To My Calvinist Brothers: Tone Down Your Rhetoric

I do not encounter this often in real life, but in the advent of “fake life,” of the world of blogs and Facebook, I seem to encounter this often, namely the use of strong and despicable rhetoric to propagate or tear down everything from politicians to the saving of some squirrel in the hills of eastern Mongolia. All people believe in and fight for something, and, for some reason, the internet brings out the worst of it. And this is not to say that people should not have strong convictions or that there are not causes to fight for, however, many people will say things on the internet that they would never say in real life. And for some odd reason, many of us feel as though the internet is a safe haven for us to express our passions and thoughts and that when things are said on the internet, those words somehow “do not count” or affect people. This, of course, is not true and is ridiculous, for things said anywhere, whether in person or on the internet, truly do count and truly do affect people.

As unfortunate as it is, it cannot be denied that those who call themselves Christians are oftentimes the quickest to use such strong and despicable rhetoric. And among those Christians, many times the most vocal are those who call themselves Calvinists. And while I openly call myself a Calvinist and affirm what are called the Doctrines of Grace, I cannot help but be appalled and disgusted by the language that is used by many Calvinists to propagate their doctrinal beliefs. Amid other propagators of other things, Calvinists oftentimes stand out as the most hateful, most distasteful, and most unloving people, and they show no restraint or remorse in the language they use to dispel the beliefs of those who disagree with them. And while it is true what Luther said, that we must fight for “truth at all costs,” the manner in which many of us fight is not a part of the necessary costs.

Ironically, the manner in which many of us fight opposes that for which we claim to fight. For we claim with our words to be about the glory of God, yet we speak in manner that is disobedient to his command, namely, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And while the proclamation of truth is one way in which we can love our neighbor, it must spoken with the end of loving our neighbor, otherwise it is sin. More often than not, this is the case of the most vocal of Calvinists, viz. that they speak the truth, but they do so in a manner that demeans and destroys. Therefore, those who speak thus do not speak in love and for the building up of their brother, but they speak in hate in order to win a debate, to demonstrate their own intellect and understanding, or to accomplish some other selfish end that only God knows.

You, who call yourself a Calvinist and speak in such a way, need to examine your heart and determine the motivation behind why you speak as you speak. Do you speak thus because you love your brother and desire to build him up in the knowledge of Christ, or do you speak thus to win a debate or to glorify your supposed superior comprehension of the Scriptures? For if you do the latter, you, despite your opinions on the matter, have not rightly understood the Scriptures, and you are nothing more than a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal, and God is weary of hearing you (cf. 1Cor. 13:1).



Categories: Theology

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5 replies

  1. An issue well raised, Brother. Thank you.

    The "some odd reason" for this anomaly is, I believe, that cowardice thrives and becomes artificially bold in anonymity. An atmosphere in which one may choose to be known (i.e. unknown) by a name or title of one's own choosing, and perhaps an avatar representative of one's ego, breeds legions of self-supposed bulletproof snipers, able to take endless potshots at enemies real or imagined from a position of seeming utter invulnerability.

    For this reason it is essential that, prior to posting, we examine ourselves to see whether we are thinking and acting in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we have the mind of Christ? Are we letting this mind be (dominant) in us which was also in Christ Jesus…? Are we bringing our every thought into obedience to Him?

    What bloggers and responders must know, sooner or later, is that God is not mocked. Be not deceived. While man reads the comment, God is looking on the heart of the poster. Learning this sooner, rather than discovering it later, is definitely preferable, as we each will reap from our Lord what we have sowed to the least of His brethren, and that which does not edify in love tears down in wrath.

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  2. Good post, Matt. This is a good reminder for all Calvinists, as confidence coupled with immaturity often gives rise to the kind of rhetorical brutality that you're describing. And we can all lapse into such immaturity from time to time.

    "For we claim with our words to be about the glory of God, yet we speak in manner that is disobedient to his command, namely, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”" I like that. A quotable quote that's sure to stick with me.

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  3. Thanks for the comments and input. And I must also confess that I have at times said such things myself unlovingly both because of "anonymity" and "immaturity." I hope by God's grace all his children (including myself, chief of all) can grow in love for him and each other. Thanks again. Grace and peace.

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  4. Despite the general reputation of rude, proud Calvinists, I have seen unusual, Christ-like kindness on the Calvinist blogs I have been visiting lately. Posters have shown great patience with me especially. Maybe posts like this one are helping to increase attention to kindness among Calvinists. So thanks for sharing!

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  5. That is encouraging to hear, brother. I hope it will be a continuing trend. Thanks for input.

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