Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Calvinists Should Be Cautious

I will never forget a conversation I had with a good friend about 12 years ago. He had just come to a biblical understanding of God's sovereignty and had begun to embrace the doctrines of grace. He had been a Christian for many years and involved in church most of his life. However, h had never heard anyone teach or preach about total depravity, unconditional election or particular redemption. His brother, upon hearing John MacArthur preach on the radio, introduced him to the famous "five points" and my friend was quite angry at first. Not to be outdone he began to read his Bible with great urgency. He soon came to see the truth about man's ruined condition and inability before a holy and sovereign God. He rejoiced in God's amazing grace.

After that initial conversation we would have hundreds of discussions about theology and doctrine. At that time in my young Christian life I already had a clear understanding of Calvinism and accepted it as an accurate representation of God's Word as it relates to man's salvation. I was raised in a church that had long ago taken a stand on the doctrines of grace. But, like many who first come to this theological position, my friend was very adamant and some of his discussions got a bit heated. I find this is often the case with many young Calvinists, if they are not cautious.

When I moved to Louisville to attend Southern Seminary I began to see many things in a new perspective (no, not that 'new perspective'). I grew much more comfortable with my understanding of theology and I was much less interested in "arguing" about it. There were many on the SBTS campus that held a reformed position. And, there were a lot of them who wanted to 'convert' everyone to Calvinism. I have always seen this as a very tenuous activity that should be avoided. Obviously, it is the Holy Spirit that is the best teacher when it comes to the finer points of theology and doctrine.
Kirk Wellum has a great post that speaks to this issue. His words are on point and so timely. Given the recent trend, especially among young believers, it would be wise for all of us to hear these words and proceed with caution.

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