“Well, you put forward that Arminians deny that God can be trusted to plan their lives, that Bennon evidences a lack of faith in God's wisdom, and that Brennon doesn't trust God to plan his life. You've made one very crucial mistake though - What you mean is that Arminians deny that God-As-Calvinism-Paints-Him, or the Calvinist God for short, can be trusted to plan their lives.”
i) Wrong. I’m not arguing on Reformed assumptions. Rather, I’m arguing on Arminian assumptions. It’s Arminians who constantly object to the notion that everything we think and say and do was scripted by God.
So I simply take them at their word. If you don’t trust God to plan your life, then you don’t trust God with your life.
ii) However, let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that I was judging them by my own theological standards. So what? I also judge John Spong by own theological standards. Do you think I should judge John Spong by his theological standards?
For that matter, when Arminians like Wesley, Olson, and Brennon compare the God of Calvinism to Satan (or worse), they are judging Calvinism by their own theological standards.
Everyone takes his own position as the point of reference. Big deal.
“If the Calvinist God is, in fact, a misrepresentation of God, and merely a man-made concept, then it is wise of them not to trust a man-made concept…To say that that they don't trust the real God because they don't trust the version of God that you think exists is a blade that cuts both ways. They could as easily claim that you don't trust the real God because you don't the version of God that they think exists.”
I don’t have a problem with tu quoque arguments. If the blade truly cuts both ways, fine.
“They do trust God-As-They-See-Him-To-Be.”
So does the Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist, Baal-worshiper, Jehovah’s Witness, &c.
“But despite these difference, you both worship Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, the one and only Truine God, in Spirit and Truth as much as you know how.”
Actually, the Arminians I typically deal with play a double game: They say: “You Calvinists worship the Devil! In fact, your God is even worse than the Devil! But, hey, we’re still brothers and sisters in Christ!”
“Arminians are elect too, you know, and are brothers and sisters in Christ.”
“Elect” in what sense? In the Arminian sense, viz. conditional election (e.g. foreseen faith and/or corporate election), or the Reformed sense, viz. unconditional election? Your usage is equivocal.
Are you asking me to judge Arminians by Calvinist standards? By Calvinists standards, some Arminians are elect while other Arminians are reprobate–just as some Calvinists are elect while other Calvinists are reprobate.
If, however, you’re asking me to judge Arminians by Calvinist standards, then you’ve just contradicted yourself since you now asking me to judge the Arminian “as-Calvinism-paints-him.”
“Exactly. It is a massive case of question begging on Steve's part from the very start.”
To the contrary, I’m describing the Arminian according to his own theology.
“Truly, if the Arminians are right and God did in fact make a provision of atonement for all and enables all who hear the gospel to respond in faith, then it is the Calvinist that ‘talks back to God’ in denying this Biblical truth. Furthermore, if God has sovereignly decided to grant man a measure of free will and hold him accountable for how He uses that will, then the Calvinists is ‘talking back to God’ in denying God that right, or in re-defining His ‘sovereignty’ so as to exclude that possibility.”
What a splendid example of Scripture twisting. Ben is ripping a Bible verse out of context, then reassigning that verse to perform the polar opposite of what Paul actually said. Here is what Paul said:
“So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” (Rom 9:18-21).
Paul characterizes “answering back to God” as somebody who says, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’
But Ben redefines “answering back to God” as somebody who says, “Who are you to question God if he allows us to resist his will?”
It would be hard to come up with a more brazen example of negating Scripture.
“If we think that someone has a wrong conception of God, then we should try to correct that through Scriptural examination, but we need to be very careful in our rhetoric since God will certainly hold us accountable for every careless word we speak.”
In that event I’d suggest that Ben redirect his admonition at some of his Arminian cobelligerents.