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John Calvin and his spiritual elitism

Ok folks, a few words here about a little thing called respect. Respect is not something to which everyone is entitled regardless of their behavior. Furthermore, things like age, position, status, etc. do not make someone worthy of respect. Respect is earned. If you go through life lying, cheating, and abusing people as if you were some sort of gangster, I don't care where it's gotten you in life: you don't deserve respect, you deserve all the scorn that is heaped upon you from all directions.

A couple of days ago I heaped a big pile of scathing criticism upon a prominent public figure. I consider this particular public figure to be so completely devoid of propriety that I often call into question whether he is even human. To my surprise, I became the target of a personal attack by a 'helpful' friend who suggested that I have fallen out of favor with God because of this display.

(Go ahead and do your double-take now, I'll wait...)

I happen to know that this person enthusiastically subscribes to the theology of spiritual elitism known as Calvinism. After taking a little time to become more familiar with this theology, I realize that it would have been really entertaining if I'd been around to see God bitch-slap John Calvin and say 'Dude, wtf is this bullshit you've been telling everyone about me?' If you're a Christian and/or have even a passing familiarity with the Bible, you know that salvation is by grace, not by our own good works, and that none of us is righteous enough to save ourselves. Calvinism does an end run around the Bible by making the claim that God's grace is not available to everyone -- it's only available to a select few, and the Calvinists then attempt to manipulate your behavior by suggesting that how you behave is an indicator as to whether you are one of those select few.

(Go ahead, check your Bible; yes, you're right, it doesn't say that anywhere.)

Calvinism suggests that a new birth is by God who chooses to select certain people. It says that Man does not have a free will by which he is able to come to Christ for salvation. Now although Almighty God is omniponent and knows whether or not each of us will ultimately repent, Calvinism suggests that it's already been decided for each of us. This goes against most of what the Bible teaches us about repentance; for example, in Acts 17:30 God "commands all people everywhere to repent." And in 2 Peter 3:9 we learn that God is "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." Perhaps more importantly, Acts 16:31 promises that if you "believe in the Lord Jesus ... you will be saved." It does not say to believe after you are saved.

Guess who 'the elect' are in Calvinism? You guessed it: other Calvinists. This kind of spiritual elitism is exactly the reason so many people are turned off by what someone once called 'pushy religionists'. Believe what we do, act like we do, worship exactly the same way we do, otherwise you're going to burn in Hell!

I'm here to tell you that God's grace is available to everyone. And I'm also here to tell you that God loves you even if John Calvin doesn't. He also loves you even if I don't (which is good -- I'd be a terrible God because there are a lot of people who really piss me off). One of my big mantras is 'meet people where they are, not where you want them to be.' This means that you need to be compassionate, not judgmental.





Posted by IGnatius T Foobar on Tue Dec 28 2010 18:52:00 EST
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