Thursday, March 16, 2006

An Example of Theological Arrogance

Before I get into the concept of "Reformed Arminianism" and the early theology of General Baptists, I wanted to give an excellent example of why many Arminians consider many Calvinists to be arrogant. The following statement appeared in the Trinity Journal --A ministry of the "Trinity Foundation," a group of apparently Hyper-Calvinist rhetoriticians:

Are Arminians Christians? Sproul answers, " ‘Yes, barely.’ They are Christians by what we call a felicitous inconsistency" (25). Another theologian thinks that Arminians are saved by "blessed inconsistency." But what is to prevent the equally possible, and perhaps more Biblical, conclusion, that Arminians are lost by cursed inconsistency? Did not the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, curse everyone, even an angel, who teaches a false gospel? (See Galatians 1:8, 9.) Arminianism has a false gospel; it is not Christianity; and if a member of an Arminian church makes it to Heaven, he does so despite his church’s teaching, not because of it. There may be some Christians in Arminian churches, just as there may be some Christians in Roman Catholic churches, but they are Christians despite their churches’ teachings. (Emphasis added)

"May Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, seated at the Father’s right hand, gives gifts to men, sanctify us in the truth, bring to the truth those who err, shut the mouths of the calumniators of sound doctrine, and endue the faithful minister of his Word with the spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all their discourses may tend to the glory of God, and the edification of those who hear them. Amen." (The Conclusion of the Articles of Dort)

I am always tempted, after reading something like this, to do one of two things:

First, I consider firing right back. I think about pronouncing "Anathema Maranatha!" on these imbeciles and being done with it. Hey, if they can condemn me and my particular views to hell, turnabout is fair play, right? After all, there is much about hyper-Calvinism that certainly is at odds with Scripture and presents manifold dangers to the true, Biblical "doctrines of [FREE] grace"...

A second reaction is to simply throw up my hands, conclude that any and all of those in the "made-with-hands" church are more interested in their pet doctrines and their petty differences than they are in reaching the lost world and glorifying God in the process.

The first reaction is unChristian and uncharitable...I will not return evil for evil. The second reaction is not productive -- no matter how much I long to avoid people of this sort in "the church."

The fact is, not all of those who are of the Reformed Calvinist persuasion are of this attitude. There are two types of Reformed Calvinists, my friends and I concluded while in Seminary at Columbia International University: There are the OR's (obnoxiously Reformed) who believe that if you aren't Calvinist JUST LIKE THEM, TULIP and all, then you are on the road to hell, and that's that. Then there are the SR's (sufficiently Reformed) who, though Calvinists, holding to TULIP and so forth, aren't willing to jettison the Biblical concept of unity and diversity in the Body of Christ, and run around quoting the Articles of Dort rather than the Scriptures themselves as a basis of truth.

Still and yet, it's always fun to find one of those OR guys and tell him that I'm Reformed too -- a Reformed Arminian. The look on their faces is always priceless. They still tell me I'm a heretic going to hell. I wonder if that same look will be on their faces when we stand together before the Eternal Throne in Heaven? That is, if they are predestined to be there.....

J. Dale Weaver, M. Div.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What the Calvinist Baptists Leave Out

In the last couple of weeks I've been studying the early confessions of Baptists. I find it humorous that on most Calvinist websites, they point to the London Confession of 1644 as "the First Confession" of Baptists. Conveniently they ignore the first true Baptist confession put together by Thomas Helwys in 1611. (See ) The reason they claim the 1644 London Confession is that it bolsters their claim that the first Baptists were actually calvinist/Paritular. Not so...

Helwys had led a group of English Baptists back to England and planted a church, and wrote this declaration of faith, clearly identifying the first "Baptists" to see the atonement as general (for all mankind) and to understand that man -- though totally depraved -- retains free will, that when called by the Holy Spirit through prevenient or precedent grace, is enabled to receive or reject God's grace unto salvation.

I hope to post much more on this subject in the coming weeks -- though I am on my way to teach a class at the moment. I look forward to exploring this subject further.

J. Dale Weaver, M. Div.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Islamofascism vs. Communism: Our Enemies in Different Wars

Today as I listened to a radio talk show today, the host was comparing the Cold War to the current War on Terror. It struck me as he was talking what the main differences in our enemies were then, and now.

Soviet Communism saw the defeat and destruction of the West as an ideological and political goal. While they would have seen losses -- even large losses -- on their part as necessary, they believed they could achieve their goal, eventually, and rushing it would have demanded too high a price for them to pay. The good news is that their efforts to destroy us failed. We can only hope that Chinese and Latin American Communism fail as well.

Islamofascism on the other hand, does not view the defeat of the West as merely and ideological or political goal -- they see it as a MORAL IMPERATIVE. Simply put, if and when they gain the use of weapons of mass destruction, they will not hesitate to use them to destroy their enemies -- the West. It is a moral imperative, a command of Allah. The price to be paid is not something they worry themselves about. That's Allah's problem -- and ours.

The West had better understand this mentality -- before it's too late to prevent the implementation of their "imperative."

J. Dale Weaver, M. Div.