Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sermon: Waiting on God (Psalm 130-131)

Here is the sermon I had preached this morning at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, from Psalm 130-131, entitled Waiting on God.

"Evangelical" racial SJWs and their deception

In light of the so-called MLK50 Conference, heavily promoted by the New Calvinists, and which claimed to be all about "racial reconciliation" but seemingly ended up causing a whole lot of confusion and division within the church, Dr. James White had posted a response to one strongly worded article by TGC council member Thabiti Anyabwile. In response, Anyabwile posted an article stating that "there can be no reconciliation where there is no truth-telling first," to which Dr. White responded in his Dividing Line podcast here. Essentially, Dr. White's first response argued that in Scripture, all our creaturely distinctions are eclipsed by the Cross of Christ, and there is where we should go to find Christian unity. Anyabwile's response to that is to state that truth-telling is the prerequisite for reconciliation, while Dr. White's second response is to show how Anyabwile has not really dealt with the biblical text (namely the book of Colossians and especially Colossians 3-4). Anyabwile's final response thus far is to claim that his critics have been committing an "Evangelical Gnosticism," which focuses on the spiritual while neglecting the creational distinctions still present while we live as embodied human beings on earth.

Now, I happen to think that both sides are right in their criticisms, mainly because the two sides are not really talking to each other but at each other. This goes for Dr. R Scott Clark's articles on racism as well (here, here, and here), which, while true, does not really deal with what seem to me to be the main SJW argument. On the one hand, the SJW racialists, Anyabwile included, have not really done their exegesis neither have they thought about what biblical reconciliation before the Cross implies for all within the church. They have not, to my knowledge, actually answered any actual arguments their critics have put forward to them except to advance their own arguments in return. On the other hand, Anyabwile's main argument does not seem to be addressed. We are indeed ensouled bodies, truth-telling is indeed necessary before we can talk about reconciliation, and putting forward an argument from Colossians 3-4 on Christian unity, while not addressing his arguments, is in my opinion not a very helpful thing, from an apologetic viewpoint.

The foundation of Anyabwile's arguments, and that of the SJW left, is their flawed idea of justice and their refusal to accept any narrative that does not line up with what they know, a priori, to be "the truth." Facts are sadly not important for the SJW. Now, I have no idea what is the truth regarding the supposed police shootings of black people, although I have read both sides. But first, the facts are disputable and it seems a strong case could be made that they are not actually evidences of police brutality and discrimination against blacks, as is argued in for example here (written by someone who is leaving The Village Church over Matt Chandler's racialism). But secondly, the SJW left is totally incapable of knowing the difference between equality, equity and fairness. They are NOT the same. In my interactions with certain left-leaning people, before all this racialism became such a big thing, none of them could discern the difference between these three concepts, probably even if their lives depended on it! Equality of outcome (Equity) was seen to be evidence of systemic discrimination! That, is classic Marxism! On a macro scale, such confusion of equality and equity will lead one to claim injustice and systemic racism anywhere so-called "people of color" (which almost always excludes Asians) are not doing as well in society as whites in America.

Thus, Anyabwile is right that, if there is any real racism and injustice, calling for unity while ignoring such sins is to put the cart before the horse. That is why I think that we need to address Anyabwile's Marxism first. Yes, there is no reconciliation without truth-telling. But what, Thabiti, is the truth? You think you know the truth, but you don't. You have been fed lies, and you promote lies, the lies of Critical Race Theory (Racial Marxism). That IS the problem which must be dealt with, for without dealing with the sea of lies the "evangelical" SJWs are soaked in, both deceived and deceiving others, there can be no getting through to them. They have a different paradigm, an anti-biblical paradigm, which they are using to interpret the Scriptures and the world. They know a priori what "justice" is, absent from the Scriptures, for the world with its distorted ideas of justice have polluted their thoughts.

The key dividing issue is not what constitutes "reconciliation" or "Christian unity," but rather, what constitutes "justice." And the sooner we start to realize that justice is not about fairness, the quicker we can start to address what biblical justice actually means.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Jubilee and justice

“You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field.

“In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property. And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another. You shall pay your neighbor according to the number of years after the jubilee, and he shall sell to you according to the number of years for crops. If the years are many, you shall increase the price, and if the years are few, you shall reduce the price, for it is the number of the crops that he is selling to you. You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 25:8-17)

“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land. (Lev. 25:23-4)

“If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, he may redeem it within a year of its sale. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption. If it is not redeemed within a full year, then the house in the walled city shall belong in perpetuity to the buyer, throughout his generations; it shall not be released in the jubilee. But the houses of the villages that have no wall around them shall be classified with the fields of the land. They may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the jubilee. As for the cities of the Levites, the Levites may redeem at any time the houses in the cities they possess. (Lev. 25:29-32)

What is justice? The current notion in vogue, "social justice," has been used in the sense of restorative justice, which is the notion that justice is all about restoring the offender to right relation to society. Whatever the merits of understanding justice in a restorative sense, the key point we want to notice is that such is not the biblical notion of justice. "Justice" in the biblical sense is God-ward in nature. The only "restorative" element is to restore a person's relationship to God. In a horizontal sense, "justice" in the Bible is about punishing evildoers because they violate God's law and God's commands, His statutes and decrees. Those who do good will have life, while those who do evil will face justice (c.f. Deut. 28, 6:1-3). "Justice" in Old Testament Israel encompasses both what we would call "civil" as well as "religious" aspects, and those those who violate Israel's ceremonial code were to be severely punished as well (c.f. Lev. 18:5, 19:7-8). The law as given to Israel did not differentiate between civil and religious infractions (as we understand them), and therefore those who wish to claim biblical support for supposed welfare programs should do well to note that, as if one could adopt unquestionably the supposed welfare programs of ancient Israel without simultaneously adopting Israel's religious laws as well.

Understanding Israel's law as a single whole in the context of ancient Israel should inform us of how we are to make sense of its supposed welfare aspects. To put it bluntly, to claim that Israel had elements of a modern welfare state is anachronistic. Ancient Israel was not just a nation but a theocratic nation, a fusion of Church and State. As such, laws concerning the taking care of the least in society were made in the context of Israel as the Old Testament church, where people were to take care of the disadvantaged in the Church.

As a Church-State, Israel's religious laws were also civil laws. Thus, the mere establishing of such laws for that entire nation tells us nothing about whether any other country ought to implement such or similar laws. But once this law of Israel was established, any infraction of that law is injustice in the sense of a violation of what God had commanded, and therefore any punishment is retributive in nature, not "restorative."

But just as the nature of the law (positive religious) has nothing to do with the civil enforcement of that law (retributive), so likewise those who would claim the mantle of "social justice" fail to adequately understand what this law is and what it is not. The law concerning Jubilee (a religious not civil concept) is not a law calling for the redistribution of wealth. It is rather a law given to protect people from becoming destitute. But just as it prevents a person from becoming destitute by calling for the return of ancestral land to its original owners at the next Jubilee, likewise it prohibits those desperate for money to fully leverage on what they own. In verses 15-16, we note that the price of the land to be sold is to be pegged to the number of years remaining until the next Jubilee. Thus, what is actually being sold is a leasehold, not freehold. The owner of that ancestral land is prohibited by law from selling his entire right to his ancestral land, but is only to sell a leasehold to that land. Therefore, if there is only one year left until the Jubilee, the seller is NOT to ask for a high price for a one-year leasehold to that land.

Likewise, the Jubilee does not prevent anyone from becoming rich and owning lots of properties. In verses 29-30, we see that properties that are not ancestral plots of land, but are within cities, will be permanently transferred to the buyer if the seller does not redeem the property within a year of sale. Thus, any property that is not an ancestral plot of land could be permanently sold and the buyer could become very wealthy, without any "reset" of society after every 50 years. The Jubilee is therefore not a blueprint for a socialist redistribution program, but rather a law regulating the sale of property, both protecting and limiting the extent to which property can be sold and bought. If the potential seller is desperate for cash, he is prohibited by law from selling away the right to his ancestral home, just as the buyer is prohibited by law from buying that right to that ancestral home.

The point of looking at the Jubilee in the context of discussion of "justice" is to note that any appeal to the Old Testament for calls for a more "holistic" idea of "justice" is sorely mistaken. As stated, the Jubilee does not teach wealth distribution or even debt forgiveness, but rather it is a law regulating the sale of property. Therefore, arguing from the major to the minor, any Old Testament laws concerning the call to justice has nothing to do with what many today would put under the umbrella of "social justice." Biblical justice is concerned with retribution for wrongs done, not restoration. Restoration in the Bible is a matter of grace, not law, and thus restoration comes through Israel's sacrificial system, not Israel's courts.

The Jubilee in its civil implementation is legal, and regulates the sale of properties. The Jubilee in its place in Israel's religion however is gracious, and it points towards the forgiveness of debts that Christ brings to us. But we know that it is only in Christ that forgiveness comes, not through the law. And therefore, using the Jubilee as an example for "social justice" is to confuse Law and Gospel. The lesson for Christians today from the Jubilee is to point out to us the grace of Christ in forgiving our sins, as portrayed in the return of the ancestral land to its original owner. That is the goal of the Jubilee for us who believe, and may we never misuse this great religious event in Old Testament Israel in any other way as support for the world's misguided social programs.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sermon: Kingdom Contentment

Here is the sermon I had preached on March 11th 2018, on 1 Corinthians 7:17-40, entitled Kingdom Contentment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On Reformed Piety: Defining Evangelicalism (part 1)

As we move towards comparing and contrasting Reformed piety with Evangelical piety, we must first define these two sides. After all, both the terms "Reformed" and "Evangelical" have been used and understood in many different ways by many different people. Some have used the term "Reformed" to refer to the followers of Karl Barth, but for those who are actually Reformed, such an association with the founder of Neo-Orthdoxy is extremely repugnant, to say the least. And others have used the term "Evangelical" to refer to those who anyone who claim that their faith is very important in their lives. Or, in a very misleading and offensive move, it is used to refer to the subset of white Christian Americans who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 US elections. Suffice is it to show that if these two sides are not clearly defined, comparing and contrasting their respective pieties is next to impossible.

Defining Evangelicalism

What is an "Evangelical," and thus what is "Evangelicalism"? Historically, a claim can be made that "evangelical" refers to all Protestant Christians who believe, like Luther, that justification is by faith alone (Sola Fide), since Lutherans were first called "evangelicals" (German evangelische) as they focus on the Gospel of free grace. However, words and the connotation of words change over time. At least in the English-speaking world, Lutherans are called "Lutherans." The term "evangelical" in English parlance came to denote a trans-denominational movement that begun during the time of the 18th century First Great Awakening. Prior to the First Great Awakening, each denomination and church body does its own thing and they do not generally work together. During and after the First Great Awakening, many Christians who believe in the Gospel had decided that denominational differences were not worth fighting over to the point of non-cooperation in ministry, and therefore there is a need to join together to proclaim the Gospel. We must recognize that, prior to the First Great Awakening, the state of Protestant Christianity lies in its various confessional traditions (e.g. Presbyterian, Anglican, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Swiss Reformed, Lutheran etc.), with each tradition proclaiming itself to be the visible representation of the true church in its particularly locality, and all other local churches are to join her or be guilty of schism.

Evangelicalism therefore must be seen as both a creature and a creation of the First Great Awakening. Evangelicalism must likewise partake of some elements of the trans-denominational perspective of the leaders of the First Great Awakening, and all subsequent evangelical revivals. Evangelicalism therefore cannot be reduced to merely a doctrinal standpoint, but it is rather a social and religious phenomenon. It is not enough to ask what are the doctrines all Evangelicals hold to, but rather to ask what are the practices also of the leaders of historical Evangelicalism.

In this light, British historian David W. Bebbington, in his seminal work Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London, UK: Unwin Hyman, 1989) gave us four points to describe Evangelicalism (both Old and New). Known as the "Bebbington Quadrilateral," these four points are: Conversionism (a focus on the necessity of each person to individually turn to Christ in faith for salvation), Activism (a commitment to participate with God in his saving mission in the world), Biblicism (a devotion to the Bible as the Word of God written for all of faith), and Crucicentrism (a focus on Jesus Christ and the substitutionary atonement of Christ for sins) [Bebbington, 5-17]. Academia by and large has agreed with Bebbington's four pillars of Evangelicalism, even though Bebbington's insights have for the most part yet to filter down to the churches.

The Bebbington Quadrilateral however has to be modified in light of the differences between the churches before and after the First Great Awakening. The first pillar, Conversionism, has to be modified to "a focus on the necessity of each person to individually turn to Christ in faith for salvation, with the necessity of a recollection of a personal conscious experience in doing so." The reason for this modification is that Evangelicalism has always rejected the notion of regenerate covenant children being raised in the faith, but who have not felt a single day apart from Christ, and whose lives are not filled with great spiritual experiences. That was why the congregationalists in Puritan New England had trouble with the spiritual lives of the second and third generation puritans to the extent that Solomon Stoddard (Jonathan Edwards' grandfather) instituted the Halfway Covenant. The New England Puritans had developed an imbalanced experimental Christianity whereby believers are to recount some spiritual experience whereby they have trusted Christ for their salvation. Now, this was not yet the emotional decisionism of Charles Finney and his part in the Second Great Awakening, for believers were not asked to produce a specific conversion experience. However, evidence of spiritual life was to be sought in having some form of crisis resulting in spiritual conversion to God. The half-way covenant came about because so many second and third generation Puritans did not possess that crisis-faith experience and therefore were not admitted into church membership and the Lord's Supper, despite how orthodox they were in their profession of faith. What happens when these non-communicant members desire to present their children for baptism? The half-way covenant was Stoddard's way of promoting a "half-way" whereby these second and third generation Puritans could be admitted to the Lord's Supper and have their children baptized if they were orthodox in doctrine and not scandalous in behavior, even though they were not considered full members of the church (officially non-communicant members who partake of Holy Communion!)

Jonathan Edwards, as one of the major leaders of the First Great Awakening, ultimately chose to reject the Halfway covenant which his grandfather had instituted. Edwards rejected the Halfway Covenant not by accepting that covenant children might not have a radical faith experience, but rather by biting the bullet and insisting that covenant children without a faith experience should be regarded as unbelievers. Thus, one can be orthodox in doctrine and godly in life, but if a conversion experience cannot be shown, he is to be regarded as a heathen! It is only a matter of time before the conversion experience become a conversion decision experience, which Charles Finney popularized in his anxious bench, and Billy Graham with his altar call.

The first pillar of Evangelicalism, Conversionism, is thus to be modified to a necessity of a conversion experience. The Old Evangelicalism, the Evangelicalism of the First Great Awakening, only insisted on some intense spiritual experience sometime in one's life, and is therefore more orthodox than the experience called for in Finney's anxious bench and Graham's alter call. Yet for both Old and New Evangelicalism, conversion experience, and spiritual experiences in general are considered vital for a genuine Christian life, apart from which a person no matter how orthodox and godly is considered dead.

[to be continued]

Sunday, March 18, 2018

On Reformed Piety

What is Reformed piety? Or is there such a thing as Reformed piety, as distinct from Evangelical piety? For those of us who do not identify as "Evangelicals," and that even before the term has become politicized during and after the election of US President Donald Trump, we do see a difference between Reformed piety and Evangelical piety. We do this, not out of a blind following of tradition, but because of what we see as being taught in Scripture and in light of the implications of Scripture.

It might be charged that such a statement in itself is schismatic in nature. In response, it must be said that we do not seek to break fellowship, but rather we seek to be truthful, and not pretend that there is fellowship and unity where none actually exist. Is it truthful to claim unity when in reality unity of praxis does not exist? Are we to be like the crowd marveling at the Emperor's (non-existent) new clothes? So likewise, the charge of division and schism presupposes what I explicitly deny, and thus the charge is vacuous.

Where then do I see Reformed piety as being distinct from Evangelical piety? I see Reformed piety as distinct from Evangelical piety in the following areas:

  1. The priority aspects in Christianity
  2. Views on Bible and Tradition
  3. Views on the Means of Grace
  4. Views on the Church
  5. Views on the Moral Law and especially the Fourth Commandment
  6. Views on worship

In subsequent posts, as I have the free time to do so, I will elaborate on these points and compare and contrast Reformed piety to Evangelical piety on these matters.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review and Analysis of Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Critique

Just last year, a book came out on the topic of theistic evolution. Coming in at almost a thousand pages, this book aims to be a comprehensive rebuttal of theistic evolution, at least as taught by Biologos. I have read the book, and decided to do a review and analysis of the book, which can be read here. Here is an excerpt of my 18-page review and analysis:

How does Christianity interact with science, especially in the contested areas of cosmic and especially human origins? Some scientists, especially those linked to the organization known as Biologos, have claimed compatibility between Christianity and the findings of science, or specifically the theory of evolution. Their brand of theistic evolution is the result of their particular synthesis of what they believe to be the indisputable findings of evolutionary science, and what they believe the Bible teaches. This particular version of theistic evolution can be defined as:

God created matter and after that did not guide or intervene or act directly to cause any empirically detectable change in the natural behavior of matter until all living things had evolved by purely natural processes.1

In an effort to refute such teaching, a group of scientists and theologians have come together to write a book to that effect, entitled Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical and Theological Critique. ...


Saturday, February 03, 2018

The myth of the Medieval Flat earth belief

The myth that a flat earth was part of Christian doctrine in the Middle Ages appears to have originated with Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who wrongly claimed that geographers had been put on trial for impiety after asserting the contrary. There were a few authentic flatearthers in late antiquity, but none among the scholars of the Middle Ages proper. [James Hannam, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2011), 28]

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The error of Vincent Cheung, explicated

Vincent Cheung is a heretic, because he holds that God is the author of sin. But first, what is the meaning of the phrase "author of sin," and what does Cheung mean when he say that God is the "author of sin"?

The traditional meaning of the term "author of sin" is understood in relation to its use in the Westminster Confession of Faith 3.1, which states:

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (WCF 3.1)

Therefore, the phrase has historically meant that if God is the "author of sin," then God makes a person sins directly, either through violating the will of the creature, or by taking away the liberty and contingency of second causes.

In understanding the historical definition of the phrase "author of sin.," we can see that Cheung redefines the phrase, while he actually holds to its historic meaning. Cheung therefore does not formally hold to God being the "author of sin," while he holds to God being the "author of sin" materially, since he affirms the essence of the traditional meaning of the phrase "author of sin," as I have stated here.

Why is Cheung holding materially to the phrase "author of sin" wrong? It is wrong because it makes God into a schizopreniac, a monster, or an untrustworthy being. I had mentioned this in some way in a previous post: Vincent Cheung and the Author of Sin, but I would like to explicate it further to nail down the argument and make it as clear as possible.

Here is the argument for why God being the "author of sin" is wrong (P = Premise, C = Conclusion):

P1: If God is the author of sin, he directly causes people to sin.
P2: God is the Author of sin (Cheung's assertion)
(From P1 and P2) C1: God does actions that directly makes people sin.

P3: Directly making people sin is an evil action.
(From C1 and P3) C2: God does evil actions.

P4: God is by nature good.
(From C2 and P4) C3: God who is by nature good does evil actions.
(from C3) C4: God by nature does something contrary to His nature.

(From C4) Possible conclusion 5a: That is impossible, thus one of the previous premises must be wrong. P1 and P3 are true by definition, so P4 must be false, and God actually is evil and thus a monster.

(From C4) Possible conclusion 5b: God can will to do something contrary to his nature.
(from C5b) C6: God's actions and God's nature are not necessarily linked.

(from C6) C7: If God's actions and nature are not necessarily linked, then God can promise one thing and do another. God's faithfulness is undermined.
(from C7) C8: God is therefore untrustworthy, a schizopreniac, or both.

P5: The biblical God is faithful and trustworthy and good and not schizopreniac
(from P1, P5, C5a and C8) C9: The God who is the "author of sin" is not the biblical God, and this teaching that he is the "author of sin" attacks the character of God.

This argument about the gross error, even heresy, of holding that God is the "author of sin" deals with ontology, not ethics or epistemology. Thus, it deals with the being, the attributes of God. That is why the irrational nominalism of Cheungians is a next to useless counter argument. If the logical implications for God being the "author of sin" is an assault on the character of God, then to repeat over and over again that "God is by definition good" (which is an ethical argument), is useless.

Finally, Cheung's assault against compatibilistic free will and soft determinism, which props up his argument that God is the "author of sin," is baseless, as I have shown in my article "God, the Author of Sin and Metaphysical Distanciation: A Rebuttal to Vincent Cheung's Theodicy." Cheung's position is spiritual poison, and it has many practical implications for life, the main ones which I have pointed out in another article here, entitled "Some Practical Problems with Cheung's heresies."

Lastly,Cheung's determinism is not the same as Gordon Clark's determinism. Gordon Clark held that God is not the "author of sin" and that secondary causes are real causes so that the contingency and liberty of second causes are established, as the WCF 3.1 states. Clark was a presbyterian, and he would definitely reject Cheung's heretical teaching of God being "the author of sin."

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Summer White Jaeger: Why Feminism Can't Save You

Last year, Summer White Jaeger, the daughter of apologist Dr. James White, gave a talk on the topic of Feminism with mention of Critical Race Theory as it affects the church. It is an interesting talk which can be heard here.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

WHI, racist "anti-racism" and practical Christianity

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live yon all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, (Acts 17:26)

In light of the recent racist post by White Horse Inn under the Core Christianity brand, I thought it would be good to put more thought into the issue of how to deal with issues of race. Now, in Singapore, color-blindness is institutionalized in our national creed, where we confess to being "one united people, regardless of race, language, or religion," and it is seen in the social engineering that our governing party (for many decades) has done in basically forcing everyone to mix and live in harmony. This does not mean that the methods of the social engineering process is good, or bad. But the engineering has been done, and the results are that Singapore has survived as a multi-ethnic nation where people by and large live harmoniously in peace, without the formation of ethnic ghettos. That does NOT of course imply that everything in society is perfect, for as long as sin remains in the hearts of men and women, no social program implemented by anyone can totally eradicate all manner of racism and racial discrimination. But if we make perfection the enemy of imperfection, then we run the risk of jettisoning a good workable theory and practice for something that destroys society in pursuit of the mirage of utopia. That is why Marxism fails at its core, not because equality is a terrible thing, but rather that the methods of pursuing a utopia of equality has led to misery and death, and yet inequality has not ultimately been eradicated, as we can see in the history of the USSR.

As Christians, how we ought to deal with issues of race is to look to Scripture, not to social science. If we believe in Sola Scriptura, then Scripture Alone has to be our ultimate authority. Scripture of course is not a social science textbook, or science textbook, or any textbook on any subject. But rather Sola Scriptura implies that Scripture is the foremost and ultimate authority. Theology is to be the queen of the "sciences" (in its historic meaning of "knowledge"; Regina Scientiae), which means that, while social sciences are not to be rejected, whatever Scripture says must trump whatever the social science say. Social sciences can only aid as a servant in discussion on topics Scripture teaches, not to over-ride Scripture on anything. Unfortunately, those like Mika Edmonson and Timothy Cho (Operations Manager(?) of WHI) do not abide by this principle of Sola Scriptura in their dealings on issues of race, but rather take their cue from culture and society, as they embrace Critical Race Theory, a theory taught nowhere in Scripture.

How does Scripture deal with issues of race? Scripture of course does not directly speaks about "race," but rather it deals with different people groups, of which the foremost division lies between Jews and Greeks. We know that the focus of passages like in Galatians 3:28 is to focus on the eradication of differences between Jews and Greeks as pertaining to the ceremonial distinctions between Jews and Greeks. In that sense, Galatians 3:28 is not a good passage to talk about issues of race, because the thrust is more on removing the wall of Jewish ceremonial distinctions, and only secondarily about race. A better passage where we see the issue of ethnicity dealt more explicitly lies in Paul's speech to the Athenians in Acts 17.

The Greeks of that time, especially the Athenians, were cultural supremacists. They believed that Greeks were superior above all other races, and Greek culture superior to every other culture. There were the Greeks, and there were the uncivilized barbarians. This superiority was ethnic and cultural in nature, not religious, as opposed to the differences between Jews and Greeks.

How then did Paul addressed the Athenians at the Aeropagus? If we were to follow Edmonson and WHI, Paul ought to have told the Athenians they should respect the different distinctions among different cultures. After all, isn't that how Edmonson and WHI think racism ought to be combated? But what did Paul actually do? Paul addressed the racism and cultural supremacy of the Athenians by pointing them to creation and the fact that God had made all men from one man, Adam. Paul referred the Athenians to the common humanity they share with other men (Acts 17:26), including those they scorn as barbarians, especially the Scythians (Col. 3:11). Since all men are derived from Adam as our common forefather, there ought to be no room for hatred, for racism, or for any form of supremacy over another man. The biblical method of dealing with racism is to focus on our common humanity, not to focus on tribal distinctions. In this, we can easily see that Paul embraces the idea of color-blindness (anachronistically speaking), since he advocates treating all men (and women) as equals, not to distinguish and divide men into different groups and social constructs each to be treated differently.

According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, racism is defined roughly as follows:

Racism, also called racialism, any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldview—the ideology that humans may be divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races”; that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural and behavioral features; and that some races are innately superior to others. ... (Source)

Racism is theoretical, but racist actions is racism put into practice. Thus, racism in act does not necessarily need to have the ideological component of some races being superior to others, but rather racism in act is the action of treating races differently because of something inherent in the races. According to basic definition therefore, those who advocate for treating people differently because of their immutable ontological characteristic of race are promoting racism. The intention does not matter, for being racist out of what is perceived of as a good intention is still being a racist. That is why those promoting Critical Race Theory are racists, even though they promote it out of a sincere desire to combat racism. But since when is combating racism an excuse for using racism to fight racism? As long as one promotes treating people differently because of race, by focusing on racial distinctions, one is essentially promoting racism.

But, it is protested, what about distinctions between people and ethnicities? As I have said, human beings are not ethnic, religious, or class social constructs. We are individuals, each one of us unique in his or her way. That is the problem with much of social sciences, because they reduce individuals to social constructs they can study and make generalizations and control. But the fact of the matter is that each of us is different, even within the same ethnic group. Distinctions are to be dealt with in everyday life, as we deal with people, even people of the same "race." Distinctions have nothing to do with race per se, but of people. Those who claim that color blindness eradicate distinctions have a rather strange view of distinctions. Perhaps they only stay in a particular intellectual ghetto where all their peers think like them and have the same values as them? But for those of us who actually interact with people and do not stay in social "safe spaces," we realize that people are not the same, even within the same "race." The balkanization in American politics (which has unfortunately seeped into WHI) is such that all those who think differently are delegitimized and considered "evil," "deplorables," and "Nazis," all done so as to deny that actual distinctions exist within the same "race," such that Critical Race Theory with its idea of racial distinctions among racial construct entities is legitimized as THE ONLY way one should think about distinctions. Critical Race Theory, at least in the popular leftist version, cannot exist in a universe whereby distinctions are acknowledged as legitimate within "races," or "classes" or whatever construct they slot people into. That is why American Liberals demand that all women must vote for Hilary Clinton, for example, since women must all conform to the "woman" social construct they have created, and all those who refuse to conform to their social construction are considered "traitors" to their gender as women.

Does this mean that there cannot be talk about racial differences and discussion about inequality among people of different races per se? No, it does not. But rather, any such discussion must proceed upon the foundation or axiom of the ontological equality of the various ethnicities or color-blindness. Color-blindness must be presupposed as the basis and the uniting force against racism. Without this foundation, any discussion about distinctions between individuals and groups of individuals of different races will surely result in tribalism and racial antagonism at best, and racial warfare at worst. Even from a pragmatic viewpoint, what good is it to combat "racism" if the consequence of one's tactics in combating racism is tribalism and antagonism among the races?

Back to White Horse Inn and Mika Edmonson, it is supremely ironic that, while they talk a big talk about celebrating "distinctions," I do not see them actually recognize the actual distinctions that exist within the races. In all their talk about "racial reconciliation," where is the part about celebrating the differences they have with, e.g. Trump supporters? After all, aren't they supposed to be big about "diversity"? I do not see them celebrating ideological distinctions with people who reject Critical Race Theory. I do not see them recognizing the arguments posed by people who are different from them ideologically, and interacting with them intelligently. Rather, they just parrot the Liberals in their social theories of race, and refuse to acknowledge or interact with their detractors. What "diversity" is there and what celebration of "distinctions" are there for Edmonson and the folks at WHI?

Last but not least, the main problem with WHI is that they are taking a political position in what is supposed to be a push for theological reformation. But, they claim, it is not political to be against racism. True, it is not political to be against racism, provided you are not taking up a political position while attacking racism. But that is what they have done, in siding with the (post-) liberal left! The whole premise of "Core Christianity" and the Campaign for Core Christianity was to promote a return to biblical Christianity and a rejection of American "Christianity." That was what I had supported and why I had followed them in Twitter and Facebook. But now, with the publishing of that article, the call to biblical reformation has been muddied by a partisan political piece, in a false association of biblical reformation with siding with the political left. There is nothing wrong of course with having a personal conviction that the left is right, but one should not mix one's politics with one's Christianity in such a manner. Instead of the "Campaign for Core Christianity" being about a return to biblical Christianity, now it has degenerated into a "return to biblical Christianity and an embrace of Critical Race Theory." Is Dr. Horton agreeable that Critical Race Theory be seen as an integral part of his idea of a "return to biblical Christianity?" Is Justin Holcomb fine with the conflation of politics and religion in this manner? What is "Core Christianity" now, since the waters have been muddied? We must remember that the Campaign for Core Christianity is meant to be non-political but to be focused purely on Scripture, not to be the platform for a few people's social justice activism based upon their social and political views, or at least that was what it was supposed to be. But I guess it has gone to waste now. The Campaign for Core Christianity has now become partisan, and can no longer be seen to be promoting Core Christianity in the same way as Jim Wallis does not promote Core Christianity either.

As for the people who deign it right to write and publish such unbiblical nonsense, it is my hope that they will repent of falsely claiming the support of Scripture for their position. As a social theory, they are free to hold to it (even though I think it is trash), but to promote it as biblical is a violation of the third commandment. I would hope they will keep their socio-political nonsense out of the equation, but at the very least stop claiming biblical support where none exists.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Why Critical Race adherents cannot be trusted

In the current day and age, Critical Race Theory has been put to use to supposedly correct "white privilege" and advocate for minorities. But in the quest to correct what they had perceived as a problem, half of which are legitimate and the other half an internalization of Marxism, they pushed for "affirmative" action and constant attacks against who they perceive as the "privileged" class. For now, the devil is the straight, white man, so presumably non-whites can rest easy, or can't they?

The problem with race and class warfare is that it is unjust to judge people according to their race and class, as if they ARE (ontologically) their race and class. But even if we ignore the injustice of it all, as a practical concern, nobody should be supportive of Critical Race Theory and trust their advocates. After all, today it might be the straight, white man's turn to be treated as scum. Tomorrow, who will be the next target? A system that attacks people based upon their supposed "privilege" can turn on anyone and everyone on an instant. For those who remember history, remember that the Reign of Terror followed upon the French Revolution, and the previous supporters of the revolution became the new target of the secular inquisition. So, even if Critical Race Theory benefits you as a minority, what makes you so sure that the wheel will not one day turn and you will suddenly become the target for scorn and derision because of your "privilege"?

That is why those promoting Critical Race Theory as fact cannot be trusted. It does not matter even if you are of the race and class they are currently promoting. Once a system is in place for some measure of racial discrimination (call it whatever name you want: "affirmative action," "social justice," "racial justice," "Black Lives Matter"), there is an erosion of a belief in our common humanity and the fact that all humans regardless of race is actually one human race. Tribalism will start to set in and society will begin to balkanize. It does not matter how nice Critical Race adherents may be in person, because by their words they promote poison. It does not matter how much they say they are against racism, because they combat racism with (the "correct" kind of) racism. And therefore, they cannot be trusted to treat you with respect as a human being. They are treating you as an ethnic, gender, social class construct, not an individual. Today, it is the white man's turn to be mocked and ridiculed. Tomorrow, it might be the Chinese's turn. And the next day, it might be the Africans. After all, in America, "Asians" are routinely ignored already, so the mere fact that Asians tend to work high and consistently churn out good academic results might result in the next "new thing" being complaints about "Asian privilege," if it hasn't happened already.

The right way, and the Christian way, is to stress our common humanity, and to not judge people based upon the skin of their color or ethnicity. This is however mocked and ridiculed by Critical Race adherents, and that is why none of them cannot be trusted. I personally will not trust anyone who holds to Critical Race Theory, because I know they can turn on me and discriminate against me in a flash. After all, "Chinese privilege," right?

The immoral assault on color-blindness

[This is a write-up in defence of my claim that this article is essentially racist.]

What is color-blindness? Well, what does it mean to say that justice is blind? It means that all men should be treated equally before the law, regardless of status, wealth, race, religion or any other factor. Color-blindness therefore is the theory that one should treat everyone equally regardless of the amount of melanin in their skin. As a theory that rejects racial segregation and racial discrimination, color-blindness is a theory about fairness. It is a theory about equal treatment, but it is not a theory about rendering everyone equal. Treating everyone equally has to do with fairness, while expecting everyone to be equal is Marxist. The former has to do with actions, the latter being. Under Marxism, any inequality of result of any kind is considered inequality and injustice. Thus, racial Marxism is the idea that all races or ethnicities must be equal, and that any inequality, even if there is no inequality of treatment, IS "injustice."

Racial Marxism is solidly entrenched in today's "social sciences," in the form of Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theorists decry inequality among the races, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, part of Critical Race Theory is their insistence on "systemic racism," and the "proof" for "systemic racism" is found in inequality among the races. Note here however the Marxist slant, whereby any form of inequality is necessarily evil. But is there proof of actual acts of racism, i.e. the older (and truer) ideas of what constituted racism? Well, in America, besides pointing to the pathetically small minority of true white supremacists, and pouncing on the (truly deplorable) racist rhetoric found among the Alt-right and current president Donald Trump, which is a lot of bark but no bite, what proof do they have for actual racism (the real racism, not the Marxist redefinition of the term)?

Color-blindness is a theory of non-discrimination. It focuses on the ACT of treating people fairly, without having double standards towards others of other races. Color-blindness is NOT an exhaustive theory of how one should interact with anyone. The very idea that color-blindness MUST mean that one interacts with a person as a "generic human" is a caricature that no one who embraces color-blindness holds to. In fact, this caricature betrays a Marxist mindset, because in Marxism, the individual is reduced to the collective, and thus all theories must be reduced to speaking about people in collective terms.

It is at this point that we will see what is wrong with Edmonson's article. We note immediately the caricaturing and misrepresentation of Color-blindness, which should alert us to a possible SJW viewpoint. The Marxist slant is cemented when we start to read this sentence:

Race, class, and gender are the fault lines of sinful disparity and division that pass from the world right into the church.

The focus of the article then deals a lot with classes of people in the form of distinctions. But, as I have pointed out in another post, we deal with people as individuals, not races. We are not our race, but ethnicity constitute a part (not the whole) of us. The association of personal distinctions with sociological categories like race points us to a collective view of humanity and racial groups. After all, the only reason why race must be mentioned as "distinction" is because race is definitional of all persons of that ethnicity, or at least it should be, and this distinction trumps all distinctions within people of the same ethnicity (assuming of course the same gender and same social class, because... intersectionality!). You are, in essence, your race, AND gender, AND class. Any talk of distinction is focused only on your race, gender, and class. And since there is, in the contemporary social sciences, as many genders as one can conceive of, the art of perceiving distinctions has just gotten much much harder, but I digress.

If Edmonson were just to mention distinctions of race, gender and class, and the need for us to acknowledge them, then we can say that there is a strong Marxist slant but still since these distinctions are indeed present in people, we cannot say with certainty that it is necessarily Marxist. But Edmonson is unambiguously clear in his racial Marxism when he attacks Color-blindness. In his attack on color-blindness, he repeats the misrepresentation pushed by the Critical Race Theorists. Through the attack on Color-blindness, he makes his racial tribalistic view of society very clear. To the extent that his article promotes a Critical Race Theorist viewpoint on dealing with distinctions, to that extent it is racist, because Critical Race Theory is a racist theory.

How should we deal with distinctions? How do you deal with differences you have with your biological brother or sister? Or, how would you deal with differences you have with your friend of the same ethnicity? Likewise, so you ought to deal with distinctions with others, in getting to know them personally, and not as a racial entity. Ethnicity is just one of many things that constitute an individual. When one plays identity politics and tribalism, beware lest you get burned. For if you promote better treatment for your "race" on the basis of Marxist inequality, you stir up tribalism from other groups as well. The stage is then set for balkanization and ethnic strife, even possible total warfare of entire ethnicities against each other. So this error is not merely a theoretical one, but it has ghastly practical consequences, as we have seen in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. But even if we couldn't care less about society, is it biblical to treat people differently according to their ethnic group, since we need to "preserve" distinctions? Or rather, should we treat people according to who they are individually, of which their ethnicity is merely one facet of their persons? I would suggest that the Christian way is to NOT treat people differently just because they are of different ethnic group. And just for the record, racism in action IS treating people differently because of their ethnic distinction. The only difference it seems between Edmonson's view of distinction and a traditional racist's view of distinction is that Edmonson affirms distinctions (positive discrimination) while a traditional racist denigrates distinctions (negative discrimination). The problem however with this is that if someone is positively discriminated for, then the rest who are not of that tribe is by definition discriminated against.

Color-blindness IS the Christian ideal, for we are to treat everyone equally as human beings NOT as tribal groups. The assault on color-blindness by Edmonson is therefore unbiblical, and socially immoral, given what we know of how such theories when put into practice results in the sundering of societies at best, and genocide at worst. While this is most certainly not what Edmonson wants, or what he explicitly teaches, yet his article is dangerous precisely because the Critical Race Theory hidden in it could cause major damage to the practice of the faith, and to the social fabric of entire societies and countries. As such, while I do not believe Edmonson is a racist, his article is racist, in essence.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

On Postcolonial theories and (liberal) indigenous theologies

The quote below is specifically focused on Third World or Indigenous Theologies and hermeneutics, but I do think the principle here is generally applicable to many "Postcolonial" theories in any discipline.

Accordingly they are unafraid to criticize global South Christians for “making the same Bible an uncaring, mean-spirited and cruel book by using it uncritically,” while simultaneously asserting that “the imposition of one’s culture on others is plainly unacceptable.” Yet others can ask of the postcolonialists, Is not their Western form of religious pluralism as institutionalized in academic culture an imposition upon those who do not wish to see the Bible “as an entertaining narrative devoid of its ecclesiastical and dogmatic functions”? Postcolonial theory is therefore in a blind: useful in helping Christians to recognize human finitude and fallenness in our theological understanding, but tending to assume the normative absence of divine revelation—ironically a sort of intellectual colonialism. (Daniel J. Treier, “Scripture and Hermeneutics,” in Kelly M. Kapic and Bruce L. McCormack, eds., Mapping Modern Theology: A Thematic and Historical Introduction (Grand Rapid, MI: Baker, 2012), 90

Monday, January 01, 2018

Contra Scott Price on Arminianism

Scott Price, who runs a blog and FB page promoting supralapsarianism, recently posted on his wall, and re-posted a note in the FB group "I am a Supralapsarian" that seems to run in a certain errant direction. Now, I have not been following the controversy over the supposed "free will debate" between Sonny Hernandez and Theodore Zachariades on the one side, and Leighton Flowers and Jonathan Pritchett on the other side, and I didn't even hear in full the two hour dissection Dr. James White did on his Dividing Line show. Generally, I have little interest in interactions where the side I am supposedly on holds to false teaching concerning the Gospel and is selective in their understanding of church history. This post by Scott Price follows at least a similar line of reasoning as Hernandez and Zachariades. Whether or not Price holds the same view as Hernandez and Zachariades on the topic, the similarities are just too common and disturbing, and I have decided to respond to the issue here.

The most disturbing section from the note is seen in these two paragraphs:

Those who are well-read, well-studied, with lettered credentials behind their name are who I blame for the most toxic spread of fake gospel-news by their endorsement of the false gospel of Arminianism. It is simple and very clear how this is done. They call Arminians their brothers. They imply it is merely error or inconsistency on the Arminian’s part, but we know that adding conditions or works to grace perverts the gospel of grace (Rom 11:6).

The Arminian, Semi-Pelegian and Pelegian preachers are guilty of preaching and teaching the false gospel for the hearers to believe it in the first place. That is bad enough, but those who should know better are the educated ones who claim to believe the free and sovereign grace who snuggle up to the false gospel and legitimize it by calling the Arminain their brother. They are the ones who spread the Fake News of Conditionalism being a legitimate gospel used to convert in God’s salvation. Arminianism is BAD NEWS, which conditions salvation on the sinner and displays a failed, false christ. This means the compromising Sovereign Grace, Calvinist, Reformed are promoting the same false gospel in the very spirit of anti-Christ.

Now, I have no wish to defend anyone and everyone who calls himself "Sovereign Grace, Calvinist, Reformed." In fact, I probably have no wish to defend more than 60% (an arbitrary estimated figure) of those who self-identify as such. My standpoint is as one from the creedal and confessional Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. That is my stance, and that is the ground upon which I will begin my interaction with the problematic views being promoted here.

Historical Theological critique

My first point of critique is the ahistorical and arbitrary manner of how Price determines what is or isn't heresy, coupled with a simplistic view of church history. It is rather insufficient to cite the Canons of Dordt, because citing Dordt without understanding or contextualizing what is happening at Dordt is to do to church history what eisegesis does to the biblical text in the disciplines of exegetical and biblical theology, i.e. proof-texting out of context. Yes, Dordt proclaimed Ariminianism as heresy. In fact, in Canons of Dordt (CD) 2 Rejection of Errors 3, the divines at Dordt charge the Arminians as those that "summon back from hell the Pelagian error." But what does this mean in the CONTEXT of early 17th century Dutch religious life and to what extent it applies today? It is not as simple as just to say, "Dordt claims Arminianism is heresy. Here in the 21st century we find some Arminians. Therefore they are heretics." Whoever argues this way shows they have not even begun to think correctly about historical issues and judgments, and whether on the "right" or "left" (whatever they mean when taken out of their normal political context), such mishandling of history is reprehensible.

The Arminians at Dordt were a scholarly group of theologians who knowingly and willfully rejected the Reformed faith. Quite a number of these classical Arminians turned "liberal" in their theology, with Conrad Vorstius rejecting the Trinity and dying a Socinian, while Hugo Grotius gave us the moral governmental theory of the atonement. And within a generation or two, Philip Limborch expressed the total apostasy of Remonstrant Arminianism by turning them into a rationalist movement, a fact which even the modern-day Arminian Roger Olsen acknowledges even as he tries to rehabilitate the original Remonstrants [Roger E. Olsen, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2006), 23]. Thus, historically, the Remonstrants were not some hillbillies pratting about things they do not know. Rather, they were evil men knowingly promoting error that leads to greater apostasy in due time from the truth.

Much of modern Arminianism especially in the English-speaking world comes to us from the line of John Wesley, and his version is what is called "Evangelical Arminianism." As I have written in an article, Evangelical Arminianism is not the same as Classical Arminianism. And it is not just that Evangelical Arminianism affirms Total Depravity whereas Classical Arminianism obfuscates on total depravity, but rather that Evangelical Arminianism inconsistently couples an idea of prevenient grace sufficient for Man to respond to God with the idea that Man cannot respond to God's grace apart from God working in Man. In other words, Evangelical Arminianism is self-contradictory, and that actually saves it from being heretical like Classical Arminianism. This Evangelical Arminianism in its various permutations and reduction in intellectual sophistication for a popular audience is what we see in modern-day 21st century popular evangelical Arminianism.

Therefore, in light of the facts of church history, it is an error today for anyone including Scott Price to claim that the Arminianism that was judged as heretical at Dordt is necessarily the same as the many ArminianismS that populate the modern day Evangelical churches. This of course is not to say that no version of Arminianism is heretical, but it is to make the perfectly legitimate statement that not everything that terms itself as "Arminian" or "Arminianism" is heretical. There must be actual examination of the person's beliefs instead of mere sloganeering, and most definitely no blanket statement condemning ALL Arminians as necessarily heretics, which brings me to my next point.

Confusion of the Gospel

What is the Gospel? And how is anyone saved at all? According to Scripture, we are saved purely by faith in Jesus Christ (e.g. Eph. 2:8-9, Rom. 10:9-10), and the key description of faith is "trust." Salvation comes about when people repent of their sins and put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. When they do that, they are truly saved.

The reason why heresies are called "heresies" is that their teachings in some way impedes a person from believing the Gospel unto salvation. For example, the heresy of Modalism when believed causes a person to believe in a false god, which means that he cannot put his trust in Jesus Christ, for his "Jesus" is not the true Jesus the Son of God. Likewise, the heresy of Pelagianism when believed cause a person to not put his trust in Christ, but rather trust himself to be holy. The heresy of Classical Arminianism likewise causes a person to not put his trust in Christ, but rather to look at his faith, as what saves is his faith justifying him before God.

Therefore, heresies are heresies because they prevent a person from believing the Gospel. Otherwise, false doctrines which do not prevent a person from believing the Gospel is just that, a false doctrine which a believer might hold to. Belief in false doctrines is a sin, but it is hardly damning. For just as one is not perfect in holiness of life while on this earth, how can one expect any and all believers to be perfect in holiness of doctrine while on this earth? Sanctification is a process, and perfectionism is a false teaching that causes harm to all who hold to it. Thus, belief in false doctrines is not cause for utilizing the "heresy" label, unless one is a perfectionist, an error which I may add is taught by the Evangelical Arminian John Wesley AND the Pelagian Charles Finney. If one claims to be a "very pure" Calvinist, surely the mere association with the likes of Wesley and Finney would be detested!

In his attacks on Arminianism, Price asserts that Arminians themselves are not saved and therefore cannot be called "brother." What Price is doing therefore is elevating Arminianism into a heresy. But, as we have mentioned, the reason why any heresy damns is because it prevents a person from repenting of their sins and putting their trust in Jesus Christ. But what impediment to this action of repentance and faith do modern-day popular evangelical Arminianism pose? Price suggests that Arminianism denies Sola Gratia (Grace alone) and thus make salvation dependent on faith and work (using the idiosyncratic term "conditionalism" to that end). While that is the logical conclusion of Arminianism, this is not the teaching of Wesley's Evangelical Arminianism and most devolved strains of popular ArminianismS. Upon what basis are we to say that a person cannot be inconsistent? Price seems to suggest that we are to judge a person based on the logical conclusion of his (incoherent and contradictory) beliefs. But is it possible for anyone to be inconsistent? Again, are we perfectionists? Yes, a person OUGHT to be consistent. Yes, a person OUGHT to be fully biblical. But OUGHT is not IS. Just because something OUGHT to be does not make it the case.

Thus Price errs in claiming that Arminians are "adding conditions and works to grace." Most of them do not do so, and just because they logical OUGHT to do so if they are consistent does not imply they have done so. Again, one should discover what any self-professed Arminian actually believes before consigning them to hell, and disowning them as brothers, and one should not be hasty in doing either! Likewise, Price errs in claiming that those who are willing to call an Arminian a brother is saying that the "false gospel of conditionalism" is a "legitimate gospel." First, there is no such term as "conditionalism," neither is there a need for that term, so stop making things up. Second, the Gospel is not primarily about right doctrine. Right doctrine protects and informs the Gospel, while false doctrine diminishes the Gospel and heresies impedes the Gospel. There is no such thing as a "Gospel of Calvinism" neither is there a "false gospel of conditionalism." Third, nobody is saying that Arminianism in any variety is true, so such statements made by Price is a straw man, and I really really detest straw men!


As I have said, I have no wish to defend anyone or everyone who self-identifies as "Calvinist, Reformed etc." But I do not believe that Price is telling the truth in charging that many Calvinists are endorsing a false gospel. Again, what is the Gospel? It seems that for Price, either he believes that the Gospel is belief in Calvinism (therefore non-Calvinists are damned), or that he holds to perfectionism in doctrine, so that one is NOT allowed to be inconsistent and still be saved. Either option is wrong. The former is the error of Hyper-Calvinism, and the latter perfectionism. But Arminanism is heresy, you say. Well, Classical Arminianism is heresy, but Evangelical Arminianism is not. And just because a teaching is heresy does not mean that those who identify as such are consistent. Due to these reasons, most Calvinists have always held that we can call Arminians "brother," save those that hold to Classical Arminianism. And due to these reasons too, Price is in error in his attack against those of us who disagree, and in error against his brothers who are not Calvinists but yet have put their full trust in Jesus for their salvation.