Faith > Calvinism

“There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.”
- John Calvin

God Is Sovereign!

That means that He is absolutely in control over every single aspect of His universe. If God is "Almighty" or all-powerful, then there is no other power that is working in opposition to Him. All things work together to accomplish God's will. The greatest comfort to a Christian is the knowledge that no matter what happens, it will all redown to God's glory, and the good of His people. God controls not only the huge events, but every bit of minutae of this life. Absolutely nothing happens without God's hand, and that is the reason to celebrate and worship Him!

Humans are not free agents when it comes to will. "Free will" is an unbiblical, and therefore heretical concept. Every human is born spiritually dead, with no ability whatsoever to please or approach God. It is only when God actively plants his Holy Spirit inside us and we are made spiritually alive that we can begin to understand our fallen state, and our need for a Savior. Until then, we happily go about our lives, hellbound, thinking we're in control.

Are we "free" to make daily choices? Of course, but every choice we make was predetermined by God to accomplish His plan. Get used to this Biblical fact! The people who argue in favor of "free will" simply have no idea who they're messing with (God). At no point in the Bible does God say to us that He wants us to freely choose him because only then would we be expressing 'true love' to Him. That is a humanistic and heretical way of teaching love. Any loving parent with the knowledge that their children were heading for disaster, for example, would stop their children from getting hurt and hedge them in so they couldn't get hurt too badly. This is exactly what God does for His chosen people. He does not leave the Heaven or Hell choice up to us, because He loves His children with a special love, the same way any parent loves their own childen more than someone else's. The Bible does not teach otherwise, and yet the vast majority of the Christian church teaches that God loves each and every individual who ever lived exactly the same. Millions of people are being lead astray by believing this false Gospel teaching, which puts the emphasis on them and their glorious "free wills" rather than the supreme will of God. If you believe YOU chose God, then you are glorifying yourself for making such a 'good decision', rather than worshipping the God who actually chose you. Wake up from your arrogance and recognize that God saved you from your own sinful ways, and then you will truly worship Him!

Many people will say "if God is controlling me, then I'm just a puppet or a robot! That can't be how it is!". And yet, while the Bible doesn't use the words "puppet" or "robot", it does make it clear that there are only two kinds of people in the world: children of God, and children of the Devil. If you aren't controlled by God, you are controlled by Satan. No one is a "free agent", because no one is worthy or even able to actually "choose" to approach God out of their own wisdom and inherent goodness. This is another great comfort to the Christian: that his salvation is not left up to him to earn or mess up, but rather it is preordained by God, who never fails in what He sets out to do.

Because I know I am saved, I am made free to worship God, and tell others the Gospel. If my salvation were left up to me, not only would I mess it up, but I would spend my entire life (as most Christians do) trying to do enough good works to "earn" my salvation. This is not only impossible, but unbiblical as well.

So what is "Calvinism"?

"Calvinism" as a name for a belief system is something of a misnomer. It does not mean that I am a follower of John Calvin. It is simply the nickname that has come to represent the theology that puts emphasis on God's grace and sovereignty and recognizes Man's utter depravity or inability to achieve righteousness, as represented in the Bible. It's a shame, actually, that a man's name has become associated with this Bible-based theology, because people can attack and tear down the man and think they've somehow done away with the beliefs. Calvin did not sit down one day and come up with this system. Had it been something new, he would have rejected it! It has, in fact, been the basis of sound, orthodox Christian doctrinal teaching since the writings of Paul. A better name would be "Reformed Theology". The truth of the doctrine, however, has never been defeated, because it is the true exposition of Holy Scripture.

Why am I drawn to Reformed Theology?

  1. It is the most Biblically accurate understanding of God.
  2. It is the most intellectually honest and satisfying explanation of Christianity and Salvation.
  3. It offers by far the most comfort and rest to those who are God's chosen, but it is certainly not "feel-good religion".
  4. It's not based on emotionalism, "spiritual" experiences, or any human expectations.
  5. It allows the Bible to mean what it says without the need for over-spiritualized interpretations which cloud the issues.
  6. It's not about me or you, but about God. Its purpose is not to satisfy the flesh, but to mortify it. It puts God and Man in their proper places and perspectives. (i.e., God is on his throne as ruling Sovereign of the universe, and the sole purpose of mankind is to glorify God. Discomfort may follow when you realize your place!)
  7. Its doctrines are sound, Biblical TRUTH.
Amazing Grace DVD
Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism is an excellent DVD for explaining the teachings of the Reformed Faith. I recommend it to everyone.

What is this truth?

Reformed Theology represents a return to the original Pauline doctrines of the Bible, after 1000 years of the DARK AGES, when Roman Catholicism dominated the Church, and introduced a myriad of traditions that have more to do with ancient Babylonian "mystery religion" than Christianity. The Protestant Reformation was a great awakening within Christianity that marked a return to holy scripture as the ultimate authority on spiritual matters, and did away with many of the trappings of false religion.

The trap that the church had fallen into previously was the notion that the traditions and decrees of the church held just as much authority as Scripture. The errancy of this teaching has not only been proven again and again by contradicting Church proclamations, but was originally demonstrated by Jesus himself who, after His resurrection, did not immediately reveal Himself as risen to His disciples (who would become the Church), but first opened the scriptures to them to teach them about all the things concerning Himself. He was standing right there, and yet even He turned to the scripture to reveal His truth. Only after referencing the scriptures did He then reveal His identity to them, showing that God's Word is the ultimate authority and source for Truth, and has greater weight than the physical senses and actions of the people who read and follow it.

You may have heard of the "5 Points of Calvinism" or the "Doctrines of Grace". These points aren't a set of beliefs that Calvin sat down one day and composed. They are actually the Church's responses to the heretical teachings of the students of a man named Arminius. Rather than get into the history of the debate (which you can read about elsewhere), I will simply spell out the five points. These have been debated for centuries, but will never be defeated, because they are undeniable Biblical truths. If they make you uncomfortable, I would encourage you to adjust your thinking about God to bring it in line with what the Bible says, rather than be led by your man-made traditions. Remember: if you disagree with one of these points, ask yourself why. Is it because the Bible says otherwise, or is it because you are more comfortable being governed by your own ideas than by God's Word?

Always Reforming ...

1. Total Depravity
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not--indeed he cannot--choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ--it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation--it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.

Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-10

Additional Reading: The Bible: Can You Believe It? by Lee Hill

2. Unconditional Election
God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

Romans 9:10-21, Ephesians 1:4-11, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 8:29-30, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48

Additional reading: Who Chooses Who? by Lee Hill

3. Limited Atonement
Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which united them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation.

Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, Philippians 1:6, John 10:11-30, John 17:6-12, Romans 8:28-30, John 6:44, Acts 20:28

Additional Reading: Everyone Who Believes? BELIEVES WHAT? by Lee Hill

4. Irresistible Grace
In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

John 3:16, Matthew 22:14, Acts 17:29-31, Matthew 23:37-39, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10

Additional Reading: The Sheep and The Goats: An Easy Illustration Just For "Ewe" by Lee Hill

5. Perseverance of the Saints
All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.

John 3:16, John 6:35-40, John 6:44, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Jude 24-25, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:35-39

Additional Reading: Where Is God When Disaster Strikes? by Lee Hill

This Is The Gospel!

The TRUTH will set you free! Being a Christian does not mean submitting yourself to a set of man-made rules and constructs. Rather, it means to be SET FREE from the bondage of your sinful nature and your limited ideas about God. It's not about YOU. It's about God. Don't think for a second that God will be impressed with your personal righteousness. Rather, trust in Christ's righteousness as it is imputed to you, and accept the fact that you don't deserve salvation, but your salvation is utterly because of the Amazing Grace of GOD ALMIGHTY, and that is the best news you will ever hear!

For further reading ...
Read these documents. They explain Reformed Theology far better than I!

Quotes from C. H. Spurgeon:

"I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, "You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself." My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will."

"A man is not saved against his will, but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved."

"Free will carried many a soul to hell, but never a soul to heaven."

"A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit's aid than he can create a world."

"I believe that nothing happens apart from divine determination and decree ... We shall never be able to escape from the doctrine of divine predestination - the doctrine that God has foreordained certain people unto eternal life."

"The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation."

"If it were Christ's intention to save all men, how deplorably he has been disappointed!"

"There is enough dust on some of your Bible's to write "damnation" with your fingers."

"George whitefield said, 'We are all born Arminians.' It is grace that turns us into Calvinists.

"It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic, of no honorable character, might rise up and call me brother. But taking these things to be the standard of faith, I see the land of ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God's own church."

"There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation — the kingship of God over all the works of his own hands — the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a foot-ball, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne.

I recommend the following podcasts to all Christians. They are an excellent way to keep your mind engaged and focused on the things of God, especially as listened to in earbuds as you go about your daily routines! These broadcasts are not exercises in feel-good preaching, but rich sources for stimulating discussions and rigorous defenses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Grace Christian Assembly - Pastor Jim McClarty
The Dividing Line - Dr. James White
Unbelievable? with Justin Brierley
The GraceLife Pulpit - Phil Johnson
Grace Christian Assembly
Pastor Jim McClarty
The Dividing Line
Dr. James White
Justin Brierley
The GraceLife Pulpit
Phil Johnson
Intensive live Bible study messages from Grace Christian Assembly, and teaching on theology and sound doctrine
Call-in radio program covering a range of topics in Dr. White's sphere of apologetics
Weekly broadcast bringing people with opposing views together for rich dialogue
Sermons from the GraceLife Fellowship at Grace Community Church, hosts of the Shepherd's Conference

For further reading, food for thought, current insight, and sharp entertainment, read up on these fascinating blogs.
CLICK HERE Alpha & Omega Ministries
Dr. James White and Team Apologian post articles about current events and topics related to Christian Apologetics."The Gospel is Ours to Proclaim, Not to Edit."
Pastor Jim McClarty's blog covering topics of theology and Grace Christian Assembly.
CLICK HERE Pyromaniacs
Phil Johnson and his fellow "Pyromaniacs" serve up some interesting food for thought.
CLICK HERE Lane's Blog
Young blogger Lane Chaplin posts interviews and clips, featuring his Rightly Divided program.


All Content Copyright © Andrew Doss

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. - John 1:16

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