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.

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