In our Podcast today we talk about rudeness and objectivity in the debate over Calvinism: LISTEN HERE
As most of you who listen to my podcast know, I have a deep respect for John Piper. He is wise to warn fellow Calvinists about cordiality and unity when dealing with the differences over soteriology. I would like to follow his example by warning those of my own perspective toward this same truth.
There may be uncertainty about what the scriptures teach regarding the role of God and man in the salvation process, but there is no lack of clarity when it comes to God’s desire for unity and love among the brethren.
The LIST OF VERSES that speak of God’s desire for us to love each other and treat each other with patience and charity is virtually endless. While we must never sacrifice truth for the sake of unity we also must not use our understanding of one doctrinal truth to dismiss the truth we know regarding God’s love of unity. It is possible to speak truth in love…to balance our reason and faith.
Here is the transcribed warning of Pastor Piper from his broadcast and I’d encourage all to listen to the podcast and realize this warning is for everyone on BOTH SIDES of this discussion.
Why are Calvinists so negative?
I love the doctrines of grace with all my heart, and I think they are pride-shattering, humbling, and love-producing doctrines. But I think there is an attractiveness about them to some people, in large matter, because of their intellectual rigor. They are powerfully coherent doctrines, and certain kinds of minds are drawn to that. And those kinds of minds tend to be argumentative.
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.
Another reason for Calvinists could be seen as negative is that when a person comes to see the doctrines of grace in the Bible, he is often amazed that he missed it, and he can sometimes become angry. He can become angry that he grew up in a church or home where they never talked about what is really there in Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 2, and Ephesians 2. They never talked about it—they skipped it—and he is angry that he was misled for so long.
That’s sad. It’s there; it’s real; the church did let him down, and there are thousands of churches that ignore the truth and don’t teach it. And he has to deal with that.
Another reason Calvinists might be perceived as negative is that they are trying to convince others about the doctrines.
If God gives someone the grace to be humbled and see the truth, and the doctrines are sweet to him, and they break his pride—because God chose him owing to nothing in him. He was awakened from the dead, like being found at the bottom of a lake and God, at the cost of his Son’s life, brings him up from the bottom, does CPR, brings him miraculously back to life, and he stands on the beach thrilled with the grace of God—wouldn’t he want to persuade people about this?
Do Calvinists want to make everybody else Calvinists? Absolutely we do! But it’s not about elitism. It’s about having been found by Christ and having the glory of God opened to us in the process of salvation. It’s about having the majesty of God opened in all of his saving and redeeming works, wanting to give him all the glory and all the credit, and cherishing the sovereignty and preciousness of grace in our lives. Why wouldn’t we want to share this with people?
If it is perceived as elitist, that is partly owing to our sinfulness in the way we go about it, and partly owing to people’s unwillingness to see what is really there in the Bible.
I just want to confess my own sins in how I have often spoken, and I hope and pray that I don’t have the reputation of being mainly negative, but mainly positive.
I look at my books sometimes when I hear that kind of criticism, and I say, “OK when I’m dead and gone, and all that is left is sermons and books, will my reputation be that? Will it be that I have a whole bunch of books and sermons that are mainly negative, harsh, and elitist?”
Time will tell. I hope not. -John Piper
In our Podcast today we talk about rudeness and objectivity in the debate over Calvinism. LISTEN HERE