Buy or sell at the BHT

Michael Spencer (iMonk) at the BHT has asked the members of the BHT to respond to five points he has put forward. The questions he asks are:

Buy = I agree/ this is good
Sell = I disagree/ not good

1. The Calvinistic resurgence in Southern Baptist life has filled SBC seminaries with young Calvinists in a denomination that has less than 10% Calvinistic churches. The result will be overwhelmingly negative for the denomination.

2. Daniel Radcliffe’s 10 minutes of on-stage nudity and simulated sex will not result in any real lasting controversies to affect his Harry Potter film role.

3. “Lost” will be canceled before the end of this season.

4. If you surveyed the average Sunday morning class of young adults (married or single/18-25) in the average Protestant church, you would find almost no one (less than 10%) who could explain the Gospel in a distinctly Biblical form.

5. There will never again be a Christian focused, major studio theatrical movie that will do anywhere close to the business of “The Passion of the Christ.”

Here are my opinions (below the fold)

1. Sell. My position is that Calvinism being injected into the SBC will improve it markedly, especially in reference to the 4th question. Michael's experiences of Calvinists have been overwhelmingly negative and I think that he fears an invasion of intolerant "TR's". I don't think this will happen. The Calvinists I see from the SBC and that I interact with occasionally are centred around the Founders Ministries' Blog and I have the utmost respect for most of them.

2. Buy. I agree with imonk that Daniel Radcliffe's nudity won't result in much at all. I fear that he will be a washed up actor addicted to prescription drugs by the time he is 24 while other actors from the film will become mainstream Hollywood actors. By the time he's 35 he will appear in a successful arthouse film by a quirky director and his career will flourish again.

3. Buy. I only watched half an episode of Lost. I think everyone has been drawn into the strange storyline in the same way as the X-Files and Twin Peaks... but have realised (like watchers of X-files and Twin Peaks) that the creators have even less an idea of what is going on than they do.

4. Buy. 10% is probably a realistic figure but it is shocking. There needs to be a generation of new pastors and preachers who go into these churches and begin to fearlessly preach the Word and preach the Gospel. That is why the Calvinistic "resurgence" will be so important to the life of American evangelicalism. Imagine all those churches full of starving believers finally getting a steady diet of expository preaching and exposure to the doctrines of grace.

5. Buy. "The Passion" was over-rated by Christians anyway. The fact that modern-day evangelicals have a movie that they can call "theirs" is disturbing considering the creator's status as an unbeliever. Mind you, Charles Finney is still a major influence on evangelical thinking, and he wasn't a believer either.


Tom Hinkle said...

So Mel Gibson and Charles Finney are unbelievers? That's pretty harsh. Gibson is an unbeliever because he's Catholic? I don't get it unless you're someone who thinks Catholics aren't Chrstians. Finney had some aberrant teachings but it seems a stretch to call him an "unbeliever" as well, at least to me. Anyway, I'd be interested in seeing some clarification here.

One Salient Oversight said...

Hi there Tom,

I'll start with Mel Gibson. I don't think the guy is regenerate. He's a committed Catholic to be sure, but this somehow doesn't fit in with staying sober and having loving attitudes to Jews. If you have more info on this I'd be glad to change my tune.

LIke many Reformed Christians I see Finney as a heretic who didn't believe some of the most important parts of the gospel. Finney did not believe that the death of Christ justified us and he believed that perfect obedience was necessary.

Way back in 2005 I had an online conversation with a guy from New Zealand about this. At the start, the guy was supportive of Finney and dismissive of Reformed critics. But he quickly changed his tune when he read some of Finney's teaching more in depth.

His first post, where he dismisses Reformed critics, is here.

His second post, where he changes his tune is here.

If you look at those posts you'll see some of the arguments I put forward and give quotes from Finney.

There is a chance that you may know more about Finney and his teaching than I do, in which case please let me know where my arguments are flawed.


Tom Hinkle said...

I think it depends on how liberal you are in your definition of "believer." I just take the term at its most basic, meaning believer in Jesus. Mel believes in Jesus, and I think he's sincere. That doesn't mean that he doesn't need to change some behaviors and attitudes, because he certainly does (and sometimes incidents like his drunk driving arrest and anti-Jewish slurs are a wakeup call.)

As far as Finney is concerned, I actually did a paper on him a couple of years ago in seminary. Unfortunately it resided on my previous computer that was stolen, so I'm unable to reference it or provide it. I do remember that he repudiated a lot of reformed doctrine, which is definitely troublesome. I focused more on his later abolitionism than his actual doctrine. And, to be honest, it was just a paper to complete an assigment--I almost did one on Thomas Merton instead, who is probably even a worse heretic!

Good discussion, though!