Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Calvinists and Arminians (who don't want to be called that)

I have noticed at least an apparent difference between the Calvinist and Arminians with whom I have to do. Now, as an examination of my preaching engagements will reveal, many of the churches where I preach are high Calvinists, that is to say, they are of the straitet sect of Calvinism. yet no-where have I come across anyone who would contend earnestly for the damnation of John Wesley, even in churches where suh people might be expected to exist. I have met ONE such person on the internet, and that person was a fully-paid up hypercalvinist. On the other hand, I have dealt with rather a lot of Free-willers (I use the term because they do not like to be called by the name of Jacobus Arminius, a fact that surprises me, since Arminius was undoubtedly a brilliant man, if mistaken on certain points) who seem to be anxious to find that Calvin was an evil man. Not only do they put the worst possible construction on Calvin's actions, but they readily receive all kinds of malicious slander and libel againist him. I have, for example, read one man's postings in which he drew extensively from the writings of a man who was Calvin's personal enemy! yet the same man blasted me for drawing on a wide variety of sources because many of them were Calvinists! I trust he does not use the same method for interpreting the Scriptures, putting more weight behind the writings of despisers of the Gospel than those of its friends!!!

On the other hands the majority even of high Calvinists are more than willing to grant that John Wesley was a true Christian, if misguided and prejudiced unreasonably against the doctrines commonly called Calvinistic. I have actually read, percentage-wise, more of John Wesley's writings than I ahve of John Calvin's. I consult the writings of Wesley and Adam Clarke before criticising a Free-willer interpretation of a passage. Yet I find that most free-willers have not so much as cracked the bindings on Calvin's Institutes.

Please, let us all play fair. Deal with the doctrines, don't just attack the man. And deal with the doctrines as they are, not straw men. I have recommended Adam Clarke to Calvinists. Would Dave Hunt tell his followers to read Calvin for themselves?


Machine Gun Kelley said...

Very good points HH.

Today I was actually thinking that Jacobus Arminius himself would probably take one look at some of the stuff that passes for "church" here in the USA and be every bit as appalled as John Calvin would be...


theoldadam said...

Calvin, Wesley, Arminius...who were those guys?

Were they friends of Luther?

- Steve(the hyper-Lutheran)Martin

Highland Host said...

Well, Luther liked Calvin's books, at least the ones he read. And Wesley was converted through a public reading of Martin Luther (in fact both Wesleys were). Calvin liked Luther as well. Of course Calvin liked 'The Bondage of the Will' more than Wesley and Arminius, but there you are, we all have our favourites of Luther's books.