It somewhat bothers me when I see things being reduced to politics when it comes to theological viewpoints; which was just illustrated for me as I read a blog post today by another blogger. Basically the premise is that material beliefs–like actual theological and biblical points of consideration–aren’t really as important, as it is to be able to say that I am such and such theologically juxtaposed with whomever said such and such position takes issue with (i.e. so Arminians or Open Theology folk against classical Calvinists).
Sure, labels still matter, somewhat, when it comes to attempting to precisely, but broadly identify with one theological trajectory over another. But, beyond this kind of simple rhetorical move, what is at stake is a kind of depth dimension. In other words, you can’t just say “oh, yeah, well I’m an Arminian, and thus I disagree with Calvinism,” and therefore without actual material engagement with the Calvinist, presume based upon this assertion of self-identification alone that you have put the Calvinist position in its place, materially. This is as naïve as it gets (and fallacious–reductionistic).
Who really cares whether or not you are an Arminian, Open Theology advocate, Calvinist, etc. What really matters is the material/theological/conceptual reality that delimits said political or theological position. This is the level where the discussion must happen. You can’t simply assert a position, that say is historically against another position, and presume that you have any substantial ground to stand upon; you have to test your ideas against what is given by God’s Self-revelation in Jesus Christ; and not against or by another theological system. It is only after this kind of work is done that your assertion about say being a non-Calvinist or Calvinist can have any meaning beyond simply political posturing.