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).