From time to time, I will be posting on one of the biggest dangers I see to the gospel and missions, Calvinism. I will be posting on different aspects of the dangerous TULIP. It’s effects are just beginning to come into many Baptist churches today and are changing people’s thinking. I fear if the current trend is not curved, much damage will be done to world missions.
Major change usually takes time, so this change in thinking will not occur overnight, but over the process of time. Soon, we will hear the voices William Carey heard when he told a group of preachers he wanted to reach the world with gospel. Those Calvinistic voices told him something like this, “Sit down! When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do so Himself without the Help of you or I.” No, we are not seeing this yet in Baptist churches, but it is coming unless something is done. Today’s Calvinist is missions friendly, but over time that will change, just because of the nature of their theology.
The past several years has seen a rise in Calvinism throughout Baptist churches. I believe there are several factors as to why this has taken place. One reason would be a reaction against quick prayerism. Christians began to realize this, “123 pray after me”, was not working. Churches were seeing thousands of “decisions”, but there was no fruit. Pride seemed to become a motivation for our service instead of a love for God as well. Our “method” was simply focused on getting people to pray a prayer. Books were written, classes were taught, which showed us how to get someone to pray a prayer. Much of this information was based upon manipulation and psychology, instead of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. As Christians began realizing this was not right, nor was it working, the doctrine of Calvinism was there to provide answers.
Another reason for the increase in Calvinism was the rise of two prominent Calvinistic preachers within fundamentalism: John Macarthur and John Piper. Both men, through their preaching and writings, began to promote Calvinism. It appealed to an intellectual side of the house, at a time when many were tired of shallowness in some churches.
Calvinism of today began using several different means to get people to convert to their theological position. One of the means used is psychology. Let me give one example. A Calvinist boldly proclaims you are either Calvinist or Arminianist. Well, certainly no good Baptist wants to be identified with Armenianism! The fact is, though, many such as myself, are neither Calvinistic nor Armenianistic in our theology. Instead of following the TULIP, I choose to follow the BIBLE. Just because I may agree with some points of Arminianism or Calvinism in no way makes me an Arminianist or Calvinist. This would be like a person telling me, because I believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, I am a Catholic. If I happen to agree with Arminianism or Calvinism in some area, it is because their teaching is following the Bible. The fact is both theological positions (Calvinsim/Arminianism) are not scriptural and contain error.
At the heart of this issue is a needed understanding of how salvation works. In my next post on this topic, I will discuss the “P” of the TULIP. It is here where it becomes clear Calvinist teachings lack an understanding of what Christ actually did for us on the Cross. They fail to realize why one who is truly saved can never lose their salvation.