Psalm 16:5

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

God's Warth is Coming... Are You Ready?

You had better listen to the words of Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter, but he that does the will of my father in heaven.” If ye by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live. If you live after the flesh, you’ll die! The cross does not give us a minor shift or two with regard to a few of our ethical and religious values. The cross radically disrupts the very center and citadel of your life from self to Christ. And if the cross has not done that, YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN! My Friend face it, young rogue, you’re not a Christian until the cross has radically disrupted the very center and citadel of your life! And brought you from a life of commitment to serve self…What are the focal points of the reign of your self? If you’ve gone to the cross in union with Christ, it’s been shattered!"
- Al Martin

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5 Point Calvinism or Sovereign Grace? Can There Be a Difference?

I believe in Sovereign Grace, but I'm not a Calvinist and, over the course of the last few weeks, it seems as though the subject of 5 Point Calvinism has come up repeatedly in relation to preaching the gospel. Seeing the the gospel, the good news of the death of Christ, His burial, and His resurrection to the right hand of God is the central message of the Christian faith, I have decided to see if I could put together a couple short posts on the subject.

Before I begin, I want to be clear about a couple things. First, I love my 5 Point brothers and sisters in Christ and I love my Free Will friends in Christ. So long as you preach the good news of salvation by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, I will gladly stand with either side in the preaching of the gospel. While I will take a strong stand from the Scriptures on these points, it does not change my my willingness to associate with people on both sides and in the middle on these issues. Second, I am not writing to pick a fight, but rather to encourage my 5 Point brothers in Christ to grasp hold of what I believe to be a more biblical understanding of the gospel and therefore to become zealous for its proclamation. Now, I don't mean to say that there are not 5 Pointers that are zealous for the gospel, but that consistent Calvinism (not Hyper Calvinism) hinders the gospel, changes the gospel, and deadens zeal for the salvation of sinners. While most 5 Pointers are not wholly consistent with their professed belief, many suffer from various amounts of the above. I want this series to promote love, good works, and a heart for lost souls among the brethren, not start a fight. Third, I write with the desire that the Lamb that was slain would receive the reward of His suffering - and He has ordained that that reward should be gained through the foolishness of preaching. Oh that there should be more laborers who would go forth with the gospel of Christ, weeping and bearing precious seed. If by any means I can, through biblical exposition of the Word, motivate men to preach without fear and without shame the cross of Christ, I should be overjoyed.

OK, on to business: Can one believe in Sovereign Grace - a grace which through the power of God brings to saving faith a people chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world - and not be a 5 Point Calvinist? Most Calvinists would say no, the points are an indivisible unit which stand or fall together. ("These five points that we have studied really comprise one unified system of Biblical doctrine. Each point necessarily follows the other. They stand or fall together." - Pastor Zack Guess) If God saves man (monergism), then 5 Point Calvinism (5PC) is true. The only other option they say is that man saves himself (synergism) and that is the Free Will (FW) position according to them seeing that salvation is conditioned upon the man believing in this view. My contention is that the FW position is not of necessity synergistic (the cooperation of man in God in saving man) and that a monergistic (God saves without the cooperation of man) view is not of necessity 5PC. I'm not here to argue Arminianism, but to support that claim here is a quote from an Arminian website: "The Arminian perspective is that God saves man. It is God’s power that effects salvation. Man is able to resist God. So even though God desires all men to be saved, he does not force salvation; this also means he does not change their will so that they may desire salvation, even though God woos men, and can limit man’s actions...Arminians also believe that God saves men by an act of his grace. Yes, this may be because of our faith, but that is only because God has set the condition of faith. Thus man cannot save himself of his own accord. And if man wished to be saved and God declined to offer salvation then men would remain unsaved. Man does not have the power to save anyone including himself. This is not because salvation is logically impossible, it is clearly intrinsically possible as God can save people. But man lacks the capacity to save. The inability for man to save himself is a true limitation." - Arminianism and synergism, 

End of post one.... More later.

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