Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Why Do I Read Calvinists?

I recently had an Arminian brother e-mail me to ask why I read Calvinists works such as blogs, books, and listen to their sermons?  He believes that as Arminians we should fill our minds with Arminianism to combat the errors of Calvinism.  In some ways, I agree.  I do believe that Arminians should read the works of Arminius (and you can easily obtain them on your Kindle) or read various works from Arminian theologians such as Dr. Vic Reasoner, Dr. Robert Picirilli, or Dr. Jack Cottrell.  People are surprised to find that there are actually a number of good Arminian resources available and I have linked to many of them here.

In short, I read Calvinistic works because I am not an enemy to my Calvinist brothers and sisters.  I disagree but I do not believe they are “outside” of Christianity as perhaps some would feel about me.  We are justified before God through faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).  We can debate this justification but we must agree that we are justified in Christ Jesus.  We must agree that Jesus and His blood alone washes away our sins (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7).  Our only hope for redemption is the blood of Jesus (Romans 10:4; Hebrews 9:13-14, 22).  We are saved in Christ Jesus and not in Arminius or Calvin or Wesley or Luther.  We are not saved because we have been baptized in such and such church.  We have not been saved because we read from a certain Bible translation.  We are not saved because we simply said a prayer for salvation.  We are not saved because we know facts about Jesus.  We are saved through knowing Christ Jesus as Lord (1 John 2:3-6; 3:6-10).  Jesus is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) and not any thing or any one else.

That said, I can read the works of Calvin or a book by a Calvinist theologian and though I will not agree with all that they write, I can agree with much of what they write.  I have been reading from Dr. Sam Storms as of late and his edited version of Jonathan Edward’s book, Religious Affections.  I believe any disciple of Jesus could read this book and should read this book.  On my bookshelf next to me I have an entire section I have for Calvinists.  I have the works of Calvin, a book on Calvin’s commentaries, works from Spurgeon, works from the Puritans, and many books by Calvinist authors such as R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur.  Of course, right above them is two shelves full of Arminian books!  

On my Kindle I have many Calvinists books.  Most of them I have not read.  I get  many of them free and in time will start to read them.

My point here is not boast in my reading or my book collections.  I want to simply say that we can learn from each other.  How often do we create straw men when debating Arminianism and Calvinism.  We should read from each others books to see just what do Arminians or Calvinists believe.  Of course, there is no one spokesperson for either.  Even the works of Arminius and Calvin (while vital to the theology) are not 100% agreed on by Arminians or Calvinists.  And frankly, both Arminius and Calvin were just fallible men who were liable to mistakes and neither were 100% clear on all issues.  In fact, neither theologians dealt with many aspects of theology that today we debate such as inerrancy or the new perspective of Paul and other issues.

In the end, the true disciple should read the Bible more than any other book.  The Bible is the grid by which we judge all things (1 John 4:1).  The Bible is the perfect revelation from God given to us by inspiration of the Spirit to lead us to all truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Jesus Himself said the Word of God was truth (John 17:17) and could not be broken (John 10:35).  If Jesus so felt this way about the Scriptures, so should the child of God.  The disciple could literally read only the Bible and never any theologians or other books and still be safe in the arms of the Lord Jesus.  As the psalmist wrote, “I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life” (Psalm 119:93).

May we all be a people who love the Word of God more than any other works.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/13/2013 at 9:43 AM

Posted in Books

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Well said.

    Sometimes the party loyalists really get me going with their exclusivity to their perspective. Each side has much to share, even if there is some disagreements on the exact nature of theological positions.

    I remember one reformed guy wanted to start a reformed seminary where I live, and I quote, “to save the country from the free-willers.”

    Since I talk like an Arminian and a Calvinst he decided he couldn’t work with me because I wasn’t clear if I was reformed enough for his liking. I had fun rattling his cage.

    He didn’t get very far or make very many friends.

  2. Good thoughts! I have benefited much from reading Calvinist authors. Though I’m Arminian, a majority of my theological reading is from Calvinist authors. God has greatly used the works of John Piper and John MacArthur in my walk with Him.

    Joshua Valdez

    12/13/2013 at 3:53 PM

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