Nobody butchers Christian history, in my view, quite like Bob Thiel. Marcion, Gnosticism, Calvin, Luther, Melito of Sardis... you name it, you can bet Bob has an opinion. In his latest assault, Bob parrots Bacchiocchi about the supposed similarities between Gnosticism and Calvinism (!) before smugly delivering his personal imprimatur: "And on the above he is correct."
Yeah, yeah. Then Bob picks up a wide pasting brush: "It was Gnostic heretics like the second century Marcion that essentially set the stage of Calvinism, Lutheranism, and certain other forms of Protestantism."
Then there's, of all things, an altar call: "If you are Protestant, this may be a good time to wake up and realize that the God of love really does have a plan to offer salvation to everyone who ever lived. And that it was from heretics that “once saved always saved” originated."
But does Bob know what he's talking about? That is a question I'll leave to the discerning reader. Bob considers Marcion a Gnostic for example, which is highly debatable. Even a cursory check of Wikipedia would have prevented Bob from making that bungle: "Marcion is sometimes referred to as one of the gnostics, but from what assessment of his lost writings can be gleaned from his mainstream opponents, his teachings were quite different in nature." His contemporary in Rome, Valentinus, now he was a Gnostic!
Then there's that label - heretic. Careful there Bob, you might shoot yourself in the foot with that particular blunderbuss.
However, unless someone does a little background reading of their own, how would they know which orifice self-anointed experts are speaking out of? One solution, if you're interested in a readable but credible one-volume history of Christianity at a decent price, is Paul Johnson's History of Christianity. First published in 1976, this is a brilliant survey that will clue you in on any number of significant developments over the last two millennia.
If Bob wants to slap around the big names in Christian history I'm all for it... providing he at least gets it right! But fair's fair: on the principle of beams and splinters, why not tackle the super-jerks in our own tradition first? Herbert Armstrong for example. And when you're done there Bob, why not deliver a word or two of caution about Roderick C. "three-to-five years" Meredith?
And speaking of three-to-five-years, here's Bob himself in another posting just a day or two ago: "As regular readers of the COGwriter news page are aware, I do not believe that the Great Tribulation can begin until at least 2012–and that it will most likely start in 2013-2017."
Most likely not.