Archives For Calvinism

I recently visited with a friend who is in his mid 60’s and has pastored Reformed Baptist churches for decades. He talked to me about how encouraged he is about the resurgence of Calvinism in the church today, particularly among the young people. He cited the preaching, the books being published, the websites, and the conferences. With glistening eyes he said, “Back in the 80’s when we’d go to Banner (of Truth) conferences we would never have imagined a day like this in our lifetime.”

We are living in something of an ecclesiological bizzaro world where Calvinism is wildly popular. But I want to make a distinction: Calvinism is popular but it is not sexy. Just because something is enjoying appeal among an admittedly increasing amount of people does not mean it is universally appealing.
Continue Reading…

This is so good. It captures so much of what my and so many other hearts longs for. Thank you John Piper for stirring us once again to supremely treasure God in all of life.

I know the doctrine of predestination can be a thorny and contentious subject. Often times this is because it betrays popular conceptions about God and ourselves.

It is important to keep in mind that the Apostle tells us that this predestination of believers by God was done “in love” (Eph. 1.4). Whatever else follows must coming from this doctrinal spicket: God’s work of predestination is a loving work of predestination.

This morning my heart was arrested as I sat and chewed on various implications of this fact. Consider that if God had not decided, before the foundation of the world, to lavish you with his electing love then you would have remained in the throngs of self-love. Put it another way, if God did not so love you then you would have continued to love you.

This truth is simultaneously humbling and motivating. It humbles me to the dust because I know of my absolute inability and unwillingness to choose God. It motivates me to serve him, striving for holiness, because he has in fact so loved me!

While I don’t find the doctrine contentious it remains thorny. Every time I handle this truth it punctures my pride and reminds me of the goodness of the God who chooses to save sinners like me.

Below is a quote from J.I. Packer from his introduction to The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.  I appreciate Packer’s boldness and clarity here.  I am quoting from the recent book, In My Place Condemned He Stood, pp. 123-124.

“Now the real nature of Calvinistic soteriology becomes plain. It is no artificial oddity, nor a product of overbold logic. Its central confession, that God saves sinners, that Christ redeemed us by his blood is the witness both of the Bible and of the believing heart.

Continue Reading…

Just a quick note of follow up from yesterday’s post.

1) I was pleased to read the Grace to You Blog’s response. I appreciate the tone that was struck in that article and the attempt to highlight the maturity, experience, and care of Dr MacArthur along with the initial concerns.

2) I wrote my post because I thought the original GTY post was an unfair and overly broad characterization of a large, undefined group of people. I was individually linked among this group as a bad example or at least an example to make the author’s point. In my view this needed to be addressed and corrected.

3) As I had hoped to make clear in the post, I am still a beneficiary of Dr MacArthur’s ministry. His books litter my desk as I write at this moment and his sermons jam my iPhone. I recognize the body of his work is nearly unmatched. Please don’t get the wrong idea from me on this. I think you can disagree without discarding someone–especially someone I have benefited from so greatly.

4) I also recognize that there are young Reformed guys who are doing and saying things that not only would Dr MacArthur be not comfortable with but neither would I (because of how it intersects with Scripture). I think this is valid and timely point to make. However, it should be made in clear, specific terms. In short, I think there may be reason to point out some of these issues but it should be done in a far more nuanced and charitable way.

5) From my perspective the issue is done. I responded to an article and am done. Thanks for the comments, tweets, and messages–whether affirmative or negative they serve to make me think and evaluate. I apologize that I can’t get to all of them, but things are actually quite busy on my end. I will try in the near future to do so. But in the meantime, please know that I appreciate the way in which the Lord uses these things.

There are many things about the Christian life that are a mystery to me. One of the things that is a mystery and that chaffs my spirit is when a Christian begins to get something and then goes militant against his former ilk. You know what I mean; they begin to understand something theologically profound and impacting and then they are ready to shred anyone of their former friends because they do not get it.  Often times the refrain, “I can’t believe they don’t get this. Are they blind?!”

A friend of mine has likened this to the ex-chain smoker who now can’t stand people who smoke. The guy used to suck down cigs like slurpies but now he is free from that vice and everyone else is suddenly an idiot.

This happens a lot with Calvinists. We begin to understand (notice–begin) the doctrines of grace and we have little patience for those foolish Arminians. Why is it that we can hold to a system that emphasizes the soveriegnty and grace of God at such a premium, but at the same time we are ready to mow down anybody who does not sign off their email with Soli Deo Gloria (which I do by the way–because I mean it and want to be safe). After all, isn’t the understanding we experience as Christians a result of God’s grace? Or does this just come as a result of our superior smarts?

Continue Reading…

This is a great word to younger, seemingly hungry God-centered guys. Piper stands prophetically on the street corner and is asking questions. He sees the ‘loose wires’ and is basically asking, “What is up with that?” (in his folksy Piper-ish way). I like it because I see and hate the disconnect in my own life. I think we do well to listen to the wise, loving observation of this brother.

(ht: Justin Taylor)

This is just funny. Love the Bible highlighter bit. And it is funny…errr….sad that Erasmus gets burned instead of Servetus.

ht: James White

There are many things about the Christian life that are a mystery to me. One of the things that is a mystery and that chaffs my spirit is when a Christian begins to get something and then goes militant against his former ilk. You know what I mean; they begin to understand something theologically profound and impacting and then they are ready to shred anyone of their former friends because they do not get it.  Often times the refrain, “I can’t believe they don’t get this. Are they blind?!”

A friend of mine has likened this to the ex-chain smoker who now can’t stand people who smoke. The guy used to suck down cigs like slurpies but now he is free from that vice and everyone else is suddenly an idiot.

This happens a lot with Calvinists. We begin to understand (notice–begin) the doctrines of grace and we have little patience for those foolish Arminians. Why is it that we can hold to a system that emphasizes the soveriegnty and grace of God at such a premium, but at the same time we are ready to mow down anybody who does not sign off their email with Soli Deo Gloria (which I do by the way–because I mean it and want to be safe). After all, isn’t the understanding we experience as Christians a result of God’s grace? Or does this just come as a result of our superior smarts?

We see it with people who were trapped in legalistic thinking as well. Now they are free in grace. But only if this freedom involves loading, unloading, and mercilessly reloading on all who may not be as mature in the gospel as they are.

Perhaps it would be helpful to remember that we are never glorified this side of heaven. We still have miles to go before we stand in that ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph. 4.14). And furthermore, anything that we have learned we should praise God for and not pound our chests for. Remember Paul. He did not go ‘ex chain smoker’ on everyone when he contended for the gospel. He was actually loving, charitable, and gracious. This he did without compromising biblical fidelity and a burden for people.

Maybe we need to read and remember his words to the inverted, gospel-marginalizing church of Corinth:

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Cor. 4.6-7)

A Little Calvinist Humor

Erik Raymond —  November 16, 2009

Calvinist Kenny Halperman (right) suddenly regretted joining the “Free William Taylor” protest march.

(ht: Sacred Sandwich)

This is true according to Time Magazine.  Time has cataloged the top ’10 Ideas that are changing the world’ for next week’s cover story and they listed, uhem, the ‘New Calvinism’ at number 3!

Here’s the rest of the list:

1. Jobs Are the New Assets
2. Recycling the Suburbs
3. The New Calvinism
4. Reinstating the Interstate
5. Amortality
6. Africa, Business Destination
7. The Rent-a-Country
8. Biobanks
9. Survival Stores
10. Ecological Intelligence

According to Time:

Calvinism is back, and not just musically. John Calvin’s 16th century reply to medieval Catholicism’s buy-your-way-out-of-purgatory excesses is Evangelicalism’s latest success story, complete with an utterly sovereign and micromanaging deity, sinful and puny humanity, and the combination’s logical consequence, predestination: the belief that before time’s dawn, God decided whom he would save (or not), unaffected by any subsequent human action or decision.

Neo-Calvinist ministers and authors don’t operate quite on a Rick Warren scale. But, notes Ted Olsen, a managing editor at Christianity Today, “everyone knows where the energy and the passion are in the Evangelical world” – with the pioneering new-Calvinist John Piper of Minneapolis, Seattle’s pugnacious Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Seminary of the huge Southern Baptist Convention. The Calvinist-flavored ESV Study Bible sold out its first printing, and Reformed blogs like Between Two Worlds are among cyber-Christendom’s hottest links.

If I were Mark Driscoll I probably would not be down with having a disqualifying sin for eldership be used as an adjective to describe me (cf. 1 Tim. 3.3).  At the end of the day, God is sovereign, even over such things as this article.  As he always says, “just something to pray about.”

I am glad that they list Piper, Mohler, the ESV Study Bible and Justin Taylor’s blog.  I think that we will look back one day at these times and praise God for his wisdom, kindness and grace in putting such good resources in our hands to fuel and sustain God-centered growth.

Like the Calvinists, more moderate Evangelicals are exploring cures for the movement’s doctrinal drift, but can’t offer the same blanket assurance. “A lot of young people grew up in a culture of brokenness, divorce, drugs or sexual temptation,” says Collin Hansen, author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists. “They have plenty of friends: what they need is a God.” Mohler says, “The moment someone begins to define God’s [being or actions] biblically, that person is drawn to conclusions that are traditionally classified as Calvinist.”

I tried not to quote the whole article, but it was difficult. Here is the rest of it.

It is exciting today that God is causing folks to notice the impact of the gospel through the church and into the community.  Publicity is good if it brings people into the tent and causes a gospel centered revival.  Wouldn’t it be great if the new evangelical fad was the gospel?

At the same time I know that it is not going to be cool to be a Calvinist forever.  In fact, the reaction to this will probably be people going overboard and sullying the name, confusing the issues and a subsequent swing away from doctrine.  However things go, I am convinced that this is the truth of God and that it should be trumpeted with passion, humility, clarity, and regularity.  May God be pleased to continue to open a door for the Word (Col. 4.3).

My Beef with Calvinists

Erik Raymond —  September 30, 2008

speedbagI have a beef with Calvinists.

First of all before you get ready to send my an email with your fists flying, let me remind you that I am one (cf. the url). This means that I have theological license to throw elbows and pound the speed bag.

My beef centers on the fundamental contradiction that is unveiled in many of the arguments and attitudes communicated by those ‘in the camp’. I have seen and heard some of the most condescending, unkind, and ungracious tones in communicating with or about those who do not agree with us. And sometimes if you get a few of us together, talking theology, the sniper rifles come out and we are soon enjoying open season on liberals, Arminians, Emergents and various and sundry freaks in the American Christian movement.

Now, as a good Calvinist let me first qualify this. I don’t think it is wrong to point out error, especially within the umbrella of Christianity. In fact it is biblical (1 Tim. 4.1-8). However, it is the aura of self-righteousness that accompanies these jabs that is troublesome. We think, talk and act like they are so stupid. We filet folks who do not believe in the universal depravity of mankind.

We say things like, “Humanity is spiritually dead. We can do nothing to arouse our affections for God. God must impart truth to the mind of the dead man. God must illumine the soul of the one whom he has regenerated.”

And we say these things (which are true) with a condescension that undermines it.

Friends, just think about what you have just said. You have admitted that there is not one drop of true spiritual knowledge that you have that has come as a result of your own flesh or the flesh of another, but rather as a supernatural invasion of grace and mercy. God has kindly taught you things that you would not otherwise know.

And you say “Amen.” But you punch the guy with jacked up theology in the eye because he is…“stupid”?

Does anyone see this to be a problem?

Paul’s words could be cited here: “For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor. 4.7)

It must be the product of our flesh that the most God-exalting, pride-smashing theology in all of the world has become a means of self-promotion, ego-stroking, pride.

Pastors, do you not realize that if God were not kind to you, that you would probably not even be in the ministry? And if you were you would probably be performing civil unions for homosexuals?

The only reason why we give a flip about biblical truth is because God has sparked a love for truth in our souls. Forbid it that we then hijack truth and use it for ourselves and our glory rather than God and his.

It is good to point out error. But it is to be done with gospel-centered humility not self-centered pride. As Calvinists we must never separate theological truth as if it is something that we have come up with, discovered, or codified. God has revealed it. It is his compassion that has showed it to you, that continues to show it to you as you grow, and will continue to show it to you as you continue to grow.

During his earthly ministry Jesus lived with compassion that was informed by human depravity and motivated by grace. It is about time that we start looking through the eyes of the one to whom we cling for righteousness to view how he looked at people, grace and truth. If there was ever a one who had the right to just throw up his hands and call people idiots, it was him. But he never did. He did stuff like this:

“When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34

</rant>

Below is a quote from J.I. Packer from his introduction to The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.  I appreciate Packer’s boldness and clarity here.  I am quoting from the recent book, In My Place Condemned He Stood, pp. 123-124.

“Now the real nature of Calvinistic soteriology becomes plain. It is no artificial oddity, nor a product of overbold logic. Its central confession, that God saves sinners, that Christ redeemed us by his blood is the witness both of the Bible and of the believing heart.

The Calvinist is the Christian who confesses before men in his theology just what he believes in his heart before God when he prays. He thinks and speaks at all times of the sovereign grace of God in the way that every Christian does when he pleads for the souls of others, or when he obeys the impulse of worship which rises unbidden within him, prompting him to deny himself all praise and to give all the glory of his salvation to his Savior.

Calvinism is the natural theology written on the heart of the new man in Christ, whereas Arminianism is an intellectual sin of infirmity, natural only in the sense in which all such sins are natural, even to the regenerate. Calvinistic thinking is the Christian being himself on the intellectual level; Arminian thinking is the Christian failing to be himself through the weakness of the flesh.

Calvinism is what the Christian church has always held and taught when its mind has not been distracted by controversy and false traditions from attending to what Scripture actually says; that is the significance of the patristic testimonies to the teaching of the ‘five points’, which can be quoted in abundance. (Owen appends a few on redemption; a much larger collection may be seen in John Gill’s The Cause of God and Truth.)

So that really it is most misleading to call this soteriology ‘Calvinism’ at all, for it is not a peculiarity of John Calvin and the divines of Dort, but a part of the revealed truth of God and the catholic Christian faith. ‘Calvinism’ is one of the ‘odious names’ by which down the centuries prejudice has been raised against it. But the thing itself is just the biblical gospel.”

In the midst of the quote he references a familiar quote from Spurgeon, which I also include below:

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.

young-restless-and-reformed.jpgIt is somewhat amazing to consider what is happening within evangelicalism. On the one hand you have a section that seems to be obsessed with trying to ride each new wave that comes along in effort to gain relevance and popularity (church growth). On the other hand you have guys who want to go back to the old historic doctrines that have been trumpeted for centuries and equip the coming generation to likewise herald them (the new Calvinists). The church growth guys aim to be on the cutting edge of the 21st Century while the Calvinists are content to be on the cutting edge of the 16th Century. Each side seems to almost eschew the other for their respective strategies. The contemporary evangelical climate is as complex as it is interesting.

Enter Colin Hansen, an editor for Christianity Today. Colin wrote an article back in 2006 entitled Young, Restless, Reformed. His goal was to highlight the surging phenomon of the regeneration of Calvinistic theology. He has expanded this article and turned it into a book by the same title.

Hansen discloses in the introduction that the premise behind the book stems from his initial reluctance to see the emerging movement as the next wave in evangelicalism. Instead, says, Hansen, “in my limited sphere I saw a return to traditional Reformed theology. My friends read John Piper’s book Desiring God and learned from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.” So Hansen set out on a journey to see if his experiences were “unique or a sign of something bigger.” And off he goes with a journey with the new Calvinists.

In each of the chapters Hansen is on sight interviewing key leaders and players within this Reformed resurgence. He is at the Passion Conference in Atlanta talking to attendees, at John Piper’s church in Minnesota, Yale University, The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville (Al Mohler), Covenant Life Church in Maryland (CJ Mahaney & Josh Harris), The New Attitude Conference in Louisville, and Mars Hill Church in Seattle (Mark Driscoll).

The interviews were enjoyable. At each turn Hansen helpfully interacts with what we are learning about this movement. He helps give personal background about each person he talks with and also discloses some personal nuggets that keep you on your toes (for example, John Piper eats a bowl of cereal after preaching every Saturday night).

As a non-Southern Baptist, one of the more interesting chapters to me was the discussion in chapter four on the effect of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention. I knew it was a heated issue, but since I don’t live in that world, I was surprised to see quotes by guys who seem to bundle Calvinism with the death of the church. Hansen interviews seminary student and blogger Timmy Brister who seems to have been branded with a Scarlet letter for his stand for Reformed theology in some of the churches where he served. In reading some of the statements by SBC leaders I was left with the impression that they were less open to change (or even discussing it–even if it is biblical) and are instead quite concerned with clinging to tradition (whether or not it is biblical). This view into SBC life was illuminating.

Overall the book was a quick and enjoyable read. Hansen gives Piper a lot of love, and I think he should. However, I would have liked to see a little more time given to Sproul, MacArthur, Carson or even guys who came before like John Murray. In addition, I am left wondering where Hansen thinks this is going. Perhaps this is out of the scope of the work, but I would have liked him to steer the ship in that direction a bit.

I really enjoyed the read. I felt like I was watching (reading) a documentary that included many of my close friends. This kinship no doubt is the effect of faithful preaching and teaching by these men who serve so many of us.

You may pick up discounted copies are available at Westminster or Amazon.

 

tssimagecards.gif

I came across this little slideshow when I was looking something up on my good friend Tony Reinke’s blog. Enjoy!

Chosen for Life

Erik Raymond —  October 24, 2007

Sam Storms’ book Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election has been considered a classic and a must read by many. I am embarrassed to say that I had not read this ‘classic’ until Crossway released its recently expanded version twenty years after it was first published by Baker.

chosen-for-life-tss.jpg

Storms writes:

“Divine election is certainly one of the more profound and controversial doctrines in Holy Scripture. To some it is an idea conceived in hell, a tool of Satan to thwart the evangelistic zeal of the church and thus responsible for populating hell with those who otherwise would have been reached with the gospel. To others divine election is the heart and soul of Scripture, the most comforting and reassuring of biblical truths, apart from which grace loses its power and God his glory. To the former, then, election is a primary reason why people are in hell. To the latter, it is the only reason why people are in heaven.”

Storms tackles the doctrine of election exegetically, theologically, and contextually; within the current predominant views of election. Early on in the book he interacts with the Arminian view of election. This treatment becomes a touchstone throughout the book for interacting with the Arminian position. I was thankful that Storms seemed to keep the punches above the waist when interacting with Arminian theology. From my seat he interacted constructively and fairly with the views while avoiding the oft employed and ever distracting theological strawmen. As a result Storms earns your trust theologically as he labors to be consistent and biblical. This serves the reader well as you interact with his chapters on the Freedom of the Will, Faith and Repentance, and Amazing Grace.

I mentioned the chapter on Amazing Grace above, this chapter is worth the price of the book. I found it to be encouraging, edifying and extremely helpful. Below is a quote from that chapter:

“To say that something is done by grace is simply to say it is done by God. If salvation is from beginning to end a manifestation of God’s grace then it is from beginning to end a work of God. To inject any human effort or contribution whatsoever is to reject divine grace. Either election is unconditional and altogether of God and his grace or it is conditional and therefore a cooperative venture in which God and man both contribute.”

In the second half of the book Storms strolls through the books of the NT at a helpful yet expeditious pace as he examines the doctrine of election. This section would be most helpful for teachers as the gather their resources in sections such as Romans 9.

I also enjoyed the three appendixes, Three Problem Passages, Who Can and Who Cannot Pray for God to Save the Lost, and The Divine Decrees.

I highly recommend this book for a consistent and helpful look at the doctrine of election. It is not exhaustive but it is nevertheless helpful. The reading level is moderate but his style is refreshing; Storms writes in a clear and passionate way serving to undermine the fallacious view that Calvinists are stuffy and lacking Spirit wrought affections.

You can get more information or pick this book up at a discounted price at Westminster Books.

(Photo Courtesy of Tony Reinke at TSS)

Over the last couple of years or so I have noticed a bit of a shift in the way many folks approach and apply their evangelistic responsibilities. I do not doubt that they spring out of good motives (seeing people saved and being more biblical) however, I wonder if these tendencies are not sacrificing a clear biblical mandated tone.

Specifically I am talking about what I can only describe as a lack of urgency in gospel proclamation. I am not talking about being sinfully silent with the gospel message, though that is a problem, but rather the toned down message of the gospel from one that is clearly confrontational in favor of one that is more passively conversational.

I believe that there are a couple of things at work here, 1) inconsistent Calvinism, 2) a desire to be less offensive

As Calvinists we can dangerously fall into the unbiblical thinking that since God is sovereign then it does not matter much what we do as long as we do evangelism. Well it does matter.

Consider Paul, probably the greatest Calvinist outside of Jesus who prayed tears for his unregenerate Jewish friends (Rom. 10). This is the same guy who boldly and unflinchingly marched into synagogues and heralded the unmitigated gospel of Christ that made demands upon its hearers. The message was not normally embraced by his audience, but make no mistake about it, they understood the offensive nature of the gospel and its demands of a response (cf. Acts 14.19ff, & Acts 17.6).

Any theology that does not emphasize and prioritize the desperate and urgent need for repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is wrong. The gospel that is proclaimed in our evangelism is a personal confrontation from God to your hearer. May God forbid that Calvinists are lazy in presenting the urgent call for repentance under the looming shadow of divine judgment. For we of all people understand that God is sovereign, righteous, holy, glorious and quite frankly, very angry at sin. Therefore may we plead with and persuade those we evangelize to flee to Jesus with urgency. May we never be guilty of aiding and abetting spiritual complacency and indifference.

Another area where urgency seems to get lost is in a desire to be more friendly and less offense. Perhaps this is an over reaction to the perception that Calvinists are too angry in evangelism. I know Mark Driscoll recently said that he is part of a new breed of Calvinists who, unlike the old guys, “actually want people to get saved.” No doubt he was halfway joking, as evidenced by his joke that we are more relaxed, noting that “we wear boxers they wore briefs.” I have heard Mark Driscoll preach the gospel and I would not categorize him as one who dulls the point of the message of grace and the need for repentance.

People often reference Paul in Acts 17 as the blue print for interacting with culture while engaging it. I think this is good and right, for Paul is so tremendously faithful but is also extremely relevant as he talks to his hearers on Mars Hill. However, do not miss the fact that he concludes his message by drawing a line in the sand and proclaiming the need for immediate repentance towards God in view of the coming judgment:

Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

So be friendly and be a Calvinist, but just be faithful at the same time. We have to get around to the fact that God is angry with idolatry and is demanding that all humanity turn from sin and worship Jesus. Regardless of how nice we are or what our doctrinal statement says, if we are not emphasizing the urgent need for repentance in view of Christ’s righteous judgment I cannot see how we are evangelizing faithfully.

I thought this was funny.

According to a recent survey by The Leadership Network, the top two reproducing churches in America are Redeemer Presbyterian (New York City-pastored by Tim Keller) and Mars Hill Church (Seattle-pastored by Mark Driscoll). Both churches have planted over 100 new churches since their inception.

Along with a radical commitment to the gospel both of these churches are confessionally reformed (Calvinistic). There is a prevailing false idea that Calvinists are not committed to evangelism. Aside from this being historically inaccurate (cf. Spurgeon, Edwards, Carey, etc..) it is also out of step with what is occurring in our lifetime.

(ht: steve mccoy)

This was the title of a sermon preached last night at Omaha Bible Church by our Senior Pastor, Patrick Abendroth. The message dealt with whether or not we as people have the free will to choose God or not.

>here is the link to the download page

I think Pat did a terrific job of dealing with the issues a short amount of time (45 min). Here are the 5 points that I took down (how many points do you think a Calvinist would have?)-

So here are the 5 compelling arguments against free will-

.1. the Bible does not teach it

.2. the Bible teaches the opposite

.3. the tetstimony of church history

.4. the theory undermines multiple realities of grace

.5. the theory undermines the glory of God

//a couple of items to note:

I really enjoyed Pat’s points with respect to the redefinition of grace and the logical implications of adding our choice to the equation.

A great quote: “Proponents of free-will are enemies of free-grace”

and a paraphrase: “why is free-will the evangelical idol? Why do we defend it so? It is not even in the Bible, but people defend it like it is the love of God or the deity of Christ or something?”

finally, if you are moved by your own free will :/ to take issue with these points, please listen to the sermon and then, if inclined, drop a comment. Don’t just disagree and rant.