Friday, November 04, 2011

Around the Horn

At first base, the Gospel Coalition has a good article today about Calvinism and the gospel. I warn you, however, don’t read it. It was ruin all your arguments against Calvinism.

I am convinced that most people reject Calvinism, not because of overwhelming biblical arguments, but because (1) they listen to what the opponents of Calvinism say about Calvinism (they are usually wrong), and (2) they watch how Calvinists live (which isn’t all that different than how Arminians non-Calvinists live. We both tend towards disobedience.). Neither is a particularly good way to learn about Calvinism. If someone asks me how they should learn about Calvinism and the gospel, I say just read the Bible. It has all you need to know.
At second base, speaking of Calvinism vs. Arminianism, one of the common refrains from people is “I am neither.” A couple of interesting articles by admitted Arminian Roger Olson dispels that notion. He says,
I wish the Baptist Arminians would quit running from the word.  Frank Page claims he’s neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.  I heard that all the time among Baptists in the South especially.  And the only reason for it is a wrong impression of what it means to be Arminian.  As I have demonstrated in Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, one can be fully and authentically Arminian and believe in inamissable grace (so-called “eternal security”).
Here’s an self-professed Arminian saying, “You believe what I do.” So quit running from the label. It won’t change what you are.
Rounding third base, Todd Rhoades posts this letter on church discipline. He calls it a nightmare and says it is a tad bit off edge, though he doesn’t say why. Perhaps it is because, as the first commenter says, this church is saying that the man is not a Christian. I wouldn’t say a person isn’t a Christian. I would say, and have said, that a person has no reason to have assurance that he or she is one so long as they continue in this pattern of unrepentant sin. After all, isn’t that what church discipline is? Church discipline is saying that a person is not acting like a Christian and in fact, those whom he covenanted with have no valid reason to consider him as a Christian. Men with more heft than me, like Mark Dever and Dave Doran, have said essentially the same thing. Perhaps it is a wording thing. The church is for people who carry the marks of Christianity to at least some degree in their lives. No one expects you to be perfect. As I often say, I have no problem with people who struggle. It’s the people who don’t struggle that I worry about.
The home run today is the new 9 Marks E Journal on Church Revitalization. I am interested in this since I have lived this life for about thirteen years. As I told someone recently, thirteen years ago I had no real direction or idea about what I was getting into. I didn’t know people who had done it. I wasn’t familiar with books or e-journals on it. I am not even sure I recognized how great the problem was. I sure didn’t know what to do. I had the “Field of Dreams” approach to church. If you preach it, they will come. They didn’t. So I have learned a lot on the fly, and perhaps some day I will write my own thoughts about it here at Stuff Out Loud. But for now I will read this with interest.
And today, a curtain call for John Acuff at Stuff Christians Like who reminds us that “you don’t need a plane ticket to be distant from your family.”

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