Below is a letter I sent last week. Not surprisingly, I haven't received a reply.
Does anyone notice an emerging pattern here? Arminians preach love and brotherhood. And they denounce Reformed theology for its exclusivism. Yet in practice, notice how many Arminians observe the blue code of silence. Arminians have an in-group mentality. They are loyal to their own.
I'm afraid too many Arminians have a Mafia honor code without the fine cuisine or beautiful women.
REV. JAMES M. LEONARD SAID:
Thanks Mr. Hays for drawing my attention to the excellent article by Billy Birch and vindicating his analysis.
Billy, you have a bright future ahead of you, and are already way out in front of your peers. Just beware that your first class work will draw lots of criticism from those who fear you.
8/04/2009 12:09 PM
Hi Rev. Leonard,
That's a striking endorsement. Since you're both an ordained minister as well as a doctoral candidate at Cambridge, I don't think it's asking to much if you clarify your endorsement. Let's take the following claim by Birch:
“And since God has allegedly decreed to unconditionally save some and unconditionally reprobate the rest, since ‘few’ will find the narrow way to heaven, and ‘many’ will follow the broad path to hell, according to Jesus, then my statement concerning Calvinism's teachings are correct.”
Do you think that analysis represents first class historical analysis?
I myself can think of some rather obvious historical objections to that analysis.
1. A number of Calvinists believe in the universal salvation of those who die in infancy. For example, I believe that's the position of Hodge, Warfield, and Webb. Given high rates in infant mortality, both in the past, and at present in 3rd world countries, that's a very sizable chunk of humanity.
2. Likewise, many Calvinists are postmillennialists. While they think Christianity has been a minority position in the past, they also think Christianity will be the majority position in the future. Thus they think that, overall, the majority of human beings will be saved.
3. You also have Calvinists who subscribe to both (1) & (2).
4. To give a concrete example, take Warfield's classic monograph: "Are they few that be saved?"
If you like, I can also contact some church historians to see if they confirm my historical assessment.
Now, unless you take issue with these historical data-points, is it still your considered opinion that Birch's statement is an accurate depiction of Reformed historical theology?
I trust that your answer will be dictated by historical evidence rather than partisan sympathies.