While looking for some sermon audio on Monergism.com I came across an article by Tom Nettles that really peaked my interest. The article attempts to answer the questions: Why do my Christian friends have such an aversion to the Doctrines of Grace? How can I keep the channels of communication open and still make progress in helping them to understand? I will share it with you here and provide some highlights in an outline form. I will provide the link to the article at the bottom.
Difficulties and Priorities
He starts off by encouraging us not to get too obsessed with this personal dilemma. The highest priority is to share the gospel with folks. But he also shares 3 John 3 & 4:
3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
“Only rarely does something compare with the spiritual delight of seeing a friend, fellow Christian, or fellow minister embrace and enjoy this truth.”
Principles to Encourage Patience
Having a high view of God flies in the face of our natural tendency for pride, self-sufficiency, and independence.
Principle of growth
Maybe the reason they can’t understand is that they are in fact unregenerate.
In Ephesians 1:3-14 Paul provides a “clear and moving affirmation of the glory of God in His sovereign bestowal of salvation”, and then in 1:17-23 he prays for their understanding. So pray for your brother or sisters’ understanding as well.
Prayer, patience, and self-sacrifice are fundamental in discussing these truths.
Principle of common ground
Start by re-establishing the common ground of the gospel and common evangelical creeds.
Principles For Proceeding
Principle of progressive consistency
Introduce them to Habakkuk 1:12-2:1. This prophet had to deal with what he felt were contradictions in his understanding of God.
“In the final analysis all revelation is preparation for further revelation and consistent with previous revelation. The Bible is filled with this progressive revelation of truth on truth.”
Luke 11:52 points out that the Jewish leaders took away the key of knowledge (understanding God’s revelation) by refusing to advance in understanding.
“What could be more consistent with salvation by pure unmerited favor than unconditional election?”
Principle of Grace
“Unconditional election, effectual calling, definite (or if someone prefers, limited) atonement, and preserving grace are all gracious, purely unmerited, and explanatory of how God does finally save undeserving, resistant, justly condemned sinners.”
In conclusion be patient, loving and gentle. Be prepared to give an answer for any objection.
We all know someone who continues to hold their “free will” teaching in highest regard. Hopefully this article will encourage you to be longsuffering in your dialog with them.
“Why Can’t They See This” by Tom J. Nettles
July 16, 2007 at 9:46 am
Being patient with other Christians who reject the Doctrines of Grace is the wisest advice to give.
Almost all of us who embrace these doctrine, including myself, once also rejected these teachings in our Christian walk.
Since I have embraced the truth of what is often called “Calvinism,” my walk with the Lord is deeper and more joyous than it ever was before.
I am encourged by the fact God is raising up a new generation that is embracing these truths that their parents have resisted.
SOLI DEO GLORIA
July 16, 2007 at 8:13 pm
Amen again Mike. I have also grown so much in the Lord since learning those doctrines. My walk is indeed deeper and my joy much stronger. I sometimes get a bit frustrated when speaking with those I had gotten close to prior to learning these doctrines. The article I menitoned above hit so close to my home.
When my wife and I first visited Omaha Bible Church we were totally amazed that such a church existed. They teach the doctrines we knew the church should be teaching and yet were not. When we climbed back into our car after our initial visit we just looked at each other and we both had such a smile on our faces. We could not stop talking about it. We had visited that day with a few other families who were discouraged by the current church we were attending and yet we were the only ones who continued to attend beyond a few weeks. That was over two years ago. We are well plugged into ministeries now and call it our home church.