Killing Calvinism, How To Destroy A Perfectly Good Theology From the Inside

Here is a little book, I would like to say an easy read, except the subject matter makes it to be a bit like an anti-biotic when you are fighting a virus. We know how easy it is for us to become our worst enemy and end up hurting the very one/s we love. Sometimes this happens intentionally. At other times it happens because of carelessness, arrogance, and rudeness.

We believe that Calvinism represents the theology most consistently revealed and developed with in and from the Scriptures. Calvin and his system of Christian truth (theology) from our perspective help us see that challenge to make God’s perspective ours and then from there we seek to persuade others. Those of us who love our Calvinistic theology and are desirous for others to share that same love are sometimes so zealous that we actually become a stumbling block that keeps them from doing so simply because of the way we have presented it. Early on in my ministry I learned this in a painful way. In my zeal to disciple another minister friend in the Reformed Faith, I came on so strongly and forcefully that I almost lost him. I am grateful that he spoke the truth to me about my attitude because not only did it save our relationship but it became a reminder to me not to let my clumsiness, pride, and attitude dim the luster of the truth I represented.

If Calvinism represents God’s truth, it needs to be presented in as winsome, loving, and clear manner that our audience will also come to love and appreciate it. It is easy for us to do great damage to ourselves, our family, and others simply by how we live and present Calvinism. We know story and after story where this is the case. Greg Dutcher has done a good thing in reminding us of the danger of killing Calvinism from the inside. And, while we are gladly seeing something of a resurgence of Calvinism in our western world, we want to contribute to that to an even greater measure.

Our friend Lydia Brownback wrote, “An absolute must read for every YRR (Young, Restless, and Reformed) and older Calvinist too! With wit, compassion, and candor, Greg Dutcher exposes how sin taints our theological convictions and undermines our witness. But he doesn’t leave us there, through biblical and historical examples he shows us Calvinism done right to the glory of God.” An example of what Lydia is referring to comes from a part of Dutcher’s prayers, “Forgive me for my arrogance. How can I ever look down on anyone? If you treated me the way I have treated my own brothers in the faith, I would be lost.” And Dutcher writes about being stuck on “arrogant Calvinist Autopilot;” however, such an arrogance is not really true Calvinism.

One other reminder from the author is well taken. Give people time to work through their emotional reticence as R. C Sproul did with me,” he said. “People don’t change paradigms overnight.”

This is worth the read; especially because it could significantly enhance our effectiveness and winsomeness when presenting our Calvinistic faith to others.

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Charles Dunahoo pastored churches in Georgia and Alabama before being called to his present position as Coordinator for the PCA of Christian Education and Publications (CEP).

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