We Reformed folk have made some grave errors, and I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m not sure how it exactly comes about, but let me suggest that we become puffed up in our knowledge of God’s grace and then unknowingly look down on others that don’t *know* the same doctrines we know. I’ve sinned in this area and have had to repent to my Arminian brothers and sisters. To expand a bit more on this, let me give you an example from my own life. When we go home to visit my family, inevitably we engage in theological conversations. Normally it’s my brother, dad and me that get into these conversations. Often the conversations quickly move into heavy topics such as election, reprobation, God’s sovereignty, etc. I know my family loves Jesus and I know they are all genuine Christians and for that I praise God, but for some odd reason I feel the need to convert them to my Christianity, as if mine is better, or more correct.
I do believe that Calvinistic theology is merely a term that we use to describe Biblical theology, however I am fallible and have to remember that I am not all-knowing. That said, I echo what Spurgeon said:
They are all Calvinists there, every soul of them. They may have been Arminians on earth; thousands and millions of them were; but they are not after they get there, for here is their song, “Salvation unto our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
Being convicted of Reformed theology doesn’t have to lead to an arrogant I’m-better-than-you lifestyle. It doesn’t and it shouldn’t. If we are truly convicted that salvation is all of grace and that we are undeserving and ill-deserving of God’s love, then the response of our heart and attitude should be one of humility.
Another peculiar thing I’ve seen amongst Reformed folk is that many of us grow up in Arminian churches and when God opens our eyes to Calvinistic theology, all of a sudden we start to look down on Arminians, as if we have grown up Calvinists our whole life. I’m sure when you were an Arminian you wouldn’t exactly appreciate people forcing their theology on you. Rather, God shaped and is forming your theology as you mature in him, and it’s still all of grace, so stop your boasting.
The last thing I have on my heart is missions. Every Christian in the entire world, Arminian or Calvinist, has a mission to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to a dying world. While I think it’s important to have debates and discussions around theology, I think it’s more important to bring the gospel to the world. So much of our time is spent worrying about words like predestination that we forget what our mission here on Earth is.
Trust that God is in control and trust the same God that saves is the same God that shapes our theology. Let’s humbly serve alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ, Arminian and Calvinist, for the glory of God and the good of others. It’s not our duty to be the doctrine police. It’s our responsibility to tell others about Jesus and to teach sound doctrine. Our job isn’t to change hearts or minds, only God can do that and we should leave it at that.
Read my follow up post, “The Calvinist and Arminian that went to Hell“