Sunday, February 17, 2008

… A follow-up on An Opinion.

A participant on a discussion board asked the following inquiry regarding something I had posted here several days ago.

I was reading a bit of your blog and stumbled across this in the first few entries...

Over these same several years I have also noted an entitlement attitude among Calvinists meaning they have staked out the position that they are the bastion of truth and take an offensive posture with regard to non-Calvinists. Many souls who disagree with Calvinist doctrine are "forced" to defend their non-Calvinist beliefs to a minority sect in Christendom of whom most Christians reject with regard to their unique doctrine. This situation should be reversed and it should be the Calvinist who must convince and defend his doctrines to the overwhelming body of Christ who see no comfort or truth in much of these doctrines. In other words, Calvinists do not get and do not deserve a free ride in Christendom with regard to what they insist is the truth. They are to be put under the spotlight, on the defensive and insisted upon to make a convincing case for their doctrines rather than continuously attack the doctrines of much of the body of Christ.

Can you explain what you mean further? Are you saying they have an "elitist" attitude?....Because I beg to differ. I can give you an example of what happened to me on an Arminian board. It wasn't pretty...and this was from people who claimed to be Christians.

And was much of the body of Christ Arminian in the 1500's?

Also, can you show that with people who UNDERSTAND both of these theologies THOROUGHLY, they believe "the Arminian way?" I find it telling that in my thread "Used to be" that it overwhelmingly went from Arminian to Calvinist, and not the other way around.

My reply on that board was as follows.

Thank you for your inquiry. The thought I am conveying through the use of "entitlement" is one of historical preeminence within the Protestant tradition. Calvinist apologetics begin from a perspective that assumes not an elitist view (although that could be shown to be a significant problem among several internet based Calvinist ministries) but from an historical Protestant or Evangelical outlook. The term "Reformed" for example has been co opted by Calvinists to represent Calvinistic dogmas. The phrase "doctrines of Grace" has been high jacked from the ecumenical body of Christ which itself embraces scriptural doctrines of grace and instead is used to represent unique and particular doctrines not adhered to by the significant majority of Christians. The Calvinist faith has a long and storied history and has played a fundamental role in taking evangelical Christianity away from and freeing from the influence and stifling practices of it's Roman predecessors. Early Calvinists and other Reformers deserve much credit for this and it should not be overlooked. However, this is not a license to project absolutism in the body yet Calvinism claims this for itself and views those who differ within the Protestant tradition to have strayed from the foundation of truth as defined by it's particular doctrines. Instead, I maintain Calvinism must defend itself and be denied preeminence if only because most Christians do not identify nor accept it's doctrines.

As to how much of the body of Christ was Arminian in the 16th century, I would answer that much of the body of Christ was not Calvinist in that age. Arminian pertains to a particular view established in response to what we regard as improper doctrine in the Calvinist camp. I would further address that inquiry by asking how much of the body of Christ was Calvinist in the 15th century and how much is Calvinist today?

With regard to your thread, I may have misread it as I thought you were asking Calvinists in particular and as such I refrained from addressing your central inquiry. I hold strongly to the opinion that Calvinism has to be taught from a systematic viewpoint rather than gained from reading the scriptures. Now I realize that many Calvinists will disagree with that opinion but I think it is sustainable by examining the arguments and language employed by Calvinists (particularly here in this internet media).

I hope that helped address your inquiry.

Blessings in Christ