Don’t Be a Sneering Calvinist (TGC)

sneering calvinismI’m fairly new to the Reformed tradition and still piecing it all together, especially when it comes to the thorny issues of election and sovereignty. In a sense, I’m a reluctant Calvinist; I still prefer words like “Reformedish” to describe myself, yes, because of my identification with the broader tradition, but also because of how slowly I’ve been drawn in. That being the case, I still remember what it’s like to find Calvinism and Calvinists thoroughly off-putting.

There were different reasons for this wariness.

Okay, for the rest of the article, I give my reasons and tell Calvinists not to be terrible. You can read it at The Gospel Coalition.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Be a Sneering Calvinist (TGC)

  1. I’ll try to be patient and not be a “sneering” Lutheran.

    Real assurance (from outside of yourself)…and real Christian freedom.

    Those are the reasons that I’m a Lutheran.

    Close doesn’t cut it for me. After all…we’re not playing horseshoes here.

    (ok…maybe that was a minor sneer…but I’ll work on it)

      • I went at this with RS Clark (a Reformed guy and blogger) and he eventually sent me the WCF (is that right? – some official Calvinist doctrinal statement )…and I read it. And it highlighted for him where it said that one must look inside themselves for proof that they are of the elect (paraphrased).

        We…look to the external Word, alone. In preached Word AND the Cross in tangible form…in Baptism and Holy Communion.

        We realize that looking inward is the last place we can go to for our assurance. 😀

  2. Seven of my Calvinist friends listened to this:

    [audio src="" /]

    6 of the 7 eventually became Lutherans. Although that is NOT the goal.

    But it really ticked me off that all of the 6 ended up going to a LCMS church. So they really are quite all the way free. 99% maybe.

    But for us, that’s not good enough.

    Thank you, friend.


    PS- Give that audio mp3 about 6 min. …then it really gets good. He does mention Calvinists in there, by the way. He rarely does that.

  3. Hi Derek,

    I’m grateful that you urge your fellow Calvinists not to sneer. Unfortunately I feel the tone is still patronizing. Not only does the article’s picture suggest Calvinists are in the real world and the non-Calvinists are living in a dream, but you also suggest such a thing when you talk about how it took you a lot of time, reading and study to come to your position and how people should just give non-Calvinists more time (and, perhaps, more opportunities to read metaphysics?). I’m sure you probably did not intend to patronize but that is certainly how it reads to me. I’m sure your reading has made you well aware that there are plenty of sophisticated theologians, Bible scholars and philosophers who completely reject Calvinism. They don’t need time. They don’t need to read more. So what are they missing exactly? Is the Calvinist going to blame it on their pride? What is it Alvin Plantinga is missing? 😉


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