It is a situation that is becoming all too common. An unsuspecting individual begins to innocently search the internet for information on a particular subject and suddenly finds his or herself faced with the perils of Reformed theology.
"I was helping my ten-year-old son do a report on American Government." Said Kenneth Lyons, a concerned parent. "We were about to research America's election process, so we went to Google and typed in "election." The phone rang and I stepped out for no more than 5 minutes, and when I returned I found Eric reading some article by a guy named R.C. Sproul about believers being "elected" and "predestined" by God for salvation. I just freaked out! I didn't know what to do."
Lyons' story is not unique. Families and entire churches are discovering daily the theological risks of surfing the internet.
"We lost our pastor to this mess." Said Olivia Karnes, a member of Lynchburg Church of God. "We had begun to notice that Brother Smith's preaching was changing. He started preaching through Ephesians every Sunday. The next thing he did was he stopped doing altar calls! Then it all came out one Sunday. They found sermons on his computer from all these Calvinist guys and links to blogs like The Pyromaniacs, and Calvinist Gadfly. There was no choice. We had to let him go. Our church is still healing from this crushing blow."
But it was these kinds of stories that prompted a team of students and professors at Liberty University to develop a software that would protect people from accidentally or intentionally being exposed to Calvinism on the internet. Net Finney, named for the famous 19th-century Pelagian evangelist Charles Finney, effectively filters out 99.9% of Calvinist and Reformed literature and media on the internet.
"We think this is a tremendous step in stopping the spread of Reformed materials." Said Dr. Ergun Caner, president of Liberty University's theological seminary. "Now parents can rest easy letting their kids surf the web without the fear that they will turn into Calvinists."
In addition to blocking Calvinist and Reformed media the software will automatically filter any Calvinistic content out of sermons by renowned 19th-century Baptist minister Charles H. Spurgeon.
"It's an exciting development." Said Pastor James Yeates of New Hope Baptist Church, Lynchburg. "This Calvinism thing is literally infecting our Southern Baptist Churches. I hope this helps put a stop to things."