A Defense of Calvinism: Book Recommendation
Calvinism. This word strikes fear and resentment in the hearts of Christians today, and is looked upon as so evil that Christians will do anything they can to make sure this doctrine isn't taught in their churches or believed by anyone around them.
I have experienced this firsthand, and it is truly astonishing at the lengths people will go to rid themselves of even the HINT of this doctrine!
I read a little booklet recently titled "A Defence of Calvinism" by Charles Spurgeon. It was so easy to understand and so straightforward that I had to share it with you today!
About Calvinism, he says "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 writings 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..."
Wow! What a great way to put it!
The doctrine of Calvinism is simply the doctrine of sovereign grace. Somehow we believe that God is completely sovereign over everything that happens in our lives, except when it comes to our salvation. Spurgeon goes on to say: "First, let me ask, must we not all of us admit an over-ruling Providence, and the appointment of Jehovah's hand, as to the means whereby we came into this world? Those men who think that afterwards, we are left to our own free-will to choose this one or the other to direct our steps, must admit that our entrance into the world was not of our own will, but that God had then to choose for us..." He goes on to make the point of how we had absolutely no say in who our parents were, where we were born, who our friends were, and what our race was. If God is so in control of all of these things plus more, how is it that He leaves us alone when it comes to the salvation of our souls?
Regarding the doctrine of election, Spurgeon says: "I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen him; and I am sure He chose be before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for in ever could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love."
I believe people don't believe in sovereign grace when it comes to salvation because they don't see the truth of our human depravity. Did we ourselves have anything to do with God saving our souls? No. Dead people that are in the grave cannot call out for help. They are completely dead. They have no way of waking themselves up and calling for help. We all, when we were born, were completely dead. We were just like the people in the graves, so therefore we had no way of mustering up the faith and strength to say "God, save me!" He had to first come to us, rouse us up, turn our eyes to Him, draw us, call us by His Holy Spirit... then we are able to agree with the Holy Spirit, "Yes, I am a sinner. Forgive me. Thank you for opening my eyes!"
There is much more included in this little booklet than the short snippets I have added here. As he is closing out this book, he says "That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is foreordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other."
Election is talked about several times throughout the New Testament. Most Baptist pastors preach against the doctrine of election by telling their congregations that it is heresy. This is a sad thing, because the doctrine of election causes me to be full of gratitude that God in all His majesty would CHOOSE me! It also causes me to fall on my face and beg that He would also show the same grace to my daughter, my grandpa, my in-laws, and my cousins.
So I encourage you not to push this doctrine away without first studying it in the Word of God. I promise you the doctrine of election (what we call Calvinism today) is there, and there is no getting around it.
I have included a link to this simple booklet in case you want to read it for yourself.