Below is a piece by my friend Alan Molineaux. He briefly discusses his concerns with the video that was released to promote Francis Chan’s new book on hell. What follows, then is a critique of the approach taken in the video, not of Chan as a person/minister/Jesus follower/etc. Many of us non-Calvinists truly appreciate Chan’s even larger message of radical God-like love. Also, from what I’ve heard, Chan’s book presented a traditional view of hell while not beating up on Rob Bell too much. That alone says lots about his character.
As Francis Chan releases his antidote to Rob Bell’s controversial best seller it seems that some have been drawn in by the humble and conciliatory style of his promotional video.
Don’t be fooled by the tone however this is a fine example of sophistry.
He employs the sophists skills of presenting an argument that is hard to disagree with only to deliver a conclusion that is not really connected with his original thrust.
It goes like this:
1. It’s good to study
2. Study is a humbling process
3. This is a very important subject
4. Some people have spoken about it with a lack of care
5. God’s ways are not our ways
6. We need to be careful
All the way through these points his hearers nod in agreement – what is there to disagree with.
He then goes on to present a Calvinistic understanding of the subject as if this is the only way in which we can be true to his previous points.
It is sophistry because you can agree with his first points and still come to a different theological view point.
His humble style is appealing but not necessarily affirmation that he is right.
Yet it is this style and his initial points that make people think that his conclusion must be correct not the veracity of his conclusion.
I look forward to reading the book for more humble calvinistic insights.