Friday, October 27, 2006

Ten Effects...of Calvinism

Steve Camp has posted an excellent article by John Piper entitled Ten Effects of Believing in the Five Points of Calvinism. Read it here

17 comments:

St. Brianstine said...

I like it. Especially his emphasis on evangelism. So many accuse biblicists (err...Calvinists) of not evangelizing...

Keith said...

I made a copy (Piper's statements) to install on my Dell AXIM (handheld) when I get a chance.

david t said...

I just don't buy it.

Let's think abstractly for a second. If God has chosen who he's going to save before he even created the world, then what's the point of evangelism? It isn't about really trying to spread the Gospel in a way that's relevent. It doesn't inspire any compassion. It's just about filling some pointless role so that we'll be "happy" along side God while God just "calls his sheep" back home after a pointless 7,000 year wait.

That's what this "biblicist" thinks, anyway (because I base all my theology strait from the bible, too).

And Brian, it's not that we (non calvinists--I'm not an Arminian either...) are making some esoteric "accusation" against Calvinists...it's that Reformed churches are notorious for being non--or even anti--evangelical. I'm not saying you are...or John Piper for that matter...but there's a reason why a lot of evangelicals call Reformed churches "The Frozen Chosen".

St. Brianstine said...

Dave,

You said, "Let's think abstractly for a second. If God has chosen who he's going to save before he even created the world, then what's the point of evangelism?"

Remember God chose people to be saved THROUGH evangelism. Without it, they don't get saved.

So why evangelize? Well there are a few reasons:

•It is commanded by Jesus himself: “And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Mat 28:18-20 ESV). The main reason we evangelize, is because we are commanded to. There are many, many passages in the Bible that admonish us to preach the word and to evangelize to people. The above is just one of course (the Great Commission). Jesus said, “"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Joh 14:15 ESV).

•People need to hear the Word to get saved: God asks us to reach those people which He has planned to be saved. But the thing is we don’t know who he wants saved so we preach to all. Paul said in to the Romans, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17 ESV). People need to hear the Word to get saved. They need to hear the gospel. This is why we evangelize. Paul also says earlier, “But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" (Rom 10:14-15 ESV). Without hearing the Word of God, people won’t get saved. They can’t know the gospel if we don’t evangelize.

•God chose the means for people to get saved: evangelism: Evangelism is the way God chose for people to get saved. He chose to use people to reach people. God doesn’t have to use us, He wants to. You said, “... what's the point?” Good question. Part of God’s plan in predestination is evangelism. For example: God told Abraham “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Gen 12:2 ESV). God promised Abraham that He (God) would make a great nation come forth from Abraham (Israel). He also told Abraham, “But you said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'" (Gen 32:12 ESV).

So the promise is from God to Abraham. But here is my point: Did Abraham still have to have sex with his wife to make this happen? Most definitely! He didn’t just say, “Well, okay God, go ahead...I’ll just be sitting on the couch waiting.” He had a part to play in fulfilling God’s promise. It is the same with predestination. God chooses to use evangelism as the means to accomplish His goal, which is salvation for His elect. Just as He chose to use Abraham and his wife having sex, as the means to complete another goal He had which was the coming forth of Israel. For Abraham to have had kids, he had to have sex. For people to get saved, we must evangelize.

Keith said...

David- I most definitely agree with Brian (who may be wearing flip-flops right now!). God chose (marked out) before the foundation of the world, but salvation didn't come until the individual "heard." First Corinthians 1:21--"God chose the foolishness of preaching to save those who would believe..." We don't know who the "chosen" are, so we witness to/evangelize everyone.

As Brian already stated, Jesus commanded it (evangelism), so we do it. Knowing HOW it works isn't the issue; being obedient is more important. Incidently, our church ("reformed Baptist") saw an average of 75+ adults/teens going out on Monday night visitation this past summer-- our Sunday morning attendance was 250 total!

St. Brianstine said...

Funny also: Mark Driscoll's church in Seattle sees hundreds of new people a week, many people are getting saved everyday there...and they are Reformed as is Piper's church and many, many other large churches in America. The frozen chosen thing is way off.

Cheatwoods said...

Dosent God want everyone to be saved? I mean that is his heart right?? Im sorry if i come back with a verse I should have looked up right now! LOL

Keith said...

Brian: I agree. A church will be the "frozen chosen" only if that is the direction of the leadership.

Cheatwoods: Many people cite 2 Peter 3:9 (I looked the verse up for you-- ha, ha) as proof that God desires all people (meaning every man, woman, child, that was ever born--ever will be born) to be saved. I don't believe that is the case. I believe that God--in His infinite wisdom and before "the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4)"-- chose some for salvation and passsed over others, leaving them to their just punishment. Jim at oldtruth.com has a good post on this very topic.

In a nutshell, God is patient in delaying Jesus' return until all He has chosen have come to repentance. God's patience is not dependent on or driven by His "hoping" that people will be saved if He waits a little longer. He has already determined who are His.

Cheatwoods said...

So is there a possability that Josiah and his little brother could not have been chosen? Are they to spend eternity in hell? That breacks my heart to think about! Am I chosen? I am a little baffled by this! Could you make some scense of it for me please!

Keith said...

Cheatwoods: You ask some really tough questions (not a bad thing)! I couldn't possibly explain everthing about the doctrine of election here (mainly because I don't claim to know it all), so I'll offer you a couple of things:

1) My understading of "election" is that we are spiritually dead in our sins, unable to know God or even desire Him, until God regenerates our hearts. THEN, we have the ability to come to Him in faith, to cry out for mercy, to be saved. My understanding of Eph 2:8-9 is that even our faith is a gift from God. Simply put, if you sincerely desire God at all, I'd say that is an evidence of your being chosen.

As far as your family, I have had some of the same "concerns"--what if my boys aren't "chosen"?; what about my wife? Since I don't know (and neither does anyone but God) who is and isn't chosen, I pray for my family, that God would save them. Whether you believe God choses or not, there is no guarantee that our loved ones will be saved. So I just pray...and pray often. God works everything out in the end, "according to the kind intention of His will." (Eph 1:5)

2) I would recommend you read The Five Points of Calvinism by David Steele/Curtis Thomas or The Doctrines of Grace by James Montgomery Boice. Either of these two books should give you a pretty good understanding of "calvinistic thought." Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul is pretty good, too.

I hope I haven't confused you. I have many friends that don't accept/believe in the Doctrines of Grace, particularly "election." Everyone doesn't have to believe the same thing I do. One last thing, take a look at Piper's comments-- Ten Effects of Believing the Five Points fo Calvinsim on Steve Camp's blog.

Cheatwoods said...

Feel free to call me Jessi, Im going to have to talk to the leaders in my church about this one! Thanks for the info!

Only thing that gets me is that I have a hard time thinking that God would creat something to not save it. I mean he says he knew us in our mothers womb. I just wouldnt creat,carry and deliver a child, raise it and then set it on fire. I dunno. But again, thanks for the response.

Keith said...

Cheatwoods: Just some food for thought. You say: I have a hard time thinking that God would creat something to not save it... Humanly speaking, I understand your reasoning. However, think about this for a minute. You accurately state that God knows everyone "in our mothers womb." He also knows who will and who will not be saved (whether He "looks into the future" or predestines). Election teaches that God chose those who would be saved. Other views teach that people are not saved because they don't choose God.

In the end, you have the same situation: Some people are saved and some are not and God is never surprised or caught off guard by that fact. That means that there are people that are born, live, die and go to hell, all with God's full and complete foreknowledge. In the "non-calvinist" view, the fault lies with the individual in not choosing. "Calvinism" teaches that the unsaved are simply passed over--receiving what they deserve. (Ask most people what we deserve and they will tell you, "we all deserve hell", right?)

Cheatwoods said...

THat is very ture, but it seems to me that thats were free will comes in. I love Josiah unconditionally but he has the choice to love me back. I cant make him. Again im not arguing, im just saying what im thinking. This might have to be something that we disagree on. LOL, I believe that you are saved and love God, however I dont agree with that one topic. I really do believe that God sent Jesus to die for everyone! WHoever wants Gods salvation it is there for him. What kind of hope would there be in the world if God already chose who he was going to save. I dont seee why he would make the bible and tell people that this is only for the lucky ones. Im having a hard time swallowing that, ya know?!
I have to hang on to the truth that if I raise my kids in the way of the Lord that if they walk away they WILL come back. Thats everyone, everyone is a child, or did I just read to far into that?

Keith said...

Cheatwoods: I understand exactly where you're coming from...I've been there-- was there for a long time before embracing the "Doctrines of Grace." I would encourage you to do some studying on the subject (later, when you have some time. With the baby on the way, I'm sure you'll have PLENTY to do!).

Keep asking questions, stay in the Word, and every chance you get, pray for those babies and your family!

You may not come to the same conclusion, but then you might.

I always wondered why God didn't just proclaim everyone saved. "All dogs go to heaven." But he didn't. Don't miss the point that He does allow some people to be born, knowing full well that they will not accept Him, ever, and they will die, and not go to heaven. God doesn't sit around "hoping" people will believe--He already knows who will and who won't. Not trying to be a "downer" here. Just throwing some things out for consideration.

You and I are classic examples of why there are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Independent, etc. churches. Everybody doesn't see everything the same way. There are born again/saved people in everyone of those churches, regardless of how they believe or understand they were saved.

Acts 17:11 [they] eagerly examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so

Cheatwoods said...

Thankyou Kieth for being so nice to me and my questions! Im going to talk tonight to my leader Joy about predestination.

Keith said...

Cheatwoods: Something I should probably note here-- it doesn't make me happy to know that people go to hell (chosen or whatever your theology is). It makes me very sad to know that there are and have been people in my own family that did not choose God / His salvation. I don't sit around thinking "well, they got theirs." I wish they had believed, but for whatever reason, it appears they did not.

My hope is in God. I am amazed that He would save someone like me.

"Thank you Kieth for being so nice..." You are welcome. I'd rather answer your questions and have us disagree, knowing that we have spoken kindly to one another. Being ugly about a disagreement never won any "converts."

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Cheatwoods said...

Hi Keith, so I talked to my leader Joy about it and she said some of what the same thing you were saying, however something she said to me that was powerfull is that she looks around at people in her life that she wants to see saved and she speacks that word of life into there lives in her heart. "My brother has been predestined by God to spend eternity in paradice with him." She says this when she prays for his salvation. That settled really well with me! I want my sons to be predestined and i want to stand in there room and say "My boys have been predestined by God, there father to spend eternity with him!!" I want to speack this intho there lives for as long as I know them. I understand it more, and I did read the verses and it actully gave me hope that I wasnt feeling before, I can see Gods compassion in it! Thankyou for talking to me about it. You rock!!