Kevin DeYoung: The Problem with Angry Calvinists

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The intellectual appeal of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person who's not always the most warm and fuzzy.

There’s a part of me that’s hesitant to keep banging the drum on the issue of “angry Calvinists.”

I’m an evangelical Calvinist—but I’m not mad about it, and my friends and role models in these theological circles aren’t mean-spirited or angry. So on the one hand, it feels something like a stereotype. If 10,000 people read a blog and two cranky Calvinists write a number of comments, some will cluck their tongue and conclude, “There go those angry Calvinists.”

Furthermore, even if a Calvinist writes with tears, a humble heart, and genuine concern that a certain position is heterodox or dangerous for the church, he can expect to hear the labels like “old guard,” “obsessive,” “reactionary,” “highly rationalistic,” “rigid” “naysayers” with a “scholastic spirit” who love nothing more than “gatekeeping,” “control[ling] the switches,” and “patrol[ling] the boundaries” (actual quotes from an essay).

And it’s tempting to point out that Calvinists don’t have a corner on the ugly side of the blogosphere. Wade into some of the posts and comments from other traditions talking about ultimate things, and you will see that every “tribe” has their cranks who can be mocking, rude, sarcastic, and nasty. Yet for various reasons, people associate and expect anger with Calvinism, making the explicit connection more readily.

But none of that is to deny that there is a problem. Angry Calvinists are not like unicorns, dreamed up in some fantasy. They really do exist. And the stereotype exists for a reason. I remember (with shame) answering a question during college from a girl who was crying about the doctrine of election and what it might mean for a relative, and my response was to ask everyone in the room turn to Romans 9. Right text, but it was the wrong time.

This raises an important qualifier. The “angry” adjective might apply to some folks, but it can also obscure the problem. In the example above, I wasn’t angry with that girl. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk. But I failed to recognize what is “fitting” or necessary (cf. Eph. 4:29) in the moment. This is the sort of thing that tends to be “caught” rather than “taught” and can be difficult to explain. But there’s a way to be uncompromising with truth and to be winsome, humble, meek, wise, sensitive, gracious. There’s a way of “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) such that our doctrines are “adorned” (Titus 2:10) and our words are “seasoned” with salt and grace (Col. 4:6). To repeat, the category of “anger” is often too broad and can miss the mark. As Kevin DeYoung pointed out to me, “Some Calvinists are angry, proud, belligerent people who find Calvinism to be a very good way to be angry, proud, and belligerent. Other Calvinists are immature—they don’t understand other people’s struggles, they haven’t been mellowed by life in a good way, they can only see arguments and not people. The two groups can be the same but not always.”

All of this prompts two questions: (1) why is this the case? and (2) what can be done about it?

John Piper once offered some reflections on why Calvinists tend at times to be more negative.

I love the doctrines of grace with all my heart, and I think they are pride-shattering, humbling, and love-producing doctrines. But I think there is an attractiveness about them to some people, in large matter, because of their intellectual rigor. They are powerfully coherent doctrines, and certain kinds of minds are drawn to that. And those kinds of minds tend to be argumentative.

So the intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person, and that type of person doesn’t tend to be the most warm, fuzzy, and tender. Therefore, this type of person has a greater danger of being hostile, gruff, abrupt, insensitive, or intellectualistic.

I’ll just confess that. It’s a sad and terrible thing that that’s the case. Some of this type aren’t even Christians, I think. You can embrace a system of theology and not even be born again. Another reason that Calvinists could be seen as negative is that when a person comes to see the doctrines of grace in the Bible, he is often amazed that he missed it, and he can sometimes become angry. He can become angry that he grew up in a church or home where they never talked about what is really there in Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 2, and Ephesians 2. They never talked about it—they skipped it—and he is angry that he was misled for so long.

That’s sad. It’s there; it’s real; the church did let him down, and there are thousands of churches that ignore the truth and don’t teach it. And he has to deal with that.

Another reason Calvinists might be perceived as negative is that they are trying to convince others about the doctrines.

If God gives someone the grace to be humbled and see the truth, and the doctrines are sweet to him, and they break his pride—because God chose him owing to nothing in him. He was awakened from the dead, like being found at the bottom of a lake, and God, at the cost of his Son’s life, brings him up from the bottom, does CPR, brings him miraculously back to life, and he stands on the beach thrilled with the grace of God—wouldn’t he want to persuade people about this?

Do Calvinists want to make everybody else Calvinists? Absolutely we do! But it’s not about elitism. It’s about having been found by Christ and having the glory of God opened to us in the process of salvation. It’s about having the majesty of God opened in all of his saving and redeeming works, wanting to give him all the glory and all the credit, and cherishing the sovereignty and preciousness of grace in our lives. Why wouldn’t we want to share this with people?

If it is perceived as elitist, that is partly owing to our sinfulness in the way we go about it and partly owing to people’s unwillingness to see what is really there in the Bible.

I just want to confess my own sins in how I have often spoken, and I hope and pray that I don’t have the reputation of being mainly negative, but mainly positive.

Ed Stetzer recently had an e-mail exchange with Joe Thorn about the issue of “angry Calvinists.” Joe offers some astute analysis and offers four good suggestions:

First, I think it would be fruitful for more correction to come from inside our own theological tribe. I’m not saying criticism is inappropriate if it isn’t in-house. As the church, we should be able to correct one another across denominational and doctrinal divides. But we should be most critical of ourselves, and I think addressing our own problems from within our own group will generally prove more fruitful.

Second, when addressing the issue of “those angry Calvinists” we need to be careful to not make Calvinism the issue. It’s not about Calvinism. The negativity, pride, and finger wagging is not about the Doctrines of Grace, but the heart. So when we see such things coming from Calvinists, we should seek to point out that this attitude is actually incompatible with Calvinism.

Third, I’d encourage people to simply model a better way. Whether you’re a Calvinist or not, modeling loving patience over knee-jerk reaction, gracious discernment over assuming the worst about another’s words, and gospel-founded brotherhood over needless separation will wind up having greater influence in the Christian community than simply dropping bombs on each other.

Fourth, I’d encourage others to simply not engage the haters. There are blogs I simply do not read because it doesn’t benefit me spiritually. Some people move me to examine myself, look to Jesus, and grow in grace. Others just provoke me to anger. Often times, that anger is unrighteous or even self-righteous. I can become the angry Calvinist doppelgänger to the angry Calvinist I take issue with. Really, the haters are not my problem; I am my own problem. So I have learned to just stay away from certain places on the Internet. I would encourage others to simply not engage people or personalities that aren’t helpful.

Building off the last point, I’d add a convicting point that Tim Keller says in The Prodigal God on Luke 15:28: Jesus “is not a Pharisee about Pharisees; he is not self-righteous about self-righteousness. Nor should we be. He not only loves the wild-living, free-spirited people, but also hardened religious people.” (p. 76)

I think we can all work a bit harder, fully aware of which aspect we tend to neglect: “speaking the truth in love” or “speaking the truth in love.”  

Kevin DeYoung Kevin is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, right across the street from Michigan State University. He has been the pastor there since 2004.

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  • Usertm3172

    Wow, I thought all Calvinist were angry… thx for this, haha. One thing I never understood about Calvinism and the Bible… if someone in sincerity can please answer this I would greatly appreciate it. I think the Calvinist belief is that “it is God’s responsibility to keep us since He saved us.” I think this is based on the understanding that God’s promises (for the most part) are unconditional. How does the plight of the children of Israel fit into these parameters? God promised aprox. 1.5 million Israelites he would take them from Egypt to the promise land… yet only 2 saw it? No conditions are listed in scripture concerning God’s promise to them… yet they all (accept joshua and caleb) perished in the wilderness. Couldn’t God keep them??? I have always been curious about this. 

    • PrescottJayErwin

      Just a small observation, Usertm3172: you wrote: “…only 2 saw it …Couldn’t God keep them?” That’s not quite accurate. MANY others saw the Promised Land and 10 of them accompanied the 2 you mention in spying it out. The problem was, the VAST majority, after seeing it and having it examined in detail, didn’t trust God to give it to them. The Lord preserved them in Egypt, delivered them from Egypt, gave them victory over every enemy, gave them every opportunity and every advantage, and they rejected Him. Eeven then, the Lord didn’t utterly reject Israel, just certain individuals — in this case, nearly an entire generation. Moses recognized that the nations who had heard of the Lord God’s fame might say, “Because the Lord could not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness” (Num 14:15-16). The truth is, it wasn’t that He COULDN’T bring them in, they refused to go in, but God was gracious and remained faithful and brought their children in. I think all of this is very important to keep in mind.

      • Usermt3172

        Thanks for you thoughts. I incorrectly stated only “2 saw it.” I should have said “only 2 were permitted to enter in the promise land.” Thanks for pointing that that out. I like the point you make about God preserving his people in Egypt, nice thought. I also like your thoughts about how God gave Israel “every advantage, and they rejected Him,” I am not sure about your comment that “The truth is, it wasn’t that He COULDN’T bring them in, they refused to go in.” The question I have is this, “How did they refuse to go in? The answer is, “they rejected God.” So my point is… even though God promised he would take them to the promise land… only 2 made it because God will not violate his character. The fact that the children made it in doesn’t fulfill the promise God made that the those leaving Egypt would go to the promise land. The difficulty I am trying to understand is how you marry this event with Calvinism and or eternal security? Thanks

        • Eric

          Did God make the promise to each of the 1.5 million people individually? Or did He make the promise to them as a group. If the manager of Manchester United football club promised to take the team to the final and win a cup, does it then mean he cannot drop individual members on the way? No, it doesn’t because the promise was to the team not to the individual members of the team.

          I think that Calvinists also belive the keeping is a spiritual keeping. For example, the words of Jesus would appear to be a spiritual promise:
          John 10:28  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

          Moses didn’t make it but I would be very surprised if he ends up in heaven!

          • Eric

            Sorry meant I would be surprised if Moses ended up in hell!! Doh!

          • Eric

            Sorry the team analogy didn’t work for you – I suppose that is the problem with analogies.

            In John 17 Jesus says:
            John 17:12  While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

            As our Calvinist friends would say “Judas was predestined to be lost”

            Regarding John 10 Jesus flock hear which seems a bit more passive than listen. And the believing and following seem to derive from being part of Jesus flock. Again this would suggest a more Calvinistic rather than Arminian understanding

            John 10:25-30   Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,  but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

            Anyway, my friend, God is a great God – to which we can both subscribe :)

          • Usermt3172


          • Usermt3172

            Thanks for your honest response without anger and pride (laugh). I guess a respectfully disagree with the team comparison. I like the comparison, partly because I am a high school basketball coach. If I PROMISED (which I would not promise to do)to take a team to the finals, I think I am promising each individual player that reward. If I drop players along the way, for them, the promise was not kept. However, if they understand that to continue on the team there are requirements that must be met, then, my promise has not been broke, it has be annulled by the player. John 10:28 says this very thing.. notice the pronoun “them”. Who are the “them?” vs 27 tells us, “them” are those “who listen to my voice and follow me.” I believe as I listen and as I follow I am being kept. This does not negate me from stopping to listen and stopping to follow.If this vets meant that everybody who Jesus has can never make a decision to stop following, difficulty exists with with Judas. Jesus states in John 17 that the Father gave Judas to Him, Jesus further states that He Lost him. You cannot lose what you do not have. Judas made the decision to stop listening and following.  

  • John

    I guess its a good thing I’m not a Calvinist!

    • Awestruckbygrace

      That is what I was thinking. I wish more people who weren’t calvinists wrote books and articles for the rest of us.

      • Usermt3172

        I think honest questions exist that need some answers. Several years ago I read one of the greatest books on this subject called  Life in the Son by Dr. Robert Shank. He was (and still may be) a prof at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville KY. The Dean of the department writes the forward in the book where basically he states: (I paraphrase here) there are some honest questions Dr. Shank has proposed to which we(calvinist) must answer. If you haven’t checked this book out I highly recommend it. Dr Shank explores the Biblical qualifications for “being kept by the power of God.” Yes, a believer is kept by God, but WE must meet the qualifications for being kept just like a marriage has requirements for staying together. Dr. Shank also explores the idea of how “God’s faithfulness does not replace the requirement for man’s faithfulness.”

        • PrescottJayErwin

          I don’t know about Shank’s stint at SBTS, but he taught for 14 years at Faith Bible Academy in Camdenton, MO, and served there 7 years as president. He died in 2006.

  • Bwelliott

    Even in trying to moderate the discourse between Reformed believers and “non-reformed,” DeYoung exhibits the very elitism he is trying to dampen.  In echoing Piper’s thoughts, DeYoung states the point that perhaps Calvinists come across as angry (I would argue more arrogant than angry) is because it “attracts a certain kind of intellectual person.”  Ahhh, so we are to believe that arrogance, anger, and pompousness so readily found in Calvinist circles is due to the fact that they are smarter than the rest?  Tell that to Tom Wright.

    • Usermt3172

      Or tell it to Dr. Shank.. love the thought.

    • MyoungSr

      You just sound accusing and very intelligent.

    • PrescottJayErwin

      Two things:

      Off point:
      1) I’m not sure WHO wrote this article. It seems odd that he would refer to himself in the third person, writing, “As Kevin DeYoung pointed out to me…” (Who is “me”? )

      On point:
      2) Of course, the author — whoever that is — points out that anger and arrogance is to be found as much among Arminians as Calvinists, because it’s not about a theological system, but a heart condition. Yet he PLEADS for Calvinists to DO something about it.

      3) The point about such “intellectualistic” persons is a quote from Piper.

  • Haro1306

    Calvinism is a dangerous doctrin, if taken seriously. Look what a brutal and arrogant person John Calvin was himself in his days. So are his followers through the history till today. Look what it did to Holland and the rest of the western christianity. The most promiscuous, selfsentered and unholy branch of the church. I am so glad I had the privilage to be raised in a different faith environment. I praise God that He has a remnant of humble, hard working and holy men and women in the world. 

    • MyoungSr

      You sound angry.

      • Haro1306

        No, I am actually sad. 

        • MyoungSr

          Yes.  Sorry to hear that.  Yet, with all that HE has done for us we do have hope and a reason to reach upward, dont’ we?

          And, sometimes isn’t SAD is just a less passionate MAD? I say we ignore this stuff, if it is possible, and fix our minds on Him –

          Phillipians 4:8 “And, finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the god of peace will be with you.”

          Yep. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

          • Haro1306

            Psychobabel! I am sad about the state of the western Christianity. How can you equale SAD to MAD? You think by quoting a scripture it tels you story? What is your story? Man you make no sense …  

          • MyoungSr

            You sound angry – and mean.  An angry mean christian?  Hmmmm.

  • MyoungSr

    Kevin, I say “thank you” for your honest and straight forward personal experience, evaluation and observations regarding Calvinism.  Fair and balanced, I would say.

    Funny though, I had been a long-term church member, deacon and was finally ordained by a local SBC church earlier in my life (mainly Calvinist).  So, I have some experience with what you describe.

    Later in life I became a member of a Nazarene church with Arminian doctrines.  I was licensed as a preacher/minister of this particular denomination.  So, again, I have some experience there.

    The Calvinists, in my experience, were pretty much as Kevin describes.

    The Arminians were, well, ‘very very very tolerant’ until you talked about Calvinsts, then they acted very much the same as their Calvinist brethern – but denied it.

    I think it’s a lot about the attitude you possess.

    My son likes to remind me that he is a Conservative Christian.  Reformed theologically.  And maybe somewhat Calvinist in his views – but the really nice kind!  And, he is the really nice kind!

  • Dean

    Interesting, but as someone “outside” the tradition, I do think there is something “in” Calvinism that breeds negativity and anger.  As G.K. Chesterton pointed out nothing so betrays the true nature of Calvinism than that these are the people who prohibited Christmas!  

  • ENinHim

    You lost me. And I don’t mean I didn’t understand what you were saying… I got to paragraph 3 and got bored.

  • Posey1934

    I think the term “doctrines of Grace” is hilarious. Like those of us who don’t adhere to Calvinist Doctrine DON’T believe in the “doctrines of Grace”. When I hear anyone use this term, I run.

    If I hear these things combined with “Doctrines of Grace”, I run even faster:

    *Sovereign Grace”
    *Let’s see what’s IN THE TEXT”….

    Another hint to non-Calvinists…(whisper)…If you want Calvinists to think you might actually be as smart as them, just replace “in the Bible” or “in the Word” or whatever with “In the Text”. That will SHOCK them and they will take you more seriously.

    John Posey
    Raleigh, NC
    Summit Church

  • chucktw

    Not a Calvinist .  The average person in the pew when  Calvinism is first explained will say  “Have you LOST your mind?”.  I guess my IQ, which is around 105 so my  Momma told me, is just not big enough to deal with that TULIP stuff.  That and I decided years ago  after reading REV. A W Pink and having nightmares for 3 nights that if Rev. Pink  was right then I would just have to ask the Lord to explain it when I get to heaven. Right now I just don’t get it . I suppose you will have to label me one of those poor unfortunate unenlightened Non-Calvinist pastors who just tries to stay steady in the Faith and more in Love with Jesus each day. 

  • Scott Clark

    Last night, I left following a Facebook page of a Reformed denomination (as tempting as it is, I will refrain from mentioning its name) because of the constant, sanctimonious comments its owner would make. He was very confrontational and combative and would find ways to alienate those in his own Calvinistic camp, who just happened to have a difference of opinion. I am a Calvinist and the doctrines of grace are precious. It’s always a temptation to debate ruthlessly and I know I have to constantly keep myself in check. This person has made it plain to me what I need to be extremely careful of, when I interact with others. It IS about how we season our words with grace, regardless of whether we believe we have the closest understanding of biblical truth available. His comments last night, in my opinion, were immature, insensitive and condescending and later in his thread he hid behind Galatians 1:6, in an attempt to equate himself with the Apostle Paul’s blunt truth-bearing. His post said:

    “I’m constantly amazed at people on Facebook. How can someone who says in their profile that The Shack is one of their favorite books and like Joel Osteen EVER like a quote by R.C. Sproul on the true nature of the Christian life or a video by John Piper on God’s sovereignty. It honestly baffles me. I suppose at the end of the day I’m thankful for their inconsistency and pray some of it takes root and brings forth fruit! Thoughts?”

    There is ANGER and there is SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. This post didn’t reflect anger, but his later responses to several who objected to his tone and choice of words (myself included) did. Self-righteous, as we have seen in the Pharisees of Christ’s era, always begets anger and it is self-righteousness that we must guard ourselves against, first and foremost.

  • Dwight Jenkins

    “So the intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person, and that type of person doesn’t tend to be the most warm, fuzzy, and tender.”

    What pomposity and arrogance. But I suppose I am just too stupid to get it, aren’t I?

    The problem is not about which theological system one holds, but the audacity to consider that anyone of us has completely figured out the mind of God!

    Perhaps it is true that those of us who do not hold to Reformed theology are intellectually inferior (I highly doubt that), but I don’t think you would find any of us stooping to this level of vitriol in defending our position. Having friends on both sides of this aisle, I can honestly say that we love each other and would never think of ourselves as being any more intellectual than any of the others.

    From one who has done the intellectual work and come to a conclusion different from Calvinism, this article is highly offensive!

  • Dr. James Willingham

    People can adopt a theological position without either understanding how it works or how it is to be presented.  They can do this, because they have pathologies that some particular theological position seems to encourage.  However, the truth is that the theology might be, if truly understood, completely antithetical to any and all pathologies that seek to capture it for other purposes.  Also, the understanding of paradoxical interventions and therapeutic paradoxes puts a new light on the doctrines that seem so inimical to human ways and values at any time.  But think of this: Predestination, total depravity/total inability, unconditional election, limited atonement/particular redemption, irresistible grace, perseverance/preservation of the saints, and reprobation are invitations, intensely, hot, passionate, pressing, cool, compelling, wonderfully winsome, attractive, charming, motivating, thrilling invitations to be saved, to take God on His terms.  Like the woman of Tyre/Sidon/Canaan in Mt.15:21-28.  Jesus ignored her, and she called all the more loudly to the Apostles. When He said, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” She worshipped Him.  Then when He seems to present the most repulsive truth, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it to dogs,” which is to use total depravity. total inability, and, yes, even reprobation, as paradoxical interventions, therapeutic paradoxes, if you please, as invitations of the most wonderful kind.  The woman’s response, “Truth, Lord.”  That is saying, “You told the truth.  I am filthy, polluted, unclean, depraved, and reprobate just like the dogs.  But Lord, you used the diminutive, little dogs, and they get the crumbs that fall from the children’s table.  That does not take anything from the children, and no one wants to give those crumbs to the children.  So Lord, just a crumb of your grace, love, power, mercy, etc., will more than meet my need.”  And Jesus said, “Great is your faith.”

    I was a pastor in Missouri, when Shank’s book was published.  Memory says he split one First Baptist Church with his theology of Life in the Son.  His book was recommended by a number of people then at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary..  In the that period, the 60s, I purchased his book and read the arguments he presented.  He lost out in his so-called and supposed arguments to calvinism or Sovereign Grace which is a more biblical term for these truths.  I can sum it up in one word, “CAN,” as Jesus said, “No one can come to me,”(Jn.6:44,65).  Can means ability.  Thus, no one has the ability to come to Christ, to believe in Him, except God supplies the grace for a person to do so.  A a child I would ask the teacher, “Can I go get a drink?” She would answer, “Can refers to ability.  May refers to permisssion.  You have the ability, what you are seeking is permission.  Yes, you may go get a drink.”  The invitations Christ gives calls on us to face the problem of our inability, our sinful inability.  A paradox can be the very means of enabling the helpless receive strength to respond.  Cf. where Jesus said to the father, “If you can believe.”  And that gentleman replied, “I believe.  Help my unbelief.”  Was he referring to his believe as unbelief?(Mk.9:22,23) Surely, the believing our Lord seeks is more than that He rejected in Jn.2:23-25.  Look at counseling and the use some schools of counseling make of therapeutic paradoxes, and consider how the so-called doctrines of grace promote humility that is evident in the most popular of hymns, Amazing grace.

    • Usermt3172

      Trying to see if I understand where the brilliant Dr. Shank lost you. I am not understanding how John 6:44, 65 figures into Calvinism WHEN TAKEN IN CONTEXT. “No one can come to God unless the Father enables him.” Ok, I get that but the question must be asked Who and how does the Father enable? Christ states this in the verses that connect 44 to 65. verse 45 says “listening” is the drawing power of God. verse 47 says “he who continues to believe has everlasting life.” verse 51 says “eating the bread of life gives eternal life.” verse 63 “the spirit gives life… the words I have spoken unto you are spirit and they are life.” So in context, the Father draws to the Son through the WORD. Which fits with other passages such as Ro. 10:8 Paul stating he proclaim/preaches the word of faith so that a person CAN (verse 9) “confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in their heart…” Ro 10: 14-15 which indicates hearing the word gives the power to believe. Verse 17 says in no uncertain terms that “faith comes from hearing the message.” It is not some sovereign act of God to a person at the exclusion of another. The idea that the WORD of GOD gives faith to be saved is thematic throughout the NT 1 Cor. 1:18-19, 1 Thes. 2:13; 2 Thes. 2:13-14. What could be more obvious then James words in 1:18 that literally state “he chose to give us birth through the word?” or the words of Peter in his first epistle 1:23 “but you have been born again THROUGH THE WORD…” So the “can” is granted through the “Word of God.” But even though a person “can” does not mean that “will” or “must.” John 7: 30 

  • Daniel Moore

    I was on a mission trip to Mexico a few years ago. We were working with a new church planter/pastor near Puebla. When we met, he asked me point blank if I were a Calvinist. I said that I am neither a calvinist or an arminian…just a biblicist. I told him God saves and saves completely, that the human soul must respond to the Gospel and either accept it or reject it. But I also said that we must go deliver the Gospel. He smiled. I found out that he was not a Calvinist and his major issue with those who called themselves Calvinists was their laziness when it came to evangelism. I know of his frustration because the first three years of misison trips to Mexico we worked with a pastor who was very calvinistic. We would have services, outreach events, and leave him with plenty of prospects only to find out that he never followed up. The shepherd is to feed the flock which many calvinistic pastors do very well. But the shepherd is also to go look for the lost. It is when discussing evangelism where I meet the angry calvinists (and in many cases cannot tell me when the last time they shared the Gospel).


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