Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Thanks to Michael Brown
03/26/2010 - James WhiteI've been pretty busy since yesterday's DL. Only had a small amount of time this morning to comment on Ephesians 1:11, and just got into the office. I fired up Michael Brown's program that he did just over 20 minutes after our mini-debate from yesterday. I could tell his voice wasn't doing too well---hard to do a program after the concentration it takes to do even a short debate like we did. Good ol' Johnny from California called in with his Melchizedek question (hey, at least I warned Michael it was coming!).
His theme was having common ground with believers with whom you have disagreements. It was an interesting program to listen to. I'm sure many on both sides find the relationship Michael and I have been able to attempt to model during this process hard to understand. On my side, I know many of my Reformed brothers dismiss someone like Michael out of hand. It is bad enough he's a synergist, but a Charismatic synergist? How bad is that? And, of course, I well know how the synergists view me and the "great danger" of Calvinism. I have had many dismiss my profession of faith merely based upon eschatology or some other such standard of fellowship.
I do not believe any honest-minded person can accuse me of compromising in my exchanges with Michael Brown--unless, that is, you define compromise as some do, that being a willingness to believe that inconsistency in theology means you are an unregenerate hypocrite, and that attitude leads rather quickly to the realm of real hyper-Calvinism (not the faux kind thrown about by certain Amyraldians and Arminians as a means to avoid dealing with the real issues). For some, if I say, "Michael Brown's work in defense of the deity of Christ and the Messiahship of Jesus is of great value," I have of necessity compromised my own beliefs about the sovereignty of God in salvation, for, in their minds, no one who would disagree with me on that topic could possibly do good work in any area of Christian theology or apologetics. It is this "all or nothing" kind of thinking that gets folks in trouble, since they fail to put proper thought into establishing when that is appropriate (you won't see me calling someone who denies the deity of Christ my "brother") and when it is not.
I know this exchange is a bit uncomfortable for zealous folks on both sides of this issue. I'm glad it is. We need the discomfort. I may make it even worse by asking if Michael would join me to discuss some of the key prophetic texts relating to the person of Jesus, and maybe I could reprise my time on his show to discuss some topics like the reliability of the text of the New Testament, or key texts in the Qur'an Christians should know. In any case, I look forward to next Thursday, when you will hear--over and over again, "But Michael, you really, really need to allow the whole of Scripture to speak here, and to realize that since God has not chosen to reveal the identity of the elect, which even you must admit, given your view of foreknowledge, God possesses, then we must accept the distinction between the prescriptive will of God, found in His law, and the decretive will of God, which envisions the existence of evil, and all the corollaries that flow therefrom." Maybe I won't use those exact words, but you will hear that theme over and over again. But, what you won't hear, Lord willing, will be any caricaturing of the positions by either side, and hopefully, in so doing, we will encourage others who engage the topic to strive for a high standard in the effort.