For those who are unfamiliar, Calvinism is a collection of five Biblical doctrines. These doctrines are also called the Doctrines of Grace, but Calvinism is the most common way to describe them. These doctrines include Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Each of these doctrines revolve around the question of salvation, and the overarching umbrella of these doctrines is the Sovereignty of God (i.e. the total control of God over everything). Due to the shortness of this blog I will not be breaking down each doctrine. If you want to know more check out this free book by John Piper (http://www.desiringgod.org/books/five-points). It is a good place to start.
When I was first introduced to Calvinism, I was working through teaching the Gospel of John in an Arminian Church. For those of you who are familiar with the doctrines, this may make you chuckle, for the Gospel of John is extremely Calvinistic.
- “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.“ – John 6:37
- “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. “ – John 6:44
- “And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”” – John 6:65
- “but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:26-28
- “Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” – John 12:39
- “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. “ – John 17:9
These versus tell us that we had nothing to do with being saved. We were entirely passive in our conversion. Yes, we had to have faith in Christ, but we had faith in Christ because God gave us faith. These versus point to God receiving ALL of the Glory for salvation, and these versus are just the tip of the iceberg. The Bible is littered with Calvinism.
Because someone pointed out these doctrines, my senses towards them were heightened as I searched the Scriptures, and for the first time, I caught them as I read them. The result of catching these truths is an understanding of the depth of God’s grace that I previously missed. I almost feel that the God I previously worshipped was an idol that I had created in my mind, and not the true God as revealed in His Word. As a result of someone directing my attention to these truths, my God is now bigger and truer in my mind and my heart.
My guess is that if I took a survey of Pastors and asked them if they would like their congregation to have a higher view of God and a lower view of themselves, most of them would give a resounding yes. If that is the case, then Pastors must teach Calvinism, for without teaching these truths your students will miss them, and missing them is missing the God of the Bible.