Sunday 22 February 2009

The Doctrines of Grace


These notes were prepared by Sergiy Kutovyy who is training at WEST and he delivered this at the 'Defence of Calvinism' conference in December 2008.

T - total depravity of man
As a consequence of the fall (Genesis 3), man is in a state of spiritual death and thus is unable naturally to appreciate or choose the things of God. Rom 3:9-11; 1 Cor 2:14; Ephes 2:1-3; 2 Tim 2:26; John 6:65.

U - unconditional election
God chose a particular people for Himself and destined them for glory. He chose them not according to their abilities or traits, but solely according to His sovereign will in grace. John 15:19; Acts 13:48; 1 Pet 2:9-10; Rom 9:10-16, 23; 11:2-5; 1 Cor 1:27-30a; Ephes 1:4-6, 11; 2 Thess 2:13.

L - limited atonement
The intention of the death of Christ was to redeem the genuine church of God, which consists of all His elect exclusively. So Jesus stood in their place, bearing the punishment and condemnation which they deserved. His blood atoned for their sins, securing their salvation once for all.
Matt 1:21b; John 10:14-15; Acts 20:28b; Ephes 5:25b; Heb 10:14; Rev 5:9.

I - irresistible grace
All God's elect are converted to Him through the ministry of His word and the inner calling of the Holy Spirit. So having been effectually drawn, they come to Christ for salvation.
John 6:37, 44; John 17:2; Acts 16:14; James 1:18; Gal 1:15; 2 Thess 2:14; 2 Tim 1:9.

P - perseverance of the saints
None whom God has accepted in Christ can either fully or finally fall from the state of grace, being faithfully preserved by His power. Still, they are exhorted to persevere in the faith, and work out their salvation, humbling themselves under the authority of Scripture, exercising the deeds of faith, and mortifying sin in body and spirit.
John 10:27-28; Rom 6:19b; 8:28-39; 1 Cor 10:12-13; Phil 1:6; 2:12-13; Col 2:8; 3:5; Jude 24.

"I have my own opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing unchangeable eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross." Charles H. Spurgeon

"I will go as far as Martin Luther, where he says, "If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly." Charles H. Spurgeon

"All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with "free-will", and these are countless... For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because "free-will" can do nothing." Martin Luther

"Let all the 'free-will' in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength." Martin Luther

"Rebellion against divine election is often founded on the idea that the sinner has a sort of right to be saved, and this is to deny the full desert of sin." Charles H. Spurgeon

"You must first deny the authenticity and full inspiration of the Holy Scripture before you can legitimately and truly deny election." Charles H. Spurgeon

"A redemption which pays a price, but does not ensure that which is purchased - a redemption which calls Christ a substitute for the sinner, but yet which allows the person to suffer - is altogether unworthy of our apprehensions of Almighty God. It offers no homage to his wisdom, and does despite to his covenant faithfulness. We could not and would not receive such a travesty of divine truth as that would be. There is no ground for any comfort whatever in it." Charles H. Spurgeon

"I would rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of men be added to it." Charles H. Spurgeon
"If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in Hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins... That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Savior died for men who were or are in Hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain." Charles H. Spurgeon

"We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it, we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, "No, certainly not." We ask them the next question - Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They say, "No." They are obliged to admit this if they are consistent. They say, "No; Christ has died so that any man may be saved if"- and then follow certain conditions of salvation. We say then, we will just go back to the old statement - Christ did not die so as beyond a doubt to secure the salvation of anybody, did He? You must say "No;" you are obliged to say so, for you believe that even after a man has been pardoned, he may yet fall from grace and perish. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why you... We say Christ so died that He infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ's death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it." Charles H. Spurgeon

"When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul - when they were as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all of a sudden from a babe into a man - that I had made progress in scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God ... I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, I ascribe my change wholly to God." Charles H. Spurgeon

"Repentance is a part of salvation, and when Christ saves us, he saves us by making us repent. But repentance does not save. It is the work of God alone." Charles H. Spurgeon

A genuine desire for salvation in Christ is in fact a mark of election, and therefore none who truly come to Him will be turned away.

"I believe that Christ came into the world not to put men into a salvable state, but into a saved state. Not to put them where they could save themselves, but to do the work in them and for them, from first to last. If I did not believe that there was might going forth with the word of Jesus which makes men willing, and which turns them from the error of their ways by the mighty, overwhelming, constraining force of divine influence, I should cease to glory in the cross of Christ." Charles H. Spurgeon

"I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, "You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself." My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will." Charles H. Spurgeon

Rom 8:30. "Not others, therefore, but those whom He predestinated, them He also called; nor others, but those whom He so called, them He also justified; nor others, but those whom He predestinated, called, and justified, them He also glorified; assuredly to that end which has no end. Therefore God elected believers; but He chose them that they might be so, not because they were already so." St. Augustine, A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints, Ch. 34

"It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are truly and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make my pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me . . . Taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God's own church." Charles H. Spurgeon

Tuesday 3 February 2009

What is Calvinism?

What is Calvinism?

Three sections:
An Explanation about this conference and its purpose
A Brief exposition of Romans 16: 17-27.
What is Calvinism?

How did this conference come about?
The conference has come together by God’s grace: Explain about the influence and initiative of Sandi Sonteya.

Where did the conference title come from?

Answer:The autobiography of Spurgeon, volume 1, The Early Years, chapter 13 ‘A Defence of Calvinism’.

“We only use the term ‘Calvinism’ for shortness. That doctrine which is called ‘Calvinism’ did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvin himself derived it mainly from the writing of Augustine. Augustine obtained his views, without doubt, through the Spirit of God, from the diligent study of the writings of Paul, and Paul received them of the Holy Ghost, from Jesus Christ the great founder of the Christian dispensation. We use the term then, not because we impute any extraordinary importance to Calvin’s having taught these doctrines. We would be just as willing to call them by any other name, if we could find one which would be better understood, and which on the whole would be as consistent with fact”- C.H.S
“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.” – C.H.S

‘The Reformed Church is Always Reforming’ Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676) from Utrecht and a delegate of the Synod of Dort (1618-19).

This is needed in every generation
It is difficult work
People do not like change, even though it means Sola Scriptura

A brief summary of church history from the Reformation, however church history spans 2000 years and the gospel springs from the heart of God the Father in eternity.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) and the 95 theses in Wittenberg on October 31st 1517. He was God’s vessel to begin the Reformation and to especially pioneer the recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith, total depravity and Augustine’s doctrine of salvation.
John Calvin (1509-64) and his reforming work in the city of Geneva. Calvin developed a full reformed systematic theology springing from biblical exposition. A pastor, theologian, church planter, reformer of the highest honour. Calvin’s model was a doctrine of the church and society that was replicated in Scotland, Holland, France, Hungary, England in part and later in the USA. Even today, Reformed churches are those who look to Calvin and Geneva in some measure as a prototype for reforming the church.
The second reformation in the seventeenth century. In the Netherlands there was the Synod of Dort to defend the gospel against Arminianism but there was also a need seen for further reformation. For example the Church of England was only half or partly reformed and the Puritans began to grow agitated and impatient.
The Reformed church is always reforming’ is a slogan very much needed in the 21st Century. We need a vibrant expression of Calvinism in our generation!!

Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
17 ¶ Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.
18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.
20 And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
21 ¶ Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and [so do] Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
22 I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother.
24 [The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.]
25 ¶ Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,
26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, [leading] to obedience of faith;
27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.

1. The danger of false gospel’s (v 17-20)

§ Dissensions contrary to the teaching which you learned and turn away from them. The issue is doctrine and this is not a secondary issue to love. To love pure doctrine is to love God purely.
§ V18 Paul’s calls them slaves. Why? Their message is a slavery to sin and leads to legalism rather than freedom. They use smooth and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting (na├»ve).
§ The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The true gospel of God in our hands crushes Satan’s false gospels and the slavery that follows.
2. The Importance of Relationship’s in the Gospel (the whole chapter but note v21-24)

§ Note the list of names
§ Timothy and other gospel workers= we need teamwork!
3. The Glory of God is the heart of the Gospel

· The purpose of the book of Romans in 1: 1 is ‘the Gospel of God’.
· Key doctrinal theme’s of this book is the Apostles’ doctrine.
· Benediction (blessing):V25 we are strengthened according to A. the gospel (my gospel), do we hold Paul’s gospel? B. The Preaching of Jesus Christ. C. This revelation is rooted in the OT Scriptures. D. Now it is being made known to all nations (a missionary vision)
· The question in missions = What is the content of the message we are delivering?
· V 26. This is all happening according to the command of the eternal God to bring about the obedience of faith (election and the church).
· To the only wise God be glory forevermore! The glory of God runs through Romans.

3. What is Calvinism?

A Definition of Calvinism: Spurgeon’s autobiography

A Nickname for the Biblical Gospel

CHS wrote in The Defence of Calvinism:
I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of Hid elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus such a gospel I abhor.

1. Calvinism is the doctrine of the church.

Spurgeon wrote: Calvinism is the gospel and nothing else. Is this true? The answer is yes but it is incomplete because Calvinism is a world view consumed with a God centred approach, Calvinism is also a doctrine of the church.
There is no such thing as Calvinism that is not concerned with the Re-formation (to the biblical plan) of the church.
Look at Luther, Calvin, Knox, The Netherlands, the English Reformers etc.

2. Calvinism is confessional

Explain the three confessions of faith in the English language.

3. Calvinism and the five points

Summary: A definition of Calvinism.

Calvinism is a doctrine of the church that looks to Calvin and Geneva as a model for the reformation of the church that needs to be applied in all ages.
Reform = a dictionary definition,
To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.

To abolish abuse or malpractice in: reform the government.
To put an end to (a wrong). See synonyms at correct.
To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.

A Reformed gospel affirms the five points of Calvinism as agreed at the Synod of Dort and this requires a commitment to educate and train men to preach this gospel. A Reformed church holds to one of the historic confessions of faith as a joyful safeguard of the gospel for the saints to propagate through a reformed church.
Is there the need for church reform in the twenty-first century?