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Some First Things Love For Calvin

Since we often criticize First Things for a sort of faux ecumenism, it’s only fair that we point out when they engage in the real thing. James Rogers points out what is obvious to anyone who has ever read Calvin, predestination is not that big of an issue for him. Oh sure, he believes in it and doesn’t hide it, but it simply does not figure into every discussion, nor is it any sort of controlling hermeneutic for the rest of his work. Dr. Rogers also manages to work in a much-needed pastoral observation:

But it’s this point that I think provokes most of the reaction to Calvinism in the popular mind today (and to Augustinianism and Lutheranism to the extent that they are identified with the teaching as well): Modern man does not want to be transparent before God, or before anyone else. We deem it an invasion of our privacy and of our autonomy. We want our hearts to be the one place in creation so sacred that even God dare not tread there.

For whatever reason, Calvinism is the school that gets most of the attention to taking on this preference. For better or for worse, it’s the Calvinists who are taken to be “in your face” in asserting a Christian anthropology in direct opposition to the spirit of the age. While I don’t count myself among their number, they should be credited more broadly by Christians for taking so much heat on their view of the will.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.