Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Humility of Calvin's Calvinism by Burk Parsons

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.

Read the rest here at Monergism


Steve Martin said...

Well...being a Calvinist amy be a good start (compared to a lot of "free will", "decision" type denominations (or non-denominations).

But the presence of too much 'reason' with regard to the Lord's Supper ('how can Christ be in this bread and wine when He is seated at the right hand of the Father'?)...and the whole limited atonement thing. This is an assurance robber that turns the whole enterprise (faith should never be an enterprise)into a fruit checking, navel gazing exercise to be sure that Christ really died for you.

Nope. Not for me. I think Luther had it right.

Larry, over at

has some great posts comparing Lutheranism and Calvinism.

He has been both.

Thanks, Wayne.

Wayne Dawg said...

Thanks brother Steve!