Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fire Extinguisher?

Some have made claims that Calvinism kills churches. They say that people who get into Calvinistic Soteriology end up losing their zeal for evangelism. Are these claims true? Does Reformed Theology end up putting out a person's fire?

I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you that since coming to understand the Doctrines of Grace, there is a raging inferno in my heart! During some of my time in the Pentecostal-Holiness movement, I believed and preached a graceless gospel. I thought my righteousness and perseverance was based solely in my own works. Even the concept of imputed righteousness was foreign to me. At one time I even wondered to myself, "what's so amazing about grace?"

Back then the Bible was a confusing book. There were many chapters and passages that simply had no place within my theological framework. When I saw passages that spoke of election, predestination, and perseverance; I would have to skip over them or think to myself: "that can't possibly mean what it says!"

No my friends, Calvinism doesn't put out a person's fire. It doesn't kill evangelism either! The only thing it killed was my self-righteous pride and man centered theology! Actually, coming to understand the Doctrines of Grace has was like throwing gasoline on a match! The Bible has come alive! My faith has been greatly increased! I know that God is in control of everything in the Universe! Grace is amazing!

Glory be to God in the highest!


Joshua A. Hitchcock said...

Amazing...I am currently digesting a book Tell the Truth by Will Metzger on Evangelism for a paper...He was a Calvinist. Calvinism doesn't kill ignites the preaching of the gospel!

Gordan said...

Guys, my own experience is that when making the shift to Calvinism, most "former synergists" don't understand right off the bat what the underlying motivation for evangelism ought to be. Meaning, when I was an Arminian, it was hammered into my skull that we witness to the lost because we love them and feel so bad for them. Basically, we witness out of pity. When one comes to Calvinistic understanding, one realizes that the old pity that used to function as a motivation just isn't going to fly anymore. And so, we're often left to wonder why, or whether we've lost the "fire" we thought we once had. Until, that is, we see that we are supposed to evangelize because we are zealous for the glory of God, and desire to see His truth triumph, and not out of carnal pity.

Just my two cents.

Fred said...

Amen Gordan.

I've heard a number of "theological" statements by Arminians as to why evangelism in their opinion is inconsistent with Calvinism. They go into this long (uninformed)explaination (trying to cover all theological bases)and believe they have a sound argument (to bad they haven't read A Faithful Witness:The Life of William Carey).

For me there is theological truth to support the evangelistic Calvininst but to put it simply: For me,It just makes sense: that God is glorified in saving sinners and is glorfied when the message that saves sinners is preached! two more cents

Gordan said...


Your last sentence brings up another good point: the Arminian preacher can't glorify God if he fails to convert anyone. To the synergist, God is not glorified, but actually foiled, when sinners despise the message of His grace. Only Calvinism recognizes the glory of God even in the rebellion of sinners in opposition to His goodness. If we preach faithfully, we preach to God's glory, no matter the "results."