You are hereVirgil Vaduva, Planet Universalist, and The Bucs Make the Playoffs!
Virgil Vaduva, Planet Universalist, and The Bucs Make the Playoffs!
by Samuel Frost
Well, I suppose it has been awhile since I wrote anything for Planet Universalist. I recently have exchanged e-mails with some brothers (whom I dearly consider brothers) that have once again charged my batteries.Well, I suppose it has been awhile since I wrote anything for Planet Universalist. I recently have exchanged e-mails with some brothers (whom I dearly consider brothers) that have once again charged my batteries.First, let me address the problem of the act of reading material on Planet Arminianist. 1) You can’t see my facial expressions ( which are every bit a part of the communicative act, such as gesture, posture, brow-raising, smiling, grimacing, et al). Some, therefore, might read this and conclude that I am “angry” or “judgmental” or “liberal” or whatever. So, 2) I have to spell out from the outset that I am writing this from a heart that is quite optimistic, quite happy, quite healthy, and quite at ease. My family is intact, my wife is happy (a huge relief!) and my dog is fed. Oh, and did I mention that we have no snow in Florida? “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Ps 107.8.9 – ESV). All is well.
Now, I have been accused of “having relations” with Tim King and Virgil Vaduva, two of the largest promoters of Liberalism and Universalism ever to walk the preterist planet (I must chuckle at that pun myself). It is as if the sky is truly falling after all and the doom and gloom foretold in Revelation will, in fact, happen as Preterism crumbles all around us. After all, Chrisitianity has not survived with all of its errors, so why should Preterism (or, Transmillennialism – which, when I use either of these copyrighted terms, money is immediately sent to Virgil Vaduva and Tim King, respectively, since they “own” them). Let me use Paul’s argument: “If Christianity has not survived, then not even Preterism can survive, and if Preterism cannot survive, then we have been found as false witnesses! But, now, Christianity has survived!”
This is why I love Christian history. It was forged through sweat and argument; these things being the very things that God, in His Providence, used. “I didn’t say the work would not be easy, you cry babies! I said my burden is easy and yoke is light!” Yet, sometimes we want it the other way: Let’s make believing in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins really, really heavy, but let us not work to defend in detailed argument why it is so heavy. So, when someone comes along and again proclaims, “you know, believing in Jesus is easy” the Heavy Hitterists cry “foul!” Equally, the Easy Yokers fail to provide a detailed justification for their actions, and when they do, they encounter criticism and have to write more papers. Instead of this, why not just opt out?
Continuing my little story here, when the Heavy Hitterists cry, “foul”, the Easy Yokers generally give up in the name of “can’t we all just get along?” (the old Rodney King defense…what is it with these Kings, anyways?). What is worse, is that the Heavy Hitterists become labeled as such and are eventually “banned.” This, in turn, causes the Hitterists to invent new names (such as I have done throughout this essay). And so it goes, Christian history in the making. Now, someone will say, “right, that’s the problem. It’s the same old argumentation approach. We need to move beyond that.” Yet, when asked for a defense of what “beyond” looks like, we get, yet, another paper.
The general problem in all of this is where does one draw the line? Of course, we go to our Bibles and make some lines and say, “The Bible saaaayyss….!” Yes, the Bible says that. It says a lot of things. I love this line from the great Christian philosopher Gordon H. Clark: “Admittedly the theistic view of the world faces difficulties. There are questions to which Christianity seems to give an inadequate answer or none at all” (A Christian View of Men and Things, Trinity Foundation, 1980 – 34). And this is from a staunch conservative Calvinist!
Part of the problem, then, is that we think the Bible gives us all the answers for every problem and every supposed dilemma in which we might find ourselves. It doesn’t. Paul’s solution: “the conscience.” Now, to be sure, this conscience is not an individual acting apart from other individual advice, devoid of having effects on other individual consciences. That’s impossible in this world. Interaction is inescapable on this globe. Our decision affects others, as theirs affects us. In fact, I am writing this little rambling work precisely because I have been affected by others. We could argue some sort of causa secunda here, but you get the point.
Mainly, the decisions we have to make is, again, where do we draw the line? Virgil Vaduva and Planet Liberal befriends the Kings, and the Kings, we all know, are baaaadd. Samuel Frost gets to speak at Planet Deconstructionist’s conference and has his book published by them, and since Virgil is a flaming Liberal, then Samuel Frost is one, too. Guilt by association. In fact, some have gone so far to say that the only reason I hang with Transmellowists and Planet Post Modern is because they help boost my career and sell my books (I am laughing all the way to the bank as I compromise the Gospel, bury my head in the sand, and make a mockery of everything good and Christian so that I can sell another book or tape, or get my ego fed at a conference lecture – whew!).
But, wait, if that is true for me, isn’t it true for Don Preston, too? Isn’t it true for Gary DeMar, or any one else that supports or writes for Planet I-Don’t-Know-What-To-Believe? But, hold on! I go, sometimes, when necessary and depending on the situation, by the name Calvinist! Gasp! I must support everything he said, too! And, I happen to like Martin Luther’s theology. But, we all know Martin Luther would have written the most vile and foul things about Preterism (like he did the Jews of his day, which cannot be sugar coated if you have ever read his On the Jews and Their Lies - 1543). In fact, let me make this particular paragraph a little long whilst I quoteth from Luther himself, the Great Man of the Reformation, Whom We All Quoteth to Support Our Appeal to Sola Scriptura Against the Creed Huggers:
“Learn from this, dear Christian, what you are doing if you permit the blind Jews to mislead you. Then the saying will truly apply, "When a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into the pit" [cf. Luke 6:39]. You cannot learn anything from them except how to misunderstand the divine commandments...”
“Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch-thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security.”
“Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?”
“In brief, dear princes and lords, those of you who have Jews under your rule-- if my counsel does not please your, find better advice, so that you and we all can be rid of the unbearable, devilish burden of the Jews, lest we become guilty sharers before God in the lies, blasphemy, the defamation, and the curses which the mad Jews indulge in so freely and wantonly against the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, this dear mother, all Christians, all authority, and ourselves. Do not grant them protection, safe-conduct, or communion with us. . . . With this faithful counsel and warning I wish to cleanse and exonerate my conscience.”
“However, we must avoid confirming them in their wanton lying, slandering, cursing, and defaming. Nor dare we make ourselves partners in their devilish ranting and raving by shielding and protecting them, by giving them food, drink, and shelter, or by other neighborly acts...”
“Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire...Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it...”
Well, that’s enough of Luther. Can you imagine anyone writing such stuff today? But, I tell you what, befriend Tim King or Virgil Vaduva and, well, you get the picture. Anyone have a torch lit?
But how can I still admire Luther? Well, I don’t know. I admire his theology in some degree. He was a tough old, bird. And, also, I am sure Luther was the product of his times, when such vitriolic papers were the norm. Our styles have changed over the years from where this once was the norm in theological circles, whereas it is now only found at KKK rallies held at trailer parks somewhere in Off The Map Country. Granted. But historians have linked Luther to the German zeitgeist of National Socialism. In fact, Bernhard Rust, Minister of Education under Hitler, stated, “Since Martin Luther closed his eyes, no such son of our people has appeared again. It has been decided that we shall be the first to witness his reappearance.... I think the time is past when one may not say the names of Hitler and Luther in the same breath. They belong together; they are of the same old stamp (Volkischer Beobachter, 25 Aug. 1933 – cited from The Holy Reich : Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 by Richard Steigmann-Gall). Many more quotes could be given, but the point is proven: identify with Luther in any way, and you are a Nazi, Anti-Semite.
Now, I can hear folks (Volks) getting upset for defaming Luther, but does the same mentality of some exist for those (like myself) who have not turned a cold shoulder to the Kings or to Planet Democrat? Does a friendship mean a full support? Does the fact that Virgil is my friend mean that he is now a Calvinist? God forbid (he would say!).
Maybe I am making light of all this. Making the seriousness of this issue of Tim King and Virgil Vaduva cannot be overlooked, while the intense dislike for the Jews Luther had (to the point of urging the magistrate to burn their synagogues) can be overlooked. I mean, after all, Luther was ein Kind des Vaterlands. Virgil and Tim are not synagogue burners, but, even worse: Universalists!!!! And here is the kicker: neither one of them has ever admitted to being Universalists!!! They just are because some of their writings are vague and ambiguous and appear to suggest a universal gospel. Heck, I was ready to disown them because they were Church of Christ! And now this!
Seriously, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Paul, Rom 12.18 – or, for you Nazi’s, Luther’s translation: Ist's möglich, soviel an euch liegt, so habt mit allen Menschen Frieden). This goes for Transmillennialists, who can be as equally sneering at times, and for Planet Whatever Goes. Listen, if you offer peace and it is extended, and dialogue, however painful, ensues, then you post-modernists, with all your fancy linguistic “turns” and future-trend technocratic, critical “realist” ideas are walking the walk. If the Luther loving, synagogue burning, Michael Servetus killing Calvinists (such as myself) refuse that hand, then so be it. At least you made the effort and obeyed Paul. I believe this goes the same, vice versa, for us in our “camp” as well. I believe that I practice what I preach, and am willing to publicly say that, and publicly defend it. I know a lot of others that do as well.
It’s hard to talk to someone whom you imagine to be a complete bone-head. I mean, just ask my wife when she has to talk to me! It’s hard to talk to someone who has publicly spent a career out of trashing your good name. Heck, it would be very, very hard to talk to someone who even denied your name to your very face, when you spent 3 and half years training this person to be a leader within the community! And this, three times in a row! I am sure that criticism will come as a result of my writing this paper (affecting other consciences to respond kindly, or “Oh no, Sam is Liberal, Universalist now!”). I say, great! Let it continue (as long as someone does not urge government to burn down my house). I will try to hang in there as long “as it is within me” to do so. I will promise to listen. I will promise to extend courtesy. I will promise to painstakingly clarify my position so that there be no misunderstanding (a problem for postmodernists who have a hard time defining what “is” is). I will promise to be nice when I tell you that you are wrong, only if you promise to be nice when you tell me I am wrong.
Finally, my question raised earlier has not really been answered because we have not yet defined the “line” that cannot be crossed. I have my own “line” rooted in faith in Christ and that God raised him from the dead. Believe in that, and “you shall be saved.” Of course, we have to define “believe”, “Christ” and “God.” Herein lies the problem. However, maybe it is not words so much as it is actions that make the lines. If someone is downright violent in their approach (like wanting synagogues to be burned), perhaps it would be best to say, “you know what, I don’t think so.” But, has our differences among Preterists and Transmillennialists and all within those ideas really come to that? I mean, I respect the heck out of Ed Stevens and the wonderful job he has done. But, I can say the same of Tim and Max King. I get along with both. That may change, however, because some are saying that to even be friends is wrong. It matters not that I have publicly criticized post-modern philosophy, Universalism and Arminianism (oops!). To even be friends is a crime. To even appear to like Virgil is downright evil. One person said I was a “lost cause”! Yes, indeed, where does this end, for this same person quoteth Luther.
I guess each person has to make up their own mind, based on their own seeking out of counsel and devotion to the Lord. I, for one, simply have not come to any point of breaking ties with folks that I know in this goofy “movement”. Sure, some are, from my perspective, quite bankrupt when it comes to reasoning theologically, or even logically for that matter. But, when I make such a pronouncement, I am claiming that I am reasoning theologically better than they are. This would make me “more spiritual” I guess. And what did Paul say:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load. 6 One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.
Now, of course, “teachers” are no longer for today, but died out in A.D. 70 (as some would say). But, that’s another matter. Another matter to argue….and another matter to argue while attempting to live at peace. “Of the increase of His Government and PEACE there shall be no end.” Isn’t that, really, what Covenant Eschatology, Preterism, Transmillennialism, Fullfilled Eschatology, blah, blah, blah is all about? (and if anyone has these names trademarked, please send me an address to which I can mail your residuals).
Oh, did I tell you that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the playoffs?