What Did You Say: John Calvin Did What? Wrong!

How often I have heard this kind of stuff from Independent Fundamental Baptist people. Having been on for some 50 years, most pastors that I know don’t believe I really am.  But with that, I must say that I don’t follow the stupid and ignorant remarks that many of these pastors make. (Now that remark will get me off many lists)

Over the years when I became aware of the Biblical facts about the Bible, and begin to preach and teach the Word of God as a preacher who preached the text, I was quickly marked out as false teacher.  I was marked out as a Calvinist, and a false Baptist. When I made the remark that I do not believe the KJV is the only real bible, that really did it.  When I agree with the five points of the doctrine of grace, that really put me off the good IBF list.  When I said I like the teaching of John MacArthur that really did it. Just to make it clear, if I have not already, as a point of reference my doctrinal position it would follow the pattern of John MacArthur’s.  As for church policy it was also follow the pattern of the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley CA.

Having studied the Bible for a number of years, as have many of the WBF, IBF, etc. have and are good men, I am first a preacher that believes that the Bible text is most important, than I am a Baptist.  Some one said to me years ago, “Charles you need to be a Baptist first.” Which was to say, that Baptist believe this first, and then they believe the Bible.  For example: Baptist do not have elders, but pastors and assoc.  But the bible clearly teaches elders.

Steve Lawson on John CalvinSteve Lawson Master's Seminary1

So I read this comment today on one of my groups that I am on:

I’m reading Steven Lawson’s book “The Expository Genius of John Calvin”. My dad (a 59 year old former Independent Fundamental Baptist pastor) saw my book beside me tonight and provokingly asked, “So uh… in your John Calvin book, have you read yet where he gathered up all the Anabaptists and had them slaughtered?…. Calvin persecuted the Baptists. How convenient that they leave out that part in the book.”

After my initial shock of his ridiculous comment and glaring unfamiliarity with the topic, all I could say in defense was that Calvin wasn’t even a citizen of Geneva until a few years before his death. He had no political or judicial authority to do such a thing. And even IF Calvin did rally up the Anabaptists and slaughter them, then he would have been arrested and executed for murder.

One thing led to another, and before I know it, my father is calling me a “disappointment… arrogant… a classic example of ‘don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is made up’ type person…. foolish…. not considering the Fundamental Baptist side (although I was raised IFB for 25 years).” He said I’m wrong with “your Calvinism, Reformed theology, non-Dispensationalism, Bible versions…”, and to top it all off, he said that my “5-point Calvinism is a borderline cult.”

After trying to keep my head from spinning and my temper in check, and trying to clarify my position on things, some of his concluding remarks were, “You’re not gonna like this, but why would I listen to anything YOU say? You’re not King James Only. So why would I listen to you when you don’t even know what the word of God is? That’s a FACT.”

I’ll admit my chest was pounding because I was so riled up and infuriated. My mom isn’t much help either as her only words were, “This is why theology isn’t worth it. It only causes division.” Prayers would be greatly appreciated for my home life.

Then I would make this suggesting as well:

If I may suggest: I think you ought to tell your father that you’ve decided that for the sake of peace and love and your desire to honor him, that you will no longer discuss topics of theology with him. There is no rational dialog with someone who puts their KJVO position into that kind of framework because they can dismiss anything you say at any time because of it. You literally cannot win unless he’s willing to abandon that. So, I say: set some healthy boundaries in your relationship and STICK to them when he inevitably pushes them, “Dad, I thought we agreed that for the sake of peace we would just acknowledge that we disagree and not discuss this further. I love you and I don’t care to get emotions and tempers flaring.” That’s my $.02. Judging by your father’s age, you’re relatively young and this is part and parcel of individuation – establishing your adulthood with your father who still wants to lead you in that area. This is the time to say, Dad – now God and the church are leading me in that area.


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