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, June 17, 2017

Calvinism, Arminianism, Southern Baptist Traditionalism, and Accusations of Theological Dishonesty

Below is a parable that was written in response to the post and subsequent comment thread that are found here:

That post was re-blogged from here:

As a side note: For some reason, the person who moderates the Arminian Perspectives site finds my comments unworthy of approving for publication, and has a long history of either denying my comments outright once the substantive points are on the table, or editing out the most important parts before publishing.

Those two posts raise some interesting issues that are worthy of discussion. However, we should take a far greater interest in the not-so-subtle accusations of theological dishonesty found in the posts, and then stated even more strongly in the comment threads. The reason for this should be obvious: any Christian who publicly accuses a fellow believer (or, in this case, an entire group of fellow believers) of a pattern of dishonesty may face dire spiritual consequences in the event that it was his own misunderstanding or confusion (and not a fellow believer's dishonesty) that led him to a false conclusion.

Scripture is clear on both sides of this point:

I Pet. 2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
The person who accuses a brother of one of these evils (deceit) may in face be guilty of another (slander). Other Scriptures also apply:
James 4:11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Gal. 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
II Cor. 12:20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.
I attempted to post the parable below as a response at the Soteriology101 site and was not successful, most likely due to the length of the material. So, the comment I would have posted there is placed here for your consideration:

Friends, here is a little parable for your consideration, which may illustrate well the dynamic that is occurring on this comment thread (and many, many others across the internet, unfortunately).

Cal Venice and Amond Ian are little kids discussing their respective homes. Let's listen in . . .

Armond: I love my house, it is so great! It has a really solid foundation. You should come over and visit sometime. 
Cal: Cool. Sounds like fun! You might want to visit my house sometime, too. It is very unique and interesting.
Armond: What's so great about your house? Someone told me it isn't even a "real" house and has no foundation. Is that true??? Tell me about the foundation.
Cal: Well, that is partially true. My house does not have the kind of foundation you are used to seeing on a house, it's actually a---
Armond: Is it a foundation made of cement, and planted firmly into the ground, like my house's foundation?
Cal: No, it's not like that at all. It's actually--
Armond: Really? Is it even a house then?
Cal: Well, yes, it is actually a house, but it is much more than just a house. It's a hou--
Armond: That is the strangest thing I have ever heard. If it doesn't have a foundation, it can't be a house at all, right? LOL. 
Cal: If you say so. But my house has four bedrooms, one and a half baths, a living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, quality metal roof, plenty of windows, and lots of awesome closets. It is two stories tall and filled with all of the usual household furniture, like beds and couches and stuff. It has a great HVAC system, plumbing, electricity, and all of that. You'll be surprised when I tell you what kind of house it is.
Armond: You keep calling it a "house" when it obviously isn't one, since it clearly has no foundation. However, other than the odd lack of a foundation, that sounds just like my house! But how can a house not have a foundation? Are you trying to trick me? I'm getting very suspicious.
Cal: No, I assure you I am being completely honest with you. Let me explain further. Unlike your house, which sits permanently on one spot, my house was designed with flexibility in mind. It is able to move around and goes places where a house like yours could never even be built. It's called a--
Armond: Oh, I get it now, your house is nothing more than a two-story trailer!!!!!!! Why didn't you just say so in the first place?
Cal: Because it's not a trailer. It's-- 
Armond: Okay, let's stop playing games and just be upfront and honest about our houses. A house without a regular foundation that moves around to different places is just a trailer. Someone told me your family has been dishonestly acting like you don't live in a trailer for years. But everyone knows your family is a bunch of pretenders who can't admit that they live in a trailer. I even heard a famous architect, Willie Lame Cage, say people who live in trailers don't like to admit it. He's the smartest guy in the world, almost as smart as my dad, James. Or is it Jacob? I can't remember. In any case, you and your family are clearly disingenuous trailer dwellers. Let's fight now!
Cal: Okay, but before we start punching each other, I would like to ask you another question: out of curiosity, have you ever heard of a house boat? 
Armond: A house boat? LOL, what a stupid idea! A "house boat," if such a thing even exists, would be nothing more than a boat! I heard that somewhere, and my teacher, Lee Tin-Flowers, also read it on a website. He says a "house-boat" is just a boat--as much a "boat" as any other kind of boat! Boats are boats, and can't be houses, so there! If you say you live on a boat, then you can't possibly live in a house, and if you say you live in a house, you can't possibly live on a boat. Why aren't you getting this? I knew you were a liar from the moment I first saw you! After I get done beating you up, I'm going to start a podcast and a blog to tell the world how messed up you are. You and your family are clearly disingenuous trailer dwellers who pretend to be house-boaters!

[After this, there is a very long pause, during which Cal ponders whether he should try to explain the compatibility of "house" and "boat." They look at one another suspiciously, considering whether they should start throwing punches, then back away slowly. At last, both boys go home for dinner and then listen to some of their favorite podcasts.]

Lee Tin-Flowers: Am I wrong for questioning what the "house-boaters" say? Am I wrong for saying I see it another way? Here on the podcast, I always like to point out how I once had a part time job as a speed boat driver. I quit that job because I never could understand how boats can be houses. No one in their right mind would try to live on a speed boat, right? I try to tell these so-called "house-boat" people that they actually just live on a boat and can't possibly live in a house, and they never seem to be able to admit it, even though I quote their own favorite website, house-boats-r-us dot com, which clearly states: "A house boat is no less a boat than any other boat." So, as you can see, no matter how many times they try to tell you they live in a house, or a "house-boat" (whatever that is), they just refuse to admit they are actually nothing more than casual boat people without real houses. They also contradict themselves constantly, trying to say they actually do live in houses, which is obviously not true since houses have foundations, and they admit their so-called houses don't have foundations, which means they must actually live in trailers. None of this ever made any sense to me when I was a speed boat driver. It is all just casual boater double speak, as I explain on my website, HouseFoundations101. Go there to read the five best reasons why house-boats don't exist, and why I quit my job as a speed boat driver. Here is a quote from A.W. Tow-boat that proves my point . . .
Armond: Aha! I just knew Cal Venice was a liar, and this confirms it! I'm going to go around telling everyone how he lies! Liar, Liar Liar!!!!!

[Meanwhile, Cal Venice reads a few good books on architecture, engineering and boating, then goes to volunteer at an agency that builds houses for the homeless. Later, he goes to the mission field and gives his life for the cause.]

[Armond and his friend, Trey DeShaun Alice, more firmly convinced than ever of their views on the utter incompatibility of houses and boats, continue to slander Cal and his friends as dishonest liars. They later find themselves standing before a rather concerned Judge who solemnly calls them to account for every word they have ever spoken or written.


Hopefully the tie-ins with determinism, compatibilism, freedom of will, divine sovereignty and human responsibility are clear to all readers.

While we are on the topic of house boats and conversations that miss the point, you might enjoy this video on YouTube:

One of my favorites.

May you know the blessings of godly fellowship with grace, mercy, and peace in Christ, dear friends!

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