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The Christian Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking

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As Doug Phillips and his Vision Forum ministry is sinking, stories of abuse among Christian Patriarchy are surfacing:  domestic violence, wife spanking, etc, among other well-known circles such as RC Sproul Jr., etc.

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Warning:  this is a heavy and disturbing article.

As Doug Phillips and his ship are sinking, his story is causing a ripple of waves of questioning, recalling of incidences, comparing notes, sharing of stories. The Christian Patriarchy Movement has common denominators which can include families who choose to homeschool their children, family-integrated churches, families who practice courtship, large families, etc. But there are differences in practices and interpretations.  For example, teachings under one patriarchal leader, what godly fatherhood looks like or what a godly husband looks like in practice may not be the same among patriarchal leaders.

I have a few observations as I’ve been watching from my spiritual abuse blogging seat. We seem to have quite a few Christian Patriarchal leaders heading up their own groups/churches. Many of these leaders may have elders or church governance in place which gives the appearance of legitimate accountability for the church leaders, but as we see in so many spiritual abuse cases, these elders can be “yes-men” who do not challenge the leaders or turn a blind eye to the known abuses. This is what allowed Phillips to have a decade-long affair and continue in his “godly” fatherhood ministry, living in luxury.

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But what about other abuses and practices that can go “unnoticed” or out of the public spotlight?

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One of these known abuses going on in some Christian Patriarchal circles is wife spanking.  The real label is domestic violence which of course is illegal.  If the wife does not agree to spanking, it is not Biblical.  Husbands do not own their wives and do not have the right to abuse them. Adding the adjective “Biblical” in front of a word like “discipline” does not make it in fact Biblical.  Furthermore, when do husbands have the right to discipline their wives?




As I have reported on abuses within the Homeschool Movement, I have been the recipient of e-mails and subsequent phone calls from people who have shared their concerns about this ongoing problem. A pastor contacted me last year regarding this topic, naming names, groups involved, etc.  What he shared with me (people involved and practices) lines up with the comments which will follow.

One of the difficulties of reporting something like this is that I wanted proof that wife spanking is taught before reporting on it. Everyone I’ve asked has said that we’re not going to find much evidence of wife spanking in print. The leaders who promote it are not dummies – they know there would be outrage if this kind of printed material got in the “wrong” hands.

I asked my source when this abuse is taught to men. I was told that wife spanking is sometimes taught at mens’ meetings, heads-of-households meetings, in one-on-one counseling meetings, or sometimes in marital counseling by church leaders or pastors.

Over at Jen’s Gems blog, several commenters have mentioned some of the key names I’ve been hearing/reading. While some will want to focus on the named man in the comments, it is important to look at the entire Christian Patriarchy system that is at work creating these abuses.  Doug Phillips was not alone in his method of spiritual tyranny and preventing “godly men” from disclosing the truths they knew.  This is going on elsewhere.

We must understand that Christian Patriarchy can easily set up a man to have a free license to abuse his wife. I am very concerned about pastors who teach men that they need to get their wives under control. I overheard my own former pastor say this. How he would propose doing this, I do not know, but the idea of a man using his authority to control could easily be taken to the extreme of wife spanking.

Christian Patriarchy is fertile ground for wife spanking and domestic violence and it’s time to shout the bullhorn on this abuse.

I’ve copied a few key notable comments from Jen’s Gems to note the abuse. The comments were condensed, so feel free to click on the links to go directly to the full comments.


Lindt Says:
December 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm

“Let’s get specific here.” Okay, Mykl, I’m game. Are you okay with wife spanking? R.C. Sproul, Jr. is, as anyone who *really* knows him knows. He regularly spanked his wife and he taught the men in his church to spank their wives. He was also abusive of his children, even the babies. He was deep into Gary Ezzo and blanket training. Just listening to his Basement Tapes won’t clue you in to that. You’d have to know him up close and personal, or have friends who are members of his church in Virginia, to figure any of that out.

I get really suspicious of men who jump to defend wife spankers and child abusers like R.C. Sproul, Jr. So are you in to wife spanking yourself? Blanket training?

Lindt Says:
December 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I wish I could agree. What comes out of R.C. Sproul, Jr every time he opens his mouth is hypocrisy. Same thing with Doug Phillips. Eloquence doesn’t make for integrity, and neither man have an ounce of integrity. R.C. Sproul Jr. spanked is wife, abused his babies, and drinks like a fish. Doug Phillips cheated on his wife for many years. Neither man’s name should ever be mentioned again with anything other than contempt. They are biblically disqualified from teaching again and you are a fool to listen to them.

Mykl you are either a very ignorant man or you are a deliberate promoter of hypocrites and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Hopefully it’s the former. If you have a personal opinion on Patriarchy then some of us might like to hear it. The problem is you just destroyed all your credibility with your ignorant name dropping, so now it will be a hard sell.


Ghirard Says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:08 am

Mel, I can confirm Lindt’s comments about RC Sproul Jr and the wife spanking. We were members there years ago and witnessed it in his home. We were there in the early years of St. Peter Presbyterian Church. RC would sometimes invite families to his home for a meal, not so much for the regular folks, but if you were big donors to the church and Highlands Study Center like we were.

Ghirard then discusses a disturbing parenting concept taught in these circles called “blanket training” that Sproul practiced.   We pick up the story on the topic of domestic violence as Ghirard shares what happened next at Sproul Jr.’s home:

After supper as we sat in the living room with RC and his children. Denise was cleaning up in the kitchen. RC got up to go in the kitchen. Denise must have done something to make him mad because he angrily told her, “Go to your room”. It sounded just like he was talking to a little child. Denise went to their bedroom and a little later RC went up and we could hear him spanking her. She stayed up there a long time before she came back down. The look on her face told all. She was humiliated and ashamed. It was the most awkward supper we’d ever had in anyone’s home. We didn’t accept anymore invitations from RC after that.

Another commenter asks Ghirard if he confronted Sproul, Jr. about this and Ghirard responded:

Yes, I did at least try and speak with him. Not that night. It was all too shocking at the time. But later after I’d had some time to process. I didn’t get very far. He’s hypersensitive to anything that he thinks is criticism. There was always the threat of church discipline if you ever got out of line. Just asking the wrong sort of question would earn you his ire. He operates a lot like Doug Phillips, if I understand your descriptions of Phillips correctly. You don’t question the cult leader. Not unless you want big trouble.

It makes be sad to say it but I have to agree with you that Denise is better off. She was such a wonderful person and she had such a miserable life married to RC. Many doctors say that a very large percentage of chronic illness is caused by depressed immune systems that are compromised by severe stress, poor diet and lack of exercise. Denise Sproul’s life was tremendously stressful all thanks to RC Jr and he forced the family to eat a horrible diet. I blame Denise’s recurring cancers on him.

JPGR Says:
December 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

I once heard someone say that they were discussing these things with RC Jr. and that he said that if he were to tell his wife to go stand on her head in the corner, and she didn’t, then he would have her put under church discipline.

My immediate response was why wasn’t he put under church discipline for not loving his wife like Christ loved the church?

Seems like that route doesn’t come up with these guys….


I have no way of validating the comments above, but am convinced that this is indeed a problem in the Homeschool Movement combined with Christian Patriarchy Movement.  Of course when we are part of a movement and don’t see the abuse, we want to say that it doesn’t happen, but it is happening.  So what is a godly response to ungodliness?


Women are trapped in homes by their Christian Patriarchal husbands and being told that they are being treated the way God expects godly husbands to treat their wives.

Women are also taught that when there are problems they face and their husbands are negligent, they can turn to their church leaders.

Where is woman to turn when the abuse she is incurring from her husband has been taught by church leaders?

Where is she going to go when she’s been taught to never go outside the church – to police or governmental authorities – for help?

She is virtually held captive in her own home because her husband AND church leaders are abusers.

These women need our prayers and our help.  We must expose this mess and put the public spotlight on this travesty.  We have voices and must speak up for them.

photo credit: bark via photopin cc

Updated note:  Slight modification of title and removed key words  See note in comments.

736 thoughts on “The Christian Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking”

  1. @refugee

    I just scrolled though the site and even did a search using RC Sprouls name. It is not clear what he teaches but it looks like this site is using his teachings to endorse this type of thing. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will have to do some more researching.


  2. We are missing each other, I think.

    The question for me isn’t is whether spiritual abuse can happen in any denomination or religion. It does. The REAL question is: Do certain doctrines attract abusers / evil perps? To say that since abuse happens across the board in all religions, so abuse could never be problematic to certain doctrines/religions is a logical fallacy.

    The doctrine of total depravity teaches people they don’t have personal responsibility. It is God who orchestrates it all as the grand puppet-master. That is quite problematic, IMO.


  3. @Jaysgirl84

    You might want to check out this post from the Bully Blog, er, uh, the Bayly Blog. Though RC2.0 is not mentioned, both of his parents are. And, as always, the comment thread, though pretty long, is actually more insightful than the blog post itself.


  4. From Refugee:
    “But I digress. My point was that patriarchal women I know wear their invisible chains with pride, looking down on their “free” sisters with pity or contempt.”
    This. Simply this. Thank you Refugee, for making this point.

    When I first started reading NLQ blogs about Christian Patriarchy, I wondered why people were not discussing physical domestic abuse in Christian Patriarchy. If physical discipline (beating) of children is REQUIRED as the godly way to raise children, it isn’t a big reach that Patriarchal men would assume that it is OK or even required to smite the wife as well. Let me clarify that I would NOT separate Wife Spanking and domestic abuse. It seems that the role of women in Patriarchy is the definition of emotional abuse; in this system, why wouldn’t a woman assume that physical abuse was her due?


  5. Welcome to the blog, Howl. Love the name. Haha.

    You’re exactly right. There’s not much of a line to cross in Patriarchal homes to get to spousal abuse. Look at Doug Wilson’s words for husbands: conquer plant, colonize. Women = surrender and accept. I get the willies just thinking about that kind of control over women.


  6. It’ll be hard to verify those things since Denise has passed away. The best we can hope for is that the kids grow up and out their father some day if it is true. Since Sproul Jr has already been under church discipline for his abuse toward people in his church, it seems reasonable to conclude that he behaved even worse behind closed doors.

    If indeed the stories quoted are true, Sproul needs someone close to him who knows the truth to *stop* him and not *just* post the stories because without proof people will say it’s just ‘gossip.’ (You all know how that game goes unfortunately.) If they aren’t true of him, but happen to be true of someone else, then the victim needs to go to the authorities, even as scary as that sounds.


  7. Sergius… I had the unpleasant experience of reading a few BaylyBlog posts on Tullian Tchividjian a few months ago. Ugh. yeah, the Bayly brothers are bad news IMO. Tullian wasn’t legalistic enough for them and they spent a lot of time focusing on the fact that he took his jacket off during his lecture. (And it was a leather jacket not a suit jacket! GASP! Apparently that meant he was trying to show off his muscles and designer T shirt.)


  8. @Paula

    Wow. Must have missed that one. Now I’ll have to go back and look it up. Not that there’s anything wrong with taking off your jacket, but sometimes I wonder if Tullian fancies himself the Tom Jones of Reformed preaching.


  9. You know, I’ve been (very casually and on very few occasions) acquainted with Doug W. for over 4 decades! Our latest interaction was about the “authority and submission” in the bedroom thing. So far as I know, he’s never advocated bride-beating, but — it’s not too big a step. I asked Doug to give some examples of how he’d counsel a young man about the “erotic necessity” of authority and submission. One might wonder if it means “missionary” activities only. Or, more likely, that the wife should never initiate things, but always accept whatever and whenever the hubby asks. But Doug would only give me generalities — something like “He’s not to use his AUTHORITY OVER HER (my Caps) to abuse or demand his own way but sacrificially, for her good etc. Sorry I didn’t do a screen capture. I objected to “authority over her”, however benevolent, and contrasted Doug’s teaching with what HIS father (pretty much early complementarian) and his MOTHER had taught me. Our conversation was then deleted by a much younger Wilson in Vermont, responding to pressure about the quotes from the Patriarch Wilson.


  10. Paul and Julie Anne,

    The abuse endured by some who post on this thread, in my view was authenticated through the abusers’ Doctrine. But not all.

    In my case, I agree with Paul, because much of the abuse I endured was centered around an abusive Methodology and Belief System (by a Covert Hyper-Calvinist) that I didn’t embrace.

    The Spiritual Abuse stayed within the perimeters of TULIP and defended through harsh retaliation to those that ask the wrong questions or shared the wrong verses or didn’t share the same reclusive lifestyle.

    My wife bruised the “Ego” of a Stealth Hyper Calvinist, by simply sharing a verse about forgiveness 1 John 1:9 (a direction my former Pastor avoided, during his 2 year tenure) during open comments after enduring a 3 month study on Sin during the Wednesday Night Services, that caused him to verbally abuse my wife over the telephone and then shunned by a couple of women in our church.

    I have found however in this thread (even though it is difficult for me to avoid taliking about Hyper Calvinism) some who were Spiritually Abused are more focused on the “act” of the abuser, instead of why it is happening in the first place.

    Myself, I’m more focused why it is happening and trying to figure out who are mentoring the abusers, in the first place.
    (don’t get me wrong the abuser needs to be held accountable)

    I also understand, if I was more biblically literate and understood Doctrines even a little bit I would not have endured abuse from my former Pastor.


  11. Dave, I have found that particular post Wilson/Wilson on the Wayback Machine before. It would be interesting to see if it captures the comments as well. That was pretty a pretty wild ride. When I quit galavanting in Portland and get back to my laptop, I’ll try to look it up.

    PS. Reminders are my friends. 🙂


  12. @DaveAA:

    I asked Doug to give some examples of how he’d counsel a young man about the “erotic necessity” of authority and submission. One might wonder if it means “missionary” activities only. Or, more likely, that the wife should never initiate things, but always accept whatever and whenever the hubby asks.



  13. @AMom:

    The doctrine of total depravity teaches people they don’t have personal responsibility. It is God who orchestrates it all as the grand puppet-master. That is quite problematic, IMO.

    Actually, that’s the doctrine of Predestination firewalled to the max:
    Islam is also very much into Predestination (“IN’SHAL’LAH…”), and you can see the results on the headlines when it goes sour.

    The doctrine of total depravity is more of “everyone is a rancid sack of s**t”, at which point you start treating everyone else as rancid sacks of s**t. And then you add the Get-Out-of-Hell-Free Card of Predestined Election to make YOU better than all those other rancid sacks of s**t, and let entropy set in over time…


  14. @PaulsPassingThoughts:

    Question: Is this not a fair question? Calvin believed in the “power of the keys” which holds to the idea that elders have the authority to forgive sins committed after salvation.

    Question: How does “elders” in this case differ from Catholic Priests in the Confessional? Sounds kinda ROMISH, Calvin…


  15. To repeat a point that others have made, “submission” in Arabic is “islam.” Except that it seems that this “islam” is related to the Semitic “shalom” (both words being designated by the consonants S-L-M) and carries the idea of “entrusting one’s wholeness to another.”

    I understand that the way Semitic languages are structured, all nouns with the same three-consonant root are related in meaning to some extent; the choice and placement of the vowels differentiate specific words.

    Arabic for “shalom” (peace) is “salaam”, which has the exact S-L-M root as “islam” (submission). Does this mean that, hardcoded into the language, “peace comes when the weak submit to the Strong”? The woman is weak, the man strong, “WOMAN, SUBMIT!”; mortal men are weak, God strong, all must submit to God’s Will? A heirarchy of boots on necks all the way down, with God just the biggest boot at the top? If not the original intent, that’s a way things can easily go, especially to those who think of themselves as The Strong Man.

    The Strong Penetrate, Colonize, Conquer, Plant;
    the weak Accept.


  16. @DavidBrainerd2:

    What the hell is “Christian Patriarchy”?

    Male Supremacy, rationalized & justified by Bible proof-texts.

    “All our fathers died to loose, he shall bind again;

    All the right they promise, all the wrong they bring;
    People of the covenant, suffer not The King!”
    — Rudyard Kipling, “The Old Issue” (from memory)


  17. The best we can hope for is that the kids grow up and out their father some day if it is true. Since Sproul Jr has already been under church discipline for his abuse toward people in his church, it seems reasonable to conclude that he behaved even worse behind closed doors.

    Well hopefully the cleaving will start soon because Darby Sproul is now engaged & getting married soon!


  18. One thing I think needs to be done is stop allowing the Calvinists to use the term Christian. Oh ye that have escaped the Devil’s Calvinism, stop allowing them to call their nonsense Christian. Never again refer to any Calvinist as a Christian, nor allow the term Christian to be used as an adjective for any of their movements, churches, or programs. THEREFORE this blog post should be retitled “The CALVINIST Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking.” After all, the Calvinists are the agents of the Devil performing all these shenanigans to make Christianity looks bad. You are unfortunately helping them do it every time you allow them to claim title to the term Christian.


  19. @Christy Shepard, “I’m sorry PPT. I will try to be more careful in the future. However, by focusing on scapegoating calvinism as the source of this problem (as you are doing), you miss the crucial point that because other groups are also guilty of this abuse,…”

    Because these other groups that are put are putatively non-Calvinist are in reality Calvinist, functionally Calvinist at the very least. All the Christian literature written since the 70s has basically been Calvinist. So the Calvinist way of thinking is stuck in everyone’s head and it is unquestionably what fuels this kind of nonsense.


  20. The Purpose Driven Life…Calvinist. I know that Rick Warren might not explicitly claim it, but when you open your book saying that God has a purpose for your life all planned out in advance and even the exact moment of your death is already predetermined, all the major events and minor ones too, its all predetermined, God’s already prescripted everything. The author can claim to be an Arminian till the cows come home, but he is clearly in reality a Calvinist. Almost all “Arminian” pastors in reality are Calvinist. And there is not a dime’s worth of difference between Classical Arminianism and Calvinism anyway. Classical Arminianism is just another brand of Calvinism. Only “semi-Pelagianism” (i.e. denying predestination altogether) which is loosely called Arminianism by Calvinists differs from Calvinism; Classical Arminianism is exactly the same but with some slightly different wording, some minor nuances in sophistry.


  21. “God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to change. He planned it all for his purpose.” (Page 31, Purpose Driven Life)

    Calvinism, Calvinism, Calvinism. And pretty much every Protestant church in the US has done a study through the Purpose Driven Life in church as if it were Scripture itself. So don’t give me this load of crap that “other groups” who aren’t Calvinist engage in this abuse. Those other groups are Calvinist if for no other reason that having accepted this line of nonsense from Rich Warren’s little Calvinist propaganda book that has infiltrated almost every Protestant church.


  22. In most jurisdictions, spanking of a spouse by the other spouse, without the overt consent of the spanked spouse, is domestic violence. Depending on whether the damage is superficial or results in visible damage (bruising, welts, e.g.,) and whether it is repeated, it may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. It is also grounds for divorce (in some groups, even considered a biblical ground for divorce. And the fact of physical violence against a spouse can be used to strip from the spanker the right to his children, resulting in only supervised visits. Of course, all of this varies from state to state.


  23. Oh, and the spanked spouse can receive actual and exemplary damages, as well as attorney fees, in many jurisdictions, when the violence is considered felonious. A disproportional distribution of marital assets and obligations can also be obtained, as well as child support or a disproportional distribution in lieu of child support if the spanking perp is charged with a felony.


  24. THEREFORE this blog post should be retitled “The CALVINIST Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking.” After all, the Calvinists are the agents of the Devil performing all these shenanigans to make Christianity looks bad. You are unfortunately helping them do it every time you allow them to claim title to the term Christian.

    And we know that Arminians husbands don’t spank wives . . . ever? I’m not into making blanket statements like that. The topic is wife spanking, whether that be from an Arminian or Calvinist Patriarch.


  25. DavidBrainerd2, you really like stereotyping broad groups of people don’t you? First it’s all Calvinists are not Christians, then its all people who deny your first comment are actually supporting agents of Satan, then its all Christian authors in the past 40 years are also covert Calvinists or supporting them.

    I have a simple suggestion for you, people are not so easily stereotyped! Not all Calvinists are aggressive rude hostile people with dumb arguments. And neither are Pelagians. I suggest you have a little more grace and tact in your dealings with people you disagree with.


  26. I’ve been around a long time, but this is a new low in churches. Spanking wives…. Disgusting.
    Then I looked at the head covering site and just about spit my coffee out. Looks like a parody advert from the Onion website.


  27. Yesterday @ 10:02 A.M., raswhiting asks me, “Please name two or more evangelicals who “argue that, according to the Bible, slavery is an acceptable practice.” Well, multiple URLs will likely land me in moderation, but here goes:

    We can start with R.L. Rushdoony, regarding whom see http://racistchurches.wordpress.com/2007/06/12/rj-rushdoony/. Rushdoony’s views were extensively cited on this blog in the article of November 21, 2013: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/11/21/chalcedon-foundation-privately-donated-funds-to-joe-taylor-to-help-his-legal-defense-against-doug-phillips/

    Then we can move to Fred Butler, hyper-Calvinist associated with John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church. Butler defends “Biblical” slavery here: http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/a-case-study-regarding-kjvo-apologetics/. Butler says “while God does condemn slave trading and kidnapping for the purposes of enslaving people, He did not forbid slavery, merely regulated it, and instituted indentured servitude that does practice principles of master ownership of another person.” Butler appeals to “the fact that Paul mentions slavery in the context of the Roman slavery during his days of ministry, exhorting masters to treat their slaves honorably with respect and dignity, and slaves to serve their masters with a whole-hearted devotion.”

    Butler’s position appears not to be an aberration, as evidenced by this web article: http://bible-researcher.com/slavery.html.

    Several months ago a respectable evangelical black pastor was commenting on this blog to the effect that Roman slavery, as opposed to American slavery, was Scripturally O.K. This pastor came around to recognizing that all slavery is bad, so I won’t mention his name. However, if even a black pastor can start out defending some forms of slavery, I’m thinking that this is evidence that there are deep flowing undercurrents of Biblical-slavery-is-acceptable thought within American Evangelicalism. Even those evangelicals who do not actively embrace these extremist views make themselves complicit by their silence.


  28. Raswhiting also ask how I define “Evangelical.” It’s much like a law school professor said about the definition of “probable cause,” which is required for a lawful arrest. It’s difficult to define, but easy to recognize when you see it. Barna uses a rather restrictive “9-point” definition, which can be found in the article at https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/111-survey-explores-who-qualifies-as-an-evangelical.

    Contrary to Barna’s restrictive definition, to my mind an Evangelical is generally somebody within the Protestant tradition who subscribes to the idea that salvation is by grace as opposed to works, and who appeals to Scripture (often disingenuously) as the sole authority for faith and practice. I say “often disingenuously” because the great majority of those who appeal to scripture are actually only appealing to their own dogmatically held interpretations of Scripture–and they are typically guilty of practicing eisegetical proof texting.


  29. The main reason I left Calvinism behind is because they made the Bible a lot more complicated then it really is. The more “doctrines” add or subtract from the true context of scripture the more confusing it will get- of course this is why they will end up with “wife spanking”. When we leave out the Holy Spirit illuminating us in truth of His Word we end up with mans view of Scripture. There are many verses in the Word that deal with these issues –
    James 1:5 “but if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to ALL generously and WITHOUT REPROACH, and it will be given to him”

    James 3:1 “Let NOT many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a STRICTER JUDGMENT.”. basically saying anyone who becomes a teacher over someone else better watch it when they are teaching whatever doctrine they DEEM to be so called “truth”. Unless you are led by the Holy Spirit and have a humble and servants heart I myself won’t call anyone my teacher including myself.

    James 3:13-18
    Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the GENTLENESS of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so LIE against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then PEACEABLE, GENTLE, REASONABLE, FULL OF MERCY and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

    Now I do not know how MORE straightforward and without complexity this verse is. If the doctrine ain’t got it, it ain’t worth my time. I myself do not care “one hoot or holler” about what you got, if it does not express the love of Christ then you are just a clanging cymbal. Also, if that “doctrine” can’t love people with different views and different journeys AND be confident in its own skin, its not worth anything. If you are confident in you are in Christ, you don’t worry about what another person thinks or does, you proudly proclaim the truth in LOVE. This is a sign of a good teacher or Shepherd in my opinion.
    Even if one reads my comment and brushes it off or whatever, it has no bearing on whatever I know through the Holy Spirit. I am only responsible for MY walk with Christ. What happens most of the time is that we leave our brains at the door and leave that responsibility to a pastor or leader to make those decisions for us.

    John 14:26. “but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, HE will teach you ALL THINGS, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you”

    Acts 2:38. “Peter said to them, repent, and EACH of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    1 John 2:26 “these things I have written you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing (Holy Spirit) which you received from Him ABIDES IN YOU, and you HAVE NO NEED for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about ALL THINGS, and IS TRUE and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, YOU ABIDE IN HIM.”

    See I dont have to be reliant on someone else to teach because I know the Spirit; and the Spirit will then relay the truth through the Word, whether by reading it or by someone else being used by the Spirit to relay that truth or by experiences (such as failures, sin, or suffering). We must all be confident in that we have the Spirit and we can trust in Him explicitly. I feel that many pastors are busybodies in others souls and cannot leave the Holy Spirit to do His job; in this I see that they are then insecure with themselves and feel the need to control others to compensate for their own insecurities.

    Anyway, just my take……..:)


  30. trust4himonly, in my experiance, many Calvinists I’ve been around also make things too complicated. But not all of them. 🙂


  31. trust4himonly –

    I agree 100% with what you wrote. I too left Calvinism behind. I looked at the Calvinists around me and found they were some of the rudest, most arrogant, most unloving people I’d ever met. I realized that they were molded into the form of the “god” that they had created in their minds – the Calvinist “god”. You know, the one that sends unborn fetuses to Hell, b/c it brings Him pleasure to create them only to destroy them in Hell forever before they ever took a breath of earthly air? Yeah, that “god”. I went back to the Bible, started reading, and asked God to help me understand all those Calvinistic proof texts. He was faithful to do so. I am now absolutely confident in the Character of God. I know His Character and there is no book, no man, no preacher, no radio program that could convince me other wise. My God does not cast unborn children into Hell. Calvinism is a blight on the church, and it is the reason so many unbelievers are afraid of Christians – they are afraid of the “god” that has been presented in our country starting with the Puritans( who were a mean, controlling bunch) right on down to modern day Patriarchy and including the new “cool” ( and arrogant) Calvinists from Mars Hill etc. God’s name and Character have been sullied by attributing ideas and actions to Him that in no way represent Him or His true Character. Are all Calvinists evil? No, some are Calvinists in name only and when you press them, they really don’t like their own doctrine and want to soften it somehow. They were drawn in by an eloquent teacher of Calvinism or a book they read or have been bullied intellectually to believe that only stupid people disagree with Calvinism or they are the type that don’t want to rock the boat and so they agree with the current bandwagon in the Church. Not all Calvinists are evil.

    But some of these teachers of Calvinism are false prophets who represent a false god/idol that they have created in their own minds to justify their own already arrogant, controlling personalities. They have made a god that looks like them.


  32. David Brainerd makes a point we would all be better off if we looked at it more deeply. The spiritual abuse I witnessed and experienced happened in a seeker mega who term themselves as free will when in fact, they really are not.
    They are a milder form of determinism.

    As I started studying Protestantism (is that a word?) I found that much of it’s roots come from Augustinian thinking. And that thinking has authoritarianism/caste system Christianity at its root. That is where abuse in all forms comes from: Power and control. How that plays out is different depending on the group/person.

    Trust me, you never want to contradict Rick Warren if you work for him or serve on a board with him. (Most of the mega guys are isolated from the average pew sitter and are only known by their stage personas. They are surrounded by yes men or hangers ons. And the IFB does this with the caste system focusing on the power of clergy class/males as another example. Some groups just cover it better like the seeker megas.

    Where Calvinism comes in is that the specific Systematic Theology of Calvinism from his institutes and his own behavior , which was basically systemizing Augustine, provides cover for the abuse. Not only do you have the “keys to the kingdom” thinking but also the hard determinism. God is controlling everything and the only free will you have is to sin. (A short walk to Allah) This comes from their roots of Augustine and his concept of original sin/total depravity. Vipers in diapers as amom terms it.

    So who gets to decide what and WHO God determined? Someone with a title.

    So, most of Protestantism has some form of determinism from original sin, total depravity to clergy caste system. None of that reflects Jesus Christ. It is always a twisting of Paul.

    Note to David: The joke with the Purpose Driven Life is that Warren opens it up with telling us it is not about YOU. But then the entire book is about YOU. This is the problem with their soft determinism. It is so wishy washy. At least the Calvinists go all the way. You worm. :o)


  33. “Please name two or more evangelicals who “argue that, according to the Bible, slavery is an acceptable practice.”

    Well that is how the SBC got started in the first place. Read Broaddus’ bio of Boyce for real eye opener on how these great men of God viewed slaves. And yes, they were Calvinists mostly educated by the Presbyterians. But lets go back even further to Luther who trashed Jews, women and advocated for the peasants to be wiped out in the peasant revolt. (There are always “lesser humans) Calvin was a despot that imprisoned and banished those who dared to disagree with him. Were Jews free to live and work in Geneva? He even had the courses people could serve at meals regulated. As we see Protestantism spread across Europe and in America we see the roots of tyranny all over it. The Dutch Calvinists are the fathers of apartheid in South Africa. History has been kind making the Pilgrims/puritans seem benevolent when they actually wrote about God giving them the right to wipe out tribes that refused to sell their land. Shall we discuss their treatment of women, Quakers, etc?

    None of this institutionalized behavior is of Christ. What kept it from being worse in America after our Founding (by deists, thankfully!!!) is Westward expansion and the free spirit of the pioneers.

    The protestant reformation has a trail of evil in the Name of Jesus just like the Catholic church has. And no, it cannot be excused by “men of their time” arguments. A careful study of that history shows there were always a few or small groups of believers who opposed them and paid with their lives.


  34. Lydia –

    Yes, and I agree that Calvinism is uniquely qualified to assume a mantle of abuse. It sets up the intellectual framework to justify abuse by this line of thinking:

    – I can only do what God has predetermined for me to do (down to every single minute detail of my life) therefore, anything I do is actually being done b/c God willed it so. So nothing I do is my responsibility and it can’t really be called “bad” b/c who are you to question the will and purposes of God?

    – If someone is not part of the elect, God is going to abuse them in Hell forever anyway, and they are already under God’s wrath, so there is no problem with them being under MY wrath as well. I am working *with* God’s plan for them.

    – My wayward son/daughter is obviously not one of the elect, so I am in no way responsible for their behavior nor do I need to help them nor do I need to engage in any self reflection on my role as a parent.

    Can churches/people who are not expressly Calvinistic abuse as well? Sure. But if you dig, often what is revealed is a repackaged theology that is in reality, Calvinism.

    For example, in Charismatic circles, they like to use the word “Destiny” as in, you are a child of Destiny, fulfill your destiny etc. This is basically Calvinism in different package.


  35. “Well said, trust4himonly. Rudeness and meanness are not consistent with sound thinking and theology. Hence, people who display such traits are not worth listening to.”

    Some of my best profs were rude and mean. Best in the sense of content not personality.

    The excuse I always got from most of the clergy caste guys when one DARED to disagree was “your tone is not right”. If we dismiss content because we do not like how it is delivered, it is hard to ever think outside our little ghettos.


  36. And if there ever was a monster in history – then John Calvin was one. If you read accounts of his iron fisted rule of Geneva, it will turn your stomach. The man was a tyrant, and a cruel one at that. He was no follower of Jesus.


  37. With advance apologies to Tim, but with kudos to trust4himonly at 7:39, I would like to add my name to the list of those who are opposed to Calvinism. But then, I’m not just opposed to Calvinism. I’m also opposed to Arminianism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Dualism, Unitarianism, Trinitarianism, Dispensationalism, Communism, Socialism, Capitalism, Conservatism, Dominionism, Sesquipedalianism, Supercalifragilisticexpialidociousism, and every other ism I can thank of at the moment except baptism–and that’s an action, not a movement, agenda or body of ideas. All these isms require loyalty to someone or something other than Jesus. Doctrinal loyalty to anything or anybody other than Jesus is idolatrous, ultimately leading to no end of destructive error, sometimes including, but certainly not limited to, violence against women and abusive child rearing practices.

    Just give me Jesus, only Jesus.


  38. “THEREFORE this blog post should be retitled “The CALVINIST Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking.” ”

    How about changing Calvinist to “Determinist”? That is what it is whether it is a milder form or Calvin’s ST.


  39. @Lydia:

    And the IFB does this with the caste system focusing on the power of clergy class/males as another example. Some groups just cover it better like the seeker megas.

    Don’t these IFB types have an eye-bulging, face-purpling, vein-popping screaming stroke about Priestcraft and Clergy/Laity and Nicolaitanism (what a mouthful) within Those Romanists(TM)? Looks like they’re just jealous THEY’re not the ones sitting Ex Cathedra in the Vatican.


  40. “All these isms require loyalty to someone or something other than Jesus. ”

    THANK YOU! I totally agree. People are always asking me what to do or where they can find a good church/denomination because their last church was so wretched, etc. I tell them I no longer do movements or groups. I just do Jesus and those who are like minded somehow find one another through prayer and life. Eventually. No power trips, no covenants to sign, no clergy class to support. Talk about freedom in Christ! And that does not mean I am never involved in any institutions either. I am much smarter now. I have boundaries that belong to Christ alone.


  41. HUD, Very interesting you bring up the Nicolaitans. I did a study on that word and it’s context a while back. Seems they are the ones who creep in and want to “conquer the people” in the Body. So, many pastors (or what passes for pastor) are going to be in big trouble because God hates it. I actually fear for many of these guys who use Jesus for personal gain whether power, control or profit.


  42. @JustaShadow:

    And if there ever was a monster in history – then John Calvin was one. If you read accounts of his iron fisted rule of Geneva, it will turn your stomach.

    The more I hear about Calvin in Geneva, the more I think of Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini or Afghanistan under Mullah Omar. Beard and all.

    Top or Bottom.
    Dom or Sub.
    Hold the Whip or Feel the Whip by Divine Right.


  43. “And if there ever was a monster in history – then John Calvin was one.”

    Yes, a monster who is hailed as a great man of God. So much of the history (written by the victors) is pure spin. However, after the archives opened up in Europe to many scholars after WW1 and 2 their own documentation showed us a much different story for those who were willing to do the digging and deliver some uncomfortable facts. The guy was reprobate. In the Name of Christ, too!


  44. @Lydia:

    HUD, Very interesting you bring up the Nicolaitans.

    I first came across the term in Revelation, no explanation/definiton given. (In retrospect, the bugaboo of historical contemporary references — no explanation given because “everybody knows that”.)

    Then came this one preacher during my time in-country, who (very vocally) preached Dogma Ex Cathedra (from the fact that Greek has two words for “priest”) that “NICOLAITANS = CATHOLICS! CATHOLICS = SATANISTS! NO POPERY!”

    35 years after-the-fact, I cannot remember the chain of logic and proof-texts he used to get to Point A to Point B, only that it was very convoluted and involved a lot of Fridge Logic. (i.e. sounds real good as long as he’s talking, but get a snack from the fridge away from the spell of his words and you realize it all sounds like B.S.)

    The fact this preacher looked, sounded, and had the exact same delivery as an overbearing SF fan I knew named Nicolai tended to seal the memory in.


  45. Gary W – I loved your last comment. My regular readers know that I am not a fan of the Calvinism debate for a number of reasons – here are a couple:

    1) the main topic of the thread gets lost
    2) those who call themselves Calvinist do not feel welcome

    I understand there are those who believe that Calvinism is the culprit for church abuse. I have definitely seen a pattern of abuse in Calvinist churches, no doubt about that – especially among the homeschool movement crowd. I have also reported on abuse within the Arminian camp.

    I don’t want Calvinists to feel bad about commenting for fear they will get pounced on. I have many Calvinist friends. In fact I had a very enjoyable dinner with my Calvinist friend, Michelle (who was with us at BGBC) last night.

    I try not look at the labels. I look at the evidence of Christ’s love.

    It’s important to be careful about the labels because I think many times people call themselves something that they are not or do not completely understand. The focus on Calvinism/Arminianism can get in the way of meaningful relationships.

    Let’s show one another love. I think it is when we love and are loved, that we are able to more clearly see the truth. It was when I was loved and shown grace from people outside of BGBC that I saw the contrast of behavior from my former pastor who “proclaimed love” but did not live out love. That love was absent from BGBC – – it struck me that there was a facade of love, but beneath it, I saw contempt, manipulation, control. True love does not look like that.

    So, regardless of the “ism” — – look for the love. You will know when it’s there.


  46. Lydia –
    Yes, Calvin was an absolute reprobate. And it is scandalous to hear a Calvinist attempt to defend his record of wrongs in Geneva. Scandalous or funny, depending on my mood. But the lack of logic and intellectual honesty/consistency boggles the mind.


  47. @Lydia:

    “And if there ever was a monster in history – then John Calvin was one.”

    Yes, a monster who is hailed as a great man of God.

    As Ayatollah Khomeini is hailed in Iran. (To the point of making an exception to the No Graven Images rule of strict Islam; mosques in Iran used to have giant portraits of the Ayatollah over their main entrances, though all other decoration was Idolatry.)



  48. Ellen, Julie Anne just about always nails it as does her blog. I don’t comment often because truly I don’t have much more to say on all of this anymore. I have left evangelical Christianity behind and am headed out the door. Truly now I am simply a follower of Jesus with no qualifier. What Gary W. said resonated, strongly!


  49. Arminius at one point adopted the TULIP and was welcomed by Calvin. Then he asked a critical question, how to deal with John 3:16. And Calvin excommunicated him and made him anathema. Much of so-called Arminian theology is Calvinism light.


  50. Arminius and Calvin lived in different generations. The issue against Arminius was that he was condemning the Calvinist that were living wicked life styles and saying they were of the elect and could live anyway they wanted. He opened the door for the loss of salvation but if you study the Institutes, so did Calvin.


  51. @AnAttorney:

    Much of so-called Arminian theology is Calvinism light.

    Yet Calvinists and Arminians go after each other’s throats. (“MOM! There are Armininans under my bed!!!!”)

    Why am I reminded of the half-black and half-white aliens fighting each other to the death from that “Old Testament” Star Trek episode?


  52. JA, I agree with you until we cannot mention any negative truths about Calvin or his ST. Then it becomes a situation of enabling ignorance and ergo abuse because someone might be offended.

    You can mention any negative truths about any gurus because I don’t have any–anymore. :o) Can I learn from any scholars, teachers? Of course, but every thing must be tested against what you have so aptly put as love and I would include basic justice in that category. Christianity is relationship with our Savior. Not a systematic theology. That tends to manifest itself very differently.

    And I would add that in many Reformed circles, no one is allowed to speak ill of Reformed doctrine, Luther, Calvin or a whole host of other dead gurus and alive ones including Piper, etc. I live at ground zero so am very familiar with the code.


  53. This practice, and the really critical distinction between consensual practice S&M play between equal, empowered partners on the one hand and spanking for Jesus domestic abuse on the other was discussed in several places a few months ago, including at the Daily Beast. It was picked up by Jezebel and Wonkette. Warning for profanity and some disturbing imagery and discussion. The Daily Beast on spanking for Jesus. Jezebel’s post on spanking.

    MOD NOTE: Edited to add boldface to the warning, and to adjust the link titles.


  54. “as did Julie Anne when she tells us to look for the love of Christ in a person.”

    Ellen, I have been told many times in my neck of the woods( at ground zero) that the “love of Christ” is ‘correct doctrine’. As in Reformed/Neo Cal. It is really neat when people define that. Could it be that those who know Christ are not easily offended? They can debate and go have coffee together?


  55. “Much of so-called Arminian theology is Calvinism light.”

    Very true which is why many Calvinist young seminarians like to make the dichotomy Calvin or Arminian. It frames all debate with the Calvinist ST.


  56. “He opened the door for the loss of salvation but if you study the Institutes, so did Calvin.”

    How would you know if you were elect until you were dead since there was pervasive justification?


  57. Some people may want to avoid the Calvinism issue because it might make “those who call themselves Calvinist do not feel welcome” — but the reality is that churches need to start making them feel unwelcome because they are destroying the gospel of Christ. Any teaching of predestination mixed into the gospel of Christ destroys it and does nothing but cause endless arguments and turn people away from Christ. Calvinism is the cause of the explosion in atheism. People are tired of Christianity because the only Christianity they know is that Calvinist mess that’s all about predestination and none of Christ. Arminianism is no better because its still about predestination, thus still a sort of Calvinism or Augustinianism. Its not about Jesus at all. Its not believing in Jesus that saves in any of the four predestination ideologies. Whether its straight up Augustinianism, Calvin’s version of Augustinianism, Luther’s version of Augustinianism, or Arminius’ version of Augustinianism, in the end salvation is all about predestination and not about belief in Jesus. And so all that is done is wrangling about how or why people believe in Jesus, how they get predestined and handed faith on a silver platter. There’s no time left to even believe in Jesus because they waste is all arguing on how one is predestined to it. Every version of “Christianity” that teaches any form of predestination at all is teaching a false gospel and must be rejected. And any form of predestination will lead to abuse, period. Because it asserts that our actions are not our own but all predetermined by God, thus emboldening people to do evil things and excuse it by “its God will; God willed for me to do it.” This falls under James’ verse of “Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘God tempted me.'” Now if God does not tempt people to do evil, how much less does he predetermine it!!!! Therefore anyone teaching these doctrines is a reprobate who has denied the faith.


  58. But the Calvinists and Calvinists light will frame it as if you are being divisive when you say what I say. The reality is they are the ones who are divisive. Its the Calvinists and Arminians who won’t stop attacking each other, and dragging us all into their argument between two different schemes of predestination, both of them false. True Christians — who by definition do not believe in any form of predestination — are sick of both the Calvinist and Arminian camps and the never-ending wrangling they cause. Predestination has to be given the boot. That is the only way to peace. And that is the only way to end the abuse, because predestination causes abuse, and predestination makes a mockery of Christ’s sacrifice.


  59. Glad we can at least discuss ideas here, JA.

    I am so sad when I see abuse blogs that bristle at discussion about this belief:

    fatalism, determinism, destiny, fate, preselected elect, Calvin, Armenian=Calvin-lite…

    Whatever name you use to describe this belief, let’s connect the dots & make the connection to the belief and the lingo that goes with it:

    God’s will
    it happened so it’s what God wanted/good for you/meant to be
    You’re right where God wants you
    There are countless phrases. Listen & read closely & you will see this type of thinking all over the place among Christians & non-Christians alike.

    Let’s connect the dots with the belief, the words, AND the hurt that results from this so called comfort that is often given to the hurting. These words don’t heal, they hurt & keep the wounds from healing. The hurting become confused. Does God really want them to hurt? Did God cause their pain? Were they created to suffer? You can’t blame them for leaving faith in this kind of god. The tragedy occurs when they are told by Christians, pastors, churches this is who God is. I think more and more see it & want to speak out against this. This is not God. It is a horrible maligning of God. It takes the God they desperately need away from them. It brings me to tears.


  60. “The hurting become confused. Does God really want them to hurt? Did God cause their pain? Were they created to suffer?”

    There’s always the question or disbelief that women don’t leave this type of treatment or stand up for themselves.

    I have learned & know this question is silly. It’s will never resolve itself. I will never ask why they continue.

    Be clear, the theology itself tells them they are predestined for it. I speak out against the theology. If they understand & change their minds that they ARE not predestined or created to suffer, then they will NOT continue. If they learn they are not worms, but beloved by God, then they will begin to love themselves. That’s how to help them, IMO.


  61. “I think more and more see it & want to speak out against this.” But they will be swarmed and attacked on all sides if they do, with a barrage of out of context and misused quotes from the Pauline epistles. This is the problem with the Calvinism/Arminianism dichotomy. The powers that be in the Protestant world (and these powers that be were not ordained of God) have decided that it is unlawful to reject predestination outright: you have to accept one of two versions of predestination, Calvinism or Arminianism (i.e. Calvinism by another name). That way, no matter which you choose, in reality you have chosen Calvinism. Because these powers that bee seem to have some sort of authority to cast people out of the synagogues for believing in Jesus rather than predestination, people cowtow to them. When they fire their fiery darts of twisted Pauline quotations, people yield, because nobody wants to be accused of being an anti-Pauline heretic, which is invariably what happens if you say you reject both Calvinism and Arminianism because all forms of predestination are a lie. The issue is that people need to grow a backbone and stand up to the establishment. Jesus didn’t teach predestination and we are putting our foot down: we will not longer accept Calvinism or Arminianism. Any gospel that mixes in Predestination is false, period. And churches need to put that in their creeds and start excommunicating anyone who will not disavow all systems of predestination.


  62. Thanks for that JA. I tried to embed the links and I couldn’t get the interface to take my html coding.


  63. DavidBrainerd2– How do you interpret the most popular passages used to support predestination — like Romans 9 or Ephesians 1?


  64. Or Acts 4:38? It’s easy to whine about Calvinism being the worse thing since Hitler; it’s more challenging when one turns to the actual bible.


  65. Sorry, that’s Acts 4:27-28. My main point being I don’t understand how some if you can call yourselves Christians and yet deny literally hundreds of scriptures clearly showing God as sovereign over His creation?


  66. Seth,

    I know a woman who includes in her testimony that she was raped and she is thankful to God for it. Think about that. This is where fate/predestination/destiny/fatalism leads.

    I heard a lady in a reformed baptist church, as part of her testimony, tell the church (as part of the morning service) she prayed for cancer and that God answered her prayer. Cancer was a blessing. The elders/pastor used it as a teaching tool for the rest of us pew-sitters.

    Do you SERIOUSLY read that in your Bible?


  67. “Turn to the Bible” to defend this craziness is juvenile thinking, IMO. And I have little patience for it, but I am trying hard, believe me.

    Matthew 5: 29-30 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

    Seth, Have you NEVER lusted? Have you NEVER sinned? Do you still have two eyeballs & two hands? Not turning to the Bible, are you?

    How dare anyone use the Bible or God’s loving nature to defend suffering, wrong-doing, hurt as predetermined & predestined by God. That scares the socks off me, because if you believe in that type of god, who knows what you will do or condone. Sympathy & empathy LESS at a minimum. And we see it in comments all over this blog towards those who have been hurt.


  68. Lol Dave, I wouldn’t be surprised 🙂

    A Mom, I’m not disputing that real world run ins with evil cause difficult considerations on how God interacts with the world. What I’m pointing out is you (and many others who have commented here) don’t seem to have an actual well rounded answer for what the bible itself says about God. You can let experience alone be your guide to setting up a theological framework; but that’s hazardous sometimes. And I would suggest that ignoring the bible when you’re trying to figure the world out is less Christian, and more humanistic. I don’t have a problem with that, just find it odd that you or someone else would still want to be thought of as a Christian.


  69. “A Mom, I’m not disputing that real world run ins with evil cause difficult considerations on how God interacts with the world.”

    You basically just stated you can’t reconcile your belief system. Evil does cause a difficult problem for your theological framework, I agree with you there.

    “You can let experience alone be your guide” AND “ignoring the bible”
    Seth, it ain’t an either/or: Either reality or Bible. Seth, dear, both live in harmony together. The Bible doesn’t contradict reality. You don’t give up one for the other.

    To be clear, I would never want to be defined as a fatalistic/puppet-controlled Christian.

    Why are you ignoring my poke your eyeball out & cut your hand off question?


  70. Seth are you not in danger yourself by judging whether someone knows Christ or not? Who are you to determine?
    Your frame of reference comes from a doctrine that was instituted by a fallible man who in turn wanted to create for himself a church state where he could dictate the same thing you are doing right now. Obviously the apples do not fall far from the tree itself and the fruit is not edible.
    Calvinism and Arminianism feel they can determine what constitutes salvation, without looking at themselves first. Without LOVE, your doctrine is nothing but dung.
    Sorry to say it but it is true. One knows their salvation by the Spirit, not by what doctrine he or she holds to.


  71. “I don’t have a problem with that, just find it odd that you or someone else would still want to be thought of as a Christian”

    Oh my. And here I thought a relationship with the LIVING Christ was the basis for salvation (including repentance, faith, obedience). But it seems bible interpretations are the real basis for salvation. One wonders how those denied literacy in medieval times could possibly know Christ? Ignorant peasants?

    Then we have the problem with hundreds of translations over thousands of years by “inspired translators”? Is there a place for scripture? Of course. But it is not part the 4th person of the Trinity.

    So whose translation/interpretation is correct doctrine? Wesley? Calvin? John McArthur? Pagnino? Jerome? King James? How many translations throughout history have a POLITICAL foundation? You might be surprised. I will always bet on KNOWING personally the LIVING Christ and let the Holy Spirit illuminate truth. Then there is the contextual problem of trying to fit 1st Century audience into post enlightenment minds. And then we have the problem of Gnosticism invading many interpretations replacing Jewish understanding.

    But in the end, it is declared you should greet your brothers with a Holy Kiss. :o)


  72. To be clear, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, Lord & Savior. Jesus taught us how to live, by loving God, & others as I do myself. True Christianity is a life-affirming, loving, full of hope way to live. It is not a destiny/fate/predetermined/fatalistic way of life.


  73. Seth –

    I don’t have a problem with that, just find it odd that you or someone else would still want to be thought of as a Christian.

    That is simply a rude response to A Mom. I imagine she identifies as a Christian because she believes in Christ, his death, and his resurrection, and attempts to follow his commands. The main two, according to Jesus, being to love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself.

    Jesus didn’t say that one had to believe in Seth’s (or Piper’s, Driscoll’s or anyone elses) definition of sovereignty to be a Christian.


  74. I still don’t get it – why come on here trying to defend a “doctrine of Calvinism” when we should all be defending the love and truth of Christ instead? This is where I can definitely say it is not conducive to my spiritual health if we will face Jesus one day and He will be shaking His head at our stupid pea brain ideas of who is of the elect or not. Ridiculous!


  75. I think you two are evading the real question I’m bringing up. It’s not about someone’s salvation here; if so mine should be doubted too. It’s not about whether I’ve sinned or not; I sin daily. I ll repeat myself, the question I keep coming back to is do you only use your life experiences to inform yourself on who God is? Experiences are important for sure, but I’m not convinced we should only use that. A Mom, you said God is loving; how do you know that? From your experiences? Or do you also read parts of the bible?


  76. “You basically just stated you can’t reconcile your belief system. Evil does cause a difficult problem for your theological framework, I agree with you there.”

    Yes it does. Start with a wrong premise about God ignoring ALL His attributes and one ends up with a huge problem concerning evil. God is so Sovereign He was able to create beings in His own Image who could say NO to Him. He is that Sovereign. And anything else could NOT be a LOVE relationship.


  77. “A Mom, you said God is loving; how do you know that? From your experiences? Or do you also read parts of the bible?”

    Everyone, this is a great example of the types of questions doctrines of fate & destiny lead a person to ask: Is God really loving?

    Our conscience, the very fact we have breathe, nature & the beauty of it, & the natural gifts & abilities we have from God shout God is love. Read the Bible through, on your own, & you will find a loving God. Read the gospels, without a study guide, just you, the Bible & the Holy Spirit.

    Let’s not be ignorant of history. The majority, throughout the ages, didn’t read or have the opportunity to even touch a Bible. What were they all, unbelievers, Seth? God gives a brain to think, our conscience, & the Holy Spirit. Yes we do have the Bible, we should read it. And know it doesn’t contradict reality, truth, or the Holy Spirit.

    Doctrines based on fate & destiny will cause a person to question whether God really is loving. I hope we can see this. And this is NOT good.


  78. Seth do you still not get it? Yes the Bible is important but it can only be illuminated by the Spirit in each persons life- PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with the Savior.
    One thing I know, when I attended a Reformed church the Holy Spirit was not taught as a personal being that lived in each and every person; it was taught that the Holy Spirit was collective, outside, and only through the church. It was taught that the Holy Spirit illuminated the truth of Gods Word but only through the Church and its elders or pastor. Now yes I do believe that the Holy Spirit can use the church for the glory of God but He lives IN the believer and each one of us must determine what God wants for ourselves.


  79. You should not even be fretting over this with A Mom- if you don’t agree with her move on. Tell her you love her as a sister in Christ and be assured in your own belief. But it shows me when I see many on here trying to fight for their “doctrines they hold so dear” that they are not really that confident in what they hold on to.


  80. “I ll repeat myself, the question I keep coming back to is do you only use your life experiences to inform yourself on who God is?

    Augustine did just that. He got his concept of original sin from his career Greek Philosophy (Mani) and his sinful life with a concubine and illegitimate son. Sex, in his view, became the conduit for passing on the sin goo that causes total depravity. And because he was so prolific a writer in Latin his writing spread across Europe and became the basis for most of our understanding and subsequent translations. HIs Greek Philosophy was grounded in the gnostic belief that all material world is evil and only the spiritual good. And only certain people were given the insight to teach/lead the masses. So much of what is taught as orthodox in interpretation is from a man’s experience!

    Jesus is TRUTH. He is the LIVING WORD. Read the Gospels exclusively and get loads of Jesus then understand Paul through the filter of Jesus and context of the audience of the time. Your predestination problem will go away as will the problem of God being responsible (even indirectly) for evil. We are to be responsible and accountable for living out the kingdom here and now.


  81. trust4himonly, you’re the first person to acknowledge that the bible is important to a Christian, thanks for that! Let me recap, I hop on and see a torrent of anti-Calvinist comments and wonder what the basis is for all of it. I see a lot of people talking about negative experiences they’ve had with Calvinists (I’ve had some too). But I hardly see anyone talking about what scripture has to say about God Himself. So I wonder, is the bible important to this conversation? Dave and I float the question of how certain bible passages are dealt with from an anti-Calvinist perspective. No one steps to the plate. That makes me wonder more. The course of the comments gives one the idea that experience is the only thing that matters and everyone can be a Christian without paying any attention to scripture. Personally, if I stopped believing that God had something to say to us in the bible, I’d just stop calling myself a Christian altogether, but maybe that’s just me.

    In conversations I’ve had in the past with anti-Calvinistic friends, they’ve used bible passages to explain why they didn’t believe in God’s sovereignty, and although I disagreed with them, I appreciated the logical dialogue we were engaged in to find truth.

    I’m only after one question here, not a thousand rabbit trails. How do all of you anti-Calvinists deal with a bible full of statements about God’s sovereignty? Do you reply with other scriptures? Do you say the bible isn’t important to you? Do you say it’s minorly important but experiences are more so? How?


  82. This is the thing Seth…..a discussion like the Sovereignty of God would take us a sit down at a local coffee house and talk it out. We would get out our Bibles and take a look. Here…..this is not the place to banter back and forth about theological questions. Now I understand that this is where Calvinists love to get into the debate of these certain things because they have got the Bible verses out and ready to go, but this is a blog about abuse and that is what is being discussed here. So basically the Sovereignty question in and of itself is a rabbit trail of your own making. I can basically state that if A Mom or Lydia state their belief in Jesus Christ that is enough to be satisfied- don’t you think? Is it your mission to set them straight or let it go to the Spirit?


  83. We are wonderfully made, Seth. By a loving God. That’s also what the Bible says. Julie Anne touched on this in one of her comments.

    This in particular struck me: no matter how tall & how short, a small hand will reach up & fit a big one reaching down


  84. My regulars have probably thought Ive flipped by allowing a Calvinism debate on a regular thread instead of the designated Calvin debate thread.

    I just said goodbye to my daughter who will fly out to college tomorrow and now on the 4-1/2 hr drive home.

    It’s helpful to discuss how the doctrines lend themselves to abuse so people can gain understanding. Please don’t get personal and debate respectfully. I’ll check in when I get home.

    Ok. More driving, but I’ve got my Burgerville mocha perk to help me stay awake. :).


  85. trust4himonly, I hear you and I respect that. The only issue I have is your assertion that I started this rabbit trial. I must have read 30 one sided comments about how evil Calvinists are and how bad their theology is. Only after all that did I ask the question. It wasn’t a rabbit trail I brought up. But I respect your point about how long it would take and that there would be scripture. That was the generalized gist of what I was asking. My mission is not to set any one individual straight, so I have no answer for that.


  86. I believe in a form of predestination: God predestined, thousands of years beforehand, that Jesus would be born, live, preach, heal, die and be resurrected, so that anyone who learns of God’s love, as taught and exemplified by Jesus the Christ, and believes in Him, choosing to accept the gift, believing that he was God incarnate and died for our freedom from the penalty for sin, therefore is adopted as a child of God, and brother of Jesus, and will live in eternity in the presence of our Savior and Lord.


  87. Romans 1:18-20 is an interesting read that doesn’t point to a scripture proof texting fest. The sovereignty of God can be interpreted and defined in different ways. One would be that God is sovereign over his sovereignty. When we look at scripture we see that there are many characteristics that describe God besides sovereignty. I don’t believe that one attribute or characteristic trumps any others. Why focus on just sovereignty? I think this would give us an unbalanced picture of what God is like. Seriously, God came to earth to provide atonement for sin. Does that point to God’s sovereignty or God’s love?


  88. Seth,

    Regarding A Mom you say “I . . .just find it odd that you or someone else would still want to be thought of as a Christian.” Well, Seth, I am more confident in A Mom’s salvation than I am in yours. The reason? A Mom exhibits the Fruit of Love. You, on the other hand, appear to posit the usual ill-considered proof texts for the proposition that God predestines some to go to go to Heaven and some to go to eternal conscious torment. Now I recognize that you have not actually said these things, and I am drawing certain inferences based on what others of your apparent ilk espouse. However, if I am anywhere near correct in assessing your probable beliefs, you are ascribing evil to God. That makes you a blasphemer. That causes me to doubt your salvation. If I have misjudged you, and if you concede that God sovereignly imparted free will, including free moral agency, to His human creatures, I apologize in advance.

    In any event, however, please quit trying your damnable proof texting on us. Your Acts 4:27-28 proof text isn’t even talking about individual salvation (nor is Romans Chapter 9 for that matter).

    And, do please allow me to add my voice to those who are calling you out for coming here to make your worthless, irrelevant theological points. You’re no doubt the man, and you likely have all the answers (not), but so what? This blog is about spiritual abuse, of which you are demonstrating yourself to be a subtle (like satan) but effective practitioner.

    I have some questions for you Seth. If you are married, do you spank your wife? Is that the issue that brought you to this blog? Do you happen to agree that children should regularly be disciplined with corporal punishment? Do you agree with Voddie Baucham (sp?) that sometimes children need to be spanked six times before breakfast? In your family and church life, are human relationships structured on authority or Love? Tell the truth now. Be honest with yourself. What kind of person are you, really?


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