227 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tracts”

    1. And now that I actually read the post…
      “Logic? We don’t need no stinkin’ logic!!”

    1. Well if a man says so, I guess it must be true. 😉

      Nah. I’ll take my butt cushion with extra glitter please!

    2. Oh, you definitely don’t get a butt cushion, Pharisee. You stinky fart.

      Knees, yours will come with a champagne cocktail, my darling girl.

  1. So, Dr. Hutson must be a universalist (the only alternative to limited or particular atonement) and apparently must not believe in eternal security (if we have the free will to choose it, it stands to reason we should have the free will to loose it). There are other major theological issues with shooting up all five points.

    1. In my experience the people who say they’re against “all five points” usually change one of the points to make it something easier to be against.

      It’s just ridiculous.

      1. Also, they tend to recreate the views of the dead calvinists (the only good kind, amen! *eyeroll* ) to reflect their own. Kind of like how that Charles Spurgeon sermon was edited by the Sword of the Lord to make it seem like Spurgeon believed as they do about calvinism.

        If they do not lie and rewrite history, how else will they be able to show their connection to the great preeeeeaachers of the past?

      2. It’s just a hyperbolic way of saying he doesn’t like it. Knowing full well, no one reading it will likely know what the five points are.

        1. Yes. Most IFB I know agree with some, but not all, of the Five Points, but they are terrified of ever agreeing, even a tiny bit, with someone who holds a False Doctrine. It’s like the time my pastor insisted to me that “everything the Assemblies of God believe in is garbage.” I said, “even the Bible??” (Actually, he would have tossed out their Bible, since AoG don’t use the King James, as far as I know.)

          Or, as Garrison Keillor hilariously puts it, in his satire of fundamentalist Brethren:

          “Unfortunately, once free of the worldly Anglicans, these firebrands were not content to worship in peace but turned their guns on each other. Scholarly to the core and perfect literalists every one, they set to arguing over points that, to any outsider, would have seemed very minor indeed but which to them were crucial to the Faith, including the question: if Believer A is associated with Believer B who has somehow associated himself with C who holds a False Doctrine, must D break off association with A, even though A does not hold the Doctrine, to avoid the taint?

          The correct answer is: Yes. Some Brethren, however, felt that D should only speak with A and urge him to break off with B. The Brethren who felt otherwise promptly broke off with them. This was the Bedford Question, one of several controversies that, inside of two years, split the Brethren into three branches.

          Once having tasted the pleasure of being Correct and defending True Doctrine, they kept right on and broke up at every opportunity, until by the time I came along, there were dozens of tiny Brethren groups, none of which were speaking to any of the others.”

        2. Yup. They’d rather make up facts and lie than admit that they have anything in common with any believers who disagree with them on certain issues. It’s disgusting. It’s one of the things I’ve loved most about leaving the IFB: being able to recognize brothers and sisters in Christ in so many places where before I would have judged them, been afraid of them, and stayed aloof from them.

          And Keillor’s description of the Brethren is devastating and sadly accurate in so many cases, people preferring judgment and being right instead of love.

  2. “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” -Stephen Hawking


    1. Hence, the tension between the Sovereignty of God and the Responsibility of man. Human beings do not do well with two things being in tension and that being OK. That would be my answer to Hawking.

      1. AH, that’s a good answer. I posted it because it made me laugh. But it is a *bit* of a straw man argument. Wow, even scientists like to set up straw men and knock them down, go figure….

        I suppose I will always be a “that’s God’s business” theologian. I usually fall asleep by the time someone gets to the second point of Calvanism.

        1. Yes they are. Especially when they have no proof lol.
          Perhaps you are listening to wrong teacher. John Piper has the best series on the TULIP I have ever seen. RC Sproul is good, but he tends to get too academic for some people.

        2. Calvin said that “For he who has fixed the boundaries of our life, has at the same time entrusted us with the care of it, provided us with the means of preserving it, forewarned us of the dangers to which we are exposed, and supplied cautions and remedies, that we may not be overwhelmed unawares. Now, our duty is clear, namely, since the Lord has committed to us the defence of our life,–to defend it;”

          We just dont live our lives willey-nilley.
          I’ll take Calvin over Hawkins anyday

        3. (WARNING: rant ahead). Nah. I respect your choice to choose Calvin’s Theology, but it is your choice. God didn’t make it for you, predestine you to it, or such. In the final analysis, Calvin makes God the Author of Sin. In choosing some to be saved, no matter by what means, he also chose the rest to be damned and tortured by the same means. If salvation is of God alone, then so is damnation.

          Any theological attempt to say otherwise is wrong. You cannot choose to include without choosing to exclude. If you are God, you are writing the rules, and you can say and do whatever you want, claim it to be right, justify all sorts of temper-tantrums, kill the innocent because you are more powerful than anyone else. But being all-powerful doesn’t make you kind, merciful or consistent.

          Under most established forms of Christian theology, God becomes a Monster at the end. Calvinism is better than most at creating a justification for being monstrous, but that is all. It is a “might makes right” theology. It is the theology of the bully, the military, the powerful.

          I reject that. I have to. Jesus didn’t come to save people by being a bully. When He died He asked God to forgive those who crucified Him. That would have been pointless if they were not among the elect, now wouldn’t it?

          Do I sound like a heretic? I don’t care. If God is a Monster, I won’t worship him. Jesus, on the other hand, I will worship.

          I have suffered enough under the theologies making God a monster. Without doubt, many of the writers of Scripture though being monstrous was how a God should behave. Certainly their leaders and rulers acted that way. But I don’t base my morals on a multi-millennial old system of thought which loved slavery, cruelty, and power, denied that people deserve inherent rights, justice, mercy, and grace.

          Yes, I said “deserve” mercy and grace. Hang the theology that such are undeserved and unmerited. We are commanded to forgive. We are commanded to love. That means others have a right to expect them.

          I am so tired of theology being used to justify hard hearts and evil intentions, placing blame on the victims who had no help and no hope. And in large measure, that is all theology ever does.

          Fear? Yes, I am “afraid.” I always have been. I cannot call God my “father” because of the abuse. And if God chooses to punish me for this, I will regard Him even less. No monster deserves reverence. No monster deserves worship. Even if He can put me in an eternal hell.

          Sorry for the rant. But this had to come out.

        4. Rtgmath, I’m not going to argue with you about this. I believe that the Scripture teach predestination, and John Calvin in Institutes does a great job deeply delving into it. That doesn’t mean John Calvin is any better than any other believer. I also don’t believe that believers have to be theologically in line with Calvinism to be saved, that’s based on Yaweh’s mercy. I jokingly tell friends that the book should be call Augustine’s Institues, Calvin quotes Augustine on most every page.

        5. I appreciate your graciousness. I suppose you are predestined to believe your way and I am predestined to believe the way I do. But why God would do that is definitely a mystery.

        6. Rtgmath, I totally understand what you’re saying in your rant. I actually share some of that sentiment though I haven’t taken it as far as you. Or maybe I have. Bear with me….
          I went to an IFB church where the pastor was actually quite “liberal” for an IFB pastor. His general attitude was grace with people. However, having IFB on the sign out front brought in all sorts of differing viewpoints on how we should be taught. You name the controversy, we had it. My parents split off with a group that wanted deeper preaching and less contemporary music. A few years later, another man split off with a KJV only theology (he then showed up at my grandmother’s funeral and tried to start an argument with me about the KJV. I never use language against other people, but with him, I make a rare exception. He is an a$$____). Next came the Calvanism/anti-Cavanism debacle. Then came the seeker-sensitive crowd. Then, when the din of differing standards of music and the Bible had reached a dull roar, our pastor made the final mistake, in my opinion. He split the church himself. People who like traditional worship go to the sanctuary, those who want contemporary, go to to gym. They piped in his message on a big screen. I did not want to have to make a choice, but I chose the contemporary. Then the leadership told me I couldn’t go to the contemporary, I was needed in the traditional. So here I was, a contemporary acoustic guitar player, trying to read sheet music and play along with an orchestra. I began having panic attacks. Sundays had become a living hell for me. I’d rather be anywhere else.

          Right or wrong, this is what 5 point Calvanism feels like to me. It pushes. Me into a corner where I lose my own identity and even though I thought I had a choice, someone smarter tells me I didn’t. I read the verses and see a God who foreknows my future and as such, it is predestined because he knows. But what does He know? The choices and outcomes of my choices.

          Oversimplified, I know. But the rest, I leave up to Him. He is big enough to handle it.
          At any rate, Jesus said to Phillip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the father! …My Father who is in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.”
          So If you say that you follow Jesus, that is enough for me. That makes me all the more comfortable with your “rant.”
          I hope my rambling makes sense….

        7. Eric S, you made sense. I appreciate your sharing. I cannot see foreknowledge in God apart from the other verses that puts Him in Control of all things.

          For example, God had determined to kill Ahab. But God wasn’t going to use divine power to do it, and He realized that Ahab wasn’t taking the bait for the trap of war God planned.

          So God sent a “lying spirit” to convince Ahab, and even though the prophet (Micaiah? I don’t remember offhand) told him about the conspiracy in Heaven, the lying spirit did its job, Ahab went to battle, and was killed.

          God’s foreknowledge? In knowing people won’t hear the gospel to be saved, God also will work actively to prevent people from getting saved according to 2 Thessalonians 2. It isn’t just knowing people’s choices, according to some passages, God actually makes those choices for them. Bad ones. And that means people can’t trust that God loves them and wants the best for them. Not if you believe the whole Bible (literally).

          So I understand your modified belief in the goodness of God’s control and foreknowledge. If that comforts you, so much the better. But I take no comfort there. I can’t, any longer.

        8. Rtgmath, fair enough. thanks for the input. You make sense, too. I like the fact that any disagreement here on SFL is generally civil. That allows me to actually respect and consider another view.

      1. I want us to look at all five points of Calvinism as taught by John Calvin, then see what the Bible has to say on each point.

        Heh. You do that. We’ll wait.

        1. I skimmed through the tract. My takeaway is that Hutson was basically saying “My proof-texting is better than his proof-texting. Neener neener neener.”

      2. Curtis, allow me to refute your points.

        *walks to trash can, throws tract in, lights match*

        There. Disagree?

      3. Hutson fit all that in a little tract? Dang, get out your magnifying glass.

        If it had the inverted text colors in print as well as teh interwebs it would be complete the unreadable-ness of it.

      4. I read just the first of that Calvinist booklet you linked to, and sound pretty solid to me. What is your objection? No need for me to read the whole thing, as I could care less what any of you believe and am assured of my beliefs. Just an interesting discussion.

        1. Why is a church/pastor who believes calvinism is a huge doctrinal error – worthy of separating from another pastor over – also featuring a sermon by one of the most famous calvinists?

          Jonathan Edwards – Calvinist
          Charles Spurgeon – Calvinist
          John Bunyan – Calvinist
          William Carey – Calvinist
          Andrew Fuller – Calvinist
          Adoniram Judson – Calvinist
          Arthur Pink – Calvinist
          John Gill – Calvinist
          Matthew Henry – Calvinist
          George Whitefield – Calvinist
          Martyn Lloyd Jones – Calvinist

          If IFBxers were honest they would stop pretending there is any link between IFB and the above mentioned calvinists. If these men were alive today, they would never be allowed to preach in an IFBx pulpit — not that they would want to anyway.

          Some honesty about IFBx church history would be refreshing.

        2. Actually there is a large, growing appreciation for Calvinism among IFB preachers. My IFB pastor started reading books by Puritan authors and he expressed great admiration for their views of the holiness of God.

          Of course, this admiration of Calvinism goes beyond IFBism and extends greatly into other conservative churches. The theology of a harsh God who punishes rebellion really appeals to the middle class churchgoers who might have been victims of crime. Especially if that crime was done by the “lower class” or blacks. There is a virulent racism and classism within conservative churches that is unacknowledged. They even infect conservative black churches!

          Among the advocates for Dominionism are some who acknowledge that they do not believe, but they think belief is necessary for the masses, the fear of God is necessary for social control. Inside churches promoting Calvinism you will hear people saying that you have to have a proper view of God and His Holiness if you are going to live faithfully in the will of God. Creationists are pushing Sunday School curricula teaching that if you don’t believe in a literal 6-day creation, you cannot be saved. You have to see God’s power, sovereignty, and holiness above all things, including science.

          The spread of these ideas has been as masterful as any imagined conspiracy. The problem they face is with a younger generation who is not assimilating the poison. If they don’t politicize these doctrinal viewpoints soon, their gains may be lost to the tolerance of the next generation.

        3. As for the content of Hutson’s anti-calvinist booklet, it does not give an educated description of calvinist’s beliefs. It is just an easy straw man presented to make the author look good.

          It is okay to disagree with calvinism – I also have a couple issues with it – but represent it honestly and do scholarly work. (And for the love of all things good and honest, stop pretending to love Charles Spurgeon, when in reality you would never, ever let him and his beliefs in your church.)

          John Goetsch from WCBC published a similarly lame article a couple years ago, and a blogger took him to task for his poor handling of the topic.

          The IFBx is starving for lack of educated leadership.


        1. Wha? Jonathan Edwards is dead? Man, how did I miss that? I knew Hutson died some three hundred years ago or so, so that’s a no brainer.


        2. Well, Natalie-the-butt-cushion-lady, I really tried! However, reading back on my futile attempt I realize how utterly sarcastic it came across. The unintended sarcasm was not directed at any particular person. 😉


        3. Oh, no offense taken at all. I thought it was funny. But, I couldn’t very well just leave it alone. 😉

    1. Many years ago when I asked one of the asst pastors at my Fundy church about calvinism, I was given that short booklet by Curtis Hutson. It had a different cover – no bullet holes. They could not answer my questions, so hoped that booklet would satisfy my curiosity. It didn’t because it is rather anemic.

      1. I could share a rather thorough but concise dissertation I did on the holes in Calvinism, but I’d have to dig through boxes and boxes of papers. I will say, it is rather simple to see the faulty premises of the system just by doing some simple studies in the Word with a handy concordance by your side, as you go through each TULIP point.

        1. The experience I described above happened many years ago. I have since done more research on this issue. Romans 9 certainly is an eye opener.

      2. You got more than I got. I got taught the 5 points in my fundy high school. I had to memorize them for a test including a sentence description of each.

        That was how I learned them.

        1. Oh and that they were wrong to believe.

          But that was basically how they approached Evolution and the Democratic party.

        2. I’m sure that was somewhere in the handbook as grounds for instant expulsion. Probably on page 5,749.

          Public school was the penal colony for such people.

  3. The cognitive dissonance hurts so good.

    This. Want to cause even more? Be logical and consistent with people’s beliefs. Ignore the bumps people make to hold two separate ideas in their head at the same time, force them to be honest and consistent.

    Breaks things quickly.

  4. I have my points of disagreement with Calvinism. Then again, I disagree with a lot of things.

    My principal thought has been that Calvin made some impressive sounding, but otherwise horrible definitions, and in letting his definitions stand, people have asked the wrong questions.

    People will believe what they want to believe. That they can create “systematic theologies” does not make them right, true, reasonable, or realistic.

    1. Well, these are some of the problems with Calvinism. The biggest issue is still that it doesn’t let some texts speak for themselves, and is flat out contradicted by some of the NT authors. I was a Calvinist for a long time, and am now a Lutheran (we also believe in total depravity and particular redemption), and I went to a Calvinist seminary, so I am pretty well versed and not opposed to the theory as a basis for ecclesial teaching and practice. But I think anyone who believes in “biblical” is going to be sorely disappointed by the theory in the long run (which goes for any philosophy or principles based Bible theory, since that is not what the text is, but now we are getting out into the MDiv weeds…)

      1. Calvinism, at least in part is one of the reasons I stepped away from the God of the Bible. It’s fine and dandy to join in on the idea that there is an elect, so long as you’re part of it. I’m not sure I could feel right worshiping a god who didn’t include my own daughter or son in his elect. “But you don’t know if your daughter or son aren’t part of the elect until the end.” No. I don’t. But somebody’s daughter isn’t part of the elect. Somebody’s son isn’t. Sure, we’re depraved and we were all heading to hell either way, right? We should be happy that God is saving some of us! But why does it have to be that way? For a creator of this universe to brush his minions away and save others? Why? For the glory of Christ? Sorry. I used to be a Calvinist. Well… all but limited atonement, only because there was nothing specific in the Bible that declared it. But it made sense that atonement would be limited in the long run, seeing as the unfortunate pots chosen for the fire didn’t get it. Calvinism makes sense for all the things in the Bible, but morally? Nah man. I’m not into that. I have to admit though, it felt pretty damn good being part of the elect. As much as I was humbled by the thought of being worthless yet was still given hope, there was still a degree of satisfaction in being exclusive, so to speak. It’s really hard to see how cultic this all sounds like when you’re inside. But that’s how cults do.

        1. Those who think themselves something because they are elect, actually, are not elect.

        2. And you know this, how?

          In that case, I would suggest Calvin himself was not elect, either, making his Institutes worthless. Because he certainly thought a lot of himself! He had others burned at the stake for heresy because they didn’t agree with him — or because he felt threatened politically.

        3. Those who are saved by Grace know just how depraved they are. Being chosen has nothing to do with you, but all to do with him. I deserve hell. We all do.

        4. Eternity is nothing to play with, so, I will stick with God’s Word. Others may not want to and that is there decision, but I will

        5. Believe me. It’s fucking terrifying to confront those ideas. I’m not saying these things lightly, and my heart still races when I express my disapproval because I’m terrified of the idea of hell. But I’m not going to accept the idea that some god somewhere made vessels to burn and destroy for his glory so that the lucky few could watch at how awesome he is. As terrifying as Christianity claims my outcome will be, I simply cannot accept that.

          But I get you. You don’t want to mess with eternity. The severity of a punishment is what keeps most people in line with their religion, Christianity included. For example, if someone calls you and tells you that there is a bomb in your building, you’re not going to speculate and determine if they’re telling the truth. You’re going to evacuate as quickly as possible without even looking back. The severity of the consequence will always force your brain to look past any evidence or lack thereof and take it as truth. This trait in our species has allowed us to survive by being more “safe than sorry”. It’s also what gets people worked up when a popular doomsday date approached. Most people are nervous about it, even though they claim that don’t believe it. 2012, y2k, every popular rapture day, all of it. As irrational as they sound, they still cause a stir, because that’s how we’re wired.

        6. Reading through this thread is a reminder to me of just exactly why, some 30 years ago, I came to believe that all humanity is the elect of God.

        7. I read about this a while back. It’s a pretty interesting idea, and open enough to continue research in it. So from what I understand, England is saying that the process of releasing energy can change molecular structure, but that in our case, on earth, the change was an anomaly that led to what we know as life?

        8. No, the formation of more complex structures actually makes converting energy from one form to another more efficient.

          In large measure, randomness has more potential energy than order. Think of magma, a mixture of random elements. But when cooled the results are often fine, pure crystals.

        9. You’ve got it. I find that this still fits into Theism as a system. I see the Genesis account as myth or legend.

        10. BJg,

          So basically what England seems to be saying is that since the net entropy of the universe inexorably increases and since the entropy of a system increases more rapidly with living things than with inanimate things, the universe may be predisposed to create life. This gentleman may be a genius in some ways, but the argument still strikes me as less than compelling. If a master craftsman were to cut down a tree, for example, and use some of the wood to build a desk, following that logic we might ignore the workmanship and localized increase in complexity and order, instead focus on the decrease in potential energy and the increase in randomness of the system as a whole, and walk away regarding the desk as merely the almost inevitable result of natural forces and the laws of physics. To use a metaphor, brilliant as he might be, he seems to be missing the forest for the trees.

      2. I’m sorry to go off-topic, Dr. F P, but which Lutheran affiliation do you attend? I have been looking into the Missouri synod branch, but being a former fundy, all I’ve ever heard is bad stuff about, well, non IFBs…. If you wish to email me instead, use skaggs.guitar.eric (at) gmail.com.

        You are predestined to reply. Lol. Or you may opt out. Thank you, regardless.

    2. Hello Chap, interesting how the host mocked fundies for having two diametrically opposed pamphlets, presumably, yet just reading this one post and its responses from the visitors here, I see quite a diverse set of beliefs, and I am sure even within your respective churches there is not a complete unity of beliefs held to therein. Correct? Yet, the fundies are THE group to mock on this site, so they are fair game.

      1. Well then, I have been in fundamentalism, deep. So I would say I have the right to mock it. Or at least to point out its fatal flaws.

        After all, Fundies mock every one else. They don’t like it coming back on themselves, but they sure can dish it out. There is an “as you sow, so shall you reap” principle in Scripture, you know.

        As for varied beliefs, we have them. But to my knowledge, we are comfortable with those, willing to give and take and allow that people are free to be where they are in life without us calling on God’s wrath against those who don’t believe like we do.

        I am in the process of figuring out what to keep and what to discard. Lots of us are doing that. It is an individual process.

      2. The difference is in your attitude toward people who hold different beliefs than yours. If you claim 100% of your beliefs are rock-solid exactly what God meant when he wrote the Bible and everyone who disagrees is wrong and likely not saved, but have 2 tracts in your rack that contradict each other, that’s funny and people will make fun of you. If you say, I believe this, you believe that, we can discuss our difference with no mocking, then you are fine.
        Which one do you see most often in a typical Fundamentalist church?

    3. Well, Calvin didn’t pen the 5 points…that happened after he and most of his immediate students had died…at the Synod of Dort…and they were a *response* to the 5 articles of Remonstrance (Arminianism). You haven’t mentioned how much of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion that you’ve gotten a chance to read…but for those who didn’t know already, it’s a 4 book set….and Calvin didn’t bring up predestination until “book second” which starts with the fall (chap. 1), continues with the enslavement of man’s will (chap. 2) , it’s not until chap. 5 that he challenges free will. Even then, he doesn’t get to election until book 3rd, chapter 21. I believe it was there that he describes and addresses the quibble (shocker: there was a quibble between other predestination-supporters before he entered the picture…it’s like they predate him) over whether God merely passes over people or actively predestines them to hell. He thought the discussion absurd. Evidently, Calvin didn’t place as much emphasis on “Calvinism” as we thought he did. Instead, he chose to spend most of the Institutes responding to the Catholics in an effort to get the French king to lighten the persecution of Protestants. And for a guy who doesn’t like Calvin, rtg, you make a lot of the same points that Calvin would have! Then again, the fundies only read what BJU press would allow us to…and we all know that “we don’t study error to learn error, we study the truth” :/

      1. I haven’t read the Institutes. Let’s see. My first exposure to Calvinism was when a group of young people came to our church, joined, got involved, held home Bible Studies.

        They had been sent by a local “Christian College” to spread Calvinism. I was given a couple of books outlining the theology. I was also given a Systematic Theology, but I don’t remember the author (Hodges?). I tried to slog through that, but it read the same way you would drink sawdust. I have since been exposed to it on a number of levels.

        I won’t say that Calvinism gets nothing right. It makes some valid points. Depending on whom you read, you can easily go overboard with it. It has evolved over the years, very, very slowly.

        Is man depraved? Yes. Totally? No. Is God Sovereign? Yes. Does that mean His Will is always done? No. I don’t believe in “prophesy” any more, nor do I believe the Scriptures are inerrant. Does God give grace? Yes. Is that grace irresistible? No. Does Salvation come through the work of Christ? Yes. Do I believe in eternal security? I don’t know. Mostly yes. But I have serious questions. Do I believe in free will? Yes. But I do not believe in infinite ability. Our choices are limited. Yet we may desire God, good and right things, even if attainment on our own is impossible. Do I believe that God can do with His Creation whatever He wants to do? Yes. He is powerful enough. Should He? He should not be arbitrary. I believe that having made us, He created an obligation to us. Creating the circumstances which would ensure the fall, I don’t believe He has the right to condemn us for it, no matter what His Ability is.

        If this sounds arrogant, I’ll accept that analysis. But Abraham challenged God, saying “shall not the judge of the whole earth do right?”

        All theology is man made. No theology is properly balanced. No theology can untangle all the expressions of Scripture and reconcile them. Ever theology leaves important things out. That’s how it is. So if I take a position, it isn’t going to be one I would put a label on.

        1. I’ve not only read the institutes, I have read 21 volumes of Calvin’s systematic theology. He was a smart guy, but obviously a lawyer. The thing with Calvin is that while he had strong views on some things, and was probably incorrect in his epistemology, and even though he was an ass who often called people who disagreed with him idiots, he actually believed that theology was always learning and evolving. He also believed a lot of things that fundies would despise, like the idea that the creation acount was metaphorical.

  5. The Edwards tract was probably left by a snarky passive aggressive visiting family member.

    1. Hmm! This is a valid theory you make! It reminds me of the time when a friend and I snuck out while our parents were in choir practice at our IFBC and placed a WMMS bumper sticker (local rock station, Cleveland, Ohio) on the church bus. I think it went undetected for a few weeks.

      1. *We* put the sticker on the bus, not our parents….

        I’m still learning English as a first language.

        1. Heh heh heh. An act of rebellion worthy of the stoning of children required under Mosaic law! Did your parents find out it was you?

  6. From the tract on the section devoted to perseverance of the saints: “But the eternal security of the believer does not depend on his perseverance.” That sure doesn’t sound like the 3 to thrive, soul-winning, anti-pants dogma.
    Never mind that isn’t at all what ‘perseverance’ means and would clearly be in stark conflict with points 1-4 if it did.

  7. Hutson would have an easier time discoursing on the Five Points if Hutson himself had four or more brain cells to rub together.

      1. Paul, I can always trust you to bring out truth in its most pithy form. Well played, my friend.

  8. Re: the alt text: don’t be silly. This is the perfect time to glorify gun violence (and how inherently evil all Muslims are).

    I was going to make a terrible sarcastic post on the subject, but given the circumstances, I really don’t feel like joking about it. 🙁 I have seen so much hatred of Muslims and general racism on the internet in the past few days… not to mention in real life.

    1. All Muslims are not terrorists. What an absurd statement and judgment of others to make. But the vast majority of terrorists in the last 40 years have been Muslims. You cannot ignore that. Oh, wait, you can. My bad.

        1. I comw from Northern Ireland, so I know all about the effects of terrorism, by people who are not, and never were Muslim. But then again, one man’s Terrorist is another man’s Freedom-Fighter. It’s all about perspective.

        2. “The vast majority of terrorists in the last 40 years have been Muslim.”
          Apart from Timothy McVeigh, maybe, the only people who have committed serious acts of terrorism against *America* and American interests, have been Muslim. I suppose that does make a big difference….

  9. Our pastor used to say great the “Sinners” sermon was, but said he didn’t agree with the author’s Calvinism. But you can’t have one without the other. Would he have written the sermon as it is if he were a Free-choicer?

  10. Our pastor used to say great the “Sinners” sermon was, but said he didn’t agree with the author’s Calvinism. But you can’t have one without the other. Would he have written the sermon as it is if he were a Free-willer?

    1. Fundies ignore church history and so they are unaware of how their theology has been influenced by the theologians throughout church history. In that complete ignorance of history and influence upon them, I can completely see how they, in their minds, separate the great sermon of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” from the theology of the preacher.
      I mean the whole Angry God thing is the quintessential god to the fundamentalist. And that sermon makes the fundamentalists I know swoon. The pastors are jealous that they didn’t write that sermon.

        1. why thank you. As a woman, what I say usually is discounted by fundies simply because I am a woman….now as I admit to being a pastor–well that completely discounts anything I have said….

    2. Um, yeah WE can. No one had a complete hold on revealed truth. As Paul said, 15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former[a] preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. Sounds pretty fundamental to me! Cheers. Oh, how I am relishing hearing the enlightened responses, after reading how you have already responded to others.

  11. So I’m reading this thing, and I notice that one of Hudson’s main arguments against irresistible grace is that the two words don’t sound right together. Deep.

    I had a Presbyterian roommate who set me straight on what Calvinists REALLY believe and though we agreed to disagree on predestination, I came out of the discussion with a better understanding of the logic behind Calvinism and a huge respect for her level of faith. Hudson, on the other hand, has no clue what he’s talking about. This tract is an unconvincing argument against what he incorrectly assumes Calvin believed.

  12. Perhaps it’s because not everyone fits into your idea of what a fundie is and we can have different perspectives, not to mention see truth in the views of others, even if some of the theological beliefs may be different?

    Jonathan Edwards had a lot of good to preach. I do not agree with all his theology. So what? In turn, he did not agree with all Calvinists.

    I dear say, from perusing this website, which seems a tad bit juvenile, honestly, I would say there is not a consensus of beliefs here either. In your various churches,perhaps hundreds of different flavors of church represented here, with undoubtedly the various number of pamphlets, hand-outs, tracts and so on in wall racks at said churches, you mean to tell me all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed to make sure that ALL the various literature offered meet the required theological bent of that given church? I doubt it.

    But this is a site created solely to bash so-called fundies, hypocrisy be damned! So enjoy your juvenile mocking.

    Have a royally good night, gents, and ladies too.

    Not my website. Just like it.

    1. It is one thing to respect that people hold different views and be okay interacting with these differences. For example, I am friends with christians who believe it is okay to drink alcohol moderately and others who do not. No big deal. No reason to separate.

      However, many of the fundy pastors featured here throw down separation for living calvinists (Piper, McArthur, etc.) while allowing the dead ones to be quoted in sermons and featured in their bookstore.

    2. Also, you might consider us to be juvenile — but at least we are free to write what we believe and dispute in a civil manner. Try that with Fundy pastors on their facebook and blogs and either your comment won’t be allowed at all (heavily moderated) or it will get deleted very quickly. They are not open to any disagreements.

      1. I have had experience of butting my head against the brick wall of a moderated Fundy blog. My attention was drawn to a certain article and I tried, several times, to post a gentle request for clarification in the comments section. It did not get past the moderater. They must have decided my nose wasn’t brown enough.

  13. Going to Hell?

    It’s a small town in Michigan (look it up!) and undoubtedly is frozen over right now.

      1. There’s also a Hell on Grand Cayman Island, not a bad location to be this time of year.

  14. In which I shall now prove that Calvinism is a False Doctrine, or, The Gospel According to My Mother.

    When my parents were planning their wedding, my father wanted to get married in the Roman Catholic Church, the church of his birth. My mother had been raised Methodist. When they met with a priest about the wedding, he turned to my father and said, “What’s the matter? You couldn’t find a Catholic girl?” So, my father decided to leave the Catholic church. Soon thereafter, my parents became Lutherans. They attended this ELC church in Houston, where I was baptized: http://ctkelc.org/

    Because my father had joined the Navy to pay for medical school, he was stationed in Portsmouth, VA for his residency. While there, my parents joined this ELC church: http://www.standrewlutheranportsmouthva.org/

    That is where my parents met the K*** family. The K*** family were part of Bill Gothard’s ATI. But, for some reason, they attended the Lutheran church (which is not very compatible with ATI teaching) because they had family there (as I recall). Their house burned down and my mother volunteered as part of the church committee that helped the K*** family recover from the fire. Through this experience she got to know them. They invited my mother and father to attend Bill Gothard’s Basic and Advanced Seminars. “Miraculously” (as my parents tell the story), the Navy gave my father leave to attend the seminars even though it is almost unheard of for a medical resident to get two solid weeks of leave in a single summer.

    Anyway, my parents swallowed ATI hook, line, and sinker: homeschooling, quiverfull, patriarchy, etc. My parents were invited by a fellow ATI family to leave the ELC church and join a PCA church.

    And that is where my mother proved for all time that Calvinism is unbiblical. The pastor of the church gave my mother a booklet summarizing Presbyterian theology to read. She read it and became hysterical because she believed that her brother – a militant atheist – was not one of the “elect.” She asked the pastor about it and he (rather coldly and, as it turns out, inconsistently with church doctrine) replied that it did sound like my uncle was predestined to hell. My mother cried for days and finally turned to Mrs. K*** for guidance.

    Mrs. K*** told my mother that anything that made her that upset could not possibly be of God because “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” Mrs. K*** explained that anything that does not give one peace is not of God. (Incidentally, this extreme reliance on personal experience to validate doctrine seems to me to be a uniquely Methodist approach to interpreting Scripture and not one that is so much in vogue among Lutherans or, for that matter, Gothardites. but perhaps that is why it appealed to my mother so much.)

    To this day, this experience remains the core of my mother’s rejection of Calvinist theology.

    1. It’s not just Methodists — Mormons claim that truth can be determined from a ” burning in the bosom”.

      And I’ve had IFB preachers say that they “didn’t have peace” about something.

      1. The search for the elusive “God’s perfect will for my life” that they haunt the teens and young adults with is very similar.

        1. Ugh, you hit a sore spot for me. I am 46 and have been seeking God’s perfect will for my life for most of 30 years. Finally, about two years ago, I gave up. I just concentrated on being there for my wife and kids and providing whatever love and comfort I could and living peaceably and not sweating the small stuff. And not overworking myself at work or at church. Just being there for the ones who matter most. Like God says he is there for us….

          After giving up on the search, I think I finally found God’s perfect will.

      2. As I mentioned a couple days ago, the Mormons always wear magic underwear. If it’s too tight, it can induce a “burning in the bosom.” Google it.

        1. Well if a burning in the bosom is an indication of Truth, then Truth is best known by people with ulcers and acid indigestion.

    2. @Guilt Ridden – you’re not alone in this. In my family and former church that was a convenient reason not to do just about anything. Sometimes it was used by an Authority to sway someone from making a decision the Authority didn’t like. Ironically, when I attempted to use that reason as an easy out for why we left, it was not accepted.

      @Deacon’s Son – never stop writing, and if you ever write that book I’ll preorder.

  15. I don’t believe for a second that Hutson disagrees with Total Depravity or Perseverance.

    1. It depends on which Calvinist defines the terms. There are quite a few out there that take them to the extremes, such as “I’m such a worm that God hates me.” It reminds me of Wayne’s World, “We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy, we’re scum.”

      And then there are the extreme perseverance folks, and there are plenty. If you “backslide”, you were never REALLY a Christian in the first place, because you didn’t persevere to the end. Just look at the way Tony Miano talks to Julie over at Spiritual Sounding Board for a fine example.

      May favorite recent quote I saw, from Dan Phillips over at Pyromaniacs (of the Phil Johnson persuasion), “Those that hate the doctrine of election hate the God of election.” Or something to that fact. In other words, if you aren’t a Calvinist, you hate God and you are likely not saved.

      1. Good grief, what’s up with my spelling and grammar? May=my fact=effect I swear I proofread this stuff. I need some sleep.

    2. During a “discussion” with a rabidly anti-Calvinist IFB pastor (and friend), I was told he didn’t hold with any of the five points. I asked, “What about total depravity?”, and was answered with a terse, “Not like they teach it”! I realized that he, like other anti-Calvinists I had known, had decided that all Calvinists adhere to the farthest extreme of their doctrine. No middle ground, no room for discussion. I have found that many of those who are against anything Calvinistic will not see that there is much that can be agreed on. In there preaching, they preach depravity and perseverance, but insist that even though they use the same verses and words, it is different.

      Semantics is my friend.

  16. I have a whole set of these by Hudson and JR Rice. My father had multiple of the Tulip so he could hand them out.

  17. For those of us here who like to be reminded of critical terms here on SFL I bring you…


    Leon Festinger (1957) proposed cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior.

    According to Festinger, we hold many cognitions about the world and ourselves; when they clash, a discrepancy is evoked, resulting in a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. As the experience of dissonance is unpleasant, we are motivated to reduce or eliminate it, and achieve consonance (i.e. agreement).

    Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen.

    While fringe members were more inclined to recognize that they had made fools of themselves and to “put it down to experience”, committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members).

    For further source material please refer to the source, http://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html


  18. I love how Curtis believes that his $50/hundred tract trumps Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. The SOTL site actually says, ” Here is a concise yet scholarly study…” by *ah-hem* “Doctor” Curtis Hutson.

    Sooo, the anti-scholars are going to school their flocks in the ways of true scholarship?? That’s delicious.




    1. Yep. Fundy arguments against Calvinism just tend to replace one aspect of bad behavior in the Divine with other bad aspects. In any case, it is an argument over the rules of the Game. But in the long run, it is only a game.

  19. All I know is that “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” was a game I often played with my ant farm when I was a kid.
    You don’t need to know the details. 😈 😛 😀

        1. Some wasps make extensive caverns underground. If you can’t flood them out with a boat-load of water, sometimes a propane canister and a match seem to take care of things.

          *not that I would advocate the arbitrary annihilation of a group of unsavory people.. er, insects.

  20. I hate to break it to you folks, but if you ditched the IFB and ran to the TGC crowd, or #the15 angry Calvinist fundys, then, in my opinion, you haven’t left stupidity fully yet. You’ve just exchanged your crack cocaine addiction for raging alcoholism.

  21. Just remember folks, when, because of your rightful criticism of IFB culture, you want to defend Calvinism, (The enemy of my enemy is my friend?) remember Calvinism has brought us some bright and shining folks like…. the Westboro Baptist Church, Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, Scott Brown, RC Sproul Jr, Chuck O’Neal (who infamously sued Julie for giving the church a bad online review…and lost)Tony Miano, Phil Johnson, JD Hall (and his persistent harassment of a suicidal 15 year old.) and many other folks who have taken a class or two, in my opinion (since I don’t want to be sued for a bad review), at the school of meanness.

    Much of the modern patriarchy doctrine is rooted in Calvinism. I’m pretty passionate about this, because, like many of you, when I left the abusive garbage in the IFB, I ran quickly to something that felt comfortable, in the fundamentalist Calvinist culture, and I found myself with disdain for a completely different set of abusive people. Its better just to hit the reset button, read the Bible and come to your own conclusions.

    1. Wow! Been around SFL for a few years….got kicked off the Forum about a year ago….You are the first person I have found that traveled a similar path as me….jumped out of fundamentalism…..though I didn’t go into calvinism….had plenty of bible knowledge to know how foolish that man-made doctrine was (when I was 10 yrs old) ….I go by the bible ONLY…..that’s why I had to leave fundyism to start with!

      “Exchange your crack cocaine addiction for raging alcoholism”

      Fantastic line….I will be voting for this for quote of the year this December!

  22. Larry, I left fundamentalism and went to reformed theology for many reasons ; namely, because I saw many faults in fundamentalism in theological terms and practice. There’re are bad people in all denominations. The fact that we are people who are imperfect and still struggle with sin.

    1. I respect your decision to go that route, but ultimately, this is why I didn’t follow the same route.

      The Bible says that God commands all men everywhere to repent (with the implication of destruction if you don’t). Reformed theology says that God commands people to repent and then won’t enable them to do it. That’s enough for me to see the fatal flaw in the theology. That’s like me whipping my five year old for not passing a Calculus exam and blaming him for his ignorance.

  23. It cracks me up how many fundamentalist Calvinists will look at someone like say….Jack Schaap, and associate his skewed theology with his moral downfall. Then they will inevitably identify that false teacher by his fruit. Then someone like Doug Phillips or R.W. Glenn start a long term affair, then all of a sudden the same rules don’t apply. They show some grace to their buddies and certainly never question their theology These are just good men who fell into sin. B.S.

    1. The broad brush just doesn’t paint a very good picture Larry.

      There are gracious and theologically sound people doing most things right in fundamentalism and there are people doing that in evangelicalism, yes even Calvinists who get it right on occasion.

      The reality is that I didn’t leave “fundamentalism” I left a church that self-identified as fundamentalist that happened to be a disfunctional heretical mess. I chose to not replace that with a “fill-in-the-blank” label of church that had the same issues. Yes there are issues and concerns with every group/label/camp, its about individual churches, that exist in a given location, and have unique characteristics that have to be evaluated.

      Most of the people you have listed I have issues with, but that doesn’t automatically equate everyone with Calvinistic leanings in their doctrinal statement.

      You can say it 6 times or 60, doesn’t make it universally true

      1. There are trends and traits in fundamentalism that lead to much of the disfunction, there are trends and traits in the patriarchal calvinist evangelicals you listed, that make them a group that need to be marked and avoided.

        Putting vague and meaningless labels on them and associating “every” person who you assign that label to with the wrongs and the evils of those who practice them is not helpful.

        1. I’m sorry if I am painting with too broad of a brush. I am willing to admit when I am wrong. Having said that, I travelled the Calvinist spectrum for quite a while and found every group to be just as big of a mess as the IFB one I came from. I looked at the Orthodox Presbyterian church, the patriarchal gurus, and the mean spirited reformed Baptist types like James White, MacArthur, and Phil Johnson all the way to the people the NeoCal movement who claimed to be reformed, but weren’t really. (I mean who can really claim in an intellectually honest fashion to be reformed and Charismatic???) I can’t really find any group or individual church in there with any sort of sense. They all seem to follow one guru or another and their warped views usually stem from their theology. So now I avoid Calvinism like the plague. BUT, if you have another church or denomination you suggest, I’d be more than willing to give it a try and eat my words.

          Forgive me, but your argument seems to be the same one that IFB’s use, being “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” But after the bath water gets so dirty, its really hard to see a baby in there at all anymore. Sure I use isolated examples, but I think they are good examples from the various spectrums, and at some point, I’ve got to use statistical sampling to draw a reasonable conclusion on the validity of a theology. John Piper, CJ Mahaney and Mark Driscoll are jokes, IMO, but I think they are good examples of a subset of churches. Tony Miano, Phil Johnson, and James White are jerks, IMO, but I think they too are representative of a certain breed of churches. At some point, I just decided there is no baby to be found there.

      2. I don’t think Larry was painting with a brush at all. He just pointed out that there are many Calvinists who point to “bad doctrine” as the reason for a person’s downfall, but don’t say that when one of their own fall. By the way, this phenomenon is not limited to Calvinism. I think the most hilarious recent example was the way in which Al Mohler ripped the Catholic church to shreds over child sex abuse, blaming their theology. Then when CJ Mahaney got in hot water over the same issue, suddenly it was circle the wagons. I don’t think anyone is saying that Calvinism causes this behavior.

        1. “Calvinism Causes Patriarchy” – that pretty much told me everything I needed to know about his process of reasoning.

          Then greg slobbered all over him…its not rocket science to figure out where this nonsense is coming from. ..a hatred of Calvinism, not calm, rational correlation.

          Calvinists are people too, Larry has made that point eminently clear. So are Muslims, Atheists, Rastafarians, Pastafarians, and people who believe ABBA was the pinnacle of musical genius. I am sure we could find every moral failing in those groups as well, and it doesn’t always come from their theology, but from their broken human-ness.

          The broad brush comment comes from claiming that ALL Fundamentalists or ALL Calvinists (or implying that their monolithic theology leads inevitably to some behavior or another) Fundy theology is all over the map, and people who would be accurately or inaccurately labeled “Calvinists” also span a wide variety of doctrinal and practical space, Calvinists probably even broader…Its just not good form to lump them all in.

          Also, “Westboro” is a modern religious variant of Godwin’s Law, which ends the discussion anyway.

        2. Ok, I’ll grant your points, as long as you allow me the right to hold to my core doctrine that ABBA was the pinnacle of musical genius 😉

          Being more than familiar with the reformed Baptist crowd which makes up a large chunk of the “complementarian” crowd, I can tell you that they embrace Calvinism (not really, but the five points at least) for the same reason they embrace complementarianism. Marketing. Their Calvinism is an expression, not a cause.

        3. When any religious group begins to circle the wagons, my honest first reaction isn’t that their doctrine was part of the reason for a downfall. My first thought is that they have placed too high a view of their doctrine and are willing to cover sins against the weak so it won’t hurt their theological position in the world’s eyes.

          When the problems came out in the Catholic Church years ago, my Catholic friend said, “I’m glad it came out; God’s cleaning His house.” I was surprised that he didn’t downplay it in order to make his church look better. He taught me a lot that day in one sentence.
          I hope to see this kind of house cleaning in any church that needs it. No more “circle the wagons.”

  24. Doesn’t God “ordain” all actions of men, including this tract, indeed…….ALL sinful acts of men that occur on planet Earth, and then hold them accountable for the sins that he ordained them to commit?

  25. Better yet he quotes Spurgeon in the pamphlet to help shoot down Calvinism….classic

    1. More like misquotes Spurgeon. Spurgeon said “I believe in the final perseverance of Jesus Christ.”

  26. Larry, you named several men of various IFB and Calvinist stripes.

    Try a liturgical church. The emphasis is on worship; for example, about two-thirds of an Episcopal Church service is prayer of some sort. That includes hymns, collects, Eucharistic prayers and the Prayers of the People.

    By the way, the hymns are not “me and Jesus are great pals, and so sorry about unsaved you,” but genuine lifting our hearts to the Lord. We don’t much care who’s in the pulpit. It’s our worship together as a community what’s important.

    1. I go to a pentecostal church (AOG). I am glad to say the emphasis is on worship.
      the Admiral

  27. Dominion Theology (also known as Reconstructionism) is a political theology heavily based on Calvinism. Much of what we see happening in Conservative politics is based on ideas in this genre. The basic idea is that the Country should become a theocracy ruled by “God’s Law” with stern and harsh punishments for offenders. Christians should rule over non-Christians (since, after all, in Christ’s Kingdom His people are going to sit on thrones, ruling as Christ will, with a rod of iron).

    There aren’t a lot of politicians who would actually admit to holding this political doctrine. The actions and rhetoric, however, suggest otherwise.

    For example, politicians who vote to cut food stamps because they think some people “don’t deserve the help” because they are “lazy” or have taken drugs or such are promoting a dominionist philosophy. One must enforce proper behavior with harsh punishments, and if children suffer as a result of the parents’ sins, well that is Biblical as well.

    1. You are right on, Rtgmath. I used to parrot some of the views you mention when I was a good Religious Right.

    2. Christians aren’t supposed to believe in evolution but that sounds like a very twisted form of Social Darwinism to me.

      1. One of the big ironies in fundamentalism. They don’t believe in evolution, yet they wholeheartedly endorse Social Darwinism — though not by name. They claim they don’t believe the “prosperity gospel,” but they still view the poor as somehow being judged or disciplined by God for some sin, and they view the rich as being blessed by God for some virtue. The “meek” won’t inherit the earth — the rich will. And of course, them. As believers they are ready and eager and waiting to sit on thrones so they can rule people with a rod of iron.

        1. And they are more than willing to rule by applying that rod of iron to the backs of people who don’t toe their line. Is that what Jesus intended?

        2. They have forgotten what mercy and grace are. They may say the words, but they don’t know the meanings in any personal way. Their faith has devolved into one of entitlement.

        3. The Gospel had been replaced with “morality” and “Political Agenda” from the pulpit.
          The Gospel is merely a sermon type to be preached on Sunday morning in case some there wants to make a decision and come down for the Altar call.
          The Church Growth Movement has triumphed over love, mercy,and grace leaving only performance based acceptance which focuses on numbers, loyalty, attendance and giving.

        4. This is not only true of American IFBism. It was very much part of the Evangelical Ulster protestantism I grew up with in Northern Ireland, except that Grace somehow got replaced by rule-keeping.

  28. Most Fundies probably think Mercy and Grace were the daughters in one of the Mather families from Boston.

  29. Kind of like saying facial hair is wrong… but Jesus and Spurgeon are OK… or smoking is wrong but Spurgeon is OK…. or Calvinism is wrong, but Spurgeon is OK… Now that I think about it, Spurgeon is pretty BA.

    Textual Criticism is wrong, unless it was done by Erasmus.

    Not separating from sinful people is wrong, unless you are Jesus.

  30. Dear SFL Reader:

    John Calvin never heard of the famed ‘five points’ of Calvinism. When Synod met at Dordt to do its work, John Calvin’s body was already 49 years in the grave.

    Had you arrived at Geneva any time in the late 16th or 17th century, the so-called ‘five point’ version of ‘Calvinism’ would have seen you bounced out of town unceremoniously.

    Christian Socialist

  31. I highly recommend you choose not to be a calvinist, of course if calvinism is true, you have no choice, or do you? Very confusing!

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