The other week I heard yet another person speak disparagingly about Calvinism. His specific complaint was that Calvinism refutes that one can know they are saved. This was not one of the teachings of Calvin. Quite the opposite in fact.
The Roman Catholic Church of the 1500’s taught that doubt was a virtue. Calvin, on the contrary, believed he had been given the ministry of comforting disquieted consciences. Assurance is one of the themes of his theology. Assurance that we are in Christ and part of Christ’s work. The real Christian life comes out of an assurance in Christ and confidence in God. Furthermore, Calvin asserted, if you are a Christian now, you can be sure that you will be a Christian in the future. (This lead to the doctrine we call “perseverance of the saints.”)
Now, a couple hundred years later, some wack-job hypercalvinists got a little fuzzy brained and came up with some dreck about not being able to be sure. They apparently had read neither Calvin’s works nor the book of 1st John (“I write these things that…may know that you have eternal life.” 5:13).