Calvinists are Mean — Again

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.

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47 Comments

  1. Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    What exactly is the “United Presbyterian Church” these days?

  2. Bruce
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    The UP (before its absorption) was well-represented in California. The denomination as a whole was fairly conservative, and frankly their j&r with the PCUSA was surprising to many (but revealing as to the naivete of that body, ca. 1950).

    Many UP churches had “United” in their charter names, and they kept those names often. I can recall seeing the beautiful limestone facade of the old UP church in Salinas, CA, with 14″ lettering, an inch deep: “UNITED PRESBYTERIAN” still dominates the perspective.

  3. Pat Roach
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    As mentioned above they are PCUSA:
    https://www.pcusa.org/congregations/6812/

    The UPC church here in Portland recently left that denomination to join the EPC.

  4. Posted February 5, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    So who is ‘Calvin -ist’ in this complaint piece?

    http://t.co/BfafyPoV0K

  5. mark mcculley
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    “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 accusing finger points back to the accuser. Though the Reformed faith in reality teaches that nobody can or will believe the gospel apart from the effectual call, Rishmawy accuses Reformed people of thinking the truth of the gospel will be obvious to the unregenerate.. Instead of looking to a supernatural work of God in our minds to know the truth, Rishmahy congratulates himself for
    reading a lot of books and doing a lot of hard work before he overcame the vestiges of creationism and dispensationalism and becoming “Reformed”

    Now he is showing what a great Christian be is by being judgmental and impatient with “insular” folks (thank god he’s not like them) and by being “gracious” toward the lazy people who won’t do the work he did or who simply don’t have the intellectual equipment he had….

    Let’s. Who’s the “us”?

    First, Rishmahy is defending the five Arminian points as a less consistent and less mature expression of the gospel.

    Second, Rishmahy views all evangelicals as Christians who will be more apt to listen to “us” if we agree up-front that we are all Christians. Liberalism is not Christianity, but liberals are Christians.

    Third, he sees the Reformed faith as fixated on artificially rigid doctrinal hair- splitting which sacrifices the lives of people on the altar of being right, or values winning an argument about “truth” over showing love.

    His conclusion: Roman Catholics and Arminians are true Christians who mean well and are a little confused, but confessional Reformed are mean people who don’t know that God’s grace is best seen when that grace is given to those who either deny grace or are ignorant of grace. Don’t ask and don’t tell and God’s grace will operate apart from knowledge….

    Rishmahy’s apologetic is Arminian in that it depends on human sovereignty to seek out and accept truth (or not). He has no thought of God’s effectual call. His strategy is one of divine dependence on the will of man for salvation and forgiveness and “growth”

    Whereas the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was necessitated out of the fact that salvation could not be gained by human work or righteousness (Isaiah 59:15-20; Galatians 2:21; Titus 3:5), Arminianism grounds salvation ultimately in the human sinner, asserting that God’s actions toward sinnners are indiscriminate and that the difference between those who belong to God and those who do not is not found in God, who treats all sinners the same but is found in the sinner’s free will.

    In the face of the biblical statements about the horrible judgment that fell on Christ and the purpose of this work on the cross to secure the salvation of his elect people, we must reject any idea that Arminianism is only another version of the gospel, or a less biblically consistent reading of the gospel. The transition from being evangelical to being Reformed is seen by this argument as a transition from one seat to another on the same bus.

    let me quote somebody mainline Reformed people like to quote. Bonhoeffer—there are some who, when they find out that the bus is going the wrong direction, walk toward the other end of the bus.,

    If the “Arminian” bus is headed for a fatal precipice, and I can see it as one who is “Reformed”, am I showing love to the people on the bus by smiling and waving, with some friendly “pre-evangelism”, after first assuring that all of “us” on the bus are going to the same place?

  6. The Mad Hungarian
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if part of the reason Reformed folk are charged with meanness (apart from those new to the tradition who are still in the cage-phase) could be explained by a failure to fit into the martyrdom paradigm.

    Take Roger Olson, for example. He thinks everything Reformed is evil. Why? Because somehow the Reformed have persecuted Arminians throughout history (never mind that Arminians were jailing non-Arminian Reformed ministers in the United Provinces, but I digress).

    From what I have observed, Reformed folk tend not to view ourselves as martyrs or victims and maybe this, combined with our foreign theological categories and austere worship, causes others to assume that if we are not martyrs then we must be the ones making them.

    If the popular, evangelical, and Arminian narrative (dare I say world-view?) is one of the oppressed and the oppressor and if the Reformed don’t seem to fit the oppressed model along with the other evangelicals, then there is only one other alternative.

    Ironically, Olson is also a great example of just how vindictive the faux-oppressed can be when it comes to interacting with the Reformed. Despite popular over-the-top disapprobation of Reformed attitudes and theology, there is a decided paucity of Reformed complaint about evangelical and Arminian meanness.

    Perhaps one could chalk it up to the effects of believing in a strong doctrine of providence, a habit of rolling with life’s punches and not sweating the small stuff. Or maybe it is just that we are not really listening to such mean-spirited remarks and if we do hear them, we just don’t care that much.

  7. Posted February 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    heh

  8. mark mcculley
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Calvin: Some people complain all the time! They complain about the least little thing! If something bugs them, they never let go of it! They just go on and on long after anyone else is interested! It’s just complain, complain, complain! People who gripe all the time really drive me nuts! You’d think they’d change the subject after a while, but they never do! They just keep griping until you start to wonder, ‘What’s wrong with this idiot?’ But they go on complaining and repeating what they’ve already said!

    Hobbes: Maybe they’re not very self aware.

    Calvin: Boy, that’s another thing that gets on my nerves!

  9. Posted February 5, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Mad – Perhaps one could chalk it up to the effects of believing in a strong doctrine of providence, a habit of rolling with life’s punches and not sweating the small stuff. Or maybe it is just that we are not really listening to such mean-spirited remarks and if we do hear them, we just don’t care that much.

    Erik – It’s also possible that we’re just a**holes. Hopefully not, though.

  10. Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Madman, you have a point. In general Calvinists don’t think of themselves as looooosers. But if we had a theology of the cross, would we be so inclined to embrace the image of victors. Lutherans have the theology of the cross and don’t seem to think of themselves as victims.

  11. The Mad Hungarian
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    DGH, I doubt that Reformed folk think of themselves as winners or victors (maybe as pilgrims?). I tend to associate victorious-life-Christianity with fundamentalism or Billy Graham (but you’re the expert here, not me).

    I would imagine that for Lutherans a theology of the cross avoids a victor/victim paradigm because it is christocentric. A victor/victim mentality is not focused on Christ, but on one’s own suffering or striving. (You know, like those awkward conversations with your evangelical friend who is telling you quite seriously about his persecution for the sake of Christ because some of the guys from work don’t like to golf with him because all he talks about is crazy evangelical or political stuff).

    For the Reformed, the charge of meanness is not a deathblow because we do not associate niceness with a sinless life. In fact, the Reformed are quite willing to acknowledge our sinfulness — so being called mean is no great shock because we all know that we are much worse than big meanies.

  12. Posted February 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Mad and DGH,

    Not looosers, not victorious lifers… But those who rejoice in being recipients of Christ’s victory-

    4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
    5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-
    6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    (Eph. 2)

  13. Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Calvinists are “mean”.

    The only time that they come close is when they attempt to stack up their weak assurance (that they truly are of the elect) by ultimately looking inward at themselves and their religious performance…as compared to us “meaner” Lutherans, who don’t look to ourselves…EVER…but to the external Word and sacraments only. That is how we can have real assurance.

    OK, meanies…let me have it : )

  14. Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Madman, maybe not victors, but transformers. Think neo-Calvinism.

  15. mark mcculley
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Forde—Since the theology of glory is like addiction , it is a temptation over which we have no control in and of ourselves, and from which we must be saved. As with the addict, mere exhortation and optimistic encouragement will do no good. It may be intended to build up character and self-esteem, but when the addict realizes the impossibility of quitting, self-esteem degenerates all the more. The alcoholic will only take to drinking in secret, trying to put on the facade of sobriety. As theologians of glory we do much the same. We put on a facade of religious propriety and piety and try to hide or explain away or coddle our sins…. As with the addict there has to be an intervention, an act from without. The preaching of the cross is analogous to that intervention. It is an act of God, entirely from without.
    ― Gerhard O. Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518

    http://standardbearer.rfpa.org/articles/where-are-theologians-cross

  16. Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Steve – The only time that they come close is when they attempt to stack up their weak assurance (that they truly are of the elect) by ultimately looking inward at themselves and their religious performance…as compared to us “meaner” Lutherans, who don’t look to ourselves…EVER…but to the external Word and sacraments only. That is how we can have real assurance.

    Erik – We’re not crazy about our revivalistic pietists either. Hoping the Callers will pick them off.

  17. Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Come to think of it, maybe the Callers already have.

  18. Stephen
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    My encounters with Calvinists and in college –where I first met knowledgeable, intelligent Calvinists and started to reconsider my opposition to it– were a mixed bag. There were those who would not really qualify for the title around here, in my experience mostly of a very pietistic bent who wanted strict rules and constant spiritual experiences. The more traditional, OPC-style Calvinists did sometimes seem to match Eric C’s term.

    Not entirely, of course, but they often seemed pretty condescending and arrogant in their treatment of us lesser Christians. I didn’t see myself as a martyr or them as oppressors, but they did seem pretty lacking in charity. Of course, it’s not fair to judge a whole group only by their college-age representatives.

    Anyway, I guess you can chalk it up to evidence of God’s sovereignty that I started to come around eventually despite some of my interactions with young and zealous representatives. On the other hand, one of the things that eventually attracted me was what I learned from older, and more winsome, members of the same congregation.

  19. Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    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.”

    Would that mean that his wife is “SHE director of college and young adult ministries”?

    Mad & DGH: fascinating concept of martyrdom/victimhood. I think 2Kers like us avoid that because we don’t tie the church’s success or mission to the sob story that Fox News sells.

  20. Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Stephen,

    We’re the best people around if you can stand us.

  21. John H.
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I suppose there are some mean Calvinists but I am not sure that is worse than sentimentalist Arminians. How true would the charge be if we removed from its total weight all those occurrences where the Calvinist came across the way he did because he didn’t care if people liked him or not? There is something noble about that even though it lacks glory in the present age.

  22. kent
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    we’re mean?

    **** em and the horse they rode in on if they can’t take a joke…

  23. mark mcculley
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Todd P—don’t worry—in the PCA you can switch to “we do infants also” without ever saying a word about any of the five points

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/02/my-name-is-todd-and-arminians.php

  24. sean
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I don’t get the ‘mean’ caricature, unless it’s being contrasted with sentimental terrorism, facebook for example, or evangelicalism. Then, Calvinism is to be preferred for it’s very ‘meanness’.

  25. Stephen
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Erik,

    I’m getting that, especially as I try to dig into this more. It’s hard figuring this stuff out with no Reformed church or community nearby. A pastor I sometimes communicate with long-distance has been very helpful and gracious. Still, there are more than a few Reformed people I’ve met or read who seem like Walter: not wrong, just…well you know.

  26. Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Stephen,

    Where do you live?

    “Still, there are more than a few Reformed people I’ve met or read who seem like Walter: not wrong, just…well you know.”

    Hide thine eyes from the “Do I Need a Strategy for Dining on Sweetbreads” string. Please…

  27. Stephen
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    I live with my family (wife and daughter, not parents) in a rural, mountainous part of SW Colorado, forgive the redundancy. We are a good hour or two from the closest Reformed churches that I’ve found through the OPC, URC, etc. Given that we measure snowfall in feet, that time estimate could increase quite a bit. We are muddling along for now, and may not be here much longer anyway. I’m waiting on some grad school applications at the moment. We are attending a local REC for now. I didn’t realize their “reformed” was different. But I’ve gotten a dispensation from the OPC pastor I mentioned, so I guess we are in the clear.

    I unfortunately already explored that thread, and counted six distinct brands of screwy before giving up.

  28. Dan
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Stephen- “I unfortunately already explored that thread, and counted six distinct brands of screwy before giving up.”

    Only six?

    It has only been within the last decade or so that (all about) I have interacted with seriously confessional reformed types through local church work. Without exception, they are a pleasure to work with. You will be fine when you find a local church.

  29. Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Sean, tweeted your all-star comment:

    I don’t get the ‘mean’ caricature, unless it’s being contrasted with sentimental terrorism, facebook for example, or evangelicalism. Then, Calvinism is to be preferred for it’s very ‘meanness’.

  30. Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Stephen,

    Here’s some good sermons that you might enjoy.

    http://www.providencerc.org

    The pastor would be glad to visit with you if it would ever be helpful.

  31. Stephen
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Erik,

    Thanks, I appreciate the link. Did you grow up in a Reformed church/family or come into it later?

  32. Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    After spending 10 weeks at Hebron Colony Ministries in Boone, North Carolina I can relate with McMark’s post. I think what he said about the Arminian: (read evangelical) gospel is right on point. I made the grave error one day during a teaching session at Hebron (the teaching staff being Arminian but denying that label- they were biblical not Arminian, according to them, but they drew a lot from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology) by making the assumption that perhaps Jesus did not die for everybody. I was scolded and exhorted in public (about 35 students, ie. recovering addicts) by the teacher of the class. He said that was from the “pit of hell” and later told me he did not want me to talk about that among the other students because it might discourage them. When I later made a statement that if you believe in universal atonement it follows that the conditioning agent in salvation then has to be the sinner who is stated to be dead in trespasses and sins in the Scriptures; their response was yes, that is correct. And then he added that those who believe that Jesus did not die for everybody are involved in a cult like group.

    I could rightfully say it was all about me at Hebron, ie. me against everyone there. I learned a lot about how to relate to Arminians better and also was able to work on reconciling with all the people I needed to reconcile with in my real family. My brother even sent me a reconciling letter back to me, so, it was not a waste of time even though I almost left a couple times after getting severely reprimanded for my effectual atonement beliefs.

    Five- point Calvinists are caricaturized as Pharisee’s and unloving among the zealous and committed Arminian crowd. They have no clue that perhaps they really are the Pharisee’s themselves, seeking to establish there own Spirit inspired righteousness. If I would have told them they might be believing a false gospel they would have gone ballistic and I would have gotten kicked out of the place. I somehow endured and completed the program. What a guy I am, eh?

  33. Dan
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    DGH has reasons of his own for complaining about Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians who ignore the ecclesiology parts of the WC and 3FU, but (all about) I would suggest that one of the things that result from potting TULIPS in typical American Evangelical soil is a kind of Gnosticism. I’m reminded of folks who claim to have just received the second blessing or claim to have been Baptized in the Spirit. They can tell you when it happened, and a newly TULIPized Baptist can tell you when he was “convicted” by the Doctrines of Grace. All of these types are defensive and can be mean when asked questions that make them feel uncomfortable or when you aren’t moved by their wisdom

  34. Posted February 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Stephen,

    Later (age 35). I did learn TULIP from a Methodist minister in junior high and attend a Reformed college (Northwestern). It was kind of Reformed light, though.

    Doug Wilson was influential in my coming to a Reformed church, but I’ve shaken a lot of his distinctives off — not crazy about Postmillennialism, The Federal Vision, using the term “confederacy” in anything I’m involved in, or taking over a mid-sized city. Not a transformationalist. He’s an interesting guy and a pretty good apologist, though.

  35. RL
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Rishmawy wants us to bear patiently with those who calumnies against God. He presents blasphemies as a ‘good-faith objections. Should we respond with, “that’s a good question,” every time someone asks, “doesn’t Calvinism make God a tyrant and the author of evil?” Does he not think that we’re attempting to engage in a not-so-subtle discussion of the creator-creature distinction when we answer, “who are you to talk back to God?”

    It’s the simplicity of the argument for sovereign grace that so annoys the wise of this world. They want us to make room for their ‘well-meaning objection’ based on human philosophies of love and justice. Look how offended Rishmawy gets at those who suggest that a sermon might help someone understand. The nerve of some people!

  36. Alan Carroll
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Rishmawy makes a good point about being patient with people whose first response to the doctrines of grace is negative. These doctrines from the Scripture are a treasure that the Lord by His Spirit entrusts to His people. So we can ask Him to illumine our brothers and sisters.

    Some of his other comments were obviously provocative and not as helpful.

  37. Posted February 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Hart,

    Thanks for the attention you gave my piece over at the Gospel Coalition. To be honest, though, I’m not really sure you got some of the thrust of my piece, or the chronology of my story. Given your erudition and helpful scholarly work, I’ll chalk that up to my failures as a communicator, not yours as a careful and charitable reader.

    So, to clarify:
    I had these conversations with my helpful Reformed friends while I was in my undergrad and in seminary. I went looking for employment at a Presbyterian Church precisely because I had been and was increasingly drawn in. None of the encounters I was referring to had anything to do with Calvinists frustrated at me for doctrinal weakness or confusion while in my current position. When my students come looking for answers, or as they arise in the texts we’re studying, I do address them.

    Beyond that, I’ve clarified myself a bit more here at my own blog.
    http://derekzrishmawy.com/2014/02/07/a-few-follow-up-thoughts-on-sneering-calvinists/

    Again, thanks for your time and consideration.

    In Christ,
    Derek Rishmawy

  38. Posted February 9, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Derek – Beyond that I am an admitted cliche: glasses, too many books, coffee, craft beer, facial hair, and a blog that takes too much of my time.

    Erik – I embrace all that except for the glasses, and that is probably only a matter of time (ha, ha).

  39. Posted February 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I share some concern with Reformed people who are prickly, but am way more concerned with Reformed people who are crazy.

  40. Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Derek, thanks for the clarification. The problem as I see it — especially with the gospel allies — is that they present a nice, warm, and fuzzy “Calvinism” that skirts the serious contentious issues that Reformed churches face. And that pose renders most if not all disagreement and fighting as mean, as in Machen’s Warrior Children. It is the church militant (not victorious) after all. Are all fights valuable or commendable? No. But fighting or disagreement is no sin. Otherwise, as Machen often observed, we would have a New Testament half the size.

  41. Bob S
    Posted February 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    FWIW the upshot of Al Martin’s “The Practical Implications of Calvinism” over on John Frame’s site is proto calvinist Augustine’s three marks of a Christian: “Humility, humility and humility”.
    But evidently betwixt the cup and the lip, somebody is spilling something.
    Nah, it couldn’t be any of John’s Worship Children, it’s Gresham’s fault.

  42. Posted February 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I missed the fact that the original post appeared at the GC. So the GC is so hard up for content they’re now getting it from PCUSA church staffers — ‘s all goooood when you’re cool like that.

  43. Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    “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?”

    Meanness and arrogance transcend confessional boundaries, just as grace also transcends such boundaries. Jerks can be found in any confessional or ecclesial tradition. Which kind of bears testimony to the Reformed belief in total depravity.

  44. Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    RL writes: “Rishmawy wants us to bear patiently with those who calumnies against God. He presents blasphemies as a ‘good-faith objections. Should we respond with, “that’s a good question,” every time someone asks, “doesn’t Calvinism make God a tyrant and the author of evil?” Does he not think that we’re attempting to engage in a not-so-subtle discussion of the creator-creature distinction when we answer, “who are you to talk back to God?””

    GW: Yep, what we really need to do is to growl louder at the blasphemers and show our fangs more clearly. Knock those heretics down with the fierceness of our Calvinist logic!

    On the other hand, maybe this is a better strategy to consider: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (Second Timothy 2:24-26, ESV)

  45. tess
    Posted May 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Being of Reformed theology myself, I find Calvinists to be “high minded”. They believe they have reached a pinnacle of doctrine so that they lose sight of compassion. They indeed cripple those who could come to God’s message of election, because they are taught to constantly crush people through debate. Teachers like RC Sproul warn us
    against this. If you believe Calvinist thought, that you are saved by God’s choice only, and nothing else , then HOW DARE you relentlessly crush people with your words? How dare we think so much of our knowledge when we could have easily been among the desolate that God DIDN’T CHOOSE? this is a problem the Calvinists have, understanding grace in its fullness , but not practicing it!

  46. Posted May 31, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Tess,

    Hopefully the internet is not the only place you’re talking to Calvinists.

    I generally find Calvinists to be no meaner or nicer than the public at large. People are people.

  47. Posted June 2, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Tess, it’s not only Calvinists. Maybe you need to get out more.

3 Trackbacks

  • By Reformed Linkage | Will S.' Miscellany on February 7, 2014 at 1:27 am

    […] Calvinists are Mean — Again […]

  • By Not spergs. | Dark Brightness on February 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    […] Though the Reformed faith in reality teaches that nobody can or will believe the gospel apart from t…, Rishmawy accuses Reformed people of thinking the truth of the gospel will be obvious to the unregenerate.. Instead of looking to a supernatural work of God in our minds to know the truth, Rishmahy congratulates himself for reading a lot of books and doing a lot of hard work before he overcame the vestiges of creationism and dispensationalism and becoming “Reformed” […]

  • […] all, the young sovereigntists have not found the Old Calvinists very attractive. The charge of mean or argumentative has been a fairly read one to discount the kind of Reformed Christianity from […]

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