Thursday, August 06, 2009

Arminian duplicity

Is it ever appropriate to apply Biblical condemnations or judgmental language to your theological opponents? A number of Arminians feign indignation at this practice.

If a Calvinist does that, they exclaim, How dare you presume to emulate the linguistic practices of Scripture! Who do you think you are, exactly? A prophet? Apostle? Jesus? Only an inspired speaker is entitled to do that!

Indeed, some of them take this a step further. If you do this, then that calls your salvation into question. It fails to manifest the fruits of the Spirit.

Okay, let’s put this to the test. Here is what what prominent Arminian epologist said about Calvinists:

“When it comes to light that a teaching is clearly contradicted by biblical fact, its proponents will often try desperately to find some way to make the facts fit their doctrine, stretching the limits of believability and sanity. Others try instead to simply cloud the facts or cast doubt upon the clear meaning of the words of scripture, effectively nullifying what the word of God is saying so they won't be forced to deal with the facts therein. Chief among the earthly enemies of Christ were the Pharisees, who held their traditions and the teachings of the elders higher than the word of God. Often they would employ parts of doctrine they had themselves added to God's words to nullify or 'get around' the clear commands of God, such as honoring and caring for one's parents. Christ said to them concerning their doctrinal errors: "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." (Matthew 15:6). Thus, if a doctrine requires that certain commands of God or the clear statements made in scripture be made meaningless or 'explained away' in whole or in part, it is a sure bet that such doctrine is in serious error.”

Notice that Thibodaux is taking the very words of Christ himself, which–by Thibodaux’s own admission–were originally addressed to the Pharisees, whom Thibodaux goes out of the way to remind us were among the “chief enemies of Christ,” and then applying that condemnation directly to Calvinists.

Question for Arminians: is this proper or improper? Will Arminians wax indignant at Thibodaux’s behavior here? Or will they play favorites? Will they either pass over this in diplomatic silence or indulge in special pleading?

In my experience, not only do Arminians exhibit a persistent double standard, but they exhibit a persistent double-double standard. On the one hand, their theology is predicated on equal treatment for all. God loves everyone, so we should do the same.

On the other hand, they are strikingly inequitable in the way the treat their Arminian comrades in contrast to their Reformed opponents. Egalitarian theory, double-faced praxis.


  1. Brother Steve,

    Is drawing a parallel in behavior equal to calling you what he called the pharisees? I don't think he called you "enemies of Christ."

  2. Steve: "On the other hand, they are strikingly inequitable in the way the treat their Arminian comrades in contrast to their Reformed opponents. Egalitarian theory, double-faced praxis."

    Steve, I don't think you'll ever get used to the double standard employed by Arminian interlocutors. I've seen you comment on this behavior repeatedly. And recently.

    FWIW, I see this same type of behavior in not only Arminians, but also by Egalitarians and by Biblical errantists.

    In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if many Arminians weren't also egalitarians.