Calvinism has always struck me as, well, psychologically austere given Calvin’s definition of predestination where man, in the end, has no real freedom. Nevertheless, for Protestants raised on the consumer Christianity that has afflicted the Protestant world the last few decades, it’s probably a bracing antidote to the search for good feelings reaches almost pathological dimensions. No Starbucks in a Calvinist church lobby I’ll bet.
In America’s Christian faith, a surprising comeback of rock-ribbed Calvinism is challenging the Jesus-is-your-buddy gospel of modern evangelism.
Snow falls resolutely on a Saturday morning in Washington, but the festively lit basement of a church near the US Capitol is packed. Some 200 female members have invited an equal number of women for tea, cookies, conversation – and 16th-century evangelism.
What newcomers at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) hear is hardly “Christianity for Dummies.” Nor is it “Extreme Makeover: Born-Again Edition.” Instead, a young woman named Kasey Gurley describes her disobedience and suffering in Old Testament terms.
“I worship my own comfort, my own opinion of myself,” she confesses. “Like the idolatrous people of Judah, we deserve the full wrath of God.” She warns the women that “we’ll never be safe in good intentions,” but assures them that “Christ died for us so we wouldn’t have to.” Her closing prayer is both frank and transcendent: “Our comfort in suffering is this: that through Christ you provide eternal life.”
It is so quiet you can hear an oatmeal cookie crumble.
Read the entire article on the Christian Science Monitor.