|CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE|
The following is from a friendly chat I’m having on Twitter with an anti Calvinist preacher. I am sharing it here and commenting because it is already in the public domain. The moment you hit the “Tweet” button on Twitter, it is there for the world and the crows to read, providing they have internet access. It concerns the Calvinist missionary, William Borden, who our friend had earlier eulogised with the words “What a man of God!” and “a great missionary.” After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, our friend admitted that he probably wouldn’t have Borden in his pulpit, hence the tweet above to the effect that it seems that Borden qualified for the previous eulogies but not for his pulpit. (An obvious discrepancy there.) This, in turn, led to the suggestion that Borden was a great missionary because he was an “inconsistent Calvinist” – one who “believed Calvinism intellectually, but not practically” with the parting shot, “Thank God!” which, of course, raises the bar even further.
This opens up a veritable can of worms, does it not? Here was a Calvinist who is charged with being inconsistent. The reason of his supposed inconsistency was simply that he trained to be a missionary. His desire was to take the gospel to Muslims in Northern China, although he died during training in Egypt. The only inconsistency here is not with his Calvinism but with the oft repeated propaganda of the anti Calvinist brigade. Since Calvinists believe that God draws in his elect whom He has decreed to save through the means of indiscriminate evangelism, then far from being inconsistent, it is entirely consistent for the Calvinist to evangelise. So the first charge must be dismissed, unless false propaganda is your thing.
At first blush, the second charge appears to be a rehash of the first. Borden’s Calvinism was said to be merely intellectual but not practical i.e. (again) he evangelised, and practical Calvinists (according to our attackers) don’t do evangelism. It is as if Spurgeon, Carey, Brainherd, Whitefield and a whole army of others didn’t exist. Either that or they were inconsistent as well. Note, you can only play that card for so long. If the rule has too many exceptions, then it ceases to be the rule.
But the issue runs a little deeper on the second charge. If Borden’s doctrinal views of soteriology did not energise his evangelistic efforts, then what did? As I pointed out a couple of tweets later, “If Borden's theology didn't drive him, then his efforts were physical & mechanical & nothing else.” Instead of coming across as a great missionary and earning the eulogy of a great man of God, he must be viewed rather as a double minded man who is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8)
I don’t know how far my new found correspondent on Twitter is prepared to go with his anti Calvinism views. Are Calvinists to be considered as heretics to be avoided (Titus 3:10) – if so then how can he be such a man of God and a great missionary? Do Calvinists preach another gospel and earn themselves the curse of God upon them as per Galatians 1:8-9? If so, then again the same questions come back to haunt the accuser.
Interesting discussion, is it not? It shows that you don’t have to be a genius or a deep theological student to halt such attacks on Calvinism on the spot. Calvinism is safe if it is subject to attacks of this calibre.