Thursday, August 06, 2009

Double-dealing Arminians

According to one definition, a double standard is a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than another.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with treating different groups differently in case there are relevant differences which justify inequitable treatment. The problem is when standards are applied inequitably in the absence of relevant differential factors.

From a Christian standpoint, why should we care? For two basic reasons.

i) A double standard is an ethical lapse. A form of hypocrisy. Christians should avoid misconduct.

Since we're all sinners, we're all hypocritical to some degree. But habitual, impenitent duplicity in a professing Christian is a spiritually perilous condition.

ii) A double standard may also betray a lack of sincerity on the party of the individual who is guilty of applying the double standard. If he applies one standard to one group, and another standard to another group, then although he’s using two different standards, it’s quite possible that he only believes in one of them.

It’s useful to smoke out his true commitments. Is he sincere, or is he merely grandstanding?

Single double standards

In my experience, there are two different ways in which some Arminians are guilty of double standards:

i) An Arminian who has one standard for himself, and another standard for his Reformed opponent.

ii) An Arminian who has one standard for his Arminian comrades, and other standard for his/their Arminian opponents.

Double double standards

An Arminian who is guilty of a single, double standard is concomitantly guilty of a double double standard.

Not only is an Arminian committing a generic logical and ethical lapse, but he is also committing a specific theological and ethical lapse.

That’s due to the egalitarian structure of Arminian theology. God’s indiscriminate love.

And that, in turn, generates an ethical obligation to treat everyone equitably. An ethical obligation which is distinctive to Arminian ethics.

When, therefore, An Arminian is guilty of a single double standard, that carries with it a corollary culpability for a double double standard since he has not only violated generic moral and logical norms, but also violated moral and theological norms which are specific to his particular belief-system. So his favoritism compounds the ethical and logical lapse. An aggravated case of hypocrisy.

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