Talking about John Calvin makes many Christians feel sophisticated and avant-garde. Theology students who begin required reading of Calvin fall in love with him and his four (sometimes five) spiritual laws. They volley big words back and forth and go to Starbucks to discuss things like limited atonement and perseverance of the saints. Ardent debates are spawned over the issue of predestination and absolutely no conclusion is reached. This is a great deal of fun for them, and yet it can all take an ominous turn if someone is not in agreement with you on how the word “total” in “total depravity” should be interpreted.

It is plausible, but not scientifically confirmed, that reformed students spend more time studying Calvin’s teachings than they spend studying Scripture. Weirdly enough, this may mean they’ve crossed from Gospel into Law (uh oh), but we’ll never know for sure. Kind of like predestination.

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