Have you met those ‘freakish’, ‘egotistical’ bunch of Christians calling themselves ‘Calvinist?’ I bet you’ve interacted with a few. If you know John Calvin (the mastermind), John Piper, John Bunyan (he wrote the famous ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress,’) John MacArthur (enough with the John’s), R.C Sproul, A.W Pink and Charles Spurgeon, then you probably have an idea of what am talking about. When I joined University for my undergraduate, I bumped into one of their most hated teachings (doctrine of Election). Upon inquiry, my Christian Union chairperson told me to avoid those ‘heresies’ at all costs.
Dr Michael Yeager, who is accredited to writing over 130 books, planting over 25 churches and delivering over 10,000 sermons, wrote a book titled, “Why You Should Hate Calvinism.” He strongly believes that Calvinism is “a Trojan horse that the devil has used to penetrate many congregations throughout the world.” Ron Craig who fiercely rejects Calvinism comments “No other theology has so precisely Fit the devil’s deceptive, destructive agenda, and deluded so many Christians for so long.” Craig in “The Calvinist Conspiracy” shares a scenario where a person asked him “How much of Calvinism is true?” His answer was, “Zero!”
Calvinists are hated and by some of their rivals called Arminians (a theological position championed by Jacobus Arminius). Some Calvinists too hate Arminians passionately. But today we won’t go into the historical debate of whether Arminianism or Calvinism is true. I will not even try to explain what they teach. That is something for another day if the Lord wills. If you know nothing about these strange factions, worry not, we are going to use this controversy as a case study.
LOVE AND DISAPPROVAL
The LGBTQ+ unceasingly accuse those who don’t subscribe to their ideologies as being homophobic and hateful towards them. We must come to terms with the reality that some of their claims are true. Some Christians are guilty to some of the harsh and inhumane treatment directed towards the LGBTQ+ community. All the same, does it mean that if you disagree with someone, then you hate them? Can Calvinist love those holding opposing views like the Arminians? Trust me, and these are not those easy-peasy questions frequently asked because the majority will quickly say “Yes!” then later change their answer. Some will even answer positively, yet they practice the negatively.
Frank Turek and Dr Michael Brown were debating April Johnson, Ladale Benson on the topic, “Does Love and Tolerance Equal Affirmation?” when Turek decided to grill them using logic. “Do you love us?” he asked. They responded in affirmative. And since Frank Turek didn’t find their answer sincere, he saw an opportune moment to dig even deeper since they new that they held the contrary view. “Do you approve of our position?” As you would expect, the answer was a resounding “No!” The debate was lost. “Well, you just lost the debate then. Because you’re claiming that in order to love someone, you have to approve of what they do when, in fact, you just said you love us, but yet you don’t approve of what we do. So, you’ve just lost the debate here.”
PROOF OF LOVE
Disagreements prove whether the love we have for each other is genuine. It’s effortless to love someone who approves everything you do, and for this reason, am deeply convinced that God allows the church to have disputes to test our faith and see if we truly love one another. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35.) Still, we know that “love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).
I don’t endorse the LGBTQ+ ideologies, yet I am ready to love them as equal human beings created by God, deserving honour and respect. I lean towards Calvinistic belief, and it will be a sin to hate and break fellowship with those who reject it. Kuza app is not a Calvinistic ministry, but it accommodates those who hold to it and those who don’t. That’s how it should be even in our churches. Differences in theological views should not be used to break the church. Instead, it should be used as an example to the world that despite having conflicting views, the love of Christ amongst Christians is seen.
Do you recall my sarcastic description of “Calvinists” in the introduction? It happens more than we think. The church has plenty of people like Dr Michael Yeager who passionately hate Calvinists. We equally have Calvinists who hate Dr Michael Yeager and the rest who hold the Arminian view. My question is, how can you hate a fellow believer who professes the God of the Bible and think you can love a Muslim, an Atheist or a traditionalist who ultimately holds a peculiar worldview?
We must pour out Christ’s love to those around us, even the LGBTQ+. “But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8.) Christ loved us while we were his enemies and even died to save us. He expects us to do the same, and through that, those very people might come to the saving faith.