Calvinism was founded by a man named John Calvin (Theopedia, par. 1). John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509 in France and died on May 27, 1564 at the age of 54 (Rieske, par. 1). John Calvin was brought up Roman Catholic by his mother, Jeanne Le Franc (Rieske, par. 1). John Calvin’s father, Gerard, was an attorney, raised by seafaring men (Rieske, par. 1). At the age of eighteen, John’s education process was complete (Rieske, par. 2). After John Calvin’s education and studies were complete, John became a humanist and a reformer, instead of following Roman Catholicism (Rieske, par. 2). To know about a religion or a denomination, one should study also about the founder and the background to his or her life, so that we can know where they came from and where the process of their doctrine beliefs came from.
The five main points to Calvinism are: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election (Predestination), Limited Atonement, Irrisistable Grace, and also the Perseverance of the Saints (Humphreys, par. 13).
The First of the five points of Calvinism is Total Depravity (Calvinism, par. 4). Every man deserves Hell and is worthless without the presence of God in their lives (Calvinism, par. 4). Adam and Eve and everyone after them were censured by a just God because of original sin (Calvinism, par. 4).
The second point is Unconditional Election or Predestination (Humphreys, par. 13). God felt sorry for mankind and sent Jesus to save some sinners, but not all (Calvinism, par. 5). These are known as the Elect and their fate was decided by God before they were born (Calvinism, par. 5). This is not a matter of choice, for the person, but a decision of God (Calvinism, par. 5). Calvinist seem to determine among themselves who is likely to be elected by a persons behavior (Calvinism, par. 6). The points of Limited Atonement and Irrisistable Grace fall with this as well (Humphreys, par. 14-18). The point of Perseverance of the Saints means that once God saves someone, they will always be saved (Humphreys, par. 19). Calvinism teaches that believers don’t need priests (Calvinism, par. 8). Calvinists observe both communion and baptism (Calvinism, par. 8).
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Our God does not need to check the time for anything because He knows when, where, and how everything will happen (Theopedia, par. 5). God keeps himself hidden from non-believers but reveals Himself to those who already know Him, or will know Him (Theopedia, par.5). In the later history of Calvinism, people have modified John Calvin’s teachings to serve their own purposes and the beliefs of the Reformed Tradition of Protestant Christianity, which Calvinism was the most prominent in (Theopedia, par. 5). When Calvinism first started it suddenly became very popular all around the world (Calvinism, par. 3). John Calvin and many more of his co-pastors were originally from France but left because of their religion, so they moved to Geneva which became a trading city of about 10,000 people (Grell, par. 8). The Old Testament is mainly where Calvin got his inspirations from (Grell, par. 10). Calvinism is not comprehensible without remembering the persecution of Christians (Grell, par. 10). Some people thought that the idea of Predestination produced anxiety from asceticism and capitalism (German, par. 11).
Calvinism was a large part of the Great Awakening Movement in American History, which influenced American culture and disinterested benevolence (German, par. 4). People could give to others without sacrifice (German, par. 4). Jonathan Edwards was the main teacher of this view (German, par. 4). It also included caring for the needs of the many instead of the individual (German, par. 6).
Calvinists share many beliefs with Baptists, but they hold some beliefs that we do not share (Humphreys, par. 2). God determines all things in detail, including who will, and who will not be saved (Humphreys, par. 2). Most of the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention were Calvinists, but today most Southern Baptists are not (Humphreys, par. 7).
Calvinists believe that mankind is completely corrupt (Theopedia, par. 6). Calvinists also teach that Christ died for a lot of people, but not for everyone (Theopedia, par. 8).
Calvinists differed from Lutheranism in that Luther taught a salvation based on faith of the individual and disputed Calvin’s idea of Predestination (Calvinism, par. 9). However, they do share a belief that we can depend on Gods word (Calvinism, par. 9).
In his song, Wholly Yours, David Crowder sings “I am full of earth/You are heaven’s worth/I am stained with dirt/Prone to depravity” (Van Biema, par. 1). Songs like this are becoming more and more popular as Calvinism makes a comeback (Burek, par. 6). This comeback challenges “Prosperity Gospel” that has been so popular in recent years by renewing a focus on God first (Burek, par. 6). More than ten percent of Southern Baptist pastors call themselves Calvinists (Burek, par. 7).
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Calvinist pastors like John Piper and Mark Dever are at the forefront of the movement, which is especially with young professional people (Burek, par. 8). They point to John Calvin as one of the minds that created our modern culture and the culture of America in general (Burek, par. 18). American ideals of democracy, our open market economy, and equal opportunity all came from John Calvin (Burek, par. 18). The New Calvinism is an effort to put focus back on God and off of ourself (Burek, par. 28). These young people have grown up in an immoral culture and want more than a God who will just be their buddy (Van Biema, par. 5). They want a God who is God (Van Biema, par. 5). They want a God who is bigger and better than they are (Burek, par. 36). These people would rebuke the idea that the “Jesus wants to be our friend” approach (Burek, par. 13).
On the surface, one would think that Calvinism would not be accepted in today’s culture (Burek, par. 20). Much of Christianity today concerns a “Prosperity Gospel” that is centered around the individual (Burek, par. 20). Consider a recent Barna Group survey to determine how many Americans believe that the Bible is completely true, and in salvation by works and not grace (Burek, par. 21). Only nine percent of people surveyed, believed in salvation by grace and among eighteen to twenty-three year olds, it was less than one percent (Burek, par. 22). Many Christians say that they pick and choose from their church’s teachings what they themselves want to believe (Burek, par. 23). This by necessity seems to reveal the need for people to believe that God is God and that He is over everything (Burek, par. 28). They need to know not that man can be improved, but that God is praised (Burek, par. 28).
John Calvin’s teachings had wide exceptance over his lifetime and the centuries to come (Bouwsma, par. 3). People from every cultural background and economic status, were drawn to Calvinism (Bouwsma, par. 3). Calvinism’s attraction then, as it is now, comes from how it seemingly explains social problems existing in culture and how it encourages its followers to do good works in Christ’s name (Bouwsma, par. 3). Calvinism is expertly illustrated in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes (Fact-Index, par. 4). In fact, the character “Calvin” is named for John Calvin, and the character “Hobbes” is named after Thomas Hobbes, who was a seventeenth century philosopher who had what the strips creator called “a dim view of human nature” (Fact-Index, par. 4). Their witty banter satirizes Calvinism’s world view in a fresh and appealing way (Fact-Index, par. 3). The strip, and the teachings of pastors such as John Piper, have wide appeal to people who are searching for meaning in today’s world (Burek, par. 8). It is important that one would show grace towards those that do not agree with ones doctrinal views, but that one would teach and share that the salvation God offers is for everyone, not just Calvin’s chosen “elect.”
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