SOTL: "futures have been murdered all because one refused to believe that Calvinism is indeed biblical. Geneva is alive and well, and unfortunately some Baptists are naively moving there"

2418 reads

There are 10 Comments

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I found the article to be a rather rambling complaint of an age old Calvinist issue and oddly injected with complaints of KJVOnlyism. What is most odd is that the SOTL is of such concern to this Reformed Baptist Pastor/blogger.

The SOTL has a very narrow audience. Those who are uninformed and read the SOTL predictably can be expected to forgo such detailed historical concerns in their reading of the publication, generally preferring lighter material, usually devotional. Those that are informed on the issue will either read it with the understanding that as a source of unbiased, academic or historical information the SOTL is not a source that they are going to put a great deal of stock in and most likely these readers will have much more valid sources or there will be those who believe they are informed but only accept a narrative that reflects that contained in the SOTL and such persons certainly aren't going to be tuning into rebuttals.

I find his astonishment with the SOTL on the matter to be a bit melodramatic with the obvious, kind of like being shocked that the SOTL promotes counting and publishing who has the biggest Sunday school or someone being stunned that a Reformed student might bring up C.I. Scofield's indiscretions.

What undoes this poor fellow, though, is his inability to concede anything in the matter and simply repeat the offense of heavy personal rhetoric against the SOTL that he complains is part of the SOTL's modus operandi. One response at the blog from a person named Christian Markle reflects this observation:

Quote:
Your response to the SoL was to show them how they do the same things which appeared to this reader to either justify sin (on either side) or at least equalize the arguing ground. Unfortunately, both sides in these kinds of arguments approach from how to promote self the best. One way is to demolish the other through rhetoric the other way is to seek to show them the fool by adding to their pile of accusations another pile of accusations.

In regard to Calvin and Servetus: It is a dodge to claim ignorance. Our information albeit incomplete is sufficient to determine that the death penalty for heresy is wrong and that Calvin thought it right. He said so in a letter to William Feral on August 20, 1553, which can be found in the book translated by Jules Bonnet(1820–1892) Letters of John Calvin, Carlisle, Penn: Banner of Truth Trust, 1980, pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-85151-323-9.

rogercarlson's picture

Alex,
I agree that it is kind of silly to go after the SOTL because it is more of a devotional magazine. But Christian's posting about Servertus is not well thought out. Holding Calvin accountable for what happened to MS is like holding Civil War Southern pastor accountable for for slavery. Executing heretics was common in 1600's. It was wrong but so was slavery and killing slaves. But I doubt you will ever see the SOTL bring that issue about when talking about a Southern Civil War pastor.

What happened to Servetus was wrong. But to bring it up to discredit Calvin is not relevent unless one brings it up about anyone he or shee agreed with from that era because they did it too. Killing heretics was a sinful blindspot of people in the 1600's and virtually all believers did it to those they believed heretics.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

WilliamD's picture

I grew up reading that rag. My interest in debunking their articles on Calvinism is for the benefit of those whom I know and read my blog and still take that paper seriously.

Alex,
I find most odd is that you have time to post 564 posts since June 2009 which averages out to about 33 posts per month...more than one a day.

It is more odd that Sharperiron is of such concern to a professional debator, commentator, scholar.

Becky Petersen's picture

WilliamD wrote:

Alex,
I find most odd is that you have time to post 564 posts since June 2009 which averages out to about 33 posts per month...more than one a day.

I'm an outsider here, but I don't think one post a day is out of line or unreasonable. ?? I don't want to get in any crossfires here, but making one comment on any issue a day anywhere, seems well....normal.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

WilliamD wrote:
I grew up reading that rag. My interest in debunking their articles on Calvinism is for the benefit of those whom I know and read my blog and still take that paper seriously.

Alex,
I find most odd is that you have time to post 564 posts since June 2009 which averages out to about 33 posts per month...more than one a day.

It is more odd that Sharperiron is of such concern to a professional debator, commentator, scholar.


It seems to me that some find it very difficult to separate personal attacks from dealing with the issue itself. A person's character and conduct does inform us of their views and vice/versa, but IMO it makes much more sense (especially with the anonymity of the internet) to stick to the issues, point out Scripturally what is off-key, and leave the discerning of motives, thoughts, and intents to the Holy Spirit.

SotL does still need debunking- there are still good people who read it in a superficial, nostalgic sort of way, and thus don't pay much attention to its its problems nor its potential to influence their beliefs. I think of it this way- you know how you read something and recall it later, but you can't exactly remember where you read it? So you end up quoting something as fact when it actually came from a forwarded email or hastily read blog post, and thus its veracity is questionable? SotL is like that- when people read it, they assume that what is printed is factual (these are Christians, after all, right?), they don't give the content much consideration, and too much nonsense continues to be propagated this way.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

WilliamD wrote:
I grew up reading that rag. My interest in debunking their articles on Calvinism is for the benefit of those whom I know and read my blog and still take that paper seriously.

Alex,
I find most odd is that you have time to post 564 posts since June 2009 which averages out to about 33 posts per month...more than one a day.

It is more odd that Sharperiron is of such concern to a professional debator, commentator, scholar.


I doubt those reading your blog and taking the SOTL seriously and inevitably finding your comments here where you call it a "rag" are going to be convinced by your insult to their intelligence. If indeed you are seeking to influence their perspective or reception of the SOTL, perhaps it is a rag (I don't believe it is but do object to many of its parts) but perhaps even more such provocations function as a deterrent to your endeavor to debunk. Susan's remarks reflect my view quite well:

Susan R wrote:

It seems to me that some find it very difficult to separate personal attacks from dealing with the issue itself. A person's character and conduct does inform us of their views and vice/versa, but IMO it makes much more sense (especially with the anonymity of the internet) to stick to the issues, point out Scripturally what is off-key, and leave the discerning of motives, thoughts, and intents to the Holy Spirit.

Yes, no doubt there are articles in the SOTL that cry out for correction and there are readers who would weigh thoughtful rebuttals and over time may indeed be moved to understand the lacking in such articles. Blessed are those that are instruments of further enlightenment to our brothers and sisters. But if one has chosen to conjoin themselves as a positive reader of the SOTL, I doubt that your debunking (in their minds) is going to be enhanced with modus invectivus.

BTW, those humanistic/rationalistic influences of Calvin's, while easily dismissed by his admirers, unfortunately are intellectual creatures that are alive and well in his hermeneutic. Calvin's contribution to theology and the church must always be weighed with this in mind. To ignore it is to use Calvin at your own peril.

As to posting on average a smidgen over one post a day here at SI, if it gets me called a professional anything...well I'm all for it! Thanks.

JobK's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:

BTW, those humanistic/rationalistic influences of Calvin's, while easily dismissed by his admirers, unfortunately are intellectual creatures that are alive and well in his hermeneutic. Calvin's contribution to theology and the church must always be weighed with this in mind. To ignore it is to use Calvin at your own peril.

Pardon me, but the same is true of most any systematic theologian, Calvin, "Calvinist" or otherwise. The idea that "non-Calvinists" are "more Biblicist" in their approach is the idea that is the perilous one.

Incidentally, the focus on John Calvin is mostly a red herring. Calvin didn't even originate his own doctrines: he was a second-generation Reformer. Calvin's contributions were A) to take what was already generally accepted Reformed thought and to publish a systematic treatment of it and Cool to run the ecclesiastical arm of the Geneva church-state. (And the state portion, the Consistory, wielded the real power, including to fire Calvin, which they exercised. And that puts the Servetus affair in its proper context: it was the Consistory who brought the heresy charges, and Calvin was used by the Consistory as a prosecutor or expert witness based on his standing as the leader of Geneva's church. Had Calvin refused to perform this role, the state would have simply found someone else and Servetus would have still been executed. Also, while the Consistory executed Servetus on a heresy charge, their real motives were political, as they perceived Servetus to be a subversive. And as was stated earlier, Christians who use the Servetus case as a point in their opposition to Calvin's doctrines are simply throwing stones from glass houses). Similar to his role in the Servetus affair, had Calvin not taken up the task of giving a systematic treatment to the doctrines of the magisterial Reformers, someone else would have. And as Calvin received a ton of feedback from his contemporaries and incorporated them into his many revisions, the work that this "someone else" would have produced would have basically been the same.

Also, there are no "Calvinists" to speak of today anyway. Nearly all (evangelical and fundamental) Reformed Christians are far more influenced by the Puritans, Presbyterians and such, and the theologies that they are "using" are more likely to come from a much more contemporary source (i.e. Wayne Grudem).

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Alex Guggenheim's picture

JobK wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
BTW, those humanistic/rationalistic influences of Calvin's, while easily dismissed by his admirers, unfortunately are intellectual creatures that are alive and well in his hermeneutic. Calvin's contribution to theology and the church must always be weighed with this in mind. To ignore it is to use Calvin at your own peril.

Pardon me, but the same is true of most any systematic theologian, Calvin, "Calvinist" or otherwise. The idea that "non-Calvinists" are "more Biblicist" in their approach is the idea that is the perilous one.

I see no one asserting that "non-Calvinists are more Biblicist". As to it being true of most any systematic theologian, that if we used them indiscriminately we do so are our own peril, this statement by you only functions as an affirmation by you of what I said. I am not sure if that was your intent but that is what you did. I do disagree, however, with the degree of injury one theologian may bring verses another if not used circumspectly and I believe Calvin to be on a greater end of that scale.

JobK wrote:
Incidentally, the focus on John Calvin is mostly a red herring. Calvin didn't even originate his own doctrines: he was a second-generation Reformer.
This, itself, is a red herring. No biblical theologian can say to have originated their own doctrines if we wish to infinitely parse because they originate from the Bible but Calvin has some demonstratively proprietary interpretations/teachings which distinguish him.

JobK wrote:
Also, there are no "Calvinists" to speak of today anyway. Nearly all (evangelical and fundamental) Reformed Christians are far more influenced by the Puritans, Presbyterians and such, and the theologies that they are "using" are more likely to come from a much more contemporary source (i.e. Wayne Grudem).
You'll have to take up your argument with those calling themselves Calvinists as to whether there are Calvinists to speak of today or not. It appears they may take issue with you regardless of the fact they may primarily use doctrinal ancestors of John Calvin for their studies. Maybe you should talk with Doug Wilson as to whether or not there are Calvinists out there before you attempt such a broad sweep.

As for the issue of Servetus, I consider it the least of his problems and actually irrelevant regarding why Calvin can be perilous in use without certain guards.

P.S. Use the charismatic theologian Grudem if you will, but not without discretion lest he too be used at your own peril. Smile

RPittman's picture

WilliamD wrote:
I grew up reading that rag. My interest in debunking their articles on Calvinism is for the benefit of those whom I know and read my blog and still take that paper seriously.

Alex,
I find most odd is that you have time to post 564 posts since June 2009 which averages out to about 33 posts per month...more than one a day.

It is more odd that Sharperiron is of such concern to a professional debator, commentator, scholar.

I assume that you are Reforming Baptist who wrote the drivel about the SOTL. For a generation that is overly concerned about transparency, I had a difficult time putting a name with the pseudonym. Searching both your blog and church web site, I failed to find your real name. For some reason, I get seriously flamed for wanting to use my favorite pen-name, Paidagogos. Oh, well, such is life . . . .

Anyway, I'm glad that I have a name and person to whom I may attribute the article. It brought me much merriment and hilarity! I wanted to laugh! LOL You did to the SOTL the very thing that you accused them of doing to Calvin. Beware, least thou be like unto them (Please pardon the parody). One can hardly fault others for what they fail to say because every writer must pick and choose his material. We cannot be exhaustive or encyclopedic in our coverage in popular writing. Time and space are limited. Through treatment involves book-length, sometimes of many volumes, writing with much time (even years), study, and preparation. Neither you nor the SOTL seem to have made this investment. Obviously, your article was a partisan defense of Calvin loaded with bias and venom. How can you expect anyone to take it seriously? LOL

BTW, I find it interesting, perhaps odd, that you launched an ad hominem attack on Alex. Alex and I often disagree but I respect his person. Most often, ad hominem attacks come when one cannot answer the substance of another's argument and one resorts to personal innuendos, which is childish and inane. If you think I am violating the ad hominem restriction, you are mistaken because I am simply criticizing what you have said and done, not your person. Sarcasm, BTW, is an acceptable weapon of our debate because you have used it.

Looking forward to your response . . . .

WilliamD's picture

Quote:
I assume that you are Reforming Baptist who wrote the drivel about the SOTL. For a generation that is overly concerned about transparency, I had a difficult time putting a name with the pseudonym. Searching both your blog and church web site, I failed to find your real name

I don't know why you had such a hard time finding out who I am. There are pictures and links on my blog of me everywhere, I find it hard to believe that it appears that I'm trying to hide something.

Quote:
You did to the SOTL the very thing that you accused them of doing to Calvin.

I tried to show that their treatment of Calvin and Calvinists is no different than what they do to people who don't agree with them. So laugh on all you want.

Quote:
BTW, I find it interesting, perhaps odd, that you launched an ad hominem attack on Alex. Alex and I often disagree but I respect his person. Most often, ad hominem attacks come when one cannot answer the substance of another's argument and one resorts to personal innuendos, which is childish and inane.

Alex didn't have anything of substance to say in his first post. It was just cynicism. So, I answered in kind. Ad Hominum...ya, fine, he had nothing of substance to say anyway like the guy "Christian" who disagreed with me on the post made a substantive contribution. I don't have time to debate with a guy who has all the time in the world to argue with people on Sharperiron as you can see from the amount of posts I have contributed. I'm perfectly alright with sarcasm, so go ahead and post something to cut me down to size so you can get others to "LOL" with you.