Stop it all of you.
Let me tell you why I am ashamed to say that I am “reformed”. Why I would rather just say I am a biblical Christian. Why I feel the need to explain that I am a Calvinist in that I believe exactly and only what the Bible tells me and what God reveals to me through it.
Because let’s face it, my fellow reformed believers, we are full of ourselves. It is as if we think we’re elite Christians. Yes, God chose us. It’s such an amazing fact that God chose us. We can all agree that, in our human nature, in our being ourselves, we do not deserve being chosen. We could not have performed any godly service, done any good deed, thought any righteous thought on our own, much less work our way into being saved by it.
But sometimes we forget that. Sometimes we hear as someone’s testimony, “I accepted Jesus”. And instead of seeing the fruit of God’s work in their lives and rejoicing, we chuckle and scorn and belittle them (to their face or in our minds), because, “Yeah well, you didn’t accept anything, chump.”
Believe it or not, we aren’t better than people who say they chose God.
God saves people however He likes. And if He saves someone who isn’t an innate Calvinist, then so be it. Celebrate their testimony. Rejoice in their spiritually fruitful life.
I know you think I’ll end it here, but, alas, there is more.
My fellow reformed believers, we not only belittle our Arminian brethren, but we condescend our own reformed siblings. We are divided into camps. Presbyterians on this hill, Baptists on that hill, and Charismatics on another hill. We claim brotherly love in Christ while shooting baiting questions like flimsy arrows, trying to trap the other in an ill-prepared argument from which we can emerge patting our own backs.
We smirk and snort and cross our arms and raise eyebrows at each other over second and third tier biblical issues instead of grinning and laughing and hugging and weeping from joy over our unity in the most essential issues. If only we could make the Baptists see they are lawless Sabbath-breakers who like to be dunked in water. If only we could make the Presbyterians see that they are snooty baby-sprinklers who think it’s possible to keep the Sabbath. If we knew more about the Charismatics, then we’d toss some darts in their direction, too.
Stop! Stop it already!
Yes, yes we disagree on things. We are human and not all things are revealed to us yet. It is inevitable that our sin nature will stir us to bicker and banter and poke. It is inevitable, but it is wrong, tiresome, and unproductive.
God’s mercy, grace, and unending love shown toward us quiets the debating tongues and breaks the prideful hearts. Hallelujah! that we are not saved based on the camp we join. I doubt Spurgeon and Ryle are dueling it out in Heaven when all that matters is the Lamb.
So let the noise rising to God’s ear when we get together be one of joyful fellowship and grace, rather than the clambering of bitter arguments. Let us show the world around us and our fellow believers that “reformed” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “ungracious”.