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Category Archives: Five Points of Calvinism

Am I a Calvinist? You tell me.

First of all I need to take care of a hat tip (ht) to my buddy Seth at Contending Earnestly. This posting is being created 42-18021428out of my thoughts triggered by this fellow blogger’s posting and comments. The posting is about being labeled a Calvinist, and the label or term being used as a dirty word.

I really didn’t know what I was until I started reading books on theology.  Speaking of theology; The word is much like the word doctrine, and Calvinism.  Theology has also been reduced to a dirty word. At least a drastically minimized word in terms of evangelical importance.

Theology – the study of God. Come on, what’s more important?

I didn’t think theology was important until I ran into some blatantly bad theology. For years I had been indoctrinated in meeting peoples needs above doctrine. Now, I believe, if you don’t have sound biblical doctrine and theology, how can you truly meet the peoples ultimate need? Their need is to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ. What do I mean by the true gospel? Funny I should ask, because it brings up the point of this post.

When I heard about the Five Points of Calvinism I will admit I had heard the term or label Calvinism and immediately thought “one of them”,  and “I heard they don’t believe we have a free will.” But after reading these five points I basically recognized and interpreted it as the gospel. The gospel spoken of in scripture. These five points are also known as TULIP. This is an acronym which is defined below.

T otal Depravity – We suck. (a verb meaning we are sinners and do not seek God) (Ref. Romans 6:20, Romans 3:10-12)

U nconditional Election – God does the choosing. No matter who you are and what you’ve done. (Ref. Eph. 1:4-8)

L imited Atonement – Christ died and His blood covers those who the Father chose. (Ref. Eph. 5:25-27)

I rresistable Grace – God’s elect hear the gospel and the Holy Spirit works in the hearts and minds of the those elect and they willing come to God. (Ref. Romans 9:16, Phil. 2:12-13)

P erseverance of the Saints – The elect of God cannot lose their salvation. For heaven’s sake the elect didn’t do anything to earn salvation. God did the choosing. They are eternally secure. (Ref. Romans 8:26-39)

I think that pretty much sums up the gospel as it is told in scripture.

So, am I a Calvinsit? If you prefer a label or a badge, I will gladly wear it. I have one on my sidebar as a matter of fact. It looks like this:

Calvinist Cadet

Calvinist Cadet

A few months ago I found an article from a blogger that did a real good job of describing why he was a Calvinist. I give a high hat tip to Kevin DeYoung and his article.

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Give Me Five – Unconditional Election

The next point in my brief postings of the Five Points of Calvinism is called “unconditional election.” The doctrine of hand-five-pointsunconditional election is thoroughly based in scripture. It is a doctrine that in affect claims that before the earth was formed God chose who would come to salvation through His son Jesus Christ. There are many texts in scripture that affirm this doctrine of unconditional election. One of my favorites for God’s sovereignty and election is the whole context of Romans chapter 9. Charles H. Spurgeon states of Romans 9 in his sermon on Unconditional Election, September 2nd, 1855:

So long as that is written there, not the most violent contortions of the passage will ever be able to exterminate the doctrine of election from the Scriptures.

This was a doctrine fully accepted within the protestant church until to the late 19th century and the teachings of Charles Finney. I used to believe and teach this as well. But a few years ago I came to understand, through scripture and the gentle dialog of a dear brother in Christ, that the most illogical theology is one that would teach that God is sovereign in everything else except salvation. They would claim that everything else is under God’s sovereignty except when it comes to something as eternal as the soul of man and his salvation. It isn’t even debated that God chose His people, the Israelites, as stated in the whole of the bible. Why is there an exception for the salvation of men from their sins?

One of the best explanations of God’s unconditional election is provided by Dr. James White in the video below. In the video Dr. White mentions some song lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman. Those lyrics can be found here.

 

Give Me Five – Total Depravity

In the next few weeks I’d like to post some brief things to hand-five-pointsexplain and affirm the Five Points of Calvinism. Hopefully this will create some dialog with those who would argue against and with those who would affirm with additional resources.

When we speak of total depravity, we are speaking in terms of man’s natural condition apart from any grace given by God to restrain or transform man. Since the fall of man through Adam, the natural man (not transformed by God’s grace) has been in rebellion against God. This is supported in Romans 3:9-10.

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;

In the video clip below, Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington provides a great illustration of total depravity and God’s election.