The first time I heard the name of John Calvin was in my high school Social Studies textbook, and it wasn’t a positive introduction. It said something about his belief that people were fundamentally bad and that God chose to love some but not others. Maybe it said more than that, but I don’t remember. What I do know, is I immediately disliked him and wondered how anyone could like this Calvin fellow.
Calvinism is a dirty word in many circles. Even among Calvinists, being called a “Calvinist” can seem like something of a slur. I have already explored some of the path that led me to embrace Calvinism, so I won’t do that here. I also don’t want to write in order to try persuading others to change their doctrinal positions. This article addresses some stereotypes of Calvinists and focuses on what Calvinism isn’t while next week’s article will highlight what Calvinism is.