Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Classical Arminianism: GOD IN THE HANDS OF ANGRY CALVINISTS (EXPLORING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CALVINISM)

Classical Arminianism: GOD IN THE HANDS OF ANGRY CALVINISTS (EXPLORING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CALVINISM)

This is a nice piece, by William Watson Birch. Calvin's Bulldogs will no doubt differ with this assessment, however.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is Birch a psychologist? Why do you link to these guys?

Anonymous said...

This is taken from the linked piece:

"Why are there angry Arminians? I cannot presume to speak on their behalf."

I'm not sure I follow: he's competant enough to psychologize from his armchair when dealing with Calvinists but not Arminians, the very theology he identifies with?

How about this: they get beat in debate so frequently and badly that they react badly.

Or, how about the psychology of the historic faith denying Arminian? They've bought into a lie about God and his love, that they sell the Christian farm. Can't have people think God is unloving, cross out omniscience about what free creatures would or will do. Can't have people think God is unloving, cross out hell. Can't have peopel think God is unloving, cross out penal substitution. Can't have people think God is unloving, cross out solo Christo for the African native.

Would anyone buy that line of reasoning? Oh, maybe just "Arminius' bull dogs" will disagree.

That post simply begged the question. Or, are you all so sure that Calvinism is wrong that it is simply a given that Calvinists have made up their God.

Philosophers like Victor make me laugh. For you see, in the philosophical world, you have to be tolerant of all view points and give them a fair hearing. So, people will sit and listen to a lecture by Peter Singer about killing new born babies and kids with down syndrome, and afford him all respect. They'll rub their chin and try to deal the arguments in a very serious fashion. Dogmatism is the great sin. But, when it comes to Calvinism, these same philosophers don't treat it with a quarter of the respect they treat the arguments from Singer. This is as true as it is obvious.

If I can psychologize again as to why Singer gets treated better than Calvinists: That's because only Calvinism presents man with the thrice holy God of the Bible. The one who commanded his people to sacrifice daily and to never, ever, let the fire go out. There were so many sins, you couldn't let the fire go out. This God smashes human conceptions of what God is like, and isn't here to be our "best friend"; only, that is, until we are reconciled to him through the beaten and bloody death of his Son. if you are not reconciled you are an enemy. And God, if anything, crushes enemies. Things go on his terms. The Arminian God is like the cool, hip, and relevant dude who will smoke a doobie with you and drink a latte while you both "reason together." He's on a "search" and a "journey" just like we are. A journey of love. Just hoping man will finally say, "Okay, God, you're pretty cool and hip and with-it after all. I guess I could kick it with you for eternity, bro."

It's a classical case of killing the messenger. They did it with the prophets.

But then, who am I to "psychologize."

Victor Reppert said...

The idea that the God of Arminianism is some sort of "bro", whose love is essentially a soft "wuv" is patently silly.
For Arminianism, and even for Evangelical Universalism, the love of God is very tough and can include the infliction of plenty of suffering on those being loved.

There are three central claims that have to be emphasized. First, God's love will not be satisfied with man's sinful condition and it is that very love that will get in our faces so long as we rebel. That is tough love, not soft love. Read The Problem of Pain by Lewis and ask yourself if the God protrayed there is a "cool, hip, and relevant dude."

Second, you can't have love unless the one who loves prefers reformation to continued punishment, and aims that punishment at the reformation of transformation of persons. If all I want for some person is for them to be punished, I don't love that person.

Third, God's love is directed toward all persons. If "God loves the world" doesn't mean God loves every person, it means God loves every lost person. The reduction of "all" or "the world" to the elect seems simply contrary to intent of Scripture.

These three considerations rule out Calvinism. However, the God described here is not a humanized, soft, "good buddy" of the human race.

Victor Reppert said...

It's easy to win all the debates when you keep the score.

Anonymous said...

Victor, characteristically slow this evening I see.

Granting all of your points, which I don't for the record, you forget that (a) any who took issue with my post is "Arminius' bulldog" and (b) you try to imply that my psychologizing doesn't work since I misrepresented the mental states of Arminians as well as their theology. This means you grant my refutation, which was put too subtly, it appears, for the philosopher to grasp. Thanks for the help in refuting the very post you root for first, think about second, or third . . .

Victor, don't you think it was a bit silly to claim that only the "bulldog" would take issue with Birch's post? Are you too blinded by your dislike of Calvinism (Calvinists?) to see this.

Don't you think it is a bit stupid to psychologize about the motives of Calvinists? A bit self-serving? Or are you trapped by the illusion that real, honest, and objective armchair speculations about a group you used to be a part of, that you now think teaches that God is like the devil, would reveal, shock (!), that Calvinists are mean because of their defective view of God; but, of course, Arminians who may be mean have no discernable cause, and it certainly can't be Arminian theology.

Tell me you didn't get duped by this. This was nothing but a self-serving shot at Calvinists. With that I substantiate my point that Calvinists don't get the kind of respect you'd give Singer at a conference on killing babies. Oh, my bad, you already think that's OK. Boy, I sure wish I could love "the least of these" like you. Your love theology is a fraud.

Anonymous said...

Victor,

"It's easy to win all the debates when you keep the score."

And you don't see how this undercuts your post? Boy are you ever slow. Or is it just uncharitable?

Victor Reppert said...

I never defended infanticide, and you know better than to say that. Bringing up issues for the sake or argument is not endorsing their positions. I think virtually all abortions are probably morally wrong, and late-term abortions at least should be illegal.

I never said only Calvinist Bulldogs will disagree. I said that Calvinist bulldogs would disagree. Can you at least try to get things right? (And you are about as anonymous as Shaq in a grocery store).

I would have to admit that the Calvinists on Triablogue come across as angry, belligerent, and obnoxious. Everyone I know who has disputed with them has complained about their discussion tactics. That doesn't mean that you can't learn a great deal from them, or that they have nothing of interest to say. I would have to admit that I might treat a defender of infanticide who avoids the ad hominem better than a Calvinist who shifts from talking about my positions to talking about me.

Birch's post mentions their "rules of engagement" in which they justify the use of harsh and judgmental language, even against those claiming to be Christians. In defense of this they might point out that John Wesley's famous sermon Free Grace is loaded with emotional charges and polemical salvoes.

There is a difference, however. Wesley reserves his harsh language for Calvinism, not for Calvinists.
The Triabloggers attack persons as well as doctrines. But I am not saying that all the ad hominems are on one side of this issue. Nor do I think all Calvinists are like the Triabloggers.

Why is there so much anger in the debate about Calvinism? One is the passion-inducing nature of the controversy. Each side thinks that the other is denigrating God by taking the position that they do. Calvinists think that Arminians are turning God into a wimp, and Arminians think that Calvinists are replacing a loving God with an arbitrary tyrant who does what he wants to because he can. Calvinists further think that Arminians are undercutting the authority of Scripture, although Arminians think that their reading rightly divides the word of truth.

Perhaps contrary to what Birch thinks, we don't need any more psychology than this. You do have to show that someone is wrong before you show how (psychologically) they came to be wrong. C. S. Lewis's rule, you know.

The important question, which Birch raises, is how we go about not being angry Calvinists or angry Arminians. In the course of the discussion the other side does say things that tick us off. I think the way we do it is we avoid ad hominem arguments and misrepresentations. That takes work in this controversy, just as it takes in the controversy surrounding atheism.

Whenever the discussion shifts from a position to the people who hold position, the chance of real intellectual progress is pretty much lost.

Anonymous said...

Virtualy all abortions are wrong? Probably the ones that are not are the ones done against "the least of these." Your love theology is a fraud.

I said Arminian bulldogs would respond. Like you. You're an Arminian bulldog. How's that medicine tatse?

Birch's post is an exercise in taking a shot at Calvinism while hidding behind the pious. Sorry you can't tell the difference. For you, acting "unloving" is OK, so long as one is "polite" and "nice" about it.

Finally, let's not pretend you want honest dialogue with Calvinists. You think they are obviously wrong. You claim that if they are right, then you don't understand the World (as PVI would say). You have been extrememly dogmatic in your dismissal of Calvinism. Aside from the fact that this dogmatism "hinders discussion", you do so based on some of the weakest arguments I've ever seen. You have never read a standard Calvinist systematic theology text. You have never cited and interacted with a Helm. You ahve never dealt substantively with Calvinist exegesis of certain passages. You have consistently portrayed horrible and sloppy scholarship. You try to defend this by claiming that you are just throwing thoughts out on a blog. Well then knock off the dogmatisim and the overconfident dismissals! This is a two way street. Your tactics, as well as many other Arminians, fosters stern, and sometimes harsh responses. Let's remember Revelation. There were churches sound in doctrine but lacking love. Jesus rebuked them. But there were also churches mighty in love, but lacking sound doctrine and compromising with the world. Jesus rebuked them too. You view us as Ephesasus, we view you as Thyatira and Pergamum. You try to show that with a correct understanding of doctrine, you are not lax there. We try to show that with a correct understanding of love and treatment of others, one not beholden to modern, Western sensibilities, we are not half as bad as your portray.

So, why don't you knock off poisoning the well and trying to point out the bad character in others. You're not better. For example, on your facebook page you tell people that Steve Hays and Paul Manata are God's sockpuppets. Is that loving? You gossip and smack-talk about other's behind their back. But you pretend to be "loving" and "kind" and "forthright". Truth is, you're worse than the Triabloggers. At least they have the integrity to "name call" to people's faces, unlike you.

Your love theology is a fraud and you just got outed.

Victor Reppert said...

Yes, if, as the Triabloggers have done, you shift the focus from the subject matter to the person who holds a position, if you attack me as a person, then I will get angry and resentful. And maybe I will say or do something that is less than charitable. If this is the case, then I have to examine myself and repent if I have done wrong. However, it's another instance of the ad hominem fallacy if I believe in a theology of love and fail to be as loving as I ought to be.

The kind of "calling out" of sinners and false teachers is fine, so long as you are writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I don't know of anyone writing today who can claim that on behalf of their own writings.

The Triabloggers think that the goal of discussion is not simply to defend their beliefs, but to call out the sins of others which they think underlie those contrary beliefs. I hadn't taken a close look at the Rules of Engagement, but Birch called attention to it, and it is written right there for everyone to read. In fairness to them, they have done nothing other than what they said they would do.

I think the office of an apologist and the office of a prophet are different from one another and shouldn't be mixed. If we are to engage people in philosophical dialogue, I think principles like the principle of charity, the avoidance of straw man arguments, and most importantly the avoidance of the ad hominem fallacy are musts. The fact that some people in Scripture were given the office of speaking words of judgment to others doesn't change the requirement of "gentleness and respect" that is enjoined upon all who will "give an account of the hope that is in them."

What the Triabloggers consider to be justified based on the practice of Jesus and the writers of Scripture, I consider to be examples of the ad hominem fallacy in the context of theological discussion. I don't consider it to be of great interest to use whatever the other side says in order to win debating points. That is why I ended up finding the whole discussion tiresome, instead of pushing further into it. The only thing I wanted to point out, after it was done, was that it looked as if you could argue against Calvinism in a way that avoided the appeal to moral intuition.

I am interested in the question of whether one can speak in any meaningful way of God loving a person whom God has reprobated. But what would not be relevant to that discussion would be tu quoque arguments about other theologies. That's not the issue that interests me.

The issue that interests me would be met in this way: take any conception of love that can be found in Scripture, and explain how it is make sense to say that God loves person X, given the fact that person X was reprobated before the foundation of the world.

Of course, perhaps Calvinists can't answer that question affirmatively. If so, can they just say so? Even if Calvinists can say that God doesn't love everyone, could they say so?

Anonymous said...

Victor,

You just can't see far enough to see how you constantly are inserting a foot in the mouth. Can't you stand on tip toes?

You write: "The kind of "calling out" of sinners and false teachers is fine, so long as you are writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I don't know of anyone writing today who can claim that on behalf of their own writings".

Yet you (or, you hidding behind Birch) repeatedly "call out" Triabloggers while not, I assume, under said inspiration. Or, is your type of "calling out" justified?

"The Triabloggers think that the goal of discussion is not simply to defend their beliefs, but to call out the sins of others which they think underlie those contrary beliefs".

Really? And you have proof of these internal motivations how, may I ask.

" If we are to engage people in philosophical dialogue, I think principles like the principle of charity, the avoidance of straw man arguments, and most importantly the avoidance of the ad hominem fallacy are musts".

Perhaps you're too good for correction and advice, but if I may offer some: I have never seen such uncharitable and non-strawy treatment of Calvinism, on a repeated basis, than what i find over here.

"The fact that some people in Scripture were given the office of speaking words of judgment to others doesn't change the requirement of "gentleness and respect" that is enjoined upon all who will "give an account of the hope that is in them."

But even they had this requirement. So that gives us a key to how to interpret them. You also seem to, like with other things, interpret these passages through your 21st century Western grid.

"I am interested in the question of whether one can speak in any meaningful way of God loving a person whom God has reprobated. But what would not be relevant to that discussion would be tu quoque arguments about other theologies. That's not the issue that interests me".

You'll have to forgive me, but I find this funny. it's an example of how you can't coordinate your various objections, or keep them straight. Your "semantic" argument is made to look like a joke when you flirt with universalism and make "everlasting" and "forever and ever" mean "not everlasting" and "not forever." You have lost your right to critique Calvinists based on what they do to "language" when you do the exact same thing. If all means all, then forever and ever means forever and ever.

This is an example of why most people don't take your theological musings too seriously. Stick to your own speciality; or can I expect some blog posts in the near future about how best to bake a cake and why Emeral is wrong and how best to acheive balance in home decorating?

Robert said...

Hello Victor, (part 1)

Interesting to see an angry calvinist in action, exemplifying the very characteristics that Billy spoke about. And this calvinist who hides behind anonymity represents angry calvinists well in that he engages in their common behavior of misrepresenting Arminianism and engaging in lots of unnecessary personal attacks of you (all typical behavior of the “angry calvinist” proving Billy’s post to be true).

A wrote:

“Is Birch a psychologist? Why do you link to these guys?”


Victor links to these guys because they make valid points against calvinism.



A wrote:

“Or, how about the psychology of the historic faith denying Arminian? They've bought into a lie about God and his love, that they sell the Christian farm. Can't have people think God is unloving, cross out omniscience about what free creatures would or will do. Can't have people think God is unloving, cross out hell. Can't have peopel think God is unloving, cross out penal substitution.”

So many false statements and misrepresentations here.

First Arminians do not deny the historic faith. In fact if you examine church history for the first four hundred years of church history you will find everybody affirming what would be seen as Arminian beliefs (free will in the libertarian sense, God desiring the salvation of all human persons, Jesus being provided as a provision of atonement for the world, etc.) and no one espousing what would be seen as exclusively calvinist beliefs. This only changes with the coming of Augustine (who initially held Arminian beliefs but then later changed to calvinistic beliefs) and later the reformers who bring the Trojan horse of systematized calvinism into the church.

Second Arminians do not buy into a “lie about God and his love”. It is God Himself who makes explicit and clear statements in the bible that His nature is love, that He desires the salvation of all men and because of His love gives Jesus as an atonement for the world. A by claiming these are lies is directly slandering and contradicting what the bible clearly and explicitly teaches about God’s love. What God Himself has revealed about himself.

Third, Arminians do not cross out God’s omniscience but have always affirmed it. In fact calvinists like A regularly claim that if people act freely then God cannot know what they will do (Arminians then affirm both libertarian free will and the exhaustive omniscience of God, this calvinist is confusing Arminians with open theists, but that is the kind of obvious mistake you will make when you are on an emotional rant like anonymous).

Fourth, Arminians have always affirmed that hell is real, that those who reject the gracious offer of salvation from God will be eternally separated from God.

Fifth, anonymous claims that Arminians deny penal substitution. Just check out Arminius’ own writings on this to see this claim is false. In fact take three examples of Arminians (Arminius, Robert Piricilli and myself) and all three of us base our views of what God is like and who He is upon His own revelation of Himself; all affirm libertarian free will, all affirm exhaustive omniscience of God including future actions involving libertarian free will, the penal model of the atonement and the orthodox view of hell.

Robert

Robert said...

Hello Victor, (part 2)

A said of God that:

“ Things go on his terms.”

That is true, God **is** sovereign and does as He pleases. God designed and created men with the ability to have and make choices, this is evident already in Genesis in the early chapters.

It is also true of God’s plan of salvation. God set it up because he says himself that he desires the salvation of all. God said that He loved the world so much that he sent Jesus to die for that world. God sends the Holy Spirit to work on the world to lead the world to Christ. God set it up so that a person enabled to have faith can both choose to accept Christ and also choose to reject Christ. God set these things up and indeed they are all “on his terms” despite calvinist attempts to reinterpret clear passages on this so that the bible no longer says what God intended it to say but says what misguided calvinists like anonymous want it to say so that it supports their erroneous theological system.

”The Arminian God is like the cool, hip, and relevant dude who will smoke a doobie with you and drink a latte while you both "reason together." He's on a "search" and a "journey" just like we are. A journey of love. Just hoping man will finally say, "Okay, God, you're pretty cool and hip and with-it after all. I guess I could kick it with you for eternity, bro."”

A is inventing yet another misrepresentation of Arminian beliefs here resulting in an outlandish caricature of Arminianism. Where in the bible does it portray God in this way? Can A provide quotes from Arminius or Piricilli or myself or any other contemporary Arminian that we view God in this way? Again, Arminians base their conception of God on the bible, what God himself has revealed and said about Himself and his plan of salvation. The bible says that God is love, that he is merciful, good, compassionate, merciful, forgiving. The bible also says that God is holy, that he hates sin and punishes sinners, that he will separate those who repeatedly reject Him eternally. Now He is all of these things simultaneously. He is seeking for those who will trust Him and do so freely. He is not just hoping that people will want to hang out with him, He wants people who will freely choose to trust and obey Him. Now I preach and teach regularly, and I have never had anyone ever suggest that the God I am presenting from the bible is like the one described here by A and falsely attributed to Arminians. I have sometimes even been told that the God I speak about is extremely tough on sin and that I am “judgmental” for saying he is the way that he is, that there is an actual hell, etc.. So A is yet again intentionally and falsely representing Arminians here.

Lastly, A engages in personal attack after personal attack in his posts towards Victor here. None of this is necessary, it is not justified, and it is not the way one professing Christian ought to be attacking another. But then it is exactly these kinds of posts that prompted Billy to write his post about “angry calvinists”. Not all calvinists are angry like this, not all are so mean spirited, some calvinists are godly people doing great things for the Kingdom of God. But what A exhibits here is precisely what Billy was talking about.

Robert

steve said...

Robert said...

“Interesting to see an angry calvinist in action, exemplifying the very characteristics that Billy spoke about.”

Billy also spoke of angry Arminians. Notice that Robert launches into a personal attack on the anonymous commenter–exemplifying the very characteristics that Billy spoke about.

“And this calvinist who hides behind anonymity…”

Notice that Robert scores another persona attack.

And, of course, Robert also hides behind anonymity.

“and engaging in lots of unnecessary personal attacks of you.”

Except when Robert engages is lots of personal attacks. If Robert launches a personal attack, that’s necessary. If his theological opponent launches a personal attack, that’s unnecessary.

If Robert hides behind anonymity, that’s necessary. If his opponent hides behind anonymity, that’s unnecessary.

“(all typical behavior of the ‘angry calvinist’ proving Billy’s post to be true).”

(all typical behavior of the ‘angry Arminian’–proving Billy’s post to be true).

“So many false statements and misrepresentations here.”

Not to mention Robert’s false representation of the anonymous commenter.

“Arminianism” has evolved over the years. Just look at the various contributor’s to _The Case for Arminianism_, edited by Clark Pinnock. They all fly under the banner of Arminianism.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Q76yZE23lxYC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s

“…despite calvinist attempts to reinterpret clear passages on this so that the bible no longer says what God intended it to say but says what misguided calvinists like anonymous want it to say so that it supports their erroneous theological system.”

What about Reppert’s attempt to make room for universalism or open theism or abortion?

Robert only comes to the defense of Biblical teaching (as he defines it) when dealing with a Calvinist. That shows you how indifferent he actually is to defending Bible doctrine. For Robert, it’s personal. That’s why he’s so selective and one-side.

“Lastly, A engages in personal attack after personal attack in his posts towards Victor here. None of this is necessary, it is not justified, and it is not the way one professing Christian ought to be attacking another.”

In which case it’s not justified for Robert to do the very thing he condemns in others. Yet that never prevents him from saying one thing while doing another.

“Not all calvinists are angry like this, not all are so mean spirited, some calvinists are godly people doing great things for the Kingdom of God. But what A exhibits here is precisely what Billy was talking about.”

Not all Arminians are angry like Robert, not all are so mean-spirited as Robert. Some Arminians are godly people. But what Robert exhibits here is precisely what Billy was talking about.

My name is Petey, so I'm not anonymous said...

I could point out so many problems in Robert's angry, frothing at the mouth post, but one will do:

Fifth, anonymous claims that Arminians deny penal substitution. Just check out Arminius’ own writings on this to see this claim is false.

I brought that up because I saw Reppert get schooled when some Traibloggers reversed his "intuition argument" and smacked it down by bringing up Jesus' atonement. Human intuition finds this immoral (just read any atheist book or look at the countless varients on the atonement and their main reasons for rejecting the penal view, there's actually a lot in common in that debate with what the Arminian brings against Calvinism).

A father sending his innocent son to get beaten and murdered to pay for the crimes of vile criminals, who hated the father and killed all his previous messangers, just seems immoral. If our neighbor did this to his son, we wouldn't call it "good" (which refutes another one of the points I saw Victor trying to use: that if we would call it "bad" in a human, we must call it bad for a God to do the same thing). On top of this, the father was PLEASED to crush his only son in this way. Fallen human intuitions cringe at this.

The only counter Reppert had to save his bad argument, which the Triabloggers showed was a pitiful argument, was to deny, or cast doubt upon, penal substitution!!!

If you're correct about Arminian views (and no doubt you ASSERT you believe in this atonement, whether you can do so LOGICALLY remains to be seen) then Victor MUST critique (your) Arminianism as "obviously immoral" and, if it isn't, then he just doesn't understand the World. How ironic! Robbert holds to an immoral doctrine. No wonder he's so mean and nasty, look at the kind of God he worships. His God would be pleased to inflict tremendous pain upon his only son, his innocent son, to save criminals worthy of death, and he was pleased to do this. So, no wonder Robert can treat those he interacts with so poorly, look at how his God treats even his own son! Robert is just acting like his mean God. You are what you worship.

How does that medicine taste, Robert? Right about now you not only see that reppert got beat by triabloggers, you just read your own debate tactics with Calvinists get turned around into a smelly foot that you now have to insert into your mouth.

So, "Robert", the anonymous who thinks he's not anonymous because he writes a name in the box, needs to open wide and insert foot in mouth. Real wide. Robert needs to know the situation he wildly runs into, otherwise he looks like a fool. Robbert just defeated Reppert's argument from "intuition" against the Calvinist. Thanks Robert, with friends like you, Arminians like Reppert don't need enemies.

LOL

steve said...

Robert said...

“Fifth, anonymous claims that Arminians deny penal substitution. Just check out Arminius’ own writings on this to see this claim is false.”

“A spillover from Calvinism into Arminianism has occurred in recent decades. Thus many Arminians whose theology is not very precise say that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Yet such a view is foreign to Arminianism, which teaches instead that Christ suffered for us. Arminians teach that what Christ did he did for every person; therefore what he did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternal perdition. Arminianism teaches that Christ suffered for everyone so that the Father could forgive the ones who repent and believe; his death is such that all will see that forgiveness is costly and will strive to cease from anarchy in the world God governs. This view is called the governmental theory of the atonement. Its germinal teachings are in Arminius, but his student, the lawyer-theologian Hugo Grotius, delineated the view,” J. Grider, “Arminianism,” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 80.

Robert said...

I have said this before but repeat it again as Steve Hays continues to lie about me posting anonymously as does “Petey” (and others reading this blog may not know my situation). My full time ministry is working with inmates, several thousand in fact. When one works with inmates, whether as prison staff, chaplain or whatever, in order to protect oneself and one’s family you do not share personal information when interacting with them, nor in areas where they may have access to (which would include when posting publicly on a blog such as this). As this is true in my situation, I have no obligation to provide personal information which ingenious inmates may use to set up subtle manipulations, intimidations, and other evil activities when I post publicly on publicly accessible blogs such as this one. So I post simply as Robert when posting publicly here.

And note I have stated these things previously and repeatedly so the Triablogers (including Steve Hays) are well aware of these facts. And yet they continue to ignore these facts and insinuate or outright claim that I post anonymously.


Steve Hays wrote:


“And, of course, Robert also hides behind anonymity.”

“Petey” wrote:

“So, "Robert", the anonymous who thinks he's not anonymous because he writes a name in the box”

Question for both of you, as you both make the false claim that I post anonymously: If my legal first name **is** Robert, and I post as Robert, am I posting anonymously???

Robert

steve said...

Robert said...

“I have said this before but repeat it again as Steve Hays continues to lie about me posting anonymously as does ‘Petey’ (and others reading this blog may not know my situation).”

His “situation” hardly makes my statement a lie. To the contrary, what he goes on to say is a confirmation of my statement. He admits that he’s concealing his true identity, then gives an excuse for it. Even if that were a good excuse, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s concealing his true identity. Therefore, my accusation is true while his denial is a lie.

“My full time ministry is working with inmates, several thousand in fact.”

Of course, since Robert conceals his true identity, we’re in no position to verify his cover story. For all we know, he might be a grifter.

“When one works with inmates, whether as prison staff, chaplain or whatever, in order to protect oneself and one’s family you do not share personal information when interacting with them, nor in areas where they may have access to (which would include when posting publicly on a blog such as this). As this is true in my situation, I have no obligation to provide personal information which ingenious inmates may use to set up subtle manipulations, intimidations, and other evil activities when I post publicly on publicly accessible blogs such as this one.”

Of course, he’s just provided enough personal info about himself that any inmate who’s reading this comment could connect the dots between Robert the chaplain and Robert the troll.

Hence, he’s not concealing his true identity from inmates. He’s only concealing his true identity from the people he attacks in public.

If he were really concerned with protecting his family, he wouldn’t be leaving comments on public blogs, then giving out personal info about himself to justify his anonymity. He gives out just enough personal info that an inmate could finger him, but not the people he attacks in public.

“And note I have stated these things previously and repeatedly so the Triablogers (including Steve Hays) are well aware of these facts.”

I’m well aware of the fact that Robert uses a lame excuse to attack others in public from the safety of his anonymity.

“And yet they continue to ignore these facts and insinuate or outright claim that I post anonymously.”

Because you do post anonymously. You simply give an excuse for it, which does nothing to refute the charge.

“Question for both of you, as you both make the false claim that I post anonymously: If my legal first name **is** Robert, and I post as Robert, am I posting anonymously???”

i) Since you conceal your true identity, there’s no way to verify that “Robert” is your real name. For all we know, your real name might be Bullwinkle or Capt. Kangaroo.

ii) Concealing your true identity is the very definition of anonymity.

iii) Since, at last count, there were 3,063,554 “Roberts” in the US, merely listing your first name is a way of concealing your true identity–which is why you do it.

Trav said...

You guys are all pathetic.

(especially the Calvinists ;-) )

Extreme sarcasm and ridicule, ad hominems, insults....And you call yourselves ambassadors for Christ?

Sad.

Trav said...

I should note though: I'm more referring to the general tone of your posts and the pettyness of some of it.

steve said...

Trav said...
You guys are all pathetic.

(especially the Calvinists ;-) )

Extreme sarcasm and ridicule, ad hominems, insults....And you call yourselves ambassadors for Christ?

**************

Of course, to say we're all "pathetic" is, itself, ad hominem.

How does your comment model what it means to be an ambassador of Christ? Why don't you lead by example?

BTW, we're merely holding Robert to his own standards. Do you think there's something with holding a man to his own standards?

"Extreme sarcasm and ridicule, ad hominems, insults....And you call yourselves ambassadors for Christ?"

Equally true of Mt 23. Does this mean Christ isn't Christian enough for you?

Anonymous said...

For Trav, you see, Christianity is about being moral. Jesus is a life coach who makes you a likeable fella so you can have your best life now. Trav is a moralist that cares more about niceties than truth. Trav would rather have one Joel Osteen than a million John Calvin's running around today. Worse, though, is, as Steve pointed out, Trav's a hypocrite. He calls his brothers "pathetic." That's got be like calling someone a "fool". And we all know how Arminians love to throw around the verse about calling brothers fools and so being in danger of hell.

Anonymous said...

As an agnostic I am thoroughly enjoying this Christian catfight. I just feel the love of Jesus in every post.

Anonymous said...

Oh look, another person who has Christianity confused with a personal life-coach, make you a better you system. Keep critiquing moralism. Don't fool yourself that you're critiquing Christianity. Jesus didn't come here to make me a better me and you a better you and let us write a cool new story for our life, where Jesus plays supporting actor. I apologize for those Christians who have misled you into thinking Christianity was about making people better.

Trav said...

Absolutely, Im a hypocrite.

No arguments there.

The difference is, my hypocricy was in one line of my post. And predictably, you guys have jumped all over that, rather than addressing my criticism of you.

And yes, Jesus did indeed intend his followers to "become better people". The heresy of the modern church is that we spend our time talking about what Jesus did, rather than teaching about how we should respond. The incessant focus on Christ the saviour has meant we've lost Christ the teacher. Christ did indeed teach HIS disciples to "become better people" and then told them to go make more disciples.

But, of course many people overlook this, cos they're too busy arguing over what intellectual beliefs we should hold, and which doctrines we should intellectually proclaim.

Victor Reppert said...

You see this is the problem. When we discuss doctrinal matters online we are hanging out our dirty laundry where nonbelievers can see it. How we conduct ourselves matters. I wouldn't even say denunciations are always wrong, and the Triabloggers are right in pointing out that denunciatory rhetoric does appear in Scripture. Jude, for example, directs extremely harsh rhetoric toward people he considers to be enemies of the Gospel. The problem I have with Triablogue is that not only anti-Calvinists like myself, but defenders of Orthodoxy, and Catholicism, and people who differ with them politically are treated in the same way. Even if Calvinism is true, isn't it at least possible that people who differ with them theological or politically are merely erring believers who still love Christ, as opposed to enemies of the Gospel.

The Triabloggers are bright guys, but no one who disagrees with them comes out feeling as if they had an interesting, worthwhile exchange of ideas about which they happen to disagree.

I don't always maintain a proper tone myself, but my blog is known as a place where we try to provide open and fair discussion. People taking numerous positions will tell me they disagree with me but they enjoy the dialogue.

I think there are features of the Calvinism debate that tend to make it acrimonious. Perhaps in a future post I can lay out what I think the problem is.

But biblically, I think we have to weigh our speech by asking if it builds up the body of Christ. I think it's not enough to find people in Scripture who spoke harshly. Paul can be very harsh, but you know he has the health of the body of Christ at heart at all times. With the Triabloggers, I don't see that same spirit.

Eugene O'Neill said...

How about this. Why don't we quit worrying about " I am a follower of Paul" or of "Apollos" or of "Peter" and get on with following the only ONE and the only ONE who matters Jesus Christ.Let us go forward an preach the message of the Cross which is that the Son of the living God was crucified for my sins and yours, was buried, rose on the third day and has ascended into heaven to make intercession for all who by faith will place their faith in Him and Him alone for salvation from the wrath of God. I am not ashamed of the Gospel for IT is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who will believe,first for the Jew,and then the Gentile.