Last week I discussed the reasons for this series on Calvinism on Fire and argued that Calvinism changes culture, tilts world-views, & burns uncontrollably for the cause of Christ. Now I will argue this is true in ten ways. So keep your seat belts on and tray tables in the upright position.
Calvinism and humility?Aren’t those oil and water? I acknowledge some Calvinist are cantankerous. But should that surprise anyone? I could have easily just said Calvinist sin. Scripture teaches us that mankind is corrupt through and through. That’s why atheist giving me the laundry list of sins Christians have committed doesn’t phase me. I expect professing Christians to sin. We are living in the not yet and although we are violently pursuing our holiness we haven’t finished the race.
Also, some people would try to make cantankerousness a particular sin of Calvinists. This is a magic trick. They have drawn your gaze towards their lovely assistant and then pulled the rabbit out of their trousers. Pride and arrogance are human problems not a particular Calvinists problem. As a former fundamentalist I can tell you that fundamentalist and Baptist struggle with pride and arrogance. I have also met my fair share of cantankerous Arminians and liberal “Christians.” And let’s not get started on the heretics.
Most of my intense interaction with others has occurred online. It seems anonymity and the veil of the inter-webs has turned many people into the great and powerful Oz bellowing out slander ex cathedra. I have a personal rule that I never say anything anonymously online and I ask would I say this to this person’s face? (outside of the assumed Is what I’m saying true? and Does it honor God?) Some of you are “straight shooters” and you should ask yourself other questions perhaps.
All that to say. When reformed theology hits its mark you don’t walk with a limp or swagger. You don’t bellow out prideful, arrogant slander. You also don’t bellow out prideful, arrogant truth. When the truth of the gospel has engaged our minds and hearts it removes pride and brings us low. When you get to that point you’ll know because you’ll cry out “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5).
Tim Keller highlights this best,
The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. (The Reason For God, New York, NY: Dutton, 2008, p. 181.)
You don’t feel pride but you also know you have nothing to prove. Nothing can separate your from your Father. So take a load off next time the great and powerful Oz tries to bait you. Dad will take care of it.