The following is an attempt at satire about stuff young Calvinists like. The idea came from this blog (which is funny but crass). Hopefully you will find this in good taste. 🙂
In most cases there is an obvious Arminian corollary. These are listed in italics.
The ESV translation: Young Calvinists (YCs) love the ESV. In certain circles its use is mandatory. The translation can easily be identified by the prominent circle on the front and/or on the binder. Since every YC uses the ESV, the “circle” has the nice side benefit of allowing them to easily identify each other when in unfamiliar environments.
The easiest way to explain why the ESV is preferred is by pointing out the problems with all other Bible translations. The KJV is archaic. The NKJV is too much like the KJV. No one uses the NASB. The NIV and NLT are thought for thought translations (bad). The Living and The Message are paraphrases (really bad). The NRSV and TNIV use gender neutral language (really really bad). Special note: people who prefer the NRSV are invariably liberal (keep in mind that “liberal” and “Arminian” are synonymous terms in the Calvinist mind). When in the presence of YCs it is wise to avoid all reference to the NRSV for reasons of safety.
The ESV is generally the only permitted translation for Calvinists; however, there is one notable exception: The NASB is considered acceptable if one is buying a MacArthur study Bible. In all other cases the NASB should be avoided in order to maintain conformity. It is a matter of great consternation among YCs that there is currently no ESV MacArthur study Bible.
Arminian Corollary: All Arminians use the NIV. If you catch an Arminian using a translation other than the NIV, this indicates that he intends to convert to another branch of Christianity. You can determine which branch based on the translation used. A few years ago there was an Arminian movement to migrate to the TNIV. This was singlehandedly shot down by James Dobson.
Mars Hill Church: YCs like Mars Hill because it is contemporary, hip, and Reformed. The first rule when discussing Mars Hill is to be aware that there are actually two of them. One is very cool. One is evil. To mix them up is a sign of terrible ignorance and is considered almost as bad as reading the NRSV. The cool Mars Hill is pastored by Mark Driscoll, and is located in Seattle. The evil Mars Hill is located near Grand Rapids. It is pastored by Rob Bell (The Emergent who produces the NOOMA series). It is excessively irritating to YCs that there is a successful Emergent mega-church in Mecca (Grand Rapids).
Arminian Corollary: Arminians like the evil Mars Hill.
Alcohol: All YCs drink alcohol. Other Christians drink too, but alcohol has special significance among YCs. Most of them grew up in churches where drinking was frowned upon. Since YCs are invariably fundamentalists, it is important for them to be able to point to something that indisputably proves that they have thrown off the legalistic chains of their youth. Alcohol fills the role nicely.
Arminian Corollary: Young Arminians drink too, and for the same reasons.
Old Theologians: YCs love old theologians. Their favorites include: Edwards, Owen, and Spurgeon (primarily because their works are written in English). All YCs own works from old theologians. They love to display them in their library. A special note of precaution here: It is better to not ask the YC specific questions about the classic works that he owns. This can create an embarrassing moment, because there is a good chance that he hasn’t read them. This is not intentional. When the YC bought the works he fully intended to read them, but then realized that wading through Owen and Edwards is quite difficult. Though rare, it is worse to ask a question to a YC who has actually read the classics. In that case you will get more than you bargained for, such as a dissertation on the merits of John Owen’s insight into penal substitution theory. It is always safer to merely notice the YC’s large library, and to comment on his excellent tastes.
Arminian Corollary: Arminians don’t know the names of any old theologians. If you ask an Arminian to name one, he will say “Billy Graham”. Like YCs, Arminians rarely read the books that they own.
John Piper: John Piper is the “holy grail” of Calvinist authors. YCs own all of his books. In many cases his work is actually preferred over scripture (of course you will never get a YC to admit this). Unlike “old theologians”, YCs actually read Piper. In fact it is common to find YCs who have memorized large portions of his work. If you attempt to argue with a YC, there is a 100% chance that he will refer you to something written by Piper. If you have a good friendship with a YC, you have an excellent chance of receiving a Piper book for Christmas.
There is no Arminian corollary to John Piper. Arminians do own and memorize the “Left Behind” books.
Caedmon’s Call: Caedmon’s Call is the preferred music group for all YCs. This is not because Caedmon’s Call has particularly outstanding music, but because the lyrics of their songs are discernibly Calvinist in nature. If you have a good friendship with a YC and don’t get a Piper book for Christmas, it is near certain that you will receive a Cadmon’s Call CD instead.
Arminian Corollary: Arminians like Michael W Smith, because he sings about love and endorses books like “The Shack”.
Second Generation Calvinists: Second generation Calvinists are highly esteemed because there are so few of them. Most children of Calvinists become either non-Calvinists (the Schaeffer route) or hyper-Calvinists (the Sproul route). If you happen to be a level headed second generation Calvinist, there are lots of YCs who want to pepper you with questions about how exciting it must have been growing up in a Reformed Church. You get extra points if you are from Michigan, have a Dutch sounding last name, or have spent time at L’Abri. If you happen to be a Calvinist of South African descent, you present a special situation. In this case the YC still desires to question you; however, he will be very discreet about it when in the presence of minorities.
There are no second generation Arminians. They invariably become liberal, or convert to another branch of Christianity.
The Word “Reformed”: YCs actually hate to be called Calvinists, due to the negative connotations associated with the word. They instead prefer to use the word “Reformed”. The term is less recognized, and when in mixed company it allows the YC to maintain the illusion that he is on the sly. If someone comments in passing that he enjoys “Reformed Theology”, this is code to tell you that he is a Calvinist. This is quite similar to a Mormon casually mentioning where he served his mission, and it is done with identical motives. The YC will be closely watching your response. Appropriate responses include: “That’s cool, what is your favorite John Piper book?” or “I am a huge fan of Caedmon’s Call.” If you ask what Reformed theology is, you will immediately be put on the YC’s list of Arminians to convert.
Arminian Corollary: Arminians hate to be called fundamentalist. They will spend 10 minutes explaining to you why they are not fundamentalist, even though they are. Arminians also will never admit that they are Arminians.
The Five Solas: Among educated brethren YCs refer to themselves as adherents of the five solas. YCs prefer not to use the term TULIP. However, references to TULIP become necessary when indoctrinating non-Calvinists, as the unique distinctives of Calvinism are not readily apparent from the five solas. YCs always say the solas in the original Latin. This makes them feel smarter. When a YC is losing an argument, he will often shout out “SOLI DEO GLORIA!” YCs rarely refer to “sola fide” or “solus Christus” because they sound too Arminian. Much like the word “Reformed”, YCs frequently refer to the solas as part of an elaborate code language in an attempt to vet out other Christian’s knowledge of Calvinism.
Arminian Corollary: Arminians agree with the five solas, but usually don’t know what they are. Arminians sometimes refer to themselves as adherents of John 3:16, and will often hold entire conferences based on the verse.
Small Groups: All YCs attend a small group. While small groups are by no means unique to Calvinism, YCs have particular reasons for attending them. Calvinist small groups have much in common with military boot camps. They are intended to indoctrinate and promote conformity. In mixed denominations where Calvinism is taught on the sly, small groups present the unique opportunity to indoctrinate with minimal oversight. It is also the desire of every YC to work for Desiring God or Crossway. Since this is not always a realistic goal, it is considered an acceptable fall back to lead a small group.
Arminian Corollary: Arminians host small groups primarily as a motivation to clean up their messy house. They rarely discuss theology, unless a YC has infiltrated the group. Typically the purpose of Arminian small groups is to discuss politics, watch football, and eat food.