Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I Am Excited About Reformation Day Coming Up

Quite a few people have a really bad opinion of "calvinism," either because the idea of a Sovereign God irks them, or they've been taught that God values man's free will supremely, or because they just find John Calvin a tough character to love. (I myself can identify with that last group-- I far prefer Martin Luther as Reformers go =D) Many people who react negatively to "Calvinism" haven't really searched the Scriptures to see if it's true or not; they've been taught or told that "Calvinists" are a bunch of anti-missions radicals. Several in my own family were this way. As a result, I don't usually label my theology "Calvinistic." Besides the knee-jerk reaction many give, the title is misleading: I don't follow some system a guy named Calvin made up. Rather, I have built my life upon the truths which he happened to catalogue before anyone else did. Calvin didn't invent Calvinism, and he didn't have a corner on believing it, either. With minor variations in practice, Luther, Zwingli, Knox and others writing, preaching & studying in the 16th century read Scripture and found the same Truth. Nowadays the usual term is "Reformed Theology," because this understanding of the Gospel aquired its distinctive characteristics during the Reformation. One last reason I don't usually call myself a "Calvinist" is that most people assume Calvinism is only embraced by paedobaptists (baby-baptizers), because Calvin was a Presbyterian. Heheh-- there IS a such thing as a Reformed Baptist! Until the 19th Century, ALL Baptists were "reformed!"

Name it what you will, I love the Gospel as Calvin catalogued it. The Gospel as the Apostles taught it. The Gospel as Christ (God the Son) preached it.

Spurgeon (the "Prince of Preachers" in his day) says it way better than I could. This quote made my heart leap for joy, and want to share it with you all. Reformation Day is on Friday, and you better believe I'll be building up to it in cyberspace!! :)

"I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what is nowadays 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…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; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called."
~Charles Spurgeon C.H. Spurgeon: The Early Years

1 comment:

Jeannette said...

Thanks for this post, Christina. I try not to use the term "Calvinism" for the same reasons. Saying I'm Reformed and hold to the doctrines of grace is preferable.

When discussing man's free will, it's vital to explain that man does have volition in decision making, but he can only choose according to his nature. An unregenerate person has absolutely NO ability to choose God, because he is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2). A divine work of regeneration is needed BEFORE someone will respond to the Lord in faith, the gift given to the elect of God.

Have a happy Reformation Day!