John Calvin’s toxic influence reaches right into today

Fred Phelps
Fred Phelps

I don’t like John Calvin. I don’t like how his doctrines still affect Christians in America today. Fred Phelps had a portrait of Calvin hanging in his Westboro Baptist Cult, and Mark Driscoll’s mega church is going through mutiny over his abuse. Calvinism is mean-spirited, hateful and violent yet many people still follow these doctrines.

John Calvin ran a theocracy in Geneva in the 1500s and as you might have guessed, pried into people’s everyday lives to an alarming degree. He was, in short, a control freak. He not only got involved in politics-he ran the city.

Calvin taught predestination, a fancy word that means God is so in control that he decided who goes to heaven and hell from the moment he created the world. Yes, Calvin said little babies yet to be born were coming into the world only to land in hell and there’s nothing they can do about it, because sovereignty!

I’ve tried to talk to Calvinists about the demonic God they portray. They say I dishonor God by claiming he gave people free will-because sovereignty! If you are a Calvinist, I say to you for the hundredth time, “What is to stop a sovereign God from sovereignly choosing to give human beings free will?” I also notice that the Calvinists I have argued with mention their daddy made them go to church, whipped their little arse if they didn’t go-because sovereignty. Daddy was right to whip them, God is right to make people to go to hell, the state is right to execute people, Calvin was right to burn heretics at the stake-because authority!

That this God bears no resemblance to the construction worker from Nazareth doesn’t bother them. They spend most of their time in the Old Testament poring over the warlordy parts-because justice! Law and order!

“God is love and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (John 4:16)

I don’t like John Calvin. But I like people and if you’ve been snared by this ugly strain of “Christianity,” may love at long last set you free.


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