Anytime I post on something in favor of the Reformed position, something which could be described as Calvinistic in nature, I practically feel the need to justify the position. You see, where I live in North Carolina, almost all of the Calvinists that I grew up hearing about were self-professed Hyper-Calvinists. “Calvinism is evil,” is what I heard growing up, “it’s hyper intellectual bible wrangling, it’s pointless discussions about things that couldn’t matter less.” What I’ve learned in the past few years is that this description couldn’t be farther from the truth.
First of all, Calvinism isn’t properly called Calvinism, it’s better described as Reformed Christianity or the Reformed Faith. It’s referred to as Calvinism for the same reason that any other branch of faith comes to bear an individual’s name: because a certain person (in this case, John Calvin) had a tremendous influence upon the movement and because people like to rally behind a person.
Second of all, Calvinism/the Reformed position isn’t bible wrangling or pointless, and it isn’t evil or irrelevant. In fact, up until the Civil War, it could be argued that it represented the predominant school of religious thought in the United States. Many of the great preachers of the faith were Calvinists. People like Charles Spurgeon, John Gill, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Henry, John Knox, John Bunyan, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, and so forth.
Understand, the point of this list and this post is not to convince you that you should be a Calvinist, but rather that Calvinism may have been misrepresented to you in the same way it was to me. I should also point out that just like anything else in this world, just because a person calls himself a Calvinist doesn’t make it so and just because someone says that they disagree with Calvinism doesn’t make them right. Looking back, some of the very people who told me that Calvinism was evil, had they examined its tenets with care they would have found that they agreed quite strongly with it.
Anyway, that’s my disclaimer regarding Calvinism. Still have questions regarding where I stand? Drop me a comment.