Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sanctimonious bobbleheads

I see that Reppert is being intellectually frivolous, as usual:

This behavior, which is only too characteristic of Reppert, undercuts the faux moral tone of his objections to Calvinism. You can’t affect the moral high ground in a critique of Calvinism, then fall back on frivolous reasoning in your actual critique.

See what I mean:

“I am redating a post from 2005 which took place, if course, before my exchanges with Calvinists. I am aware of the fact that some Calvinists, notably Sudduth, dissasociate not only themselves from what I am calling Ockhamism here, but also dissassociate Calvin from Ockhamism.”

That’s a promising start. Yes, Reformed scholars like Sudduth and Helm have pointed out, with suitable documentation, that Calvin was not a voluntarist.

Unfortunately, that’s the high point of Reppert’s post. It’s all downhill from there:

“Now if ‘good’ means ‘in accordance with God's will,’ then there is simply no possibility that God actions can possibly be wrong. If we are prepared to set aside the concept of goodness that we are inclined to apply to human beings and admit that ‘good’ means be definition ‘whatever God wills,’ there simply can be no problem of evil.”

i) Now, Reppert himself opened his post by noting that Calvin was not a voluntarist–according to Suddth. And Reppert offers no evidence to the contrary.

Yet having begun his post by drawing attention to that fact, Reppert immediately abandons a point which he himself made, substitutes a quote from Gordon Clark, and then proceeds to attack Calvinism on those grounds–as if Clark’s position is representative of Calvinism in general.

ii) Likewise, defining “good” by reference to God’s will is also ambiguous. That bald statement could be true or false depending on what qualifications, if any, you add. As a rule, Reformed theologians don’t treat the will of God as sheer will, in isolation to God’s other attributes.

iii) If that weren’t bad enough, Reppert, in a further descent into intellectual chicanery, acts as though Clark’s theodicy is the only possible explanation which a Calvinist can give for the problem of evil. This is despite the fact, as he very well knows, that Calvinists like Peter Pike, Paul Manata, Dominic Tennant, and myself have, for months on end, been interacting with him on this very issue, and have, for months on end, presented him with a far more multifaceted position.

Reppert is just a taudry little scoundrel. He occasionally goes through the motions of honest debate, but it isn’t very long before he reverts to his cheap, malicious, mendacious stereotypes.

“Earlier I put together a couple of posts on why Calvinists can't solve the problem of evil. That is true. But they can dissolve it. This is, I think the only possible option the Calvinist has in responding to the objection from evil.”

Really? That’s the only possible option? After all the months and even years that I and others have been interacting with Reppert on this issue, he presumes to say, with a straight face, that this is the only possible option? The degree of dissimulation would be remarkable if it weren’t so typical.

“The fact is that for the Calvinist, for all eternity, the world could have been better than it was, is, and always will be, at least by any understading of goodness that humans can make any sense of.”

In other words, Calvinists are subhuman. After all, a Reformed theodicy makes sense to Calvinists. But since, according to Reppert, it’s at odds with “any” understanding of “goodness” that “humans” can make sense of,” then Reppert must regard Calvinists as subhuman.

That’s very funny coming from a bleeding-heart liberal like Reppert, who makes soothing noises about universal love. But when the turf meets the surf, Reppert only loves those who think like he does. Everyone else is subhuman.

I guess he missed his calling as a prison guard at Treblinka.


  1. Oh good lord. That was a redated post, looking at what I said in the past and correcting it in the beginning based on what I know now. I was saying "Here's my analysis of theological voluntaristic Calvinism, of course I now know many Calvinists don't hold this."

    If you mistake this for a critique of Calvinism proper, then I don't know what I could have done to make it clearer that it was nothing of the kind.

  2. You repost a dated post that caricatures the Reformed position.