Discovering the Amazing Grace of God: Personal Reflections on the Doctrines of Grace

Early in my Christian life, when I was attending a Wesleyan Methodist college, I was informed that, as a Presbyterian, I was a Calvinist. I stood accused of believing in such ideas as total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. Back to the Bible My Arminian friends charged that such ideas contradicted the love of God and were deduced by the "cold logic" of John Calvin. They challenged me to go back to the Bible to discover the God of love. So I did. But the more I read, the more I found the Bible saying what Calvin and his fellow Reformers claimed. The revelation of God's infinite love is clear, but it is qualified by his infinite sovereignty and holiness. "The Lord has compassion on those who fear him" (Ps. 103:13). Scripture reveals that no one naturally seeks after God; sinful people are naturally rebels who hate him (Rom. 1:18-32; 3:9-20). And God himself has determined which of these rebels will receive his mercy and which ... Read more

Calvinism and Evangelism

Many people think that "Calvinist evangelist" is an oxymoron. What do you think? Can someone be seriously Calvinistic and at the same time seriously evangelistic? Does a belief in the absolute sovereignty of God take the wind out of the sails of evangelism? We live in a day of gross ignorance with regard to sound theology. We should continually yearn for sound (wholesome, healthy) doctrine (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). As we Christians learn and respond rightly to sound doctrine, we begin to think correctly, and our lives begin to demonstrate the resulting godly fruit. So how should a belief in Calvinism affect our belief in evangelism? What Is a Calvinist? Well, what is a Calvinist? A Calvinist believes in sola Scriptura . That is to say, he believes that the Bible, exclusively, is God's very word. Therefore, to him the Bible alone is the final court of appeal on all matters of faith and practice. Additionally, a Calvinist believes that fallen humans can be forgiven of sin and receive a just ... Read more

All of Grace

As Calvinists, we commonly affirm that salvation-from first to last-is all of grace. We not only enter the Christian life by grace, but also go on living as Christians by that same grace of God. We do not need God's grace merely to get us started. We need God's grace for our sanctification as much as we need it for our justification. And we need God's grace for our glorification. Thus, we may rightly say that salvation is all of grace. Salvation Is All of Grace We may rightly say that salvation, in all its aspects, is all of grace , because God, in giving us salvation, is showing favor to the undeserving. That's what saving grace is-favor shown to the unworthy. Perhaps it is even better to say that grace is favor shown to the ill-deserving. Think of it this way: I may give food to someone who is unworthy or undeserving. That might demonstrate mercy or grace on my part. But if I give food to an undeserving person who the previous week robbed me and left me for dead, that is something ... Read more

Tulips or Roses?

Tulips or Roses? Iain D. Campbell Most readers will be aware that the acrostic TULIP has been used to describe the so-called "five points of Calvinism": Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and the Perseverance of the saints. Calvinism, of course, is a wide subject, and even if we were to confine ourselves to Calvin's Institutes , we would have to include many, many more "points." Calvin had much to say, for example, about the nature of general revelation, the person of Christ, the sacraments, and the nature of civil government, none of which is reflected in the "five points." However, as far as the nature of the gospel is concerned, these famous five phrases do draw our attention to cardinal and central issues: the effects of sin, God's unconditioned and unmerited election of his people, the work of Christ for us, the work of the Holy Spirit in us, and the power of God in enabling us to live the Christian life. All of this serves to remind us that ... Read more

The Leading of the Spirit (Part 2)

[In Part 1, published in New Horizons last month, Dr. Warfield demonstrated that every genuine child of God is led by the Holy Spirit, that this leading is another way of speaking of the Spirit's work of sanctification, and that it is a continuous, ongoing work in the life of the redeemed child of God. Part 2 picks up from there. "Editor] All of this will be powerfully supported and the subject perhaps somewhat further elucidated if we will seek now to penetrate a little deeper into the inmost nature of the work of the Holy Spirit which Paul calls here a "leading," by attending more closely to the term which he has chosen to designate it when he calls it by this name. This term, as those skilled in such things tell us, is one which throws emphasis on three matters: on the extraneousness of the influence under which the movement suggested takes place; on the completeness of the control which this influence exerts over the action of the subject led; and on the pathway over which the ... Read more


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