02 December 2007

Calvinism = Arrogance?

In recent days Scot McKnight posted a letter from a young pastor having a problem with vocal, arrogant "hyper-Calvinists" (I'm unsure if that means theologically or generically) which generated a huge response (with McKnight's response here). Responses of widely differing viewpoints regarding Scot's post can be read here, here, and here.

I'm not going to dive into this discussion. Instead, one brief comment. It is this. An arrogant or condescending Calvinist is like me trashtalking my two brothers after beating them in a game of 2-on-2 basketball when they both had to play blindfolded while hopping on one foot and my teammate was Lebron James (and he picked me to be on his team) and I didn't score any of the baskets--in fact, the only time I ever touched the ball I dribbled it out of bounds off my foot. Lebron would have been better off without me.
Sure, I may have won. But I had absolutely, positively, and in all other ways nothing to do with it. My boasting in the victory ought to have melted into gratitude to Lebron, and humility at my failure to contribute.

A proud Calvinist is an oxymoron because Calvinism sees more clearly than any other theology that it is sheer and utter grace from first to last that puts anyone right with God. I am a 5-point Calvinist (though I prefer this label), and I don't apologize for my theology. But I am sad about those, including myself at times, who have so manifestly failed to allow this true and right and beautiful doctrine to percolate down into the very fiber of their being, as it should, so that love and wonder and gratitude and downright puzzlement at being saved seep out. When Calvinists get cut, they ought to bleed love.

If you are not a Calvinist, I do not look down on you and I would fellowship with you as a brother or sister with the same ease as I would with those who are closer theologically to me. If you are not a Calvinist and you have experienced the kind of treatment McKnight's letter describes, I am sorry. I have acted that way in the past and I have repented, and I ask you to forgive me for propagating that kind of strange hypocrisy. What a folly. And finally, if you are not a Calvinist I believe with all my heart that if you embrace this theology (call it what you want; it didn't start with Calvin, or even with Paul, but with Genesis 1:1), it will make fullest sense of the world and it will maximize your joy in God.

It has for me.

1 comment:

Ortlund Family said...

Count me in, too -- both the repentance and the joy.

Dad