Same As It Ever Was, Same As It Ever Was…


Same as it ever was...The image of David Byrne of The Talking Heads thumping himself in the noggin in the video for “Once in a Lifetime” reminds me of the battle taking place online yet again between Calvinists and Arminians. Once more you’ve got the Calvinist gang saying the Arminians follow a false God, while the Arminian gang says the God of Calvinism is more like one of the chthonic host.

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was…

I have a few questions for both sides here:

1. Did either side pray for God’s blessings to fall on those on the other side of the argument? Or did they reach out to their foes and ask, “What needs of yours can I pray for today?”

Didn’t think so.

2. Did anyone on either side of that argument—an argument that seems to consume oodles of blogging time—manage to take time out today to visit someone laid up in the hospital?

Didn’t think so.

3. Did anyone on either side of that argument take a few hours out of their free time today to lead a lost sinner to Christ?

Didn’t think so.

4. Did anyone on either side of that argument take time to feed the hungry today?

Didn’t think so.

5. Did anyone on either side of that argument take time to clothe the naked today?

Didn’t think so.

6. Did anyone on either side of that argument sit with a lonely person today and listen to his or her story?

Didn’t think so.

7. Did anyone on either side of that argument welcome a new family to their neighborhood today?

Didn’t think so.

8. Did anyone on either side of that argument visit a widow today and help her around the house?

Didn’t think so.

9. Did anyone on either side of that argument volunteer today to read the Scriptures to the blind or the infirm?

Didn’t think so.

10. Did anyone truly make a difference for Christ in someone else’s life today, actually modeling the workings of the Kingdom of God, or did we all just sit around, hiding behind our computers, lobbing insults at each other?

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was…

55 thoughts on “Same As It Ever Was, Same As It Ever Was…

  1. Dan, I like a lot of what you write, but this is frankly outrageous.

    Can you really claim to speak for all of those people? Do you really think the answer to any of your questions is, “No, no one did”?

    I noticed that you tagged this post “judgmentalism.” How ironically appropriate.

  2. Dan – I’m a Calvinist and I think that in the Arminian ranks there are people that worship a false God – just as I think there are those in the Calvinist ranks that do the same. I simply think Arminians are wrong on this point – I don’t think they are not Christians because of it.

    Regarding your questions, I haven’t done any of those today, it’s just 6:30 am. I’ve done a few but under half this past week … but in fairness, we didn’t have any new people move into our neighborhood but I did go out to dinner with some of the old neighbors in an effort to continue to build relationship. Etc..

    Anyway, I’m just giving you a hard time, I got your point and it’s a good one. Given the amount of writing by some critics, one has to wonder where they find any time for doing.

    I couldn’t tell by your writing what your attitude was. If you are frustrated don’t be. Not all is lost. I don’t think everyone in that debate is doing what you see, it only seems that way because a few are real verbal about it.

  3. jettybetty

    I think I get your point–and I am guilty in many ways (this issue is just one of MANY we get way too out of focus on). I am trying to do better–I have a bit of the sin of being *right* in me. 😉

    • Jettybetty,

      All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Now if only we would believe that and live out its ramifications. If we did, I suspect the world would be a more humble place.

  4. I must say that I don’t really know what ‘new’ Calvinist/Arminian debate you’re referring to, but most of the Calvinists I know do all of the above regularly enough, and at least some of the Arminians I know do as well. I don’t doubt the salvation of all Arminians, just as I’m not convinced of the salvation of all Calvinists. I guess I just don’t understand what you’re getting at, honestly.

    • Shannon,

      An Arminian scholar in TX by the name of Olson posted some inflammatory remark and incited a small riot across the blogosphere. Typical smack-talking that inflamed everyone. A lot of the noted Christian blogs have jumped in.

      It makes me sick, frankly.

  5. All,

    David Wayne of Jollyblogger posted an <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>interesting post</a> discussing how Christians should not be offended when the world treats us and our Lord with contempt. If anything, we should expect that sort of response. That may seem obvious, but there’s another point more devastating buried in it.

    Wayne’s post got me thinking that the real issue here is not that Christians get offended when non-Christians drag us and our Lord through the verbal mud, but that we drag each other through the mud and go ballistic with being offended by what our Christian brothers and sisters say about us.

    I don’t know how we got to be such thin-skinned people, but it seems to me that too many of us go around with a chip on our shoulder just waiting for someone to knock it off.

    When I was originally plotting my post, I only had the ten questions, I didn’t have the “I didn’t think so” parts. But I wanted to “push the envelope” so to speak, to see if anyone would note the irony of what I was doing.

    It’s a little like the apocryphal Tony Campolo statement, where he supposedly told a group of people, ” A thousand children died of starvation in Africa today and most of us don’t give a s***.” When the crowd reacted to the vulgarity, Campolo called them on the hypocrisy of being offended by that rather than the fact that a thousand children died of starvation in Africa.

    We get offended about the wrong things, don’t we? We’ll hate a Christian brother for some forgettable offense, but we’ll not look at our own sins of commission and omission. Nor do we understand the greater good.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together wrote something that has stuck with me for years:

    Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together—the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship.

    When we assault each other out of our offense with a brother, aren’t we betraying a greater truth about ourselves? When will we understand this?

    I get so tired of all the gnashing of teeth that goes on in the Godblogosphere. A Christian who has learned not to be offended, who has removed the chip from his shoulder, takes on the mantle of peacemaker. He understands how Christ offers the better way. Such a person brings wisdom into the petty squabbles of other brothers and asks if there is a most excellent way. We all know there is, so why do we act like hurt children all the time? We somehow have made it manly to assault each other in the name of supposed doctrinal purity, but I believe the way we do this only discredits the Gospel. The true man of God finds the most excellent way, love, and overcomes his opponents with his capacity to outlove them. The true man of God is not easily offended. Why? Because people who have truly died to self can’t be offended. This does not mean they can’t offer correction, only that the correction flows from a different source than their need to prove themselves right in the eyes of others.

    So while this post is about the need for us to gut check on whether we’re neglecting the true work of Christ in the midst of of squabbles, it’s also about how we’re too easily offended.

    Nothing good comes from being a rabid dog. It’s time for us Christians to be more than a bunch of angry curs.

    • Hi Dan,

      I agree with you. I have very strong views regarding the church. Some people might be shocked if they knew what I believe…:-) , but I almost never talk about it. Because there is one thing more important than my belief. God’s love. I have friends in all kinds of denominations. If you would ask them, what I believe, most will not really know other than “he loves Jesus”. But what they know is that I am a good friend. That I will be there for them, night and day. That when they come to my home, they will have rest and peace.

      Sometimes I meet people and the person will say something that is totally different from what I believe. Especially then, I keep quiet because the person in front of me is more important than my ego to be right. Sometime I struggle with this. But it is worth it, when you can begin to walk with someone and call him/her friend.

      I’ve added my 2 cents in my blog in respons to your post.

  6. David Riggins

    Hee hee…stirred up a hornets nest there, did you? I suppose that sharp jabs with a pointed stick do tend to get a response. That I don’t have a clue as to the arguments of either side perhaps puts me in a position of being able to look in from the outside, but I consider frothy debates over dogma to be rather, well, beside the point.

    I was considering that very thing last night as I walked to church. I dislike some of the things going on in our corner of the body, and that has cause some spill-over into how I feel about people, some in particular, but everyone in general. Call it “I would rather live in a cave than deal with others” syndrome.

    What is shaking me out of it is the suffering of a friend who is in surgery right now getting her arthritic knee replaced. She doesn’t deserve the pain she is going through. I know, I know, we all deserve death and worse…Blah, blah blah. But I would not wish her pain on anyone. No one. Including those I dislike because of their stance on our life in Christ.

    What has cause much of my frustration with our church has been those new, weak, unborn, or growing Christians who have been rolled over and destroyed because of the strident anger and self centered “me-ism” of some Christians. And I saw myself in a mirror last night as being one of the desteroyers, breathing fire and damnation because I didn’t like what was going on!

    So, thanks Dan, for the timely reminder that self-righteous rules and dogma don’t matter, it’s actions founded in love that do.

    • David,

      Yeah, I may have been too clever for my own good. The first few comments came in last night right before I went to bed and I was sad because I wouldn’t be able to clear things up until later. By then, I figured it was already too late for some people.

      Oh well.

      • David Riggins

        Ah well, the only Calvinist philosophy I adhere to involves running aorund with a stuffed tiger. (Does that make me a Hobbesist, too?)

        Beats hunting bears with pointy sticks!

  7. Becca

    Very interesting.

    I come from a non-demoninational background and couldn’t tell you where the Calvinists and Armenians stand. In fact I’m going to have to search out a good definition of an Arminian. Maybe I am one. Who knows?

    Still in my circle of Christianity I see way to much arguing over traditions and over buildings and activities that only serve to make Christians more comfortable and do nothing to further the work of drawing more into the Kingdom of God and training up leaders for Christ.

    It is hard to find anyone willing to get their hands dirty for God, but we can find plenty willing to get their dander up over the littlest thing until people leave church, churches split, and the world has another reason to say Christians are hypocrites.

    I know I get into my rut and don’t do enough to help change this tide of false attitudes. I am looking to find other Christians who are willing to lay aside sinful pride, selfishness, and so on to surround myself with, but it has been hard in my small community.

    Blessings to you for this blog that continues to challenge and inspire me.

    • Becca,

      I’ve long noted on Cerulean Sanctum that my theology is best described as charismatic Lutheran. That means I do believe the supernatural gifts of the Spirit are still in operation today, plus I believe that what Luther helped foster through the Reformation is vitally important. Because Calvin expanded what Luther did, I do have some overlap into Calvinist ranks, but when the arguments get so logically tortured that they hang us up, I take the Lutheran route: some things are mysteries and difficult/impossible for us humans to fully grasp. I suspect that would have some hardcore Calvinists painting me into the Arminian camp.

      Frankly, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.


    I wonder, if the Calvinists read that entry, would they go “ape****?

    Hi Dan, 🙂

    I’ve thought about writing a post on my blog on why I’m not a Calvinist, Lutheran, Wesleyan, etc., but I’m sure it would only fuel more useless cyberbaloney.. Suffice it to say, I consider myself a wretched excuse for a follower of Christ. People get angry when you have the nerve to expose that their heroes had/have feet of clay like the rest of humanity.

    Jesus is Lord! Amen!

    PS I know what it’s like to live through a spiritual/emotional tsunami, Dan. The only thing that kept me afloat was hanging onto the mercy of Christ as a desperate woman clings to a lifering, as I’m sure you’re doing now. My prayers are with you.

  9. Calling ‘the boys that play with matches’ on their behavior only inflames them further.

    You’ll notice it wasn’t picked up by those of us outside the US other than a quick mention.

    It is an incredibly depressing and sick read – they remind me of a pack of wild dogs (I’ve been confronted by a pack and am not using that rhetorical point lightly).
    It wasn’t worth fighting through posts to find the few good responses. They’ll rip your throat out and mock you while doing it.
    I really hope you don’t get targeted; with current life problems you don’t need to make yourself vulnerable.

    Olsen has some kind of history with one of the dear leaders I haven’t bothered digging up. God forbid a professor write as a human being. If you put the how of what he said beside historical writers such as Wesley et al, no theology degree is needed to see egos run amok and ungracious, legalistic, juvenile, hateful, defensive, obessive literalism in some responses.

    No way I’d direct any believer their direction.
    Scripture is clear about how we are to respond to this behavior.

    What another turn off to Christianity.
    Shake the dust of Dan and let them finish each other off.
    I feel sorry for some commenters that felt the need to jump in, bullying and verbal abuse is a norm and not even recognized for what it is.

    Many of these men are so rabidly out of control they won’t be shamed.

    As God as my witness if I head into the US, hell will freeze over before I’d ever step foot in resprentative churches. Why any sane person would subject themselves to this lifesytle is completely beyond my ability to understand.

    Excellent questions, contemplative, sobering, grounding. Thank you.
    The right hand doesn’t need to know what the left hand is doing, all of us can go about our work without announcing it from a blog rooftop.

    • BeneD,

      All sides have failed here. That’s my point. No one gets out of these kinds of brouhahas unsoiled. Unfortunately, we drag the Faith through the mud, too. I don’t believe the Lord intended that.

  10. Has anyone on either side ever thought that the differences are really just semantic and the result of the likely reality that God simply has chosen not to reveal that aspect of His character yet?

    • Bryan,

      I don’t believe the differences are all semantics. Differences in interpretation, yes, but not semantics. If we read both sides clearly, they often use the same language to different ends. That shows clearly that it’s not a language issue, therefore not semantics.

  11. Lincoln

    Yep, too much bickering on both sides, arguing and debating and strife when we should be focusing our energy on living a godly life and reaching a dying world.

    Naturally I blame Calvinists for this. 🙂

    • Lincoln,

      We should all look at our own situation and repent. That’s the way of Christ. The way of folly is to look at someone else’s situation and demand that only he repent. Again, the sinning brother reminds us that he and I are both under the grace of Christ. That kind of humility would go a long way toward healing us.

  12. I don’t know, Dan. Sometimes it seems they use different language to the same end, which is why I said semantics. That may not be true for all of the arguments, but that is often how I feel when I’ve engaged that argument. And, in the end, I really think it comes back to an incomplete understanding of how God works. Which is fine, because He is. And I am not.

  13. Thanks for this post. Although I’m not one to engage in theological debates (don’t see the point, frankly), I still struggle with being offended. I was convicted by your post. Why waste time being offended with others’ offensiveness when I can be obeying all that Jesus commanded me (the things you listed and more). One is inward focused, the other outward focused. Also really enjoyed the comments, especially about the one who has died to self cannot be offended. Great contributions! Thanks!

  14. I feel the need to explain my statement: “One is inward focused, the other outward focused.” I think habouring offense is inward focused (wanting to be right, wanting others to agree with us), and focusing on obeying Christ is outward focused (serving the needs of others).

  15. Hi Dan:

    I “got” your post and agree wholeheartedly that both sides in the Arminian vs Calvinist debate need to not allow their debate to distract them from the urgent tasks of serving others.

    Still I see the Arminian vs Calvinism debate as not a small issue. As recent articles by John Piper, Roger Olson and Gregory Boyd writing in response to the bridge collapse in Minneapolis show, the theological standpoint one takes leads to radically (and, as far as I can tell, irreconcilably) different conclusions.

    As you do so well on this blog, I also try to perceive “big picture” trends in the church, as I write on Jordan’s View, and one of the dangerous trends I see is the downplay of doctrinal purity in the interest of working together with other Christians with whom we may have differences. There are however truths of the faith that have such far-reaching (and practical) impact that one cannot ignore their ramifications for the church. I think that the “doctrines of grace” that reformed people hold to are such truths, and they need to be defended.

    Certainly that doesn’t mean that I must brand others as heretical. The debate between Arminians and Calvinists need not be divisive, acrimonious or distracting. It ought to be respectful and engaged in with a view towards unity, but a unity that is not at the expense of key truths of the faith.

    Grace in Christ,


  16. Hi Bryan:

    It looks like your comment is made in response to mine. If I understand then, your question is:

    Do men sometimes teach that their doctrine is pure and worthy of following, when really their doctrine is the commandments of men rather than God?

    Certainly this is possible. But how are we to make a right judgment about whether certain doctrines are but “the commands of men” or, are unsound, unless we know and preach sound doctrine?

    In an age of proliferating false doctrines both outside and within the church, we need teachers mature enough to boldly proclaim sound doctrine and refute unsound doctrine (Titus 1:9, Titus 2:1).

    This is important and critical part of the calling to being a teacher and leader in the church.

  17. I agree, but apart from Jesus, and faith in Jesus, what is it that we need to know? Apart from faith that God desires relationship with us through Jesus? And, what did Jesus teach? The gospel of the Kingdom. What was that? What more are we called to than to love God and to love others? Beyond that should we be dividing? I’m asking, not preaching here.

  18. Hi Bryan

    You ask a good question. Perhaps in many respects we do make things too complicated and don’t operate in simple child-like faith that simply trusts God and acts upon His word.

    Still, there is a need for mature thinking as we walk through this life. For example, when bad things happen to people. As mentioned in my previous comment, the differing conclusions among John Piper (Reformed), Gregory Boyd (Open Theist), Roger Olson (Arminian) and Rabbi Kurshner (modern Judaism?) writing about the recent collapse of the Minneapolis bridge can be traced to their different starting points theologically.

    John Piper writes, appealing to the authority of Scripture in his statements:

    “The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.”

    Kushner speaks about this from the perspective of a God who is not all-powerful”; Boyd writes about a God who is as surprised as we are when such bad things happen, and the Arminian Olson seems to concur with them as he writes:

    “Many conservative Christians wince at the idea that God is limited. But what if God limits himself so that much of what happens in the world is due to human finitude and fallenness? What if God is in charge but not in control? What if God wishes that things could be otherwise and someday will make all things perfect?… That seems more like the God of the Bible than the all-determining deity of Calvinism. ”

    The conclusions reached by the reformed Piper could not be more different than the ones reached by these three other men of faith. Are their opposing viewpoints all equally true and valid? They cannot logically be.

    To me this example illustrates why the ability to read and interpret Scripture correctly is not an expendable skill, but one critical to living out faith. We simply cannot know how to respond to such things without determining our beliefs. And for Christians this is a matter of interpreting Scripture, which most all would agree is the authority for any conclusions about truth. Actually, this is a such a significant topic I have been writing about it already, and had planned on writing about a more specific post in regard to the varying theological interpretations of the bridge disaster (so I have here given you a “sneak preview” of my thoughts on this topic).



  19. Well, we are having quite a little discussion here on Dan’s platform, and, for a reason that’s probably not as good as it should be I feel compelled to say that I’m pretty Calvinistic, but here’s my problem with picking this subject as one about which we must be concerned about “purity.” When I have had lengthy discussions with those who are more Arminian or closer to Open Theism (something of which I really don’t even know the definition), what I learn is that they believe in just as powerful of a God (omnipotent) and just as knowledgeable of a God (omniscient), but actually one who is so omni-[fill in the blank] that He can choose to limit Himself for His purposes. That begins to get into an area of His infinite nature that our finite natures just can’t grasp. And, the more I ponder it the more I think that the difficulty between the wide spectrum of people on this issue really is more about the fact that God is God, man is man, and God simply hasn’t revealed the full nature of how He acts/controls/works. And, I think that is just fine. Who am I, a man like Job, to question?

    I really think that often those who go overboard in trying to explain their Arminianism are just afraid that people will blame God for things if He really is in total control. That’s a valid fear but they don’t need to worry their heads about such because God is quite able to defend Himself just as He did with David in the Psalms, Habakkuk, Job, Job’s buddies, etc….

  20. Bryan:

    All I am trying to say is that there are very practical, real ramifications/consequences to the doctrinal positions we hold, as I think the debate between Piper and other theologians I described above shows.

    Will we be able to answer all the theological questions we ask to our perfect satisfaction? Of course not. But I don’t think we should then limit the answers Scriptures do indeed provide about some of these deep questions, and we ought to be able to also recognize and discard the answers that are clearly wrong and unscriptural.

    Job in a sense was asking “why me?” and God’s non-answer to his question is a really an answer of sorts, don’t you think? In other words, God tells Job, in effect, “I am in control of the world and all things that happen in it, and have been from the beginning… any other questions?”

    But this is an answer that to me accords with the reformed view much more than with the other views we have mentioned. I suppose however that to go on and on here may be against the spirit of Dan’s post. So I return to the main idea of my first comment– that while the point in Dan’s article is well taken– that it’s easy to get so caught up in theological debate that we neglect simple acts of kindness to others– nevertheless, we cannot and should not neglect the accuracy of the doctrine upon which we build lives of service to others.

    For a life of service to others, as we know from Scripture, may have an entirely wrong foundation/motive and may not actually be the fruit of relationship with God though Jesus Christ (Matt 7: 21-23, 1 Cor 13:3).

    Grace to you,


  21. Isn’t it possible to know a lot about God and still not know Him?

    I suppose I wish we were more concerned about introducing people to God and teaching them how to interact intimately with a loving Heavenly Father rather than trying to make sure that they have a “perfect” factual knowledge of doctrine about Him.

    And, yes, I agree, we need to be putting our faith into action for others in His name and to His glory..

  22. Alex Jordan


    You said, “I suppose I wish we were more concerned about introducing people to God and teaching them how to interact intimately with a loving Heavenly Father rather than trying to make sure that they have a “perfect factual knowledge of doctrine about Him.”

    While it is true that one may know a lot of facts about God and still not really know Him, the solution to this isn’t to not know a lot about God! We ought to have sound doctrine as the foundation>/i> to truly knowing God as He really is.

    I think that some assume that knowing facts about God and knowing Him in intimate relationship are two separate issues,but I would argue that unless our doctrine is sound, the “God” whom we are getting to know will not be the true God of the Bible.

    How do we know who God is, except by revelation? And where do we find the most explicit revelation about the nature of God, except in His Word? So again, it comes back to how we interpret the revelation of God about Himself in His word– this is at the heart of the Arminian/Calvinism debate– who is God– and this is why it is no secondary matter.





    The first discples got along just fine without Calvin or Armenius. Odd that the Sola Sciptura folks need volumes of Theologica to explain what they mean by Sola. Jesus gave us the word of the Father that we might be known by our love and unity. All that is not that is dross.

    Show me your works of Love and I will see your faith…and hear your words.

    I write much that is / would be perceived as “out there” that are merely creative exercises. But when the Spirit helps shape the words it is often uncomfortable to even me. I can fully appreciate where you came from with this. Doctrine is not what gets the job done…ultimately…so it should not be a matter of ultimatums. Some mysteries are unexplained by the best of science or the best of theology…they are veiled in this life on purpose. Lighten up on the fuzzies…bear down on the concrete.

  24. I agree with everything you said except where you say “how we interpret…” We need the Holy Spirit. Period. How I interpret is irrelevant. How God reveals Himself through His Word and through creation and through speaking directly to me and through others is what matters. And this particular issue is not one that has been fully revealed yet in my opinion.

    I never said we shouldn’t know a lot about God; I only said you can know a lot and know nothing really. And you agree. I agree. We just disagree that this issue is a central one. In fact, the reasons you claim it is so significant really hinge more on man than they do on God.

    Great conversation. Thank you because you have encouraged me and I definitely realize I don’t have a corner on an understanding of this area. I think it is important to try to figure out what really are the first tier areas of understanding.

  25. Alex Jordan


    I’m glad I have that somehow I have managed to encourage you– it seems you are saying that some things I’ve written here helped you consider areas where your knowledge is incomplete?

    Of course, my knowledge is incomplete as well, as is everyone else’s. This is why I’m unclear what you mean when you write:

    I agree with everything you said except where you say “how we interpret… We need the Holy Spirit. Period. How I interpret is irrelevant. How God reveals Himself through His Word and through creation and through speaking directly to me and through others is what matters. And this particular issue is not one that has been fully revealed yet in my opinion.

    Yes, we need the Holy Spirit that we may understand the revelation of Scripture, but even then, isn’t our knowledge flawed? Does the Holy Spirit bring everyone around to the same interpretation of Scripture? No. The fact that there is longstanding debate between Arminians and Calvinists, as well as debates on all sorts of other issues, demonstrates that our ability to interpret correctly (despite the presence of the Spirit) is far from perfect.

    But in spite of this, we are called to love the Lord God with all of our selves (including our minds), and this means using the mind to the best of its ability to interpret what God is saying in Scripture, as we depend on the Spirit to reveal its truth. Now if the Holy Spirit tells you that such and such passage means one thing, and I claim that the Holy Spirit has revealed that the same passage has a completely different meaning, then who is correct? Does it matter or not? If one’s doctrine is foundational to the manner in which one lives out their Christian faith and if one’s doctrine can be unsound and/or just plain wrong, then yes, I think it does matter.

    I am not saying that all the questions raised in the Arminian/Calvinism debate have decisive answers that have been revealed to us at this time–mystery definitely remains in this area. But when two intelligent Christians can look at the same events and come out at completely opposite ends in their interpretation of the meaning and significance of those events and therefore what is the best way to respond to those events, then it is not enough to say that we just need to ignore this debate and get on with the business of living out our Christian faith.

    Doctrine is not divorced from practical every day choices. I think that everyone has a theology that is expressed in their actions. So we can choose to either have an examined or an unexamined theology– but there’s no getting around having a theology.

    So I claim that this issue of Calvinism vs Arminianism is important not because the debate hinges more on man than God, but the opposite– that what we believe abut God is reflected in our theological viewpoint and radically affects everything we do, think and say.

    If then Calvinism is the more accurate, Scriptural view I ought to embrace it, whether or not some of its truths personally appeal to me.

    Well I hope that my comments have been stimulating and not seen as a complete diversion from the original post.



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