Friday, February 15, 2008

Why I Am Not A Calvinist (Part 1)

My regular readers may be shocked at the title, as they should be. The title is a little misleading. Doctrinally speaking I would say that I adhere to the doctrines of grace; or in other words, I am a Calvinist. However, something I read by John Newton caused me to think. In counseling a young man "on controversy", Newton says this:

"Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles to the exercise of gentleness and moderation. If, indeed, those who differ from us have a power of changing themselves, if they can open their own eyes, and soften their own hearts, then we might with less inconsistency be offended at their obstinacy; but if we believe the very contrary to this, our part is, not to strive, but in meekness to instruct those who oppose, "if perhaps God will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth."
(HT: Grace Gems)

Newton has an excellent point. If we really believe in the doctrines of grace then it will change things. It will change the way that we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we really believe in Total Depravity it will change things. Our understanding of unconditional election will dictate our attitudes. If we really believe irresistible grace then we should have a much different confidence. A belief in Limited Atonement ought to change the way we interact with other brothers that have been bought with the Lamb's blood. If we really believe Perseverance of the Saints then ought we not to have more confidence in God's ability to bring differing saints to glory?

So, the point of this series of posts will be to really ask whether or not I believe what I say I believe. Am I really a Calvinist in practice? I hope to put together 5-6 articles on this topic. I plan to go through each of the points of the T-U-L-I-P and discuss the implications of each. It will not be my intent to debate the truthfulness of each point. I will assume them, and then ask the question, "If I really believe this, what will it look like in practice"

...Read Part 2

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