By this I mean the sort of Calvinism that looks like a self-parody. It takes the truth of God's sovereignty and blots out other balancing Biblical truths such as human responsibility and the evil of evil.
It's the sort of Calvinism that shrinks from calling bad things bad things, as Scripture certainly and unhesitatingly does — even right up against God's sovereignty (i.e. Genesis 50:20).
For instance: I love and respect John Piper. He's done me great good, and I expect he's going to do me a lot more good. I get and give and recommend his books and sermons.
But I'm not a Rom-Piper-an Catholic with Piper as my pope. I'm not obliged to rubber-stamp everything he says and does.
But I think sometimes brother Piper gets a little... well, giddy.
For instance, as I remarked, Piper's statements about Obama on the eve of the election were regrettable and unhelpful, as I remarked at the time. Since then he's evidently discovered to his chagrin (the very thing we here at this blog all knew full well long ago) — that Obama is a merciless, doctrinaire, pedal-to-the-metal pro-abort extremist. Well, that's fine. Welcome aboard, Dr. Piper. The nation could have used your unambiguous voice before the election, but it is welcome now as well.
And yet Piper speaks of "our new President, over whom we have rejoiced...." Um... huh?
Okay, well, that's ambiguous. It could mean... well, I don't think it's a helpful or careful statement. It's nothing I'd ever imagine myself saying.
But that isn't my example of silly Calvinism. There are examples of it (IMHO) in the meta. One that struck me that way is this good brother's comment:
Do you rejoice over the cross or do you weep over it? It was the greatest evil ever committed. And at the same time, it was the greatest good ever accompished! Just an example of how the two can be together in the same event. Praise God for the cross!!!(NOTE: I had further dialogue with that commenter, who seems like a good guy, and may not himself have been making the point I'm criticizing. So this is not a criticism of him, if he doesn't hold this thinking. It is a criticism of the thinking, and of whoever holds it — and a caution to all of us Calvinists to watch how we express ourselves. HSAT....)
Er, yeah, I certainly do rejoice in the cross, in God's plan of redemption, in Jesus' love-to-the-uttermost, in its wonderful fruits. The statement in itself is a very good statement.
My problem is the context.
Had I been a contemporary, would I have spoken of "Herod and Pontius Pilate, over whom we have rejoiced"? I really don't think so; and I think that, had a friend uttered the words, I'd've slapped him.
So: I can say that it's a good thing that a (half-)black man was able to win the Presidency in America, given our shameful distant history.
But I think I am obliged to say that the election of this man — whether he were white, black, purple or green — is not a good thing, and I do not "rejoice in" him. I can rejoice in good God may bring out of humbling and chastening America for its asinine choice of the greater of many evils; but not in Obama himself and his evil plans.
When we say things like that, as Calvinist, we look silly. Worse, we make Calvinism look silly. Should a victim rejoice in her rapist? Parents rejoice in their child's murderer? Would-be grandparents rejoice in the abortionist who butchers their grandchild?
And, worst of all, since we (I) think Calvinism sees God as the Bible portrays Him, we risk making God look silly.
Da Point: Let's not get our heads so in the clouds that we lose them altogether. We look silly, and that's bad enough; but far worse, we make the sovereign God we talk about look silly.