May 03, 2014

sleep like a Calvinist

Here in East Asia, Daniel and I are among the only Arminians in a sea of Calvinists. We get a lot of guff for it, too, though in good fun I can assure you. We love our Calvinists. They are a praying, singing, drinking (ah hem) group of men and women of strong spiritual conviction who revere G0D like nobody's business.

But before I talk about Calvinism, let me back up and define "Arminianism." According to, "Arminianism is a teaching regarding salvation associated with the Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius (1560-1609). The fundamental principle in Arminianism is the rejection of predestination and a corresponding affirmation of the freedom of the human will." Or in layman's terms, Daniel and I believe that people choose G0D, not the other way around, and that the choices we make are very important.

Calvinists, on the other hand, embrace predestination, the belief (according to the same source) that "those whom G0D sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of CHR1ST. Thus G0d’s choice of the sinner—not the sinner’s choice of CHR1ST—is the ultimate cause of salvation." It is my understanding, too, that Calvinists believe all men and women to be utterly deprived of all capability to do anything good apart from G0D'S power at work in them.

Whatever you believe, I am writing to say that the people of G0D need both perspectives. We really do! And when folks from both camps live out their beliefs in a loving way, the polarity only serves to strengthen the group as a whole.

A (Calvinist) friend of ours said the loveliest thing the other day. You may have heard it said before, but I never had, and when I did, it almost gave me goosebumps. He said every man should "live like an Arminian and sleep like a Calvinist." That is to say, we should do our best every day to make good choices, and then go to sleep in peace knowing that ultimately, G0D is in control.