Calvinism. Gather in theologically diverse circles and in no time, you’ll hear it come up. Someone will mention predestination, reformed theology, or free will and out come the Institutes of the Christian Religion.
In person, this is usually an engaging debate discussion and involves conflicting hermeneutics particularly in the rendering of the word “all” but I digress. Online, we have a serious communication issue stemming from two very important ‘isms’ in this discussion. Calvinism and Arminianism.
Let’s start with Arminianism. The online discussion often looks like a discusion of nationality rather than one of theology. When one is called an Arminian, one expects to be able to pull out one’s geneological tree and show that no where in one’s past is there anyone from Armenia. And, if one is a Calvinist and interesting enough to have someone from that fascinating place in their family tree, wouldn’t it be frustrating to be told that one isn’t an Armenian but a Calvinist as if they had anything to do with one another?
Armenian- One who lives in Armenia or who was born there and no longer lives there. It’s a simple definition.
Arminian- One who adheres to the theological position of Jacobus Arminius. (Once upon a time, a good example would be the Methodists but today there are so many branches and sub-branches of denominations that the name on the door isn’t very descriptive anymore.)
Remember- E for ethnicitcity
– I for I believe
Now. Poor Calvan Calvin. He was born and christened John Calvin. Not VAN. His name is CalVIN.
VIN like A car… any car. Doesn’t matter.
VAN is only one car.
CalvIn. I for Institutes of the Christian Religion
NO A… like “not All.” (A friendly joke and tease to my beloved Calvinist friends who know how much I respect their theologians.)
Calvanism scares me. What if it means that we’re all forced to live in Vans or something. I like L.A. Gear!