Theology at the Pub
(By the way, the event was held at Claddagh Irish Pub in Maple Grove. My first time there, and they made the absolute best Black Velvet I have ever had. A Black Velvet is half Guinness, half cider, which in this case was StrongBow. Fantastic. Really cool Irish pub, I’d definitely go back there, but I wouldn’t order the Chicken Curry again; about $6 of food and flavor for $12. Not worth it.)
I’m fairly certain I had a good time there, although of course there is always room for improvement (I really could have used a stretching break near the end…nearly 3 hours of sitting on hard wooden chairs!). There was maybe 30-40 people packed into their party room, and I was inwardly rejoicing that so many people my age have a burden for theology and understandings of God and the faith; amen. The discussion became more of a study led by Bryan McWhite, a point he acknowledged he wanted to avoid but didn’t quite succeed at, yet there was still plenty of interruption for discussion, and it seemed quite a few knew what they were talking about, or at least enough to ask good questions.
The topic centered around the Calvinism and Arminianism debate, specifically divine sovereignty. Bryan McWhite, as he’d admit, is a Calvinist, but with a fairly good understanding of the Arminian position (don’t you just love educated pastors?). Many of the questions asked were quite a step above the common ones I’ve heard; for example, does God sovereignly control or micromanage every single aspect on this earth? Bryan McWhite focused on passages from Job and Psalms to argue that he did, but I tend to disagree since genre is hugely important in interpreting Scripture, and where he focused was clearly poetic or romanticized passages. God may ultimately be in control because he set the currents into motion and can halt or move them at will, so they are probably on his mind, but I don’t think he sovereignly directs each eddy and current. He could. I just don’t think he does. It’s not a huge issue, but I am unconcerned about Scripture being rightly interpreted. Still, it’s fun to discuss.
I actually had the last question asked, and I tried to make it a good one: “Looking at the fruits, does Arminianism inevitably lead to Christian Perfection and/or Pelagianism, and does Calvinism inevitably lead to Hyper-Calvinism or higher criticism?” Bryan answered it, but I don’t think fully, or at least didn’t quite grasp what I was asking. I agree with him that Arminianism does not automatically have to lead to Pelagius thinking, but often does, and neither does Calvinism inevitably lead to Hyper-Calvinism (well done bringing Spurgeon into it as an example, by the way), but I still think that Arminianism, as a philosophy and total viewpoint brought to its extremes, will inevitably lead to some form of Christian Perfectionism, because if salvation is a choice, then so is sanctification or the ability to sin. Horrendous heresy, I’m well off to be away from it now.
So it was a good evening. I’m slowly warming to the Fusion Community at New Hope Church, and I’m beginning to appreciate Bryan McWhite a lot more, but I still have some reservations about attending there regularly. I think a few things need to change for me to really embrace it. Until then, glad to have fellowshipped and on occassion worshipped with them.