Walls and Joseph R. Dongell explore the flaws of Calvinist theology. Why I Am Not a Calvinist is a must-read for all who struggle with the limitations of this dominant perspective within evangelical theology. Jerry L. His annual C. Lewis seminar is one of the school's most popular offerings. Useful reading and thought provoking. What would you like to know about this product?
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Why I am not a Calvinist / Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell - Details - Trove
It is the essence of the Bible. Did he believe it was damnable error? Absolutely not , and he made that clear, too. This whole controversy is a furtive campaign against Arminianism. Certain antagonists have tried to represent the Down Grade controversy as a revival of the old feud between Calvinists and Arminians. It is nothing of the kind.
Many evangelical Arminians are as earnestly on our side as men can be. We do not conceal our own Calvinism in the least; but this conflict is for truths which are common to all believers. We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force which helps to hold men to the vital truth, and therefore we are sorry to see any quitting it who have once accepted it.
So he had a bone to pick with people who once affirmed the doctrines of grace and had now abandoned Calvinism in favor of new ideas that smacked of Socinianism. Those who hold the eternal verities of salvation, and yet do not see all that we believe and embrace, are by no means the objects of our opposition: our warfare is with men who are giving up the atoning sacrifice, denying the inspiration of Holy Scripture, and casting slurs upon justification by faith.
The present struggle is not a debate upon the question of Calvinism or Arminianism, but of the truth of God versus the inventions of men. So Spurgeon did not regard Arminians as hell bound heretics. He regarded them as brethren. Did he think they were in error? Were they guilty of gross inconsistency in their own theology? He would have answered emphatically, yes. Was their main error significant?
But he was very careful to make clear that he did not regard Arminianism per se as damnable heresy or utter apostasy from essential Christianity. Virtually all mainstream Calvinists from the time of the Synod of Dort until now would agree with him on every count. For example, Gordon Clark, one of the highest of high Calvinists, said this with regard to whether Arminians are authentic Christians or not:.
An Arminian may be a truly regenerate Christian; in fact, if he is truly an Arminian and not a Pelagian who happens to belong to an Arminian church, he must be a saved man. But he is not usually, and cannot consistently be assured of his salvation. The places in which his creed differs from our Confession confuse the mind, dilute the Gospel, and impair its proclamation. Which is to say that Arminianism is inherently inconsistent.
Arminians technically affirm the fundamental, essential truths of the gospel. Then they try to build a theology on top of that which is totally inconsistent with the solid foundation they have affirmed. I agree with that assessment of Arminianism. Before we go further in this series, let me recommend a handful of books. The first book I want to recommend is a new book by Roger Olson, who is himself an Arminian, and he has written a defense of Arminianism titled Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities.
Lewis Johnson. And even though we are all three named Johnson, none of us are related.
Why I'm Not a Calvinist . . . or an Arminian, Part 1
Though I would be very happy to be related to either S. Lewis Johnson or Gary Johnson. I admit it; I was stumped. But now Roger Olson has bailed me out.
Two are standard works that I routinely recommend every year. These are notes Dr. Daniel wrote when he taught this material, and the tapes of his teaching are downloadable for free from the internet. It is an encyclopedic collection of key Scripture references and some wonderful essays explaining and defending Calvinism from the Bible. Erroll Hulse is a greatly respected British Reformed Baptist leader, and this is one of my all-time favorite books.
Part IV: One more recommendation, and an explanation of why this issue is important to me.
The web address is TheGraceLifePulpit. In that message, I explained that I have not always been a Calvinist. I grew up in a family that had been Wesleyan Methodists for generations — and even after I became a Christian, it was several years before I finally came to the point where I could affirm the biblical doctrine of election without trying to explain it away.
One of the things that first got me thinking seriously about the sovereignty of God was an incident in a college Sunday School class, in a Southern Baptist Church, in Durant, OK, where I had a Sunday school teacher who hated Calvinism with a passion and wasted no opportunity to make an argument against the sovereignty of God. And his continual emphasis on the subject got me thinking about it a lot.
I vividly remember the look on the face of this Sunday School teacher.
nubechecomu.tk This was clearly a question that had never occurred to him. So he thought about it for a moment, and you could see the wheels in his head turning while he tried to think of a good reason to pray for the salvation of the lost. You know: Why should I pray for God to move my English teacher to look favorably on my work when she graded my paper if she is ultimately sovereign over her own heart? But the more I studied the Bible, the more it seemed to challenge my ideas about free will and the sovereignty of God.
Every time one of my arguments against Calvinist doctrines would fall, and I would embrace some doctrine that I was desperately trying to argue against, it never felt like I was undergoing any major paradigm shift. It was more like I was resolving a nagging conflict in my mind. Because I kept discovering that the major ideas underlying the doctrines of grace were truths that I had always affirmed: God is sovereign, Christ died for me, God loved me before I loved Him, He sought me and drew me and initiated my reconciliation while I was still His enemy.
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Those were truths I believed even when I was a rank Arminian. Embracing Calvinism was natural — and inevitable — because all I was doing was ridding my mind of wrong ideas and faulty assumptions about human free will and other notions like that, which are not even taught in the Bible — so that I could wholeheartedly affirm what I really believed anyway: That God is God, and He does all His good pleasure, and no one can make Him do otherwise, and He is in control and in charge no matter how much noise evildoers try to make.
And not only is He in charge, He is working all things out for my good and His glory. At the end of the previous post, I described how even in my Arminian days, I affirmed an awful lot of truth about the sovereignty of God: I would have affirmed with no reservation whatsoever that God is God; that He does all His good pleasure; that no one can make Him do otherwise; that He is in control and in charge no matter how much noise evildoers try to make; and not only is He in charge, He is working all things out for my good and His glory.
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As a matter of fact, my confidence in the promise of Romans was what motivated my prayer life. If you believe those things, you have affirmed the heart of Calvinism, even if you call yourself an Arminian. Those are the basic truths of Calvinism, and if you already believe those things, you are functioning with Calvinist presuppositions. In fact, the truths of Calvinism so much permeate the heart of the gospel message, that even if you think you are a committed and consistent proponent of Arminianism, if you truly affirm the gospel you have already conceded the principle points of Calvinism anyway.
I remember very well the first time I noticed this verse. I was a fairly new Christian at the time, and I was surprised to find this truth in the Bible. I was appallingly ignorant of the Bible when I was a brand new Christian. I grew up going to liberal churches where the Bible was hardly mentioned unless the Sunday School teacher wanted to disagree with something the Bible said.