I saw another article over on the Pyromaniacs blog site this morning that I thoroughly enjoyed. This blog was actually first published by Phil Johnson back on February 1, 2005. A Calvinist himself, I think Phil’s assessment of some of the problems he mentions are an honest and heartfelt look at what can (and does) happen to those of us who would call ourselves Calvinists in our views and interpretations of scripture. I would call it a gut-check, if you will, and a worthy read. If you have the time, go pay them a visit and check it out.
I posted a reply to this article (which if you actually read it will probably make more sense). I am including it here, too, in case you are interested:
Nice “gut check”. I think this is an honest and heartfelt assessment for many of us who fall into the Calvinist camp. I only recently discovered that I am one of them. I read The Gospel According to Jesus about a year ago and found myself saying, “Yes! Yes!! It’s not just me who sees it that way!” At the time my wife and I had been attending what started as a mildly charismatic church, but that was moving erratically away from scripture it seemed.
After reading MacArthur, I discovered Jerry Bridges, James Boice, Philip Ryken, RC Sproul, and perhaps more importantly, the Puritans. Oh bless my soul for the gold mines I discovered. Having been a Christian for nearly 8 years I felt like I had finally found the nourishment I needed to grow.
Shifting gears in a weird way that will hopefully make sense in just a few sentences…
When I was in high school, my sophomore year I was 5’10” and barely 130 lbs. I was a scrawny kid. I got motivated and started working out and within about a years time, I had added about 30 pounds of muscle to my frame. I was eating healthy food and exercising, and the effects on my physical body were pretty obvious. But during the process, I’m sure you can guess what happened. I went from being humble and self-conscious about my appearance to being proud and self-certain. And here, I hope, is the pay-off: I think the same thing happens sometimes when we grow as Christians. And, although I hate to admit it, “Internet Calvinists”, as you have called them, do seem to be an obvious example of this.
The solution, which I think you nailed, is not to be so consumed and conceited about your own personal growth, but to take what you are learning and use it to reach out–also known as “evangelize”. Don’t just feast and grow in the Word and live in an intellectual bubble. Take what you are learning about the goodness of God’s grace and share that grace with both the community of believers around you, as well as the unsaved. Don’t allow yourself to become a Goliath in the Word.
Peace & Blessings,