When I write blog posts, I do it from a positional standpoint. I write so that my main point is well-defended, but also so that alternate points of attack are secured. I write trying to anticipate objections, and sometimes I write hoping that someone will make a specific challenge to my position.
It’s called setting a trap. Today, I caught a wild boar.
Michael Spencer, at the Boar’s Head Tavern, took umbrage with my recent posts on Calvinism and Arminianism. Here is the totality of his statement:
Peter Pike at Triablogue says prayer only makes sense in reformed theology. This follows his post that the shootings at New Life Church- now revealed to be by a disgruntled ex-YWAM member- should make you a Calvinist.Now first I must note that I never said the shootings at New Life Church “should make you a Calvinist.” If Spencer is going to get upset at me, he should at least get upset for something I actually wrote. I said that the response to the shootings at New Life Church demonstrated that Arminians were closet Calvinists. It didn’t make them Calvinists, it demonstrated that they held Calvinists views without realizing it.
Is there any astonishment left for the hubris and condescension in these kinds of statements? When an Arminian or non-Calvinist says the reverse of these sorts of things, the walls come down under the crush of internet theologians trying to get their 2 cents in to show how offended they are.
Again, anyone can refer to my posts to see I actually presented an argument. Spencer gave us feigned indignation, as if that were a valid response. All Spencer offers is ad hominem, but that’s to be expected from the iMonk.
Spencer claims that I have exerted “hubris and condescension in these kind of statements” yet he offers no evidence as to why that would be the case. I guess my fatal flaw was looking at an event and stating what I thought was true about it. I guess we’re not supposed to worry about truth these days, since apparently keeping the offended in Hell is more important.
Anyone can look at my argument and see that New Life Church played no part in it. It set the stage for what I wrote, but it had nothing to do with the reasons I provided. Indeed, the tragedy involved could have been anything, and as such was an objective argument that was not limited to any one particular event. I only mentioned New Life because A) it just happened and B) it happened near me.
In fact, it is Spencer who bends to hubris here. Notice how Spencer goes out of his way to inform us that the shooter has been revealed to be a former YWAM member? I only ask: why does this information matter? Why should your argument change depending on who the shooter was? If what you stand for changes because of something as trivial as this, then how pathetic is your argument in the first place?
It certainly didn’t matter to my argument who the shooter was. It could have been Dick Cheney for all it would have affected my position. Spencer brings this up because it is he who is attempting to use the violence at New Life in a hubristic and condescending manner. He is using the murders there to stifle the presentation of the truth.
I should note that I have Biblical precedent for using a tragedy as a lunching point for a theological discussion. Jesus Himself said:
And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-5)Oh, the hubris and condescension Christ displayed toward those 18 victims when that tower fell! How dare He “exploit” this tragedy in such a manner.
One final note should be brought forth. Michael Spencer has himself recently stated of John Piper: “There’s something about that level of rhetoric that always makes me think of the zealous rhetoric of Islam, and I have to wonder at what point the tone of things becomes a clue to how the Bible is being used and how Jesus Christ himself is being proclaimed” (emphasis added).
Centuri0n has gone over this in great detail already. But one must seriously wonder how it is possible for my pointing out (with actual argumentation!) that Arminians had to retreat to Calvinistic positions is “hubris” and “condescending” and yet comparing John Piper to “the zealous rhetoric of Islam” is cotton candy.
But I’ll give Spencer another chance. Since he didn’t bother to look at any of the arguments I presented the first time around, why doesn’t he do so now? I would have gladly left a comment on his blog asking him to do just that, but apparently he’s too afraid of those who deign to disagree with the mighty boar’s head to suffer comments. Well we’ve unmasked your boar’s head, Michael, and it’s the Lord of the Flies.