Thursday, August 27, 2015

How firm a foundation

A final comment on the Arminian blogger who lost his faith. Obviously, every theological tradition has its share of apostates. Calvinism is no exception. 

However, here's a man who was a Christian from age 18-40. He has a degree in philosophy of religion, and teaches on the subject.

Yet it only dawned in him when he developed a medical condition that Christian don't always get what they pray for? Surely it doesn't take much personal experience or observation of other Christians to find that out. 

Now to some extent his reaction is what Gary Habermas calls emotional doubt rather than factual doubt, although they are intertwined to some degree. I do wonder, though, if his Arminianism didn't create a problem in this sense: so many Arminians define themselves in opposition to Calvinism. That's their frame of reference. They are obsessed with Calvinism.

That can lead to their neglecting to study basic things like the evidence for Christianity. There are many deep lines of evidence for Christianity. But if you devote so much of your time to attacking Calvinism, you may be coasting. 

He didn't have much to fall back on when his personal crisis hit. Moral of the story: don't neglect to lay a firm foundation. 


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  2. Now to some extent his reaction is what Gary Habermas calls emotional doubt rather than factual doubt, although they are intertwined to some degree.

    I was think the exact same thing last night about Gary Habermas and the difference between emotional and factual doubt. I was just about to post the following links on your last blogpost on this topic. I might as well do it here.

    I collected some videos and article links in my blogpost
    Dealing with Christian Doubts

    It includes videos of Habermas on doubt (though, some of the youtube links are now dead).

    Also, Habermas' books Dealing with Doubt and The Thomas Factor are both freely online.

    1. I'm fearful for today's Christian youth who are growing up in the era of the internet and social media because those things keep people from studying basic and foundational things regarding the faith. Even something as simple as reading the Bible. I think mine is the last generation to not have the internet during their teens. Because of that, my generation of youth group kids had time to actually read/study/memorize/meditate on the Bible as well as having time to pray.

      The internet has made the Bible more accessible, but I suspect it has actually lead to Christians studying Scripture LESS. It's human nature that the more accessible something is the more likely we are to take it for granted. Some many people have smart phones where Scripture (in multiple translations) is literally at their fingertips 24/7 (because they always have their phone with them), yet because of that constant nearness it seldom enter and takes root in their minds and hearts.

    2. Regarding that tendency to take for granted something we have ready access to, I think that's part of the danger of the common form of Arminianism that believes in Once Saved Always Saved/Eternal Security (OSAS/ET). Historic Arminianism allowed for genuine Christians to fall away and therefore it lead to fears that kept Christians vigilant. But the OSAS/ET version coupled with Arminianism's view of God's universal love can lead people to take Christ (Him, His salvation and His love) for granted and therefore be sloppy in persevering. If you really believed in both, why feel the pressure to study Scripture and theology? This is especially true of those who also subscribe to Non-Lordship Salvation. These three things make people ripe for apostasy because it makes people even more susceptible to the objections of the world, the sinful doubts of the flesh, and the lies of the devil.

    3. RB Thieme would say that this man is now an 'unbelieving believer.'

  3. Does Calvinism allow for a temporary rejection of the faith?

    1. Yes, Calvinism does account for "backsliding."