation.

Thanks.

BobRyan said...

Justified said ...
The point I have made that you have yet to address is the fact that even in the AFS God had the ability to save the child in hell
===============

In both Calvinism and Arminians Christians agree that "God CAN create Rocks and God CAN turn all mankind into Robots". Neither group denies that God CAN do both of those things.

Calvinism "claims" that when God saves someone it is NOT the same thing as "turning them into a Robot".

Your argument above goes to the non-substantive notion that God CAN turn that precious little girl into a robot. A pointless rabbit trail in the big picture.

Key DIFFERENCES that are obvious to all when comparing the CFS to the AFS is that in one God CLAIMS not to CARE about the precious little girl suffering in hell and in the Arminian scenario NOT ONLY does God CLAIM to CARE - but He SHOWS I REAL action how He has done EVERY BIT the same thing for BOTH the saved Parent and the Lost CHILD!! (Something Calvinism could never BEGIN to claim).

Your attempts to whitewash Calvinism and CLAIM that it shows God to work and CARE JUST as much for the Lost as the "details" seen in Arminian scenario is not even a well constructed rabbit trail. You appeal overtly to the "robots" defense arguing that IN THE ARMINIAN context God failed to turn the little girl into a ROBOT!!

Basically you are stuck with a "blind defense of CAlvinism" that seeks to "gloss over details" rather than address them.

Why not just let the Calvinist scenario REMAIN true to the teachings of Calvinism and let the Arminian scenario remain true to the teachings of Arminiansm without trying to INJECT CALVINISM INTO the Arminian scenario AND without appealing to "robots" something NEITHER Calvinist systems nor Arminian systems put forward as "The way God works".

Try to just be objective and embrace the obvious rather than trying to obfuscate in favor of Calvinism. It will serve your POV much better.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

Justified said
Please respond to the main point of my posts. Please explain how I am wrong when I say that even in the AFS God COULD HAVE saved the child but He CHOSE NOT TO do everything (including imposing on the child's will)


How can you not see that you are suggesting IN the Arminian scenario that God does not CARE for the little girl because God did not try "Calvinism" on her??

How is that an "Arminian Scenario"???

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

In Calvinism it takes God doing EXACTLY the same thing for the child AS HE does for the Parent to save BOTH!!

In the Arminian Scenario - God does EXACTLY the same thing for the child as He does for the Parent!!

In the Calvinist Scenario God CAN do EXACTLY the same thing for the child as for the Parent - but does not CARE to.

It can not be more obvious than this!

But as Justified keeps pointing -- (in essence) "yes but God can create rocks and robots -- what about that??"

That my friend is a rabbit trail.

In Christ,

Bob

Justified said...

Bob said "Key DIFFERENCES that are obvious to all when comparing the CFS to the AFS is that in one God CLAIMS not to CARE about the precious little girl suffering in hell and in the Arminian scenario NOT ONLY does God CLAIM to CARE - but He SHOWS I REAL action how He has done EVERY BIT the same thing for BOTH the saved Parent and the Lost CHILD!! (Something Calvinism could never BEGIN to claim)."

God doesn't do the same thing to save everyone. I was born into a Christian home and raised in a church that taught me about Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. There are billions born in other countries who will never even hear the name of Jesus.

You are right that God doesn't effectually call everyone that hears the gospel. He is under no obligation to regenerate lost rebellious God haters. Fortunately, because He's a loving gracious God, He does choose to regenerate some. I'm glad He does.

Those who aren't regenerated will suffer in hell for their sin. Those who are regenerated will spend eternity in Heaven because of the Grace shown to them. Thank God for it.

Justified said...

Bob says "In the Calvinist Scenario God CAN do EXACTLY the same thing for the child as for the Parent - but does not CARE to."

That's correct. He chose to give grace to the undeserving parent. He chose to give justice to the God hating child. Your problem is with God's justice. That's not Calvinism's fault.

ct said...

The Bible wants you to know all you can bring to God are your sins and that when you are saved it is not something you have 'done' nor is it something you can do.

From God's point-of-view, which is not constrained by time as we perceive time, what is going on we can't know about. We do know God's attributes as they are self-revealed in His Revelation, and so we know God is long-suffering and good and just.

But when we affect to be more wise and more good and more just than God it is a possible sign of an unregenerate heart (I say possible because a person may just be yet in a juvenile state regarding their understanding).

It is off-the-mark to bring the doctrine of predestination down to the level of the carnal mind and the carnal heart. What is required of you is to realize your state of being dead in sin and helpless to do anything to effect your own regeneration.

You can read the Word of God, you can pray, to can show interest in God, you can love God, but ultimately though you can do all these things you can't regenerate yourself. You just have to realize that. Until you do you will be in the power of your vanity, worldly pride, and self-will (and hence do things such as affect to be wiser and more good and more just than God Himself).

Read the Word of God, read it complete, read it dedicatedly, read it humbly, and wait on the Lord. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans). And, draw nigh to God and God will draw nigh to you (James).

Justified said...

Hey Bob,

Why do you think God creates people that He knows will never respond to His calling? Wouldn't it have been better for them to have never been born?

BobRyan said...


Bob says "In the Calvinist Scenario God CAN do EXACTLY the same thing for the child as for the Parent - but does not CARE to."


So in the Calvinist scenario God is NOT doing the very SAME THING that He did for the Parent -- to the child "because" He "does not CARE to"

============================
Justified said...
That's correct.

=========================
And that is "the point".

There never was a point about "God CAN turn the child into a robot while also giving the parent free will because He KNOWS the Parent will CHOOSE and He knows that without Robotizing the child they won't".

Even Calvinism is not insisting that two DIFFEReNT people be saved by two DIFFERENT kinds of Gospel.

==========================
Justified said...
He chose to give grace to the undeserving parent. He chose to give justice to the God hating child.

=============================

I have no problem with updating the CFS to so that when the Parent sees their lovely precious little girl writhing in the torment of flames and they run to God and say "OH my Great God and Savior - COULDN'T you have done SOMETHING - ANYTHING at all for my precious, child - my life - I would gladly give up all that I have for them - couldn't YOU have done something??!!" - then the answer will come back that Calvinism LOVES to hear "Why of course I COULD have IF I HAD CARED to do something for your precious child. You see I only see her as your God-hating child. I have sovereignly CHOSEN to give them JUSTICE"

And lest anyone at all have a problem with that - we will leave it at that. Nothing more execpt for the Calvinist Parent to REJOICE!! Yes!! Wildly REJOICE!! God has saved ME me!! me!! So what about HER her! her!

What a Great and wonderful Calvinist view of God!!

Now I am asking "you, you you" Justified - having plugged in YOUR added perspective on this into God's response - do you "feel better" about the accuracy???

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...


Justified said...

Hey Bob,

Why do you think God creates people that He knows will never respond to His calling? Wouldn't it have been better for them to have never been born?
========================

IN Calvinism the way to invent new doctrine is to first try and "be God" then with the mind of God determine that He can't possibly figure out how to have free will AND still be Sovereign - since finiate mankind can not do that.

But back to your question.

Would it have been Better for God not to have created the sinless, perfect, holy, worshipful Lucifer since He KNOWS that some day FREE WILL will allow Luciver to make a wrong choice??

What about sinless, perfect, holy, worshipful Adam? Maybe God should not have created Him either!!

(Maybe sin is all God's fault!!)

And what about the Jews giving up Christ to be crucified - why did He create them??!! Maybe HE was trying to get Christ crucified and just needed a puppet sufficient for the task???

My rule is that when you are stuck trying to "out think God in the what-if woulda-coulda scenarios that never did happen" the answers you get are not "subject to test or verification" so where does that leave you?

In God's Free Will universe if God solves His own problems by NOT creating those that will one day use Free Will to make a wrong choice then OTHERS will not know about the "defect" in the system but HE will know.

However as I said - I have no way to test that theory.

In Christ,

Bob

Justified said...

Bob says "Now I am asking "you, you you" Justified - having plugged in YOUR added perspective on this into God's response - do you "feel better" about the accuracy???"

Actually no. A Calvinist would never ask God why anyone is in hell, including one of our children. We already know why people go to hell. They are born in sin and under condemnation. WE are all children of wrath deserving of judgment and eternal tormnet in hell. Calvinists more than anyone understand that. That's one thing that makes us a Calvinist (you know, the whole Total Depravity thing).

So again, your problem isn't with Calvinism. It's with God's justice. I believe that is the point that James Spurgeon tried to make earlier in this thread.

Justified said...

So Bob, you admit that God does knowingly create humans that He knows will one day suffer in hell regardless of how much He draws them. Is that correct?

BobRyan said...


Bob said "Key DIFFERENCES that are obvious to all when comparing the CFS to the AFS is that in one God CLAIMS not to CARE about the precious little girl suffering in hell and in the Arminian scenario NOT ONLY does God CLAIM to CARE - but He SHOWS I REAL action how He has done EVERY BIT the same thing for BOTH the saved Parent and the Lost CHILD!! (Something Calvinism could never BEGIN to claim)."

==============================

Justified said...

God doesn't do the same thing to save everyone. I was born into a Christian home and raised in a church that taught me about Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. There are billions born in other countries who will never even hear the name of Jesus.

========================

In Calvinism it is NOT the minister who preaches OR EVEN the sinner who CHOOSES life that determines if the person is elect.

The ONLY factor the only variable to consider in Calvinism is Sovereign God who CHOOSES the person to BE the elect and God who CHOOSES the very DAY that the person becomes born again. In that Sovereign system of God NOTHING ELSE comes into play.

It is "interesting" that you seem to be making an arminian argument against that based on the presence or absence of HUMAN ministers and also geography!!

Or were you saying that the things you mentioned do not come into consideration in Calvinism??

OR were you going to say that in Calvinism ALL who are in Christian churches are saved "elect" and all who are in pagan countries are "not elect"???

The Arminian answer is from John 16 and John 12 and Romans 2.

"I will Draw ALL MANKIND unto ME" John 12

"The Spirit convicts THE WORLD of sin and righteousness and Judgment" John 16..

And then of course there is Romans 2:13-16 (My favorite)

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

Justified said --You are right that God doesn't effectually call everyone that hears the gospel. He is under no obligation to regenerate lost rebellious God haters.

#1. Calvinism claims that God regenerates the lost and they then find themselves accepting Christ. ONE THING done for ALL the elect. The SAME thing done for ALL the elect.

In Calvinism if God did that SAME thing for the child then BOTH the Parent and the child would be in heaven. Calvinism has NO concept of God needing to do "something different" for the child.

HE either cares or He does not. Either regenerates or not. In Calvinism there are "no other options".

-----------------------

In the Arminian scenario God does the SAME SAVING act for the saved as for the lost - and in that system FREE WILL exists and operates.

Those are two DIFFERENT Gospels!

#2. Man does not Obligate God. If God fails to do what man wants it does not make God unjust. But if God says HE WILL do something and then HE DOES NOT - He makes HIMSELF unjust. The only one that CAN obligate God - is God.

So when HE SAYS "God so loved the WORLD" it better be true!!

When HE SAYS HE is "not willing for ANY TO PERISH BUT FOR ALL to come to repentance" it better be true.

When HE SAYS He weeps over the lost so that "ALL my compassions are stirred within me... OH WHY WILL YOU DIE ... TURN TO ME and LIVE!!" -- It better be true!

When HE SAYS "Oh How I WANTED to GATHER your children... BUT YOU would not" it better be true.

WHen HE SAYS that HE is the LIGHT of the world and coming into the world (the WORLD that HE made) He lights the heart of EVERY MAN -- it better be true.

When HE says HE is the "Atoning Sacrifice for OUR sins and not for OUR SINS only but for the sins of the WHOLD WORLD" 1John 2:2 it better be true.

When HE SAYS that God sent His son into the world to be the "Savior of the world" 1John 4:10 it better be true!

...

I could go on but you really don't want me to retype the entire Bible do you??

Justified said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Justified said...

Bob says "The Arminian answer is from John 16 and John 12 and Romans 2.
"I will Draw ALL MANKIND unto ME" John 12
"The Spirit convicts THE WORLD of sin and righteousness and Judgment" John 16.."


None of the verses you quoted says that God will draw all men THE SAME WAY, which is what you originally said. If fact, that was one of your perceived benefits in of the AFS, that God drew everyone the same amount. The fact is that He doesn't.

Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The child in Africa who never even hears the name of Jesus can not be said to have been drawn the same way a child who grows up in a Christian home and hears the gospel and sees the gospel being lived on a daily basis.

God does NOT do everything He can possibly do to draw men to Him for salvation or else, at the very least, every person would be presented the gospel and we all know that isn't gonna happen.

So tell me Bob, how do you explain the lack of revelation given to the pagan child in Africa vs. the child who grew up in a Christian home and was saved at an early age because he heard the gospel and responded?

Justified said...

Bob says "Those are two DIFFERENT Gospels!"

Yes they are and one of them is false. The Bible doesn't portray a Savior who tries His best to save everyone He possibly can by drawing everyone as much as He possibly can. That is something you have invented.

The Bible does portray a Savior who came to earth to actually "take away the sin of the world" and that's exactly what He did. Those who have been ordained to eternal life will believe (Acts 13:48) and receive the benefits of that perfect atonement.

BobRyan said...

Justified said ...
The Bible doesn't portray a Savior who tries His best to save everyone ...by drawing everyone
====================

God said "God SO LOVED the WORLD"... yes REALLY!

God said HE is "not willing for ANY TO PERISH BUT FOR ALL to come to repentance" 2 Pet 3 ... yes REALLY!

GOD said He weeps over the lost so that "ALL my compassions are stirred within me... OH WHY WILL YOU DIE ... TURN TO ME and LIVE!!" -- Yes - REALLY!

God said "Oh How I WANTED to GATHER your children... BUT YOU would not"Mat 23 and He meant it... yes REALLY!.

God said SAYS that HE is the LIGHT of the world and coming into the world (the WORLD that HE made) He lights the heart of EVERY MAN John 1 -- and it is "REALLY true".

God said HE is the "Atoning Sacrifice for OUR sins and not for OUR SINS only but for the sins of the WHOLD WORLD" 1John 2:2 it -- Yes REALLY!

Godhat God sent His son into the world to be the "Savior of the world" 1John 4:10 -- Yes REALLY!

You see when it comes to Calvinism vs Arminianism - Calvinism just quotes the Bible and then follows it with "Well that can't possbily be true"

Whereas - Arminiansm quotes the same text and says "YES REALLY!"

It is really quite simple to see the differences.

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

God says --
"I will Draw ALL MANKIND unto ME"
John 12:32

To which the Calvinist ADD say "Yes but not really ALL and not really the SAME WAY for ALL"...

To which the Arminian would answer --- "God DRAW ALL - YES REALLY!!"

=========================
Justified said --
None of the verses you quoted says that God will draw all men THE SAME WAY,

=====================

God has already spelled out how He does this for ALL for EVERYONE so that ANYONE may respond as ALL are treated the SAME way by God who says "HE is NOT PARTIAL" Romans 2..

Did I forget to add "YES REALLY!" to that quote from Romans 2???

In Rev 3 "He stands at the Door" OUTSIDE the DOOR - and KNOCKS. So that if ANYONE (alone on the inside and WITHOUT Christ) hears and OPENS -- THEN HE will come in to them.... Yes REALLY!

The scope is unlimitted and so THE SAME for all to make the response available to "ANYONE".

God says that the ENTIRE WORLD is convicted of SIn and Righteousness and Judgment (Yes REALLY!) so that is also THE SAME for ALL.

God says that the Christ is the "LIGHT of the WORLD" so there again the SAME for all.

God says that Christ comes into the world and enlightens EVERY MAN --- so again the SAME for ALL.

It is impossible to find the "loopholes" That Calvinism needs to stop the Gospel from going to ALL as God describes it!

It just can't be done!!

IN Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

Justified said --
Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
(Rom 10) The child in Africa who never even hears the name of Jesus can not be said to have been drawn the same way a child who grows up in a Christian home and hears the gospel and sees the gospel being lived on a daily basis.


Funny you should choose of your own free will to quote Romans 10 when making that point.

In Romans 10 Paul quotes PSalms 19 regarding the witness of NATURE speaking to ALL mankind - even Israel!! Paul argued the same WORLD WIDE WITNESS in Romans 1 regarding the pagans.

How odd that you should go to THIS as your proof that there IS NO world wide witness!!

IN Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

Romans 10
17 so faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
18 but i say, surely they have never heard, have they? (The CAlvinist argument made there)..


(The Arminian answer here)

Indeed they have;

Ps 19 -- “their voice has gone out into all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”



The full text quoted in vs 18 above is as follows
Psalms 19
1 the heavens are telling
of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands.
2 day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 there is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.
4 their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them he has placed a tent for the sun,
5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
6 its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.


How odd that this WORLD WIDE WITNESS is what Paul references to make his point that THEY HEARD!!

Clearly Paul is appealing (again) to nature's voice in declaring the
truth of God - so that "they (the people - Jew and gentile) did hear" - fulfilling the
condition –

And using that Ps 19 context – Paul then continues…

Romans 10
vs 17so faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
18but i say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;


and this - is in perfect agreement with the opening context of the book of Romans - chapter 1.


Romans 1:

18 for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven[/b] against all unGodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20for since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.


And so once again it is seen that the Calvinist simply goes to scripture quotes it and then argues "That can not possibly be true" whereas the Arminian quotes that same text and only says "Yes REALLY!".

In Christ,

Bob

BobRyan said...

Justified asks --
So tell me Bob, how do you explain the lack of revelation given to the pagan child in Africa vs. the child who grew up in a Christian home and was saved at an early age because he heard the gospel and responded?


Easy -- Rom 2:13-16.

In Christ,

Bob

DOGpreacher said...

1 John 2:19 may come into play here. I say this because, I can not imagine it possible to deny these doctrines, and instead, promote doctrines that take glory from God, and heap them on man, if you had ever once truly understood these matters.
dogpreacher

BluesMan said...

Though I must admit to being a non-seminarian and have not sat under seminary teaching like some of my brothers here, I am just a simple old teacher but I must admit that I am also very reformed in my teaching and my beliefs. With that said, I would like to agree with Phil regarding evangelism.

My friends, and even some of my family question my beliefs in reformed theology, and one of their first comments that comes forth is that I do not believe in evangelism. To which I usually respond, "Excuse me?" I affirm evangelism, and not only do I affirm it, I teach it.

Yes, God does the drawing, and yes God does the saving, but that DOES NOT excuses us from telling!

Jesus said; "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

The great commission is true today as it was then. Paul stated, "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. - 1 Cor 1:21

Do I believe that that reformed movement has somewhat become tame regarding evangelism? Yes.

I for one believe strongly that we have a mandate to preach the gospel of Christ to all men and leave the results to God. That is what is so beautiful to me, I am just obedient and he produces. It is not spit and polished sermons I give or my well thought out teaching that impresses people, it is the simple words that are used by God the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of men of their sin and their need of a Redeemer. When God saves … well Paul said it better than I, “ For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Soli Deo Gloria - Glory to God alone

God Bless:
BluesMan

Sgt Ed said...

I'm not sure if anyone has pointed it out yet, but if the parent-child scenario posted by the gentleman is proof that Calvinism is an invalid position, then it also proves that Arminianism is an equally invalid position. In an Arminian scenario, when the parent asks God why his/her child is suffering in hell, it seems to me the response would be "Because I was not powerful enough", or else, "I wanted to but I value your child's free will over against their soul." It doesn't seem compassionate to me at all that God values the integrity of a man's decision making faculties above their eternal torment. Regardless, I think such scenarios are generally worthless since we lack the wisdom to understand such things now, and any of these supposed answers God would give are clearly figments of our human imaginations.

Marc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeremy Felden said...

Mssr. Carpenter,

We have the ability to post the link without posting the entire article, no? Don't you have your own website?

Where does "Outside the Camp" come from? Leviticus 24:14? Or Deuteronomy 23:12? Sounds a little strange and theonomous either way.

David said...

Point #2. Non-evangelism. You can think of no others? What about Dr. D. James Kennedy and his Evangelism Explosion? He's certainly a Calvinist. How could you miss him? I know. Probably because you are opposed to his political activities.

Rick Chase said...

What a relief to hear that other's were thinking what i have really struggled with. I love the doctrines of grace, i just find that those who hold them are hard to be around.

pickapeck said...

I agree with my brother...Rick Chase...however..what's essential is that we don't allow OURSELVES to become those people no one wants to be around..as it's so hard for us to see ourselves! I can take no credit for opening this long standing Arminian's eyes to the glorious truth of God's soverign grace..as I wasn't searching for it...just as he divinely intervenes in our lives to bring about redemption...so He does in the matters of grace...comprehending and embracing it comes as a result of His work...not ours...
If we could focus on that...and pray for the same to happen to our Arminian brethren who can only see also...not by clever arguments alone...but the divine enlightment of God's Holy Spirit shining into hearts and minds that only see through a glass darkly.

kattle kate said...

Kattle Kate:

I recently discovered blogdom and rejoiced at reading fellow Christian's thoughts. (I live very isolated, driving nearly 40 miles one way to buy groceries.) Yet after reading all the posts today referring to dirty Calvinism, I am removing most of the blogs from my bookmarks.

I am discouraged by the ranting and mean-spiritedness. To paraphrase Agrippa "Almost you persuade me to not be a Christian."

I have been a Catholic--I appreciate the sense of devotion aqnd respect for God.

I have been reformed--how it feeds me intellectually!

I have been an arminian--it satisfies my heart.

Living 36 miles from the nearest church, I now attend one that emphasizes the crucified, or victorious Christian life. As wrong as I believe some of the theology to be, the people love Christ supremely, and are learning to love one another as Christ loved the church, and desiring to love a lost world redemptively.

You who love to post and argue and belittle one another--I cannot take you seriously. You are a facelesss name. And as a wise wag said: "Anyone can say anything!"

You can talk a mean game, but how do you live your life? I have no way of knowing, and consequently can give you no credibility.

If this is what Christian discourse has devolved into, God have mercy on us.

ScriptureSearcher2 said...

THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!
THANK YOU!

Rev. Chuck Huckaby said...

Very good post.

This explains why a lot that passes for "Calvinistic critique" is the predestinarian equivalent of a Chick Tract... mindless rhetoric that fails to get down to the truth.

Bravo.

Jim Verkade said...

We need to define our terms. In the narrow sense, Calvinism refers to the doctrines of grace, also known as the five points. I prefer to refer to them as the Canons of the Synod of Dordt.

In the broad sense, Calvinism refers to all Calvin taught, which includes the five points, but not to the extent that many would think. Calvinism is in fact a world view, including the covenant, infant baptism, the arts & sciences, education, et C. Christ touches and informs all our endeavors, not just those done on Sunday.

Christians must never adopt any "ism" including the ism of Calvin. There we fall into the error of the Corinthian church, which was already becoming sectarian based on the opinions or personalities of men. To illustrate my point, Calvin also believed that the solar system was geocentric, and that the virgin Mary was conceived immaculately, as did Martin Luther.

Hopefully we fall between the two views somewhere.

As far as evanegelism, the reformed Christian does well to start with those he knows best. Hopefully they're all not members of his church. A reformed Christian is "in the world" to an extent that he still has acquaintances and even friends to whom he can share the Gospel. They can't help but notice but by his behavior that he is a Christian. Of course, the reformed Christian has Christian friends as well whom he is endeavoring to "upgrade" e.g. from Roman Catholic to Calvary Chapel to Reformed Baptist to OPC or even PRC! The reformed Christian would even be most happy for an upgrade to Missouri Synod Lutheran or Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. There is indeed a wideness to God's mercy!

zboy said...

Great article. I have been a Christian for 20 years, and just now beginning to even attempt to understand Calvinism in a positive way. It is very enlightening, but often hard to find positive influences or encouraging influences.

I am a youth pastor at a nondenominational (but really a Church of Christ) church, that is as far from calvinism as you could get. There is really no one that I know who thinks along these lines, so I carefully step into the waters of the internet for advice, and often it is brash and uncaring.

This article was encouraging that I won't become like many of the folks who post on the internet.

This article is a couple years old, so who knows if it will ever be comented on again.

Jesus' boy said...

www.testallthings.wordpress.com

Noble Institute said...

Excellent post. I believe Joshua Harris' term Humble Orthodoxy" goes to the point well. As John Piper has said often, if we cannot weep for the lost as we speak of these doctrines we have missed (or lost) the Spirit of these doctrines of grace. Thanks for your much needed rebukes and cautions. As for reformed evangelists, I am trying to do something about that with my sons, Alex & Brett Harris and their work on The Rebelution website for teens.

Lane Chaplin said...

I know this was posted two years ago, but this is wonderful, Phil.

Bryan Lindley said...

Two and a half years later and still praiseworthy! It would benefit many seminarians (and their respective churches) to make this blog post required reading during the first and last semesters - and each one in between.

Bill.ions4Christ said...

I thankfully became a Calvinist back in 1983 under R.C. Sproul's teaching, so I join Phil in encouraging the Internet Calvinist's to go more to the source!

I'm also highly evangelistic, delving into - heaven forbid - street preaching! There's just something about holding the truth up publicly while trusting that a sovereign God will apply it where He sees fit! To join the ranks of a George Whitefield - that's where we can KNOW we have bought the whole Calvinism package - is a privilege, not to mention a rush! Check out what two of our Reformed brothers are doing in this regard at: http://reformedevangelist.com/

And don't forget that God has predestined some to salvation, while predestining the means of getting the message to them: you and me!

If you are truly Calvinist, you WILL feel compelled to reach the lost - not primarily because they're lost, but because God is worthy of being proclaimed in all His glory. Think about it!

Repent Canada said...

WHAT Y'ALL THINK OF THIS:

http://repentcanada.blogspot.com/2008/02/calvinism-v-arminianism.html

M. Adolphus Armstrong said...

Phil, this has been a great read. I agree that there are many "Calvinists" online who are definitely very harsh and seem to only want to talk about Calvinism. There isn't a real concern for lost souls with many. I'm pretty sure everyone's heard of Mr. Andrew C Bain of Australia. He attacks mostly all of today's Calvinistic teachers.

I would like to add Paul Washer's name to the mix as preachers whose life has been dedicated to evangelism. Though he doesn't hold to the label of being a Calvinist, he is certainly Calvinistic in his soteriology and his preaching.

I believe God is in the process of cultivating young, Calvinistic minds to preach His gospel to the world with all sincerity and vigor. While there is much Hyper-Calvinism floating around, I am beginning to see what looks in small part like a reformation. Lord knows we need it.

Thanks again for this insightful blog.

Jnorm888 said...

Interesting post. It's good to see an honest calvinist.





JNORM888

Penn Tomassetti said...

There are so many good comments on this post. I don't have time to read each one, so in my own response to this post (late as it may be), I want to say:

There are sincere, humble, and loving calvinists evangelizing earnestly, meeting all types of people daily and sharing the best news in the world with poor sinners who don't think they need it. These evangelistic calvinists just prefer to stay away from all the bad stuff you mentioned in this post, so they get no publicity. They have certainly acted in some of the ways you exposed, yet they are broken over their sins, and continually look to Christ for the cleansing of His blood. They live upon the Living One, and call out to Him constantly for the sake of those who are not saved. Usually these types of "calvinists" are simply broken people who have been given eyes to see the glory of Christ, and that salvation is all of the free grace of God, and not at all by the merit of the church they are affiliated with.

I like your blog, keep up the good teaching, exhorting and correcting by grace :)

Penn Tomassetti said...

Oh, and I'll add (if anyone reads this):

How many of those who agree with your post will be weeping for souls today or tomorrow? I'm sure you have plenty of Spurgeon quotes that would call men's hearts, and not just their heads to seek help for the lost, but I am already convicted by what both you and myself are saying.

Grace to you.