Two of my good friends (whose identity I will protect) affixed this bumper sticker to my car following a Bible Study we all attended this past Monday. As I stayed behind to visit with some of the other men, their secret mission was accomplished. It was another hour or so before it was discovered by Leigh, my wife. She knew immediately and instinctively who at least one of the perpetrators was. The fun irony for me is that while I make no apologies for my adherence to Reformed Theology (often referred to as Calvinism, or sometimes Monergism), I think that both of these men, who love the Lord and His word, are closet Calvinists who operate in utter denial of their embrace of the Doctrines of Grace.
The reasons why I am unapologetic about my Reformed Theology is first of all, it is supported by scripture. But it also casts a more humble, reverent and, I believe accurate, vision of the perfection and transcendence of God the Father, contrasted with the wickedness of my heart and my utter inability to ever choose God, apart from some supernatural intervention on His part. (I put this in the first person, but believe that this “wickedness” and “inability” characterize ALL mankind.) Reformed soteriology maximizes God and His agency and minimizes man, with respect to the working of salvation. Any of the processes proposed by other theological streams elevate man’s role in the act of his own salvation. An unavoidable consequence of this is the appearance of pride. And I would contend that pride is at the very essence of that wickedness and inability I mentioned above.
When I talk to people who claim to have been even an agent, or much worse, the agent in “making a decision for Christ,” I can’t help but see a spiritual smugness and self-satisfaction that accompanies that announcement. Now, in fairness, let me add that these folks do not deny that before they “made their decision for Christ” they were all hell-bound sinners, but at least for me, they have a seriously insufficient, inadequate, and incorrect view of their true nature and how that nature alone would not have allowed them to make any such decision for absolute righteousness. Their view, of man as an agent in his own salvation, holds the unregenerate in much higher esteem than I ever could, can, or do.
Kevin DeYoung, a pastor in East Lansing, Michigan, was asked to submit a piece for the Christian Research Journal in response to Time Magazine’s recent article that included as one off the hot new trends, something they called “New Calvinism.” His thought are clear, concise and spot-on and can be read by clicking HERE. It is a wonderful explanation of “Why I Am a Calvinist (And a Lot of Other Christians Are, Too)” Take a couple of minutes and read it.