The poison of Calvinism, Reformed Theology, and Covenant Theology has been creeping into so many churches. Be wary of anyone that uses terms such as historic Christianity or traditional Christianity. Also, while a systematic theology is a good thing, many people will claim that the only valid Systematic Theology is the one that is based on Calvinism.
Keep in mind that the Reformed churches (protestants) are just reformed (repackaged) catholics. While Luther and the reformers did a great job exposing the worst practices of catholic popery and they did a great job of emphasizing a soteriology of “salvation by grace not works” they failed to reject the Gnosticism of Augustine (which is the basis for Roman Catholicism). They also retained the belief in things like infant baptism and that there should be a cooperation between the government and religious organizations.
It was a real relief when I realized I did not have to defend the atrocities committed by “historic Christianity”! Neither the Catholics (around 300 A.D.) nor Reformers (began in 1517 A.D.) were guided by the Bible when they committed atrocities, and if you did deep enough you find that the first “crusades” were not against the moors, they were carried out against Bible believing Christians whose crime was owning their own copies of scripture!
If you dig beneath the veneer of the manipulated and contrived histories recorded by catholic and reformed ‘historians’, you find sporadic mentions of those believers who have been persecuted by the “government approved entities” including: first century church, Montanists (150 A.D.), the Novatians (240 A.D.), Donatists (305 A.D.), Albigenses (1022 A.D.), Waldensians (1170 A.D.), Anabaptists (late 1400s A.D.). There have always been a remnant of true believers that existed before and in spite of popery and the reformation/protestants who both persecuted the true believers.
The poison of Calvinism is the belief that God arbitrarily chooses who is saved and who goes to hell and they deny free will.
A perfect example of the fruit of Calvinism is John Calvin’s theocratic government which burnt at the stake those they considered to be heretics (those who criticized Calvin’s theology).
This belief results in things like the calvinist Puritans who believed they were the new Israelites who had a divine right to slay the native americans who they believed to be “canaanites”. It was also the calvinist Puritans that carried out the witch trials in America.
Interestingly, calvinists and reformed churches persecuted the anabaptists in Europe, which is the theological heritage of the Baptists.
That was why the Danbury Baptists were asking Jefferson about protections against a national state-sponsored and enforced religion. They knew what it was like to be on the wrong side of that because the state sponsored religions in europe (both catholic and reformed) had persecuted, imprisoned, hanged, beheaded, eviscerated, and burned at the stake anabaptists. Jefferson described the “wall of separation” as a one-way wall that prevented the state from 1) enforcing any single at the exclusion of others religion, as well as 2) infringing on practices of any religion
However, calvinism eventually crept into the Baptist churches in the south and the preachers used calvinism to justify slavery by saying the slaves were a cursed race. This resulted in the split of the Southern Baptists from the northern baptists as the northern Baptists retained their belief in free will. It was non-calvinist christians in the north and south that were the champions of abolition. The majority of modern day Baptists of all flavors are indistinguishable from reformed churches and many have been taken over by Calvinists.
Even in the last 100 years we saw Hitler use Luther’s anti-semitism and the state-sponsored Lutheran Church to justify the theft of the property of Jews, rounding them up into ghettos, transporting them to concentration camps and the ultimate solution of industrialized mass murder.
Gnosticism and it’s Catholic and Calvinist derivatives is also being adopted in a watered down form by many non-Denominational, Pentecostal and Charismatic circles in the form of either the “Emergent” or “Emerging” church, Kingdom Now, Dominion Theology, Reconstruction-ism, New Apostolic Reformation.