The weekend of April 6-8, 2006 found the men of Grace Baptist Church of Odenton, MD on a semi-annual retreat on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay. It was a blessed time of God. We gathered for prayer, solid teaching from God's word and rich fellowship. The souls of some men were laid bare with Him who we have to do. Relationships between men deepened and hearts were provoked to action. Follow up was planned and will be executed. It was a marvelous, God-ordained time. One the ride back I drove our large, 15 passenger Ford van. To be honest, it is kind of like driving an aircraft carrier on wheels. Riding shotgun with me was a young husband whose wife is expecting their first child. They are also missionaries who are on deputation. We are excited to be the sending church of these two precious saints. While the guys in the back of the van were carrying their own coversation, the brother riding shotgun and I entered into our own discourse. Somehow the conversation turned to the sovereignty of God. The brother whom I was talking to is undecided on the doctrines of sovereign grace (Calvinism). Of course, I have no such undecisiveness. I am 44 and this brother is just shy of half my age. The conversation lasted the entire 90 minute drive and was blessed by the Lord. During our conversation some of the misconceptions of Calvinism were voiced. Additionally some of the truths were brought to light. Here is a bullet point summary of what was discussed: * MISCONCEPTION: Calvinist are divisive. * TRUTH: Some individual Calvinist's are divisive people in general. But so are some Arminians. The actual doctrines of sovereign grace are not divisive, they are biblical. God forbid that an individual take the message of God's word and use it to "divide and conquer" for his/her personal agenda. Me' genoito! May it never be! *MISCONCEPTION: Calvinists always steer the conversation to Calvinism. *TRUTH: Yes, sometimes this is true. Often times you find new Calvinists who are so consumed with God's sovereignty that they try to tell everyone they know in church or in their family about the doctrines of sovereign grace. The new Calvinist cannot understand why the other person does not "get it." For the new Calvinist, it is as though a light switch has been turned on. Next to their salvation it is one of the most mind-blowing experiences that will ever happen to them. They cannot help but talk about it. But lest we think that new Calvinists are the only group that radically proclaim their new belief, look to yourself first. When you first came to Christ, did not desire to tell everyone you met about the Savior? *MISCONCEPTION: Calvinist's are more concerned about getting you to agree with them then they do about God's love, mercy and preaching the gospel. *TRUTH: The TRUE Calvinist would be grieved over such an accusation. God forbid that he/she would be characterized as uncaring, unloving and nonevangelistic. First off, God is the one who calls the elect. He is the only one who knows who the elect are. We don't. Scripture says: 1 Corinthians 1:21 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. It is the message that is used by God to save. What is the message? The gospel. What should the attitude of the Calvinist be to the gospel? Preach it! God is the one who saves. He knows th e elect. The Calvinist can never place himself in the place of God. We do not know the end from the beginning. Only God knows that. But still we are called to preach the message because it is the means by which God will call the elect. God's love and mercy are similar. We are to display genuine love and mercy, first to the household of faith. John 13:34-35 34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Galatians 6:10 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. But beyond loving the church we are to display love and compassion to the world...especially to our enemies. Matthew 5:40-48 40 "And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 "And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you 45 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? 47 "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. MISCONCEPTION: Calvinist's elevate "sola scriptura" into iconic worship (worship of the bible itself). TTRUTH: Sola scriptura is the Reformation belief that the scriptures are wholly authoritative on all matters of faith in practive. It does NOT mean that all truth is contained within the pages of scriptue. It DOES mean that all spiritual truth is contained in the pages of scripture. When it comes to a spiritual issue, scripture has the final say. This is why we must study the scriptures diligently to know sound doctrine. 2 Timothy 2:15 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. By the time the van pulled into the church parking lot it was time to bring our conversation to an end. I got in my car and praised God for such and edifying discussion with a dear brother in Christ. Some misconceptions were dispelled.