Calling all Calvinists …

The terms Calvinist and Reformed can have wildly different meanings, depending on who uses them. For example, some of the most misogynist and some of the most feminist folks I know would see their views as being inherently Reformed. The same could be said regarding general open-mindedness, openness to science, commitment to learning, commitment to being fair to opponents, political left-right orientation, and so on.
So, when people tell me they’re Calvinist or Reformed, I generally ask them what they mean. One line of response goes to TULIP (an acronym for five points of a type of deterministic Calvinism) and the Westminster Confession and a list of things they’re against. Folks in this camp seem eager to repeat and redo faithfully in the 21st century exactly what Calvin said and did in the 16th.
The other line of response refers to the Lordship of Christ over all of life, the priesthood of all believers, the absolute importance of God’s grace, and the integration of faith with every dimension of human enterprise … seeming more eager to imitate Calvin’s general example, seeking to translate into our times what Calvin generally sought to do in his times, even when that means disagreeing with specific things Calvin – and many Calvinists – have said and done.
The TULIP/WC group tends to include my most passionate, persistent, and grandiloquent critics. I, of course, am not alone in finding myself in the polemical cross-hairs of these energetic folks who have rightly earned the nick-name “Machen’s warrior children.”
The other kind of Reformed Christians are much more irenic and include many of the wisest and most thoughtful Christians I’ve ever met. A great example of this tribe’s Reformed thinking can be found here. I hope and pray many in the former camp will migrate to the latter camp in the years ahead.