The Evangelical Calvinist

"The world was made so that Christ might be born."-David Fergusson

Archive for the ‘Housekeeping’ Category

On Being an ‘After Barth Blogger’: Sometimes It’s Better to Just Not Interact

Yes, I’ve had to deal personally with the realization that Karl Barth’s and Charlotte von Kirschbaum’s relationship was not right; adulterous even. But at the end of the day, after all is said and done, Barth set a trajectory for theological discourse that far exceeds himself. This is the way I have come to negotiate this whole situation; I live with a tension in this regard (and it upsets me that I have to live with this tension, but I will). But let’s be very clear about something: I have established myself—for good or ill— as a Barth, TF Torrance, After Barth theoblogger. Just as most Protestant Reformed are Thomists, Scotists, or on that spectrum somewhere; I as a Reformed blogger think, by and large, from the Barth trajectory (in all its various manifestations and emphases etc.). So, when you come on my blog, my Facebook, or any of my social media connection points and bad mouth Karl Barth, caricature his theology, and make wild assertions about his theology that don’t actually reflect his theology, then expect not to hang around long. In my last post someone named “Mike” engaged in the very type of behavior that I won’t stand for; I won’t attempt to be reasonable once this behavior starts; and if you persist you will be banned from my blog and all social media contacts. Here’s an example of what Mike wrote about Barth’s theology:

Perhaps this in and of itself is an argument against Barth’s unmediated “subjective actualisation” of salvation. It is simply not true that all are salvifically included, until they are salvifically included –> through the ministry of Word and Sacrament. The Church *is* a “telos” because the creation of a bride and its exaltation with her groom is the telos of Scripture and God’s purposes. Barth obscures this and relegates the Church to passive observer rather than living organ of God’s glory on earth.

And this:

But I have interacted with the quotes, by observing that Barth’s presupposition is a non-starter. Subjective actualisation of the gospel *is* necessary, and the Church is instrumental in applying this aspect of Christ’s work. There is not a single theological system in all of Christian reflection that has ever said that the subjective actualisation of the gospel is is already complete in Christ (and that it has no contingency on baptism, on the decision of faith etc.). The reason for that absence is that it’s a preposterous assertion; one that is so incredibly out of sync with Scripture as to render the subsequent argument irrelevant.

And most egregiously, this:

I understand ‘subjective actualisation’ all too well, couched within the false notion that my ‘no’ is contained in the ‘yes’ of Christ. Not only is that demonstrably unbiblical, but it allows Barth to imagine that his unrepentant adultery was enveloped by Christ’s ‘vicarious humanity’. Perhaps that’s precisely the context in which that theology arose – as a way self-justifying the unjustifiable with a pious-sounding but false Christology. No. I’d rather stick to a traditional christology and ecclesiology that doesn’t twist scripture to serve sexual sin.

These are all examples from one source, Mike, that represent the absurd. Folks like this want me to engage with them reasonably, and don’t understand why I end up getting ticked about such caricatures and outright liable in regard to Barth’s theology. Somehow I’m supposed to take any of this seriously, grant him (or anyone like him) this type of erroneous space, and then engage in winsome reasonable dialogue; not going to happen. When people automatically marginalize Barth’s theology, because they are committed say to a more “classical” approach, and then want to attempt to have a serious discussion, when many of Barth’s categories are informing my hermeneutic and potential for theological discourse, what are such people thinking?!

I am lifting this up because it is fresh, and I want to identify it as a caution for going forward. I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with Barth’s theology, per se. But when that is used straightaway to discount his offering to the church then what’s the point of attempting to pursue any further dialogue (given who I am)? So Mike isn’t really allowed here anymore. He can read my blog, but no more commenting (it doesn’t even make sense to allow that; not for him or me or for anyone else who wants to take Mike’s approach with me).


Written by Bobby Grow

January 17, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Barth, Housekeeping

A Lurker Reveal Post

This is a lurker reveal post. If you have been reading here or visiting here regularly for any time at all, and you see this post, let me know by simply saying “hi” in the comments (if you feel adventurous you can even say a little bit about yourself). I used to do posts like this every now and then in the past to give folks a chance to reveal themselves a bit; it also serves as an encouragement to me to let me know I’m not just writing posts for the ether alone. 😉

Written by Bobby Grow

June 25, 2017 at 11:43 pm

Posted in Housekeeping

Some Things to Keep in Mind When You Read Here, and Comment

I haven’t written a post like this for a long time, I used to write posts like this pretty frequently; just to keep things clear about how I operate here at my personal blog. I’m a 42 year old full grown man, with a family, responsibilities, so on and so forth. I’ve been “full time” blogging since 2005, even through a terminal cancer (that for some Providential reason I lived through). I just want to
mosaicbobbymake clear why and how I blog, and the expectations I bring to it. I don’t blog to place myself under anyone’s “accountability”; I don’t blog to open myself up to personal attacks or opinions about who the reader perceives me to be, or thinks I should be; I don’t blog (necessarily) to make “friends” (or enemies); I don’t blog in order to figure out how to communicate so the masses can understand. I blog in order to learn, primarily. I will blog and write about whatever topic I want, whenever I want; that’s one of the points of having a personal blog. If you don’t like what I write, or the topics I choose to write on, then either don’t read them or at the least don’t tell me about it (I don’t care). Also one more thing, don’t be passive-aggressive in your comments. If you are going to take a run at me, and my ideas, then expect me to push back in kind. And if I do push back don’t default to some sort of passive posture, I don’t respect that at all.

That said, I’ve almost always left comments open, and do enjoy engaging in discourse and commenting. But with one caveat (again shaped by what I wrote above), I appreciate comments that engage materially with whatever I have written in a particular post. If you think something I wrote is not understandable, then ask me to clarify prior to launching into a critique of what I didn’t write, or what you THINK I wrote; I don’t respect that, and it “triggers” me. I’m generally a nice person, and I love Jesus, but I won’t be “pushed” around online (or in person), particularly on my blog.

For the moment I am going to turn on the comment moderation function here at the blog. I think that would be wise for me to do that, and not as cumbersome as it used to be; since people rarely comment on blogs anymore (they reserve that for FaceBook and Twitter it seems).

Love you.

Written by Bobby Grow

January 31, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Housekeeping

House Keeping: I am no longer on FaceBook

Just a heads up for any of you who are friends with me on FaceBook. I just deactivated my account, and I am not sure, if ever, when I will return. I think I first started a FaceBook account in and around 2007, but I let it lay dormant until about 2008; even when I decided to start using my account my only intention was to use it for funneling my blog posts through, which I did. I made over a thousand contacts on FB, and have quite a bit of networking contacts as a result. Even so, in the final analysis, at least for the time being, I am exhausted by FB. Not that I don’t enjoy seeing what’s going on in other people’s lives, and not that I don’t enjoy sharing things with others; but honestly I feel like sometimes people have too much access into my life, almost in unhealthy ways. Beyond that, the real reason is because I spend way too much unproductive time just scanning FB; I can do more productive things with my life, including blogging. To me blogging is the better out-let, there’s enough space here to express meaningful thoughts, and the pace of things is slower and more controlled. I am sure some of my contacts on FB will probably think I unfriended them or blocked them or something, but of course that’s not the case. I only deactivated my account, I did not delete it; so when I feel like it I can reactivate it, and get right back at it again—although my intention is not to do that for awhile.

If you’re not friends with me on FB then this doesn’t affect you, but if you are now you know what happened. Expect more blog posts than I’ve been producing as of late. With the vacuum created by not being on FB, my blogging will once again be my primary online out-let for all things theological. I still do have a Twitter account open, but I’m not a fan of Twitter, really.

One more thing, if you’re friends with me on FB, and someone else asks you if you know what happened to me, could you let them know? And tell them to come visit me here. 🙂

Written by Bobby Grow

September 23, 2016 at 11:09 pm

Posted in Housekeeping

Commenting “Policy”

Just a quick housekeeping note in regard to commenting here at The Evangelical Calvinist. I actually don’t get that many comments anymore (blogging has changed since I started 10 years ago), and typically anytime I do you all use great tone and are respectful even if you disagree with me on things. But I would like to be clear: This is my personal blog, it is where I think out loud, write to learn, and process various things. One thing that I won’t accept are comments that tell me, on my own blog, what I should or shouldn’t post and/or when I should or shouldn’t post on whatever topic we might be considering.

Somebody just told me via comment that I shouldn’t have posted that post that I did on Pray for Paris, Jean CauvinApparently they thought it was in bad taste, or maybe opportunistic or whatever. I can assure you that that post was not that. That post, for one thing was, for me, a way to process the tragedy that happened on November 13th, and also a way to maybe put up something encouraging and edifying from John Calvin (who just happened to be French). I thought his words were apropos, and even timely in regard to underscoring what prayer is and what it can and should accomplish for those who do pray. My commentary on that post was intended to set up that quote (from Calvin) and nothing else. I don’t think that what I wrote in that post was distasteful or too quick.

Anyway, I am going to post whatever I feel led, at the time, to post. If you see a title to a post and you don’t think you will like its contents, then don’t read it, nobody is forcing you to. I am thankful to have the readers that I do, and thankful, typically, for the type of feedback that I get. But I just want to be clear about what I am doing with this blog, and to emphasize that this is my blog; nobody is forcing you to read it, but I am grateful that you all do.

Thanks. Pax.

PS. If I receive comments that I think are outside the bounds of what I find acceptable I will delete those comments; I won’t be censored on my own blog. I have rarely ever done that in my 10 years of blogging.

Written by Bobby Grow

November 16, 2015 at 12:31 am

Posted in Housekeeping

The Evangelical Calvinist will stay with WordPress

After getting some good feedback, both here, and from someone else I respect, “offline,” I have decided to keep blogging right here at I won’t be moving to Patheos, for a variety of reasons.

Thanks again for the good feedback. And don’t feel slighted if I didn’t go with your advice 🙂 .

Written by Bobby Grow

December 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Posted in Housekeeping

What Do you the reader think about The Evangelical Calvinist Going to Patheos?

Yes, what do you think? If you read here please let me know. I am in the process of trying to get my paperwork into them, but it is harder than it seems since I don’t have a scanner or fax machine … so I have to go somewhere else to use a fax. Anyway, I would like to get your feedback on this move, even if you just lurk here. Let me know what you think about me moving to Patheos. I have had one reader and long time friend of the blog and me, let me know that he does not think it is the best of moves (i.e. because of commercialization, because it might make Evangelical Calvinism look “gimmicky” etc). Let me know what you think.

Written by Bobby Grow

December 20, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Housekeeping

The Evangelical Calvinist at Patheos

The Evangelical Calvinist blog (this one) is in the process of transitioning into being a Patheos blog (and part of that network). I am getting all of my paper work in, and I would imagine that in the next few days or so (week?) when you try to come here you will be redirected to The Evangelical Calvinist over at Patheos at its new url etc.

I will provide an update when the time comes for the actual transition. Make sure to stay with me as this transition happens! Thank  you faithful readers!

Written by Bobby Grow

December 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Housekeeping

I Am Going to Cross-Post Between Here and Medium

I am going to cross post between my blog here and Medium. Medium, I am realizing is just another type of social media, like Facebook (with more space), to get exposure for stuff you write. Most of you aren’t following me over there, and I don’t blame you (it is more cumbersome than I realized–It looks like you have to actually create a Medium account in order to follow me over there). So just pretend like I never told you about Medium, unless you want to read me over there. Whatever I post here, I will cross post over there, for more exposure.

Thanks for hanging with me. I’m still here for you. I have more than 200 followers here, and hardly any of you came over with me to Medium. Plus, I didn’t realize you couldn’t really make comments on Medium (which is cheesy).

Written by Bobby Grow

November 8, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Housekeeping

Moving Writing Platforms

I have been using WordPress for years and years for my blogging, I think it is time for a change. I was just introduced to a new platform for writing, one that is much more aesthetically pleasing, at least to me, much more clean, and one that will serve as my place for registering my thoughts via writing online. It is called So if you want to follow my writing and thoughts still, then you can find me over at Medium at this link: .

I will be leaving The Evangelical Calvinist up, but I will only use this as a place to advertise our next Evangelical Calvinism book which is forthcoming (2016). Blessings.

If you are a follower of the blog here, it is simple to become a follower or “subscriber” of my new writing platform at medium. Just follow the link over to my site at Medium, and click on ‘Followers’ (I am not sure if you have to be a member of Medium to follow me like that there) See you there.

Bobby Grow

Written by Bobby Grow

November 7, 2014 at 1:07 am

Posted in Housekeeping