I've tried to keep up with the internet reviews on the recent John 3:16 Conference. Thus far, they have been predictably both positive and negative. I'll let you guess who wrote each respectively. Now, I've been accused at SBCTomorrow of being biased. Imagine that! Me biased! The nerve of some people...
More seriously, I know I am biased. And, frankly I have never suggested I was not--at least not in several, several years. What I do attempt to do, under God and with His grace, is offer fairness to those against whom my bias may feel it needs to pop into high gear.
In addition, its not the openly confessed biased person about which we should alarmed and toward which we should raise a red flag. Rather, it's the person who is ignorant of his/her biases, thinking and insisting that he/she always comes to the discussion without any opinions (presuppositions). Well, enough of that.
As I was saying, I've read my share of J316C reviews. The latest one I note is found at Sweet Tea & Theology, a Calvinist blog that, in my view, usually purrs gently but can at times roar pretty dog-gone loud. The evaluation is allegedly written by an anonymous seminary student (I say allegedly since I have little respect for anonymous writings).
Reading through the evaluation or "thoughts," I could not help myself wondering if I only dreamed I attended the conference, for what he/she described is so far from what I personally experienced that it's hard to reconcile we attended the same meeting. I say this in full recognition of my confessional above.
For that person, The John 3:16 Conference was:
- a bad idea
- its purpose was to tear down views some found disagreeable
- audience members were hostile to reformed theology
- the conference catered to hostility so the hostile came
- he/she ate breakfast with a self-claimed Semi-Pelagian
- he/she broke fellowship with the self-claimed Semi-Pelagian
- the arguments were not coherent
- the arguments were poorly made
- the arguments were not drawn from a systemic view of scripture
- the media costs were $50 for audio and $70 for Video (Reformed outlets are free!)
- it almost appears the reason for the conference is Reformed Theology destroys revenue generated during revivals
Now, as I mentioned earlier about being fair, the student did mention some positive as well:
- the conference helped to stabilize his views of reformed theology
- he/she appreciated Dr. Allen's answer on Ecclesiology & Calvinism
Any way one slices the cake, the conference evaluation above cannot be taken seriously. When not one example is offered to illustrate incoherent, poorly constructed presentations, that alone stands as a sure sign something else is in play.
Also, when generic descriptions are offered, we are left with the impression that all presentations were created equal. To his/her credit, it was mentioned that a "best" and "worst" existed. However, once again no real reasons for such a judgment call--not to mention how such did not square with the other judgment that all were incoherent and poorly constructed.
Frankly, it''s really a good thing the evaluation remains anonymous. If it in fact was a seminary student who wrote it--Calvinist or Non-Calvinist notwithstanding--the professor may have a hard time being convinced that the student really did attend The John 3:16 Conference.
With that, I am...