More From Paul and a Public Appeal

Here is Paul’s response to my Clarifications and Rebuttal post. I understand that Paul is not happy that I am challenging his belief system. I understand that Paul feels that I have misrepresented his position in the same way that I feel he has misrepresented mine. I respect his right to reply to my arguments objectively and address what he considers to be flaws, but I just can’t figure out why Paul feels the need to treat me personally with such disrespect.

I tried to be gracious in my response to his first critique of my post but realize that I could have done better. There were some things that I said which may have offended Paul and I apologize for that publicly. I looked for an e-mail for Paul at his site and in his profile but could not find one. I would have said the following privately if I could have found an e-mail, but since I could not I will communicate it publicly:

Paul,

I consider you a brother in the Lord and I respect your passion for what you believe to be true. I understand being passionate for one’s position but I think we can both do better with regards to the way we interact with each other.

I prefer to be called Ben. I don’t mind you goofing off with my kangaroo screen name, but other than that I would appreciate that you address me as Ben. I am pretty sure that I have only ever called you Paul, or Mr. Paul Manata. It doesn’t hurt my feelings that you call me names or use my name in a way that I do not, and it doesn’t make me feel like crying, but I don’t think it is too much to ask for you to address me in a respectful manner.

We are both adults, and this dialogue is getting real childish. I am not interested in childish discussions. I work with youth everyday and try to model respect to them. I want to be a role model of righteousness and a living example of Christ-like behavior for them to follow. I pray that God will help me do that almost everyday on my way to work. There are very few positive role models out there and it is our duty as believers to model and teach respect. I have worked in shelters and group homes with very challenging youth. I have been called every name in the book. Often times I felt that my job was only to take verbal abuse from the youth that I worked with because that was the one thing I could count on everyday. I can handle being ridiculed and personally attacked. I just don’t understand why you feel it is acceptable to address a fellow believer in the manner that you have done, and I don’t think it unreasonable to ask for a little respect in Christian love and tolerance.

We need to recognize that believers and unbelievers are watching us and reading what we write. We have a responsibility to them and need to understand the profound affect our words can have on those onlookers (1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:6-8, 11-14). We can do better than this and we need to do better than this for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom.

I am not a fan of debate for the very reason that it can so easily disintegrate into such childish behavior. I see it as a necessary evil and realize that if I am going to criticize another person’s position, there are going to be those who will want to defend themselves which will often lead to debate. I am fine with that as I said above and I do not shy away from debate if it is conducted in a civil and respectful manner. I have never disabled comments at any of my posts because I enjoy discussing theology with those who agree and disagree with me. I have apologized many times when I let my passion get the better of me and have said things that I should not have. I grew up in a very sarcastic environment and used to try to impress my friends as a teenager by ridiculing kids that I felt were easy targets. I was a bully of sorts. I also had a wicked temper which I still struggle with today. God has changed me dramatically since I got saved but I can still slip into that ungodly behavior if I let my guard down. I apologize if I have offended you personally Paul by something I have written. I don’t need an apology from you but I hope that you will at least consider what I am saying and maybe make some adjustments in how you communicate with others in future discussions with me or anyone else you may disagree with on any particular subject.

God Bless,
Ben

I haven’t decided yet if I will respond to Paul’s latest post. I am not sure it is worth the effort and time or if it will really accomplish anything. I believe that Paul has again misunderstood much of what I wrote just as he sees that I am misunderstanding him and his position. If I do respond it will be mostly for the purpose of clarification and will probably not be posted until late next week.

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26 Responses

  1. Ben,

    When I pointed out your offensive remarks towards Calvinists you said, “It is not meant to offend and I am sorry if it bothers you.”

    Likewise, the sarcasm is used for entertainment purposes and parody purposes. “It is not meant to offend and I’m sorry if it bothers you.”

    Btw, will you also write a ‘public letter’ to ‘J.C. Thibodaux’ for callimg me Paul Pinata? Or, is it only okay when Arminians mock other people’s names?

    Anyway, why watse you time with this kind of stuff. Just get to a response and drop the appeal to pity.

    ~PM

  2. Pardon me for the long quote of scripture, but I think it is appropriate here. Not pointing fingers either at anyone here, it applies to me.


    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

  3. Paul,

    When I pointed out your offensive remarks towards Calvinists you said, “It is not meant to offend and I am sorry if it bothers you.”

    What “offensive remarks” were those? The only thing you said was offensive to you was my screen name because it was a “slam” on the synod of dort.

    The synod of dort is not Calvinism and it is not Paul Manata; it was a lopsided and unfair synod which condemned Arminianism as heresy, and then shamefully treated those Arminians.

    It is not a slam on you personally or on Calvinism. It is a convenient way of saying that I will not be labeled a heretic by any Calvinist based on that synod, and many Calvinists appeal to dort as proof that Arminianism is heretical, which is plainly ridiculous.

    I believe that things should be decided by the word of God just as the Arminians at dort did, rather than the dogmatic assertions of those who think their Creeds and Confessions infallibly represent orthodox Christianity (which is the same attitude that the Reformers could not tolerate in Rome).

    Is that really offensive to you?

    Likewise, the sarcasm is used for entertainment purposes and parody purposes. “It is not meant to offend and I’m sorry if it bothers you.”

    Really Paul? Is that all that is intended? Just parody and entertainment?

    Btw, will you also write a ‘public letter’ to ‘J.C. Thibodaux’ for callimg me Paul Pinata? Or, is it only okay when Arminians mock other people’s names?

    JC has his own style and he doesn’t mind going back and forth with guys like you on the same terms. I am not JC, however, and I and not into such games. Maybe I am just not as entertaining as you guys. If you have an issue with JC, then take it up with him. I personally think that the way you guys came at him was shamefull as well, and I think he used a great deal of restraint in reponding to you. If JC feels that he was disrespectful and needs to apologize to you then that is his business, but I have sure not seen any contrition coming from your side.

    Anyway, why watse you time with this kind of stuff. Just get to a response and drop the appeal to pity.

    Please explain how a request for respectful dialogue if this discussion is to continue is an “appeal to pity”. If you will agree to handle yourself in a more respectful and godly manner then I will be glad to get to that reponse.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  4. If I am not mistaken the point of referencing J.C. was that you found it offensive that he did not use your proper name. He was pointing out that your blog contributor does the same thing yet you do not ask him publicly to cease. What you do say is that he has his own style and that is not for you to judge, yet the same can be said of PM and his style. It seems odd that you ask him to publicly stop such things, but refuse to do so when it comes to your Arminian mate.

    The offensive remark had nothing to do with your screen name from what I got by reading his post, it was your saying that he had an inability to comprehend simple things and stuff like that. Of course IF you read his post you would already know this:)

    As for the Synod of Dort, I wonder if you have ever read the history of the Synod. The little that you have here makes me question that you have and the little you do know of it comes from a warped Arminian attempt to re-write history. This should not be surprising though, since it has been shown that you know little of the Reformed view that you so adamantly fight against.

  5. Paul, if I seriously offended you with my play on your name, then I apologize. I don’t consider a bit of teasing with names to be an unchristian thing if done between people who take such jokes in good humor, and for some reason or another I figured you probably wouldn’t be offended by such puns passing between us. But if I was mistaken then please accept my sincere apologies.

  6. Thanks for the input Blake but you don’t have all the facts. you wrote:

    The offensive remark had nothing to do with your screen name from what I got by reading his post, it was your saying that he had an inability to comprehend simple things and stuff like that. Of course IF you read his post you would already know this:)

    The offensive screen name issue we are discussing had nothing to do with the post and everything to do with a discussion we had in his combox before I even wrote a response. Here are the relevant quotes:

    Paul:

    I don’t find it strange. I wouldn’t know why you would either; what, given that you’re so holy and your handle is “Kangeroodort,” you must not think things like that are ‘personal attacks.’ If you do, then you’re a hypocrite. darn those horned dilemmas!

    Ben:

    kangaroodort is a defensive name. It is not meant to offend and I am sorry if it bothers you. It is meant to be a statement that I disagree with the good Calvinists of dort with ragards to their condemnation of a theology I adhere too and the methodology involved in that condemnation), as well as a statement concerning those Calvinists that think the verdict at dort somehow proves Arminianism heretical. Of course that is no more true then the notion that Luther was a heretic because the church of Rome condemned him as such.

    So you have no idea what you are talking about my friend.

    If I am not mistaken the point of referencing J.C. was that you found it offensive that he did not use your proper name. He was pointing out that your blog contributor does the same thing yet you do not ask him publicly to cease. What you do say is that he has his own style and that is not for you to judge, yet the same can be said of PM and his style. It seems odd that you ask him to publicly stop such things, but refuse to do so when it comes to your Arminian mate.

    I don’t call J.C. out because he is responding to Paul in the same way that Paul has responded to him. Paul was the first to mock J.C.’s name so he has no room to complain if J.C. returns the favor. Paul admits that for him it is just entertainment, etc. so he can’t rightly call J.C. to task on it.

    I never ridiculed Paul’s name (and neither had J.C. until Paul started things out that way), and so I think that it is not out of line for me to ask him to treat me with the same respect that I have tried to treat him with.

    That is why I said that J.C. was only responding on Paul’s terms and he is fine with that. J.C. is not the issue here and when you guys keep bringing him into the discussion it is plainly for the effect of deflecting attention away from Paul’s failure to honor my request to show a little respect and dialogue with a little maturity.

    As for the Synod of Dort, I wonder if you have ever read the history of the Synod. The little that you have here makes me question that you have and the little you do know of it comes from a warped Arminian attempt to re-write history. This should not be surprising though, since it has been shown that you know little of the Reformed view that you so adamantly fight against.

    Why don’t you refer me to some of your unbiased objective resources so I can get the proper historical view, since I obviously have not got my facts straight.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  7. Ben said,

    ” don’t call J.C. out because he is responding to Paul in the same way that Paul has responded to him. Paul was the first to mock J.C.’s name so he has no room to complain if J.C. returns the favor.”

    ben has an ethic of: “it’s okay to do what I call wrong if it was first done to you.” IOW, two wrong *do* make a right.

    Ben, many Calvinists I know are bothered by your sanctimonious and belittling treatment of Calvinists here by both you and Thibs. I know you don’t think so, ’cause, after all, you’re the one doing it. In fact, Ben, I docummented in one of my posts to Thibodaux, that he had been smarmy and rude and pompous to many Calvinists *before* I even responded to him. I then played *his* game.

    Anyway, the fact that you either (a) don’t chastise your own members for doing what you chastise me for or (b) use a two-wrongs-make-right ethic, serves to undermine your credibility and your ability to judge the situation in an unbiased mannor. Rather than admit it, you defend you’s and Thib’s actions, to the grave.

    Your ad hominem debate tactics are not appreciated. Every time someone responds to you you have to make some big dramatic appeal to people’s emotions, garnering support for you.

    Really, if you are getting that offended at these really rather mild forms of smack talk, why not just overlook it and go on and answer the objective merits of my post (of which 95% of it is) rather than broadcasting how big of meanies we are. “It is to a man’s glory to overlook and offense.”

    ~PM

  8. If I thought that you were sincere or open for correction I would, but you have shown to be duplicit on many things so I will leave it. If you truly want to learn the history of it I am sure that you could go to your local library and find something that is fair and balanced.

  9. I demonstrate Thibodau’s behavior and debate style (which is very similar to Ben’s) in this post:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/12/endangered-theological-blogger-546.html

    I offer quotes from him about Calvinists and my friends that were written *before* I offered my first post answering him.

    Ben is a historical revisionist and is slandering the facts. If he is serious in what he says in his post here, I expect him to retract his comments. I also expect a public post condemning the actions of his buddies. Indeed, given that Thib’s (and Ben) have used the same, if not worse, rhetoric that I use, why has this blog *never* posted a public chastising of those Arminians?

    And, scroll down our blog entries. We have never posted stuff like this. Especially in the middle of a debate.

    C’mon, Ben, save the drama for your momma.

  10. In fact, Ben, I docummented in one of my posts to Thibodaux, that he had been smarmy and rude and pompous to many Calvinists *before* I even responded to him.

    I am unaware of the post you are referencing Paul.

  11. If you’re referencing that post, it was written after you engaged me, not before; and I employed no insults, nor did I stoop to trying to discredit you by willfully misrepresenting you.

  12. J.C. Thibodaux said…
    If you’re referencing that post, it was written after you engaged me, not before; and I employed no insults, nor did I stoop to trying to discredit you by willfully misrepresenting you.

    *******

    The post I linked to directly above. If you had bothered to read it (a reocurring problem I’ve noticed here), you would see how I detailed the *chronology.* Yes, the post was written *after* we had begun dialogue, but not all of what what it wrote *about* begun after we started dialogue. You know, kind of like history books. They write those *after* the events to, you know.

  13. Paul,

    It’s hard to read your posts without getting upset with all the smart remarks you make.

    Yes, I made the mistake in not reading your whole post because of your hostile and cocky attitude.

    Next time I will try to skim better. Skim past all your heated remarks.

    But in your last post you proved your point.

    God ordains the means as well as the end.

    But if God ordains the means as well as the end then He also predestine your prayers that bring about no results.

    But like I said before…….you proved your point.

    JNORM888

  14. JNORM,

    I’m not sure you should be so hard on yourself. In the introduction to Paul’s post, he said:

    “The meatiest and most substantial section, and most relevant to the stated purpose of Ben’s post will be covered in Part 3 below. If you want to skip to there and read that section, that will be all you need to see that Kangaroo’s argument is to no avail.”

    He practically invited people to only read the last section, which I believe you said you read the first time.

    But I left you a comment in relation to a previous, related post on this blog pointing out that Ben addressed the ordaining ends and means argument to the effect that prayer cannot really be considered a means in a monergistic system. I would encourage you to check them out.

    I don’t think Paul has proved even this point.

    And you make an excellent point that in the Calvinist system God has ordained when someone does not pray when they should pray. It doesn’t make much sense. In Calvinism, one can know that if one never prays for a single person to get saved, everyone who who God wanted to save will still get saved anyway,and indeed, that it was God’s will that one never prayed for a single person. In fact, it was God who caused it to be that way in the first place. Did I say it doesn’t make much sense already?

    “Jason A.”

  15. Jason A.

    Do you believe that when you pray that you are adding to the number of the elect?

  16. I did read the link above Paul, thank you. Your chronology conveniently skips over the fact that my words were in my defense against Bernabe Belvedere; he came at me initially, and wasn’t exactly Mr. Congeniality at first.

  17. Jason A,

    You said:

    “But I left you a comment in relation to a previous, related post on this blog pointing out that Ben addressed the ordaining ends and means argument to the effect that prayer cannot really be considered a means in a monergistic system. I would encourage you to check them out.

    I don’t think Paul has proved even this point.”

    You are right, Ben did make that point. And Paul’s answer wasn’t sufficient in debunking it.

    The next time I post like this I’m gonna make sure I read both sides “thoroughly”.

    In jumping in like this I have made a fool out of myself.

    JNORM888

  18. “He practically invited people to only read the last section, which I believe you said you read the first time.”

    Tha was precisely the part JNORM didn’t read all the way. Just going off what he said.

    For me, I’ll just wait until someone actually *shows* that Manata didn’t utterly refute Ben. I assume I will be forgiven for not accepting Jason A’s unargued remarks as the Gospel truth. 🙂

  19. Oh Ken, my darling, is it really you or just another one of Paul Manata’s dishonest poses?

    Love,

    Barbie

  20. uhm, i guess we should listen to John Wesley (the quote on top of this blog site) and do not/never retaliate even if we’re not treated right.

    ?

  21. Ken said: “Tha was precisely the part JNORM didn’t read all the way. Just going off what he said.”

    My response: Well, I had this statement by JNORM to PM in mind:

    “I read the first half of your post.

    You lost me halfway through so I jumped down to the last part.”

    I was figuring the last part was Part 3, but perhaps it was only the conclusion he was referring to. If so, then I see why he sees it as a mistake. But if he read part 3, he’s probably being too hard on himself.

    Ken said: “For me, I’ll just wait until someone actually *shows* that Manata didn’t utterly refute Ben. I assume I will be forgiven for not accepting Jason A’s unargued remarks as the Gospel truth. :-)”

    My response: You say my comments were unargued, but I did present an argument in the place where I pointed JNORM, and it convinced him. I refer to it in this thread. One of Paul’s main arguments is his claim that prayer is a means to accomplishing certain ends. But this very claim is false in a monergistic system, which Paul is trying to defend. That;s the point that JNORM was granting him. I merely pointed out the fallaciuosness of the point, which undoes Paul’s argument as a whole.

    “Jason”

  22. Let me not get into who won or anything like that, what I would like to do is express why Arminianism is not for me. if we take your argument out what do we see? Well, here is my .02 and if you do not like it, please feel free to delete.

    What you are saying is that by you praying you can perhaps remove some obstacles that are in the sinner’s way or offer more chances for them to accept/reject the gospel. That God will remove the very last pebble on the path to salvation, in order to give the sinner that you pray for all of the opportunity to accept. The one thing God cannot do or chooses not to do is a monergistic event without first the sinner accepting the offer. What does that do? Well it seems that this clearly shows that Y-O-U have the decisive part. So while God may of acted first, it is YOU that is needed to close the deal. That is why faith becomes a meritorious work that man does. You can quote the definition of faith all you want, it does not matter, because you have changed it from being the “instrument” used by God. The problem is that you cannot escape the fact that man plays the pivotal role in all of this rather than God.

    I also like the story of the Apostle Paul’s shipwreck to show clearly what is meant by “means”.

    BTW, “Jason” why do you use quotes around your name? That seems to be rather peculiar thing to do, unless it has a meaning that I am ignorant of.

  23. Jason,

    Are you going to answer this?

    Jason A.

    Do you believe that when you pray that you are adding to the number of the elect?

  24. Carrie,

    You asked about this question: “Do you believe that when you pray that you are adding to the number of the elect?”

    No, I don’t believe that I am adding to the number of the elect because I don’t believe that God saves people apart from their free decision to trust in Christ. He does not irresistibly cause people to believe in Jesus. But he does influence them. And our prayers can influence him to work toward people believing. So we don’t add to the number of the elect by our prayers, but we do influence the number of the elect by our prayers.

    But I also do not agree with the Calvinist definition of the elect. I believe that the biblical view does not apply to people who have been chosen to believe, but that it refers to people who are actual believers and therefore are chosen to belong to God anf for salvation. This is the standard biblical usage.

    God bless,

    “Jason”

    And Paul, the quotes around my name indicate that it is not my real name.

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