We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

A Dear John Letter to John Calvin

Image via The American Jesus

Image via The American Jesus

Zack Hunt of The American Jesus wrote a brilliant “Dear John” letter after reading Calvin’s most famous work, Institutes of the Christian Religion. If you want to hear a well-articulated and engaging challenge of classic Calvinism, you should read the whole post.

Here’s a little snippet to spark your interest:

But, John, I think the ultimate problem between you and me is the starting point in your grand theological endeavor. For you, everything begins and ends with the glory of God. I wholeheartedly agree that giving glory to God is an important thing. But John, I don’t know what Bible you’re reading if you think that receiving glory is God’s primary interest in and purpose for mankind. If anything, the Bible is a sustained account of God’s disinterest in glory. It’s the story of a God who desires above all to be in a loving relationship with His people and God’s willingness to do anything to make that happen, including abandoning all sense of glory even to that point of death on a cross.

But perhaps the most ironic point in your emphasis on glory is that in your attempt to glorify God you destroy that very glory through your understanding of divine sovereignty and election. For if God ordains murder, rape, and abuse, while creating some people – maybe most people – for eternal torment, then that God is not worthy of glory. Period.

Related Reading

Predestination Part 2: Seeing Destiny Rightly

For Part 1, click here. In Ephesians Paul teaches that God “chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph 1:4). In Christ, Paul continues, God “predestined us for adoption to sonship…to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in…

When Did You Let Go of Your Calvinist Beliefs? (Podcast)

Greg talks about his unusual transformation out of Calvinism. Episode 471 The Interview: http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0471.mp3 Photo by Paola Franco on Unsplash.com

The Centrality of the Cross in Church History

Some readers of Crucifixion of the Warrior God may be assuming that the emphasis I’m placing on the cross is unprecedented in church history. While I will not deny that the cross-centered approached to interpreting Scripture’s violent divine portraits is new, the fact that I’m placing the cross at the center of my understanding of…

Is Suffering Part of God’s Secret Plan?

In the Christian tradition since Augustine, the most common explanation for the apparent arbitrariness of life and God’s interaction with humanity has been God’s mysterious will—his “secret plan,” as Calvin says. Whether or not a child is born healthy or a wife is killed by an intruder is ultimately decided by God. If we ask…

Getting Honest about the Dark Side of the Bible

 Eddy Van 3000 via Compfight While most of the Bible exhibits a “God-breathed” quality, reflecting a magnificently beautiful God that is consistent with God’s definitive revelation on the cross, we must honestly acknowledge that some depictions of God in Scripture are simply horrific. They are included in what is sometimes called “the dark side of…

How We Are Defined

 Burstein! via Compfight Zack Hunt wrote a piece called Abortion, Gay Marriage, Immigration, Gun Control, and the Church over at A Deeper Story. He points out that we have a big problem on our hands when it comes to the ways we have come to be defined by these issues. Christians are primarily defined in…