Calvinism

“As a Calvinist, I can’t help but cringe whenever fellow Calvinists declare that humans do not have free will.”

"By God’s grace, my prayer is that my current attempt at taking on the topic of free will is characterized by far more humility than it has been in the past. Similarly, my objective with this article isn’t to win a debate nor to provide anyone with talking points to help them win debates.

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Recommended Books for Studying Calvinism

Image of The Doctrine of God (A Theology of Lordship)
by John M. Frame
P & R Publishing 2002
Hardcover 896

Having been asked to recommend a few books on Calvinism I thought it might make a good post at Dr Reluctant. I myself am about as much a modified Calvinist as I am a modified Dispensationalist. Although many will not agree with me, I believe that “plain-sense,” old fashioned grammatico-historical hermeneutics requires some readjustment of standard Reformed formulations of Calvinist doctrines.

My reason for this is that the hermeneutics of Reformed Calvinism, when aimed at eschatology, produces supercessionism and covenant theology. It is a hermeneutics heavy on deduction. I might characterize it as “deduction before induction,” whereas I believe it ought to be the other way round.

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Chosen for What?

Few doctrines divide God’s people like the doctrine of election. Since both the word, “election” in its various forms, plus the concept using different words is found repeatedly in the Bible, some explanation must be offered. It cannot simply be ignored.

Although there are various shades of interpretation, in the end, it boils down to two possibilities. Either election means God chose His people without reference to anything He saw in man (unconditional election), or God chose people based upon something He saw or foresaw within them (conditional election).

Since the days of the Protestant Reformation, these two concepts have resulted in two different theologies, Calvinism, which holds to unconditional election, and Arminianism which teaches conditional election. In truth, there are variations within these two camps, and some prefer to avoid either label, but there are really only two positions on election. For brevity’s sake, I will use the commonly accepted historic labels.

In this article, I will examine a text that is often claimed by both sides of the debate.

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4)

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"Barely Christian" – R.C. Sproul on Arminianism

Image of Willing to Believe: Understanding the Role of the Human Will in Salvation
by R. C. Sproul
Baker Books 2018
Paperback 240

I first encountered the term “High Calvinism” when I read Lewis Chafer’s systematic theology. This term is a bit old-fashioned now, of course. If someone is a “High Calvinist,” it means he’s very Reformed in his soteriology. This surely described R.C. Sproul!

In a book entitled Willing to Believe: Understanding the Role of the Human Will in Salvation, Sproul provided a short historical theology of this topic by examining nine different theologians and their soteriological positions. In this excerpt, Sproul frames one part of this important issue:1

This classic issue between Augustinian theology and all forms of semi-Pelagianism focuses on one aspect of the order of salvation (ordo salutis): What is the relationship between regeneration and faith? Is regeneration a monergistic or synergistic work? Must a person first exercise faith in order to be born again? Or must rebirth occur before a person is able to exercise faith? Another way to state the question is this: Is the grace of regeneration operative or cooperative?

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A Calvinist Evangelist?

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