Friday, April 23, 2010

Settle Down, Hyper-Calvinist!

I'm not a Calvinist, but the so-called New Calvinism movement fascinates me. I love learning about different theologies because it helps me gain a better understanding of God. So I've been browsing the Christian blogosphere for blogs centered on Reformed theology. Some of them are great, like Remissioned, but then there are others that are a little too . . . hardcore for me. These Reformed blogs seem to stress Total Depravity a lot more than Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace. Don't get me wrong, I definitely believe we have all sinned, and that we are saved by God's grace alone. But some of these Reformed bloggers write about depravity and sin in a way that makes the Gospel sound like this:

For God so hated the world that He savagely butchered His only begotten Son (only for the elect, of course) that whosoever comes crawling on his knees and grovels pathetically at God's feet will not burn for eternity in Hell (although he should), but just maybe find himself in Heaven when he dies.

Boy, doesn't that sound like fun!

Now please don't get the wrong idea and think that I'm suggesting all Calvinists are like this. Far from it; I have Presbyterian friends who are very gracious. The kind of Calvinists I am referring to in the above quote are considered "hyper-Calvinists." Hyper-Calvinists tend to stress that their version of Calvinism--and Christianity in general--is the only way, period. For the Hyper-Calvinist, if your theology isn't totally aligned with those five points of Calvinism, you're not a true Christian. I never understood that, because from what I remember at the end it all boils down to believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He died for our sins.

Hyper-Calvinists are also notorious for discouraging evangelism. The way they see it, since God has already chosen who's going to Heaven and who's going to Hell, why bother telling people about Jesus? But according to Wikipedia, John Calvin actually said God offers His grace to both the elect and non-elect:

"And again, has not our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed men’s souls: true it is that the effect of his death comes not to the whole world: Nevertheless for as much as it is not in us too discern between the righteous and the sinners that go to destruction, but that Jesus Christ has suffered his death and passion as well for them as for us: therefore it behooves us to labour to bring every man to salvation that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ made be available to them." (John Calvin, Sermons on Job, Sermon 116 31: 29-32., p., 548, emphasis mine)

So here's my short little message to Hyper-Calvinists: chillax, dude!


  1. With all the news about young people flocking to Calvinism, I am so, so tempted to launch a funny PR campaign for Arminianism - complete with our own flower, a Mac-PC-style Web ad, and "Stuff Arminians Like" blog. :-)

    I actually think it might be a fun idea to sorta lighten up the conversation a bit by chuckling at our differences.

    ...But I'm not sure I want to make a name for myself as "the girl who makes fun of Calvinism," you know?

    It's just so tempting!

  2. very insightful article here...My experience with Calvinists are very similar to the way you have described them here!