Note: This was written before the author’s conversion to Orthodoxy.
At least according to PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. It is pretty easy to tell when whomever makes a news report is not a believer at all, simply by observing how foreign Christianity appears to her/him. In this case, Bob Faw is the reporter who just doesn’t get it.
There has been a resurgence in the last few decades of Reformed Theology/Calvinism. This is troubling to a lot of Arminians because it puts their illogical worldview into question and it confuses everyone else who was taught since fifth grade that Calvinism is a strange religious doctrine from the 1600s that was used to burn witches and oppress women.
This “news report” on the resurgence of Calvinism in a Lousiville, KY church betrays its disdain for Calvinism theology, based purely upon stereotypes of what Calvinism supposedly is.
Here are a few quotables (not ad verbatim, but pretty close):
- “Sojourner Community Church in Louisville KY appears like any other run of the mill baptist church…but it is infused with…(insert evil music)….CALVINISM!”
Run for the hills! Your church, maybe unbeknownst to you, is teaching Calvinism under your nose!
- “John Calvin’s basis belief is that everything is God’s will (GASP!), including who is saved!”
God can’t do that! That would be, you know, all unfair and stuff. God loves everyone equally…right?
- “The growth of Calvinism in the Southern Baptism Convention has concerned many and has not always been welcomed…Thirty percent of SBC pastors consider their churches (insert more evil music) CALVINIST.”
Apparently, we have an epidemic on our hands.
- “Steve Lemke fears that the debate over Calvinism can split the Southern Baptism Convention.”
We don’t want divisiveness, we want to all get along. Let’s just drop the Calvinism, it doesn’t matter whether it is true or not…
- “An advisory group within the SBC advised that pastors be forthcoming about their Calvinist beliefs when being considered for a job.
Watch out! Calvinist preachers are a secret fifth column element looking to subvert a church near you…maybe even yours!
- “The appeal of Calvinism is its certainty…”
Of course, that’s not the appeal of any other theology or religion…
- “Calvinism also appeals to some, uh (cough), Baptism women (chuckles), who, uh, who believe the Bible tells ’em to submit graciously to males.”
This one liner sent me over the edge to make this post. It’s at about the 4 minute mark and it shows a bunch of women in the middle of singing (implying that they are mindless or something) and states with an incredulous tone of voice that Calvinism gives some women an excuse to have a worldview that belongs in the stone age.
- Calvinist woman being interviewed: “I have a husband, who I believe, is called by God to be the head of our home and I’m happy with that.”
Where did she get this crazy idea? Calvin’s Institutes, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Corinthians 11, or some other 16th century work that was not originally in the Bible?*
- “Some of us have trouble believing that God from eternity had pre-selected only a certain number to be saved from that small group of people.”
This Arminian objection to me doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If God can give Elijah the ability to outrun a chariot and can raise children of Abraham from stones, doesn’t it stand to reason if it was only man’s free will and the lack of good opportunities to convert people that prevents more people from being saved, can’t an all-powerful God fix that?
Can’t he give preachers super powers such as instantly healing people today, so you would have to be stupid not to believe them? Why doesn’t God bless preachers with even more wisdom, so all would be as wise as Solomon, and they can be more convincing as preachers and save more people?
The Arminian god is either not all-powerful (because He can’t do that stuff), not omniscient (doesn’t know whether He should do that stuff and if only He knew my suggestions He’d do a better job), or he is not omni-benevolent (He obviously doesn’t wish all people to be saved because He doesn’t do all in His power to save them.)
Ultimately, Arminians will have to concede to one of these points, or they will argue that God is benevolent even though He doesn’t save everyone. Wow, what you basically have is Calvinism! If God doesn’t do all He can to save everyone (which is obvious) doesn’t that mean it is His sovereign will not to? And that means, because God knows the future, that maybe He purposely gives each a measure of faith and spiritual gifts, but not a treasure trove of them, because He doesn’t want to reach as many people that theoretically can be reached?
This troubles a lot of people, but what I see is not a paradox, but a God who demands obedience and striving from the part of believers to preach the Gospel and constantly hit the limit of their natural ability and depend upon grace. And, if grace was always given in its full measure to everyone indiscriminately, grace would no longer be grace.
- “Sometimes, Calvinism’s over focus on wrath and righteousness distracts from the fact that God is love.”
I knew it all along, Calvinists are just hateful people. On a serious note, however, God is love, but not the way man loves. We fall far short of the love that is known to us in God’s Son Jesus Christ.