Derek Rishmawy asks for the umpteenth time why Calvinists are so proud and dismissive:
Let’s be honest and say a lot of Calvinists won’t admit this difficulty [i.e. election, divine sovereignty, origin of sin], and it comes out in the condescending, aggressive, abrasive, and unhelpful way they approach theological engagement with people who disagree. You know the kind. You can find them in Bible studies, blog comment sections, insular Reformed churches that nobody visits; the archetypical newbie who presents masterfully botched iterations of Reformed doctrines, as if they were the most obvious truths of God that only a perversely obstinate fool could miss; the crusty expert who adds in just enough condescension and sneering to belie all his talk of grace. (“Just watch this sermon on Romans 9 and you’ll thank me for showing you how dumb you are.”)
This was my final reason for being put off from Calvinism: really arrogant, thickheaded, (often young) know-it-all, sneering Calvinists. Who wants to be planted in soil that yields such fruit?
So he asks for Calvinists to be patient and humble with “Reformedish” people like him:
I’ve only slowly come around to the Reformed tradition. It’s taken years of reading different texts, working through heavy issues in metaphysics, thinking deeply through implications of the Creator/creature distinction, and coming to appreciate the Reformed tradition beyond its soteriology. I was brought into its richer tradition of spirituality through an appreciation of its emphasis on a constellation of biblical doctrines like revelation, union with Christ, providence, the atonement, and the Lord’s Supper, which form the proper background for its teaching on election.
That process didn’t happen in a vacuum, though. A couple patient buddies embodied helpful humility toward me as I worked through the issues. They were quick to celebrate the truths we shared together. They argued graciously with me at the right times but never questioned my faith or intelligence. They pointed me to good resources and were willing to read some of the ones to which I pointed them. Essentially they took the time to hear and understand my problems as we discussed. More than that, they honestly tried to extend the free grace that they believed they’d received from God through no merit of their own.
Please don’t hear this article as a call to abandon theological engagement or clear preaching of the truth—even of the distinctives—or some kind of squishy, lowest-common denominator Christianity. It’s simply a reminder that, yes, a lot of this stuff is weird and counterintuitive at first, so we should be understanding, especially if we want to be heard.
Seems like a reasonable point if you weren’t already “he director of college and young adult ministries at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Orange County, California.” In which case, some of the frustration with Director of Ministry Rishmawy could be that he’s supposed to be giving the answers, not raising the questions.