Posts Tagged ‘Dan Phillips’
Dan Phillips begins what looks like it will become a fascinating new series over at Pyromaniacs, in which he calls upon Calvinists to explain stuff. He says:
I’m going to introduce a few such popular Calvinist positions, and open the meta for advocates of those positions to explain the rationale in under two hundred words. Speak in words any Christian can understand. Do not preach to the choir. Be pointed, plain, precise, helpful.
First up, in fewer than 200 words, explain why Calvinists reject altar calls. I look forward to the comments, which have yet to start rolling in.
Apart from specific issues, it is a good discipline, worthwhile not just for doctrinal clarification (legitimate shibboleths?) but also for the gospel itself.
Pyro Dan Phillips gives guidance on the excuses we can use when trying to avoid addressing sin with which we have legitimately been charged.
Here are the four cards for fudgers of the issue to play (the last is my favourite on account of hearing it so regularly in a certain situation):
1. The “grace” card. This is antinomianism, whether nascent or in full-bloom. What? How dare I? Don’t I believe in grace? Brother, hear me: I not only believe in grace, I have staked my eternal destiny on the grace of God in Christ. But Biblical grace is how God freely saves me FROM sin’s guilt and power (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-14). The moment you adduce grace as if it were how God makes it “okay” for me to live under sin’s power without feeling guilt, you’re no evangelical, you’re at best dangerously close to being an antinomian, and you’re having crumpets and tea with a virulent heresy (cf. Jude 1:4).
2. The “judge not” card. This may be the laziest and silliest. Jesus says “Judge not” (Matthew 7:1), then immediately tells us how to bring others’ sins to their attention (i.e. not hypocritically, vv. 3-5); then tells us not to give holy things to pigs and dogs (v. 6). So we have to judge enough to identify sin, pigs, and dogs. What mustn’t we do? We mustn’t judge others’ hearts, which we can’t see (Proverbs 14:10; 20:27; Jeremiah 17:9; 1 Corinthians 2:11). In a very similar vein, there is the…
3. “Yeah… but you did it with the wrong attitude.” As a response to a truthful confrontation, this is barely more contentful than “Oh yeah?” and “So’s your old man.” It’s more along the lines of, “Oh, well, er… hey, look! A comet!” – except phrased as an accusation. Oddly, the “wrong attitude” set is very judgmental when it comes to mind-reading and heart-examining anyone who dares to try to obey Jesus’ command to discern (Matthew 7:3-6) and rebuke (Luke 17:3). At its worst, it evolves into…
4. Three magic words: “You’re not loving.” Ahh yes, consider the incandescent splendor of The Love CardTM. Do you tell me (truthfully!) that I’m breaking the first, second, third, fifth, and whatever-else commandments? Oh yeah? Well, it doesn’t matter, because… you’re not loving! So there! Now I don’t have to deal with my sin! I’m a victim, you’re Torquemada! The beauties of this pathetic, craven dodge are literally countless. Behold, and marvel:
- Hey, presto! The subject is changed! Mission Accomplished! We’re not talking about my (actual) sin anymore, we’re all about your (alleged) lovelessness in pointing it out! It’s… er… Martinelli time!
- It’s like calling someone a “racist”: you are in sin, but your brother is now The Accused, he’s assumed guilty, and the more he tries to defend himself, the worse he looks.
- The bar remains unreachable, and can be raised world without end. “I think you missed this… what about that?… I still think you’re….”
- Unlike your sin, this standard is so vast and borderless that you can use it and re-use until everyone loses interest or dies. Who ever loves enough – purely enough, selflessly enough, heartily enough? Suppose the poor chap works diligently on his attitude of love three or four times; then you get to say, “Why do you keep harping on this? I think you have issues!” It’s sheer genius, of a dark sort.
- Here’s the kicker: you (or the person whose sin you’re enabling) are the ones in sin, but now you look holy and pious, and the other guy looks bad!
- You can simply run out the clock until everyone wearies of the subject, and the person who brought it up (to honor Christ with believing obedience, guard the holy name of God, and do you good) just looks bad.
- And, hey! You get to keep your sin! Because evanjellybeans just don’t care about God-shaming, sinner-hardening, testimony-ruining, soul-destroying, kill-Christ sin anymore!
Too true. Read it all.
Dan Phillips of Pyromaniacs fame has been blogging the Sacramento version of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology 2009. Richard Phillips, Steven Lawson (lots of good stuff on John Calvin), Derek Thomas, and Jerry Bridges were the preachers.
A record of all the preaching and Q&A sessions is available, and very stimulating it all looks.