Monday, March 28, 2005

Introducing "The Contemporary Calvinist"

The term "Calvinism" is somewhat misleading. We who adhere to this system of doctrine do not consider ourselves to be followers of John Calvin -- we are followers of Christ. We believe in the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. It just so happens that Calvin was one of the most prominent Reformers who passionately defended the biblical concepts of grace and the absolute sovereignty of God that had come under attack within the church. As Dr. C. Matthew McMahon stated in his essay Why I Am a Calvinist, "Calvinism is nothing more than a label to show what view one holds upon the Scriptures, not upon a certain man."

The tenets of Calvinism have been summed up using the acronym TULIP. Here is a very brief description of each point, as taken from Dr. McMahon's website, A Puritan's Mind:
  1. Total Depravity: This does not mean that people are as a bad as they can be, but rather, that the effects of the Fall have completely ruined the total being of man.
  2. Unconditional Election: God did, by His most wise and holy counsel, of His own, freely and unchangeably ordain some men to heaven and some men to hell by the nature of His good pleasure.
  3. Limited Atonement: That fundamental Christian doctrine which states that Jesus Christ came and died for a limited number of people. He did not die, or redeem, every individual for all of time, but for some individuals, i.e. His sheep.
  4. Irresistable Grace: When the Spirit of God is sent to change a person's heart, that person cannot resist the change.
  5. Perseverance of the Saints: Once God has renewed the heart of a sinner through the application of the redemption wrought by Christ upon the cross, he will continue to be saved and show forth the fruits of that salvation.
Why do we hold these views? Perhaps Charles Spurgeon said it best:
    I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.

    (From A Defense of Calvinism.)
The purpose of this weblog is to defend and promote not just the principles of Calvinism but the gospel of Christ. By doing so, it is my hope and prayer that my own spiritual journey may be enriched, that others may be edified, and, above all, that God may be glorified.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you would be interested in a link exchange? I noticed you have linked to several of my articles in the past (to which I am very grateful). Let me know.

Carl (a.k.a. "New Creation Person")

Lee Shelton said...

Added you to the blogroll on the right sidebar. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, great blog. I just stumbled across it from somewhere. I've already clipped a lot of quotes to Evernote to help me out. I see you've been going for over six years. That's great.

isa551 said...

i have noticed in most reform churches , a real lack of any passion about the fate of the lost it because only certain elect people , will ever be saved?
and the whosoever may come, are only the chosen special elite?. and does a merciful god play favorites.?
i was just wondering since i know so many dead calvin types.

isa551 said...

if God was picking an elect group , would he have picked an arrogant self- righteous man like John Calvin? i am just asking the question because, i find Calvin to be quite devoid of the love of Jesus for the lost.

Drew Mery said...

ISA551, this is in response to both your questions and comments.

First, I cannot help but think that your remark about so many Reformed churches lacking a passion for the lost is an overexaggeration. I won't question that you know "many dead calvin types." This may be true, as there are such Calvinists, but the evidence is stacked against you to show that the majority of Calvinists are zealous for God, zealous for the gospel, and zealous for evangelism and missions. I myself am preparing to serve on the mission field.

Second, believe it or not, but you believe that only certain people will be saved too. I'm assuming that you believe that God simply foreknows who will believe and He predestines and elects based on foreseen faith. Well, if God already knows who will be saved, then the number is still fixed. This is actually part of the reason why the very unbiblical teaching Open Theism started, because people didn't like that the future is essentially set in stone because of God's omniscience.

Third, no, God does not play favorites. He is impartial. This is different, however, than God choosing to have mercy on whom He wills and have compassion on whom He wills. It is not favoritism because it is not based on anything man is or does, but merely by His good purpose and grace. Just think of Israel. You have to say that God showed a special compassion and mercy on Israel than He did on the rest of the nations.

Fourth, why exactly do you believe Calvin to be arrogant and self-righteous? I cannot help but think that you know very little of Calvin's life. While Calvin too was still influenced by sin, as we all are, I do not think you can characterize him as such. His ministry says otherwise. Have you perhaps said this with bias against Calvinism? Are there examples you can give that seem to characterize his life and ministry as arrogant and self-righteous?

Grace and peace,

Anonymous said...

Drew, what do you do with some scriptures in Hebrews that mention people who can not be renewed again unto repentance for they crucify again the son of God putting Him to shame. I belive in predestination and God's sovereignty...just need an answer for these and the unpardonable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
Thank you!!

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