Here at Ten4Word we have a commitment to write in an irenic fashion. Not to suggest that we will take a soft line on a hard issue but rather to shy away from letting our arrogance bleed into our discussions on theological differences.
Normally when refuting strawmen I engage in a polemic style of writing because, well, I believe it drives the point home in a clearer way and I’ve read too much Luther.
This series will be one in which I try and tackle some serious objections about Calvinism without using my oh-so-favorite, “Romans 9. NEXT!” The objections to my refutations will in no way be new but I believe in healthy dialogue about extremely important issues because it forces us into deeper and richer study of the Word. If nothing else is accomplished during our time together I pray that, at the very least, we can walk away with a tad more insight and a stronger thirst for studying the things of God.
This first article will be a preamble because I believe that I should set the context of where I come from theologically and why it is I “chose” to grab the digital pen and spill some ink (I feel that this important so as to disarm the “you just read through Calvinistic lenses and need to set aside everything you’ve been taught” comments).
When being introduced to the Calvinistic doctrine best represented by the TULIP acronym I, like many others, had many serious questions. Most of the comments I made against the position involved words like “robots”, “WHOSOEVER!’, and phrases like, “Stop putting God in your box!”. After lots of prayer, careful consideration of the texts presented, hours of reading dead guys, watching YouTube debates, and healthy, heated dialogue with my brother Josh, I have come, by Gods grace, to affirm these truths. Here I stand, I can do no other.
I will be laying out some of the most popular misunderstandings I’ve come across, and made, against TULIP. Please understand that I did not come to understand Gods sovereignty lightly; on the contrary I have fought tooth and nail clinging to mans autonomous free will-it’s what man does best.
The main motivating factor for me taking up this little venture was a horrid and disgusting “sermon” I had the displeasure of tuning my senses to recently. This was a sermon preached at a church which counts about 10,000 souls walking through the doors every week. My initial reaction to the opening five minutes was to jump out of my chair and scream “Servetus!” as loud as I could. I, however, stifled my emotions and began to think on why these men would say what they’re saying
I know that many of my reformed brethren have already, and will continue to, write about the enormous men-made-of-straw that these two gentlemen took time to build for their audience but I felt that I would attack this from a different angle. I want to go through some of the things that most people in mainline evangelical Christianity feel about this beloved doctrine today instead of systematically dismantling the gross misrepresentation of our position in the hour long drivel fest that I had to suffer through the other night. My prayer is to clear up some confusion and speak the truth which alienates some and encourages others.
There are two things that I’m sure of at the outset of writing this: 1) I will in no way be saying things that have not been said for hundreds of years by men much more wise than I and 2) these arguments will not be good enough for most of the ardent anti-Calvinist apologists. I rest in the fact that God will enlighten who He enlightens and leave ignorant those who He leaves ignorant.
If you haven’t been too offended as of yet than you are one of the chosen to join us next time when we talk about how wretchedly depraved man is. Until then I leave you with this quote from a man that understood baptism, Charles Spurgeon: “The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.”