Ignorance & Arrogance

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.



18 thoughts on “Ignorance & Arrogance

  1. Its not the Armenian’s fault that there were subjected to the Turks and defeated throughout history…Oh wait…he mean Arminian…

  2. God also made the “Delete” button, you know. For His glory. ;-)

    None of us is perfect, and it is only grace that saves us.

    (ESV) If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Cor 3:15. Never read a bible verse)

  3. Wow this guy is really a piece of work!

    The Fact that Armenian has been defeated and rejected throughout history is what makes this review not only un-orthodox but unbiblical

    So if something has been rejected throughout history it becomes unbiblical? My exegesis skills must really be rusting. :-)

    If God is totally sovereign then “Calvinism” is correct.

    The logical equivalent of this is “If Calvinism is not correct, then God is not totally sovereign.”

    But Arminians recognize that God can have the ability to do something but not necessarily exercise it. Does a king need to actualize every bit of authority he has to be considered sovereign? I’m a Calvinist, but I wish guys like this would develop carpel tunnel syndrome.

  4. Chuck: And that delete button glorifies God quite a bit over here!

    David: Well said, especially that carpel tunner bit!

    Patrick: I noticed that myself. How ironic!

  5. He must have been paraphrasing Spurgeon.

    These people are the stereotypical Callvenists that give us a bad name.

    Fee said, “Before you can say, ‘I disagree,’ you must be able to say, ‘I understand.'”

    I can’t believe he begins to understand if he can’t even spell the term.

  6. I really need to finish my review of the ESV SB… it’s just so massive that I’m not anywhere close to a post yet!

  7. Nathan: With Bibles you have to pick and choose. I focused most of my attention on the articles and John’s Gospel. With the NLTSB I focused more on the various features in the introductions and notes.

  8. It seems that Mr. Smith might not have represented Reformed Theology well to the soft back boned Calvinists on this blog. By the way Scripture Zealot, this is a correct and complete quote from Spurgeon “The Prince of Preachers”. Mr. Norelli, there seems to be more hostility than facts in your argument with Mr. Smith. It seems that debating or making a viewpoint known, should always be done in the correct way. The first rule should be done without emotions but with facts. The man did not spell one word correctly and it seems that you based your whole argument through hostility against him on this trivial mistake attacking his intellect.

    Just a little advice, you advised that you were merely conducting a book review on your impressions of the ESVSB. Serious theologians know that if you are conducting a review of the holy, inerrant word of God(translations included), you do so with a precise theological premise. Your review traveled from format to theology, please a systematical approach to a specific topic should have been reached. I am not sure if I want to read a book review from a man that has a mere impression describing his activity on what he seems to articulate as a serious act for himself. I am coming three years late in this game and instead of taking you to the proverbial”Woodshed” on your theology, I will offer several theologians that you can listen or read that adhere to Biblical Orthodoxy. First of all the following men contain a wealth of knowledge and should be taken in serious though without a superficial impression. R.C. Sproul, Albert Mohler Jr., Dr. Derek Thomas, Dr. John Piper, Dr. Ligon Duncan, Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson, and the deceased Dr. Greg Bahnsen. There are many more Reformed gentlemen that I can introduce you to if needed.

  9. Jake: I’m assuming that’s your name. I usually wouldn’t approve a comment such as yours because (1) it’s ad hominem from the outset, and (2) it’s 3 years late, as you note. But I have a couple of minutes and I’m a bit bored at the moment so I’ve decided to rattle off something quick.

    I don’t know how or why you would contrast “hostility” and “facts” as if they were in the same category. Had you said that there was more “falsehoods” than “facts” then maybe you would have made a bit more sense. The same problem arises when you contrast “emotions” with “facts.” Humans are emotional beings; it would be impossible to present any kind of fact devoid of some sort of emotion. So I’m not sure where you’re coming from on that front.

    Also, your grammar and syntax leaves something to be desired. You say that “The man did not spell one word correctly…”, which is somewhat ambiguous. Do you mean that he spelled one word incorrectly? Or do you mean that he did not spell any words correctly? I’m going to guess that you meant the former rather than the latter. I’ll just point out that he consistently spelled Arminian incorrectly. It would seem to me that one should at least know the name of the group with which they disagree.

    Having said that, I suspect you didn’t read my response carefully, fully, or both. It’s surely a caricature to state that I “based [my] whole argument through hostility against him on this trivial mistake attacking his intellect.” To start, I did not base my “whole argument” on his seeming inability to spell Arminian correctly. Secondly, I just re-read the post and I can’t see one instance of me attacking the man’s intellect. He may be a very smart fellow for all I know. I did call him ignorant a number of times, but ignorance is simply “not knowing,” and we’re all ignorant of something or another. Mr. Smith displayed his ignorance of (1) The proper spelling of Arminian(s); (2) My motives (i.e., “the real topic” in his words); (3) What “unorthodox” and “unbiblical” mean; and finally (4) Arminian soteriology.

    Thanks for the advice. Can you give some examples of books reviews by “serious theologians” that follow the format you’ve outlined? I’ve only written a hundred some-odd reviews and I’m always looking to improve them. And it should go without saying that you’re quite welcome to ignore all hundred some-odd reviews I’ve written if you so choose.

    Finally, thanks for the list of theologians. I prefer my Reformed writers to be a bit older and from the Continent if you know what I mean. I suspect that I could introduce you to a few Reformed theologians if you’d like to read something outside of modern Anglo-American types. Let me know and I’ll rattle off a list sometime. Oh, and I greatly appreciate not being taken to the proverbial woodshed. God only knows what your intentions would have been taking me there. ;-)

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