Personally, I’ve been on a journey over the past 10 years that has led me to fall more in the election or Calvinist camp than in the free-will camp. I still err on the side of it being a mystery and something that we can’t totally figure out – which I’ll talk more about in future blogs, but if I had a gun to my head, I’d go with the Holy Spirit drawing people to Himself and opening their eyes.
I know lately there’s a lot of buzz about the “New Calvinists” and people blogging and talking about the whole subject. For some, it’s turned into a fad or a cool thing to associate with. I thought this blog post by John Piper last week was a great word. His exhortation to say what we believe, not just that we’re a Calvinist is a great word and encouragement to all who fall in this camp. Read his words below:
We are Christians. Radical, full-blooded, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered, mission-advancing, soul-winning, church-loving, holiness-pursing, sovereignty-savoring, grace-besotted, broken-hearted, happy followers of the omnipotent, crucified Christ. At least that’s our imperfect commitment.
In other words, we are Calvinists. But that label is not nearly as useful as telling people what you actually believe! So forget the label, if it helps, and tell them clearly, without evasion or ambiguity, what you believe about salvation.
If they say, “Are you a Calvinist?” say, “You decide. Here is what I believe . . .”
I believe I am so spiritually corrupt and prideful and rebellious that I would never have come to faith in Jesus without God’s merciful, sovereign victory over the last vestiges of my rebellion. (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 3:1–4; Romans 8:7).
I believe Christ died as a substitute for sinners to provide a bona fide offer of salvation to all people, and that he had an invincible design in his death to obtain his chosen bride, namely, the assembly of all believers, whose names were eternally written in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. (John 3:16; John 10:15; Ephesians 5:25;Revelation 13:8)
When I was dead in my trespasses, and blind to the beauty of Christ, God made me alive, opened the eyes of my heart, granted me to believe, and united me to Jesus, with all the benefits of forgiveness and justification and eternal life. (Ephesians 2:4–5; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Philippians 2:29; Ephesians 2:8–9; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 1:7;Philippians 3:9)
I am eternally secure not mainly because of anything I did in the past, but decisively because God is faithful to complete the work he began—to sustain my faith, and to keep me from apostasy, and to hold me back from sin that leads to death. (1 Corinthians 1:8–9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:25;John 10:28–29; 1 John 5:16)
Call it what you will, this is my life. I believe it because I see it in the Bible. And because I have experienced it. Everlasting praise to the greatness of the glory of the grace of God!
*** So, that’s how Piper put it and I quite enjoyed his words. Where do you fall? Free-will? Election? Mystery? In the middle? How do you see this part of our faith?