Someone by the name of C. D. Smith just left a comment on my review of the ESV Study Bible. Because of the extreme ignorance and arrogance expressed in this comment I’ve chosen not to approve it because I can only imagine that such approval would be seen as an invitation to continue commenting over here. I will however reproduce it with a brief response.
As you read this so called review, you start to see the real topic. This review turned into a Armenian Calvinistic argument. The Fact that Armenian has been defeated and rejected throughout history is what makes this review not only un-orthodox but unbiblical. This has nothing to do with John Calvin, but God’s glory and Sovereignty. If the Study Bible was based around Armenian theology then grace would cease to be grace and all passages about “so none can boast” would turn to works salvation and man’s ability to boast based on “his own choice”. The Bible is based solely on God’s Glory in His plan to save who He wants, which brings and gives Him Glory Alone, and that man should have no place to boast. Any study note or commentary will never be perfect and never authoritative. To cry about this study Bible is to show your lack of true knowledge of God in His Sovereignty. If God is totally sovereign then “Calvinism” is correct.
The same John that wrote John 3, wrote John 6, 10, 15 and 16. Jesus is not a weak beggar as if He is on His throne saying, “Oh, how I wish someone would receive me”. Jesus is a mighty savior and He has spoken the truth when He said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” John 6:44.
And if you Armenians are going to be consistent in your theology and view then here is how your prayer life should look.
As Spurgeon stated…You have heard a great many Armenian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an Armenian prayer—for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Armenian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free-will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying…
“Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not—that is the difference between me and them.”
That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that.
Conclusion: The ESV Study Bible is solid and will lead you into a relationship with the One True God of Holy Writ. Grace and Peace.
Mr. Smith immediately displays his ignorance by referring to Arminians as Armenians. As I so graciously reminded my Calvinist brothers many moons ago: “[A]dherents to this system of theology [i.e. Arminianism] are NOT Armenians! Armenians are those men and women from the Republic of Armenia which sits where Eastern Europe and Western Asia connect.”
The second display of ignorance comes into effect once Mr. Smith attempts to identify my motives. The “real topic” was the ESVSB plain and simple. When reviewing any book I take into account what audience would benefit the most from it. In this case it’s Calvinists.
Ignorant display #3 is calling my book review both unorthodox and unbiblical. Who knew that book reviews could be such! My review of the ESVSB was not a doctrinal treatise, it was my impressions of the ESVSB, no more, no less. I even explicitly state that while it would be fair to criticize certain ideas as unbiblical (e.g., those that talk about regeneration preceding faith), it would not be fair to criticize this Study Bible for containing them given it’s theological slant.
And the final bit of ignorance I wish to comment on is the equating of Arminian soteriology with “works salvation.” I’ve yet to meet the Arminian who believes that we can work for our salvation or that it is obtained by anything less than the grace of God.
Now onto his arrogance. Mr. Smith so arrogantly concludes that he has all the answers and I “show [my] lack of true knowledge of God in His Sovereignty.” Now let’s forget for the time being that this gentleman has no idea what I believe or ‘know’ about God’s sovereignty (and how could he know these things since I didn’t mention them in my BOOK REVIEW!) and just point out the simple fact that there is more than one way to understand the sovereignty of God. Does he honestly think that throwing out a couple of contextless proof texts is going to solve the interpretive disputes here? Does he suppose that I’ve never seen such an approach to arguing for the truth of his position and now that I have I’ll be forced to repent in sackcloth and ashes of my “unbiblical unorthodoxy”? C’mon…
And this bit about quoting Spurgeon about how Arminians (not Armenians!) should pray (as if any Arminian would pray such a ridiculous prayer) is the height of arrogance, suggesting that only Calvinists know how to pray. I find it telling that he would call such a prayer “a prayer for the devil” since it didn’t come from the lips of an Arminian, but rather an ignorant Calvinist who wanted to caricature what Arminians believe.
I thank God that the majority of Calvinists that I know are not as ignorant and arrogant as Mr. Smith and I pray that those sensible Calvinists out there would join me in ridiculing such ignorance and arrogance. If this is what Calvinism is truly about then I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to jump on board.