In a recent article, TIME Magazine has lumped the “New Calvinism” into one of the “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.” Together with jobs, recycling and the interstate among other things, the “New Calvinism” ranks third in this list.
I’m really surprised that David Van Biema nailed the basics of the Reformed faith: “an utterly sovereign and micromanaging deity, sinful and puny humanity, and the combination’s logical consequence, predestination: the belief that before time’s dawn, God decided whom he would save (or not), unaffected by any subsequent human action or decision.” Well, except emergent Mark Driscoll being a Calvinist.
Apparently, Van Biema is not your typical evangelical who thinks that Calvinism is that “once saved, always saved” thingy which makes it Satanic, liberal, unfair, medieval, and casts away humans to the world of slavish androids running around at the beck and call of a whimsical Marcionite God who orders the slaughter of whole cities. Or that “Reformed” is someone who just got out of the slammer after promising not to fleece gullible evangelicals again out of their millions to build the Heritage USA theme park.
If you want to learn more about Calvinism or the Reformed Faith, read one of these books (or R. C. Sproul’s book above):
Have you ever met an evangelical who says that Calvinism “offers a rock-steady deity who orchestrates absolutely everything, including illness (or home foreclosure!), by a logic we may not understand but don’t have to second-guess” and that “our satisfactionâ€”and our purposeâ€”is fulfilled simply by ‘glorifying” him'”?
“I’m a Calvinist too. I also believe in predestination.” Yes, yes, you believe too that God chose you because he saw you were smart enough and good enough to choose him. Paul wants to give you an earful, “[God] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will… according to his purpose… In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph 1:5, 9, 11). Where does your “free will” figure in there?
Oh, by the way, “free will”? Jesus says while you were dead in your sins, you were “of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:44). And Paul agrees with Jesus’ assessment of your “freedom” before you received a new heart: you “were once slaves of sin” (Rom 6:17).
“But it’s unfair!” Before you even thought that, Paul already has an answer to you, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy… So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (Rom 9:14-18).