Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

An Old Misconception Revisited

It is often said (and believed in many places) that a belief in the doctrines of sovereign grace (nicknamed "calvinism") will kill an evangelistic and missionary spirit in a person. The truth is that the exact opposite is true.

Now, there is a thing out there called "hyper-calvinism." I have written about it before. Hypers do indeed lack an evangelistic and missionary spirit. That is part of why hyper-calvinism is heretical. Let me be perfectly clear. Hyper-calvinism is a heresy. It is bad. It goes beyond what the Bible says and therefore it draws unbiblical conclusions. Avoid it when you find it. It has no place in Southern Baptist life.

But "Biblical Calvinism" does. Biblical calvinism is the calvinism of Charles Spurgeon, John Brodus, James Boyce, Albert Mohler, and others. It is biblically founded and warmly evangelistic. It is a calvinism against which no one in our great Convention would argue. It is the type of doctrine that we all (in my opinion) should aspire towards.

Biblical calvinism is compelled by the scriptures to go into the world preaching the gospel. In fact, it is this kind of calvinism that gives us hope for success. Since God's elect can be found among people of every tongue, tribe, nation, and ethnic group, and since the Spirit works through the hearing of the scriptures, if we are faithful to go with the word, there are people who will eventually believe and be saved. Everywhere!

Also, Christ commanded his people to go and make disciples. This command is mentioned, in one place, in the Great Commission. This alone is enough to send a biblical calvinist into the streets with the gospel because the desire of every calvinist is obedience to God.

And yet there is another reason. Calvinists understand that God called us out of the world to be a people who are set apart to Him alone to bring glory to His Name. Yet, there are places in the world where the Name of Christ is unknown and therefore, He is not glorified there as He ought to be. God seeks those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. How can they worship Him who they do not know? Therefore, for the glory of God we are driven into the highways and byways, to every corner of the globe to make the Name of Christ known among the nations. His glory compels us.

The myth is that if you are a calvinist and believe God has an elect people that He Himself has chosen, then you must be against missions and evangelism because (they say) there is no reason to go into the world with the gospel. But a biblical calvinist knows that God works through the word and the Spirit to bring people to Christ and they go bearing precious seed (the word of God). Men like Charles Spurgeon, Dr. Livingstone, Hudson Taylor, William Carey, Luther Rice, and many other missionaries and evangelists have been calvinists. Even though this myth is given a wide hearing and is beleived, even among the well educated in our Convention, it ought to be challenged and dismissed wherever it is found. The only biblical calvinist is one who is not only doctrinally minded, but evangelistic and missions minded too. And that's that truth!

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