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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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.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.
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