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  • Fine Young Calvinists

    Get Underground, CA
    Oct 14 2006

    Fine Young Calvinists

    [ Paul Mathers Contra Mundi ] - 10.13.06 - by: Paul Mathers

    (email this article to a friend)

    A seminary student tells this story about the first day of a class.
    The professor was the well known Reformed theologian and Presbyterian
    pastor R.C. Sproul. Sproul stormed into class on the first day,
    slammed his Bible on the desk and said, "You are all very very bad
    God is very very mad!"

    I plan on telling that to my children before they go to sleep every

    There's a movement growing in young protestants in America over the
    past decade or so. It's called Calvinism and there are pastors
    around who would kill all the babies of this generation to keep it
    from spreading. I've seen how ugly people get over this issue.

    I've seen men who are supposed to be representing a benevolent God do
    and say some of the most twisted, manipulative and hate filled things
    to anyone guilty of the sin of thinking God is too big and powerful
    in the past two years. I've seen pastors silenced for teaching that
    people are called to Jesus. I've seen families ran out of churches
    that they wanted to worship in because they happen to think that God
    lead them to Him. I remember even hearing some guy somewhere say
    something about how if you don't love your neighbor you don't love

    This is a broilingly divisive issue, in my experience usually made
    divisive by the opposition to Calvinism, and I'm a little surprised
    it's not being reported on. If Calvinism continues to grow our
    great-grandchildren may see the hatred in the church go away because
    of the necessary inbreeding and natural selection that will go on
    with isolationist Arminian pastors. You'll see weird little Arminian
    communities with big walls and signs on the gate that say "Entrance
    permitted only on your own free will."

    But first a little background. Most of the major American Protestant
    churches are Arminian in their view of how they obtain salvation.
    Arminianism is the highly emotionally charged, reactionary,
    theological opposition to Calvinism. Joseph Arminius believed that
    John Calvin's
    theology made God into a tyrant and humans into automatons (although
    they didn't really have a word for that back then. He may have said
    words like puppets instead) because he seems to have given the matter
    about five minutes of thought. Actually, as is often the case with
    fired up intellectuals, all Arminius really did was make famous the
    prejudices of one of his favorite professors. And it's pretty much
    just a theology where they take everything that John Calvin said and
    say they believe the contrary (kind of the James Dean school of
    critical thinking.)

    Of course America is the land where Free Will often stands in for God
    Himself. But Calvinism doesn't preclude free will at all and in
    fact makes the non-believer completely responsible for their
    damnation. It just says, as Charles Spurgeon said, "My hope arises
    from the freeness

    of grace, and not from the freedom of the will." Which is to say
    that nobody was ever saved by free will but a lot of people have been
    damned by it. And, of course, it makes a lot of sense that the
    American church would go for an intellectual dwarf like Joseph

    Just in case I haven't alienated every reader yet, let's take a look
    at the specifics of the Calvinist system of theology. The first
    point of Calvinism says we are all wicked scum to the core. Our
    nature is bald, stinking evil. We are walking sacks of sin and it
    seeps out of our pores. Your cookie baking, charity supporting
    grandmother is just as danged evil as any old Hitler any day.

    That's because the standard isn't what one does. Reconnection with
    God is not through "works." One must repair the relationship with
    God, and one can only do that by faith which is a gracious and
    undeserved gift from God. A system of salvation by works leads to
    situations where, for example, the church decides that you plebes can
    buy hundreds of years out of Purgatory. Then they use their
    salvation-mafia to fund Crusades and other bloody church-related
    activities. It's a steaming load of papal bull.

    Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone is Biblical, and the
    Bible's, the book we have to work with in this system. That's all we
    have to work with really. If we're dealing with a system where the
    Bible is the standard and considered the inspired word of God, it's a
    lot easier to respect the people who aren't trying add things too it
    or twisting meanings to their own pet doctrines. If they start
    making exceptions there's really no point in stopping. Once one
    twists the first time,
    one may as well throw their standard away and just start making
    things up. You may as well have 15 beaten wives and shoot people who
    disagree with your politics on sight or on suspicion or on direct
    revelation from God.

    Of course Calvinists are no angels either. One of the stereotypes of
    Calvinists is a condescending attitude that really is only matched by
    atheists. This is because Calvinists have a strong Biblical basis
    and boy golly do a lot of them know it. It seems like some young
    Calvinists may just get into the ideology because it's a good way to
    win pissing contests against Arminians. The old "who's more
    hardcore" game.

    You see it around college aged Calvinists who decide everyone else is
    wrong and heretical. But one really should bear in mind that their
    passion stems from a drive to uphold truth with no compromise. Which
    is really sexy. All of them aren't smug. Some of them also try to

    other biblical passages like the loving and the not being divisive
    bits you hear so much about. In fact most of the Calvinists I've met
    have been some of the most loving Christians I've ever encountered.
    Those outside of monotheism seem to have a really hard time with the
    word "sin." Actually they seem to have a hard time with all of this.
    But remember, 44% of Americans attend church regularly. That means
    144,000,000 of the people around you get up early and worship
    mostSunday mornings. That means when you're out in public, if you
    don't go to church, chances are the person closest to you does. This
    doesn't speak at all to personal conviction or earnestness
    (Kierkegaard's earth shattering revelation in his day that just
    because you live in a
    Christian nation, go to a Christian church, and all of your friends
    are Christians does not make you a Christian.) I'm fully convinced
    Sturgeon's Revelation - "90% of everything is crap," and if you come
    away from this column with nothing else, remember that truth - applies
    to the
    church just as much as it applies to the rest of our lives.

    Personally I think that the church is mainly just a social club and a
    place for the petty to go to wield a modicum of power over their
    peers if they have a family or are just too much of a wuss to go
    start a bar fight. I guess I don't have to point out that all but
    one president has claimed to be a Protestant. And the one who wasn't
    got his head shot off! I probably shouldn't have to point out why
    understanding these trends is important even for the most
    unregenerate sinner.
    Oh yeah, I was talking about sin. Sin is really just saying humans
    have a rift in their relationship with God. If sin were the color
    blue, everything we do would be some shade of blue. We are flawed,
    wicked, evil, wretched beings to our core. That was the first piece
    of any theology that ever made sense to me, because I observe it in
    myself and everyone around me every waking moment I'm on this -the
    rectum of the Universe. It's the theology of how much we suck. I
    know of no more honest a point.

    A Calvinist follows up sucking with the concept that God draws his
    followers by making His grace overtake His elect. This is one of the
    points that Armenians like to twist into something it's not. They
    like to twist it into we are God's will-less marionettes. That's
    really just setting up straw men to knock them down. No reputable
    Calvinist would say that. The Bible teaches that no one comes to God
    on their own and that the only ones who come to Christ are the ones
    the God the Father gives to Him.

    An Armenian would say that the Holy Spirit sort of woos the believer.
    They say God can attract believers but he can't actually do anything
    to get them to believe. God sits on His cloud wringing His Hands
    saying "*****, I hope they like Me." Which begs the question, when an
    prays for the salvation of an unbeliever, what exactly are they
    praying to God for? What do they expect Him to do? According to
    them He doesn't have that power.

    The Calvinist prays and knows that God is all powerful and sovereign
    over all things. Also that God's will is what will happen and not
    humankind's. Now, the individual retains responsibility while God is
    sovereign. This is called compatibilism. The two concepts don't
    contradict one another and anyone can tell you that all free acts
    have causes. People who have a problem with this are probably
    thinking of Christ in too small of terms.

    As for the moment of salvation: the person about to find it has
    probably been working things out in their head, thinking on these
    things, deciding, and probably being preached to and taught because
    of the draw of the Holy Spirit. I know a lot of believers had a time
    where they were immersed in study and interest in Christianity but
    something was holding them back from accepting Christ. Their
    depravity was holding them back.

    The next point is Limited Attonement which we probably don't need to
    get into here. Suffice it to say a Calvinist would say that Jesus
    Christ's death attoned for the sins of the elect. Some say it also
    attoned for all sins but only effectively for the elect. Some say it
    attoned just for the elect.

    Now, as for this elect thing, this is the buzz word most people think
    of when they think of Calvinism. It says that before time began God
    knew everything being all powerful, sovereign and all knowing. So,
    before creation or anything He elected His people, set the
    circumstances, nothing can change it and that's the way it goes.
    There are those He didn't elect (which seems to a lot of us like the
    bulk of humanity.) Being God and entirely sovereign over all things
    He works
    all things out to His glory, which means those who are elected to be
    His people and to have a repaired relationship with Him are made so
    to glorify Him and those who are for all eternity will be separate
    from Him also will glorify Him in spite of what they may mean by it.

    And the last point of Calvinism is that those who are elect will
    persevere in their walk with God. It does not mean that someone who
    raises their hand at a Harvest Crusade and then lives the rest of
    their life as a the rottenest villain what ever growed is still going
    to go to Heaven just because they accepted Christ once. One who you
    see as Elect is going to spend the rest of their lives seeking God
    (and stumbling and failing and so forth but honestly seeking.) They
    fall off the wagon but they will quickly get back on. This doesn't
    mean salvation by works either. It means that they're hellbent for
    election. Being saved and surrounded by so great a cloud of
    witnesses they run with perseverance the race that is set before
    them. An Arminian would say that one can lose their salvation which
    is completely unbiblical. A Calvinist would say that if someone
    falls away from the faith it's clear that theirs was not a true faith
    of the
    elect to begin with.

    Why is this important except in the heads of the Calvinists and
    Arminians? Well, doctrine dictates lifestyle and Calvinists go about
    their spiritual walk a little differently than Arminians. An
    Arminian goes out to shake the unregenerate sinner by the collar
    saying they must decide to believe or will be damned to Hell for all
    eternity. In fact with the Arminian point you'd have to be a pretty
    hateful rat bastard not to. I mean if you don't bully, badger, hound
    and by any
    means necessary convey a person you are in effect damning them to
    Hell by withholding information.

    A Calvinist would lay out the foundations for anyone to hear or read,
    make sure the information is out there, and trust whoever is supposed
    to profit from it will be lead to profit from it. A Calvinist is
    assured that God is sovereign over everything and if he wants to
    convert one lone child in the jungle somewhere where the people have
    never seen anyone outside of their tribe, He'll make it happen. A
    Calvinist believes every bit of grain pecked by a chicken was
    by God from the beginning of time. So while a Calvinist is called to
    teach their theology, they are not responsible for convincing anyone.

    Rather changes the tone of the whole process of evangelism you see.
    If their was a significant swing back to Calvinism in the American
    church, the whole process and focus of the protestant church would
    change. And speaking of which, I should probably say that this column
    isn't always going to be heavy theology every week. I did this as an
    introduction and because we're kind of in between religious news.

    For example if I'd written this a week ago it would be on the Pope
    quoting anti-Muslim texts from the middle ages. Which I had a touch
    of schadenfreude over when I heard it at seven in the morning on NPR
    and then found around ten that same morning I was reading out loud to
    small group a piece of someone else's writing that I thought was
    terrible. I realized if someone had a tape recorder a similar "look
    what Paul Mathers said" kind of thing could happen.

    If I'd been writing this two weeks ago I'd be writing about how
    Calvary Chapel Capo Beach has been muscled out of the Calvary Chapel
    movement like a dog that peed the carpet which is most interesting
    because the pastor there is Chuck Smith Jr. and the founder of the
    Calvary Chapel
    movement is Chuck Smith Sr.

    And next time I'm planning on writing about the Reformation unless
    The Ancient Ones rise from the ocean between now and then. In the
    future I'll have interviews, personal reactions, news, and a whole
    lot of opinion. Mainly what I expect this to be about is truth and
    lies both
    in abundance. And I expect to rant a lot about things I hate or like
    which is probably what will keep you coming back. We are hate-filled
    critters at heart.

    From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress