Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dog Fight or Sheep Fight?

Several months ago, C. Michael Patton posted an article encouraging militant Calvinists to tone down their rhetoric and stop being so antagonistic toward folks who disagree with them. It was a good and needed corrective for some of us who claim to be in the "Reformed" camp.

Predictably, a stream of militant-sounding rhetoric followed in the comments. But there were some balanced and thoughtful responses, also. Among them, I found a compelling and God-honoring appeal from someone calling himself "Tim James." Part of Tim's comment is re-posted below because it is worth reading, it's well said and it has a THEOparadox way of thinking underlying it. In fact, Tim's words THEOparadox-ed some needed humility back into me.

Tim James says . . .  

". . . The right approach to scripture and making our emotions and self bow to the authority of scripture is a difficult life long process. The thing is that we all know very little as of “now” in comparison to what we will know “then” when we are in the presence of God. The important thing is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I often sin by not giving all the glory to God and I am convicted of such sin which leads to repentance. I am constantly reminded of how feeble my mind is and how weak I am. Does my lack of knowledge or weakness put my salvation in jeopardy?

Even with the Holy Spirit working on me, I do what I ought not and don’t do what I should. It is this reality of my own state that leads me to understand that I would deny Christ tomorrow if it wasn’t for Him and the grace afforded to me. I also know that I was born evil and would never have chosen Christ were it not for the fact that He called me with an irresistible call exactly as God had desired before I was even born. Sometimes our feeble four dimensional earth bound minds cannot fully comprehend the ways of God. The way to salvation has been revealed but the exact mechanics of this re-birth and indwelling of God is still a complete mystery. It blows my mind every time I consider how awesome God is and what He’s done with salvation.

. . . Should we fight with those who in our eyes are less enlightened than ourselves, or patiently preach truth in love? There’s a lot I don’t know and a lot I’ve probably misinterpreted, but this will not undo God’s purpose and will not destroy my salvation but in fact, when revealed to me, will only draw me closer to God in complete wonder about His mercy and grace as He deals patiently with this pile of dust. This humility and the desire to love others as we love ourselves should temper our attitudes and approach no matter how right we are. What is sometimes depicted does not look like brotherly love at all. I’m not suggesting that we should abandon truth nor the seeking of it, only that the presentation is a little more humble and graceful.


  1. Good post, Derek. Love the graphics. I would say that last picture represents not only what Calvinist-Arminian debates should like, but what ALL truly Christian intramural debates should like. I appreciate you, brother.

  2. I like how he correctly interprets and used "preach the truth in love".

    Thanks for posting it.

  3. Barry and Jeff,

    I know you both share the concern for civility and graciousness, and you are both good examples in this area. At the same time, you are both tenacious and uncompromising when it comes to the Truth. I'm blessed to have blog friends like you.



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