When Staunch Calvinist Meets Arminian Girl…And They fall in Love.
Once in a while I sit awake musing. No, I am through with the silly stuff like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin e.t.c Once in a while its about something I have read especially personal testimonies and conundrums. Like, if two people are poles apart theologically, what happens when they fall in love? Say, a staunch Calvinist dude and a staunch Arminian lady? Impossible, huh? Well sit back and read on…
I have been a die-hard Calvinist for approximately sixteen years now. During that time, I have engaged in “debates” with innumerable Arminians in person, via email, or in chat rooms. These debates were rarely moderated or formal affairs—just the typical sort of thing that Calvinists and Arminians find themselves involved in two or three times a week every day (that’s not a typo). In the process of these debates, I think I’ve hit upon just about every topic that could be hit upon in the differences between the Average American Arminian and the Average American Calvinist. Through it all, my beliefs have been strengthened and fortified by iron sharpening iron, and by the confirmation that in the marketplace of ideas, Calvinism has no peer.
All of which makes it quite funny, and possibly a bit ironic, that my girlfriend is a part of the Society of Evangelical Arminians. God has a truly marvelous sense of humor. As strong as my beliefs in Calvinism are, Skarlet’s are equally strong in Arminianism. Both of us consider the other person to be inconsistent in theology. We have many conversations with variations of the line, “I believe you are wrong about such-and-so and that your views ignore Scripture in this-or-that passage” only to then add: “And I know you think the same thing about me in reverse.”
Despite our differences, we both can see Christ at work in the other. Both of us want to worship God and to honor Him as He truly is. Both of us seek fidelity to the Bible. Honestly, that attitude is part of why, despite our differences, I enjoy her company. I truly can understand why she gets upset when a Calvinist apologist says things such as, “Arminians are trying to ignore Scripture on this point” or “Arminians are seeking to make man look better.” While this is the logical implication of many Arminian interpretations, that is not the reason why Arminians say what they do. They genuinely do believe that Arminian interpretations of Scripture are better than Calvinistic interpretations of Scripture, and therefore that Calvinism dishonors God.
As a Calvinist, it is somewhat sad to know that a theology that I find so comforting in Scripture is truly abhorrent to someone who is not only a sister in Christ, but also the woman I love. To know that no matter what happens, God is in control; that everything is accounted for and planned and that all things have a genuine purpose—this, to me, is the only theology that can make sense of the world, and my heart longs for Skarlet to see that view….
[Excerpt from On Loving an Arminian]
I hope this article keeps you musing tonight too (chuckle). But most of all pray for people who are in similar situations. Honestly it is not an easy situation (more chuckles).
Great story. Hard position to be in.
My husband and I are Calvinists. We both find such joy and comfort in this shared theology and speak of it continually. Of course, there’s great delight in our shared Christianity, but a deeper delight in our similar beliefs of theology. Because of it we agree on which church we attend, what we share with our daughter’s, which books we read and buy, and even who we fellowship with on that deeper level. It’s very important to us.
I hope it works out for you.
Ann-Elise you are right it is a joy and comfort to have shared theology. I too hope this brother whose article i excerpted does eventually get to such a point. Or better still I hope it works for him…to the glory of God.
I still think that the most often heard / used phrase from a Christian’s first few days in Heaven will be “You’re here?”
Well, so far me and Peter are engaged anyway. 🙂
Skarlet good to hear from you. My hope and prayer is that the love of Christ will draw both of you closer to each other but much more than that I pray that you the twoof you will get to know the Lord more and more each day in agreement.
I don’t know where to begin. Compromising the Gospel comes to mind. A Presbyterian may as well marry a Roman Catholic, if the Gospel doesn’t matter. Oh, and the whole thing about being unequally yoked, that does still apply to believers and non-believers being yoked together in marriage. The gospel of Arminianism and the Gospel of Calvinism are not compatible. I do pray for that couple, but I wonder where they will be in 10 years.