Wednesday, September 14, 2005

How Did I Get Here? (Part III)

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

Sometimes I don't speak too bright
but yet I know what I'm talking about

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?


Part 3 of my little mea culpa deals with the differences in BEHAVIOR and DEMEANOR between me and my old gang.

The stereotype is that Calvinists are mean, uncompromising, logic-chopping louts. On their good days. And sad to say, there is some truth to the stereotype. I've seen Calvinists in action too many times to deny that we can sometimes really unload on our opponents, in ways that deny in practice what we say we believe in theory. In theory, God sovereginly enlightens some and not others; whatever we have is not our own, but God's gracious gift; and we ought therefore to treat with humility and compassion whoever does not yet have the insights we have been given. Unfortuantely, many self-appointed defenders of Calvinism on the Web are functional Pelagians theologically - they seem to assume that everyone *can* and *ought* to understand and accept Calvinism, and whoever doesn't is either stupid or willfully disobedient.

I first started dropping out of the incessant debates because I found them *boring*. At least on the discussion list I was on, the same Calvinists and the same Arminians would get into it at regular intervals, repeat the same arguments and quote the same verses, talk right past each other, and accomplish NOTHING. And the level of politeness sunk lower with each exchange. I got sick of it after awhile, and slowly dropped out.

But I didn't see the real nastiness until I started hanging out with the crowd at Internet Monk and Boar's Head Tavern. The sheer viciousness and vindictiveness of the insults and slurs hurled at these people! Sure, they aren't all Calvinists, and tend to ask embarassing questions about theology and practice (good questions usually are) - but does that excuse the sort of behavior I saw? Prominent men whom I had once held in great regard were acting like schoolyard bullies, and they not only didn't see the problem with this, they sanctify their actions by saying they are "Standing for Truth".

I'm sorry, but I can do longer accept the implicit wall of separation some Reformed types have raised between "speaking the truth"/"in love" (Eph 4:15). Yes, I still agree with them on the basics. But even the most sublime truths told without love are a mere noise (I Cor 13:1-2). I think I finally understand that now. If we're going to beleive and teach what we believe the Master taught, then it behooves us to also do it as He did it. And He saved viciousness and sarcasm only for those who thought they had all the answers, and were willing to sit in judgment over Him and His lost sheep for it.

Well, that's how I got here. So, where do I go from here? I don't know, or pretend to know. I only hope to move on and do better than I have in the past. And I hope that some of those old friends may yet show up on the path, heading in the same direction I am now.

1 Comments:

Blogger Kent Runge said...

Doug, our thoughts and questions are only embarassing when we are full of pride and arrogance. If I have humility and am a 'man of no reputation' as Rich Mullins says, then who cares what anyone but God thinks of what I wonder and think about? Mine is, as Os Guinness says; 'an audience of One'.

12:00 PM  

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