Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Calvinism/FAQ/Calvinism scope

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Discussions pasted from Template talk:Calvinism[edit]

Karl Barth and all that[edit]

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)

Discuss changes[edit]

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)

Zwingli and Barth[edit]

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)