I used to stomp around with a scowl on my face looking for Calvinists to debate. These days I prefer to enjoy my Calvinist friends and leave the debates for someone else. However, I was reading an article in Christianity Today this morning and was reminded of one of my great pet peeves in the area of theology, so I thought I revisit the tirades of my past–in a more passive manner.
One of the things usually purported in Calvinistic theology is that they believe God is sovereign. And they do, I have no problem with their assertion that Calvinist theology makes this claim. The problem I do have is the stated or implied accusation that other perspectives on theology do not believe in the sovereignty of God. Dictionary.com says of sovereign, “having supreme rank, power, and authority.” And, “being above others in character, importance, excellence, etc.” (There were a few other definitions, but they used the word sovereign to define sovereign, so I didn’t find that too helpful.” A very basic working definition is that someone who is sovereign can do what they want.
Now I am not a Calvinist (clear by this point), but I firmly believe God is sovereign–in fact, that is essential to what I do believe about God. I believe he created the world and the way it functions out of his sovereign choice–he could have done it differently if he wanted to.
I find in theological discussions or debates different people with different perspectives often fail to look at those who disagree in as fair a way as possible. I have been horribly guilty of this in the past, so this isn’t just about what others do. Let’s not hijack words or concepts to mean what we want them to mean rather than what they mean (that sounded almost Pauline).