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Author Topic: discussions of the orthodox Christian faith with calvinists  (Read 895 times) Average Rating: 0
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mabsoota
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« on: January 30, 2014, 04:07:29 PM »

i took this quote from the orthodox pacifism discussion (in 'faith issues'), it is brilliant:

the original hotspots of Calvinism - Geneva and Holland - are today amongst the most secularised places even within Europe.

i visit holland every few years and the tough attitudes that i associate with calvinism ('whatever happens is God's will so i shouldn't be too concerned') seem to be more common there.
otherwise the culture is very similar to the british culture (polite, formal and apologising to the person who trod on your foot).
it is so similar, in fact that i was trying to work out what the differences were. now i think i am starting to understand.

which leads me to ask, how can we help calvinists understand the orthodox Christian faith?
i have had endless debates with certain calvinists i am close to, which don't seem to achieve much other than turn into 'i can quote more Bible verses than you can' competitions.

i think the answer may lie in a consistent and calm loving attitude, but i wonder what other posters here think (including calvinists and ex calvinists).
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FormerCalvinist
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 06:34:03 PM »

i think the answer may lie in a consistent and calm loving attitude, but i wonder what other posters here think (including calvinists and ex calvinists).

I agree with this. There is something about many Calvinists that doesn't get mentioned very often, but if you interact with them enough you will start to see it. It is an assumption on the part of the Calvinist that their faith is the "intellectual" version of Christianity; that other denominations and churches do not study the Bible as thoroughly as they do; that others are not as intelligent as they are; that only Calvinists have done the exegetical work to prove their doctrines; etc.

This manifests itself in two prominent ways: 1.) From a sort of exaltation of the Reformed theologians of the 16th through early 18th centuries to intellectual and spiritual paragons and the equivalent of the church fathers. The boundaries of Christianity are determined by what things were disputed during the Reformation. Discussions of what Reformed theology teaches will revolve around determining what the "Reformed Fathers" taught. You'll almost never see reference made to anyone prior to the 16th century unless it is to proof text for an argument against Catholics. 2.) From the elevation of their confessional standards to the level of the creeds of an ecumenical council. If someone should dispute something, appeal is made concretely to the confession: "The confession states thus. Thus it is true." Their supposed exegetical prowess is eschewed and not demonstrated. People who have not studied this issues themselves will profess total adherence to the confessions as they trust that they are the product of the great Reformed intellect. Though the Westminster Confessions, for instance, teaches that all confessions and creeds are fallible and subject to revision, this has no reality in Calvinism. The confessions are treated as infallible.

The point of this being that there is for many Calvinists a great wall that has to be broken down before they will even consider a different perspective. They need to be shown the truth from the lives of the Saints and from the lives of the Orthodox that they will meet during their lives. Seeing the sort of spirituality and manner of living that Orthodoxy teaches can have a profound effect, as Calvinism is a sort of dry, intellectual venture that does not put much emphasis on living a holy life, outside of certain external forms (there is no real interior cultivation). They may at first dismiss this as mysticism, but the reality of the holiness of the Saints and the love that you yourself can demonstrate to them may eventually help to break down the intellectual, scholastic wall, and show them that Christianity is something more, and that something cannot be found in Calvinism.
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Nephi
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 06:49:50 PM »

I'd definitely avoid debating them as well, as debate seems to be what they thrive on (especially those in my experience). Although I avoid debating anyone over faith almost on principle.

And FormerCalvinist, I have to say that the Calvinist  intellectualism and argumentative mentality is often not left behind in converts to Orthodoxy. There  have been some I've known that were staunchly Reformed before converting, and still speak like Calvinists but with the language of mysticism rather than logic/proof/etc. They traded out the Bible for the Fathers, but haven't changed their perspective or method. Maybe that fades with time, IDK, but they seem to have a real struggle in acquiring an "Orthodox mindset" compared to other converts. Perhaps it has to do with the strong anti-mysticism scholastic attitude that all the ones I've known seem to have.
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FormerCalvinist
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 07:01:04 PM »

And FormerCalvinist, I have to say that the Calvinist  intellectualism and argumentative mentality is often not left behind in converts to Orthodoxy. There  have been some I've known that were staunchly Reformed before converting, and still speak like Calvinists but with the language of mysticism rather than logic/proof/etc. They traded out the Bible for the Fathers, but haven't changed their perspective or method. Maybe that fades with time, IDK, but they seem to have a real struggle in acquiring an "Orthodox mindset" compared to other converts. Perhaps it has to do with the strong anti-mysticism scholastic attitude that all the ones I've known seem to have.

I agree. And I certainly haven't shed all of my past mindset. I was an atheist for longer than I was a Calvinist, so I've probably got even more problems there Cheesy. Anyway, I wasn't implying that once you manage to get past the intellectual wall that everything will simply fall into place, but that getting past that initial hurdle is necessary for many Calvinists to begin the process.
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augustin717
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 07:42:06 PM »

I'd definitely avoid debating them as well, as debate seems to be what they thrive on (especially those in my experience). Although I avoid debating anyone over faith almost on principle.

And FormerCalvinist, I have to say that the Calvinist  intellectualism and argumentative mentality is often not left behind in converts to Orthodoxy. There  have been some I've known that were staunchly Reformed before converting, and still speak like Calvinists but with the language of mysticism rather than logic/proof/etc. They traded out the Bible for the Fathers, but haven't changed their perspective or method. Maybe that fades with time, IDK, but they seem to have a real struggle in acquiring an "Orthodox mindset" compared to other converts. Perhaps it has to do with the strong anti-mysticism scholastic attitude that all the ones I've known seem to have.
Like this guy:http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 09:16:40 PM »

--sub--
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 05:13:16 PM »

thanks for your comments.
yes, i often hear 'everything is mysticism, orthodox Christianity doesn't explain things'.
which is not true, as i understood far more about the Christian faith since becoming orthodox.
i was a wesleyan protestant before, having had strong methodist influences in my youth.
so it is just hard for me to understand the calvinist perspective.
i think we just have to love as Jesus loves and keep the discussions short and sweet.
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2014, 11:46:57 AM »

Depends on the type of calvanist one discusses with. I've talked with wonderful calvanists who are very intellectual and at the same time very generous in discussion. Also I have talked to calvanists that if you do not accept the tulip or solas your an apostate who is going to hell. Always talk to the former and never the latter.
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2014, 04:30:07 PM »

I am a "soft" Calvinist, a Cumberland Presbyterian pastor, converting to Orthodoxy. On Saturday, April 12, 2014 I will be baptized and undergo chrismation at a ROCOR Mission church in Star Hill, LA. I am looking forward to it with all my heart and soul.
C. D. Smith, D. Min.
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2014, 04:37:40 PM »

I am a "soft" Calvinist, a Cumberland Presbyterian pastor, converting to Orthodoxy. On Saturday, April 12, 2014 I will be baptized and undergo chrismation at a ROCOR Mission church in Star Hill, LA. I am looking forward to it with all my heart and soul.
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 05:01:21 PM »

Calvinists simply can't imagine that someone would interpret the scriptures differently than they do. I remember a debate I had with a few, and they were simply aghast at the fact that I did not agree that certain passages in scripture mean that God is the direct causal source of evil. One interesting point one might make in such a discussion is that varying interpretations of scripture are clear indications that a living, visible Church is necessary to mediate such disputes.
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 05:01:50 PM »

I am a "soft" Calvinist, a Cumberland Presbyterian pastor, converting to Orthodoxy. On Saturday, April 12, 2014 I will be baptized and undergo chrismation at a ROCOR Mission church in Star Hill, LA. I am looking forward to it with all my heart and soul.
C. D. Smith, D. Min.
Many Years!  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2014, 05:27:07 PM »

And many thanks!
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 04:36:20 AM »

I have been a very strict Calvinist in the past. I recall being totally shocked that anyone would disagree with Calvinism once they had it explained to them. I thought that those who weren't Calvinists just didn't understand (or worse, hadn't had it revealed to them).

The persistent, gentle and winsome witness of an Orthodox priest helped me to see differently. I'm still wedded to a lot of Calvinist thought - it's quite the complete system. But I'm learning to think outside the Calvinist box.
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2014, 09:19:43 AM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2014, 10:14:08 AM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP
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« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2014, 10:20:58 AM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP

Yes, so they have to be predestinated into Christianity.
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2014, 10:23:13 AM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP

Yes, so they have to be predestinated into Christianity.
I am more speaking of the actions and opinions that Calvinists hold. There are very few that I would consider Christian.
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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2014, 10:29:28 AM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP

Yes, so they have to be predestinated into Christianity.
I am more speaking of the actions and opinions that Calvinists hold. There are very few that I would consider Christian.


Many Calvinists will deny that Orthodox are truly Christians on account of their views on justification.
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primuspilus
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2014, 10:34:16 AM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP

Yes, so they have to be predestinated into Christianity.
I am more speaking of the actions and opinions that Calvinists hold. There are very few that I would consider Christian.


Many Calvinists will deny that Orthodox are truly Christians on account of their views on justification.
Which is their right. The Church has the history and teachings of the Fathers all the way back to the Apostles, Calvinism does not. They can argue it till they're blue in the face. They cant avoid that fact. However on a personal note, if Calvinism is correct, then God is quite evil, fickle, and despotic. They can keep him.

PP
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« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2014, 11:55:01 AM »

I don't mind the Calvinists as Protestants in the Branch of Reformed Christianity.
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« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2014, 11:56:59 AM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP
The are definitely forms of Calivism with adherents who worship a god not identifiable with the Christian God.
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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2014, 12:56:41 PM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP

it's funny you should say that, I often described myself as a reluctant Calvinist, dragged kicking and screaming into a system I felt was unpleasant, but inescapable.
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« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2014, 12:57:46 PM »

Would it be fair to say that Calvinism is an high-testosterone form of Christianity? While there are plenty of aggressive female Calvinists, it is a kind of Christianity that has a great appeal to young men.

Calvinism constantly celebrates the 'great men of God'- the reformers, revivalist preachers, CH Spurgeon. Occasionally a few female hymn writers and the odd female missionary get a mention but very few women are celebrated by Calvinists. I think that does shape a lot of the mentality of the religion.
I am of the opinion that Calvinism is Christianity for people who don't want to be Christian.

PP

it's funny you should say that, I often described myself as a reluctant Calvinist, dragged kicking and screaming into a system I felt was unpleasant, but inescapable.
I lol'ed. If this was a joke, it was excellent. If not, it was still excellent.

PP
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« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2014, 03:35:01 AM »

  Cheesy Not a conscious joke, more a play on words!
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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2014, 03:43:55 AM »

obviously no need to "tiptoe through the TULIPs with (you)"

Christ is Risen!

-- or is it OK to say that to Calvinists?
 must be, of course; it's True.
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kyrie eleison
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« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2014, 12:27:48 PM »

and guess what's been humming through my head all day? Smiley

And I don't know about Calvinists saying Christ is Risen. But it's certainly true! He is Risen Indeed!
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