Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Net Finney

I thought this article was hilarious.

It is a situation that is becoming all too common. An unsuspecting individual begins to innocently search the internet for information on a particular subject and suddenly finds his or herself faced with the perils of Reformed theology.

"I was helping my ten-year-old son do a report on American Government." Said Kenneth Lyons, a concerned parent. "We were about to research America's election process, so we went to Google and typed in "election." The phone rang and I stepped out for no more than 5 minutes, and when I returned I found Eric reading some article by a guy named R.C. Sproul about believers being "elected" and "predestined" by God for salvation. I just freaked out! I didn't know what to do."

Lyons' story is not unique. Families and entire churches are discovering daily the theological risks of surfing the internet.
Hehe. Read the whole article here. It was especially funny to me because I've developed a lot of my theology through internet resources. I grew up in PCA churches, but I really didn't personally take hold of reformed theology until late high school and beyond, as I increased my own theological studies, largely through the internet. My adult Sunday School teacher was also largely responsible for my developing beliefs, but the internet was my main tool for theological study. Net Finney was invented too late to help me. Hehe.


zan said...

All I can say is that these Christians' faith must be so weak. I can understand a non-Calvinist congregation becoming uncomfortable if their pastor has embraced reformed theology, but to use a filter to keep it away from them because they will be afraid that they will embrace it against their will, is ridiculous. I visualize someone reading reformed literature outloud and a non-reformed plugging their ears and humming loudly, so not to hear. I think a better way is to study it to see if it is sound and refute it with scripture. The only rationale I can see for these Christians blocking reformed theology literature is because they have a weak faith and cannot defend their position. This is very sad. I wonder how many reformed Christians are afraid of their kids reading Finney? We had a Schofield Bible growing up and my parents didn't have a coronary when I read it.

zan said...

They should also keep their kids from reading the Bible because the words, "election" and "chosen" are all throughout scripture.

Susan said...

Um, the article was tongue-in-cheek, by the way. There really isn't a filter called "Net Finney." Guess I should have made that a bit more clear :-).

Ashley said...

I was talking to my boss (a Southern Baptist) the other day, and she was telling me how they voted their pastor out because "He got all weird" she said. I pressed her for details, and she said, "I don't know. He started preaching on... Calvinism and stuff like that. I'm so glad he's gone."

zan said...

I THOUGHT it might be a joke, but I guess I fell for it! LOL! I'm such a retard. I guess because I knew some people who believe that way that it was probably real. You need to warn blond gals like me that you are making a joke!!!

I even read the whole article,too! SO embarrassing!

John Dekker said...


she was telling me how they voted their pastor out because "He got all weird"

:( That's why I'm a Presbyterian, by the way. ;)

Susan said...

Hehe. Don't worry, Zan. I'm as blonde as the day is long, so I have a whole 2 decades worth of blonde stories to tell :-D.

That's really funny, Ashley. Actually, there is a huge Calvinistic movement within the Southern Baptist churches because the SBC seminaries have a lot of professors that preach the Doctrines of Grace, so a lot of the new seminary graduates are Calvinistic.

So, John, you're Presbyterian because you're weird? Funny. I'm Presbyterian because of conviction :-D.

zan said...


I TOLD you you were weird and you got all offended. ;-)

Presbyterians ARE a little weird. Hate to break it to you guys. ;-)

Lydia said...

Zan, you crack me up so much! I wasn't for sure after reading the excerpt Susan gave, but I thought it just sounded way too bizarre for a parent to freak out that much over something like Reformed Theology on the Internet. Maybe they should censor their Bibles, esp. Romans 9. ;) j/k

I thought John was referring to being a Presbyterian because that way members couldn't vote him out of a church like the woman that Ashley mentioned said had happened to her pastor.

I can definitely see some advantages to the Presbyterian denomination. The concept that impresses me the most is the formal structure in governing. I have been in enough unstructured, individualistic churches that I can see how having a more structured, governing body would be a real advantage. There's nothing like having some governing men in place with real authority to handle conflict and disputes when it is needed. People can be so incredibly opinionated over the most unnecessary things. It often seems that the "squeaky wheel gets the oil."

I didn't come to accept Reformed Theology until my late teens. In fact, I abhorred the doctrine in the beginning when I first heard it. Good thing God is sovereign and patient. ;)

Now, I am sharing the Scriptural teaching of election with a few friends. I love having deeper conversations with some of my girl friends. They really challenge me with some tough questions about the Scriptures. It's good to be stretched in this area. It always forces me to go back to the Word to support my philosophy.

BTW, has any one read Future Grace by John Piper? I bought the book a couple of weeks ago and it looked really good. I am excited to start but I have so many other books waiting to be read. :(

John Dekker said...

because that way members couldn't vote him out of a church

Yeah, that too.

zan said...

Yes, Lydia,

I really think the Presbyterian or Lutheran form of church government is the most correct. I attend a Baptist church now and it is so upsetting to see the congregation grumble about their pastor. He isn't perfect, but he preaches good sermons and does his best. His heart is in everything he does. He isn't doing anything heretical and I am worried that the congregation will ask him to leave.

I understand that Sessions are made up of men, but I would rather have a Session discipline a wayward pastor than the congregation. I think it is more fair. I was very impressed with the way the session overseeing Sproul Jr's church disciplined him. (Don't want to cause controversy about that, but when I read about it it instilled that a prebyterian form of government can be very effective in an orderly way.)

I used to go to a Christian Reformed Church. The pastor decided to break away and join another organization that was more conservative. However, he never did and made the church independent. After that time it was his way or the highway and that was the church where we were shunned after raising some questions about loveless sermons. He only had one elder who was his buddy, so we never got a fair hearing.

Laura B said...

Hello, Miss Garrison! I found your blog recently, and I thought I better not just snoop.

I doubt you'd remember, but my family went to the Reformation weekend thing at Heritage Pres. last year. I remember wondering where you were the next time we visited there.

Becky Miller said...

Funny stuff. I thought it was a LarkNews article at first.

Susan said...

We Presbyterians know we're a bit weird, Zan, so you don't have to break it to us :-). . . Actually Presbyterians aren't weird, they just have "distinctions." Hehe. It's true.

We had a funny moment in my statistics class last week. We meet in a PCA church, though most of Heritage's students are not presbyterian. Anyway, we had a ceiling fan on to circulate the heat, and it was squeaking horribly. I said something about how a deacon needed be notified, and one of my students said, actually the session needs to appoint a commitee to investigate the problem. She and I started laughing, since we're Presbyterian and "got it." Then we had to explain the nuances of Presybterian government to the other students. Hehe. In all seirousness, though, I think the Presbyterian form of government is really wise. As my pastor likes to say when he explains the basis for a session, rather than just a senior pastor, "We believe that people are depraved. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I want to know how that John Piper book is, Lydia, after you read it :-).

Hi, Laura! Yes, I remember your family. I think Claire was your sister? I remember your last name too, but I won't mention it online :-). I hope y'all are doing well! I never attended Heritage Pres. regularly, just participated in some extra activities, which is why I wasn't there next time you came :-). And do call me Susan, please :-). I'm not that much older than you :-).