The Five Points of Calvinism all necessarily flow from the sovereignty of God (which is not one of the five points) and the total depravity of man (the first point). These are two of the most important things to understand when communicating the Gospel. Yet most Christians have a deficient view of both.
I recently took a Shakespeare class at Rollins College and had the privilege of having a conversation with a Roman Catholic college professor (also the English Department chairman) who thinks of himself as a conservative. He complained about the fact that evangelicals say that Jews go to hell if they don’t believe in Jesus. We had a conversation about the idea of “merit” and I said the key work on merit was Martin Luther’s Bondage of the Will.
If you believe that man is able to do nothing to save himself and deserves hell, then these debates about the Jews who won’t accept Jesus; those who have had no chance to hear the Gospel; those dying in infancy; the severely mentally handicapped; etc. – all have little meaning. If God chooses to save some or all of them, then it is by grace alone, just as it by grace alone for the believer who has made a conscious creedal assent to Jesus as the Son of God. We can be sure that He has chosen at least some for salvation from every nation in every generation.
In fact, only a Reformed perspective can consistently hold out hope for all Jews to be saved.
In his book, Holiness, J.C. Ryle devotes a first chapter to sin.
I edited a summary of this chapter a few years back. I retitled it: “Whatever Happened to Sin?“
If we don’t understand the depths of sin, it is pointless even to talk about salvation, let alone the second point of Calvinism: God’s Unconditional Election – or the latter three points of Calvinism: Limited Atonement, Irresistable Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints (TULIP).
The other base to cover is the idea of God’s Will. If God is indeed an omnipotent being then His will is all-encompassing. I came to the conclusion a few years ago, that in order to be a consistent Arminian, one must either deny the omnipotence or omniscience of God. If God is all powerful, then He is able to save everyone but chooses (actively) to save some, but not others.
Rather than go through the five points, I would start with those three points:
Do you believe?
1. Man is totally depraved and can merit nothing to save himself
2. God is both omnipotent and omniscient
3. The will of an Omnipotent Being is always active and never
Once you accept Absolute Sovereignty of God and the Total Depravity of Man then the U.L.I.P. follows.
For more on the Five Points of Calvinism:
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
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Running Time: 257 minutes
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
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All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
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