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Comments

Jackson

After all it is quotes like this "Why waste the time? Do you really think you can ever "educate" people like this? No way. They're not interested in dialogue. They want to defeat" that make me shudder.

Why does that make you shudder? Because it's true? Or because you disagree with my point that we shouldn't waste our time fighting with people whose goal seems to be to prove how heretical we are?

I think the more time we spend arguing with people who make a living arguing (like Al Mohler, who wrote the article I cited), the less time we have for what God has called us to do. If emergent gets bogged down in trying to defend itself to the Al Mohler's of the world, it will have missed one of the greatest opportunities for the church in many generations.

I'm not saying we should just close ourselves off and not be open to critique. We should. We're not above criticism by any means. But when you faced with people who aren't interested in dialoguing with you but who are more interested in defeating you and proving you wrong--why fight them? What good will that do?

To put it more specifically: should Brian McLaren bother responding to Al Mohler's snide remarks about his lack of theological training? Should he worry that Mohler thinks he's a heretic? Should he make a point by point rebuttal of Mohler's criticisms? If he did, do you think any of that would make one difference to Mohler? Can you possibly imagine Mohler saying, "Well, you know, I guess he's not that unorthodox." No way. Mohler isn't going to budge unless McLaren becomes a five-point Calvinist and declares allegiance to an inerrant Bible. Until he does that, he's going to attack, attack, attack--just like he did in this article.

So why take the bait? Is that really what God has called emergent to be about? I don't think so.

tooaugust

1) Reformed Christianity has been the wing of Christianity that has been the most academic and theologically astute. If you are going to receive criticism it would be from this wing. The rest of Evangelicalism in general couldn't care less about guarding truth or discerning truth from error, so I find this observation to be a good one.
2)It seems that most of the people that have commented keep talking about Calvinism as though its equivalent to following Calvin. Augustine, Jerome, Council of Ephesus, Council of Orange, Anselm, Gottshalk, Hus, Luther, Zwingli, Tyndale, Calvin, Synod of Dort, Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Westminster Confession, Puritans like Jonthan Edwards and John Owen, Spurgeon, Hodge, Warfield, etc. Aren't just Calvin and certainly don't all stem from Calvin (since half of them are before him). Its a pretty naive statement to say that Calvinists just think they have orthodoxy and no one else. You mean to say that they made this view of orthodoxy up? You may not agree with Calvinism but it certainly has a good argument for being at least what was considered orthodox Christianity by THE heavy hitters throughout Christian history. (By the way, I didn't mention Aquinas since he's more of a determinist than all of the others).

This seems more like a sniping session to me, since I've not heard any criticisms of Reformed theology with the exception of ad hominem "they think they're so right" "how intolerant" bla bla bla.

The criticisms are in the area of how one becomes a Christian, becomes like Christ, the nature of the Church, and the nature of the Bible. I don't think it really has much to do with people in the Emergent movements feelings that the Bible is authoritative, but rather that the authority/sufficiency of Scripture is essentially being undermined. And I personally think that it has more to the fact that orthodox Christianity as defined by those cited above is often undermined by a foreign philosophical/theological grid/worldview applied to biblical interpretation by some within the movement (like McLaren).

Either way, I think people should stop claiming expertise on Calvinism when it is obvious to any educated Calvinist that they are not aware of its claims and problems with the movements they critique.

As for Jackson's critique, you sound more like an emergent fundamentalist to me. You didn't like what was said so you bash those who said it. Any rebuttal on it. NOPE! I'm not saying I would critique like Mohler, but I guess no one will ever know why he's wrong because you just want to believe and teach what you want without anyone mentioning that there is both God and the devil at work in the Church's theology and practice, and we need to discern as much as we can between them.

Lee

tooaugust - "You may not agree with Calvinism but it certainly has a good argument for being at least what was considered orthodox Christianity by THE heavy hitters throughout Christian history." This is probably the mindset that is at the heart of the controversy between Calvinism and the rest of Christianity. It seems to me (more so within Calvinism than other strains of Christianity - whether I'm just being biased or its my experience) that you must adhere to THEIR heavy hitters....there are many more 'heavy hitters' that are scattered throughout church history that disagree with the basic tenets of Calvinism. The Calvinist response to this is that those heavy hitters are not Biblical. Thus, if you listen to the people who support your viewpoint and then use that as evidence that your viewpoint is right....well, I'm sure you see the danger in that. What do the other 'heavy hitters' of church history have to say about the topics that are controversial within Calvinism....is there any merit to other positions besides Calvinism? Calvinism has many strengths (a deep understanding of sin and its consequences on the human heart, the sovereignty of God, the education of future generations, among many others), but it is not the end all (or the best) in theology. If God is contained in Calvinism then we have a very small God...not because Calvinism is so bad but because it is so limited.

That having been said, I agree with you that a response from the emergent side that its 'all or nothing' is self-contradicting to the emergent movement. Those who see an opportunity to reform the church in a positive manner must be open to both criticism and open, ongoing, difficult dialogue - we must not forsake those wiser than ourselves who have traveled the path before us....

matt

Jackson:

It scares me because you are painting with this broad stroke that says "they" are all "like this". The point being is that was me, and through conversations with friends like Mike Todd, Wes Roberts and through different readings (which started with Yaconelli's Messy Spirituality and the Grenz's A Primer on Posmodernism)I slowly (very slowly) began to discover what Emergent is about-and I have miles to go before I sleep!

So I see in your comments the very thing you seem to be accusing Calvinists of. Do I embrace Emergent? Yes Do I still consider myself a Calvinist? Yes. So I guess I'm thankful people took the time to have the conversations and explain things, but it is a process. For many, the Emergent movement is something people don't understand (which means it also scares them), and I think we will miss a great opportunity if we don't chat it up with all people about it, but we can't have an attitude of "if you don't buy in right away, then you're out", because if that's the attitude, what is the point? Then Emergent isn't actually an invitation to everyon, it becomes a little pep rally for certain people.

tooaugust

Lee,

I completely agree that you cannot assume a partial group to be orthodox and then let that group define orthodoxy based on any proof that could be brought forth. However, I named off many of those who have pretty much been recognized by everyone throughout Church History as the "heavy hitters." What are teh other ones you would be talking about that take a contrary position? Pelagius and the Semi-Pelagians that stem from him? Certainly I could name Arminius, Wesley and Finney, but if you accept them, aren't you taking the side of Pelagians instead of Augustine and the Early Church? So what other "heavy hitters" should we be adopting accept either the Augustinian (what was considered to be orthodox by the Early Church) or the Pelagian/Semi-Pelagian views (which were considered heresy by the Early Church). Either one or the other, Lee, so you can say that you think REAL orthodoxy is in the heretics but then be honest and say that. Don't pretend that this movement is really about reclaiming orthodoxy and the Historic Christian position if in fact it is about reviving old heresies as alternate expressions of spirituality. This is simply the same old thing as what has been done within the 19th and 20th Century liberal churches then. There is nothing new under the sun.

Jackson

As for Jackson's critique, you sound more like an emergent fundamentalist to me. You didn't like what was said so you bash those who said it. Any rebuttal on it. NOPE! I'm not saying I would critique like Mohler, but I guess no one will ever know why he's wrong because you just want to believe and teach what you want without anyone mentioning that there is both God and the devil at work in the Church's theology and practice, and we need to discern as much as we can between them.

Tooaugust, it's not that I didn't like what was said, and I wasn't the one bashing. I just said it wasn't worth our time and not worth rebutting because it was more of an attack than a dialogue. The lifeblood of fundamentalism is having an enemy, and many proto-Calvinists like Mohler are targeting emergent as an enemy because it gives them something to fight against. Why play their game?

The second half of your quote is Mohler-like and isn't worth a response.

It scares me because you are painting with this broad stroke that says "they" are all "like this".

Matt, I'm talking about Calvinists like Mohler who issue statements like the one I cited--not all Calvinists. My point wasn't to say that we shouldn't dialogue. I was responding to a quote that said that emergent has a responsibility to prove itself to its critics. I just said that when your critics are like Mohler, they're not worth responding to because they're just looking to bash. People like you--who are looking to diaglogue--are another matter.

dustybutts

Tony,

I think your correct, which makes me wonder if I really am a Calvinist?

Blessings

tooaugust

You're right, Jackson, those fundamentalists are always saying they have the truth, and that others that don't believe it are damned and they always act like the people they're speaking against are wrong even though they are devout religious people, and . . . Oh wait, I'm talking about Jesus and the Apostles and Prophets. Wow, those fundamentalists needed to learn to dialogue a little more with their Jewish counterparts, Judaizers, Gnostics, etc. I guess they'll never be as open minded as you, Jackson, who assumes a position and then only allows people to ask questions to learn about a view (as though you are beyond critique), but not question the validity of such a movement. Really, Jackson, everyone is a fundamentalist in their own viewpoint, and you proved it.

pilgrim.not.wanderer

One last point.

If you don't try to take Mohler's concerns (which are not utterly rediculous, even if they may be mistaken) seriously, don't expect him to take your concerns about him seriously. Simple as that. Many people in the emergent conversation, despite all their claims to epistemic humility, seem pretty darn sure that they are right, to the exclusion of those who hold views which contradict their own.

I see a few others here have decided that Christianity is merely about them (the individual, or their small sect) and God, so if other Christians have a criticism they don't need to care. "I'm just doin' what God told me to do while reading my Bible and praying all alone in my bedroom... or reading the new book that came out last week... or chit chatting with my like minded frieds." I happen to think that this is not an option for the serious minded charitable Christian, even though it does have a long history within the Church.

This exchange is starting to turn into yellfest. I think it would be better to converse about specifics rather than generalities, which ofter turn into wide sweeping attacks. Also, discussions like this never generate positive results unless the participents have some sort of basic level of trust.

peace,
-the.pilgrim-

Jackson

I guess they'll never be as open minded as you, Jackson, who assumes a position and then only allows people to ask questions to learn about a view (as though you are beyond critique), but not question the validity of such a movement.

Tooaugust: Is this what I've really been saying? If so, that's news to me. I thought my point was that we should dialogue with people who will actually dialogue, and not argue with people who just want to accuse and attack. Seriously: what is so wrong with that?

If you don't try to take Mohler's concerns (which are not utterly rediculous, even if they may be mistaken) seriously, don't expect him to take your concerns about him seriously. Simple as that.

That would be fine with me, pilgrim. I don't think too many in emergent really lose much sleep worrying about what he thinks, whether it is ridiculous or not. He attacks everyone who isn't just like him. Why worry about what someone like that thinks? Ignore him.


Lee

tooaugust - There are myths that abound about Calvinism that simply aren't true (I ask for your forgiveness on behalf of all those who have helped to perpetrate such things since I spread them myself)....however, as a Calvinist, you've bought into a myth that simply isn't true. You need to study Pelagius and Arminius from people who are outside the Calvinist model if you want to get an accurate view of them both. Arminius, for all that is said about him, was not a Pelagian (briefly, Pelagius did not believe that mankind was by nature sinful and thus was able to attain salvation on his own good merits - obviously heretical; Arminius believed that faith was an act of the will through which a person attained righteousness - since works and faith are always contra in Scripture, faith cannot be viewed as a work).

You've begun to mention some of the other heavy hitters (clearly, you can see in history those who have been used by God in significant ways, look at them also)....were they people who were used by God for His glory? I believe so. If that's the case, then we must struggle with how God used them both in what they taught and how they embodied what they believed. And when the answers we come to don't fit within our box of who God is, perhaps its time to widen the box?

tooaugust

Hi Lee,

I appreciate your comments. Just to clarify, I wasn't saying Arminius was a Pelagian. He was a Semi-Pelagian and those that followed him were even more so (in fact, some were full blown Pelagians as there are still many today).

I wanted to address however the statement that God has used many of these people to do His work. Isn't that begging the question? What if Satan was using them to distract people from true Christianity? I'm not saying that is true, but one cannot just claim that whoever looks to be doing the work of God must be of God, can they?

My point was that emergent tends to be just as exclusive as anyone else. In fact, whenever something is claimed to be good and/or true it must be exclusive by nature. When it claims to be good, it claims all that opposes it (not all that may look at it in variation, but actually contradict it) is evil. When one claims to have truth, the same thing results. Emergent simply needs to be honest with itself and others with the fact that dialogue is good, but in the end (as Jackson has well put it) all that come against it will be ignored.

Jackson

Just to clarify, I wasn't saying Arminius was a Pelagian. He was a Semi-Pelagian and those that followed him were even more so (in fact, some were full blown Pelagians as there are still many today).

This isn't the place to debate this topic, but I will point this out: to call Arminius and his followers "semi-Pelagain" is an unfair characterization of their views. Arminius and his followers believe in "prevenient grace", which attributes salvation completely to grace and not of it to good works (as a semi-Pelagain would do). They believe that God offers grace to everyone in some degree--and this grace is supernatural, assisting, and enabling--and that it is this grace alone which enables salvation. So long as a person does not resist this grace but allows it to work in his or her life by faith, prevenient grace becomes justifying grace. This change is conversion and is not a good work (as semi-Pelagaism requires) but simply acceptance. The human simply goes along with God's grace--they don't earn it or enact it on their own. This places all the initiative and ability in salvation on God's side while also acknowledging the human person's complete inability to do anything whatever for salvation apart from the grace of Christ. That is very distinct and different from semi-Pelagianism--which has been condemned as heretical by the church.

If you say that all Arminians are semi-Pelagains, you've basically saying that anyone other than a Calvinist is a heretic. It seems as if this is your view.


Jackson

Another article came out in Baptist Press today. As McLaren says in the article, I'm not sure these SBC critics really understand emergent at all. Take this statement by D.A. Carson, who is writing the new anti-emergent book:

"At the heart of the 'movement' ... lies the conviction that changes in the culture signal that a new church is 'emerging.' Christian leaders must therefore adapt to this emerging church. Those who fail to do so are blind to the cultural accretions that hide the gospel behind forms of thought and modes of expression that no longer communicate with the new generation."

Where has any emergent leader defined the "emerging" nature of the church that way? Who has said that other church leaders "must adapt"? No one is demanding anything. I think they're just talking about whether what we're doing is working.

These people seem to be absolutely terrified of emergent, and like a someone stuck in a corner, they are going to keep lashing out hard at people who have never done anything to them. Why?

tooaugust

Jackson, you're right in saying this is probably the wrong blog to debate this, but since we're all clarifying issues, I'll do it one more.

All ideas of prevenient grace assume semi-pelagianism, and here is why. In order for prevenient grace to work to someone's salvation, he or she must work with it, no? If he or she is not working with it, then all who have it would come to God. However, it is the prevenient grace coming together to work with an individual who is not completely dead in sin, and only injured by the Fall, and therefore able to react to the prevenient grace. If the determining factor for one accepting God comes from within the individual (i.e., what's left of a "good" inside them works together with God's grace), then it is God working with the good left inside of them. This is semi-Pelagianism. The idea that man is only spiritually injured in the Fall and not completely dead in sin. If God is the one who must draw all men completely by grace, and grace alone must do it, then all who were drawn would accept Him. Therefore, since Arminian doctrine denies this, it assumes Semi-Pelagianism (just like the RCC), and therefore I wouldn't consider it within the orthodox vein.

Jackson

Tooaugust, this will be my last post on this topic because I'm not going to derail this thread any more on this subject. What you have described is Semi-Pelagianism, but it's not Arminianism.

In order for prevenient grace to work to someone's salvation, he or she must work with it, no?

No. All a person has to do is not resist it. That is different from "working with it". No salvific action--none at all--is made on the part of the believer. Most Arminians believe that you can reject grace (hence free will and the existence of the reprobate) but that grace alone must effect salvation without any work on the human's part.

However, it is the prevenient grace coming together to work with an individual who is not completely dead in sin, and only injured by the Fall, and therefore able to react to the prevenient grace. If the determining factor for one accepting God comes from within the individual (i.e., what's left of a "good" inside them works together with God's grace), then it is God working with the good left inside of them. This is semi-Pelagianism.

You're right: what you describe here is semi-Pelagianism. But it's not Arminianism. Arminians do not believe that people are only "injured" by the fall; they believe that we are dead in sin. They do not believe that "the determining factor for one accepting God comes from within the individual"; they believe that comes from God's grace alone. They do not believe that "what's left of a 'good' inside them works together with God's grace"; they believe that God's grace does ALL the work of salvation and that it works through--but doesn't override--a person's free will to reject that grace. Unlike semi-Pelagianism, in Arminianism, all the initiative and ability in salvation on God's side while also acknowledging the human person's complete inability to do anything whatever for salvation apart from the grace of Christ. In short, what you're describing in this section isn't Arminianism at all.

If God is the one who must draw all men completely by grace, and grace alone must do it, then all who were drawn would accept Him. Therefore, since Arminian doctrine denies this, it assumes Semi-Pelagianism

Arminianism doesn't deny what you say it denies. It affirms that God is the one that must draw everyone completely by grace, and that grace alone must do it, and that all who are drawn will accept him--it just accounts for the possibility that some may choose to reject that grace. Arminians affirm everything positive that Calvinists do and simply add a potential negative. It does not assume semi-Pelagianism. If it did that, it would assume that human effort is involved in the work of salvation. It does not assume that in the least.

Tooaugust, all you have done is taken the label "Arminianism" and place it over the actual doctrines held by "semi-Pelagians" and argued against that. But you're just arguing against semi-Pelagians, not Arminians. You haven't represented their true viewpoint at all (or the one I expressed earlier), and you haven't argued against it.

therefore I wouldn't consider it within the orthodox vein.

Here we go: a person has to be a Calvinist to be orthodox. This is precisely why I was arguing why emergent shouldn't bother dialoguing with people like you or Al Mohler. If you come to the table thinking that we (and the majority of Christians on the planet) are heretical unless we agree with your narrow Calvinistic viewpoint, what good is it to discuss theological matters with you? Why dialogue with people who think that you're a heretic and don't belong in the true church? Why fellowship with people who think you're a wolf in sheep's clothing? There's no point and nothing productive to result from it.

tooaugust

Jackson, I obviously can't go into a huge discourse here about it, but you are wrong about Arminianism. I know that there is a brand of it that claims what you claim and is more along the line of the Roman Catholic Church (you seem to be describing the Wesleyian line). My point would be that the majority of Arminians today are semi-Pelagian and would disagree that all are dead in sin from the Fall. And that Wesley's views ASSUME semi-pelagianism in order to say that one accepts God because of prevenient grace and one rejects God with that same grace, then there is a reason why one accepts and one rejects and it isn't because God gave grace to one and not the other. Therefore, it is because one must have something within himself that works together with God (synergism). Otherwise, it is just a contradictory system that says God draws all and all that God draws are saved, but some are not. That's absurd! Instead, one posits the free will, which is one of the major points in semi-Pelagian doctrine (that man's will is free), as to why a man accepts or rejects. If it is based on the man's will then, how can it be completely God's work? I realize no Arminian wants to say they're semi-Pelagian, but the fact remains that they are either explicitly or by assumption.

"This is precisely why I was arguing why emergent shouldn't bother dialoguing with people like you or Al Mohler. If you come to the table thinking that we (and the majority of Christians on the planet) are heretical unless we agree with your narrow Calvinistic viewpoint, what good is it to discuss theological matters with you? Why dialogue with people who think that you're a heretic and don't belong in the true church? Why fellowship with people who think you're a wolf in sheep's clothing? There's no point and nothing productive to result from it."


So let me get this straight. Unless we view you as you want us to, you will remove yourself from teaching and fellowship (a practice that heretics usually receive). So we are the ones who are narrow minded, but you're the open minded one because why? My point has been that your statements are just as exclusionary as those you accuse (if not more so). I obviously am dialoguing with people of different perspective (regardless of whether I think their views or orthodox or not). Note that an unorthodox view does not make a heretic outright. But you refuse to dialogue with anyone who won't consent to your viewpoint that all that is said is orthodox and shouldn't be criticized as otherwise. The "I'm more tolerant than thou" thing is really tiring and self-refuting at that. I guess if you were Gnostic, Arian, or a Monophysite you wouldn't want to dialogue with those who thought of you as heretical either, but it would be better for you to do so for your own sake, not just for the sake of others. I think you looking at as though you will only dialogue to teach others, rather than be taught, evidences that you already dogmatically think you're the correct one.

Anthony

Isn't the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism slightly irrelevant in light of the Introspective Conscience of the West (a la Krister Stendahl)?

Anthony

Jackson

Tooaugust, I think our discussion is proving the point I have been arguing all along. In fact, I couldn't ask for a better illustration of it.

You made accusations about Arminianism. I said that I didn't agree with the way you characterized the belief, and I defined for you what Arminianism truly consists of (coming from my own Arminian viewpoint). Instead of taking my arguments and responding to them, you simply dismissed me as "wrong" and went right back to asserting your original definition of Arminisim--a definition which I already said I didn't agree with and which I specifically argued against point by point.

So, you totally dismissed everything I had to say and just repeated what you believe again as if I never said it. That's not dialogue--that's domination and an attempt to defeat. You didn't listen to me or engage my arguments; instead you ignored what I had to say, didn't engage any of the arguments I offered, and simply repeated what you believed all along.

That's my point: proto-Calvinists have no interest in true dialogue. They don't recognize points of view other than their own. They don't really care what you have to say or about your arguments: they just want to assert what they have to say and what they believe and declare it right and you wrong without any true discussion or debate. People like that are not worth engaging, becuase they're not open to true discussion and dialogue. They only want to attack and defeat you. You have provided a clear illustration of that. You had no interest in understanding my beliefs and why I disagreed with you. You didn't care. You're convinced you're right, and you just wanted to prove me wrong. Why discuss anything with you?

I'm all for dialogue with people who don't think like me. In fact, emergent is built upon such dialogue. That's why we call ourselves a "conversation." But I won't go into a conversation with someone who already thinks that he's completely right about everything and that I'm completely wrong--what good will that do? What will we accomplish other than fighting? Our discussion here is clear evidence of that.

It's just not worth our time.

tooaugust

Jackson, take the log out. You just did the exact same thing to me that you claimed I did to you. YOU want to define things the way YOU see them. You did not deal with my arguments dealing with different views of Arminian theology and the assumptions thereof. You did not deal with anything I just said. YOU are the one making power plays, assuming that your definitions are the most accurate and YOU have the truth. Anyone who asserts differently is slandered and told that they are not worth your time. If that is the Spirit of Christ to you, so be it. I choose to believe both that I have the truth and to dialogue, but then again I don't live under your illusions of intolerant tolerance.

tooaugust

P.S. If I'm not worth responding to, then why did you respond? Because you have to win arguments? Because you have to be in power? Hmmm. I wonder.

Jackson

You did not deal with my arguments dealing with different views of Arminian theology and the assumptions thereof. You did not deal with anything I just said.

I went point by point through your Arminian/Semi-Pelagian post and said where I disagreed and offered an alternative definition/correction for each point. I'm not sure what else I could do to deal with your arguments. You, in turn, simply said I was "wrong" and repeated what you said earlier.

I choose to believe both that I have the truth and to dialogue

I'd say that if you think you "have the truth," then true dialogue can't happen because that implies that anyone who disagrees with you doesn't have the truth. In other words, you're always the one who wins when you "dialogue". See my point? It's not worth it.

Lee

"I wanted to address however the statement that God has used many of these people to do His work. Isn't that begging the question? What if Satan was using them to distract people from true Christianity? I'm not saying that is true, but one cannot just claim that whoever looks to be doing the work of God must be of God, can they? My point was that emergent tends to be just as exclusive as anyone else. In fact, whenever something is claimed to be good and/or true it must be exclusive by nature. When it claims to be good, it claims all that opposes it (not all that may look at it in variation, but actually contradict it) is evil. When one claims to have truth, the same thing results. Emergent simply needs to be honest with itself and others with the fact that dialogue is good, but in the end (as Jackson has well put it) all that come against it will be ignored." - tooaugust

tooaugust - I've missed all the fun between you and Jackson... :) But, rather than wade into that I'd recommend you both reading a book called 'Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism' by C. Gordon Olson (though his appendix on quotes from Calvin that try to prove Calvin didn't believe in Limited Atonement are wrong when placed in their original context, the rest is very enlightening). However, you need to approach it with an open mind - not an 'This is wrong from the beginning based on the title' approach.

tooaugust, you say that Satan can just as easily produce that which appears Christian. This is true. That is why you MUST look at the fruit that comes from any significant leader's teaching and practice. Again, given the non-Calvinist leaders that you've already mentioned, would you say that the fruit of their ministry was fruit that would signify Satan or God? If God, then you've not wiggled out of the predicament of needing to understand how God used their teaching/practice and how it might require you to broaden your own understanding of God.

Second, the either/or model of good/true exclusivism simply doesn't hold up to reality. Clearly one cannot say 'A and not A are true'. In this sense good/true must be exclusive and there are times when all believers must make these statements (thus, the Nicene Creeds, etc.). However, to say A is good and B is good even though A is not B does not make for exclusivism. My son Noah is a good son. My son Joshua is also a good son. But they are not good in the same way (and even in some ways are good in contradictory ways). It is in this vein that those who understand the emergent conversation are dialoguing. We are not saying that Calvinism is wrong. We are saying that there are some great strengths in Calvinsm. What we are saying is that Calvinism is not the summa fine. There are other theologies, even ones that may in some parts be contradictory to Calvinism, that offer good Biblical understanding. To discount them simply because they disagree/contradict Calvinism is foolish at best....arrogant at worst since such a position must lead one to believe that they have the full revelation of God contained in their theology....that is simply impossible, if for no other reason than the Calvinist understanding of the finiteness and sinfulness of the human heart.

For the emergents that you've met who have created an either/or statement, I apologize. But, before you throw that around, make sure that is what they are saying...

tooaugust

I'll forego Jackson's comments simply because he did the same thing to me again. I guess him saying I was wrong is not the same as me saying he was imprecise and needed to have a deeper understanding of the issues.

Lee, thanks for the clarification,but here is the issue. It is not that Emergent people have wanted to present to me an either/or. It is the nature of truth to warrant it. You said yourself that something cannot be A and Non-A at the same time. That is what I am talking about. God cannot be the primary cause and man the primary cause at the same time. Women cannot be permitted into ministry and not permitted at the same time. Mysticism cannot be a way to commune with God and not a way to commune with Him at the same time. The examples of your boys aren't contradictory so that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about variation or aspect, but contradiction. That is the nature of both good and truth. I'll look at the book you suggested and pray that it's not another blurring of the issues. But I am interested if it is a reasonable argument and the author understands the what's involved, so maybe I'll learn from it.

tooaugust

Just to add, You mentioned the fruit again, but Paul states in 1 Cor 11, that the messengers of Satan will look like ministers of the truth. He mentions in Tim that some will have the appearance of godliness but deny the power thereof. The question becomes, "Does their fruit glorify God through the truth, or does it glorify a lie which takes away from God?" So it comes back to whether what is said is true or not, not simply a subjective ananlysis of whether someone did "good things."

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