Part 1 - The Questions

Your name bewilders many
And it's not the name Calvary
That gives rise to questions a plenty
But it's the word reformed added to evangelical
That makes your name seem paradoxical

You even ended your name with church
A word oh so sublime
Since you don't know the new paradigm
Let me give you a tip
Churches now call themselves a fellowship
This is the latest glib
That all labels you must strip

But if that you must do
Alas, what will become of you?
Yes, you'll still have your name Calvary
But when you bid your labels adieu
There's very little left of your identity
What now in the world are you?

So Calvary Reformed Evangelical Church
your name must be
For you did not fail to see
And you are wise in knowing
That when you try the latest glib to be
You're bound to strip away
the very essence of your being
There no one listens to what you have to say
Though your activities they be attending
They are there only to play and have a nice day

When you with the reformed faith align
Why then did you with evangelical combine?
Are you indeed one among them?
Or are you adherents of a strange new sect
as some of them would claim

This is a serious question you must answer
If you are with evangelicals to gather
For you seem to them so different
To be honest you seem a little queer
You must understand that to be with you together
May be to them a cause of great fear

For you seem not to be in tune with the times
And it's not only your name that betrays
your old fashioned ways
Your hymnody is as revealing
As does your hour long preaching

You're always cooped up in your
bible studies or catechisms
And is it not because you adhere to Calvinism
That you're always concerned about knowing
Do you not care about the people's feelings?
You revere the dead and shun the living
All these I see in the books that you are reading
By them I judge that you are
more theological than practical
For you read the writings of people like
Edwards, Bunyan and Gurnall
You hardly consult the modern gurus like
Wagner, Warren et al

You have not been with us
These few past few years
In evangelicalism's great campaigns
Even our cantatas you did not give an ear
It grieves us and we are pained
That you do not travel with the main
You cling so tightly to your reformed theology
And thus your claim to be
Reformed and yet evangelical
Is all too paradoxical

Part 2 - The Answers

The outward expressions of my reformed theology
By now you already see
But what goes in my heart you may not be aware
Allow me now my humble heart to bare

That I was saved by grace through faith
Was what I had always been taught
And it was not by works as though I had to pay a fee
In order that my sins may be wiped clean
and thrown to the bottom of the sea
That my salvation though unmerited and free
Was with a costly price bought
By the death of my Savior on the cross
All these I learned from those who were faithful
To the teachings of Scripture
All these truths so wonderful
Were taught by those who were evangelicals to the full
They did not claim to be Calvinists
But in the preaching of the gospel they insist
That a man is justified by faith in Christ alone
This is my evangelical heritage
The very same doctrine of grace
That my reform faith embraces

Though I hold on dearly
to my evangelical heritage
Yet the teachings of the reformed faith
I must further embrace
It is true that with regards
to matters of fundamentals
The reformed faith is the same as the evangelical
If we travel down the pages of history
It was the time of the reformation
That there was a recovery
From the depths of Roman Catholicism
The essential truths of Christianity
Which today we call evangelicalism
How then now does it differ with Calvinism

Here now is how Calvinism differs with
modern evangelicalism
Modern evangelicalism's adherence to Arminianism
Is clearly expressed in what we call decisionism
They teach that a man is saved
By a decision he made
To receive Christ as Savior
Just repeat with me the prayer
and make Jesus your Lord later

In Calvinism I learned
That man dead in sin cannot rise from the dirt
Until he first experiences new birth
He must first be given a new heart
Before he can repent and believe
And the Savior into his heart receive

If my Savior had not given me new life
I could never have seen the light
Nor hear Him call me from the grave to rise
Now Jesus is my greatest prize
I know of no greater security
That my salvation does not rest on my ability
It is not what I decide that counts
But what God does on my account

Now it is true that both agree
That a man is saved by faith in Christ alone
But one believes that he is saved in his decision
The other believes that he is saved by God's decision
I am afraid that my decision to believe
Cannot persevere when tribulations
come without reprieve
But if it is God who wills that I be saved
Let me now quote what the Scriptures say
That if God be for us who can be against us?

That God is sovereign even in my salvation
Is a truth that brings liberation
From fear of uncertainty
It gives God the greatest glory
For it shows me that God is my greatest treasure
How can He not be my greatest pleasure?
When it is His work alone that brings forth my salvation

Forgive me my friend
For I've made matters hard
By baring also my mind
When I've only said I'll bare my heart
This is all to make you see
That what goes into my heart
First passes through my mind
For it is only when I know the truth about my God
That He will be my greatest prize
And deep affections for him from my heart arise
And this is the reason why
Why we get cooped up studying the bible all the while
And it is not that we do not care about people's feelings
For does not knowing God and what He had done for us
Gives rise to the greatest feelings

So now that my mind and heart to you I have bared
I hope my Calvinism you will no longer be scared
For it has brought me to a higher degree
Of joy and security
I hope you further see that Calvinism is not
a variety of evangelical faith
But a perfect manifestation of evangelicalism
That its difference with evangelical faith
Is a difference not of kind but of degree?
That it does not take its position by evangelicalism's side
But takes its position over it
And as embodying all that evangelicalism ought to be. 1
It is not a specie of Christian theism alongside others
But is Christianity come to full flower 2

It is not paradoxical
To be reformed as well as evangelical
For the reformed faith or Calvinism has much to give
To modern evangelicalism.

Notes
1 John Piper, Bethlehem Conference for Pastors January 26, 1993
2 J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir, pp. 177-178.

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