The Liberalism Straw Man of Young, Restless Reformers

, posted by A.M. Mallett

As Arminians, we often have to deal with a number of scurrilous charges and various innuendos inflicted upon our faith by an assortment of polemicists, predominantly at the hand of the young, restless, Reformed variety and their elder teachers. Whether it is a straw man of “free willism,” salvation by works, or open theism and a host of other unsupportable accusations, each is brought to nothing by the revelation of plain, simple truth. Truth will always bring to naught any straw man fabricated for divisive purposes. I came across another bale of straw dressed up as knowledge today. The following quote was offered to buttress another’s doctrine of mush and as always, truth will grind it to chaff.

“We are living in a day in which practically all of the historic
churches are being attacked from within by unbelief. Many
of them have already succumbed. And most invariably the
line of descent has been from Calvinism to Arminianism,
from Arminianism to Liberalism, and then to Unitarianism.
And the history of Liberalism and Unitarianism shows that
they deteriorate into a social gospel that is too weak to
sustain itself. We are convinced that the future of Christianity
is bound up with that system of theology historically called
“Calvinism.” Where the God-centered principles of
Calvinism have been abandoned, there has been a strong
tendency downward into the depths of man-centered
naturalism or secularism. Some have declared — rightly,
we believe — that there is no consistent stopping place
between Calvinism and Atheism.” – Calvinism, hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism, pages 3-4, by Kenneth G. Talbot & W. Gary Crampton; Still Waters Revival books

This is sheer ignorance. The “granddaddy of theological liberalism” was Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, who came out of the German Reformed theological stream and not Arminianism. The “daddy” of American Unitarianism is nothing but Calvinistic Puritanism. The United Church of Christ, the result of a merging of various Congregational Churches (previously Puritan), is one of the most liberal churches in the country. The Presbyterian Church – USA, straight out of the Calvinist Reformed tradition, rivals the UCC for promoting homosexuality in the pulpit and rejecting the infallibility of scripture among other liberal disasters.

Calvinists are quick to repeat the lie contained in this quote, but as the above comments note, much of the greatest growth of theological liberalism in the church has come directly from Calvinistic Reformed sources without ever touching Arminianism. If we add other aberrant teachings to the mix we would also have to include the origins of the various Church of Christ sects that arose out of Calvinistic Presbyterians and Baptists (the Restoration movements of Campbell and Stone). If you are going to try to beat somebody with a propaganda lie, you better be prepared for the truth to knock some sense into you.