Pastor J.D., Are You a Calvinist?

Pastor J.D. answers one of his most asked questions and talks about the non-negotiables of the Christian faith in contrast to some particulars where it’s okay to disagree.

A glimpse inside this episode:

  • Theologians have argued about this for 2000 years.
  • “Calvinism is not an issue to me until it becomes one to you. But when it becomes one to you, it becomes one to me, and I’ll probably take whatever side you are not.” -Pastor J.D.
    • What someone believes about the finer points of Calvinism is not usually the issue; it’s how they believe it. We may have trouble achieving absolute clarity together on every one of the “five points,” but we can be absolutely clear on the fact that the Bible condemns a divisive and uncharitable spirit over something about which gospel-loving Christians have historically had trouble finding complete agreement.
  • John Calvin’s favorite verse: Deuteronomy 29:29.
    • God chose to keep some things hidden from us. Type A people like me hate that. But it’s for our good. We must never go farther in our theology than Scripture allows.
  • Elevating your doctrinal system too highly makes you a fundamentalist.
    • You start to believe that God’s graces are only found in your narrow little camp.
    • Calvinists seem especially prone to this.
  • Anti-Calvinism can be just as bad. (Remember: Luther, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Judson, and Carey were all Calvinist! Calvinism doesn’t kill evangelism!)
  • Christians should “cross-pollinate.”
    • I’m not saying I’m a doctrinal relativist. Some things are non-negotiable (bodily resurrection, salvation in Christ alone, etc.)
    • Reading broadly takes humility. Isn’t that a good thing?
    • Eat the fish, spit out the bones.
  • The gospel—not the 5 points of Calvinism—is the center of our faith. If you believe in the loftiness of God’s glory, that salvation belongs only to God, and that God is sovereign over the world, and that he that has begun a good work in you will see it through, then you and I can stand in alignment, even if we parse some of the particulars differently.
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