Tag Archives: Calvinism
I appreciate an article by Michael Horton in which he helps to clear up some of the more common myths surrounding Reformed Theology. Horton is a well-respected theology professor and theologian that regularly blogs and discusses theological topics at his podcast, The White Horse Inn. Horton carefully discusses each of these myths and others in great detail in his work For Calvinism.
The above referenced article addresses five of the more common myths surrounding Reformed Theology in a quick, overview type format. The five myths that Horton addresses are:
One of the things I’ve appreciated about reformed churches and theology is their willingness to keep “the main things the main thing.” They do not argue over non-essentials. They focus on the Gospel and its power to change people’s lives and allow freedom on non-essentials. That’s precisely what the scriptures call us to. We are not to tout “the traditions of man as though they are doctrine” (Matt. 7:7-13) as the Pharisees did. And this group, unlike any other I’ve known, emphasizes and lives this out. The Baptist churches I’ve known are so legalistic that if you disagree on a non-essential you are labeled a heretic of sorts. “How dare you not adhere to a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation view of the rapture. You’re wrong!” Well, the truth is that regardless of what you believe about the rapture, it doesn’t change whether you are a Christian. So, in truth, it doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s good to know what you believe and understand it. But having a “proper” view of the rapture doesn’t save you, or un-save you. So if someone wants to believe that there’s no literal 7-year tribulation, that’s ok, we are still brothers in Christ and can fellowship and worship under the same roof.
The articles I read criticizing reformed theology badly misrepresents those that adhere to this biblically based theological understanding. There is so much misinformation, and disinformation that it shows a clear lack of understanding of reformed theology and the people that claim it. It also does nothing to further the Gospel. It propagates false myths about Calvinism and creates division rather than unity around Christ. As Christians, we must be about creating unity around Christ and the Gospel over our personal differences over non-essential issues. It’s interesting to me that there is an abundance of articles by Baptists that “warn” people about Calvinism/Reformed Theology but you would be hard pressed to find a single article by a Calvinist warning people about Baptists. I find this curious as I consider keeping the main thing the main thing. Do I believe Baptists are wrong on some things, even important things? Yes. Am I going to denigrate them or warn people about them? Nope. Because I know that Baptists get the Gospel right, and that’s the main thing. So I can let go of the non-essentials and support Baptists in sharing the Gospel.
I’ve grown up in the Baptist church my entire life. I spent my entire ministry in Baptist churches. I have a Master’s degree in theology from a Baptist school. I know Baptist theology more than most due to my life-long desire to study and grow in my theological understanding. And I can say without reservation that I have found more Gospel focus, theological depth, mission’s emphasis, and Great-Commission minded people within reformed theology in the last several years than I have in the Baptist church in my entire life.
This reality of my experience makes the mischaracterization of reformed theology troubling as it reveals most people don’t know enough about reformed theology to make an accurate objection. It also reveals that the persistent myths and false accusations perpetrated against reformed theology are done in error.
Some of the myths and false accusations around reformed theology are: