I am a contender of the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). I wasn’t always able to say that, particularly when I aligned myself with false doctrines that presented a skewed view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 18 months, I have evolved from many things: being a subservient “yes man” in a mega-ministry, being a dutiful “son” who loved his “spiritual daddy” more than he loved God, being an ignorant Christian who consulted the Word of God only after consulting with the “mand of gawd”.
In that time, the Lord has allowed me to create this blog to not only expose false teachers and false doctrine, but to present His Gospel – unmolested, unvarnished, and true to it’s historical roots.
I have evolved into a Monergist.
I don’t really like the name “Calvinist”. I have nothing against Calvinists (some of my closest friends identify themselves as such). I just believe that the term is too misleading overall, as evidenced by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon’s defense of Calvinism:
[...] It is unfortunate for Calvinism that it is called Calvinism. Charles Spurgeon rightly stated that “Calvinism is nothing more than a nickname for Biblical Christianity.” He was right. The name is often a warrant for despisement though. People say because we follow a man named Calvin, we are not following God. Does not Paul say in 1 Cor. 1:12, “Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or I am of Christ.” is Christ divided?” Paul is right. We are not to follow after men. We are to follow after God for sectarianism is a sin rebuked by the 1st chapter of 1 Corinthians. But do Calvinists really follow Calvin? No. It is actually wrong to call Calvinists “Calvinist” because they are doing nothing other than using the same body of doctrine that Calvin used, who in turn copied Augustine, who in turn copied the church fathers and they, who in turn, followed Christ and the Apostles.
I appreciate and embrace John Calvin’s tireless exploration of church doctrine (Total Depravitiy, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints) as well as Martin Luther’s courageous break from the “universal” (i.e. catholic) church in 1517, sparking the Protestant Reformation.
Apparently, many others have also embraced historical biblical Christianity. According to a recent article in Time magazine, Calvinism/Monergism is “making a comeback”:
[...] Calvinism is back, and not just musically. John Calvin’s 16th century reply to medieval Catholicism’s buy-your-way-out-of-purgatory excesses is Evangelicalism’s latest success story, complete with an utterly sovereign and micromanaging deity, sinful and puny humanity, and the combination’s logical consequence, predestination: the belief that before time’s dawn, God decided whom he would save (or not), unaffected by any subsequent human action or decision.
Calvinism, cousin to the Reformation’s other pillar, Lutheranism, is a bit less dour than its critics claim: it offers a rock-steady deity who orchestrates absolutely everything, including illness (or home foreclosure!), by a logic we may not understand but don’t have to second-guess
[...] Neo-Calvinist ministers and authors don’t operate quite on a Rick Warren scale. But, notes Ted Olsen, a managing editor at Christianity Today,“everyone knows where the energy and the passion are in the Evangelical world” — with the pioneering new-Calvinist John Piper of Minneapolis, Seattle’s pugnacious Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Seminary of the huge Southern Baptist Convention.
[...] “A lot of young people grew up in a culture of brokenness, divorce, drugs or sexual temptation,” says Collin Hansen, author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists.“They have plenty of friends: what they need is a God.” Mohler says, “The moment someone begins to define God’s [being or actions] biblically, that person is drawn to conclusions that are traditionally classified as Calvinist.” Of course, that presumption of inevitability has drawn accusations of arrogance and divisiveness since Calvin’s time.
I also found an article on John Piper’s “Desiring God” blog (published in 2007) that also dealt with the accusation of arrogance in Calvinist circles:
[...] There is a letter on Scot McKnight’s blog from a pastor who is very frustrated with certain Calvinists in his church. It would be easy enough to disregard it, pointing out that not all Calvinists are like that or that his use of the word “hyper-Calvinist” doesn’t match correct theological jargon. But that would be missing the point. And, ironically, that reaction would only lend credence to the frustration that motivated the letter in the first place.
[...] Calvinists come across as self-righteous, condescending, arrogant, unfriendly, argumentative, and even stingy. The fact that we’re not all that way is irrelevant in the same way that it didn’t matter to Molly that I had done three things to show I appreciate her—she still felt unappreciated. Her frustration was true because, whether or not I was grateful to my wife, I was perceived as an ingrate. Similarly, the frustration in the letter is true because, whether or not the Calvinists in the letter-writer’s church are good folks, they come off as proud and divisive jerks. Those Calvinists, as church members, and I, as a husband, should change based on this information, regardless of how “inaccurately” the frustration may be worded.
[...] It won’t be easy to change the pejorative stereotype that clings to Calvinism, but we can start by admitting that it is accurate far too often. Then we can make sure we are manifestly not self-righteous, condescending, arrogant, unfriendly, or argumentative.
I’m sure that many of you who absolutely abhor me and this blog will contend that I have come across as arrogant, condescending, argumentative, and more that can’t be shared in a “family-friendly zone”.
Those of you who would defend me, save your breath – I agree with the detractors on this one…sort of.
While I strive to be balanced, fair-minded, objective – I can get pretty snarky, sarcastic, and downright mean to those who taunt me. Sometimes the pain of my former allegiance to false gospels is mixed in with my love for God’s true Word, and I take the bait and “give it” as good as I “got it”.
I’ll do my part – I’ll try earnestly to defend the Word of God without being arrogant and condescending, particularly because it is only by God’s grace that I am no longer chasing false gospels and false teachers. I know where I came from, and it is my humble prayer that many more join me on the “outside” of what I consider “the cult”.
That said – can you passionately pursue the truth of the Word of God without being labeled “divisive”? Apart from semantics and an occasional flare up, is the “divisive” label liberally applied to any believer who dares offend the delicate sensibilities of others - particularly sinners – by stating what God said from His Word?
I’m curious to read your thoughts on the matter…