doctrinally sound? NOT

Exactly! What I have been saying with respect to the blasphemer is that he is not doctrinally sound. The repeated disclaimer for not completely rejecting the blasphemer and refusing to refrain from all recommendation of him is that he is ‘doctrinally sound’. Sound doctrine doesn’t produce blasphemous behaviour. And close scrutiny, says Dave, will show that the ‘sound doctrine’ isn’t really all that sound.

So what is behind the seemingly compulsive qualification of so many who write disclaimers1 for the blasphemer to include, “Well, he’s doctrinally sound”?

Could it be…

That the ‘sound’ part of that doctrine is Calvinism?

Could it be that the essence of Danny Sweatt’s complaint is correct? That the defining criteria for “broader fellowship” for some is becoming subscription to the doctrines of Calvinism? That Calvinism becomes the sine qua non, the sixth fundamental? Or, maybe, the first fundamental?

As a result, some will look at those outside fundamentalism and find “more in common with them” than with many (most?) other fundamentalists. Thus charismatism is ignored. Thus sympathy with the Toronto Blessing is ignored. Thus tolerance and some level of cooperation with Open Theism is ignored. Thus ongoing voices from God (prophetism) is ignored.

Let me be perfectly clear. I don’t personally have a problem with a believer who finds satisfaction to theological questions in Calvinistic soteriology. It doesn’t work for me, but then neither does Arminian soteriology. Both are flawed human constructs and don’t completely explain the whole of revelation concerning salvation. Neither one has satisfactorily answered the questions of all Bible believers for hundreds of years.2 Thus I conclude that both Calvinism and Arminianism, as such, are incorrect. But I don’t have a problem with my brethren who find either system satisfactory. I know that I don’t have all the answers on this question either. I expect from them the same kind of charity for me.

But also note this: the essence of Danny Sweatt’s complaint, as I understand it, is that many “new image” fundamentalists (to use a new term) and even many mainstream fundamentalists seem to be trying to make Calvinism the defining point of fellowship. They are willing to be much more open to non-fundamentalists on this basis and much more dismissive of other fundamentalists on this basis.3

This greater openness includes for some a compulsion, it seems, to offer a disclaimer on the disclaimer for the blasphemer. “Be sure that I know this and note this, he’s a blasphemer, but he’s doctrinally sound.”

Doctrinally sound? Really? How do you explain the behaviour, then? Does sound doctrine produce impure behaviour? Does it produce blasphemy? Hardly.

What I am saying about this is that I have a great deal of trouble giving any comfort to someone who clearly deserves to be roundly rebuked and refused any kind of platform for God’s people. So he says some things you agree with… don’t let it blind you to his grievous errors!

Do you realize that this same kind of blindness happens to some who are willing to overlook Peter Ruckman’s grievous errors because some of the things he says resonates with a certain particular doctrine? Does Ruckman ever say some things that are true and biblical? (I have read very little, if any, of Ruckman… but I suppose he most likely does.) Should we say of him, well, except for that he’s doctrinally sound?

There does come a point when people who love Jesus Christ must totally reject some men, no matter what things they say that might be doctrinally sound. I submit that for the blasphemer, that time has long since come and gone.



  1. P.S. I can’t wait for Dave’s entry for me in his new “Disclaimerpedia”. I am sure it will be a doozy. []
  2. All orthodox Bible Believers have been satisfied with the doctrine of the Trinity, for example, even though it is not explicitly revealed but systematically discerned. []
  3. And yes, Danny Sweatt erred in alienating Calvinists by seeming to take the other tack – I don’t think he intended to do so, but that is obviously what he did. []


  1. Don,

    I’ll never forget my former pastor saying over and over; “Your doctrine must impact your behavior!” I later taught my students that belief – real belief – is lived out, otherwise it’s nothing more than a static affirmation of fact.

    Some pastors do not believe this, and they have directly told me as much. I can’t say I understand that. Seems to me we only believe as much of the Bible as we practice.

    On another note, I’m exactly where you are on Calvinism/Arminianism. That probably puts us in the most unpopular camp of all, you know! These two dead guys have an absolute strangle-hold on the debate that I believe is unhealthy.