Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Firing Line of 15 Against Calvinism. Wow.

I started out writing this blog in a serious attempt to critique the latest Baptist Press article about Calvinism and the SBC. But as I perused it over and over again trying to understand what the blink it was really saying, the more my thoughts kept getting satirical in nature. So, that's where I'm going with it. Besides, Timmy Brister has already given the more pointed eval, so I won't bother repeating what he has already blogged.

Objectively, this article reads like a conversation with Don Quixote, logically impaired but full of inuendo. As a Baptist, I totally understand it. Follow the line of thinking in the article:

John Piper is a Calvinist that speaks at big events--->preachers who wear Hawaiian shirts don't tell people they're going to hell--->Bill Hybels' seeker methodology discourages evangelism--->therefore, that would make Bill Hybels a Calvinist.

Southern Baptists have neglected "serious Christian education"--->Calvinism is on the rise among those in higher education (college and seminary) seeking "a more intellectual approach to Christianity"--->therefore, some serious Christian education should reverse that intellect that is plaguing Calvinists so much.

My husband says that this article, if not those being interviewed for it, is just spraying bullets every which way. I kinda agree.

Okay, I'll break with my above demeanor just to ask the following serious questions, in places where the article seems to leave the reader hanging:

In one paragraph, the article states "Calvinist-led churches are generally smaller in worship attendance and baptisms than non-Calvinist churches," but goes onto point out that John Piper preaches to "huge, stadium-type events" (according to Hal Poe). Is this ridicule for having generally smaller worship attendance congruent with the high attendance seen at Piper's speaking events? Which of these contrasting venues is evidence of error?

Further down, Poe throws out that Piper's popularity is due to his passion. Passion about what? His passion about Calvinism? Apparently the content of Piper's sermons and speaking topics are less important than how he feels about it, which must certainly make his theology so much more appealing.

Wayne Bristow expresses that Calvinism has forced him to be "labeled." Labeled what, exactly?
And what about this?
[Jerry]Drace told the group he currently is working with some young pastors who
are "so leaning in this morphed Calvinism that they almost laugh at evangelism.
It's almost to the extent that they believe they don't have to do it. So
[Calvinism] gives them an excuse not to do evangelism."
Without explaining what "morphed Calvinism" is compared to nonmorphed Calvinism, I'm detecting a bit of fraud in this quote. What Calvinist-leaning person, who truly understands Calvinism, seeks to avoid evangelism? Names, please, so they can be slapped upside...

All this brings me to my final question: although Poe and Drace each claim that Calvinism as it is believed today is foreign to John Calvin himself (and Spurgeon as well), the article never lays out what makes today's Calvinism different than it ever was. How do they understand Calvinism better as it was framed by Calvin than today's reformed Christians? Besides, there is the little matter of Augustine to deal with before Calvin.

This article gets a "D-" for poor writing and poor content.


Worship Leader Ron said...


"this article reads like a conversation with Don Quixote, logically impaired but full of inuendo."

Logically impaired is right!
Great take on a sad article.

Letitia (The Damsel) said...


For a moment, I thought you were from St. Louis, seeing the Arch behind you.

Worship Leader Ron said...

Yeah, I just like the pic! I had a good day in St. Louis, though. It's a wonderful town.