Friday, June 30, 2006

Combating the Calvinist Virus

This is a hilarious satire of Calvinism that was posted by nateNotes some time back. The satire makes reference to Ergun Caner, an anti-Calvinist who, like many critics of Calvinism, has a poor understanding of Calvinism.

For those who have not been following the exchange between James White and Ergun Caner, the compilation of emails can be found here and here. Frankly speaking, I must say I am appalled at the unbecoming manner that Caner conducted himself.

Combating the Calvinist Virus

My fellow Arminians:

It is with a deep and abiding sense of responsibility that I offer this public statement. As you may know, the esteemed Dr. Ergun Caner recently alerted us to a virulent strand of theological plague that threatens all our churches. The technical name of this virus is Voluntatem Dei, more popularly known as Calvinism. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
  • fewer, shorter, or non-existent altar calls
  • narrower parameters of baptism
  • elevated levels of expository preaching
  • shallow interest in the latest Christian fads
  • accumulation of old theological texts
  • heightened indignation at popular worship
  • obsession with tulips
Early detection is key to fighting Calvinism. Presymptomatic signs include increased interest in Romans 9 and Ephesians 1. If you suspect a preliminary infection of Calvinism in your church, follow these steps immediately:
  1. Quarantine the affected Christians from other church members. Unfortunately, you can't kick them out of the church right away, but you can tell them to shut up or face church discipline. Don't let their weak excuses about "Bible study" and "the truth" shake your resolve. Logic and reason are one of Calvinism's most insidious routes into the church, and you must limit exposure to the best of your ability.
  2. Isolate the affected Christians from Puritan books. John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Spurgeon are particularly crucial to deny your church members. Popular contemporary authors in the Puritan tradition are R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and John MacArthur. Other contemporary writers include C.J. Mahaney, Steve Lawson, Ligon Duncan, and Sinclair Ferguson. Other authors should be avoided just as strenuously; this list is not exhaustive.
  3. Inoculate the affected Christians with hyper-Calvinists. Tell them of hyper-Calvinists you know who won't share the gospel with anyone while destroying every church they infest. If you don't know any hyper-Calvinists, make one up. As part of the isolation process, don't let them know about churches pastored by any of the authors listed above. It won't do to let them know of loving, growing, evangelistic Calvinist churches.
  4. Inject heavy dosages of anthropocentric theology. Begin by hinging God's actions on man's choice. Tell your patient it would be immoral for God to let anyone go to Hell without a completely libertarian choice. Then tell them God doesn't want to love robots, and that a totally libertarian will was God's greatest gift to man. Make God's salvation completely contingent on man's response. Again, isolate your patient from Calvinist mutterings about God's free choice, His self-defined righteousness, or His use of means in the accomplishment of His will.
  5. Feed the affected Christians a steady dose of Evangelism. Make altar calls, decision cards, revival week, aisle-walking, and hand-raising equivalent to apostolic evangelism in the minds of your patients. Then hammer away at Calvinists who don't do these things for lacking evangelistic zeal. Again, isolate your patient from examples of Calvinists who call for repentance in ways you don't approve.
  6. Bring down the affected Christian's expectations. If they want to talk about Greek, call them elitists. If they bring up church history, make up your own. And if they mention exegeting John 6, divert them with an alternate interpretation of a completely unrelated verse in an entirely unrelated context. Gradually ease your patients away from the biblical text, and remind them that knowledge puffs up, but Evangelistic love edifies.
In the end, no measure of success is guaranteed. Despite your best efforts, you might lose some of your church members to Calvinism. If that happens, the best thing you can do is cut them loose. If you don't actually throw them out of your church, create such an atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia that they leave of their own accord. Let them join a Calvinist church if they wish. Leper colonies have their place.

Finally, be aware that the greatest threat comes not from your own church members studying their Bibles and reading Puritan-style writers. If you're leading your church responsibly, you have them so busy with the latest program and so involved with the latest Evangelistic crusade that they don't have time for indepth study and meditation. No, the greatest threat comes from other Calvinists infiltrating your ranks and releasing their deadly toxin among your church members.

This is biological terrorism. Treat it as such, and show no mercy to Calvinists who would threaten your church with an outbreak of 'Tulip's Disease.' To aid churches in guarding against theological terrorism, I'm proud to institute the Department of Arminian Insecurity (DAI). The following chart represents the current Calvinist threat level nationwide; you should refer to it frequently as the threat level will fluctuate radically around the Founder's Conference and near the end of October:

Since he is the man most responsible for the creation of this department, I'm proud to introduce Ergun Caner as the first Secretary of the Department of Arminian Insecurity. Rest assured that the next secretary will be someone who equals or excells Secretary Caner in bombast, rhetoric, and cheap shots. Calvinist terrorism can't be treated with kid gloves. All further questions will be answered by my press secretary, Dave Hunt. Although I believe he's already fully answered any question you might have, and further questioning would be a waste of time. Good day.

P.S. The DAI is a little cash-strapped, being a new department and all. If there are any patriotic Arminians out there who want to design a more graphically pleasing Calvinist Advisory System, the DAI is certainly interested in hosting said graphic.

Source: http://natenotes.blogspot.com/2006/02/combating-calvinist-virus.html

Update! Another announcement from the DAI, titled Calvinist Propaganda, can be found here.

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