Doctrinal Persuasions

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Chris Ease | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 6:03 AM

Classifications could be beneficial.  Some people may be a 3pt calvinist baptist and others may be a true 5pt calvinist reformed presbyterian while at the same time they have different end-time views, etc....  You get the point!

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 6:24 AM

George Somsel:

John Bowling:

Well I would like to say something in behalf of labels.

I know that a lot of people today think labels are a bad thing. In fact, in some circles they have an inherent negative connotation. But a label is simply an identifying mark and I think, regardless of how much one may wish to defy categorization/identification, they will have some identity to label and, regardless of how unique they wish they were, they will fall into some historical (or semi-historical) theological camp. 

The fact that my Arminian friend does not like the label or "own it" does nothing to change the fact that he holds to 95% of the same theological positions that are distinctive of Arminianism. I may not call him an Arminian simply to respect this psychological phenomenon (rather than factual), but a rose is a rose no matter what you call it.

I tend to agree with you here.  It seems to me that the reluctance to place a label on any position is rather akin to "political correctness."  Someone may hold a particular position, but it isn't considered "polite" to note the fact -- by all means, don't call a terrorist a "terrorist."  I've always thought that one ought to call a spade a spade and not a club.  Such reluctance leads to rather fuzzy thinking. 

 

I hence forth declare you two to be "labelists."  May you enjoy your new identity.  Smile

 

I confess I have found myself wishing I could determine what millennial perspective a commentary had (before I bought it or had a chance to review it), etc, but ultimately I have to agree that labels can be misleading.  It is not about being PC for me.  (or Mac, lol).  

 

 

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 6:24 AM

George Somsel:
I tend to agree with you here.  It seems to me that the reluctance to place a label on any position is rather akin to "political correctness."  Someone may hold a particular position, but it isn't considered "polite" to note the fact -- by all means, don't call a terrorist a "terrorist."  I've always thought that one ought to call a spade a spade and not a club.  Such reluctance leads to rather fuzzy thinking. 

Labels are useful and beneficial for an overview and starting point in understanding someones position, but they should not be confined by that label. For instance, many would appropriately label me an idiot, but I should not be confined to that title. I have every right to prove a fine toning of that label so that I am an idiot with moronic tendencies.

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Milford Charles Murray | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 6:30 AM

George Somsel:

Ryan Schatz:
all the Arminian claims (as far as Jacobus Arminius taught) is that through the conviction and convincing of the Holy Spirit, he has made a free will decision to trust in the completed work of the Saviour.

The very willing is the gift of God.  St Augustine pondered this very question in his Confessions

 

1. Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee, man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that Thou “resistest the proud,” —yet man, this part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee. Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee Lord, teach me to know and understand which of these should be first, to call on Thee, or to praise Thee; and likewise to know Thee, or to call upon Thee. But who is there that calls upon Thee without knowing Thee? For he that knows Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art. Or perhaps we call on Thee that we may know Thee. “But how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher?” And those who seek the Lord shall praise Him. For those who seek shall find Him, and those who find Him shall praise Him. Let me seek Thee, Lord, in calling on Thee, and call on Thee in believing in Thee; for Thou hast been preached unto us. O Lord, my faith calls on Thee,—that faith which Thou hast imparted to me, which Thou hast breathed into me through the incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of Thy preacher.

Schaff, P. (1997). The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. I. The confessions and letters of St. Augustin with a sketch of his life and work. (33). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

Lord’s Day 1

Question 1

What is thy only comfort in life and death?

That I with body and soul, both in life and death,a am not my own,b but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ;c who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins,d and delivered me from all the power of the devil;e and so preserves mef that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;g yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,h and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,i and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.j

All pride at one's accomplishements is thereby excluded for they are God's accomplishments.

 

Well-Posted, George!                *smile*

                                                                       Thank you muchly!

Peace and Joy to you always!

                                                                                                                   Yours in Christ,              ........... Mel

Philippians 4:  4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand..........

Posts 569
J. Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 6:40 AM

Philip Spitzer:

, many would appropriately label me an idiot, but I should not be confined to that title Indifferent

LOL!  Thanks for the laugh.

I agree to a point that labels have their purposes

Unfortunately what I have found (from past personal experience) is the one giving out labels often does so in order to group a certain type of people into a box (label) for the purpose of feeling self justified in "tearing into" those "types" of people simply because the labeler thinks those with the X,Y,Z label are deserving of less grace than the rest.

 

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spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 6:52 AM

Jeremiah Daniel Morris:
Unfortunately what I have found (from past personal experience) is the one giving out labels often does so in order to group a certain type of people into a box (label) for the purpose of feeling self justified in "tearing into" those "types" of people simply because the labeler thinks those with the X,Y,Z label are deserving of less grace than the rest.

Agreed. This happens way too often.

Prov. 30:2/NKJV

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Jacob Hantla | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 6:55 AM

Jason Saling:

If there's not already, it would be nice to be able to search for books, specifically theology books and commentaries via the author's main doctrinal persuasions.  Such as if I wanted to see a list of all the commentaries that were Calvinist or Arminian in nature, then it would list only those commentaries/books.  Or if a theology book's author was covenant theology or dispensational in nature, have a list/tag that shows such.  Perhaps this is already capable and I don't know of it.  Some commentaries are easy to know their doctrinal persuasion, but others are difficult to tell.  I understand it's best to not put yourself in a "strict camp," but to study the Bible with little bias and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you, but such a feature would be nice so you could see how opposite camps would interpret a passage.

Probably best to let us assign our own labels.

Let's have them get resource type data and other metadata perfected first. 

Jacob Hantla
Pastor/Elder, Grace Bible Church
gbcaz.org

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 8:22 AM

George Somsel:

John Bowling:

Well I would like to say something in behalf of labels.

I know that a lot of people today think labels are a bad thing. In fact, in some circles they have an inherent negative connotation. But a label is simply an identifying mark and I think, regardless of how much one may wish to defy categorization/identification, they will have some identity to label and, regardless of how unique they wish they were, they will fall into some historical (or semi-historical) theological camp. 

I tend to agree with you here.  It seems to me that the reluctance to place a label on any position is rather akin to "political correctness."  Someone may hold a particular position, but it isn't considered "polite" to note the fact -- by all means, don't call a terrorist a "terrorist."  I've always thought that one ought to call a spade a spade and not a club.  Such reluctance leads to rather fuzzy thinking. 

Goodness, I didn't realize I was being so controversial. I should clarify. I am not "anti-label" (though if you want to label me that, I suppose I have no choice), nor did I say the things I did for political correctness or to avoid offending someone who doesn't want a particular label. I can and do easily and frequently describe people as premillennialist or Calvinist or whatever, and I know what those labels mean, and I appreciate knowing what camp people are in ahead of time (though I can usually tell after reading a bit of it, even without the label to help me). As I pointed out I did think it would be useful to see such descriptive categories in the http://bestcommentaries.com site, though I realize it's impractical and could have some negative consequences.

Many labels are theologically neutral. They make no judgment about whether someone is right or wrong, they are just objectively descriptive and thus helpful. However, labels that are derived from historical controversies where one camp was viewed as heretical by another camp are a bit more dicey, especially when it could be argued that both had some aspects of the truth and neither one was 100% right or wrong. Is someone a Calvinist? Are they 100% Calvinist or only 80%? Do they get to wear the label only if they are 100%? Some would say so. Calvinist and Arminian tend to be labels that people use to classify someone else as wrong and oneself as right. Many people who identify as one or the other are quite convinced that their way is the only right way. Logos (thank God) publishes works from both perspectives and doesn't take sides. I like the image (can't remember where it's from; Pilgrim's Progress?) where a person on life's journey looks up and sees a gate which says something along the lines of "enter ye all who would choose the Lord" and he decides to enter; but once he gets inside he looks back to see the other side of the sign and it says "chosen from beginning of time." It seems that it's best to be an Arminian before you're saved and a Calvinist after! Smile Anyway, I'm not interested in getting into the fine points of that particular theological debate, please. Not here, at least.

Labels might be helpful for published books, but in conversations with people they tend to close doors to communication rather than opening them. For example, some of us, if we knew another person was a dispensationalist, say, would not want to engage them in conversation because we'd figure they had their mind made up already and were going to judge us for not being dispensationalist. But that isn't fair. Not all people who are squarely placed in one camp or another would refuse to dialogue with someone from another camp; nor would view their own position as 100% unassailable. We learn from each other by open non-judgmental conversation. If we pigeon-hole someone by labels, we tend to shut down and close ourself off from possible growth. Labels are fine as long as they are merely descriptive and not defense mechanisms.

As another example, I am a member of a Mennonite Church, but I'm not 100% Mennonite by any means. I came from a Reformed/Presbyterian background and that is still very much a part of my theology, but I really have appreciated and grown from being part of a Mennonite congregation for the past 13 years. When asked what my denomination is, I say Presbyterian-Mennonite, because neither one of them fully describes me. (I've also got some Episcopalian, Quaker, Congregationalist, non-denominational, Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, and Emergent/post-evangelical thrown into the mix in what has shaped me. So I'm really a mutt, a PresbyMennoCongreQuakopalian or something like that. Transdenominational is probably the best label for people like me. But some might prefer to make up their own labels for people like me: "weirdo" or "confused" or "keep away from me you syncretist!")

I'm also reminded of the well-known joke that makes fun of the extreme of very precise labeling. Here's a variant of it:

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.
I said, "Don't do it!"

He said, "Nobody loves me."
I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"
He said, "Yes."I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"
He said, "A Christian.
"I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?"
He said, "Protestant."
I said, "Me, too! What franchise?"
He said, "Baptist."
I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"
He said, "Northern Baptist."
I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"
He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist."
I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?"
He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region."
I said, "Me, too!" Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"
He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912."
I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

I also love the poem by the great Christian poet, Edwin Markham:

I drew a circle and shut him out;
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.

Posts 3810
spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 8:26 AM

Rosie Perera:
I'm also reminded of the well-known joke that makes fun of the extreme of very precise labeling. Here's a variant of it:

 

Now that's funny... :-)

Posts 320
John Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 8:42 AM

All the negatives that I've seen people list of labeling in the above posts have not been directly tied to labels as such, but to how people can and do abuse them.

But I don't find this to be a convincing argument that we should shy away from them. Sometimes if you step on someone's toes you should watch where you're standing. Sometimes if you step on someone's toes the other guy should watch where he is standing. 

If any of you are pro-gun, then you will get this analogy. "Attacking" (or shying away from to put it more mildly) the use of labels because people misuse them is like trying to get rid of guns to cut down on crime. It simply isn't addressing the actual issue.

I'm sure if no one else knew what anyone else believed we could all hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but that would be the bliss of ignorance, not true harmony.

perspectivelyspeaking.wordpress.com

Posts 320
John Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 9:14 AM

If I might share a few more thoughts.

Rosie Perera:
“However, labels that are derived from historical controversies where one camp was viewed as heretical by another camp are a bit more dicey, especially when it could be argued that both had some aspects of the truth and neither one was 100% right or wrong.”

I’m not sure I understand what you have in mind. The brush seems too broad for me. For example, the historical controversies where charges of heresy were made that immediately come to my mind are Arianism, Pelagianism, Modalism, etc. Can you legitimately say that Arianism had some truth in it? Not in any relevant sense! Can you legitimately say that Modalism has some truth in it? Again, not in any relevant sense.

Now, we may want to fudge and say Arius was at least right about Christ being human… but I say this is fudging because the position he was arguing against was not denying the humanity of Christ. In other words, that fact wasn’t even part of the controversy and the fact that was the focus of the controversy was 100% wrong. Same for the others.

So I’m not sure which you have in mind that are not 100% wrong. In fact, I think that’s going about it in a way that I find entirely misleading. There are not degrees of right and wrongness in regards to any particular fact and we can look at a worldview and judge it in the same manner. Naturalistic atheism, for instance, isn’t 60% wrong, it’s 100% wrong. But does this mean that everything a naturalistic atheist says is wrong? No, of course not. To think so seems more like a category mistake.

Rosie Perera:
 “Is someone a Calvinist? Are they 100% Calvinist or only 80%? Do they get to wear the label only if they are 100%? Some would say so.”

As I imply above, I’m not sure it makes much sense to speak of systems in general or these particular systems in this way. Everything can be divvied up, but I’m not sure there is any relevant sense in which someone is 80% Calvinist. We might as well speak of being 80% Christian. We don’t usually speak of a Christian who has a non-Christian belief (e.g. “stealing is cool”) as being 75.4% Christian and I’m not sure why we would it other areas..

Rosie Perera:
“Calvinist and Arminian tend to be labels that people use to classify someone else as wrong and oneself as right.”

I can honestly say that I’ve never once seen anyone use these labels in this manner and I’ve stood on both sides of fence, very ardently. Of course a Calvinist thinks an Arminian is wrong and vice versa… but that’s simply because they are being logical (law of excluded middle).

Rosie Perera:
“Many people who identify as one or the other are quite convinced that their way is the only right way.”

I would say that of necessity everyone believes their beliefs are true, otherwise why would they hold the belief?! I’m not even sure it’s possible to hold a belief that you think is false. Try believing that I’m typing in blue text, for instance. But maybe you have something else in mind by “right way.”

Rosie Perera:
“I like the image (can't remember where it's from;Pilgrim's Progress?) where a person on life's journey looks up and sees a gate which says something along the lines of "enter ye all who would choose the Lord" and he decides to enter; but once he gets inside he looks back to see the other side of the sign and it says "chosen from beginning of time.’”

I don’t think those are mutually exclusive since I don’t think the former implies who is capable. In other words, the former simply misses the point of dispute in the Calv/Armin. issue. However, if the former were taken to imply something relevant to the Calv/Armin issue then it would simply be misleading or giving false information.

I think I understand where the other side of the labeling issue is coming from, but I can’t really see how referring to it as pigeon-holing or “boxing” is legitimate. Richard Dawkins once said that the entire free will issue “turn[ s ] out to be a misnamed and misbegotten amalgam of overhasty problem posing and self-induced panic, the false pretext for much otherwise unmotivated system building and metaphysical tinkering” (Elbow Room 6).  It seems to me that the issues within Christendom of Denomination vs. Non-Denominationalism and labeling vs. non-labeling are the same exact thing. We’ve been convinced that there’s a bugbear in there somewhere… But I’ve yet to find it.

 

perspectivelyspeaking.wordpress.com

Posts 569
J. Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 10:02 AM

eeek...

As I did state... Labeling has its uses... (think that must have been overlooked)

AND... it certainly DOES get abused.  (I know from experience on both sides)

That was the ONLY point I was trying to make.

I'm a Conservative(label) Independent(label) Baptist(label) (so I have TONS of labeling experience),...among other things that I would label myself and I'm sure others would label me.

Labels are a fact of life, they are used throughout Scripture, both in a positive productive way and in the abused self-righteous way. 

We are all susceptible in misusing them. (and I'd be quite certain it happens to ALL of us at diff. times).  Lets just be aware of it and realize we probably need to check our "grace thermometers" before addressing those of "different labels".  Esp. since it is words seasoned with grace that really make any difference in helping others see the Truth.  

A "discussion" (better known as an argument) where people use "shot-guns filled with words" is just a "I'm right your wrong" contest that does not edify anyone and certainly does not bring ANY Glory to the Lord.

There are often things that SHOULD be said... but be said in a graceful way.  It is usually easy for me to feel justified in saying certain things to certain people a certain way (hurtful) because I believe them to be wrong or offensive in something they have done or spoken.  While I may be led (even of the Spirit) to say something, I am still to say it with Love and Grace. (My problem is I like to usually "let em have it" when I'm right and they are wrong)

NOTICE:  I am speaking from experience... (experience in wielding my own "word shot-gun")  I am not trying to be preachy (although I think I've already gone overboard)...

 

Posts 320
John Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 10:13 AM

Jeremiah Daniel Morris:

eeek...

As I did state... Labeling has its uses... (think that must have been overlooked)

I'm not sure if this is in reference to my posts or not. But I don't think I overlooked anything. I took it into account that the people here do not completely eschew labels, but I was only addressing that which was said against labels.

Jeremiah Daniel Morris:
A "discussion" (better known as an argument) where people use "shot-guns filled with words" is just a "I'm right your wrong" contest that does not edify anyone and certainly does not bring ANY Glory to the Lord.

You seem to be using "argument" with a negative connotation. I should point out that when I use the term (and I have a few times in this thread), I'm using it in the purely technical sense: premises (reasons) supporting a conclusion (and in that sense an argument is just a type of discussion). I rarely use it with negative connotation, so I hope no one read anything into my use of the term that I didn't intend. 

Don't read too much into the fact that I pick things apart. It's nothing personal, it doesn't mean I'm riled up, it doesn't mean I think it's a big deal, or much of anything else. That's just how I approach things, but I realize that it can easily be misinterpreted and that's why I usually just keep my mouth shut (but not enough perhaps). 

 

perspectivelyspeaking.wordpress.com

Posts 569
J. Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 10:19 AM

John Bowling:

Jeremiah Daniel Morris:
A "discussion" (better known as an argument) where people use "shot-guns filled with words" is just a "I'm right your wrong" contest that does not edify anyone and certainly does not bring ANY Glory to the Lord.

I appologize, it was not my intention for that to be taken personally.  It was more of me musing my own experiences from both sides of the table.

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 10:26 AM

Philip Spitzer:
Labels are useful and beneficial for an overview and starting point in understanding someones position, but they should not be confined by that label. For instance, many would appropriately label me an idiot, but I should not be confined to that title. I have every right to prove a fine toning of that label so that I am an idiot with moronic tendencies.

We hadn't intended to say anything about that, but since you brought it up ...  Wink

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 11:51 AM

Rosie Perera:
I am not "anti-label" (though if you want to label me that, I suppose I have no choice)

In that case, would they have labeled you as "anti-label"? Geeked

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 12:08 PM

I believe this entire discussion proves one point. Logos would be well-advised to refrain from applying doctrinal labels to the resources they sell. Geeked Labels do have their value, but choosing which one to apply in any particular case is very subjective indeed. 

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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 1:32 PM

Thanks John Bowling for your well thought through post in this thread. Much appreciated, boy you do write well!Yes

Ted

Dell, studio XPS 7100, Ram 8GB, 64 - bit Operating System, AMD Phenom(mt) IIX6 1055T Processor 2.80 GHZ

Posts 320
John Bowling | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 2:10 PM

Thanks, Ted. But as Van Til said, I'm just standing on the shoulders of everyone who's been an influence in my life. All faults my own.

perspectivelyspeaking.wordpress.com

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Dec 4 2009 8:16 PM

JackCaviness:

Rosie Perera:
I am not "anti-label" (though if you want to label me that, I suppose I have no choice)

In that case, would they have labeled you as "anti-label"? Geeked

No, I'm Auntie Rosie...to my nephew at least. Smile

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