Tag Archives: Arminianism

Talk about God or talk to God?

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  (1 Timothy 4:16)

“Are you a Calvinist? Well, I’m more of an Augustinian.” I had to chuckle when I overheard this conversation at a debate I attended on January of last year. But at the same time, I was concerned that many of us Christians are more concerned with labels and theological terminology rather than the object of our terminology. In other words, do we talk more about God rather than talking to God? Does our theological rhetoric have any impact in our daily walk with our Saviour? I purposely used the pronoun “our” because I have to honestly confess that I am guilty of this as well.

“Theology matters!”, as James White so eloquently puts it. Every Christian is a theologian in some sense. We are always learning more about the Lover of our soul everyday as we fellowship with Him. Our theology will inevitably determine how we view God, ourselves, worship, His Word, the world around us, etc. So if you don’t have a sound, biblical theology and doctrine, then you will miss out on the joy of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately. Moreover, you may end up loving someone else other than the  triune God of the Scriptures.

I am okay with calling myself a 5 point Calvinist, Reformed Baptist, dichotomist, etc. But these titles are meaningless if they bear no weight upon my soul.  Many have asked me, “does it really matter if you are a Calvinist or not?” I would say it most certainly does! Albert N. Martin wrote a compelling booklet called, “The practical implications of Calvinism”, which you can find and purchase on my recommended books page. He addresses how the doctrines of grace should have a direct affect on a Christian’s every day life. Here is an excerpt, “What is the personal practical effect of the confession of Calvinism in the life of a man? If he sees God, it will break him, and if he understands that God saves sinners, it will make him a trustful, prayerful, watchful person pursuing practical godliness. Is that what these doctrines are for you right where you sit this morning?” (pg.23)

When we study doctrine and theology it should ultimately stir within us a deep longing and desire to love and serve God. So if you call yourself a Calvinist, Augustinian, Arminian, or whatever doctrinal position you affirm, make sure that the doctrines you hold to are manifested in your daily walk with Jesus Christ. So I ask us all one more time, do we love to talk about God rather than talk to God?

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Are You a True Calvinist?

I found this on the Expository Thoughts blog, courtesy of Matt Waymeyer and thought it was hilarious! So take a look at the questions below and see if you are a true Calvinist:

Disagreements abound on the question of what exactly makes someone a true Calvinist, and that’s why I’m here—to set the record straight. Put simply, being a Calvinist has little to do with affirming the teachings of a 16th-century theologian and much to do with following the antics of a six-year-old boy. More specifically, you are only worthy of the label “Calvinist” if you are able to demonstrate a working knowledge of Bill Waterson’s cartoon strip Calvin and Hobbes.

I know this sounds a bit elitist, but I have found myself greatly offended on many occasions by people who run on at the mouth, saying things like, “Oh, wow, am I ever a great big Calvinist!”, but who don’t even know the name of Calvin’s schoolteacher. (It’s Miss Wormwood, for all you Arminians.)

This leads me to what I think is a reasonable test for determining whether or not you are true Calvinist. Put simply, if you can’t answer at least 10 of the following 12 questions about Waterson’s Calvin, please keep your so-called “Calvinism” to yourself and leave the rest of us purists in peace. It’s hard enough out here.

  1. What is Calvin’s favorite breakfast cereal?
  2. What is the name of Calvin’s favorite bedtime storybook?
  3. What is the name of the bully at Calvin’s school?
  4. What is the name of the superhero that Calvin becomes?
  5. What is the name of Calvin’s babysitter?
  6. What is the name of the invention that Calvin uses to reproduce himself?
  7. What is the last name of Susie, Calvin’s “friend” at school?
  8. What is the name of Calvin’s club (it met in his tree house)?
  9. What is the name of Calvin’s uncle (his dad’s brother)?
  10. What did Calvin’s dad like to do with the family while on vacation?
  11. What is Calvin’s favorite sport?
  12. What is the first thing that Hobbes would often do when Calvin arrived home from school?
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

What Cautions Do You Have for The New Calvinist Movement? By John Piper

The resurgence of New Calvinism has been greatly embraced by most in the evangelical world, but John Piper weighs in with some cautions about the movement. This was an edited transcript of the audio from the Desiring God site.

Would there be any cautions that you would have for the New Reformed/New Calvinist Movement you referenced earlier?

Yes.

I will give you one that is from a prophetic word given to me yesterday—take it or leave it. I’m cautious when people come to me with these kinds of things. But this rung true, and you can see that it is true without making a claim to special divine authority.

My caution concerns making theology God instead of God God. Loving doing theology rather than loving God.

Sam Crabtree said to me once, “The danger of the contemporary worship awakening is that we love loving God more than we love God.” That was very profound. And you might love thinking about God more than you love God. Or arguing for God more than you love God. Or defending God more than you love God. Or writing about God more than you love God. Or preaching more than you love God. Or evangelizing more than you love God.

Reformed people tend to be thoughtful. That is, they come to the Bible and they want to use their minds to make sense of it. The best of them want to make sense of all of the Bible and do not pick and choose saying, “I don’t like that verse. That sounds like an Arminian verse, so we will set it aside.” No! Fix your brain, don’t fix the Bible.

The kind of person that is prone to systematize and fit things together, like me, is wired dangerously to begin to idolize the system. I don’t want to go here too much, because I think the whiplash starts to swing the other direction, and we minimize the system, thinking, and doctrine to the degree that we start to lose a foothold in the Bible.

But that would be a big caution. We should be intellectually and emotionally more engaged with the person of Christ, the person of God—the Trinity—than we are with thinking about him. Thinking about God and engaging with him are inextricably woven together. But the reason you are reading the Bible, and the reason you are framing thoughts about God from the Bible, is to make your way through those thoughts to the real person.

The danger on the other side is to say, “All that intellectual stuff, no, no, no. Doctrine, no. Intellect, no. Study, no. Experience, yes!” People who do this wind up worshipping a God of their own imagination. It feels so right, so free, and so humble because they are not getting involved in all those debates. But it isn’t. It is losing a grip on reality. So we are compelled to think hard about God and the Bible.

Hanging on with the danger I am speaking of is pride—a certain species of pride. There are many species of pride, and this is just one of them. You can call it intellectualism. There is also emotionalism, but that isn’t the danger we are talking about right now. Intellectualism is a species of pride, because we begin to prize our abilities to interpret the Bible over the God of the Bible or the Bible itself.

When I asked Rick Warren, “What is your doctrine of the Bible?” He said, “Inerrant and authoritative. But I don’t mean all my interpretations of it are inerrant and authoritative.” And that is of course right. We should talk that way.

So that would be my flag, the danger of intellectualism. And maybe the danger of certain aspects of it becoming so argumentative or defensive that it becomes unnecessarily narrow. That is funny for me to say because I think I am a really narrow guy, and a lot of other people think so too.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements