No Tolerance for Calvin

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Oct 8, 2017.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Sophomore

    So a visitor came into our church today, and we were talking before worship. He asked if we were Calvinists, and he was told yes. He then said Jesus died on the cross, and not Calvin.

    Towards the end of the sermon, our pastor quoted Calvin. As soon as he said "John Calvin", I saw the man stand up and leave the service.

    It's sad how much disdain there is for his teachings. Many people have no patience with reformed teaching.
  2. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Unfortunately, this behavior is a symptom of the "thirty minutes or it's free" modern mindset. Google is but a click away and the results are all manner of nonsense and vitriol.

    Our walk of faith on matters we hold dear, is replete with hard sayings. It requires much study. Not a few of us come across as pedantic and arrogant when explaining what we actually believe. The cage-state Calvinist responding to the usual anti-Calvinist canards, is no help, too. Sigh.

    I have spent years on discussion sites explaining Reformed doctrines. I count it a small victory when some will admit that they had not read these things properly, were operating under false assumptions, etc.

    Sadly, anti-Calvinists have taken Rome's prevenient grace bait and we end up with the notion that men are sole captains of their own destiny. Until you can move your interlocutor to the view that fallen man is spiritually dead, not wounded, very little progress is made. Nowadays, the thousand plus years of the church's teachings on original sin are ignored or rejected outright.

    At the end of all conversations, it comes down to what Spurgeon nicely captured as the anti-Calvinist's prayer:

    “Lord, I thank thee that I am not like these poor, presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free will; I was born with a power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace as I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know that thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves… it was not thy grace that made us differ… I made use of what was given me, and others did not—that is the difference between me and them.”

    Src: "Free Will a Slave” The New Park Street Pulpit, 1855- 1856, Volumes I & II (Pilgrim 1975), 395-402.​

    Of course, as a man prays, so he believes: Lex orandi, lex credenda

    Few anti-Calvinists will admit to Spurgeon's characterization above. I suspect if we were privy to the words they lift up in their prayer closet, things would not as they profess publicly. Getting them to confront the logical conclusion of their positions hopefully exposes and raises some cognitive dissonance behind their position.
  3. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This is fairly common in some sectors of evangelicalism. People don't really know much about Calvin or Calvinism; they've just been taught things that aren't true.

    -First, they've been taught that Calvin's teachings are all about TULIP. Calvin's other contributions to understanding biblical Christianity are ignored. So they hear Calvin quoted and they assume the topic is TULIP.

    -Second, they've been taught that TULIP is akin to theological liberalism. They really believe that anyone who agrees with TULIP thinks personal faith is unnecessary, evangelism is pointless, and striving to obey God is optional.

    The result is that these people oppose Calvin and Calvinism (as they wrongly understand them) for some very good reasons. More than once I've been confronted by a sincerely concerned person who heard I might be a Calvinist. When I've explained what I believe and how I think it should shape my Christian life, they express relief: "Well, then, you clearly are not a Calvinist. Calvinists don't believe those things." If I respond that actually I do consider myself a Calvinist, they will correct me and tell me I am not one. It would be amusing if it weren't also sad.
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  4. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I know a Presbyterian pastor who loves to quote Calvin in sermons, but usually uses the phrase, "As one old theologian has said..." This pastor knows that to mention Calvin by name will cause many listeners to start debating TULIP in their minds, and so Calvin's name will be a distraction from the point being made. I once did something similar when writing about prayer: I quoted Calvin from the Institutes, but put his name only in the endnotes rather than mentioning it in the text. I knew the mere mention of his name would get some readers off track.
  5. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Piper gets to the heart of the matter:

    For example:
    "So the intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person, and that type of person doesn't tend to be the most warm, fuzzy, and tender. Therefore this type of person has a greater danger of being hostile, gruff, abrupt, insensitive or intellectualistic.

    I'll just confess that. It's a sad and terrible thing that that's the case. Some of this type aren't even Christians, I think. You can embrace a system of theology and not even be born again."​
  6. KeithW

    KeithW Puritan Board Freshman

    I have had a hard time finding a good church in my area. In my search there was one sermon I listened to were the pastor said, with contempt in his voice, "those Grace people".

    Even former Calvinists at times do not even understand what Calvinism is.

    The host of a podcast I listen to sometimes uses the phrase "Anti Calvinist Derangement Syndrome" when he plays video or reads what anti-Calvinists have said or written. It is prevalent in parts of the Southern Baptist Convention among the "tradionalists", a phrase which has nothing to do with the tradition on which the Baptist church was founded.
  7. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    It seems to me that most of the pushback I've heard is on Limited Atonement. Some people just cannot accept that, though it is plainly stated in the Scriptures, and Calvin didn't invent the concept.
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Some people are reactingto in their minds Calvin teaching a harsh and not loving theology, theydo not like us not being able to save ourselves by own efforts and free will, and also, sad to say, they have probably met someone who elevated Calvin or some other person top the position of being the 13th Apostle of the church.
  9. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Calvin himself seemed to be undecided on that particular issue, as sometimes he wrote strongly limited atonement, others times not so strongly. The main push back that I have had to deal with is on issue of free will, as those against Calvinism as God making us robots.
  10. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    When Calvin said that people were idol factories he knew what he was talking about.

    I always think it’s amusing when I hear an arminian pray for the lost and ask God to save them. And I guess we are all Calvinist when we pray.
  11. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Indeed: Lex orandi, lex credenda

    Basically all Arminians are Calvinists on their knees. ;)
  12. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    What is sad is that they really do not see that their theology has made lost sinners the center and source of salvation, as God did all that he could do, and waits and hopes some take Him on His offer to save them.
  13. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    I get that brother. At times it frustrates me. I only just this evening let my frustrations be known in a discussion elsewhere:

    "Rather than assuming what a Calvinist believes and then telling them so, why not try ad fontes? [​IMG]

    "Unlike the majority of anti-Calvinists, others of my ilk actually have spent over a thousand years writing and explaining exactly what we affirm and why from Scripture we do so, such that anyone can avail themselves of the details versus seeking the usual intellectually lazy methods found in discussion sites, blogs, social media, etc. Which is to say, don't just parrot others. While it plays well to the hoi polloi who relish the entertainment and their acedia, the discerning see it for what it really is: an unwillingness to use one's own mind for the glory of God.

    Lastly, teeing up the usual Calvin, Luther, Augustine, etc., quotes hoping to cast dispersion is more often an act of desperation, rather than substantive argumentation. The tactic assumes the intended respondents are some slavish sycophants of those that have come before them. The fact that all of these men have been dissected ad nauseam, even internecinely so, should inform the one plying these tactics that they have not stumbled upon some "Gotcha!" that has not been carefully examined. Unfortunately, they just mine a few quotes and present themselves as being informed about weighty matters. Don't take the bait."
  14. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Too true. Spurgeon touched on this in "Letters to My Students" when he addressed unsaved preachers.
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Jesus Himself said that the world will know and mark that we are following Him by our love for the brethren, and not how great our theology might be.
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