Template talk:Calvinism/Archive 1

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I was wondering when you guys would get around to making a Calvinism template! At any rate, I just wanted to ask whether or not "Baptist" was appropo for this template. While there certainly are Calvinist Baptists, there are many Baptists who are not Calvinist, and it is kind of its own tradition with its own doctrinal history. Just a thought. KHM03 15:23, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Particular Baptist, maybe? The problem with "Reformed Baptist" is that it is also the name of a very anti-Calvinistic restorationist sect. Mkmcconn (Talk) 16:40, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Mkmcconn said above, regarding Reformed Baptist, "it is also the name of a very anti-Calvinistic restorationist sect". That's interesting because I have never heard of such and the wiki article on Reformed Baptist doesn't mention such. Hmmmm. Jim Ellis 19:21, July 21, 2005 (UTC)

The people the rest of us used to call "Campbellites" used to call themselves "Reformed Baptists". — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:59, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

People choices

Good work on the Calvinism template. The hardest part is deciding what to leave out. One thing perhaps worth adding is presuppositional apologetics, though I guess that's not universal like the five points and solas. Some people probably worth adding are Charles Spurgeon, Charles Hodge (instead of Warfield?), and maybe John Owen? Just trying to cover the (temporal) spectrum a bit. --Flex 16:08, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

The Princeton Theology

I chose Warfield instead of Hodge, because he is often represented as the "Last of the great Princeton theologians" (and besides, I like him more :-) I chose Edwards instead of Owen, as representing the more abiding line of Congregationalist influence. Kuyper rather than Schilder, to represent the Continentals because he's better known (although I favor Schilder). Spurgeon would be a nice addition; and we need a few representative graduate schools (like Princeton, perhaps). Mkmcconn (Talk) 16:39, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
I think Warfield instead of Hodge is proper, and Edwards is essential to American Calvinism. Kuyper & Schilder I don't know much about (other than names). Spurgeon, though Calvinist, would be more of a Baptist giant (maybe the Baptist giant), wouldn't you say? Don't really care; not a really big fan anyway. KHM03 16:44, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Any shot for John Wesley? KHM03 16:45, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Maybe a good way to handle the choice between Hodge and Warfield is not to make the choice (although I much prefer Warfield - did I say that already?), and to bundle them up under a new article called Princeton theologians, which perhaps would redirect to Princeton theology. There we could put Geerhardus Vos, B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge - and for that matter, the whole Log Cabin/New Jersey college New Light + Old School tradition: in which case, we could put in John Orr, and take out Edwards (who is part of that Princeton tradition). Mkmcconn (Talk)
Wesley will have to wait for another day to become a Calvinist. :-) Mkmcconn (Talk) 16:51, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Having a link to Princeton theology/theologians is probably a good way to go, and certainly historically important (would you include Machen, who bolted?). But I might still include Edwards, whose importance to American Calvinism is probably greater than the rest of the Princeton group combined. But I defer. KHM03 16:54, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Edwards makes the cut

Good point about Edwards' breadth of influence. I do like the idea of pointing to Machen, Van Til and Murray (via Princeton, that is). Mkmcconn (Talk) 17:04, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I'd definitely keep Edwards. In the first century or two of American history, maybe only Asbury can compare to Edwards in terms of accomplishments and influence...and Asbury's were not (for the most part) theological, but organizational and evangelistic. Whitefield might compare in terms of the impact of his preaching, but Edwards is up there with the all-time most important American religious figures, and may be #1 (it pains me to say somewhat!). KHM03 17:08, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

I like the idea of "Princeton theologians." If we had to choose, Hodge seems to me to be a better representative of Calvinism because of his work in systematics. Warfield (whom I like equally if not more) did a good bit of that, too, but there is no unified magnum opus to point to; his theology is spread out among myriad popular articles and scholarly essays rather than collected and systematized in one book. Hodge is primarily seen (historically speaking) as a defender of orthodox Calvinism, while Warfield's efforts were divided between various fronts (biblical inspiration, perfectionism, Calvinism, etc.).

No question that Edwards should be in there. I was looking for a 17th century representative, though, and Owen seems like the best candidate for that. Machen would be good for a 20th century figure. We might also consider some well-known, living teachers of Calvinism like R. C. Sproul or J. I. Packer. Or maybe the rule should be that they have to be dead. --Flex 18:08, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Knox makes the cut

Probably a good rule of thumb; but there might be another way to do that, under a List of Calvinist theologians; however, to start that page and make it worthwhile, we're going to need a lot more people interested in the topic. Most links would be red. Mkmcconn (Talk) 19:14, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

There's already Category:Calvinists and its subcat Category:Reformed theologians which are fairly well populated. Seems a bit redundant to copy all that data into another location, though it might allow more convenient organization. Even if we create that list, I'd still favor listing the most important theologians in the template. Speaking of which, I presume you included Knox because of his historical influence. The others are more known as devloping the theology rather than leading historical movements (well, aside from Calvin himself who did both). If someone had to go to make room for others, I'd say he's the best candidate. --Flex 19:27, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Neato. Perhaps we could add that thus:

Reformed theologians
John Calvin
John Knox
Jonathan Edwards
Charles Spurgeon
Abraham Kuyper
B.B. Warfield

Mkmcconn (Talk)

and re: Knox, ouch. Examining my feelings of loyalty, I'm not very open to taking out Knox to leave room for the Baptist. Mkmcconn (Talk) 19:52, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Project overview: Sorting who is whom

Another thing to consider is that, although I personally rarely bring to mind any of the neo-orthodox and liberal theologians, when I think of "Reformed" - a list of Reformed theologians without the likes of Richard Baxter, Karl Barth, and even Jeremy Taylor (listed in order of egregiousness) and the like, merely because of their situation in history, as leaders in a nominally Reformed church. Reformed, and Calvinist, are not the same. I would wish that the top level Category was Category:Reformed Christians (John Milton,Woodrow Wilson) (subcat Category:Calvinists(Guillaume Groen Van Prinsterer), subcat Category:Calvinist theologians (Calvin, et.al - we will be bold to declare him one), and subcat Category:Non-Calvinist Reformed theologians (Arminius, Amyraut, Baxter, Watts, Barth), etc. Mkmcconn (Talk) \

That last one stinks; but I don't know what else to call it. Mkmcconn (Talk) 20:25, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Reformed and Calvinist are not the same: Barth

Barth makes sense...probably the greatest theologian in the Calvinist stream of the 20th century...certainly the most important. Beza also deserves mentionoon the template...moreso than Kuyper or Spurgeon or Warfield, don't you think? And how about Michael Servetus (he, he)? I also don't think a "non-Reformed" category makes any sense. There are already categories for Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, et al. KHM03 20:31, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
And, also, leave on Knox. He put the "meat on the bones" re: Calvinist ecclesiology, whereas Spurgeon...was a Baptist. Knox seems to me to be far more essential to a Calvinism template. KHM03 20:34, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Torrance and Packer

ONE MORE THING...or two...Thomas Torrance and James Packer are both GIANTS in 20th century Calvinist theology...perhaps only Barth is more important. Just something to ponder & keep in mind. KHM03 20:40, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
No comment about Taylor? I put him in just for you :-) ! But lo; you said "non-Reformed" I said "non-Calvinist Reformed" ; and that is the difference I want to make more clear.

Beza makes the cut

Regarding Beza, I think that you are putting your finger on why making the short list is hard. Who is Beza? Hardly anyone knows, although you are right that he looms large. Ask in my church and no one under 25 will likely know. But ask about Kuyper, Warfield, Spurgeon? Eyes will brighten. They feel the impact of these men, and not of Beza.
And, you're right. Torrance belongs - not because I would put him there, but because the whole rest of the world would (and I don't seriously begrudge that - Calvinism's identity is not set in stone - you may now jest about the stoney heart of the Calvinist.). But if Torrance belongs, then so does Barth. ...
... sorry. I'm geting too chatty here, I think. May we move toward deciding together? What do you think about the subcategory suggestions? Mkmcconn (Talk) 20:50, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, I'll gladly defer to you. My suggestion would be to make a Letterman list...Top, say 6 important people.
First, you can ignore Calvin himself by keeping the link to him at the top of the template...no reason to list him again...it's clear that he's the godfather of the whole Calvinist disaster Calvinist system.
Who else makes the list...in terms of importance, not necessarily fame? Beza, I'd say. And Knox. And Edwards. And probably Barth. (Taylor, too, if you have the inclination!) The link to the "Princeton school" would cover a multitude of sins. I'd say that Beza, Knox, Edwards, and Barth are far more important than Kuyper, Spurgeon, et al. Packer & Torrance would be two nice more contemporary names, but it would be hard to justify them (I had the same problem with the Methodist template).
I suggest listing Beza, Knox, Edwards, and Barth, and include a link to a list of Calvinist theologians...it's a Calvinism template, not a Reformed template. That should help.
Good luck...on to perfection. KHM03 20:59, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Ok, fine. Leave Knox. I say Spurgeon deserves a spot because he's the most famous Baptist ever and even non-Calvinists like him. We might say he's a preacher and popularizer of Calvinism rather than a theologian who developed it (John Bunyan and even John Piper might also fit that description). As for Beza, he was important but is more obscure (like Turretin), and I would still prefer broader representation across the centuries and outside of Geneva. For this reason, I refer you to my unanswered plea for Hodge and Owen. We should add Barth even though he was a wild one; Reformed theology was still his base of operations.
We could always make another template for Reformed Theology as a discipline which could include Biblical Theology, Presuppositional apologetics, Covenant Theology, Reconstructionism(?), etc. --Flex 21:03, July 15, 2005 (UTC)
Well, Biblical theology is a whole lot bigger than Reformed stuff. You guys do what you want, of course...I say leave Spurgeon off. He's famous and liked, but not as important as the others (in my view). I think the Reformed theology template would be so similar to Calvinism...would they co-exist on the John Calvin page? That seems silly to me.
Beza might be obscure, but he's crucial. Far more so than Hodge or Owen. Piper doesn't seem to merit mention (esp. compared to more important "contemporaries" like Torrance or Packer), but I like the Bunyan idea. You can add him to my list of suggestions. With Servetus.
And Calvin and Hobbes. KHM03 21:10, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm not thinking of a template, but a category. Is that what you were thinking? And with subcategories its not necessary to list everything related. You can be specific, and not make lists of adjectives. Mkmcconn (Talk) 21:34, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

The Princeton theology

Should it be "The Princeton theology" or is the "Princeton theology" okay? Should it go to "theologians" or "theology" Mkmcconn (Talk) 21:32, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Gateway pages

How do you feel about the Reformed Christian confessions of faith, and the Princeton theology link? is this a good approach? Should we use other gateway pages like these to solve problems raised by having to choose?

Group by nationality or century: Rejected

We might try a "16thc. 17thc...." approach to theologians; or, we could try using the nations most moved by the Reformed, eg.

European Calvinism
American - British -
Dutch - French -
German - Hungarian -
Irish - Italian -
Scot - Swiss -

That also looks cumbersome. I feel obligated to embrace the total spectrum, but I don't know how to do that. Mkmcconn (Talk) 08:46, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Nothing wrong with the link to the confessions; they are important texts for Calvinists. The Princeton link seems a decent compromise to get some of those folks acknowledged in some way in the template.
I wouldn't do the whole "European" link or centuries...just hit the big names. Again, I vote for Beza, Knox, Bunyan, Edwards, and Barth, with the Princeton link. Those are the biggest of the big guns. Why not take it for a spin? KHM03 12:25, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
What does Flex think about that? Anyway, Beza can make the cut, but I favor Spurgeon over Bunyan as being the Baptist more important to Calvinists. It would raise confessionalist Calvinists eyebrows if we bump Kuyper in favor of Barth. Barth and Torrance are rarely ever mentioned in my circles, and are thought of as neo-orthodox, not Calvinist. I know that widening the circle of reference, this is not true. But, as a compromise, we could bundle both groups (Dutch Christian Reformed, and the Barthians) if we linked to Neo-Calvinism and sorted out their differences there. I'll get to work on that page, and in the meantime remove Kuyper, in favor of Beza. Mkmcconn (Talk) 18:47, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Neo-orthodoxy and neo-calvinism

I always considered Neo-Orthodoxy to be a Calvinist subgenre the same way that, say, the Holiness movement is a subgenre of Methodism. In an NPOV encyclopedia, wouldn't Barth be the more important Calvinist, even if some Calvinists don't like his particular brand of Calvinism? Few theologians in the 20th century - - of any family (Calvinist, Methodist, etc.) - - can compare to Barth in terms of importance. Just something to think about.
And why wouldn't people like Torrance? KHM03 20:44, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
I also defer re:Bunyan vs. Spurgeon. But I think that Bunyan is far more important in terms of all of Christendom; Spurgeon is inconsequential outside of Calvinist and Baptist circles. More food for thought. KHM03 20:46, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Barth and Torrance: Calvinists or Calvin admirers

I might be the wrong source to go to, for deciding whether Barth should be listed prominently. Mainline Reformed are under his sway - but primarily, in my opinion, because he provided a non-Modernist escape from Calvinism. He was a favorable interpretor of Calvin, but he was far from a confessional Calvinist - and there you have me. I am a confessionalist. Barth was crypto-univeralist, whose influence is ... well, that's why people even in his own camp call themselves "neo-orthodox" and "neo-calvinist". They mean that, they are not the stodgy, "17th century scholastic" "neo-gnostic" calvinist hypocrites with their (my) paper popes (standards of orthodoxy) and quaint obsessions with sexual purity: they are a new kind, they are anxious to say; and so they are. So wouldn't it be a nice, neutral way to solve the question, to combine people like Kuyper, Barth and Torrance, under "neo-Calvinism"? Mkmcconn (Talk) \
Torrance might be seen as a much milder figure than Barth, since his work on trinitarianism and the Fatherhood of God are so greatly admired. But he is not a Calvinist in anything but the neo-orthodox sense. Mkmcconn (Talk) \
I understand what you're saying about Bunyan. If it were "Calvinists" instead of "Calvinism", maybe the choice would go the other way. Mkmcconn (Talk) 00:09, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Neo-calvinism: not consensus terminology for Barthians

I'm not too sure about the label "Neo-Calvinism". I don't recall ever hearing it, and I graduated from a mainline Presby seminary with a strong Barthian influence. Then again, I was focused more on my own tradition then what the Presbys were up to. If Barth et al are "Neo-Calvinist", then, by all means, put up a link. I maintain that Barth - - like Edwards - - is one of the most important Calvinists in terms their importance outside the Calvinist camp. Every theologian, Calvinist, Wesleyan, Lutheran, whatever, has to deal with Barth at some point. His importance - - for good or for ill - - cannot be overstated. So, you would certainly want him connected in some way to an NPOV template.
Your assessment of Torrance is right on. In the post-Barth era, only Packer (from the Calvinist camp) is respected on his level. He may be neo-orthodox, but he was a committed Calvinist.
Thank you for not mentioning R.C. Sproul at any point, whom I consider a hack.
Now, I've got to go and look over my sermon for tomorrow, on "Sanctifying Grace & Christian Perfection". Worship well on Sunday...He deserves it. KHM03 01:32, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
I hope that it's not tiresome to discuss this before acting. I think that labelling makes all kinds of decisions ahead of time, that are hard to undo afterward. I do agree with you that "neo-calvinism" is not a nice label, and in using it this encyclopedia could be forcing into wider circulation a terminology that otherwise only a few people use. Mkmcconn (Talk) \
However, you will be able to find Barthians labelled this way (probably not by themselves, though). But then, I'm not sure that "neo-orthodox" is a self-label either; and, this other label is used in almost exactly the same way, with almost exactly the same meaning. The difference is, under neo-Calvinist I can put both, Kuyper (and the other Christian Reformed folks, including Rushdoony and his like) and Barth (with Torrance, et. al.). As a bonus, I can refer to those who split from the neo-calvinists (the Dutch self-labelled ones), like Hoeksema and Schilder, and in so doing cover a wide spectrum. Mkmcconn (Talk) \
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly tomorrow, for apart from him we can do nothing. Mkmcconn (Talk) 04:41, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Neo-calvinism: Consensus terminology for Kuyperians

I haven't read anything by Torrance, so I'll defer to you all. I wouldn't have connected Kuyper and Barth as "Neo-Calvinists." The term, as far as I have heard, usually refers to "Kuyperians" (e.g., Van Til, Vollenhoven, Dooyeweerd, etc.). (Actually, I have also heard it used by a seminary prof to refer to what Calvinists sometimes call TRs -- the "truly Reformed" aka the hyper-conservative who question if Arminians are saved, etc.) Where have you seen Barth and Kuyper linked as such? I agree that Barth should be in there because he is considered "Reformed" by most non-Reformed folks (of course, his page should indicate that he's not a confessionalist, etc.), and I'd say Kuyper deserves a spot because of his influence in the Dutch Reformed circles, which have a significant standing in America also.
Perhaps we should change "Princeton theology" to "The Princetonians" or something since the the title is "People" rather than "Groups." I still think we need a Puritan representative, and I still think it should be John Owen. As for Sproul, I did mention him above, KHM03. :-P Regardless of our opinions, he's undoubtedly one of the most well-known Calvinists living today. (In light of the names on that list, however, I don't think he deserves a mention.) --Flex 16:06, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
Maybe, since we have a "Princeton" group, a "Puritan" group would be appropo. Still think that Barth deserves mention...and that Sproul is a hack! KHM03 20:12, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
So much for being proud of your alma mater! --Flex 20:20, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
Pgh Seminary's greatest success was Fred Rogers. What's so amazing to me is that Mister Rogers was a theological liberal. Also, he excelled at Biblical exegesis; the award given to graduates of PTS who are tops in the Bible courses is the Fred McFeely Rogers Award. At any rate, what a ministry he had.
Sproul, on the other hand, is a hack. His attacks on evangelical Christianity in the name of Calvinism (which is only a "subset" of evangelicalism) are painful and silly; he gives Calvinists a bad name...hyper-Calvinism gone crazy. It's every Calvinist's right to be incorrect :-) , but no Christian - Calvinist, Wesleyan, Catholic, etc. - has a right to be mean. And that's what Sproul is, more often than not. His tone toward other Christians is offensive...and not in a good way.
I hope and pray that Sproul is never lifted up as an exemplary Calvinist, because I believe that inherent to Calvinism is grace. Westminister got at least one thing wrong (actually, a lot of things...but I digress)...it started out with sin & depravity. Even the most faithful Presbyterians I know wish it had started with the grace of God instead, for that is the beginning of all things.
At any rate, I'm proud to be a PTS grad. Good school, and I was there at the right time. I had wanted to attend Asbury or Duke, but the Lord directed me to PTS, much to my dismay at the time. But at graduation, I could see God's hand at work and could see that he used PTS to challenge me and help me grow, and had actually used me to help PTS (I was president of Evangelical Student Fellowship - first UM to be that - and also of UM Student Fellowship, and was able to help a lot of Methodists be more Methodist and a lot of Calvinists to really explore what it was they were affirming, and a lot of liberals to really examine what they were all about, etc.). So, it's a good school with some really fine professors and I commend it to you, and announce that all you Presbys can be happy with it.
Except for R.C. Sproul! KHM03 22:42, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
Flex, the only connection between Barth and Kuyper, et. al., is that some people sometimes call one or the other "neo-calvinist". They simply mean, "an updated intepretation of Calvin" (in the case of Barth), or "an updated interpretation of Calvinism" (in the case of the Dutch guys). It's sheer coincidence that the label is applied to both groups - no one means to imply that they are branches of the same thing. I suppose that's reason enough not to try to refer to both of them by the same link. Mkmcconn (Talk)
KHM03, perhaps instead of "People" we should be thinking in terms of theological streams, or types - as in Puritan, Princeton, Neo-orthodox? Mkmcconn (Talk) 22:45, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
That might not be a bad idea. Certainly, there should be a link to Calvin himself (top of template), and perhaps Beza (who is really "Calvin, Part II"), and maybe Edwards (the most significant non-European Calvinist), but perhaps the rest can be "grouped". And the three you suggest seem good to me. Maybe you could even have another one with "Contemporary figures", to keep it current, and not show it to be the outdated system that it is "out of touch". KHM03 11:55, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree that Neo-Calvinism could be too confusing since the term is used for such different movements. The streams of thought is a good idea, though in the end it might get too bulky. Maybe we could come up with a diagram like Image:Christian-lineage.png for the Reformed churches. (That could get really messy: Presbyterians do schism like Italians do pasta, someone once said.) --Flex 13:19, July 19, 2005 (UTC)
It wouldn't have to be too bulky. Beza, Edwards, Puritans, Princeton, Neo-Orthodox, and (if you feel it's necessary) Neo-Calvinists. That's all you'd need, really.
PS - I like the pasta analogy...very funny! KHM03 14:06, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
The reason that schism is a scandal to the Reformed, is because unlike Baptists and many others, we have a doctrine condemning schism. The fact that we desire to be together makes our divisions funny. If we had a taste for split P's, nobody would be laughing when we so often choose them. Mkmcconn (Talk) 18:05, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Summary of above

If we group the people and movements under "Influential", that segment might look like this:

Prominent influences (Mkmcconn (Talk) 21:08, 20 July 2005 (UTC))
Theodore Beza
+ Synod of Dort
Jonathan Edwards
Princeton theology
Karl Barth

Does that about sum it up? Mkmcconn (Talk) 00:50, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Yes, but upon further consideration, you may even be able to eliminate Edwards (hate to even suggest that) if he's factored into the Puritans article (which I haven't looked at). KHM03 09:59, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Hmm. It seems to me like we should eliminate the people in the list altogether and restrict it to "Movements" or something like that (Beza and Synod of Dort might be better replaced by "Continental Reformed Theology" or something of the sort). Perhaps two lists are in order: people and movements, or is that overkill? Also, we could rename the template "Reformed theology" or something like that so as to include Zwingli et al. under "Continental." What about Christian Reconstructionism? --Flex 17:45, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
My recommendation is to keep it as "Calvinism", since that is a better known term than the oft-misunderstood "Reformed theology". Beza is certainly "continental", but I think every Calvinist on the planet has been influenced by him...moreso than more "precise" figures like Kuyper or even Barth. Didn't Beza help to really define the Calvinist system? I would think he's bigger than "Continental".
I don't know much about reconstructionism. Is it worthy of note? KHM03 17:59, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Beza's influence to me seems to be very much indirect today. It would certainly show up in the confessions and catechisms and canons of the Reformation era (and in textual criticism), but almost no one reads him today directly. For that reason, lumping him into "Continental theology" doesn't seem unfair to me. The term Reformed is often ambiguous, but it's the term we still tend to prefer to identify ourselves. --Flex 18:07, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
Flex, I would rather keep the focus on Calvinism. "Reformed" is too big and blurry an idea - that's why we have "church movements" there. I understand what you're saying about Beza, but it's "historically responsible" to mention him prominently. As KHM03 advises, we should aim for the Letterman top 5 or 6. Reconstructionism definitely belongs under Neo-Calvinism (an article yet to be written, if you're interested). I'm feeling pretty settled on preferring "Influences" over "People" , "Movements", or geography - for reasons briefly discussed above, somewhere (as well as under #Boers and Magyars) Mkmcconn (Talk)
Ok. How about calling the section "Influential streams" or something like that. "Influential" alone (sola influentia?) doesn't express much. --Flex 19:42, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
"Influences" ? Mkmcconn (Talk) 20:10, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
"Formative influences" ? Mkmcconn (Talk) 20:11, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
"Notables"? "Noteworthies"? "Notable currents"? "Prominent shapers"? "Preeminent leaders"? Influences seems to me to indicate that the people/groups in question are not participants but outside influences. --Flex 20:49, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
I'm looking for a word that is neutral with regard to whether they are really "in" or "out". I may be in the OPC, but I have to acknowledge the influence of people like Barth, as much or more than of Machen or Van Til. Some do not think that Van Til is "in", and others don't think that Barth is "in". We don't need to decide that, if we call them both, "influences" - that is, supposedly Calvinistic influences on the development of Calvinism. "Prominent shapers" sounds like "people" to me - where "Prominent influences" might include schools of thought, or notable turning points. Mkmcconn (Talk) 21:03, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Van Til is strictly Calvinism; his influence outside that family is nil. Barth affected most Christians on earth (for good or for ill is debated). Doesn't that count for something? KHM03 22:00, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
It counts, it counts :-) I think we've pretty much figured out how prominently Barth should be featured, as representative of Calvinism. Machen and Van Til are buried in Princeton, Van Til will show up again under neo-Calvinism. Barth, and H.Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr should be prominent in whatever the target is for representing the neo-orthodox interpretors of Calvin. But the question is, what do we put these all under? See my scratch example, at the top of this section. "Prominent influences" okay? Mkmcconn (Talk) 22:13, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
OK with me. KHM03 00:50, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm frustrated with the present state of the articles. I'm posting what I can, considering how unfinished the articles are, that they point to. Mkmcconn (Talk) 05:42, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Looks good to me. What about adding Pilgrims to historical movements? They were a breed of Puritan, but they also had a profound effect on the shaping of America once they split off. I don't know much about the historical influence of the Boers or Magyars, but I've heard a lot more about the former than the latter. --Flex 12:38, July 21, 2005 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable. Go ahead. Mkmcconn (Talk) 14:34, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
I just realized that I now have Puritan twice. Sorry. Mkmcconn (Talk) 14:39, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Boers and Magyars

Having inserted Huguenots should we add Boers and Hungarians? Or, is that a troublesome direction? Did I just answer my own question? Mkmcconn (Talk) 21:57, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Flex, you changed Boer to Afrikaner, with the note Boers to Afrikaners (the former is considered derogatory according to the article about it My strong impression is that it might also work the the other way around. Boers don't like the name, Afrikaner, much, when it's made to signify something different than Boer. "Boer" is one people and culture. "Afrikaner" embraces many peoples and cultures, and for that reason some who are proud of the the name "Afrikaner" don't want to be called "Boer". The Boers have the Calvinist history, the Afrikaners only have it insofar as they include the Boer people. Anyway, I might be exaggerating - a Dutch friend tells me that it sounds funny to call an entire people "farmers", "'hicks', as it were". So, I've used both links on the same line. Mkmcconn (Talk) 22:55, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Can we fit this quote in somewhere?

"Let the Presbyterians do what they please, but let the Methodists know their calling better." - John Wesley to Francis Asbury

Let me know. Thanks. KHM03 23:59, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Are you suggesting we add a heresy section? :-P --Flex 14:51, July 21, 2005 (UTC)


The Anglican/Episcopal/Methodist denominations each hold/held Calvinism to some degree at some point (e.g. Cranmer/Packer/Whitefield, respectively)? Should they have some representation in the template, perhaps under the denomination or historical section?

My opinion is "no", since in Methodism it's always been such a minority (like Arminians in Calvinism - - they exist, but no one likes to talk about them!), and the Anglican tradition is much bigger than one simple categorization, and prides itself on being a "middle road" between Protestantism and Catholicsm.
Bottom line: few look at Methodism or Anglicanism as Calvinist families. KHM03 20:14, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Then are we back to a heresy section? ;-) --Flex 20:35, July 21, 2005 (UTC)


Added the Institutes...how could we have forgotten that? The most important Calvinist document of them all? I felt stupid when it occurred to me. KHM03 14:50, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Width decisions

In Mozilla (and Firefox), the sans-serif font is a little wider than on MSIE. A few titles wrap at 9em, but are on one line at 11em. I thought that a good compromise was to make the template a little wider than it had to be (for MSIE). — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:21, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Oh, good catch. (Long live Firefox!) --Flex 18:29, August 2, 2005 (UTC)

Barth and Reformed Baptists

User:Yakuman has repeatedly removed Karl Barth and Reformed Baptists, most recently with the comment that "Making Barth or RBs 'Calvinst' is speculative and POV -- Calvin himself would not recognize them."

First, as the article on Calvinism describes, Calvin is not the sole arbiter of what is now called Calvinism. Yakuman is defining Calvinism more strictly than the Wikipedia does.

Second, Reformed Baptists clearly claim to be Calvinists as that article clearly states, and contrary to Yakuman, it is POV to unilaterally remove them from this template. Charles Spurgeon certainly considered himself a Calvinist (see his "Defence of Calvinism"), as does John Piper (see, e.g., "What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism" and "How to Teach and Preach Calvinism") as does Founders Ministries, which exists to call Southern Baptists back to their Calvinist roots, as did the Calvinists who touched up the Westminster Confession of Faith to produce the Calvinist 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

Third, we had an extended discussion above about Barth and reached consensus, which neither Yakuman nor anyone else can unilaterally overrule without establishing an even broader consensus (cf. Wikipedia:Consensus#Consensus_can_change). We may not agree with what Barth has to say, but he certainly is in the Reformed tradition and is a sympathetic interpreter of Calvin (cf. The Theology of John Calvin). Moreover, as above, he is the single most influential follower of Calvin in the last century -- his influence goes far beyond the Reformed tradition (unlike, say, John Knox). --Flex (talk|contribs) 12:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that since Reformed Baptists fall into the Calvinist category by their own confession, they would be appropriate to include on the Template:CalvinismBrian0324 13:33, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Yakuman seems to have a narrower classification in mind. His concerns might be satisfied by creating a different navigation template based on those more limited criteria; unless such a navigation scheme would be too limited in its scope to be really useful. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:19, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps, but this advice seems to be in conflict your concern in the following section about templates multiplying and having more than one in an article. What are your specific thoughts on these two deletions from this template? Should they stay or go? --Flex (talk|contribs) 18:12, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion, they ought to stay. The only way to justify taking them out, would be to narrow the criteria for inclusion in this template. Narrowing criteria results in more templates - so my concern in both places is really the same. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:52, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Pro I'm in favour of keeping at least the Reformed Baptists. I won't express an opinion on Barth because I don't know enough. However, I'd make the standard "which Calvinists do you expect to see in heaven". If Barth is in by that criterion, then keep him, otherwise toss him out. Of course, that brings the rest of theology into the argument. Ouch :). Basically, the people I know are fairly happy with Kuyper and the Reformed Baptists, but not so happy with Barth.
-- TimNelson 07:10, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

What’s a Reformed Baptist? There are charismatics, dispensationalists, Amyraldians, fundamentalists, pietists, seventh-dayers, social gospellers, antinomians, neo-orthodox, theonomists, hypercalvinists, God-hates-#@%s protesters, liberals, assorted chiliasts, British Israelites, Paisleyites and others who use the name. And, I hate to say this, Karl Barth is in this group. There is no common confession, even though some use a modified WCF. No offense meant to any Baptists reading this, but this term is just plain vague. That's why I took it out. Yakuman 08:39, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

The article Reformed Baptist describes the convictions of this group fairly well. It's a well established terminology that has been around for several hundred years, apparently. I don't find it to be contradictory or confusing in the least. This template seems to have lost the broad sweep of Calvinist thought that has produced the likes of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This makes for a more vague template - or exclusive.Brian0324 15:25, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Additions to the template

Besides the deletions mentioned in the previous section, User:Yakuman added Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox, Geneva Bible, and Abraham Kuyper to this template. The above discussion suggested we aim for the "Letterman's top 5 or 6" for the lists. That's not set in stone, of course, but we don't want the lists to get too long.

In considering the additions specifically, Kuyper or some Neo-Calvinist representative was certainly missing, and I don't have a big problem with any of the others in principle. Yet, while Zwingli certainly was of tremendous historical importance during the Reformation, was he more important in the development of Calvinism/Reformed Theology proper than Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and Peter Martyr Vermigli, whom Calvinism lists as important contributors? Similar reasoning applies to Knox. What is the justification for the Geneva Bible? Certainly it was important, but does it deserve a place on this list of the most important? Just asking for your thoughts. --Flex (talk|contribs) 14:57, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

As I've watched these templates multiply, they have begun to add to the visual clutter of some articles. It doesn't seem to me that there should be more than one of these things in any article, and there should be a hierarchical relationship between them that would guide the choice of which one belongs. But this isn't how the template scheme has developed - instead they have acquired the qualities of advertisements. I don't know how to solve this problem, without re-working the navigation template scheme from top to bottom: which would be quite a challenge. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:38, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

What is your opinion on the current template (excluding the deletions mentioned above)? Is it too long or just right? If the former, what should be excised? Should Neo-Calvinism be substituted for Kuyper? --Flex (talk|contribs) 16:47, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The term "neo-calvinism" is a little ambiguous, because it is used by older scholars to compare Barthianism to classical Calvinism. However, since that article doesn't mention dialectical neo-calvinism at all, it would seem to be a more topic-relevant target than a link to Kuyper alone. I wish that article took a broader view of the Dutch neo-calvinist movement. It doesn't mention Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer, for example - whom many (including Kuyper, I believe) consider to be the "founder" of the movement. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:16, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

And what about Knox, Zwingli, and the Geneva Bible? --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:02, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Zwingli and the Geneva Bible look funny in there, although I see why they are there. It's not as though they're only remotely connected, like the recent vandal's contribution of Michael Jordan, which is there only to be funny. I wouldn't be surprised either way, if they stay or go. I suppose that if it's more amenable to building consensus, they should stay. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:57, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
Decisions like this would be easier if we had a better idea of when Template:Protestantism or Template:Reformation should be used, instead of this one. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 19:10, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Do you think that, in accord with your comments in the above discussion with KHM03, the list should be limited to the top 5/6 influences? If so, which should they be? --Flex (talk|contribs) 19:31, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

I guess I am being kind of evasive of the question, aren't I. Sorry.
Lutherans and Zwinglians will disagree with you, if you say that Zwingli is not a major influence - even if it's one that you and I would like to minimize, his involvement in the mix is an important reason for doctrinal diversity in the Reformed Churches. He's like Arius, to the Arians. A very minor figure, but representative of an extremely important development. He represents the rationalistic, stripped-bare, unchurchly, anti-sacramental, individualistic character of which Lutherans consistently accuse the Reformed. You can't leave him out.
Beza is important, but arguably because his stamp on Calvinism preciptitated the crisis of Dort. I'd reluctantly leave him out, and leave Dort in.
Knox is important not for the intellectual contribution, but for cultural and historical reasons which continue to present themselves in discussions between Continental and Presbyterian Reformed.
The Puritans are important for reasons too obvious to need explanation.
The Geneva Bible is not one of the top five - it is symbolic though of the printing press and the break with Latin. Leave it out because it's not the right place to link, but the right link is in that general direction somewhere.
Europeans might not see why Jonathan Edwards belongs in the list - I don't know. But I think Princeton theologians is more inclusive, in explaining how he figures in - even though both "sides" (Old School and New School) are directly traceable to him. It's in them that the "warm orthodoxy" of Edwards is continued.
Abraham Kuyper belongs, unless Neo-Calvinism is also included - as that provides the more comprehensive description of why Kuyper matters.
Karl Barth belongs for reasons we've discussed. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:12, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree with what you've said, except that I'm confused about your comments about Edwards and Princeton. Are you suggesting we keep one or both? --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:26, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm undecided. The list looks funny without him there. It looks empty without Princeton. Sorry for the subjective criteria - maybe both of them belong. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:32, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I can live with both. If one had to go, I'd say Princeton since they were more defenders of Calvinism than definers/innovators or historically important contributors. So are there any objections to redacting the list as Mark suggests? --Flex (talk|contribs) 18:44, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there are objections. I say this, if only to keep others from claiming a future "consensus" that does not exist. That we are talking about leaving Beza out and shoe-horning Barth strikes me as odd and a wee bit POV. I have no problem with adding Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and Peter Martyr Vermigli,but I know others will.
I included Kuyper to ensure some reference to Holland. Karl Barth clearly does not fit and including him is an imprimatur that goes beyond the scope of this media. To the intelligent layman, Barth is not a major example of Calvinism.Yakuman 18:43, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

The two questions at issue are: (1) how many people/things should be included? and (2) what criteria should be used to decide who/what is included? On the first point, I'm suggesting (as above) that we keep the lists relatively short. The top 5-6 influences was suggested above, but while I'm not committed to that, I also don't want the list to become too long. On the second question, see below. --Flex (talk|contribs) 16:49, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The Geneva Bible seems out of place as an "Influence". Isn't it more of a product of the movement, at the early stage? Wouldn't the section "Influences" be better named "Pivotal figures" or broken down into "Pivotal works" and "Notable Calvinists"?Brian0324 19:58, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I would like to see modern Calvinists like John Piper's 7pt calvinism, Mark Driscol, Tim Keller, DA Carson, and others who are redefining the resurgence of calvinism in america. This should be on the template Wyatt 20:18, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I think the list is going to grow pretty long if we take that route. At the very least, we need some objective metrics (as I suggested below) for who would be included under this heading. Perhaps book/media sales or church size (yuck!)? Still it's going to be very difficult to determine who to include without playing favorites, which is probably why we just avoided the question. Perhaps a better solution would be to create Category:Living Calvinists, List of living Calvinists, or similar and link to it in the template. --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:23, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Karl Barth and all that

Flex wants to restore the Barth and RB entries here, claiming a consensus that does not exist. Also, he is forcing wikipedia to take sides in an open debate, which is a no-go. Making Barth or RBs "Calvinst" is speculative and POV -- Calvin himself would not recognize them. We are not looking for "innovators," as Calvinism has historically never sought that as a goal. Why make a simple task so difficult? Yakuman 18:43, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

The problem here, as we discussed above on this page, is the criteria we're using for determining what constitutes Calvinism. Let's deal with the Baptists alone for a moment as they are the least controversial. Perhaps reaching unanimity on them will help give us a path forward.
Contrary to your opinion, I think it's POV to suggest that Reformed Baptists are not Calvinists, as my unanswered arguments above also discuss. First, we don't know Calvin's opinion of this group which came later in history, and suggesting that you know whom he would "recognize" is entirely speculative and not verifiable. Moreover, Calvinism, as the article on the topic makes clear, is not the work of or defined by one man, though Calvin's influence is certainly the most important. Therefore, even if we did have Calvin's opinion of the Reformed Baptists who came after him, excluding them based solely on Calvin's opinion does not appear legitimate.
There's also an implicit consensus in the perhaps 100+ articles that identify RBs as Calvinists (cf. Category:Calvinists, Reformed churches, etc.) that have been worked on by many different people ("Silence equals consent" --WP:CONSENSUS). That's not to say that these many users are certainly right and that you're certainly wrong, but I think the general consensus is clearly against you. In short, you are defining Calvinism more narrowly than the Wikipedial consensus does, but the latter must prevail (unless you or others are able to persuade and change the consensus). --Flex (talk|contribs) 16:19, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I think some of the problem here results from semantic confusion. What is Calvinism? Are we talking about the soteriological doctrines of grace (i.e., the five points)? Or are we referring to the overall teachings of Calvin (i.e., you have to agree with Calvin on every point of doctrine in order to call yourself a Calvinist)? When I use the term Calvinism, I usually mean the doctrines of grace. As Spurgeon said, Calvinism is a nickname for the gospel. I believe that is the proper definition of the word for the purposes of this template. Therefore (for whatever it's worth) I would acknowledge the RB as Calvinists. Whether Calvin would have embraced the RB is immaterial, based on the definition given above.
The question of who should be listed on the template is quite another matter, though. Some criterion needs to be suggested. Do we want great proponents and/or defenders of the doctrines of grace? This list would be inordinately large, so I vote against this. Are we looking for notable Calvinist hallmarks to represent every significant era and nationality? This seems somewhat reasonable, though subjective and possibly lengthy also. I'm not sure what to suggest as an alternative.
As for comments on the particular issue at hand, I think Barth and Kuyper look strange on the list. IMO, they don't quite fit in a category with Knox and Edwards, and their 20th-century influence is undoubtedly dwarfed by that of their contemporaries: Pink, Murray, and Sproul. If we're looking for a good RB representative, I would suggest Spurgeon. If we're looking for a 20th-century person, I would choose Pink.—Emote Talk Page 02:49, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd suggest we be aiming for the most significant elements in the Reformed tradition (which, is more or less synonymous with Calvinism, as the article says), and in that regard, the lists will have to be relatively broad with respect to the many strains (English vs. Dutch, for instance) but selective in order to maintain a reasonable length. Regarding what type of person/group/movement to list, I'd say we should be aiming for those who have the most theological/historical influence (that's the title over that list). We're not aiming for our favorites but for the most significant in a broad sense.
Certainly the mark of Westminster and the Puritans are all over English Calvinism and their descendants, and they deserve a spot. Edwards is important both because of his historical role in the Great Awakening but also because of his writing (his historical accounts and theological evaluations of the Great Awakening are very important; he is essential to the development/spreading of modern postmillennialism; he made notable contributions in philosophy [cf. his entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]; and he is often cited as the father of the governmental view of the atonement). I'd say Neo-Calvinism definitely needs some representation on the template, and while Kuyper is as much of a figurehead as you can get, perhaps Neo-Calvinism itself would be better, as we discussed above.
As for Barth, if you accept him as being within the Reformed tradition (which I think is reasonable, even if you strongly disagree with him), I don't see how you can say Pink, Murray, or Sproul (PM&S) is more influential. His influence is tremendous and widespread, as Sproul himself laments. Barth -- like Calvin, the Puritans, Edwards, and Kuyper -- rocked the world; PM&S, as much as we might like them, did/have not. (Anyway, I'd still say Machen and perhaps Van Til beats PM&S out for historical/theological influence.)
On the other hand, while Spurgeon was a great and reknowned preacher, I don't see his influence as of the same type as, say, Kuyper's. Similarly, while the Princetonians are important as defenders of orthodoxy, they are more of what we might call "regurgitators" and didn't really put things in a new light by their actions and writings like Kuyper did (what Frame says of Van Til could equally apply to Kuyper: "Unoriginal as his doctrinal formulations may be, his use of those formulations -- his application of them -- is often quite remarkable").
Perhaps one mark of influence we could use to judge who belongs and who doesn't is the amount of study dedicated to the person/group/movement's ideas. For instance, Yale is not only continuing to print the definitive edition of Edwards's works and has a professorship and college named after him, but they host the JE Center, which is dedicated to the study of his works. There are also many books and much scholarship dedicated to his life and work. Similar things can be said of Kuyper (cf. The Kuyper Lecture, The Kuyper Foundation, Kuyper College, the many books about Kuyper and his thought), Barth, the Puritans, etc. AFAICT, the same cannot be said (at least not to the same extent) for PM&S, the Hodges and Warfield, Thornwell, Owen, Turretin, Spurgeon, Bunyan, etc. This is not to diminish or deride the valuable work that these people have done, but it gives us a benchmark to start from. Obviously this shouldn't be our sole criterion for inclusion, but I think it should be one of our criteria. --Flex (talk|contribs) 15:37, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
If this is a Reformed template, I think we should rename it as such. Doing so will greatly reduce the confusion about who and what belong in the template. I don't think that the regulative principle of worship or covenant theology belongs on the Calvinism list. Those have an associative relationship with Calvinism but not a filial one. (Again, it comes down to the definition of Calvinism. If we're defining it as "everything that Calvin believed and taught," then we need to add paedobaptism to the list and delete people like Barth who don't qualify as strict disciples of Calvin. If we're focusing on the soteriology, then we need to omit the non-soteriological doctrines while retaining groups like the RB.)
As for the issue about which people are more notable/influential than others, I suppose your opinion just depends on which Reformed circles you run in. (It would appear that Barth and Kuyper are significantly more influential to your denomination than they are to mine.) If I made a one-to-ten scale of influential Calvinists with Calvin as a 10, I would rank Edwards–8, Spurgeon–7, Sproul–4, Pink–4, Kuyper–2, Barth–1. I see such a disparity between Spurgeon and Barth that they are almost incomparable.
At any rate, I don't have any great desire to debate this question at length. You asked for my input, so there it is. I don't intend to interfere with the template, but I'm happy to offer my opinion on it and to make suggestions for its improvement.—Emote Talk Page 17:12, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Right: we are trying to establish the scope for this template. Unfortunately, the distinctions between "Calvinism" and "Reformed tradition" are rather vague (how ironic since Calvinists so love fine distinctions!) and not at all agreed upon, but I will contend that neither term is commonly used to refer to only that which Calvin believed. This template has been around for a long time, but the new Wikipedia:WikiProject Calvinism wants to use it as its banner, so we need to figure out what belongs in the headlines and what doesn't.
As for the top ten, I agree our personal experiences and opinions will vary, which is why I suggested a more quantifiable metric, viz. the approximate amount of energy dedicated to studying or propagating the group/person's work by third parties and the continuing prestige of his/their name (e.g., the colleges and endowments named after him/them). By this standard, I would rank Pink and Sproul much lower than any of the others you listed. You might persuade me on Spurgeon based on this metric, but I doubt you could on Pink, for instance. Spurgeon has a relatively unknown college named after him, whereas Edwards has a professorship and college named after him at one of the flagship universities of the US, not to mention several recent biographies and many other books about him. On the other hand, while I have much respect for Pink, I don't find nearly as much energy devoted to his work or prestige associated with his name. Surely a greater level of interest and prestige also indicates a greater level of importance in some sense. Now certainly there are other means of measuring importance, but I don't think we can go on our own intuition alone on this matter -- we need quantifiable metrics. --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:41, 26 March 2007 (UTC)


1.) Flex seems to be playing a WP:GAME in that he uses spurious claims of disruption, and 3RR violations and other bad acts to support his edits. He also claims a consensus, where clearly none exists. Please remember WP:DE, WP:CIVIL and WP:AGF. I explain clearly on my talk page that I do not accept defamation and false accusations lightly. Our code of civility states plainly that people must act with civility toward one another. Do not use false charges as a rapier. I take this kind of thing seriously.

2.) Consensus is fine, but I don't see one that actually exists here. I do see that maybe I was hasty in adding Kuyper. Oh, well. Certainly none exists for the two items under debate.

3.) Whether of not Barth is or is not a Calvinist is not really the issue. If I'm not saying anything. Wikipedia is NPOV and does not make a judgment call on the matter. Putting him or the RBs forces WP to make a conclusion on a contestable point. What you or I think is not the issue. Wikipedia can take no position on it. That's the WP:NPOV policy.

4.) As to the length, as they say, "it should be like a lady's dress - long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting. The numbers are beside the point.

5.) As I said before, we are not looking for "innovators," as Calvinism has historically never sought that as a goal. Why make a simple task so difficult? Yakuman 20:20, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Please do not lose the assumption of good faith. There are no games going on here. I must admit that I have no idea what you mean by "forces WP to make a conclusion on a contestable point". We aren't concluding anything. We are making a little navigation guide. If it's really such a contentious issue, then perhaps it would be better to delete the template. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 23:33, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
1.) I refer to game in the narrow sense that one can violate policy in the name of policy. An editor should not set himself up as arbiter of policy, referring to his own statements as "consensus" and accusing dissenters of "dissension" and "vandalism."
2.) I've tabled the issue of RBs for now, but I reserve the right to come back to it.
3.) As per Barth, this is a no-brainer POV issue. For better or for worse, much has been written arguing that he does not represent Calvinism. That means there's an ongoing debate and WP cannot put a stake in it. Mark, however unintentionally, you're holding him up as a example of what "Calvinism" stands for. Besides the clear policy issues, it sows confusion in the uninitiated, which is virtually the entire WP readership. Yakuman 23:22, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
What would the next project be? Is there a wiki-law we can quote to support purging Baptists John Piper, Albert Mohler, John Bunyan, Carl F.H. Henry, Charles Spurgeon and John MacAurthur from lists of Calvinists? Is this what we're here for? A little humor, a little patience, a little proportion, a little generosity will go farther toward seeing the right way to handle this, than all the wiki-policies you can link.
With regard to Barth, and the "no-brainer POV issue", it isn't our job as editors to make sure that the "uninitiated" don't get the wrong idea about Barth, or about Calvinism. He has been repeatedly called "the most influential Reformed theologian of the twentieth century", even though some are not even persuaded that what the man taught was Christianity. This template doesn't decide that issue; even if you leave Barth out, it's not J. Gresham Machen or John Murray, but Barthians Torrence, Bloesch and many others, that more people would recognize as an "influential interpreter of Calvin". Regrettable, I might admit; but Wikipedia is not about setting things right. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 02:36, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
See below on your accusation of gaming.
For the record, I don't see myself as an arbiter of wikipolicy, but a follower of it. I take the consensus to be, neither my opinion alone nor not the sole opinion of someone who is "tendentious" and "rejects community input" (WP:DE), but rather the opinions of those who joined us here to resolve the issue instead of acting unilaterally and without discussion. Your behavior has appropriately been called disruptive, but I must apologize to User: I should not have called his/her (your?) edit vandalism.
Thank you, Yakuman, for accepting the clear consensus in favor of including Reformed Baptists. Dialog and compromise -- this is how dispute resolution is supposed to work! BTW, I don't know what one could accuse dissenters of if not "dissension." :-) --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:00, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
You are apparently claiming that I am "gaming the system" which WP:GAME defines as "the use of Wikipedia rules to thwart Wikipedia policy." I don't believe this is the case. Here is the history as I understand it based on the edit histories:
  • The Baptists were included from the very first version of the template (later modified to the more accurate Reformed Baptists).
  • Barth was added after the lengthy discussion above between Mkmcconn, Flex, and KHM03, establishing a small consensus (cf. the revision from 2005 July after the aforementioned discussion).
  • Then the template was relatively stable for over a year and a half, and since the Calvinism-related articles were receiving their fair share, "[s]ilence equals consent" (WP:CONSENSUS) seems to be an appropriate conclusion -- at least when it comes to who is included (rather than who is excluded).
  • Yakuman then made his first edits of the template on 2007 March 12, deleting Barth and the Reformed Baptists with the reasons "Barth was a universalist baptist" and "Reformed Baptist= Baptist who believes in predestination, but not necessarily Calvinist."
  • I reverted those changes with an edit summary explaining my reasoning.
  • Yakuman deleted them again, this time with no explanation in his edit summary.
  • I then restored them again with the comment that "we already discussed [Barth] at some length and reached consensus on the talk page" (see three-way discussion above + consensus implied by silence and stability) and that the article Reformed Baptist should be consulted on whether they are Calvinists.
  • On March 14, Yakuman deleted them again with the comment: "Obvious reversion: Making Barth or RBs 'Calvinst' is speculative and POV -- Calvin himself would not recognize them."
  • On the same day, I did not revert but instead brought the disagreement here, which I think was/is the appropriate action (cf. WP:DR, WP:CONSENSUS).
  • Over the next week, three users weighed in on the talk page (me, Mkmcconn, and Brian0324, but no Yakuman). We all agreed that the Reformed Baptists certainly belong, and while Brian0324 made no comment, Mark and I were in agreement (as above with KHM03) that Barth belonged.
  • During that same time, an anon user (who is not me and I would guess not anyone participating here) re-added the Baptists with a non-existent link to Historic Southern Baptists.
  • On March 22, I restored the links to the pages under question based on all those who had responded (and we should also count the anon who weighed in with the Historic Southern Baptists) because none of us thought it was non-neutral, speculative, or a no-brainer/obvious that they should be omitted, as Yakuman claimed.
  • On March 23, Yakuman reverted my restorations with the comment that it was original research, but still with no word on of discussion on the talk page.
  • On March 24:
    • I reapplied what I took to be the properly developed consensus, which Yakuman had failed/refused to participate in, and I politely asked him on his talk page to cease and desist in accordance with the views expressed here.
    • Yakuman reverted with no edit summary and still no comment on this talk page, though he did reiterate his one-line reasoning on his talk page in response to my comment.
    • I reverted again per my understanding of the consensus and Yakuman's failure to engage our arguments here with more than bald assertions in his edit summaries. I responded to his comment on his talk page, suggesting that he join us here to discuss the matter and build a consensus rather than acting unilaterally and in opposition to what other editors think. I also warned him that his disruptive behavior might get him blocked under WP:3RR (note that the 3RR rule is an electric fence, and a pattern of disruptive, tendentious editing that happens to be outside of a 24 hour window can also result in a block).
  • March 25 Yakuman made his first comments here.
  • On March 26:
In short, even if we ultimately accept all of Yakuman's desired changes or remove the influences section altogether, with the exception of inappropriately calling an edit by User: vandalism, I believe I have adhered to proper dispute resolution protocols and made every attempt to dialog and establish consensus on the matter. On the other hand, I think this same evidence proves that Yakuman acted disruptively and in violation of these same protocols, and moreover his recent comments about me above do not assume good faith. --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:00, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

You don't have to be defensive. I'm not looking for a fight with you, although you seem armed for one. I didn't ask for a legal brief, nor have I the time nor inclination to write my own. You have basically restated everything you ever said on this matter, coloring it to make me look disruptive. This does not assume the good faith of which you speak. After all, this is a simple edit and you keep making a mountain out of a molehill. That's disruptive.

You insinuate that Wikipedia is a democracy and that I am outvoted by your party. Nowhere does Wikipedia enumerate a majority-rule principle. You misrepresent the situation, in order to make it seem as if I simply came along and starting disrupting things, complete with fallacious personal attacks. Please also stop insinuating that I have broken the three-revert rule, when you know very well that I haven't.

Policy aside, adding a name to a list can't make Barth into a Calvinist. It confuses the untaught, which is why I press the issue. As for dispute resolution, there is nothing here to resolve. Yakuman 07:35, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

For one not spoiling for a fight, you sure seem to be shooting a lot. In any case, I believe the history presented above is basically accurate, and I will let the facts and our respective actions speak for themselves. I will not be editing the template any more until we come up with a better schema together. Regarding Barth and the uninitiated, see below. --Flex (talk|contribs) 14:52, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Removing "Influences"

I think that this discussion, which has gone on intermittently in the same way from the beginning, has made clear that the "Influences" section is inherently subjective, and should be removed. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:18, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

I think this is a good solution to the dispute. However, I have restored the Synod of Dordt to the Distinctives category because (1) it's not a person, and (2) it fathered the five points. I think that Distinctives is a bad heading and should be changed—maybe to Ancestry? Just an idea.—Emote Talk Page 16:58, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I tend to see Dort as so closely related to the five points that only one of them should appear. --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:09, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree. Most of those were exactly the sort of link you would expect in a Calvinism template. I've reworked the template a little in my user space. Comments? A.J.A. 17:03, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not opposed to redoing the template along some other lines, but I don't think the template would be very helpful if it simply omitted everyone in the influences list (you're going to keep Afrikaners but not the Puritans?). I suggested one objective metric for inclusion above, and I'm sure we can come up with others. --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:09, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I suggest that the most inclusive and least controversial route, would be to develop the categories we need - Reformed theologians, Calvinist movements, etc. - and link to those categories. That way, John Gill (for example) may be linked several ways: as a Baptist, a theologian, an Englishman, as connected with Hypercalvinism, whatever. But if we never have to say on the template that he or anyone else is one of the top five Calvinists, even his staunchest fans will not feel snubbed, and none of his staunchest enemies will object. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:55, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm fine with coming up with better categories, but my primary concern is with the size. I'm not opposed to it getting bigger if that's what needs to happen, but I don't want it to become a lengthy list of our favorite Calvinists either (it's not much of a navigational aid if it simply duplicates Category:Calvinists or redacts only the most obscure). There needs to be some relatively objective criteria for deciding who/what is listed (I am still awaiting comment on my proposed criteria above). Another thing we might consider, as I also suggested above, is creating some new lists (e.g., List of living Calvinists) and linking to those instead of each and every individual. --Flex (talk|contribs) 18:31, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I meant, we should link WP categories, instead of trying to create a top 5 list. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 18:47, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
ISTM that the categories present a similar problem: Who is a Calvinist and who is a Reformed theologian? Certainly distinctions can be drawn, but none are commonly accepted. Should we go with the lowest common denominator and just merge the two cats? Beyond that, it doesn't seem very helpful as a navigational aid if it only aggregates related categories. (Why not make Category:Calvinist categories instead?)
I'm beginning to think we should just scrap the existing template and start over. That way we can consider different approaches. For instance, we could stick with our current format (cf. Template:Lutheranism, Template:Methodism where note the links to categories, Template:Reformation, and Template:Protestantism), or we could abandon a general Calvinism template in favor of the Christianity or Protestantism templates, while supplying smaller templates where appropriate like Catholicism and Islam do (e.g., Template:Politics_of_Holy_See, Category:Islam_navigational_boxes). --Flex (talk|contribs) 19:35, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
You got me chuckling with the Calvinist categories suggestion. Even though someone will object to categorizing a Baptist as a Calvinist, at least they won't be fighting over the template to make their point. I like the Islam plan best - I would like to see a similar, integrated, hierarchical template scheme for all the Christianity articles. But that is a very big job. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 20:41, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Discuss changes

If it's necessary to protect the template in order to encourage collaboration instead of edit wars, then that can be done. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 05:28, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Someone asks, "If you're not going to link Beza, Knox or Edwards, why have a template?"
This isn't the "Calvinists" template. The template isn't meant to be a list of names, or an advertisement for my brand of Calvinists. It doesn't have to have any personal names at all. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 06:00, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

I have restored the status quo ante. (As for RBs, I was trying to be diplomatic. Maybe I was misunderstood.) Mark, I never asked for an edit war. I did ask that you not confuse the uninitiated, a point that is apparently misunderstood. This is a simple task -- and it shouldn't be turned into a popularity contest or a voting booth. It shows the challenge of creating unrefereed articles about religious matters.

As for Barth, he could never be considered an example of Calvinism. You seem willing to take strident measures ("protecting" the template, chopping it up, or eliminating it entirely) to protect your ability to claim otherwise. This obviously violates NPOV, since at minimum, it is a debatable point upon which Wikipedia is neutral. Even worse, leaving it in can mislead the unschooled ones astray. It would be better for such an editor that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. But at least it won't be my neck. =) Yakuman 05:59, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Regarding neutrality, the Wikipedia is neither the Conservapedia nor the Theopedia, and it is not to be censored according to anyone's particular beliefs -- mine or yours. It is intended to incorporate all significant points of view, and I maintain that a common point of view is that Barth is Calvinist/Reformed (e.g., "...Calvin and Barth, as Reformed theologians, ..."[1], "Barth [is] Calvinism's greatest theologian since Calvin"[2]), no matter what we may think of him. I also don't think calling him Reformed in its general sense is a potential millstone since, for one, his entry makes clear that conservatives generally don't like him. Besides, any neophyte who picks up Barth thinking he's conservative and orthodox would not likely finish the first chapter of any of his major works since he tends to be so abstruse. Anyone who could understand him would by definition not be a neophyte, methinks.
I see that you not only have once again unilaterally deleted Reformed Baptists but also unilaterally removed PCA pastor Tim Keller from Category:Reformed theologians. The first is probably and the latter is almost certainly simple POV pushing, IMHO. Perhaps what you're seeking is Template:Conservative Calvinism, which would certainly exclude Barth. Hmm, but by your definition it would also seem to exclude Keller and Piper, for instance, though most would consider them conservative Calvinists. I suppose you could go with Template:Ultra-Conservative Calvinism. --Flex (talk|contribs) 15:08, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Yakuman, you said "I did ask that you not confuse the uninitiated"; and as Flex says, this is the language of censorship, not of "neutrality". I have reverted your changes, just once, to point out to you which edits do not strike me as being in the spirit of cooperation. Work through your differences in a more cooperative way, on the talk page, please. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 15:32, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
The version that I reverted to was suggested by you - when you said "If you're not going to link Beza, Knox or Edwards, why have a template?" Personally, I'm pretty much fed up with the idea of a list of top 5 Calvinists. But you seem to think that it's very, very important. So, following your suggestion, I've made a list that starts with what you discussed. That's called compromise. It's no fun; but it works. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 15:36, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
I suggest we keep the template as Mark has left it until we come to resolution here. --Flex (talk|contribs) 15:46, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
And for the record - the template never implied that Barth is an example of Calvinism, but only that he has had an extraordinary and intimate influence on Calvinism. The same can be said about Zwingli - who was not a Calvinist. But curiously, Barth is opposed because this would "confuse the uninitiated"; and yet, the inclusion of Zwingli is confusingly insisted upon. Please discuss this inconsistency, so that we can discern a constructive plan behind your actions. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 16:07, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Even "an extraordinary and intimate influence on Calvinism" is POV. Besides, you're expecting a level of subtlety that is beyond the casual reader. I suggest we keep the template as I has left it, regardless of how long the Barthian debate continues. This is a simple, simple issue.

As I said, leaving it in can mislead the unschooled ones astray. It would be better for such an editor that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. But at least it won't be my neck. =) Yakuman

Calvin is interpreted differently today, than before Barth. The Confessions and Catechisms are interpreted in a Barthian way, in the PCUSA, in the Scottish church, among the Magyars. Barth's influence on how Calvin is understood is enormous - a great tragedy, but a fact - not a POV.
"simple, simple" seems to be somewhere approximately equivalent to "obey".
If Barth is left out, I won't miss him. But you are misrepresenting the reason for putting him in; just as you are misrepresenting the reason for including Baptists. The template can't represent Calvinism as it ought to be; it should represent Calvinism as it is - and that includes RBs (and Barth), for better or worse.
Please discuss changes, and try to incorporate the work of others, instead of reverting. Nice is nicer. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 03:31, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Thomas Reid was "an extraordinary and intimate influence on Calvinism." So is The Grand Orange Lodge of Great Britain. So is Woodrow Wilson. That's too broad. "Calvin is interpreted differently today" among one group. And there are many within those groups who don't think about Barth much at all. Many of the modern neo-orthodox are critical of Barth. That's part of what makes it POV. This is simple, in that both issues are POV.
  • I hate to mention it again, but please don't talk about being nice after you've personally attacked me. That's just silly. If the work of others is deceptive and POV, reverting is necessary. Yakuman 03:54, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
You keep talking about being "attacked". I don't know what you're talking about. I disagree with you, that's all. That's allowed.
You have a way of saying "both issues are POV" that comes across as being "POV". Who's point of view is it, that Barth has had a significant influence on the way that Calvin is interpreted? It's just a fact. Look around you, in the mainstream churches. They don't read Warfield; they read Torrence. They don't know Hodge, they quote Bloesch.
But the inclusion of Barth was over my begrudging concession two years ago. I have not been arguing for his inclusion; I've only been explaining why he was included: not because he's a Calvinist, but because he has influenced Calvinism by his interpretation of Calvin - more than Amyraut, perhaps more than anyone since Beza. I suggest that those reasons are still valid. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:30, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Reformed Baptists straw poll

Polls are not binding, but they do allow testing for consensus. (See WP:CONSENSUS#Consensus_vs._supermajority.) Please only put "Yes", "No", or "Abstain" in the vote line. Put all discussion below. --Flex (talk|contribs) 15:46, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Do you support including "Reformed Baptists" as a link in the Calvinism template under the "Churches" heading?

Polls - meta

Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy or any other political system. Its primary method of determining consensus is discussion, not voting. Although editors occasionally use straw polls in an attempt to test for consensus, polls or surveys may actually impede rather than assist discussion. They should be used with caution, if at all, and may not be treated as binding. WP:NOT#DEMOCRACY Yakuman 03:58, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
It's in the hope that they will assist by promoting discussion instead of unilateral actions, that the poll is being taken. Thanks for the reminder, however: Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy, nor of tyranny. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:11, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

This is the very sort of personal attack I'm talking about. You first accused me of being and troll and now I'm a tyrant. I'm sorry, but I don't see why this should be dragged out. This should have been over days ago. As for this issue, I have explained myself clearly. I don't know what to say without repeating myself; in fact, I am repeating myself. You seem willing to take strident measures to enforce your opinion, which strikes me as the real tyranny. I have considered nothing that severe. Yakuman 04:39, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

That is not a personal attack. I posted advice that, if you think that others are being trollish, do not react. But like you, I see no reason why this should be dragged out. It should have been over days ago. 04:49, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

The obvious target is me, Mark. You want your POV enforced and I apparently stand in your way. I don't want my opinion enforced. The obvious NPOV point is that debatable subjects be left out. You realize this, but instead of accepting a necessary conclusion, you stretch the definition of debatable to strain the Zwinglian gnat and demand I give you a criteria. If you refuse to hear the simple arguments, why should I give you complex ones? Yakuman 04:57, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

What is not debatable? The Amyrauldians and Barthians debate that the Calvinists misinterpret Calvin. Freedom from debatability is a luxury, and not the same thing as NPOV. Verifiability is the measure. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 05:07, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

RB Discussion

see article: Reformed Baptist

People who are interested in learning about Calvinism because it's become a matter of controversy in their own ecclesial environment are probably Baptists. By itself that's not enough reason to include the link, but combined with other reasons -- the common usage of "Calvinist", the tendency (as far as I've seen) for RBs and conservative Presbyterians to make common cause far more often than not -- it just makes more sense to include it. (But then, I might be biased, being an RB myself.) A.J.A. 16:16, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

If we define a Calvinist as someone who adheres to monergistic salvation and the doctrines of grace, I support the inclusion of the RB crowd. If the definition of Calvinist is otherwise, I reserve the right to revoke my vote, depending on what definition is presupposed in this discussion.—Emote Talk Page 16:27, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
My position is that Calvinism has several commonly used meanings (including a strict adherence to one particular, precisely defined branch of the Reformed tradition, an adherence to the DoG, and a general position within the Reformed tradition [cf. the quote about Barth above from The Harvard Theological Review, etc.]), and we should be inclusive of all of these meanings even if we don't personally like all of them. (I can supply multiple references for each if anyone is in doubt about the multifaceted usage.) Some would exclude Barth as being outside of Calvinism, and others would further exclude Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, and Tim Keller as being outside, etc. etc. (you know what they say: Presbyterians do schism like Italians do spaghetti). However, the neutrality policy requires that we represent all significant points of view on the matter, which leads toward broader inclusion, not exclusion. In other words, we must be descriptionists (i.e., noting how the word is used), not prescriptionists (i.e., saying how it ought to be used). Now, who wants a big group hug? :-) --Flex (talk|contribs) 16:52, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Spurgeon was quoted as saying, "It is our firm belief, that what is commonly called Calvinism, is neither more nor less than the good old Gospel of the Puritans, the Martyrs, the Apostles, and of our Lord Jesus Christ." Evidently he had no difficulty with the label. Aside from the issue of believer baptism, he had much in common with the Presbyterians of his day.Brian0324 16:59, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
And he still does! --Flex (talk|contribs) 17:03, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Spurgeon is not necessarily an example of Baptist or RB thought. As I mentioned above, all sorts of people use the tag for themselves. It isn't a coherent, unified category. If we are talking about church government, then they are a subset of congregationalism. The RBs are such a complex group that they really deserve their own template. Yakuman 04:12, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Reformed Baptist churches are Baptist: a coherent, unified category. They differ from the rest of us by not baptizing their children, and by practicing congregationalist polity, etc.: like Spurgeon, Carl F.H. Henry, John Piper, who unlike other Baptists are Calvinists. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:15, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

These are only a few examples of a very, very large group, as I've said. The term is vague. For example, fundy baptists who routinely attack predestination will still call themselves "mild" Calvinists. And other Baptists, who accept it, refuse the name. It's too much to slog through and maintain NPOV. In fact, the category is so big that it really should be covered on its own. Yakuman

You're approaching this very subjectively, Yakuman. Particular or Reformed Baptists are Baptists who are also Calvinists. Simple. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:45, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

It would seem that way. Yet Baptists are a diverse lot and there are all sorts of people who don't resemble Spurgeon, Keller, or Henry and yet use the name. And there are others who do, yet want nothing to do with the term and concept of Calvinism. That's what makes the issue blurry. Yakuman 05:04, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Those who want nothing to do with the term and concept of Calvinism are not Reformed Baptists. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 05:09, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Just one small note: Tim Keller is not a Baptist, as Yakuman implies here. He's a baby-baptizing presbyterian. --Flex (talk|contribs) 12:50, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
There are all sorts of people who use the name "Christian" and might be considered by some to be the farthest thing from what is described in Scripture. If we approached Wikipedia according to the very narrow definitions that are provided in the Bible, it would be an impossible task to reconcile every article in order to exclude "false professors" by that standard. The same principle applies to the Template:Calvinism - if a notable figure like Spurgeon claimed to teach Calvinism - and is controversial because of his Calvinistic stance, then it is reasonable to include Calvinists who do not fit cleanly into Calvin's own definition - if he had one.Brian0324 14:12, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Zwingli and Barth

Yakuman, please explain your thinking. The non-Calvinist Zwingli belongs, but other non-Calvinist influences do not? That isn't simple. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 03:44, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

You have insulted me repeatedly on this forum just today. I cannot believe that you are asking a serious question. Yakuman 04:02, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

You might be a bit over-sensitive. I disagree with you more, with each measure you've taken; but I haven't insulted you. Thank you for tabling Zwingli for the time-being. I need your help to understand the criteria you are trying to apply, for including, or not. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:08, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but I don't see why this should be dragged out. This should have been over days ago. As I have previously stated, I take "warnings, treats, accusations or insults" very seriously. As for this issue, I have explained myself clearly. As for formal criteria, that is the Wikipedia Foundation's jurisdiction. I don't know what to say without repeating myself. You seem willing to take strident measures to enforce your opinion. I have considered nothing that severe. Please reconsider this line of action. Yakuman 04:24, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

There is nothing but stridency in anything you have done so far. But looking past all that, we've tried to discern a constructive reason for your objections, and we've operated accordingly.
Let me know why you think Zwingli should stay, but other non-Calvinist Reformed influences on the development of Calvinism should not be included. Do you have a reason? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 04:38, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

You seem willing to take strident measures to enforce your opinion. That includes deleting the template entirely. I have explained myself here clearly before. In case you missed it:

Mark, I never asked for an edit war. I did ask that you not confuse the uninitiated, a point that is apparently misunderstood. This is a simple task -- and it shouldn't be turned into a popularity contest or a voting booth. It shows the challenge of creating unrefereed articles about religious matters. As for Barth, he could never be considered an <insert favorite noun here> of Calvinism. This obviously violates NPOV, since at minimum, it is a debatable point upon which Wikipedia is neutral. Even worse, leaving it in can mislead the unschooled ones astray. It would be better for such an editor that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. But at least it won't be my neck. =)


Yes, I've read that before :-) — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 05:00, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Can you help me with the question I've asked though - about Zwingli? — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 05:01, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

By tabling Zwingli, I meant that we should wait until later to reintroduce him. Also, I believe it is a policy issue. I tried to table the RB issue, but it was misinterpreted as consensus. Yakuman 05:16, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't think anyone was waiting for your permission, to decide whether Calvinistic Baptists are Calvinists. I know I'm not. But I was interested in your reasons, if you were willing to discuss them, for your uncommon opinion. I think that's been done.
Perhaps you have a clearer idea now, why a non-Calvinist like Barth was included on the Calvinist template. It wasn't because of any reckless endangerment of the uninitiated; it was in the same encyclopedic spirit as your inclusion of Zwingli, another Reformed but non-Calvinist influence on the development of Calvinism.
In any case, IMHO the template is better now, than it was before you got started with your campaign; and some important issues have been aired, for posterity. It hasn't been pleasant, but it does appear profitable. So, thank you. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 07:47, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

You've restated your personal attack on me that I'm a "tyrant." Please stop. One more time:

  • Karl Barth is a controversial figure, so including him would entail making a judgment call that is beyond the NPOV scope of Wikipedia. It also misleads the newbies, which <ahem> is problematic.
  • Reformed Baptists are a big group that go beyond the evangelical sub-set that some here probably think of when they hear the name. Use of the term varies from individual to individual. Since Baptists are so numerous, especially in the USA, they can win any "consensus" they like, but I think the term "RB" is confusing.
  • Zwingli is controversial because of the folk theology of "Zwinglianism" that is (in my POV, unfairly) attributed to him, thus making him a goat in some eyes. At any rate, what you call "Calvinism" would not exist without him. BTW, I don't understand why you want to include the "Zwinglian" RBs but not Zwingli himself. At any rate, I put that on hold, because there are too many balls in the air. Yakuman 09:55, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Yakuman, no one denies that Barth is controversial, but how can you say that he "could never" (emph. added) be considered a Calvinist/Reformed theologian? I have absolutely no doubt that we can find sources that prescribe that he should never be considered such, but my overarching point in all of this is that under WP:NPOV Wikipedians must be descriptionists not prescriptionists -- that is, we must describe how the terms "Calvinist" and "Reformed" are commonly used, not how we think they ought to be used. Moreover, not only could Barth be called those things, he is called them in the quotations/citations that I gave above from two reliable sources (the Harvard Theological Journal and the Scottish Journal of Theology), and Google can supply many more such references. We may not agree with the theology espoused by folks who use the terms this way, but it is indisputable that Barth is commonly called a Calvinist and a Reformed theologian in reliable sources.
Hence, it is not biased or POV to include this more liberal view as you have repeatedly claimed. To the contrary, it is a violation of WP:NPOV to exclude this common view, particularly for the sake of potentially leading the "unschooled ones" astray (recall, the WP is not censored according to anyone's particular beliefs, and yet, your proposed protective measures on behalf of "newbies" and "the uninitiated" are just that -- censorship of a common view with which you disagree). By including Barth, we're not approving him or his theology; we're just saying that he is commonly classified this way, whether we like it or not. If you think I am misreading WP:NPOV, perhaps we can each state our case in a new section of the talk page and put in a request for comment from disinterested third parties. (For more on the millstone, see my comments above.)
So, regarding the challenge of creating unreferenced templates about disputable matters, perhaps a way to improve on the current practice is to put a section at the top of the template's talk page with references for all the disputable entries and invisible comments in the template itself directing an editor to the talk page for the references. Alternately, we could put references on the disputed entries, and add a show/hide section in the template to house the references. --Flex (talk|contribs) 14:18, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I haven't asked for Zwingli's removal, Yakuman. If I wanted only my kind of Calvinists on there, I wouldn't even want Edwards. What I asked you for is an explanation. You make my own point about the relationship between Baptists and Zwingli.
I would wager that if we took a poll among present observers, Barth would go down in flames. We can justify it by saying that Barthianism is as unlike Calvinism as any widely accepted Reformed deviation from Calvinism has ever been - which is a true and neutral statement. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 15:42, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
For the record, I don't consider Barth a Calvinist in anything but its broadest and vaguest sense. My point, however, is that on a template such as this, the neutrality policy obligates us to try to keep our personal preferences and theological opinions in check and to incorporate all major points of view. Hence, while I agree that Barth would likely go down in flames if we vote our opinions of him (I would vote against him, too!), if we vote on whether he is rightly included under the neutrality policy, I think it might come out differently. This is more a matter of constitutional interpretation than a theological examination. --Flex (talk|contribs) 15:57, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't appear that any editors are left, who will take up Keith's side of the story. Maybe Barth is old hat, or maybe when confessionalists start pushing their weight around, the liberals go quiet and wait.
In any case, I think that regardless of the Barth issue, the most obvious weakness of the template is that it tracks on the American, Old School Presbyterian line. There is no path to Hoeksema, Schilder, or Kuyper for example. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 17:35, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you that this needs some reference to Dutch Calvinism. In fact, I wish we had an article called "Dutch Calvinism." Yakuman (数え役満) 02:28, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, add it to the "todo" list for WikiProject Calvinism. That's what the "Requests" section is for. Or you could create it as a crosslink to Dutch Reformed Church if you prefer.
-- TimNelson 02:36, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Good idea, Yakuman. — Mark (Mkmcconn) ** 19:33, 4 April 2007 (UTC)