Arminians try to popularize defamatory urban legends about Calvinists. Kevin DeYoung recently did a post provocatively entitled: "Does Calvinism Make People Jerks?" His post elicited many comments from Arminians. I'm going to post some of their feedback. As you read through their comments, stop and ask yourself which side actually has an anger-management problem: is it the Calvinists-or the anti-Calvinists?
A. M. Mallett March 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm
It strikes me as near-Gnostic at times and with that an air of arrogance and superiority that a lot of Christians find offensive. From my perspective, the “jerks” are those who enjoy bringing such an offense or find no cause to question their own apologetic devices.
We are all guilty of it at times but because Calvinism has determined itself to be viewed as the highest academic discipline within Christendom akin to “truth”, there should be no surprise at the reactions of those offended by what they see as arrogance and hubris.
arminianperspectives March 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Great point and such a tight parallel with what Arminian was saying, since everyone knows that homosexual sin is rampant among Arminians to the point where Arminian leaders are constantly writing articles about the problem and calling on Arminians in particular to change their ways, just like we see among Calvinist leaders with regards to smugness, pride, jerkiness, etc.
A. M. Mallett March 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Have you stopped to consider that a disproportionate number of Calvinists are viewed as jerks by others because they just might simply be jerks and that is a mindset fueled by their worldview of themselves and others??
James M. March 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm
Frank Turk’s initial comment accurately portrays the problem. So-called Calvinist jerks presume autocratically that they know exactly what the response of people is or will be, and they suggest it in a way that reveals their own arrogance. As if the people who come to read The Gospel Coalition are generally ignorant, and perhaps nothing more than the typical rabble rousers TeamPyro attracts.
While temerity is apropos for defending Truth, blindness to how you do it in the public view is not. Rare is the Calvinist jerk who will humbly accept an admonition, unless that admonition comes from a “higher caliber” Calvinist than themselves.
Like the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2, Calvinist jerks see error a mile away, but they don’t at all convey love for Christ’s Church – in spite of their lip service to the contrary. They are, as the image in the article portays, too often wide-eyed curmudgeons. I think Jonah was a Calvinist jerk like that.
Melody March 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm
My biggest problem with it is the way that people call themselves “Calvinist”. Did you all miss the verses where Paul talks about the people saying they follow Paul or they follow Apollos? That alone should make you want to avoid labeling yourselves that way. That is where the arrogance and pride comes in.
Even though there always seems to be the excuse that the truth matters more. Maybe some of them just have head knowledge like demons?
DRT March 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm
I don’t think arrogance per se is the problem. The problem is that Calvinism teaches that they are better than others. They are the elect. Of course they will be snobbish and arrogant.
..and, anyone who has studied scripture for awhile recognizes that you can justify almost any view by citing some scripture that supports that view. But we all know that there is more than that to it. But is seems, at least to me, that Calvinists seem to have this proof text version of scripture going on so they feel more justified in their beliefs. Please, I have proof texts too that contradict what you are saying. Just because you find it in there does not make you right!
Further, Calvinism is not even close to warm and fuzzy and that is reflected in its adherents. It is binomial, you are elect or not, then you either persevere or were not elect. It is modernism to a T. Everything cold about the scientific method has been adopted by the Calvinists without getting any of the welcoming of revision.
A.M. Mallett March 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm
How do I lhate thee? Let me count the ways.
I hate thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love hate to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I hate thee freely, as men strive for Wrong;
I hate thee purely, as they turn toward Praise.
I hate thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I hate thee with a hate I seemed to acquire
With my lost vessels,—I love hate with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but hate thee more after thine death.
Michael B. March 29, 2012 at 7:46 am
If you’re a libertarian, you believe in very limited government. There’s nothing about this that necessarily makes you a jerk. If you believe in Calvinism, you believe that you have been hand-picked by the ruler of the universe, and that everyone else is going to hell. Believing something like this pretty much guarantees you’ll be a jerk.