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How to Win Friends and Influence People

HT: Matt Privett

From Southeastern Seminary prof Nathan Finn’s blog:

15. When I hear an otherwise-intelligent pastor or leader confuse non-Calvinism with Arminianism (hey, you know what they call a four-point Calvinist? An Arminian! Hahahaha)

And my fellow Calvinists, don’t think you are getting a free pass, because there are some obnoxious Calvinists in the SBC. Many of them have weblogs. Calvinists mischaracterize non-Calvinists almost as much as non-Calvinists slander Calvinists; it’s just that the latter typically have larger platforms from which to make their gripes.

Calvinists are often far too quick to label anything they disagree with as Arminianism. Now I believe there are Arminians in the SBC. Furthermore, I know enough about historic Arminianism to know that it is possible to be an Arminian and hold to eternal security. So I am not claiming there are no Arminians in the SBC: IT IS A FACT THAT FOR EVERY HYPER-CALVINIST IN THE SBC, THERE ARE 100 ARMINIANS. But not being a five-point (or even four-point) Calvinist does not make one an Arminian. Neither does appealing to mystery when it comes to the question of the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Neither does softening some of the more controversial “points” of Calvinism. These things can make one an Arminian, but it is unfair to claim they always do.

Calvinists, we are just as responsible for being truthful in our claims about non-Calvinists as they are in their claims about us. We cannot allow the nasty ramblings of vehement anti-Calvinists to result in our becoming nasty Calvinists. This is especially true among the younger Calvinists, in my generation, who have an axe to grind with everyone who believes in a general atonement. Calvinists, act with the same integrity you demand of non-Calvinists.

So here is my practical advice for my fellow Calvinists, in no particular order:

A. Be truthful and respectful of those with whom you disagree

B. Be charitable in debate

C. Be hesitant to throw around words like “Arminian,” “Pelagian,” and “Semi-Pelagian” unless there is no doubt the shoe fits

D. Be evangelistic. I do not mean you have to agree with every evangelism method that is popular in the SBC, but I do mean you need to be forthright and deliberate in sharing the gospel. Many of us Calvinists need to put our money where our mouths are when it comes to personal evangelism.

E. Do not succumb to the intellectual pride that for some reason seems so tempting among many of our brethren.

F. Remember that, even though you may believe that you have a better understanding of the doctrine of salvation than some of your fellow Baptists, you still see through a glass darkly. There are many things that are ultimately mysterious to all except God himself, and no doubt there are some things we will find we are wrong about when we get to the other side.

For the love of all that is pure and good, please don’t be another jerk Calvinist; there are too many already. Walk closely with God and let him take care of all that other stuff.

Oh, this does my “non-Calvinist” heart good. Now I can be openly sympathetic to Reformed doctrine and not get playa-hated. And the above coming right after he out and out skewers “Hyper-Non-Calvinists.”

Better yet, read the whole thing.

Categories: Theology
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