One of the saddest aspects of fundamentalist Christianity is that those who hold to that tradition, often do so out of the worst of ignorance. For instance, their is one entire non-denominational denomination that claims the following: “No creed but the Bible!” This statement is said with the pride, arrogance and self righteousness of which should never be found in the life of a true Christian, for we know that we are saved by grace alone, by Christ alone through faith alone, and not because of anything found in us. By God’s grace, we also realize that such a declaration of no creed is actually a creed itself, therefore contradictory to our belief system that we are so proud of.
It is this same ignorant attitude that caused one man to write after reading my post below on Dr. Robert Pyne and Chosen By God. The man wrote:
Thanks, but I would never ever be anything other than a Christian, a true follower of Jesus Christ! I would never follow a man other than Jesus and that is what John Calvin is, just a man. Men will always let you down. There is nothing to gain in the kingdom of God by following anyone but Jesus and the Bible. All other things that come from man are things Satan drums up so we will have to just gracefully disagree. Satan even made denominations which mean division. Satan wants us to argue over meaningless things to God so we will keep our eyes off of the the great thing, Jesus! A house that stands divided will fall. I repsect your choice to follow John Calvin’s theories, but as George Beverly Shea sings, “I’d Rather Have Jesus!” God would never want me to be called a Grahamist (Billy Graham), Jermiahist (David Jeremiah), or Rogersist (Adrian Rogers), and I agree with most of what they say, But they are only men! I totally disagree that God automatically picks out some people of His for hell so I will not ever be called a Calvinist. I am and always will be a Christianist, a lover of Jesus Christ! God bless you and Mr. xxx and I miss you guys! Just give me Jesus and His love!
It is always so sad to see such declarations for they come out of the pit of pride and arrogance, both of which are condemned in the Bible as sin. I know the man intends well, but he fails to see the nature of the body of Christ and his own contradictions when it comes to his bold claim of following George Beverly Shea. In his statement concerning God’s will for those who go to hell, he is also tipping his hand on his theological camp. This man is an Arminian and fails to see this reality, even though he names those who have been leaders of the Arminian theories (as he called the beliefs of Calvinists) in his proclamation of superiority.
Let’s break it down a bit. First off, where does this man get his teaching from? Is he telling us that since he follows only Jesus, that he has come to his Christian beliefs all by himself, and therefore, since he has committed himself to following Christ by himself, he is pure in his understanding of things?
If this is the case, what does he believe about the Trinity, the doctrine of the atonement, the church, salvation in general, heaven and hell. I’m sure he would say, “I believe in only the Bible and what it says.” But even Mormons say that and they are heretics. This man believes something, where did understanding come from?
If he says that it came from his time in the word, just he and the Holy Spirit, then he is out of accord with God’s word. God’s word declares that He is going to build the church and the gates of hell will not stand against it. And in the church, Jesus died on the cross, ascended into heaven and gave the church certain gifts for the edification of the church so that those who learn from such men, can do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-17). In other words, pastors and teachers are Christ’s gift to His bride for building up and teaching the church. Jesus never meant for us to learn in a vacuum or all by ourselves.
We actually see this truth being carried out in the book of Acts. Philip, a deacon in the church, comes across an Ethiopian who is asking all kinds of questions about the faith. He needs someone to teach him. When asked if he understands, the Ethiopian replies: “How can I, unless someone guides me?”
This shows that God never intended for us to learn about our faith in a vacuum all on our own. We need those who are gifted by the Holy Spirit to teach and preach, so that all are built up for the work of the ministry. The health of the body of Christ depends upon those called to do this job. Without the men He calls, Satan truly would have his way with us.
Another mistake this man makes is joining hand in the arrogance of modernity. It simply means that this man feels that there is nothing to learn from those elders, pastors and teachers that have gone on before us in the church. Remember, the church is not limited to our lifetime or our time frame. It stretches all the way back to Abraham, and we can learn from those whom God taught in the past, just as much as we can today.
In fact, many of our major doctrines that we hold to come to us from pastors and teachers from the past. Doctrines like the Trinity and the Divine nature of Christ, the nature of God, the nature and extent of the atonement, etc. These battles have already been fought in the church so that we know and understand more about who God is. Not that these men who taught them were not fallible. They are just as fallen today as we are. But the truths they taught to the church are true doctrines of Scripture for they still hold up today. God was working in the church in Calvin’s day just as much as He is working in the church today. To say we have nothing to learn from men of the past is buying into the arrogance of modernity. Again, arrogance is a sin born out of pride.
A third area our subject fails to recognize is that while he rejects Calvinism, he unknowingly is clinging to Arminianism, which was started by Jacob Arminius. All the men he listed above, Graham, Adrian Rogers, etc., are all avowed Arminians. In fact, it was Adrian Rogers stated goal when he entered into the pastorate to wipe out Calvinism before he died (Oopps!) So while these men arrogantly and ignorantly claim to hold to nothing but the Bible, they are still holding to a field of theology in one form another. Their stupidity is that they lack enough understanding to realize that they already fall into a camp.
The moment that anyone makes a theological statement is the moment they fall into a theological camp. That is unavoidable. What is inexcusable in all this is not learning what camp we fall into and why we are there. To deny that fact that we are in a camp is completely disingenuous.
It would be one thing if the man reject Calvinism because he was and knew himself to be an Arminian, but it’s quite another that he claims intellectual superiority in this battle by … being ignorant. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
This man is just another lazy Christian. He wants to claim to love Jesus and nothing more, but this again, is contrary to the word of God. For if we truly love Jesus, we will study all of God’s word and what it says about His salvation toward us, and not just the parts his Arminian brothers tell him about, making sure to decry Calvinism at every opportunity. I’m sure the man doesn’t have a clue about the driving issue of Calvinism. He just hears the word, like so many, and shuts down his grey matter between his ears. Far too many Christians do this, and fail to love God with all their heart, soul, strength and … mind.