Sunday, 16 February 2014


Let me state from the beginning here, that I have some mixed thoughts about the authenticity of Dr James Ach who owns the Do Right Christians handle on Twitter. He describes himself with many of the usual adjectives some folk find necessary to insert before the name of Baptist. He tells us that he lives in Tel Aviv in Israel. To be honest, something inside me suggests that he is actually a spoof account. Tweets like this one here don't exactly help. OTOH, he runs a pretty extensive website, so if this is a spoof account, then he has gone into it in a big way. At the moment I will take him seriously, but I would not die of shock if it should eventually be proved that my earlier suspicions prove to have been right. Having said that, it is not my intention to engage in a slanging match with him. His style is not mine and I have other things more profitable to do.

That there are difficult matters out there which cause Calvinists some difficulties is not denied. "Things hard to be understood" is how 2 Peter 3:16 words it. Of course, all these these difficulties are shared by all Christians, Calvinist or otherwise. Just yesterday, I corresponded with another on Twitter who posed a question as to how a father could permit a violent attack upon his child? My reponse with this question has as yet gone unanswered - the original correspondent moving on with other tweets and leaving the difficulty unanswered.  It is usually easier to attack than it is to defend, but only if you are not called upon to answer your own questions.

It is my long held and oft tested view that Calvinism, even with all its difficulties and "hard sayings," is easier to accept and defend than ultimately (in my experience) all of the objections that its critics bring against it. Dr. Ach's objection to the Calvinist doctrine of God determining all events either according to His command or permission because it renders the miracles unmiraculous (as seen in the two tweets below) will hardly find acceptance even with the most hardened opposer of Calvinism within the basic Fundamentalist camp. Here is why:

1) Dr. Ach’s definion of a miracle is most unorthodox. It is more akin to the old German rationalism which Fundamentalists of old branded as modernism than the orthodox Christian faith.
He defines a miracle simply by the fact that God has intervened in events that otherwise would occur differently.  But God can intervene in events without the use of a miracle. When I pray to God that He will give us our daily bread, I am not necessarily looking for a miracle. In my present circumstances, I am simply asking Him to maintain the yearly harvest, keep the workers in the fields and the various suppliers etc., in business and enable me to enjoy good health so that I can work by the sweat of my brow and earn my crust. That supply chain from field to my palate could easily break i.e. occur differently but God (up to now, anyway) has PROVIDENTIALLY kept it going. I am unaware of any miracle that took place. To define a miracle without referring to the supernatural is to step outside the realms of Scripture. 
2) Dr. Ach, armed with his definition of the miracle purged of the supernatural, then proceeds to tell us that the miracle cannot take place if God has determined in time to perform it. 
This too is most strange and I would love to see any evidence of any noted preacher - within the broad Fundamentalist camp - who has stated anything like this. It is easily tested and (thankfully) easily dismissed because of a great miracle in particular which Christ wrought. Although I have desired to se if Dr. Ach can produce any evidence from within Christian orthodoxy, ultimately I have no desire to play ping pong with the commentators. I can refute his claims on better grounds i.e. the word of God itself.

In John 6, we read of how Jesus asked the apostles to feed 5,000 people. The disciples originally had wanted to send them in the evening to the villages to find food there. The thought of feeding the great multitude of 5,000 (beside women and children) frankly appalled them. A quick survey of their provisions turned up a lad with a lad's size lunchbox. The painful and obvious question was asked: "What are these among so many?" Why did Jesus suggest such a thing to the disciples? Here is the all revealing answer, so helpful to us in this exposure of Dr Ach's position:

John 6:6  And this he [the Son of God] said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 
So Jesus knew what He would so. It was part of a plan which the Son of God had. IOW: He had DETERMINED beforehand this very moment. It was now being played out on the mountain stage.
We know what happened. The few fish and loaves were multiplied in such a way as to not only feed but fill the 5,000 and still provide 12 basket fulls of left overs.  Had some rich and generous patron turned up with enough money (more than 200 pennies worth - according to Philip in verse 5) then we would attribute the feeding to Divine Providence. But none did. I repeat again, the few fish and loaves were multiplied in such a way as to not only feed but fill the 5,000 and still provide 12 basket fulls of left overs. In what way? According to Dr. Ach, it could not have been a miracle since such was nullified by the fact that the Son of God Himself knew what He would do. I remind you that at the end of the chapter, Peter confessed that the disciples believed that Jesus was the Son of God - a clear reference to His deity. He knew what He would do because He had already determined to do so.
Was this a miracle then? John (who was present and writing as moved by the Spirit of God) declared it to be so. I quote:
 John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 
To the more mainline and orthodox critics of Calvinism, I admit that I have taken on a soft attack. I did take the time to put in a few qualifiers at the beginning. If the account is indeed genuine, then note the professed camp from whence it came out. The camp is not mine, but I recognise that many within it, even anti Calvinists will rightly recoil from such definitions and arguments. However, it does show where (IMO) attacking the clear doctrine of Scripture as articulated by Calvinists can lead. Many of the disciples in John 6 walked away because they could not stomach the hard saying. We do not read that any lingered to try and smooth the hard things by redefining the miracle or effectively denying that it took place.

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