Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

on following human leaders

I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. I had a comment deleted from another blog.

It happened with Adam Smith's post on the dangers of following human leaders rather than Christ, where I left a comment that he considered inappropriate and argumentative.

Not only did he delete my offensive comment, but he has evidently also removed comments I've left on his previous posts (see, e.g., here, where Kevin Jackson and David Barnett both reference one of my comments).

Now I'm not upset about the censorship. Mr. Smith has every right to determine what content appears on his blog, and he was probably right to delete my comment. If I want to call him a cultist, I have my own blog.

Smith, in his post, tries to draw a distinction between Christianity, which "does not have a human leader," and other religions, which do have "human leaders and/or false gods, and that makes them false religions."

In his list, Smith includes:

Catholicism – The Pope

Emergent Church – Brian McLaren

Now I am neither Catholic nor Emergent, but I don't think it is either accurate or fair to label these groups as non-Christian religions that follow human leaders. Especially when you call yourself a five-point Calvinist.

If I had phrased my original comment like that, it might not have been deleted.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

no respect for john calvin

Kevin Jackson presents an essay by Roger Olson on Calvinism. Olson pulls no punches:

Above all I want to make clear that I admire and respect my Calvinist friends and colleagues. We disagree strongly about some points of theology, but I hold them in high esteem for their commitment to the authority of God’s Word and their obvious love for Jesus Christ and his church as well as for evangelism.

However, I do not admire or respect John Calvin.

It's not just Calvin's role in the murder of Servetus that Olson finds objectionable, though that itself is enough reason not to hold the man in any esteem.

But Olson also objects to Calvin's theology, which

…elevates God’s sovereignty over his love, leaving God’s reputation in question. What I mean is that Calvin’s all-determining, predestining deity is at best morally ambiguous and at worst morally repugnant.

Calvin's teachings on predestination are harsh:

God decrees that the sinner shall sin while at the same time commanding him not to sin and condemning him for doing what he was determined by God to do. To Calvin this all lies in the secret purposes of God into which we should not peer too deeply, but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of anyone who regards God as above all love.

Any being that sets up people to fail this way is not worthy of worship. Olson notes that this theology makes it hard to tell the difference between God and the devil.

I'll have more to say on this in a later post.

Labels: ,