Rhetoric

Causal vs Social Centered Part V: Grace

, posted by Martin Glynn

The fourth point immediately follows from the doctrine of depravity. If we are born depraved, separated from God, and incapable of coming to Christ on our own, then God is the one that needs to…

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Causal vs Social Centered Part IV: Depravity

, posted by Martin Glynn

The differences in Depravity between Calvinists and Arminians are perhaps the most interesting for our topic since both Calvinists and Arminians agree on the basic concept. However, I do think we think about Total Depravity…

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Tim Keller: Private Calvinist, Public Arminian

, posted by drwayman

[Editor’s note: SEA does not necessarily agree with any comments by the author of this post to the effect that Tim Keller, John Piper, or any particular Calvinists are intentionally misleading or disingenuous in their…

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Roger Olson, “Beware of Stealth Calvinism!”

, posted by SEA

Beware of Stealth Calvinism! Several times here I have expressed concern that some Calvinists are attempting to take over churches by stealth. I frequently hear from church members (mostly Baptists but occasionally also Pentecostals and…

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4 Questions 4 Calvinists

, posted by drwayman

1. If Calvinism were true, what is the point of the Final Judgment for the unbeliever? It would be like me walking into a courtroom and the judge telling me that I get a life…

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The Tweet After the Tweet

, posted by SEA

By Derek Ouellette in response to John Piper’s Oklahoma debacle   By now you are probably aware of another tweet by John Piper which fired up an otherwise friendly Christian community (<– yes, facetious). For…

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Prooftexting

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “Say hello to my little friend!”

What I mean by Proof-texting

There are four different ways to interact with Scripture within a discussion:

  1. Exegesis: Carefully breaking down the meaning of a text through grammar, definitions, and context.
  2. Quoting: Repeating word for word what a particular passage says.
  3. Referencing: Just naming the Book, chapter, and verses to which you are referring.
  4. Inferencing: Integrating Scripture into what you are saying without reference to origin, by summarizing, partial quotation, or other means.

Naturally, we would like to exegete whenever possible. However, anytime in which you quote, reference, or inference Scripture in order to demonstrate the validity of the point which you are arguing, you are in a sense proof-texting.

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Straw Man

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “An Affinity for Effigy” What I Mean by Straw Man The term “Straw man argument” or “Straw man fallacy” is usually understood to be based off of the common training technique of using mock…

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Consistency

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “Van Til It Hurts”

What I Mean By Consistency

In the 1920s a Dutch Theologian by the name of Cornelius Van Til (hence the joke in the subtitle) revitalized an apologetic approach known as presuppositional apologetics. In essence, presuppositional apologetics assesses the validity of a philosophical view by its presuppositions (the underlying assumptions upon which the view is based) and whether these presuppositions contradict each other or are consistent with each other.* It is sort of like a monological Socratic argument.

Oh, and Van Til was a Calvinist.

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Slippery Slopes

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “Are We Inclined to Decline?”

What I Mean by Slippery Slopes

Before I begin, it is important that I differentiate between Slippery Slope Arguments, and Slippery Slope Fallacies.

Slippery Slope Arguments are a form of inductive reasoning which notes that those who hold to a certain position (hitherto referred to as position A) either eventually come to hold a bad belief (hitherto referred to as position B), or their students/descendants come to hold that bad belief (i.e. position B), or it is reasoned that position A should logically lead to position B. It is then induced that there is some quality about position A which usually or necessarily causes a belief in position B. Since position B is bad, it then follows that position A is also bad (or at least too dangerous to be considered).

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: The Stronghold

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “A Mighty Fortress Is Our Theology”

What I Mean by the Stronghold

This is probably going to be the hardest rhetorical analysis that I currently have planned to explain what I mean. It is important for this post that I mention that this is neither a critique on Calvinist theology, nor is this particular anomaly a universal characteristic of Calvinist rhetoric. Instead, this is something that I have noticed experientially as I have talked to Calvinists.

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Euphemism and Dysphemism

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “Poisoning the Well while Sweetening the Pot”

What I Mean By Euphemism and Dysphemism

Both euphemism and dysphemism are replacing words in order to make a point. With euphemism, you replace a word with another to make an idea sound better (often to be less offensive). With dysphemism, you replace a word with another to make an idea sound worse.

A great example of a rhetorical use of euphemism is the titles “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” Using the prefix “pro” makes both of them sound like they are for something, instead of being against something. Additionally, it makes opposing the position sound bad (who wants to be against choice, or life?). Therefore, naming your position can make your position sound better, while making the other position sound worse.

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CALVINIST RHETORIC: Idealistic Abstractions

, posted by Martin Glynn

Or “Plato: Imagination Taking Shape”*

What I Mean by Idealistic Abstractions

To be abstract means to be “thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances.” To put it more simply (at least for our purposes), something which is abstract is something which is not defined by our five senses. For instance, love, peace, faith, grace, sovereignty, etc. As we can see from the examples, abstraction is quite important for Christianity. Indeed, it is quite important for life, since most subjects deal with abstractions, including science, politics, and even sports.

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