April 15, 2002


Category: Theology :: Permalink

The online magazine Razormouth (an odd name, I must say) recently printed an article by Andrew Sandlin in which he discusses some of what he sees as the assets and liabilities of Calvinism. Here’s the first liability he sees:

First, relationalism. We Calvinists don’t have a great track record in getting along with each other. I’m convinced that the prime (though not only) reason for this sin (for that is what it is) is a lopsided “doctrinalism.” We Calvinists are aficionados of sound doctrine and precise theology, but we’re often less interested in sound love and precise longsuffering.

This often comports with an unhealthy abstractionism, according to which doctrine and theology are seen to be divine propositions that sort of float along on the air to be snagged by a few brainy Calvinists. And only those whose intellectual nets have captured these propositions are worthy of our love (if we have any) and fellowship (if we can even maintain it). We’ve forgotten that the unconverted world will not know us by our sound doctrine (about which they care nothing) but by our love (Jn. 13:35). If love is not a central feature of Calvinism, then Calvinism is a false religion (1 Cor. 13:1).

Our evangelical and other non-Reformed brothers are often much better at this than we are, and this is one reason (not the only reason) that their churches tend to be five to 10 times the size of our churches, and why those same churches are often bathed with love and joy and peace and kindness, while ours are filled with pride, suspicion, anxiety, and vindictiveness. Surely, here we can learn from our evangelical brothers, no matter how firmly we may disagree with them.

Posted by John Barach @ 10:52 am | Discuss (0)

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