Why So Rude?

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.piperrude?

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

Here is a link to Desiring God.

In our Podcast today we talk about rudeness and objectivity in the debate over Calvinism.  LISTEN HERE

11 thoughts on “Why So Rude?

  1. This is a good and much needed warning for those of us Calvinists and those on the other side of the Christian aisle on the matter. I know far too many times I’ve been one of those proud and elitist types in conversations, online especially. Thanks for the post.

  2. I apologize if I came out as rude in any of our interactions. That was never my intention. But we never know how others perceive our words unless you receive feedback from them. I totally agree with your point. It reminded me of being careful when dealing in arguments especially with fellow Christians in public forums.

  3. I know that I can, and have, come across with too much harness and pride seen and felt in the words I choose! I hope, Leighton, that you will feel free to call me out when you sense that in my posts. I don’t want to be known for that!

  4. I appreciate this post. As an Arminian, I have been called many things by some Calvinist brethren that I will not repeat here. I seek to love my brothers and sisters who may or may not agree with me. Thankfully Jesus came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and neither Arminians or Calvinists and all us fall into the sinner camp.

    1. Hey Seeking Disciple – Glad you visited this blog! I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am! If you don’t mind me asking, and for the sake of seeing what kind of Arminian you are so I might be of some encouragement in your seeking… Do you believe that after your bodily resurrection that you will still have a free will but will no longer be able to lose your salvation?

      1. I know one Arminian who does but I don’t see this view supported in Scripture. I would say, from my perspective and not Arminius’ since he didn’t address this issue, that in heaven we will still have free will in that we will freely worship God and serve Him but since the curse will be forever removed and Satan himself destroyed, sin itself will be gone and perfection has come. Just my thoughts there. Hope I answered your inquiry. Thanks brother.

      2. Thank you for kindly replying – Seeking Disciple! I am glad you are thinking through this aspect of everlasting salvation, where it will never be lost, (at least from the point of the new heavens and new earth forward, in your view) and that a type of free will still is retained. That free will, I think you will agree, will not be able to sin or to stop trusting in God at that time.

        May I ask, that though you do not believe the Scripture teaches a believer is confirmed in everlasting life until heaven, do you think God had the power to do that for a believer even before getting his resurrection body, but chose not to do so for some reason? In other words, could God have given everlasting life at regeneration, confirming that the will was still free in some way, but unable to stop trusting in God, even though it was still able to sin until the time of resurrection?

        And as a follow up to your comment, do you think it is only because of Satan and the curse that man is now able to sin? Thanks.

  5. I have talked to other religions and cults and atheists… none were as rude, condescending and inconsiderate as some Calvinists. Why is that? Has the arguments gone on so long people get calloused? Or does Calvinism give people a superiority complex?

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