Do We Have To Fight About This?

In The Nick of TimeOf all the discussions in which we engage, the bickering between some Calvinists and some Arminians tends to be among the least edifying. Not that I’m against discussion: far from it! These are issues worth deliberating, and I have my own views about what is biblical. I’ve grown enormously through hearing and reading the intelligent and charitable exchange of opinions. The problem is that, too often, the exchange is neither intelligent nor charitable.

Both Calvinism and Arminianism have their reasonable and balanced defenders. I find myself challenged whether reading John Wesley or François Turretin. I find myself edified through the writings of both A. A. Hodge and A. W. Tozer. Both Reformed theology and Arminianism can be defended charitably. Alas, not all defenders are so thoughtful.

There are Crusading Calvinists, and there are Aggressive Arminians. They feed off each other. One of them begins with a bit of sniping, and then we are confronted with the spectacle of caricature, misrepresentation, vituperation, extreme reaction.

I know, I know. Plenty of people are going to say, “I’m neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.” Sometimes they mean that they simply aren’t purebreds who hold all five points of either system. Sometimes they want to claim a supposedly‐superior third position (often, and affectedly, labeled “biblicism”) that, in fact, almost always turns out to be some version of anti‐Calvinism.


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