Neo Calvinism. Yikes.
Monday 16th March 2009 @ 11:50 am / what I'm learning
If you visit here regularly, you will know that my respect for John Calvin is a little higher than those who have brought his teaching into the doctrines of calvinism over the centuries ...
One famous student I studied with - I'll not say his name, but it rhymes with sick - gave a near prefect answer in a class full of presbyterian calvinists a couple of years ago ...
the question 'what do you call Calvinism?
his answer ' doctrinal heresy.'
However, I digress.
I have been increasingly aware recently of reports from around the country and further (ohhhh I keep my ear to the ground!) of a growing conservatism amongst young people and young adults. I first found it amusing - and ironic. Now, I am little worried. The fundamental conservatives of the past have brought fear, rejection, division and intolerance to the land I live in ... I really do not desire to see those things return in great measure.
But this is really interesting ... the phenomenon of growing conservatism is not just evidenced in these islands, but across the pond also. And it's significant enough to make it to TIME magazines number 3 of current trends. it's worth a read even if only because it terms Mark Driscoll as pugnacious (that's the least offensive term I have heard him called).
To leave a comment, click here
That's a great article. I proudly witnessed the conversation at University with "Sick". It went something like this: Lecturer: "And can anyone sum Predestination up in one sentence?" Sick: "Doctrinal Error" Other students: "Burn him!" Sick: "Don't listen to me. Before this lecture i thought Calvin was just the man who made my pants." Living legend. Sick, I salute you!
Prefer the analysis of this Calvin http://jomato.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/ch851130.gif
Ah Spence - always good to have you in the room :)
Added: Monday 16th March 2009 @ 4:52 pm
"fear, rejection, division and intolerance" I really don't think you can blame Calvin for that. I honestly don't know how anyone who reads the bible would not agree with the five points which we call Calvinism. To me they are as plain as the paper that they are written on. OK the intricacies and implications of the five doctrines of Grace are more challenging and difficult to get your head round...but that doesn't mean we should reject them. To suggest that Calvinism or conservatism is responsible for the conflict in Northern Ireland is a fallacy.
Added: Monday 16th March 2009 @ 5:08 pm
ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh fundy! I was totally letting you away with that post until the last word - when you tell me I have made a fallacy, well, then you've got my attention ... Central to Calvinism is election - sadly in NI conservative evangelicalism the doctrine of election simply means predestination. Which it doesn't, but anyway ... The notion of being chosen has brought a deep psychology of division - the chosen ones have too often seemed superior. They act as if they have the correct theology, they have the right answers, they are the ones going to heaven; and while they may say they believe in a gospel of love, the process which has chosen them and left someone else out, logically leads to an arrogance of salvation - which is far from loving. I suspect Calvin would hate this ... after all he was pretty capable of nastiness, just ask anyone who lived in 16th C Geneva.SO I'd think he'd have a few choice words for those using deep theology to shallowly divide ... SO yes, I stand very much by the statement that the psychological outworking of a theology of predestination in NI has significantly aided the conflict. When added to sociological, environmental and economic factors it has allowed people to back into their own camps rather than truly engage with 'the other.' ... the opposite of what Jesus did. And good sir fundy - as far as the 5 points being plain clear and right ... we don't have to go further than total depravity to challenge them biblically. We are not totally depraved - OK, maybe we are, but we're just not tea-totally depraved. God has not left us without himself. Ever. There is a work of God in this world and in us that goes beyond our deserving - we are not left completely empty of Godness. Now - I'm sure there is more ... ???
Added: Monday 16th March 2009 @ 8:49 pm
Hi Jools I've been keeping a close eye on you after you posted that comment about the 'woman-hating' moderator elect of ours!! :-) Calvin would have been 500 this year if he'd hadn't died, then again, if he hadn't died, he might be in the running for second person of the trinity! I also hear that in commemoration of this event this year's Northwest 200 is to be called the Calvin 500! Zoom Zoom! Like I said the last time, I can understand your concerns, but I'm not so sure that equating Calvin with Northern Ireland fundamentalists is the best route to go down here. Yep, some of the things you said about the fundamentals are spot on, but I'm not so sure about your critique of Mr C., or more to the point the doctrine. Here's how I see it, and I'm dumping the word Calvinism BTW. At the heart of the gospel is a Father who runs to meet a wayward son before the son either has time to repent or even the inclination to repent. It is a celebration of God's magnanimous delight in forgiveness. It emphasises God's love, not mine, God's willingness to forgive, not mine, God's commitment, not mine, God's constancy not mine, which is a good thing cos I don't really have any of those things. It is this love, which broke His heart, and it breaks mine and calls me to worship. It removes from me the ability to divide, to assume a correct theology, to finger point, or to be superior. It enables me to face the darkness of my own heart knowing I will not be rejected and it means I need not reject others. Of course Calvinists can be objectionable, all Christians can be, we're good at finger pointing, we appear at times to have forged a name for ourselves in this regard, but really Jools, we're all the same. I have heard many ‚??Arminian‚?? Christians beat others up by telling them they needed more commitment and more zeal. I know of a minister who regularly tells his congregation that he has left them with no excuse having explained the gospel to them. If they are lost, it is their fault. In effect what is being said is, ‚??If only you did what I have done." I really do think you're pushing the link between Calvinism and division at bit too much here, self-righteousness comes in many guises. Indeed in terms of Christianity, self-righteousness is probably the only true ecumenical doctrine, we're all at it.
Added: Monday 16th March 2009 @ 9:36 pm
hmmmmm ... I guess I expected the comments to come when I wrote about the horrific murders last week - I thought that the horror of the situation would have people leaving comments supporting peace and reconciliation. But no - it just takes a wee post on Calvin to get the comments and have me accused of fallacy and being self-rigtheous. I suppose that strikes me as a little sad considering only a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about differing opinions being vital.
Added: Tuesday 17th March 2009 @ 9:44 am
Added: Tuesday 17th March 2009 @ 1:30 pm
Jools I'm sorry you read my post that way, it wasn't intended that way. Apologies if I wasn't clear enough on that. All I was trying to say was that we are all a bit self-righteous when it comes to our own preferred doctrines, I am too, that's why I mentioned me, that's why I said 'we're all at it'. I'm all for differing views, blogs are good for that, but sometimes it also takes a bit of time for each of us to understand one another. As for no comments on the dreadful events of last week, well maybe that's because they were just to dreadful, and sometimes words are worthless in such situations. Sorry again Jools, but I really wasn't setting out to accuse you of anything. I actually thought the Clavin 500 joke was getting us off on the right track. Anyway all the best. Peter
Added: Tuesday 17th March 2009 @ 1:36 pm
Pete - it's all good ... Honestly - I hope you come to summer madness, cos if it's possible I'd love to link up and grab a coffee ... you are obviously a thinking man and I love decent conversation with folks who think! Do let me know closer to the time if you are the madness type ... J
Added: Tuesday 17th March 2009 @ 5:09 pm