Friday, March 31, 2006

Ironic "Unity"

In case if you haven’t noticed, I’m a member of the “GodBloggers” team. This site is hosted by Simon of Thinking Deeply. Awhile back I posted a couple of answers to some questions Simon had concerning the Calvinism and Arminianism debate and Biblical unity. They seemed to be mature, well-thought-out questions that deserved a response.

But today I was passed a link to an article Simon had written that, I humbly believe, lacks the maturity that was displayed in our previous interactions. So, hoping that Simon will not kick me off of his blog aggregator, I’d like to offer a few comments by way of reply:

Wrongly Dividing the Body of Christ

This is a post of examples — Examples from Alan K, the Gadfly, from The Founders Ministry blog, and elsewhere. If you’re not up for it, then don’t read.

Sadly, this is rather a post consisting largely of experiential rant. I believe Simon recognizes this “rant nature,” and therefore makes his statement, “If you’re not up for it, then don’t read.” If you can’t handle posts that are permeated by emotional rants that are driven by the effort to discredit other members of the body of Christ, Simon tells you “Too bad; so sad.” This is the irony of those who make the claim that others are “wrongly dividing the body of Christ” or are “creating unnecessary disunity.” The attitude displayed in their statements is often an attitude that seeks to divide! Later, Simon states concerning whom he writes about, “You make me sick.” Now, is that an attitude that seeks to create unity? Philosophy calls this irony. The Bible calls it hypocrisy.

…In short, this is a group of people who want to see all Southern Baptists become Calvinists. That is what is meant by the “Doctrines of Grace” and the “Historic Baptist Principle”.

This was in response to the “About” page of the Founders Ministry website. It isn’t a false statement. But it is obviously a truth that is stated with negative tone. The Founders Ministry desires to see Southern Baptists return to their historical roots; it desires to see them embrace the faith that their fathers embraced. Their fathers embraced the Doctrines of Grace.

From the beginning, Simon casts this into the negative light. But he hasn’t told us what is wrong with this. He has yet to show that this is “wrongly dividing the body of Christ.”

Just like those at, the people at Founders Ministries display, consciously or not, their desire to be the Reformers. Their perspective is skewed in such a way, that they act as if they are living in the time of the Reformers. They react to Arminianism and Molinism today as if it were the Catholic Church of Luther’s and Calvin’s day. This spills over into their exegesis, especially of Paul’s letters - as N.T. Wright has pointed out.

How interesting that Simon cites N.T. Wright! But what could be more audaciously dividing than the New Perspective on Paul? What could create more disunity than the claim that all of church history simply missed the point? I mean, has Simon actually read the article he has linked? The gospel-of-N.T.-Wright-according-to-the-scholarship-of-E.P.-Sanders is not a unifying gospel. In its attempt to be eschatologically ecumenical, it arrogantly negates our very foundations. How is the notion that we now see something which centuries of exegetes simply missed a notion that promotes unity?

At, you can view “The Hall of Contemporary Reformers”, which is a collection of humorous sketches of people like Drs. James White and John Piper.

[sarcasm] The nerve of those guys! How terribly disuniting for them to collect humorous sketches of modern Calvinists! [/sarcasm]

The Founders Minsitry website is more than the official site of a “teaching” ministry. It’s also a gathering place where the faithful Calvinists who are online gather to pound their chests at anything that the blogwriter says.

Oh my, oh my. Simon’s disunity abounds:

1. What’s with the quotations around the word “teaching”? Are the Founders Ministers no longer teachers simply because they believe their church affiliation should return to its historical roots? I don’t remember seeing that qualification in 1 Tim 3…

2. The readers of the Founders’ blog are attacked as well. They are described as mindless brutes whose only goal is to promote themselves. Again, Simon is overflowing with unity, isn’t he?

Tom Ascol, the founder of the Founders Ministry, announced his upcoming debate with the brothers Caner. Joining him will be Dr. James White, who has repeatedly issued challenges to one Caner to debate about Calvinism. Dr. Caner is blessed by James’ taunting and belittling on account of speaking publically about his belief that Calvinism is false.

Alright, Simon. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume that this comment was made from ignorance. But it would be in your best interest to read the actual interaction between Dr. White and Dr. Caner. Read it. Be amazed with the rest of the world. Want to see a guy who is “wrongly dividing the body of Christ”? I’d check out that dialogue if I were you.

Notice the insistence on the cross-examination. Alan is not the only one emphasizing this — James issued his own statement on his site, even quoting portions of emails he sent to the Caner brothers while negotiating the terms of the debate. James absolutely insists on there being a lot of cross-examination. He’s a great debator - and he’s happy to remind you of that. His rhetorical skills, presentation, and ability to leave his opponents as if the cat has the tounge, can be seen clearly in his dozens of debates available for purcha$e on his site.

1. I suppose that Simon does not understand the purpose of cross-examination. If there were no cross-examination, the debate might as well have not taken place. Anyone can present a monologue; but that isn’t the purpose of a debate. The purpose of a debate is for each side to have the ability to make the other side defend its statements. Perhaps Simon does not like the notion that an Arminian would be caused to answer the relevant questions and defend his position exegetically.

2. I must humbly say, Simon, you sound terribly inexperienced. You use the $ sign for your “s” in “purchase,” but how further could you be from the point? Have you ever worked in a church? Ever administered its finances? Do you know how much materials cost? Do you expect a ministry to simply increasingly loose money and increasingly aquire debt simply so that they can put out their materials for free? Is that a Biblical expectation? How are you attempting to create unity here by insinuiting monetary dishonesty on the part of another believer?

“We have won the debate without there being a debate.” heh .. Some people think that life is about winning debates. Those same people think that winning a debate means that they’re correct about the debate topic. And some of those people think that they don’t even actually have to be in a debate to have won it. Beautiful.

It’s always nice to be informed about what “some people” think. But what relevance does that have here? Can Simon document that this is indeed the case here? Or does he think that it is an attitude of unity to make generic accusations and clump a group of people together simply to cast them in the negative light? Is that Biblical unity?

…And we slay all Arminians, and all people who disagree with us theologically.

We slay them with our words on the “Founders” blog. We slay them on Dr. White’s radio show. We slay them on the “Alpha & Omega” web site. We slay them on the Calvinist Gadfly web site.

When I open my Bible to the learn about the topic of unity, I don’t see the accusation being made that other Christians are theological murderers.

You make me sick.

Wonderful unity!

Listen, Simon, I’m not here to attack you, or to “give ya a taste of your own medicine” or anything like that. I just hope that you gain a proper perspective in all of this, and be more careful before you make the type of accusations you made in this post. I don’t believe it honors God. Can you agree? Can we have unity on this matter?

Evan May.

1 comment:

  1. Evan,

    I'm not so sure Simon will heed you. If you follow mine and Simon's interaction on his blog and mine, you'll see that he posts one thing and turns around to post the very thing he claims to be convicted of. Indeed, when I directly pointed him to his own contrasting comments, he states that I'm right but that he still believes in what he has said concerning Alan, Tom, and James. Then, for some reason, he closes the thread.