Help, Mom! There are Arminians Under My Bed!
I’m a Calvinist.
My theology would be considered “moderate” Calvinism by those who think they know how to meter these things.
My study room looks like a shrine to John Calvin and J.I. Packer.
The best week of my life was spent in Geneva.
My best birthday present was a tossup between the trip to Geneva and a phone call with the esteemed Dr. Packer.
I’ve read the complete Institutes, Curt Daniels’ “History and Theology of Calvinism” and listened to all 75 lectures that accompany the volume more than once.
My library is large and filled with 500 years of historic Calvinist thought and I’ve studied them all for a couple of decades.
To make things worse, I enjoyed doing all of the above.
I preach and teach with a Calvinistically informed view of the Scriptures.
I hate this book.
We have to start with the title…and we could end there as well.
If someone had replaced the word “Arminians” with the word “Calvinists” the wailing would have been heard as far as Geneva and justifiably so.
Whenever we use the name of another tradition as an epithet we are saying something about the tradition we hold and the God we claim to worship and what is heard glorifies neither.
While some will claim that the title is an attempt at humor, the humor would undoubtedly be lost on you if it was your tradition being mocked.
The fact that our tradition has been scorned and ridiculed does not give us a license to do likewise…it should compel us to model something far better.
The book itself tries to exposit the ‘five points of Calvinism” through the literary vehicle of a child explaining his nightmares to his mom.
In doing so it does what Calvinists most often object to having done to us…it presents a caricature of Arminianism without regard for the best of its theology.
They do have some good theologians on their side, you know…
The caricatures are written with the smug assurance and arrogance that we are so often accused of and we all claim not to possess.
On that basis alone, we should rebuke this work.
I won’t be reading this to my son…I’m not concerned with him growing up to be a Calvinist, I want him to grow up to love Christ and to love and respect all of His kids in all the traditions they hold to.
To my Arminian brethren, I offer a heartfelt apology from this Calvinist to you.
May we learn to speak to each other with the love and respect a sovereign, loving God expects of all those who claim Him.