Amazon has been offering a bunch of titles by some authors we’ve heard of (and some we would never read at full price) at half-price or less in their Kindle electronic book format. I picked up a copy of Kyle Idleman’s “Not a Fan” [link] last night for $2.99. I’m waiting for Francis Chan’s book responding to Rob Bell to go on sale.
I am of the opinion that Christian titles in the Kindle format are currently overpriced; I’d take Chan’s book [link] as a case in point. The paperback lists at $8.63 but can be had from a secondary seller for $7.20 new; the Kindle edition is $8.20. By way of comparison, the Susan Collins bestseller The Hunger Games is nearly twice as long, but sells for $4.94/$4.69 [link]; David Miller’s Appalachian Trail book is $10.17/$7.99 and is 25% longer than Chan’s book. Never mind that Miller’s book took 7 years to write and Chan’s shows all the signs of being an instant book.
Editorial notice: the subject line above I usually use for books I have read myself; today I am using it for a book I would like to read but haven’t and instead have settled for reading sympathetic reviews and summaries.
Dedicated readers of this blog (all both of you) know that while I come from a fundamentalist Baptist background by way of a stint in Calvary Chapel, I’m more or less a little-em mere Christian. That gets defined as “least common denominator” Christianity, but that’s not how I think of it. I tend to see in different traditions things that are desirable and things that are not desirable, things that reflect defensible values and things that don’t. I read and listen to people from different traditions within Christianity (more conservative than liberal), and I’m always surprised how poorly they understand each other and how badly they misrepresent each other when they are in conversation.
I’m always interested to hear various Protestants answer the question “Why are you not a Catholic?” not least because some people have either thought about the question themselves and have a personal answer, while others have a canned answer they’ve received from someone else. The former tend to be more complicated than the latter; I don’t know if either tends to be better than the other.
There seems to be within every significant branch of conservative Protestant American Christianity an industry of providing canned answers to complicated problems. I don’t know if this is good or bad; a lot of the products from this industry tend to be pretty poor, but better than nothing.
And apparently Catholics have their own folk apologetics industry too. And as someone who is not (or as some Catholics would say, “not yet”) reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church I’m always interested to see what questions they address and how they address them. Which brings me to Diane Moczar’s 2010 book Seven Lies About Catholic History [link]. Here they are, from the publisher’s page [link]:
- The Inquisition: how it was not a bloodthirsty institution but a merciful (and necessary) one
- Galileo s trial : why moderns invented a myth around it to make science appear incompatible with the Catholic faith (it’s not)
- The Reformation: why the 16th-century Church was not totally corrupt (as even some Catholics wrongly believe), and how the reformers made things worse for everybody and other lies that the world uses to attack and discredit the Faith
By my count that’s three. This review [link] mentions something about Cortez mistreating Montezuma. This one [link] mentions claims that Pius XII was personally responsible for the deaths of Jews during the Holocaust. That’s five; the title says there are seven so there must be two more.
The latter link summarizes the lies about the Reformation as follows:
Moczar explains that “nearly all the lies discussed in this book, which are truly lies about history, lead back to basic questions about the Catholic faith” and that “most of the lies were originally told by people who opposed the Church,” rather than people who had a legitimate misunderstanding of a particular event.
One of the most obvious examples of this is the set of lies emanating from the so-called Protestant Reformation, the foundational one being that the Catholic Church was so corrupt that its complete overhaul was necessary. This overhaul was carried out by disgruntled men inventing their own religions.
Moczar explains that the Church, made up of human beings, will always have its share of problems and that before the Reformation some of them were schisms and clashes with domineering secular rulers. The “Reformers” exploited these problems in their attempt to discredit the Church and to construct replacements of their own making.
The false doctrines and practices associated with the Reformation brought about not only loss of souls, but civic disunity, poverty and ugliness. The sacking of monasteries and hospitals in England left the poor and sick without the help they had previously received, and an appalling iconoclasm reigned. Works of sacred art that had adorned churches for centuries were destroyed in the name of “reform.” Such actions reveal themselves to be unnecessary and injurious not only on doctrinal grounds, but also on sociological ones.
I don’t know where to start with this; at one level it reminds me of the kind of cut-rate apologetics I hear in within evangelicalism: there’s a bait and switch at the top, suggesting that people who disagree with Moczar’s line on Catholic history aren’t just mistaken, they’re heterodox. And then there’s a portrayal of the Reformation from the Roman Catholic perspective that if I read correctly portrays disestablishment as a net negative and ignores the issue most important to me: the vernacular Scriptures.
I really can’t imagine what it’s like to be a true believer in Roman Catholicism; but I have to admit that when I read evangelicals and other Protestants engaging in this sort of argumentation I’m embarrassed for them, so I have to imagine that Catholics find this sort of thing embarrassing too. Then again, maybe not.
I first heard about Samantha Power when the United States took part in bombing Libya; turns out she was part of the Obama 2008 campaign, got in some trouble for calling then-Senator Hillary Clinton “a monster,” was part of the Obama transition team, and has served in the Obama White House as a Special Assistant [link]. I first read about her in an article in the New York Times, where she was described as being someone who shuns the spotlight because she tends to speak her mind and is always afraid of upstaging or front-running the President.
Turns out she’s also a former war correspondent and one-time Pulitzer Prize winner for her 2002 book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide [link], the subject of this post.
This is a thoroughly depressing book, as it starts with the Armenian genocide, briefly discusses the Holocaust, and then deals with the struggles of Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term “genocide,” gave it its legal definition and formulated the official definition eventually ratified by the United Nations. There are chapters about post-Lemkin genocides in Cambodia, Iraq (Kurds), and Rwanda, but more than a third of the book is about the breakdown of the former Yugoslavia and the various campaigns by Serb forces to kill all the Muslims and Albanians in various Serb-controlled areas. What glimmers of hope Power offers are presented at the end, when she discusses the legal proceedings by various international courts against perpetrators in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and how that related to the efforts by Lemkin. Power, after all, is a multilateralist and a firm believer in the rightness of international organizations in dealing with problems like these, despite their obvious and even admitted failings.
Power repeatedly returns to a couple of themes: one is that the United States tends to deal with genocide poorly because politicians who could do something tend to choose not to, citing the lack of obvious American interests. The other is that the people who end particular genocides fit no particular pattern, and often come from unexpected places.
I was interested to note how little difference conservative Christians make in Power’s narrative. Various church leaders are mentioned in the chapter on the Armenian genocide, but then disappear from the narrative and do not resurface in the subsequent ninety or so years. It may or may not be a coincidence that the victims in only that once case were clearly Christian. I’m not sure.
What’s disturbing about this is that it suggests that Christians either do not really have much of a voice in American foreign policy where moral issues are concerned; or that we put our economic interests first, foremost, and nearly only. Or that we don’t care if the victims aren’t Christians; or if they’re not particularly our kind of Christians. It’s as if we have no foreign policy unless it pertains to whether Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders, and no moral voice on any subject but abortion.
I am inclined to take Power’s discussion as an indictment of modernity itself; the genocides she covers are noteworthy in that they all occur in the modern era and use (with the possible exception of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia) uniquely modern technology and exploit the vulnerabilities of the modern nation-state, and the remedy proposed may put a stop to the genocide itself, but doesn’t result in anything that resembles justice. Unfortunately when the Church doesn’t take modernity to task for these failings it’s hard to suggest it can offer any real answers.
This was an unpleasant read but at 500+ pages it went surprisingly quickly. I’d recommend reading it and asking yourself if your Christianity offers anything more in the way of meaningful analysis than a shallow “well, what do you expect from a fallen world?”
Here’s a quick breakdown of Pamela Paul’s 2005 book Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Familes by chapter:
- Why Men Look at Porn
- Pornography Market Segments, etc.
- How Pornography Affects Men
- How Women See Pornography
- How Porn Affects Relationships
- Pornography and Children
- Pornography Compulsion
- The Way Forward: Censorship, etc.
Those are a mix of chapter subtitles and summaries of chapters; I found Paul’s word choices a bit cutesy sometimes and not especially helpful.
There is a basic narrative here that goes like this: men who look at pornography on a regular basis or as a matter of habit tend to think and behave a particular way. There’s of course a spectrum of behavior, and on one end there’s substantial dysfunction and criminal behavior; elsewhere are men who go to strip clubs, etc. This latter group may be at one end of the spectrum or they may be in the middle. All of Paul’s case studies of men who look at pornography were men who showed obvious signs of arrested development or worse. She doesn’t really address the question of whether there are men who occasionally look at pornography but are otherwise healthy contributing members of society, or whatever.
She offers results from a couple of studies showing that people who look at pornography have substantially different opinions regarding what is acceptable or typical sexual behavior when compared to a control group, and studies showing that people who look at particularly violent pornography are more likely to be lenient toward people who commit sex crimes. I think some of this affirms or confirms the talking points that were current in the late Eighties circa the Moral Majority Southland Corporation boycott; just in different language. It’s no longer “pornography causes violence” but rather “people who look at violent pornography tend to have a more lenient attitude toward violent sexual behavior” or words to that effect. Not exactly the basis for a change in public policy, but more useful for affirming conventional wisdom.
Paul notes that the idea that pornography constitutes some sort of advance guard for free speech is still current among middle class liberals; and she takes pains to note men with pornography habits who are self-identifying feminists or religious types. I don’t know what to make of this; all of these things are hard to quantify, tend to have soft numbers when quantified, etc.
Likewise her characterization of pornography as a whole as becoming more extreme (more violent; more degrading; more criminal) over time. I really have no idea how one would go about quantifying something like this. I guess you’d have to pick a particular act or scene and look for its incidence in commercially-available pornography over time. And who wants to do that?
To be frank I found this book difficult and unpleasant reading. On more than a handful of occasions it turned my stomach, and I wished I could “un-read” what I’d just read. I feel like I’m more informed about the social impact of pornography, at least on men who consume pornography and the people who love and trust them, but I don’t know that the information is going to do me any good.
Paul closes the book with a chapter on social responses to pornography; I found most of them unrealistic to unworkable. I don’t think pornography is going to lose its appeal any time soon, and the government controls that would be necessary to rein in Web distribution of pornography would be heavy-handed and open to administrative abuse. And of course as I’ve suggested before any solution that doesn’t ask serious questions about the exploitation implicit in the production of pornography is more likely to just tweak the economics of pornography rather than changing its culture fundamentally.
This is another topic that I have to admit is important, but where I don’t see anything resembling an effective response from conservative Christians. It seems like it’s just not on our radar, and we either don’t know what to do or just flat don’t care.
So I have to admit that Pamela Paul’s 2005 book Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families [link] is not deep into the bulls-eye either of my normal reading nor of what’s typically appropriate for this blog, but this is a topic I’ve been interested in for a while and didn’t know how to become informed about.
I think my interest started a couple of years ago when I heard pornography and its impact on evangelical marriages discussed on the Family Life Radio morning show. The discussion was both earnest and vague: there was an element of the story that went something like “pornography (nearly) ruined my marriage” but it wasn’t entirely clear how; there was an element to the story that suggested that God’s redemptive work in somebody’s life had somehow been important; and finally the solution seemed to have involved the husband being accountable to his wife in a way that sounded foreign to me as someone who comes from a background where families are defined in terms of authority, in particular male headship, and the very idea of a man being accountable to his wife in any way shape or form is anathema.
And then stories surfaced about a family friend and how pornography helped ruin his marriage. He had a job that required a fair amount of driving, so he rented a post office box in a town on his route, subscribed to some magazines, and was able to keep his wife from finding out about them. However, he gradually drew distant from his wife, started asking her to do things in the bedroom that she had no interest in doing, eventually asked her to do things that were described to me as “immoral,” and finally left her because he felt he was missing out on something and didn’t want to be a grandfather.
So when I read Paul’s book (remember that? This is a post about that.) it turned out that the story above more or less fits in with the case studies she describes of men who are described as having a porn problem: secret habits, neglect and mistreatment of girlfriends or family members, and some sort of crisis leading to easily recognizable sexual sin (e.g. fornication or adultery).
This sort of case study serves as the backbone of Paul’s book, with some variations. I’ll cover more of these in a later post. The problem with this perspective is that it focuses entirely on hazards to the consumer and ignores the harm done by the production of pornography. I don’t think this is surprising: as conservatives we tend to focus primarily on individual responsibility to the exclusion of cultural or structural problems; and frankly we don’t have a social conscience that would give us a way to talk about e.g. human trafficking.
Paul’s method is appropriate for the social sciences: anecdotes, case studies, surveys of same, opinion polls, and the dreaded social sciences experiments. She revisits some of the arguments that will be familiar to students of Moral Majority era conservative Christian social activism: i.e. pornography causes violence. She doesn’t look much at the exploitation of women in the pornography industry; I am guessing this is because there’s not much existing data, acquiring good data would be difficult and expensive, and she’s able to make persuasive arguments using the methods she uses and focusing primarily on the demand side of the industry.
Next: a rundown of the book itself. Stay tuned.
James White recently devoted all or part of several episodes of his podcast The Dividing Line to Michael Brown and his new book A Queer Thing Happened to America [e.g. link] and during the episode linked mentioned as a matter of course that Harvey Milk, the late San Francisco Supervisor and gay political icon, was a child molester. A little research suggests that this is taken as fact among conservative Christians, and fits into a broader narrative in conservative Christian circles that has shaped our relationship with the homosexual community since the Seventies, namely that gay men molest boys as a matter of course.
I am not entirely sure why we frame the discussion this way; maybe it’s because of the way we interpret 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 relative to its historical context and draw from it instructions for our own time. I don’t know. It’s worth noting that this narrative is showing some wear; it’s similarly received in the gay community that child molesters are more likely (both in total numbers and as a proportion of their communities) to be heterosexual. I really don’t know either way; the handful of child molesters I’ve known personally or by trustworthy anecdote were all heterosexual, but I don’t, as they say, know enough to know.
But the allegations regarding Milk apparently stem from his relationship with Jack Galen McKinley [link]. According to Randy Shilts, author of The Mayor of Castro Street [link], Milk was 33 and McKinley 16 when they began their relationship; it continued for several years and ended when Milk moved to San Francisco from New York and then McKinley took a role in a New York-based production of the musical Hair. The age of consent in New York is 17 today [link]; I have to assume it was the same in the early Seventies.
I am a big fan of Shilts’s 1987 book And The Band Played On, about the early days of the AIDS epidemic; it’s a monumental piece of investigative journalism; it’s well-written; it has well-drawn characters; and it tells a sad and painful story well. I respect Shilts for arguing that city officials should have made more of an effort to stop the spread of AIDS in San Francisco; I think in retrospect he was probably harder on the scientific community and the Reagan Administration than the facts support. Still, I wish every 600-page nonfiction book about a difficult subject was written this well.
The Mayor of Castro Street, on the other hand, is an earlier piece of hagiography by Shilts, is written in a racier style, etc. He is honest about McKinley’s age, but frames the Milk-McKinley story as a by-the-numbers early-Seventies gay love story. He notes that McKinley was a runaway from Maryland, was living on the streets in New York City, and was making ends meet by “hustling:” by having sex with older men for money and other means of support. This is not really the point of Shilts’s description of this part of Milk’s life; he focuses more on the treatment of men in the gay cruising scene in the parks in Greenwich Village in the pre-Stonewall era, rather than whether Milk’s treatment of McKinley would qualify as statutory rape. Let’s just note that all of this gets summarized away in e.g. Milk’s Wikipedia entry [link]; McKinley is important in Milk’s story, but the details are somewhat inconvenient. It’s worth noting that Shilts mentions Milk having relationships with a handful of younger men, of which McKinley is the only one who was underage at the time. It is my understanding that the typical child molester abuses more than 100 children; I have no idea how solid that number is.
If I had to make a contemporary heterosexual comparison here, and I’m not sure it’s fair, I’d suggest looking at former NFL star Lawrence Taylor, who was sentenced in March to probation for sexual misconduct and having sex with an underage prostitute [
So as I mentioned earlier I recently took the plunge and picked up Kindle editions of three Rob Bell books: Love Wins, Velvet Elvis, and Jesus Wants to Save Christians. I’ve read the first and I’m about halfway through the second. The experience has left me thinking more about standards and practices of interpreting Scripture more than anything Bell is saying.
In Chapter 5 (“Dust”) of Velvet Elvis Bell is attempting to make sense of the rabbi-disciple relationship in Second Temple Judaism as context for the relationship between Jesus and His disciples, and he tells us that in Jesus’s time a rabbi (by which he means Jesus or any other itinerant teacher) would have been through two levels of education: Bet Sefer (“House of the Book”) and Bet Talmud (“House of Learning”) by which time he would have memorized the Pentateuch (Bet Sefer) and the rest of the Old Testament (Bet Talmud). All by the age of fourteen. It’s a mind-boggling image; Bell suggests that Jesus would have known the entire Old Testament by heart, and His disciples and much of His audience would have had huge chunks of Scripture memorized as well, on some sort of sliding scale according to how long they went to or stayed in school.
It’s a fascinating concept, and Bell uses it to interpret Jesus’s references to His own education, in e.g. John 15:15. I think I had always interpreted His use of the verb “to learn” to mean something involving divine revelation, or informal education, or maybe practical knowledge, but this piece of historical detail changes the way we might read the text substantially.
This sort of interpretive machinery brings new problems to replace the ones it solves; among other things it moves the foundation on which we understand Scripture from a plain reading of the text to some sort of consensus among historians, or of individual specialists, or in Bell’s case the novelist Milton Steinberg. That’s not to say that one authority is necessarily normative and others deviant; it’s just important to remember when using one framework or another what its hazards and shortcomings are.
I have to admit that I don’t know anyone who has memorized the entire Old Testament, so it seems like a superhuman feat to me. I mean, it’s something like 23,000 verses, meaning that if you memorized ten verses a day you’d need more than six years to memorize the whole thing. By way of contrast the New Testament has about 8,000 verses, and the Koran about 6,300. We know there are people today who memorize the entire Koran; there are enough of them that there’s a word for them: hafiz [link]. And memorization of the Koran, in the original Arabic, with the appropriate intonation, etc. is one of the two courses of study in a madrasah [link]. Which brings me to Ergun Caner.
Ergun Caner is still making speaking appearances at churches [link], including one in a couple of weeks at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, TX. Here’s the blurb he’s using for this appearance:
Ergun Caner is a Professor & Apologist at the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School in Lynchburg, Virginia. Raised as a devout Sunni Muslim along with his two brothers, Caner converted in high school. After his conversion, he pursued his call to the ministry and education. He has a Masters degree from The Criswell College, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of of Theology from the University of South Africa. He has written numerous books with his brother, Dr. Emil Caner, who is the President of Truett-McConnell College, a Baptist college in Georgia.
This biographical sketch no longer refers to his having been a jihadi, educated in a madrasah, or whatever. I honestly don’t remember what his sketch used to say before questions were raised about his background. Still, I am led to wonder, since Caner was raised as “a devout Sunni Muslim” how much of the Koran he can recite, in Arabic or otherwise. I’d pay a whole dollar to see him reciting one of the longer suras on stage at Calvary Baptist. That’s the sort of thing that might convince me that the bio above is accurate as presented. Just saying.
I wonder if Calvary pastor Brian Loveless will ask him about this while he’s in town.
As I mentioned earlier I’m wading back into Arthur Pink’s 1918 book The Sovereignty of God. This is one book, G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy (1908) being another, that makes for better quoting than it does reading. I am sometimes given to wonder whether anyone today, a hundred years later, actually reads these books, let alone understands them, or whether they are better browsed or mined for quotes.
Chesterton’s book is difficult in part because he rarely ends a paragraph talking about the same thing he was talking about when he started at the top of the paragraph. Pink is difficult because his style consists mostly of asking and then answering questions, not so much challenging the reader to think as demanding that he agree. He mostly assumes what he claims as implicit in his premise; he doesn’t consider counter-arguments. He instead appeals to caricatures and straw men. It’s a mess, and an unhelpful mess.
His introduction consists mostly of asking the question “who is regulating affairs on this earth today — God, or the Devil?” and responding with various flourishes, none of which entertain the possibility that this isn’t a reasonable question, and none of which actually answer the question. Pink, so far as I can tell, never entertains the thought that God meant for people to be free, or that God could make a world that had both a grand plan and personal freedom.
What worries me reading this sort of thing is this: I wonder if the world has changed so much in the last hundred years that it is impossible to read hundred-year-old books and draw anything more from them than the occasional well-turned phrase. I’d rather believe that these books are outliers. But of course I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just not anywhere near the book’s intended audience.
This is the final post on this book, and it deals with a single question: “Do Mainline Christians Believe in Getting Saved?” Hint: Thielen’s short answer is “yes.”
As I mentioned before, Thielen converted from Southern Baptist to United Methodist after many years as an SBC pastor. I am guessing having read this book that he left during the SBC conservative resurgence/fundamentalist takeover [link], mostly on the basis of where he ended up, what he feels necessary to say in such a short book, and what he doesn’t feel is necessary. He opens this chapter by setting up a foil for his argument, namely the long and manipulative altar call sometimes found at evangelical churches or revival meetings. He says some people get saved that way, but not everyone. He then proceeds to give a fairly standard presentation of the Wesleyan formula for personal salvation:
- Salvation is a lifelong process
- We are saved by God’s grace
- Salvation requires human response
And three steps of salvation:
- God’s prevenient grace
- God’s justifying grace
- God’s sanctifying grace
He also name-checks “working out your salvation” and “going on toward perfection.” It’s pretty standard stuff from his tradition. It’s also interesting to note that while he discusses confirmation, he actually presents a “sinner’s prayer” at the end of his discussion. I honestly can’t decide if by doing so he’s sending a mixed message or not.
I have to admit that as someone who grew up in a Baptist home (independent Baptist, but independent specifically from SBC and UMC lineage) I feel I have to point out two things:
- I believe when someone presents a formula for salvation, especially one that involves sanctification, one is obligated to deal with questions surrounding “works righteousness” and “falling away.” Or to beg a particular question, “eternal security.”
- I have to admit that I kind of envy confirmation or catechesis prior to baptism, and I wish that the traditions I’ve spent the most time in placed more emphasis on these, rather than having a “walk the aisle, pray the prayer, sign the card” formula people who leave our tradition tend to despise.
The latter being said, I am amazed how many people I’ve met who went through confirmation class, weren’t in any way shape or form converted, were confirmed as a formality, and later despised and repudiated their confirmation and denied they were ever Christians. I suppose it is one of the pitfalls of having a process of any kind that a person will either put their faith in the process itself or manage to navigate the process without any faith at all.
It’s a great puzzle to me how it seems that more people leave the evangelical churches for the older, more denominational churches, but the people who leave the older denominational churches lose their faith altogether. I’d love to have some real data here to weigh and measure, but I don’t; the anecdotes seem to suggest that, though.
But to get back to Thielen: it’s important to note that he doesn’t as far as I can tell locate salvific force in our faith, as Arminians are often accused of doing. There’s no “well were you sincere?” aspect to his formula here. And from having various Lutheran and Reformed authors caricature Arminian soteriology I would have expected exactly that.
All told this is a light little book and as such has to cut corners; I’m more curious than I was before what rank and file lifelong Methodists actually believe and practice. I prefer to believe that the Church Universal encompasses people of most if not all denominations, and there was nothing here to suggest that mainline Christians are Christians in name only.
Sources close to me listened to an audio version of Love Wins and recommended sections of it so highly I broke down and bought the Kindle version. Of the handful of reviews/discussions I’ve read, a surprising number of them say something like “Rob Bell raises some important questions, questions mainstream conservative Christianity needs to answer.” Unfortunately I haven’t seen a list of these questions, so I’m not sure if they’ve already been answered.
Also, I recently downloaded the Kindle version of Arthur Pink’s 1918 Calvinist classic The Sovereignty of God. Well, maybe it’s a classic and maybe it’s not; and maybe it’s Calvinist and maybe it’s not. It’s been by turns a stumbling block and a stepping stone for people I think highly of for years, and I’ve been putting it off reading it.
So far I think it’s awful. Not necessarily wrong, just poorly argued and poorly reasoned. Pink’s big on straw men, excluded middles, and self-congratulation. There’s a lot of “the pulpits of today (i.e. 1918) are devoid of strong doctrine, etc.” which was undoubtedly true but irrelevant. And then of course there’s this sort of argumentation:
We do not forget the words of one long since passed away, namely, that “Denunciation is the last resort of a defeated opponent.” To dismiss this book with the contemptuous epithet — “Hyper-Calvinism!” will not be worthy of notice.
I’d pay a whole dollar to find the origin of that quote; nothing I’ve found on the Web suggests it originated with anyone other than Pink himself. I guess I’ll have to see if Pink really is a Hyper-Calvinist by any of its various definitions [link]; I do think it’s interesting to note that modern discussions of Calvinism don’t generally involve the terms “free offer of the Gospel” and “duty-faith.”