Early Warning Signs of Adult Onset Calvinism

Approximately 1 out of every 4 Christians will encounter adult onset Calvinism (commonly known as AOC) during their life, either personally or in someone close to them. It can be a scary thing to encounter, especially if you’re not familiar with the symptoms. The person you once knew and loved is suddenly a completely different person.

Don’t panic.

It gets better.

To help you navigate the treacherous waters of AOC, I’ve listed the possible symptoms you may encounter.

• A sudden urge to correct everything and everyone all the time about every possible thing.

• A growing conviction that every worship song you’ve ever sung is heretical and should be excised from the church catalog, including the Nicene Creed, Doxology, and most of the Psalms.

• A strange and inexplicable ability to listen to 300 John Piper sermons in a single day.

• A burning passion to convert everyone, especially your extremely godly parents WHO TAUGHT YOU THE BIBLE, to Calvinism.

• A growing level of arrogance that is directly inverse to the number of blog posts you write about humility.

• Constant cravings for cigars and microbrews, even though they make you incredibly sick.

• Deep suspicion of anything that might cause the slightest bit of emotion in church, especially those awful worship songs noted above.

• Deep-seated cynicism toward anyone who doesn’t take a hard stance on an issue, including but not limited to: free will, Calvinism, sports, coffee, the Trinity, capitalism, child schooling, and dating.

• Being so smug you begin to panic that you won’t be able to adequately manifest all the smugness.

• An unshakeable conviction that Tim Keller is too theologically soft.

• The ability to bring every conversation full circle to Romans 9.

• Frustration that guys like Piper and Sproul don’t draw more lines in the sand.

• Inevitably arriving at the conclusion that John Calvin was not that strong of a Calvinist. At least, not as strong as you are.

• Growing a beard, but not in a hipster way! This beard is WAY DIFFERENT from hipster beards, because it tapers to a point somewhere between the nipples, just like Calvin’s beard did.

If you or someone you know begins experiencing these symptoms, go to a pastor IMMEDIATELY. It won’t make the slightest bit of difference, because you were predestined to be a Calvinist, but still, you should probably see a pastor.

But don’t worry. After 5-6 years, these symptoms will subside and you or your loved one will return to being a mostly normal person.

Until then…sorry.  

Originally posted on The Blazing Center.

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Stephen Altrogge
Stephen Altrogge works as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA, where his main duties include leading worship, working with college students, and shining his dad’s shoes. He also has written a number of worship songs that have been included on Sovereign Grace Music albums. Stephen is the author of the book Game Day For the Glory of God: A Guide For Athletes, Fans, and Wanabes, which was published by Crossway Books in September 2008, and The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence, which will be published by Crossway Books in April 2011. When not shining his dad’s shoes, you can find Stephen drinking coffee or playing video games.