A few years back, I led a Bible study of young singles, and one thing I could count on was for two young men to start a parallel debate on Calvin vs. Arminius. What was most interesting to me was that I was pretty sure that at least one participant had never read a word of either theologian.
Fast forward to last night, and I was talking with a neighbor who is a member of a church that's now Reformed Baptist. Or, sort of. It's been Arminian, Calvinist, and at least two varieties of Landmark/King James Only in the past five years as well, and always with something of an emphasis on works to boot. At times, spirituality in this place often seems to be measured by how many members are expelled.
As in the former case, I'm pretty sure that the pastor has never bothered to read Calvin, Arminius, or any number of other theologians. Rather, it's just a rapid-fire set of attacks on theological opponents, and it's sent a number of people who love the Lord and each other to separate churches--very often in anguish over what they've experienced.
I would be tempted to berate people for this, but it's merely an extreme example of something we see all too often; people quit one church because it's too dispensational, too reformed, too Calvinistic, too Arminian, and so on--and that when they've never bothered to learn even the exegetical or hermeneutical distinctives of their favored perspective.
And so we see millions running from church to church, infecting each with the poison of uninformed theological views while more or less failing to lift a finger to reach the lost and encourage those in the flock.
If you think you might be partly or fully in this pattern, here are some sites that might be encouraging to you:
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