Are the doctrines of the Calvinist theological system the true doctrines of the Bible and all other beliefs false? Is belief in Calvinism the test for one’s love of God? Would the Apostle John consider his, and the other Apostles’, teachings to be the clear foundation for the five points of Calvinism? The answer to these questions, in this writer’s opinion, is a resounding no! But yet some would answer with a resounding yes.
Committees should investigate the candidate’s beliefs, point by point, without any hesitation to ask for clarification or to require a “yes or no” answer on any point. After all, your church is at stake, and no honest minister will be offended at your desire to know what he believes.
It could be easily assumed that in the process of searching for and calling a pastor, both the church and the prospective pastor desire a good match in matters of doctrine. This assumption has caused many regrettable mismatches and more than a few church splits. Many ministers do not offer information about personal doctrinal stances that may not be shared by the congregation considering them for the pastorate. One area in which a potential pastor may be less than forthcoming lies in the issue of Calvinism.
To be fair, Calvin and the Geneva Council were not the only ones of that period who believed that killing heretics was just. Many in the period thought that heresy was a poison to the people that must be dealt with severely. However, we must not simply let those who acted in such a manner off the hook too easily.
Because of the contemporary emphasis on Calvinism I thought that perhaps we should take a closer look at a man who, although he has been dead for over 400 years, still speaks to many in our day. Who was John Calvin? Where did he live? What did he teach? And would you want to live in a place where he exerted a dominating influence?