September 20, 2005

Curt Daniel on a Few Pitfalls Peculiar to Calvinists

In his book The History and Theology of Calvinism, Dr. Curt Daniel mentions a few pitfalls that are peculiar to Calvinists. He mentions 10 total pitfalls, so the audio lecture is worth listening to in order to hear the rest. Here are a couple:
D. The Calvinist should always see himself as a Christian first and only secondly as a Calvinist. We ridicule the Roman Catholic who sees himself as a Catholic first and a Christian second, but are not Calvinists prone to this as well? One way in which this evil disease crops up is in the "Calvinist Second Blessing." It is ironic that Calvinists usually denounce all theologies that promote a "second blessing", such as Pentecostalism. But we are too often guilty of it when we speak more of our coming to know the Doctrines of Grace than our coming to know Christ in salvation. We get more excited when we tell people how the grand truths of election and sovereign grace opened our eyes and we have never been the same. Some Calvinists describe it in almost mystical terms. But this ought never to outshine our personal testimonies of conversion. We should always be more moved to speak of how the Savior saved us from sin by sovereign grace than we are to describe how He later explained sovereign grace to us. Such a "second blessing" panders to pride and looks disparagingly on those "poor souls" who have not been so enlightened. Away with such a thing! We need no Reformed Gnosticism.

E. Then there is the pitfall of Calvinist intellectualism. Too often we Calvinists spend more time discussing the Doctrines of Grace than living the grace of the doctrines. We have already shown how this is done in the area of evangelism. To be more precise, Calvinists sometimes mistake knowledge for spirituality, as if one could somehow gauge spiritual growth by how much one knows about the finer points of Calvinism, such as the order of the decrees. But knowledge alone puffs up (I Cor. 8:1). Unless our Calvinism is put into practice, then even Reformed theology becomes staid and proud.
Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism (Springfield, IL: Good Books, 2003), 468.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting those extracts Tony. Ouch! They were a bit close to home. I'm kinda glad you only posted two of them - maybe the others are just as telling!