In Defense of "Calvinism"
While listening to a cassette recording of a past Southern Baptist Founders' Conference, I heard this insightful explanation of why we sometimes use the term "Calvinism" as a label for our beliefs on what the Bible has to say concerning the Gospel of Grace:
We believe that Calvinism is the Gospel in its purest expression. We could rightly call it "Paulinism," but what Christian would not call their doctrine Pauline? We could rightly call it "Augustinianism," but Augustine developed his understanding of the Doctrines of Grace in a context that was not so aware of the necessity of the doctrine of justification by faith. And so we call it "Calvinism," because not only does it have the great Pauline and Augustinian doctrines of justification by faith, but it also sets these within the context of imputed righteousness as our only standing before God as set forth in the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith. (S.B.F.C. Tape Library, "The Biblical Doctrine of Accomodation" by Tom Ascol (sbf055), afterword by unknown speaker [believed to be Dr. Thomas Nettles of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary])And the above quote is in agreement with Charles Spurgeon in his famous "Defense of Calvinism", when he said:
I sincerely hope that the quotes cited in this blogpost are helpful to anyone reading this post, if you find yourself thinking on or discussing "Calvinism."
I have my own Private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.
-To the glory of God alone.
Labels: Reformation Theology