Thursday, March 8, 2012
Evangelical Calvinism=FAIL (or why John Piper is a bad man)...
It is an interesting thing to look back on why I decided to get involved in academics. One of the motivating factors was that I was an avid reader of all types of evangelical Calvinism (Piper, Sproul, the Puritans featured in the Banner of Truth, some Augustine and of course Calvin himself), and I wanted to become a theologian to understand the Reformation better because of course the main problem in the world today is that there is a fight against the Reformation's view of justification by faith (ALONE)!
I tried to be a strong evangelical Calvinist for about a year or so (I remember famously getting in an argument with my mom and her "Wesleyian, Semi-Pelagian tenedencies"-c'mon, who talks like that!-over the issue of predestination and free will; there is a certain condescending attitude that sets in when you are one of the elect). However, the fact that I studied history and enjoyed studying philosophy on the side "reformed" my theology to be less Calvinist (even though I have learned to appreciate Calvin, but the people who helped in this transition were Barth and Bonhoeffer).
One of the main issues had to do with the way evangelical Calvinists will almost robot-like claim that God was behind everything even events like genocide and murder (I guess tornadoes was the last event). But they are consistent in the extent that God has to be sovereign over all things especially in the salvation of the elect; adding any foreign elements of goodness apart from God would mess up their formula (because humans are sinful to the core), so that leads them to make God completely in charge of salvation and also of damnation.
When it comes down to the issue of predestination and free will or the elect and non-elect I have gotten to the point of saying that I really don't care about this issue. It has WASTED a lot of pens and paper and probably many an evangelical will argue some more over the Calvinist versus Arminius views. However, rumor has it that many evangelical Calvinists are trying to draw the line in the sand that states they are the only "true" evangelicals. Well, have at it...
If God is not a saving God and the gospel is not a good news for all humanity then I don't want to hear it (God is also holy and just and judges sin but, for me, not before the dawn of human time). I would honestly rather side with Voltaire than with a Calvinist because at least Voltaire had the good moral sense to see disaster in the world as a bad thing and not try to rationalize how something like the Holocaust or child abuse could be somehow used to God's glory. I just think it is about time for more evangelicals (or people in general) to call out this type of rationalizing. It honestly does not help anyone.