Saturday, December 10, 2011

Calvinism Today: A SWOT Analysis

Andy Naselli takes a look at Horton's latest release, For Calvinism. In his recent post (Warning to Calvinists), Naselli highlights the last chapter, entitled “Calvinism Today: A SWOT Analysis”. Interesting stuff; he writes:
"We know from daily experience that our greatest strengths can also become our greatest weaknesses.
  1. Persistence can become stubbornness;
  2. sympathy can devolve into sentimentality; and
  3. genuine concern for others sometimes turns into an obsequious craving for approval.
  4. Remarkable gifts of leadership and creativity can be used for good or ill, depending on the motivation and the goals.
  5. The same is true of movements, since they are largely the collective activity of people like us.
It has become popular for businesses and organizations to conduct a periodical “SWOT” analysis, exploring
  1. Strengths,
  2. Weaknesses,
  3. Opportunities, and
  4. Threats.
Since acrostics appeal to “TULIP”-loving Calvinists, this kind of analysis may be a useful in-house evaluation, although I do not presume to speak for anyone other than myself. (p. 170, formatting added)

The chapter divides into two sections:
(1) Strengths and Weaknesses
  1. Intellectual Boldness/Cold Intellectualism
  2. Love for Truth/Factionalism
  3. Respect for Tradition/Traditionalism
(2) Opportunities and Threats
  1. Revived Interest in the Doctrines of Grace/Replacing the Church with a Movement
  2. A New Interest in Sound Doctrine/A New Fundamentalism
The section “Love for Truth/Factionalism” is especially insightful. Here are some highlights:
It is possible to be selfish and human-centered even in the way we defend what we believe to be a God-centered interpretation of Scripture. We do not cherish propositions and principles, but we place our trust in Christ and embrace each other in that love that he has won for us.
I have to check my motives. Why am I so eager to convince this brother of a Reformed position?"

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