Drs. Michael Haykin and Jeffrey Robinson Sr. join us to speak about John Calvin and Calvinism’s legacy in missions. Their book To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy explores John Calvin’s theology concerning missions, the history of his involvement in foreign missions, and the influence of other Calvinistic missionaries of later times.
…we respond a portion of a video (Here) put up by Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church. Anderson is well known on the internet for his anti-Calvinism rants, KJV Onlyism, and for the famous incident wherein he was tazed by border agents. In his recent video he says that Calvinism is Satanic and that Calvinists are perverts.
We are joined on this broadcast with our good friend, John Samson. John is the pastor of King’s Church (www.kingschurchaz.com) and is the author of the book, ‘Twelve What Abouts: Answering Common Objections Concerning God’s Sovereignty in Election’. John speaks with us about the nature of man, God’s sovereignty, and a host of other issues.
The internet is buzzing with talk about the interview/discussion between Steven Anderson (Faithful Word Baptist Church) and Dr. James White (Alpha & Omega Ministries). Dr. James White wrote the book, “The King James Only Controversy”. Steven Anderson is a King James Version Onlyist and was interviewing Dr. White for his film on the subject. The entirety of the video (over 2-hours) was recently posted on YouTube and is available for everyone to see.
Dr. White gives us an excellent discussion about the transmission of the text of the New Testament, how we know that God has been faithful in preserving His Word, and how KJV Onlyism is inconsistent and needs to be rejected.
Pastor Ken Jones walked us through “The doctrines of grace” with the greatest clarity and pastoral sensitivity at the just-ended 25th Zambian Annual Reformed Conference. His approach of stating the doctrine, proving it from Scripture, and then answering the various questions often asked, went a long way in making his sessions easy to understand. You could tell that this man is a pastor!
In our day, the term Reformed is used freely and without thought. Great variety exists among churches that claim this title. In many cases, the term means little more than some adherence to the “five points of Calvinism.” The term has lost its great historical richness and depth as the struggles of the Reformation have faded into distant history. The stand taken by the Reformers is virtually forgotten, and many consider it irrelevant today. If, however, we have a true and earnest desire to maintain the faith and fight the adversaries of God’s Word, we would do well to look back to those who so clearly searched the Scriptures and stood firmly for the great truths of the Word of God…
Today, when the term is so loosely used, it is important to consider what these common distinctives were, and to understand that these essential attributes of a Reformed church are what make a biblical church.
He goes on to explain each of the following marks:
The Way of Salvation (T.U.L.I.P.)
God’s Covenant of Grace
Proclamation of the Gospel
Consecration of Life
That is the spirit of the Reformation… If a church is really biblical and Reformed, its members will be fully committed to Christ. The time has come for self-examination. Do we sincerely love the Lord? What kind of service do we offer Him? My friends, could it be that we are Reformed in name only?
The late historian William Estep wrote in the Texas Baptist Standard that if the Southern Baptist Convention went Calvinist on evangelism, it would become a “perfect dunghill.” Strong words, but many would agree. Not Baptist scholars Michael A.G. Haykin and C. Jeffrey Robinson Sr., though.
In To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy (Crossway, 2014) Haykin and Robinson turn standard understanding upside down and say John Calvin and other Reformers were strongly mission-oriented. Dubious? Below, by publisher’s permission, is the book’s introduction. Please read on. —Marvin Olasky
The Rev. S. L. Morris, on the occasion of the four-hundredth anniversary of Calvin’s birth in May 1909, told the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States as it gathered in Savannah, Georgia, to mark the Reformer’s birth, “Calvinism is the most potent agency in the evangelization of the world.” At the time, no one would have regarded Morris’s affirmation as outlandish. Today, though, just over one hundred years later, his remark is the stuff of controversy and considered a complete oxymoron.
For the first time Founders Ministries was allowed to have a booth in the Exhibit Hall. We exercised this option instead of hosting a breakfast as we have done for the last many years. In addition to meeting many new friends and renewing fellowship with old ones, we were able to give away nearly 2000 copies of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention (which is available at a discounted price in our Founders Bookstore) to those who came by the booth. The give-away provided for many opportunities for extended conversations with brothers and sisters of various doctrinal convictions…
The Southern Baptist Convention is an easy target for anyone with a knack for finding fault with religious institutions in this fallen world. We are certainly not without our blemishes and faults. But I am convinced that, despite the many areas that could be cited as in need of spiritual upgrade, we are moving in the right direction and are poised to become even more spiritually healthy in the years to come.
Let’s just say that today’s Radio Free Geneva episode was…unique. Got the idea of doing a “study of flowers” this morning. What flowers? Well, the tulip, of course, then the Rose, and then, due to the Connect316 guys, the poinsettia! Hope you enjoy it!
The five points are a great summary of what the Bible has to say about the way God saves human beings. But the five points are not the starting point in understanding and worshipping God. Believers should be more interested in God himself than in what he does for us. God is worthy to be praised because of who he is: one God in three persons, ‘infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth’. If I were asked which is the most important doctrine for Christians to believe, I would say unhesitatingly, the doctrine of the Trinity: that doctrine underlies all other Christian doctrines, including the doctrines of salvation. I would prefer to hear believers praising God joyfully for the love that has existed eternally between the three persons, than for the mercy we have received from him. Isolating the five points from the whole biblical presentation of God’s being can be dangerous.
The Five Points: important and providential
And yet the five points are important. They do give us a clear and systematic overview of what the Bible says about God’s plan of salvation. And a number of you have said how helpful it’s been to hear the plan of salvation presented in this systematic way.
How did the five points come to be formulated in the first place? By a strange and wonderful providence of God. We only have that five-point outline because of the attempts of false teachers to undermine the teaching of God’s Word. By God’s overruling, their attacks on the truth led to this wonderfully clear summary of the Bible’s teaching on God’s plan of salvation…
Arminius and his followers
We call the false teachers Arminians. They were followers of Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch minister who was appointed as professor of theology at LeidenUniversity in 1603. As a minister in the Reformed church, Arminius had vowed to uphold the teaching of the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism – these were the two documents that summarised the teaching of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands. But Arminius had come to doubt what those documents teach about God’s plan of salvation. Those who listened to him preach began to suspect that secretly he had turned away from the teaching of the Bible and the churches. But he denied it. When he was invited to become professor at Leiden, again he vowed that he would be faithful to the Confession and the Catechism. He did not keep that vow. Rather he used his position to spread the false doctrines that he had come to believe…
“The debate over Charles Spurgeon’s views on Calvinism starts almost every time his name is dropped. I frequently come across people that have misunderstood Spurgeon and the gospel he preached. The gospel and Calvinism were not separate to him, they were one: ‘Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.’
This volume looks at this area more in depth in order to clear up misunderstandings of this aspect of Spurgeon’s theology. Using Spurgeon’s short booklet, ‘A Defense of Calvinism’ and several of his sermons, I’ve put together Spurgeon’s Calvinism.“
“What Stephen McCaskell has done for us in this book is to bring back the forgotten Spurgeon—the Spurgeon who speaks clearly about what the true gospel really is.”
Conrad Mbewe (PhD, University of Pretoria), pastor, Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia; author, Foundations for the Flock
“When preparing for battle a wise General studies the best intelligence before committing troops. Likewise, when it comes to understanding the theology of how God saves, a wise student of the Bible will take the time to see what C.H. Spurgeon said on the topic.”
In early April of this year nearly 8,000 folks crowded into the Yum Center in downtown Louisville (my home for the past 24 years) for the bi-annual Together For the Gospel (T4G) Conference… Though the conference is less than half and hour away for a variety of reasons I had never attended. A couple of things changed my mind (including the fact that I got to go for free—thank you BibleWorks!) and I attended the conference and benefited greatly.
One of the major factors in my going to the conference and evaluating my time at there came from one of my dear old mentors, John, or Johnny…
I should explain (and I know he would not mind) that Johnny is an old guy, an Old Calvinist, and loves what is called ‘high churchmanship’. Johnny is old school at its finest. You would never find Johnny in jeans. He has never listened to rap or contemporary Christian music. I met him when I was a young man, first through his writings and preaching. I have long considered him a dear friend. I asked Johnny what he thought about conferences like these and whether or not he found profit in them…
After having this interaction with my friend Johnny, I was rebuked, refreshed, challenged and warned. It’s often that way with Johnny…
If Martin Luther was the catalyst of the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin was its consolidator. Calvin was both a commentator and also a systematic theologian. J. I. Packer has rightly appraised Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536-1559) as “one of the wonders of the spiritual world–the world of doxology and devotion, of discipleship and discipline, of Word-through-Spirit illumination and transformation of individuals, of the Christ-centered mind and the Christ-honoring heart.”
In the thirteen lectures below, historical theologian and pastor Mark Sarver, provides a sketch of Calvin’s life and labors as well as a survey of some of Calvin’s greatest theological contributions.
These lectures constitute a portion of the lecture material for Reformed Baptist Seminary‘s course “Reformation Church.” For more information about taking the course for credit or just auditing the lectures, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And enjoy!
Many of the objections raised against the doctrine of Limited Atonement relate to the interpretation of various passages using the word “all.” Those who object usually take for granted that the word “all” in every instance refers to “all humanity.” When read in context, however, the word “all” very often refers to “all the elect.”
We make this kind of discernment in everyday life. One might hear the following report on the news: “There was an accident involving a single vehicle with four passengers. All were killed.” Upon listening to this report, one does not suppose that all human beings were killed or that all the people in the city were killed in the accident. The context makes clear that “all” refers to all the passengers. Knowing the context is a key to right interpretation. Many read the Gospels and the epistles as universal missives to all humanity, rather than as communication written to a particular audience. This clouds their ability to understand these passages.
Many also confuse the astonishment expressed in the New Testament over the fact that both Jews and Gentiles (all kinds of men; men from the whole world) are being saved. Paul, for example, is staggered with amazement that in Christ “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ through the same gospel” (Eph 3:6). Some confuse this emphasis with the notion that all men without exception are redeemed (universalism) or potentially redeemed (Arminianism).
Here are the eight objection passages reviewed:
1. John 1:29
2. John 3:16
3. John 12:32
4. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
5. 1 Timothy 2:1-7
6. 2 Peter 3:9
7. 1 John 2:2
8. 2 Peter 2:1
I have a particular interest in this because, as some may be aware, a few months ago Evangelical Press published a short study of mine called The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment (Amazon & Amazon UK). In it, I set out to consider the characteristics of the new Calvinism, offer some commendations, and then identify some cautions and concerns, before offering some conclusions…
Here I try to map Piper’s assessment – “twelve features [not unique and exclusive distinctives] of the movement as I see it” which are, he said, “not dividing lines” between the old and the new Calvinism, matters of separation – over mine for the purpose of a very brief analysis. I understand that we are not always saying the same things, but it is interesting to look at the points of contact.
It has been nearly a year since the release of SBC Calvinism Advisory Committee’s report. Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee president, Frank Page, appointed that committee, despite the fear and consternation of some, in hopes that such a document could be produced and might prove useful to SBC pastors and churches. It seems that the Lord has used Dr. Page’s leadership to do accomplish both of these goals. I have expressed my thoughts on the report elsewhere, but I don’t think I have written (or at least written much) about nature of the ongoing debate within the convention since the report was published last year.
I have been asked quite a bit about it by people both within and outside of the SBC. I also field such questions from believers far removed from the USA…
Note: I preached last Sunday in Lynchburg on “Unconditional Election” in our Doctrines of Grace series. Since I didn’t get that sermon recorded, today I posted a podcast that covers the same teaching material. Below are nine objections or queries challenging the doctrine of unconditional election that I mention in the message:
1. Does election in the Bible refer to God’s election of individuals to salvation or to something else?
2. Does election mean that God’s choice of those who will be saved is merely random?
3. Could it be that God simply foreknows those who will freely choose Christ and then elects them?
4. What about those who are not saved?
5. Is this doctrine unfair?
6. What about human responsibility?
7. Couldn’t God intentionally limit his will and then choose men for salvation conditioned on their free will choice of him?
8. Does this doctrine create pride and elitism in those who believe they are among the elect?
9. Will this doctrine dull our zeal for evangelism?