Here’s a great excerpt from M. Horton’s new book, For Calvinism.
“Critics have frequently confused Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism, and sometimes contact with hyper-Calvinists proves the caricature. Often, bowled over by a sense of God’s majesty and grace, new Calvinists enter what we call ‘the cage phase.’ Like any new convert, we can be hard to live with when we’ve just experienced a radical paradigm shift. Why weren’t we taught this when it seems so evident in Scripture? How can our fellow Christians ignore these doctrines and even squelch any discussion? In this condition, enthusiasm can turn to frustration and even to arrogance and divisiveness. Only superficially acquainted with Reformed teaching at this stage, we swing from one extreme to the other, misunderstanding and misrepresenting these doctrines. This often proves the caricature. No doubt, many critics of Calvinism have encountered this, and it puts them off from taking a second look at the position.”
“However, mainstream Calvinism has been associated with personal renewal as well as doctrinal reformation. In fact, Reformed piety has resisted the false choice between head and heart, doctrine and life, church and individual. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, both Lutheran and Reformed traditions reflected a concern for doctrine and life as one integrated pattern. Like the Reformers themselves, the evangelical movement was deeply impressed with the significance of Christian truth for daily living. That is why the Bible was translated into the common languages of the people and widely distributed to parishes and households, along with catechisms, prayer books, and psalters.”