It has not been my habit to refer to myself as a Calvinist; if memory serves, I have never done so, primarily because I don't think John Calvin would want me to. In fact, whenever another Christian asks me what I am (with the seeming hope of determining my particular denominational affiliation), I respond simply, "I am a Christian." Nevertheless, if I were ever truly pressed on the matter of being a Calvinist, I suppose I would respond by saying, "Yes, I am a Calvinist because I am a Christian, and I am a Christian because I believe the gospel."?
The nineteenth-century Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon said it this way: I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus.2
A question remains, however, for many Calvinistically challenged Christians throughout the world: "What is a Calvinist?"
For many, the answer is as simple as a simplistic adherence to the five points of Calvinism. That may be a helpful starting point for some, but I would suggest it may not be the best place to start for most Christians in their pursuit of the fundamentals of Calvinism according to Calvin.
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