One Sunday morning, during the first few months of our church plant's public worship, three young adults walked in; a guy and two girls. This is usually pretty exciting. I walked over and noticed the we-mean-business expression on their faces, and a well-worn Scofield Study Bible clutched under the arm of the young man. "If this guy likes Scofield, he will probably be uncomfortable with us." I thought as I introduced myself and welcomed them to Grace. "Is this a Calvinist church?" he asked. I smiled and said, "It depends on what you mean by that." One of the girls asked her inquisitive friend, "What's a Calvinist?" He exaplined, "They believe God chose some people to be saved and not others. They believe that Jesus only died for the church." Huh. Not wrong, but not all of it.
I explained a little of what we believed, and that we are convinced by Scripture of God's sovereignty in salvation, and that Jesus died to save his people from their sins. Trying to encourage them I said, "You know, I hope you will stay and worship with us. Today we are walking through the issue of prayer. God wants us to pray, and he does respond to it."
Right before the service started they all got up and walked out.
Yeah, that was a bit discouraging at the time. But at least he did not misrepresent us. During our conversation he didn't say we were "hyper-Calvinists." He didn't make lame accusations about us being anti-missions/evangelism. He knew what we believed, to some degree, and it was contradictory to his own convictions. I can understand that he felt he needed to leave, though I would not have done the same were I visiting an Arminian church.
I am still not sure how he guessed we were Reformed. We had a band up front tuning guitars, people were dressed casually, chatting together. It all looked pretty normal to me. I mean, our bulletin didn't have a picture of Calvin on it, we didn't have five banners hanging from the rafters, and I promise no one saw my "solas" tattoo.
The guy popped back in a couple months later by himself. He walked in during the last song before the sermon. I introduced the subject for that morning, "Fasting," and he got up and walked out - again.
Perhaps this is analogous to something common in all of this recent debate about Calvinism. Some people have made up their own minds on the subjects and are not willing to even listen to another. The truth is we should not fear keeping an open mind to the arguments of someone we disagree with. We have God's word, and it alone should be our confidence.