Apology to R. C. Sproul (and Call for Irenic Evangelical Dialogue and Debate)

Apology to R. C. Sproul (and Call for Irenic Evangelical Dialogue and Debate)

            Yesterday (April 23) I mistakenly posted a comment to this blog I shouldn’t have. It was from someone calling himself “Paul” and asked me about Arminius and belief in God as “first cause” of everything. The comment ended by accusing evangelical theologian and apologist R. C. Sproul of “theological chicanery.”

            “Chicanery” is not a word one hears or uses often. Normally I would not post an insulting comment aimed at an individual to my blog, but I let it slip by—partly because, at the moment, I forgot what “chicanery” means. (Yes, it’s embarrassing!) I knew it wasn’t a compliment, but I didn’t remember how negative it is. According to one on line dictionary “chicanery” means “The use of trickery to achieve a political, financial, or legal purpose.”

            I have stated here several times that I wish to avoid allowing this blog to be used for personal insults or attacks on character. I should not have allowed that through; I should have trashed it, as I usually do comments that contain such language aimed at individuals by name.

            So, I offer my sincerest apology to Dr. Sproul and his many admirers. I think “Paul” owes Dr. Sproul an apology as well.

            Let me be clear about my own attitude toward Dr. Sproul. He’s an intelligent and articulate, if somewhat aggressive, defender of the Christian faith as he understands it. I have never accused him of “chicanery” even in my own mind. I do not believe he has ever used chicanery.

            I will be watching out for “Paul” now and anyone else who comes here to attack anyone—including Calvinists—with insults or false accusations.

            It’s important that we evangelicals learn to be irenic with one another even when we sharply disagree—avoiding insults, caustic comments, character assassination, misrepresentations of others’ views, and, of course, “chicanery” (such as inventing quotes and attributing them to others in order to harm their reputations—which has happened to me).

  • Amory

    Thanks for your transparency and humility in this post. Maybe it was embarrassing for you, but I respect it. You went further than most would expect from anyone in clarifying this.

  • http://www.kevinglenn.podbean.com Kevin Glenn

    Thanks, Roger! Although I disagree with Sproul on Calvinism, complimentarianism, and mode of baptism, I’m still a big fan. I admire his love of scripture, and appreciate his way of taking complicated theological concepts off the top shelf and making them understandable and accessable to everyone. In meeting the man on several occasions, I have found him to be as humble as he is brilliant. Thanks for your spirit, Roger!

  • Larry Creel

    Well spoken sir.

  • Steve Rogers

    While I totally agree with the spirit and intent of this post, Roger, I can’t help but wonder if the events as they unfolded left you with no choice. Certainly there were no rogue molecules in play so it had to be God’s will. :-)

    • rogereolson

      Right, so if “Paul” is offended, well, he shouldn’t be–except by God who determines everything everyone does for his (God’s) glory.

  • Jack Harper

    Roger, thanks for being true to your convictions, it’s nice to see someone as well versed as you admit to being human,lol! No foul!!!

  • http://GoodReportMinistries.com Ivan

    Dr. Olson, God forgave you of all your foibles 2,000 years ago. Now it only remains to be seen whether Dr. Sproul will forgive you, lol.

  • Rnold86

    Thanks for working so hard to keep the dialogue and debate at the level where it should be, where it needs to be.

  • http://authenticmission.blogspot.co.uk/ Andrew Kenny

    At least you weren’t as bad as John Wesley who once referred to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) ‘As just and merciful as Nero and as good a Christian as Mohammed.’ Toplady and Wesley also exchanged many insults which of course you already know about.

    • rogereolson

      At least Wesley considered Toplady a Christian. Toplady said Wesley was not a Christian just because he was an Arminian. I have been told by some Calvinists I am not a Christian for the same reason. I don’t know any Arminians who would say that about someone just because he’s a Calvinist.

  • http://authenticmission.blogspot.co.uk/ Andrew Kenny

    How true Roger. I think there is something in the psyche of some Calvinists that takes pleasure in excluding others ( while they are of course included), while Arminians, more often than not, want to include others, even if they do not agree with them, if possible. For instance, compare the ‘four alls’ of Methodism which includes not only ‘all need to be saved’ but also ‘all can be saved!’ with ‘limited atonement’ etc.


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