Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A visit to a Calvinist church...

For five months of my pastoral retirement/hiatus I have visited various churches - large and small, friendly and unfriendly, good music and deplorable music, Biblical preaching and sans Biblical preaching.

This past Sunday I visited an SBC Calvinist church. More accurately,  rather than being a 'Calvinist church' it is a church whose pastor is a Calvinist.

It's about as Southern Baptist as you can get.

Being highly trained in such things, my Calvinist radar was at its maximum setting. I immediately noted the absence of dour faced, long bearded elders roaming about, neither did I find a joyless group of worshippers resigned to their predetermined fates.

The tieless pastor had no horns, did not snort fire, and no smoke came from his nostrils. The word "Calvin" was not enunciated a single time in my hearing.

Actually, my wife and I have worshiped there several times and the congregation is the friendliest that we have encountered and that without even having a canned greeting time planned in the service.
The pastor is a friend whose preaching I have enjoyed on a few occasions.

I doubt the most rabid anti-calvinist would find anything to gripe (or blog) about in this church. It is a typical SBC congregation, several decades old.

Concerning my reformed brethren, while I have written about some things I am wary about, as well as somethings I like, in personal interaction I find far more to like than dislike.

Sure, I read that some of the brethren are extremely wary of any connection to ACTS29 network churches that receive church planting support from our North American Mission Board, and that explained partly on the basis of Calvinistic beliefs. To these I would say, scrutinize all you want. If you find a NAMB church plant that does not conform to the Baptist Faith and Message, speak up.

I've seen and heard Calvinist pastors destroy SBC churches, and that directly out of their unwise zeal for Calvinist theology. These have concerned me and still do.

But, I will likely return to this church. Perhaps it is providential and/or irresistible that I do so.


Jonathan said...

Gracious and instructive as usual, Plodder.

You are, without a doubt, my favorite anti-Calvinist. May the tribe of you and your friend who pastors the church you visited increase.

Drew Wales said...

Well said. I am a memeber of a church that can be described almost exactly the same way you described. It just depends on which sunday you come though, sometimes my pastor wears a tie and sometimes he doesn't.