Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Update from the PyroManiac/John 3:16 Conference
11/08/2008 - James White
I noted last evening the irony of my being in London to do four debates on Islam (one on the Trinity and Shirk, one on the Deity of Christ, and a two-parter with Shabir Ally on Jesus and Muhammad in the Bible) and the "John 3:16 Conferenc" in Woodstock, Georgia. As those of you who travel thousands of miles across seven time zones know, the day of your arrival can be a little bit surreal, and I wrote that post in that state. Hence its brevity! In any case, I noted last evening that Phil Johnson had commented on the issue as well, and his post can be found here. I thank Phil for taking time out of his busy editing schedule to post that. I will be seeing him at the end of this journey. Unfortunately, last I knew, his travel schedule will not allow him to attend the dialogue with Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah at Duke University the evening before our conference begins. In any case, I am thankful for the clarification.
I am living proof that a "high Calvinist" can be biblically grounded and yet can stand firmly against hyperism. I am often identified as a "compromiser" by the small cadre of hypers out there, some of whom live behind a keyboard. I drive them nuts since I am obviously unashamed of my Reformed position and in fact identify it as the heart and soul of my apologetic zeal. I fully know how my views could become cold and academic, and I know there have been those in the past who have fallen into that trap. Of course, I can identify the dangers of loss of balance in reference to almost any theological position, any divine truth. Beware the genetic fallacy when evaluating argumentation! It is one of the most common flaws in modern thought.
In any case, the hypers detest me, and there is a reason for it! I do everything they detest while upholding the Kingship of God in glorifying Himself in the salvation of His elect. Meanwhile, the synergists of all stripes, including those modern Southern Baptists who refuse to use historical terminology of their position (indeed, who rarely have sufficient "system" in their "systematic theology" so that their views can be identified in any consistent fashion other than "non-Reformed"), will continue to throw the "hyper-Calvinist" moniker around as a scare tactic, hoping, it seems, that their significantly less than compelling argumentation will be enough to keep the promising young minds in their churches from considering Reformed theology. But, alas, just as is the case amongst the Calvary Chapels---when you direct folks to the Bible, you are directing them to the very heart and soul of Reformed theology, the living text itself. So you have to try to overlay it with as much human tradition as you can lest they see with clarity the power and freedom of God that shines from every page! That seems to have been the purpose in this conference in Georgia as well. Give the pastors some kind of argumentation to use---not a full response, not a meaningful exegetical position to espouse, but just enough of a response to deflect interest.
Well, much to do in preparation for this time of ministry, so I shall leave it there. Continue to pray for the upcoming debates here in London!