Friday, March 30, 2012

Calvinism, Useful Tool for Making Jerks?

Hey, I didn't say it. Kevin DeYoung did. He actually makes some good points and I don't have it out for him. Just let me quote something from his post linked here:

"Calvinism is a way of thinking. It's a worldview. It's a doctrinal system. It demands thought and intellectual rigor. It must be learned. It is a minority position in America and in the American church. None of this make the Calvinist a nasty person. But if you have a predilection toward nastiness, then developing an intellectually sophisticated set of beliefs that you understand and most people do not will help you immensely in your feelings of superiority and expressions of condescension."

Whether or not traditional Calvinism makes people jerks or not is not for me to say. Anyone pushing a complicated set of doctrines thinking that what they have is the truth and what all others have is a lie even if all those others profess Jesus, well it makes me very wary.

As Paul point out in his New Calvinism For Dummies pt 6, when major leaders like Tim Challies claim that what New Calvinist have it wheat while all others have chaff, well, that's pretty arrogant. It is easy to see why some New Calvinists fall into elitism which flows nicely into Phariseeism. I'm not saying that is happening to all New Calvinist. But I am saying that I've seen some really jerky, Pharisaical New Calvinists roaming the blogsphere. Just saying.


Lin said...

Hey Mara,

DeYoung seems to be part of a concerted effort with the YRR to change the image of NC. The blogosphere is not helping them because of all the young angry restless reformed preacher wannabes are downright hateful.

This was seen over at SBC Voices when Ed Setzer wined and dined the moderator and he came back and changed his moderating rules.

And the vid of Mohler saying REformed is the only place to go if you are a real beleiver (paraphrased).

There is more but people are catching on to them so they are admitting they have a problem with angry young men and are trying to correct it for PR reasons....albeit not seeing the foundational problem.

One theology professor, an infrequent commenter, over at SBC Voices summed it up well:

Here is the comment:

Jim G. April 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I think we are missing something important here.

We are being pretty quick to dismiss our young Calvinist as over-zealous, angry at past ignorance, and/or having a disjunction between head and heart. While some of these might indeed be problems, what about the “older,” “wiser,” and supposedly more mature Calvinists? I think they shoulder a LOT of blame.

Let’s take a quick look. J. I. Packer slams Arminianism as something less than orthodox. (So did Edwards, Whitefield, Hodge, Warfield, Turretin, etc. etc.) John Piper calls it a deficient view of God’s grace. Al Mohler says that aside from Reformed thought structures, there is no way to embrace biblical inerrancy. Going back a few centuries, Augustus Toplady (of “Rock of Ages” fame) was extremely vitriolic over anyone who was not a Calvinist. Lest we forget, ol’ Johnny C. himself would lash out with voluminous venom at anyone who dared disagree with him. It would seem to me that these “mature” Calvinists can be quite divisive in their spoken and written communication. It is no secret that all of the above (with the exception of Toplady) are very influential among young Calvinists. The youngsters are merely repeating what their mentors say.

Who calls Packer, Piper, and Mohler on the carpet for their divisive language? How many dismiss Calvin’s viciousness as just “the spirit of his age” when in reality it is blatantly unChristian behavior? (BTW – many of his contemporaries did not act like him – I’m thinking Hubmaier, Sattler, Grebel, and even Bullinger and Melanchthon) It’s easy to point fingers at the young, but aren’t they taking many of their cues from their mentors? It would appear to me that there is an air of theological superiority woven into some strands of Reformed-leaning DNA. How can we expect young, zealous Calvinists to act otherwise? I think some real theological humility among the Calvinist leaders would be an ounce of prevention that would be much better than the pound of cure we now need.

Mara Reid said...

Good points, as always Lin.
I like it when you comment.
I always learn something.
I do think there is something even in regular Calvinism that sets people up to be a intolerant. Some people more than others.
I really wish I had more time to dig a bit deeper. But I'm glad for my friends who help me see more and more all the time.