The Particular Baptists, as Calvinists historically seem to do, slipped the other direction into so called “hyper-Calvinism.” What that means, essentially, is an overemphasis on the sovereignty of God to the point of the loss of human freedom, and an eventual loss of any missionary motivation.
I don’t think I would have enjoyed being around John Calvin. I think I’d probably feel that, behind his polite smile and bulging eyeballs, he was sniffing the scent of free-thinking upon me. In a democratic society that would be fine, of course, but in a Calvinocracy like Geneva, that would mean trouble for me.
For Calvin, if a practice wasn’t prescribed in the Bible you didn’t do it. On the question of the relation of faith to reason, Luther came down heavily on the side of faith. Calvin came down on the side of reason. Since this partition between the dominance of faith or reason has been one of the great dividing lines of the history of the Church, it’s no surprise that it made a difference between them.
There are those today who take the view that the founders of the Baptist denomination (the ones who were right, anyway,) were Calvinists – and therefore all Baptists ought to be as well. This might be called the historical argument for Calvinism.
When I took my first pastorate, which I am still currently serving, I had stars in my eyes and visions of grandeur. I envisioned filling the pews and having to put out chairs because of all the people that would be coming. I envisioned our student ministry taking off and our children’s department to do the same.