Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Tribute to Calvinism

I just wanted to take a moment to write about calvinism. That is to say, I realize that I am forever writing about calvinism, but it is usually more from an adversarial position. Theologically, I am staunchly against calvinism because I do not believe that it is biblical, and I write extensively regarding that. I realize, however, that I write too much about the glass being half empty. That is to say that while I believe everything that I have written about calvinism not being accurate, I have not written enough about calvinism having some truth to it. From my point of view, not only is calvinism not correct, I also believe that it does contain a lot of truth, and has done a lot of good. I have written much against calvinism, and would now like to take a few moments to say some good words about it.


Firstly, calvinism maintains that God is not only the One who regenerates us, but is the One who promises to complete the good work that He has started in us. Reformed theology emphasizes God's part, and our reliance on him. We do not rely on ourselves to keep our salvation, but can rest in the knowledge that God never lies and never fails. The One who is able to "keep us from stumbling" has promised to see us through to the end. This rest and assurance has been lost in many american christian churches, which is sad. The doctrine that we rely on God, and not on ourselves is crucial to the christian life! I praise God for reformed theology teaching and emphasizing this truth!

Secondly, while some are worried about this or that concern in the physical universe, calvinism putting forward the idea that God is still on the throne, and that nothing happens outside of His will. Every blessing and trial is seen as being from God, and as christians, we can take deep comfort in that fact. Calvinism continually puts things in perspective: when we start starring at the frightening waves of trouble in this world, reformed doctrine points us back to the One who can tell the wind and waves to be calm. It is very easy for any of us to lose sight of the fact that God who loves us very much is watching over us and using every circumstance in our life for our good.

Thirdly, it is because of human weakness that we all tend to be rather egocentric. In contrast, the teachings of calvinism continually exhort us to pursue the glory of God above all else. God's glory is repeated and emphasized strongly in calvinism, and that is awesome! It is so easy to subconsciously switch our focus to our own little goals, and treat God as though He is there to serve us. Not so in calvinism! Again, calvinism is awesome in the way it constantly seeks God's glory and reminds us all to do the same in all that we do!

Fourthly, the theology of calvinism may be false in one extreme, but has helped to preserve the truth by keeping the other mistakes of the other extreme in check. For instance, reformed doctrine has been historically very influential in opposing the untrue doctrines of Pelagius, leading the reformation movement, and in american revival. Reformed leaders have pronounced far and wide the falseness of the ideas that salvation is the combined efforts of God and man, as so many religions teach, and that man needs God's miraculous intervention rather than just more will-power.

Fifthly, calvinism encourages the study of theology. Calvinism itself is mainly the study of biblical theology and doctrine, and as such, it encourages people not only to love God, but to put time and energy into learning who God is. Studying long theology and doctrines may be a bit dry and time-consuming, but these people realize that what we believe about God and salvation will color how we view all of life. Whether we know it or not, our doctrine will determine what we think about life, and what we do about it. In a country that promoted mental laziness, it is refreshing to have people who strongly encourage us all to diligently study more about the only part of life that truly matters: God.

Finally, and this is slightly off topic, calvinists are also awesome. I really see the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. They obviously have a heart for the Lord, and a passion for His glory. God has worked in their lives to create in them humility, love, diligence, and peace. I just want to add that I am really grateful for all my calvinist friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and mentors!

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