The Pyromaniac himself has weighed in on the John 3:16 Conference allegations that if you don’t believe God is eternally bummed about failing to save those He desires to save you are a hyper-Calvinist. You can read his always well-written blog entry here. Hopefully by now you have gotten to the heart of the issue on this matter: Dr. Allen, and most of those who oppose Reformed theology (but who likewise seem utterly unwilling to engage the topic when the other side will be equally represented), find the term “hyper-Calvinism” a useful pejorative. Useful in the sense that it helps them to try to insulate their followers from actually hearing what the other side has to say. Hence, when I seek to be fully consistent in my beliefs, and as a result, refuse to portray God as having eternally decreed His own unhappiness, I am labeled a “hyper-Calvinist” (despite the fact that it is painfully obvious Calvin surely agreed). I see no evidence that God will be standing upon the parapets of hell weeping for eternity because of His failure to accomplish His will. I can proclaim God’s command to repent and believe to all men, and I can do so with passion, not because I pretend to look into God’s heart and mind, but because I know the reality of God’s wrath, the sin of man, and I believe implicitly the promise of God that anyone who turns in faith to Christ will be saved. And as I noted on the DL yesterday, while the synergists get a lot of mileage out of preaching “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life if you will only let him into your heart” the absolutely necessary counterpoint to their feel-good proclamation is “however, I can never tell you He can truly save you perfectly and completely because, after all, my entire point is that He is helpless aside from your cooperation.” Do they consistently follow through on that point? Of course not. Most embrace the “I have my ticket punched and I’m on my way to heaven, don’t bother me about consistency or the work of the Spirit in my life” viewpoint. Makes not a lick of sense, but since they almost never put themselves in a position where they can be challenged on the topic (I was a part of an SBC mega church once: I know the culture, and if “Pastor” says it, you better believe it, brother) the incoherence of their systematic theology is rarely highlighted.
I am thankful Phil can put up with my slightly “stiffer” form of Calvinism. I would be more on the Reymond side than the Murray side, for example, and I am for a pretty obvious reason, I hope. How many of my Reformed compatriots are taking their soteriology into the contexts I do? Not many. When I have Roman Catholics and Mormons and JW’s and Oneness Pentecostals and liberals and Muslims and atheists picking apart every book I write and every article I publish, well, the result is to be expected. I’m a bit focused on consistency. Sorta comes with the territory. If I can’t back it up with sound and consistent exegesis, well, I’m not likely to find that position amenable to my faith. That’s why I take the position I do regarding 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4: I simply have not found any counter-exegesis that makes any sense of the passages. And I am not one for doing the, “Well, Super Theologian X held a different view” routine.
I note also a very fascinating exchange taking place in the comments on Tom Ascol’s last blog entry, found here. Malcom Yarnell scares me. Evidently, if I find my Presbyeterian brothers to be co-laborers in the kingdom, firm believers in the gospel of grace, compatriots in the battle against the powers of darkness and brothers in their passion for the freedom of God in salvation and the glory of Christ as Savior and Mediator, I’m just not quite “Baptist” enough for him. Of course, I also ran across this comment from him that made my head spin: “In response, please note that I consider the Roman Catholic church in the same way I do Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, although I do prefer the latter’s doctrines in some ways: the churches hold to innovations that countermand the New Testament, and thus may be classified as sub-New Testament.” – Malcolm.” “Prefer the latter’s doctrines in some ways”???? I am simply left without words at such a statement. Amazing, just amazing.