“In defense of this they might point out that John Wesley's famous sermon Free Grace is loaded with emotional charges and polemical salvoes.”
Case in point: “Such blasphemy this, as one would think might make the ears of a Christian to tingle! But there is yet more behind; for just as it honours the Son, so doth this doctrine honour the Father. It destroys all his attributes at once: It overturns both his justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust.”
Incidentally, Wesley isn’t the only one who says this. Roger Olsen also said, “The God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil.”
“There is a difference, however. Wesley reserves his harsh language for Calvinism, not for Calvinists.
The Triabloggers attack persons as well as doctrines.”
i) Of course, that’s a phony distinction. If you say the God of Calvinism is diabolical, then you are also saying something about a Calvinist. If the God we worship is diabolical, then we are devil-worshipers. The object of worship says something about the subject of worship. If we worship the devil, then that makes us devil-worshipers.
Likewise, when Wesley says that Calvinism is blasphemous, that makes Calvinists blasphemers.
ii) Moreover, some Arminians don’t leave it to the reader to draw the inference for himself. Just to make sure the reader didn’t miss the connection, they spell it out. You become what you worship. If you worship Molech or Satan or worse (!), then you become Satanic. You take on the character of the thing you worship. Like father, like son.
Reppert plugged a critic of Calvinism (Birch) who goes out of his way to make that connection. Robert, an anti-Calvinist troll, also makes that connection explicitly. You are what you worship.
(And, in fact, that’s a sound Biblical principle.)
“Why is there so much anger in the debate about Calvinism? One is the passion-inducing nature of the controversy.”
i) I notice that Report, Birch and others are prone to making assumptions about what motivates the Calvinist. However, I, for one, have never faulted an anti-Calvinist for using “offensive” or “hurtful” language. I have never said, “How dare you say that about a Calvinist like me!”
Instead, I quote their anti-Calvinist invective to illustrate their two-faced behavior. On the one hand, they cast themselves as Mr. Nice Guy. They cite chapter and verse about how we’re supposed to be kind and gentle in our speech.
Then, in the same breath, they say Calvinism is diabolical. And if you can’t take a hint, they add that you are what you worship.
Well, isn’t that the worst possible thing you could ever say about a professing believer? That he’s a blasphemer? A devil-worshiper? A closet Satanist?
Now, if the charge is true–fine. But don’t pretend that this represents civil discourse
iii) Last, but not least–there’s far more to this issue than mere rhetoric. There’s an actual policy in place. Some anti-Calvinists are on search and destroy mission.
From what I’ve heard and read, there are quarters of the SBC in which we see a systematic effort to purge the denomination of Calvinists. To oust them. Sabotage their careers.
So, on the one hand, we’re treated to this flower-power verbiage about love and brotherhood. But behind-the-scenes we witness the theological equivalent of ethnic cleansing.
Hence, it’s not as if this is merely the case of how some Arminians talk about Calvinists, but how they actively discriminate against Calvinists–all the while spouting sanctimonious rhetoric about Christian charity.