Angry Calvinist

Interesting article on why Calvinist appear to be so angry and what can be done about it. The Problem of “Angry Calvinist”

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About Tim

Evangelical Christian living in Southern California. I live with my wife and whatever foster children happen to be in our home at this moment. I love photography, baseball, movies and I'm fascinated by Mormonism.

31 thoughts on “Angry Calvinist

  1. Two different takes:

    1) On the specific topic of “angry Calvinists”: Interesting article, and I’m sure there is a lot of truth to it—though I have had very little personal interaction with Calvinists. But I couldn’t help but think that the article missed a larger question: Is the “angry Calvinist” inevitable because the doctrines of Calvinism are essentially pessimistic? i.e., the doctrine itself is the problem, not how its proponents advocate for it.

    I know that the author quotes Piper as saying, “I love the [Calvinist perceptions of the] doctrines of grace with all my heart, and I think they are pride-shattering, humbling, and love-producing doctrines.” But I don’t see it. For all Calvinism’s talk of grace, I find very little grace in it.

    2) On the broader topic of advocating one’s beliefs: Even if Calvinists are more guilty than others, I’m sure most of us could benefit from the warnings and advice the author quotes. I especially liked his quote of Keller: “Jesus is not a Pharisee about Pharisees; he is not self-righteous about self-righteousness.”

  2. I know Calvinist that epitomize grace. I think that Piper was on to something that Calvinism tends to convert the imagination of argumentative people. They would be that way whether they were Calvinist or not. In reflection, they “angry Calvinist” that I’ve met have been those who’ve discovered Calvinism, not the ones who’ve been born into it.

    I do think the firm structure of Calvinism makes debate with a Calvinist an encounter with a person with very little wiggle room and latitude for alternate views. It’s a very comprehensive system of thought.

  3. How is Calvinism essentially pessimistic?

    The core doctrine of Calvinism is that men are utterly, totally and completely helpless hated by God in their natural states. It turn’s one’s relationship with God into something little different than one’s relationship with a bingo card. Hey the guy two seats down got a bingo, I didn’t guess I spend eternity being tortured in hell.

  4. I have actually taken some time to think about this “angry Calvinist” thing. I read the original post and responses on the various blogs that I frequent and have come to a couple of conclusions, there are “angry Calvinists”. There are also angry Catholics, angry Evangelicals, angry Atheists, angry etc.

    So if there are angry people in just about every group why are Calvinists in particular labeled “angry”? I have a couple of ideas.

    1. This is a way for some people inside the Calvinist tradition (I am using Calvinist broadly) to provide a surface level explain polemical theology without actually explaining theological distinctions to those outside the tradition. For example someone proposing a robust political engagement by the Church can simply dismiss a person who holds to the doctrine of “spirituality of the Church” as an “angry Calvinist” without having to address things like Christian liberty or liberty of conscience.

    2. Some people are just argumentative, and not trying to take anything away from the good Dr Piper, “intellectual rigor” does not an argumentative person make. From my perspective, the “angry Calvinist” is generally the person who got caught unable to make their argument stick.

    3. Calvinists (in this case I am using the term more narrowly) tend to be concerned about different things than other Protestants. So where an “angry evangelical” may get upset about the term “happy holidays” replacing “merry Christmas” a Calvinist may be more perturbed about the regulative principal of worship. Since the regulative principal of worship is not much of an issue outside specific circles, people don’t understand the issue and dismiss it as “angry Calvinist”.

    4. Some people engage where they don’t belong, full of knowledge they lack the wisdom to apply it. How exactly do you explain the vivification of holiness and the mortification of sin when discussing grace? Very important topics when discussing antinomian charges, but if your response to antinomianism is “we are not antinomian you sinful creature”, you probably shouldn’t be in the conversation.

    5. Some “angry Calvinists” take caricatures and mischaracterizations of their theology personally. They started out with good intentions but it only takes one galactic bingo game comment and away they go.

    6. Other angry Calvinists mistake intellectual consent to regeneration turning every theological discussion into a soul winning battle. Sorry but our theology doesn’t teach that.

    7. I think some people stumble on intramural Calvinist discussions and not understanding the nature of the actual debate dismiss it as “angry Calvinists”.

    8. I think the “angry Calvinist” label is also an easy out for people who cannot defend their position.

    Outside of the TULIP Calvinism is pretty small in America. I think if people knew the goings on in this tiny subsection of American Christianity, they probably wouldn’t find it all that angry.

  5. Frankly I agree with the Calvinist on two of their points. They are totally depraved and they have been predestinated by God, but not for what they think. See 1 Pt. 2:8b, disobey the message.

  6. Kulervo,
    Would not be too gleeful for “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be decalred righteous.” Rom. 2:13

  7. See 1 Pt. 2:8b, disobey the message.

    Don’t read all of First Peter. Don’t bother with the second chapter of First Peter. Don’t even take the time to read the entire eighth verse of the second chapter of First Peter.

  8. gundek. If you are making an attempt of defending a belief system what is it? If you are taking exception to 1 Pt. 2:8 then say so.

  9. Confess with your mouth directly to God that you are truly sorry that Jesus’ life was lost by bloodshed when he was crucified and be baptized into this Way in order to be forgiven of past sins. However if you refuse it will be be a disobedience of a law that has been added to the law that cannot be forgiven. Suggest you read the Acts two message several times to understand that the only Way the word REPENT could have been obeyed is by the faith of giving to God what he has demanded by Jesus’ crucifixion.
    “And for Your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.”
    No natural born man is out side of the class of ‘each man, too’. The crucifixion of Jesus’ has perfected the Way for God to demand this account from each man. Understand?

  10. Confess with your mouth directly to God that you are truly sorry that Jesus’ life was lost by bloodshed when he was crucified and be baptized into this Way in order to be forgiven of past sins.

    Wait, if that’s specifically what I have to do, then why isn’t it spelled out like that, specifically, in the Bible? If i can be formulated so plainly, why didn’t Jesus just spit it out ever like that?

    However if you refuse it will be be a disobedience of a law that has been added to the law that cannot be forgiven.

    Wait, why didn’t Jesus spell that out either? I’m so confused. I just want to please God and go to heaven.

  11. Didn’t Jesus plainly tell you that only a few would find the gate he has perfected by his crucifixion? Hold up one of your hands and begin subtracting from your fingers. You’ll be getting close to what he means by saying “only a few find it”. No matter which contemporary church you pick the core of the salvation message they teach is that the crucifixion of Jesus is a direct benefit. And that by believing their prespective all issues between you and God have been resolved just by Jesus having been crucified. But he makes a statement that is a direct objection aganist that type of proposal. “When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin.”
    So then it is obvious by evidence in plain sight that the crucifixion of Jesus has not resolved anything. The resolution of guilt relative to sin can only occur after his crucifixion. The Acts two
    message is the only complete statement of the gospel of God in the Bible. So is it sins or being a
    sinner they repented of? No. Read that message again and follow the logic of its argument. What
    is it that cut them intrinsically? The remaining residual of guilt relative to the sin of crucifying the
    only begotten son of the Living God.

  12. Didn’t Jesus plainly tell you that only a few would find the gate he has perfected by his crucifixion?

    No. Jesus never said that, ever. He never ever said “only a few will find the gate I have perfected by my crucifixion.”

    So you’re saying that the only way to get to heaven is to say (with your mouth) that you are sorry for Jesus’s crucifixion? Why didn;t Jesus say that then? Why didn’t he just say “The only way to get to heaven is to say (with your mouth) you are sorry for my crucifixion. But you need to wait because you can’t do it until I get crucified. I hope you don’t die before then.”

    Or why didn’t Paul just teach that explicitly, then. Why isn’t there only like, one Epistle, the Epistle to Everyone, that says “Dear Everyone: The only way to get to heaven is to say (with your mouth) that you are sorry for Jesus’s crucifixion.”

  13. gundek What is your belief system? I really cannot respond to your comments if I do not know what in the hell you are promoting or defending. A simple, let’s say two line statement from you, beginning with “I believe” aye? I don’t have any idea that you may be opposed to 1 Pt. 2:8. But every follower of little lord Johnny Calvin does oppose this verse when it is pointed out to him the actual purpose God has indeed elected him for.

  14. “But every follower of little lord Johnny Calvin does oppose this verse when it is pointed out to him the actual purpose God has indeed elected him for.”

    Good to know I have that going for me.

  15. Tell you what boys. Wait till you enter your graves as you certianly will and put your theories to the test.

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