Gerald Harris’ recent editorial against Calvinism has raised an old dilemma for me and, I would guess, for many other Southern Baptists. Harris pieces together quotes, rants, gratuitous assertions with scare tactics and non sequiturs in order to warn that “the Calvinists are here.” As I mentioned in some preliminary reflections yesterday, his editorial hit me as a blast from the past. I keep hoping that Southern Baptists have moved beyond this type or rhetoric with a desire to replace it with meaningful engagement over doctrinal issues–even, and perhaps, especially, regarding those doctrines over which we disagree. The publication of Whosoever Will is a big step in that direction. The authors in that book have stated their cases in writing and put them into the arena of public engagement for all to consider. I applaud editors Steve Lemke and David Allen for this accomplishment.
Harris’ article, however, is in a completely different category. The Georgia pastor who sent it to me understandably called it a “hit piece.” “Infuriating,” “incoherent,” “stupid” and “lumpy” are other words that have been used to describe it. Overall, it strikes me as foolish. Thus my dilemma, the horns of which are stated in Proverbs 26:4-5,
Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.