En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Part 2 on The Balance in Doctrine of John Calvin!

Posted by Scott on January 31, 2009

Behold John Calvin’s beautifully balanced doctrine! Part 2 by Chris de Vidal @ deVidal.Blogspot.com

I think that Scripture says that God is perfectly, completely sovereign (in control) of every event in life. And that man is completely responsible for everything that he does. People either tend to favor one over the other, but we MUST hold BOTH with EQUAL tension.

Arminianistic Christians tend to favor man’s responsibility at the expense of God’s soveriegn control. “What if I mess up this gospel presentation?? Someone is going to hell because of me!”

Hyper-Calvinistic Christians tend to favor God’s sovereign control at the expense of man’s responsibility. “Sit down, young man. When God decides to save the heathen in India, He will do it without your help.”

In my experience, classical Calvinism gets as close to the center as I have ever seen, which is one reason I love it so much. In theory (though unfortunately due to our sin not always in practice), in theory both are fully stressed.

Let’s examine classical Calvinism’s explanation of TULIP to see if this is true.

But before I begin, you MUST know that these things are a mystery to me, just like the doctrine of the Trinity! I see them reflected all over Scripture and yet I can’t reconcile them together. I just trust that, like the doctrine of the Trinity, if the Bible says so, I believe it!

Total depravity Mankind is unable to respond to the gospel unless God frees them from chains (sovereignty) and yet God will hold all mankind responsible for their depravity (responsibility) and lack of willingness to obey the call of the gospel (responsibility).

Unconditional election God chooses men based upon zero good deeds (sovereignty), and yet mankind MUST choose Christ to be saved (responsibility)

Limited atonement God applied the blood of Christ (sovereignty) to anyone who would believe (responsibility). The blood of Christ is indeed sufficient for everyone and anyone who would believe. God wants EVERYONE to repent (responsibility) and yet not all repent, or even hear the gospel (sovereignty).

Irresistible grace God calls people in such a way (sovereignty) that they will only and always freely choose Christ (responsibility).

Perseverance of the saints You WILL persevere to the end (sovereignty). You MUST persevere to the end (responsibility).

I’m not asking you to tell me that any of these make sense in your finite mind (they don’t all make sense to this finite mind), I’m just asking you to consider that the old reformers were about as close to walking down the middle as you can get.

As for you, dear Christian, if you stress man’s responsibility, don’t forget that God is fully and completely in control of all of history. With His feet up, OK?!?!?

If you stress God’s sovereignty, don’t neglect that man is fully and completely responsible for his actions. “Repent and believe the gospel!”


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