Precisely nine years ago I embraced the doctrines of Grace (also called 5-point Calvinism). It was a chaotic time, where both the tearing down of my old theology and the construction of this new theology were taking place simultaneously in my mind and spirit. To complicate matters, an old friend, who had faithfully attended my weekly bible study for college students, came to my office one day and begged me to start up a new study group. She had come to a difficult point in her life and had a deep hunger for someone to bring her the Word. I had sympathy for her, but didn’t feel I was in any position to teach.
First, I could no longer teach much of what I had in the past. Many of those doctrines, like a house built on shifting sand, laid in a collapsed heap. I was in the process of bulldozing those aberrant beliefs right off my intellectual property. Second, I still did not know enough about Calvinism to be confident enough to teach it. Third, I still had not resolved all the points of Calvinism in my heart and mind yet. I readily accepted the T, the U, and the I but I wasn’t so sure about the L and the P. Odd, I know, if the U then the P should follow, right? I’ve never said I was the sharpest knife in the drawer!
Anyway, against my better judgment, I plunged ahead with the study and presented my understanding of sovereign salvation to that small audience. It all worked out for the good, though. The class constantly presented challenges that helped to sharpen me. In the end though, only one person from the group came to believe in the doctrines of Grace. She came to visit me in my office one afternoon last year and I asked her pointedly, “have you become convinced that Calvinism is true?” My friend gave me an unforgettable reply. In a humble and almost broken-hearted tone, she said, “Yes it has to be true, because I know my own heart.” Continue reading
I think I want this.
I’m not a fan of so-called Christian apparel, including t-shirts that often feature banal pop culture references or trite aphorisms that are meant to do all the ‘witnessing’ of the gospel for us. But this struck me as funny.
Not sure why I’m amused though, because it’s absolutely true. It’s a humble reminder that the only contribution to my salvation by God’s grace is my great sin.
HT: Nola’s Devotionals
A frequenter of this blog commented on my last post, Free Will: Making Distinctions and has asked several very good questions. Instead of replying in the meta I thought I would spotlight my answers in a post. I hope my friend doesn’t mind all the attention!
Note: I would advise reading my previous post in order to grasp the full context of this discussion.
Q: OK, if our free choice is irrevocably governed by our will, how “free” is that choice? I don’t want to play semantics here, but we really can’t have “spiritual” free choice if our choice is unbreakably bound by our will. Continue reading
WARNING! Swallow your pride before engaging these verses, for they speak to all of us without exception. You may believe this is not a very encouraging passage to think upon, but it relays an essential doctrinal truth. These scriptures are foundational to the teachings I am preparing to post concerning issues like free will and man’s ability and willingness to embrace the gospel message.
as it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.” “They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;” “their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their way, and the way of peace they did not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Meditate on these verses throughout the day and ask yourselves the following questions:
- If no one understands spiritual matters or seeks after God, how can we be saved?
- If all man has become unprofitable (worthless) is there anything he can do of himself to become profitable (worthy)?
- Can you possibly believe that man is basically good with a few inherent flaws that cause him to make some ‘mistakes’ in life after reading this text?
- Do you agree with Paul’s assessment that man is corrupt in every part of his being; including the mind, will, emotions and spirit?
- Knowing the sorry state of man’s nature, how important do you think the ministry of the Holy Spirit is in leading us to Christ in repentance and faith?