Why Calvinism is evilPosted 31 August 2009 by Bob Chapman
When I took a Bible as Literature course in college from Gene Warren Doty, I fell in love with the Book of Job, as translated in the Jerusalem Bible. The text is lyrical, as far as I am concerned. I could imagine the lutes accompanying the troubadours in the background as I read.
Being drawn into a text this way changes you.
One of the changes is that I know, with firm faith in my heart, that calamity in my life is not to punish me or anyone else. Such calamity may challenge me to a newer level of humility before my God, though.
I also know never to listen to those that tell me that calamity is a call for repentance. The call for repentance was from Job’s friends, who were rebuked by God for laying such a guilt trip on Job.
If you have not experienced the Book of Job from a good, literary translation, do so.
That being said, Calvinism is evil.
I am not saying Calvinists are automatically consigned to perdition. If such consignment was based the correctness of our beliefs, all the rest of us will join the Calvinists in Hell. We all only see through a glass dimly.
What I am saying is that some theological points of view cause unnecessary hurt and misery in the life of people. Calvinism provides one such point of view.
The main problem, as I see it, is how Calvinism uses logic to prove its points. It is as if you have your solution, then you find what supports it. A Calvinistic approach, in many cases, is the antithesis of the scientific method.
Being a child of the beginning of the space age and computer age, I tend to use scientific method (not that it is perfect). I may have my thesis, but I don’t look for evidence that supports my thesis. I look for all evidence, pro and con. It is then I see whether my thesis holds up when looking at all the evidence.
What started this rant? A blog post by John Piper, that’s what.
The Rev. John Piper is the leading neo-Calvinist in the United States. He is in league with the Rev. Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in multiple Seattle-area locations. And, Piper thinks tornadoes can be sent by God as a warning.
When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was considering whether to allow the rostering of pastors who were in publicly acknowledged, life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships, a tornado hit the area in Minneapolis where they were meeting. The steeple of Central Lutheran Church, across the street from the convention (and used for some of the meetings), was damaged.
I can play the same game that Piper played.
From the Book of Job, it is clear that this tornado was sent by Lucifer to see if the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America could be diverted from its call to recognize that all have sinned, so treat all alike.
Wasn’t this fun?
And it didn’t prove a single thing, just like Piper’s original blog post or his later clarification. Even so, should we next discuss how many angels are able to dance on the head of a pin?
Somehow, I don’t find this game fun, though. Nor do I find the Calvinism-saturated theological methods used by many US Evangelicals much fun, either.