No, this post (hopefully) is not vain babbling, but I was recently challenged by my reading of Scripture and the studies In I Timothy on Wednesday evenings. Paul tells Timothy to avoid empty ramblings and babblings about knowledge falsely called so. Yesterday, a woman come to my office with a “ten-ton” notebook she received from another woman who is starting a ladies’ “Bible study” on the errors of the cult of calvinism. My jaw dropped open as I perused the lengthy volume–I am not kidding this lady wrote about 400 pages of single spaced, 8 1/2×11 pages of notes on the dangerous cult of calvinism. What she evidentally did not lack in length, she most definitely was poor in content. Comments like (paraphrase), “Calvinism teaches that God elects peopel before they believe. The Bible teaches that God elects people when they believe” with no immediate reference to either calvinism or Scripture were frequent.
My first reaction was one of irritation. I am not an intellectual eliteist (you have to be intellectual and somewhat elite to have that moniker); however, some people should not speak of that which they do not have the appropriate training or knowledge of. Then, I became disgusted, “Why not study the Bible? Why, cause such division and lack of edification with this nonsense.” Then I began to pity, “This poor woman is just echoing what some anti-calvinists have misinformed their listeners about using vitrolic language and judgmental personal attacks, not to mention gross exageration of dear Christians who disagree on finer points of doctrine.” But then my last response was to counsel the woman who brought me this prolific diatribe against the “cult of calvinism” to avoid this vain babbling, to pull away from this teacher who is not edifying in either content or presentation.
And that I think is good advice (I’ll try not to pull a muscle patting myself on the back), but then as I was reading in Acts today, I came across this sentence once again regarding the awesome grace of God. “Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the Word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” (NKJV) My spirit was stirred within me again against the antagonistic, anti-calvinistic mumbo-jumbo that seems to be out there. I am not reformed in my doctrine. Before the reformed stone me, Yes, I have studied out much of reformed teaching and do not come to the same conclusions as my brothers. I cannot even say that I agree with Calvin’s five points in their entirety (although I agree more than I disagree). I most definitely side with the great calvinists of past and present on most doctrines of grace. You could call me calvinistic if you would like, but I do not like labels, so do so only if it makes you feel better (I guess some die hard reformed guys would not dare label me calvinistic). I may not be a die-hard calvinist, but to have the audacity to say that God elects people when they believe and other ant-calvinistic nonsense flies in the face of the plain sense of Scripture. I challenge those who are anti-calvinists in two realms. 1. Faithfully exeget this text in Acts 13:48 and tell me what it says. 2. Honestly evaluate all of Ephesians 1 (not just verse 11) and tell me what it says.
Well, maybe, this post is a vain babbling after all, but I needed to get that off my chest. arrrggg!