11/20/2011 6:20:31 AM
November 2, 2011
November 2, 2011
In January 2011 a conference was held in our area entitled “Recovering Grace: A Biblical Response to Calvinism.” Since we have had time to listen to the CDs of the speakers’ messages during the conference, and because of the numbers of people in our area who have been influenced by the things said, and because our people at The Cornerstone Baptist Church have also heard these things and have questions about them, we believe it is our duty to speak concerning these issues. In the interest of truth (in so far as by God’s grace we are enabled to know and to believe the truth) then, we will endeavor to address what was said at the conference.
But first, we should say that we will not refer to the speakers by name, since we are not interested in arousing any personal antagonism between ourselves and others. However, the things which were spoken at the conference must be addressed, and where issue must be taken with what was said in the interest of truth, we shall attempt to speak with Christian courtesy toward brothers in Christ, but also plainly and straightforwardly, because what was said was spoken in public at an advertised meeting for the express purpose of taking issue with what is commonly called “Calvinism” (sometimes referred to as the “Doctrines of Grace”), which as far as we are concerned is nothing other than the Biblical teaching of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
May it be understood by all that we are not (as some assert) primarily concerned with putting forth a system of teaching produced by John Calvin and conforming Scripture to his “system”. Calvin himself, we believe, would “turn over in his grave” at such a thing. He himself was a pastor, preacher, theologian interested in the study and dissemination of Biblical teaching. Anyone who asserts otherwise is either unfamiliar with his writings (and therefore unqualified to write or speak about John Calvin) or so biased against what he wrote that his bias clouds his reason, confounds his speech and confuses his hearers.
The five presentations at the conference delivered by five local ministers were arranged along the lines of the “five points of Calvinism” (as they are popularly called). Many years ago (God alone knows when), someone (God alone knows who) formed an acrostic to help aid the memory in recalling these five points. The acrostic is T – U –L –I –P. Why this flower was chosen to set these doctrines forth, again God alone knows. But the acrostic itself puts forward “Calvinism” thus:
T = Total Depravity
U = Unconditional Election
L = Limited Atonement
I = Irresistible Grace
P = Perseverance of the Saints
So as we consider the five presentations of the conference, we will see what the speakers have to say about each of these teachings ascribed to John Calvin and Calvinism. But most importantly we shall see and consider what the Scriptures say. Because after all we say God’s word is true if it makes every man a liar. Truth Matters.
David K. Curtis