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.

NOTE: This post was crowdsourced between me, Zach, Ted, and Barnabas.

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Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer, & Mixed Martial Arts Salsa Dancing Champion. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook