Home > Media, Theology > Where are all the Calvinist converts?

Where are all the Calvinist converts?

I’ve been running short on blogging material recently, not because there’s nothing to blog about, but because so little of it has really crystallized for me. We’ve had a houseguest lately who has been talking about art in the Church; I’ve been reading Rob Bell and revisiting a lot of Emerging Church themes; some local churches are going through contortions; and I’ve been struggling with today’s topic.

If I had to make a list of interesting (not to say troubling, necessarily) trends in the American church today, I’d probably have to list the following, in pretty much this order:

  1. The decline of foreign missions
  2. Prosperity theology
  3. The perils of political engagement
  4. The megachurch phenomenon
  5. The decline of the Baby Boom generation and the rise of second-generation big-ministry leadership
  6. The Reformed resurgence
  7. The Emerging Church

So I guess I’d argue that what I have to talk about today isn’t the most interesting thing going on right now, but it is sometimes one of the easiest to see.

When I attended a Calvary Chapel I saw people come and go, but there were identifiable trends in the ways people entered the church and the ways people left. There were some new converts coming in; some of them had a by-the-numbers saved-from-sin born again experience; some of them left the Roman Catholic Church. There were also people who had stopped off somewhere else that offered simpler teaching and/or a more structured environment; we had a lot of people who had attended Potter’s House or had been through the mill at various local 12-step programs.

But people tended to leave Calvary because they were looking for one of two things: either they were looking for a more experiential Christianity, and they left for some sort of Third Wave Pentecostal or TBN-like church, or they moved in a more Reformed direction. At the time I credited the former to Calvary’s mild Charismatic leanings and familial relationship with Vineyard Christian Fellowships; the latter to the otherwise inexplicable presence of John MacArthur on the Calvary radio station in Albuquerque (KNKT). The truth is probably more complicated.

But the pattern then, and the pattern I see now as the Reformed resurgence progresses, was pretty predictable: people became Christians in an evangelical church, then eventually migrated to a more Calvinist church. Or as is the case here locally, people became Christians in evangelical churches, and then the churches themselves gradually moved in a more Reformed direction.

The thing that strikes me odd nowadays, though, is that when I meet someone nowadays, online or in person, who self-identifies as Reformed, they invariably have an “I used to be evangelical too” story. I have yet to meet anyone who became a Christian in a Reformed church unless they were raised there.

This question surfaced in a recent episode of The Dividing Line [link], where the ongoing feud between James White and George Bryson of Calvary Chapel Church Planting Mission (CCCPM) finally reached this question. Of course Bryson frames it his way and White frames it his way, and I’m not sure either of them offer more light than heat. Bryson incorrectly equivocates between all of Reformed theology and the Five Points of Calvinism; White objects but doesn’t clarify how exactly conversion (not to say salvation) happens in Calvinism.

I don’t have a soundbite here; it’s entirely possible that the world is fairly awash in Calvinists who are newly-converted Christians and I’ve just never met any of them, I suppose.

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  1. Shane
    April 27, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Thanks Mike for your post. I think one thing to keep in mind regarding Calvary Chapel is that they tend to sometimes be a catch-all for those who are conservative/evangelical. Beyond that, you have folks with various leanings theologically–some who are more charismatic, some who are more reformed, others who are more seeker driven, etc. After a season in Calvary Chapel, many progress into different streams–based upon convictions.

    When I came into Calvary Chapel, I came from a hyper-charismatic church. It was refreshing to be in a movement that had wrestled through some of those issues (ie Vineyard, word-faith, etc.) and tried to avoid the extremes. But I also came into Calvary Chapel with a reformed bent. My personal testimony fit more of a calvinistic understanding of salvation and my first in-depth studies in scripture were in books like Exodus, Romans, Ephesians, John, etc. Within weeks of conversion, I stumbled upon Romans 9 and said, “That’s me! God chose me! I’m thankful he didn’t pass over me in judgment! He showed grace!” When I asked others in Calvary Chapel what they thought of Romans 9, they would often smile and say, “it is what it is…I don’t understand how it all works, but it’s in the Bible so I just accept it on faith.”

    This was all before I even understood that there was a debate. It wasn’t until I attended CC Bible College that I even knew that Christians debated such issues. When CC took such a vehement stand against Reformed Theology (Bryson, Hunt, etc.), I knew my days were numbered. I wasn’t welcomed. I was one of those evil calvinists…time to go. Since Chuck Smith seemed to endorse what they were saying–I knew I couldn’t stay. Even though Chuck Smith always lamented theological fighting and divisions within the Body of Christ, he promoted what he claimed to dislike. Those who shared in the same theological convictions of men like Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, Edwards, Packer, Whitefield, Carey, etc were not welcomed. In fact, we were deceived (according to them)…on par with other heretical movements (word-faith, emergent, etc.). Though it’s now clear that George Bryson has deeper character/integrity issues that has driven some of his harshness (Bryson has a bad reputation in many CC circles…even within his own family), Calvary Chapel hasn’t handled their approach to this well….that’s why (I believe) many are leaving. James White is correct in pointing out the obvious fact that many have left over this issue–but many of these people have literally been kicked out (demonized, fired, cut off from missionary funding, asked to leave, etc.). I believe many of these people would have stayed if they would have handled it better.

    You can only hide Romans 9 under the covers for so long before a hungry, inquisitive, Christian lifts the covers and says, “What do we have here?” Somehow, Calvary has to face up to this fact and deal with it in a way that best edifies the Body of Christ. How has the Dave Hunt/George Bryson approach worked for them thus far? I’d say it’s made matters worse and has further divided the church.

    I think it’s a bit naive to say that reformed folks only become reformed after they’ve been converted in churches like Calvary Chapel…as if a “reformed” Gospel is somehow impotent to save. The Gospel saves…period. It saves in Arminian churches (Calvary Chapels) and Reformed churches. The Gospel is what it is. Whether a George Whitefield preaches it or a Billy Graham preaches it–it is the power of God unto salvation. When we call men to repentance and proclaim the life, death, and resurrection of Christ–God saves sinners. Sure, we can deconstruct evangelistic approaches and debate “how” God saves man (and these are good debates to have), but God saves sinners through the proclamation of the Gospel.

    I’ve talked with many within the reformed community who would testify to holding to reformed convictions long before they even understood what that even meant. Church history shows us that many of the great revivals came out of reformed movements (as we are seeing today). I can name off church after church today who hold to reformed convictions and are seeing many conversions in their churches….even mini-revivals. It’s simply not true to assume that reformed churches are not seeing conversions. You have to rewrite church history to say so.

    • April 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Shane —

      Thanks for stopping by. Let me respond to a couple of things you’ve said above. First of all I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize Calvary Chapel as Arminian. I spent several years in my local Calvary Chapel (now defunct) and only heard Arminius mentioned in the context of an overview of how the Calvary Chapel Distinctives deal with Calvinism. It more or less treated the Five Points as the sum total of Calvinism and then said, essentially, that Chuck concurs with some number (less than five) of them.

      I think it’s a bit naive to say that reformed folks only become reformed after they’ve been converted in churches like Calvary Chapel…as if a “reformed” Gospel is somehow impotent to save.

      Please note that this isn’t what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that the people I meet personally and online tend to be in this category.

      I can name off church after church today who hold to reformed convictions and are seeing many conversions in their churches….even mini-revivals. It’s simply not true to assume that reformed churches are not seeing conversions. You have to rewrite church history to say so.

      I’d challenge you to name these churches. What I’m seeing here locally doesn’t fit this pattern. There’s a Mars Hill campus church in Albuquerque that is apparently experiencing some growth; I don’t know who is joining this church, and whether they are Christian students who attend UNM, or whether they are really new converts. I guess time will tell.

      I do see more of what you describe: people become Christians, then read Romans 9, and see it as applying to themselves in the past tense. They don’t come to Christ because of the proclamation of the doctrine of election.

      There appear to be some cultural differences between Calvinism historically and what we’re seeing in the various newer Reformed movements, so I’m not sure what’s true of one is true of the other. For example, older Calvinists were obsessed with the question of whether they personally were part of the elect. That doesn’t seem to be true of say the Desiring God or Acts 29 folks.

  2. george bryson
    April 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Dear Shane

    I do not know you and you do not know me, my family, or my family relationships. If you want to take a shot at what you think is my theology (which you do not seemed to understand) that is fair. But by continuing to make personal remarks (in total ignorance) you have crossed a line. Keep it theological or doctrinal and you will not have a problem, at least not with time. I could tell everyone all kinds of things that I think the people who worked with you or attend your church say or think about you. But that is irrelevant and it is certainly not the way to discuss issues if you have a good argument to offer against what I am saying or imagine I have said. If you actually read my books or articles (which I suspect you have not) you would know that I do not say mean, personal, and unkind things about people I disagree with. Those with any character or class return the favor. I am going to pass this off as just another angry young Calvinist hoping for a little time in the spot light. I will not fight fire with fire (evil with evil) but if you engage in this sort of behavior you are excusing and encouraging those who do not agree with your ideas (and there are lot of them-even some angry young Calvinists-to personally go after you and your family. Two wrongs do not make a right but one wrong is still wrong. I will not play your game by your rules but be careful about the rules you establish and sanction for others to play against you. When your detractors mention you and your family, chances are they will not know you or your family (as you do not know me and my family) when they begin the personal attacks but you are (by example) telling them that it is OK anyway. In Christ, George

  3. george bryson
    April 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Hey Mike

    I am not sure if I know you or if you know me but I appreciate the setting you left for me at the table and the nice invitation. First, I would like to mention that my detractors, of which there are a few, love to critique my views without actually even referring to them. Sometimes they refer to views I do not agree with and sometimes views I have argued against. While I cannot help when they do this (and do not tell anyone) but most of the time I just consider the source and do not care what they say about me true or false. One thing is fairly common. They almost never quote something I have said or something I have quoted a Calvinist saying to lodge a complaint. They seem (by this omission) to agree with me that the best explanation of Calvinism is the best refutation of Calvinism, and they do not want to be found helping out the opponents of Calvinism.

    According to John Calvin:

    … God … arranges all things by his sovereign counsel, in such a way that
    individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death …
    By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he
    determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every
    man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal
    life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created
    for one or other of those ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or
    death.

    There is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so
    governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has
    knowingly and willingly decreed … the counsels and wills of men are so
    governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.
    According to The Westminster Confession (a typically very reliable guide to
    what Calvin taught and what Calvinists believe):

    By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and
    angels are predestined unto everlasting life; and others are foreordained
    to everlasting death. (III) These angels and men, thus predestined and
    foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their
    number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or
    diminished. (IV)

    And:

    God, from all eternity, did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own
    will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass. … (I)
    Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all
    supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw
    it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such
    conditions. (II)

    “Nothing in this world happens by chance. God is in back of everything. He
    decides and causes all things to happen. He is not sitting on the sidelines wondering or perhaps fearing what is going to happen next. No, He has foreordained everything ‘after the counsel of his will’ (Eph. 1:11): the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist – even sin.” Edwin H. Palmer, The Five
    Points of Calvinism (Baker, 1972), p. 25.

  4. george bryson
    April 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Hey Mike

    I almost forgot. You said:

    “Bryson incorrectly equivocates between all of Reformed theology and the Five Points of Calvinism”

    Without everything else my detractors say I will have to answer for in my opposition to Calvinism, I certainly do not want to add the error of false equivocating. Could you give me an example. I think what I have actually said in my books and articles is that soteriologically, the Reformed believe in the five points of Calvinism or the Reformed doctrines. It may be that I do not get out enough or move in wide enough circle but I have never met on who did not. To show how little I get out, I have never even met one. If you know where I actually did this false equivocating I would appreciate your help.

  5. Ray
    April 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    It’s strange to read some comments here that claim when people finally read Romans 9, they then convert to Calvinism. It seems to me that Romans 9 examined carefully in context is not about individual salvation at all…but rather God’s choosing of the Israel vs. Esau as nations for his callings and purpose. The same with Pharoah. Nowhere is individual salvation brought up in Romans 9 that I can see…but rather a lesson on how God chose certain people vs. others and used them in in unique ways to fulfill His own purposes. The individual salvation of Israel, Esau, and Pharoah is entirely a seperate question not addressed in Romans 9.

  6. Shane
    April 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Mike,

    Thanks for your thoughtful interactions. Please know that I wasn’t necessarily questioning your article or directly disagreeing with anything you said. Much of what I wrote was simply thinking out loud (and describing some disagreements that I have with CC and how they have interacted with Calvinism). I’m not even sure if you are in CC (but it’s obvious that you have some helpful knowledge there).

    You’ve asked for specific examples of churches who have seen converts (of the reformed stripes). I would be glad to mention many. After even a cursory overview of reformed movements throughout history, I think you’d agree that MANY reformed churches, evangelists, pastors, writers have been apart of some of the major great revivals throughout history (Protestant Refomation/Great Awakening, Missions Movements, etc.) Even the most bitter anti-calvinists (like George Bryson) have to acknowledge that. It’s just a fact of history.

    In terms of modern examples, I’ve seen churches like Mars Hill Seattle (which I’ve visited twice now) and the Village Church (Matt Chandler) see multitudes of new converts. They are baptizing hundreds and hundreds each month. In fact, Mars Hill Seattle reminds me a lot of Calvary Chapels history (at least during the hippie movement). They are reaching people that aren’t being reached in most places (radical liberals, punk rockers, homosexual, etc.) Redeemer Church (Tim Keller) is another example, etc. Keller is reaching a crowd that most aren’t reaching. Many of the Acts 29 churches are seeing conversions, etc.

    If you attend The Gospel Coalition or Together for the Gospel conferences, then you will meet pastors within the general reformed resurgence who are experiencing fast growth (through conversions). Many of the main speakers there pastor large churches (PCA, Baptist, Charismatic, etc.) and are also seeing hundreds and even thousands saved through their ministries. Taken as a whole (as a movement) it’s pretty impressive. These conferences are attracting 5,000 to 6,000 pastors each year. That’s not including dozens of other “reformed” conferences that are attracting thousands more. Reformed churches in the SBC, PCA, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Acts 29, etc., are now planting churches at a deafening pace. John Piper’s church is running multiple services and multiple campuses to keep up with growth. I’m currently on staff at a church that has seen unusual growth in the past years (we’re in the 600-700 range). The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is now one of the world’s largest seminaries, etc. They are training thousands of pastors, missionaries, etc. I could go on and on…churches, missions movements, seminaries, etc all of the reformed stripe–experiencing considerable growth in the last 10-15 years. So unlike what George Bryson would preach at the CC conferences–Reformed theology DOES inspire, it does promote growth. But I would be the first to admit that many Arminian movements (Calvary Chapel, etc.) have also flourished. I was blessed at my time in CC and believe God has done great things there!

  7. Shane
    April 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    George,

    I will not directly respond to you since it’s been proven to be a worthless waste of time. You are in sin George. You need to repent of your bitterness and harshness. You need to take a break from ministry and get back on track. I wouldn’t have mentioned your family situation if it weren’t public. You’ve got bigger fish to fry George. Running around websites and doing your normal drive-by canned message isn’t going to cut it. My only words to you is Repent, Step Down, and get right with both God and your family. I appreciate your work in missions. I appreciate your passion for the Gospel. But you have to get your personal life in order, before you attempt to minister to others. Sin distorts ministry George. It taints everything that you are trying to do. And there are many in CC who would agree with me on that.

    Since there are real integrity issues with you George and since those are public (they have been expressed to you MANY times) and since you have refused to repent, I MUST warn others about you and the hurt that you have caused and continue to cause. And don’t play stupid George. You and I both know what those issues are.

    If you want to contact me–man to man–then just say the word. I was trying to have a civil discussion with a fellow believer on a topic that I’ve had some experience in. Please don’t attempt to poison the well with your accusations and bitterness.

  8. Shane
    April 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Mike,

    I was just curious. Was the Calvary Chapel that you were apart of (now defunct) the only CC that you’ve been in? I wasn’t sure if that was a one time experience or if you’ve been involved with CC for awhile? I know that most Calvarys (there are exceptions) wouldn’t identify with Arminianism. I do think that they fall into that general category. That’s very easy to prove. I know some CC Pastors who have told me, “I’m a proud Arminian.” I’d say, “then let your freak flag fly buddy!” Historic Arminianism is nothing to be ashamed of. If only most churches would at least identify with historic Arminianism. I don’t agree with it, but it is honorable. Most CC Pastors who have studied quite a bit of theology would agree. It’s just theological short-hand on their part.

    Anyways, God bless and keep strong in the Lord brother! The Gospel is our only boast!! Thanks for interacting with a fellow brother. Have a good rest of the day.

  9. george bryson
    April 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Shame on you Shane. Those are some serious charges. By the way, I did not drop by you took a shot at me. All I am saying is keep it issue oriented. You pretend to know me and you have called me by name saying I have committed some serious sins as if you know something that the readers should or does not know. It is easy to accuse anyone of anything. I could say that you are on the suspected serial killer list (or worse) just to get a reaction. But that would be wrong, just as what you are doing is wrong. Evidently you are throwing a tantrum and trying to make it personal. That my friend is sin and should be repented of. Is it Ok at the Reformed church you attend to accuse people that you do not know or know anything about because you do not like their theology and the books they write on theological topics. I probably know about as many Calvinists as you do. The ones with an argument use it. The ones without an argument smear the messenger because they cannot defend their message. I do not care if you can or even want to defend your position but by going personal (especially when you know less than nothing about the person you are attacking)is shameful. Are you unable to see the difference in what your friend (Mike) it trying to do. He is having a discussion about issues. I do not see him personally attacking anyone. Are you going to tell your children (if you have children)that this is Ok? Are you going to tell the people you teach the Bible to that this is OK? Can you justify it from Scripture? I would not have even responded to your personal and uninformed comments about me, if someone had not wrote me and said “how well do you know this Shane guy? Is He always that angry or does he just have it in for you?” What did you to to him”. He was surprised that I did not know you or that you did not know me. I told him I did not know you and would be happy to keep it that way. Shane are you that starved for attention that you need to try and pick a fight by personally attacking someone you do not know. I have a position that you are free to agree with it or not. But you are also free to try and make this about what you imagine or would like to imagine is true about me. I have better things to do than to debate with someone with no arguments. If you do not like something I have said in one of my books or articles and would like to challenge it, have at it. If not, do not pretend that your remarks are calling out someone else’s sin. Your remarks are the sin if it is sin we now are discussing, unless of course you have written your own Bible.

  10. Shane
    April 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    George,

    Okay George. Play ignorant–be the liar that you are. That’s to be expected. Go bully someone else. Repent and get right with God and your poor family. Get help.

  11. Shane
    April 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Mike,

    Since George has hijacked the blog, I’ll end it here. George has some serious issues to work through and a blog isn’t the place to try and work those out. I don’t think it’s appropriate to get into a shouting match on a blog like this. I’m sorry that this happened. Thanks again for the post. God bless.

    Shane

  12. Steve Long
    April 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Written by Bryson’s dauhter:

    https://cultleaderinmykitchen.com/Home_Page.html

    Good place to start in understanding who Mr. Byrson is.

    Steve

  13. george bryson
    April 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Both of you are pure hypocrites. Shane for making accusation as if you know something when you know nothing. Mike you cannot be resolved from responsibility because you read what he was writing and did not call him on it. Then you have the gall to accuse me of high-jacking your website and suggesting I have issues because I call him on it. Do not either one of you understand that there is a difference in challenging a position and attack a person. May God help those you pretend to be ministering to if you do not figure this out. I will make you deal Shane. You do not attack me personally because you know nothing about me personally, and I will pray God does not bring judgement on you for this wickedness. Someone needs to repent and that is for sure. Better yet, I will ignore you and you ignore me. My guess is that you will not be able to resist the personal attacks because you simply not even sure how to make a case for what you believe and what you do not believe. Let us just move on.

  14. george bryson
    April 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Hey Mike (correction)

    I am sorry your site turned ugly. I also hate this kind of thing. It is totally not needed. The issues are big and important and men of good will can disagree agreeably. But when the trash talking begins the conversation ends. I welcome anyone who wants to call me on my position-just do not bring my family into the discussion in a way that is disrespectful and mean-spirited. I will pray your site is restored to what I think you want it to be. In Christ, George

  15. george bryson
    April 28, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Hey Folks

    I received a request from a young seminarian who wants to know how he can win an argument if he does not have an argument. He asked me if I could recommend an example. I wrote him back and said, just say to the one you disagree with:

    You are in sin… You need to repent of your bitterness and harshness. You need to take a break from ministry and get back on track…My only words to you is Repent, Step Down, and get right with both God and your family… you have to get your personal life in order, before you attempt to minister to others. Sin distorts ministry…. It taints everything that you are trying to do…Since there are real integrity issues with you…and since those are public…and since you have refused to repent, I MUST warn others about you and the hurt that you have caused and continue to cause. And don’t play stupid…Okay…be the liar that you are. That’s to be expected…Repent and get right with God and your poor family. Get help.

    What do you think? Could it work or garner sympathy or score points with like-minded folks?

  16. Rick
    April 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Is it me or does every time Bryson enter a blog it turns into chaos? Who is this guy anyway? I read the link about a cult leader in my kitchen? Is that him?

  17. Rick
    April 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Here’s a statement from one of CC Pastor’s (Dave Rolph) on Bryson:

    “One more thing. George Bryson speaks for no one but himself. He is not a leader within the Calvary Chapel movement. He does not pastor a Calvary Chapel. Wait till he sees who is speaking this year at the Senior Pastors Conference.

    And those who are suggesting that Brian Brodersen is behind Bryson’s stuff are ignorant. George’s views are decidedly not Brian’s views. Brian has a loving and reasoned approach toward our Reformed brothers.”

    Don’t know if this totally gets CC of the hook for what Bryson is doing. Other links seem to endorse what he’s doing. From what I am reading from Brysen, I certainly wouldn’t want him representing me on anything

  18. Ray
    April 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Mike writes a very interesting and thought provoking article entitled “Where are the Calvinist converts?” And the first and only Calvinist who responds adds a very un-Christian personal attack to his argument….making that his emphasis.

    Typical.

    I’m not generalizing when I say that most Calvinists I myself have encountered refuse to argue or competantly defend the question at hand, but instead turn to ad hominen attacks on the messenger. “How dare you question what such great men as Spurgeon, or Whitfield, or Packer believe,” they often say to me.

    “Well, please,” I answer, “Defend it with the Bible alone”

    I’m still waiting for an answer to my assertion earlier that Romans 12…which a blog poster brought up as one of his main proof texts for God choosing some for salvation, while others not. I assert that Rom. 12 has nothing to do with the subject of individual salvation. Look at it carefully. It’s strictly about God choosing individuals and nations for his plans and purposes in history.

    I’ve also been told before on other blogs: “It’s already been soundly answered by others. Go look it up somewhere.”

    If this is your answer, then stop coming on blogs making your claims.

    Regarding Mike’s question of Calvinist converts, it was brought up that churches like Mars Hill in Seattle convert numerous unbelievers to Calvinists. Well, Driscoll may be Calvinist by admission, but he certainly doesn’t strongly preach it. Have you the listened to Driscoll consistently? If you didn’t know it already, you’d never guess he was a Calvinist by his preaching. It’s my guess that the vast majority of those numerous converts at Mars Hill are not Calvinists in practical terms. Mars Hill doesn’t require it of their members either. The same is probably true with Acts 29.

    Mars Hill’s example is a very weak argument in my opinion for original Calvinist converts.

  19. george bryson
    April 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Hey Rick

    Who are you anyway? Are you the same guy who follows me around the internet looking for sites where my writings have been mentioned (never quoted) so you can take anonymous cheap shots? No. You wouldn’t do that. This is probably your first time. If you play your cards right you can join the club. If you really want to join the club you have got to make it personal because those in this line like to argue without an argument because they do not have an argument. Wait a minute is this Dave Rolph disguising himself as the just happened along Rick with no Axe to grind Have fun?

    By the way, I agree with Ray (who is not my cousin) that:

    Mike writes a very interesting and thought provoking article entitled “Where are the Calvinist converts?” And the first and only Calvinist who responds adds a very un-Christian personal attack to his argument….making that his emphasis.

    Good job my fellow, man-centered semi-pelagian, synergistic, grace denying brother who just cannot not see the emperors new clothes. By the way, other than silly little things like accusing me of hi-jacking his blog (I forgive you Mike) I am impressed with the manner and tone of his comments (but Mike-do not use this endorsement for barter at your favor Reformed supermarket. You may find you will be overcharged instead of getting a discount.

  20. george bryson
    April 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Dear Rick

    I cannot tell you how hurt I am. Considering all I have done for Calvinists, this really hurts. I have provided some really cool Calvinists opportunities to cuss, call me names that are not fit for print but that they printed anyway. I offer myself to them so that they can call someone stupid, immoral, a phony etc. And this is the thanks I get. I speak with great sorrow of heart when I say you crossed the line when you said:

    I certainly wouldn’t want [George] representing me on anything.

    Just give me a Kleenex and leave me alone. I need to find somewhere to pout.

  21. Rick
    April 29, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    George,

    I didn’t even know who you were until a few days ago. My first impression (on this blog) of you was…control freak, sarcastic, immature, and someone who has a temper problem. After I read your daughters description: https://cultleaderinmykitchen.com/Home_Page.html I realize that you DO have some serious issues. After just a few keyword searches on you name (google) you seem to have a reputation for being an internet bully. Though I don’t agree with Shane’s reformed theology, I wouldy agree with his description of you-a bully.

    I attend a Calvary Chapel and contacted my pastor today. He agreed with Dave Rolph–you don’t represent CC. He does not agree with your approach to reformed theology and how you deal with those who don’t agree with Calvary.

    You interrupted a civil discussion on this blog. I would recommend that Mike block you, so that you don’t do this in the future. It’s not all about you George. You don’t have to jump into every discussion that comes up on reformed theology and CC. You seem kind of paranoid.

  22. george bryson
    May 31, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Hey Rick

    You still do not know who I am and probably never will. You are happy to publically attack someone you do not know, refer to an imaginary pastor who you say agrees with you but that you will cannot identify because in fact he does not exist. You pretend you attend a Calvary you have never been to. Shame on you. You see, even if you do not know me, I have done my home with regard to you. Have a nice day.

  23. george bryson
    May 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    BTW, I did not interrupt this thread but was brought into it. Do you read what is on a thread before you comment? Should I assume that if you did not read what was said before you entered the discussion it was never said. Use the upper arrow if you missed what was said about me before I entered the discussion. I assume that you must think it is Ok to publically accuse someone you do not know but that it is wrong if the accused speaks up. Is there a double standard here-or no standard for you and one for me?

  24. george bryson
    May 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Hey Rick

    As I already said, I do not believe:

    You “attend a Calvary Chapel” or that you “contacted [your] pastor today” and that he is a Calvary Chapel pastor. I do not believe you even know what my “approach to reformed theology [is] and or “how” I “deal with those who don’t agree with Calvary.” If you did, you would actually say what I say about a Calvinism that is not true or is rude or disrespectful. Should I assume that you would prefer that I take the “warm fuzzy” approach to disagreeing with Calvary Chapel that is found in the messages of James White? Why do some Calvinists, like yourself, need to pretend not to be a Calvinist-so that they can attack a non-Calvinist? Whatever happened to the honesty policy?

  25. george bryson
    August 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Dear George

    This is not my problem but I a concerned brother and would like to make a suggestion. I read what Shane wrote about you on this site and it seemed totally uncalled for. Here is what you should write back:

    You are in sin Shane. You need to repent of your bitterness and harshness. You need to take a break from ministry and get back on track. I wouldn’t have mentioned your family situation if it weren’t public. You’ve got bigger fish to fry Shane. Running around websites and doing your normal drive-by canned message isn’t going to cut it…you have to get your personal life in order, before you attempt to minister to others. Sin distorts ministry Shane. It taints everything that you are trying to do. And there are many Acts 29 pastors who would agree with me on that.

    Since there are real integrity issues with you Shane and since those are public (they have been expressed to you MANY times) and since you have refused to repent, I MUST warn others about you and the hurt that you have caused and continue to cause. And don’t play stupid Shane. You and I both know what those issues are.

    Dear Concerned Brother

    I think I will pass. Thanks for the concern and the suggestion anyway. George

  26. Lynda
    October 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I have to say, I found this site because I also had been involved in Calvary Chapel’s since about 1982. When I finally took their constant reminding of “Don’t take my word for it, check these things out in the Word for yourself”, I saw things differently. When I took the CC filter off as I read, I realized that I am a believer in the reformed theology, not CC’s theology (and, yes, they do have a theology that is their own I believe). I now attend a reformed church, it’s an Acts 29 Church for three years now and I definitely have seen people come to faith and in a very strong and lasting way. There is no lack of evangelism in our church or others like it. We also believe and function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which I know is not typical of many reformed churches, but we do believe the whole Bible and that it is relevant to our lives today. I don’t have a doubt that many more people from the CC movement will become Calvinists and truly understand reformed theology. It’s not how it’s been presented by many in leadership.

  1. April 26, 2011 at 11:30 am
  2. April 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm

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