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Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at jeremy@teaminfocus.com.au.

9 Comments

  1. avatar

    Robert Apps

    Behold a blogger in whom is no guile!

    Great article Jeremy. I like how you set this one out.

    As you said ‘the truth often lies in the middle of man-made debates and positions’.

    Reply
  2. avatar

    PJ

    While I have a deeply-held view in this debate and would disagree somewhat with your theology, this is a magnificent post. Thankyou Jeremy. All for the glory of God and His Gospel.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jeremy Crooks

      Thank PJ

      It is all for Jesus glory. He is our redeemer.

  3. avatar

    Jason Harris

    It seems to me that the reason you don’t call yourself Reformed is that you are not Reformed. Based on your TULIP outline, you reject most of the theological premises of Reformed theology. It seems to me that the “somewhere in the middle” approach discounts the gravity of the theological issues being addressed. And sidesteps the theological debate.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the debate needs to be carried out graciously, but we do no service to God’s church when we sidestep the issues. Especially when the issues centre on the gospel itself.

    Additionally, I have never met a Calvinist, ever, who believed that “Calvinism” started with Calvin. A quick read of Augustine demonstrates that he too was a “Calvinist.” I felt this was a straw man and weakened your point.

    Reply
  4. avatar

    Jeremy

    Thanks for your comments Jason.

    Maybe we have met different Calvinists.

    How can you say Augustine is a follower of Calvin given he lived nearly a 1000 years before Calvin was born?

    The point I made was that Biblical theology stands by itself and does not need the definition of a man or a system of theology.

    If the Bible is our sole rule for faith and practice then we must develop our theology and terminology based soley on its teaching. If Biblical teaching aligns 100% with a system of theology, so be it. But we must not reverse read a systematic theological label into Scripture.

    Regarding ‘sidestepping or discounting the gravity of the issues’, I can assure you this is not my intention. My point is that if we are to discuss important theology and the gospel in particular – we must use Biblical terminology such as predestination, election, foreknowledge etc. Using TULIP or any other systematic theological label (be it reformed or otherwise) changes the goal posts.

    Reply
  5. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Thanks for your response Jeremy.

    It is a straw man to present the Reformed as “followers of Calvin.” It is no more fair than to suggest that Arminians are followers of Arminius. Calvinism and Arminianism are systems of soteriology that bear the names of men who significantly influenced their systematisation. Followers of both systems would generally argue that the system is the best interpretation of the Scriptures. An Arminian believes that the Arminian system is biblical theology. The Calvinist believes that the Calvinist system is biblical theology. It doesn’t help anyone to present Calvinists/Arminians as if they are primarily loyal to a man. That does not represent their actual views fairly.

    I understand your point with Augustine which is why I put Calvinists in quotation marks. It is generally unwise to ascribe later labels to earlier men. You effectively pointed that out with the “Jesus was a Baptist” comment. The point I was intending to make is that Augustine held views that differ with the ones you present in your post and which generally agree with the views of the Reformers. This suggests that the ideas of Calvin were held by notable theologians before A.D. 400 and therefore could not have originated with John Calvin a thousand years later.

    Just to clarify, I didn’t intend to suggest that you were trying to sidestep theology. I intended to suggest that the idea that the truth is “somewhere in the middle” is typically a rationale for not wrestling with the theological issues biblically and precisely rather than an argument for doing so. Someone who says the truth is probably in the middle typically cannot accurately articulate the views of either side precisely and is therefore incapable of arguing that they are wrong. In other words, careful, precise consideration of an issue like the extent of the atonement does not land someone in the middle. It lands someone either firmly on one side or the other (thus the passion in the debate) or it leaves them unsure which is vastly different from saying the truth is in the middle. Careful consideration of the issue clarifies that the gospel is on the line and therefore leaves one either sure and passionate or unsure and humble. But it does not, and should not, leave him saying it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  6. avatar

    Jeremy Crooks

    Thank for the clarification Jason. I am not saying we should not take a position. I agree to take a ‘middle approach’ just to avoid hard doctrine is not correct.

    One of the reasons it is hard to articulate both positions is the variety of definitions out there. How many degrees of calvinism are there? 4 point, 4.5 point, 5 point?

    However, Point taken about how most Calvinsts in practice distinguish between their soteriological system and venerating the man. My position is that I don’t use the label at all.

    Reply
  7. avatar

    Peter Moroney

    Jeremy,

    I have been uncertain whether to respond or not. I am calvinistic and love both the doctrines of grace and the saints. More than most I have enjoyed both the blessings and the pain of the new calvinist movement. I feel your pain intimately and I am sorry you got hurt by us.

    I too think its right to critique the movement. As for this article, I think that you have asked the right questions but drawn the wrong conclusions. Revelation chapter 2 was very helpful to me. For all else this passage is, it is an epistle and therefore timeless in intruction to us. Here is a church that has borne fruit, that has contended for the faith but against whom the Lord has an indictment that we must take to heart.

    To the Church in Ephesus,

     1 “To the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus write:
       These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

       4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

       7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

    Warmest regards
    Pete

    Reply
  8. avatar

    Jeremy

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for your words on encouragement. They are a blessing.

    As a point of balance I do recognise there are beautiful Christians who define themselves as calvinist. In my passion to speak out against some of the ugliness perpetrated and experienced, I must not throw the baby out with the bath water. My decision to not adopt the reformed label is partly a reaction to that ugliness “If that behaviour is what characterises the movement, then I don’t want to be associated with it”. Many of the same reformed people would write similar blogs about fundamentalism.

    However, God’s kingdom is made up of those who call them reformed and non-reformed. Thanks for the reminder.

    PS Maybe when the current new-reformed movement moderates, I may not be so concerned by the label.

    Jeremy

    Reply

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