Talk:Calvinism

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re: help me understand[edit]

Calvinism teaches that God predestines people to heaven, and allows the rest to suffer the consequences of their sin. This is not the same as what you're describing, that is called double-predestination, which is a subclass of Calvinist thought (and the minority).

God brings about repentance in the elect by changing their will in such a way that they will turn to him, which no one would do otherwise. So those who are not predestined to heaven would never pray and ask for repentance because without God's changing of their will they would never desire that. So if someone prays and asks for forgiveness it means that their wills have been changed.

Also, your professor's caricature of TULIP is really inaccurate. Here is a bit more accurate presentation than the slanted view your professor gave you (it's really despicable that professors do this. I could give you a slanted picture of Arminian theology that makes it look bad too... but I'm not going to be deceptive about things).

T - Total Depravity, might be better understood as Total Inability. It means that there is no part of us that is not affected by the fall, and because of that none of us have the ability or desire to turn to God.
U - Unconditional Election means that God's choice of us as the Elect has nothing to do with anything we do, it is a choice of God that is free from conditioning by us.
L - Limited Atonement basically means that Jesus' death, although sufficient for all, is only effectual for the elect. This isn't really any different than the Arminian stance, which says that it is only effectual for the elect but just defines how the elect become the elect in a different way. If you believe that Jesus' death DID anything concrete rather than just purchasing the potential for something, then you believe in Limited Atonement
I - Irresistible Grace is better understood as Effectual Call, which basically means that God accomplishes that which he sets out to do. We always choose exactly what we desire... and never that which we do not desire. Those who are elect have had their wills changed in such that they desire to seek God, those who are left in their sins do that which they desire... namely rebel against God in favor of their own selfish desires.
P - Perseverance of the Saints means that God's grace is enough to change a person such that they will persist.

Your professor is presenting an inaccurate picture, which is a common underhanded tactic by Arminians who either don't know how to combat the doctrine... or don't care enough to present it accurately. If you're looking for a good resource you could check out "Why I'm not an Arminian" or "For Calvinism." Both are good, and inexpensive, resources for understanding what Calvinism actually teaches. They also have compainions that explain and defend the Arminian side (primarily by engaging in the same kind of inaccurate presentation that your professor did) called "Why I'm not a Calvinist" or "Against Calvinism" respectively.

ReformedArsenal (talk) 15:17, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

help me understand[edit]

Please help me understand something. Regarding Calvinism....am I right in stating that Calvinism believes that God has predestined certain people to Heaven and others to Hell? If so...does that mean if a person prays and ask for repentance in asking forgiveness of their sins, it doesn't matter because he/she is already predestined to Heaven or Hell? How can one know if they are one of the chosen ones predestined to Heaven? thank you CLysek1 (talk) 18:46, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

That doctrine is called "double predestination" -- see Predestination (Calvinism).

One of my theology professors summarized TULIP as
T = we're scum.
U = God chooses which scum goes to heaven and which to hell.
L = Jesus died only for the heaven-bound scum.
I = God doesn't give the heaven-bound scum a choice in the matter. (Which makes God sound like the Borg: Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.)
P = nor does He allow its scumminess to interfere with the process.
Jhobson1 (talk) 13:09, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like your professor has a chip on their shoulder about Calvinism. When people characterize Calvinism in this way, they are actually describing Hyper-Calvinism. – Confession0791 talk 03:26, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Displayed image of the Good Shepherd - a graven image?[edit]

Would not the display of such an Ikon be at odds with the Calvinist prescription against the display of graven images and therefore inimical to the subject which it is being used to illustrate? If so it portrays a misleading impression of the article's subject matter.

Usury[edit]

"In this view, elements of Calvinism represented a revolt against the medieval condemnation of usury and, implicitly, of profit in general[citation needed]. Such a connection was advanced in influential works by R. H. Tawney (1880–1962) and by Max Weber (1864–1920)."

This is wrong when it comes to Weber. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism does not mention usury when it comes to Calvinism at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by GeneCallahan (talkcontribs) 22:56, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Huldrych Zwingli[edit]

Huldrych Zwingli and Ulrich Zwingli seem to be the same person, shouldn't his name be spelled consistently in the article? ZARguy (talk) 14:55, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree, and I would argue that it should be Huldrych, not because I have any knowledge of how he spelled his name, but because that is the spelling of the wikipedia article about him. Sterrettc (talk) 00:12, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! ZARguy (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:48, 24 October 2011 (UTC).

The Reformed Tradition is more than just Calvinism, even in the sixteenth century.[edit]

I am concerned that Wikipedia redirects the entire discussion to Calvinism. I am a committed Calvinist myself, but the Reformed theological tradition predates Calvin (certainly in Zwingli and Bucer, and some might argue in Augustine!), and runs in multiple streams, even in Calvin's own day. Is there a possibility of splitting these articles? I just feel this is misleading and unscholarly.

Robert Johnson (talk) 02:53, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

There is a slight possibility of having Reformed tradition as a separate article, but it would take a lot of work. The article does already mention quite a few other names (like Bucer and Zwingli) in its second sentence, so I wouldn't say it is misleading. StAnselm (talk) 03:05, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Table[edit]

I reworked the "comparison among Protestants" table to flow better and be more readable, but I can't seem to adjust the size to 85% width. Also, should it be converted to a template, since it is on multiple pages? If so, I'm not sure how to do that properly. – Confession0791 talk 03:29, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the template is an excellent idea, and I have gone ahead and created it. (From this page - I assume they are all the same.) I don't know about adjusting the width, though. StAnselm (talk) 04:17, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Does neo-orthodoxy belong?[edit]

The neo-orthodoxy page does not state that neo-orthodoxy is a strain of Calvinism, and it would be a contentious claim to say it did. The Calvinism article does not seem to allow that Mainline theology can be included at all, and yet the section on neo-orthodoxy references "Mainline Reformed churches." JFHutson (talk) 18:47, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Many people who self-identify as Reformed also self-identify as neo-orthodox. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Calvinism/FAQ. StAnselm (talk) 20:39, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm OK with some neo-orthodox folks being called Calvinists (on WP anyway), including Barth, but I'm not sure even Barth would call neo-orthodoxy a variant of Calvinism. Definitely not an expert on neo-orthodoxy, but the FAQ you point to says some of the neo-orthodox are properly Calvinists, and the neo-orthodoxy article does not describe it as within Calvinism or building off of Calvinism any more than any other theologies. See Neo-orthodoxy#Relation_to_other_theologies. JFHutson (talk) 21:00, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm going to go ahead and remove this section. If you think neo-orthodoxy belongs as a variant of Calvinism, you should edit that page as well to make that clear. Basically I'm agreeing with the discussion at Wikipedia:WikiProject Calvinism/FAQ, but the fact that some of the neo-orthodox are Calvinist doesn't mean that the neo-orthodox would say neo-orthodoxy is a Calvinist movement or variant or even off-shoot of Calvinism. JFHutson (talk) 15:27, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, fair enough. I support its removal. StAnselm (talk) 19:41, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Neo-Calvinism as definition of Calvinism?[edit]

The first sentence of this article describes Calvinism as "an alternative approach to the Christian life" and cites a lecture by Kuyper. As the article makes clear, Kuyper's neo-Calvinism is a strain within Calvinism, and I don't think "alternative approach to the Christian life" describes what most people mean by Calvinism or the Reformed faith.JFHutson (talk) 19:28, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Hmm, we probably need something from a new, objective source. I'm keen to have something like this in the lead, since many authorities would say being a Calvinist affects every area of one's life and thought. I think the lead could be improved, but off the top of my head I can't think of anything better. StAnselm (talk) 20:36, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I think you'll find that anyone having that emphasis ("being a Calvinist affects every area of one's life and thought") is going to be a neo-Calvinist. I mean, it's obviously true in a sense, but when I read that I think Kuyperian. I think if this were a proper emphasis of Calvinism as a whole, then you would see it somewhere in the rest of the article besides the neo-Calvinism part. JFHutson (talk) 21:54, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, a lot has been written on the Puritans' life and thought - I dare say those are things Neo-Puritans might emphasise as well. StAnselm (talk) 21:59, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
You're right, but once again Puritans represent a strain within Calvinism, and you've pointed out an emphasis that distinguishes them from other Calvinists. We're trying to describe Calvinism as a whole, and this is not something that unites Calvinists in distinction from other Protestants. JFHutson (talk) 03:51, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, I would say that at the heart of Calvinism is a view of the Sovereignty of God. This leads to the doctrine of election, of course, but it also leads to the doctrine of Scripture, and that is one that affirms the Word of God as authoritative in every part of life. StAnselm (talk) 04:25, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
How 'bout "form of Christian practice?" JFHutson (talk) 06:03, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
This also leads to a doctrine of providence, and the belief that God uses means (namely us), which also should affect the way someone lives their lives. ReformedArsenal (talk) 12:17, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
No one is arguing over whether Calvinism has ethical aspects. The current lead uses the words "alternative approach to the Christian life." Every form of Christianity I can think of has ethical aspects, but that phrase along with "affects every area of one's life and thought" brings to mind neo-Calvinism, which has it's own page. I propose "form of Christian practice" which is much more neutral and less laden with Kuyperian connotations. JFHutson (talk) 15:34, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm still mulling the lead over in my head. I think "type of Protestant theological system" doesn't describe Calvinism very well either. Lutheranism calls itself a "major branch of Western Christianity," which I like the sound of, and based on the graphic found at Western Christianity#Western denominations it definitely works. Thoughts? JFHutson (talk) 20:47, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Merge Reformed churches here[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
not merge--JFH (talk) 21:49, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't quite understand the purpose of Reformed churches. It seems that this article may have been started to be about the continental Reformed (continental reformed churches redirects there) as opposed to Presbyterians, but that's not what it is now, and IMHO the way the article is specified is identical to Calvinism. JFHutson (talk) 02:29, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

  • Keep Reformed churches as a general article about churches in the continental reformed tradition. There are subtle but important differences with Presbyterian churches. StAnselm (talk) 03:00, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep I agree. There are many things about the Reformed church that are not necessarily identical with Calvinism proper. ReformedArsenal (talk) 13:04, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

OK, it makes sense to me to have a separate article on the continental Reformed, I just didn't see Reformed churches as currently serving that purpose. I've made changes to it to make it more clear that that's what it is and hopefully folks will add material to make the distinction clear. JFHutson (talk) 15:58, 19 November 2012 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


20th Century Influences[edit]

Opening discussion on the information added by Speahlman.

Here were the people listed


I think that Kuyper, Barth, and Brunner are probably significant enough and common knowledge enough by reasonably well read people in the field to not need a specific source. Seeing that I have never heard of Ragaz, Kutter, and Thurneysen, I think they will require a source. Thoughts? ReformedArsenal (talk) 20:57, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

But who's missing? Francis Schaeffer? Louis Berkhof? J. I. Packer? R. C. Sproul? Cornelius Van Til? John Murray? Rousas Rushdoony? It seemed like a fairly arbitrary list. Anyway, we have a clear list to choose from at Category:20th-century Calvinist theologians. StAnselm (talk) 21:05, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
The Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith lists the three most influential works as being those by Barth, Brunner and Otto Weber, the last of whom does not even have a Wikipedia article. (I guess Eduard Thurneysen needs a page as well.) StAnselm (talk) 01:51, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, I have started Otto Weber (theologian). StAnselm (talk) 02:01, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I would go with you on all of those except Moltmann. ReformedArsenal (talk) 10:17, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, but we should probably prune. Maybe have seven to go with the seven Reformation-era ones listed? StAnselm (talk) 19:15, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
We need to have at least one of the Old Princeton guys on there... Warfield or Hodge for sure. ReformedArsenal (talk) 19:42, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't consider them because it was restricted to the 20th century. But Warfield definitely qualifies... StAnselm (talk) 19:49, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
OK, so what about Kuyper, Bavinck, Warfield, Barth, Van Til, Packer and Sproul? StAnselm (talk) 19:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
That's a good list. What about Michael Horton and David F. Wells ReformedArsenal (talk) 21:34, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, maybe we should split the list: 20th-century - Kuyper, Bavinck, Warfield, Barth, Van Til; current - Packer, Sproul, Carson, Wells, Horton. 21:46, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
That could work, but I'd rather keep it as "Modern" and include all of them. I'd say Wells is more important than Carson, same with Horton. I'd go with Packer, Sproul, wells, and Horton. ReformedArsenal (talk) 22:27, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Christian Reconstructionism does not deserve a section[edit]

Christian Reconstructionism states it is "relatively insignificant in terms of the number of self-described adherents," and I think that's an understatement nowadays. In the context of Calvinism, a global religious tradition with at least 80 million adherents (based on the WCRC stat in this article), I don't see how it merits mention. I tried to delete it awhile ago and was told that it is notable. It is certainly a notable movement, but not every notable movement in such a large and diverse religious tradition is going to be mentioned, let alone have a section, in the main article. --JFH (talk) 20:46, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

I think it should be kept. Looking at all the variants listed, none of them would necessarily have more self-described adherents than Reconstructionism. StAnselm (talk) 21:14, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I find that really hard to believe. Hyper-Cal and Amyraldianism would be better handled in the theology section, but they are important theological issues for Calvinists. There are several very prominent New Calvinists named in that section. If the New Calvinism = Piper, Keller, and the Gospel Coalition then it's much larger than CR. Neo-Cal is more important historically, but some would argue it is the dominant ideology of Calvinism today. There are several notable folks mentioned at the Neo-Cal page, some of whom are alive. It would be better to work both of these into the history section, but I think it's fine for now. Christian Reconstructionism was a flash in the pan, with no prominent promoters today. Rushdoony is the only notable person mentioned at the CR page. --JFH (talk) 22:08, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I recently downloaded D.G. Hart's brand new Calvinism: A History, and was unsurprised to find no mention of theonomy, CR, or any person associated with those. Neo-Calvinism got a whole section and Amyrauldianism is discussed in several places. New Calvinism isn't discussed, and I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to removing it as well, but I think it's evident that in today's landscape these figures are much more prominent than those of CR. --JFH (talk) 03:08, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
It isn't just today's landscape that we have to deal with. I wouldn't be opposed to a very brief note about the basic contuors and a link to Christian Reconstructionism. ReformedArsenal (talk) 13:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Which is why I mentioned its complete absence from the historical literature. If Hart found no reason to mention it in a > 300 page survey, what is the basis for saying it is historically important enough for this article? New Calvinism is more understandable because of its contemporary importance. --JFH (talk) 13:33, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
There are any number of reasons that it could be absent in Hart's work that aren't related to its significance. Do we have a statement by him saying that that is why he left it out? If not, is making that assumption not WP:OR? What do other historical works regarding Calvinism say? How do they treat (or not treat) the subject? ReformedArsenal (talk) 16:32, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Hart's new book (which I'm really enjoying) is the only survey of the history of Calvinism which goes through the 70s. The History and Character of Calvinism was written in 1967. Christ's Churches Purely Reformed only covers through the seventeenth century. The Historical Dictionary of the Reformed Churches does not mention CR, theonomy, or any associated writer I could think of. Really though, the BURDEN is on someone arguing to include it to show that it is considered important to Calvinism as a whole simply by including a citation to some reliable source on Calvinism as a whole. So no, I am not doing OR, I am saying it is OR to include significant space to a sub-topic when no RS has done so. --JFH (talk) 00:35, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
WP:BURDEN doesn't apply here, because the information is sourced. If you're talking about burden of proof broadly, then no, burden of proof would rest on the person proposing a change to prove that the change is necessary. If I was proposing that we ADD a section that didn't exist, I would have burden, but it is already there so the burden is on the person who is suggesting removal (you). ReformedArsenal (talk) 11:04, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Well I've done my best to prove the negative anyway. The only information we have right now on the importance of this movement has to do with right wing politics in the US. UNDUE and FRINGE applies here as well since this movement represents a fringe interpretation of Reformed theology. --JFH (talk) 21:42, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Calvin and the Canons of Dort[edit]

It is important to remember that the Canons of Dort were written around 50 years after the death of John Calvin. The Canon of Dort may not represent John Calvin's true theology. Charles Finney, (my own opinion), believed that the Scriptures used by the Canon of Dort, (or Synod of Dort), in trying to prove their points, in fact, do not prove the points at all. From my perspective a person that believes in the Canon of Dort, and TULIP, are Hyper-Calvinists.Easeltine (talk) 14:00, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

That's why we use WP:RS instead of personal opinion... the VAST majority of Theologians (Reformed and non-reformed) would disagree with you about that point. The difference between hyper-calvinist and calvininst proper is not TULIP, it is the Free Offer of Grace and Faith Duty. ReformedArsenal (talk) 19:18, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Pew report[edit]

Why would the recently removed report of the Pew foundation be "unreliable"? --JFH (talk) 15:59, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

False dichotomies between other Protestantism vs. just explaining basics?[edit]

I reworked the paragraph in "Sovereign Grace" to illuminate a little better on what are and aren't distinctions between Calvinism and other Protestant views such as Lutheranism, Molinism, and Classical Arminianism. It seemed that a distinction was being made that Calvinism is the only system which thinks God doesn't save people on the basis of "faith, or any other virtue," or words to that extent. I left the questionable phrase intact, but in the paragraph below clarified that neither Lutherans, Molinists, nor Classical Arminians would find that to be a "distinctive" of Calvinism, since they all agree faith is not meritorious. I provided fairly extensive footnotes and references. If you disagree with any of my phraseology, please modify it slightly or provide your input here so we can discuss it. Please also check my sources in the event you simply disagree with what I am saying, or find it 'paradoxical' theology and therefore wrong.  : ) Thanks! Mjc-research (talk) 01:00, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Polity Bifurcation[edit]

  • "Calvinists can be divided into two distinct traditions distinguished by ecclesiastical polity: Presbyterianism and Congregational churches."

In terms of polity, in terms of decisionmaking, isn't Presbyterianism (elected representation, where denominations have a 'federal model') merely a modified form of Congregationalism, since decisionmaking authority within a Presbyterian-type denomination flows representationally upward from the believers in congregations to denominational of other levels? MaynardClark (talk) 14:23, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Maybe conceptually, but historically presbyterianism came first. Congregationalism came out of Puritanism later on. Presbyterian churches have various degrees of top-down vs. bottom-up styles. In America, you're right that's it's always been very grassroots, but that's somewhat of an anomaly. --JFH (talk) 18:17, 3 August 2014 (UTC)