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Comments on Calvinism


I am a Calvinist.  That is, I hold to the basic tenets of Reformed theology1 as described in TULIP.  Nevertheless, I do not believe that if someone rejects these tenets that I must reject them or that they are not Christians.  Nor do I maintain that those who have examined and rejected Calvinist principles are simply "wrong."  Rather, according to Rom. 14:1-12 a person should believe as they do based upon an honest evaluation of God's word.  If someone examines God's word and does not agree with the tenets of Calvinism, that is perfectly fine with me.  I have said this many times.

Nevertheless,  I believe what I believe because I have examined the Bible and hold to those principles based upon what I have seen.  Of course, I believe I am right.  But I also admit that it is possible I could be wrong.  Whichever is the truth, I am obligated to believe according to what I think is most biblically correct.

I do not parade my Reformed beliefs, do not insist that people adhere to them.  Nor do I look down upon any who do not accept them.  I hope that others will not look down upon me for believing what I do regarding Reformed theology.  When I preach, I do not emphasize Reformed theology but I do not shy away from it either.  I simply try and teach what I believe the scriptures teach.  The absolute top priority with me is preaching Jesus and Him crucified.

Additionally, from within the Calvinist camp there are people who look down upon me for believing in the continuation of all the charismatic gifts (see 1 Cor. 1:7 and the paper on this site regarding the gifts.)  So, from the perspective of holding a ministry position, from outside the Reformed camp, I am ostracized for being Reformed and from within it I am ostracized for believing in the gifts.
I consider this an unfortunate situation, since my only concern is preaching Jesus and Him crucified.  Therefore, I am, as it were, stuck between a rock and a hard place.  This combination of beliefs has contributed greatly to disallowing me from finding a church in which to serve and utilizing the training I've received.

Nevertheless, I hope that these brief comments are helpful and put you at ease.  The particular doctrines that differentiate Calvinism and Arminianism, (that is, the ones that are not dealing with God's nature, Jesus' nature, grace, and Jesus resurrection), are debatable and we must remain humble when discerning God's word and not cast judgment upon another Christian who sees the non-essentials differently than you.

 

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1.  Reformed theology is another term for Calvinism.
2.  Arminian theology does not accept, as a whole, the tenets of Reformed theology.  Nevertheless, the disagreement in the areas under discussion do not influence whether or not if someone is saved.  Calvinists and Arminians alike accept the essential doctrines.


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Copyright by Matthew J. Slick, B.A., M. Div., 2012
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