Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Calvinism

Regular reader Ceemac posted this question:

Do you think it is in the DNA of Calvinists to be disgruntled? After all we have a commitment to always be working to reform church and culture. So we are inclined to look at a situation and focus on what needs to be fixed and not what is working.
I do think that a worldview that began with protest and reform does tend to emphasize the negative. Nonetheless, the core of the scripture that Calvinists confess is that God created the world and called it good, and Christ ultimately triumphs over sin. The basic message of Christianity from beginning to end is pretty positive, and Calvinists embrace that message.

I think one of the reasons the Calvinists tend to be so critical is that we find it exasperating that other worldviews do not see the good order God made in the world. Calvinists are stewards of the world in order to work with and bring out the good order that the sovereign God made.

I have toyed with the idea of writing The Happy Calvinist. That happiness is chastened by the knowledge of sin and the Fall, but nonetheless remains cheerful knowing that God triumphs, first and last.


Fritz said...

It's sort of like jumbo shrimp, don't you think.

Gruntled said...

Calvinism is an upbuilding tradition. That requires a positive view of the future, even if most have a critical view of the present.

Fritz said...

Calvinism strips man of free will and portrays God as a tyrant.

Gruntled said...

Nah, that's an ancient canard.

ceemac said...

Dropping back in to read and comment after a break.

"The Happy Calvinist". I like it.

Calvinists are an optimistic sort. Because we trust that God is at work in the world. And we are called to to be at work in that world too.

But I think there is a difference between a happy Calvinist and a happy Chestertonian Catholic.

Calvinist happiness is tied to the desgruntledness that is a part of our DNA. We are reformers. We are most happy when we are finding broken stuff and figuring out ways to fix what is broken in church and society.

Gruntled said...

ceemac: True. I am a Calvinist who yearns toward Thomism.

Eddie Eddings said...

You write a book on "The Happy Calvinist" and I will line up to purchase one.

Calvinists have had too much bad PR and way too many straw men attacks.