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Is Calvinism Good for the Church?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2021 12:01 am

Is Calvinism Good for the Church?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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November 30, 2021 12:01 am

Calvinist convictions should not make us contentious; they should make us more like Christ. Today, Burk Parsons corrects common misconceptions about Reformed theology.

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Today I'm Renewing Your Mind is Calvinism good for the church are Calvinism will be a thorough ever deepening knowledge, understanding and love of the God whom we worship, and if your version of Calvinism doesn't do that in your Calvinism is not the Bible's Calvinism Calvinist care deeply about theological precision that is prompted some of the label's is arrogant and contentious that perhaps you been the target of such criticism fairly or unfairly today on Renewing Your Mind later teaching fellow Dr. Brooke Parsons addresses this issue head on and issues a challenge for those of us in the reformed. Now it's never really been my habit to call myself a Calvinist, and I know that may sound strange here. I work for probably the world's foremost known Calvinist Dr. scroll i.e. have a great privilege of editing the worlds probably most well-known reformed magazine that is thoroughly Calvinistic. The reason I've never really refer to myself as a Calvinist is primarily for the reason I don't think Calvin would like it in foremost because I don't think the Lord would like not realize that in saying that I'm offending a whole host of units not my intention. My intention is for us to rethink not only our language but Teresa thinks so much of the Calvinism that is been battered about so much of the Calvinism that we see on display not only our churches but throughout the world.

And so that we would come away from this conference not with a bold brazen gun slinging cowboy Calvinism that takes every dissenter on the streets and shoots them down with our five shot revolver's but that we would be a people who come away from this conference with a more thoroughly biblical Calvinism. Knowing God's truth in defending his truth in the name of Christ, so that we would not come away from this time and this conference promoting a man, but the only God, man, Jesus Christ our Savior. Simply put, Calvinism is the belief that God saves sinners and whether we think we are thoroughly equipped in these doctrines.

What we need is the word of God. We need a Bible Calvinism. We need a Calvinism that emanates from Scriptures, not from our own minds. We need a theology that drives us to our knees and said that Calvinism is Christianity on its knees, but doesn't begin their it begins Calvinism with Christ on his knees. So what you do turn with me to John chapter 17 and read along with me as we make our way through this glorious prayer of our Lord Jesus in this upper room discourse in its final farewell discourse ends chapter 16 as we have it here in our New Testament Scriptures saying to his disciples very plainly but be of good cheer, you will have tribulation in your life and in the ministry that I will send you out to into this world, but be of good sure why. For this very reason, Jesus said because I have overcome the world.

So we spoke these words, and he lifted his eyes up to heaven. John 17 verse one and said father, the hour has come.

Glorify your son that your son may also glorify you as you have given him authority over all flesh. And we are familiar with this language are going from the great commission Jesus said very plainly.

All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth and therefore we are to do what go because Jesus has authority over all the earth because he has the power not we ourselves, not we, as his emissaries, not we, as those who he's called to go out into all the world, but because he has power because he has authority and because he is sent that second comforter to help us and to be our advocate and to go before us, preparing hearts and minds.

He says go Jesus says very plainly to the father acknowledging to the father in the third person.

This is the son about whom I'm speaking in the son has authority over all flesh. It's a he brazen for all people you've given him authority over all flesh that he should give or grant or bestow eternal life to as many as you have given him. Now this is the language of the gospel. The language of John throughout from John chapter 6 John chapter 10, over and over and over again every time we see Jesus talking about the people that the father has given him the son. Jesus is speaking about a particular group of people using father, you have given me a people. I have authority over all the flesh over all the world over all creation. But you've given me a people out of this creation is made so many of his followers.

Although nominal steam as they left him in droves. In John chapter 6 and then he even pressed them further.

In John chapter 6 saying do not murmur amongst yourselves know this, that only the father who sent me, who will draw his people. This group of people out of the world that it's only the father's doing is only the father's drawings, not the father's wooing, not the father's hoping and wishing but the father's drawing.

It's only that the father and his work through the spirit drawing out sinners from this miserable, dark and sad world. The only means by which any sinner can come to Christ dear ones.

So often we really have a most unfortunate view of ourselves. We don't have a high enough regard for our depravity.

We don't properly understand just how dead we are. You can even qualify deadness. As you know we are a dead people. We come into this world dead on arrival and we need to understand and we need to remember regularly that in our natural states were not seeking God were not running after him. In fact were doing just the opposite or going in running away from him and hiding from them behind trees and garden. We don't want them to come and see us. We don't want to see his face that one who came down and accommodated himself to us.

And if you will came down out of the heavenly's and the beautiful picture.

The Genesis gives us in Genesis 27, wherein the God of all creation comes down and breathes into man's nostrils the breath of life in this god with whom we were face-to-face is the same God that were running away from Natalie running away from him, but we hate him only do we hate him but if he came down here we would kill us precisely what we did. But Jesus said, I have come to take and to save and to reveal to the people whom you have given me for your glory that I should give eternal life. John 17 verse two that I should give eternal life to as many as you have given me.

Jesus said in verse three and this is eternal life. We have so many poor understandings and misconceptions about what eternal life will be like, dear friends, we don't know the Scriptures well of Jesus here defines in his prayer to the father as the disciples listen in and as we listen in here now 2000 years later to what Jesus says what eternal life is listen to what he says this is eternal life definition very plainly the most simple way he could possibly say it, that they may know you, not that they might simply think nice thoughts about you. Not so that they might simply have happy lives for their best life now, not so that they might simply have a certain direction in their life for a certain amount of purpose in their life but that they might know God, and if dear ones we are not going about our entire lives helping others know God parents, their children, husbands or wives pastors your people, then you are failing them miserably in sending a whole host right to health.

Jesus said very plainly this is eternal life that they may know you, that they may be face-to-face with you again and that they might have an intimate personal love and knowledge and experience internally for ever and ever.

Not just living forever. Never in this body and in this means in this way, that were so use to living in an entirely different way. In an entirely different form that they might know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent verse four.

I've glorified you on the earth.

I finished the work which you have given me to do and now a father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was for six Jesus moves on from praying regarding himself in the third person to the father and praying for those whom God the father had given to the son, most particularly, perhaps just speaking of the 11 prime speaking of the 72 props speaking of those who are right around him. His followers who had not left him and deserted him speaking to all those whom the father had given to the son, who are presently in real time in real space is in Jesus at I've manifested. There, Jesus said, I have manifested.

I have revealed I have made play no. Usually when we read this language here in John 17, we come away thinking well it's a big matter will Jesus spoke the truth. He preached the truth. We did that to everybody and many left and many rejected him, and many went away. Jesus said very plainly.

I have manifested your word to them.

I have revealed your word to them. Five. Open their eyes and Ivan lighten their minds to your word. These whom you have given me by the Spirit's work have had your truth and your word revealed to them as their listening in. And Jesus is praying these prayers that they can hear. He continues and says I've manifested your name to the men whom you've given me out of the world they were yours. Why didn't Jesus pray they are yours. Why does he use a past tense verb in speaking to the father and mind you, Jesus spoke every word as he meant it. But why does use the past for so many comes to the doctrines of grace when it comes to this whole business of Calvinism comes the whole matter of election and reprobation the hangup for so many is that they have come to a point where they have relaxed in a doctrine that suggests that God before the foundations of the earth didn't choose a people, but instead looked down the corridor of time and peered down that tunnel of time and said I see that John or Bob or Suzanne, I see that I said he's going to muster up enough strength and I see that he had just the right parents. I see that he was in just the right place. I see that he was really smart and he figured it out or I see that he had nothing and had nothing else on which to depend. And I see something in him and then I see in a future point on this timeline that he repents of his sins and recognizes that there is a God and recognizes that he needs salvation and I see that he's gonna believe on me, and because he repented of his own volition because he came to me because he had faith of his own will and his own natural instincts that one.

I'm going to choose. If you believe that friends you don't know the gospel, because you've never come to a point you've never come to a place in your lives. When you've thrown up your hands in the air and said, Lord, why me and when we get to heaven and angels are why should rather say when heaven comes to us in the new heavens and new earth is Revelation 21 describes it, but when we get there and the Angels are all gathered around us and they look at us and they say you know we've been we've been examining this whole matter of of redemption. We've looked into it deeply and intensely our entire existence.

Could you tell us why are you here and we look at these angels are gathered about and say well angels, let me tell you it's very simple. I believe that okay well that's what we've heard is the way you get here, we heard the Westminster confession of faith.

The says this is the sole instrument of our salvation. Faith. But why is it your neighbor here. Why is your child here lies in your spouse here at that point, when will immediately turn to the grace of God.

It's at that point will say with a reason I believe this because of God's grace. The reason I believed is because he worked in the belief that he overcame my will that he overcame my stubborn hardened way against him that wanted to kill him and he took a hold of my stony heart by the Holy Spirit.

He took me any drag me to my knees and he said your mind. Your mind from all eternity. And I love you and at the end of the day angels. The only answer I really have is the reason I'm here is by the grace of God. Know the obvious question that we have here that I really haven't answered is, is Calvinism good for the church course of the plane thing.

If we answer the question say well it's good for the church if it's biblical right, the Bible says that the must be good for the church and here we have Jesus on his knees before the father edit in a most significant point in his life and ministry. Before those he's about to leave and praying the prayer that is thoroughly dyed in the wool Calvinistic, but we really still haven't answered the practical question and the question is, how is Calvinism good for the church. Paul lays it out plainly in Ephesians 4 look with me. There after chapters 1 through three, as Paul has laid out very plainly of the mystery of God from all eternity about the way in which God has saved a people so many of us when we concern ourselves with these doctrines of grace and Calvinism. We look at this matter and we look at these questions and as I concluded my freshman year of college writing for my English professor, a paper entitled Calvinism and Arminianism a controversy that shouldn't exist, not knowing that she was a Calvinist at the time I wrote this paper that you will this is a mystery. We can't know it.

Have you read in my theme verse, of course, was Romans 11 the mind of God's ways are far beyond our understanding far beyond our knowing his ways are beyond searching we need to settle that this is a mystery to us and as were many of you are today. It was a mystery we can understand that. Look at the use of mystery in the New Testament. Paul here in Ephesians over and over again says I'm explaining to you, dear friends, the mystery of God. Lesson and if you go away saying well it's a mistress so can understand that you're not being faithful to Scripture. Paul saying I'm giving this to you. Ephesians this is the mystery of God enfolded so after he's done all this and chapters 1 through three, ending it very plainly the end of chapter 3 verse 21. With this amen begins therefore in chapter 4, either prisoner of the Lord, I beseech you, I urge you, I call to you with this great admonition to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called talking about her. He just spent three chapters talking about her calling, being called out of this dark sad world into his marvelous light and made able to stand by his power and his spiritual invigoration every day of our lives through eternity. So is called us out of darkness and into his light, not so that we might sibling bask in the light but silly Michael back into the world shining as it slides into this dark world illuminating. This said in dark world with people whose eyes are closed and blinded by the god of this world. As Paul says in Corinthians, I'm a prisoner and I beseech you to walk worthy of that calling that electing grace by which you are called out of this world walk in this way, dear friends, and for most of us.

This is where we stop for a put down our Bibles, we say that's enough. I've heard it. It sounds nice and I would rather just walk away from this conference thinking nice thoughts about God, thinking nice thoughts about myself. Paul never stops there. God never stops there, and nor should we.

Paul says very plainly. This this electing grace that I've now explained to this whole matter of the doctrines of grace. This whole business about Calvinism that have just explained you and chapters 1 through three. This is what it does walk worthy of the calling with which you are called with all the loveliness not arrogance, not audacity in a brazen boldness that is elitist and makes us think and even sometimes say that were better than all other true children of God that we are somehow more loved by God than our neighbor who trusts Christ and loves him with all his breath and preaches the gospel and knows God. But is saved by happy inconsistency and not yet understanding these things and not yet setting Scripture in its depths, as were most of us at some point the lowliness with all humility and a word to my friends and you are my friends who are among this young restless and reformed. I guess I'm still kind of young but but to those who are just coming to these things dear ones, these doctrines should not make you more bold and more brazen but more humble.

We walk in lowliness as God's people.

We walk Paul says, continuing on in chapter 4 we walk with gentleness. Paul understands friends he understand what these doctrines can do. He understands that will think we've got it. Now we know understand the mystery got what should we do, but in understanding it. It makes us, and should rightly make us fall on our knees should rightly make us come to our faces with God every day of our lives in Lord, why me, use me, although I don't deserve to be used. True biblical Calvinism is in fact good for the church for this precise reason I've taught you these things Paul says all of these things that I've laid out before you is not to make you more arrogant. It's to make you more lonely in your walk is to make you more gentle, it's to make you bear up one another's burdens so that you might know God, and in knowing God make him known that you might love God and loving God, loving your neighbors as yourselves, so that you might walk every day as a gospel child of God, trusting that promise in the God who is a covenantal God who keeps his promises that we as the people of God, that we, as his church might grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share causes growth of the body for the body edifies itself in life are Calvinism, if it is biblical. Calvinism will be a thorough ever deepening knowledge, understanding and love of the God whom we worship, and if your version of Calvinism doesn't do that in your Calvinism is not the Bible's Calvinism and certainly friend isn't good for the church are Calvinism is not to be a Calvinism that we wear on a T-shirt on a bumper sticker to the Calvinism we wear on our sleeves's not badge that we put on's have been to a leak in your conference. See, I truly am a Calvinist.

It's a gospel religion in which we clothe ourselves and drape ourselves with his word daily, so that when we walk what the world sees and what the church sees and what your spouse sees and what your children see is your love and heart, soul, mind and strength of your God save as friends. God save sinners and by his grace and saved us. That's Dr. Burk Parsons with a timely reminder. Our theology should give us yes zeal, the Stanford truth, but in a way that always reflects the fruit of the spirit which includes kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. Thank you for joining us today for Renewing Your Mind, and Dr. Parsons message is Calvinism good for the church. It's true, the Calvinism is widely misunderstood.

In fact, Dr. RC Sproul said I don't know of any other theologian in history was been more vilified by his critics then was John Calvin. The truth is that Calvin's writings have helped Christians for centuries, particularly one small volume that we like to send to you today is called a little book on the Christian life is a little more than 100 pages.

Calvin encourages his readers to pursue Christ in every area of our lives will send you a copy when you give a donation of any amount to leader ministries you can make a request or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343, I think you'll come away pleasantly surprised that that Calvin's critics are wrong in portraying him as a dour ivory tower theologian Dr. Spruill said that this little book reveals not only the warm heart but the brilliant mind and biblical insight that Calvin had it really is a treasurer and a wonderful resource for discipling new believers to request a little book on the Christian life.

When you contact us today with your donation of any amount or number again is 800-435-4343 and her web address is Renewing Your but were going to change gears tomorrow at Dr. Spruill's children's books are always a treat to hear and tomorrow will feature his story about people who are afraid of the dark and the peace they found when they allowed light to shine on the wheel people gather the family and join us as RC reads the likely here on Renewing Your Mind

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