My Favorite Calvinists

Here are some of my favorite Calvinists, and what I admire most about them.

John Newton:   Newton loved people and was passionate about sharing the gospel. He is probably best known for penning the words to “Amazing Grace”.  Newton formerly worked in the slave trade, and eventually joined the abolitionist movement.  I admire Newton’s love for the gospel, his humble spirit, and his dedication to ending the slave trade.  “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am. “

Charles Spurgeon: Spurgeon was known as “the prince of preachers”.  He preached to thousands of people, averaging 10 sermons a week. He was passionate about preaching to the lost.  He was decidedly Calvinistic, but valued  Christian love and charity above doctrinal convictions. I admire Spurgeon’s love of preaching, his dedication, and his efforts to promote Christian unity. “If “Christ is all” to you, you are Christians; and I, for one, am ready to give you the right hand of brotherhood. I do not mind what place of worship you attend, or by what distinctive name you may call yourselves, we are brethren; and I think, therefore, that we should love one another.”

William Carey:  Carey’s enthusiasm for missions was in large part the catalyst for the missionary movement in England, and he was a pioneering missionary to India. I admire Carey’s heart for the lost, and how he helped changed church culture to a more missional focus.  Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.

Corrie ten Boom: Corrie loved to share the message of God’s love and his forgiveness.  She and her family helped hide Dutch Jews from the Nazis.  They were arrested, and she and her sister were sent to a concentration camp (where her sister died). I admire her perseverance in hardship, her strong preaching, and her focus on God’s love for all. “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.

Francis Schaeffer: Schaeffer was a pastor, theologian and author.  He founded the L’abri community in Switzerland. I admire Schaeffer’s efforts to minister to the “hippie” generation, and his work in the pro-life movement.  I also appreciate that his writings are not overtly Calvinist in nature. “Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.”



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5 responses to “My Favorite Calvinists

  1. Gary Bisaga

    I appreciate this. Though I am a Calvinist, I have said similar things about my own (thoroughly Arminian) Calvary Chapel pastors. I like to think, too, that we write in the vein of Spurgeon’s description of John Wesley:

    There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer—I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one “of whom the world was not worthy.” I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.

  2. Calvinists whose teaching I really enjoy include Doug Wilson and Wayne Grudem

  3. Though thoroughly Arminian, I would add Mark Driscoll to the list, despite your statements of dislike..

    He obviously studies and knows Scripture, preaches it, and who can blame him for being human in his display of his sense of humor (what you call bullying), and his minor foible of being Calvinist (since this is simply a misunderstanding of time vs. eternity)?

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