What is Calvinism?

I can read the wiki. It just seems that maybe there would be a better way of finding what the general philosophy is. It seems a bit fatalist in that God chooses whom he will save rather than the individuals own work. Am I understanding that right?


Are there any Calvinists today?

Perhaps you’ve heard of Presbyterians. They are probably the largest denomination in the Reformed branch of Protestantism, which would also include the Reformed Church of America, the Christian Reformed Church in N. America, at Dutch Reformed Church, and, somewhat embarassingly, the South African Reformed Church.

I thought Calvinism was the religion that let you make up the rules as you went along?

(tuneless whistling) Do tell more about this “somewhat”. (tuneless whistling)

Well… Westboro Baptist Church follows (or claims to) the T.U.L.I.P. doctrines of Calvinism. (Be careful googling them - their site is definitely NSFW :eek: ).

Lotsa Calvinists in my area. Most of my relatives are Calvinist, my dad was raised Calvinist. TULIP theology is (or was, at least) a major part of youth religious education there.

They schismed a lot in our area, though. One town of 2000 has 4 Calvinist churches: Orthodox Presbyterian, Conservative Presbyterian (the regular Presbys got too liberal for them), Reformed, and Christian Reformed.

No, that’s Calvin and Hobbes-ism.

Sure, but you got problems either way:

If it’s not all God, he’s not omnipotent. Man is in charge of his own destiny.

If it’s not all Man, he shouldn’t be condemned for a system God created.

The whole salvation theology gets a bit discombobled once you get past the big theologic pronouncements.

And you probably do have Calvinism right: the saved were “predestined” to be saved before they were born. Salvation is not of works. Not even work involved in “I choose to be saved.” It’s just so nutty that you don’t think you could have it right.

Wow. What a bleak philosophy.

Or, as Jonathan Edwards put it:

Therefore there is no reason to act nice or do good works or anything: You go to Heaven or Hell based entirely on whim, so nothing we do here matters in the slightest. This is similar to Antinomianism:

That last part doesn’t really follow but, hey, anti-Buddhists who believe reincarnation is an endless series of parties!

Well, I’m not entirely up on the details, but IIRC, this was the church of the Boers that helped justify apartheid.

I started having my doubts in catechism class one Sunday morn before the service (I was raised CRC) when the pastor explained thusly- imagine that all of us sinners are drops careening over Niagra Falls to Hell. God sticks out a bucket and catches some of us- but only the ones that he has preordained to be the elect. Why not just get a bucket big enough to catch everyone?

Just so you know, Calvinism rejects that viewpoint, too. Calvin would answer that it’s impossible to do good works…really good works, without God’s sanctifying grace, and if you have God’s sanctifying grace, it will give you the power to resist sin.

Besides, Calvin would say, if you do good works or act nice just because you want to get into heaven, do you really think that’s meritous? Do good things out of love for your fellow man and in order to follow God’s commandments.

According to Calvinist theology, Great Dave, God could do just that but has no reason to do so. In fact, in Calvinism, as well as I can understand, God has no reason to do anything and basically just chooses at random. This probably makes it unique among all Christian faiths. I consider them to be a sort of Unholy Triumvirate, along with Unitarian-Universalists and the Westboro baptists. Each as wrong as they can be in different ways.

Repent, Heretics! :smiley:

I’ll remember you lumping me in with the Westboro baptists.

(stops whistling) Yer off the hook then. Yes, current developments hold that blacks have no soul, which doesn’t sound so bad since lots of people don’t get one either, except blacks have less than that, and that God is punishing those formerly in power but will return it once the blacks (and other lower forms of human life) " return to their traditional role" (i.e. place in society) under apartheid.

I had hoped they would’ve had some doctrinal revisions by now…

In 1997, speaking before the Truth and Reconciliation Committe, a spokesman for the Dutch Reformed Church “confessed to great wrongs in the past and said the Church was guilty of spiritual and structural injustices under apartheid.”

In 1998, the Dutch Reformed Church announced “apartheid was wrong and sinful, not simply in its effects and operations, but in its fundamental nature.”

The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa did throw its support behind apartheid in the past, and still hasn’t fully come to terms with its past actions and racist attitudes, but your description of it is completely off the mark.

Are you maybe trying to describe the Afrikaans Protestant Church, which split off of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1987?