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Comments

Lee

tooaugust - we'll continue with this offline so as not to derail the thread with information it wasn't intended to pursue.

Rick Bennett

In case no one has mentioned it (too many comments to go through for a lazy guy like me), Baptist Press has just put out an article on the Dangers of Emergent to the Gospel. How's them apples?

for your pleasure,

http://bpnews.org/bpnews.asp?ID=20420

http://djword.blogspot.com/2005/03/emergent-is-threat-to-gospel-not-my.html

Anthony

Baptist press. Who is that? Never heard of them. Are they important?

Gavroche

There is also criticism coming from Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians. Take a look at Blogodoxy to get the ancient Christian perspective on the new Emergent movement.

Jackson

Baptist press. Who is that? Never heard of them. Are they important?

They're the propaganda "news service" of the Southern Baptist Convention. They're important if you're a Southern Baptist who reads his weekly Baptist paper.

pilgrim.not.wanderer

Allow me to quote myself from a post from a few days ago: "This exchange is starting to turn into yellfest. I think it would be better to converse about specifics rather than generalities, which often turn into wide sweeping attacks. Also, discussions like this never generate positive results unless the participents have some sort of basic level of trust [of each other]."

Anyone else notice the wide sweeping attacks, lack of basic respect/trust, and the lack of positive results? Me too.

Jackson,

If you could only view things from outside of yourself, you might see how harsh, narrow minded, and uncharitable your postings have increasingly become (though, not yours alone - tooaugust!!!). The interesting thing is that these posts consisted, almost in whole, as critiques of certain other people who you accused of being harsh, narrow minded, etc.

Quote: "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."

Spoken like someone who has engaged in very little conversation with those who hold views much different from their own. (Not a slam. I'm serious) This is always how such interaction sounds/looks/seems like , necessarily. The problem is that we have no other option (except overt sectarianism, or violent cohersion).

I think we all need to pray for Brian McLaren. I just read the Baptists Press article. I'm not sure how well he is going to deal with the onslaught of criticism of the emergent conversation that will hit this year. I think he is used to dealing with stupid fundamentalists who can be easily dismissed; with good cause. What about people who come from a completely different place. I think it will become increasingly clear that his thinking has not suficiently transcended his peitistic, revivalistic, evangelical, anabaptist, sectarian cliches/categories. Will he (and others of influence) be able to admit where the conversation has collapsed upon itself? Will he be able to seriously consider views upon emergent which come from the outside, not merely from those nearby or within? Or will he retreat to the trenches, categorize it the classic battle between the forward thinking and backward thinking, and refuse to consider where he might be wrong?

There is a ton of fruitful discussion by Christians concerning contemporary trends of thought/behaviour which starts and ends in a different places than what 'emergent style' people do.

-the.pilgrim-

Jackson

Spoken like someone who has engaged in very little conversation with those who hold views much different from their own.

Pilgrim, I have engaged in plenty of dialogue of the type you've described. I'm a doctoral student in a humanities program in a major research university. Every seminar I step into is one in which you have to express opinions and defend it. I know dialogue and how to defend ideas, but I also know how fruitless it is to dialogue with people like tooaugust and the proto-Calvinists who think that they exclusively "have the truth."

My comment to tooaugust that you quoted was dead-on. Read the posts in question. He critiqued Arminianism. I responded point-by-point showing how he had mischaracterized it. I dealt with his arguments. He responded by calling me "wrong" and saying the exact same thing as if I had never critiqued it. That's not a dialogue--it's a diatribe. A dialogue is where you listen to someone and respond thoughtfully to the arguments he presents. I did that with tooaugust--I took what he said and responded where I think he missed the boat. He never did that with me. I didn't expect him to agree with me, but I did expect him to thoughtfully engage with me. I'm through discussing things with him because he just wants to defeat me, not listen to me or dialogue with me in a thoughful and fair manner.

If you could only view things from outside of yourself, you might see how harsh, narrow minded, and uncharitable your postings have increasingly become (though, not yours alone - tooaugust!!!). The interesting thing is that these posts consisted, almost in whole, as critiques of certain other people who you accused of being harsh, narrow minded, etc.

Exactly how have I become "harsh, narrow minded, and uncharitable"? By insisting that we shouldn't argue with people who have no interest in listening to what we have to say but only proving they're right? That's been my point all along. Just because I defend what I think doesn't make me harsh.

Honestly, your overly-pious "we should all pray for Brian because he probably can't handle intelligent criticism" is demeaning, insulting, and misguided. You pose "questions" that are really insulting opinions. If you think an article from the fundamentalists at Baptist Press or a book by D.A. Carson will overwhelm the mental and theological capacities of McLaren or emergent, then you're sadly mistaken. There are a lot of very well-educated and learned people in the movement who are more than capable of handling criticism. They've been expecting it. Brian and other emergent leader's books are flying off shelves, their conferences are packing out, and their churches are growing and doing very innovating things. Everyone knows that this will spark jealousy and rage from those who can't stand people thinking differently than they do. They're more than ready for it.

tooaugust

Jackson, whether stated or implied you also said I was wrong, did you not. Or was your rebuttal of what I said in affirmation to its truth. If you can't understand that you are doing the same thing, the someone ought to kick you out of your Ph.D. program because you haven't the logic to undertake it. I would like to know what "humanities program" and what major research university you are attending so I can avoid it.
I didn't just say you were wrong (an absolute slander as though I was some fundamentalist just saying "No no no, i don't want to listen, you're just wrong." That's absurd. You're so deaf to hear what anyone might say beyond your little evangelicalism that automatically ASSUMES that all people are Christian if they say the name Jesus and smile while doing it.
I stated that there is more than one branch of Arminian theology. You obviously are not familiar with Reformed arguments from Luther or Calvin that argue faith is an act of the will and therefore a work that merits before God. Read Bondage of the Will or Calvin's argument with Sadeleto or the Belgic Confession or Synod of Dort. All arminian theology must have man have a free will and that can only be connected to Semi-Pelagianism. READ AUGUSTINE! That was the whole point of his debate with the Semi-Pelagians. Even Wesley, although taking on more reformed language, ends up assuming that position. That is why it is called synergism. Did you deal with what I said? No, you as a cocky Ph.D. student figured you must be the expert in everything and anyone who said the MIGHTY JACKSON is wrong, should be dismissed as a raving moron. You must be going to an Ivy League school because you're assuming their elitist attitude toward those who are not in agreement with you. By the way one of my degrees is in historical theology, so if anything, you should have deferred to me, but I know you're trying to protect your own views so you can't allow a "proto-Calvinist" to tell you your wrong. Well, Jackson, too bad. You are. We ought to pray for you too. You're going to need it.

Jackson

Tooaugust, I really don't appreciate the repeated insults that you're throwing at me. Your last post had a venom directed toward me that was uncalled for.

All arminian theology must have man have a free will and that can only be connected to Semi-Pelagianism.

No. You keep repeating this, but I've already explained that Arminianism doesn't imply semi-Pelagainism and I've explained exactly why in my original post on the subject. You can read it for a refresher if you've forgotten; you have yet to respond to any of the specific statements I made there when I defined what true Arminianism believes. You're quite effective in arguing against semi-Pelagains, but you haven't made a dent in Arminianism.

Did you deal with what I said? No, you as a cocky Ph.D. student figured you must be the expert in everything and anyone who said the MIGHTY JACKSON is wrong, should be dismissed as a raving moron.

Yes, I dealt with what you said--point by point. I explained that every accusation that you threw against Arminianism was a distortion of what true Arminians believe and I detailed what they really believe. Again, you might do well to re-read my response.

tooaugust

While it is clear that Arminian Theology and Semi-Pelagianism have a different view of grace; (Arminianism believes God must initiate with grace and Semi-pelagianism believes man must initiate to receive grace), but both systems ultimately share in common a characteristic - synergism. The question Arminians still need to answer is why do some people believe the gospel and not others? Is the power/desire to cooperate with God's grace itself a work of the Holy Spirit or of the natural man? How can a natural man produce holy affections without God illuminating the mind and heart? What ultimately makes men to differ? grace or faith? If grace, then all men given it would come to faith, but if faith, then semi-Pelagianism rises again.

The Semi-Pelagian doctrine taught by John Cassian (d. 440) admits that divine grace (assistentia) is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God and live, yet holds that, from the nature of the human will, man may first spontaneously, of himself, desire and attempt to choose and obey God. They deny the necessity of prevenient but admit the necessity of co-operative grace and conceive regeneration as the product of this co-operative grace.
- A.A. Hodge


"...in Semi-Pelagianism there remains a moral ability within man that is unaffected by the Fall. We call this an "island of righteousness" by which the fallen sinner still has the inherent ability to incline or move himself to cooperate with God's grace. Grace is necessary but not necessarily effective. Its effect always depends upon the sinner's cooperation with it by virtue of the exercise of the will."
- R.C. Sproul

Arminianism is a reincarnation of Semi-Pelagianism with its emphasis on man's freedom. "The reformers condemned it "as being in principle a return to Rome (because in effect it turned faith into a meritorious work) and a betrayal of the Reformation (because it denied the sovereignty of God in saving sinners, which was the deepest religious and theological principle of the Reformer's thought). Arminianism was, indeed, in Reformed eyes a renunciation of New Testament Christianity in favour of New Testament Judaism; for to rely on oneself for faith is no different in principle from relying on oneself for works, and the one is as un-Christian and anti-Christian as the other."
- J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston "Historical and Theological Introduction," in Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, trans. J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston (Cambridge: James Clarke/Westwood, N.J.: Revell,1957, pp. 57-58

PLEASE NOTE that Packer is not saying that the Arminians would SAY that faith is a meritorious work, but that the reformers decisively argued that in their system it logically was one.

If emergent is primarily Arminian, then that is why it receives so many attacks from Calvinism. Those who are elect need us to preach the Word to them and the Spirit will regenerate them. There is no need for humanly contrived innovation. But if man must be drawn and attracted to Christianity, then the Church has to find new ways to attract them. That is why this question is so important, and why the constant blurring of the issues is frustrating to Calvinists.

I don't know if my comments were unwarranted, Jackson, you made some pretty big slanders and power plays in your previous posts (the biggest one claiming that I just wanted to defeat you to have power---a ridiculous liberation theology gained from Marx and Nietzsche where every claim of truth and orthodoxy is just a way to oppress others). Others like "your other comments are Mohler-like" as though I guess that's a curse word to you now. Either way, I should not have responded in kind, and I do apologize if it was over the top.

dan hughes

I blame Francis Schaeffer. ;-)

True truth is a powerful rally cry and verbal, plenary inspiration a fun weapon. It means you are *right*, and being *right* is all that matters (even if it is wielded in such a way as to precludes one from *being* right).

Rationalist axioms purported to be propositional revelation are the stones in the hands of the religious accusers of our time.

pilgrim.not.wanderer

Jackson,

You wrote:
" Exactly how have I become 'harsh, narrow minded, and uncharitable'? By insisting that we shouldn't argue with people who have no interest in listening to what we have to say but only proving they're right? "

I respond:
I think you hit the nail on the head. My point is that Christian charity compels us to 1) interpret our brothers as having the best possible intentions (rather than the worst possible intentions), 2) carefully consider the ways in which we may be missinterpreting our brothers, 3) carefully consider the ways in which our brothers may be simply missunderstanding us, 4) be eager to be the first side to admit our own mistakes publicly, and 5) to initiate this process rather than wait for the 'bad guys' to make the first move.

In short: is it, or is it not, "harsh, narrow minded, and uncharitable" to conclude that the 'other side' has "NO interest in listening to what we have to say but ONLY proving they're right." ??? I susgest the answer is 'yes'. I think you (we) need to more careful consider how the 'other side' hears you (us).

Also, and this is going to become very clear this year: is it not painfully obvious that the 'other side' currently (and sincerely) believes that 'the emergent' have "no interest in listening to what we have to say but only proving they're right. ??? Again, I sugest the answer is 'yes'.

I reread my comment on prayer for Brian, and I admit it sounds a bit pious. Good call.

However, please allow me to clairify myself. I do NOT think that Brian "probably can't handle intelligent criticism". But I DO think Brian is more used to dealing with the critiques of baptistic pop-evangelicalism, rather than the concerns of the more classically protestant. I refer here to the type of people who (almost to a 't') agree with emergent's critiques of American-style-pop-evangelicalism, but do so from a completely different place, and want to head to a different place. The kind of people who cannot rightly be categorized as 'conservative' (resistent to change, more eage to conserve the present situation) as apposed to 'progressive' (eager to impliment change, perhaps radical changes). They have a racial agenda for repentence and reform in the Church, but also have a richer and more robust rootedness in the history of the Church catholic; a rootedness that is different from the salad bar of tradition that emergent is open to. (Please read that as more than a slam) These communities are also 'emerging', but they do not fit very well into the categories of the 'emergent conversation'. They probably could never fit into them. They flow from the 'magisterial reformers' and the 'catholic (small 'c' tradition' rather than 'anabaptistic-sectarian-revivalistic-wesley' tradition.

I am interested in the whole Calvinism vs. Arminianism (a misnomer I think) debate. However, there must be a better place than this. Any sugestions? I'd be willing to participate in a serious but charitable dialog on the matter. BTW - I think you'd classify me as flowing down from Augustine, Cannons of Council of Orange, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Edwards etc. on this issue. So, basically I'm a Calvinist (also a misnomer I think). I think there are plenty of mutual missunderstandings on this issue, and plenty of room for genuine progress. Any takers?

cheers,
-the.pilgrim-

Ken Skodiak

Wow! Ths is quite a conversation and I am not even sure that I am smart enough or informed enough to really comment on what has been said before. (Heck i just learned what a blog is a couple of weeks ago) I have been a pastor in a Presbyterian church for more years than I want to share ( Acording to national health statistics, I am closer to the tomb than I am to the womb) and i have been a die-hard calvanist ever since God predestined me to be one, whevever that was). I like many others that have written did not even know there were so many kinds of pre, pro, innner, after, kinda, Calvanists. The calvin I know and have tried to learn from made a bunch of mistakes and i think he knew more than anyone that he would but I have learned a great deal from his writings and his thoughts have in many ways kept me from making a fool of myself more times than I wish to admit. More than anything Calvins writings have had a practical influence in how I deal and minister to middle school. high school and college students. (I have been in youth ministry for almost 30 years) On the other hand i have always tried to measure Calvin against scripture always recognizing that Calvin would smack me if i even thought about not treating scripture as the one and only authority that i am to attempt to teach, preach and live my life after.

I have tried to read some emergent stuff and it has (again being a Presbyterian USA) given me hope that not everyone in the 'evangelical' (whatever that means) world has given up on us and think that God has had to create an even hotter place in hell for all of us to burn. (I am sure many if not all of you are aware of the issues that our denomination seems to want to get involved in). I have also questioned some of the theological, or should I say lack of theological, thought that seems to be missing in some emerging work. Even as i read Brian McLar

Ken Skodiak

Wow! Ths is quite a conversation and I am not even sure that I am smart enough or informed enough to really comment on what has been said before. (Heck i just learned what a blog is a couple of weeks ago) I have been a pastor in a Presbyterian church for more years than I want to share ( Acording to national health statistics, I am closer to the tomb than I am to the womb) and i have been a die-hard calvanist ever since God predestined me to be one, whevever that was). I like many others that have written did not even know there were so many kinds of pre, pro, innner, after, kinda, Calvanists. The calvin I know and have tried to learn from made a bunch of mistakes and i think he knew more than anyone that he would but I have learned a great deal from his writings and his thoughts have in many ways kept me from making a fool of myself more times than I wish to admit. More than anything Calvins writings have had a practical influence in how I deal and minister to middle school. high school and college students. (I have been in youth ministry for almost 30 years) On the other hand i have always tried to measure Calvin against scripture always recognizing that Calvin would smack me if i even thought about not treating scripture as the one and only authority that i am to attempt to teach, preach and live my life after.

I have tried to read some emergent stuff and it has (again being a Presbyterian USA) given me hope that not everyone in the 'evangelical' (whatever that means) world has given up on us and think that God has had to create an even hotter place in hell for all of us to burn. (I am sure many if not all of you are aware of the issues that our denomination seems to want to get involved in). I have also questioned some of the theological, or should I say lack of theological, thought that seems to be missing in some emerging work. Even as i read Brian McLarens Generous Orthodoxy, at some points I want to stand up and shout for joy and praise and then at points i quickly get out my hi liner and pen and start furiously writing notes that say things like; hey, come on Brian, quote the whole verse or put it in context, or that is way to broad of a stroke. (I especialy thought Brian did this with his view of Calvinism) I have also appreciated people like Tony Jones and Dan Kimball who have challenged me to re-think how I think about church/Jesus/ministry/philosophy and see the world. I am well aware that I am a product of the parents that brought me up, the country I as born in, the traditions and cultural baggage (for good and bad) I have inherited and especially the theological/spiritual/religious/late night drive in windowism at Jack in the Box and how that effected me. That is to say I don't get alot of what is being talked about as quick as others because I need to work backwards before I can go forwards. Having said this i am thankful for the fact that these emerging folk are at least trying to look at the lanscape that we find ourselves in, especailly in the west and ask some good questions. I mean as a pastor I can't tell you how many 'new this will make your church cutting edge in 6 months' ideas I get in the mail every week. I may be the only Xtian in America that hasn't read The Purpose Driven Life" and you should see the looks I get. I would like to tell you I haven't read it because i am 'emerging' and 'purpose driven' is so, so modern, but the real reason i haven't read it is because I'm trying to figure out how to stop one of our middle school kids from getting a criminal record and convince some college and hi school school students that it is always more beneficial to get married firt and then have a child. Hey, I'm not complaining all i am saying is that my Jesus/Pauline/Moses/calvanist/modern/emerging/fundamentalist/starbucks theology is helping me figure this stuff out, because for me at some point theology does have to be practical (please I am not in the 'if it works it must right and if it is right it must be true' camp. However i am not stupid enough to also think that somehow you can study theology and scripture and never apply it to life. No theologian worth their salt would ever believe or preach that kind of rhetoric.

To end and i can't believe that someone actually may be reading this whole thing (it is sooooooo bad) the emerging dialogue and the people in it are helping me. They are helping me to think about what i might want to think about and put into practice in the next 15 or so years that, God willing, I will have in "ministry", especially as i continue to feel the call to youth, college and young adults. Will I ever form a Soloman's Porch, or a Vintage Church, or be invited to a 'emergent forum' to talk, I doubt it (although I am hoping I can mke the next teological forum they have to learn and dialogue), but from the emerging people i have talked to and read, that is not what they have challenged me to do (by the way almost all of them with love and encouragement). They have simply provided another way of thinking and looking at the 'church' and to explore what the body of Christ (I still can't believe that God actually allows me to be a part of his bridal party let alone be in a position to have an affect on someone elses life) might look and act like.

Jackson

The question Arminians still need to answer is why do some people believe the gospel and not others? Is the power/desire to cooperate with God's grace itself a work of the Holy Spirit or of the natural man?

It is a work of the Holy Spirit. Arminians believe that God provides grace that enables everyone to be saved, but that we also have the ability to reject that grace. So, the power/desire to cooperate with God's grace doesn't exist on man's side--God's grace provides all the power and motivation for salvation. But, man can reject God's grace and is free to do so. All movement toward salvation is God's--there is no human involvement at all. All movement away from salvation is man's alone; this is different from Calvinism, in which movement away from salvation is God's act (and thus God's ultimate responsibility).

The Semi-Pelagian doctrine taught by John Cassian (d. 440) admits that divine grace (assistentia) is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God and live, yet holds that, from the nature of the human will, man may first spontaneously, of himself, desire and attempt to choose and obey God.

Arminians, by contrast, hold that man cannot "first spontaneously, of himself, desire and attempt to choose and obey God." That comes only from God.

The Sproul quote doesn't have anything to do with the Arminian viewpoint, but it is a good critique of semi-Pelagianism.

Arminianism is a reincarnation of Semi-Pelagianism with its emphasis on man's freedom...Arminianism was, indeed, in Reformed eyes a renunciation of New Testament Christianity in favour of New Testament Judaism; for to rely on oneself for faith is no different in principle from relying on oneself for works, and the one is as un-Christian and anti-Christian as the other."

As described above, Arminianism doesn't hold that man has "to rely on oneself for faith." Packer and Johnston are mischaracterizing it. God's grace--and grace alone--enables all faith. Man can reject this grace, but if he does not reject it, this grace moves him to faith.

If emergent is primarily Arminian, then that is why it receives so many attacks from Calvinism. Those who are elect need us to preach the Word to them and the Spirit will regenerate them. There is no need for humanly contrived innovation. But if man must be drawn and attracted to Christianity, then the Church has to find new ways to attract them. That is why this question is so important, and why the constant blurring of the issues is frustrating to Calvinists.

I don't think emergents care about this issue very much, and that is to their credit.

I think you hit the nail on the head. My point is that Christian charity compels us to 1) interpret our brothers as having the best possible intentions (rather than the worst possible intentions), 2) carefully consider the ways in which we may be missinterpreting our brothers, 3) carefully consider the ways in which our brothers may be simply missunderstanding us, 4) be eager to be the first side to admit our own mistakes publicly, and 5) to initiate this process rather than wait for the 'bad guys' to make the first move.

I agree with you about all of this. But I don't see many of emergent's critics doing anything like this. I see Mohler, Carson, and the like throwing labels out. The title of the recent Baptist Press article was something like "Emergent Seen as Threat to the Gospel." Is that a way to start a helpful dialogue?

tooaugust

Jackson, I think the problem is that you have a view of Arminian theology that is either intentionally (which i don't think it's trying to be) or just oblivious to what it's saying. You stated that salvation is completely the work of God through His grace, 100%, None attributed to the man, absolutely God . . . as long as man exercises his will in accepting it. Man therefore chooses to follow God or not to follow Him, correct? You didn't deal with the second half of what was said:

"What ultimately makes men to differ? grace or faith? If grace, then all men given it would come to faith, but if faith, then semi-Pelagianism rises again."

Why do some believe and others do not if all who are saved are saved solely by God's grace drawing them with no act of the will toward God on one's own? How can it be that any would reject? Is the answer not to be found in the faith of the individual? In the act of the individuals will? This is the "island of righteousness" which by the way is in the Remonstrants own works. I think you have described the confused view of Arminian theology well. "It's all God . . . and me accepting it from the act of my own will." Then it's not all God. It is synergism. God working in man, but man co-operating with God to choose and follow him. Otherwise, Jackson, your only other options seems to be that God does not give this saving grace to every man since it is soley God who saves and has nothing to do with the man himself. You keep stating however the contradiction that it is completely God who saves the individual. Are you stating the prevenient grace takes away the Fallen state of man and therefore makes him neutral? He then chooses as Adam chose before the Fall? This would still be synergism. God would simply enable the man to choose either way, but the man who chooses God would then be co-operating with Him in salvation once again.

Secondly, it is clear to me that you don't seem to understand Calvinism by your remark about it. You blame us for mischaracterizing you, but stating that

"this is different from Calvinism, in which movement away from salvation is God's act (and thus God's ultimate responsibility)."

Actually, Calvinism teaches that all movement from God is man's as well. I don't know any Calvinist (other than Hyper-Calvinists who are not historically Reformed at all) who would ever say this. Calvinism teaches that no one will choose God on His own and therefore God must effectially draw him by His grace into a full salvation. The man God chooses to save therefore will always be saved, and the man who God chooses not to save will never come because he is already in love with the darkness and has no desire to come to God. God does not try to save and fail to do so as you have in the Arminian system when man fails to exercise his free will and cooperate with God's drawing grace. Does John 6:36-45 sound like God draws all men and among those He draws some are not saved?

"But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." 41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven." 42 They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, `I have come down out of heaven'?" 43 Jesus answered and said to them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 "It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."

Ultimately Jackson, I know you just want me to say, "OK I guess Arminian theology leaves it all up to God even though a man's salvation is reliant both on God's work and the man's decision to choose it," but it is contradictory. It is a reviving of Semi-Pelagianism in Reformed clothing. The words sound right, "Salvation is completely the work of God," but again takes up the issue that man can reject and therefore "WHERE DOES HIS REJECTION OR ACCEPTANCE COME FROM?" You stated that his rejection is purely from himself (so would Calvinism),but then say his acceptance is completely from God (how then would any who were given the grace reject it?).

I think you sould stop saying that scholars are the ones in error and mischaracterize the issues when there is such a plethora of them stating things that are contrary to your position. I know you think you understand, but would you be criticizing your brain surgeon because you think you know brain surgery better, or tell your lawyer how to conduct a case because you read some books on law? There is a degree where humility is helpful when reading those who master the subjects your studying. Simply dismissing them as those who DON'T UNDERSTAND is a way to present yourself as having the right perspective and then dismissing anyone who does not characterize as you do. The points discussed are not what is SAID, but what is IMPLIED, and this is where your analysis of the two positions seems to be lacking.

Finally, the statement you made about emergents not caring to their credit about this issue is simply absurd. It's the most relevant to the entire movement. It just goes to show that the same old superficial evangelicalism pervades the movement with the lack of understanding of how important core theological issues really are to one's faith and practice.

tooaugust

Hey Pilgrim, I would be very interested in blogging about this more elsewhere, since I know we've gotten off the beaten path (a little bit, although it still relevant). I think I would probably agree more than disagree with you though. We would probably want a lot more people of differing viewpoints to join in. Just let me know.

Michael Fan

i am concerned - why are we going on and on about calvinists and TULIP - when Michael Jackson is facing the toughest situation is his life? Are we praying for him and worrying about a real life situation, not all this theological babble? Please! Let's love people!

pilgrim.not.wanderer

tooaugust,

Yes I am pretty sure you and I are on the same page. Jackson obviously in diagreement.

Here are a few tips for dealing with people like Jackson:

1) He is obviously not as mistaken in his attitudes and practice, as he is in his teaching/doctrinal formulations/reflection upon this issue. Be thankful for that and let him know it. Try to lead him to emphasize the good in this.

2) Point out that there is basically nothing unique in Calvin's teachings on predestination, and that it is nowhere near the center of Calvin's faith, life or doctrine.

3) Clear away the common missunderstandings of the doctrine of predestination. THIS IS HUGE. I find that most Calvinists even hold these missunderstandings. For example, God doesn't force people (against their will) to believe or disbelieve.

4) Point out how rationalistic Arminian doctrinal formulations are. Its what you get when you start with a few concerns and try to construct a logical system which will generate certain desired results.

5) Point out all the places where we can simply agree with Scripture where they simply cannot. Not all the typical ones.

6) Apologize and repent of the way we Calvinists feel that we must always view things from the perspective of God's eternal decree. Holy Scripture hardly ever leads us to view things from this perspective. Where it does, fine. BUT... JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE DOESN'T ALWAYS THINK AND ACT WITH THIS AS THE PRIMARY PERSPECTIVE IN MIND DOES NOT MAKE THEM WRONG!!! Thinking/acting with other perspectives in view does not equal semi-pelegianism. Nor are they contradictory... rather they presuppose and involve each other.

7) Discuss what 'grace' is. Its not a 'substance' which can alter someone's state. Its a state of mind within God concerning us. Propperly speaking, God can't give us just enough of grace so that we can say yes to him, yet also still be able to say no. Grace is not a 'stuff' which can be dolled out in custom size portions.

8) Discuss the way Calvin's doctrine functioned for the classically reformed - for the comfort of the saints - that God's grip on them was so tight that not even the weakness of their own fingers would put their own grip on Christ in danger. To encourage a lively faith with complete confidence in God.

NOT as a way to figure out who the lost causes are. Or who they don't need to proclaim the Gospel to.

9) Don't turn things into a war. There is almost no chance someone like Jackson will change his mind on an issue like this - that would mean admitting defeat - which is highly unlikely. He's already sure that he's right, and sure that we are wrong. A confrontation of this kind will (nearly) NEVER generate positive results.

Be willing to admit all the many mistakes Calvinits have made in dealing with this issue, and even the mistakes in some of our doctrinal formulations. Specifically, not just as a general principle.

10) Point out that Calvin's doctrine is NOT based upon a prior commitment to philosophical determinism which he merely dresses in Christian clothes. Given Calvin's repeated distain for "frigid speculation" this is impossible.

11) Try to avoid dependence upon logical arguments (arguments based on logical deductions). These (although valid) almost never work, as the previous few postings indicate.

You and I both know that according to Jackson's previous formulation, the only difference between those who respond in faith and those who respond in disbelief is within themselves. He admits as much. What he won't admit is that this means those who respond in faith are therefore the good people, and the others the bad people. This smells a lot like Pelagius to me. BUT this is not what Jackson actually concludes - but he ought to. ANYWAY... this kind of arguments never works. Avoid it.

This is getting to long. My invitation to dialog elsewhere was intended for both Jackson, tooaugust, and whoever else interested. Any sugestions?

cheers,
-the.pilgirm-

Jackson

You stated that salvation is completely the work of God through His grace, 100%, None attributed to the man, absolutely God . . . as long as man exercises his will in accepting it. Man therefore chooses to follow God or not to follow Him, correct?

No, I did not state that or anything like that. I said, "God's grace provides all the power and motivation for salvation"--period, end of story. I can't be any clearer. That is what Arminians believe. They believe that God's grace provides all the movement toward salvation, and they don't think that man needs to "excercise his will" to accept it for grace to work. God provides grace to everyone and they will come to salvation unless they explictly reject that grace by a free act of their will. You're joining the scholars you quoted in repeatedly insisting on a misrepresented view of Arminianism and despite my clear explanation of how it differs from what Arminians actually believe, you're holding onto your wrong view.

Why do some believe and others do not if all who are saved are saved solely by God's grace drawing them with no act of the will toward God on one's own? How can it be that any would reject? Is the answer not to be found in the faith of the individual? In the act of the individuals will?

God has allowed human beings the freedom to reject this grace. Some do. But, again, all movement of salvation are based in grace alone. Arminians do believe that human movements toward rejecting God's grace are based upon a free act of will, but of course, saying that someone exercises an act of will toward their damnation is not semi-Pelagianism. It would be only if it was an act of will toward their salvation--and Arminians don't believe that.

I think you have described the confused view of Arminian theology well. "It's all God . . . and me accepting it from the act of my own will." Then it's not all God. It is synergism. God working in man, but man co-operating with God to choose and follow him.

The problem with this statement is that is has no resemblance to anything I've actually said. I've said savlation is all from God--period. I've said it over and over. I find it funny that you put what my "description" in quotes and it's the exact opposite of what I actually said. You just keep falling back to the same false view despite my clear and persistent explanation that it is a mischaracterization of what Arminians really believe.

Ultimately Jackson, I know you just want me to say, "OK I guess Arminian theology leaves it all up to God even though a man's salvation is reliant both on God's work and the man's decision to choose it," but it is contradictory. It is a reviving of Semi-Pelagianism in Reformed clothing.

No, that's not what I want you to say. (a) I've never said that salvation is "reliant both on God's work and the man's decision to choose it"--I've said exactly the opposite. And I've said it Repeatedly. Very. Cleary. And. Slowly. (b) I'm not trying to get you to agree with anything. You have proven that you won't even listen to what I have to say about how you have mischaracterized what Arminians believe--you just keep repeating the same disproven allegations over and over again. You're just providing an excellent illustration of my initial point about the impossibility of dialogue with people holding your viewpoint.

How then would any who were given the grace reject it?

God allows them the freedom to reject that grace, at least according to the Arminian view. But that issue has nothing to do with semi-Pelagianism. Even if you disagree with the Arminian view on this matter, you can't say that because they hold this view, they are semi-Pelagians, because saying that men have freedom to reject God's grace does not contradict the view that God's grace provides all movement toward salvation--and that man plays no part in that at all.

I think you sould stop saying that scholars are the ones in error and mischaracterize the issues when there is such a plethora of them stating things that are contrary to your position.

So I shouldn't disagree because they're big bad religious scholars and I'm just a little peon? (a) You don't know what kind of training I've had; and (b) that's an elitist point of view--i.e., only certain pepole are worthy to speak of matters of theology and the rest of us should just sit down and listen. That sounds kind of papist for the descendents of the Reformation, don't you think?

Jackson

Pilgrim, I found your steps a bit condescending toward me and people who hold my views.

You and I both know that according to Jackson's previous formulation, the only difference between those who respond in faith and those who respond in disbelief is within themselves. He admits as much. What he won't admit is that this means those who respond in faith are therefore the good people, and the others the bad people. This smells a lot like Pelagius to me. BUT this is not what Jackson actually concludes - but he ought to.

This is a mischaracterization of what I said. In my view, the difference between those who are saved and those who are not saved is that some allow God's grace to move them toward salvation (with all movement being God's), and others freely reject that grace. So I wouldn't say that "those who respond in faith are therefore the good people, and the others the bad people." I would say that those who are saved are moved to salvation by God's grace, and those who are damned freely reject God's grace. Those who are saved are saved by God alone--not by being good.

So, what you think "smells a lot like Pelagius" actually does smell like Pelagiaus--but it isn't what I or other Arminians actually believe. What we believe has no resemblance to Pelagius at all, because we affirm that God's grace alone provides salvation--and that no act of man leads to or contributes to human salvation. I find it funny that the people who are criticizing Armianisim here always fall back on critiquing Pelagianism--but not Arminianism itself.

Point out all the places where we can simply agree with Scripture where they simply cannot. Not all the typical ones.

Of course, I can do this too. For every verse you throw out, I can throw out ones about God "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4) or any numbers of others. Don't assume that people who hold Arminian viewpoints do so for less-than-scriptural reasons. Most serious Arminians believe what they do because of what scripture teaches.

A confrontation of this kind will (nearly) NEVER generate positive results.

Exactly. My original point was: why should emergent even get in discussions with people who think they're right? Why should we debate with the Mohlers and Carson's of the world when it won't do any good? Your statement was directed at me--that I'm too hard-headed to have a productive conversation with. But you think the proto-Calvinists aren't? These kind of discussions are simply unproductive, and they should be avoided by emergent because they will only distract us from our calling. Our conversation here has served as an excellent illustration of that point, and given the above statement, I'm glad to see you agree.

tooaugust

Jackson, it's funny that your actually going against your own idea of not conversing with "people like us," since you've taken so much time to do so; but I'm glad you have anyway.

Here is how the Arminian argument looks to us so you can understand why it's not just a matter of us disagreeing with your theology, but with your logic as well.

How is a man saved?
Your answer, "By the grace of God alone moving a man to salvation. Those who choose it do so from an act of God alone."

Does God want all men to be saved?
Your answer, "Yes."

Does God give this grace, which moves all men given it toward His salvation, to all men?
Your answer, "Yes."

Why do some not believe?
"Because they must ALLOW God's grace to move them to salvation. If they do not, this is an act of their own free will."

Why do some believe?
"They allow God's grace to move them to salvation."

What is the difference then between those who believe and disbelieve? It wouldn't be grace since God gives it to all. It wouldn't be God's drawing/moving/motivating grace that alone moves all believers into salvation. What is the difference then?
"THE ACT OF THE WILL that either allows or disallows God's grace to be effectual." You may not want to say that it is an act of the will because you know this connects you to the Semi-Pelagian position, but at this point, it is simply semantics (allow, disallow, accept, reject---what is allowance but overcoming the disallowance of man's complete corruption in sin? Why don't all men overcome it then if the same perfect work of this grace is within all of them?).

A man chooses to reject based upon an act of his will, but chooses salvation based upon an act of God's through grace. However, how can anyone be lost then? If God desires all to be saved and God's grace is what moves absolutely wicked and depraved men into full salvation with Him, and apart from that grace they are the same as those who reject, then what makes them accept? Even if given some power to accept God, wouldn't all men simply choose evil anyway since they are completely immersed in the love of it? Doesn't God have to give a man the compelling desire to come to Him? If He gives this overwhelmingly, compelling desire to come to Him to everyone, how would anyone reject? If He didn't give an overwhelmingly, compelling desire to believers, how would anyone accept? You didn't deal at all with the Scripture I gave you in John that speaks specifically to God's act of drawing an individual and how it is exclusive and always effectual.

The problem we have Jackson is that you are saying two things that contradict one another, and doing so because the Remonstrants set the stage for you to do so. IT is YOU who are not HEARING US. Listen, if God wants all men to be saved and can save them solely by His grace alone without RELYING on whether the man accepts him from his own free will, then all would be saved! You simply stating that some can accept and others reject is proving the point that this theology does not rely completely on God's choice for salvation but is reliant upon whether one accepts His grace or not. If one's acceptance is all from God and not from the man, then all ought to be saved. Otherwise, there is a difference between the man who believes and the man who disbelieves but you are not being honest about it and CLARIFYING what that difference is. Simply stating over and over again that man can reject on his own but man only accepts God because of God's grace and then state that all are given that moving grace is contradictory. You would actually be a Calvinist if you lost the addition "but man can reject it," and "God gives this grace to all men." Everything else you're saying is the Calvinist position. So here is impeccable logic- a) "man plays no part" in whether he is saved or not, b) except for the fact that he can reject it. c) So the very person who can reject it can also accept it. d) This man must accept it to be saved, e) but he has NO PART in whether he is saved.

I think no part means none. So man has no need to have a part in accepting or rejecting God's grace in order for it to work for or against his salvation. Great, Jackson, you're a Calvinist. I'm glad we cleared that up.

You also never answered why God tries to save all and is able to save some and not others. Are these others worse/more evil/the really bad people as opposed to the somewhat bad or minorly spiritually injured people, who are not as depraved and far away from God?

By the way, the Scripture you quoted can better be interpreted in its context. That's why God gives them. They're helpful for understanding a text and not using for whatever "johnny come lately" theology wants to do with it. Who is the all in the context? What is Paul addressing in the context? What is the use of the Greek word pas in contexts where kinds/groups/classes are delineated? This would be helpful to understand the text you cited, and if you were honest, you would easily see that it does not say what you've used it to say.

Finally, you really need to stop attacking scholars as though their a bunch of non-thinking fundamentalists. Carson was actually my NT advisor at Trinity and I can say that he is an incredibley well read and thoughtful individual. I have never known him to jump to conclusions on anything. He also listens to the other side of things even if he doesn't agree. That is the nature of good scholarship in general.
Having said that, is it possible for him to be wrong? Sure, but I haven't really seen where he is wrong. Having spoken to numerous people in Emergent, listening to Brian McLaren, etc. I think Carson is talking about an attitude that is being presented by the movement as well as some ideas that some of its followers and proponents have championed. I have not read his full book yet, but I think you ought to at least give him the benefit that he's studied the issue.
Other than that, your argument that I said you should just bow down to scholarship is ridiculous. You again didn't hear a word I said, as is common among you fundamentalists. I stated that you ought to have humility in understanding that some people specialize in subjects and may have more insight into it than you do, so you shouldn't just assume that they don't know what they're talking about and you do. I guess you would perform your own brain surgery and be your own lawyer, but I wouldn't recommend it if that is not your subject. Does that mean you just believe anything your doctor or lawyer say? No, but you ought to at least listen and question your own alternate views if they disagree with you.

tooaugust

I'm sorry. I didn't realize that Jackson is actually Michael Jackson. You should probably worry about your court case then, Michael, and not worry about loving people with the truth. A fuzzy feeling will do. What God should we pray to though? I hope we get the right one since we're not worrying about all of this theological babble.

Scott C-J


Tony,

Thanks for some thoughtful and provocative insights. I don't know that I have much substantive to add (in light of this recent read, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0691122946/qid=1111965064/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-1466295-0700659?v=glance&s=books&n=507846, I have become a more tentative Blogger) but I'll give it a shot....

Tony uses an interesting term, "pre-Barth evangelical Calvinists." It's a helpful one, and perhaps broader than Tony initially intended. Take for instance, someone like Peter Leithart (www.leithart.com, this BLOG is chock FULL of great theology), or Michael Horton. These are two Reformed thinkers who don't line up with Barth on a whole host of issues (election, sacraments, etc.), but use Barth appreciately in their own constructive theological work. They are post-Barth, not in the sense of being adherents, but in being conversation partners. But they also drink from lots of other wells from which you don't find conservative Reformed folks imbibing. Peter uses lots of Eastern Orhodox stuff, while Horton's most recent work on Christology engages stuff like Levinas, Derrida and Moltmann. This has less to do with their relationship to Barth then their general sense of catholicity, which allows them to appropriate Barth among other things. I have a friend who attended RTS Orlando. He told me that Richard Pratt, a fairly conservative Calvinist and Professor at RTS used to begin his intro classes with the following analogy. He used to explain to students that if Christendom were a cow, a hair on the cow's posterior would be representative of the Reformed significance to the cow's overall existence. This maybe a bit overstated for emphasis, but the point is well taken. A sense sense of self-awareness allows one to be truly ecumenical without watering down one's ecclesial or confessional commitments.

Evangelical-Calvinist critics of Emergent are also probably critics of everything, including themselves. I mean this. I have friends (www.hornes.org/theologia, www.leithart.com, www.dougwils.com) who are being accused of heresy by folks in the PCA. These are Westminster Calvinists who have no problems whatsoever with TULIP. They probably aren't uncomfortable confessing the inerrancy of scripture either. The reason for the accusation? They read people like N.T. Wright and don't think he is totally wrong about everything he says about justification. Oh, and they also have a fairly high view of sacramental efficacy, one that most of them would say comes from the Westminster Confession. For a wonderful analysis of the combative nature of conservative Reformed types, see John Frame's "Mache's Warrior Children". Frame lists 22 issues over the past few decades that have become all or nothing theological battles in Calvinist circles. If you're outside the Reformed camp, these discussions will seem pretty parochial. http://www.christiancounterculture.com/40615/machen.html

As a a missionally minded Reformed person in a Mainline denomination (the Presbyerian Church USA), I am an appreciator of Emergent. The only thing that frustrates me at times is some occasional arrogance. For instance, I have read Mainline ecclesial structures described as "demonic" on an Emergent Blog, and have also read exhortations to Emergent folks to applaud and celebrate disaffected member of my own denomination who leave it. As one deeply committed to ecumenism (which in Mainline circles sometimes means reaching out to the "other" in one's own denomination, as well as to folks in other communions), these comments are frustrating. Sometimes folks in Emergent circles assume that the reason why people like me stay where I am is that I am a company man, a defender of old establishmentarian ways of doing things. I'm not. I just feel as though God has called me to bear witness and labor in an ambigous vineyard.

But arrogance is a trait that is not easily confined. I can understand much of the occasional bitterness toward the Mainline that comes from Emergent circles. I was defending Emergent to a young Mainline pastor yesterday. The frustrating thing was she knew very little about the movement at all, yet made some fairly bold indictments. I'm sure Emergent folks get this all the time from Mainline folks. Also some Mainline folks can be just as parochial as conservative Reformed folks, not about theology, but about institutional legitimacy. For some, you're only "really" Church if you're part of one of the traditional established institutional expressions of the Church. This kind of stuff is bound to provoke a reaction, and I take the aforementioned sentiments coming from Emergent about the Mainline as at least in part response to inhospitable interlocutors.

Thanks to Tony for his usual insightul comments that have provoked a healthy discussion.

Happy Easter,
Scott C-J


Jackson

Why do some not believe?
"Because they must ALLOW God's grace to move them to salvation. If they do not, this is an act of their own free will."

My use of the language "allow" in the sentence you quoted (which was in respone to pilgrim's question) was a slip of my theologial language and is not reflective of what I actually believe. In fact, if it was intentional, then I contradicted myself in that same paragraph when I said "I would say that those who are saved are moved to salvation by God's grace", and I contradicted every other statement I've made in the past twenty posts when I've argued in that God alone moves us to salvation.

What I said in my post to you reflects the beliefs that I and Arminians actually hold, and it is the one that I have consistently repeated: Arminians "believe that God's grace provides all the movement toward salvation, and they don't think that man needs to 'excercise his will' to accept it for grace to work. God provides grace to everyone and they will come to salvation unless they explictly reject that grace by a free act of their will." Thus, I do not believe that man needs to "allow" God to save us. Despite my slipup in one sentence--which I retract as unintentional and not reflective of my beliefs--I think I've made myself clear, and I think that this demonstrates clearly that my beliefs are not semi-Pelagian.

What is the difference then between those who believe and disbelieve? It wouldn't be grace since God gives it to all. It wouldn't be God's drawing/moving/motivating grace that alone moves all believers into salvation. What is the difference then?
"THE ACT OF THE WILL that either allows or disallows God's grace to be effectual."

The difference between those who believe and disbelieve is that those who reject God's grace use their free will to do so, and the others are moved by God's grace to salvation. There is an act of the will in the negative sense only; there is NO act of the will--and thus no work--toward salvation. Thus, Arminians are not semi-Pelagian and to say that they are is do to an injustice to their views and to, in effect, slander them with a false witness.

If He gives this overwhelmingly, compelling desire to come to Him to everyone, how would anyone reject? If He didn't give an overwhelmingly, compelling desire to believers, how would anyone accept?

He gives sufficient grace to move human being to salvation, but also allows them the freedom to reject it. I don't ask the question "how would anyone accept" because I don't believe that anyone "accepts". God moves to salvation unless you reject it.

Listen, if God wants all men to be saved and can save them solely by His grace alone without RELYING on whether the man accepts him from his own free will, then all would be saved!

Not if God gives them the freedom to reject that grace--and Arminians believe that God does.

You simply stating that some can accept and others reject is proving the point that this theology does not rely completely on God's choice for salvation but is reliant upon whether one accepts His grace or not.

As I have said, I don't think some can "accept" and that God's grace is reliant upon that acceptance. I think he gives us the freedom to reject, and otherwise God moves us to salvation. I haven't said "some can accept and others reject" or that salvation is dependent on "whether one accepts His grace or not"--and to say that I did would be a misrepresentation of my views.

If one's acceptance is all from God and not from the man, then all ought to be saved.

Not if God has allowed humans the freedom to reject that grace.

Otherwise, there is a difference between the man who believes and the man who disbelieves but you are not being honest about it and CLARIFYING what that difference is.

The difference is that one rejects God's grace and the other does not reject it.

Simply stating over and over again that man can reject on his own but man only accepts God because of God's grace and then state that all are given that moving grace is contradictory.

There is no contradiction in saying that (a) God provides grace to all; (b) some reject that grace; and (c) others do not.

." Everything else you're saying is the Calvinist position. So here is impeccable logic- a) "man plays no part" in whether he is saved or not, b) except for the fact that he can reject it. c) So the very person who can reject it can also accept it. d) This man must accept it to be saved, e) but he has NO PART in whether he is saved.

Everything I say sounds like the Calvinist because Arminius thought he was faithfully following in the tradition of Calvin when he formulated his views; he certainly didn't think he was semi-Pelagian but exactly the opposite. I hold to (a), (b), and (e), but I do not hold in (c) and (d)--those are not what I believe and are a misrepresentation of my views and a slander against them.

You also never answered why God tries to save all and is able to save some and not others. Are these others worse/more evil/the really bad people as opposed to the somewhat bad or minorly spiritually injured people, who are not as depraved and far away from God?

Everyone is fully depraved and God's prevenient grace is sufficient to move them to salvation unless they reject it. The difference between those who are saved and those who aren't stems from the reality that some humans freely reject God's grace. God allows people to turn away, even though he wants to save them all and has acted on their behalf, because he grants human freedom to do so.

By the way, the Scripture you quoted can better be interpreted in its context. That's why God gives them. They're helpful for understanding a text and not using for whatever "johnny come lately" theology wants to do with it.

I know the context and I think it was correctly quoted. My point was that scripture does not support only the Calvinist position and that everyone else is willfully disobeying the scriptures. And my theology, despite your insult, is not "johnny come lately".

Carson was actually my NT advisor at Trinity...

For some reason, this is not surprising.

I am finished with this discussion--I have made an honest effort at dialogue, but we have reached the end of any productive conversation and are just spinning our wheels over the same ground. I'm tired of the snide remarks and comments that lace your posts (ones that are not directed even at my views, but at me personally). If that reflective of a student of D.A. Carson's, then I think that my judgment that emergent should not worry about his views or dialogue with him in respond to his upcoming book was a well-founded one. I would have expected better and am disappointed, but not surprised, at what I have found here. When his book comes out in June, I expect something similar to happen on a larger scale.

My points have been (a) that emergent should not dialogue with people who only want to defeat us and prove that they're right and we're wrong. I have persisted in this discussion partly out of a desire to test that judgment and see if it was correct or not. I think it clearly was, but anyone who cares to read them can decide for themselves. My other point was (b) to establish that one need not be a proto-Calvinist to be an orthodox Christian, as people like tooaugust seem to believe. To this end, I defended Arminianian against charges of semi-Pelagainism, and I think I clearly demonstrated that such charges are inaccurate, because Arminians do not hold that any human work or effort is required for salvation.

I will neither read nor write any more posts on this thread.

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