Calvinists and Armenians

Update (11/17/2020): This post is a joke. I deleted a few comments from people who didn’t catch the two major misspellings—because I didn’t want to embarrass them; I honestly didn’t expect to “fool” people! I forgot that some people are reading this post on other devices, even Kindles, and don’t have the easy ability to follow the links. At the risk of ruining the joke before you even get to see it, I very frequently see people misspell “Arminianism” and “Arminian”—even people who really, really ought to know better. I also see people misspelling “tenet,” as in the “five tenets of Calvinism.”

I am a Calvinist. And almost like that famous, clueless person who said, “I can’t believe Richard Nixon won! I don’t know anyone who voted for him!,” I personally know only one Armenian.

He’s a godly and wise man: I want to be the first to say this. I learned much from him when I took a class he taught in seminary.

But I could never be an Armenian; it’s too late for me. It’s not that I feel any antipathy toward them. I certainly don’t defend the efforts to destroy Armenianism that took place in the earlier part of the 20th century. I’m willing to work together with Armenians despite being an ardent Calvinist.

It’s a rare Armenian who believes even one of the five tenants of Calvinism. It’s unlikely they would even understand them, since, really, each one of those tenants speaks an entirely different language—or, that is, spoke: most of those tenants are dead. I think we’ve got an almost unbridgeable divide.

Yes, there is little hope that Armenians and Calvinists will ever come together in unity. But I invite any Armenians among my readership to reach out to me; we should at least try to converse.

Next post: Violins on TV—When Is Enough Enough?

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.


  1. James Spinti on November 12, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Hey Mark, I’m a Wesleyan-Arminian. And, like many of us, I was required to read a good bit of Calvin’s Institutes in seminary (Asbury, way back in the early 1980s). As I told a friend of mine, who is a 5-pointer, I’ve probably read more Calvin than most “Calvinists” have. He didn’t disagree.


    • Mark Ward on November 12, 2020 at 10:42 am

      That’s excellent. This is the way things should be. The one Armenian I know has also read tons and tons of Calvinist works. He was a church history professor!

      But more to the point: do you know any Wesleyan-Armenians?

  2. James Spinti on November 12, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Funny. I didn’t notice the misspelling until now. Jokes on me : )

    • Mark Ward on November 12, 2020 at 10:44 am

      Ha! All in good fun! I could tell that you’d missed it, but I didn’t want to embarrass you! =)

      I’ve just heard and seen this little error so many times that I had to satirize it a little!

      (And don’t forget the other major misspelling in the post!)

      • Don Johnson on November 16, 2020 at 1:41 pm

        No! You didn’t use that bane of all malaprops, “tenants”!! Way to trigger me!

  3. James Spinti on November 12, 2020 at 11:01 am

    And I’m so used to seeing it, that it got under my radar. Although I’ve corrected more than a few pastors over the years : )

    • Mark Ward on November 12, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Don’t feel bad! I totally get it: You actually get to the point sometimes that you throw up your hands and conclude that no one’s ever going to get it right! So you didn’t reveal ignorance; you revealed charity: you gave me the benefit of the doubt.

  4. Tancredi on November 12, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Sam Telloyan is a fine Bible-believing Armenian, a former OT professor at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College and balanced on the doctrines of grace. I think he is a tenant in Michigan now. I’m sure he’d enjoy a good conversation with you on theology.

    • Mark Ward on November 12, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Excellent! I’d love to meet him.

    • Fred Moritz on December 6, 2020 at 1:32 pm

      Sam Telloyan is a friend of many years. He is from Chicago where a dear man was his pastor. That man was my pastor in Peoria before moving to Chicago. Sam is of Armenian descent, and as I remember, his theology would qualify as modified Calvinist, not Arminian. Sam and I were college and seminary classmates.

      • Mark Ward on December 6, 2020 at 1:33 pm

        A non-Arminian Armenian? 😉

  5. Edwin Smith on November 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    It's a Trap!

  6. Paul Himes on November 13, 2020 at 10:48 am

    I see what you did there . . . 🙂
    Btw, how do Calvinists set off fire-works? “Pre-detonation”
    [courtesy of the “Church Curmudgeon”]

  7. Stephanie on November 15, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    I grew up with a dear Armenian lady in my church. All of her mother’s family were murdered in the genocide. Her mother survived by pretending to be dead. She then had to go to work as an 11 year old, and eventually was helped in escaping to the US as a teen. Even though Mrs. Engquist never lived through it, she held the memories of her family very dear, and I am so thankful that she passed them on to us.

    (And I also met the aforementioned church history professor! Unfortunately he had retired from teaching by the time I was studying.)

  8. dolinger15 on November 16, 2020 at 4:14 am

    To quote that Armenian from seminary: “tongue virtually protruding through cheek!”

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