A little background: After a post I made here on Arminian Perspectives about Prevenient Grace and Libertarian Free Will, there was a rebuttal to it posted on a reformed blog called Triablogue. I responded back and forth with Mr. Belvedere for a few posts on my site, during which I said that if he or any of the other Triabloggers would like to have a debate, then I had just the thing for them: my Challenge to their perseverance of the saints doctrine. Paul Manata took up answering the challenge, but by the second round his writing became very abrasive.
He finally went way over the top with a post that went beyond ridiculous, stating that my doctrines ‘aren’t associated with the teachings of jesus,’ because I had written, ‘I prefer not to associate my doctrinal beliefs with the name of a mortal man’ (my reason for calling myself a ‘Synergist’ rather than ‘Arminian’). He cites, ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures’ as evidence, but apparently didn’t recognize that though Christ was dead, He affirms His present and future immortality in saying, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18)
Despite his rather obvious blunder, he continues to press his point, only bushwhacking himself again in the process. Here’s the list of links in our debates so far.
In the latest display of the reasoning he employs, Manata replies,
Now let’s recall why he made the initial claim. He was responding to someone asking if he was an Arminian. He said that he doesn’t want to associate his beliefs with those of mortal men. I then pointed out that Jesus died, receiving mortal wounds. His comeback is to point out that the resurrected Jesus is “alive for evermore.” Well, assuming that Thibodaux doesn’t believe Arminianism is damnable heresy, then he probably believes that Jacob Arminius is in heaven right now. he will “live for evermore.” He has everlasting life and will never die. If that’s the case, then what’s the problem with “associating” your beliefs with Arminius?
Unfortunately, he’s actually serious — he even has Steve Hays showing his support by tossing atta’ boys in the combox. If they really need to have it spelled out, Arminius isn’t the firstfruits from the dead: he’s still in his grave due to his acute mortality and has not as of yet been changed or glorified, just like Paul, Peter, Irenaeus, Clement, Augustine, Spurgeon, Wesley, and everyone else that’s died so far. Any teachings that were of their own began and ended in mortality; not so with Christ. Even concerning the words He did speak while in the flesh, He stated,
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” (John 14:10)
But Mr. Manata can’t give up on trying to show me up,
Thibodaux used the “mortal man” comment as a reason he won’t do so. But that was negated with Jesus’ death. To escape my response by saying that Jesus is “alive for evermore” just lets Arminius right back into the equation and shows Thibodaux didn’t think through the moves far enough in advance.
Actually, I had already calculated that such an objection could be raised by one determined to smear someone else regardless of the accusation’s truthfulness, and left it as a booby-trap to see if he would continue in his superficial derision, thus driving another nail into his proverbial coffin. I didn’t expect him to actually take the bait…. Other possible objections for those who lack ability to discern context could include: “Well what about when Arminius IS raised up??”, or possibly, “Hey, there’s Elijah and Enoch too!”, but any reasonable and objective thinker should be able to grasp the point by now.
It is in posts like this that certain members of Triablogue show forth their inability to handle fair and intelligent discussion. Their petty insults and misrepresentations that would make any self-respecting fifth grader roll his eyes serve only to demonstrate that they have no desire to engage in meaningful dialogue. Their tactics are doubtless popular with the crowd that believes that a thorough refutation involves insulting the opposing party’s mother, but here in the adult world, it’s well-recognized that people who resort to third-rate slander are simply trying to hide and compensate for the fact that they can’t keep pace in a real discussion. Triablogue couldn’t have trumpeted its defeat more loudly if they’d gone to the rooftops with a megaphone.
By resorting to such pretentious and cheap attacks, they’ve put themselves in a bind: either they’re being dishonest in their assessment of the scriptural evidence they cited, or in blind haste to discredit someone who disagrees with them have committed a blunder that even a novice student of the Bible shouldn’t have missed. Regardless of which is true, they’ve effectively lowered themselves from the arena of intelligent and honest debate, and into the cages with the howler monkeys.
As an outsider to Triablogue, the impression that I get is that it is degenerating somewhat into a group less concerned with teaching on doctrinal issues, and more so with using the promotion of their beliefs as an excuse to be obnoxious and insulting to other Christians. Such behavior is shameful and unfitting for those who name the name of Christ. I’d be embarrassed at an Arminian or Synergist who acted towards Calvinists in the manner that Triablogue has behaved in our discussion. What if I returned insult for insult with some dumb headline like: “Triablogue affirms that Jesus is still only mortal!!”? That would be stupid. I know what they believe and am not going to be dishonest about representing it to tarnish their names with some juvenile personal attack. By engaging in such impetuous underhandedness as these impugnments, they’ve now disgraced themselves and thoroughly shot any semblence of credibility they might have had. A rather unfortunate show of their true colors.