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Posts Tagged ‘Divine Sovereignty

An Arminian Chapter By Chapter Review of Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God (Introduction)

Introduction

“Calvinism leads to a demise in missions.”  This has been the words of many non-Calvinists for hundreds of years.  I will admit that hyper-Calvinism does lead to anti-missions views and, as far as I know, there are no hyper-Calvinist missions organizations.  There probably never will be.  And yet I argue that hyper-Calvinism is consistent Calvinism.  I am thankful that most Calvinists are not consistent in their views regarding the preaching of the gospel and instead they obey the Scriptures and preach the gospel to all of creation (Mark 16:15) and they call all to repentance (Acts 2:38-39).  And for that, I am thankful.

One of the best books I have read by a Calvinist who argues for missions and evangelism of the lost is J.I. Packer’s book Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God.  I first read this book several years ago and enjoyed Packer’s heart for preaching the gospel to all nations.  Packer essentially argues in the book that the “doctrines of grace do not hinder but enhance evangelism” because, in Packer’s view, the doctrine of unconditional election guarantees success in missions since God has already chosen whom He will save for His glory (Romans 9:22-23).  Since God is sovereign in salvation, this means that we need not concern ourselves with using gimmicks to see people saved but simply what God has given us in His Word and His gospel.  I would agree though again I believe Packer is not being consistent with the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty meaning that He causes all things to come to pass and how this relates to human responsibility.  He is being blessedly inconsistent here.

Over the next few posts I wish to go through the book chapter by chapter.  Why?  Because first, I appreciate the book.  It is a good book.  If you have never read the book, I encourage you to get the book and follow along with me.  I hope to be fair to the book and to Calvinism in general.  Secondly, I praise God for how this book has impacted Calvinist brothers and sisters in encouraging them to evangelism.  Whether Arminians or Calvinists, we all need to fulfill the great commission from our Lord (Matthew 28:19-20).  Third, because I have never read an Arminian critique of Packer’s book.  Packer’s views regarding Arminianism that he coined in the introduction to John Owen’s book Death of Death in the Death of Christ has been written about but this book has not.  Ironically, Packer seems to be gentle in comparison in Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God than in Owen’s book when it comes to evangelism.  Perhaps he realizes that Arminian theology does enhance missions by teaching an unlimited atonement and human free will.

So join me as this Arminian looks at a great book and offers some friendly critique of the book.  Again, I hope to be fair and hope to encourage you too to read the book and allow the Holy Spirit to empower you toward biblical evangelism (Acts 1:8).  The world needs the gospel (Romans 1:16).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/06/2012 at 5:50 PM

SOVEREIGNTY, NOT DETERMINISM

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/04/2011 at 11:48 PM

Charles Spurgeon on John 6:37

Having been burdened the past few days over the lost and specifically in praying for the lost to be saved in Christ Jesus, I found these words from Charles Spurgeon to be a comfort to my soul.  This short except comes from his sermon that Spurgeon preached on June 25, 1861 in the fields entitled, “The Sum and Substance of All Theology.”  The sermon focused on glorifying Christ and making sure that people know that the sum and substance of all theology is the Lord Jesus Christ who calls sinners unto Himself by His grace.  The sermon was based on the text John 6:37.

Take the first sentence of my text: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” What a weighty sentence! Here we have taught us what is called, in the present day, “High Calvinistic
doctrine”–the purpose of God; the certainty that God’s purpose will stand; the invincibility of God’s will; and the absolute assurance that Christ “shall see of the travail of His soul, and
shall be satisfied.”

Look at the second sentence of my text: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Here we have the richness, the fulness, the unlimited extent of the power of Christ to save those who put their trust in Him. Here is a text upon which one might preach a thousand sermons. We might take these two sentences as a life-long text, and never exhaust the theme.

Mark, too, how our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the whole truth. We have many ministers who can preach well upon the first sentence: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” Just
set them going upon Election, or everlasting covenant engagements, and they will be earnest and eloquent, for they are fond of dwelling upon these points, and a well-instructed child of
God can hear them with delight and profit. Such preachers are often the fathers of the Church, and the very pillars thereof; but, unfortunately, many of these excellent brethren cannot preach so well upon the second sentence of my text: “And him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” When they get to that truth, they are half afraid of it; they hesitate to preach what they consider to be a too open salvation. They cannot give the gospel invitation as freely as they find it in the Word of God. They do not deny it, yet they stutter and stammer sadly, when they get upon this theme.

Then, on the other hand, we have a large number of good ministers who can preach on this second clause of the text, but they cannot preach on the first clause. How fluent is their language as they tell out the freeness of salvation! Here they are much at home in their preaching; but, we are sorry to be compelled to say that, very often, they are not much at home
when they come to doctrinal matters, and they would find it rather a difficult matter to preach fluently on the first sentence of my text.  They would, if they attempted to preach from it,
endeavour to cut out of it all that savours of Divine Sovereignty.  They do not preach the whole “truth” which “is in Jesus.”

Why is it that some of us do not see both sides of God’s revealed truth? We persist in closing one eye; we will not see all that may be seen if we open both our eyes; and, sometimes, we get angry with a brother because he can see a little more than we do. I think our text is very much like a stereoscopic picture, for it presents two views of the truth. Both views are correct, for they are both photographed by the same light. How can we bring these two truths together? We get the stereoscope of the scripture, and looking with both eyes, the two pictures melt into one. God has given us, in His Word, the two pictures of divine truth; but we have not all got the stereoscope properly adjusted to make them melt into one. When we get to heaven, we shall see how all God’s truth harmonizes. If we cannot make these two parts of truth harmonize now, at any rate we must not dare to blot out one of them, for God has given them both.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/27/2011 at 10:34 AM

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