What Should I Do If My Church Is Becoming Calvinistic?

, posted by SEA

On his website, Arminian Perspectives, Ben Henshaw has a questions page at which he answers questions about Arminianism and Calvinism that visitors to his site pose in the comment section of the page. The following is a question and answer interaction between Ben and a commenter named Max.

The question (this has been abbreviated substantially for inclusion here; the full question can be seen at the questions page mentioned and linked to above):

I am a member of a Bible church where the elders recently proposed becoming a member of the Fellowship of Reformed Evangelicals (FIRE) . . . .

There are a significant number of non-calvinists in our church, a lot of people with little knowledge of the issues, and a lot of people who are strongly calvinistic. In my opinion, this issue should not be a test of fellowship or a test of church membership. I believe it is possible to achieve unity in spite of this diversity in theological opinion. Currently this outcome seems very unlikely in light of the recent calvinistic emphasis and the FIRE membership proposal. I would appreciate hearing advice and experiences regarding attempts at unity with this type of theological diversity.

Answer:  I would start by praying about the situation (as I am sure you have) and then ask to meet with the leadership, particularly those elders you mention. Let them know where you stand on the issues that concern you and ask them if they are willing to embrace members with different views like yourself. If you are not very active in the church it may not matter much. But if you are active in ministry and especially in teaching, the issue becomes magnified if, for instance, you are asked to teach on doctrines you do not agree with.

I would say that remaining in the fellowship should be your goal if at all reasonable, but if you begin to feel like the church is moving in a direction, as a whole, that you do not feel you can follow, then I would consider breaking fellowship and finding a church that agrees with your basic views of soteriology, or at least does not take a stand against them. Really, it is up to you. If the elders express to you that they want to emphasize Calvinist doctrines then it may be impossible for you to remain.

Not sure if that helps but that would be my approach. The most important things should be to pray and meet with the leadership and find out whether or not you can continue to fellowship there in good faith. I would say that leaving the church should be a last resort and should not be a rash decision. May God lead you in your decision.