Monday, November 02, 2009

Why All Christians are Calvinists (and don’t know it)

We’re about to post a 6 or 7 part series entitled, “Why All Christians are Calvinists (and don’t know it)”. For some of you, you don’t even know what “Calvinist” means. Others know and wonder, “Why in the world do you want to be so provocative and shove your ‘system’ on people?”

First of all, “Calvinism” is a poor term that frankly don’t like. For one thing, most Calvinists I know have never read a paragraph of John Calvin. It’s a historical misnomer. People believed in so-called “Calvinism” way before John Calvin. Calvinists believe in the doctrine of election, predestination, and that God is sovereign over hearts; Calvinists do not believe in free will. Arminians do not believe in election and predestination; they do believe in free will. Calvinists believe God elects individuals to be saved. Arminians do not believe God elects individuals (This is a quite over-simplified introduction of terms)

Some people say, “Don’t push Calvinism. Just teach the Bible.” Of course, that is a false separation as far as we are concerned. For example, the other day, I pointed out the importance of logical words in Scripture (like “because”, “so that”, “therefore”, etc.) I pointed out John 10:26, “you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.” Someone accused me of pushing Calvinism! Actually, I simply pointed how we should pay attention to all the words of Scripture b/c it surprises us often. I never once mentioned “Calvinism”. I just teach the Bible. Actually, Free Will is a philosophical concept completely absent from the Bible. People read into the Bible that assumption and concept.

The point of this series is to argue, all Christians, including Arminians, actually do believe in individual election (Calvinism), whether they realize it or not. However, the awareness of this truth can great enhance Christian joy…hence I’m writing this to serve the two other people who read our blog.

In history, the worlds greatest evangelists have been Calvinists, like William Carey, David Livingstone, David Brainard, Jonathan Edwards, John Paton, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield,…..

Listen how direct, even provocative Spurgeon (whom all Arminians and Calvinists alike love), “The doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works..."

The key issue is whether God has the sovereign power to change the human heart. If you believe God is decisively able to change hearts (i.e. overcome so-called “free will”), then you are a Calvinist.

EACH point will show how orthodox Christian beliefs (which Arminians affirm) necessarily lead us to accept God’s sovereignty in electing individuals to be saved.
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