Friday, May 08, 2009

Is this where Calvinism leads?

This is from a Debunking Christianity blog post by Valerie Tarico.

A Seattle Calvinist mega-minister, Mark Driscoll, had this to say to his flock: "If the resurrection didn’t literally happen, there’s no reason for us to be here. If the resurrection didn’t literally happen, there are parties to be had, there are women to be had, there are guns to shoot, there are people to shoot."

Great shaking of the head.

21 comments:

Crude said...

I don't see how that's related to Calvinism. But I do think there's one outstanding flaw there that I see come up often - "If Christ wasn't resurrected, then God doesn't exist!"

Even as a Catholic, that drives me nuts. No - not even St Paul would say that. It means the Christian faith is in vain. Faith in God is not, or is the continual quest for understanding God and the universe. I put my faith and trust in Christ because I believe that's the plan God has for humanity.

Ilíon said...

If the Resurrection didn’t literally happen, then there is indeed no reason to be in a Christian church. It would be pointless.

As Crude said, falsifying Christianity -- which is what falsifying a *real* resurrection accomplishes -- does not falsify "theism."

Steven Carr said...

Calvinism is the doctrine that the elect will not be held accountable for their deeds.

Even if they have looked at a woman lustfully, the elect will not burn in Hell.

No wonder people become Calvinists.

Gordon Knight said...

If you see this minister considering atheism seriously Call the cops!

Ilíon said...

GK: "If you see this minister considering atheism seriously Call the cops!"

VR: "Great shaking of the head."

Is this where "open theology" (and/or political "liberalism") leads -- that one can echo the illogics of 'atheists' without shame?

The man is expressing a truth in clumsey way -- If there is no God, there is no wrong.You two know and understand what the man is getting at (even with his faulty premise that disproof of Christianity equals disproof that God exists), just as the 'atheists' know and understand it.

Ilíon said...

One might try to say that it is possible that Mr Reppert is shaking his head (greatly though that shaking is) merely at Mr Driscoll's faulty implicit premise that disproof of Christianity equals disproof that God exists.

Certainly, this in not impossible. But given the context, which includes the title (and Mr Reppert's well-known aversion to Calvinism), it is not probable. It makes much more sense that Mr Reppert is saying exactly the same thing as Mr Knight.

Ilíon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilíon said...

I've Googled the terms [Driscoll "If the resurrection didn’t literally happen"] and ... I find *lots* of verbatim repetitions of this:
A Seattle Calvinist mega-minister, Mark Driscoll, had this to say to his flock: "If the resurrection didn’t literally happen, there’s no reason for us to be here. If the resurrection didn’t literally happen, there are parties to be had, there are women to be had, there are guns to shoot, there are people to shoot."

I even found someone asking "Is this where Calvinism leads?"

I haven't yet found anything which gives me confidence that Mr Driscoll actually said it, or that if he did that ths context doesn't justify it.

Gordon Knight said...

and what is this about Christians not being able to party? Did he redact the whole "water into wine" thing.

"The son of man came eating and drinking" and it was not grape juice.

Danny McDonald said...

I think we're missing the point here. The idea here is the centrality of Christ's literal resurrection to the Christian faith. According to Romans 19:9-13, if one "confesses with your mouth Jesus as Lord, believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be save" (NASB). How does this have anything to do with Calvinism? An Arminian can hold to the centrality of Christ's literal resurrection to the Christian faith. Driscoll, in this quote (if it is indeed his), is not arguing free will vs. predestination. This is not an issue of Arminianism vs. Calvinism, but of what one holds as a central tenet of the Christian faith.

Robert said...

Victor,

I am no fan of calvinism and I actually like Driscoll as a preacher, but as others have already noted, Driscoll’s comments do not come from his calvinism. Actually, judging from the comments, without knowing the actual context, I think we can make a reasonable guess that he was making a point based upon the apostle Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 15 that without the resurrection of Jesus being true, Christianity becomes a vain practice, a waste of time. Driscoll was probably preaching on the 1 Cor. 15:13-19 passage and so was making this point in a contemporary and relevant way to the crowd he was speaking to. Any Christian whether they be calvinist or non-calvinist, if they understand what the apostle Paul was getting at in 1 Cor. 15, will understand what Driscoll was getting at as well. I have made this very point myself, though without the illusion to shooting off guns! :-)

Robert

Gordon Knight said...

Rob:

Yes but you can make the pauline point without gratuitious refernce to killing people. For me, that was the bizzare thing.

Ilíon said...

Can one indeed? In this day and age?

Robert said...

Gordon wrote:

“Yes but you can make the pauline point without gratuitious refernce to killing people. For me, that was the bizzare thing.”

Perhaps, but I still don’t think that you are getting Driscoll’s point. I think he is saying that if the resurrection of Jesus did not occur, so the one true religion is false at its core, then this life is it, and it really does not matter what you end up doing (his examples being partying and shooting people). There is no right or wrong, you just end up doing whatever you want as there is no final judgment, no afterlife, so you can just do whatever. If there are people you really don’t like and this life is it and there is no judgment then you can go ahead and kill them with little repercussions from an **eternal perspective**.

If you want it stated more eloquently than that, recall Dostoevsky’s chilling but true line: “where there is no God everything is permitted.” Driscoll is not Dostoevsky, so he makes the same point less eloquently. Nevertheless, I get his point and have made the very same point when preaching to inmates (people who really do shoot others they don’t like).

Ilion added:

“Can one indeed? In this day and age?”

Ilion has a point as well. In the past when someone stole your car you could plead for mercy and sometimes the criminal would relent and allow you to live. Nowadays not only do they not relent, they take pleasure in senseless killings. And sad to report there are in fact individuals with no consciences when it comes to killing a total stranger. I have spoken with some of them so I know they exist.

Robert

Ilíon said...

That is, of course, true, Robert. At the same time, I had in mind all the "good" people and their/our desensitization to moral wickedness.

Murder seems one of the few immoral deeds that "good" people will still admit is wicked ... and even that consensus is not holding.

Victor Reppert said...

I should point out that I can't imagine John Piper or R. C. Sproul saying something like that.

Ilíon said...

And?

Mike Darus said...

I agree with most of the comments that Driscoll's statement does not reflect Calvinism. It reflects a more disturbing and popular trend that defines Christian morality by the abstains from certain activities and the equally troubling idea that the prohibited activities are the essence of pleasure. Christianity is much better evidenced by the pursuit of the Kingdom -- what is right and good. The result of justification and the goal of sanctification is righteousness. Being and doing what is right is on a totally different level than avoiding what is evil and wrong and hurtful.

Victor, I suspect reflects Pascal, that it is better to believe wrongly in Christ because at least you have a pursued a life based on a good cause with high moral principles that helps other people ans seeks the best. The problem with Driscoll's comment is that it does not appreciate this aspect of following Christ. It only concerns whether we get pleasure in this life or better pleasure in the next. It reflects a moral shallowness. It is also a poor exposition of I Cor 15. Paul was more likely considering the beatings he received, not any immorality he was missing out on.

Ilíon said...

Mr Reppert, have you ever actually read the Bible?

Would you like me to put Ezekial 23:20 into the vernacular for you?

Steve H. said...

Actually, Driscoll makes the point quite well. He is speaking to his "audience". Few things cause fear and revultion faster in a liberal leaning person than guns and violence. You may not agree with his premise but his use of imagery vis a vis his target audience drove home the point. I offer the discussion on this thread as proof...

Anonymous said...

Even if we had no Bible, Christ would still exist.

The existence of Christ is not dependent upon the puny proofs of men as to whether the resurrection was real or not.

If your only basis for faith is the resurrection, then I question if you have faith at all.