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Posts Tagged ‘Doctrines of Grace’

Did the Early Church Believe the Doctrines of Grace?

There are a number of websites (some quite terrible, others a bit scholarly, yet equally terrible) that attempt to dissuade investigative readers to believe that, except for Augustine, or at least until the “time of Augustine”, that the early church did not believe in the depravity of man, in unconditional election and/or a sovereign predestination, a limited atonement in extent of Jesus Christ, grace that is irresistible, and the final perseverance of the saints. This is a tragedy. Why? With a hearty consulting of primary sources, readers can certainly find the “infant stages” of all these Gospel doctrines throughout the writings of the early church. And not only these can be found in “infant stages” but they can be found quite specifically in many of the early writers.

Read the entire article here.

What is a Baptist?

by Tom Hicks

Many times when people ask the question, “What is a Baptist?,” they’re looking for certain qualities that distinguish Baptists from other denominations. But to look for distinguishing characteristics of Baptists is a question of “Baptist distinctives.” The definition of a “Baptist” includes far more than our distinguishing doctrines and practices. What it means to be “Baptist” involves the whole of “Baptist identity.” So, the question before us is “What are the basic elements of Baptist identity?” “Baptist Identity” is an interconnected web of doctrine that leads to Baptist distinctives (in the Baptist’s opinion). The first three major headings below come from the introduction of Tom Nettles’s masterful work, By His Grace and For His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life.

Baptists are Orthodox. Baptists hold to the historic symbols of orthodoxy, including the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Athanasius, the Apostles Creed, etc…

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Cage-Stage Calvinism

March 16, 2015 4 comments

by R. C. Sproul

My friend Michael Horton often comments on the phenomenon of “cage-stage Calvinism,” that strange malady that seems to afflict so many people who have just seen the truth of the Reformed doctrines of grace. We’ve all known one of these “cage-stage Calvinists.” Many of us were even one of them when we were first convinced of God’s sovereignty in salvation.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Introduction to Election

September 5, 2014 1 comment

Election! —What a blessed word! What a glorious doctrine! Who does not rejoice to know that he has been chosen to some great blessing? Election is unto salvation—the greatest of all blessings. And strange to say, this is a neglected truth even by many who profess to believe it, and others have a feeling of repulsion at the very mention of this Bible-revealed, God-honouring, and man humbling truth. Spurgeon said, “There seems to be an inveterate prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine, and although most other doctrines will be received by professing Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded.” If such were true in Spurgeon’s day, how much more so in this our day. Concerning this doctrine there is an alarming departure from the faith of our Baptist fathers. Touching this article of our faith Baptists have come to a day when they have a Calvinistic creed and an Arminian clergy.

But there are some who love the doctrine of Election. To them election is the foundation dug deep for the other doctrines of human redemption to rest upon. They love it enough to preach it in the face of criticism and persecution. They will surrender their pulpits rather than be silenced on this precious tenet of the once delivered faith. But all who love the doctrine were once haters of it, therefore, they have nothing in which to take pride. Every man by nature is an Arminian. It takes the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, taught by the Holy Spirit, to cause a man to love the doctrine of election. How deeply important that believers should be learners. To do this we must acknowledge the superior wisdom of God whose thoughts are not as our thoughts. The Bible was given to correct our thinking. Repentance is a change of mind resulting in a change of thinking. We are not to come to the Bible as critics; the Bible is to criticize us. We cannot come to the Bible infallibly, but by grace we can come humbly. May grace be given to every writer and reader that we may have the right attitude of heart before God. The surest evidence of a saved state is to have the right attitude towards the Word of God. Dear reader, let the writer warn you against “poking fun” at any doctrine of the Bible.

The doctrines of grace have found expression in two systems of theology commonly known as Calvinism and Arminianism. These two systems were not named for their founders, but for the men who popularized them. The system of truth known as Calvinism was preached by Augustine at an earlier date, and before Augustine by Christ and the Apostles, being especially emphasized by the Apostle Paul. The system of error known as Arminianism was proclaimed by Pelagius in the fifth century. Between these two there is no middle position; every man is either one or the other in his religious thinking. Some try to mix the two but this is not straight thinking. To say that we are neither Calvinistic nor Arminian is to evade the issue. Paulinism is represented by either Calvinism or Arminianism. The true system is based upon the truth of man’s inherent and total depravity; the false system is based upon the Romish dogma of free-will.

 

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election

 

A Recommended series on the Five Points of Calvinism

My good friend and Brother Randall Klynsma, over at Northland Reformed Church, has preached a series on the ‘Five Points of Calvinism’. These doctrines, which Pastor Randall expounds, have been severely misrepresented by the opponents of the Reformed Faith. Some mistake Reformed Theology as only consisting of these five points, while others say that these five points are only a man made theology. Those who think that Reformed Theology only consist of these five points, knows nothing of the Reformed Faith and those who state that these doctrines are a man made theology, does not realize that it was the man made doctrines of the Remonstrants that caused the Dutch Reformed Church to give a response, which response is found in the five points of Calvinism.

Therefore, I highly recommend this series, on the five points of Calvinism. Brother Randall clearly unfolds the doctrine of original sin and shows how that man is unable to bring himself to God, in order that he might be redeemed. Due to man’s inability, God must unconditionally elect out of the fall, or no one would have been saved. Those of whom God elects, God sends his Son to die in their place. Those for whom Christ died are regenerated by the Spirit and have the benefits of Christ death given to them. Finally, those of whom God elects, has his Son die for, irresistibly calls, he also preserves so that none of his elect are lost.

Without further ado, I point you to these messages:

The Five Points of Calvinism Pt 1—Total Depravity

The Five Points of Calvinism Pt 2—Unconditional Election

The Five Points of Calvinism Pt 3—Limited Atonement

The Five Points of Calvinism Pt 4—Irresistible Grace

The Five Points of Calvinism pt 5—Perseverance of the Saints

Are Reformed Baptist truly reformed?

The debate between paedo and credo Baptist rages on. Many think that the debate hinges upon a right understanding of the covenants. I myself hold this view. So here is an exchange between two Baptist on what constitutes a true Reformed Baptist and whether or not infants should be baptized based upon a right understanding of the covenants.

The Impossible Reformed Baptist by jaminhubner

Subject: A Challenge from a Reformed Baptist Pastor

Hello, Jamin:

I have noticed the explanation you give about baptism and the “Covenant of Grace” from a Reformed Baptist point of view. I have been studying the subject myself for some time in order to defend the legitimacy of being “reformed” and “baptistic” at the same time. My findings may surprise you, but I will like to share them with you if you like. The conclusion that has been taking shape on my mind, is that YOU CANNOT be Reformed and Baptist AT THE SAME TIME. Well, you and I (and a lot of other Baptist folks) may claim to be properly so, but the reality is that the biblical data simply is against us….sadly.

Read more here.