Be a Kinder Calvinist

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mandym, May 12, 2011.

  1. mandym

    mandym
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    .......There is a letter on Scot McKnight's blog from a pastor who is very frustrated with certain Calvinists in his church. It would be easy enough to disregard it, pointing out that not all Calvinists are like that or that his use of the word "hyper-Calvinist" doesn't match correct theological jargon. But that would be missing the point. And, ironically, that reaction would only lend credence to the frustration that motivated the letter in the first place.

    So how should we read this letter in a way that acknowledges, understands, and respects the discouragement of its author?

    First, we should note that it is simply indisputable that some people are exactly the way he describes. When you see mean extremists in another circle, it reminds you why you don't run with that crowd. But when you see mean extremists in your own circle, it's just plain embarrassing. Unfortunately, until we are perfected there will always be mean people of every theological strain. But fortunately, we are a part of the church not merely for the company, but for Christ.

    The second way to understand the letter is to see it (along with the numerous comments that follow) as abundant evidence that, to many, Calvinists come across as self-righteous, condescending, arrogant, unfriendly, argumentative, and even stingy. The fact that we're not all that way is irrelevant in the same way that it didn't matter to Molly that I had done three things to show I appreciate her—she still felt unappreciated. Her frustration was true because, whether or not I was grateful to my wife, I was perceived as an ingrate. Similarly, the frustration in the letter is true because, whether or not the Calvinists in the letter-writer's church are good folks, they come off as proud and divisive jerks. Those Calvinists, as church members, and I, as a husband, should change based on this information, regardless of how "inaccurately" the frustration may be worded.

    In my marriage, it doesn't matter whether I'm thankful if I don't seem like it. And in the church, it doesn't matter whether we have the fruits of the Spirit if no one can tell.

    It won't be easy to change the pejorative stereotype that clings to Calvinism, but we can start by admitting that it is accurate far too often. Then we can make sure we are manifestly not self-righteous, condescending, arrogant, unfriendly, or argumentative. Also, you can count on us to buy dinner or coffee sometimes.

    Paying attention to those who disagree with us and taking them seriously, even if we're pretty sure we'll still disagree, is part of what it means to be in the body of Christ. It's humbling; it sanctifies. It will make us better husbands and wives. It will make us better Christians, and maybe even better Calvinists.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/be-a-kinder-calvinist
     
  2. glfredrick

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    How exactly are Calvinists "not nice?"

    What in particular about Calvinism makes one who holds that theology un-nice?

    Just curious... I've seen some very distinctly un-nice stuff tossed about equally around here.
     
  3. mandym

    mandym
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    Maybe you should just read and respond to the op.
     
  4. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Not Nice...ROFL

    This week alone statements in effect portrayed Calvinists as immature & childish, Gnostics & now Not-Nice.....:laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
  5. humblethinker

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    Spot on, and I'm not even a Calvinist! It sounds like you are saying that perception is reality. This makes me think of James' and the idea of, "What good are our thoughts of how we are inside if it is not demonstrated in a way that connects to the other party's needs?".

    This has been a helpful post. Thank you.
     
  6. mandym

    mandym
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    Away With The CALVINISTS!!!-Musings of a Reformed Mind

    ............3rd Observation: Calvinists are arrogant. Now this one is a kicker. The doctrinal issues are definitely non-negotiable, and the belief that Calvinism is for intellectuals is absurd, but I have to say that there is a germ truth to this particular concern.

    Whether we admit this or not, a lot of Calvinists exude an air of superiority; hence, the notorious reputation. A lot of the Calvinist “haters” that I know say that they have had bad encounters with Calvinists before, so they bail themselves out of the conversation immediately, maybe even at the mention of the word “sovereignty.” In conversations, Calvinists can be intimidating. This could be because of the incessant use of theological terms, and the passion for doctrine, but in that aspect, I don’t blame them. This, I believe, is a result of what I mentioned in point #2.

    However, I have visited and participated in threads, and I have to admit that I, myself, have been disappointed. There really are Calvinists who seem pushy and painfully overbearing. It seems like the equation becomes Calvinists + forum = heated debate. I don’t really understand the reason behind that, and I will never give an excuse. Don’t get me wrong. We do need to stand firm on so many issues; that’s a no-brainer, but I guess the way we do it is the issue here.

    We Reformed people often feel discriminated, but we do not see that some of us sometimes discriminate the non-Reformed as well. I believe that if there are people who should be marked by humility and grace, these should be the people who embrace the Doctrines of Grace.

    But please know that not all Calvinists are like that. There are many Calvinists who are very humble, gracious and approachable. We can also see that in a lot of the famous Reformed theologians that we have now. Humble orthodoxy is what Joshua Harris calls it.

    We can be firm with out stand without being condescending. If we become more gracious in our sharing about God’s sovereign grace, then don’t you think more people will listen to us rather than hide from us? I think this is something we Calvinists need to think about.


    http://christocentric73.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/away-with-the-calvinists/
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    I guess you have a whole litney of these Mandy......they are pretty funny!
     
  8. Iconoclast

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    A very nice tone to this post:love2:
    is this what you mean?

    If someone is looking to bring down a point of view....and cannot....it is easier to just call the person names
    homophobe
    rascist
    arrogant, rude
    over-bearing
    this is usually done by the person who wants to debate, but is unable to bear up to scriptural discussion.
    So the person offering the scripture...is called all of the above.

    i will respond more to the article later...got to move now.
     
    #8 Iconoclast, May 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2011
  9. drfuss

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    Calvinists tend to misrepresent what Non-Cals believe.

    Some un-nice examples:

    1. Many Calvinists suggests that Non-Cals don't believe that God is as sovereign as Calvinists do. This simply is not true. It is a misrepresenting of what others believe and Calvinists should expect some resentment from some others. All Christians believe God is completely sovereign.

    2. Calvinists call their theology "The Doctrines of Grace". All Christians believe in the doctrine of Grace. It can be taken as an insult to suggests that Non-Cals don't believe in God's Grace. Misrepresenting what others believe is a sign of a weak doctrine. If I was a Calvinists, I would be more polite and would never use the term "Doctrines of Grace" to describe my belief.

    3. Some Calvinists suggest that Non-Cals believe that they can save themselves. This is false. Another misrepresentation.
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Unavoidable Life Lesson.... You cant please all the people all the time so view praise & blame as all the same! :)

    Example, A political candidate has a landslide victory with 55% of the people voting for him....but there is still that 45% out-there who didn't vote for him. That could be pretty humbling but....Everyone has their own set of ideas & ya cant win approval of everyone.:smilewinkgrin:
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    I am one of those kinder gentler Calvinists.

    That's because of my humility. It is one of the qualities I have of which I am most proud.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Dont sweat the small stuff my brother....I dont think any Calvinist in here is frozen in his tracks worrying about this, for heaven sake. Have a good day on the road!
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    And indeed you truly are brother & so is David Lamb & Jim 1999 & Archangel & very many more but I dont have time to name all, forgive me. you folks are the best:love2:
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    Wow any of these threads turn so negative so fast. As someone who refuses to engage the topic of Reformed theology on this board, none of these conversations ends up being very Christ honoring.

    I've been around here for a while but the tone over the last 6 months about this debate has just gotten terrible...for all sides.

    Maybe we should all examine whether were engaging in foolish debates to try to appease the flesh or using our giftings and convictions to reach the world with the Gospel.
     
  15. Arbo

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    :laugh:

    That line reminds me of the guy who told me he was wrong only once in his life. He thought he was mistaken about something, but it turned out that he was right after all. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  16. David Lamb

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    Rather, "Be a kinder Christian"

    The same sort of thing could be said the other way round. Some "Non-Cals" (to borrow your term) misrepresent what Calvinists believe.

    Whatever the doctrinal difference, (eg pre-mil/a-mil/post-mil, credo/paedo baptism, liturgical/non-liturgical worship, and so on), there will be some on each "side" who express themselves in a firm but kindly way, and others who rant and rave, with name-calling and ways of putting things that would be considered ill-mannered even in a secular context.

    I'd like to address your point 2, because I do use the term "Doctrines of Grace", but I don't mean to suggest when I do so any lack of belief in God's Grace on the part of non-Calvinists. I find that many non-Calvinists have problems with the term "Calvinism", and so do I, because it draws attention to a mere man, whose beliefs do not coincide with mine in every respect (e.g. he believed in baptizing babies, whereas I am a credo-baptist). Please don't take my use of that term as being derogatory to non-Calvinists; I don't mean it that way.
     
    #16 David Lamb, May 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2011
  17. drfuss

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    David writes:
    "I'd like to address your point 2, because I do use the term "Doctrines of Grace", but I don't mean to suggest when I do so any lack of belief in God's Grace on the part of non-Calvinists. I find that many non-Calvinists have problems with the term "Calvinism", and so do I, because it draws attention to a mere man, whose beliefs do not coincide with mine in every respect (e.g. he believed in baptizing babies, whereas I am a credo-baptist). Please don't take my use of that term as being derogatory to non-Calvinists; I don't mean it that way."

    If the Non-Cals said "We don't believe like the Calvinists, we believe in the Doctrines of Mercy and Salvation", what would be your reaction?
     
    #17 drfuss, May 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2011
  18. HankD

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    Being Nice:

    Has nothing to do with calvinism.

    It has all to do with human nature.

    :)

    HankD
     
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I heard you're writing a book brother: The World's Ten Most Humble People and What I Taught the Other Nine! :laugh:
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    I got a idear for a bumper sticker....it reads "Mean people R Calvinists":smilewinkgrin:
     

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