What do You Think About Free-Will?

We have all endured those awkward, uncomfortable moments of a Bible study or small group where no one was willing to talk—except perhaps the leader. It is tough isn’t it? Here is a suggestion next time to get things rolling: ask, “What does you guys think about free-will?” This is pretty much a guarantee to get things moving.

I recently walked through Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther. Its logic is only superseded by its sarcasm. Luther is flat-out giving it to Erasmus for his view of the freedom of the will. In the midst of the interaction with his position Luther states that he does not like the term “free-will” very much. In fact, he notes, it is misleading. Instead, Luther suggests that we replace the term with “love”.

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Calvinism is Popular But it is Not Sexy.

I recently visited with a friend who is in his mid 60’s and has pastored Reformed Baptist churches for decades. He talked to me about how encouraged he is about the resurgence of Calvinism in the church today, particularly among the young people. He cited the preaching, the books being published, the websites, and the conferences. With glistening eyes he said, “Back in the 80’s when we’d go to Banner (of Truth) conferences we would never have imagined a day like this in our lifetime.”

We are living in something of an ecclesiological bizzaro world where Calvinism is wildly popular. But I want to make a distinction: Calvinism is popular but it is not sexy. Just because something is enjoying appeal among an admittedly increasing amount of people does not mean it is universally appealing.

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John Piper’s Short Film and Poem: The Calvinist

This is so good. It captures so much of what my and so many other hearts longs for. Thank you John Piper for stirring us once again to supremely treasure God in all of life.

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That Thorny Doctrine Makes Me Sing

I know the doctrine of predestination can be a thorny and contentious subject. Often times this is because it betrays popular conceptions about God and ourselves.

It is important to keep in mind that the Apostle tells us that this predestination of believers by God was done “in love” (Eph. 1.4). Whatever else follows must coming from this doctrinal spicket: God’s work of predestination is a loving work of predestination.

This morning my heart was arrested as I sat and chewed on various implications of this fact. Consider that if God had not decided, before the foundation of the world, to lavish you with his electing love then you would have remained in the throngs of self-love. Put it another way, if God did not so love you then you would have continued to love you.

This truth is simultaneously humbling and motivating. It humbles me to the dust because I know of my absolute inability and unwillingness to choose God. It motivates me to serve him, striving for holiness, because he has in fact so loved me!

While I don’t find the doctrine contentious it remains thorny. Every time I handle this truth it punctures my pride and reminds me of the goodness of the God who chooses to save sinners like me.

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Calvinism is the ‘Natural’ Reflex of the New Man in Christ (Packer)

Below is a quote from J.I. Packer from his introduction to The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.  I appreciate Packer’s boldness and clarity here.  I am quoting from the recent book, In My Place Condemned He Stood, pp. 123-124.

“Now the real nature of Calvinistic soteriology becomes plain. It is no artificial oddity, nor a product of overbold logic. Its central confession, that God saves sinners, that Christ redeemed us by his blood is the witness both of the Bible and of the believing heart.

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When Christians Act Like the ex-Chain Smoker

There are many things about the Christian life that are a mystery to me. One of the things that is a mystery and that chaffs my spirit is when a Christian begins to get something and then goes militant against his former ilk. You know what I mean; they begin to understand something theologically profound and impacting and then they are ready to shred anyone of their former friends because they do not get it.  Often times the refrain, “I can’t believe they don’t get this. Are they blind?!”

A friend of mine has likened this to the ex-chain smoker who now can’t stand people who smoke. The guy used to suck down cigs like slurpies but now he is free from that vice and everyone else is suddenly an idiot.

This happens a lot with Calvinists. We begin to understand (notice–begin) the doctrines of grace and we have little patience for those foolish Arminians. Why is it that we can hold to a system that emphasizes the soveriegnty and grace of God at such a premium, but at the same time we are ready to mow down anybody who does not sign off their email with Soli Deo Gloria (which I do by the way–because I mean it and want to be safe). After all, isn’t the understanding we experience as Christians a result of God’s grace? Or does this just come as a result of our superior smarts?

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The Achilles Heal of The Reformed Resurgence

This is a great word to younger, seemingly hungry God-centered guys. Piper stands prophetically on the street corner and is asking questions. He sees the ‘loose wires’ and is basically asking, “What is up with that?” (in his folksy Piper-ish way). I like it because I see and hate the disconnect in my own life. I think we do well to listen to the wise, loving observation of this brother.

(ht: Justin Taylor)

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A Little Monday Morning Humor…Arminian Basic Training

This is just funny. Love the Bible highlighter bit. And it is funny…errr….sad that Erasmus gets burned instead of Servetus.

ht: James White

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When Christians act like the ex-Chain Smoker

There are many things about the Christian life that are a mystery to me. One of the things that is a mystery and that chaffs my spirit is when a Christian begins to get something and then goes militant against his former ilk. You know what I mean; they begin to understand something theologically profound and impacting and then they are ready to shred anyone of their former friends because they do not get it.  Often times the refrain, “I can’t believe they don’t get this. Are they blind?!”

A friend of mine has likened this to the ex-chain smoker who now can’t stand people who smoke. The guy used to suck down cigs like slurpies but now he is free from that vice and everyone else is suddenly an idiot.

This happens a lot with Calvinists. We begin to understand (notice–begin) the doctrines of grace and we have little patience for those foolish Arminians. Why is it that we can hold to a system that emphasizes the soveriegnty and grace of God at such a premium, but at the same time we are ready to mow down anybody who does not sign off their email with Soli Deo Gloria (which I do by the way–because I mean it and want to be safe). After all, isn’t the understanding we experience as Christians a result of God’s grace? Or does this just come as a result of our superior smarts?

We see it with people who were trapped in legalistic thinking as well. Now they are free …

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A Little Calvinist Humor

(ht: Sacred Sandwich)

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