Today I was pondering evangelism because I’m going to be teaching on the subject soon. I was thinking of my upbringing which was basically Arminian, I grew up at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. I am happy to say that saw much fruit from that place. I was introduced to Jesus, taught the importance of scripture and encouraged to follow Jesus. I was saved in THAT context. I do have some problems with some of their methodology, but not to their commitment and veal. Unfortunately this denomination has been vocal lately against the Doctrines of Grace through their radio and print media. George Bryson and Chuck Smith in particular are actively warning people about Calvinism. Yet, what they describe is inevitably Hyper-Calvinism. But as a Calvinist I feel I must correct their misunderstanding while at the same time stand against the caricture that they are presenting. I infact like Arminianism better than Hyper-Calvinism, here is why.
Reason 1. Hyper-Calvinism mostly denies the well mean offer of the Gospel. Many Hyper-Calvinists only see the Gospel call as simply heaping hotter into their future in Hell.While I disagree with the Arminian on the nature and extent of the Atonement I will happily embrace the notion that God’s gospel call is a sincere plea and command for sinners to repent and believe. This is a tenant of historical Calvinism. We call all men to repent and believe in Jesus and declare that God will save all who turn to His Son in faith.
Reason 2. Many Hyper-Calvinists deny God’s common grace. They say that any good shown to the non elect merely is a by-product of His love for His chosen and will ultimately add to their condemnation. This is pure nonsense. God over and over points to His care for all people as proof of his goodness and love. The very fact that God doesn’t eternally condemn us the moment we sin is proof enough. While I would disagree with the Arminian that God MUST love every person in the same way without distinction such as is a common theme with both Dave Hunt and George Bryson, I would agree that God loves all people.
Reason 3. Hyper-Calvinists lack evangelistic fervor. True Calvinism drives missions with passion, knowing that God will advance His Kingdom and call out His elect from all nations for His glory. Arminians likewise seek the salvation of the lost to which I say amen. I much rather hear an Arminian leaning gospel than none at all.
Reason 4. Hyper-Calvinism is the caricature that true Calvinism is portrayed as. When someone asks me if I am a Calvinist I am almost afraid to answer. Usually I ask “What do you mean by the term Calvinist”? The answer I get more often than not is some form of Hyper-Calvinism. They say that Calvinists don’t love the lost, evangelize, are mean-spirited, etc. Unfortunately most Arminians don’t care to differentiate.
It is my sincere hope that Calvary Chapel would at least learn enough about Reformed people to see that we are not the monster in the closet that they think.