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Bullying with Nonsense and False Humility Print E-mail
Written by Oshea Davis   
Thursday, 27 February 2014

Kevin Deyoung has a recent blog reviewing a recent book titled, “Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed,” by Austin Fischer.  Although I did not find his review very helpful, I did like his quick summary of Fischer’s book helpful. Below are some points of Deyoung’s summary of what the book says.

 

(1)The chief end of God is not to glorify God, but to express love, which is his glory (Chapter 6).

  (2)Yes, God is sovereign, but he empties himself of his sovereign prerogatives and grants us free will so that the divine-human relationship can be authentic (Chapter 7).

  (3)Sure, free will theism presents us with logical and biblical problems, but every system does, and if we have to live with mystery, it’s better to live with the mystery of love (Chapter 8).

  (4)After all, certainty is the enemy of good Christian limping (a la Jacob at Jabbok), and having doubts is the mark of theological maturity (Chapter 9).

  (5)In the end, the gospel of the kingdom is about much more than substitutionary atonement. It’s about making disciples, and Calvinism—which does not allow for choice, decision, or wills that matter—cannot naturally produce disciples of the kingdom (Chapter 10).

  (6)Besides, Romans 11 has nothing to do with personal salvation or damnation and has everything to do with God’s plan for Israel and the faithfulness of God (Chapter 11)

(7) Given the doctrine of reprobation, how could God be loving, just, or good in any sense of those terms? And if God is not virtuous in any way that we understand virtue, then how do we know he has been truthful—as we understand truthful—in revealing himself in Scripture?... ? Sure, God could plan any number of catastrophes to be for the ultimate good of his eternally saved people, but “how will God make it up to the reprobate?[1]

 

If anything else, besides feeling anger and sorrow for such foolishness, it makes for a good laugh.

I have written about some of the following points in other works, but I thought it might be helpful to write a quick repose to some of the above.  

 

The (1) point is so naïve I do not know where to start. I would recommend Jonathan Edwards’ book, The End for which God Created the World. Here, Edwards compiles systematically for 10 years all verses dealing with God’s glory and shows rather easily that God’s chief end is for His glory. Now, love has something to do with God’s pursuit of His glory; namely that, God LOVEs his glory (i.e. His Son) to have public Supremacy; and so this makes His glory the chief end. In Ezekiel 36 the Lord tells Israel more than once that regarding His salvation of them that “Not for your sake do I do this, says the Lord GOD, “Let it be known to you.  Be ashamed and confounded for your ways.” And again, “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name (i.e. Glory) sake.” That is, God does not save them because he loves them, or because they are valuable in and of themselves; rather, God’s Name is valuable and He loves His holy name (i.e. holiness gone public, which is what glory is); and therefore His glory which He loves deserves to be saved from the dishonor sinful man has done to it, even if it means the way to glorify Himself is saving the sinners who dishonored His glory.

(2) At this point Fischer starts a series of false humility that is typical in both reformed and non-reformed camps: this time around it happens to be on non-reformed side. Fischer wants to claim God is Sovereign, but since his anti-biblical affirmation of human free-will contradicts God’s absolute sovereignty then there is only one option if one still wishes to affirm God is sovereignty, which is to bully the mind with nonsense, as a maneuver to cover up the contradiction.  He says in a present tense (if Deyoung’s summary is correct) that “God is sovereign.” However, he then proceeds to say that God(past tense) gave up his sovereignty in order to give man free-will. What nonsense!  He affirms God is presently sovereign, but he turns around and says God is presently not sovereign.  To say God, past tense, gave up and is continually giving up His sovereignty to give man so-called free-will is to affirm God is not sovereign because he gave it up. Whether someone finds this sentimentally nice is another story, but to affirm God gave up His sovereignty means God, well, gave it up and so He is not sovereign anymore. But Fischer sill wishes to affirm the biblical doctrine that God is sovereign. Make up your mind.  Sadly, many overlook the obvious, and in this case the obvious thing is that the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty contradicted the worldly first principle(s) and doctrine(s) that man has free-will. God is sovereign and so nothing relative to Sovereignty is free; what could be more clear? With such a contradiction we do not need to even investigate any further if what Fischer is saying is true or false, for even Jesus Christ in the passage of Mark 12 appeals to the law-of-noncontradiction.  With a false humility of wanting to affirm a biblical doctrine many will cover their errors and love-affairs to hold onto worldly doctrines by bullying the mind with nonsense by affirming contradictions until the weak in faith give up and affirm the nonsense with them.

(3) “sure, free will theism presents us with logical and biblical problems, but every system does This is a very self-defeating and illogical thing to say, in addition to being shameful by using a false form of humility. The false form of humility comes from the fact he plagues everyone with being in a system-of-thinking that has “logical and biblical problems.” My first thought is, Please speak for yourself and stop dragging my name and other Christians down with you.  Friends, it is never loving to God or loving to the church to speaking in contradictions and nonsense and then drag God’s name and the church down with you.  Real humility in contrast will admit is own failures and sins and mental shortcomings without having to drag the whole world into the repentance in order to soften the blow of your personal failure.  If he finds himself believing in a so-called theology that has logical and biblical problems then he needs to repent for believing heresy and repent his owns sins and seek God’s grace for wisdom: God gives liberally to all who ask for wisdom(James 1), and Father teaches His children faithfully (john 6:45).  Secondly, this is self-refuting. If you admit that your theology-system has logical and biblical problems then on what authority or right do you have to say the other way-of-thinking is wrong? If your system of thinking has biblical and logical problems then to affirm your system-of-thinking is true and the Calvinistic one is wrong is thus said with logical and biblical problems.  Such a statement guts one’s epistemology and its relationship with ontology, thus making knowledge impossible. Yet Fischer uses knowledge to say this self-refuting nonsense. Knowledge in this way-of-thinking is impossible because it falls into skepticism, but skepticism always denies the law-of-noncontradiction.  Yet even Jesus appeals to the law of noncontradiction. This way-of-thinking is always false; that is, this way of thinking cannot describe the realty around us, let alone give knowledge of forgiveness or even red cars.  What, you think I am going too far by saying Fischer’s thinking leads to skepticism, yet this is exactly his very next point!

(4) Fischer now gets to the point of his worldview, skepticism, although he calls it “uncertainty.”After all, certainty is the enemy of good Christian limping.” LOL! Does he know this statement certainly? If he does then he is a hypocrite to his own standard. If not, then why preach to me a moral to follow and be judged by God over, if you’re not certain of it!  Skepticism always denies the law-of-noncontradiction, which means such a way-of-thinking is false; however, even Jesus appeals to the law of noncontradiction. We finally see that Fischer was not arguing for the Christian God, but for his lover called skepticism. It finally comes out.  And boy, does it come out.  Not only does he admit he is a skeptic, but justifies this worldview by asserting that skepticism is a virtue!  If only sin could be done away with by simply affirming sins are virtues. “Having doubts is the mark of theological maturity.” Unfortunately, the obvious is missed again from the scripture. Why do theologians make an art out of missing the obvious? Jesus and the scriptures are very compassionate, forgiving and longsuffering with our doubts (with those who at least try), but that does not mean doubt is a virtue.  When Peter doubted and began to sink in the stormy water did Jesus affirm his doubt as a mark of maturity or immaturity!  Jesus affirmed it as immaturity, although He was compassionate with Peter and his doubt. God’s kindness and forgiveness for our sins does not make the sin a virtue! Hebrew tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, yet doubt is the opposite of faith (a trust in what God says). We are commended by James not to doubt and be tossed to and fro in the sea.  Again, Fischer is struggling with a sin called doubt and skepticism, but rather than repenting of his sins and find restoration from them, he hides them under a false-humility by calling his sin virtues.

I cannot stomach much more of this so I will skip to number seven.

(7) “How will God make it up to the reprobate?” What kind of question is this? That is, the question seems to be asked if the Scripture does not have this question and also answers it.  Romans 9 answers this question, “why does He still find Fault [with people He hardens]? O man who are you to replay against God? Will the thing formed say to him who for it, “why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have the power over the clay, from the same lump to make on vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” The creator does not make up anything to no one. He does what he wishes with the things He has made, and no one can say to Him stop.  Romans 11:35 informs us that God is under no burden to repay anything to no one, for no one has ever given anything to God; except the free love of the Son to the Father. God cannot sin, because He is the standard. He can never be guilty of sin, for sin is lawlessness, but God is under no law or rule or authority. How obvious is it that a creator of clays pots in college pottery class  has the right to make what he wishes without wrong doing, yet Scripture equates this to God’s right over human souls. This is the God of scripture; anything less is not a truthful depiction of reality as it is.

(7a) “given the doctrine of reprobation, how could God be loving, just, or good in any sense of those terms?”  Reprobation is loving because the Scripture tell us it is, that is, reprobation is loving and just and good because it exalts the love that the Father has for His Son as the Son is lifted up with public supremacy. I am not sure the scripture is Fischer’s first principle or epistemology for knowledge. In the Christian worldview the Scripture is our first principle for knowledge; thus, if we wish to know what love, or justice or goodness is and if reprobation is such, then we must get such definitions of the terms and then their connection from the Scripture. Otherwise we are no longer operating in the Christian worldview. What goodness is Fischer referring to? Buddha’s, Darwin’s, his? I already know that the Scripture’s definition of love and goodness contradicts their definition for the same terms. If his, then the scripture tells us that despite our innate knowledge our sinful nature can suppress the truth, even the truth of what love, goodness and justice are. Yet, as God’s chosen ones the scripture teachers that God sovereignly causes us to know the truth when we encounter the truth of His Scripture; 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (the context is in the reading of the scripture).” However Fischer, only shows us what we already know, that God’s worldview contradicts worldly worldviews.

 



[1] http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/02/24/young-restless-no-longer-reformed-a-review

 
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