In my previous posts, I've been pointing out the lack of any real interaction and argumentation coming from those who would attack Reformed theology. Since I started blogging about ten months ago, I've had several visitors come by to take a passing shot at Calvinism. Only two of those attempted to put up actual arguments but they ended up abandoning those arguments as soon as they were challenged. Last night, a fellow named "Chris" came by and left his thoughts on a post I did months ago concerning one of Ergun Caner's bad sermons. I would characterize Chris' post as yet another fine example of what I've been talking about recently, that being an almost total bankruptcy of argumentation from non-Calvinists. So without any further ado, let's take a look at what Chris has to say.
I would have to say that you are grasping at straws to say, "Falwell tripped over his own tongue".
I beg to differ and will elaborate on this in a moment.
It was clear in Dr. Caner's sermon that it is indeed the will of our Father for us all to come to His son for salvation.
I assume that what Chris means by "us all" is that God wills each and every individual man and woman to come to Christ and it may be clear in Caner's sermon that this is what both Caner and Falwell believe but there is nothing in Caner's sermon that establishes this notion. Caner, like so many non-Calvinists, assumes his interpretation of passages like 2Peter 3:9 without bothering to demonstrate that their's is the correct interpretation over and against the Calvinistic understanding.
I believe his prayer reflected that of one who desires that the lost be saved.
Yes, but so? Falwell's desire to see lost men saved doesn't justify his remark being inconsistent with his theology. Moreover, is Chris tacitly suggesting that Calvinists do not want to see sinners saved? I hope not because this notion would be utterly ridiculous and easily refuted.
I understand his prayer as asking the Spirit of God to strongly convict the sinner so that they would repond positively to the gospel.
This may be what Chris understands Falwell to mean but this isn't what Falwell said. Falwell specifically used the phrase "do not let one person say no". This phrase is couched in a statement and not part of a request. Further, this statement is not consistent with Falwell's libertarian theology. In other words, this is something only a Calvinist can say while being consistent with his own theology. Thus, my statement about Falwell tripping over his tongue is accurate.
I am one who allows the Spirit of God to guide me through prayer and Bible study.
And herein lies the rub. In Chris' theology, man allows God to do this or that. In Chris' theology, God is sovereign only by consent from those He rules. In Chris' theology, God's rule is reduced to mere Presidency. In stark contrast, I am one who allows nothing where my God's will is concerned. In my theology, God sees fit to give me wisdom and insight into His written word. In my theology, God wills it and it is so. In my theology, God is king over His creation and His will is not dependant on mere consent.
I believe in eternal security because it is a doctrine that is clearly spoken of in the word of God not because someone I look up to told me I should.
And I too believe in "eternal security" (minus, of course, any attached libertarian notions) and for the same reasons. I would hasten to add however that I believe in the other four points of Calvinism for the same reason that I believe in "eternal security". That is, all five points of Calvinism are clearly set forth in God's revealed word. It is for this reason that I embraced Reformed theology and continue to do so even after many interactions with folks like Chris.
I do not accept the doctrine that says God has predetermined and ear marked certain souls for Hell. I believe that according to what I have read and studied.
If Chris is refering to the doctrines of election and reprobation, then I can only say that I do accept these doctrines according to what I have read and studied. It would have been helpful if Chris would have defined what he means by "ear marked certain souls for hell" and interacted with what Calvinists have to say about election and reprobation.
I wanted to establish that because it is also my take that those who consider themselves "Hyper Calvinists" appear to be very hateful.
And here is where Chris' post takes a nose dive. Who is considering themselves to be hyper-Calvinists? Not I. Nor does anyone with whom I have linked to on my site along with those who frequent my blog. In fact, I have never met a self professed hyper-Calvinist on the 'net or anywhere else. Moreover, who is being hateful? In what way? Is Chris suggesting that anyone who calls themself a Calvinist of any stripe is hateful?
I suppose you feel as if you can be because you have been preselected for Heaven and your sinful attitude doesn't really matter to God seeings that you are part of the club.
Here, Chris throws out a couple of gross but common charicatures of Reformed theology in that our sin supposedly doesn't matter and that we are part of some sort of "club". For the first, Chris apparantly doesn't realize that everyone who holds to any form of eternal security gets this criticism about how sin doesn't really matter. Thus, Chris shoots himself in the foot for bringing this up without elaborating on how it relates to Reformed theology. As for the second, I have seen this one many times. It's often times thrown out by the most bitter of non-Calvinists who have interacted with Calvinists at length but haven't gotten anywhere. I can't help but wonder if Chris realizes that what he calls a "club" is what we Calvinists call the bride of Christ.
I guess I would have to wonder; if what you say is true of God really is, then what's the purpose? I mean, why experience life; so you can try to make everybody agree with your point of view?
This one is a bit confusing. That is, I think I know what Chris is asking but what he actually states ends up as a criticism against his own theology. In his view Chris must "win" as many people to Christ as possible which is all well and good. But those who hold to Chris' theology will very often go off the deep end with how they go about "making everyone agree" to accept Christ. Gimmicks and outright shameful tactics are often employed in libertarian churches to achieve this end. In contrast, a Calvinist will preach the gospel as it is, without compromise and gimmick, and leave it in God's capable hands. We do not go to absurd lengths to "win the lost at any cost" as some would say.
You paint a very grim picture of our God and for that you should be very ashamed.
And I would say that to posit God's impotence in the face of His creation's will is a far more grim portrayal of our God than anything a Calvinist can conjure.
You people suck the hope right out of the old old story.
Of course, Chris assumes without benefit of argument that the "old old story" is one of Arminian libertarianism and autonomy. This is of course begging the question.
Your point of view makes grace and mercy a myth and the prayer of the saintly Grandmother a waste of time.
I honestly don't know what Chris is going on about in regards to "saintly Grandmothers". But I do know that Calvinism is the truest expression of grace and mercy that I have come across simply because we don't place obligation on them. That is, in Chris' theology, God is only graceful and merciful if He offers all men without exception a libertarian choice to accept or reject Him. If God does not, then God is unjust according to Chris' theology. This makes grace and mercy an obligation and thus completely empties the two terms of any real meaning.
Do the world a favor and just keep your doctrine of destruction to yourself.
Of course, Chris doesn't show how Reformed theology is a doctrine of destruction. But that's just par for the course at this point. And despite the suggestion to the contrary, I intend to keep on blogging in defense of Calvinism as long as I am able. Sorry to disappoint you Chris!
Atleast then those who are supposedly on their way to Hell without a chance can enjoy the life they are living here on earth!
As I look at Chris' closing shot, I can't help but wonder if Chris has ever thought about his libertarian views in light of God's knowledge of future events. I assume that Chris affirms the foreknowledge of God so I would ask Chris how someone whom God knew would end up in hell from eternity past would have a "chance" to not go to hell? To put it another way, let's say that before God creates the world, He foresees that John T. Sinner is going to live and die without Christ. Several thousand years later John is born. Now, does John have a real chance at changing his destiny? If yes, then Chris throws out God's knowledge of all things for the sake of human autonomy because had John went to heaven, God's knowledge would be falsified. If Chris says no, then John T. Sinner never had anything more than an illusory chance at salvation and thus Chris' own position bears the brunt of the criticism he's leveling at Calvinism. So Chris can pick his poison.
Now, I invite Chris to come back to elaborate and defend his statements and to do so without all the emotionally charged rhetoric that he has displayed thus far. Only then will we be able to have a constructive dialogue if in fact dialogue is what Chris seeks. However, I think most folks would readily agree that dialogue is not what Chris had in mind when he posted his comments to my blog.