John Piper said:
Why are Calvinists so negative?
I love the doctrines of grace with all my heart, and I think they are pride-shattering, humbling, and love-producing doctrines. But I think there is an attractiveness about them to some people, in large matter, because of their intellectual rigor. They are powerfully coherent doctrines, and certain kinds of minds are drawn to that. And those kinds of minds tend to be argumentative.
So the intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person, and that type of person doesn’t tend to be the most warm, fuzzy, and tender. Therefore this type of person has a greater danger of being hostile, gruff, abrupt, insensitive or intellectualistic.
Read rest of article hereBy John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.orghere.
Here is an extract from a letter written by a pastor frustrated by the problems hyper calvinists had settling in his church:
The main reason I am writing is to see if you know anything a person can do in response to hyper-calvinism. Around these parts, we are getting killed by very vocal, self-righteous hyper-calvinists, especially those who are connected with Piperâs church. He has a very strong following around here. They always use the same language and have the same condescending attitude toward everyone else. This stripe also seems to revere Bob Dewaay, Kirk Cameron, and Lighthouse trails research. They turn up their nose at Rick Warren and Bill Hybels.
The problem is that they just are relentless. Absolutely no discussion or compromise. I have had the life kicked out of me at my church this past year by some of these people. For them, it just isnât good enough to be a solid evangelical who really loves Jesus and wants to serve him. It has to be all about reformed theology.
With regards to these dear folks at my church â the proud Calvinists â my approach has always been exactly what you were suggesting. I went out of my way time and again to be friends with them â the number of hours spent over coffee and lunch (funny thing, it was always on my dime!) was incalculable. The tool that I had leaned on for so many years in youth ministry, namely loving relationships, failed me. They were just too stuck in their theology to see anything else. We couldnât ever just agree to disagree and leave it at that.
Which is why it is such a stretch for these people to find a home in our church. We deliberately say that we will not divide over theological issues like this. We are centered on the cross, on walking with Jesus. They just seemed like they were always picking a fight.
So, any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions?
Clearly, based on his writing above, Piper himself is not too thrilled by this kind of outcome but acknowledges the problem.
I’ve mentioned my own experiences with these attitudes on the blog here previously. They spanned different groups of people and a number of years. Pentecostals get a bad reputation for being over emotional. ‘Emergents’ get a bad reputation for being too liberal. Well, this attitude issue seems to be the equivalent thorn for Calvinists.
So – is it possible to wholeheartedly join with a Calvinist movement – particularly the Reformed crowd – and not fall into these tendencies? If so, how is that outcome achieved?
If we are to judge a tree by its fruit, should we ignore those attitudes when choosing our teachers? After all, the theology is rigorous, whether we agree with it all or not, and the rigor is worthy of respect. Is there some flaw in the theology that leads to that fruit, or is it just human frailty? What does scripture have to say on the matter?