I Kissed Dating Arminians Good-bye:Updated 3/26

Assumptions are the termites of relationships. -Henry Winkler 
 

400px-KissPostcard

I need our readers help. I have about 4 "over the top" statements by the usual Calvinista leaders. These involve how they view Arminians. I want to do a post in which I slap both Arminians and Calvinists upside the head for arrogance. However, I cannot seem to find any statements by any well-known Arminian leader that are derogatory towards the Calvinists. Perhaps some of our Reformed readers (or anyone for that matter) could help us find about 4- 5 quotes that imply that the Calvinist is "not up to snuff" for what they believe. I would prefer quotes from current leaders but, if none are forthcoming, I will consider some from history.


How does the unity of the Christian body line up with the post-Reformation, fractured denominations that we see today? It seems that we split over all sorts of things: baptism, governance, creationism,spiritual gifts, communion, music style and on and on. It is evident that such divisions are on the rise as we become pickier and pickier. Did you know that "biblical" dating now means that one should only date those of the Reformed persuasion? 

When I met my husband, he was involved in a heavily charismatic Christian fellowship. He became a Christian in that setting as well. Although I am supportive of those who are charismatic, I find myself more comfortable in non-charismatic settings. It is not a theology thing for me. Over time, my husband and I were able to find churches which did not practice the charismatic giftings in the service but had smaller groups that expressed those gifts outside of the weekly service setting. 

The two of us have grown, and changed, in how we express our faith and have branched out from our initial beliefs. For example, neither one us adheres to premillenial eschatology although we both did when we married. 

I challenge our readers to think back to their beliefs when they were in their 20s. How many of you have changed in areas surrounding theology, especially in secondary issues? 

Because I hold an MBA, I often look at Christian ventures from the money angle. It appears that the people behind a new website think there is money to be had in finding mates for Calvinist singles. And they are betting that it isn't just chump change.

This past week, on Jonathan Merritt's blog, he addressed this issue in the post Are Christian dating websites undermining “Christian values?” here. 

As of 2011, ChristianMingle had garnered more than 5 million users, and generated $22.9 million in revenue during the first nine months of 2012. It is now deemed the fastest growing online community for this Christians. But it is only one of many online dating sites for the mate-less faithful. Others include Loveandseek.com, ChristianCafe.com, and EquallyYoked.com. Together, they form a pool of eligible Christian singles that is rapidly growing in number.

Their tagline is “Prepared, Prequalified, Predestined,” adding to the plethora of clichés that make the site a near-parody of itself. For example, users’ identities must be verified by their (presumably male) pastor, who confirms that they are a church member in “good and regular standing” and “eligible for marriage.” Articles include tips on virginity, courtship, and how men must establish “loving headship” over their wives. In a twist of irony, ReformedSingles seeks to assemble a crowd of people who minimize humans’ ability to choose and then inundate them with choices.

I think they should add the following. "You get one name that you can't refuse. God is in charge of the molecules in the computer and it is a sovereign assignment."

I went over to the Reformed Singles site link. It appears that "biblical" courtship is all the rage. I had no idea that "Reformed" singles also wanted to do the courtship thing. Perhaps our Reformed readers could let us know if that is true?

Looking for a potential marriage partner? Tired of meeting people online who don't share your beliefs, never heard of biblical courtship, or aren't really serious about marriage? You've found the right place: ReformedSingles.com.

Here is a site endorsement from a pastor who says "sound" (read Calvinist) doctrine is essential for dating and, in the long run, the "kingdom."

"As an exceedingly-blessed husband for more than 30 years and a pastor for 25, I'd insist that you cannot over estimate the importance of sound doctrine to a solid relationship. If this site helps to forge such relationships, it will be of tremendous value to the kingdom." Pastor xxxxx xxxxxxx

Deb asked me this question. "So, If a Calvinist marries an Arminian are they unequally yoked? " Sure sounds that way.

Loathe as I am to make a buck on the backs of our readers, I have a tantalizing idea. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Just as Patheos is the clearing house for all sorts of belief and nonbelief blogs, TWW shall attempt to become the clearinghouse for the "religious" dating sites. I can see it now..

  • Arminian Singles:  "Don't say no, say yes! You can, you know."
  • YEC Singles: "I'm much younger than I appear to be. Remember, you weren't there when I was born." Amended 3/26: Garland said: "The problem with YEC singles is that they don’t really believe that any methods of dating are reliable…"
  • Unitarian Singles:  "Let's protest global warming and then, whatever…."
  • Egalitarian Singles: "She will call you."
  • Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Singles: "Quivering, full of anticipation of our meeting."
  • Sovereign Grace Ministries Singles: "He will humbly point out your sins after he gets your dad's permission."
  • Hindu Singles: "Don't worry, you can try it again on the next go round."
  • Mars Hill Singles(Mark Driscoll): "You will say yes or he will go Old Testament on you."
  • Brookhills Singles(David Platt): "Nothing says love more than giving your date money to cure world hunger."
  • Lakewood Singles (Joel Osteen): "Doctrine? Just believe that God loves both of you as well as the whole wide world."
  • Fellowship Church Singles (Ed Young Jr)  "Ed's business associates will certify that you are a member in good standing who has given your full, gross tithe to Ed and Lisa the Lord."

The person we are when we are dating is most probably not be the person we will be in the future. On this blog, we have received hundreds of emails from people who have left all sorts of faith traditions and turned to new ones. Calvinists have become Arminians and  Arminians have become Calvinists. Egalitarians have become complementarians and vice versa.

I think it is wise to evaluate your potential mate from the perspective of change. I do not mean that you can make that potential spouse change because that rarely, if ever, works. However, he or she will likely change on their own. And so will you. 

May we try to find ways to love and live with one another as we walk through the challenges of this life which will change us and cause us to grow in directions that we could never imagine. We are members of one Body and it is amazing how God can work through our differences to make us into a loving and caring community. 

3/26 amended: Thanks to Steve 240 who alerted me to this trailer. I find it very sad that this girl s crying because she kissed someone that she isn't going to marry.

Lydia's Corner: Judges 8:18-9:21 Luke 23:44-24:12 Psalm 99:1-9 Proverbs 14:9-10

 

Comments

I Kissed Dating Arminians Good-bye:Updated 3/26 — 507 Comments

  1. Dee,

    Did you see this info on the Reformed Singles website?

    8. Governing Jurisdiction of the Courts

    Our website is operated and provided in the State of Oregon. As such, we are subject to the laws of the State of Oregon, and such laws will govern this Terms of Use, without giving effect to any choice of law rules. We make no representation that our website or other services are appropriate, legal or available for use in other locations. Accordingly, if you choose to access our site you agree to do so subject to the internal laws of the State of Oregon.

  2. Dee, I loved your “clearinghouse” list of hypothetical dating sites! The YEC and SGM ones especially made me chuckle. 🙂

    Re: How my faith has changed since my younger days…. I wasn’t raised in a ‘Christian home’, since my dad’s pretty much an atheist. (I came to faith in my teens, via a number of unrelated factors.) My reading at home included books for kids with dinosaurs, which taught about evolution and the other findings of science. And one of my biggest influences growing up was C.S. Lewis, especially “The Screwtape Letters”, which I found in my high school’s library. So, for many reasons, my faith has been largely indifferent towards secondary issues, and I’ve always had a fairly good idea of what those are.

    What has changed the most for me? Issues regarding marriage and sex. Throughout my twenties, I was dead set on waiting for a Christian woman to marry, and tended to feel uncomfortable around unmarried peers who were sleeping or living together. Harris’ “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” may have been one factor in that, but it wasn’t the only one.

    Now, at almost forty and still single, I find myself being much more open to the idea of dating someone who isn’t Christian (especially in a country where only 1% of the pop. identifies as such 🙁 ). Also, having witnessed successful relationships that didn’t start out ‘holy’, I’m not quite as judgmental as I may have been before. I still think waiting for marriage is ideal (not mine, but God’s), and if I ever marry, I very much want — and need — someone who will support my walk with Jesus, not hinder it. But I’m trying to keep my eyes open, and not miss out on unexpected opportunities when God provides them.

    (Apologies in advance to anyone who thinks this is Too Much Information. 😉 )

  3. Dee,

    We fell down on the job. Look at this article we missed our first summer of blogging.

    Restless, Reformed, and Single

    My favorite part of the article:

    “Baylor University professor of theology Roger Olson, author of Arminian Theology, is a bit surprised that the site, which hosts nearly 800 members and has borne 37 reported marriages, is catching on.

    ‘It’s an example of a larger dissonance between Calvinist theology and Calvinist practice,”Olson said. “If God has foreordained everything, then why should I feel any urgency to act?'”

    By the way, Olson is talking about a website called “SovereignGraceSingles”.

  4. Dee,

    I am a rank and ferocious feminist, support gay marriage, and feel that Reformed theology-specifically Calvinism- may very well logically conclude at the unforgivable sin by removing utterly the moral distinctions between good and evil. But unfortunately I’m not a national leader. Sorry about that. I have a ton of quotes. 🙂

  5. Serving in Japan,

    Thought you might enjoy this comment by “Basil” left under the Christianity Today article (Restless, Reformed, and Single), I linked to above.

    Basil – August 01, 2009

    “I don’t want to make fun of this site but it seems to work. But on a lighter side there could be future theologically focused dating sites such as Word of Faith Singles (Send in $100 to the pastor in charge and reap a 100 fold return of potential matches) or Emergent Singles (They meet at a local bar every Friday for a few cold ones and to have a conversation) The list could go on.”

  6. Funny you used the title I Kissed Dating, Dee . . . I just read a tweet by Joshua Harris which ironically kind of fits in with this article. In his tweet he is announcing the release of his new book, entitled Humble Orthodoxy. (Funny that CJ had a book on Humility and now Harris has another “humility” book.) http://goo.gl/CtSeQ

    We don’t get to choose between humility and orthodoxy. We need both.

    Orthodoxy, for the faithful, evokes what’s cherished and beautiful and eternal. Yet in our day, orthodoxy is too often wielded like a weapon, used to bludgeon others with differing points of view. The word has become associated with behavior like argumentative, annoying, and arrogant.

    It’s time for God’s people to demonstrate both right thinking and right attitudes. We are called to embrace and defend biblical truth. But that truth includes repeated commands to love our neighbor, love our enemy, and be clothed in gentleness and respect.

    In Humble Orthodoxy, bestselling author Joshua Harris examines New Testament teachings about the calling of believers to a love-infused courage that ignores foolish controversies, patiently endures evil, and champions truth with generosity of spirit. Without this kind of humility, Harris asserts, we become like the Pharisees—right in our doctrine, but ultimately destroying the cause of truth with our pride.

  7. “However, I cannot seem to find any statements by any well-known Arminian leader that are derogatory towards the Calvinists. ”

    Have you tried Jacobus Arminius? :o)

  8. This whole idea is positively brill and will be a money maker. Everything is predetermined for you. Except if you read Merritt’s article, Barnabus Piper who loves to tells us all what we are really thinking all the time, weighs in that the prospects really don’t want a comp Calvinist. Just sexy.

    You Worm! Barnabus knows you all, you know.

    But I am curious how it is done. Is there “courting”? And if yes, why? It should be instant marriage because it was predetermined for you. And just think, no deep doctrinal discussions. No uppity usurping women.

    How boring.

  9. I’ve been reading here a while and am grateful for what you do. I’ve never had anything to contribute until now, but I would respond to your request for divisive Arminian rhetoric with Chuck Smith’s “Don’t go away mad, just go away” statement directed at Calvinist pastors within Calvary Chapel. I don’t know of any audio or video footage of it, but I personally know firsthand witnesses and it is documented on various sites (including here http://bit.ly/XCJ0ws). Smith would deny being an Arminian because he believes he has found the perfect balance between Arminianism and Calvinism, but he’s certainly anti-Calvinist. Personally, I left Calvary Chapel not long ago, partly because I found the Doctrines of Grace compelling, but mostly because I found the Moses Model of leadership deeply abusive. Smith’s statement irks me on both counts. I realize there are many abrasive “reformed” “pastors” out there as well, so you’re definitely on to something with your idea. The common denominators between the infamous Calvinistas and Chuck Smith are arrogance, authoritarianism, and the desire to be theologically “righter” than everyone else. A repentant kind of love would be a lot more beautiful.

  10. “Their tagline is “Prepared, Prequalified, Predestined,” adding to the plethora of clichés that make the site a near-parody of itself. For example, users’ identities must be verified by their (presumably male) pastor, who confirms that they are a church member in “good and regular standing” and “eligible for marriage.” Articles include tips on virginity, courtship, and how men must establish “loving headship” over their wives.”

    This is creepy. A bit too close to the woman needing a doctors note if you get my drift.

    I suppose if you are under “church discipline” for questioning the pastor that would be a giant fail?

  11. I suggest anyone coming from SGM bubble world think more along the lines of: “Humble Orthopraxy”

  12. What do you call a Calvinist ex-prisoner?
    – A Reformed character.
    Not sure of the source, they might be on parole or in SGM?

  13. I can tell you from recent first hand experience that discussing theology on a first date really sets a poor tone for a dating relationship. The conversation went cold when I told her I thought there may be a biblical case for women preachers (she’s dead set against)- ha, I lost points for even considering an egalitarian stance. I almost asked what she thought of headship, but thought better of it. As it turns out, she’s great and very pretty, but I just never felt a romantic connection so we’re staying friends.

    And the current girl I’m going out with I believe is Arminian, though I haven’t found a good place to ask her to articulate her soteriology yet . . . (I just know she has a Weslayan background).

    I wouldn’t trust a “Christian” dating site. I am comfortable enough with how I can filter things on eHarmony- and it’s a filter that represents my faith, not someone else’s idea of what my faith should be.

    The other real negative to “Christian” anything is that it seems people regard the label as “safe” and therefore not needing discernment. In my book, anything that is explicitly spiritual requires MORE discernment than that which is secular. I don’t much think about music I hear on secular radio, but when a Christian song comes on I get super critical of the lyrics. I fear many people just let stuff in because of the label. The potential disaster that can happen when such a lack of discernment is applied to online dating is scary.

  14. Well, I have to admit that I survived a version of the courtship model when I met and married my husband. (I use the word “married” loosely. We had a ceremony, but we did not acquire or sign a marriage license. In our state ours would be considered a common-law marriage.) We did not date. I expressed my feelings to my minister. (My family was not a part of my church.) My husband told his father about his intentions toward me. It took about four years for the ministers to “pray through” and “confirm” our marriage. Only then was my husband given permission to propose to me. My minister only informed me that evening that he was coming over to propose to me. It is up to the young man to choose who he should marry. The woman can choose to accept or refuse the proposal. Fortunately, we really were in love. Unfortunately, we knew almost nothing about one another or each others’ families. If we had, we likely never would have consented to marry. We are polar opposites in almost every way. The fact that we do love one another has enabled us to work through a lot of differences. Looking back, though, I would never advocate the courtship process, and I certainly won’t put my children through such nonsense. It’s infantilizing. (And we weren’t exactly young when we submitted to this process.) I wish I had known more about the person I was making a “till-death-do-you-part” commitment to. I have to stand responsible for the decision, though it was tightly controlled by men who have now proven themselves to be self-serving.

    I’m not sure where I was going with all of that. Perhaps I am so disgusted and disenchanted with the whole courtship thing. Like Dee said, we continue to change. That is most certainly true of me and my husband. I don’t think it’s wise to apply rigid, legalistic rules to determining a life partner. There has to be a better way.

  15. “These sites can include Christians and nonchristians, divorced and single, and those serious about marriage and those who are seriously weird.”

    “divorced and single”.

    So apparently divorced people aren’t single? Yuck.

  16. Jeff S wrote:

    The other real negative to “Christian” anything is that it seems people regard the label as “safe” and therefore not needing discernment. In my book, anything that is explicitly spiritual requires MORE discernment than that which is secular.

    AMEN!

  17. “Their tagline is ‘Prepared, Prequalified, Predestined,’ adding to the plethora of clichés that make the site a near-parody of itself. For example, users’ identities must be verified by their (presumably male) pastor, who confirms that they are a church member in “good and regular standing” and ‘eligible for marriage.’ Articles include tips on virginity, courtship, and how men must establish ‘loving headship’ over their wives.”

    Thank you, Dee – you let me know which Christian dating sites to avoid when I start dating! (Also, it’s not clear from the above quote that the topic has shifted from ChristianMingle to ReformedSingles until you get to the last sentence of the second paragraph.)

    I’m not surprised that a Reformed dating site is promoting courtship. I’m telling you, it’s not just an extreme patriarchal thing anymore. Lots of these conservative churches promote some form of it now.

  18. The problem with YEC singles is that they don’t really believe that any methods of dating are reliable…

  19. Interesting blog post.

    Somewhat on topic is the following link I received from a person named Amy Kohn.

    She indicated to me she is working on a film about courtship title “Betrothed: A Love Story.” Below is the trailer for this film:

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/205428/emal/1031039

    Looking at the trailer it shows a young lady who has in her mind that “courtship” is the only way to meet a husband. Her biological parents don’t understand the woman wanting the courtship process so she seeks out “spiritual parents” that will assist her in finding a husband. As is the pattern in a typical courtship, this young lady wants potential suitors to go through her “spiritual” father.

    It will be interesting to see how this movie turns out but IMO sure shows how people can be so fixated that there is only one way to find a potential mate with little room for possible flexibility.

  20. Garland wrote:

    The problem with YEC singles is that they don’t really believe that any methods of dating are reliable…

    Ha ha ha! 😀

  21. @ Garland:

    What is the problem with getting to know another human being for who they are? You might just come to love and adore each other and want to spend the rest of your lives together.

  22. dee wrote:

    If you have to tell everybody you are discussing “humble,” ipso facto-you are not.

    Is that sort of like Mark Driscoll saying he has special powers but he never talks about it … while telling to his entire congregation about his special powers?

  23. Here is a site endorsement from a pastor who says “sound” (read Calvinist) doctrine is essential for dating and, in the long run, the “kingdom.”

    “As an exceedingly-blessed husband for more than 30 years and a pastor for 25, I’d insist that you cannot over estimate the importance of sound doctrine to a solid relationship. If this site helps to forge such relationships, it will be of tremendous value to the kingdom.” Pastor xxxxx xxxxxxx

    I heard something similar for real many years ago, when I was on some sort of Christian Singles’ Cruise. Speaker at the main event said the ONLY thing that mattered in a marriage/relationship was “Common SCRIPTURAL Values”, nothing else. (Never mind that all the things he trashed — looks, compatibility, common interests — are the original attractors that bring you together in the first place.) Sounded too much like “Perfectly Parsed Theology” or “Purity of Ideology” to me; kept thinking of that line from Orwell’s 1984 regarding INGSOC marriage and sex — “Our Duty to The Party.”

  24. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Well, I have to admit that I survived a version of the courtship model when I met and married my husband. (I use the word “married” loosely. We had a ceremony, but we did not acquire or sign a marriage license. In our state ours would be considered a common-law marriage.) We did not date.

    I’m curious. What was the reasoning behind not getting a marriage license? Was it a personal decision or a mandate from your church? I’m familiar with Michael and Debi Pearl’s ministry, No Greater Joy and they’re the only group I’ve ever heard of who advocates rejecting state marriage licenses.

  25. As an eHarmony drop-out and a former ChristianMingle curious single I sat here shaking my head and saying “No, no, no.” while reading this. Holy cannoli! After more than a year of frustrating matches I decided to mix things up and make slight adjustments to my profile. For instance, I would state that I had an egalitarian view on marriage. Poof! Matches would shut me down. Then I would mention that I believed in cross-gender platonic friendships. Poof! More matches would close. What book have I read recently? I would mention a Rachel Held Evans book or one by Jonalyn Fincher. Poof! More matches would close. Truth be told, I did meet some fine Christian men at eHarmony but either there was no chemistry (which eHarmony practically promises) or we could not agree on the whole submission/headship/tie-breaking vote thing. To my knowledge there is no filter for that on eHarmony. Discernment is the best filter.

  26. 1. Garland and Foot, I love your one liners!

    2. if the woman is properly submissive, it won’t matter whether she’s reformed or not, she’ll believe what her husband tells her to

    3. I can’t quite get my head around how you conduct a ‘courtship’ via a dating site, sounds awfully complicated

    4. back in the Stone Age (pre-internet) I knew a girl who tried a Christian Singles Group and found it was full of creepy stalkers (her term) who were trying to latch on to her before they’d had any chance to get to know her in a normal way. Is that an isolated example or a common problem.

    %. I married into Calvinism, hardly knowing what it was, and was also taught extreme complementarianism as a young married — rather a dangerous mix for someone who had already swallowed huge doses of self-contempt growing up in an abusive family. As I healed, I gradually left them both a long way behind. Not sure I’d call myself an Arminian though — contrary to what the YRR crowd think, tit’s not an either/or, it’s perfectly possible to be neither, or somewhere in between. The 2 main Arminian spokesmen I know of online are Olson and Witherington. You’d have3 to go a long way to find a guy who was more gracious in debate than Ben Witherington

  27. Plenty of food for thought here! “If music be the food of love…. play on” (one for you Jeff S, you fellow musician).

    I think I made this point on another thread months ago, but I remember reading Nathaniel Brandon’s statement (Ayn Rand’s ex-follower who later became a psychiatrist) that he had seen how Objectivists had gone for each other in relationships on the assumption that their shared Objectivism would be enough for a relationship and that this turned out to be a poor premise. I think in an ideal world we would marry Christian partners (and indeed most Christians believe we are commanded to do so), but to find someone who believes exactly as you do even within a denomination is likely to be much harder than one would suppose.

    My own experience (such as it is) on dating sites is that a lot of the ladies on the Christian one were charismatic to some degree and seemed to like Joyce Meyer. On the non-specifically-Christian site there were some Christian ladies, but one had to use discernment, as Jeff S has said – sometimes the Christian profession was really more their faith tradition than actual faith.

    I have heard some Christians say that arranged marriages do work in countries where this is the cultural norm, but I find the idea of transplanting that, or the less rigorous but still rather stifling courtship model, esp as practised by certain patriarchy spokesmen, very alarming. I agree that the latter does tend to infantilise people – and ironically young people, unless working full time within the church or a faith community, are far freer to mix with the opposite sex at work than they are within their own church when this sort of thing is practised.

  28. Lynne T, I imagine it is very difficult having a physical Christian singles group as it may end up attracting those people who do really want a relationship but find it hard to do so because of who they are or how they behave. The problem is how do you draw the line and decide (if you should) who can come in and who can’t? At least if you have a singles group (or, better, young adults group, which can include both marrieds and singles up to mid-/late 30s) within the church then the members are known so there is some accountability.

  29. @ M. Joy:
    Our church did not believe in entering into a contract with the State for a marriage that they believed was ordained by God. Hence, no marriage license. But, they tend to morph their beliefs as they go along. When they relocate to another state that requires a license (i.e. there is no common-law marriage recognized) then (surprise!) they may begin to obtain marriage licenses. I’m not really sure where they adopted this practice from. Being an independent, non-denominational church, they pick and choose from the buffet of doctrines and practices that suit their fancy. They were familiar with the Pearl’s writings, but I can’t guarantee that’s where the idea came from.

  30. Garland wrote:

    The problem with YEC singles is that they don’t really believe that any methods of dating are reliable…

    Amazing.

  31. Lori wrote:

    Then I would mention that I believed in cross-gender platonic friendships. Poof! More matches would close.

    Why.

    On Earth.

    Is this a problem?!

    I am going to email one of my closest male friends with whom I was roommates with for about 3 years to get his take on this lunacy.

    Jeff S wrote:

    I can tell you from recent first hand experience that discussing theology on a first date really sets a poor tone for a dating relationship.

    Ya think?

    Way back in the Pleistocene era of my grandparents, people used to have this quaint idea that it was poor manners to discuss religion or politics with strangers.

    Perhaps in 2013 it’s time to bring back that apparently outdated standard?

    If my date brought up soteriology, theology or doctrine on the first date I am pretty darn sure there wouldn’t be a second date.

  32. Re: the Fonz –

    About 2 weeks ago Henry Winkler was a guest on the BBC’s “Hard Talk” radio show hosted by Steven Sackler (who is known for his hard-hitting take downs of political figures but does a good job with artists and entertainers, too).

    Anyway – Henry Winkler was just a total delight. Funny, wise, grounded, interesting and – wait for it – he also came across as a sincerely humble man.

    Ceej or Josh Harris might want to take a few notes.

    Anyway, I’d recommend checking out the “Hard Talk” podcast or searching out other interviews with Mr. Winkler. He was really a breath of fresh air.

  33. @ Rafiki:

    None of these sites have a filter for crazy, do they? ; ) Per talking theology on the first date, I would want to know if the guy was into patriarchy pretty soon, though I suspect that might make itself clear. Because that would be a dealbreaker unless it came with a signed-in-blood and sworn recantation ala the intended outcome of the Diet of Worms. I’m sure putting “I believe in egalitarian marriage” in your description would probably eliminate those guys…

    Slightly off topic, but only a little since we’re talking about crazy – I discovered Quiverfull LCMS Lutherans online yesterday who insisted they were not Quiverfull, while promoting the exact same ideas. They called themselves the Corcordian Sisters of Perpetual Parturition (CSPP). (Can someone explain to me why Lutherans invent their own terms for the same crap? It’s not legalism, it’s pietism, etc. I’m Lutheran and I don’t understand this.)

  34. @ Hester:

    There’s lots of things I would want to know about in a first date, but unfortunately it sets a crummy tone to ask. And then there’s the whole thing about my blogging. When I mention that I blog, I try to not tell them that the blog is about domestic abuse because I really just don’t want my identity with a potential romantic partner to be connected to domestic abuse.

    Basically, I hate dating. I’d love to cut through the noise an lay it out: I’m a divorced Calvinist with sole physical custody who loves to write and perform music as well as blog about domestic abuse- wanna hang out and maybe get married some day? Strangely I think there are probably better lines I can use. 🙂

    I think in the end you just have to go with it, let there be some uncertainty, and be willing to take some time. But then, want do I know? This is all very new to me- and something I never thought I’d be dealing with again.

  35. From the album “Back in the DHSS” by Half Man Half Biscuit:

    I was just sitting there eating a salmonella sandwich
    When a man walked up to me
    Would you mind, dear boy, if I asked you a question?
    If music be the food of love, are you the indigestion?

    That’ll have to do – I’m using East Coast Trains wifi and we’re about to disappear into the tunnel after Haymarket..!

  36. Garland said:

    “The problem with YEC singles is that they don’t really believe that any methods of dating are reliable…”

    Absolutely love it! 🙂

  37. Rafiki wrote:

    Anyway, I’d recommend checking out the “Hard Talk” podcast or searching out other interviews with Mr. Winkler. He was really a breath of fresh air.

    How is that possible? His name isn’t Terry Gross!

    I’m about ready to give up Christian women and Christianity in general. Growing up with the silly notion that spirituality was all that mattered to attract a beautiful woman didn’t help. And of course I wasn’t really spiritually attractive, nor physically or in any other way that mattered. But learning how similar dating in the church and outside of the church really is was disheartening. I may as well just date non-Christians – their lies don’t bother me as much.

    Now my biggest question is – if I can go to a concert, sporting event, or have a great conversation about life with someone, and get the same sort of emotional high or deep sense of belonging that I can when ‘communing with God’, why is religion supposed to be a deeper, more fulfilling experience? Communion with God takes work – that’s the whole point of the spiritual disciplines. But if you’re basically training your body and mind to be able to do it more consistently, how is it any different from any other human endeavor?

  38. @ Santiago:
    Thank you for the lead on an Arminian comment. I will check into it. Congrats on getting out of Calvary Chapel. The “mini-Moses” model seems to create a lot of issues.

  39. Sincere question–Can someone be a Calvinist and an Arminian at the same time or are these terms mutually exclusive?

  40. Lori wrote:

    Discernment is the best filter.

    This is truth. I swore off online dating because I believe the most reliable way to discern someone’s true nature is to compare with words with actions. Online your perception is skewed by getting all words/no actions in the very beginning. By the time you meet in person you may already be inclined to overlook red flags. When I realized that was what I was doing, I decided to only date people who I interacted with IRL from the onset.

    Not everyone has that problem, necessarily. My aunt met a great guy on a Christian dating site. But I have reasons to be cautious.

  41. Garland wrote:

    The problem with YEC singles is that they don’t really believe that any methods of dating are reliable…

    I literally laughed out loud, at work, for the second time. (The first time was at Dee’s hilarious religious dating site taglines.)

  42. I have no problem with dating sites that are meant to cater to a subset of people whose particular brand of belief (be that Reformed or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) is really important to them. But it’s so not cool to imply that this brand of belief is “better” than another. I understand that someone whose Reformed views were important probably WOULD prefer to marry someone of a similar persuasion. But it’s best not to be arrogant and assume that your online community is more holy or more successful at building the Kingdom, or that your singles are somehow smarter or better because they’re looking for Reformed partners.

  43. Rafiki wrote:

    Why.
    On Earth.
    Is this a problem?!

    Yes, amazingly this is a problem. It seems to come under the guise of guarding one’s heart. You know, these new, young, restless, evangelical men just cannot control themselves. So platonic friendships? Impossible in their world. Thankfully I choose to stand in my identity in Christ and they can stay in their man-made world of legalism and hierarchy. I am curious to know what your former room mate has to say! 🙂

  44. mot wrote:

    Sincere question–Can someone be a Calvinist and an Arminian at the same time or are these terms mutually exclusive?

    Definitely mutually exclusive, assuming you mean going whole hog on either of their doctrines. People can believe a mix, but that would make you neither, not both. My guess would be a lot of people believe that you cannot lose your salvation (Calvinism) while believing in conditional election (Arminianism) .

    The five points of Calvinism came about as direct statements to refute the five points of Arminiansim.

    http://carm.org/dictionary-five-points-arminianism

    http://carm.org/dictionary-calvinism

  45. I find that movie trailer so creepy. What this girl’s parents are saying to her is right on– it IS weird. My experience with the courtship and patriarchal scene is that it produces people who are too immature to make their own decisions. Life is full of difficult decisions and painful consequences, but we have to learn the skills and experiences to make those decisions. When we let someone else continue to make our decisions long after we’ve come of age to do so ourselves, we never do fully develope the skills to do so. How is this woman going to handle the decisions that come with having children and raising them? Is she going to rely on her “spiritual parents” advice in that area, too? This is stunting!

  46. Absolutely Sad Observer! Everything you said in your post (9:13, don’t feel like copying the whole thing here) is true. I am not Reformed, Calvinist, or Arminian. However, I do not feel that this precludes me from having friendship and fellowship with other members in the Body who are. I love God’s deliberate diversity and I am enriched by learning about how others feel or believe. It’s when it turns into a theological I’m right, your wrong debate that I have to walk away.

  47. Thought of this as I read through the comments:

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

  48. Oh yes, thatmom. I remember the McDonalds from Your Sacred Calling are the ones who had a daughter betrothed several years ago. They boasted on their website about how superior betrothal was. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they claim that betrothal was as binding as marriage and couldn’t be broken? Then lo-and-behold their daughter kicked her betrothed man to the curb. They quickly scrubbed their website of all the evidence he ever existed.

  49. thatmom wrote:

    Apparently lots of things might make you “unequally yoked.”. Consider these 160 questions for potential suitors:http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/courtship-questions-for-potential-suitors/

    Is that website for real or is it a parody of the real thing? I just had time to give it a quick look as I’m at uni at the moment and need to go up to the lab to do some work, but I’m confused… Because if it’s real, then I think it’s pretty sad 🙁

    I came across ‘courtship’ only a year ago or so, basically online, but haven’t paid much attention to it until now… I think I heard about some of those Joshua Harris books a few years ago, but that was all. I’m trying to get a better understanding about it, to see what these people are proposing. From all I’ve read, it sounds very controlling and authoritarian.

  50. Oh goodness – I tried a couple of matching sites when I was single (didn’t meet my husband that way, but that’s another story).

    I actually had a couple of dates off of eHarmony and considered it a positive experience for meeting people, even though most weren’t great matches. The funny thing is that I actually spent a couple weeks on a trial (unpaid) membership to Sovereign Grace Singles. I found the site and the people on it so far to the hierarchical complementarian / patriarchal extreme that I couldn’t stay with it.

  51. dee – The following is one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever known a believer to say, and it happens to have been written by a leading Arminian concerning Calvinism:

    On p. 85 of his book, Against Calvinism, Roger E. Olson writes: “One day, at the end of a class session on Calvinism’s doctrine of God’s sovereignty, a student asked me a question I had put off considering. He asked: ‘If it was revealed to you in a way you couldn’t question or deny that the true God actually is as Calvinism says and rules as Calvinism affirms, would you still worship him?’ I knew the only possible answer without a moment’s thought, even though I knew it would shock many people. I said no, that I would not because I could not. Such a God would be a moral monster. Of course, I realize Calvinists do not think their view of God’s sovereignty makes him a moral monster, but I can only conclude they have not thought it through to its logical conclusion or even taken sufficiently seriously the things they say about God and evil and innocent suffering in the world.”

    Of course, if it were turned around and a Calvinist said it, it would be just as unacceptable. In either case, it would reveal a person who places his own thoughts above all else, including God.

  52. Yes, that is absolutely for real and, in act, James and Stacy continue to be slated to speak on the topic of courtship at homeschooling conferences around the country using these 160 questions as I understand it. And, yes, Joy, you remember correctly. Since that time they had another broken courtship with a daughter who mved across the out try and is in a relationship with a guy but they on’t mention it. Interestingly, her younger sister just became engaged after courting heh guy who courted the older sister. Yet they teach that courtship is the biblical way.

  53. that mom,

    My sweet hubby loves to share funny e-mails he receives, and he shared your 9:42 comment with me about a month ago. 🙂

  54. That video made me want to throw my laptop across the room. Her “spiritual father” said that he thought it was abnormal for a young woman to want to be out on her own. Yet this young woman, who wants to play by the rules and have her “father” pick a husband for her, isn’t even considering the wishes of her real father. To me, that means she’s going against what she truly believes in.

  55. JeffB wrote:

    dee – The following is one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever known a believer to say, and it happens to have been written by a leading Arminian concerning Calvinism:
    On p. 85 of his book, Against Calvinism, Roger E. Olson writes: “One day, at the end of a class session on Calvinism’s doctrine of God’s sovereignty, a student asked me a question I had put off considering. He asked: ‘If it was revealed to you in a way you couldn’t question or deny that the true God actually is as Calvinism says and rules as Calvinism affirms, would you still worship him?’ I knew the only possible answer without a moment’s thought, even though I knew it would shock many people. I said no, that I would not because I could not. Such a God would be a moral monster. Of course, I realize Calvinists do not think their view of God’s sovereignty makes him a moral monster, but I can only conclude they have not thought it through to its logical conclusion or even taken sufficiently seriously the things they say about God and evil and innocent suffering in the world.”
    Of course, if it were turned around and a Calvinist said it, it would be just as unacceptable. In either case, it would reveal a person who places his own thoughts above all else, including God.

    This is concerning the character of God as put forward by Calvinism – I don’ find it all that shocking actually, if we are saying we will follow God, just because he’s God, we would be equally prepared to follow an omnipotent fiend (I’m sure Lewis said something about this) because ultimate might would be ultimate right. Are you saying you’d bow to anything, anything at all God asks you, even if morally repugnant?
    Not sure I’ve phrased this as carefully as I’d like – Roger is placing a moral requirement ( which he believes comes from the Bible) into this debate, & saying he will not bow the knee to anything but the highest good. What’s wrong with that?

  56. @ thatmom:

    Karen, I follow James Mc on my FB feed (no wonder I’m all kinds of crazy). After reading your updates on his daughters, I feel inclined to post on his wall, “Hey James, how’s that courtship thang workin’ for y’all?”

  57. So…anybody read that post over on Justin Taylor’s blog about the 96 year old theologian? Anybody else deeply, deeply disturbed by it? I have something particular in mind, something related to this post.

  58. Rafiki wrote:

    Then I would mention that I believed in cross-gender platonic friendships. Poof! More matches would close.
    Why.
    On Earth.

    Because men can’t be trusted to be around women. And if they loose control it is the woman’s fault.

    Oh, wait. Wrong religion.

  59. Beakerj wrote:

    This is concerning the character of God as put forward by Calvinism – I don’ find it all that shocking actually, if we are saying we will follow God, just because he’s God, we would be equally prepared to follow an omnipotent fiend (I’m sure Lewis said something about this) because ultimate might would be ultimate right. Are you saying you’d bow to anything, anything at all God asks you, even if morally repugnant?

    Look at Islam. Especially Extreme Islam — their analog of Calvinistas.

    Both Calvin and Mohammed promoted God’s Omnipotence and Soverignity above all else. Both Calvin and Mohammed were very much into God’s Omnipotent Will and Predestination, and a lot of their followers over the centuries took it even further — more Calvinist than Calvin, more Islamic than Mohammed.

  60. This is brilliant!

    I love the part about the irony of offering people who don’t believe in choice so many choices.

  61. Regardingthe Reformed Singles website: Several years ago, while researching Christian patriarchy, I discovered this gem by Douglas Wilson in the article section. http://www.reformedsingles.com/not-where-she-should-be-douglas-wilson While it’s titled “Not Where She Should Be”, I have fondly thought of it as “Recipe for a Blissful Marriage”. He really gets to the practical meat of the matter mid-way, when he states that husbands should not fulfill the neglected duties that belong to their wives. His example is washing the dishes. If she rebels in keeping the dishes properly washed up, he should call the church elders to pay her a visit and address her sinful, rebellious state in neglecting the dirty dishes. I asked my husband if he could help me find in the Bible the place where God commanded that washing dishes was Wimmin’s Work. He said it was right next to the verse that says, “Blessed is she who maketh a light biscuit.”

  62. So, on certain dating sites, you have to get your pastor to vouch for you? Would that be those same pastors who are surrounded by security details, never mingle with the common people, will not make an appointment with you in the 100 years, and doesn’t know you from the man on the moon? But, you need HIM to vouch for YOU?

  63. @ Rob: Tsk, tsk, Rob. Your godly pastor will have a full administrative detail to check you out.They are watching….

  64. @ Eagle:I agree with you. However, i am glad some of them have retained their sense of empathy. That appears to be a quality that was highly discouraged in those circle.s

  65. @ Beakerj:
    The logical inconsistency is that Mr Olson, according to his view of sovereignty and Calvinism, would comply with God’s will. He could only not believe if he were not chosen. Is this the ‘Olson’ of ‘Grenz and Olson?’
    Dearie me.

  66. @ ScotT:I just finished reading it. The one thing that jumped out at me was the camaraderie of the evangelicals from that era. In other words, to use the newest overused word, “tribe”, their tribe was made up of folks from various persuasions (They mention Billy Graham, for example.) They then claim that this is their heritage but it is not. They have subselected the “real” doctrine and have isolated themselves into a group of “amen” brothers.

    But, perhaps you have some different thoughts?

  67. Tree

    Welcome to TWW. I wonder if his wife could report him to the elders for being a condescending jerk.

  68. @ Beakerj:

    This, this is my personal testimony that helps me believe that I am truly born again in my spirit and of the Spirit of God. In one moment I was changed from trying to follow God just because God is ultimate authority to my desiring God because God is Love, Just, Righteous, Trustworthy, Capable, etc. The sudden hunger and thirst for righteousness in all of my being became immense. I lost my ‘dark side.’ I understand what Paul means by no longer I who sin but the sin that lives in my flesh that I give in to and repent from and I am happy that it’s not going to heaven with me.I am confident that if it were possible for God to turn evil…I would no longer follow God. This is what I believe is Satan’s ploy, to get us to believe that God either is evil or has turned evil. And those who are evil will follow any one who is in control. I think that is the problem with many of our religious leaders. They do not really love God, they just love being on God’s side and using God’s power. At the last day when Jesus has to tell some of the greatest workers of His that He never knew them, it will be as pathetic as in the stories of conniving right hand men of unsuspecting righteous rulers that are finally caught in their own webs of deceit. If God seems evil to you, you either have the wrong God or you are believing a lie. But you do know what is evil and what is good. We all do. If it walks like a duck….

  69. Rob wrote:

    So, on certain dating sites, you have to get your pastor to vouch for you? Would that be those same pastors who are surrounded by security details, never mingle with the common people, will not make an appointment with you in the 100 years, and doesn’t know you from the man on the moon? But, you need HIM to vouch for YOU?

    The pastor will vouch for you if he looooves your theology (à la John Piper). In other words, if you’ve never disagreed with him. That seems to be the one thing that makes an impression.

  70. Love the site, first time poster. The link below on the Reformed Singles site is hilarious/scary. It makes some other “10 rules….” lists seem almost reasonable.

    http://www.reformedsingles.com/checklist-guy-who-wants-marry-our-daughter-dale-meador

    My personal favorite:

    “I am open to the scrutiny of my future father and brothers-in-law, including (but not limited to) background checks, blood and urine samples, psychological examination, a credit report, personal references and a physical agility test”

    ……uhh…right, let’s start with the physical agility of my middle finger.

  71. I’m thinking Ergun Caner has got to have something good out there. Maybe Norman Geisler as well. I’ll try to look around and find something.

  72. @ Brian: Good one on Caner. I’ll check as well. So far, I haven’t been able to find anything exciting from Geisler. Roger Olson is a gentleman so I do not think it will come from those quarters.

  73. I’d seen the Betrothed trailer before and that girl is just so naive. You can see it and hear it. She’s in the starry-eyed newlywed phase of Koolaid drinking where her entire life will be perfect from here on out. I’m with her dad.

    Also, I want to know how she picked her “spiritual parents.” Did she actually know these people for any length of time, or has she known them for, like, 6 months because she met them at her FIC church and they were the ones who decided to “rescue”/marry off the poor single girl with the heathen parents?

  74. @ dee:

    Is Geisler Arminian? I thought he was in the “neither” camp (I’ve never read anything by him at all so I really have no clue- it’s just what someone told me).

    And I think most Calvinist/Arminians see it as a continum, as in most cases you either accept one point or the other as you look at each of the five ideas (either you can lose your salvation or you can’t, man is totally depraved or he isn’t, etc.) That being said, some of the definitions can be unclear (such as Limited Atonement, which RC Sproul defines as “sufficient for all, efficient for the elect” and denying that it means “sufficient and efficient for all” even though many do believe exactly that).

  75. excelsior wrote:

    My personal favorite:
    “I am open to the scrutiny of my future father and brothers-in-law, including (but not limited to) background checks, blood and urine samples, psychological examination, a credit report, personal references and a physical agility test”

    This sounds like the pre-nup for a political marriage straight out of Game of Thrones

  76. lilyrosemary wrote:

    The pastor will vouch for you if he looooves your theology (à la John Piper). In other words, if you’ve never disagreed with him. That seems to be the one thing that makes an impression.

    In other words, these are dating sites for a Pastor-Dictator’s Yes Men.

  77. dee wrote:

    @ dee: I just found as awesome quote by Caner. Thank you. One down, three to go.

    This Caner the Islamic Jihadi, AKA the 21st Century’s Psalmanzanar the Formosan Cannibal?

  78. @ Jeff S: Geisler seems to waffle a bit.The Arminians call him a soft Calvinist and the Calvinists view him with suspicion. I have listened to him for a long time. I would say he is difficult to pin down. Sounds a bit like me…

    His view of predestination and election appears to center around Jesus who he claims embodies the passages that are oft quoted for election/predestination. I heard him speak once on this subject so I hope I am not misrepresenting him.

  79. @ Jeff S:

    Geisler calls himself a “Calminian” and tries to ride the fence. That said, I thought he had some stern words for Calvinists but I might be thinking of someone else.

  80. @ Jeff & Excelsior:

    “I will never move more than a few hours’ drive from my children’s grandparents”

    So military guys who can be transferred to Guam whenever are out, I guess…because “I have the utmost respect for law enforcement, and for the armed forces of the United States of America” (but not enough to actually deal with the realities of their lives should they marry my daughter)?

    Actually this would also eliminate pastors who could get a call from God at any time to move. So no pastors either, unless of course a son-in-law’s commitment to his father-in-law should exceed his commitment to God…

  81. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:Thank you for making laugh. Did you even see the supposed video of him showing how he could take a taser? I noticed that one of the leads did not embed but he still hit the ground. He’s kind of the Mike Warnke of the “Former Jihadist accepts Christ” movement.

  82. dee wrote:

    Did you even see the supposed video of him showing how he could take a taser? I noticed that one of the leads did not embed but he still hit the ground. He’s kind of the Mike Warnke of the “Former Jihadist accepts Christ” movement.

    Actually, the “Psalmanazar” goes back to a famous 18th Century “exotic culture” impostor:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalmanazar

  83. About the not moving away from the grandparents post, I have talked to two mothers-in-law of big dog CLC pastors kids who insisted that all things go their way. From holidays to vacations.

  84. From Reformed Singles: “If, for example, the problem is one of poor housekeeping, he should require something very simple, i.e. that the dishes be done after every meal before anything else is done.”

    OR, he could just do the dishes. Washing dishes is a lot nicer than washing feet, imo.

  85. I think I posted this on wrong thread
    How many Charismatics does it take to change a light bulb?
    One – since his or her hands are in the air anyway.

    How many Calvinists does it take to change a light bulb?
    None. God has predestined when the lights will be on..

    How many Baptists?
    CHANGE?? But we have NEVER done it that way before!

    How many Neo-evangelicals?
    No one knows. They cannot tell the difference between light and darkness.

    How many Pentecostals?
    Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness…

    How many TV evangelists?
    One. But for the message of light to continue, send in your donation…

    How many Fundamentalists?
    ONLY ONE because any more would be compromise and ecumenical… (standards of light would slip.)

    How many Charismatics?
    None – unless the Lord leads.

    How many Dispensationalists?
    Two – one to change the bulb and one to keep the promises to the old bulb.

    How many Promise Keepers?
    None – unless Coach McCartney says it’s manly to do so.

    How many Calvinists?
    Every Calvinist knows only God can change a lightbulb.

    How many Episcopalians?
    None, they assume darkness is the nature of the bulb and it would be harmful and disrespecful to violate personality of the bulb.

    How many Charismatics?
    Two – one to change the bulb, the other to have a breakthrough.

    How many Quakers?
    Someone will, but there is no one officially called to be a bulb changer.

    How many Arminians?
    Only one, but first the bulb must want to be changed.

    How many Charismatics?
    None – unless the Spirit witnesses to their spirit man that it should be done.

    How many Baptists?
    Two, one to change the bulb, the other to preach on tithing in order to pay for the new bulb.

    How many Premillennialists?
    While knowing where the lightbulbs are, they are persuaded to wait for the official lightbulb changer but no one knows when he will arrive.

    How many Arminians?
    Since the bulb has free will – it must make the decision.

    How many Amillennialists?
    Two, one to change the bulb, the other to remind others not to fear the
    old darkness or trust the new light–both are only symbolic.

    How many Postmillennialists?
    One, but now he has to rethink his eschatology….

    How Many Liberal Christians?
    None – they don’t think it needs to be changed.

    How many Evolutionists?
    None – it will change itself – it will just take billions and billions of years.

    How many Lutherans?
    17 – 5 to form a commitee to find and nominate 9 people to a committee which shall then discuss the issues of light bulb changing, from which that commitee shall appoint three other people to carry out the final resolution of the second committee – which is that one person shall supervise while one changes the bulb and one will follow up in one month’s time to investigate the performance of the bulb.

    How many Modern Evangelicals?
    It doesn’t matter as long as we love each other.

    How many Seventh Day Adventists?
    Just one – as long as it isn’t Saturday.

    How many Charismatics?
    30 – 1 to change the bulb and 29 to laugh about it!

    How many Mormons?
    None – it’s beneath the character of a god to stoop and change a light bulb.

    How many Atheists?
    1 – but they are still in darkness.

    How many Independent Baptists?
    Only one, anymore than that would be considered ecumenical.

  86. Eagle wrote:

    Brent Detwiler made a comparision to SGM being like Watergate. I didn’t catch on at first but suddenly it really hit me. You can see a lot of similarites between SGM mess and Watergate. The one thing I see is the body count of poeople stepping away or being forced out or leaving. And like Watergaet the corruption in the Nixon White House was prevassvie and top down. Meaning Nixon created a culture that corrupted other people and had them engage in illegal activities.

    Does Detwiler fancy himself, John Dean? Problem with the analogy is that SGM kept their child molestator protection program underwraps for many years.

  87. Eagle wrote:

    Its simialr to the HR Haldeman, John Ehrilichman, John Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, John Dean, G Gordan Liddy, etc…

    Uh, you forgot CHUCK COLSON on that list.

  88. Hester wrote:

    I’d seen the Betrothed trailer before and that girl is just so naive. You can see it and hear it. She’s in the starry-eyed newlywed phase of Koolaid drinking where her entire life will be perfect from here on out. I’m with her dad.

    This theme is as old as the Globe theatre. Forbidden love between young and star crossed lovers from rival families. The Montagues and the Capulets. The Hatfields and the McCoys. Now Arminians and Calvinists?

    I’d pay money to see some UCLA film students cobble together a Monty Python style spoof of this.

  89. Hey, did ya’ll hear? The SBC is sending little Russell Moore to Washington to represent the SBC as President of the ERLC. That Mohler sure knows how to get his fingers in all the pies! Russ Moore is his creation.

  90. @ Anon 1:
    I just saw that announcement and the thing that stood out to me is that he is the Chairman of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

    I’ve been Southern Baptist for 39 years and still am but just barely. I’m sick and tired of folks like Moore using the Bible to marginalize women.

  91. Hester wrote:

    “Their tagline is ‘Prepared, Prequalified, Predestined,’ adding to the plethora of clichés that make the site a near-parody of itself.

    “Penetrates, Conquers, Plants…”

  92. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    From Reformed Singles: “If, for example, the problem is one of poor housekeeping, he should require something very simple, i.e. that the dishes be done after every meal before anything else is done.”

    “Me Man! Me Want Clean Dishes! You Woman! You Shut Up!”

  93. Mot, As if we need more patriarchal oligarch’s in DC! Moore used to work for democrat congressman Gene Taylor so he is uniquely qualified, I suppose.

  94. Eagle wrote:

    I can really see CJ Mahaney as being like Richard Nixon. And then when you consider the others…Dave Harvey, John Loftness, Josh Harris, Craig Carbaniss, Larry Tomczak, etc… Its simialr to the HR Haldeman, John Ehrilichman, John Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, John Dean, G Gordan Liddy, etc…

    “Is Nixon guilty?
    Well he has been seen
    With Ehrlichman, Haldeman,
    Mitchell, and Dean —
    Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean,
    Haldeman, Mitchell, and Dean…”
    — Jingle very popular during Watergate

    And if you can find it on YouTube, there were a couple novelty songs from that period called “Watergate Blues” and “The Nixorcist”.

  95. @ Muff Potter:

    You mistyped your email. Check it next time and you will not be moderated. If you WANTED to do this, email me and I’ll put it back.

  96. @ Rafiki:
    A bit off topic, but I agree Hard Talk is great and can show individuals up in either a good or bad light. Did you see the one where Sackur interviewed Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden? Dickinson came across as a very articulate, business-minded individual probably at odds with the image most people would have of him because of his career.

    I saw Henry Winkler in another newsslot a few months ago (think he was being decorated by the Queen) and agree he was delightful.

  97. @ Jeff S:
    Jeff S, I strongly sympathise. I’m in a similar boat and laid out my stall pretty early on – (a) Christian (b) keeps reptiles (c) plays in a band (d) and here’s a photo showing how often I (don’t) have a haircut. It may have resulted in fewer dates, but it’s probably saved me a lot of time and expenditure!

  98. Gavin, it pains me to be required to publicly acknowledge that you have a sense of humor. But I do it “humbly” because that is very funny!!

  99. @ Beakerj:

    You wrote: “This is concerning the character of God as put forward by Calvinism – I don’ find it all that shocking actually, if we are saying we will follow God, just because he’s God, we would be equally prepared to follow an omnipotent fiend (I’m sure Lewis said something about this) because ultimate might would be ultimate right. Are you saying you’d bow to anything, anything at all God asks you, even if morally repugnant?”

    What you and Olson seem to be saying is that you will not follow God unless you are sure that His morality matches up with yours. Does this not assume, at the least, that you are both also all-knowing? Abraham was not, yet he didn’t question God when ordered to kill Isaac. Neither were those who followed God’s commands to destroy all human life in Canaanite towns. If God asked us our opinion concerning His idea of crucifying His Son, we would probably react as Peter did, and, likewise, might have been called Satan.

    Of course, I’m not saying that you consider yourself to be omniscient. I’m commenting on how easy it is for us to put ourselves in the position of evaluating God.

    Olson’s anti-Calvinism is so strong that he would refuse to worship God if He is as Calvinism says and rules as Calvinism says He does. Besides assuming that he completely understands all the ramifications of Calvinism (which only God does), he is, in effect, saying, “Sorry, God, You’re wrong. Can’t worship You.” What he does worship are his own powers of reasoning.

    As I said, if the positions were reversed, it wouldn’t matter. It’s about Who is God and who is not.

  100. Gavin White, some of those bulb jokes made me smile. 🙂

    Re Geisler, didn’t he draw criticism from James White a few years ago for his book “Chosen But Free”? I haven’t read either that or White’s response “The Potter’s Freedom” so can’t comment any more.

    The “lists for suitors” could have made me laugh if I hadn’t thought they were serious. I know it’s a serious thing for a parent to consider what sort of a person their son or daughter will marry, but I think if the child is a serious Christian then they will want to make a decent choice anyway (and common sense alone probably dictates you wouldn’t want to marry someone with destructive habits or massive debt, I would have thought, esp once you reach adulthood and working responsibility).

    Oh yes…. guarding your heart. I’ve heard this phrase come up a few times, though not so much from people I know over here in the UK. I can see that some people are emotionally somewhat incontinent, but I think this lurches too far the other way. Supposing you had a boyfriend/girlfriend and were serious for a while, but then it didn’t work out? Is the next one going to accuse you of “not guarding your heart” because you had a relationship with the previous person? This seems to apply even to emotional commitment without any sexual element, which I find strange.

  101. From original post:

    I went over to the Reformed Singles [dating] site link. It appears that “biblical” courtship is all the rage.

    It’s already hard enough for an unmarried Christian woman, over the age of 30 especially, to find unmarried Christian men as it stands, and it gets harder by age 40.

    If you narrow down mate selection even further by insisting the male HAS to be “Reformed,” and not just Christian, these women are destined to remain single forever.

    Most evangelicals and other Christians don’t even know how to date, let alone do this “courtship” stuff.

    Original post said,
    “sound doctrine to a solid relationship”

    Yeah, that further restricts your mate choices, too. Any Reformed Woman who insist on “Reformed only, sound doctrine,” etc, will remain single.

    As most of you may recall, I would like to get married, and thought I would be by age 35, I am no in my early 40s but have never married.

    I don’t care any more if the guy I do end up marrying, (assuming I ever get married), is a Christian or not. I’ve tossed that requirement out the window.

    When you’re a Christian woman and aim only for a Christian man (for marriage), you will stay single for a long, looooong time.

    I’ve seen so many stories of Christian men who beat their wives, or commit adultery on them, I don’t why a woman would restrict herself to self professing Christians as suitors anyway.

    All the prayer in the world, and having faith in God to provide, has no effect in getting a spouse, either.

    Quote from the dating site:
    “Articles include tips on virginity…”

    Oh please! Please! Christians do not respect ‘virginity- until- marriage.’

    Take it from someone who is still a virgin at 40+, most Christians don’t care or esteem ‘virginity until marriage.’ (I am not talking about wacko fertility Quiverfull- like groups, but your average, every day Southern Baptist Churches, etc)

    You will actually find condescending, rude assumptions or comments about Christian virgins in articles, books, and blogs by Christian pastors and authors.

    (The only Christian virgins who get any respect for abstaining are those under the age of 25 – 30.)

    Christian preachers and authors actually have the tendency to show more compassion, forgiveness, (and even respect), for Christians who have not remained chaste past the age of 25.

    They remind them all the time how sexual sin is not a biggie, God will forgive you for it, etc.

    Older Christian celibates, and/or the “not married yet” Christians who are age 35 or older, get blamed for being single; or
    get accused of being homosexuals; or
    blamed for not making more Christian babies; and
    we older ones are used (very insultingly) as horror story examples, in books about Christian dating, to scare 20- something women, as in,

    “See what happens when you don’t marry by the time you are 35? Stop putting career first! Marry now! You don’t want to wind up like a 40+ something loser, all alone or *gasp* married to a divorced man!”

    (Yes, they actually say this stuff.)

  102. @ Gavin White:
    Gavin, He knows that. There is nothing about Calvinism that he hasn’t heard, or considered…I’m sure that conclusion hasn’t escaped him. Read his blog – it’s very interesting. And yes, I think that book is by him.

  103. If a woman believes that she has to submit to her husband then nothing is a secondary issue when it comes to marriage. She can be required to go against her beliefs in secondary issues and the submission belief trumps any other secondary issues.

    That post from Doug Wilson – did he read the Narcissist’s Abuse Handbook? Or is he writing it? Really – set standards and when she meets them add more? If she won’t cooperate then you should enlist others to shame her into compliance. It reads like a Screwtape Letters for abuse – except that he is dead serious.

  104. @ JeffB:
    I disagree – I think there is a standard of morality & goodness in the Bible that parts of Calvinism clashes with horribly – causes enormaous congnitive dissonance. That would be where Roger Olsen, & hopefully I, get the standard of morality from that we would then want to uphold – it’s not about man’s reason going solo & entirely making up a morality to judge God against. In short, I believe the Calvinist God falls short of the morality of the Bible, & there are many that believe this.

  105. Eagle wrote:

    The courtship isn’t working and the pastor tells the girl that she is “sinfully craving dating!”

    Eagle, seriously, a lot of conservative Christians already do this to unmarried Christians from many denominations.

    We are told on the one hand by most Christians and preachers that to achieve true godliness and maturity, we must marry. And we are told how great marriage is.

    So when we singles speak up and say, “Great! I’d love to get married, help me meet someone! Can the church put on more singles events so we singles can meet and mingle, stuff like that?,”

    These people either reply to us: “No; be content in your singleness!,” or, “You are making an idol out of marriage.”

  106. Jeff S wrote:

    I am comfortable enough with how I can filter things on eHarmony-

    E Harmony has dirty minded “Christian” men.

    They also don’t give single women as many matches as they do the male, and it does not matter if you open your criteria to USA not just your local city.

    That happened to me, and I read an article which said that is their strategy, to give males more matches than women.

  107. Kolya wrote:

    Did you see the one where Sackur interviewed Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden?

    MAIDEN!!!!! “RUN TO THE HILLLLLLLLLLLSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” 🙂 And yes, Bruce Dickinson is a very interesting man and a great interview. 🙂

    As for “guarding your heart” – gag. Another burdensome Christianese imperative.

    Between the 160-point “list for suitors” and Wayne Grudem’s 83 points for entrenching women as second-class citizens in the church, these people give me a migraine.

    Makes one remarkably grateful for the glorious simplicity of Jesus’ words to us.

  108. Jeff S wrote:

    So apparently divorced people aren’t single? Yuck.

    I understand if you feel offended, but imagine being 40+ years old and never married….

    Divorced people at least get “divorced care” ministries (some recognition they exist and have needs), but churches don’t even REALIZE some Christians over 35 have never married (we are not even on their radars).

    It annoys the ever loving crud out of me that every time I have gone to a new church a few times the last few years, or meet a new Christian, it is always assumed I am a divorced, single mother. Without fail.

  109. lilyrosemary wrote:

    Is that sort of like Mark Driscoll saying he has special powers but he never talks about it … while telling to his entire congregation about his special powers?

    Hmm. Maybe that is one of his special powers. 🙂

  110. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Sounded too much like “Perfectly Parsed Theology” or “Purity of Ideology” to me; kept thinking of that line from Orwell’s 1984 regarding INGSOC marriage and sex — “Our Duty to The Party.”

    That reminds me.

    I saw a video of a Christian guy online who said that a Christian’s primary criteria in mate selection was if the person believes in ES(eternal security) / OSAS (once saved always saved) – he said, if the Christian you are dating believes in ES or OSAS, drop them like a hot potato.

    He also said no way should a Christian date a divorced person,and he had some other rules, but the ES/OSAS was strange.

  111. And the crying over kissing a man she didn’t marry….just a tad OTT, or is it just that I don’t have the time to cry over all unwed kisses & kissees (& there were many, I love kissing & consider it an art form), especially now I’m married. And actually, I’m glad I kissed some of those guys because I may not have married them, but I did love them.

    That Reformed Singles site is downright creepy,where oh where is any freedom, or emotion or adult level anything? You can almost completely side step either having to think through or decide anything for yourself because it’s all done for you.

  112. Rafiki wrote:

    Kolya wrote:
    Did you see the one where Sackur interviewed Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden?

    MAIDEN!!!!! “RUN TO THE HILLLLLLLLLLLSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

    You guys are fun. 😛 And Bruce Dickinson is marvelous. He’s a licensed pilot, you know!

  113. Lynne T wrote:

    4. back in the Stone Age (pre-internet) I knew a girl who tried a Christian Singles Group and found it was full of creepy stalkers (her term) who were trying to latch on to her before they’d had any chance to get to know her in a normal way. Is that an isolated example or a common problem.

    Not that I have tons and tons of experience in that, but when I have gone to singles classes/functions put on by churches (including Sunday School), usually there are no men present.

    Or there might be one man in a room of 20 females.

    When there are males present, and I’m sorry if this sounds mean or cold, the ones I’ve come across have not been attractive, to put it very kindly.

    Some are obese, some are strange, etc. I went to one singles Sunday school class where one of the guys kept giggling through the whole class, even at inappropriate times, or when nobody said any thing.

    I read online about one church where the single 40+ guys kept wandering into the 20-something age group Sunday School classrooms to hit on the young ladies (to date them, to marry) but the ladies were so creeped out (and I don’t blame them), they reported this to the pastor who wound up throwing those men out.

    A lot of Christian single men (and secular) are really limiting themselves by focusing on women under age 35.

  114. Rafiki wrote:

    If my date brought up soteriology, theology or doctrine on the first date I am pretty darn sure there wouldn’t be a second date.

    I think it depends.

    If you are a Christian wanting to date an actual Christian, you would want to ask up front if they are saved, and ask them to define how they came to Christ to make sure.

    It would save you both a lot of time.

    I’ve heard of too many Christian people who go on dates with “Christians,” only to find out he/she (their date) was not a real one, they only thought they were one because they went to church once when they were ten years old,or they read the Bible once, or thought Jesus was a nice guy.

  115. @ JeffB:
    I think you might want to give Olson a break. Let me see if i can argue his position. Please keep in mind, I am neither.

    If one believes that God has implanted in mankind some understanding of right and wrong then it might be possible to judge some actions as evil. I understand the arguments that Piper and others make that, if God causes something that appears evil, it is not evil because God is always good and cannot do something that is wrong. Therefore it is our problem if something appears to be evil.

    So, if Piper were to argue that God certified, in essence, the slaughter of Hitler’s death camps and therefore it was good, some might say that such a God is not worth serving because He participates in evil. Piper would argue that it is merely our inability to understand and trust God.

    But what if it is possible to judge evil? What if it is possible to say that Hitler’s death camps are not from God? To berate Olson for not worshiping a God that doesn’t exist would be silly.

  116. “As I said, if the positions were reversed, it wouldn’t matter. It’s about Who is God and who is not.”

    Jeff, this is a huge debate right now. NT Wright talks about it, Greg Boyd is talking about it. Olson is talking about it….

    When we want to know God are we not to look to Jesus of Nazareth? Is that not the “God” revealed to us that we worship?

    Did God change when in the Flesh? Or do we not really understand? That is the big question.

  117. @ JeffB:
    @ Beakerj:
    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    @ JeffB:
    @ Beakerj:

    JeffB – Concerning the quote about worshipping the God that Calvinism paints. For me, it is a very personal issue. I have had several discussions with Calvinists (not even Calvinistas) and they insist that everything that happens is God’s will. I have asked them all the same question and so far, Wade is the only one to give a compassionate answer (and I don’t even know for sure if Wade’s a Calvinist). Here’s the question: are you saying that it was God’s will that I was raped as a child? With the noted exception, they have all said, “Yes. We don’t always understand God’s ways, but if it happened, God ordained it for a purpose.”

    Okay, I have wrestled with this. And this is my conviction. If God plans the rape of children, then he is no more worthy of being worshipped than a father who rapes his daughter. This is where this doctine takes me every time it is presented to me. I really wouldn’t care what label the doctrine has, if this was the only choice, it would destroy my faith.

    The first time I arrived at this place, it scared me. But I have talked with my Father about it and am now totally at peace with the above statement because the Father I know, love and worship is absolutely not like that.

    I am not wanting to start a fight or anything like that. I just wanted to maybe pull it out of the theoretically theology realm into the practical, real-life realm….

  118. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t care any more if the guy I do end up marrying, (assuming I ever get married), is a Christian or not. I’ve tossed that requirement out the window.

    As a mom of 2 daughters who will be of marriageable age in just a few short years, I am with you, Daisy. I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years, but I really do not care if the men my daughters choose to marry are Christian or not. I care a whole lot more how moral, loving, kind, and respectful they are.

  119. Haven’t had time to read the comments, but when my husband and I met I was in a Baptist church. He was in a church that was Reformed and Charismatic. Yep. Not SGM, but a different branch that came out of the PDI movement.

    Long story short since I have to get my daughter to bed…

    When the leadership of David’s church found out he was dating a Baptist woman and was going to leave his church to visit other churches with me, he was specifically told he would be unequally yoked.

    That was just the tip of the iceberg as you can well imagine based on all the SGM stuff that has come down.

  120. For the last 15 years, the most arrogant, deceitful with an entitlement mentality men I have met are evangelical Christians who think they are doing great things for God. Most are in some sort of ministry.

    No thanks. I pray a lot my daughter never marries someone like that.

  121. Daisy wrote:

    Not that I have tons and tons of experience in that, but when I have gone to singles classes/functions put on by churches (including Sunday School), usually there are no men present.
    Or there might be one man in a room of 20 females.

    I don’t know what to do about this. I am also 40ish and never married. There are literally no single men anywhere close to my age at my church. What’s worse is I live in a rural area where it’s hard to meet single men in general.

    Is ChristianMingle.com the only option here? NOOOOOOO

  122. @ Hester:

    Exactly Hester and Jeff. There are so many non-bible-related rules in some Calvinista circles that you get Hypocrisy overlap or disqualification by imperfection. If any man subjected themselves to a list like this I would not want them marrying my daughter. (if I had one)

  123. GuyBehindtheCurtain wrote:

    @ Muff Potter:
    You mistyped your email. Check it next time and you will not be moderated. If you WANTED to do this, email me and I’ll put it back.

    Go ahead and publish it if it’s still there in the queue.

  124. Hey Dee and Deb,

    Do you have an official policy about guest posts? Do you take submissions? If so, where should I send one? I wrote one up that you can use on a day you need a break. (It’s about my experience in a family-integrated church.)

  125. JeffB: I’ve heard MUCH more shocking things out of the mouths of believers….mostly about how Jesus doesn’t love all people & how God delights in sending billions of people to Hell, just for his glory. Can you imagine that?

  126. @ Jeannette Altes: Jeannette, I have thought a lot about this since the exchange a few weeks ago on echurch. To say God willed [insert awful event here] for a purpose is the same as saying God requires/needs people to sin in order that His purpose can be fulfilled. I just don’t see any support for that idea in the Bible.

  127. @ Daisy:

    “If you narrow down mate selection even further by insisting the male HAS to be ‘Reformed,’ and not just Christian, these women are destined to remain single forever.”

    Which is exactly why so many of the children of patriarchal/courtship homes are still single, often into their 30s. Their standards and their parents’ standards are too high. (I heard Mike Farris describe the fantasy courtship guy once, at a conference, as “Billy Graham in Brad Pitt’s body.” Not a Farris fan but I have to admit, that was funny.) And, of course, the patriarchy bigwigs are now working on a documentary about why we should encourage young marriage and how it’s a sin to delay marriage. There’s blood in the water and they’re running scared. Their movement is careening headlong toward demographic extinction and it’s all their own d*** fault (see 160 questions above linked to by ThatMom). Now if only they could admit that.

    This captures the situation pretty well. Cheesy but accurate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYxHsbi1lqA

  128. Dee –

    Dave Hunt wrote an anti-Calvinist rant called “What Love is This – Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God”. Dave’s roots are Plymouth Brethren. The PB, or some of them, hold that women should not speak at church meetings and should wear head coverings 7 x 24 – probably not a lot of PB readers here! I do believe that Mr Hunt engaged James White, he of Alpha & Omega Ministries and Reformed Baptist affiliations, in a debate or two in which poor Mr White nearly had a stroke. Or else James nearly strangled Dave – maybe both.

    Roger Olsen, the Baylor prof, did a book called “Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities”. He impressed me as a bit cranky, perhaps due to colic, and I seem to recall that he harangued a bit against Calvinism.

    I would gladly donate these volumes to your research if I still had them. But alas, when Ms FSGP (without headcover, I might add) helped me dismantle OUR library these books were snapped up quickly. The Hunt book went to a prof at Brigham Young, who debated Mr White on … Calvinism.

    Vague, but trying to help,
    Former SG Pastor

    PS – If you truly want to slap Calvinists and Arminians up agin the head, please consider using Chuck Jo Mahaney’s “Humility”. It is a small, highly praised volume (you may have heard of it) and will fit easily in the palm of your hand. The book should be available at firesale prices by the caseload at any former SG church.

  129. @ numo:

    Yeah, that is true, many Christians and denominations treat divorced people insultingly, but at least the divorced are acknowledged as existing. Never married Christians over 30 – 35, usually no.

    I’ve never seen bulletins (or “about our singles ministries” pages on church sites) say they have singles classes for never-married.

    Their singles Sunday School classes are usually described as “young professionals,” “college students,” or “single again” (could mean “widowed” but usually meaning “divorced”). None of which describe my situation. So which class do I go to in such a church?

    I’ve already made up my mind to ignore the “do not be unequally yoked” verse, because if I follow that, I will never, ever be able to marry.

    By the same token, if I were divorced, I would ignore the interpretation that “remarrying = adultery.”

    As lax as churches have become at telling people that sexual sin (sex outside of marriage / before marriage) is no big deal, it’s hypocritical of them to then continue to emphasize the “divorced shouldn’t marry again” or “you can only marry another Christian” teachings.

  130. In over 20 years of marriage I have found that theology is not what creates conflict….it’s how he leaves the stupid towels all crunched up on the towel rack. It’s how he’s always early and I am always late, I get up early and he stays up too late, and the like. The “little things” of marriage are what really drives you nuts, not debating things that only God can understand and a human mind cannot concieve, simply because we are human. Where is the emphasis on loving God and people? What about simple compatibility..when dating, some Christian men just did not appeal to me, and others did. Simple chemistry and personalities. These “theolgical” guys should just get off their theological high horse, get into the real world, get their hands dirty caring for sinners, and keep their mouth shut. Oh, and not JUST look at the outside…some of the more homely looking Christian guys expected a knockout to be interested in them…fat….shirt hanging out…trying to get a beautiful woman to notice them. It works both ways…

  131. @ Daisy:

    I think all older singles in the church have it rough. My point was that the way the list was presented, it’s like single and divorced are two different types of people when it comes to matchmaking qualities. Divorce is an event, not a relationship status.

  132. FSGP wrote:

    Mahaney’s “Humility”. It is a small, highly praised volume (you may have heard of it) and will fit easily in the palm of your hand. The book should be available at firesale prices by the caseload at any former SG church.

    Is it kinda sorta like chairman Mao’s little red book back during China’s great leap forward and the great cultural revolution?

  133. FSGP wrote:

    Dave Hunt wrote an anti-Calvinist rant called “What Love is This – Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God”.

    I heard of that book years ago. I may have read it but can’t remember.

    Any way, some author did a book jointly with James White debating Calvinism; maybe it was Hunt.

    It was a book where White argued one chapter in favor of Calvinism, the other guy next chapter would refute those points, White would then address that chapter, etc.

    One bad thing about books that argue against Calvinism, is that all Calvinists will insist that the book “gets Calvinism wrong.”

    There is not a single anti-Calvinist book on the planet that any Calvinist will say, “I disagree with it in spots, but it’s a quality work, quality, fair critique of Calvinism.”

    My experience has been it doesn’t matter what title of Calvinist critique you mention to a Calvinist, doesn’t matter who the author is, the Calvinist will mock the book say (or imply) the author of it is stupid, an idiot, not nearly as educated as Calvinist theologians X, Y, Z so don’t waste your time reading it.

    They will also claim that the anti- Calvinist book (and it matters not which book) is nothing but a straw man against Calvinism, it misrepresents Calvinism.

    I used to debate Roman Catholics online,and they did the same thing. Always claimed any source you cited (even if it was an RC site!) was “not getting RCism right” or it was a strawman argument, or you, or the author you were quoting, misunderstood RCism.

    It’s really frustrating trying to debate or reason with people of a group who constantly shoot down any and every argument or book against their position as supposedly being a straw man, etc.

    These sorts of people completely prevent any views from even being heard at the out-set by dismissing or ridiculing the source.

    Just go and visit sites that sell anti-Calvinism books and see their book reviews, you will see all (or most) the Calvinists who leave reviews of the book dismiss the book as “misrepresenting Calvinism,” or the take pot shots at the author as not being learned/ intelligent enough.

    (Many Calvinists place a high degree of importance on college education, study, and such.)

    This is actually one reason (of many) why I reject Calvinism, this frequently refusal to honestly and humbly deal with critics of their own belief, or dismiss all critics as imbeciles who get Calvinism wrong.

  134. Leila wrote:

    I care a whole lot more how moral, loving, kind, and respectful they are.

    I was trying to be faithful to the biblical teaching about not being unequally yoked, but I’m very tired of being single.

    I’ve seen men who profess to be Christian who abuse, neglect, or mistreat their wives, and I’ve met non Christian men who seem very nice and loving, and therefore see no good reason to stick with the ‘only marry a Christian’ teaching.

    And I don’t want to follow a Bible verse just to follow it any more. I used to be obedient for obedience’s sake.

  135. BeakerJ wrote:

    heard MUCH more shocking things out of the mouths of believers….mostly about how Jesus doesn’t love all people & how God delights in sending billions of people to Hell, just for his glory

    How do they square that with the verse that says God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked?

  136. @ Jeannette Altes:

    I am very sorry that you have experienced such horror. Though I have never gone through anything like that, I know very well what suffering is. I am not trying to “compare” my suffering to yours – I just want to make it clear that I in no way minimize the experience of suffering – especially when it is intense and long-term. I know what it is to cry out to God in anguish and pain.

    Since I see the Bible as ultimate truth, I try my best – well, I try, anyway – to understand it, as presumably all believers do. At least two things appear to me to be clear: God is all-knowing and all-powerful. I realize there are those who do not find the Bible to be clear on these matters.

    Some may remember Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen To Good People.” Since he could not bear the thought that God could consciously allow people (at least those he considered good) to experience tremendous suffering, he decided that God was all-knowing but not all-powerful. He saw God as desperately wanting to prevent this suffering but not being able to.

    I give Kushner credit for risking ridicule by clearly laying it on the line, but I truly do not see Scripture as presenting God this way. As difficult as it to accept, I think God was capable of, for instance, preventing the Holocaust, just as He is capable of preventing a child from dying of cancer and of preventing all of the dreadful things people endure. I think this is true even when some snot-nosed Young Calvinist enjoys saying it in order to be shocking. God will deal with him in His own way and time. (Some Calvinists are human. Really.)

    The subject of why God doesn’t prevent these things is, of course, too big to go into here. I’m pretty sure it has to do with Christ’s suffering, but exactly how, I don’t know – maybe we’re not supposed to. It’s certainly true that the inevitability of suffering is a major theme in Scripture.

    We should never talk about these matters in a light-hearted way. Calvin himself at one point called them dreadful.

  137. That Amy Kohn video makes me sad. You can clearly see she’s sincere and deeply desires a Christian husband. And the tears over not being able to give her first kiss to her husband? They are so wrapped up in the fantasy of what they think is supposed to make life perfect, they are blind to the fact that a marriage requires so much work. That’s one of the dangers of all this teaching about guarding your heart, saving even your first kiss until marriage, etc. I’ve known two couples who adhered to this sort of teaching before they married and some years down the road, both marriages ended in divorce. Both wives said almost exactly the same thing to me after the divorce. It was something like, “I thought as long as both of us were virgins that everything would always be ok.”
    Shocking – and naive.

    I read this last summer and I think Carolyn Custis James has some really good things to say on this topic. It’s called, “Why Virginity is Not the Gospel:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-custis-james/why-virginity-is-not-the-gospel_b_1735085.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

  138. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    Jeannette, I have thought a lot about this since the exchange a few weeks ago on echurch. To say God willed [insert awful event here] for a purpose is the same as saying God requires/needs people to sin in order that His purpose can be fulfilled. I just don’t see any support for that idea in the Bible.

    I think it depends solely on what presuppositions one brings to the Biblical text. If one insists that Scripture interprets Scripture, that is, connecting dots, and constructing an airtight Aristotelian box, then yes, you can make Scripture support just about anything you want it to support.

    On the other hand if you believe that you are endowed with a divine nature in addition to a fallen one, your conscience will tell you that a god who orchestrates pain and suffering for his creation and creatures in order to garner adulation for himself, is both a sociopath and a cosmic narcissist.

  139. justabeliever wrote:

    Oh, and not JUST look at the outside…some of the more homely looking Christian guys expected a knockout to be interested in them…fat….shirt hanging out…trying to get a beautiful woman to notice them. It works both ways…

    Yes! This bugs me, and it happens frequently, even with Non-Christian guys.

    Also, the double standard that Christian women are told by preachers and dating advice books to stay pretty, have long hair, and stay thin because “men are visual” is unfair.

    So the Christian guys get this impression from many a Christian dating advice blog, book, or preacher’s sermon (when singleness/dating is brought up at all) that they can be grossly overweight, toothless hee-haws with a huge floppy beer gut, but still obtain a Christie Brinkely fashion model look-alike. They feel they have a “right” to have a movie- star good looking wife.

    If you are a woman who is indeed the Christie Brinkely fashion model look-alike, it’s very frustrating to be approached by a stream of smelly, weird, balding, obese, toothless guys (both Christian and Non).

    And then we ladies are taught by Christian culture or our mothers that nice Christian women can’t just tell these guys ‘get lost’ but have to let them down very gently.

    As a result, you wind up getting stalked by the same guys, because the more obtuse or socially awkward ones don’t read “go away, please stop hitting on me” signals well.

    Or some of think your “no thank you” is secret code for, “If I just keep pressuring her for a date she will relent.”

  140. Concerning Geisler: He calls himself a “Moderate Calvinist,” but when he describes what this is, he is describing Arminianism. He is against what he calls “Extreme Calvinism,” but what he is describing is mainstream Calvinism. There is such a thing called “Hyper-Calvinism.” Though it is not Calvinism, unfortunately many people think it is.

    Daisy – Yes, it was Dave Hunt who co-authored “Debating Calvinism” with James White.

    You wrote: “There is not a single anti-Calvinist book on the planet that any Calvinist will say, ‘I disagree with it in spots, but it’s a quality work, quality, fair critique of Calvinism.'”

    Well, I can name at least one: “Against Calvinism,” by Roger E. Olson. Calvinist Michael Horton says as much in his foreword to the book. (Olson wrote the forward to Horton’s “For Calvinism.”)

    Horton is a true scholar who is not interested in demolishing those who disagree with him. If you can stand reading one more book on Calvinism, I highly recommend “For Calvinism.”

  141. M. Joy wrote:

    It’s called, “Why Virginity is Not the Gospel:

    I see the point, but it sort of makes the biblical teachings of being a virgin until marriage pointless.

    Most Christians do not seriously adhere to virginity of marriage (please scroll up to see one of my first post in this thread for an explanation of what I mean by that).

    The author of your piece, Carolyn Custis James, says,

    It is utterly devastating to the one-in-four girls who is sexually abused before she reaches her 18th birthday … where an appalling 48 women are raped every hour in the Congo,… [etc]

    I also think it’s highly misleading to keep framing objections to sexually purity teachings as in, “but what about all the sexually abused females?”

    Nobody (outside of some very, very fringe religious kooks) have this in mind; it’s consensual sex being discussed.

    The author also gives a very brief aside to mentioning males, but her focus is on females. Sexual purity teachings in the Bible also include males.

    This is just an excuse:

    and where some girls with the very best of intentions succumb to temptation

    I grew up in the 1980s and 90s at the height of secular feminist brainwashing and pressure from movies that I should sleep around often, but I stuck to my guns and have remained a virgin at age 40+.

    Then she write,

    I grieve all of this, but do not for a second imagine that any of this means a woman has less to offer a husband or that in any sense it diminishes her worth.

    The Gospel message for women and girls is bigger than moral purity. It is a life-changing message that secures every young woman’s place in God’s Story and leaves no woman or girl behind. … Every girl, virgin or not, is a warrior for God’s good purposes on earth. [etc] …I’m thrilled that Christians like Lolo Jones are in the Olympics. But what she has to offer a husband is more precious than her virginity or a gold medal.

    So I, who am age 40+, should remain a virgin until marriage why? Often in these sorts of critiques, there is no rationale given for remaining pure.

  142. Daisy, she never says not to remain pure. She states early in the article that singles should commit to sexual purity ‘in obedience to Christ’. Mind you, I’m reading this through the history of MY eyes and upbringing. I was taught that a single woman who isn’t a virgin is worth nothing and that sex outside of marriage is the unforgivable sin. I was told straight up that no decent Christian man would ever marry a woman who wasn’t a virgin. So, that left me feeling like my ENTIRE worth as a woman was wrapped up in that one issue.

    What I hear Carolyn saying in the article is that our virginity is not our entire worth. She says God gives women heart, soul, strength, wisdom, courage – women are God’s image bearers and share the good news of Jesus. Those are the things that stood out to me.

  143. … could write a few stories about dating and people marrying at MH. Some of the stories are actually quite happy and upbeat about couples who are still together and love each other … and kinda left MH years ago.

  144. Jeannette Altes:

    I really wouldn’t care what label the doctrine has, if this was the only choice, it would destroy my faith.

    Same here, and it still plagues me. 🙁 I find it to be a very cruel, appalling and completely devastating teaching (lie).

    Anon 1:

    When we want to know God are we not to look to Jesus of Nazareth? Is that not the “God” revealed to us that we worship?

    Yeah, the one who told the crowd, “Let the children come to me, because I have orchestrated rape and abuse for them, like a glorious symphony-” Wait, no, that’s not it…

  145. @ Daisy: I have *not* seen widows treated well at all, especially in churches where most of the members are younger married people.

    it’s as if they don’t exist.

    And Daisy, honestly… being divorced and being a widow/widower is *not* an easy row to hoe. Please cut people a break, OK? (I have never been married and am in my mid-50s, fwiw… some of my contemporaries are divorced, others are already widows/widowers.)

    I do get what you’re saying about people who are over 35 and never married and how they’re (we’re) often treated, but really – anyone who is single is single, regardless of the reason. And for those who are divorced or whose spouses have died – well, that brings a whole new set of challenges and deep loneliness.

    Please don’t wall yourself off in some other corner from the divorced and widowed folks. You might find friends there; even a potential spouse.

  146. @ Daisy: OK… I do NOT think virginity is the issue, really.

    I believe it to be more in the realm of sexual continence (including abstinence). The “purity” culture has, imo, done great damage by simply using the word “purity,” because it separates people into two categories: the supposedly “pure” and the supposedly “impure.” Women bear the brunt of being treated like “damaged goods” if they have sex outside of marriage, even if it’s only one freaking time.

    The reality is that *lots* of folks fall short of what I believe to be nearly impossible standards (as they are now talked about and promoted by the “purity” movement) and I don’t think the results are good for anyone – male or female.

    And – not talked about much, but it’s still there – there’s still a double standard (even in evangelical churches) about guys sowing wild oats. While women are never, EVER supposed to slip up.

    But then, it also seems as if an honest understanding of womens’ sexuality is largely missing from evangelical culture as well.

    Combine the lack of honesty and discussion with the pressure to be “pure” and you’ve got a recipe for disaster, imo.

    Again, just my .02-worth…

  147. @ Numo:

    “The ‘purity’ culture has, imo, done great damage by simply using the word ‘purity,’ because it separates people into two categories: the supposedly ‘pure’ and the supposedly ‘impure.’ Women bear the brunt of being treated like ‘damaged goods’ if they have sex outside of marriage, even if it’s only one freaking time.”

    Not even sex. Many define a crush as “cheating on your future husband.” And just look at the Betrothed lady’s reaction to the fact that she “gave away” her first kiss to a man she ended up not marrying.

  148. Pingback: Wednesday Link List | Thinking Out Loud

  149. Daisy wrote:

    BeakerJ wrote:
    heard MUCH more shocking things out of the mouths of believers….mostly about how Jesus doesn’t love all people & how God delights in sending billions of people to Hell, just for his glory
    How do they square that with the verse that says God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked?

    Oh but they don’t have to square it do they? That would be to place human reason over against what the Bible QUITE CLEARLY says, & so to promote it to a place of deciding which Scriptures are true & which false, making Scripture fight Scripture…..there is no reasoning with this line of ‘reasoning’…

  150. I find it sad that her ‘spiritual parents’ are living in sin by being grossly over-weight. I find it sad that she would say something to the effect that a man would want to know her deeply enough that he “…would want to keep me.”! I find it sad that her hand position for playing the piano is so flat fingered. There are just so many levels that this video is sad. What a pathetic life she must live…and those FAT people discerning who is God’s man for her…they can’t even discern what foods to eat…or NOT eat!!

    NOW…don’t get me wrong, I don’t think being over weight is something to make light of. But seriously, I get so bent out of shape when ‘spiritual’ over weight people are so filled with pride and arrogance that they can judge others so harshly. Ya know??? Dee, Debbie, please feel free to delete this comment if it’s offensive. I don’t mean to put people who struggle with weight down…I just want to put down ANYONE who feels that they are spiritually superior. But then, is THAT even a Jesus like thought…I guess He wouldn’t put down anyone…ugh…I need to take another Ritalin!!

  151. @ Muff Potter:
    Indeed! Except Chairman Chuck Jo has several little red books. And CCJ is no longer Chairman, but simply a humble pastor desperately searching for the Sweetest Place on Earth.

  152. @ HoppyTheToad:
    We love guest posts. The only thing we ask that the two of us know your identity. We would never share it (cone of silence and all). Send it along. How wonderful.

  153. My wife and I were both 24 at our wedding, so I’ve no experience of being a 30-something single Christian. I do have experience of being an unhappy single teenage Christian, though, and I can extrapolate at least to some extent. I was also an unemployed 20-something almost throughout my 20’s, and I certainly went through long periods when I despaired of ever finding work that paid enough to live on. And (surprise, surprise) the church leadership around me routinely assumed that it would be easy for me to walk into a well-paid job if only I wasn’t so lazy and stupid. Finally for this paragraph, the same leaders – on the brief occasions when they couldn’t fail to grasp just how much I wanted decent work – decided that God was withholding it from me as a punishment for my sinfulness, rebellion and disobedience. So I can empathise by analogy.

    One of the difficulties that older singles in the church face is unfortunate but inevitable. Consider the product of repeated distillation – there’s more and more ethanol and less and less water. In the end, the distillate (which makes very hard-to-source whisky, btw) is so concentrated that it only tastes of alcohol; the remaining water molecules are effectively dissolved in ethanol. In the same way, as a given group of never-married people gets older, it tends to get smaller, and the proportion of people in it who are single because no-one in their right mind would ever want to marry them gets higher.

    Much could be added to that cursory introduction, but I have to go to a meeting the noo… brickbats welcome.

  154. @ Daisy: Yes! I forgot about the “debate” book. The chapters of the book did not match up well. White was on point and angry, Hunt pointless and, well, pointless.

    Deb and Dee, for calvinist-on-calvinist lateral violence might I suggest Rev John MacArthur’s “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is Premillennial”. He delivered this address back in 2007 to a home crowd of sycophants. It was said at the time that JM would not have dared deliver this message had he been sharing the conference with Piper, Dever, or Chuck Jo. Post-speech it was reported that JMac sustained a rotator cuff injury from patting himself on the back while 14 of his fanboys were treated for tongue abrasions due to excessive bootlicking.

    That’s all I got,
    Former SG Pastor

  155. @ JeffB:

    As I understand Geisler,he argues that Arminians are more Calvinistic than hardcore ones in that they profess that a believer can have security and assurance of salvation in this life, like Moderate Calvinists.

    He also argues that Calvin believed in a universal atonement and not limited atonement.

    He defines himself as a believer in universal atonement, not particular, and that he is opposed to open theism, which essentially argues, among other things, that God experiences and “knows” things as they happen, and has not therefore preordained outcomes from eternity. (Geisler: Systematic Theology Volume 3).

  156. @ Beakerj:I love this answer.
    @ JeffB: Am I correct in saying that you do not believe that God causes rapes of children or the Holocaust but merely allows them? If so, then that would be an Arminian position as well.

  157. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    To say God willed [insert awful event here] for a purpose is the same as saying God requires/needs people to sin in order that His purpose can be fulfilled

    I have heard people who claim to be Calvinists who say precisely that.

    This goes along with those who believe that since God created us and owns us, He is allowed to do whatever it is He wishes of us, including certifying the torturing rape and death of little Jessica Lunsford.

    I see God differently in that He is the one that is good and man is the one who has the issue with sin, not God.

    It is also not a sin to question and wrestle with issues. Sometimes, I think there are some out there who need to prove their election or salvation by pretending that they have little trouble with a God who certifies the rape of a young child. It is a way to prove to themselves that they are really, really, really elect. It’s almost like a guy standing on a mountain screaming “Bring it on God. I can take it. That means I am saved, doesn’t it?”

  158. @ excelsior:

    From the “checklist”:

    I am not addicted to fantasy sports, any video game, social networking site, online simulation community or fairy wonderland

    So that excludes the Mahaney boys (SILs and all) they are OBSESSED with all of this

  159. @ Gavin White:
    Could you please define what you mean when you say that Geisler believes in universal atonement? The reason I ask is because these days, for some, universal atonement means all are saved in the end and I know that is not what Geisler believes.

  160. thatmom wrote:

    Apparently lots of things might make you “unequally yoked.”. Consider these 160 questions for potential suitors:http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/courtship-questions-for-potential-suitors/

    so ‘courtship’ in this model is job interview cum-personality test cum-cult leader’s manual. that list is just creepy.
    Also, early in the comments, she says that all this happens before the girl/woman in question even gets to know of the guy’s interest. Because all hell would break loose if a woman was allowed to take control of her own romantic life?

  161. @ JeffB:
    I think it would be a great idea for everyone to read both of these books: Against Calvinism and For Calvinism. I really think they should be read together. I did something similar a number of years ago. i would read one proCalvinism book and then one pro Arminian book. As I went through them, I found myself nodding along with much of the books and disagreeing with some in the books.

    This went on for a long time. That is when I realized that there was something more but I am unable to define precisely what that “more” is.

    In medicine, doctors are sometimes confronted with a sick patient who exhibits classic symptoms of one disease but does not respond to the treatment. Then the doctors believe it is simply another disease with similar symptoms. But, when the patient is still sick, they then must consider that this is an ill-defined condition that does not have an precise answers until we understand more. Kind of like that “see through a glass darkly” in Corinthians.

    But, as humans, we want answers and we want them now. We like a God who is boxed into a set of parameters (and I am one of those so do not think I am pointing fingers). The Bible answers a lot of questions but it does not fully answer all of them. I am loathe to become a John Piper who *knows* the reasons for tornadoes, etc. he is no different than Pat Robertson who also *knows.*

  162. Daisy wrote:

    This is actually one reason (of many) why I reject Calvinism, this frequently refusal to honestly and humbly deal with critics of their own belief, or dismiss all critics as imbeciles who get Calvinism wrong.

    I don’t think people who are critical of Calvinism are “imbeciles” or in any way limited in their intelligence. I do think almost every time I’ve debated Calvinism with someone he or she has mischaracterized what I believe (and what I think most Calvinists believe), though I rarely think this is done maliciously.

    I think a lot of people who believe ANYTHING passionately think that if those who disagree would only understand their position then they’d agree with it. This isn’t just true of Calvinism, but of any theological, political, or idealogical view.

  163. @ numo:You have said something that is worth repeating. There is no such thing as a “pure” person. This is a stupid label that is put onto the issue of abstinence. I have fought that term since the day I first hear it.

    Although i preached abstinence to my kids, i also taught then that we all fall short of God’s glory. Just because someone is technically a “virgin” does not mean they are pure. Can we talk pornography, etc.? And, on the off chance they are OK in the sex line of things, we can go onto anger, greed etc.

    That trailer just about did me in. The poor girl crying because she gave away her first kiss. Heck, at the age of 5, I kissed Stephen who raced me down the slides and won. What a slut I am!!!! I need more coffee….

  164. @ jack: You and i think along the same lines. There are obviously issues with her “spiritual” parents. I found it odd that this grown woman was crying over the princess story.

    You know who I liked. her biological mother. She, along with her husband, cracked me up. They truly respected her ability to make the right choices.

  165. @ Nick Bulbeck:What a bunch of dingbats. Everything was cause and effect. I have decided that, if such people enter my sphere, I am going to play head games with them. The traffic was bad? God was telling you to slow down. You got a cold? God is mad at you for eating too much pizza.

  166. FSGP wrote:

    Post-speech it was reported that JMac sustained a rotator cuff injury from patting himself on the back while 14 of his fanboys were treated for tongue abrasions due to excessive bootlicking.

    I laughed so hard, my coffee came out my nose! This one will be used one day in a post! Were you this funny in your previous pastorate?

  167. FSGP wrote:

    Post-speech it was reported that JMac sustained a rotator cuff injury from patting himself on the back while 14 of his fanboys were treated for tongue abrasions due to excessive bootlicking.

    FSGP – your humour and writing style makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. 🙂

    @ numo:

    Numo, I’ll throw in more encouragement to repeat this point over and over again – the very use of the term “purity” sets up a terrible bind, an awful dichotomy between “pure” and “unpure.”

    Words really do have power.

  168. @ Pam:
    I just thought of another business model. TWW will open a subsidiary called “Yenta for You.” We could guarantee the prospective betrothed parents of a full theological pat down. We could have spies visit his church, listen to his answers, take pictures of how he hugs others, etc. We could bump into him on the street and, as we apologize, ask him his views on the Duggars.

  169. @ M. Joy:
    It is a dirty little secret that there was a divorce in the four couple held up for adulation in Harris’ book Boy Meets Girl. Then he had the audacity to re release the book!

  170. @ dee:
    Sorry Dee. Perhaps I should have said universal extent of the atonement
    His conclusion on p387 of Volume states

    “The biblical, theological and historical bases for the universal (unlimited ) extent of the Atonement Are solid. With one notable and explainable exception (the later Augustine),there s no significant voice in the whole history of the church up to the Reformers that defended limited atonement. Indeed, the Bible is emphatic that God loved the whole fallen world and that Christ died for the same. The theological arguments springing from God’s omnibenevolence are powerfully in favour of unlimited atonement – that Christ died for the sins of all human beings. Any denial of this truth arbitrarily limits God’s love to only some and is based on an indefensible form of voluntarism”.

    Of course, in my view, his argument for concluding this is shaky in the extreme and doesn’t really stand scrutiny.

    But that’s just me.

  171. dee wrote:

    Heck, at the age of 5, I kissed Stephen who raced me down the slides and won. What a slut I am!!!!

    Dee – have you been checked lately for the dread …. COOTIES? 🙂

    @ dee:

    I think we posted simultaneousely regarding resident wicked humourist FSGP.

    What a great thread this has been, it really is what TWW is all about. An interesting, enlightening, and passionate discussion on theology, doctrine, church governance, singleness and dating, the near-madness of evangelical culture, spiritual abuse, bad Christian filmmaking, the Fonz, Iron Maiden, Hard Talk on the BBC, etc.

    🙂

    I am getting ready to hop on a long haul flight up back across the pond via Europe in a few hours.

    I am done with my current posting, will be in the USA for a bit and then off again to the next job in about a month.

    Getting out of here involves a last ride in my beloved beat-to-hell 1996 Toyota 4Runner (pray it gets me to the boat landing), a 45 minute speedboat ride, a bus ride (pray the bus gets me to the airport) and then onto the flights later tonight. Should be heading through US customs tomorrow evening at some point.

    I’ll have some goofy flags next to my name here on TWW for the next few days! 🙂

  172. @ dee:
    Me, too, Dee – I loved her mom – – Tick, tock – lol.

    This poor young lady had decent kind and loving parents and she rejected normalcy for a made-up courtship system of craziness. I hope she’s not going to let her spiritual father make a decision for her that she regrets one day and ends up blogging about later. BTW, a new pattern I am seeing in the blogosphere is failed marriages from courtships. I read one where they got married (with a lot of red flags beforehand) and they just did not connect and fall in love.

    Another one was a marriage in which the husband wasn’t sexually attracted to his wife. He felt horrible about it because it wasn’t her fault, but he just couldn’t lose those feelings that he was not attracted to her. In both situations, the couples were pushed into marriage by their parents, saying those feelings of love would come.

  173. dee wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:What a bunch of dingbats…

    Dee – do you mean that the stuff I wrote was a sheep of height or that the leadership I mentioned were a bunch of dingbats?

    Just checking…

  174. @ Julie Anne:
    I wonder if someday we’ll see Courtship Anonymous blogs where people who survived (or didn’t) this system can tell their stories. Another failed social experiment compliments of Patriarchy.

  175. Jeff S wrote:

    I do think almost every time I’ve debated Calvinism with someone he or she has mischaracterized what I believe (and what I think most Calvinists believe), though I rarely think this is done maliciously.

    Jeff – I sympathise in that most times I tell a Christian that I “don’t go to church”, he/she straightaway assumes one of three things: 1) I’m naively ignorant of the Bible Scriptures; 2) I know the Bible Scriptures but am going through a season of rebellion; or 3) I’ve been “hurt” and have fled the church in fear of being “hurt” again.

    That I – or other “nones” – might have adult, prayed-through, positive and considered (even Bible-Scriptural) reasons for pursuing God as I do occurs to few of them. That there are people who “don’t go to church” for any and all of the above three reasons has no effect on my decision, but – and here’s the thing – it can’t help but affect what people assume about me. Like it or not, if you call yourself a Calvinist you’re going to be tarred with the same brush as Park Fiscal and his lovingly-crafted reputation for pride, self-importance and arrogance.

  176. @ JeffB:
    “We should never talk about these matters in a light-hearted way. Calvin himself at one point called them dreadful.”

    Calvin would have improved by developing a sense of humor, or failing that endeavor, to hire himself a court jester. It might have allowed him to get the required distance to see the silliness of a human deciding what it is like to be God.

  177. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I understand and empathize with what you say. For me I am less concerned with how people view me and more concerned that they reject what I think is good (and helpful) doctrine for the wrong reasons. It’s the same way I feel about evangelism- I want people to understand who Jesus really is; so many reject the Christian faith and it seems they don’t even really understand what it is they are rejecting.

    I actually cannot think of many incidents of being thought poorly of for being a Calvinist. Maybe a bit weird or strange, but most people tend to react with a “hunh? Ok . . .” kind of response. But few of those I interact with on a personal level even know that I’m a Calvinist (or would know what it meant if they did know) because I don’t really find occasion to talk about it much.

  178. @ Jeff S:Actually, think those who truly know Christ should behave outwardly the same whether they are Calvinist or not. That is why I get frustrated when people demand adherence to a particular doctrine that does not include the essentials of the faith. I love a good discussion but I do not like arrogance on the part of anyone who adhere to a particular doctrinal system.

    I am still seeking some “over the top” statements on the part of Arminians. I do have one by Ergun Caner but he is not at the same level of influence as a Sproul or Piper. Surely there is something out there in which a leader said that Calvinist were saved but barely… I promise you all I will print it here.

  179. The video of the young lady who lost her kissing-virginity broke my heart. I’m sure she didn’t think it disrespectful of her parents to call someone else her ‘spiritual parents’, but I thought it a travesty. Sure, we all have people we look up to, and might refer to some as spiritual moms or dads, but to actually place these people’s advice — though well-intentioned and wrapped up in super-spirituality– above the loving care and freedom offered by her own parents looked awfully disrespectful to me.

  180. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    dee wrote:
    @ Nick Bulbeck:What a bunch of dingbats…
    Dee – do you mean that the stuff I wrote was a sheep of height or that the leadership I mentioned were a bunch of dingbats?
    Just checking…

    Haha! Nick, if I may try to speak for Dee, I believe she was calling the leaders in to your former church “numpties”.

    And just to help clarify the transatlantic communications, one tends to find sheep of height on the dung heap….

    So glad I could be of assistance. Now, I’ll wheesht!

  181. Patrice wrote:

    Calvin would have improved by developing a sense of humor, or failing that endeavor, to hire himself a court jester. It might have allowed him to get the required distance to see the silliness of a human deciding what it is like to be God.

    Amen Patrice.

    People either do not want to know or admit the whole Servetus murder was premeditated. Calvin had written in a letter to a friend years before that if Servetus ever came to Geneva he would not leave alive. Seems Servetus had the nerve to correct and disagree with some of Calvin’s writings and send them to him.

  182. Dee wrote:

    I am still seeking some “over the top” statements on the part of Arminians.

    The following from the Wikipedia article on “Freedom of religion in Armenia”:

    On June 1, 2007, in the village of Lusarat, a passing Armenian Apostolic priest verbally harassed and assaulted two Jehovah’s Witnesses having a Bible discussion with a woman in the central square.

  183. @ Anon 1: I despise apologetics to anything but Jesus. Sometimes I get so frustrated when people defend the person or group of choice far more than they do our Lord.

    Good night! I don’t care who it is. Calvin, Wesley, Piper or Olson. We have all fallen short of the glory of God and that does not mean that some have fallen a little less short and deserve our worship! Everyone needs to get over it. We are ALL screwups.

  184. “Idon’t think people who are critical of Calvinism are “imbeciles” or in any way limited in their intelligence. I do think almost every time I’ve debated Calvinism with someone he or she has mischaracterized what I believe (and what I think most Calvinists believe), though I rarely think this is done maliciously.”

    Jeff, the problem with this is that the YRR has taken this to a ridiculous level which means that their communication is never clear because if you respond to what you think they were saying they respond with, “you don’t understand” or you “misrepresent” our position. Does not matter what it is. God is Sovereign and controlling every molecule? Ok, then that means He is controlling evil? No. You don’t understand. Ok, so he controls everything but not evil? No, you don’t understand.

    So they explain that When people are evil they are only doing what is natural as they are totally depraved. Ok, then, what about long time professing born again believers in leadership that you promote like Mahaney? Well you are a sinner too so you cannot say anything. Do you think you are sinless perfection?

    And on and on it goes. (typical convo with a YRR from SBTS)

    It comes back to God is Sovereign which means controlling everything and man has no volition. Scary stuff when we cannot trust fellow believers because they are “controlled” by something. Makes you wonder why we bother with a court system or disciplining our kids since they are totally depraved and unable to respond unless God forces them.

    The reason it goes like this is because Calvinists do not take their foundational premise to it’s logical conclusions. (reason and logic are considered sinful maybe?) Their foundational belief is that God is Sovereign and that MUST mean He is controlling everything and if not, it means He is not all powerful to them. That is the false dichotomy of Calvinism. Any concept of free will or a Sovereign God who is so Sovereign He created beings who can say no to Him, is unthinkable.

    Everything is for His Glory to them, even heinous crimes. Piper has really become confusion #1 on this score. To the point that some are wondering if God is a narcissist! But the God they describe looks NOTHING like Jesus of Nazareth. And that is what concerns me.

    That is why Calvinists can hold conflicting beliefs. God is controlling everything and is all good but when a child is raped God is still purposely in control of that, too, with plans to bring “good” from it. Of course He can bring good from evil but they don’t start there. He is in “active” control of the evil, too but not evil.

    Historically Calvinism goes in waves. Track it from Geneva to Holland to South African to Early America and see the trajectory. It either goes liberal, dies out, or reinvents itself into another form. What we are seeing today with the YRR resurgence, in my opinion, is another fad that is more of a backlash to the seeker church growth movement (although they have adapted many of their tactics). The gurus will have their current fame, make some money, have many followers and the next wave will be less stringent because you can only control people so long as it usually takes magisterial political power or without that, a charismatic type of leader. Lots of controlling people in the serious Calvinistic movements of history.

    Do you ever wonder why the PCAUSA folks never sound like the YRR?

  185. Dee wrote:

    I despise apologetics to anything but Jesus. Sometimes I get so frustrated when people defend the person or group of choice far more than they do our Lord

    Cult tactic: Doctrine over people.

    I will defend Jesus Christ all day long. I won’t defend a “church” or a religious leader. I might say what I know personally about them but I will listen to folks who have a story, too.

    And if I hear this excuse for evil perpetuated by leaders and churches one more time, I will go screaming into the woods: You will never find a perfect church.

    I was never looking for a perfect church! Just one seeking to be pure, transparent and loving. One which actually values people more than buildings, programs and their “image”.

  186. Anon 1 wrote:

    That is why Calvinists can hold conflicting beliefs. God is controlling everything and is all good but when a child is raped God is still purposely in control of that, too, with plans to bring “good” from it. Of course He can bring good from evil but they don’t start there. He is in “active” control of the evil, too but not evil.

    In’shal’lah…

  187. Julie Anne wrote:

    This poor young lady had decent kind and loving parents and she rejected normalcy for a made-up courtship system of craziness. I hope she’s not going to let her spiritual father make a decision for her that she regrets one day and ends up blogging about later.

    Like a Quiverfull Pastor-arranged marriage to a known pedophile?

  188. Patrice wrote:

    Calvin would have improved by developing a sense of humor, or failing that endeavor, to hire himself a court jester. It might have allowed him to get the required distance to see the silliness of a human deciding what it is like to be God.

    Calvinista, Islamista, or Communista, True Believers can NEVER have a sense of humor. Especially about themselves or their own True Belief.

    “There can be no humor in Islam.” — Ayatollah Khomeini

  189. dee wrote:

    It is a dirty little secret that there was a divorce in the four couple held up for adulation in Harris’ book Boy Meets Girl. Then he had the audacity to re release the book!

    Christian Monist told a story of seeing a “John & Kate Plus Eight” Christian Celebrity Autobiography in a Jesus Junk store just before the J&K+8 messy divorce blew up.

  190. Anon 1 wrote:

    And if I hear this excuse for evil perpetuated by leaders and churches one more time, I will go screaming into the woods: You will never find a perfect church.

    Next time you hear that in person, try coming out as gay. Then warmly embrace them and express your delight that you’ve finally met someone who understands that you’ll never find a perfect Christian and that churches should accept you as you are.

  191. @ dee:
    “But, as humans, we want answers and we want them now. We like a God who is boxed into a set of parameters (and I am one of those so do not think I am pointing fingers). The Bible answers a lot of questions but it does not fully answer all of them. I am loathe to become a John Piper who *knows* the reasons for tornadoes, etc.”

    Yup. It’s often nasty here and even worse to suffer while not understanding. How hard it is to be too small to know the mind of God and to be required to rely on faith, confidence in what we hope for, assurance about what we do not see.

    It seems to me that Piper Calvin et al find their smallness unbearable, and the need for that much faith untenable, and so replaced faith with nailed-down doctrine. “I can prove with my teeny-tiny mind….”

    Thus once again exhibiting our endless propensity to insist that we are big enough to understand everything and reside at the center of the universe. Said the serpent, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if someday we’ll hear the God decided this faith-concept was central because after we learned about good/evil, He/She didn’t want to give us any additional fuel to indulge our desire for ultimate power.

  192. Daisy wrote:

    Also, the double standard that Christian women are told by preachers and dating advice books to stay pretty, have long hair, and stay thin because “men are visual” is unfair.

    Big boobs. You forgot the BIIIIG Boobs.

    So the Christian guys get this impression from many a Christian dating advice blog, book, or preacher’s sermon (when singleness/dating is brought up at all) that they can be grossly overweight, toothless hee-haws with a huge floppy beer gut, but still obtain a Christie Brinkely fashion model look-alike. They feel they have a “right” to have a movie- star good looking wife.

    That explains Christian Courtship(TM), where the woman has NO choice in the matter. Only way said losers CAN get a Christie Brinkley fashion model look-alike. “WOMAN, SUBMIT!!!!”

  193. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Next time you hear that in person, try coming out as gay. Then warmly embrace them and express your delight that you’ve finally met someone who understands that you’ll never find a perfect Christian and that churches should accept you as you are.

    You like messing with their minds, don’t you?

    And being outrageous in the process — you’d probably get along great with my old Dungeonmaster and/or this guy I know in Tucson.

  194. HUG – let’s just say it’s an ADHD trait to want to give people a taste of what it’s like to talk to them.

    On an unrelated note, I was often unpopular at school…

  195. PhillyInDC wrote:

    From the “checklist”:

    I am not addicted to fantasy sports, any video game, social networking site, online simulation community or fairy wonderland

    So that excludes the Mahaney boys (SILs and all) they are OBSESSED with all of this

    With five years of heavy D&D experience and going on two years as a Brony, something I have to know:

    Just what IS the appeal of Fantasy Sports leagues? High School jock wanna-bes? If you’re going to take a field trip into your frontal lobes at a group rate, at least make the Fantasy something FANTASTIC!

  196. Daisy wrote:

    We are told on the one hand by most Christians and preachers that to achieve true godliness and maturity, we must marry. And we are told how great marriage is.
    So when we singles speak up and say, “Great! I’d love to get married, help me meet someone! Can the church put on more singles events so we singles can meet and mingle, stuff like that?,”
    These people either reply to us: “No; be content in your singleness!,” or, “You are making an idol out of marriage.”

    Translation (from the Married(TM) Christianese):
    “I GOT MINE,
    I GOT MINE,
    SUCKS TO BE YOU,
    PRAISE GOD!”

  197. Nickname wrote:

    … to actually place these people’s advice — though well-intentioned and wrapped up in super-spirituality– above the loving care and freedom offered by her own parents looked awfully disrespectful to me.

    That is exactly what I thought, Nickname. My goodness, she has parents who are well-balanced, thoughtful, and loving, and have HER best interests at heart (for 20+ years)! What complete disrespect on her part. And unbelievable arrogance on the part of these others who have such a limited knowledge of her and her extended family, and yet presume to have better judgment regarding such a major decision. “My doctrine is more important than your love.”

  198. Dee wrote:

    Actually, think those who truly know Christ should behave outwardly the same whether they are Calvinist or not. That is why I get frustrated when people demand adherence to a particular doctrine that does not include the essentials of the faith. I love a good discussion but I do not like arrogance on the part of anyone who adhere to a particular doctrinal system.

    I think what we believe affects our behavior- it’s the natural consequence of believing things. But on the whole, I think doctrines like how we view our salvation are more about how we view ourselves than how we view others. I do believe that I function as a better Christian because I believe what I do about God’s role in my salvation; however, I do not presume the lay that on anyone else or say what the effect on his or her life is our should be.

  199. dee wrote:

    The Bible answers a lot of questions but it does not fully answer all of them. I am loathe to become a John Piper who *knows* the reasons for tornadoes, etc. he is no different than Pat Robertson who also *knows.*

    Doesn’t the word “Gnostic” translate to “He Who KNOWS Things”?

  200. The young woman in the video is heartbreakingly naive. I wish someone would sit down and be very blunt with her about how sex is not all rainbows and sunshine.

    Here’s why I say that. When I was at Christian college, a young woman in one of my classes wrote a poem about her marriage. She wrote about all the giddy excitement of preparing for the wedding but the last word of the poem described how she felt about the wedding night: Rape.

    I do not know all the details, but I don’t believe she was literally forced. I believe she was truly horrified by the experience. It might seem hard to believe but I honestly don’t think anyone had explained sex to her.

    The couple ended up getting a divorce.

  201. @ Anon 1:

    I understand all of that about YRR, but when I learned of and agreed with the 5 points of Calvinism I hadn’t heard of ANY of these guys except for RC Sproul (if he is one of the YRR). What these guys say and do doesn’t represent me. I know I’ve said that over and over again, but it’s true. Why should I change MY beliefs (which I think are true) because these YRR guys decide to muscle in on my playground? I was humming along very nicely without them, and I think the 5 points of Calvinism (which I really think are just the teachings of Paul) don’t need their help.

    I think all of this “You can’t blame me, I’m just a rotten sinner” garbage has nothing to do with Calvinism and has everything to do with narcissists given a pulpit. I know I won’t convince you of that, but over and over again I see the same behaviors and the same logic appear in lots of different groups and Calvinism is not the common denominator.

    And I don’t make apologetics for Calvin or any other figure in Christian history. Calvin could be in hell right now for all I know of him and his direct teachings. I lament that the five points of “Calvinism” bear his name, because I happen to believe they are Pauline, not Calvinist. But we have a label so that’s what I go with. But I’d rather read scripture than the teaching of Calvin any day.

    As for taking things to their logical conclusion, I wish we could just let that go. I think about this stuff a LOT, and quite honestly there is no system of the theology that I know of that doesn’t get crazy when taken to its “logical conclusion”. This is why I think it’s important to temper every theological idea with humility and recognize that any system of theology is flawed, even if we can’t see where those flaws are. We can use it for how it is useful, but we should never allow it to rise above scripture or the person of Jesus Christ. People will always do that, but it does not make the systems unuseful. And for me, that the scripture teaches perdestination, total depravity, unconditional election, and perseverence of the saints is clear as day (limited atonement is a different story and it really depends on how it is defined). I realize that it is not clear to everyone, and in fact to some it is “clear” that these things are not true. Who is wrong? I can’t say, I just believe what I think is true- I can’t do any better than that.

    Do I think God is soverign? You betcha. Do I think man has freewill? Yes. Do I understand how these things work out? No- a lot goes way over my head, but I’ve chosen to do the best with what I can understand and trust that there are answers for the rest that is beyond my grasp.

  202. jack wrote:

    I find it sad that her ‘spiritual parents’ are living in sin by being grossly over-weight. I find it sad that she would say something to the effect that a man would want to know her deeply enough that he “…would want to keep me.”! I find it sad that her hand position for playing the piano is so flat fingered. There are just so many levels that this video is sad. What a pathetic life she must live…and those FAT people discerning who is God’s man for her…they can’t even discern what foods to eat…or NOT eat!!

    Jack

    I was the one that told TWW about this video (not sure where the “Scott” came from).

    Realize that this is a fictional movie vs. an account of a real young woman with real “spiritual parents.” This is a secular movie so I wouldn’t doubt if the producer purposely cast the “fat” parents but I do see your point. If someone is that spiritual then they should be able to develop the self control to get their weight to reasonable range. As Paul said exercise self control in all things.

    Also the actress that plays the fictional young woman may have no knowledge of piano playing which would explain her “style” of piano playing that you critiqued.

    I do think they did do a good portrayal of the young woman’s mindset and the mindset of a lot of people that practice courtship of being very rigid. She has in her mind that there is only one proper way to meet a husband and thus closes her mind to anything outside of this way. Sadly this mindset has caused a lot of people to “kiss marriage goodbye.”

  203. justabeliever wrote:

    In over 20 years of marriage I have found that theology is not what creates conflict….it’s how he leaves the stupid towels all crunched up …. The “little things” of marriage are what really drives you nuts

    Just so everyone know. Toilet paper rolls should come forward over the TOP. Anything else is an anathema. No discussion allowed.

  204. Steve240 wrote:

    Realize that this is a fictional movie vs. an account of a real young woman with real “spiritual parents.” This is a secular movie so I wouldn’t doubt if the producer purposely cast the “fat” parents but I do see your point.

    Plus, the archetype of the grossly-fat SBC preacher ranting from the pulpit about some Sexual Sin or other (Homosexuality being the favorite) has too much basis in fact. There are a lot of them on YouTube.

  205. @ Patrice:

    From the bit of reading I have done on Calvin, he appears to have been a very organized yet austere person. Some believed he might have suffered from depression. How can people believe that his own personnel outlooks and his personality did not affect his perspective about God and, therefore, his writing about God. Many people seem to give him a pass on certain aspects of his life because they deem him an intellectual Christian giant who wrote his own bible about Christianity (not personally convinced this was a good thing). I simply don’t understand why this man, or any, would be put on a pedastal because of their accomplishments. Believers are not to judge others by this criterion.

  206. lilyrosemary wrote:

    Here’s why I say that. When I was at Christian college, a young woman in one of my classes wrote a poem about her marriage. She wrote about all the giddy excitement of preparing for the wedding but the last word of the poem described how she felt about the wedding night: Rape.
    I do not know all the details, but I don’t believe she was literally forced. I believe she was truly horrified by the experience. It might seem hard to believe but I honestly don’t think anyone had explained sex to her.

    Or to her husband, other than the usual locker-room talk and exposure to forbidden porn. I remember reading about Christianese wedding-night problems where the guy thought “foreplay” lasted a few seconds at most (just like in the movies/jump cut to the real action or aftermath) and the girl was expected to flip one-eighty from Purity Culture Virgin Unto Death to barn-burning porn-star Dynamite In The Sack on that first night. (Talk about Virgin-Whore Dichotomy…) Needless to say, this didn’t end well; some comments where I heard that related how in some cases the wedding night ended in a trip to the ER with some sort of vaginal damage.

  207. @ lilyrosemary:
    “She wrote about all the giddy excitement of preparing for the wedding but the last word of the poem described how she felt about the wedding night: Rape…I do not know all the details, but I don’t believe she was literally forced. ”

    If a person is so ignorant and pinched that she is horrified by sex on her wedding night, it is the responsibility of the spouse to go as slowly as needed to show her how splendid it all is, to help her dismantle whatever rotten ideas she imbibed over the years. However long that takes. If that young woman felt raped, I would be inclined to believe her.

  208. I think that movie is real. I found their facebook page, and it says this:

    Finding the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with can seem nothing short of impossible, but what if you decided that you were going to renounce dating, save yourself for marriage, and leave the process of looking for your husband up to your parents…and God? This is the story of Kelly, a young woman who is doing just that.
    For Kelly, who grew up happily in a secular family in Alabama, this was not the road she originally envisioned for herself. But in her early twenties, her parents divorced and her world was shaken. Was marriage still something she believed in? Was dating even right for her? Kelly moved to Michigan and began to develop a close relationship with God. As she embarked upon a religious life, she learned about Christian Courtship, a process where parents with God’s assistance search for their daughter’s spouse. Kelly knew instantly that Courtship was for her. Though she did kiss boys as a teen, she now hopes to save her next kiss for her husband.
    Because Kelly’s own parents thought courtship was crazy (Why not just Internet date?), she began to search for spiritual parents. When she met the Wrights, a couple who had embraced Courtship for their own family, she knew that they were just the people she has been looking for. Now Kelly lives with the them , and, if a young man is interested in her, he must meet with Mr. Wright first. If Mr. Wright approves then Kelly gets introduced and the whole family works together to determine if this is the person God intends for her to marry. The young man will not be left alone with Kelly until they are standing at the altar.

  209. @ Daisy:

    RE: dating, marriage, & this “unequally-yoked thing”:

    It’s old news that I spent a few years de-toxing myself from damaging church culture. “Church” was removed from my life. But not God. (they are, of course, not one and the same) During this time I was astonished to find that I was making more genuine, authentic friends than I had ever been able to do previously (having had my social life exclusively wrapped up in church, since (1) the events took up so much of my time each week, and (2) that “unequally-yoked” thing had been drilled deep in to me, & not without a sense of grave concern.)

    To the point that I was simply not comfortable around anyone who wasn’t “Christian” — however, it is more truthful to say “anyone who wasn’t stylized as a Christian”, and yet even more truthful to say “anyone who wasn’t of my particular church culture”.

    How can this be a good thing? It is so impractical on every level.

    Anyway, I have found that the “detoxing” enabled me to shed Christian church “acculturation” — not God, not my relationship with God, not spirituality, not my own living tree of Holy Spirit fruit. I kept all those.

    I gained the ability to relate to and completely enjoy people outside of church culture. Not as mission projects, tolerating them just until they make the switch to my “christian” culture. But as human beings, as peers, as true friends, where the enjoyment and pleasure is mutually thriving. Sounds so ridiculous and embarrassing to admit these things.

    I have found that people outside church culture are full of strong character. Honest, hard-working, responsible, kind, compassionate, respectful, having integrity, caring about not being judgmental, generous, humble, eager to help those in need, and more.

    Where my friends and I differ in our views on faith, God, etc., we respect each other and give each other room.

    So, I think much of what drives the EXPERIENCE of this “unequally yoked” thing comes down to artificial cultural overlays. That are made of cardboard, meaningless, and evaporate when out of the particular culture. Strong character is more the heart of the matter.

    So I can very much see the viability of an enjoyable date and a good mate, and a healthy marriage relationship, based on strong character and not necessarily shared religious / faith experiences, traditions, convictions.

  210. Lynn wrote:

    justabeliever wrote:

    “In over 20 years of marriage I have found that theology is not what creates conflict….it’s how he leaves the stupid towels all crunched up …. The “little things” of marriage are what really drives you nuts”
    ——————-

    Well said. It is true. Especially the food particles left in the left side of the kitchen sink when the garbage disposal is clearly on the right side of the sink.

  211. Steve240 wrote:

    so the actress that plays the fictional young woman may have no knowledge of piano playing which would explain her “style” of piano playing that you critiqued.

    Or she may have studied at Julliard, where they teach flat-fingered technique. But I kinda doubt it.

  212. Jeff S

    Could you give me an idea how your actions would be ny different than my actions if we both believe but differ on the 5 Solas?

  213. Lynn wrote:

    Just so everyone know. Toilet paper rolls should come forward over the TOP. Anything else is an anathema. No discussion allowed.

    I like mine to go towards the back. And I am forever turning the rolls around after my husband has place a new one in. 🙂

  214. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    The producers do not claim that it is fictional.

    I sent an email to the producer asking her if it was real or not. Even if it isn’t “fictional” I am sure they have taken some “liberties” in telling the story.

  215. Wayyy up the thread, someone mentioned tweaking their answers on a dating website questionnaire, thereby receiving fewer responses.

    This reminded me of a young Christian girl who filled out the roommate questionnaire for a state university. There wasn’t an option for specifying a Christian roommate. But when it came to music preferences, there WAS an option for contemporary Christian music. So, although this girl strongly preferred secular heavy metal (say it isn’t SO!), she checked the box for CCM — because she was 99.99% certain that the only other roommate choices who checked this box would be Christians.

    I’m not in the market for a guy, having been married to the same very patient man for two-thirds of my life, but should I find myself looking, I might take a page from the answer-tweaking book. Yes, I’m a wealthy, gorgeous CWF looking for wealthy, gorgeous, CWM, preferably one who truly loves Jesus, flies his own plane, owns big boats, and writes big checks to deserving Christian endeavors, myself included. Calvinistas, Independent Baptists and Prosperity Gospel Nuts need not apply.

  216. @ PhillyInDC:

    Sorry — I’m a hopeless wordsmith-ista, and this strange statement tickled my funnybone. Last time I saw a couple standing at an altar, they were surrounded by a couple of pastors and a plethora of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Hardly alone!

    These people make Christian movies for a living. Ouch.

  217. PhillyInDC wrote:

    The young man will not be left alone with Kelly until they are standing at the altar.

    Sorry — I’m a hopeless wordsmith-ista, and this strange statement tickled my funnybone. Last time I saw a couple standing at an altar, they were surrounded by a couple of pastors and a plethora of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Hardly alone!
    These people make Christian movies for a living. Ouch.

    (Forgot to include the quote in the previous post, in case anyone wondered what the heck I was talking about.)

  218. @ Steve:

    Did the producer say something to you that makes you think they are “taking liberties” with the story? Because so far what I’ve seen matches up exactly with everything I’ve read from purity culture exiters. And not just the “deconverted” ones, either.

  219. dee wrote:

    Jeff S
    Could you give me an idea how your actions would be ny different than my actions if we both believe but differ on the 5 Solas?

    I can’t- but I can tell you how my actions are different because of my belief in the 5 points of Calvinism (not the 5 Solas, because if I’m not mistake you agree with the 5 Solas)- when I look at my behavior toward non believers I see a fairness and humility that was not there in my early years as a Christian. I had this idea that I was better/smarter/more gooder than those who were unbelievers. And consequently, if they would be smart like me then they would be able to find Christ. Once I started looking at my salvation as a total gift from God I saw that there is nothing of me that people should be like or emulate, but that is Christ. That it is not my job to persuade others, but to give an account for the hope I have and let God work in the hearts of those who seek. In effect it changed the way I talked about God from a “get smart, choose God” type of evangelism to a “let me talk about the greatest gift I’ve ever had” approach. More focus on God, less on trying to change others.

    But you see, that was MY stumbling block. Calvinism knocked me down a peg or two and got me over that sin of thinking “if only people make the smart choice like I did”. It may not be YOUR stumbling block, so I can’t really compare you and I; I can only compare the changes I’ve seen in my own life and attitude.

  220. Nickname wrote:

    This reminded me of a young Christian girl who filled out the roommate questionnaire for a state university. There wasn’t an option for specifying a Christian roommate. But when it came to music preferences, there WAS an option for contemporary Christian music. So, although this girl strongly preferred secular heavy metal (say it isn’t SO!), she checked the box for CCM — because she was 99.99% certain that the only other roommate choices who checked this box would be Christians.

    HAHAHA- this is exactly me as I look through matches on eHarmony. Saying they like Christian music garners a lot of points, even though I listen to very little myself.

    I haven’t yet figured out what to do with those who like books by Piper.

  221. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Or to her husband, other than the usual locker-room talk and exposure to forbidden porn. I remember reading about Christianese wedding-night problems where the guy thought “foreplay” lasted a few seconds at most (just like in the movies/jump cut to the real action or aftermath) and the girl was expected to flip one-eighty from Purity Culture Virgin Unto Death to barn-burning porn-star Dynamite In The Sack on that first night. (Talk about Virgin-Whore Dichotomy…) Needless to say, this didn’t end well; some comments where I heard that related how in some cases the wedding night ended in a trip to the ER with some sort of vaginal damage.

    A couple in my former church were so completely uneducated about sex, they failed to become pregnant during the first few years of their marriage. Someone grew concerned, and a little education was in order. This couple now has seven or eight kids. There is something truly horrifying about some of these stories.

  222. Hester wrote:

    @ Steve:

    Did the producer say something to you that makes you think they are “taking liberties” with the story? Because so far what I’ve seen matches up exactly with everything I’ve read from purity culture exiters. And not just the “deconverted” ones, either.

    Well she said she wouldn’t tell me how the story would turn out. That lead me to believe it was fictional vs. a true documentary about one young lady’s experience.

    For all I know this young lady may still be looking for a husband if this is a true documentary.

    I would agree that the trailer she posted does match up with what I have seen the courtship/purity culture promote.

  223. @ Jeff S:

    Therefore, Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us,and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,fixing our eyes on Jesus,the author and perfecter of (our) faith,who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, And has sat down at The right hand of the throne of God.

    A few thoughts on the difficulties facing a blog such as this one.

    Do you think the crowd of witnesses is
    A) arguing about whose doctrine is right
    B) cheering us on in our race
    C) or worshipping God?

    Do you think that holding a particular belief system is
    A) a good thing
    B) an encumbrance
    C) a sin that easily snares us?

    Do you think that pointing the finger at another runner
    A) helps you run faster
    B) gets them disqualified
    C) guarantees a gold medal?

    Do you think that by fixing your eyes on Jesus
    A) you can see anyone/anything else
    B) you should see anyone else
    C) you want to see anyone else?

    Who is the author and perfecter of your faith
    A) Arminius
    B) Calvin
    C) Jesus?

    Do you bring joy to Jesus?

    It’s all about Jesus!

  224. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    A couple in my former church were so completely uneducated about sex, they failed to become pregnant during the first few years of their marriage.

    That sounds too much like a dirty joke from my high school days whose punch line was “WRONG HOLE! WRONG HOLE!”

  225. Dee & Rafiki –

    I was accused by more than one Father Superior in the past of “excess levity”. To which I replied, “Thank you, sir, may I have another”. I got really confused as an evangelical about the parts of the Bible that talked about joy, thinking they were to be taken literally. When baptism came I missed the the baptistry filled with gall and lemon juice and got dunked in a vat of wine.

    Still hiccupping,
    Former SG Pastor

  226. @ Gavin White:

    Do you think the crowd of witnesses is
    B) cheering us on in our race

    Do you think that holding a particular belief system is
    A) a good thing

    Do you think that pointing the finger at another runner
    D) If pointing the finger at another runner is honoring to God’s command to love others and do justice, then doing is is part of the race

    Do you think that by fixing your eyes on Jesus
    D) I can see others illuminated by Jesus- meaning I can know how to see them and treat them consistently in God’s truth

    Who is the author and perfecter of your faith
    D) Jesus

  227. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Is Nixon guilty?
    Well he has been seen
    With Ehrlichman, Haldeman,
    Mitchell, and Dean —
    Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean,
    Haldeman, Mitchell, and Dean…”
    – Jingle very popular during Watergate
    And if you can find it on YouTube, there were a couple novelty songs from that period called “Watergate Blues” and “The Nixorcist”.

    To “dial back” the conversation (to the 70’s) my favorite “Editorial” by Paul Davis: 
    http://gospelriot.com/paul-davis-editorial/
    Nixon’s gone and lost his throne.
    Are we so righteous while he’s so wrong?
    Elephants dying while donkeys are thriving
    Biblical prophecies are coming true.
    Internal revenue is taking my revenue.
    Can I come stay with you a week or two?
    Why are we growing so old so fast?
    Selling our souls for a tank of gas.
    The world keeps enlarging and babies are starving
    While we trade our food stamps for an ounce of dope.
    Look at the refugees, they’re all down on their knees
    Praying to God for an ounce of hope.
    How can we stand on our own two feet?
    nuclear power has made us weak.
    Can’t we start living for what it’s worth?
    Handshakes in space don’t mean peace on earth.
    Song of the world to be has run out of melody.
    Can you come pray with me a week or two?

  228. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    It was a hugely embarrassing situation for that couple. From what you and lilyrosemary shared, I gather these experiences aren’t so unusual among some Christians. At least in school (the schools I went to anyway) we had a basic sex education. Most in the Patriarchal, homeschool movement probably don’t.

  229. I thought the courtship video very sad. It is interesting that for a culture that centers everything around the father’s inherent authority, they can so easily replace the father with one of their own choosing. Aren’t they usurping her parents God given authority?
    The scripture references that they use to prop up the father authority doctrine, are pretty specifically about the father that one finds oneself born to. Not “go find an older guy who will be the father you think one should be and obey him.” In my opinion, by doing this they have revealed that it isn’t about what they think scripture says about fathers, but rather about upholding a doctrine that is extra-biblical any way that they can- namely making sure that every woman is properly under the authority of some man who thinks she belongs under that authority.
    I wish I could tell her that the Spirit of Christ that lives in her is big enough to be her leader without the help of a man.
    There can definitely be a benefit to surrounding ourselves with those who are older and more mature in the faith to help us grow, especially if our parents lack those qualifications, but this is far, far more than that.
    I think that any man (natural or “spiritual” father), who would take this much control over an adult daughter’s life is “usurping” the authority of Christ in her life. (Or do only men have the indwelling Holy Spirit?)

  230. Leah wrote:

    I thought the courtship video very sad. It is interesting that for a culture that centers everything around the father’s inherent authority, they can so easily replace the father with one of their own choosing. Aren’t they usurping her parents God given authority?

    Interesting points that you bring up.

    I noticed on one of the links that for a contribution of a certain amount you get something signed by by Kelly and the Wright Family. Thus apparently this is a true story. I stand corrected.

    A few things I picked up from watching the other videos. The Wright family when they decided to allow Kelly to move in with them said Kelly would stay there till she got married and one video it said that it had been 7 years for Kelly. In another video Kelly was indicating that a lot of her best child bearing years were behind her and wondering if she was going be married in time to have children.

  231. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    A couple in my former church were so completely uneducated about sex, they failed to become pregnant during the first few years of their marriage. Someone grew concerned, and a little education was in order. This couple now has seven or eight kids. There is something truly horrifying about some of these stories.

    No offense, but how reliable is the source for this story? There is a common recurring urban legend about a couple in this situation, and the format is pretty portable. It shows up in Catch 22, for instance.

  232. @ Leah:
    In effect violating the 5th commandment “Honor thy father and thy mother”. Have heard of women who don’t think their husband is “leading” enough and put their pastor in his place, in effect violating the 7th.

  233. Gavin

    You get a second go round, Gavin. But, unlike the Hindus, I do not believe in cyclical reincarnation.

  234. @ Garland:
    I’m not sure what you mean about the reliability of the source. I was friends with the woman. While she never shared anything with me personally, she and her husband were the topic of gossip in our church for a while. A lot of young people thought it was pretty funny. I felt sorry for her and her husband since they had both been so sheltered. I can tell you another story about one young bride in our church who thought she was pregnant, and gained a large amount of weight. Turned out she was never pregnant at all. These are not urban legends. I wish they were. These are the very real results of a Patriarchal, homeschooling, courtship culture that exalts “purity” to such an extent that they do not properly teach their kids about their own bodies. It’s sad and scary.

  235. Garland wrote:

    No offense, but how reliable is the source for this story? There is a common recurring urban legend about a couple in this situation, and the format is pretty portable. It shows up in Catch 22, for instance.

    When my husband went to pre-marital counseling with a priest (we had a priest and pastor officiate our wedding because of my Catholic upbringing), the priest basically asked us if we knew how the plumbing worked – lol. We’ve laughed about it for years. He told us that there was a couple he counseled who “thought” they were having sex, but were unable to conceive. Evidently this priest had to tell the couple how to connect the male/female parts. hahahaha! Problem solved. It cracks me up, though, because of course the priest was celibate and all . . . I’m easily amused . . . and now I’m laughing again. But I am puzzled – – – I always thought male parts were equipped with a homing device.

  236. @ Jeff S:
    Jeff
    The you/your in my questions was generic. Sorry if you thought I was specifically asking you to answer. But thanks for doing so. I agree.

  237. The history of European Christianity is tragically coloured with terrible instances of ignorance and superstition. Consider, for instance, our collective failure to make any advance on the natural philosophy of Aristotle in 15 centuries; or our wholesale adoption of the idea that torturing and murdering our theological opponents was pleasing to the same God who became human in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

    These things happen when ideology and the conjecture of the eminent, but ignorant, is presented as teaching, wisdom or fact. The kind of dangerous rubbish we’ve seen in this thread is spread in gatherings of believers today when those who are believed to be theologically qualified also assume the authority to pronounce on any and every other area of human experience.

  238. JeffB wrote:

    Since I see the Bible as ultimate truth, I try my best – well, I try, anyway – to understand it, as presumably all believers do. At least two things appear to me to be clear: God is all-knowing and all-powerful. I realize there are those who do not find the Bible to be clear on these matters.

    Some may remember Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen To Good People.” Since he could not bear the thought that God could consciously allow people (at least those he considered good) to experience tremendous suffering, he decided that God was all-knowing but not all-powerful. He saw God as desperately wanting to prevent this suffering but not being able to.

    I could be wrong, but it feels like you are assuming that because I don’t believe God ordains evil, I must not believe he is all-powerful. To me, they are not mutually exclusive. It has to do with his choice to give each of us free will – a choice given and honored out of love. If we only love and follow him because he forces us to do so, how is that really love? To really express love requires the ability to choose not to. To me, for him to really embody love, he gas to allow the individual choice.

    The more I study and meditate on the Bible and on Jesus, the more the concept of a God that doesn’t allow freedom of choice to his creation is alien to the teaching I read and the Jesus I experience. I find peace in knowing that God allowed the people who abused me to choose to do that because if he didn’t allow them to choose, he would not justly be able to allow me to, either. And there is a great sweetness in the choice to pursue him.

    And this is not the error of ‘earning it by my own effort.’ There isn’t anything I could do to earn his forgiveness or his love. That’s part of the beauty of it – I don’t have to earn it. For me the choice is to surrender to his love or run from it.

    Okay. enough….

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Calvinista, Islamista, or Communista, True Believers can NEVER have a sense of humor. Especially about themselves or their own True Belief.

    “There can be no humor in Islam.” — Ayatollah Khomeini

    HUG, it’s interesting – this reminded me of one of the things I lost during the 7 year submersion in the Koolaid of my former church….I lost my sense of humor. Before I started going there, I loved comedies and jokes and loved to laugh. After a few years ther, everything was so freaking serious! I have been out of there for 6 years and am still working to recover my sense of humor…

  239. Patrice wrote:

    If a person is so ignorant and pinched that she is horrified by sex on her wedding night, it is the responsibility of the spouse to go as slowly as needed to show her how splendid it all is, to help her dismantle whatever rotten ideas she imbibed over the years. However long that takes. If that young woman felt raped, I would be inclined to believe her.

    Patrice, yes. I agrre – if she ‘felt’ like she was raped, she was raped….

  240. @ Julie Anne:

    “Homing device” -LOL !!!

    Patriarchal joke: Why does it take millions and millions of sperm to fertilize ONE egg ???

    Because even at that age they don’t ask for directions !!!

  241. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Patrice wrote:

    If a person is so ignorant and pinched that she is horrified by sex on her wedding night, it is the responsibility of the spouse to go as slowly as needed to show her how splendid it all is, to help her dismantle whatever rotten ideas she imbibed over the years. However long that takes. If that young woman felt raped, I would be inclined to believe her.

    Patrice, yes. I agrre – if she ‘felt’ like she was raped, she was raped….

    If the husband was from the comp/patrio purity culture, he might have even thought that forcing himself upon her was what a husband was SUPPOSED to do. “WOMAN, SUBMIT!” And/or in the absence of any other sex ed, might have been working on ideas from movies and/or porn — like I said earlier, jump cut to the action. (In Christianese Purity Culture, boys seem more likely to be exposed to general-culture sexual subjects and actual porn than girls.)

    Does Purity Culture encourage a Christianese Rape Culture in the men? I’d like to see some research along those lines. I have long maintained that Christians are just as screwed-up sexually as everyone else, just in a different (and often opposite) direction.

  242. @ Martos:
    Unfortunately the real thing, my SIL is friends with Stacey on FB. Stacey’s profile shows she is a mom of about a million kids from marrieds to toddlers. It is the quiver-full or admiring quiver-full groups type of family that keeps their daughters at home until married. If you want a further look at this lifestyle, check out ’19 and Counting (the Duggars)’. All their grown up daughters live at home and help with the childcare. None are on their own. Their oldest son is married and having kids, so the daughters are old enough to be at collage – but they never send their daughters to collage.

  243. Patrice wrote:

    @ lilyrosemary:
    “She wrote about all the giddy excitement of preparing for the wedding but the last word of the poem described how she felt about the wedding night: Rape…I do not know all the details, but I don’t believe she was literally forced. ”
    If a person is so ignorant and pinched that she is horrified by sex on her wedding night, it is the responsibility of the spouse to go as slowly as needed to show her how splendid it all is, to help her dismantle whatever rotten ideas she imbibed over the years. However long that takes. If that young woman felt raped, I would be inclined to believe her.

    That was exactly my point and I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear. When I said “I don’t believe she was literally forced” I meant that if I recall correctly she did not make that claim. What she said was that she was not at all prepared for the experience and so it was horrible for her. I think it’s really important that young women have someone they can talk to openly about these things so they know what to expect. I also think it’s REALLY important that when two people get married they are comfortable enough to talk to EACH OTHER about sex, and I don’t think this is usually the case with the courtship model, or even with Christians in general.

  244. @ dee:

    You wrote: “Am I correct in saying that you do not believe that God causes rapes of children or the Holocaust but merely allows them? If so, then that would be an Arminian position as well.”

    Well, Calvin said that God does not merely permit, but that He wills, (Institutes 1.18.1), and gives many Scriptural examples to back this up. The most obvious is that He willed Jesus’ death, not merely permitted it. Since I tend to follow Calvin in this, I would say that I “miswrote,” and I apologize. Thanks for spotting it.

    This gets into your other comment about our being able to judge what is right or wrong. We can, I think, to a limited extent, but not on God’s level. I don’t think we can set ourselves up as judges of what God wills. Since only He knows how everything fits together, only He knows what is ultimately good or not. He willed all the suffering that Joseph went through, but eventually His reasons were apparent. Yes, it’s hard because of our limited knowledge, but I don’t think that anything He does is ultimately for evil. This does not mean that I think that anyone can say for sure what God’s reasons are for any specific calamity, especially soon after they occur. He may eventually reveal the reasons, but more often He doesn’t. Piper and Robinson are ridiculous and incredibly prideful when they make pronouncements about God’s motives for calamities.

    Concerning the two books: I’d already mentioned Against Calvinism, and didn’t think most of your readers needed encouragement to read it. But, you’re right, I should have mentioned them together.

    About putting God in boxes: As I’ve written before, since God is finite and we are not, we all put Him in boxes; we just prefer our box to those of others. We can only learn from what He has revealed to us. Calvinists or Arminians who, for instance, say that they perfectly understand how God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom co-exist, are liars or fools.

    @ Gavin White:

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean in the first paragraph. I believe that Arminians are divided on the matter of eternal security, however.

    Geisler said that Calvin believed in Unlimited Atonement? If possible, would you mind citing that?

    Whether or not it’s true that Augustine was the only significant voice for Limited Atonement until the Reformers, John Owen wrote an exhaustive book on the subject, that, as far as I know, has never been answered.

    @ Jeannette Altes:

    I didn’t mean to imply that you necessarily agreed with Kushner, although I see how I gave that impression. I just mentioned his “solution” because it’s a popular one.

    I apologize if I’m wrong, but it seems that you are describing a god that doesn’t intervene in human affairs. Whereas Scripture says that He gave the first humans a test, they failed it, and that after that, “none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…no one does good, not even one.” (Rom. 3:10-12) Humans lost the ability to even choose God. God could have left it at that, and allowed complete free will, but He didn’t. If He had, no one would ever have done good or chosen God.

    Scripture also shows countless ways that God intervened in the smallest details of people’s actions, and even thoughts. He allowed a certain degree of free will, but not total.

    So we see that God can and does intervene in human affairs, yet sometimes ordains evil acts. It is true that He honors human free will, but that it is always under His control. In short, He is ultimately responsible for whatever happens.

  245. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    That is terrible. I agree that both the man and woman should have someone reliable (NOT Mark Driscoll) they can talk to very openly about sex before the wedding night. So much pain could be avoided.

  246. @ Jeannette Altes:
    When I said “I don’t believe she had been forced” I meant it in the way of “if I recall correctly she did not claim she had been forced…” I did not mean to use ambiguous language. According to her own version of events, it wasn’t that she was forced, it was that she was completely unprepared for the experience.

  247. @ JeffB: I am trying to be very cautious in this area since this stuff can be so volatile. I am very concrete so let me reword this. Are you saying that God sovereignly ordained specifically that little Jessica Lunsford was to be raped, tortured, buried alive and die at the hands of her three neighbor? I’m writing all of the adjectives because I want to be sure that you are assenting to that. Please feel free to reword what I have just written. If possible can you make it a yes or no statement.

    Secondly, if God places in us the ability to know good and bad, then could I say that Jessica’s death is evil and God did not will that to occur. It is not wrong to judge an act as evil if one does not believe that God was the one who willed that act to happen. In fact, could it be that the person, who claims that such a decree was of God, is terribly mistaken? Could it be that what when we say that such a horror*is* the will of God, that we are, in fact, ascribing things to God which are not in His character?

    You say that it is wrong to judge God and to say that an act is evil. But what if we say an act is evil and that it was evil performed by the hands of human beings who acted evil, in contrary to God’s will?

  248. @ JeffB:

    I never said I believed he does not intervene in human affairs. Coming to earth and becoming human and dying on a cross is the ultimate in intervening. I said that I don’t believe he overrides individual free will. They are not mutually exclusive.

    I believe that he spoke in the hearts and minds of each of the persons that abused me (and I do have reason) and told them clearly that what they wer about to do / were doing was wrong. And they chose to do it anyway. That makes them responsible, not God.

    As to the quote from Romans, Paul is quoting a passage from the OT and the context is in showing that Jews and Gentiles are equal under the “Law of faith” to refute the idea that the Gentiles were superior to the Jews or vise versa.

    We could probably get into quite a game of proof-texting, but I really don’t want to. I find that we have arrived at the same place that I seem to any time I brimng this up with a Calvinist. You words in the linked comment seem to plainly state that it was God’s will and plan for me to be raped as a child. That is contrary to what I believe. And we are back to the place of my stating that a god who preplans – on purpose – for children to be raped is not a god I believe is worthy of worship any more that a father who rapes his own daughter.

    I think we would probably talk in circles from here….

  249. @ lilyrosemary: it still sounds like what she said it was – rape.

    unprepared = partner backs off, takes it *very* slow. Not goes in for the kill.

    poor woman; i feel for her.

  250. numo wrote:

    @ lilyrosemary: i’m all for actual sex ed as well. this isn’t something that people old enough to marry should be unaware of!

    Marriage was really pushed when I was growing up but there was not much practical guidance. I grew up in what I guess would be considered a comp church — not the crazy patriarchy stuff you see today, but girls were definitely not supposed to be interested in sex and most did not ask questions. Many got married very young and my understanding is that sex was not usually discussed openly. (I left the church in college so I am basing that understanding on my own family and conversations with the kids I knew back then.)

    Guys tended to be clueless and immature. Couples tended to not express affection.

    I had sex ed in public school. But a lot of the kids I went to college with went to Christian schools, or if they went to public school, their parents did not let them have sex ed. (Homeschooling was still fairly uncommon as far as I know. This was in the late’80s.)

    I understand parents who want to be the ones who teach their kids about sex, but in many of these cases I don’t think it was taught at all.

  251. @ Dave A A:
    @ Steve240:

    There is a strange irony to it. Women should submit to husbands and fathers, but only those who will be controlling and require submission. And if that is not the husband or father that you have then you need to not submit to (rebel against?) his decision to not rule and control you.

  252. The courtship movie trailer and the courtship marriages with which I am familiar are filled with issues that disturb me.

    Grandmamma said it best. “Don’t marry someone you can live with. Marry the one you can’t live without.”

    So when you settle for someone you can live with, you might end up with happily ever after, but consider this: what are you going to do when you meet the one you can’t live without?

    It doesn’t matter to me whether you dated, courted, or found someone online. A lifetime is way too long to be married to someone who doesn’t light you up inside.

    Marriages based on romantic love have not always been the norm in cultures down through the ages. We’re blessed to live in a time and a culture where parents don’t arrange marriages of their children for the sake of land-holding or combining kingdoms. Forcing courtships on offspring is a faithless act — you think God can’t provide your kids with a mate?

    You can make checklists all day long, and figure out how compatible you are with somebody till the cows come home. But to me, the important questions to ask are, “Would I rather be with this person living in a trailer in a swamp than with someone else living in a mansion on the beach?” And “Am I happier when I’m with this person than I ever am with anyone else or when I’m alone?”

    The God-given chemistry between two people who love each other with inexplicable passion is one of the wonders of this world. It’s not present in every marriage; in fact, I believe it’s fairly rare. But when you see it, it’s a sight to behold!

  253. @ JeffB:

    I just wanted to add another thought. When this doctrine was presented to me 4 1/2 years ago and the man I was discussing this with online insisted, at the end of the day, that God did ordain my abuse; that he was the originator of it, I got angry….but up until this point, in my entire upbringing in church, I had never heard of Calvin or Arminius or any of these various doctrines.

    Being in a fragile mental and emotional state already – having just come out of an abusive church and also finally facing the abuses of my childhood – this doctrine threw me into what my thepapist calls a ‘faith crisis.’ Especially when the gentleman told me that if I did not accept his definition of God’s MO, then I was not really saved… It took me a few months of wrestling with this doctrine and what I had learned from my own study to come out the other side at peace. And they were very dark months filled with a dread of this being true and a hopelessness if it was and a fear that maybe I had been deluded all aling and had never really been saved or even known God.

    Someone who has just been raped – or is just beginning to work on healing from abuses in their childhood – can be seriously hurt by the statement that God ordained the events in question. It can drive people away from faith or even into suicide.

    Seriously, the statements “God is Love” and “God ordained your rape” will cause a mental meltdown in someone trying to heal and recover from this. The bottom line for me was this: if God ordained the abuse in my childhood, then I can’t trust his love. And if I can’t trust him, then there is no foundation of stability – there is nothing to hold onto.

  254. @ Leah:
    I saw a strange irony in the Long List for potential sons-in-law and the Wilson article. In one, the man has to pass a physical agility test before marriage. After that, if he gains too much weight, it’s just fine– owing to all the good cooking his wife provides. But from Wilson, if the wife gains weight and then “rebels” by not losing it, the hubby can haul her up before Pastor for church discipline.

  255. A part of the debate on this thread has been over Olsen’s statement that he neither could nor would worship a Calvinist God (so to speak). This statement came as part of what amounted to a thought experiment: supposing it turned out that you’ve been fundamentally wrong about God; supposing that it were proven to you that God is not only different from what you thought, but that his very nature is to do things you have always been taught, or have believed, were harmful and wrong – things that, if you did them, you would deservedly be punished in some way. You could say that this thought experiment uses the name “God” in two separate and very different ways.

    The experiment can be varied, of course. Here are some interesting examples. We’ve already done the Calvinismistic one, but… If it was revealed to you in a way you couldn’t question or deny that:

    … “open theism” is true, and God really doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

    Would you still respect his omnipotence? Would you still worship him?

    … the NT was altered over the years and Jesus is not the “Son of God” – indeed, the true God has no son and the Qu’ran is His final word.

    Would you convert to Islam (which, of course, means “to submit”)? If so, to what form of Islam?

    … the doctrine of Apostolic Succession is true and the Pope is indeed the vicar of Christ on earth.

    Would you swim the Tiber (as the saying goes) and return to Mother Rome?

    … conversely, the Pope is indeed the antichrist.

    Would you… er… swim the Tiber backwards? (HUG – I didn’t want you to feel left out. 😉

    And finally for now:

    … God never authored or inspired any “scripture” and his (or her) nature must be determined experimentally.

    How would you go about discovering God’s nature? Would you even try?

  256. @ Nick:

    I might have trouble with the Islam one, as all my reading on the subject has told me that Allah is capricious and frankly, a bit of a misogynist (or at least Mohammed was a misogynist).

  257. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Nick

    Wow, thank you for that. Having read fair amount by Olson (but not nearly as much as you 🙂 ) I just knew that this statement had to do with the nature of God as we understand it. There are a lot of presuppostions on the part of all camps, especially as we deal with the issue of horrific evil. Jessica Lunsford’s death (A little girl who was kidnapped, raped tortured, buried alive and died) serves as an sad example with which to discuss the problems.

    Side 1- Arminiainists and others: God does not plan and cause such evil. The human race was disobedient and we suffer the consequnces of our actions. God allows us to experience those consequences. Jessica was a victim of our Fall and we, as a human race, share in the pain of her death

    Side 2-God does not allow a molecule to move unless He wills it. So, God purposesly planned to allow this horrific set of circumstances that resulted in her death. When God does something, and He plans everything, we humans are depraved and cannot judge His actions, ever.

  258. lilyrosemary wrote:

    Couples tended to not express affection

    Hi Lilyrosemary,

    could you expand a bit more on this bit? It picked my attention because it’s something that I noticed as well, and have thought quite a bit about it.

    Similar to your situation, I think that the church I attend may be generally considered complementarian, at least the leadership. In the time I’ve been there I haven’t seen any, in my opinion, extreme stuff like patriarchy or courtship… But it’s a large church and I don’t know everything that happens in the private lives of my brothers and sisters. Some are pretty big fans of John Piper and DA Carson, for example, and at times I’ve seen things in the Facebook status of some people which may tend towards rather rigid versions of complementarian teaching.

    But, particularly about the issue of couples expressing affection to each others, I have the impression that I haven’t seen much… I always found that a bit interesting. However, I guess this may be derived from a ‘rather cold British’ attitude rather than from any specific religious belief 😀 And I have to admit that I come from a place where there’s more physical contact between people in practically any normal social context.

  259. “I don’t think we can set ourselves up as judges of what God wills. Since only He knows how everything fits together, only He knows what is ultimately good or not. He willed all the suffering that Joseph went through, but eventually His reasons were apparent. Yes, it’s hard because of our limited knowledge, but I don’t think that anything He does is ultimately for evil. This does not mean that I think that anyone can say for sure what God’s reasons are for any specific calamity, especially soon after they occur”

    Jeff, I understand you are just giving us your belief system but there are serious problems with using the Calvin filter as I think some comments here make clear.

    While Calvinists are focused on God’s Sovereignty, I see that in going down that road in such a wooden manner they malign His character and leave out His other attributes or try to make them fit their definition of Sovereignty.

    Your example above using Joseph actually presents a problem with for the Reformed definition of Sovereign. It would mean that God had to will a ton of evil to get good. If God is Sovereign, why not just will the good? If He can force us to do anything so why the evil to get good? Piper says it is so HE can get Glory from it. A sick and twisted explanation that maligns God’s other attributes and His character.

    The premise leaves out any notion of man’s volition even though many Calvinists say it doesn’t. Sin has a long history in this story and Joseph’s brothers were responding sinfully to the favoritism their father had shown for Joseph… which was also sin. (I know,many do not believe that) which was brought on by the sin of Laban in tricking Jacob into marrying Leah and ends up having only one son by the wife. Rachel, he really loved.

    To say God willed this long line of sin so Joseph would go to Egypt and become a leader has God orchestrating not only sin but creulty. Is there any woman reading here that does not feel very bad for Leah or the slaves who were forced to have sex with Jacob and bear children for him? Seriously, this is God’s plan? (We can take this all the way back to the comp/patriarchy view of selling sin as virtue in Genesis. They are only women and good for breeding. If God orchestrated not only the Fall but the rest of the evil, where else can we go?)

    As to quoting Romans, I think Jeanette really explained it well. And I want to add that Paul is quoting Psalms which is man talking to God and poetry. There are also verses about dashing our enemies babies against rocks but they are not usually trotted out to prove any points about God.

    These are just some examples of why I am very leery of any ST but have serious problems with Calvin’s whom I believe simply systemtized Augustine’s premises which were foreign to Christianity in several areas. It leads us to read scripture and make passages fit the ST premise. And does not leave a lot of room for the Holy Spirit to illuminate His truth to us.

  260. @ Anon 1:
    There is another problem with Joseph’s story being used as an example of suffering. Joseph eventually became a big cheese. God sent him visions and he used those visions to help those who held him captive and then he helped his family.

    Jessica Lunsford was raped, tortured, buried alive and then died. She didn’t become the big cheese with lots of money and power. There was no “happy ending” in this life. We need to be able to answer the question of Jessica as we look at predetermination. Does God need to be glorified at the expense of a child’s rape, torture ad death? I think not but then again, I am not a great mind like Piper.

  261. Anon 1 wrote:

    If God is Sovereign, why not just will the good?

    Could it be so simple as that “God is good and does good” (Ps 199:68), but that he forces evil to serve his good purposes? Things done by evil men, with evil purposes, using their free will to do what they want, like at the Cross? Like Romans 8:28 says, “for those who love God all things work together for good”.

    To me, that is what makes history “His story”, and makes me want to worship God.

    BTW, here is a really good article by Udo Middelman (Schaeffer’s son-in-law) on The Islamization of Christianity. Here’s a sample: “Sovereignty is not a control mechanism. The Bible speaks of God being accountable to no one. He is able to bring about what he has planned. He is the victory over sin and death. But the Bible does not leave a doubt about the agony, the effort , the tears of God in the midst of the battle to bring that about in the end. There is a prince of this world in the meantime. He has real choices, as do we. He is not yet bound as he will be at the end.”

  262. ” Since only He knows how everything fits together, only He knows what is ultimately good or not. He willed all the suffering that Joseph went through, but eventually His reasons were apparent. Yes, it’s hard because of our limited knowledge, but I don’t think that anything He does is ultimately for evil.” Jeff B

    Can you tell me where God says that He willed all the suffering that Joseph went through? Just because God willed Jesus (who BTW is part of the triune God so in reality it was Jesus own will to go to the cross as well) death and resurrection, does that mean He wills all things? If God wills all things then He wills evil as well, and there is no way for US to know what is good from what is evil.

  263. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    “And finally for now:
    … God never authored or inspired any “scripture” and his (or her) nature must be determined experimentally.
    How would you go about discovering God’s nature? Would you even try?”

    To which you answered:
    @ Gavin White:

    “5 No because I wouldn’t know who or what God was/is”

    I find your response odd, Gavin. It seems to me that God says differently as is stated in Romans below. Besides this, God very much revealed himself to men, experientially, throughout history. Scripture didn’t exist in ancient times when only word of mouth about “experience” with God WAS how He revealed himself to men. Do you believe that reading scripture is the only way that God can and will reveal himself to people today? That seems to be what you are saying, which would lead me to believe that your faith is in the scriptures and not in the being of God.

    If I misunderstood your answer please let me know.

    Romans 1
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
    19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
    20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
    21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
    23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

  264. @ dabide:

    Is that the same as saying that people do evil of their own accord, but God is able to use what man meant for evil for good in the lives of those who love Him?

  265. Bridget wrote:

    @ dabide:
    Is that the same as saying that people do evil of their own accord, but God is able to use what man meant for evil for good in the lives of those who love Him?

    Yes, that’s what I mean. 🙂

    Assume a drunk driver kills someone’s child: God didn’t want him to get drunk, he didn’t want him to drive, and he didn’t want him to kill that child. But he is able to use it for the good of those who love him. There’s a big difference between saying, “God is sovereign. He willed that accident, and it’ll work out for good”, and saying “God is sovereign. He will make this terrible, evil thing work out for good”.

    The first statement makes God the source of evil, the second one makes him the conqueror of evil.

  266. @ dabide:
    That was a great article that directly relates to the discussion of God ordaining evil. Especially this:

    “I suggest that the reason why many like to identify God with what is happening in their life is a fear of a loss of control. They make themselves believe something, for they do not like anymore than anyone else the unfinished situation found in a fallen world. Consequently they advocate the control of God over the events in history, but abandon God to immorality. He becomes the author of whatsoever comes to pass. At least He allows what, in their eyes, He could prevent, if only he chose to. But since it happens, He must have decided not to want to help…even though He could have.”

    As Christians, we acknowledge that we worship the same God as the Jews, only they’ve yet to accept Christ as the Way to the Father. Why then, is it not possible for the Muslims to also be worshipping the same, one and only God, calling Him a different name, just lacking the understanding of the neccesity of Christ?
    He is not the same because who they believe Allah to be, his character, is not the same character as who we know the God of the Bible to be. The character, the personality, who they really are, is not the same. I fear that as Christians we are prone to sometimes make Him out to be Someone He is really not, especially when, in trying to reconcile His sovereignty with the world’s evil, we begin to make Him also evil, which it is impossible for Him to be.

  267. Hester wrote:

    I discovered Quiverfull LCMS Lutherans online yesterday who insisted they were not Quiverfull, while promoting the exact same ideas. They called themselves the Corcordian Sisters of Perpetual Parturition (CSPP)

    Mind you, I don’t want to ridicule them – from the website they seem very nice people, at least at first glance – but doesn’t the name sound like fresh out of Monty Python’s?

  268. Leah wrote:

    The character, the personality, who they really are, is not the same.

    That reminds me of a lengthy debate in a Norwegian Christian newspaper some years ago, with people arguing about whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. I was very tempted to write a letter to the editor, with the following title: “Do Christians and Christians worship the same God?”

    The people of Israel used all the right words in the desert: “These are your gods [Elohim], O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD [Jehovah].”

    If you had audio only, you wouldn’t have noticed anything wrong. The problem was the how they pictured God, as a golden calf of their own making.

  269. On the problem of evil and suffering, I see a God who allows evil to happen that he can prevent exactly the same way as one who actively causes it to happen. In fact, I think these are the same thing. Direct cause or cause of standing aside is still causing something.

    I have no answer to the problem of evil, but I think that any Christian, Calvinist, Arminian, or other, who believes in an all powerful God has to wrestle with this. The only answers I have is that it is mercy that God allows evil to not be destroyed (for we all can admit, whatever we are now, we have all done some form of evil) and that God was willing to suffer the effects of evil himself in the Incarnation (a unique aspect of Christianity), but these are only partial answers.

    The existence of evil is the greatest credible argument against the Christian God there is.

  270. @ Jeff S:I disagree that allowing evil and causing evil are the same thing.For example, assume I have a rebellious teenager who decides to become a drug addict and even sells drugs to support his habit.(I don’t, btw) I know that the habit will eventually lead to sickness and the drug dealing will put him in harm’s way. I have told him all of the consequences of this decision.

    I could tail him 24/7 and attempt to intervene. I could report the drug dealers who get him the drugs to the police.I could call the police and report my son for illegally using drugs. I could visit his apartment and attempt to stop the partying. I could intervene 24/7.

    However, that sort of thing rarely works according to those who work in this area, Sometimes, the best thing to do is to allow him to suffer the consequence of his actions. He then becomes sick, gets held up, lands in jail, etc. Then as he hits rock bottom, he may begin to seek alternatives.

    So, allowing him to suffer and causing him to suffer are two different things.

  271. @ dabide:

    I tend to agree with your comment. I will say that one of the things I am looking at are how we tend to interpret some scripture to make them into cliches that are used for every purpose. God does not change at all but it seems He changed how He ‘deals with us’ from the OT narrative to the New Covenant? One example would be Him dwelling in the Temple to now WE are the temple where He dwells.And how would that affect the topic we are discussing about God willing evil/cruelty, etc?

  272. Jeff S wrote:

    The existence of evil is the greatest credible argument against the Christian God there is.

    I have struggled with this, and even more, the existence of natural catastrophes that can’t be attributed to evil humans.

    What at least begins to answer these questions, is the concept of “the prince of this world”, and “the present age” vs. “the coming age”/”the Kingdom of God”.

    To illustrate it, let’s put it in terms of politics: The serpent was elected as prince of this world, after successfully campaigning against God in the Garden, representing him as the ultimate killjoy, and promising autonomy and independence.

    What we got, was bondage and slavery, and a ruler over our world who has no interest in, and no power to, stop evil or suffering.

    When Jesus Christ came, he demonstrated how it really works if he is allowed to rule: Freedom, love, no illness, and complete control over nature. We said, “Away with him! We don’t want him to be our king”.

    If God has given us a measure of free will, it also means that he lets us experience the consequences of that will, otherwise it wouldn’t be free. That would also mean that he can’t be held responsible for all that happens.

    The glorious hope is that one day, the Prince of Peace will invade our world, taking full control, which will mean peace, no sin, no sickness, but love and freedom all through the world. That is the Kingdom of God in its final form, and the coming age.

    Does that make (some) sense?

  273. Jeff S wrote:

    The only answers I have is that it is mercy that God allows evil to not be destroyed (for we all can admit, whatever we are now, we have all done some form of evil) and that God was willing to suffer the effects of evil himself in the Incarnation (a unique aspect of Christianity), but these are only partial answers.

    My radar is going off. I have heard some of this from lots of different pastors. I am a sinner because I am in a corrupted body on a corrupted earth and have had bad thoughts and even bad actions. However, it has never occured to me to murder or molest a child. I am not willing to put myself or tons of people I have known for a long time into the same category as Jessica Lunsford’s torturers/murders. I won’t even put myself in the same category as CJ Mahaney as far as his behavior is concerned.

    Does that make me better? No. Does that sound arrogant? Probably to some it does because of their paradigm of what they have been taught. But those who come into my life can TRUST me. And if we cannot trust believers, then what?It means what we call Christianity is meaningless in some respects. Not that folks are perfect but they are real.

    I have heard pastors teach all sin is the same to God. I have heard them tell victims, “why not be wronged”? Jesus was wronged. Problem is, the people who wronged the victims were professing Christians.

    It seems we have a different view of total depravity, too.

  274. Bent But Not Broken wrote:

    Patriarchal joke: Why does it take millions and millions of sperm to fertilize ONE egg ???

    Because even at that age they don’t ask for directions !!!

    That was wayyy too funny & way too cute of a joke! Mrs. Muff almost spit out her coffee cracking up at that one!

  275. @ dee:
    In your example, though, you are making an active choice that you hope will lead to the best amount of “good” being done for those invovled. Now if you KNEW that helphing would heal him and abandoning him would lead to his destruction, when you choose inactivity you are morally culpaple for that choice.

  276. Martos wrote:

    Hi Lilyrosemary,
    could you expand a bit more on this bit? It picked my attention because it’s something that I noticed as well, and have thought quite a bit about it.

    I’m not sure how typical the church I grew up in is since they consider themselves part of the Restoration Movement and do not associate with other churches/denominations. But they do believe in strict literal interpretation of the NT and have always taught a kind of complementarianism, although they don’t use that term. Women are definitely expected to stay in the background, and I think this led to somewhat unhealthy relationships. Women were infantilized and were discouraged from being independent or having “too much” life experience. They usually married young and mostly looked for a partner who “believed the right things.” By that I mean that they had to tick the right doctrinal boxes rather than demonstrate actual good character or maturity.

    So in this case I guess the lack of affection sprang from people getting married for reasons other than really liking each other, being compatible, etc. I’m still trying to figure it out.

  277. JeffS

    I still disagree. It appears evident to me that God, in His wisdom, has allowed us to suffer the consequences of our sin because it is for the greater good of not mandating puppet like behavior. We choose, we suffer the consequence of htat choice.  Knoweldge does not equate to active intervention to make things become evil. God has put a limit on how far we can go. For example, I do not believe that all mankind will be totally blown annihilated by a nuclear war.

    Secondly,it appears that you are assuming that to each action either x or y must occur. Witnin a paradigm for free will, there could be ten gazillion althernatives for a given human being. God can manage to bring glory to Himself and show love for his people if any of those ten gazaillion alternative are chosen.

  278. Anon 1 wrote:

    I am a sinner because I am in a corrupted body on a corrupted earth and have had bad thoughts and even bad actions. However, it has never occured to me to murder or molest a child. I am not willing to put myself or tons of people I have known for a long time into the same category as Jessica Lunsford’s torturers/murders. I won’t even put myself in the same category as CJ Mahaney as far as his behavior is concerned.

    I am not asking you to. I said very clearly that what I had for “answers” were not complete answers. I think regardless of our views on Total Depravity, we would both agree that if God never allowed any bad thing to exist, neither of us would have made it. That’s why we had to repent- we have been bad and done bad things. It is mercy that God allowed us to survive. Does that explain why God allows child molestation and rape, things that neither you nor believe we’d ever do? No, it doesn’t, and I don’t have an answer for that.

    I do NOT think that all sin is equal, though I DO think all sin causes us to fall short of the glory of God.

  279. @ dee:
    At the end of the day, you still have a woman who is raped, and God put into place a creation that he knew would result in that rape. He could have prevented it, unless you believe this is the “best of all possible worlds” (if so, Voltair would like to have a word with you) and he chose not to. Saying it is for “our own good” is going to ring very hollow to the rape victim and sounds very much like what a Calvinist would say.

  280. Jeff S wrote:

    At the end of the day, you still have a woman who is raped, and God put into place a creation that he knew would result in that rape

    Just to clarify so I understand. Do you believe God intended for his creation to disobey him or that he knew having a choice they would choose to disobey him?

  281. Anon 1 wrote:

    Jeff S wrote:
    At the end of the day, you still have a woman who is raped, and God put into place a creation that he knew would result in that rape
    Just to clarify so I understand. Do you believe God intended for his creation to disobey him or that he knew having a choice they would choose to disobey him?

    I think those choices are the same thing. As for what I believe, I don’t have all of the answers to the problem of evil. I just don’t think the Calvinist view is any worse than the Arminian one.

  282. Jeff S wrote:

    I think those choices are the same thing

    boy, I don’t think they are the same thing at all. I think it makes all the difference in the world. It is the difference between God creating humans with the express purpose to disobey Him and do evil…

    or God creating humans who have the choice/ability to disobey Him.

    The first choice sounds like Allah to me. but that Augustinian/Calvin filter is the huge difference in how we interpret scripture which is why any prooftexting done in discussions is a waste of time. I am thankful you are willing to discuss the bigger picture and not do that!

  283. JeffS

    I still disagree. The rape victim usually balmes the rapist for his fould deed. Jessica Lunsford’s father blames the three perps. If I hear you correctly, and I am not sure that I do, it would be far better for them to blame God for planning these events. Would you say that Jessica’s daddy should day “God did this to my daughter and it is a very good thing since it was planned by God?”

  284. @ Anon 1:

    Ok, well to be fair I don’t think they are the same thing exactly, only in terms of moral responsibility- but that’s the discussion we are having.

    In fact, I guess I do believe God created us with free will knowing that we would disobey. And I guess I also probably view the answer to the problem of evil lying somewhere in the realm of ultimately it all working to good in eternity to those who are faithful to God- that even the most extreme trials in this world pale in comparison to the joys of eternity. But that’s all my “heady” belief- I could never say that to the victim of rape and feel like I was being compassionate on any level. And thus, I think the whole truth of the existence of evil is probably beyond my comprehension.

    As for proof texting- I try very hard never to do that. I do sometimes quote scripture, but usually it’s as shorthand for a bigger concept. The reason is that I don’t think the scripture was meant to be read in bits in pieces. The great themes run throughout and sometimes are very subtle, others very clear. And the more at odds with someone on their views on what the great themes are (which I’m not saying you and I are) the less I’m inclined to quote any scripture at all.

  285. @ dee:
    No, I’m not saying it would be better to blame God. What I’m saying is that the arguments of God’s moral responsibility for evil should not be splitting hairs over whether he was a direct cause or merely allowed the evil. Because if your answer to a suffering person who questions why God would have him or her suffer is “God didn’t cause it, he just allowed it- he could have prevented it, but he felt is was best not to” that’s no real consolation.

    And I know plenty of people who question why God did not intervene them to save them from suffering.

  286. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Being in a fragile mental and emotional state already – having just come out of an abusive church and also finally facing the abuses of my childhood – this doctrine threw me into what my thepapist calls a ‘faith crisis.’ Especially when the gentleman told me that if I did not accept his definition of God’s MO, then I was not really saved…

    Aren’t you glad that the good gentleman will have no say so with regard to your destiny when you meet your maker?

  287. JeffS

    I still disagree that it is splitting hairs. However, why shouldn’t we then train people to say “It’s God’s will and it is good” when their child is raped and killed?

  288. dee wrote:

    JeffS
    I still disagree that it is splitting hairs. However, why shouldn’t we then train people to say “It’s God’s will and it is good” when their child is raped and killed?

    For the same reason you wouldn’t train people to day “This was OK with God and it is OK with me”.

    It ISN’T “good” and it ISN’T “ok” when evil things happen.

    RC Sproul distinguishes different types of “will”. God’s will of “disposition” is what God wants. His “soverign, decrative” will is what happens. So what God wants is not always what happens, even in the mind of a Calvinist like RC Sproul (not sure about Piper).

  289. I guess the core of what I think about this is that I absolutely believe that God’s will of disposition can be frustrated, and when people talk about how you just accept and rejoice when bad things happen they are misconstruing this aspect of God’s will. He does not WANT women to be raped or evil to be done.

    I wrote a blog entry about this kind of thing when it comes to remaining in abusive marriages a few months ago:

    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/is-god-for-your-marriage/

  290. Hey Dee,
    Maybe the Almighty has a prime directive of non-interference in primitive cultures much like the Federation’s policy is in Roddenberry’s Star Trek series.

  291. @ Gus & Dee:

    Definitely agreed that Concordian Sisters of Perpetual Parturition’s name sounds like classic Monty Python. Maybe they’re the dancing nuns in Every Sperm is Sacred. ; )

  292. @ dee:

    Again I apologize for imprecise and sloppy writing. I have determined to either improve in this area or stop commenting, especially when the issues are huge.

    Scripture says that God is never the author of evil, and that He never takes pleasure in it. It also says that He “accomplishes all things through the counsel of His will.” (Eph. 1:11) It also says that He holds us accountable for all that we do.

    Scripture doesn’t tell us how all three of these things can be true without contradicting each other, but that they are, nevertheless, true. Concerning Jessica Lunsford: What happened to her was evil. The people who did it are responsible for what they did.

    Then comes the tough one: Despite all the foregoing, what happened was, in some way that we don’t understand, not outside the counsel of God’s will. Of course I might be wrong, but I think these are the conclusions we reach if we stay true to Scripture.

    God is not the author of evil, but evil came into the world through the counsel of His will. It did not somehow sneak past Him while He was unaware. This is a mystery.

    He willed that His Son be executed, but He was not the author of that evil act – people were. (Acts 4:27-28) We can accept this, I think, without totally understanding it.

    I realize this is a very brief summary of what I think the Bible says about an enormous subject. If I haven’t covered what you wanted me to, please tell me.

    @ Jeannette Altes:

    You agree that Jesus coming to earth was an intervention. But I still don’t understand how you can write that God never overrides free will. Did Balaam speak out of his own free will? (Num. 24:13)

    Yes, Paul quoted the OT to make that point. But it doesn’t contradict the point that “No one does good; no one seeks after God.”

    What I wrote above about God and evil applies to the rest of your comment, I think. I realize that you probably identify me with the apparently unfeeling jerks you describe. As I said before, I haven’t gone through what you did, but I’ve gone through terrible circumstances that I believe God ordained. It wasn’t particularly easy for me to come to this conclusion, but I believe that I, above all, had to accept what I think Scripture is saying. I can now do that without thinking that God is some kind of monster. May I at least say that IF what I think Scripture is saying is correct, I pray that you will come to the same conclusion?

    @ Gavin White:

    Thanks.

    @ Anon 1:

    As far as I’m concerned, Calvinism can go to hell if it contradicts Scripture. You’ll notice that I haven’t been quoting Calvin, but Scripture. I think there are areas where Calvinism contradicts Scripture (infant baptism, for one), and in those areas I disagree with Calvin.

    @ Bridget:

    Gen. 50:20: “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result – the survival of many people.” God planned (willed) for what happened to Joseph, which included the suffering he went through. His purpose, though, was different from that of the purpose of Joseph’s brothers.

    As for the rest, my short answer is the one I wrote to dee above.

  293. @ Jeannette Altes:
    Jeannette: I believe that this question can only be answered when we look at actual real life, without that we only have part of the picture in terms of how we understand things as our understanding of the Bible is put to the test in the furnace of life. I think Calvinism has no real answer to the horrors we can suffer, as it puts the character of God under question (not, is God good? But what does goodness really mean?) & adds that burden to one that is already unbearable. There is no true discussion with those who don’t get it, they don’t get it. They may yet, as life rips bloody chunks from them, but I’d rather that they were spared that.

  294. @ Gavin White:

    I don’t understand why it wouldn’t help you know God and His salvation. All through the OT there were men and women whose faith in God was counted to them as righteousness. They believed what God said (when they had personal encounters with Him) and they lived accordingly, or obeyed God.

  295. Gavin White wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Nick
    1 No because God would not be omnipotent.
    2 No because Islam is truly deterministic.
    3 No because RCs believe in other nonsense.
    4 No because I’m there already.
    5 No because I wouldn’t know who or what God was/is.

    Gavin don’t some of the same criticisms of Olson’s original statement also apply to your answers? For example:
    1) Surely it’d be your definition of God’s omnipotence that’d be the problem – that would be the God that is, why would you be putting anything above him? His power would be the ultimate power inthe universe, hence omnipotence.I’m not sure you’ve read the question.
    2)How would you have a choice to say no? Allah would be determining your response for or against.
    3)I’m not sure you’ve read the question – why would it be ‘nonsense’ if it had been proved to you that the RC Church was God’s true church? Inherent in that would be the understanding that what they endorse is right. Why would you be bringing something from your independent understanding against that which had be proven to be divinely true? Surely that’d be rebellion by means of your idolatrous reason? Why would you do that? And if you would, why on earth would you have any problem with someone else saying they wouldn’t worship a particular type of God, if proved to be true. If you have that freedom, why don’t others?

    I feel you’ve ignored the heart of the issue – in each of these cases the premise has been proved to be TRUE. Hence you can’t bring your previous worldview to bear on your answers as it would have been proved to have been faulty. Surely you’d worship any God who turned out to be the true God?

  296. @ Jeff S:

    You don’t think RC Sproul is “splitting hairs” with an explanation that God has two different wills? So God isn’t as sovereign as some say/believe he is? Sproul’s definition sounds like a god divided against himself.

  297. Bridget wrote:

    @ Jeff S:
    You don’t think RC Sproul is “splitting hairs” with an explanation that God has two different wills? So God isn’t as sovereign as some say/believe he is? Sproul’s definition sounds like a god divided against himself.

    So does the Trinity.

    He makes the case that scripture does talk about God’s will in three difference senses (Soverign Decrative, Prescriptive, and Will of Disposition) and I think he’s right. But maybe it’s nonsense- I don’t know: this is hard stuff at the end of the day. At least he gives a framework in which what God desires and what actually happens are two different things, which is necessary for there to be an All Powerful God who is also good.

  298. @ Dee:
    Apparently, the Apostolic Church of Armenia was started by Bartholomew and Thaddeus. Yes, two of the Original Twelve.

  299. Beakerj wrote:

    Hey Dabide – did you know he wrote a whole book on this

    No, I didn’t. You just put another book on my reading list! 🙂

  300. @ JeffB:Do not apologize. There is no need. I am trying to figure out this argument. if I cannot understand it, you can be sure that others do not as well. So, I am pushing because you are a nice guy which is a darn sight better than a few of the Calvinista dudes out there who would arrogantly blow me off as barely Christian.

    So, back to the discussion.
    “Despite all the foregoing, what happened was, in some way that we don’t understand, not outside the counsel of God’s will. Of course I might be wrong, but I think these are the conclusions we reach if we stay true to Scripture.”

    I do not like phrases such as “counsel of His will.” That makes no sense to me. What does it mean? Either He caused Jessica’s death or He did not. Arminians argue from free will and God allowing us to face the consequences of our fall.

    From your previous arguments, you say that God is somehow a causal agent in Jessica’s horrendous death. Now, you back away and say it is “the counsel of His will.” I truly do not understand what you are saying. He caused it, He allowed it or He counseled it? Counsel seems more like allowed it and we are back to the Arminians.

    If this stuff is so gosh darn important, so much that Piper would like to throw people out of his church if they do not believe in his exacting way, then there must be a way to say it that makes sense to the multitudes of us (and stats seem to prove that the majority of evangelicals do not adhere to a view in which God is some sort of causal agent in the death of Jessica). We need to find language that goes to the heart of the matter.

    I met with some Mormons for about 1 1/2 years and they kept insisting that if i prayed,God would send me the “burning in the bosom” that would confirm that Mormonism was true. So, one day i said OK.I have had it. Let’s pray for this burning in the bosom that will prove to me that Mormonism is true. We did and I got no burning. I think it sort of irritated them.

    I can assure you that I have read and read-including the Institutes. I did so with an open heart about a decade ago. I know the Lord, I am secure in my salvation, I love to talk about Christian faith and theology and I was most willing to accept that Calvinism was true. But, no matter how hard I tried, I could not jump the shark.

    I keep hoping someone, somewhere can show me the error of my ways. I have read and studied the Bible but I do not see the God of John Piper there.I am willing to put my studies and Scripture reading up against many people on all sides of the fence. I studied Wayne Grudem’ Systematic Theology (the big one, not the little one) and still did not come around to Calvinism.

    So, now I am back to asking people who really, really believe it to explain it to me in their own words.

  301. dee wrote:

    So, now I am back to asking people who really, really believe it to explain it to me in their own words.

    Well, in my own words: I became a Christian at an early age. It wasn’t because I was smart or special. I was just a guy raised in a pretty liberal family that took God seriously, and when I confessed that I wanted to follow him, I meant it. And after reading scripture, I see that it never was about me- God put me in the right place at the right time and heard the right message so that I could find him. Did I choose him? Yes- but only after he enabled me. My heart was receptive to the Gospel, but the pattern of how God works in scripture tells me that it was he who was working to make my heart receptive. On its own I never would have been. So many people in better spiritual families in the “right” kinds of churches missed it completely, but for whatever reason my heart was truly changed.

    I believe that without the touch of the Holy Spirit in my life, I would not have chosen to follow Christ. My basic nature prevented me from doing so. I believe that he didn’t choose me because I was better, more spiritual, or in any way deserving of being changed. I believe that without his enabling, God would have effectivly been abandoning me to hell, and I am so thankful that he did not. I believe that by choosing to help me in my state of sin, he has granted me a place in heaven that I do not deserve. And finally, I believe that given the fact he has chosen and redeemed me, I am forever his and he will never let me go- his atoning work for me is complete, even though the process of sanctification is not.

    That is my believe about how I was saved and my part in it. Figuring out how evil works and God’s responsibility/purpose in tornadoes, rape, and other acts of evil is not a part of my testimony.

  302. @ Jeff S:

    I don’t see the Trinity as a god divided against himself. They work in unity and we are told as much by Jesus.

    I agree that this is hard stuff at the end of the day!! Trying to wrap my head around it is a challenge which I enjoy, yet is exhausting at times.

    I would have to read Sproul’s explanation of God’s three wills to see how he comes to this conclusion. I don’t know if that is where scripture actually goes, or if it is just his way to explain his (Reformed?) position. To be honest, I have never heard the God of three wills before. Actually, it is starting to sound like ESS where the Godhead must be divided into three distict persons to be able to have Jesus being in submission to God the Father for eternity.

  303. Gavin White wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    No.
    1 You need all the other omnis to be omnipotent.
    2 Islam says that “God has granted man a certain amount of freedom of will and action. In this freedom lies man’s real trial; his knowledge, his wisdom, his power of discrimination, and his freedom of will and action, are all being tried and tested. In this trial and test man has not been obliged to adopt any particular course, for by compulsion the very object of the trial would have been defeated” (Towards Understanding Islam, Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi)
    3 Fortunately the words of Scripture are just as clear in the Catholic Bible as they are in the KJV so I’d hope to be enlightened.
    4 As previously said I don’t need to swim backwards across the Tiber, I’m already on the safety of the other side.
    5 Answered to Bridget.
    And fortunately, it is all hypothetical, the imaginings of fallen man.

    1)I still disagree Gavin! If the God of Open Theism existed he would be the prime power in the universe, because the kind of omnipotence you are positing would not exist & could not be held over the power of that which did exist. You’d have to change your definition & say your previous definition was wrong.
    2) Seriously? You’ve previously stated Islam has true determinism, & then you post this quote from inside Islam…which one is it? Are they right, in which case your original statement was wrong, or are you right, in which case their protestations of freedom are , hance you are determined in your choice for or against Islam.
    3)You’d also be accepting, if the Catholic thing was true, the verdict of the Church on the Scriptures & other teachings….you’d accept them, because their interpretation of how the Bible & other teachings fit together would be TRUE. This would override any previous underastandings you had.You’re still thinking with your protestant head on & actually, it worries me a bit that you can’t even imagine yourself outside of this, even in a hypothetical way.

    Etc.

  304. Jeff S wrote:

    RC Sproul distinguishes different types of “will”. God’s will of “disposition” is what God wants. His “soverign, decrative” will is what happens. So what God wants is not always what happens, even in the mind of a Calvinist like RC Sproul (not sure about Piper).

    Well, there goes God “controlling every molecule” out the window. :o) This is what it is like to read Calvin. He tended to contradict himself too but no one had the nerve to correct him except Servetus. :o)

  305. Jeff S wrote:

    He makes the case that scripture does talk about God’s will in three difference senses (Soverign Decrative, Prescriptive, and Will of Disposition) and I think he’s right. But maybe it’s nonsense- I don’t know: this is hard stuff at the end of the day. At least he gives a framework in which what God desire and what actually happens are two different things, which is necessary for there to be an All Powerful God who is also good.

    I see it as them trying to make God fit into the Aug/Cal ST box. That is the problem with “frameworks” like this. And the problem with the life application of this ST does not fit into their definition of Sovereignty so they come up with all sorts of fancy big word explanations. It goes back to what I see as a foundational premise that is wrong and the fact they cannot accept the Sovereignty of a God who created beings who can say no to Him.

  306. Bridget wrote:

    I don’t see the Trinity as a god divided against himself. They work in unity and we are told as much by Jesus.

    It is interesting how often this is missed. In John 5 the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus because Jesus was equating himself with God whom He called Father. (Is this why He is called Father in the NT?). We miss it if we do not understand Hebrew thinking. Doing business with the eldest son was the exact same as doing business with the father in Hebrew thinking.

    Just another thing about ESS type thinking where folks miss it is also “sitting at the right hand of the Father”. If you do not believe as they believe they make giant leaps about what you think of Jesus Christ in Eternity. The funny part is they never mention the function of the Holy Spirit in all of this including Eternity.

  307. Gavin –

    You seem to be missing my point and question. So back to the beginning.

    @ Nick Bulbeck:

    “And finally for now:
    … God never authored or inspired any “scripture” and his (or her) nature must be determined experimentally.
    How would you go about discovering God’s nature? Would you even try?”

    To which you answered:
    @ Gavin White:
    “5 No because I wouldn’t know who or what God was/is”

    Me –

    I find your response odd, Gavin. It seems to me that God says differently as is stated in Romans below. Besides this, God very much revealed himself to men, experientially, throughout history. Scripture didn’t exist in ancient times when only word of mouth about “experience” with God WAS how He revealed himself to men. Do you believe that reading scripture is the only way that God can and will reveal himself to people today? That seems to be what you are saying, which would lead me to believe that your faith is in the scriptures and not in the being of God.

    If I misunderstood your answer please let me know.

    Romans 1
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
    19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
    20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
    21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
    23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    You replied with this:

    Gavin White wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    Hi Bridget
    The Romans verses are true but knowing God in this way wouldn’t point me to or offer or provide salvation and I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.

    Just for the record — I never said you could or should do it on your own. That was not part of the conversation.

    I then said:

    Bridget wrote:

    @ Gavin White:

    I don’t understand why it wouldn’t help you know God and His salvation. All through the OT there were men and women whose faith in God was counted to them as righteousness. They believed what God said (when they had personal encounters with Him) and they lived accordingly, or obeyed God.

    You then replied:

    Gavin White wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    They were the ones chosen by God to believe.

    This response sounds like you mean “they were the ones chosen by God to believe, and Gavin wasn’t.” You are a believer, right?

    I don’t understand these responses to my question which is bold.

  308. JeffS –

    I missed this earlier which was in response to a question I asked.

    “@ Bridget:

    Gen. 50:20: “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result – the survival of many people.” God planned (willed) for what happened to Joseph, which included the suffering he went through. His purpose, though, was different from that of the purpose of Joseph’s brothers.”

    Here is the thing. You seem to be reading into this account that this was God’s intention forever and we just can’t understand that.

    I read it — that the brothers intended to harm Joseph, but God took what was intended for evil and used it for His good purposes, “despite” what the brothers intended. The NIV references Rom. 8:28 at this Genesis passage.

    I think it would be interesting, and helpful, to see original language and translation options for this Genesis verse. We might find different and better alternatives. They used “meant” twice as if it was the same word in the original text.

  309. @ Bridget: And Joseph’s ultimately becoming a high official, etc. does not negate the suffering he went through – nobody ever seems to talk about that.

    It would seem that he had, per the narrative, found peace with his past. But that’s something that can only happen if/when a person is able to work through it and get beyond it, so that is’s not all-consuming.

    My guess is that Joesph was never free of the effects of suffering. In a way, the Biblical narrative reminds me of a Horatio Alger rags-to-riches novel; ditto for the book of Job. How the ending of the latter – that Job has many more children, etc. – could *ever* make up for the loss of his 1st family is something I find difficult. Very difficult. Yet another passage that’s glossed over. (If you believe that Job is entirely literal and not at all literary, that is…)

  310. @ Bridget:
    Bridget, I agree with your reading of the Joseph thing. God needed Joseph in Egypt, but (imo) he did not *need* the brothers to sell him into slavery to accomplish that. Had the brothers chosen a better way to deal with their jealousy, I am 100% confident that God would have put Joseph in Egypt some other way.

  311. @ Through a glass darkly: Or maybe someone else would have ended up being there.

    There’s a lot of moral teaching going on in the story of Joseph; part of it is about a father’s intense favoritism and how that (not just Joseph) stirs the brothers to murderous jealousy.

  312. @ Through a glass darkly: Joseph’s not entirely blameless, either – his telling everyone about his dreams is the other catalyst for what happens… He is, perhaps, an arrogant boy/youth. (At least, i can see that at work – one with a more realistic estimation of himself wouldn’t have gone around boasting about those dreams!)

  313. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    Bridget, I agree with your reading of the Joseph thing. God needed Joseph in Egypt, but (imo) he did not *need* the brothers to sell him into slavery to accomplish that. Had the brothers chosen a better way to deal with their jealousy, I am 100% confident that God would have put Joseph in Egypt some other way.

    So why not control the famine?

  314. JeffB,

    I respect you greatly for your courage of conviction, even though I no longer subscribe to some of the major tenets of Western/Augustinian theology.

  315. PhillyInDC wrote:

    The young man will not be left alone with Kelly until they are standing at the altar.

    This is certainly one part of courtship that just baffles me. I can see a reason for having family involvement. There are certainly also some men out there that would take advantage of a woman alone but not letting the couple be alone together till they are married? Is this really a good idea?

    From what I understand, the people that push courtship believe that when you are on your own you can act differently to impress a potential mate vs. if you are with family and your potential mate. I am not sure I buy that argument. A lot of times you are well behaved in front of your family but the “real” you that your potential mate should know about might be how you act in private.

    I could even understand initially requiring the two to be around family for a period of time till the “spiritual parents” felt comfortable with the young man. But I just wonder how good of a foundation it is for couple to get married having never spent any alone time together. Especially if they then are going to spend days together on a honeymoon?

  316. @ numo:

    Agreed. There is much that can be gleaned, positive and negative, from the characters in this narrative. Joseph did suffer at the hands of others. He also had a desire to do what was good even when experiencing harsh treatment.

  317. @ Anon 1:
    Well I don’t know if Sproul is neceessarily creating frameworks for the reasons you state, and don’t know if his view on the will of God is more influenced by his Reformed beliefs or his study of western Philosophy.

    To be fair to him, the aspect of God’s will of disposition being frustrated is my inference and not something he talks about.

  318. @ Steve:

    Here’s the way I see it. Courtship advocates always use the phrase “parental involvement” in their advertising because, like you said, most of us can agree to some degree of parental involvement. But when you actually examine the theology and practice, it usually boils down to parental permission, which is a big step beyond involvement. (Actually it usually boils down to paternal permission.) Of course they always add caveats to that permission…but there’s still not really any effective safeguards against a parent going against their child’s wishes and forbidding them to marry someone they actually are in love with and who is clearly the right person for them. The way they try to get around this is by pre-limiting the child’s options, i.e. what we saw in the video – Mr. Wright gets to prescreen Kelly’s suitors and if they don’t meet his approval, she never even meets them. You can’t miss what you never had! (Ironically the biggest Vision Forum fan couple I know eloped.)

    It’s all laid out here: http://www.trinitykirk.org/transcripts/The_Dance_of_Courtship_II_402_2003_09_14.pdf

    “Put simply, the time of courtship is between a father and a suitor and, technically, nobody else.”

    “A Suitor Courts a Father – Courtship is not about a man and a woman; it is about a man and a man. The father gets to set the rules, and a wise father knows how to protect his daughter in a way she will love and appreciate.”

  319. @ numo:

    Well . . . if even a bit like my life it’s really not an arrival at a certain point in time, but a meshed mix of “stuff” on the journey, with a goal of pleasing God.

  320. @ Bridget: You know, back when I was booted from That church, someone kept talking to me over and over and over about Joseph.

    But not once did they mention the fact that he really suffered, and for a long time. They were all for rushing to the resolution of the story.

    Life doesn’t work that way, and I’m afraid that telling me about Joseph – something that was well-meant – piled on the guilt (on top of what I was already feeling, since I thought I had done something wrong – though that was not true, and I knew it but was not yet able to have any kind of perspective).

  321. @ Bridget: If that person had just said “I’m sorry that you’re hurting” and been willing to listen to both my anger and pain, well…

    My suspicion is that Joseph would have been a good listener – as a mature man, anyway.

  322. @ numo:

    Yes, he probably was.

    Unfortunately, I am not innocent of being quick with answers to people who were suffering. I’m sure I had that response more than once 🙁 Likewise, listening hasn’t been a personal strong point in my life. I have recognized those traits, sometimes with the not so helpful help of others, and have desired to change in those areas. Reading this blog and several others is helping me to think and act differently as well as to gain a bit of insight into the suffering of others (not that anyone can completely understand what it is like to walk in anothers place through suffering).

  323. @ Bridget:

    It is bizarre how we can gain some insight from a bit of scripture and then proceed to try to get someone to “that” end result in a matter of a conversation — sheesh! The actual result that we are trying to apply to someone’s life could have taken years, if not decades, for the actual person to reach. Idiotic at best on my part anyway.

  324. @ Bridget: I hear you – really. I’ve done the same thing, and more than once over the years, though I hope I’m a bit better on holding off at this point…

    It is bizarre how we can gain some insight from a bit of scripture and then proceed to try to get someone to “that” end result in a matter of a conversation — sheesh! The actual result that we are trying to apply to someone’s life could have taken years, if not decades, for the actual person to reach. Idiotic at best on my part anyway.

    I know. I’m sure it took decades for Joseph to get to the attitude he had when his brothers 1st came to Egypt, and even then… I’m sure he was still dealing with things. (As with the story of his planting the cup, which strikes me as a way to get back at them, in part.)

  325. Bridget wrote:

    @ Dave A A:
    For real ? ! ? ! Wilson has that in writing?

    Sorry for taking full day to answer.
    “The symptoms can of course vary. He may be distressed over her spending habits, television viewing habits, weight, rejection of his leadership, laziness in cleaning the house, lack of responsiveness to sexual advances, whatever.”
    Later,  in explaining how the husband should start working on one simple area and then “move up” to the “whatever” as there’s “compliance”:
    “If she complies, he must move up one step, now requiring that another of her duties be done. If she rebels, he must call the elders of the church and ask them for a pastoral visit. When the government of the home has failed to such an extent, and a godly and consistent attempt by the husband to restore the situation has broken down, then the involvement of the elders is fully appropriate.”
    Wilson makes it clear that hubby does all this in a really really really nice and gentle manner. 
    http://www.reformedsingles.com/not-where-she-should-be-douglas-wilson

  326. @ Bridget:
    I missed this comment earlier, but what you are quoting should not be attributed to me.

    My view on Joseph is that is a Biblical text that gives the model for both God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. There is no doubt in my mind from reading this account that God has intentions and that he causes things to happen within our choices; to say that God does not intervene and just lets creation go on without is intervention is contrary to this text. But I also believe that when it talks about what the brothers “meant” it is talking about their wills- they did what they willed. They acted as free agents and chose to behave the way they did, and in doing so they caused much pain. What they did WAS evil, but God worked it to a good end, even if not-good happened along the way.

    Now does that make what happened along the way “OK”? No, but did God use it for a good purpose? Yes. And were ultimately the faithful to him better off than when they started? Yes.

    And I think that’s the promise of God: that end the end, when all things are resolved, all things will ultimately work out good for the believer, even if that “good” is only seen in the afterlife. When Paul wrote that all things work together for good, he wrote it likely knowing he was going to be executed- certainly he saw what happened to faithful Stephen.

    I have been through a lot of personal pain in my life, and I do not attribute this pain to God. I attribute it to the actions of those who caused me pain. In fact, never has it been in my mind to accuse God of doing, or even allowing, these things. Do I believe intellectually that he could have prevented them? Yes, I do. But emotionally I trust that he did allow them and that in the end I will be better off for having gone through them. I say that now, but boy if someone had told me that when I was going through the worst of it, I might have slugged him. It was as true then as it is now, but to talk about it then would have shown a clear lack of acknowledging my pain. Notice that it is Joseph who gets to say that “God meant it for good”, not the brothers. He is the victim, and he gets to decide when it’s appropriate to talk about the ultimate purpose for things.

    Someone recently asked me if I could go back and change the last 15 years, what would I change? I said “nothing”, and I meant it. Now if I DID go back there are some things I would change- I don’t think I could marry the woman I did. But then I would not have my son, and his existence is worth more than any pain I endured. I would not have the ministry that I do. And ultimately, I would not be the kind of Christian that I am today. Not everyone gets to see the “good” in their lives, but I trust that it is there because it is a promise of scripture.

    Now how God works soverignly through the wills of humans, I don’t know. But I believe he does.

  327. Jeff, Do you think God responds to prayer? Do you see evidence of that in the OT? Or do you think what prayer brought about what already planned?

  328. @ Dave A A:

    Bridget and Dave,

    I used to read Wilson’s blog and mablog a lot years back plus Pooh’s Think which was a guy who left that cult and wrote about how it operated. So reading both at the same time was an eye opener.

    Wilson was like a pasha who plays with peoples heads and presents that as “Christian”.

    I was astounded that anyone could take Wilson seriously after reading his blog. So you can imagine my utter shock when Piper brought him in as a speaker for DG. Then we have GC embracing him.You would not believe the stuff on his blog that was offered up as intellectual thinking. He has a gift of taking what should be obviously wrong thinking and packaging it as intellectual. (See his stuff on slavery as an example or his backing a pedophile in marriage)

    I have watched as this Calvinist resurgence has grown more and more bizarre and cult like and folks who should know better just blow it off. Wilson is pretty new to many people but anyone like him who can become mainstream tells me they are way off the rails.

    I think of it as the biggest faux intellectual movement of history.

  329. @ Jeff S:

    Thanks JeffB, and I did get confused along the way. Jeff S was commenting as well. For some reason two Jeff’s on the the thread does me in — please forgive my confusion.

  330. @ Dave A A:

    Dave A A –

    Thanks (but not) for that quote. I hope you know that I was in astonishment when I said “for real” and not doubting you? Wilson’s writing sounds like something the 17th century Puritans would write not to mention it sounds like the training of an animal, not the relationship between a husband and wife who love each other.

    “The government of the home” . . . sounds like a communist state of being.

  331. @ Jeff S:

    That is an interesting essay. The only quote in the piece is from Calvin, and Sproul cites no scripture. It comes across to me as pontifications while attempting to explain the actions and/or inactions of God.

  332. Gavin,
    If you want your comments to be private then make them privately. What is posted on a public blog is indeed the business of every reader.

    You are certainly correct about the crassness.

  333. Hester wrote:

    @ Steve:
    Here’s the way I see it. Courtship advocates always use the phrase “parental involvement” in their advertising because, like you said, most of us can agree to some degree of parental involvement. But when you actually examine the theology and practice, it usually boils down to parental permission, which is a big step beyond involvement. (Actually it usually boils down to paternal permission.) The way they try to get around this is by pre-limiting the child’s options, i.e. what we saw in the video – Mr. Wright gets to prescreen Kelly’s suitors and if they don’t meet his approval, she never even meets them. You can’t miss what you never had! (Ironically the biggest Vision Forum fan couple I know eloped.)
    It’s all laid out here: http://www.trinitykirk.org/transcripts/The_Dance_of_Courtship_II_402_2003_09_14.pdf
    “Put simply, the time of courtship is between a father and a suitor and, technically, nobody else.”
    “A Suitor Courts a Father – Courtship is not about a man and a woman; it is about a man and a man. The father gets to set the rules, and a wise father knows how to protect his daughter in a way she will love and appreciate.”

    Hester

    Good point. With courtship it is really the father who decides if his daughter (or in this case “spiritual” daughter) can even meet with this man.

    This is another part about courtship that just baffles me. It sure seems like almost a Catch-22 for a young man interested in a girl. He doesn’t know if him and the young lady are a good match but must spend time going through the father to determine is they just might be a good match. With some fathers, what they have to go through to convince the father to be able to spend time with the girl can be quite extensive.

    In reality how many times can a young man do this with a father of a prospective girl if it requires a lot of time? Why invest a lot of time doing this if you really don’t know that you might be a good match with this woman.

    I am sure it could possibly work in situations where you know the woman through your church and can spend some time that way. Still for most situations it seems like a Catch-22. Is it any wonder that this woman has gone 7 years and isn’t married?

  334. Gavin White wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    Hi BeakerJ
    The answer would still be no.
    1 If God is an open theist he’d create something and then be playing catch up for the rest of his days. So he wouldn’t be in control.
    2 It’s one of the mysteries of Islam. Looked at closely you might conclude that it is a kind of salvation by works. The deterministic bit comes from those holding the sword.
    3 Again no. Because the word stands separate and above what any man teaches. What you are describing takes us back to pre-reformation days. Hopefully the Lord wouldn’t leave us in darkness for too long.
    4 Why leave the truth for the sake of a proposition?
    I said in another thread (admittedly under another name) that I was considering swimming to the middle of the Tiber because I felt that the Christian life was/is more than “mere” doctrine so I think I can step outside my Protestantism without too much difficulty. What has caused me to slow down in recent days has been the extraneous and rather anti-Christian notions of Mary having anything to do with anyone’s salvation and I find it hard to take seriously a man who sacrificed two of his priests to the Argentinian junta for the sake of expediency, and who on the day of his humble coronation (look, I’m not wearing red slippers) and takes the bus to go and worship Mary! Hello!
    Happy Easter! (Note to reader: Mary was standing under the cross, just like the rest of us, not on it).

    Gavin – you are still unable to think yourself into the actual premise of that whole discussion….I’m bowing out gracefully now, Happy Easter.

  335. @ Bridget:
    That’s fair; however, I think it would be reasonably easy to find scriptures that are examples of God’s will being discussed in each of these ways.

    And to be charitable, the quote from Calvin wasn’t about the main topic, but rather to not go farther than scripture in attempting to explain the things of God (which may be the exact thing Sproul is running afoul of here if such scriptures are not easily located).

    For what it’s worth, I’m actually not a big fan of essays that are riddled with scriptural references. I much prefer concepts to be explained and allow me to go back to scripture and see if I think that scripture supports the ideas or not.

  336. @ Jeff S:

    I don’t like writing riddled with scripture either. But Sproul seems to be explaining doctrine in the book where this essay comes from. It would be good to have a few references to see from where/what he is forming his thoughts.

    In the end, I don’t believe we are able to wrap our finite minds around the infinite God this side of eternity, maybe not the other side either 🙂 I like to attempt it though! Meanwhile I’ll try to not put God in a box of human making and expect everyone else to believe my box is “the correct box.”

  337. @ Gavin White: I do not wish to be drawn into a discussion on this topic.

    But I will say this: you can phrase things so that you’re not mounting a direct attack on Roman Catholics and their beliefs – or at least, the beliefs of many (though not all).

  338. @ Bridget:
    And I hope I’ve never come across as expecting other people to believe my box is the correct one.

    I would rather convince 1 non Christian to trust Christ than every non-Calvinist Christian on the planet to become a Calvinist.

  339. numo wrote:

    @ Daisy: I think a lot of churches are actually quite rough on divorced people… just my opinion, though.

    For sure. The SBC church I attended just after my wife left me told me I was disqualified to preach. When I asked why, one person said, “Well, if you remarry, you’re an adulterer. That’d be the same thing as us saying we’d allow a homosexual to minister to us.” I didn’t stay long after that.

  340. @ Mike:
    Yes, in many churches you get a second class status if you are divorced. It’s the unpardonable sin and so many talk about this stuff like it’s perfectly normal to think that anyone who remarrys is committing adultery.

    Of course, given your example many women who want to preach would say you are joining their club.

  341. @ Brian:I got a good one by caner. Actually, I found a boatload. But, I need to get a few others. I would appreciate help-I am striking out.

  342. @ Gavin White:Please be a bit kinder when speaking of the new Pope. We have Catholics who visit this blog and I enjoy their presence. They tend to be most thoughtful of our evangelicals. When you mention things like the junta accusations, can you include a link?

  343. @ Gavin White:I rather like this symbolism

    “Throughout Church history, the color red has been deliberately chosen to represent the blood of Catholic martyrs spilt through the centuries following in the footsteps of Christ. The red papal shoes are also linked to Christ’s own bloodied feet as he was prodded, whipped, and pushed along the Via Dolorosa on his way to his crucifixion, culminating in the piercing of his hands and feet on the cross.

    The red shoes also symbolize the submission of the Pope to the ultimate authority of Jesus Christ. Beyond this, it is said the red papal shoes also signify God’s burning love for humanity as exhibited during Pentecost when red vestments are worn to commemorate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles as tongues of fire rest upon their heads. ”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat/2013/03/ruby-red-slippers-the-story-of-the-popes-shoes.html

  344. Gavin White wrote:

    I find it hard to take seriously a man who sacrificed two of his priests to the Argentinian junta for the sake of expediency,

    From what I’ve gathered from news sources who’ve looked into this it is sort like Obama wan’t born in the US. The story will not go away no matter how deep people dig and can’t find any there there.

    NOT trying to start a US or Argentina political debate.

  345. @ dee:

    Thanks for your kind words.

    The bottom line (don’t like that phrase, but I like it more than “at the end of the day”) is that I’m a “There is not a stray molecule out of God’s control” person rather than a “There could be a stray molecule out of God’s control” person. I think Scripture leans toward that conclusion, but I’m sure that my own emotional make-up contributes to this also. My natural view of life is that it is chaotic and random, and that the ground can disappear beneath our feet at any time. So it is comforting for me to believe that God is in complete control and leaves nothing to chance.

    I then have to confront the problem of God’s ultimate responsibility for evil. I can only do this by having faith that God can only do good and that His idea of good includes ours and goes beyond it. I understand it if anyone considers this to be nonsense or a cop-out. Maybe it is.

    I admire the fact that you really examine these issues. I humbly admit that I have not read all of the Institutes. I guess Piper would throw me out of his church. I don’t think these are salvation issues anyway.

    BTW, was it you or deb who said that you not only read the Grudem, but taught it? If you (or deb, for that matter), did you believe it when you taught it, or were you and the class both “discovering” it together?

    @ Bridget:

    First of all, no problem about the confusion of similar names. After all, God planned it from eternity past.

    Very good idea about studying the original language. Until then, and maybe after also, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    @ Muff Potter:

    I really appreciate your comment. Thank you.

  346. Gavin, Have you been reading Kim Riddlebarger’s blog? He has had a thing about the pope’s attire, too.

  347. How do red shoes line up with mickey mouse t-shirts and gelled spike hair on a grown man? Any connection?

  348. Jeff B

    I taught the whole thing along with my husband and another friend. We were co-teachers and I was not under their “covering.” In fact, my husband said he was glad that I was the one who kept him on track as did my friend. I allowed the class to agree and disagree. They all got a chuckle when we got to the part on women. I knew exactly what I was getting into. 

    Here is the point. We all agree on so much except for some minor points. Much of the stuff Grudem wrote is what most Christians believe. But there is  some “musts” on secondary issues with which I disagree.

    On the point abotu molecules, here is how I currently see it. I believe that the molecules could go in a million different directions and all directions be within the wider will of God. I am pretty sure that God is waaaaay beyond binary choices. There were certain things that had to happen (Christ’s death and Resurrection). Beyond that I think that there may be infinte choices on the part of man for many different things and that all of those choices fit within His will. His will is big enough to include infinite choices and His plan will still be in play.

  349. Robert

    Keep your eyes peeled for a serious theologian statement as well.I am excited. This post might work after all! Thank you.

  350. @ Jeff S:

    You haven’t come across that way to me 🙂 Considering the limiting aspects of commenting on blogs, I try to think the best (read without inserting emotion!) when reading. However, there are a few people who have made a reputation for themselves. Those are a bit more challenging.

  351. @ dee:

    I realize you don’t want this thread to go on forever, but here’s a few more thoughts:

    You wrote: “Beyond that I think that there may be infinte choices on the part of man for many different things and that all of those choices fit within His will. His will is big enough to include infinite choices and His plan will still be in play.”

    This sounds like just what I meant when I said I believe nothing happens outside of the counsel of God’s will. Unless you mean that He doesn’t know in advance which of the infinite choices people will make. If that’s the case, I don’t understand how all these choices can remain within His will.

    The $64,000 Question (maybe you’re too young to get the reference): If God knew the fatal choice Adam and Eve would make, and He knew that, ultimately, this would lead to countless humans living in torment throughout eternity, would it have been better if He had never created human beings? It seems that, for Him, creating man was worth the, let’s say, “downside.” And that it was also worth the terrible things that people do to each other.

    I don’t see how we can get past God being ultimately responsible for all the terrible things that will happen to people (and all the good things too, obviously). If He knew before creating them what those creeps would do to Jessica, could He not have chosen not to create them? Somehow creating the people who would do that to that little girl was, in some way we can’t fathom, part of His perfect will.

  352. Gavin/All readers

     I read what you wrote at Jared Moore’s blog. Here is what you said about us.

    Dear Mr Moore

    I would like to thank you for your gracious reply to the followers of the Wartburg Watch Who have commented recently here. I can confirm from my own experience that they are biased against reformed doctrine and abusive to those who don’t fit their profile. I trust that their anti-Christian stance I’ll be recognised for what it is.

    I shall pray for you. You are now banned from TWW.

  353. There was an interesting Armenian quote on the SBETS site where he accused all Reformed of believing in a God that likes killing people… that is pretty nasty – I will try to find it again if you like…

  354. me
    I would love it.Thank you. I am really looking for ward to this post. I am looking for a you tube video with Gibbs slapping Tony upside the head.

    Do you know any theologians who have made such comments?

  355. @ dee:
    I thought he was too. In fact, I always thought you were a little tough on him. Clearly not.

    I can understand feeling like this blog is tough for a reformed person- but to label folks abusive or anti-Christian is so sad.

    Dee, please don’t beat yourself up for erring on the side of hope. One reason you do this is so people will hear. Gavin wasn’t one of them, but he’s not the only one who reads your blog.

  356. Hmmm . . . looks like Gavin won’t be answering the questions I put to him. He seemed to be ignoring me anyway once I gathered all his odd responses together and asked him about them.

  357. An Arminian and a Calvinist would likely be considered unequally yoked. I, as a Reformed gal, married a Catholic. My pastor was quite supportive. Imagine my surprise when I got home from my honeymoon to find Reformed Pastors I did not know blogging about my wedding and declaring they would have excommunicated me for marrying a Catholic. Lovely.

  358. @ Jeff S. & Dee:

    “I thought he was sincere.”

    “I thought he was too. In fact, I always thought you were a little tough on him. Clearly not.”

    As one of the people who (sort of) defended Gavin during the big dustup when he left last time – I agree. To call TWW “anti-Christian” because most of the commenters here have problems with Calvinism is grossly unfair. And since I have defended/tried to dialogue with him in the past, a word to Gavin: I really don’t appreciate being labeled “abusive.” I’m sure Jeff and Brad don’t either.

  359. Addendum @ Jeff & Dee:

    Also, does that mean by implication that only the Reformed are Christians? I hope not, thought that would be the logical conclusion from “anti-Christian” (anti-Reformed = anti-Christian, therefore “Reformed” must = “Christian”).

    Funny because I don’t necessarily consider Calvinism and Reformed doctrine the same thing (though Reformed doctrine does presuppose Calvinism).

  360. Oh no! No more patronising & illogical answers from Gavin, how will we survive? He just could not see anyone else’s view & was stuck in the reformed-only -equals-christian loop….apart from the anomaly of having a Catholic wife…

    If it was me not playing nice with Gavin that made him say TWW was anti- christian I apologise Dee!

  361. Jeff S wrote:

    @ Mike:
    Yes, in many churches you get a second class status if you are divorced. It’s the unpardonable sin and so many talk about this stuff like it’s perfectly normal to think that anyone who remarrys is committing adultery.

    But they’ll let you be a member and take your money. Wonder why these churches that are so literal everywhere else in the Bible allow those that are divorced and remarried to be members? It’s all about the money. How much would their church membership shrink if they treated those who are divorced and remarried the same as they treat gays?

  362. @ Jeff S:
    Good post. I agree, at the time it’s painful and we don’t need “Job’s comforters” to piously tell us it’s all working for our good.

  363. @ Krista:
    That’s terrible! I hope you have/had a long and happy marriage. I thought our culture had largely matured past this type of bigotry. Apparently not.

  364. @ dee:

    Dee –

    Is it possible to explain what you mean by we was had? It seems we was all had! I was sincerely trying to dialogue with Gavin but noticed he was answering in short bursts when normally he would quote long sections of reformed writers. Then he simply ignored me. He was beginning to act like a certain “other” persona who used to comment.

  365. @ Krista:

    Wow! How obnoxious! I’m sorry you had to deal with that commentary at all. I guess those reformed pastors have inside knowledge as to who believers (the elect) are and could judge your husband based on how much they didn’t know about him? To add to that, they were judging the pastor who married you. Quite astonishing.

  366. If Perseverance of the saints makes Geisler a calvinist then we’d better put every single arminian baptist there too.
    Geisler did compare calvinism to divine rape saying that irresistable grace makes God a rapist
    “Irresistible force used by God on his free creatures would be a violation of both the charity of God and the dignity of humans. God is love. True love never forces itself on anyone. Forced love is rape, and God is not a divine rapist!” (Norman Geisler, “God knows all Things,” Predestination and Free Will, (ed.) David Basinger and Randall Basinger (IVP, 1986), 69 ).

  367. @ Bridget: I believe that the comment that he made at Jared Moore’s blog insulted all of the people who come to this blog. He never said that we were “antiChristian” while he was here. He also starts off “nice” and escalates into negativity.

    This is all my fault. I knew that he was problematic from behind the scenes and I should never have let him comment after the last ban. But, I believe in second chances.

    I chalk this one up to experience. He thrives on attention so I am about to studiously ignore him while praying for him.

  368. @ Robert:

    Like I’ve said before, I don’t get into free will vs. determinism/Calvinism vs. Arminianism debates (anymore), but that statement of Geisler’s is definitely not Calvinist! Goes right against the I in TULIP.

  369. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Thank you! 7 years and a few kids in and we are quite happy. Largely due to what Dee said in her post, we sought things beyond our current theological beliefs in whether we were compatible or not. Honestly the blogging made me cry, and I realized there were many more churches out there who were actually serious about Christian unity instead of people who just pay lip service to it.

  370. @ Bridget:
    I have never commented until this post, although I have been reading for a while. This has been a healing place for me, seeing people of many denominations come together and respect each other. I did not find that with certain types of reformed churches. I didnt know their true colors until I made a choice they weren’t happy with.

    And yes, my pastor got the brunt of it all, for how could he allow such an obviously foolish choice?! Said the people who only knew “Catholic” and “reformed”. I guess I took the teachings of “3 branches of Christianity” too far. It didn’t mean Christian enough for me to marry one of them. 😛

  371. dee wrote:

    I would like to thank you for your gracious reply to the followers of the Wartburg Watch Who have commented recently here. I can confirm from my own experience that they are biased against reformed doctrine and abusive to those who don’t fit their profile. I trust that their anti-Christian stance I’ll be recognised for what it is.

    I shall pray for you. You are now banned from TWW.

    Oh dear, here we go. The typical YRR/NC hyperbole. TWW is “abusive”? Hee Hee. Right.

    So his definition of abusive is disagreement, questioning him in a way he does not approve and calling him out on some of his comments? THAT is abusive? Seriously, most REformed big dog blogs don’t even take comments and the ones that do are notorious for deleting any dissent or questioning. Gavin played here for a long time without being deleted. In fact, most of his comments were vague and head game playing. Now, after all this time, he plays the “victim” card of abusive.

    Obviously he has not experienced sustainted long term abuse or he would not to so flippant about it and redefine it to fit his ego. He sounds like the YRR who go around whining that people want to throw them out of the SBC. Truth is, they played head games with people, lied about who they are and their agenda.

  372. Robert wrote:

    Geisler did compare calvinism to divine rape saying that irresistable grace makes God a rapist
    “Irresistible force used by God on his free creatures would be a violation of both the charity of God and the dignity of humans. God is love. True love never forces itself on anyone. Forced love is rape, and God is not a divine rapist!” (Norman Geisler, “God knows all Things,” Predestination and Free Will, (ed.) David Basinger and Randall Basinger (IVP, 1986), 69 ).

    Robert, I read something recently that someone sent me that Geisler was responding to Sproul who referred to Irresistable grace (or something) as divine rape in one of his books. The title had “Johnny” in it. If I can find it, I will post it.

  373. Krista,

    I am SOOO glad you did not marry a YRR guy! A very happy long life to you both!!! And welcome!

    (PS-My very best friends in the world are “unequally yoked” Baptist/Catholic. I have never met a more Christlike couple in all my life. Both are not just hearers of the word but DOERS. I am constantly amazed at their love and generosity toward those in need simply because they love Jesus and others more than themselves. So, you go girl)

  374. @ Anon 1:
    I’m pretty sure that Norman geisler quote is in context and represents his actually feeling on irresistible grace. He has also called undcondtional election “theological racism”. The only link I can find to the interview with this quote is this one withJames White reviewing it http://youtu.be/BMIzzhGUzXY

  375. Robert, I found the link in my email and went and read the thread. I think you are right about context except he is saying “forced love is rape” whereas Sproul uses “divine rape of the soul” in an affirming way describing a born again experience. So perhaps having the premier Calvinist using “divine rape” as a positive and a non Cal using rape as a negative cancels each other out.

    One reason this link resonated with me is that a lot of these guys respond to each other in their writings. You see that with NT Wright/Piper and this might be the case with Geisler in his book “Chosen but Free”. I would want to know if he was using Sproul’s language on purpose for his audience who would be familiar with Sproul. I have not read the book. And I cannot stomach too much of Sproul just musing outloud abuot how these guys usually interact in their writings.

    Here is the comment by Lumpkins who is known for at least doing his homework and is very well read…. not that I always agree with him:

    “If you’re referring to Geisler’s statement “God is love. True love never forces itself on anyone. Forced love is rape, and God is not a divine rapist!” then, a) it’s not the same as JD’s slanderous remark since Geisler was actually defending God’s character, not denouncing God’s actions or, as you wrongly assert, equating “the doctrine of election with God’s rape of sinners.” That’s simply rhetorical hullabaloo you’ve created as a smokescreen for Hall to hide behind.

    Even so, b) I’m particularly uncomfortable using an image which undeniably depicts the real-life violent abuse of women and reducing it to a literary category for critical purposes. This would include my strong reservations in Geisler employing it as he did. Clear enough?

    More significantly, when Geisler employed the image, he may very well have had in mind R.C. Sproul who, in his novel, Johnny Come Home, speaks about the “divine rape of the soul” when describing Johnny’s born-again experience. If I am correct, then we should not be so hard on Geisler but should look to Sproul who spawned the very image you attribute to Geisler! Namely, Sproul equated the doctrine of election [including regeneration and irresistible grace] with God’s rape of sinners. What a Georgia hoot!”

  376. @ Anon 1:
    My concern was not with sproul I am merely providing quotes from a non Calvinist theologian. Just because sproul used a similar term doesn’t mean geisler should have. If rc sproul used it then he is wrong to do so. I’m also unsure if I would quote peter lumpkins as a reliable source as i have seen some pretty bad misrepresentations of people in some of his videos and articles, he is especially notorious for his less than accurate portrayals of calvinism.

  377. Ugh- that is really disturbing that Sproul used the word “rape”. The most charitable way to look at this is that he was living far to much in his head and did not consider the emotional impact of his words, but even that is inexcusable.

  378. In a quick google search, wikipedia attributes “holy rape of the soul” to Johnathan Edwards, though it admits it is found nowhere his written works.

    Ugh- that is disturbing to say the least.

  379. Robert wrote:

    If rc sproul used it then he is wrong to do so. I’m also unsure if I would quote peter lumpkins as a reliable source as i have seen some pretty bad misrepresentations of people in some of his videos and articles, he is especially notorious for his less than accurate portrayals of calvinism.

    No problem Robert. Ironically, your reasons for not liking Lumpkins are my main reason for liking his writings as he does his homework about Calvinism and Calvinists even bringing historical positions not frequently heard. I do disagree with him on some secondary stuff but that is not a big deal. I do think he has been made out to be the boogy man by many SBC Reformers because he is one of the few that dares to speak out.

    I think it is unfair to his his portrayals of Calvinism or Calvinists is unfair without giving examples but then I realize this is not the place for it. Why not go to his blog and give him specific examples of how he is wrong?

  380. @ Jeff S.:

    Yeah, “rape of the soul” is pretty out of line. I can’t think why Sproul (or anyone, for that matter) would think that would be appropriate, let alone why he would find it to be an accurate description of God’s actions even in a Calvinistic system. When I self-described as Calvinist it would never even have occurred to me to describe irresistible grace that way. Theology facepalm.

    BTW, happy Easter!

  381. @ Jeff:

    Just to check – this is Sproul Sr. we’re talking about, right? Because it wouldn’t shock me at all to hear that Jr. said something that dumb.

  382. @ Hester:

    Well this comes via Anon 1- but my quick search in the internet says the term was credited to Edwards by a non-Christian Puritan scholar, but it shows up nowhere in his writings. Sproul Sr. has apparently referenced it more than once, however. This explanation makes sense, as Sproul is very fond of Edwards and I think bares some amount of shame that he is not as “bold” as Edwards. Sproul Sr is a smart guy- the way he lifts up his heroes of the faith really seems to pull him down.

    Whatever the cause, saying something like that is WAY out of line. And honestly, I totally see Anon 1’s point about Geisler. It’s hard to be too offended over him repeating something that Sproul Sr. said.

  383. If the term was credited to Edwards by a non-Christian Puritan scholar, then it’s quite possible that Edwards never actually said it; rather, the scholar in question came up with the term to describe how he felt about the things Edwards did say. (I say “he”, because I doubt whether a woman would have been allowed to be a scholar in those days.) A similar thing is true about the quote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – it’s often attributed to Voltaire, but actually it was a summary of Voltaire’s belief in freedom of speech written by someone who knew him.

    Anyway, back to the “soul rape” quote. We do know how much Edwards’ angry God hates sinners; such a deity is hardly going to “save” them through a tender, kind and respectful act. Moreover, just as with Amnon and Tamar in 2 Sam 13 (and in how many other episodes in human history), having begun with an act of violence arising from his own selfish desire, he’s hardly going to start loving them after he’s taken what he wanted from them.

    I’ll never forget the example of a junior leader in a shepherding-like church I was a member of some years ago. He frequently professed his love of people, and how important it was to reach out to them. Yet he never showed an ounce of respect for newcomers to the church. “They’re just babies, Nick – you’ve got to baby them. Contempt can never co-exist with love; and that leader’s true attitude showed itself regularly and often.

  384. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    If the term was credited to Edwards by a non-Christian Puritan scholar, then it’s quite possible that Edwards never actually said it; rather, the scholar in question came up with the term to describe how he felt about the things Edwards did say.

    I agree, but this doesn’t explain Sproul’s adoption of the term.

  385. Jeff S wrote:

    but my quick search in the internet says the term was credited to Edwards by a non-Christian Puritan scholar, but it shows up nowhere in his writings.

    Jeff, just curious, where did you hear it never shows up in any of Edwards writings? Frankly, I do wonder about that but not familiar with the usage of that word during that era. Anyone know?

    I know I read it in something from perhaps a hundreds before but cannot remember where exactly. I keep thinking it might have been the Bloudy Tenent but I am certainly not going to reread it!

  386. @ Anon 1:

    http://ironink.org/2008/02/holy_rape_of_the_soul/

    Also from the following entry on Wikiepdia (but does note that there is no citation):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irresistible_grace

    “Jonathan Edwards has sometimes been quoted—notably by R. C. Sproul—as referring to the irresistible call of God as the “holy rape of the soul,” but the phrase does not appear in Edwards’ Works. Instead, the phrase seems to have been coined by Puritan scholar Perry Miller, and many Calvinists distance themselves from it.”

    But my searching is far from exhaustive on the subject. Just a little google- after all, if it’s on the internet it must be true!

  387. @ Anon 1, Jeff & Nick:

    Sproul may not have known that term was coined by an author and, thinking it was genuine Edwards, used/modified it himself. Lots of people don’t carefully source quotes attributed to famous people (as evidenced by the number of fake Founding Fathers quotes that make the rounds on FB) so it’s possible that’s what happened.

    As for Perry Miller, he was one of the most respected Puritan scholars of the past century (along with his student, Edmund Morgan – I know, yet another shameless plug for Morgan on my part) and I was going to start reading him anyway…maybe I’ll have to prioritize him now to investigate this quote hullaballoo.

  388. How is “holy rape of the soul” any worse than “God willed your rape”?

    Answer: It’s not. The latter is far, far worse.

    Considering not Satan, not people, but God “ultimately responsible” for every evil? My defender, my supporter, my healer?

    And why? For “our own good”? Unbelievable.

    God must have said, “Child abuse, my perfect will indeed. Oasis will be better off!”

    God and Satan, working together in beautiful harmony.

    It’s not that God willed freedom (as opposed to evil itself) for people made in his/her image. Neither does it have anything to do with the god of this age and his kingdom. No, all is “of God.”

    Reading this thread was like being stabbed with a thousand knives, and I have not been able to stop crying. Please, someone pray that God will pull me up out of this pit… 🙁

    I tried not to comment. I really did. And I will stay away from these discussions in the future.

    Go back and reread Jeannette’s comments, and consider the destructive, devastating impact this teaching has on victims of child abuse.

    Doctrine over people. Calvinism fails the love test.

  389. @ Oasis:

    Hi Oasis,

    I’m really sorry that these conversations are so painful for you. I have been reading at a blog where the writer does not view things from such a “Neo” perspective. I have read two different articles over there today and found both to be very helful. Here is the link to one. It specifically covers Romans 8:26-30 in light of one of the horific shootings last Summer.

    http://thepedestrianchristian.blogspot.com/2012/08/divine-sovereignty-and-aurora-spree.html

    Be hopeful! There are other Christian perspectives. Bless you!

  390. Oasis wrote:

    Reading this thread was like being stabbed with a thousand knives, and I have not been able to stop crying. Please, someone pray that God will pull me up out of this pit…
    I tried not to comment. I really did. And I will stay away from these discussions in the future.

    Well, I don’t want you reading stuff that causes triggers but I do hope you will comment. We need to hear from you. I will say it: The god of Calvinism is a huge lie. Most folks can agree to disagree about it but I really think some have to irenically take their idea of god to its logical conclusion.

    I was talking to someone about this yesterday. I said that Calvinism seems to work well for those who are in a ministry profession or teaching but it is horror for those who have been abused/used/hated as children for no reason at all except evil. They were not being persecuted for being believers and worst of all some were used and abused by those who professed to be believers. Some in ministry!

    I have Calvinist friends whom I love a lot. But one thing I have noticed about them is they do not “apply” their Calvinist beliefs to their lives or to the lives of others around them. And this is the greatest weakness I see and one they cannot seem to see themselves.

    At some point it has to come down to doctrine over people. It always does with Calvinism.

  391. Breaking: Ken Ham discovered to be older than he looks. AIG in uproar

    Hee Hee. I just noticed that. Good one!

  392. Bridget, thank you so very much for that link! A better read than anything else I’ve been able to find these past few days. Yes, that is just the kind of perspective that gives me hope. It enables me to see the goodness of God, and to believe in his love for me/everyone, which then enables me to love him in return.

    Anon 1, thank you for saying it. And yes, it’s a horror…a heartbreaking and relationship-killing perspective that makes my blood run cold! It really concerns me that other people out there are hearing this teaching and being affected in the same way. I love reading your comments, you always encourage me a lot. Thank you for doing so again, you are an incredible help!

  393. Thank you, Bridget. I’ll read that one, too. This particular teaching knocked me right over, finally getting the better of me…need all the help I can get. Thank you a thousand times.

  394. I finally watched this trailer.

    I give this girl and A+ for her heart and her sincerity.

    But beyond that, I do not believe that God would have her ignore what appears to be sound advice from the parents the Lord gave her.

    And then this “dude” who is her “spiritual father” starts pontificating in what appears to be his library about daughters not leaving home etc.

    Where does he get this? Who is this guy?

    He doesn’t look any more impressive than the girl’s father. He certainly doesn’t sound better.

    I showed this video to my pastor.

    He observed that there is a deeper desire that is driving this type of thinking. The desire is to have a fool proof marriage where the spouse is the perfect selection with the perfect qualities who will never disappoint you.

    Isn’t that sort of like the lesson about manna in the wilderness? You have to get up each day to collect it.

    Each day in a marriage, both spouses have to decide to surrender to the Lord and to be selfless and loving. That’s what makes a “successful” marriage. Not going through arcane rituals to make sure that you get the perfect one.

    Also, people who enter marriage should understand that there will be times and seasons when one spouse will disappoint and hurt the other. You cannot avoid this by trying to get a guaranty from God based on certain things you do when looking for a spouse.

  395. Anonymous wrote:

    He observed that there is a deeper desire that is driving this type of thinking. The desire is to have a fool proof marriage where the spouse is the perfect selection with the perfect qualities who will never disappoint you.

    Isn’t that commonly called “Stepford Wives”?

  396. Anon 1 wrote:

    At some point it has to come down to doctrine over people. It always does with Calvinism.

    As it was with Communism. Except they called it “Ideology” instead of “Doctrine”.

  397. Oasis wrote:

    God must have said, “Child abuse, my perfect will indeed. Oasis will be better off!”
    God and Satan, working together in beautiful harmony.

    This is the Dark Side of Predestination beliefs.

    And what happens when God’s Sovereign Will (i.e. POWER) trumps all other aspects of God’s nature. You end up with a God who is Omnipotent but NOT benevolent. And the worshippers of that God will worship POWER and POWER alone. And to be truly Elect, they will try to be as much like their God as possible.

    “The only goal of Power is POWER.” — G.Orwell

    “POWER means You Get To Do Anything You Want. ANYTHING.” — my NPD brother

  398. Hester wrote:

    Yeah, “rape of the soul” is pretty out of line. I can’t think why Sproul (or anyone, for that matter) would think that would be appropriate, let alone why he would find it to be an accurate description of God’s actions even in a Calvinistic system. When I self-described as Calvinist it would never even have occurred to me to describe irresistible grace that way.

    Well, it DOES justify Rape Culture as Godly and Gospelly… God does it, so his Chosen Elect can, too. Rape Culture as Righteousness, with God Himself as the example…

  399. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    This is the Dark Side of Predestination beliefs.

    And what happens when God’s Sovereign Will (i.e. POWER) trumps all other aspects of God’s nature. You end up with a God who is Omnipotent but NOT benevolent. And the worshippers of that God will worship POWER and POWER alone. And to be truly Elect, they will try to be as much like their God as possible.

    Yes, agree with you 100% on this. And how very dark it is.

    Power, which seems to be a synonym for CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL.

  400. Long-standing christian tradition has described God as ruling with wisdom, power and love. Though there’s no single verse that I’m aware of that pulls all these three together (2 Tim 1:7 comes close) they are certainly characteristic of the way Jesus lived.

    If you think about it for a moment, they form an excellent “three-legged stool” of stable kingship. Remove any one of the three – or, crucially, relegate any one of the three to a position of lesser importance – and the remainder aren’t good enough.