Sneaky Calvinism (Calvinism on the Sly in Action)

About a week ago, I discovered a post highlighting C. Michael Patton’s post on “The Irrationality of Calvinism”, a post I interacted with in a 5 part series.  In looking over the comments I discovered an extremely disturbing example of Calvinism on the Sly written by someone who goes by “Blainemonster”.  Apparently, “Blainemonster” teaches high school students at an Assemblies of God church (a denomination that is decidedly against Calvinism).  He took the opportunity to brag about how he had “cleverly” introduced his Calvinist philosophy to his AG class,

Just yesterday I was teaching (in my A/G church) my high school class the Scriptural truths about God’s sovereignty in salvation. I cleverly did not use the terms “unconditional election” or “Calvinism.” I simply explained what the Bible clearly teaches in, i.e., Ephesians 1 and Romans 8. The kids came up with some good questions, and what I noticed was that we (humans) desperately want to be able to explain everything.

A couple of the students hypothesized that, regarding foreknowledge, it was just that since God knows everything, he already knew who would choose him – that same ol’ saw. I explained that first of all, that that is NOT what “foreknow” means, and then helped them to see that if itwere true, then God is essentially bound by our decisions.

We went on from there to talk very briefly about the mysteries of God. At any rate, it was a fun exercise, and what you’ve posted today is just exactly where we were yesterday. I love these bits especially:“The issue of human freedom and unconditional election is in the same apophatic domain. We can’t make sense out of them and once we do, we have entered into error.

And later, Will you trust me or will you redefine things?” [link]

I left a response that was never approved,

The Blainemonster,

What AG church do you work at?  I would like to contact them and let them know what you are up to.  Why is that you think it is OK to slip your Calvinism into a lesson to HS students, when you know that the AG is against Calvinism?  Of course, you can believe what you want, but what you are doing is dead wrong and you should resign from any teaching position you have with the AG.  May God help you to do the right thing,

Ben

And if you want to see an Arminian response to Patton’s question begging post, or comment, see my 5 Part response beginning here: http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/an-arminian-response-to-c-michael-pattons-the-irrationality-of-calvinism-part-1-the-set-up/

…and if you want to debate your Calvinism with someone other than high school kids, I’m up for the challenge.  Just leave a comment or two at my site.

While I understand that Blainemonster probably believes that he is doing God’s work in introducing his Calvinism to these kids (since he is obviously convinced that Calvinism is true and anything less than Calvinism is not), the fact remains that he is, by his own admission, being sneaky about it.  But why be so sneaky?  Why the need to do things so “cleverly”?  I honestly cannot think of any other reasons besides the fact that he knew what he was doing was out of harmony with the beliefs of the church he was serving.  Why else boast in how clever he was to introduce Calvinism and slam that “same ol’ saw” of foreknowledge held by the AG and traditional Arminians (though he doesn’t seem to fully understand the traditional Arminian view).  Does he really want these kids to think for themselves  or does he want to indoctrinate them?  Notice that they came up with foreknowledge themselves.   So it seems clear to me that “Blainemonster” at least had some inclination that what he was doing was wrong.

It is further interesting that despite his issue with humans “desperately want[ing] to be able to explain everything”, he still felt the (desperate?) need to “explain” and “help them see” that there ideas on foreknowledge were wrong.  He needs to “explain” to them that this is “NOT what ‘foreknow’ means” (really?) and would actually make “God…essentially bound by our decisions” (which is total nonsense, of course).

While refusing to post my response (and, apparently other’s responses as well), the blog operator did decide to let us know why he would not publish our comments:

Some comments (which I have left unpublished) have taken issue with the Blainemonster’s personal account regarding a discussion of election in a Sunday School class. The Blainemonster is not required to justify his actions in this forum, and as moderator I have opted not to place him in that position on this blog. It is likely that the Blainemonster has the appropriate godly people in his life who can speak to him about any perceived issues; it is also likely that his theological leanings are well known to those with whom he associates. Either way, that is his concern and will not be made a matter of judgmental confrontation here.

The Assemblies of God is not an officially Arminian denomination, as some have assumed. This can be seen from the official statements below. Speaking as one who attended A/G churches for approximately 10 years, is a graduate of one of their Bible colleges, and held a paid ministry position in one of their churches for several years, I can personally confirm the following:

A. There are Calvinists scattered throughout the A/G, and they are generally tolerated (though sometimes misunderstood)
B. The A/G’s official positions reflect a deep misunderstanding of Calvinistic doctrines, such that it would be inaccurate to say they are officially opposed to Calvinism; they are more opposed to hyper-Calvinism and “Once saved, always saved” than genuine, mainstream Calvinism.

An additional response addressing some of the A/G’s official statements on Calvinism will follow.

I need to make a few comments here.  First, how is it that this guy knows that “it is also likely that his theological leanings are well known to those with whom he associates”?  If he means those he teaches under  at the AG church, then why the need to be so sneaky?  What about the parents of those kids?  Do they have a right to know what is going on?  Remember, Blainmonster didn’t just present opposing views and allow the students to decide for themselves (though I have my doubts that he could even accurately present the Arminian view).  Rather, he took sides in a rather strong manner for Calvinism (and did it “cleverly”).  And if Blainemonster is so well known for his Calvinism in his church, why not allow my post so that Blainemonster can let me know what AG church he teaches at?  He should have nothing at all to worry about.  And why is it that the administrator is not willing to judge Balinmonster’s actions, but is more than ready to judge my response inappropriate?  He can run his blog how he likes, but his response sure seems rather one sided.  While he doesn’t think it right for me to judge his actions inappropriate, he sure does seem to think it necessary to defend Blainemonster’s actions (since apparently Blainemonster can’t defend himself).

He then goes on to do so by making the following points,

The Assemblies of God is not an officially Arminian denomination, as some have assumed.

That really doesn’t matter.  What is an “officially Arminian denomination” anyway?  One thing that is for sure is that the AG rejects unconditional election, irresistible grace,  limited atonement, and inevitable perseverance.  Likewise, they uphold free will in the libertarian sense and reject exhaustive determinism.  Blainemonster knows all of this, and yet “cleverly” introduced Calvinist ideas to these kids.  Furthermore, I think it can be demonstrated that while the AG rejects the label of “Arminian” they are decidedly Arminian in their theology.  Their rejection of the title seems to be the result of wrongly defining Arminianism in accordance with the misrepresentations of Calvinist critics, rather than on what Arminianism actually entails.  I documented this some time ago here.

A. There are Calvinists scattered throughout the A/G, and they are generally tolerated (though sometimes misunderstood)

But this is hardly relevant.  Just because they are tolerated doesn’t mean they are teaching Calvinism or that the AG also tolerates them teaching Calvinism.  To tolerate someone with differing views is not the same as approving of their teaching those views in the context of an AG class to kids.

B. The A/G’s official positions reflect a deep misunderstanding of Calvinistic doctrines, such that it would be inaccurate to say they are officially opposed to Calvinism; they are more opposed to hyper-Calvinism and “Once saved, always saved” than genuine, mainstream Calvinism.

That may be the case (just as they reflect a misunderstanding of Arminianism-though that doesn’t seem to concern the blog administrator), but they also reflect a rejection of all of the Calvinist doctrines I listed above.  In his next post he quotes very selectively from the same AG position paper that I highlighted in my post on the AG’s stance on eternal security (linked above).  Much of his argument is based on the confusion the paper demonstrates in what constitutes Arminianism and what constitutes Calvinism,  the same issue I pointed out in my post.  However, he draws some unwarranted conclusions based on his selectivity and “interpretation” of what these position papers are expressing.   We will take a detailed look at that in my next post.

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67 Responses

  1. I was one of the people that left a reply to Blainemonster that wasn’t published. I stated that I believed he was being dishonest and asked him, “would you brag thusly to your pastor?” I would assume he wouldn’t since he had to be so “clever” as to not use the word “calvinism.” The approver of the comments obviously disagreed and believes that Blainemonster’s “theological associates” know about his “clever” tactics.

    I was quite disturbed at what appears to be Blainmonster’s clandestine behavior. If Calvinism is true, then why must one “cleverly” avoid such words as “unconditional election” and “calvinism” especially if approved by one’s “theological associates?”

  2. Ben,

    This was a necessary post, and I’m glad you wrote it. The individual is struggling with integrity, no doubt. But, then again, anyone who has to sneak his or her views into any context has integrity issues. I know because I’ve had those integrity issues. I also thank the Lord for confronting me with my lack of integrity.

    Also, I’d like to respond to this comment the blog admin wrote: “The A/G’s official positions … are more opposed to hyper-Calvinism and ‘Once saved, always saved’ than genuine, mainstream Calvinism.”

    If the A/G’s official positions are opposed to once saved, always saved, then they are opposed to Calvinism, period. Perseverance is a necessary component of Calvinism, due to unconditional election, limited atonement, and irresistible grace, to say nothing of exhaustive determinism.

    No, the Assemblies of God denomination is not merely opposed to hyper-Calvinism proper or to the doctrine of necessary perseverance. As you stated, Ben, the A/G’s official positions are opposed to the core of Calvinism in toto.

    BTW, I know of an A/G pastor who said that some Calvinists are being very tricksy with regard to their beliefs, teaching them “on the sly,” as you’ve put it, and are teaching from the pulpit their Calvinistic views as “merely what the Bible teaches.” One has to question how much of this deception or deceptive tactics is derived from their views of God, with faulty interpretations of passages such as Jeremiah 20:7.

    I bring that into this conversation because that verse was used once in a discussion I had with a Calvinist. With mouthed gaped open wide, I shook my head in wonder, regarding not her own integrity as much as her views of God’s integrity.

  3. I am an Assemblies of God pastor and I can’t tell you how much this ticks me off. The A/G is neither officially Arminian or Calvinistic, however, at the time I was ordained, Calvinism could not be held and credentials granted. I understand that there are a few closet Calvinists among us, but Calvinism flies in the face of what the A/G does say officially about the sovereignty of God and the security of the believer. I would further add that it flies in the face of official A/G programs such as the World Missions emphasis we had concerning “whosever will”. I can only hope the pastor of the church involved clearly teaches doctrine that comports with A/G positions from the pulpit.

  4. As Christians we’re to follow the example left for us in Scripture. Ben you did that by attempting to correct some questionable behavior. The other blog owner and member in question did not act in conformity to their calling. That’s not cool. I don’t care if we disagree with one another’s doctrine, but there’s a Christ-honoring way to go about it. Paul opposed Peter “to his face” (Gal. 2:11). We’re to speak the truth in love to one another. If we can’t be open with our theology and have to sneak it in, then maybe our theology is missing something on a practical level. I don’t think this is necessarily a Calvinist or Arminian problem; it’s a sanctification problem. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog about it… Guess I better pass that idea before my wife first to see how practical it would be in my own life!

  5. Now Dimly,

    I would personally love it if you started a blog. I am certain it would be great. However, you are wise to count the cost before making that decision. It can turn into a monster, if you aren’t careful.

    Thanks for the insightful comments.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  6. I would assume he wouldn’t since he had to be so “clever” as to not use the word “calvinism.” The approver of the comments obviously disagreed and believes that Blainemonster’s “theological associates” know about his “clever” tactics.

    I agree. However, he does have a blog site where he links to tons of Calvinist sites, so it is a little weird. He even has a post where he makes it clear that he holds to eternal security. It may be that the blog is not connected to a ministry at his church though.

  7. William,

    Well said.

  8. THe real question is what can be done? It is so frustrating knowing about this stuff on-line.

    While I think that Patton is justified in not publishing your posts (I think he would be justified whether he did or not. I would have published them), I don’t think he is justified defending this guy. He is clearly hiding his views. IT is just so… disgusting.

  9. I think it might be good to contact Blaine first if possible to understand the matter fully and bring loving correction if necessary.

  10. jc_freak,

    It wasn’t Patton who wouldn’t approve the comments. It was a blog that made reference to Patton and linked to him.

  11. Now Dimly,

    That is what I tried to do at the site and the blog administrator defended him. Blainemonster responded, so he knew there was plenty of displeasure concerning his tactics. But he doesn’t seemed to be bothered by that at all:

    http://theoparadox.blogspot.com/2013/01/paradox-files-vol-18-c-michael-patton.html?showComment=1361209699163#c3113544334604331949

  12. KangarooDort, Dr. Wayman, et al,

    I love and accept my Arminian brothers, and I am quite sympathetic to both the theological stance you take and your reasons for taking it. If there was no Calvinism, my next best choice for a theology would be Arminianism.

    I can certainly understand your being disturbed at the thought that a closet Calvinist might be secretly introducing what you consider to be false doctrine in the A/G. I would not expect you to feel otherwise.

    However, you can rest assured that you have rather comprehensively misunderstood the original comment left by Blainemonster at my site. He was neither bragging nor claiming to deceptively introduce Calvinistic teachings, as you have mistakenly implied. I can understand that it sounded that way to you, and you leaped to judgment. I probably would have done the same. But you are not privy to the facts of the case, which would show how far off base your critique is. You do not need to know more than this. You simply need to refrain from bringing unwarranted judgments against a fellow believer.

    I understand that you believe you are in the right and think you have a solid case here. In truth, your accusation relies on a lot of assumption and very little fact. As such, it borders on slander and is dangerous.

    Blainemonster does not need to justify himself before you or me. Before his own Master he stands or falls. We do not need to correct all of the perceived injustices in the A/G, the blogosphere or the world. In this case, there really is no injustice to correct. I want to state very clearly, again, that you have misinterpreted the situation. That is unfortunate, but it is reality, so you can rightly lay aside any angst you feel and rest well tonight.

    Brothers, let us love one another.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Derek

  13. Derek,

    I sorely hope I have not terribly misunderstood what Blainemonster has done. I wonder how you can be so sure of that. However, words have meaning and his words made it clear that he was being sneaky in introducing Calvinist concepts to youth. I will also remind you that if this has become a big misunderstanding, you share a tremendous amount of blame for that since you refused to publish our comments directed to Blainemonster and went out of your way to defend his actions as well, even picking apart an AG position paper to prove your point and somehow vindicate Blainemonster’s actions. It’s too bad, because if you had just approved our comments Blainmonster could have responded and if there was any misunderstanding to clear up, he could have done that. But you denied him that opportunity. Thankfully, he can still come here and explain things if he likes. Otherwise, I can’t agree that I have misunderstood him based on his language.

    You can also rest assured that I hold no personal disdain for Blainemonster and love him as a brother in Christ, though I do find his actions unacceptable. But I also love those kids who may have been misled. I also care about the parents of those kids who may not know what is going on (are you suggesting that they are all Calvinists too?). I care about the integrity of the Assemblies of God as well. You don’t seem to care about such things for some reason. That’s OK, but it is strange to me that you put so much effort into defending Blainemonster and trying to clear up this misunderstanding, when it all could have been cleared up rather quickly by just publishing our comments and allowing Blainemonster to respond.

    None of us are trying to solve all of the worlds problems or injustices, but we feel very strongly about this. Perhaps that is the Holy Spirit that gives us such a strong feeling about it, and as you say, before our Master, we will stand or fall.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  14. Derek – Thank you for an attempt to help us understand; however, I think that Ben is correct. This could have been cleared up quickly but when you engaged in protectionism, it appeared as if you were colluding/approving of such clandestine behavior.

    I think Shakespeare had an interesting observation that is relevant here, “The Lady doth protest too much” spoken by Queen Gertrude in Hamlet. This little idiom has come to mean, “to insist so passionately about something not being true that people suspect the opposite of what one is saying.”

    I would be equally concerned about the same behavior of an Arminian who went into a church that was not Arminian in soteriology and surreptitiously taught Arminianism to minor students.

    If Blainemaster was offering a course on contrasting theology and was upfront about it, using terms properly, without “cleverly” avoiding words, then I would have no trouble with it. In fact, it would be good for students to clearly think thru their theology. I want people to think thru their theology and not just blindly accept it because someone said so or some church/denomination said so.

    For example, I developed a Sunday School course that compared/contrasted Arminianism & Calvinism. I made it clear that I was in the Arminian camp and attempted to represent the other camp fairly. This was done with full disclosure to the pastor and the SS supt and was received well.

    We had some interesting discussions and I’m not sure everyone came away being more solidly Arminian or Calvinist but they came away being more knowledgable about God’s Word and never once were told, “Will you trust me or will you redefine things?” I don’t want people to put their trust in me. I want them to put their trust in God’s Word and the ability of God’s Holy Spirit to speak to each of them.

  15. Dale,

    Just a note of possible correction (if I am understanding you properly). The phrase “Will you trust me or will you redefine things?” was a quote from Patton’s original post. It was a reference to God saying that to us, if we should have difficulty accepting certain Calvinist “tensions”. In other words, if you have difficulty with some of the obviously incoherent claims of Calvinism, that is probably because you just don’t trust God and instead want to “redefine things”. Unfortunately, this is typical of the over the top sort of rhetoric we so often see coming from the Calvinist camp.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  16. With regards to Derek’s further post in which he attempts to paint the AG position as one that is simply against “hyper-Calvinism” and not really against Calvinism in general (which is not at all accurate), I will will be getting into that in more detail soon. However, I will just quickly focus on one point that Derek somehow missed in his treatment of the AG position paper on eternal security. It is especially relevant given Blainemonster’s main point to his students regarding their idea about the possible role of foreknowledge in election.

    Remember, Balinemonster referred to their response as “that same ol’ saw” (though I don’t think he said that to them directly). He also made it clear that he taught them that is “NOT” what foreknown means. But look at what the AG’s official position paper on the security of the believer says about the same thing:

    When this passage [Romans 9] is considered in light of all that God’s word teaches concerning election, however, it is evident that man’s will is involved in his election. Jacob was chosen before having done anything good or evil, but God’s choice was on the basis of what He foreknew Jacob would do.

    This truth is brought out in Peter’s letter to “the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” These believers were recognized to be “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Peter 1:1, 2).

    This same truth is stated in Romans 8:29. Paul wrote, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.”

    God determined beforehand the conditions on which He would show mercy. And on the basis of His foreknowledge believers were chosen in Christ (Ephesians 1:4). Thus God in His sovereignty has provided the plan of salvation whereby all can be saved. In this plan man’s will is taken into consideration. Salvation is available to “whosoever will.”

    So when these HS kids came up with an explanation that fully conformed to the official position of the AG, Blainemonster “corrected” them and taught them that they were wrong and such thinking would mean that, “God is essentially bound by our decisions.” But I suppose I will be told again that I have misunderstood somehow. Perhaps I have, but I have yet to see how this can possibly be the case.

  17. But I suppose I will be told again that I have misunderstood somehow. Perhaps I have, but I have yet to see how this can possibly be the case.

    You also have not yet been shown how you have “misunderstood” the case — only told. I find that a bit interesting in and of itself.

  18. Ben – Thanks for the correction. That makes me feel better that Blainemonster didn’t say that.

    I hope that if I have stated incorrectly about Blainemonster that he would let me know as well.

  19. Ben and Dr. Wayman,

    Thank you for your responses. I have explained why the comments were not approved. I can see where the misunderstanding happened, and I don’t blame you for misinterpreting what truly was unclear communication (of course, Blainemonster was writing to me on my blog, and probably wasn’t tailoring every word for the scrutiny of adept and committed Arminian apologists such as yourselves). I have a real problem with the way you responded to his comment after misinterpreting it.

    Roy’s comment was more tempered and objective, so I published it (so there is obviously no “protectionism” going on here). If Blainemonster wants to respond further, he certainly can (by the way, if he attacks any of you I won’t publish his comments, either). The bottom line is that Blainemonster is under no obligation to explain himself to any of us out here in the blogosphere.

    At this juncture I propose that we all agree, objectively, to the following:

    It is wrong for a Christian minister to hide his true convictions on important theological matters. It is even more wrong for him to hide those convictions in order to provide cover while subversively introducing them in a setting where they are not welcome.

    I can assure you that this is not what Blainemonster described. However, he does not need to respond to accusations to the contrary from people who do not know him or his situation. The internet is the biggest “Kangaroo Court” in the universe, and we should not set ourselves up as prosecutors dragging honest Christian brothers in for cross-examination.

    Had you left comments on my site that humbly asked Blainemonster for further explanation, or were less personal and judgmental in their tone, I probably would have published them. As it is, you jumped to a fast conclusion and directly judged his behavior as sinful and dishonest (you even hastily called for his resignation!). For me to publish those comments would have reflected poorly on you (and, by extension, the Arminian cause) and would have only led to unnecessary friction. I would take the same approach if a Calvinist came around and started casting judgments on an Arminian commenter. Perhaps you should thank me.

    I agree with Dr. Wayman that it is wrong for either side to engage in the behavior you thought Blainemonster was engaging in. If Blainemonster wants to come around and explain himself further (or not), that is his prerogative. In the absence of further explanation, casting suspicion and assuming the worst isn’t going to help anything (please inform Mr. Birch).

    Have a blessed Lord’s Day,
    Derek

  20. He was neither bragging nor claiming to deceptively introduce Calvinistic teachings, as you have mistakenly implied. I can understand that it sounded that way to you,

    But can we say that it was still “deceitful”?

  21. Derek,

    If you are going to comment at my blog, then your comments will be open to scrutiny. You wrote,

    Thank you for your responses. I have explained why the comments were not approved. I can see where the misunderstanding happened, and I don’t blame you for misinterpreting what truly was unclear communication (of course, Blainemonster was writing to me on my blog, and probably wasn’t tailoring every word for the scrutiny of adept and committed Arminian apologists such as yourselves). I have a real problem with the way you responded to his comment after misinterpreting it.

    Well, I have a real problem with what Blainemonster said, and I am beginning to have a problem with the fact that you keep feeling the need to defend him while he can’t seem to speak for himself.

    Roy’s comment was more tempered and objective, so I published it (so there is obviously no “protectionism” going on here). If Blainemonster wants to respond further, he certainly can (by the way, if he attacks any of you I won’t publish his comments, either). The bottom line is that Blainemonster is under no obligation to explain himself to any of us out here in the blogosphere.

    Blainemonster may not be under any obligation to defend himself, but neither are you under any obligation to defend him or rebuke us for the way we have responded. Yet, you seem to think it very important to keep on defending him. I respect your right (and I have published your responses), and I think you should respect our right to disagree as well (publicly). But instead, you seem to want to tell us why we are all wrong to respond as we have. Sorry, but I don’t see that I am wrong at all, despite your continual protests. Likewise, I feel obligated to expose his actions as he publicly described them. Not sure why you have a problem with that, and I am not sure why Blaine can’t speak for himself in this matter.

    It is also interesting to me (as I stated before) that while you have a major problem with my “judging” Blaine’s conduct, you have no problem with “judging” my response inappropriate. As I said before, that seems extremely one sided. Why is that?

    At this juncture I propose that we all agree, objectively, to the following:

    It is wrong for a Christian minister to hide his true convictions on important theological matters. It is even more wrong for him to hide those convictions in order to provide cover while subversively introducing them in a setting where they are not welcome.

    I can assure you that this is not what Blainemonster described. However, he does not need to respond to accusations to the contrary from people who do not know him or his situation. The internet is the biggest “Kangaroo Court” in the universe, and we should not set ourselves up as prosecutors dragging honest Christian brothers in for cross-examination.

    Sorry, but your assurances just don’t mean much to me. And again, it is interesting that while you seem to find it entirely inappropriate that I have made certain judgments, you don’t seem to have any problem in judging our responses as inappropriate.

    Had you left comments on my site that humbly asked Blainemonster for further explanation, or were less personal and judgmental in their tone, I probably would have published them.

    OK, and had Blainemonster not said the things he said in exactly the specific way he said them, I wouldn’t have felt the need to respond as I did.

    As it is, you jumped to a fast conclusion and directly judged his behavior as sinful and dishonest (you even hastily called for his resignation!).

    I made a very careful judgment based on his specific words. If his words were accurate as he personally described them, then I do indeed feel he should resign. All of that is due to Blaine’s own words. Why not instead rebuke him for being completely inaccurate and misleading in the way he supposedly described things at your site? After all, any conclusions were drawn from his own words, and nothing more. I have yet to hear anyone come forward and say that we have obviously misunderstood him based on his language (except you, of course).

    For me to publish those comments would have reflected poorly on you (and, by extension, the Arminian cause) and would have only led to unnecessary friction.

    Thanks for being so worried about how we are “reflected”, but you don’t need to defend me, or Arminianism.

    I would take the same approach if a Calvinist came around and started casting judgments on an Arminian commenter. Perhaps you should thank me.

    Again, it is wild to me that for someone so concerned about judgment, you have no problem with judging my response (and Dale’s) inappropriate. On what objective basis do you make such judgments?

    I agree with Dr. Wayman that it is wrong for either side to engage in the behavior you thought Blainemonster was engaging in. If Blainemonster wants to come around and explain himself further (or not), that is his prerogative.

    Then why not stay out of it altogether?

    In the absence of further explanation, casting suspicion and assuming the worst isn’t going to help anything (please inform Mr. Birch).

    What will help things? How about Blaine explaining himself? How about you stop being so concerned with defending him? His words speak pretty clearly on the subject. If there is some misunderstanding, he can defend himself. Until then, I have his words, and they seem pretty clear to me (and plenty of others as well).

    God Bless,
    Ben

  22. Ben,

    I decide what comments get posted on my site. The rules are posted clearly, and you broke the rules.

    It is hard to believe you don’t see any difference between the faithful application of posted rules on my own blog and the sinful judgments you leveled against a brother.

  23. Further, Ben, why do you continue to demand that others make themselves accountable to you? You lack jurisdiction. Mt. 7 counsels you to attend to your own eye first. If The Lord blesses you with spiritual leadership, serve those within your sphere. But don’t act as if commenters on some obscure Calvinist blog owe you an explanation of their actions and motives — especially if you fail to play nice when you visit them.

  24. <<It is hard to believe you don’t see any difference between the faithful application of posted rules on my own blog and the sinful judgments you leveled against a brother.

    Does he have a choice? Must he not act exactly as God has predestined him to act? Isn't his actions according to God's will no matter what he says and does?

  25. Derek,

    Allow me to put the brakes on a little bit here. I see that I have gotten you pretty riled up at this point, and I apologize for that. That is how I felt when I read Blaine’s comments for the first time. They got me riled up. For that reason I was too strong in my statements to him at your blog. I never questioned your right to not publish my comments (indeed, I said exactly the opposite, that you can run your site however you like). What I did do was make the point that not publishing them led to a lot of the supposed confusion you have alluded to, and could have easily avoided that confusion.

    Now, I fully understand that I have no power or right to cause Blaine to resign. Honestly, I would much rather see him continue in his ministry and just stop promoting Calvinism to the youth he works with at an AG church. My suggestion that he resign was in the context of his apparent desire to promote Calvinism to his youth group, and do so “cleverly.” If that is something he feels he needs to do in order to maintain his own integrity in his own Calvinist beliefs, then I truly do think he should resign. But obviously, that is just my opinion. You did seem to agree that doing such things is indeed wrong, though you insist that is not what Blaine was doing.

    I have not contacted his pastor, and I really do not want to do that. I would rather he give me a reason not to. That is why I have been speaking about his defending himself (it would have been better for me to say “explain” himself, but “defending” seemed appropriate as you have been very concerned about defending him to this point). I understand your point about Blaine not needing to answer to me and such. You are right. He doesn’t need to do that. But it would really help to clear things up as his words seem to so clearly depict being sneaky in promoting Calvinism to his AG youth group.

    It seems that maybe you have some inside information on Blaine’s situation. I don’t want to question your honesty. I have no good reason to think you are a dishonest person. I just can’t get past what he actually said. You say it is very different than it appears, but I just can’t see how that is possible. So your explanations seem like a “don’t believe your lying eyes” type of thing.

    I am going to interact with a few things you wrote, since I feel I need to:

    It is hard to believe you don’t see any difference between the faithful application of posted rules on my own blog and the sinful judgments you leveled against a brother.

    I do see the difference. But you did make a judgment about my comments. You didn’t think they were nice enough (as you say below). You made that judgment based on what I said, on my actual words. That’s fine. All I was pointing out is that is what I was doing in responding to Blaine. I made a judgment based on what he said, on his actual words, and responded accordingly.

    But now you have “judged” my actions “sinful.” I don’t see how you can make such a judgment. If I was wrong about Blaine, I will happily apologize. I hope I am wrong about him. But given his words, I just can’t see how that is possible at this point. Sorry, but I am just trying to be honest about things as well. I admit that I probably didn’t go about things just right, but it is pretty hard to always handle things just right, especially when something really strikes a nerve. I hope your comments about me being sinful are also the result of getting a little carried away. Again, I apologize for any wrong doing. I am certainly not trying to be unfair.

    If The Lord blesses you with spiritual leadership, serve those within your sphere. But don’t act as if commenters on some obscure Calvinist blog owe you an explanation of their actions and motives — especially if you fail to play nice when you visit them.

    He doesn’t owe me anything, but Blaine did make his actions public. It really doesn’t matter if it is an obscure blog. When one makes public comments, they should be ready to possibly get critiqued and challenged. That seems to be what you have likewise done in response to my comments.

    Let me finish by saying that I respect you as a brother in Christ. I am sorry if I have made you angry. I didn’t intend to do that (and I am sure Blaine didn’t mean to make me angry with his comments either). You have taken me to task for the way I have interacted, and that is fine. Likewise, I don’t see the problem with taking Blaine to task for his comments and actions. This does matter a lot to me. Sorry if you don’t think it should.

    What I am going to do at this point is delete the comment where I linked to his church and his Facebook page. I will contact him on my own if I do not hear from him here. If he doesn’t respond, then I will contact his pastor and leave it there. Again, you may not agree with my doing that, and I respect your right to disagree. However, I need to do what I feel is right based on the information I have.

    May God bless you.

  26. I appreciate Ben’s approach to all of this.

  27. Derek,

    Are you saying Blainmoster didn’t do what he said he did?

    God be with you,
    Dan

  28. Ben,

    Thank you for your response. I hear what you are saying, and your soft reply is very much appreciated. Please don’t take my previous responses as angry retorts; my directness carries no negative feeling or intent.

    If you contact Blaine’s pastor, I believe you will find that he is well aware of his associate’s theological convictions and activities. You may find the two of them are too caught up with serving, discipling and evangelizing to become sidetracked by the issues we are discussing here. Not that these issues aren’t important, but I have the sense that these men are very focused in a ministry environment where God is blessing His people deeply.

    I agree that Blaine’s words were said in “public,” and it is acceptable to ask for clarification, as Dr. Wayman has recently done. And I do believe there is a great deal of miscommunication involved in this whole matter, with fault on both sides.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  29. BjorkBloggen,

    An interesting question. I choose not to answer it.

    Thank you,
    Derek

  30. Dan,

    Your question is a clever one. I will cleverly answer, “maybe.”

    Notice that my use of the word “clever” to describe your question (and my answer) does not imply any deception or evil on your part (or mine).

    You might think of Blaine’s use of the word “clever” in the same way you think of words like “predestined” or “elect” in the Bible. Those words can have meanings other than their apparently obvious meanings, right? What they mean to me is definitely not what they mean to you.

    I could point to those words and ask you, “Did God not do what He said He did?” But just as there are viable interpretations of those words that are different from what I think are their obvious meaning, there are viable interpretations of Blaine’s words that are different from what you think are their obvious meaning.

    It was clever of me to use these words as an example. And I cleverly chose not to use the word “all” as a further example.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  31. “…there are viable interpretations of Blaine’s words that are different from what you think are their obvious meaning.” – Calvinist obfuscation, when caught with a word, redefine the word.

    Happens all the time in Calvinist/Arminian discussions. For example, “all doesn’t mean all” or “world doesn’t mean world”

    Honestly, Derek, the more you defend, the more it looks like you have something to defend. Why not let Blainemonster answer for himself?

  32. Dr. Wayman,

    That was exactly my point. Both sides can be very generous and flexible about the meanings of words (not just Calvinists). Let’s apply that same “hermeneutic of charity” (to quote Dr. Olson) when it comes to interpreting a brother’s poorly communicated testimony.

    I can hardly prevent Blainemonster from answering; however, I suspect he is much wiser than I am and knows when to remain silent. :)

  33. Derek,
    You said concerning Blainemonster and his lead pastor, “You may find the two of them are too caught up with serving, discipling and evangelizing to become sidetracked by the issues we are discussing here. Not that these issues aren’t important, but I have the sense that these men are very focused in a ministry environment where God is blessing His people deeply.

    Then why the artifice in SS, and boasting about it on a Calvinist blog?

  34. Derek,

    My question was straight forward. Granted, motives may easily be misunderstood, but historic facts are typically a little more concrete. Here’s what Blain said:

    “Just yesterday I was teaching (in my A/G church) my high school class the Scriptural truths about God’s sovereignty in salvation. I cleverly did not use the terms “unconditional election” or “Calvinism.” I simply explained what the Bible clearly teaches in, i.e., Ephesians 1 and Romans 8. The kids came up with some good questions, and what I noticed was that we (humans) desperately want to be able to explain everything.

    A couple of the students hypothesized that, regarding foreknowledge, it was just that since God knows everything, he already knew who would choose him – that same ol’ saw. I explained that first of all, that that is NOT what “foreknow” means, and then helped them to see that if it were true, then God is essentially bound by our decisions.”

    I am asking if this statement is true, not about Blain’s intentions or if doing so would have been good or bad. Hopefully that clears up my question.

    God be with you,
    Dan

  35. Derek – You said, “Let’s apply that same “hermeneutic of charity” (to quote Dr. Olson) when it comes to interpreting a brother’s poorly communicated testimony.” Great! Now you’re getting to where you need to be. You are finally admitting that Blainemonster communicated poorly. That is right! He chose a poor word….

    I invite you to consider how much different things would have gone had you simply said, when this all started, “I think Blainemonster said “cleverly” incorrectly. What I know of Blainemonster tells me that he didn’t mean anything clandestine but Blainemonster is a big boy, I’ll let him answer for himself…”

    And then just stay out of it. Instead you chose to defend Blainemonster, protect Arminian reputations, correct mistaken beliefs about the A/G, and state that an Arminian brother is sinning.

    You could have saved yourself a lot of time and energy :-)

  36. Notice that my use of the word “clever” to describe your question (and my answer) does not imply any deception or evil on your part (or mine).

    You might think of Blaine’s use of the word “clever” in the same way you think of words like “predestined” or “elect” in the Bible. Those words can have meanings other than their apparently obvious meanings, right? What they mean to me is definitely not what they mean to you.

    I could point to those words and ask you, “Did God not do what He said He did?” But just as there are viable interpretations of those words that are different from what I think are their obvious meaning, there are viable interpretations of Blaine’s words that are different from what you think are their obvious meaning.

    It was clever of me to use these words as an example. And I cleverly chose not to use the word “all” as a further example.

    Derek,

    You must be kidding. You are kidding, right? But even if you are serious, Blaine said a lot more than just that he did things “cleverly”. Just as with Scripture, context dictates how we understand words, and the context only affirms that we are not at all mistaken.

    As Dale said, this sort of response is not really helping you or Blaine. It seems desparate and reaching, to say the least.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  37. Ben,

    I can see why this hit a nerve–it is disturbing to me as well. Blainemonster needs to do the mature thing and respond to your question(s). Whether he responds or not, I would talk to the Pastor and contact the Superintendent as well. If they are OK with him doing this at an AG church, then its best to move on. I would be shocked that any AG Superintendent would be OK with this after reading their statements of faith. As a parent of three boys, I would appreciate someone calling this to my attention and the Pastors attention. I think those involved will appreciate it as well. Good work.
    Take care,
    Steve

  38. Ben,

    Your response would seem to indicate an unwillingness to consider another perspective. Despite my gentle attempts to awaken you from pre-conceived notions, you remain committed to prejudicial thinking and do not show an openness to seeing things differently.

    You are sure that you are “not at all mistaken.” Wow. That’s a very strong statement of self-assurance, which must preclude the possibility of objectivity.

    You have been given more than sufficient reason to refrain from sinfully judging your brother. My aim is not to “convince” you, but only to treat you as a brother and offer an opportunity for repentance.

    The Lord will be the judge of whether my words have “helped” anyone, not you. He (not you) will be the judge of Blaine’s heart and actions. God alone will effectually judge you, as well. I pray you will be ready for that day, perhaps a little less sure of your own perceptions and more willing to extend mercy to others. Either way, God has promised to judge us according to the measure we use.

    With an earnest desire for your well being,
    Derek

  39. Derek,

    I am having a hard time even knowing how to respond to this latest comment of yours. I guess I will just say that I find it highly ironic on many levels and thank you for your concern for my spiritual welfare and for my narrow perspective.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  40. Steve,

    I am working on getting good contact information for his pastor and his superintendent. I agree with you, as a parent, and as someone who has been working with children and youth for over 20 years. It is what bothers me the most in all of this.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  41. Ben – On 2/25/13, Derek published my newer comments on his blog:

    “Blainemonster – I was one of the ones whose reply was not published by Derek. I did come across a tad bit strong so please accept my sincerest apologies (I don’t know if Derek shared my reply with you or not).

    What I was concerned about in your first comment was this sentence, “I cleverly did not use the terms “unconditional election” or “Calvinism.”” This, IMHO, appeared to be subterfuge. I would be equally concerned if an Arminian appeared to be clandestine in his transmission of theology. I could care less if you are a Calvinist or Arminian or Lutheran or… However, I do care if a Christian brother is acting responsibly/ethically.

    I would also like to speak a bit to this statement as well, “I was teaching (in my A/G church) my high school class the Scriptural truths about God’s sovereignty in salvation.” In context, that statement appears as if you don’t believe that Arminians believe in God’s sovereignty in salvation. If that is what you believe, then I would like to say, “Au contraire my Christian brother, Arminians vehemently believe in God’s sovereignty in salvation.”

    You have no responsibility to respond to me, I am not your Holy Spirit. God is our sole Judge. However, some direct interaction, I think, would be helpful :-)”

    I have noticed that Blainemonster nor anyone else has posted after my comment. I have mixed feelings about Blainemonster ignoring me on Derek’s blog. I can understand him not answering here because he may feel like the deck is stacked against him here. But at Derek’s blog, he has an obvious ally in Derek, who approves the comments. There are many reasons why Blainemonster may not respond on Derek’s blog and I don’t want to assume any particular reason.

    I just wonder why he is reticent to talk about his behavior or maybe tell his pastor/supt about his “poorly communicated testimony” and have that person write in on Derek’s blog to assure the readers that there was no clandestine intent…

  42. Dale,

    I agree, it is hard to figure. Obviously, I personally don’t think it is a matter of anything being poorly communicated. I think his language is pretty precise and deliberate. Apparently, that makes me narrow minded and sinful, but trying to see it as pretty much the opposite of what it seems, or something entirely appropriate and innocuous seems like an exercise in intellectual dishonesty. As you say, it would be very easy for Blaine to just say that it is a big misunderstanding and explain what he really meant. I don’t see what harm that could possibly do, while it could do a great deal of good. But he has decided to stay quiet. He does have that right, just as I have the right to assume that he meant to communicate what it plainly seems he meant to communicate.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  43. I really do appreciate this post. I go to a southern baptist church and unfortunately we invite this kind of melding of beliefs which unfortunately results in many church splits. Any kind of action on the part of one believer that could potentially affect the church to the degree of causing a split is significant and needs to be exposed, thanks again……..Charlie

  44. I am disheartened to think of churches splitting over Calvinism and Arminianism. It is unthinkable. We are taking this stuff way too seriously if our response is in violation of John 15:12. Calvinists and Arminians — who are indwelt by God’s Spirit — should be able to vigorously argue their positions, then go out and preach the Gospel together with even more passion. We ought to be striving for unity in the faith of the Gospel rather than dividing everyone up into separate churches over little disagreements like Calvinism and Arminianism.

  45. Theoparadox,

    That’s a good word. I’m motivated by John 13:35 so that the unbelieving world would have less reason to doubt that Christianity isn’t just another religion among many equals. I like that there are conferences like the Shepherd’s Conference (last week) and Together for the Gospel, but it would be much sweeter to me if there were conferences where the gospel was not promoted as Calvinism per se, but where both groups could join together in some way to see God’s name exalted especially in our increasingly wicked America.

  46. We ought to be striving for unity in the faith of the Gospel…

    Which is exactly why Blaine’s actions are unacceptable.

  47. Now Dimly,

    Amen.

    KangarooDort,

    You mean your interpretation of Blaine’s actions, which I have already mentioned several times is a misinterpretation. It’s surprising how firmly you hold to the misapprehension, and unfortunately you have maligned a dear brother as a result.

  48. Ben – That was thought, exactly…

  49. <<< then go out and preach the Gospel together with even more passion. We ought to be striving for unity in the faith of the Gospel rather than dividing everyone up

    It would be hard for me to share the gospel side by side with a calvinist since we would be teaching opposing things and we would therefore not be in unity.

    I would preach that Jesus loved the whole world enough to die for it and ALL the inhabitants, but the calvinist would disagree.

    I would preach that all have a chance to be saved, but the calvinist would disagree.

    I would preach that sinners and rebellious people are always acting against the will of God, and that the will of God does not always happen, but the calvinist would disagree.

    I would preach that we can influence things with our prayers/preaching, and change the outcome of things, but the calvinist would disagree.

  50. Bjork – I have a very good friend who is a Calvinist. Due to our interactions, he has softened some to an an infra from a supralapsarian. Nevertheless, we do worship together, study God’s Word together and also share the Gospel with non-christians together. Fortunately, even though the natural, logical conclusions of Calvinism lead to things that are incompatible with God’s clear desire that all of humanity be saved thru Jesus’ salvation that is sincerely offered to all, we freely share the Gospel together with non-Christians. So, it can be done :-)

  51. Yes, I believe too that it can be done IF some of the doctrines are not mentioned while sharing the gospel.

    I’m quite sure it’s also possible to unite with catholics and share the gospel together with them. Perhaps it’s harder when it comes to mormons and jehova’s witnesses, but maybe it’s possible to preach together with them as well, if they don’t bring up some of their doctrines.

  52. “I’m quite sure it’s also possible to unite with catholics and share the gospel together with them. Perhaps it’s harder when it comes to mormons and jehova’s witnesses…”

    This could be a slippery slope for obvious reasons (Catholics sacrifice Christ over and over, Mormons and JW’s are polytheistic in a sense).

    But if “Christians” who are born of the same Spirit can believe the same core truths about who God is and what the gospel is, then I’m sure we can unite in evangelism (I have done it too). But it’s only a matter of time until our other beliefs will surface. Then we must decide how to precede in discipleship, etc.

  53. You mean your interpretation of Blaine’s actions, which I have already mentioned several times is a misinterpretation.

    So you keep asserting.

    It’s surprising how firmly you hold to the misapprehension, and unfortunately you have maligned a dear brother as a result.

    I see no misapprehension, and Blaine maligned himself with his own words. He doesn’t need any help from me on that front. But if you have the “real” story, which is supposedly so contrary to what Blaine himself expressed, why not share exactly what he meant by his words? Just go through his comments on your site line by line and explain what he “really” meant. You could have done that long ago and saved us all a bunch of misapprehending and maligning. Beyond that, your assertions simply are not convincing, as they are so contrary to Blaine’s own words. Sorry about that.

    If you want to carefully explain what Blaine meant by his words and how exactly we have so badly misunderstood and misinterpreted what he said, you are welcome to comment further. If all you have to offer are more assertions that we are just supposed to accept because you say so, then please do not bother commenting further on this thread.

    Thanks,
    Ben

  54. Now Dimly wrote:

    I like that there are conferences like the Shepherd’s Conference (last week) and Together for the Gospel, but it would be much sweeter to me if there were conferences where the gospel was not promoted as Calvinism per se, but where both groups could join together in some way to see God’s name exalted especially in our increasingly wicked America.

    Your comments here reminded me of what I believe was my first bog post, which explains the reason behind my blogging on the subject of Calvinism and Arminianism in the first place. In fact, this entire conversation and situation reminds me of it. You can read it here:

    http://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/my-theological-journey/

  55. Does one really mean what one says?: “When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and never tried it again.” –Bill Clinton

  56. Does one really mean what one says?:

    Well of course, that depends on what your definition of “is” is.

  57. Theoparadox,

    I haven’t been very vocal about the main issue in this thread. I’m a little hesitant actually, maybe because I feel awkward speaking publicly about someone who isn’t in the conversation and I don’t want to be divisive. But I do want to say that I find it strange that Blaine neither responded to my personal email nor to the comments on your blog, which for clarity’s sake would have gone a long way if everyone here really has the wrong idea.

    Now regarding Christian accountability, doesn’t the word tell us to go to our brother in private if he has sinned? And then it tells us to go with another believer, and then tell it to the church? Granted no one here is a part of his church, but regardless of that we all claim to be a part of the body of Christ, which is the church. Perhaps correction didn’t start off properly, but it still seems warranted (or at least an explanation does) given the words that have been interpreted without any variation among those here. I not judging, just saying…asking really.

  58. On the other hand though, love believes all things and maybe we ought to trust what you say and give you the benefit of the doubt. Any thoughts?

  59. Now Dimly,

    I understand what you are saying, but “believes all things” doesn’t mean that Christians should be gullible or naive for the sake of loving others. As I said before, I would like to believe that I have made a mistake, but that would for me be an exercise in intellectual dishonesty at this point.

    There is nothing at all difficult about Blaine or Derek explaining things (and you are not the only one who has very gently expressed concern and asked for clarification in private e-mail to Blaine, only to be ignored). Until they do, we only have Blaine’s words, which, as you rightly note, give no indication of being the least bit ambiguous on the matter. And I also do not think it is right that we should be repeatedly “shamed” because we dare to take Blaine at his own word. I mean really, if he communicated that poorly about things on Derek’s blog, should he really be in the business of communicating God’s word and challenging theological concepts to HS students?

    Those are my thoughts anyway

  60. You make good points. By “believes all things” I meant taking Derek at his word, though I on the other hand have to take Blaine at his words. Maybe I’m just being too wimpy and people-pleasing about it, which is often the case (fear of man).

  61. Now Dimly,

    I think you are being too hard on yourself. I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just expressing why I personally cannot just yield to Derek’s assertions.

    God Bless.

  62. Ben,

    I didn’t take you or anyone else as trying to convince me of anything. I just take a long time at weighing in on things, not wanting to offend or be wrong in what I say, especially being in my weird “theological limbo” as I call it, caught somewhere between Calvinism and Arminianism.

    As a weird aside, that old old song “caught somewhere in time” just popped into my head…Iron Maiden I think. Boy, that was random.

  63. Now Dimly,

    You bring up some interesting points that are worthy of discussion, and I thank you for your thoughtful questions. However, Ben has laid down the following mandate:

    “If you want to carefully explain what Blaine meant by his words and how exactly we have so badly misunderstood and misinterpreted what he said, you are welcome to comment further. If all you have to offer are more assertions that we are just supposed to accept because you say so, then please do not bother commenting further on this thread.

    Blessings to all men of peace.

    Derek

    [comments have been edited by blog administrator]

  64. Derek – You said, “I will join Blaine in his judicious silence and, saying nothing more, let this be my final comment here.”

    It’s about time. I told you that weeks ago…

  65. So now, since I have likely stepped over the line of Ben’s mandate, and because I respect his rights as a blog administrator,

    If you respected my rights as a blog administrator, then why did you, by your own admission, step over the line of my “mandate”? Maybe I am just misunderstanding you here, or maybe I am to consider this some sort of “paradox”? (you can consider these questions rhetorical)

    Based on this admission, I see no reason to let your comments, beyond the first few sentences, stand. I will edit them accordingly. It’s not like you are saying anything you haven’t already said many times before anyway. We know by now that you are certain we are mistaken, that we are misjudging Blaine, that Blaine is as innocent as can possibly be, and that we are sinful for taking him at his word. What more needs to be said?

    God Bless.

  66. It seems to me that Derek is using the cloak of a Christian language in order to cover someone else’s tracks, and engage in what is otherwise a clear and deliberate attempt at obfuscation.

  67. By the way, in a similar situation, my Calvinist brother in law is essentially doing the same thing as “Blainemonster.” My brother in Law loves the Lord. That’s not a question. I’m not disputing that. However, he presently teaches Sunday School at a High School level at a Baptist Church that specifically does *not* affirm Calvinism, but yet does not “ask” volunteers whether they are Calvinists or not. The leadership just isn’t aware of the dangers enough to be concerned about it. At any rate, my brother in law recently confided in me that he is no longer aggressive in pushing Calvinism, and only brings it up when people ask (or when he finds occasion to bring it up himself, which is closer to the truth). At any rate, he mentioned that a recent convert to Christianity had brought up a similar topic, and my brother in Law gave him a guided tour of the Bible (Jehovah’s Witness style), and this poor person wasn’t well studied enough to respond to it, and ended up becoming a Calvinist, and my brother in Law mentioned that he has now entered the infamous “cage stage,” and has become proud (which = Calvinism operating the way that it normally does). I felt like speaking up, but I don’t want to create dissension in the family. Honestly, if the church leadership cared enough, then they would have properly addressed it. I’m not going to blow the whistle. I just shake my head and don’t want to be a part of it. That may not be the right attitude, but oh well.

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