Friday, July 07, 2006

An IMB Trustee, A Calvinist, and Blog Subjectivity - Part 2

Today, I continue my two part series on subjectivity in the blogging world. It is a lesson to me and all other bloggers, less we fail to keep our minds open to alternative views. I am truly grateful for all the different opinions that are existent in the SBC and feel we are wise to challenge the statue quo in our lives, our churches and our convention. But Scripture and the principles contained therein must be our authority, not our evil desires, not our culture, not our friends, not even our traditions, but Scripture and its teachings. And no one save the Chief Cornerstone has a corner of the market on Scripture, thus we should all remain open-minded as we discuss issues. Having said that, let us also be clear, that we do not have the freedom to interpret Scripture or its principles in whatever manner we desire...there are hermeneutical principles that should guide us, (though we are all capable of error).


May we learn from these lessons.


From Calvinist's Blog:

Tom said:
“Brad: You are forgiven for assuming that I am humble. No amount of misapplied analogies can hide the huge inconsistency of your ethics. You are profess to be against something that you willingly imbibe and then refuse to discuss it as a matter of ethics. It really is a dilemma. Your attempts to rewrite history have also not improved during your few week absence. You state: " Honestly, I would have ceased all correspondence had you published e-mails between us that I asked you not to publish." The Caners never asked--Ergun Caner *demanded* that his emails not be published, but only *after* stating that if they were published they be published in their entirety. Why do you continue to misrepresent this, if you are indeed interested in the truth? It only hurts your credibility with those who have read the email exchange and know better. I do not know Dr. Falwell very well but I will take your word for it if you say that he is not offended at being accused of "pimping" a show to little old ladies. I really am glad you started your own blog and take no offense whatsoever that you did not do so for my sake. I am hoping that it will give you an outlet to express your opinions more appropriately than what you sometimes have done on the blogs of others. I meant it when I said that I hope you will be able to use it to glorify God.
“Brad: Pardon me for jumping in on your conversation with Scott, but I was alarmed by this statement: "I affirm 3 of the classic points of Calvinism provided I can define them, ...." Now, I am quite sure you are no liberal, but this is *precisely* the way liberal professors at Southern and Southeastern rationalized their signing of the Abstract of Principles in the 1980s. Authorial intent was completely rejected. The real question--the question that every honest signer of that document should be able to answer in the affirmative--is this: Do I believe the article of this statement in the same way that James P. Boyce and Basil Manly, Jr. did? The hermeneutic that you have articulated ultimately allows for any kind of belief. I can run 100 yards in 5.7 seconds, if you allow me to define what a yard is.


I Said
“Tom Wow - Speaking of misrepresentation thanks for your model comments. I will not address what you said of me - I try not to defend myself, although I do fail at times. Concerning Dr. Falwell, I said - since he knows Ergun he would probably not be offended by those comments. But you are probably correct in assuming he would not be offended at the comments themselves (no matter who said them). What I know of Dr. Falwell, is that he has pretty-thick skin and is not offended much at all by what people say about him, especially his friends.”
“Tom, As you know Calvinism is a system...to take 3 points away from the other points does not do the system justice, especially with the presuppositions on which the system is based. Allow me to reference you, also, to Dr. Akin's understanding of the Abstracts, which I affirm. Please feel free, to lecture him on hermeneutics. I am quite certain one of you will be enlightened:)”

A comment by me to Aaron that the Blog administrator responded to:
I have made it clear that both Caners are capable of erring and certainly do. Further, I would never defend their erring but have simply stated part of what I know of them. Moreover, I have asked that if stones be cast, they come this direction. Any unwholesome language is not pleasing to Christ. But what amazed me was the duplicity of attacking Ergun with implications of unwholesome speech and then maintaining a Blog, which is consumed with unloving and unChrist-like comments. Two regular readers/participants of this Blog have contacted me and shared that the vitriolic spirit contained here was not present before the Caners showed up on this Blog. Yet, the fault of the degeneration of the comments on this Blog into a Jerry Springer episode and a tabloid of the Caners e-mail lies not with them, but must rest at the feet of the Blogs’ owner. To date NOONE has shown where the publishing of the first or current post on the Caner debate glorifies Christ, honors his command to love one another, exhibits true rather than pseudo forgiveness or exemplifies to the world how Christians are to treat each other. There was a reason Christ told his followers not to take private disagreements to public courts. Were Tom to humbly admit that it is possible that he was wrong to post these (which invited language that questioned Ergun’s salvation) it would be refreshing. Were he too admit it was unwise in the first place and remove them it would be spiritually intoxicating. And yet, I fear a continual defense will be mounted.”

Tom said...
“Brad: Once again I cannot help but wonder at how we can speak the same language and yet seemingly fail to communicate so regularly. In one sense I suppose it is commendable that you are jealous for my humility (even though I am someone whom you have never met) that you encourage me to "admit that it is possible that [I] was wrong to post these (which invited language that questioned Ergun’s salvation" or better yet, to "admit it was unwise in the first place and remove them." I certainly am not above being wrong, but your appearance here defending Ergun Caner and claiming that you can affirm 3 of the points of Calvinism that the Abstract of Principles teach (and which you have presumably signed and promised to teach in accordance with and not contrary to) AS LONG AS YOU "ARE ALLOWED TO DEFINE THEM" hardly builds a compelling case for your point. If you think I have sinned in this blog post, please show me from God's Word. Brad, go back and read the original post. I would not have posted my exchange with Ergun had he not *asked* (as you so fondly refer to it) me to do so. Why blame me for doing what he demanded here when you blame James White for not doing what he demanded with the previous correspondence. Once again, your ethical system seems to have some wires crossed at serious points. At the very least your inconsistency does not allow thinking people to take your calls here seriously. If you really think that this post is like Jerry Springer, what in the world is your opinion of the post where the Caners showed up and spewed their venom back in February? (see the sidebar for the post on Johnny Hunt's nomination; read their comments there) You know the Caner brothers. Have you publicly admonished them as you have me? Are you more concerned for me, a stranger to you, than you are for your own friends? Such duplicity betrays concerns at work other than those which you publicly claim. Brad, I plead with you to compare what you consider to be the most Springer-like comments here with the Caners' comments in their correspondence. If your crosswired ethics still will not allow you to comment on that in which you have imbibed, then refer to their published comments on this blog from February. If you are really concerned about the honor of Jesus Christ as you say you are then you will without hesitation condemn much of what they wrote and will call for them to repent. If you do not do this, then no amount of verbage to the contrary will convince us that it is *Christ's* honor that motivates you.


Comment he refused to post:
(Tom), “You didn't disappoint me in defending yourself rather than admitting this avenue has been unwise or explaining how this is a witness to the world of God's love and forgiveness.
I usually refrain from explaining things more than twice but here goes.
Were Ergun or Emir to host a Blog, which contained an atmosphere of vitriolic words amongst brothers, I would certainly ask them if they felt it glorified Christ. I have not read their comments from Feb and really don't have the time to, but will trust your analysis filtered through the subjectivity your current comments reveal. However, laying the blame for comments written on your Blog at the feet of all others, save yourself validates my concerns. Furthermore, the creation of a public atmosphere for such language is certainly distinguishable from private conversations.”

Comments Posted on this Blog:

He (Ergun) tells outright lies, claming you have agreed to things you have not agreed to. His behavior is Juvenile and arrogant. – comment by Michael

It's difficult at best to even carry on a reasonable conversation with someone with such an arrogant, swaggering attitude, much less a serious debate over the weighty issues at hand. – comment by allofgrace

I wish that I could say I am surprised with the actions of Dr. Caner, but like Dr. Falwell, he reveals a certain propensity for being unable to keep his tongue under control. Instead of speaking as a believer ought, he speaks harshly and rashly, doing all short of uttering profanity in his public discourse and yet continues to claim to be a child of God. – Comment by James.


Neither of the Blog administrators necessarily agreed to the comments I have revealed they posted, but their willingness to post these and then to subjectively edit out comments of mine (which are not in the same ballpark as the vitriolic statements they did post) reveals less than an open-mind. One should not turn a blind eye to such open subjectivity, especially when these same men speak of things in the SBC. In other words, listen to what they say, but as with all of us, realize they speak with a bias. Further, may we learn from these lessons and allow voices to be heard even if we don't agree with them.

This brings me to the policies of my blog.
1. Vitriolic statements that go over the line will be removed from this Blog
2. Comments that differ from my opinions will be posted, even if they make my opinions seem null and void.
3. I will try to keep comments from devolving to the point that Christ is not honored.

BR

7 comments:

sbc pastor said...

BR,

Here is my humble opinion concerning your post as well as my personal observations on Tom's blog: Tom's comments and actions, as well as those of many that post regularly on his blog, are just as deplorable as those that he condemns. The tragedy of the whole ugly mess is that it hurts the name of Christ, the SBC, and all those involved. I have only been reading blogs for a few months and have only been posting for a few weeks. However, I have seen more vicious attacks, false accusations, misrepresentations, and slander than I ever care to see for the rest of my life. Brad, I am definitely with you on this - I too will be very cautious not to participate in or allow any such activity on my blog. Thanks for the good word and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

brad reynolds said...

JLG

Thank you for your words...and honestly I need to be more careful myself. It is easy to get caught up in the spirit of debate. May the Lord help us to avoid such temptations and to convict us when we fail. And may we repent immediately when the Holy Spirit does convict us.
BR

IN HIS NAME said...

Brad and JLG

Spiritual Pride
Too many of us are like the gourd that wound itself around a lofty palm tree, and in a few weeks climbed to the very top. "How old are you?" asked the gourd. "About one hundred years," said the palm. "About one hundred years, and no taller! Look, I have grown as tall as you in fewer days than you count years." "I know that well," replied the palm. "Every summer of my life a gourd has climbed up around me as proud as you are, and as short-lived as you will be."

A Brother in CHRIST

IN HIS NAME said...

Brad and JLG

Spiritual Pride
Too many of us are like the gourd that wound itself around a lofty palm tree, and in a few weeks climbed to the very top. "How old are you?" asked the gourd. "About one hundred years," said the palm. "About one hundred years, and no taller! Look, I have grown as tall as you in fewer days than you count years." "I know that well," replied the palm. "Every summer of my life a gourd has climbed up around me as proud as you are, and as short-lived as you will be."

A Brother in CHRIST

Eye said...

Brad,

I couldn't agree more with Jeremy's comment. I too have gotten into long 'debates' with the 'extreme' calvinists and I've never seen anything like it before. Your comment as of 4:12 is exactly how I feel about all of this. May we continue to seek the Lord with all of our hearts and make Him known in the midst of a lost and dark world.

In Him,

Eye

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