Do You have a Calvinistic "Bad Attitude"?

Before you read this post or the posts I am linking to here, please understand that I am unashamedly Calvinist. I have been a Calvinist since 1986 and I am one by choice, because I believe it to reflect the teachings of Scripture, not because I was raised Calvinist or just think it’s cool. I say this so that you won’t waste your time (and mine) emailing me trying to convince me of something of which I am already convinced.

On Scot McKnight’s blog, he posted a letter from a concerned pastor who is struggling with some unkind Calvinists (neither McKnight nor the pastor are Calvinists). I’d suggest you don’t waste your time on the comments, most of them completely missed the point of the post.

Abraham Piper posted his thoughts about the letter on the Desiring God blog where he addresses the issue in a manner that deals with the legitimate concerns rather than simply rehashing the theology.

For my part, I have no problem believing anything the pastor wrote. I have addressed this same concern here on other occasions (if I have the time I’ll find the posts and put some links here).

Even though I am a Calvinist, I know full well how many of my Calvinistic brethren are.

When asked if I am a Calvinist or not by someone I don’t know or don’t know well, my response is always the same: “Yes. But I try not to be nasty about it.”

Three things bother me about nasty Calvinists:

(1) Some Christians will never see the beauty of sovereign grace theology because they will not be able to see beyond the nastiness of some of those who promote it. Remember the old saw about flies and vinegar? Our responsibility is to lead people to the truth, not to exalt ourselves with the truth and drive people away from it by our arrogance.

(2) Those of us (or at last many of us) who believe in and take joy in an understanding of God’s sovereign grace in salvation and redemptive history will be despised because of our association with those who are less charitable than we are about it.

(3) I fear for my Calvinistic brethren who are so nasty because they will give an account for every idle word (as will we all; Matt. 12:36). They forget that while we must speak the truth, we must do it in love.

Arrogant pride and hateful speech are still sins, even if you are correct in your view of the sovereignty of God. I’m just saying.

Having said all this, I still think you should be a Calvinist because that’s what the Bible teaches. And that is reason enough, no matter what label you place on it.

From the Archive: Here’s why Your Next Pastor Should Be a Calvinist


About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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