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!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

An Arminian Deleted My Comments

UPDATES: I received a kind note from the individual referenced in this post, and decided to redact portions of this text as a result. He certainly has the right to manage his own blog as he sees fit, and sincerely believes his decisions are justified. I believe his chosen path is both unwise and unhelpful (I don't think all of my conduct has been spotless, either). At this time, I am extending a personal and public apology to Ben (aka "KangarooDort") for the harshness of some comments in this post (as originally published) and for the generally harsh tone I exhibited in writing it. I have removed selected portions, added a few additional comments, and retained only what seems most important. 

This post is going to be a little bit out of the norm. [REDACTED]

[I am going to re-post here a comment that was mostly blocked by the blog administrator at this post:]

[It seems to me that] this individual has decided to set himself up as the judge and jury in a matter he knows [next to] nothing about. He has demanded that people explain themselves to his satisfaction and make themselves accountable to his scrutiny, [REDACTED].  Beginning with the [REDACTED] sentiments he attempted to leave at a post on this blog, he has [REDACTED] refused to accept the possibility that his pre-conceived perceptions might be misguided. When I responded [REDACTED] with the actual truth I learned from firsthand investigation, he decided to "edit out" most of my comment. [REDACTED]

I am now posting my full comments below in protest against the [REDACTED] approach taken by this [REDACTED] blogger. [REDACTED] This individual has been solemnly warned that he will have to answer to God for maligning a godly pastor.


Below is the comment I wrote, which [REDACTED] "KangarooDort" [REDACTED] decided to almost entirely censor. (Note that "Now Dimly" is the name of [another] commenter, to whom I addressed my opening lines).

Now Dimly, 
You bring up some interesting points that are worthy of discussion, and I thank you for your thoughtful questions. However, Ben has laid down the following mandate: 
"If you want to carefully explain what Blaine meant by his words and how exactly we have so badly misunderstood and misinterpreted what he said, you are welcome to comment further. If all you have to offer are more assertions that we are just supposed to accept because you say so, then please do not bother commenting further on this thread." 
So, it appears we are at an impasse unless I am willing to comply with Ben's demand for explanatory testimony. Dr. Wayman, on the other hand, says any further attempt to "defend" Blaine's actions only makes him look guilty. So in these hands we Calvinists are ________ if we do, and ________ if we don't. You can fill in the blanks with your favorite euphemism. 
This situation well illustrates the fact that the internet is indeed a kangaroo court and not the place to be airing disputes of this kind (unless sufficient charity and lack of hostility are present).
Someday, when the whole story is known (which will be in eternity, I suppose), some will be ashamed of their conduct in this matter. I do not happen to believe Blaine will be among them. Others may believe what they will. 
I have tried to make a few substantive points, as follows: 
1. Blaine has been misinterpreted and badly judged (no one else has to believe this, though I happen to know it is true)
2. Given the fact that someone has looked into the matter and drawn this conclusion, others ought to be charitable in their response to something they know very little about.
3. Blaine may or may not want to comment/defend/explain, but no one here has the right to subpoena him, condemn him, or call him to resign if he doesn't choose to do that.
4. Deciding not to respond to questions people ask you on the internet is no admission of guilt.
5. The Assemblies of God leaves plenty of room for Blaine's teachings and actions, though the teaching may be outside the mainstream for that denomination. By and large, A/G men are mature and well able to handle some disagreement on minor points. Blaine's pastoral and personal associates are well aware of his theological leanings and know that he actually did nothing "sneaky," "sly," deceitful, harmful, or even slightly worthy of concern. If anyone in Blaine's life has a right to demand explanation, by now they probably have, and have been more than satisfied by the full story. 
Ben said: "I mean really, if he communicated that poorly about things on Derek’s blog, should he really be in the business of communicating God’s word and challenging theological concepts to HS students?" 
I suppose the person who has never miscommunicated in a blog comment can cast the first stone. By your standards, I shouldn't be preaching or teaching, either, as I have often communicated poorly in the combox. Would you be this hard on a fellow Arminian? 
So now, since I have likely stepped over the line of Ben's mandate, and because I respect his rights as a blog administrator, and because I doubt there is much profit in continued wrangling over this, I will join Blaine in his judicious silence and, saying nothing more, let this be my final comment here. 
Blessings to all men of peace. 

As an addendum, here are comments I left at another blog post covering the same topic:

As the erstwhile "defender" of the dreaded "sneaky Calvinist," I find it rather unbecoming for the Arminian apologist to set himself up as judge and jury in this grand kangaroo court called "the internet," particularly when he has been reassured that he misinterpreted the account.
I would like to be a "fly on the wall" when he calls that District Superintendent, who, if he is like every other A/G Superintendent I have ever met, will be a mature, humble and godly man who is all too aware of the trouble and divisiveness that can be caused when people jump to conclusions and remove attention from the simple preaching and teaching of the Bible because they would rather engage in attack politics. He won't be shocked to find out that there is a minister in his district who, while agreeing with every major tenet of the denomination's theology, might have a quibble or two with their lead theologians over what are considered "minor points." I have personally known A/G pastors with all sorts of interesting theological stances and disagreements on minor issues. It was no secret, and it did not hinder fellowship. And to think that this might actually enter into those pastors' teaching when supported by the passage they happen to be studying ... well, who would be surprised! I am certain that a District Superintendent has better things to do than chase down Internet misinterpretations of a godly shepherd's methodology in interpreting Scripture that addresses sincerely held minor disagreements. Especially when that pastor sums up his teaching on the subject with a humble admission that the whole matter is surrounded in mystery. Not exactly a militant approach!

Given my A/G background, I enjoy fellowship with some fine Arminian brothers. They are tough in debate, let me tell you. But they don't waste time griping about things as inconsequential as all this, or making mountains out of molehills. I learned much about the difference between "real life" Arminians and certain Internet Arminians as a result of this exchange. The two are strangely dissimilar, despite the labels and general theological agreement.
In my experience, most A/G pastors are "real life" Arminians who aren't going to be freaked out in any way by this. (More here:

[REDACTED] I sincerely hope this individual will [turn from] the [REDACTED] approach he has chosen in this matter. Friends, let us love one another, and let us speak the truth in love.

[And be willing to change our approach if warranted.]


  1. "Any time we explain and defend our views we are 'arguing' for our viewpoint, much like a lawyer argues in defense of his/her client. In this sense, an 'argument' is nothing more than explaining our beliefs and the reasons behind them. There's nothing offensive or quarrelsome about that, is there?"

    quoted from Arguing With Friends by Paul Buller

  2. Eddie,

    Thank you for the excellent quote. It seems all too rare nowadays for people to "argue" in a friendly way. Especially on the internet.

    On a happy note, I received a thoughtful word from Ben. In an effort to be more friendly, I reconsidered several points and decided to revise portions of the post.

    Your wisdom is appreciated!



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