The Emperor's Old Theology
Don't you love the story of the Emperor's New Clothes? It is so true to life.
There was an emperor who was obsessed with fashion. He loved nothing better than showing off his latest outfit. One day, two swindlers came to his palace disguised as tailors. They promise to make him a fine suit, more handsome than any other. However, it is of a cloth so fine that only a person of refined taste and intelligence will be able to see it. A stupid and coarse person would see nothing at all. The emperor is delighted by the idea and pays them much gold in advance.
When the swindlers complete their 'work', the emperor and his courtiers are unable to see anything at all. Yet being afraid to appear stupid and coarse, they pretend they can see the most beautiful suit they have ever seen.
The emperor then parades naked through the city, and his subjects are all anxious to applaude and admire his new clothes. All except a small boy who laughs out loud and sings with delight on seeing the emperor as bare as the day he was born.
I think we can see the truth of this when it comes to theology.
A lot of Christians when they are first introduced to Calvinism think that it is a dreadful theology; they are appalled at the idea of God 'passing over' people and ordaining them to eternal destruction.
Yet just like the swindlers in the story, Calvinists pull a confidence trick on young believers. They tell them that only a person who is submissive to God's word and who is humble in her attitude will believe in Calvinism. A person who is proud and wilful will hate and despise the truths of 'Sovereign Grace.'
The young Christian then is left thinking:
If I am humble and submissive to God, then I must receive this teaching about election. If I dont accept 'the doctrines of Grace' then it will only show that I am proud and stubborn.
You see this in the testimonies of people who are Calvinists. They will tell you that it was their pride that kept them from believing in Calvinism. In their minds, they were duped into thinking that:
Calvinism = Humble Submission
Rejection of Calvinism = Stubborn self-will
The debate about Calvinism is dressed by Calvinism in the language of morality, not Biblical exegesis.
The truth is that the 'Doctrines of Grace' are bare of any true Biblical foundation. Just as the emperor and his pals were unwilling to think about the 'magic cloth', so often Calvinists are unwilling to re-examine their theology because they have been lead to believe that questioning election is a sign of pride and self-will.