Many of the folks I follow on Twitter are Calvinists. I personally believe in free will, but do grant that they have ample evidence for their predestination views. I just weigh the evidence in toto differently.
As someone who is thus the recipient of it, I have noticed a certain smugness in what quite a few Calvinists tweet, and after non-Calvinist Ed Young embarrassed us free will-ers with an anti-Calvinism diatribe sermon, the Twittersphere was all abuzz. His talk was amazingly shallow and inaccurate, but I did note that sometimes I have found Calvinists to be kind of snooty (as he mentioned in his sermon). Trying to put Calvinism’s most common smug comments into a single tweet, I wrote:
I’m sure when I actually study or give up my traditions or let God enlighten me or stop questioning His sovereignty I’ll be a Calvinist too.
When I woke up the next morning, one of my east coast Calvinistic friends ironically responded:
@AlanCult All Christians follow traditions. Some of us are just more aware and / or honest about the traditions we hold.
I actually had to ask him if he said that as a joke…or if he realized he just did exactly what I was being snarky about. (It appears to have been the latter.)
The funny thing about smug Christian quotes is that those who say them don’t appear to realize that others who disagree their viewpoints would say the exact same thing to them. For instance, another Calvinistic Twitter friend posted this before my humorous tweet above:
I don’t understand why some are so dead head against reformed theology! It’s historic biblical Christianity.
Now, let me ask you this…do you think that any denomination or other group of Christians with a given set of beliefs think that they don’t have "historic biblical Christianity?"
"Egad! I now see the light! Thanks for pointing out how blind I’ve been. If only I had realized my Christianity was the modern unbiblical stuff sooner!"
Just think about it…Baptists would claim it…Pentecostals would claim it…Catholics would claim it…your local independent church on the corner would claim it…even Mormons and Jehovah witnesses would claim it…
If you are a Christian, don’t you believe you have "historic biblical Christianity?" (If not, why do you claim to be a Christian?)
I have some suggested guidelines on what to think about before you make a statement about your beliefs or someone else’s (these may grow as this post ages):
- If someone who disagrees with you might say it right back—don’t say it.
- If one of your fellow group of believers might high-five you for it, but many other Christians wouldn’t—don’t say it.
- If it’s basically preaching to the choir…your choir—don’t say it.
- If it is a generalized statement about your belief system or someone else’s—don’t say it.
- If it would sound smug to you if you were the recipient—don’t say it.
- If it doesn’t further the dialogue with those who disagree with you—don’t say it.
Finally, I’m going to start listing the most common snooty Christian statements I see. It’s getting late and I’m tired, so this list will be a bit short to start, but I’ll add updates. When I can get snapshots of these smug animals in the wild, I’ll try to include them. If you have any suggestions for additions to this list or the one above, please put them in the comments or contact me.
- I understand where you are coming from; I used to believe that way. (Translation: I used to be as thick as you are now.)
- I used to believe that until I studied Scripture. (Translation: you don’t study Scripture.)
- I used to believe that until God opened my eyes. (Translation: God has showed me something that He hasn’t shown you.)
- They believe that because of their traditions. (Translation: you are as bad as Catholics!!!)
- Calvinism doesn’t teach that. God’s word does. (Translation: the Bible does not teach what you believe, you heretic.) Added July 8, 2012…a quote from an actual tweet.
A couple final notes. I purposely blurred out my friends’ Twitter handles because they are great brothers in Christ. Although I am a bit snarky in this post, I don’t mean it as an attack on anyone…and I know I am probably guilty of saying intrinsically snooty Christian things too. The difference is I am actually right.
Well, maybe not all the time… 🙂
P.S. Actually…you gotta admit even the name of the modern Calvinistic movement, "Reformed," is smug. (Translation: your belief system is unreformed.)