Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Five Questions for Calvinists

Over at Justin Taylor's blog (Between Two Worlds), a discussion recently raged regarding Calvinist and Emergent Christians. In the comments section someone asked five questions of Calvinists. Sadly, this individual held to the myth that to read broadly is somehow superior to reading deeply within one tradition (I don't think our contemporary problem within Evangelicalism is because we don't understand other viewpoints, but rather because we don't understand the tradition and viewpoint we claim to hold).

But with that said, I want to take a jab at answering these five questions.

Five Questions for Calvinist Christians

1. Can you name an Arminian writer/thinker who has written a book that you consider to be a helpful and worthwhile read?

C.S. Lewis
A.W. Tozer
John Wesley
Charles Wesley
Richard Foster
Dallas Willard
Thomas Oden
N.T. Wright

I could go on, and on, and on...

2. Can you name an egalitarian writer/thinker who you consider to be a faithful evangelical Christian?

er...well faithful to most of scripture, anyway (their not too faithful to Scripture's teachings on male spiritual leadership; but after all, it's just the apostle Paul, what does he know?).

Craig S. Keener is a great example. He is a fantastic New Testament scholar who has a high view of Scripture (despite his logical gymnastics on the gender issue). Gordon Fee is perhaps an even better example, since he is a giant in New Testament scholarship. Ruth Tucker is another example. I've sat through some of her lectures and witnessed a woman who appeared to deeply and truly love the Lord. All three, by the way, are on the Board of Reference of Christians for Biblical Equality--so I guess that qualifies them as 'card-carrying' Egalitarians.

3. Can you name a public policy issue on which your views are at odds with the Republican Party's general platform?

- The environment: Can we please stop raping planet earth in order to earn a quick buck?

- Tax policy: Yes, let's not overtax the wealthy. After all, they are the ones who create jobs. With that said, with wealth comes responsibility. My position is probably somewhere between the 'love the rich' Republicans and 'hate the rich' Democrats.

- Half-hearted support of the sanctity of life: My beef with the Republicans on this issue is actually their refusal to truly support the party's platform. Most say they are pro-life...few actually do anything worthwhile about the issue.

- Isolationism (regarding diplomacy): McCain's view of foreign diplomatic relations was a terrifying prospect. While Bush did much to protect this country, he perhaps destablized the world in the process. We need greater dialogue, and must begin to view ourselves as a partner with the other world nations.

- Race relations and poverty: The Republican party has turned a blind eye to the issues of race and poverty. We have become--intentionally or unintentionally, the 'rich white man's party'.

4. Can you name something you appreciate about either Dallas Willard or Eugene Peterson?

Eugene Peterson's work in biblical paraphrase has been tremendously influential. This is a valuable tool from which I continue to profit. Also, his lectures and teachings (and books) on pastoring have greatly shaped my approach to ministry.

5. Can you name something that concerns you about either John MacArthur or Mark Driscoll?

Neither operate within what I see as a biblical (New Testament) church structure. MacArthur has no board of Elders, even though he preaches that this is the biblical model. His church is organized like a corporation. Much the same with Driscoll (though perhaps he fairs slightly better here).

1 comment:

  1. 1. I agree with many of those names.

    2. On this one I have a harder time, I think that the egalitarianism issue flies in the face of the Bible and subverts the witness of the Word to the cultural norms. I have a couple of Fee's books, but I didn't know he was an egalitarian.

    3. I think the individual asking the question on Justin's blog doesn't understand the difference between the Republican Party and conservatism. Anyway, you are too nice to be a good conservative!

    4. Honestly haven't ever heard of Dallas Willard or Eugene Peterson. Maybe peterson, he sounds familiar.

    5. Lots of issues with Driscoll, one big one with Johnny Mac (dispie). The only reformed guy I agree 100% with 100% of the time is me.

    the whole line of questioning from that guy is one big misrepresentation.