There are certain words that have the ability to immediately make someone feel like they just got electrocuted. For some, words like “sex” and “alcohol” make them tense up. And for many, many people, the word “Calvinism” makes them feel like they just took a bath with jumper cables. If these people were to design a haunted house, seeing John Calvin would be the grande finale.
Let me suggest 4 reasons many people, maybe you, tremble at the word “Calvinism.” Maybe:
(1) you know someone who called themselves a Calvinist, had horrible theology, and/or was a jerk.
(2) you have been left to put pieces together of what Calvinism is and have concluded that it is something it is not, and you don’t like what you think it is.
(3) you think it does not matter and that it only causes division in the church.
(4) or maybe you understand exactly what Calvinism means and just don’t like it.
If you land in one of those camps, I hope this blog series, What I Believe About “Calvinism”, is insightful and helpful. I hope it is an introduction and invitation to drink from a refreshing, unending spring. What I hope happens, is that you will feel like you finally found the river that made the hiking, difficult at times, all worth it to you.
Total Depravity: How sinful are we? If you agree that we all sin, a good question to ask is, “Just how bad off are we?” Are we still good enough to see that God is worthy of worship and choose to turn and follow Christ? Are we too bad to ever want to do that?
Unconditional Election: The Bible uses the word “election” more than once. What in the world does it mean? Does God pick people to be saved? Do we ultimately pick ourselves to be saved? Does God need to pick people to be saved?
Limited Atonement: Did Jesus die for everyone, or only the “elect”? Did he pay for the sins of every person, or only the “elect”? I have always heard that if anyone comes to the cross of Jesus in faith, they will be forgiven. Does the idea that Jesus’ cross is only for the elect contradict that? Does Jesus turn people away if they come to him in faith?
Irresistible Grace: How do we go from not believing in Jesus, to instantly believing in Jesus? What changed in us? Does God force us to believe in Jesus? Or does God leave us to choose him of our own “free will”?
Perseverance of the Saints: I really hope that I can be confident that one day I am not going to turn my back on Jesus and spend eternity in hell. If I am a Christian now, can I lose my salvation? Is, “Once saved always saved” true?
These are questions and doctrines I want to address on this journey of explaining what I believe about Calvinism and why it matters.