[First posted in 2011] Is it true that the green shoots of recovery are sprouting and there is a gradually surging under current of hunger for Scripturally sound preaching with relentless intensity, indepth theological conviction and astute hermeneutic discipline? A couple of years ago Christianity Today noted that there was a growing resurgence towards Reformed Theology. Reformed theology or Calvinism stresses that the initiative, sovereignty, and power of God is the only sure hope for the sinfulness, fickleness, and moral weakness of human beings—and the glory of God is the ultimate theme of preaching and focus of worship. But how proportional has this interest panned out among different ethnic communities? This in its self is just a glancing over view of the paradigm shift in the Black communities. Read More
When it comes to missionaries to South East Asia or rather India in particular William Carey, a shoemaker by trade is the first name that springs up. Born in England in 1761 he spent an active forty-one years serving the Lord in India, including translating the Scriptures. This was after being heckled,”Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”
To know what William believed I will let this excerpt unfold the story:
William Carey’s greatest contribution to the modern missions movement was his trust in the sovereignty of God in missions. This fueled his zeal to reach the heathen with the gospel. In his youth, he was told to sit down by an elder brother, a hyper-Calvinist, who told him that when God wanted to reach the heathen He would do it without him or Carey. Carey’s Calvinism however, his theological understanding of God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of man, would not allow him to either doubt God’s sovereignty or neglect his responsibility. Read More…
The label Calvinist is thrown about flippantly. In some circles it’s used with a snarl and a growl. In most cases people do not actually know what it means. However Times Heraldhas noted that….
This label that once was considered very bad in almost all Christian circles is enjoying incredible new popularity. Surging numbers of Christians are attending Calvinistic conferences and reading Calvinistic books and articles.
Calvinism is still misunderstood and is recovering from so many decades of bad press. In spite of that, however, more people opening called themselves Calvinists or variations of that, like mild Calvinists or moderate Calvinists. Have you been labeled a Calvinist? How can you know if you or someone else is such an animal? In a moment I’d like to give you a simple test to determine just that.
The nickname Calvinist comes from the Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564). Although John Calvin taught through books of the Bible day-by-day in Geneva, Switzerland, he is known mostly for teaching that God is sovereign over the salvation of sinners. He taught that God chose to save some people before time began, and then predestined that they would become believers in Christ. …Read More!
Are you looking for good and deep Christian literature? I thought I should share these sites with you. In case you are looking for free Christian ebooks, epub or kindle format you may want to bookmark these links below starting with:
0 Monergism Free Ebooks.
John Newton, Memoirs of the Life of the Late Rev. William Grimshaw (London: 1799), pages 86–87:
They who avow the doctrines distinguished by the name of Calvinism, ought, if consistent with their own principles, to be the most gentle and forbearing of all men, in meekness instructing them that oppose. With us, it is a fundamental maxim, that a man can receive nothing but what is given him from heaven (John 3:27). If, therefore, it has pleased God to give us the knowledge of some truths, which are hidden from others, who have the same outward means of information; it is a just reason for thankfulness to him, but will not justify our being angry with them; for we are no better or wiser than they in ourselves, and might have opposed the truths which we now prize, with the same eagerness and obstinacy, if his grace had not made us to differ. If the man, mentioned in John 9, who was born blind, on whom our Lord graciously bestowed the blessing of sight, had taken a cudgel and beat all the blind men he met, because they would not see, his conduct would have greatly resembled that of an angry Calvinist.
He once described himself as “English by birth, Canadian by choice, Christian by conversion, and Calvinist by conviction, I speak as an evangelical who finds his home in the worldwide Anglican church family.”
Note in particular Dr. Packer’s moving closing words, when asked how he would like to be remembered: …Read More!
Halling Baptist Church was actually established and built in 1898 by workers from the Halling Cement Works as an alternative place of worship for those who wished to attend a Nonconformist meeting place. It has witnessed great times of joy with many coming to the Lord in faith and repentance and being baptized. It is well remembered by many for it’s ever so well attended Sunday School meetings. It has also gone through times of difficulty and testing, enduring through 2 World Wars and the Great Depression. Recently the congregation has been going through a time of prayer as they didn’t have a pastor. Well, this summer their prayers were answered …
On the 27th July 2013, Kevin Felix-Hollington was inducted into the office of pastor. On this beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon this little Baptist church was the point of convergence of many people from Basildon (Essex), Watford, North London and several members of the Grace Baptist Partnership were in attendance too. Grace Baptist Partnership provides Biblical counsel, training, practical experience, research and assessment services and materials helpful in worship and witness for those involved in planting new Grace Baptist churches.
A series of five messages by Tom Chantry on the definition of ‘Reformed’. The subjects are neither the Five Points nor the Five Solas. Rather, they define the word ‘Reformed’ in five distinct but complementary ways. We examine the Reformed Perspective on the Bible, on History, on Salvation, on the church, and on the Christian life.
1) Scripturally Reformed– A Reformed perspective of Scripture: Reformed Christians stand with other Evangelicals in affirming the inspiration, infallibility and inerancy of the Bible. We go further, though, in defending both the clarity and the sufficiency of Scripture. These convictions determine our approach to the Bible – the manner in which we study, interpret, and teach its truths. A church which believes in the sufficiency of Scripture will emphasize the ministry of preaching, and the Bible will be central to everything it does. [Download Here]
2) Confessionally Reformed – A Reformed perspective of History: Scripture teaches us certain things about the history of mankind which should impact the manner in which we look at all of history, including the history of the church. Being convinced that sinful men have not changed, we understand that the problems of each age are not really new.
Jim Bublitz (who went to be with the Lord last year) had a blog The Old Truth from which I learnt alot in my early days as I came to understand Calvinism/Reformed Theology. Here is an interesting snippet from 2007 of a Q&A post with a reader called Joshua from Malaysia.
Joshua: “Here is a common phrase…..Ask Jesus to come into your heart or life…..is that how calvinists do it? … From a calvinist point of view….. When a sinner is convicted by the Holy Spirit, is there any “sinner’s prayer” to recite? If not…what would be the normal reformed way of doing this? Does “accepting Jesus into our heart” in line with reformed teachings? If not…how would you explain the steps of salvation? I know that it is GOD who chose and justified the sinner…how do you explain to the sinner that he needs to accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior? At this point of conversion, from my old arminian school, I am confused that we ‘invite’ Jesus into our hearts….and later was told it was the Holy Spirit… Could you explain this part? As I am now leaning strongly to reformed doctrine, I do not know how to explain this part from the reformed view…“
Jim Bublitz: Joshua, as you may know, some of the most noteworthy soul winners in church history have been Calvinists, and you can look through the writings of many of them including George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon to see the kinds of things they said. The emphasis is much the same as the Apostles as they preached that people should obey the Lord’s command to repent and believe. …Read More!
When it comes to gospel preachers, Lemuel Haynes stands out in the African-American Christian tradition as a powerful gospel preacher in the 19th century. As the first black in America to serve as pastor of a white congregation, Haynes ministered to Rutland’s West Parish for thirty years starting in 1783.
He was the illegitimate child of a black African man and the daughter of a socially prominent white family in Hartford, Connecticut, the five-month-old baby Lemuel was abandoned by his parents and indentured to a white family (Deacon Rose’s family) in Massachusetts. He was adopted as a very young child by solid Calvinist Congregationalists in Massachusetts. He was schooled a bit and self-taught for the most part. He served in the Continental Army until he became quite ill in 1776.
He is said to have began to teach the Scriptures to his friends and family where they realized he had a gift of preaching the gospel. At the family home, Haynes benefited from the devout religious practice and instruction. One biographer described Haynes as “a determined, self-taught student who poured over Scripture until he could repeat from memory most of the texts dealing with the doctrines of grace….” Read More…
The Heidelberg Conference kicks off in Heidelberg (Germany) on July 18-21st 2013 celebrating 450 years of The Heidelberg catechism….
The Heidelberg Conference on Reformed Theology seeks to bring together Reformed believers from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and elsewhere. Come, be a part of this event and enjoy the rich fellowship with brothers and sisters from around the globe. Don’t miss it!
The HCRT wants to help you know what you believe and why you believe it! In a time where everything seems to be about personal taste and preference, we are called to confess our faith clearly and without compromise.
This annual conference seeks to foster the robust faith of the Reformed confessions. A faith for which Christians have been persecuted. A faith for which Christians have died.
It is our hope that this Reformed faith would once again become the confession of many Christians and of many churches, here in Germany, in Europe and in the world.
We cordially invite all Christians who treasure the heritage of the Reformation and the faith it bequeathed us to come and participate in this conference.
For discount prices and further information go to the official site here! [If you are new to the Heidelerg Catechism click here to read more]
[This post was first published in April 2012] It’s a common thing to see believers come across the Doctrines of Grace and then with their new mantle and a banner screaming in the air go out in search of “Arminians” of any stripe and kind.The elixir of grace does feel intoxicating but should not be an excuse to become lawless. We should always remember that our own salvation was not because of any thing we did or deserved but it was despite our wretchedness that Christ opened our eyes through the inner working of the Holy Spirit. Micah Burke recalls in a post written to encourage those new to Reformed theology or Calvinism:
There was a time, over a decade ago, when someone introduced me to the Doctrines of Grace. For a few years after that moment, the amazing truth of God’s exhaustive sovereignty was all I sought to talk about. When the church I was attending made it clear that Calvinism was unwelcome, I left and found a church where the pastor was Calvinistic, soon he was out and the Purpose Driven movement took root, I fought what I saw was (and truly is) an affront to God’s Word and sovereignty and eventually was pushed to the periphery of the church. My wife and I sought a new church and found one that was confessional, and true to the Word of God.
Given these experiences, I have a few suggestions for those folks who find themselves newly exposed to the concepts of Calvinism, the Reformed understanding of the faith and the Doctrines of Grace in general.
One caveat… most of these points refer to where you are NOW. The intention is to get you solid food, grow you in the faith, and prepare you for your purpose in the economy of God.
Dan Phillips of Team Pyro recently found himself in my kind of conundrum while looking for good and solid evangelistic gospel tracts….
Many tracts are overly simplistic; and yet, on the other hand, it defeats the purpose of a tract to hand someone the Collected Works of John Owen. Apart from being overly simplistic, most rub me the wrong way as a Bibley person, which is to say, a Calvinist. I know that good Calvinists folks disagree with me on this, but as I’ve explained a number of times, I don’t find it apostolically precedented or necessary to tell unbelievers “Jesus died for your sins.” The apostles evidently didn’t feel they had to say it, and neither do I. To me, as I’ve explained, assuring an unrepentant unbeliever that Jesus died for his sins is tantamount to saying “You’re saved and have nothing to worry about from God: He accepts and forgives you just as you are.”
So, having said that:
What tracts have you found useful?
Warren Wiersbe’s Commentaries are such a wealth of Biblical teaching broken down into simple mouth sized chunks that one can nibble on endlessly. Well, okay I really like them. Take for example when it comes to dealing with the doctrine of God’s Unconditional election:
This miracle [the new birth] all began with God: we were chosen by the Father (Eph. 1:3-4). This took place in the deep counsels of eternity, and we knew nothing about it until it was revealed to us in the Word of God. This election was not based on anything we had done, because we were not even on the scene. Nor was it based on anything God saw that we would be or do. God’s election was based wholly on His grace and love. We cannot explain it (Rom. 11:33-36), but we can rejoice in it.
‘Foreknowledge’ does not suggest that God merely knew ahead of time that we would believe, and therefore He chose us. This would raise the question.’Who or what made us decide for Christ?’ and would take our salvation completely out of God’s hands. In the Bible, ‘to foreknow’ means ‘to set on’s love upon a person pr persons in a personal way.’
To be enabled to form a clear, consistent, and comprehensive judgment of the truths revealed in the Scripture, is a great privilege; but they who possess it are exposed to the temptation of thinking too highly of themselves, and too meanly of others, especially of those who not only refuse to adopt their sentiments, but venture to oppose them. We see few controversial writings, however excellent in other respects, but are tinctured with this spirit of self-superiority; and they who are not called to this service (of writing) if they are attentive to what passes in their hearts, may feel it working within them, upon a thousand occasions; though so far as it prevails, it brings forcibly home to ourselves the charge of ignorance and inconsistence, which we are so ready to fix upon our opponents. I know nothing as a means more likely to correct this evil, than a serious consideration of the amazing difference between our acquired judgment, and our actual experience; or, in other words, how little influence our knowledge and judgment have upon our own conduct. This may confirm to us the truth and propriety of the apostle’s observation, “If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” Not that we are bound to be insensible that the Lord has taught us what we were once ignorant of; nor is it possible that we should be so; yet because, if we estimate our knowledge by its effects, and value it no farther than it is experimental and operative (which is the proper standard whereby to try it), we shall find it so faint and feeble as hardly to deserve the name. …Read More!
Contrary to urban mythologies spawned by ignorant sooth sayers and idle whisperers Calvinism is not about trends in fashion. It’s actually far from having a high view of man. So, if it’s not about v-neck t-shirts or tight skinny jean pastors, then what is Calvinism about? I am glad you asked. You see…
Calvinism, also known as reformed theology, is a movement within orthodox Protestantism that … adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual to where he is then able to and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation… …Read More!
Ever met some one who said he is both Calvinist and Arminian; straddles both sides of the proverbial fence? I am proudly Cal-minian they say. Well I know it gives a theological head ache . Listen to this …..
There is so much wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all it assumes that two mutually exclusive claims can both be true. This is patently false. Believe in both/and propositions all you want, you and the semi truck cannot both cross the intersection at the same time without grave consequences. There is only truth and error. There is only life or death. …Read More!
So imagine the theological police round you up in a dark street corner and as they breathe down your neck and one asks you,“so, little helpless brat are you a Calvinist?” With the microphone firmly planted to your upper lip say, “You decide. Here is what I believe . . .”
I believe I am so spiritually corrupt and prideful and rebellious that I would never have come to faith in Jesus without God’s merciful, sovereign victory over the last vestiges of my rebellion. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–4; Romans 8:7).
I believe Christ died as a substitute for sinners to provide a bona fide offer of salvation to all people, and that he had an invincible design in his death to obtain his chosen bride, namely, the assembly of all believers, whose names were eternally written in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. (John 3:16; John 10:15; Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 13:8)
When I was dead in my trespasses, and blind to the beauty of Christ, God made me alive, opened the eyes of my heart, granted me to believe, and united me to Jesus, with all the benefits of forgiveness and justification and eternal life. …Read More!
What would we do with out fashion? What would we do without celebrity and vanity? Why not bring it all to church? The world we live in is visually driven and so is the culture. We are excited, enticed and ensnared by what we see. The billboards scream at us, the television adverts constantly beckon us to feed our base urge to desire and covet what we do not have. Yes, we love it don’t we?
If only we could get for ourselves a man and celebrity to feed this primitive urge of depravity. A man to point us to vanity. A man to scratch our itchy ears and teach us things that we yearn to listen to. A man to boost ourself esteem. We will be ready to pay him double and even triple if he can call himself our “man of God”. He could carry the title of “pastor” for all we care.
Some say the office of pastor is a sacred one. One with which comes an immense amount of responsibility. But in our endless search for self aggrandisement we want a hireling that we can call pastor who can desecrate this office. We are many so we will be able to set up a mega church if need be. We will build our man in a mansion and a private jet if he wants one. He could even publish some books and stuff that we deem relevant like seven day sex challenges.
All this is will be his only on one condition. He should not tell us about sin, righteousness and judgement. You see we don’t do bible. …Read More!
When I was a Word of Faith enthusiast I loved God because I was born again and the only church I knew taught what I eventually picked up. I did not understand much of what was taught in church and knew some of the doctrines made no theological or scriptural sense. I easily embraced prosperity theology and any fad that slithered to the pulpit. It is true that when people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. But scriptural exegesis and theological exertions are not encouraged by many churches-most especially in the liberal non-cessationist camps. They call this being “pharisaical” or “too conservative” or limiting the move of Holy Spirit who would otherwise want every one to be open minded and receptive to every and anything.
Recently I made a very hard important decision concerning Facebook. I felt like a few people on my friends list were posting and promoting things, that I feel are a threat to my personal faith walk, and a threat to the effectiveness of the Body of Christ period. If you do not know by now, I am not a Calvinist, and I do not agree with the doctrines of Calvinism and reformed theology (mainly the TULIP). There’s More
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven Christian magnets,
Ten CD’s playing,
Nine Kinkade paintings,
Eight maps of Joppa,
Seven books by Calvin,
Six Spurgeon sermons …Read More!
Conservative Christian values are very despised these days in Evangelical circles. Its no wonder that anything passes for Christianity these days. Its not uncommon to see pets taking Holy Communion, motor cycles being ridden in the sanctuary instead of preaching, essential doctrines being challenged (like the doctrine of Hell), re-introduction of ancient heresies (like modalism) and the list goes on. It therefore didn’t come as a surprise when I heard that…
A Kentucky Baptist association denied membership to a church after a credentials committee found its confessional statement too Calvinistic, according to a report in the Western Recorder.
Daviess-McLean Baptist Association voted 104-9 to deny membership to Pleasant Valley Community Church in Owensboro during its annual meeting held Oct. 17-18, the Kentucky Baptist Convention news journal reported in its Oct. 25 issue.
“Our concern in the initial stages of our investigation revolved around the fact that Pleasant Valley Community Church’s confessional statement is one that (is) Calvinistic in nature,” the newspaper quoted from a recommendation by the association’s credentials committee. “It affirms the doctrine of election and grace.” …Read More!
The usual way of arguing against one of the doctrines of grace is first, to misrepresent it so badly that no serious student of the Scripture would ever embrace it; then totally demolish it with arguments that have nothing at all to do with the issue. You have heard these straw man arguments before. Now we shall boldly look at them and debunk them one straw at a time. Some say the doctrine of total depravity (inability) cannot be true because:
1. The Bible teaches that all are responsible to believe and repent.
2.The Bible teaches that man has a will (choice). Man is not a robot or a puppet.
3. Every man does not act as sinfully as he is capable of acting.
4. Even wicked men perform acts which are good in the sight of other people.
1. The Bible teaches that men, controlled by a sinful nature, are not able to believe or repent. The person who believes in free grace has no argument with the truth that sinners are responsible. …Read More!
There are many who say why emphasize sound doctrine? Why dont we just lay our differences aside, get along together and just love one another? Well, sound doctrine will divide and rightly so. It will seperate unsound teaching from sound biblical teaching. If you love somebody who is imbibing unsound doctrine you will alert him, rebuke him and earnestly point him to what is right. Depraved indifference urges us to keep quiet as our fellow man un wittingly drifts to their ship wreck and destruction. What would you do if you saw fellow Christians babbling in strange fires and delving in questionable practices? Would you love them enough to point them back to the bible or “love them” by leaving them to drift on? Charles Spurgeon said:
A religion which is all excitement, and has little instruction in it, may serve for transient use; but for permanent life-purposes there must be a knowledge of those great doctrines which are fundamental to the gospel system. I tremble when I hear of a man’s giving up, one by one, the vital principles of the gospel and boasting of his liberality. …Read More!
I hope this Theology quiz goes the distance to help you understand your Bible and appreciate that God is the author of salvation. He alone can sustain a Christian and will complete the work He started on the day He glorifies him.
A Christian friend of mine recently shared with me how they lost their first born child through a miscarriage and it’s distressing emotional impact on the family. As I pondered on this he threw at me the one question I had hoped he would not ask. Do you think babies go to heaven when they die? I said yes. But to try to explain, and reconcile total depravity with infant salvation, I thought I would end up sounding universalist. That night I decided I would search the scriptures and see what comfort God’s word offers in this delicate area. This article by Jeff Spry has been the biggest eye opener and may it lead you to understand the Sovereignty of God and also his grace in salvation of Adam’s helpless race….
Tragedy surrounds us. We hear of it every day on the evening news. We read about it in the newspaper and the internet. We witness it in the lives around us. Many, if not all of us, have experienced tragedy in our own lives. However, there is one tragedy that is profoundly heartbreaking – the death of an infant or young child. Ever since Adam and Eve found the limp body of their son Abel, this must be the greatest grief known to man.
For those who have not had to face this situation personally, many have been called upon to offer support for others. Perhaps you sat quietly with a grieving mother, who suddenly asked, “Is my baby in heaven?” Read More!
John Pedersen writes a deeply passionate plea outlining his concerns and fears during his transition from Arminianism to Reformed theology.
“If Arminianism is so evil, why did many Reformed believers start their Christian lives as Arminians, as Christians who believed in “free will”? I myself was a believer in “free will” Arminianism for years, and it was a long and painful journey for me to finally see the biblical basis for the doctrines of grace.”
“All those years, I read my Bible, prayed, and sought the salvation of my friends and loved ones, just as I do now. My transition to Calvinism was somewhat reluctant, but the inevitable result of Christian maturity, good Reformed books, and the patience and godly example of Reformed believers who did not castigate me for my free will beliefs but encouraged me to see the greater richness and deep biblical truths of Reformed doctrine.”
“I was loved into the Reformed Faith; not condemned into it. …Read More!
If you missed the Primer on Hypercalvinism I would beg you to have a look at a good definition of the term. (Hypercalvinism and Calvinism are poles apart). It is not surprising therefore to see that Charles Spurgeon strived to point out these errors of Hypercalvinism:
1.The hyper-Calvinist denies that gospel invitations are to be delivered to all people without exception. He limits the purpose of gospel preaching to bringing in the elect, and so only the elect are to be addressed with the commands, invitations and offers of the Word. There is to be no pleading with, exhorting and beseeching of an entire congregation of sinners. That attitude was totally rejected by Spurgeon, who on many occasions addressed every single hearer thus: “‘These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Look to him, blind eyes; look to him, dead souls; look to him. Say not that you cannot; he in whose power I speak will work a miracle while yet you hear the command, and blind eyes shall see, and dead hearts shall spring into eternal life by his Spirit’s effectual working’ (MTP, 40, 1894, p.502). There’s More
To deny the Sovereignty of God, people always first come up with this question-“If God is Sovereign, why do anything?” But what does the Bible say regarding God’s Sovereignty and human responsibility?
God’s sovereignty, as I am convinced the Bible teaches it, means that God has fore-ordained everything that happens. Before creation, God planned and decided (‘ordained’) the entire course of human history down to the smallest details. All circumstances in time are therefore the outworking of God’s plan which He decreed in eternity.
In light of this, a common objection is ‘If God has already decided what will happen, then why should I do anything? We don’t control history anyway. Therefore, we can just sit back and do nothing.’ The objector is saying that the logical outcome of belief in the absolute sovereignty of God is what we will call ‘indifferent fatalism’–the view that we should do nothing since God controls everything.
How are we to answer the objection of the indifferent fatalist? Why doesn’t belief in God’s absolute sovereignty lead to indifferent fatalism? And if God is absolutely sovereign, how can our choices have real meaning? These are very good questions that a proper understanding of God’s sovereignty will answer. Read More…
Ever wondered what Sproul’s initials R.C. stand for? oh well I will leave that for another Q and A. Speaking of legacies it is said R.C Sproul and John Piper are extraordinarily gifted preachers, prodigious authors, talented theologians. But they have never gotten over the stunning fact that they were treasonous rebels who were graciously summoned to the King’s banqueting table and clothed with the righteous robes of the King’s Son. “Between Two Worlds” has an interesting take on this:
sproul and piper
At one level, all Christians are the same. We are made in the image of God, saved by the grace of God, and live for the glory of God. We are blood-bought brothers and sisters, members of the same family, children of our heavenly Father.
On another level, we are each unique. The apostle Paul said that the body of Christ is like, well, a body: many parts, each with different shapes and sizes, each indispensable in characteristic and function.
The differences between R. C. Sproul and John Piper are easily discerned, even for the casual observer. I’m tempted to enumerate some of them, but it will be more fruitful to focus on the common threads that tie together their remarkable ministries.
Both men became Calvinists during seminary, as their resistance was overcome by God using a professor who insisted on taking God at his word.
Both men discovered and were deeply impacted by Jonathan Edwards during their seminary days. Oh There’s More!
1. If you want to make an impact beyond your little lifespan, teach people the Bible. “What made Calvin Calvin, and not another sixteenth-century writer was his brilliance as a thinker and writer, and, above all, his ability to interpret the Bible” (viii).
2. The big public personalities are often privately awkward. “In the public arena Calvin walked and spoke with stunning confidence. In private he was, by his own admission, shy and awkward” (x).
3. We read too much causality into our childhoods. “With his contemporaries, and much in contrast to our age, Calvin did not consider his childhood as psychologically formative: it was a brief and brutal preparation for adulthood associated primarily with ignorance, volatility and waywardness” (2).
4. The best friendships are forged in fire. “All his life Calvin would define friendship in terms of a commitment to a common cause; it was within that framework that he was able to express fraternity and intimacy” (29).
5. True strength is knowing your weakness. “However, one of his greatest strengths in his later career was an acute awareness that despite remarkable confidence in his calling and intellect he remained dangerously prone to moments of poor judgment on account of anger” (91). Read More
Historic Christianity has with stood fallacies and aberrant teachings from the days of the Apostles and early church fathers to the modern day. What is refuted in one generation makes a subtle comeback in the next dressed in more alluring language with all garb and fanfare. Michael Horton tackles the theology of the early church fathers so well in his book Putting Amazing Back into Grace. I would gladly like to share an excerpt that I came across courtesy of T. Scott Morgan (Warranted Faith):
The ubiquity of Arminianism in the modern evangelical church can make it difficult for some to seriously consider the possibility of the truth of an alternate doctrinal system such as Calvinism. However, this over-sensitivity toward Arminian theology is not a result of a discovery of its own alleged truth. Rather, it demonstrates only how easily heresy can spread and gain legitimacy in a culture and church that is by and large theologically illiterate, apathetic, and ignorant of the historical Christian faith. Read More
Is it true that the green shoots of recovery are sprouting and there is a gradually surging under current of hunger for Scripturally sound preaching with relentless intensity, indepth theological conviction and astute hermeneutic discipline? A couple of years ago Christianity Today noted that there was a growing resurgence towards Reformed Theology. Reformed theology or Calvinism stresses that the initiative, sovereignty, and power of God is the only sure hope for the sinfulness, fickleness, and moral weakness of human beings—and the glory of God is the ultimate theme of preaching and focus of worship. But how proportional has this interest panned out among different ethnic communities? This in its self is just a glancing over view of the paradigm shift in the Black communities. Read More
An attempt to clear up some of the misunderstandings about Calvinism. This is not meant to be a detailed doctrinal defense of Calvinism’s Doctrines Of Grace.
1) Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism are poles apart. The terms are not to be used synonymously. A Hyper-Calvinist is not just a zealous Calvinist. We both consider each other to be “mongrel” Calvinists. No man will actually call himself a Hyper-Calvinist.
2) Yes Calvinists are split into several factions. But then so are many such doctrinal schools e.g. Dispensationalism, Church Government, Worship – do we sing only the Psalms or use hymns? Which hymns? Do we use music? Which music? Which set of texts do we base our Bible translation on? Is it the Textus Receptus that is important or the (KJV) AV? or both? etc.
3) The term free will needs to be defined to avoid confusion. Calvinists will either affirm it or deny it, depending on what they think you mean. This sometimes leads to charges of contradictions. Consult the standard Calvinist Confessions e.g. the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 9 for a defining of terms. But There’s More
God has recently given us the opportunity to discuss some theological issues with other Christians who believe differently than we do on a number of points, most notably the doctrines of grace. [This post was adapted from Monergism] In such a circumstance, given the overwhelming supply of scriptural evidence that comes to bear on the topic, it seemed to me that the best approach would be a simple categorized scripture list: the fact that the entire paper would be scriptures, with the exception of a few brief explanatory notes, would underscore the truth that this is God’s own word and teaching; and the fact that it would be categorized would facilitate the ready comparison of scripture with scripture so as to lead one to a full-orbed understanding of the biblical teaching. Although I found a few good scripture lists of that nature available online, none of them was laid out in quite the progression that I was looking for, and so I developed my own. I’m posting it here with just the scripture references. Below, for your convenience I have provided a condensed version and a full version of the study. The study is also available in print from Monergism Books. Read More
Mr Cahill seems to err in a number of main areas, as documented below:
1) Where he is obviously ignorant about what Calvinism teaches e.g. he seems to be unaware that Calvinism believes that man has a will that chooses and is responsible for its actions.
2) Where he attributes things to Calvinism which it does not hold. e.g. that the call to repent in Matthew 4:17 is addressed only to the elect.
3) In his salvic application of his disagreements – if Calvinism is Galatians 1 ground (as he claims at the end of his article) then he has just damned in hell many of the greatest Christians who ever lived, including many of the translators of the KJV, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards etc., As I point out, if he is wrong (the “if” of argument, not of doubt) then he damns more people than Calvinism was ever supposed to do. (Although Calvinism only damns those who will not believe and no one else.) There’s More
[pullquote]The sermon here is about how sinners become saints.[/pullquote]Elder D. J. Ward, pastor of Lexington’s Main Street Baptist Church for 19 years, died of complications from lung cancer a couple of years ago. This amazing African-American was a powerful spokesman for the glorious God worshiped through the wall-to-wall window called Calvinism. Read More
I grew up a devout Arminian (Word of faith and Prosperity gospel Pentecostal Christian) believing that Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) – man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation. But later I realised scripture is more in tune with reformed theology or Calvinism that asserts that: Read More
Once in a while I sit awake musing. No, I am through with the silly stuff like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin e.t.c Once in a while its about something I have read especially personal testimonies and conundrums. Like, if two people are poles apart theologically, what happens when they fall in love? Say, a staunch Calvinist dude and a staunch Arminian lady? Impossible, huh? Well sit back and read on…
I have been a die-hard Calvinist for approximately sixteen years now. During that time, I have engaged in “debates” with innumerable Arminians in person, via email, or in chat rooms. These debates were rarely moderated or formal affairs—just the typical sort of thing that Calvinists and Arminians find themselves involved in two or three times a week every day (that’s not a typo). In the process of these debates, I think I’ve hit upon just about every topic that could be hit upon in the differences between the Average American Arminian and the Average American Calvinist. Through it all, my beliefs have been strengthened and fortified by iron sharpening iron, and by the confirmation that in the marketplace of ideas, Calvinism has no peer.
There are several people who have impacted my life in different ways. God has brought me to listen to very insightful teachings that have shaped me and are continually reforming my personal life in ways I probably cannot illustrate. One or two years ago I was searching for tracts online and I landed on a sermon that has always been an inspiration to me. Hell’s Best Secret by Ray Comfort is akin to Keith Green’s classic song Alseep in the Light-once you listen to them they continue to replay in your mind. They are evangelistic anthems so to speak. If you have ever listened to this sermon, you will agree with me it should be broadcast loud and clear, down every byway and highway, every church yard and barn yard needs to resound with this message. Maybe I should get him a Segway for open airpreaching…or well maybe standing on a good old salt box will just do all the same 😉 [The Transcript: Hell’s Best Kept Secret]Read More
The grace of Christ, without which no body can be saved, is not bestowed on account of any virtues, but is given gratuitously, which is why it is called ‘grace’. The Reformation witnessed the ultimate triumph of Augustine’s doctrine of grace over the legacy of the Pelagian view of man. Luther and Calvin quoted Augustine. If we take Augustine at his word, his ability to write the Confessions (the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books) depends entirely upon the discovery of himself in conversion. From the vantage of eleven years, the 44 year-old Bishop remembers clearly what transpired in his soul that resolved his wanderings and his intellectual discovery in an experience of conversion that informs all of his work for the church. Understanding conversion is central to any understanding of Augustine. Read More
Wiersbe on Calvinism
Warren Wiersbe’s Commentaries are such a wealth of Biblical teaching broken down into simple mouth sized chunks that one can nibble on endlessly. Well, okay I really like them. Take for example when it comes to dealing with the doctrine of God’s Unconditional election: