Friday, July 01, 2005

Chiming In On An Outside Discussion

. . . why Jonathan Prejean has it wrong

I don't usually stick my neck into outside discussions, but I was struck by the utter obviousness of this one. Jonathan Prejean criticizes James White for insisting that James' recently-converted Roman-Catholic sister misrepresents Calvinism in an article she wrote on the Envoy website. Prejean says this:
Now it's ridiculous to make assertions like that without proof, and the simple fact of disagreement with the distinctions that between things that White "clearly differentiated in his writings" doesn't remotely prove that she is reacting to someone else's position, that she has not read anything on the subject, or that she has no familiarity with the issues involved. This is the sort of dumb ad hominem that we have come to expect, and it is ad hominem, not substantive in the least. I suppose White is simply asserting the truth of his claims by his powerful second sight into the mind of his sister; this couldn't possibly be an unwarranted assumption.
I, too, have read Ms. Bonds' article on "eternal security," and I am in full agreement with James White's comments. I must say, one would be hard-pressed to find a more blatant misunderstanding of the Calvinist position than what Patty Bonds communicates that she had before her conversion to RCism. I'm terribly sorry if Jonathan Prejean doesn't seem to like that, but it's a fact nevertheless. Here is how Patty Bonds states her former beliefs:
At that point I was a dyed in the wool Calvinist and I believed firmly in the once saved, always saved theory. I gave a humph and started to close the site. But then the Holy Spirit seemed to stop my hand. How often did I read past verses that seemed to clearly teach the necessity of enduring to the end? How many warnings were given about believing in vain, being disqualified, or being caught up in the world and falling from grace? God clearly reminded me that indeed there were hundreds of verses that I was accustomed to rushing by that flew in the face of my presumptuous theology. What right did I have to inflict what I believed on scripture that so clearly contradicted my position? I was shaken. I knew the Lord was challenging my thinking; but I wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
This paragraph is absolutely plagued by error. And not the type of error that's understandably committed by someone not very deep in the faith. In the first place, the OSAS teaching is not one that is typically advanced by "dyed in the wool Calvinists." That phrase is usually confined to the halls of Arminianesque Baptists churches who expressly repudiate the Calvinistic teaching about election and predestination. Second, no informed Calvinist would "rush by," much less fret over the passages that speak of the necessity to persevere. That's the the fifth point of TULIP for crying out loud! No informed Calvinist denies that there will be many who call Him "Lord, Lord" who will never enter heaven. No informed Calvinist denies that there are many who profess the faith who will eventually and inevitably "go out from among us." To be somehow "surprised" by this betrays a woeful misunderstanding of the biblical teaching of true faith and perseverance.

Prejean usually takes a much more reasoned and much less emotion-based approach to these things. Here, he blows it.