Christian Doctrine – Who’s Right? How Can We Know?
As much as I like to write, I don’t think of myself as good reader. Lists are much more readily absorbed. To which I recently found and watched an 8min video on the top ten things that Calvinists overlook with respect to John 6:37. These include:
10. “All” is treaded inconsistently
9. Not referring to church-age salvation after Pentecost
8. The “given” are the 12 disciples
7. Negative Inference Fallacy
6. Judas was both “given” and “lost”
5. Calvinists cannot prove he’s one of the “given”
4. Timing: No Holy Ghost, no death, burial, resurrection, etc.
3. The verses in the chapter that do mention “eternal life”
2. The stated purpose of the Book
1. The second half of the verse.
I am not familiar with Kevin Thompson, but the video can be found here:
I found this video informative and straight to the point in countering many of the typical arguments Calvinists have directed my way as to why they believe in TULIP in general and unconditional election in particular.
Scrolling down through the comments, one person referenced a rebuttal by no other than James White. White’s critique of Thompson begins at about the 1:08:00 mark.
Say what you will about Dr. White – he is passionate and articulate in his defense of all things Calvinism. And, although I find Dr. White to be annoying, arrogant and even condescending, it is not lost on me his defense of the doctrines he holds near and dear. To which, Dr. White puts forth (in my estimation, at least) a compelling hour long critique of Kevin’s Thompson’s list – point by point.
Well, not to just sit there and ‘take it’, Kevin Thompson puts out a lengthy refutation of Dr. White’s rebuttal. And at least from my perspective, Mr. Thompson takes apart Dr. White’s arguments very well indeed.
Suffice it to say, then, that the point-counterpoint of Dr. White and Mr. Thompson is on the one hand fascinating while on the other hand deeply troubling. I am impressed with the knowledge and skill both men employ and the detail in which both men counter each other’s arguments. In the end, I’m left with confusion and perhaps even a little despair. How is one to rectify the discordant views of those who profess Calvinism and those who don’t given that both sides present articulate and compelling arguments? Over the years, my Christian faith seems to have devolved into little more than personal opinion. At this point, I accept the historical personage of Jesus Christ. But, so what. Am I elect? Am I saved? Can there be assurance of salvation? I’m not sure. In the end, I reject Calvinism if only because, in my opinion, the nature and character of a holy God are laid to waste by God selecting very few people to join him in eternity while at the same time determining that the vast majority have no hope or even the ability to choose of their own volition and are subsequently cast off into the pit of Hell. Nevertheless, my antipathy towards Calvinism doesn’t make it wrong. And, too, having been told that my rejection of the doctrines of grace equates to me rejecting the gospel, well, maybe the conclusion is that I am indeed lost.
So, occasionally I search out and find something interesting such as a ‘top-ten’ list for ways to overcome the nemesis of my faith – Calvinism only to quickly discover (again!) that for every argument there is also a counter argument. In the end, perhaps I’m realizing that there is no answer. Unfortunately, if there isn’t an answer to the rightness or wrongness as to fundamental doctrine(s) emanating from the Bible, then how can one have any confidence regarding matters of faith? Unless, of course, one “feels” right about it. Perhaps the conclusion here is that Christian faith does break down to personal affinities – much like someone seeing beauty in a Picasso while someone else sees nonsense. Does it really matter?