Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why I don't like Calvinism but love the Doctrines of Grace

I love the doctrines of grace! The teaching is biblical in that it makes much of the sovereign grace of God, His freedom to elect whom He wills and to damn who He wills, it makes much of his holiness, it reveals our sinfulness and inability to do anything good on our own, it leaves humanity completely at the mercy of God, it completely removes any hope a person has of saving himself and drives him to his knees.

Calvinism is not biblical. I have met many people who really are convinced to never look seriously at the doctrines of grace because it is a "teaching of man" they say, "I don't follow Calvin or any other man, I follow Christ." It is tragic that such precious doctrine has been coined with a man's name. I therefore have resolved to never use the name calvinism or to say I am a Calvinist. Rather I believe what the Bible teaches. Call me a biblicist and if I must use some name, then I will settle on "The Doctrines of Grace."
Paul addresses the problem of sectarianism in the book of 1 Corinthians. He says, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (NKJV 1 Cor. 1:10-13)" This is not to say that we shouldn't hold to a system of doctrine. What this is teaching is that we ought not to go beyond the scriptural warrants for systems of doctrines. There should not be an attitude of pride withine the Church. Some saying they follow one man over another or even saying they follow Christ (to make themselves feel super spiritual). What do the Scriptures say? "Consider one another as more important than yourselves," "love your neighbor as yourself," "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. NKJV Phil 2:3-8" Good doctrine drives us to become like Jesus. It makes us humble and changes us. Good doctrine may cause division but when it does, we ought to stay humble and love our brothers and pray for them that they would grow in Christ and not struggle with terminology and factions and carnality.
There is a danger in systematic theology. That danger is following a system so closely that one becomes blinded to the scriptures in an attempt to make them align to his system of theology. Systematic Theology is good to help us understand how the Bible works as a whole, what it teaches on any given subject throughout its entirety. That is all.
As I continue to grow in my faith one thing is continually evident in my heart. Good doctrine goes to the heart. Good doctrine sanctifies us and that is what it should do if it is worth holding on to!


Stan said...

I cannot tell you how much I agree with you. I dislike the term "Calvinist" for the same reasons you list. Here's what I used to tell people: "I'm not a Calvinist. I'm a Biblicist. I'm just happy that Calvin and I agree so often on what the Bible says."

Brother Jason said...

Thanks for your comment. To God be the glory.

Rachel R. said...

My husband coined the term "Sovereigntist," for the same reason(s). So we call ourselves Sovereigntist - we believe in the absolute, total sovereignty of God.

Brother Jason said...

Hey, Thanks Rachel I will keep that one in mind. It works better and doens't drive people away.

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