This sounds off putting:
Oh, Calvinism—I don’t know if any doctrinal system has ignited more faith-feuds than this. Relationships have been fractured and churches have been split because believing men and women have allowed differing perspectives of God’s sovereignty to arouse the vilest parts of their sinful natures. Devilish pride and hellish rage have ravaged the hearts of Christians on all sides of this issue, dividing and sickening Christ’s beloved Body. It is for this reason that I have shied away from explicitly communicating my Calvinistic or Reformed (whatever you want to call it) theological position. I love the Church and have been fearful of causing unnecessary conflict within her—even among my little herd of faithful readers.
But it turns out
TrumpCalvinism has some appeal:
I wasn’t groomed by a specific denomination to read the Bible with sovereignty-sensitive lenses on. The truths were just there—in almost every Spirit-inspired book—staring me right in the face.
God controls the human heart.
God draws people to Jesus Christ.
God causes people to be born again.
God predestined some people to become his children.
This rattled me, as I was under the assumption that my conversion to Christianity had been a decision I made purely of my own volition. I mean, I did make a real, non-coerced choice to follow Jesus. That’s inarguably true. But what the Bible seemed to be saying was that God was wooing, influencing, and even changing me to ensure that I would make that choice. There was something—some effectual, divine work—taking place underneath my desires and decisions.
I didn’t know what to do with this, so I ran to my Christian friends for guidance. They initially told me not to worry about it, saying those passages in the Bible didn’t mean what they seemed to mean. My friends explained that some folks—pesky “Calvinists”—believed that God chooses certain people to be saved. However, such theology contradicts what we know to be true about man’s free will. “God is sovereign, but he doesn’t influence or interfere with our personal decisions,” they told me, “Our choices determine our destiny, not some ‘predetermined’ plan of God.” Because they were far more seasoned in spiritual matters than me, I decided to trust their perspective and lay my curiosities to rest.
For about three days.
I couldn’t read the Bible without being confronted by this stuff!