Calvinism: The thing people fear in their churches

What is the most detestable thing a person can imagine happening to their church? A disregard of the scripture? A lack of mission? Triviality or a worship of culture? Moral corruption among church leaders or an unloving attitude? A lack of worship?

No, it seems that a great many fear the teaching of Calvinism. That is, the five points of Calvinism. The doctrines of grace. These things:

  • Total depravity
  • Unconditional Election
  • Limited Atonement
  • Irresistible Grace
  • Perseverance of the saint

That is, you believe that:

  1. We experience first our depravity and need of salvation.
  2. Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith.
  3. Then we trust the sufficiency of the atoning death of Christ for our sins.
  4. Then we discover that behind the work of God to atone for our sins and bring us to faith was the unconditional election of God.
  5. And finally we rest in his electing grace to give us the strength and will to persevere to the end in faith.

Radical stuff, that Calvinism. Goodness knows where that could lead.

Not sure? Here are some things you could read to maybe give you a better idea.

Lectures on ‘The Pastor as Scholar, and the Scholar as Pastor’

On Thursday, April 23, 2009, at Park Community Church in Chicago, IL, the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School hosted Dr. John Piper ofBethlehem Baptist Church and Dr. D. A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Titled “The Pastor as Scholar, and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry with John Piper and D.A. Carson”, the evening featured hour-long lectures by Drs. Piper and Carson offering reflections of a theological and personal nature on the work of the pastor and the scholar, respectively. Below are video links to their talks.

Carson talk

Pastor as Scholar


Who was John Calvin?

This year marks the 500th anniversary of reformer John Calvin’s birth. To mark that anniversary, Reformation Trust has published a collection of essays from some of the top reformed teachers and pastors looking at Calvin’s life, ministry and teachings. The list of authors in the 20-chapter book is impressive:  Derek W. H. Thomas, Sinclair B. Ferguson, D. G. Hart, Harry L. Reeder, Steven J. Lawson, W. Robert Godfrey, Phillip R. Johnson, Eric J. Alexander, Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, Richard D. Phillips, Thomas K. Ascol, Keith A. Mathison, Jay E. Adams, Philip Graham Ryken, Michael Horton, Jerry Bridges, and Joel R. Beeke.

About the book, D.A. Carson says: “On the five-hundredth anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, it is utterly fitting that a book of essays should appear that is designed for ordinary Christians, not scholars. The scholars will have their conferences, of course, and rightly so, but here is a collection of essays that will inform and move ordinary readers to grasp something of the profound gift God gave to the church in the person and ministry—and especially the writings—of Calvin.”

Ligonier Ministries, of which Reformation Trust is a division, is selling the book as well as offering a sample chapter online. It would do anyone well to better understand a man who had a profound effect on church history and was probably one of the greatest Christian thinkers.

Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: Online

UPDATE: The person who posted this online did so illegally. Like others who linked, I was unaware of this. My apologies. Rather, go here to see this awesome book.

What this book is about:

The Christian church has a long tradition of systematic theology, that is, studying theology and doctrine organized around fairly standard categories such as the Word of God, redemption, and Jesus Christ. This introduction to systematic theology has several distinctive features:
– A strong emphasis on the scriptural basis for each doctrine and teaching
– Clear writing, with technical terms kept to a minimum
– A contemporary approach, treating subjects of special interest to the church today
– A friendly tone, appealing to the emotions and the spirit as well as the intellect
– Frequent application to life – Resources for worship with each chapter
– Bibliographies with each chapter that cross-reference subjects to a wide range of other systematic theologies.