Archive for the ‘Calvin’ Tag

I am an Arminian Calvinist!

Folks say to me, at least those that talk to me, they say “How can you be an Arminian Calvinist? Surely these are two opposing extremes?”  I say, “This is easy.  I just call myself an ‘Arminian Calvinist’ and lo, I am one.”  I suggest they try it but usually they walk away, heads shaking and muttering prayers aimed in my direction.

Of course I have only ever come across one other ‘Arminian Calvinist’ in my life.  I did not meet him, I just heard about him being kicked out of a decent bible college for being a ‘heretic!’ Hmmm. My kind of man!  My designation of myself upsets so many people, and rarely has any of these, usually ‘reformed’ characters stopped to think as to why I use this term.  They allow their minds to wend their way through the ‘teachings’ they have undergone, and consider the books they have been told to read, and the sermons and lectures they have listened to, yet never stop to think, to consider, why?

The reason is simple.  Biblical truth!

i don’t know about you but I am sick of ‘biblical truth!’  I hear it everywhere, I read it in all the best places. I see it in blogs and pamphlets and hear it in sermons and evangelising, yet it is often different!  It appears to change from person to person, from church to church and book to book.  As you know, ‘of the making of many books there is no end,’ and sometimes I wonder if it is time to end the making of books!  When I ran the church library folks were always coming up with books and telling me “You must read this!”   All to often a glance at the book, the cover alone telling you a great deal, or the authors name, indicated to me that this book was not worth reading, no matter how much it meant to the one so enthused by it.  I got into the habit of ignoring their suggestions and attempting to get the lazy so and so’s to read the bible study books I knew were what they really needed instead.  A charismatic thriller, while excellent in itself, needs a biblical base, and a book telling of the evangelistic outreach in a dark Amazon rain forest needs biblical instruction on how to do this here at home.  Few listened.  The book of the moment, the famous name preacher nearby, the fashion of the day counted more than solitary biblical reading.

In the seventies there was an ‘Evangelical Bookstore’ in Edinburgh which I once visited.  The chap inside looked at me askance as though I came from outer space, I was a hippy look a like then, and his ‘conservative’ shop was miles from my world.  However looking at the books so many of them just attacked one another!  Minute points were developed into large tomes and while study and academic thought is required I found myself even then, knowing little, depressed by this.  Now I know everything (Ha!) I am still depressed by the meaningless debates and point scoring which goes under the name ‘biblical truth.’    It has always been there, as Paul indicated, false teachers and wolves would arise, and a sharp lookout is indeed required to prevent mistakes.  However, I decided I had seen enough of pride masquerading as knowledge, of ‘biblical truth’ from those who refused to accept others points of view, and the lack of real understanding in congregations.  For it is fair to say most of us, as I did, just accept what the preacher says and never look for ourselves.  One pastor told me, “If I make a mistake and he church does not tell me, it should apologise to me.”  He was right, although when I did tell him his mistakes he was none to pleased!  Typical!

There is Arminism found in the book, as their is Calvinism.  But which is right?  Neither as they were both just men, and what passes for their thought is often nothing but others interpretation. Let’s have men of God to teach us, but let us read the book for ourselves.  I failed to do this, and still do, and am swept along with various trends and ideas, often because I do not consider what is in front of me.  A lack of understanding and by this I do not mean intellect, for Jesus did not bring intellectual difficulty, but profundity, if such a word exists. My designation Arminian Calvinist is a satire on those ‘who know the biblical truth’ and a sign I am sick to the death of them all!

So there!