"(?)"For the first half of my life, I would have responded with things like, "arrogance" or "theological system over scripture" or "then we're just robots" or "frozen chosen" or "de-motivator to missions and prayer." Near the end of my time in college I was confronted with words and texts in the Bible that I did not like. But they were in the Bible. And I knew I couldn't just ignore them or sweep them under the rug of feigned ignorance. Thus began a multi-year journey to understand what these doctrines meant and whether or not I believed them.
I started out with strong visceral resistance. I moved (slowly) on to reluctant acknowledgement. I eventually ended up, having been maddened and sobered and scared and humbled and thrilled in the process, in a place of joyful embrace. John Piper, through his writing and preaching, was one of my main guides in this journey.
There are plenty of caricatures of Calvinism out there that I repel. There is much misunderstanding of what Calvin actually taught (have you ever read him?), and what "The Doctrines of Grace" (as they are commonly called) actually teach. There are also many "Calvinists" out there who give Calvinism a bad name. None of that means it is not true. That must be determined humbly and rigorously as we submit our minds and hearts to the whole counsel of God's Holy Word.
So, I wonder what your associations are. And I wonder if the following videos might help. In my opinion, these are some of the things that ought to be associated with the label.
First, John Piper's brief testimony:
And secondly, a poetic description he wrote:
HT: JT here and here