Questioner: Why are so many people against Reformed/Calvinist theology?
Steven Lawson: Because they don’t know the Bible; it’s not that they know too much of the Bible, but too little that leads them to the conclusion that Calvinism isn’t viable (my paraphrase).
To view the whole exchange on the above click here. The respondents also include the late R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur.
None of this is surprising, of course Lawson et al. will claim that people reject their version of Calvinism because, as he claims, people don’t know their Bibles. It is hard to fathom how folks can survive in this world living in such echo chambers, but that’s exactly what fuels the universe these folks apparently inhabit. They won’t even entertain the possibility that maybe, just maybe there are multitudes of people out there who actually do know their Bibles, quite well in fact, who disagree vehemently with the hermeneutic that leads to classical Calvinism (in all its verity) in the main. But attempt to push back towards people like Lawson et al., let them know that there is a whole host of interpretive tradition that has developed over the millennia in the history of interpretation, in the Church catholic, and you’ll get the same refrain (just louder!): “you don’t know your Bible, because if you did, you would think just like me!”
I have already beat this dead horse to death but let me register it one more time: classical Calvinism, even of the sort that JMac and company affirm, finds its origins steeply rooted in Christian Aristotelianism. The whole development of Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics (and “orthodoxy”) attests to this fact, as Richard Muller has voluminously developed in all of his writings (particularly his 4Vols Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics). But Macites et al. have so uncritically received their interpretive tradition that they can’t make Post Reformed orthodoxy for the Bible, and vice versa. They have so conflated, uncritically so, the categories they interpret Scripture through, with Scripture itself, that they cannot see a critical difference. So, when you challenge their position, you are not challenging their position, but Holy Scripture, and thus, God’s living voice (viva vox Dei) itself. This is why they get so animated when confronted with the possibility that they just maybe have collapsed substance metaphysics, and the like, into their respective exegesis of the text. I suppose it’s easier just to live life from the idea that they don’t interpret Scripture, that there is no ‘interpretive dilemma,’ so on and so forth.
But I have also come to realize that attempting to genuinely engage with people like Lawson et al. is a fool’s errand. I did that for years and years here in the blogosphere, particularly over at Pyromaniacs, the group blog of Phil Johnson (Johnson is the executive editor and front man for JMac at Grace to You Ministries). And yet I literally stumbled across the above video and thought I would at least offer some response here. That drumbeat is like the Energizer bunny.