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“For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship–and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. (Ac.17:23-NIV)”

Luther’s protest movement in Germany only recently marked 500th anniversary. Equally important was the emergence of another sect which can well be a Christian equivalent to the pagans St Paul addressed in the verse quote here above; and it created a troublesome facet to the body of Christian thought. After all Calvin was an accidental theologian and reformer who had a troublesome relationship with his father. He originally chose a career in law but had a prick of conscience after the death of his sire.

‘While Lutheranism was largely confined to parts of Germany and to Scandinavia, Calvinism spread into England,  Scotland, France, the Netherlands, the English-speaking colonies of North America, and parts of Germany and central Europe. This expansion began during Calvin’s lifetime’. (www.britannica.com)

  • A merciful God, however, took pity on man and sent his Son to redeem some of the damned. No man was deserving of such grace, but God freely offered salvation to an unspecified number (thought to be very small) of sinners. These fortunate individuals were known as the Elect; their fate was determined by God before their births (predestination) and was irreversible.

Calvin’s appalling ignorance of the nature of God as revealed by the Spirit and of the role of the Son would sow great mischief. It went against sense and truth of God’s Will. By his lack of spiritual discernment he made Jesus Christ a lie. “All things were created by him…for him /And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.(Col.1:16-17)”. In the next verse we read that “For it pleased the Father that in him  should all fulness dwell. Against this categorical statement what does limited Atonement signify? His confusion to determine where his will got in and where God’s Will glossed over since then would haunt his followers. Naturally Calvinism cast fogginess of his own mind and obscured God’s eternal word and fed a witches brew sort of, on their followers in America and elsewhere.  Sternness of expression and severity in judgment does not make a Christian who trusts in a merciful God. ‘Make your calling and election sure’ we are taught. But our peace of mind comes from the assurance that Jesus Christ came and died for you and me. Learn to live as taught of our Savior Lord and no more such a question of election would come to trouble us. This is how I look at it.

Whereas what does Calvinism do? “No one knew who was among the saved. It was commonly accepted by many Calvinists that saintly behavior was a sign that a person was a member of the elect, but doctrine taught that good conduct could not “win” salvation for anyone. God had decided that matter long ago. On the other side of the coin, it was almost universally believed among Calvinists that a life of dissipation was a sure sign of damnation.

Such a system of beliefs exerted a mixed impact on society. Good conduct was encouraged because many people, perhaps unconsciously, wanted to convince themselves that they were among the elect. However, there were negative influences from Calvinism as well. Anxiety was high in these communities as anguished believers contemplated their fates. There also was a rather constant and unpleasant interest in one’s neighbors’ activities. Comfort was found by observing the moral failures of others and concluding that they were no doubt among the damned. Do we not see activism of the Evangelicals in the US drew muscle historically as well as primed by a feel good conviction of being the elect?

The Calvinists shared with the Lutherans a dependency on Scripture to discern God’s word, but the nature of that word was the subject of great dispute. Luther had taught that salvation was based on faith and rejected the Calvinistic conception of predestination. The Calvinists insisted on an austere society governed by theocrats (as Calvin helped to establish in Geneva); Lutheran communities were more accepting and forgiving. Both the Calvinists and Lutherans would be at odds with later, more emotionally charged Christian sects, in which each group (and sometimes each individual) would interpret Scripture.

Calvinism would have a great impact on the development of colonial America, especially in the New England region, where the so-called Reformed churches(puritan and Huguenot elements were already dominant before the new nation came to birth.(Ack:http://www.u-s-history.com/)

Benny
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