I suppose the first thing I should clear up is that the title of this post really isn’t very fair. The things I’m going to talk about aren’t isolated to the world of Calvinism. You see it throughout the religious landscape. In fact, many times Calvinists themselves are actually the victims. Yet, Calvinists are my people. Their blogs are the blogs I frequent. Their books are the books I most often find myself reading. Most of my friends are from this tribe. Even doctrinally, I certainly still consider myself within the Calvinistic fold. All of these things being true, this is the world I know, so these are the things I can speak to.
Sadly however, I have recently discovered that I am a bad Calvinist. I guess it’s been happening for a while. I had my own suspicions. The other day a non-Calvinist friend of mine actually told me I was a bad Calvinist. I think it was because he and I agreed on too much stuff…That and I like to quote The Message translation of the Bible. Of course, it was translated by a man(Eugene Peterson) who also considers himself a Calvinist.(He’s a bad Calvinist too though, from what I’ve been told.) Even though my friend accused me of bad Calvinism, I still sort of shrugged it off . It wasn’t until this past week however, that it really hit home. I really am a bad Calvinist.
Why you say? What brought me to that realization? Well, sadly, it seems that many of my Calvinist brethren aren’t happy unless they are critiquing someone’s theology or pointing out the error in it. Certainly there are occasions that warrant this, but it has become increasingly obvious that we can’t even leave the minor points, or maybe it better to say the secondary points, alone. We leave no stone unturned. In fact, we are quite quick to even turn on our fellow Calvinists! The big debate this week has been over law vs. grace. Even though each party agrees on much more than they disagree, if only they would take a minute to listen to each other, but apparently it has become a major issue of debate. It’s simply the latest issue to be put front and center. In a few weeks there will be another.
We are even quick to point out who are the real Calvinists and who aren’t. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that since I lean Baptist, I’m not really a Calvinist. Baptists can’t really be reformed. Sure, you can have a Calvinistic soteriology, but you aren’t really and truly an honest to goodness Calvinist. Even some Presbyterian denominations are more Presbyterian than others. The old school Calvinists don’t like the “Neo” New Calvinists. Oh, and you have to use the correct translation of the Bible. It’s all gotten quite ridiculous.
A strange thing has been happening with me though. I’ve just kinda stopped caring. I used to be ready to go toe to toe on any theological debate. Like I said, there are still times for it…but when it comes to secondary issues…You know what guys? I’ll let you fight it out. I’m done. With so many people desperate for a breadcrumb from the table of grace, it seems silly for us to be fighting over who gets the biggest portion at the table.
So, there you have it. I confess it…I have become a very bad Calvinist. I pray Jesus might still have mercy on my poor wretched soul.