I was in the car the other evening listening to a Christian call-in radio show when one of the callers began to ask a question about the resurgence of Calvinism in the Church today. (I say “began to ask” b/c the host didn’t actually give the caller a chance to ask his question whatever it may have been). The host turned things over to a guest to answer, and, I’ll be honest, his response angered me a bit. (I say in all seriousness that I have repented & asked that God forgive me of my anger because I don’t think my anger was righteous anger) But let me try to explain my frustration.
First, let me say I am what one would consider a Calvinist. I did not start out that way, & I have no desire to debate Calvinism & Arminianism on here. I have believed on the Lord Jesus and am saved (Acts 16:31), & as Spurgeon has said, “I wish to be called nothing but a Christian.”
“There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer – I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.” (C. H. Spurgeon, a Defense of Calvinism)
So here’s the gist of my frustration: The guest stated that he feared the “neo-Calvinist movement”, as he called it, because it wasn’t biblical; that it was hyper-Calvinism & led to pride & not sharing the Gospel. He went on to make some statements that weren’t true of the people I know who would be considered Calvinists & to quote scriptures that were not mutually exclusive of the points he was trying to make. He then referred the caller to a paper the guest had written on free will versus Calvinism. Out of curiosity, I looked up his paper & saw in print more of the things I had heard during the program. My problem with all this is not that he disagrees with Calvinism because I once did too, & it was a long, difficult process through which my mind was changed. My problem was the attitude of this gentleman, the fear of Calvinistic beliefs, & the general disdain he seemed to have for anyone who would dare to believe this way.
As I think I have indicated, I believe the 5 points of Calvinism, but that does not mean that I despise those that would be considered Arminian in their beliefs because I understand where they are coming from. I don’t even feel I need to debate them; I can really only see myself discussing it face-to-face, cordially with a friend where I knew neither one of us would say or do anything to offend the other. I desire only that even with our differences that we live in brotherly Christian love with one another.
Of course there are beliefs that I hold with a closed fist, but this would be a scenario where I would hold these beliefs with an open hand.
“Many there are who cannot see these truths [the doctrines of God’s sovereignty], who yet are in a state truly pleasing to God; yea many, at whose feet the best of us may be glad to be found in heaven. It is a great evil, when these doctrines are made a ground of separation one from another, and when the advocates of different systems anathematize each other. . . . In reference to truths which are involved in so much obscurity as those which relate to the sovereignty of God mutual kindness and concession are far better than vehement argumentation and uncharitable discussion” –Charles Simeon
As with any of my posts, I welcome feedback as long as it is respectful. I hope this post fits the theme of this blog, & if it doesn’t, please let me know. And I desire to know if I have erred in any way, but as I stated above I have no desire to debate Calvinism & Arminianism in this medium.