Update 4:10PM: Tweetsman @MrJohnHooper alerted me of my Defcon Scale ignorance. I have linked my Defcon Scale reference to the appropriate website, but have not corrected it in the piece for humor’s sake.
I’m back in the old blogger saddle — man that sounds so lame. Not that I’ve ever written anything real significant or important, nor have I ever blogged consistently enough to be called a “blogger” anyways — but it’s been way too long, and there’s a contoversy reaching Defcon 7. I’ve been watching the stupid thing on the sidelines and it’s time to throw my all-important two-cents in. It’s sort of like an itch that I haven’t been able to reach for weeks and I’m sort of just tired of being, well, itchy. It’s time for this relatively irrelelavent blogger to scratch his itch, is what I’m saying.
Something has been happening inside the Evangelically-Reformed universe that feels…well…not so Reformed. It almost feels a bit, dare I say it, Arminian. Not Armenian, that would be at least a little interesting — but Arminian.
Somebody’s…no…some people’s — plural — some people’s Anthropologies are showing.
Dr. James White, a man to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude, sat down with a Muslim to talk about the differences between Christianity and Islam. The goal was, of course, to reach as many Muslims with the Gospel as possible, as well as open the door for more Christians to talk to Muslims in the future. You see, James has been doing this his entire adult life. He’s debated Muslims, Catholics, KJV-Only Cultists, Mormons. He’s used those cordial relationships to reach people who are dead in their sin, condemned before God, suppressing the truth, and are hopelessly depraved.
Speaking of hopelessly depraved: I lived in an unreached people group in the jungles of Papua New Guinea working tirelessly to learn their language and culture so I could proclaim the Gospel to them as clearly as possible.
It was insane.
I also had some internet access that allowed me to listen to these debates, which, you know, helped me fall asleep while drunks were wandering aimlessly and wife-beatings were circling our house. James White was my jam, and I can’t tell you how many times I silently pumped my fist with joy as I heard James explain their strongest argument, earn his right to be heard, dismantle their strongest arguments, and then proceed to give them their only hope for salvation.
You see, in a strange way, though we were thousands of miles apart, that dude felt like another co-worker. We were doing the same thing. I was studying the Kuman’s language and culture so I could preach the Gospel as clearly as possible, he was studying Mormons and Muslims so he could speak to them with understanding. This is exactly what wisdom demands, right (Prov. 18:13)?
By God’s grace, I wanted to think like a Kuman so, like Paul wanted, God’s truth could destroy every one of their beliefs that comes against the knowledge of Christ. James White and I were both doing the work of a missionary: taking the Gospel across cultures. He of course got to wear bowties and I had to kill pigs and constantly buy anti-diarrhea medicine, but we were doing the same work. We were kind of friends during that time, you know, in an odd, stalker-ish kind of way.
But then, out of nowhere, some guy I’ve never heard of named Brannon Howse started calling Dr. James White a useful idiot who was being used by Muslims to accomplish Sharia Law in the US! What an accusation! According to Brannon and his ex-Muslim entourage, White is being used to Make America Muslim Someday (MUMS… I just made that accronym up). Yes, the Muslims are wearing their metaphorical MUMS hats and are trying to take over the US and White is a fool for playing their little game, and helping them WIN!
This got me thinking. Those gears were a’turning in my incredibly hard head. Of course: I understand why Brannon would act so Arminian, because he’s, well, Arminian. But why would Janet Mefferd and Steve Camp act so Arminian?
What I mean is, when did we Reformed people decide to stop sharing the Gospel with those who want to take power away from us? Since when did we stop sharing the Gospel with people just because they waned to be their own gods and rule their own domain? Was there some sort of document that we all signed that confined us to sharing the Gospel with people only if they came to us on our own terms?
“There is a large swath of people in your community that wants to take over America? No, I will not treat you as an image-bearer of God and give you the only thing that will change your totally-depraved heart.”
Something about this seems so Arminian to me.
Look at Romans 3
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…”
Wait for it..
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Here’s where there might be a little inconsistency with Brannon, Mefferd, and the Ex-Muslim’s Anthropology: Evil, depraved people do evil depraved things. Liberals want to take over America and make us do liberal things. Mormons, if given the chance, would love to take over America and make us do Mormon things. Republicans want to take over America and make us do Republican things. This, of course, is true only if what the Bible says in Romans 3 is true.
Don’t you see? In Adam, we are all quick to shed blood, Muslims, Catholics, and *gasp* Republicans. Nobody knows the way of peace. All man is confined in sin — that is, until the Gospel is preached with clarity.
Brannon Howse, his ex-Muslim friends, Janet Mefferd, and Steve Camp have an inconsistent Anthropology. We don’t stop preaching the Gospel to people just because they want to use us to accrue social and political power. If that’s our critera for who is worthy to hear the Gospel, then nobody can hear it.
I’d be honored to be called a “Useful Idiot.” I’d wear that badge proudly, because that means that I’m actually in the game. I’m interacting with fallen, totally-depraved people. Of course they want to use me.
The Kuman used me all the time. For social and political power too. In order to actually get somewhere, I still had to function in that relationship, and I work hard to understand where they were coming from. By God’s grace, I acted with compassion and gentleness knowing that is the only way they could live, because they were dead in their sins.
By believing Republicans, Mormons, and Liberals have a more acceptable depravity — they are at least more stealthy in their blood-thirstiness — Howse, Meffered, and Camp have adopted an American Anthropology, not a Biblical one.