The Calvinist “system”

This John Samson article gets it right: have we all not read enough “cage-stage” Calvinism? Most center on the Five Points. The back-and-forth on this issue has apparently convinced some opponents that Calvinism floats independently of Scripture. “Calvinists will not believe anything that goes against their system!”

Perhaps the reason people think it independent is that internet Calvinists often speak the language of theology texts, not Scripture; the language of men, not the language of God. It’s easy to pick on the ceaseless arguing, but self-examination is in order: How often have I spent twice as much time reading theology as Scripture itself? How often have I forgone prayer to read a book I’ll forget tomorrow? How often have I avoided the troublesome but rewarding task of memorizing Scripture? Too often.

It’s in reading and meditating on Scripture that the truths of the Gospel appear over and over again. Here in the Gospel of John, there in Romans, there in Ephesians, again in Galatians, and so forth. The great confessions – the Three Forms of Unity, the Westminster Confession, and even the 39 Articles – come alive, organically, in bright colors, for behind the “system” is Scripture itself. And behind Scripture is the living God. The system doesn’t live independently; it draws its life and truth from Scripture. If we only know our system and go about arguing other people’s systems, are we getting anywhere?

When reading the Bible, one finds that what Spurgeon said is true: “It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.” For our great salvation is all of God:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. -Eph 2:1-10

To the Book!

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