By Judson Casjens
Hornets are considered “social wasps,” and they build communal nests by chewing wood to make a papery pulp. Each nest has one queen, who lays eggs and is attended by workers who, while genetically female, cannot lay fertile eggs. Most species make exposed nests in trees and shrubs, but some build their nests underground or in other cavities.
Hornets, like many social wasps, can mobilize the entire nest to sting in defense, which is highly dangerous to humans and animals. The attack pheromone is released in case of threat to the nest. In the case of the Asian giant hornet, this is also used to mobilize many workers at once when attacking colonies of their prey, honey bees and other Vespa species. Three biologically active chemicals, 2-pentanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, and 1-methylbutyl 3-methylbutanoate, have been identified for this species. In field tests, 2-pentanol alone triggered mild alarm and defensive behavior, but adding the other two compounds increased aggressiveness in a synergistic effect.
Lighthouse Trails has recently published a book titled Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy which has created a firestorm of response, not unlike the response of the ‘threatened’ hornets above. In the world of the evangelical, Calvinism and Arminianism can and have co-existed side by side in peaceable fashion until…one side or the other becomes strongly vocal in the proclamation and insistence of their particular viewpoint, which of necessity usually means a negative pronouncement upon the other. Such strongly held and advocated positions become polarizing, heated, and divisive.
I was once asked by a pastor, elder board, and a church leader in charge of the educational dept. regarding my feelings and opinion on this issue, for there were some within the congregation objecting to any other teaching that was not Calvinistic, and correspondingly they wanted their position to be front and center. My considered response was simply that it was like “oil and water”—they generally cannot and will not live or mix within the same group—divisions will be inevitable. Aggressiveness, as with the hornets above, will increase as each side pushes for dominance—it is a genuine hornet’s nest!
Tragically, at least in my experience, neither side usually fully understands their doctrinal position. Also derived from my experience, the only belief ever articulated and actually taught in churches is that of the Calvinist, for they are aggressive in this area. Ask yourself, “in all the churches you have attended, what has been taught, if anything, on these teachings in any kind of detail? Whereas in the Arminian (designated so by the Calvinists, anything non-Calvinistic is declared Arminian) camp, the theology is rarely, if ever, enunciated in a systematic way so that a reasonable understanding would result. This has the outcome of any discussion being highly emotionally charged, for neither side in the end literally knows and understands what they are talking about!
For the record, and in order to explain my experience and position in these matters, a brief history. Prior to my college years (I was 28) I had no knowledge of anything in these areas—none—zilch—nada. In my 5 years of college, I was taught and/or exposed to Calvinism in virtually ALL my classes, even the required non-biblical ones. If there were any professors that weren’t Calvinists, they kept it well hidden. There were Calvinist’s of all stripes and persuasions, for you see Calvinism is a much varied belief system; there is no “one size fits all” theological system. So even if one is of that persuasion, know there will be many detractors within concluding that you are wrong. This, in and of itself, is odd for a teaching claimed to derive from Scripture.
But to the point, I am neither Calvinist nor Arminian; in my considered understanding, the Bible teaches neither of these with any degree of clarity, and even further, within both systems of thought, there is much falsity and that which perverts and distorts the Christian life and tragically, even the believer’s understanding of God. Both systems have as their greatest enemy the reading and consistent study of God’s Word in its context! That one thing, in and of itself, destroys much of the argumentation presented by either side. Much theological teaching is plagued with presuppositional “proof-texts” acting as the pillars of their respective teaching. On the other hand, churches have been guilty of not teaching their congregants to read, study, and interpret the Scriptures in their context for themselves, which inability in turn makes the congregants vulnerable to false theological teaching. This combination is a recipe for all sorts of misunderstanding and false teaching within the Christian community. And we are guilty of accepting this variety of teaching under the heading of being tolerant and non-judgmental; much of this, I am convinced, is due to not understanding ourselves what is being taught us coupled with an unwillingness to pursue an understanding.
God’s people are not being taught “how” to study Scripture for themselves! Yes we teach doctrine and Scripture, however, this is generally within the context of “spoon-feeding” or it takes the forms of surveys and superficiality; few studies make the student dig and derive for themselves; consequently, students possess little personal conviction and lack the “know-how” to ferret things out for themselves and defend what they claim to believe.
 This reasoning on their part tends to make much of their argumentation fall into the ‘straw-man’ (false premise) category.
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)