One of the most frequent annoyances I have with theological debates is not necessarily the debates themselves, but the lack of proper usage of descriptors for theological positions. Calvinism being confused for fatalism being first and foremost in my mind. However, even some of my fellow Calvinists find a way to do something just as ridiculous, perhaps even more so. That ridiculous act is confusing “Armenian” with “Arminian.”
Look, I get it. They sound the same and are spelled almost identically. It sure doesn’t help that spellcheckers red line the word, which I jokingly like to think that the program recognizes the error in the theology itself. (That’s not the only joke, if you’re an Armenian and an Arminian, are you an Arminian Armenian or an Armenian Arminian?)
I imagine the new Christian or perhaps just someone who is looking in at the theological controversies that happens to be Armenian, wonders to themselves why there is such a disdain towards them, perhaps they could conclude some type of bigotry or racism from the detractor. As I’m writing this I came up with an example that I probably shouldn’t write down but I’m already typing so why not? John Wesley is an Arminian, Kim Kardashian is an Armenian.
Though I’m treating this issue with a bit of levity, it is important. This is more than just what outsiders might see, but is fundamental to our dialogue with the other side and sects of Christianity. If we can’t even spell their categorical positioning within Christianity’s wide spectrum, how on earth do you think you will come off when trying to tell them that they’re wrong about five major points in biblical teaching? (At least five.)
Besides the obvious ridicule you’ll get from making such a simple mistake, do you think your information will seem trustworthy to the Arminian you’re trying to convince? Like hey buddy, I know I couldn’t even spell the name put on your theology, but trust me, I sure do know all about why you’re wrong about X, Y and Z. Arminians are guilty of this as well, I cringe when I see Kalvanist and I’m bewildered by clvanist, I don’t know if that last one is a highly recurring typo or some type of mandela effect.
To sum it up, if you don’t know how to spell the topic, you probably shouldn’t be debating about it.