Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    CS Response to Hitchen's "Faith No More"

    Here's a quick follow-up to Christopher Hitchen's Faith No More article in Slate Magazine

    Hitchens: "Usually, when I ask some Calvinist whether he is really a Calvinist (in the sense, say, of believing that I will end up in hell), there is a slight reluctance to say yes, and a slight wince from his congregation. I have come to the conclusion that this has something to do with the justly famed tradition of Southern hospitality: You can't very easily invite somebody to your church and then to supper and inform him that he's marked for perdition."

    Response: The truth is that unless Christopher Hitchens repents and beleives the good news that comes through the gospel of Christ (...that the kingdom of God is real and near... and that God offers the gift of righteousness and reconciliation through the union with his Son which comes by faith) then Christopher Hitchens like all others who fall short of the glory and righteousness required by God will receive the deserts of his guilt and sin in receiving and experiencing hell forever.

    Several issues are noteworthy:
    1. While Hitchens may be right on one level about "southern" influences affecting the responses he's been getting, on another level, no one is quick to want to give anyone bad news to their face. This too, is a factor that must be taken into account.

    2. Another reason Calvinists may have been slow to answer his question directly is that Calvinists recognize that while Hitchens has rejected the gospel to this point, the Spirit may work in the future to open his eyes and lead him to faith (upon which occurence any present declaration of his eternal destiny would be proven false given the rescue and change associated with such an act of the Spirit and change in Hitchen's position). As Calvinists, we hold out hope for our unbelieving friends and contacts and therefore are careful to refrain from making declarations which with speak with certainly regarding matters which could change in the future.

    3. On another level, Hitchen's statements ought to cause us to think whether our witness and declarations are as direct and forceful as they should be ... especially when dealing with individuals who are as outspoken and ask for forthright perspectives such as Hitchens. Christian should consider this matter and not only ask whether perhaps we've tended (for whatever reasons) to shy away from publicly communicating this truth with the directness and forcefulness we should... and whether or not wisdom would have us do so moreso in future encounters. While the circumstances (i.e., situations and individuals we talk with) will affect such determination and decisions, the issue is raised whether greater boldness in this area might at times be more productive. On some levels, I believe this is the case.

    4. At the same time, Hitchens must understand that reluctance on the part of some to speak the truth forcefully does not deny the truth and will not serve as an excuse come the day of judgment when God holds each one to account.

    Hitchens: "Thanks to the foolishness of the "intelligent design" faction, which has tried with ignominious un-success to smuggle the teaching of creationism into our schools under a name that is plainly stupid rather than intelligent, ..."

    Hitchens is either ignorant or confused when it comes to differences between intelligent design and creationism.

    1 comment:

    jazzycat said...

    Good points Sword. We should never forget to remind those like Hitchens that their belief in a Godless universe is also based firmly on faith. In fact it is a faith based on nonsense when it is traced to it's source.