“The Calvinist has the reputation of being a strong logical reasoner; nevertheless, because he makes the Bible his ultimate foundation, he does not hesitate to include in his system ideas difficult for reason to harmonize, ideas which seem to be logical opposites, as long as the Bible gives him reason for doing so.
This fact is of great importance. It keeps the Calvinist from becoming a one-sided extremist. A few examples may serve as illustrations. Take the seemingly logical opposites of predestination and human responsibility. John Calvin and Calvinists believe wholeheartedly in absolute predestination. But nowhere do you find human responsibility stressed more emphatically than in Calvin’s writings and among Calvinists. If you should ask the Calvinist, “But how do you harmonize these two?” he would reply, “That is unnecessary! God reconciles them, and that is enough for me.” While he can illuminate this harmony to a certain extent, basically it is a mystery and he is content to let it be so.
Or take these two opposites: the doctrine of election, which stresses God’s activity, and the covenant of grace as a responsibility, which stresses man’s activity. Although the study presents problems, there is no group that maintains both as ardently as does the Calvinist.
Again, reflect upon these facts which to some appear as opposites, namely, sin and grace as they affect man. There is no system that puts man the sinner down so low as does the Calvinist with his doctrine of total depravity. But there is none that places the Christian on a higher pedestal or demands more of him than does the Calvinist.
You might adduce the eternal conflict about the relation between spirit and matter. The materialist is always trying to reduce spirit to matter. The idealist pantheist maintains that matter arose from spirit. The Calvinist does not hesitate to accept the dualism of matter and spirit. He maintains that these are distinct substances, created by the same God, but as distinct from one another as they are from God the Creator.
Another apparent conflict is the one between separation from the world and culture. Whereas the secular man feels nothing for separation from the world, some Christians lay all stress on separation from the world but do not realize their calling to share in the cultural development of the world and their duty to be leaven in human society. The Calvinist keeps his equilibrium by stressing both as the Bible demands.
A last example we call attention to the contrast between intellectualism and mysticism. Men are inclined to be either one-sidedly intellectual or emotional in their religious life. One of the very best attributes paid to Calvin and the Calvinistic movement in this respect is that they have been called by some intellectualists, by others mystics, and by still others voluntarists who stress the will in religion. Certainly Calvinists must be balanced Christians if they can be charged with stressing all three. It is needless to say that Calvinists have not always fulfilled the demands of Calvinism. They have at times been one-sided, stressing either the intellect or the will or the emotions. But in so doing they have not practiced a full-orbed Calvinism, which provides for a proper emphasis on all three.”
H. Henry Meeter, The Basic Ideas of Calvinism, Pgs. 41-42