Christ The Calvinist

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, Apr 10, 2006.

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  1. Rippon

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    I have seen several non-Calvinists use this phrase on the boards recently .

    Over the weekend a number of books arrived . One is called " Sermons That Shaped America . " All of the sermons were delivered by Presbyterians with the exception of Jonathan Edwards , who was a Congregationalist . Afterall ,the book was put out by P&R .

    James Boice's sermon on the subject heading was the next-to-last entry . Dr.Boice was one of the best American preachers in the last third of the 20th century . He went to glory in June of 2000 . This sermon was delivered in 1999 . I will give some brief quotations .

    One week , after I had preached a sermon from John touching on some of the main points of the Reformed faith , I found a bulletin from the service upon which someone had scribled his opinion of the message . It said , " I'm sick of Calvinism in every sermon . "
    The message did not particularly bother me . Notes like that seldom do . But I found it surprising that the person who wrote the note somehow regarded Calvinism as a system of thought that could well be dispensed with while nevertheless , as he assumed , still preserving Christianity . In other words , this person , like many others , somehow regarded the doctrines that go by the name of Calvinism as at best an addition to the pure gospel and at worst a system which is opposed to it . Is this true ? Are the doctrines of grace wrong ? One proof that they are not is seen in the verses to which we come in this chapter . [ John 10:27-29 ]
    The verses I have in mind are those in which the Lord Jesus Christ spoke plainly to his enemies , saying that those who do not believe on him do not believe because they are not his sheep , that those who are his sheep believe and follow , that this is true because they are given to him by the Father , that these who are given to him by the Father inevitably come to him , and finally , that these who come will never be lost . This is a message of man's complete ruin in sin and God's perfect remedy in Christ , and it can be expressed in the distinctive points of Calvinistic theology . Before we look at these points in detail , however , we should see that far from being an aberration or addition to the gospel , these truths have always belonged to the core of the Christian proclamation and have been characteristic of the church at its greatest periods .
     
  2. Rippon

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    Continuing with Dr.Boice's message of Christ The Calvinist .

    To begin with , the doctrines of grace known as Calvinism were most certainly not invented by Calvin ,nor were they characteristic of his thought alone during the Reformation period . As we shall see , these are the truths taught by Jesus and confirmed for us in Scripture by the Apostle Paul . Augustine argued for the same truths over against the denials of Pelagius and those who followed him . Luther was a Calvinist . So was Zwingli . That is , they believed what Calvin believed and what he later systematized in his influential Institutes of the Christian Religion .[ Boice then cites many Calvinists throughout history ]... For all these the doctrines of grace were not an appendage to Christian thought but were rather that which was central and which most fired and gave form to their preaching and missionary efforts .
    This, of course , is precisely why I am reviewing this history -- to show that the doctrines known as Calvinism are not something that emerged late in church history but rather are that which takes its orgins in the teachings of Jesus , which has been found throughout the church in many periods, and which has always been characteristic of the church at its greatest periods of faith and expansion . It follows from this that the church of Jesus Christ will again see great days when these truths are widely proclamed , and proclamed fearlessly .
     
  3. Rippon

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    Jesus is our example . We sometimes think of these doctrines as household doctrines ; that is , as truths to be proclaimed only to those who already believe . But this was not Jesus' procedure . He taught them also to his enemies . In this case, they had come to him with the implication that he was responsible for their failure to believe ; they had said , " If thou be the Christ , tell us plainly . " He answered this , not so much with a statement concerning his identity as the Messiah ( although he did say that his words and works authenticated him ) , but much more importantly by a full statement of man's utter inability to choose God and of the necessity for divine grace in each step of salvation . Did they want it told plainly ? Well , this is the truth told plainly : " Ye believe not , because ye are not of my sheep ... my sheep hear my voice , and I know them , and they follow me . And I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish , neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand . My Father , which gave them me , is greater than all ; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand "( vv. 26-29 )
     
  4. Rippon

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    ... For while it is true that in ourselves we cannot come to Christ and so lie under God's just condemnation , the main point of these verses is that God has nevertheless acted in grace toward some . Earlier this was expressed by saying that Christ died for the sheep ; in other words , by the doctrine of a particular redemption ( v.11) . In this section we are told that Jesus has given eternal life to the same people ( v. 28), and that these are those whom God has given him ( v.29) .
    You cannot trace the orgins of our salvation further back than that . In this , as in all things , the orgins are to be found in God . Some say , " But surely God called them because he foresaw that some would believe . " But it does not say that . Others say , " He chose them because he knew in advance that they would merit salvation . " It does not say that either . What it does say is that the initiative in salvation lies with God and that this is found , on the one hand , in God's electing grace whereby he chooses some for salvation entirely apart from any merit on their part ( which , of course , they do not have ) and , on the other hand , in Christ's very particular atonement by which he bore the penalty for the sins of his people .
     
  5. Rippon

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    ... The third of the Reformed doctrines presented by Jesus is the effective call: that is , that God's call of his people is accompanied by such power that those whom he calls necessarily come to him , believing on Christ and embracing Christ for salvation . Jesus expresses this by saying : " My sheep hear my voice , and I know them , and they follow me " ( v.27 ) .It is a mark of the sheep that they both hear and follow their shepherd .

    ... I wish that all God's children might come to know and love these truths . I wish that many might be saved by them .
    We live in a day that is so weak in its proclamation of Christian doctrine that even many Christians cannot see why such truths should be preached or how they can be used of the Lord to save sinners . But this was not always so , and it was not always the case that these truths were unused by God in saving sinners .

    ...I do not preach a gospel that has a shaky foundation . I do not proclaim a religion of percentages and probabilities . I proclaim the message of Christ , Paul , Augustine , Luther , Calvin , and all others who have found God to be their pure hope and salvation . It is the message of man's complete ruin in sin and of God's perfect remedy in Christ , expressed in his election of a people to himself and his final perservation of them . God grant that you might believe it wholeheartedly .
     
  6. rjprince

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    Rip,

    Thanks for a post that does not blast any of the saints of yesteryear. Boice was a great preacher and his theology on salvation was right on track!

    AMEN and AMEN.

    Baptist who hold to this seem to be a dying breed. It seems that Presbys and non-denoms are carrying the torch on this one, for the most part. Isn’t it true that 150 years ago the name Baptist was almost synonymous with the doctrines of Grace...

    right on rip...
     
  7. Me4Him

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    Mt 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, (God) which made a marriage for his son, )Jesus)

    Mt 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    3 And sent forth his servants to call "THEM" (Israel) that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

    4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell "THEM" which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. (Lamb's marriage supper)

    5 But "THEY" made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

    6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

    Mt 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,

    AND "YE" WOULD NOT



    The only explanation calvin can give for Israel rejecting Jesus is that GOD FAILED

    God failed, to give them the "Faith" they need to believe.

    God failed, to give them an "Irresistable/Effectual calling".

    God's invitation wasn't really sincere, since he knew from the beginning he wasn't going to save them,

    Jesus's words, "I would, you wouldn't", wasn't really true either, since he knew they had been "predestined" to reject him.

    Calvin's doctrine of "Total Sovereignty" makes GOD RESPONSIBLE for "Everything", Good and Evil.

    "Eat, Drink, be Merry", live life to the fullest, "IF" it's in the cards for you to be saved, you will be, regardless of what you do/don't do,

    if not, tough luck, sucker, you're going to hell regardless of what you do/don't do,

    Either way, "YOU" don't have a "CHOICE", God's will that not any should perish rings as "hollow" (empty) to the world as Jesus's invitation, I would, you wouldn't to Israel.
     
  8. npetreley

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    Excellent.
     
  9. J.D.

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    Just in case there's some confusion, this is not James P Boice, one of the founders of the SBC, who himself was a great theologian and stout calvinist. His systematic IMO was one of the easiest to understand.

    This James M Boice, as was stated, was a Presbyterian, Pastor of 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. I used to listen to him every Sunday morning on my way to church on a local radio station. He is no longer on the station for some reason.

    Anyway, this is the first time I've ever read any of his writings, and I can see that they are as superb as his sermons. I've always referred to him as a "walking bible encyclopedia".

    Thanks Rippon for an excellent post.
     
  10. Rubato 1

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    I wonder what baptists belived before John Calvin was born?
     
  11. Bill Brown

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    James Montgomery Boice was a faithful servant of God. The excerpt you used from one of his sermons was particularly poignant. Of course your post will result in criticism from Arminians, but for those who warmly embrace the doctrines of sovereign grace is a breath of fresh air.

    Thank you for the post.
     
  12. rjprince

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    Rub,

    Same thing. It was just systemized as C yet. AND, I am getting weary of explaining to some that even though I agree with a strong view of God's sovereignty, I do not agree with everything John C. wrote. Nor do I agree with everything some modern C's write...
     
  13. rjprince

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    JD,

    Get his work on the Gospel of John. It is one of the best out there on John...
     
  14. Rippon

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    One of the books that I recently received is Our Sovereign Saiour : The Essence Of The Reformed Faith . It is by Roger Nicole , a grand old Baptist of the Reformed faith .

    In chapter 6 he says some things along the lines of James Boice . His chapter is : The Doctrines Of Grace In The Teachings Of Jesus .

    Does Calvinism find support in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ ? Or, to put it differently , are there statements that Christ made which give evidence of the doctrines of sovereign grace , those doctrines which have been the centre of Reformed thought ?

    [ Dr. Nicole ges on to say that there are 1,700 verses of Jesus in the N.T. Of those , about 500 ] passages contain some reference to the doctrines of grace -- almost one-third of what our Lord said .

    Not only does the doctrine of grace tell us about the great need of man . It also tells us about the great ability of God to respond to this need . The Lord Jesus Christ has exalted the sovereign power of God . He has represented God as capable of doing anything he pleases . He has shown that he is the one who exercises judgment over the whole world .He sustains even the flights of little birds by his almighty power . He is the One who appoints the destinies of individuals and of nations .


    The decisions of God embrace the destinies of men . They are decisions that are granted in his good pleasure and which are not always proportioned to what you might call the ability of man to respond . For instance , the Lord Jesus shows that there are people who might very well have benefited by the ministry that he performed but who were not privileged to receive it . He says that Sodom and Gomorrah would have repented if they had been exposed to his ministry , but they did not get it . He says that Tyre and Sidon would have repented if they had been privileged to see the kind of miracles which Capernaum and Bathsaida saw , but they did not receive this vision .
     
  15. Rippon

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    Continuing Nicole's choice thoughts...

    This , I think ,is the drastic error which our Pelagian friends are making . They speak as if man had a right to come into the presence of God and enter into account with him , as if God had some obligation to deal with all people alike . The one thing God owes us is judgment . The thing that ought to cause us to marvel is the fact that instead of confining us all to judgment and damnation , God has been pleased in his mercy to make plans to save a great multitude . He has caused these to hear the gospel , receive forgiveness in Jesus Christ , be drawn in faith and repentance by the Holy Spirit so that they respond to the offer of the gospel , and be preserved to the end so that they will spend eternity in the blessed presence and fellowship of God . This is the thing that is marvellous . The fact that this has not been done for the whole of the human race does not provide us with the proper ground for recrimination .


    So every one of the great points of Calvinism finds direct support in the words of Jesus . Some of them find no better support anywhere else in Scripture . Did Jesus teach Calvinism ? Was Jesus a Calvinist ? Would the Author of all grace teach us concerning the doctrines of grace ? Why , certainly ! And it is our comfort and our refuge .
     
  16. Timtoolman

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    The problem with the above post is there seems to be too many bible contradictions to believe this. To take God judgement out of proportion to His mercy and grace. To say I am glad to be one of the elect and show no love or mercy for other mankind is selfish and against bible. We are to love one another, even our enemies. It disregards God's mercy, love and rightouesness. It goes against God's very character by the overbalance or concentration on just one or two attributes of God.
    I know of no one, family, friend or enemy that I would like to see go too hell. My love as basic as it is compared to the Love of God is nothing. God's love is so much more yet calvinist seem to make it less.
     
  17. npetreley

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    I think that the tendency for churches to ignore or water down this point is a key factor in why free willism has spread like a contagious disease.
     
  18. webdog

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    I think that the tendency for churches to ignore or water down this point is a key factor in why free willism has spread like a contagious disease. </font>[/QUOTE]Why? If you were unconditionally elected from the foundation of the world, why would God "owe" His "elect" judgement?
     
  19. npetreley

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    Because that is what we ALL deserve. Judgement. The only reason the elect aren't judged is because God has mercy on them, not because they don't deserve it.
     
  20. Timtoolman

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    I think that the tendency for churches to ignore or water down this point is a key factor in why free willism has spread like a contagious disease. </font>[/QUOTE]You might be on too something there. I think that there is much more to God then anger, wrath and judgement. Guess I like to hear about the Mercy, Love and Grace also. I find however though that most churches, specially reformed/calvinist tend to concentrate on only the former.
     
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