Friday, September 13, 2013

The tribalism of Calvinism

The internet is inherently tribalistic. Let's face it. There's so much out there, it's so big, that you have to know what you want to see or you will not get anything out of it.
Calvinists know there are groups out there for them, and they go and seek them out, particularly because in the church they are so very rare. It's a very human thing to do.

Here's another one: it's very human to sense the true state of things, even if you don't acknowledge it. Atheists are so belligerent because they know in their heart that the Christians are right. They hope that by attacking and going on the offensive it will hide their insecurity and buttress their position. High Calvinists know that their views are unstable, and threaten to give way at any moment into hyper-Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinists sense the instability as well- if God does not desire to save men, why would He save you? And once you begin tossing out Scripture you don't like, you've sort of abandoned the principle of submission to Christ.

Here's the last very human thing to do: not think clearly. TULIP has been able to so completely dominate because it's easy to remember. It perfect for forming a tribe around because the markers are easily defined. But if you actually think about dividing the whole Bible, or even salvation, up in that way for more than a few minutes you will be taken aback. It's blankets all ability to think independently. It's really bad for making a man into a theologian, but it's a great little device to get people to remember. It's handy for the administrators too, because that's a useful tool for them to measure everyone by.

It's for this reason I got booted from the Reformed Baptist group. You are not a part of the tribe, you must go. You challenge our TULIP, by definition you seek our destruction both as a community, and as a believer. If we were to accept your position the boundaries between heterodox and orthodox would be erased.Only the thing is, our modern brand of tribalistic TULIP internet Calvinism can rise no higher than a simplified, over-reduced battle cry.

But you know what? The church isn't that way. Oh sure a local body of believers might nose dive into it, or a man who is a complete jerk might be appointed elder, but the bride of Christ isn't that way. She is warm and inviting, smart or stupid, articulate or inept, it makes no difference. She calls all to come. And for me, that's enough.

5 comments:

Lothar Lorraine said...

Hello Phil.

"Atheists are so belligerent because they know in their heart that the Christians are right."

These might perhaps concerns a very small minority of antitheists.

As a rule, antitheist are so militant because they are disgusted by Bible inerrancy and the outrageous beliefs it leads to, like for example God having ordered to soldiers to murder babies and pregnant women alike.


Lovely greetings from continental Europe.

Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

James Jordan said...

"As a rule, antitheist are so militant because they are disgusted by Bible inerrancy and the outrageous beliefs it leads to, like for example God having ordered to soldiers to murder babies and pregnant women alike."

More likely they opposed the concept of God because it might put the breaks on their own killing on the unborn via abortion. Antitheism also tends to result from homosexuality.

Phil said...

Well thanks for stopping by, both of you.
Lothar, you can't actually argue against God using morality. If naturalism is true and we have evolved, then you have no grounds for saying that God is unjust or evil. Evil is a meaningless term, to use it you have to first presuppose the existence of a good God who has placed in every man a knowledge of good and a desire to see it done.

James,
Atheism is the natural state of man, I'm not sure it results from homosexuality, unless you mean the angry, in your face brand of atheism.

James Jordan said...

"Lothar, you can't actually argue against God using morality."

Tell that to Abraham when he asks God "shall not the judge of the earth do right?" or to Moses when he stands between God and the people begging God not to destroy the people he just brought out of Egypt. Arguing with God on behalf of morality is part of the biblical tradition in the OT.

"James, Atheism is the natural state of man," -- that is, of course, a lie. A basic theism of some sort is the natural state of man, as Paul points out in Romans 1-2. Everyone has a natural knowledge that there is a God. They may exchange the truth about God for a lie, and begin to worship some idol in the form of a cockroach made of stone rather than the real God, but theism is certainly the natural state of man. Atheism is the result of giving in to depravity (which is also not the natural state of man, as Paul makes clear in the very same place, but is the result of rejecting the truth about God's nature).

Phil said...

Abraham and Moses standing as intercessors are the type which is later fulfilled in the anti-type of Jesus.
Besides, bringing them up is irrelevant. Their intercession is for the saints, presuming on the grounds of a merciful and loving God. The atheist is demanding there is no God, on the grounds that men are better than God.

As to the other point, total depravity is the natural state of man, which is against God. I only meant atheist in the sense of 'nonbeliever' not our strict modern category of atheist. Strictly speaking you are right of course.