Thursday, August 06, 2009

The typical Calvinist

"At times, one must wonder why so many Calvinists are so very angry. The psychological affects of Calvinism are not so easily ascertained. According to John Piper, typically, certain types of people are prone to accepting Calvinism. 'What types of people are these?' you ask. These, according to Piper, are the intellectual types (quite a misnomer, given that there are many intellectual non-Calvinists); and these types of people produce negative and mean-spirited attitudes, some of whom, he admits, may not be born again (which I have stated previously as well). It is interesting: the gospel of Jesus Christ does not attract such types of people. I digress."

According to this statement, the typical person who is attracted to Calvinism is a different type of person than the typical person who is attracted to the Gospel. So, according to this Birch's statement, Calvinists typically find the Gospel unattractive. Hence, the typical Calvinist is unsaved. Hellbound. Damned.

Moving along:

"Did I write that Piper stated as a universal truth that all Calvinists produce negative and mean-spirited attitudes? No, that is what Hays read into my words."

He made a categorial statement about a whole class of individuals. A type of individual.

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that he isn't speaking of all Calvinists. He is, however, speaking of the typical Calvinist.

So, according to him, the typical Calvinist is mean-spirited. What is worse, the typical Calvinist doesn't find the gospel attractive. Hence, the typical Calvinist is not a true Christian.

I realize that many opponents bitterly resent it when I take them at their word and hold them to their words. But I hardly think that's unfair.

Of course, Birch is welcome to retract that characterization. He could admit that he expressed himself carelessly.

But let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that he didn't intend to say the typical Calvinist is damned. Where does that leave the rest of his argument?

Remember that he had a psychological theory for why the the typical Calvinist is mean-spirited and underhanded:

"I think that this matter penetrates much deeper psychologically than what Piper or most Calvinists are willing to admit. The reason why many Calvinists act in an un-Christlike manner has little to do with the feeling of being misled by Arminian theology. Like Father, like son. Ungodly Calvinists are merely imitating the concept of God that they have embraced...Unconvinced of this truth, the Calvinist constructs a worldview of God that is deficient, and he or she then begins to imitate that erroneous view of God. And because God treats human beings in such an underhanded manner (so they think), then so can they!"

So is this theory typical or atypical of Calvinists? If it's typical, then Calvinists are typically damned. But if it's atypical, then his psychological theory has precious little explanatory power. It would describe anomalous behavior rather than typical behavior. Is it like Father/like son, or not?

1 comment:

  1. I don't mind him writing up a psychological profile of what he thinks a "typical" Calvinist is... as long as he's okay with a Triabloguer writing up a psychological profile of what they think a "typical" Arminian is like.

    Turn about is fair play, yes?