Sunday, December 2, 2007

I See Your Triablogue Colors Shining Through

A little background: After a post I made here on Arminian Perspectives about Prevenient Grace and Libertarian Free Will, there was a rebuttal to it posted on a reformed blog called Triablogue. I responded back and forth with Bernabe Belvedere for a few posts on my site, during which I said that if he or any of the other Triabloggers would like to have a debate, then I had just the thing for them: my Challenge to their perseverance of the saints doctrine. Paul Manata took up answering the challenge, but by the second round his writing became very abrasive.

He finally went way over the top with a post that went beyond ridiculous, stating that my doctrines 'aren't associated with the teachings of jesus,' because I had written, 'I prefer not to associate my doctrinal beliefs with the name of a mortal man' (my reason for calling myself a 'Synergist' rather than 'Arminian'). He cites, 'Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures' as evidence, but apparently didn't recognize that though Christ was dead, He affirms His present and future immortality in saying, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Revelation 1:18)

Despite his rather obvious blunder, he continues to press his point, only bushwhacking himself again in the process. Here's the list of links in our debates so far.

Original post on Arminian Perspectives

Critique by Bernabe Belvedere

My response to Belvedere

Belvedere's reply

Final post on initial critique

My challenge

Paul Manata's answer to the challenge

Response to Paul Manata

Manata's reply

Cheap-shot at Triablogue

Second response to Paul Manata

Manata trying to justify his error

In the latest display of the reasoning he employs, Manata replies,

Now let's recall why he made the initial claim. He was responding to someone asking if he was an Arminian. He said that he doesn't want to associate his beliefs with those of mortal men. I then pointed out that Jesus died, receiving mortal wounds. His comeback is to point out that the resurrected Jesus is "alive for evermore." Well, assuming that Thibodaux doesn't believe Arminianism is damnable heresy, then he probably believes that Jacob Arminius is in heaven right now. he will "live for evermore." He has everlasting life and will never die. If that's the case, then what's the problem with "associating" your beliefs with Arminius?

Unfortunately, he's actually serious -- he even has Steve Hays showing his support by tossing atta' boys in the combox. If they really need to have it spelled out, Arminius isn't the firstfruits from the dead: he's still in his grave due to his acute mortality and has not as of yet been changed or glorified, just like Paul, Peter, Irenaeus, Clement, Augustine, Spurgeon, Wesley, and everyone else that's died so far. Any teachings that were of their own began and ended in mortality; not so with Christ. Even concerning the words He did speak while in the flesh, He stated,

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works." (John 14:10)

But Mr. Manata can't give up on trying to show me up,

Thibodaux used the "mortal man" comment as a reason he won't do so. But that was negated with Jesus' death. To escape my response by saying that Jesus is "alive for evermore" just lets Arminius right back into the equation and shows Thibodaux didn't think through the moves far enough in advance.

Actually, I had already calculated that such an objection could be raised by one determined to smear someone else regardless of the accusation's truthfulness, and left it as a booby-trap to see if he would continue in his superficial derision, thus driving another nail into his proverbial coffin. I didn't expect him to actually take the bait.... Other possible objections for those who lack ability to discern context could include: "Well what about when Arminius IS raised up??", or possibly, "Hey, there's Elijah and Enoch too!", but any reasonable and objective thinker should be able to grasp the point by now.

It is in posts like this that certain members of Triablogue show forth their inability to handle fair and intelligent discussion. Their petty insults and misrepresentations that would make any self-respecting fifth grader roll his eyes serve only to demonstrate that they have no desire to engage in meaningful dialogue. Their tactics are doubtless popular with the crowd that believes that a thorough refutation involves insulting the opposing party's mother, but here in the adult world, it's well-recognized that people who resort to third-rate slander are simply trying to hide and compensate for the fact that they can't keep pace in a real discussion. Triablogue couldn't have trumpeted its defeat more loudly if they'd gone to the rooftops with a megaphone.

By resorting to such pretentious and cheap attacks, they've put themselves in a bind: either they're being dishonest in their assessment of the scriptural evidence they cited, or in blind haste to discredit someone who disagrees with them have committed a blunder that even a novice student of the Bible shouldn't have missed. Regardless of which is true, they've effectively lowered themselves from the arena of intelligent and honest debate, and into the cages with the howler monkeys.

As an outsider to Triablogue, the impression that I get is that it is degenerating somewhat into a group less concerned with teaching on doctrinal issues, and more so with using the promotion of their beliefs as an excuse to be obnoxious and insulting to other Christians. Such behavior is shameful and unfitting for those who name the name of Christ. I'd be embarrassed at an Arminian or Synergist who acted towards Calvinists in the manner that Triablogue has behaved in our discussion. What if I returned insult for insult with some dumb headline like: "Triablogue affirms that Jesus is still only mortal!!"? That would be stupid. I know what they believe and am not going to be dishonest about representing it to tarnish their names with some juvenile personal attack. By engaging in such impetuous underhandedness as these impugnments, they've now disgraced themselves and thoroughly shot any semblence of credibility they might have had. A rather unfortunate show of their true colors.


Anonymous said...

Being a onlooker in your debate with them I must admit that they have the upper hand at this time. It seems that their case is more cohesive and biblical, but that is just opinion.

And no I am not a Calvinist that is cheering them on, in fact, if I root for nayone here it would be for you and Ben seeing as I align myself more with your espoused view and their's. Loosing a debate though does not shatter my belief in Arminianism, sometimes the other side wins and sometimes not.

Anyways, good luck!


Arminian said...


I find this a bit baffling. I have been following the debate and think Josh and ben are winning it. For example, Josh's point about the warnings in Scripture seems airtight against what his opponents have been saying. I am not one to think an Arminian is winning a debate just because he is Arminian. I have seen many terrible argument in favor of Arminianism and I lament them. But Josh seems to be winning to me (Ben too except that he has not been in in too much since Triablogue's arguments have been directed against Josh). Would you mind saying why you think the their opponents are on top at present? Whta points do you think they have made that need to be addressed?

Also, have you not seen how incredibly childish triablogue has been? Some of their posts against Josh have been shockingly immature, such arguing his teachings are not associated with the teachings of Jesus because Josh said he does not want to be identified with a mortal man's teaching. Everyone knows what he meant. It is rather juvenile, don't you think?

Anyway, I would appreciate if you would be willing to say more specifically where or how Triablogue has the upper hand at this time.


Nick Norelli said...

I think the best move would have been to ignore it. It's obvious to any English speaker how you intended your comment about Arminius and it's not as if this is an original thought. I've spoken to many Calvinists who don't like to be called Calvinists (I even mentioned such in passing in a blog post from over a year ago).

I understand it's too late to go back now, but if I was you I wouldn't have even acknowledged such a silly argument. I haven't read all the posts but if he hasn't already, don't be surprised if you are eventually called a Docetist.

In any event, it should be evident by now that most (not all) in the Calvinist camp are incapable of genuine dialogue... sooner or later it always turns into a game of one-upsmanship which rarely if ever edifies the body or glorifies Christ.


Anonymous said...

When I say that he is loosing the debate it is because he opens himself up to these kinds of attacks. Granted it is petty, but they are going by what is provided. As for their case, they have put forth a valid response to the warning passages that seem to jive with the context. Now we may not like their view or interpretations on these verses, but they have successfully rebutted the case. To me it boiled down to the point that there are multiple different views on these passages and that there is no majority view on the meaning of them. Based on the argument and the flow of the debate it is painfully clear that they won. Again, not because their view is right or anything like that; they won due to the framing of the debate by JC and by falling into these "traps" so readily. The best thing that could have been done is to acknowledge the faux paux and moved on to meatier dialogue.


Arminian said...


Thank you for responding.

Joe said, "When I say that he is loosing the debate it is because he opens himself up to these kinds of attacks. Granted it is petty, but they are going by what is provided."

**You appear to be referring to the attack alleging that he refuses to allign his teaching with Jesus becasue he said he does not like to be identified with the teaching of a mortal man. I remain baffled. It's more than petty, it is hostlie and juvenile. And it's not particularly a case of them working with what they're provided. (Oh, and with their behavior toward Josh, I could easily imagine them responding that by definition they are working with what they have been provided, so therefore I am an idiot. But would be to take my words over-literally, and not according to my intention as they seem to have done with Josh.) They had been provided with a lot of material about the actual topic of diagreement, and wrote extensively on that stuff. Adding separate posts on something so petty is telling. To me, it suggests that they don't have that good a case in relation to the substance of the argument, so they resort to childish antics, or perhaps just an ill-manner and mean-spiritedness. That sort of behavior would be laughed out of a more academic setting where people have to argue on the merit of their case rather than what seems like it has to be intentional misunderstanding. And hopefully it would be barred in a church for its lack of Christian love and manners. But we certainly can disagree about that aspect of the debate. It is clearly minor as you mentioned (petty was the word) and does not touch the substance of the debate.

Joe said, "As for their case, they have put forth a valid response to the warning passages that seem to jive with the context. Now we may not like their view or interpretations on these verses, but they have successfully rebutted the case. To me it boiled down to the point that there are multiple different views on these passages and that there is no majority view on the meaning of them. Based on the argument and the flow of the debate it is painfully clear that they won."

**This reasoning does not make much sense to me. And please understand, I am not trying to be argumentative or insulting in any way. I want to understand where you're coming from. I guess I would hope to convince you that Josh (and Ben as far as he is involved) is winning the debate, but not just to convicne you, but I guess to help resolve my own perception that they are on top. Showing that there are multiple views of a passage or that there is a lack of consensus does nothing to argue that one view is superior to another. That's really begging the question of the debate. That there are multiple views is why there is a debate. The question is have they shown it is reasonable to think that God warns believers (providing that you think believers are being addressed, one of the questions in the debate; but I believe Josh has shown believers are certainly addressed; the calvinist view that denies this is exceedingly weak IMO; it involves so much reading into the text) that if they forsake Christ then they will be damned, but does not envision the possibility of them doing so. Josh has pointed out how unreasonable this is. So do you think it is reasonable? And if so, would you mind saying why? Help me to understand how you could see their defense as reasonable. If it is simply because various Calvinists have offered reasons, that really does not make for a good reason. It is quite possible that every reason they offer is less plausible than the claim that God warns against forsaking Christ unto damnation because that is a real possibility that believers need to be warned against.

Joe said, "Again, not because their view is right or anything like that; they won due to the framing of the debate by JC and by falling into these "traps" so readily. The best thing that could have been done is to acknowledge the faux paux and moved on to meatier dialogue."

**I understand. But it seems like you are referring specifically to the Jesus/mortality issue. Yet you also seem to see them as winning the substantive debate. I have addressed this above, so will leave it there except to ask again if you mind giving me some more explanation to help me understand your perception of it all. Thanks and God bless fellow Arminian.

Anonymous said...


I will stick to what I said and as for further clarification let me try and boil it down to its bare essence for me. The premise of the challenge was wrong, by that I mean, when it was stated that it is undisputed and that it is established fact that these passages mean this. All they had to do was show that there is no such universal belief or established fact as the premise postulalted.

This does not mean that their or any interpretation given is right or the one, just that the way the challenge was framed it was easy to defeat it. I hope that explains it better, if not I can not explain it better than that. Believe me all of this makes sense in my mind:)


Arminian said...


Now that makes sense! I see where you are coming from now. You believe Josh set the bar too high. Phwew. That clears it up. I thought that maybe you were seeing it as plausible that passages addressed to believers would warn them that they would perish if they did not persevere in faith yet not see the outcome warned against as a possibility.

Thanks for taking the time to explain.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Thanks for the feedback Nick. When speaking with individuals I normally don't such with a response, but once my wife and I got over the laughter, we figured the craziness that's taken over Triablogue was too much to pass over. Their point itself was of course irrelevant to our debate, but the way which they employed it (debating it so seriously, dedicating entire posts to it, accusing me of various heresies, etc.) combined with the fact that it was by itself an irrelevancy is very telling of where they stand therein: Pinned down with little recourse but character assassination.

Joe, the only facts I mentioned as being indisputable (at least where Bible-believing Christians are concerned) were,

A doctrine that is sound must be congruent with all of scripture

Any teaching that would make any passage of scripture meaningless or of no effect is a false doctrine

The scriptures provide multiple warnings against believers falling away from God and into condemnation

None of which were disputed by the T-bloggers. After that it is simply a question of whether an impossible warning makes the word of no effect or not.

Anonymous said...


The problem that you have is by saying meaningless IMO. That is why I stated that this round the won, because the have provided a meaning to the verses. Now we may not like their meanings but it does not change the fact that they do not find the verses meaningless. I think you over reached and they called you on it.

Now I will leave it at that.


J.C. Thibodaux said...

Which was the point in showing the ludicrousness of such interpretations in the challenge. An impossible warning is of no inherent meaning, and if they teach that it is merely to spur believers on, then the teaching that such warnings are impossible undercuts the very purpose that they claim the warnings serve. Whether they accept it or not it's checkmate.