Recently, I have been studying about the history of my beliefs because I am interested in learning more about the religious experiences I have been involved with. I was somewhat aware of calvinist/arminian differences, but it wasn’t until I began reading blogs that I heard of TULIP and reformed theology.
It is obvious in reading various blog discussions that believers can have very different perspectives. This quote demonstrates how these major differences affect our understanding of the nature of God:
“God’s love for His elect does not in any way extend for those that Christ did not die for. Scripture is awfully clear on this, as Christ layed down His live for His church, His people, His sheep.”
Because I grew up in the Reformed Church, I wondered what their connection to reformed theology and calvinism is. Well, lo and behold, they practically invented calvinism. The funny thing is, I never heard anything like this during my first twenty years of church.
My childhood church experience was very ethnic and cultural. I was born to dutch parents, who were children of dutch immigrants. Being Reformed was simply an extension of being dutch.
You might be Dutch if…
*you are often asked at church, “Are you related to….?”
*you think RCA is a denomination, not a television.
*you get a sun burn when you read under a lamp.
*you take off your shoes before entering the house.
*your last name begins with “Van.
*you finish the food on your plate.
*you reuse plastic bags and wash aluminum foil.
*the “V” section of your address book is too full.
*you have a front room but never sit in it.
*you make the bed in a hotel room.
*you are trying to justify owning a diswasher.
*you know what an afghan is.
*you know that ‘klompen’ is the Dutch word for ‘shoe.
*someone mentions John DeVries, and you ask which one.
*a church picnic isn’t the place to find Mr. Right — because everyone’s related.
(from reformed.net and dutchbingo.net)
That’s a pretty descriptive picture of the life and culture of my childhood church. Perhaps they were more liberal in their calvinism. I remember simply being taught the bible and the basics of salvation and loving God. From what I understand, I don’t strictly adhere to either calvinist or arminian beliefs.
While examining my beliefs, I am not interested in ripping apart other doctrines. However it is helpful to understand why we often don’t understand one another. It surprises me how violently people sometimes attack others in the process of defending their doctrine. It is sad when people honestly feel that they are called to be sheriffs in the kingdom.