Last evening I spent a lot of time–way too much time, especially given how far behind I am on a number of things, to respond to the “Internet Monk” and his essay about why he is “different” than “us Calvinists.” Now, I interacted with him, even told some of my own personal stories, all to point out that us “Calvinists” are not only human beings, but can stand toe-to-toe with such essays without compromising the gospel in the process. Read them for yourself. Up-front, but hardly “nasty.”

Well, evidently, the IM has adopted the viewpoint that he can dish it out–he can talk about the “Reformed Inquisition” and the like, but if someone responds, even in a fair manner, they are the equivalent of Nazi storm troopers. “Persecution!” is the call. He’s so mean! What a nasty man! I.e., “I get to say what I want. I can demean you, I can attack your life, your character, and your theology, but don’t you dare point out where I’m inconsistent, or I’ll wrap myself in the robes of martyrdom, and that will get all my post-modernist friends in a real tizzy.” Conclusion: the man has no interest in actually hearing the other side. His is the final word. The rest of ya, just clam up. I’m sure I’ll hear about how I forced a kind, gentle person to shut down his blog because I’m just so mean. Sorry, but this is just silly. Mr. Spencer, if you are going to broadbrush an entire group of folks and attack their beliefs, don’t be overly surprised if they point out your errors. That doesn’t make you a martyr, that makes you a fuzzy thinker. Here’s his commentary:

   How do you respond to something this sick and cruel? It’s an Apologetics ministry, and he is tearing about my journey. My life! I feel tremendous sadness that someone would take the time to rip apart a personal essay like that. Wow. It’s scary. Such a person is to be pitied. Bullying. I’m stunned at how heartless it is.
   The swipes at OBI hurt the most. I am very angry about that, but NO…I will not respond. In fact, I have closed IM for a while, and will not reopen until he’s done with me.
   But let me say this: This is the hand of God pushing me away from where I’ve been and on to where I need to go. Thanks Lord, for always keeping me on the journey to you.

Just a little truth to get past the tears of martyrdom here: sick and cruel = “He dared respond to what I said, and even shared parts of his own life experience and understanding of theology! Calvinists are not allowed to do that!” “My journey…my life” — which was posted publicly and addressed to Calvinists, who, of course, are to shut up and simply agree as a result. “Bullying” = “refusing to submit to my emotion-filled worldview.” “Swipes” = daring to reply to the idea of monasticism and the applications he himself made, along with not a small amount of self-congratulation about how good he and his fellows are (all placed in the context of why he is NOT like me). Taking down the blog = a self-inflicted act of martyrdom. The final lines are a very transparent tactic, often used when someone has no meaningful argument to make, or reply to offer, to attempt to deflect attention from that fact by saying, “Oh, you have just confirmed that I want nothing to do with what you believe.” I imagine so: if your emotions are your final authority in all things, you won’t be overly interested in what I had to say.

As if to demonstrate the reality of the situation, one Phillip Winn just posted a lengthy diatribe, including profanity (“Out of the abundance of the heart…”) and enough straw men and canards to fill a box car. Amazing inability to read words. At one point he writes, “If I wanted to be like many of your commenters, or James White, I could run with my interpretation here and lead a jihad against him.” Go ahead, Mr. Winn. But please, you have so grossly misread what I wrote you won’t get far, and unlike Mr. Spencer, I will not hide behind the robes of martyrdom and shut down my blog. Instead, I will document where you have not put forth even a semi-honest effort to understand or accurately represent what I wrote. Be that as it may, I’m glad others have read, understood, and saw that the whole point was to demonstrate that 1) Spencer’s view of the “Calvinists” he is not like is inaccurate and warped, and 2) you can love and laugh and have a deep spirituality without a) wearing it as a badge on your shoulder, or b) compromising the gospel. Onward and upward, as someone says…

10:45am Update: Mr. Spencer has decided to turn my response not only into an attack upon himself, but upon his school. He writes:

Anything you read on Dr. White’s site about the school where I work is written in complete ignorance, I assure you. Kentucky Baptists have found us deserving of their support for more than a century.

I did not address the school, nor would I. I addressed Mr. Spencer’s comments about his ministry and life and how that makes him “different” than “us.” His stubborn unwillingness to read my comments in the spirit and context in which they were offered, and his utter unwillingness to function by consistent standards, is disheartening, and sad. I hardly need to point out that nothing of the substance of what I said has even been touched.

Also, the profanity mentioned above has now been removed/edited. It was there in the original post.

I do hope someone will invite Mr. Spencer to calm himself, read my posts with at least a modicum of fairness, and actually consider what they said in the spirit in which they were offered.

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