I think that if I was growing up today, I’d have been diagnosed with ADD and probably medicated. I am easily distracted from the work I am supposed to be doing. I tend to lose interest in discussions after a certain length of time. So, I don’t know if it is my attention-deficit or what, but I can tell you this:
- I am sick to death of this discussion of the Traditionalist Document. Could we beat that thing into the ground a little more? We’ve devoured it, sucked out the marrow and gnawed the bones, have we not?
- I am sick to death of talking about Calvinism and variations of non-Calvinism, and all of the attendant issues. In blogging, emphases have come and gone. IMB Policies. Tithing. Alcohol. Baptism. Ecclesiology. Each has had its moment in the sunshine. But during all of this, one issue has stayed continually at the center of our focus. Calvinism. Anti-Calvinism. Non-Calvinism. Arminianism. Traditionalism.
And, after all these year of daily and voluminous arguments, we are no closer to solutions than we were 7 years ago. We have inflicted great damage on one another. The average SBC Calvinist has a catalog of injuries and false accusations inflicted upon him (or her) by those who oppose his soteriological position. The average SBC non-Calvinist has an equally lengthy catalog of equally valid injuries. And as soon as the subject is brought up, we start recounting those injuries and productive debate is thwarted.
Ever feel like one of those hamsters running on a wheel? Faster and faster we run, but we are getting nowhere.
On the other hand, we cannot ignore these issues. They are central, they are significant, they are essential. We have to talk about the interconnection of God’s Sovereignty and human responsibility. We have to talk about the process of regeneration. We cannot hide our heads in the sand and act as if there is no real issue. This is a real issue.
So, maybe what we need to do is just take a different tack in how we discuss the issue. Instead of trying to organize “my team” to gather a majority to defeat “your team,” maybe we could try a different approach. Maybe my idea will never work. Maybe Southern Baptists cannot have a grownup debate on issues related to Calvinism. But maybe we can, if we try a slightly different approach.
Here’s my suggestion. I’d like to try a different way.
I am loathe to censor the contributors of SBC Voices, so I will probably continue to publish what they write and what they send me, even if it ignores this request. But I would suggest that instead of simply rehashing old arguments and recounting old injuries, we attempt to focus more on exegesis and biblical argument.
Instead of another post on how arrogant Calvinists are, or on the weakness of the “traditionalist” system, maybe we could have posts that focused on biblical passages.
- Maybe instead of using John 3:16 as a weapon, someone could exegete it and we could have a discussion of the theological depths of the passage.
- I’m already planning a post on the passages that make the doctrine of limited atonement a problem for me.
- Could a non-Calvinist exegete Romans 9 and explain biblically why they view that passage differently from the Calvinist interpretation?
- Maybe we could have “dueling posts” on the doctrine of depravity. Looking at the biblical evidence, what does Scripture say about the human condition? Of course we are lost sinners deserving of hell. We all agree on that. But just how far does human depravity go? That is a key discussion.
- We could have word studies on the meaning of “foreknow.”
- I really like the “point-counterpoint” approach. A Calvinist and a non-Calvinist could team up. One side writes 500 words on a topic. The other side writes 500 words on the same topic. Then, each gets 500 words to critique the other’s view. Then, I post it!
And then, when these posts are presented, maybe we could TALK about the exegesis of the passages, and EXPLAIN our differences instead of the useless, pointless and unproductive debate that has marked blogging discussion for years to come.
I am sure there are a few people who would be disappointed, on both sides. I think there are some who like gnawing on bones of a tired debate. But there are 66 books of the Bible to feast upon. Maybe we could talk about what the Bible says on this issue and transform our discussions a little.
I don’t know, its just an idea. What do you think?