Calvinism is Not the Gospel

Recently I came across a very disturbing website called Calvinism is the Gospel. I’ll be honest. I’m not a Calvinist. I’m an Arminian on the soteriology (the mechanics of salvation) question, Open Theist on the foreknowledge question. But what I’m about to critique is something that I would say equally if Arminians or Open Theists began to say that their theological system is the definition of the Gospel. No, your theological system is not the Gospel! Sure, I do have theological  and biblical questions about Calvinism, too. But I consider it a perfectly valid theological position. I’m not going to call them heretics or idolatrous or anything like that. I may still have some friendly discussions about it, but they are just that: in-house family discussions between brothers and sisters in Christ. We’ll probably disagree, but they’re still my family, just like those who disagree with me on other theological questions are. We worship the same Christ. We both proclaim this Christ as Saviour and Lord. We even agree that we are saved through grace by faith. We generally say that what we do with this salvation after we have it are the same things. All we disagree on is whether the elect are given an irresistible grace that creates faith for us without our choice or whether everyone is given prevenient grace that allows us to either accept it or not. A good theological question, sure, but in the grand scheme of things, it is a pretty minor difference, so the problem for me isn’t with Calvinism.

I only have a problem once how grace works in saving us is defined as the Gospel instead of that grace works in saving us. I would have just as much of a problem if people called Arminianism the Gospel. The mechanics of salvation shouldn’t be the point – salvation should be. Calling the theological theory, whether that is Arminianism or Calvinism or Pelagianism or something else, the Gospel, is saying that the Good News of God is the mechanics of salvation rather than salvation itself. That is what I reject of this website. I do not accept any theological system as the Gospel, including my own. I would consider that idolatrous when any theological system supplants the God it is supposed to be describing. I accept salvation in Christ as the Gospel. That’s it. Theorize after that how precisely that salvation happened, but that theory of the spiritual mechanics should not be the core of your Christian faith.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.