There can be no doubt that calvinism has had a surge in popularity over the last ten years. Actually, that’s probably an understatement. Calvinism has been a driving force throughout the spectrum of evangelicalism, and to a lesser degree, fundamentalism. It’s been particularly enticing to younger christians and church leaders, with men like John Piper, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, and R.C. Sproul (not to mention younger guys like Mark Driscoll and David Platt) becoming role models and mentors to my generation.
I used to be a calvinist. For a period of about two years, I considered myself a calvinist. I hung out in the calvinist clique in college. I sucked down books by the two Johns (Piper and MacArthur). I was even singled out by the president of my Bible college at a time when calvinists (in our non-calvinist school) were causing quite a stir. (The gracious way he handled that, by the way, could be it’s own blog post.)
But I’m not a calvinist now. I don’t really want to get into the why of that because it is way beyond the scope of this blog series, but suffice to say I never could swallow limited atonement and as I studied the Bible over the course of a few years, I became less convinced that hard core calvinism presented a scriptural view of God. (I’ve also come to see John Piper as one of that most dangerous preachers in America, but again, another blog post.)
While there are certainly dangers in the calvinist world, there are some things that calvinists do a lot better than most independent Baptists (by the way, I am in no way saying that Calvinist and independent Baptist are mutually exclusive terms.) My time dabbling in calvinism deeply effected my view of ministry, and I think many of the things I learned were overwhelmingly positive.
So this week, I’m going to look at four things Independent Baptists could learn from the Calvinists: (Should get interesting.)