Adrian Rogers on Calvinism—Part One
This reprint of the sermon Reformed Theology by Adrian Rogers was archived by Louisiana College. The entire manuscript may be read here.
Bellevue Baptist exists for the purpose of magnifying Jesus through worship, the Word and then moving believers in Jesus to maturity in ministry. Then, last of all, making Jesus known to our neighbors and the nations. So, that’s what we’re going to talk a little bit about. My life is wrapped around a verse that you know…Matthew 28, beginning in verse 18: “And Jesus came unto them and spake to them saying, ‘All power is given unto Me, in heaven and in earth, go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” And my life, since Jesus saved me as a teenage boy at about fifteen years of age, has been to share the gospel, to be a soul-winner, to get people saved.
Now, what is “reformed theology?” Do I believe in reformed theology? Or am I a “Calvinist?” I don’t call myself a Calvinist. I believe some of the things that Calvin believed. But, I don’t think we have to call ourselves “Arminian” or “Calvinistic,” or even “Baptist” for that matter. As a matter of fact, the name “Baptist” was given to us to ridicule us, to make fun of us. The name first of all was Anabaptist, which means “rebaptizers.” They said, “Oh, those old bunches of folks want to immerse you after you get saved…that bunch of rebaptizers…those Anabaptists.” And then after awhile they dropped the prefix “ana” and just said, “Those old baptists…” It’s really not a name the Baptists chose…it’s sort of nickname, sort of like calling a fat man “skinny”, or a bald man “curly”…it was a name given in ridicule.
But I’m not interested really in a name given to a theology or being called a “Calvinist” or a “Baptist” or whatever – I am committed to what the Bible teaches and you know if we have any “Baptist doctrine” we need to get rid of it. If we have any “Presbyterian doctrine” or “Methodist doctrine” we need to get rid of it. We need to see what the Bible teaches and just zero in on the Word of God.
I want to say at the outset that I believe in the sovereignty of God. If a man doesn’t believe in the sovereignty of God, he’s a sheer fool. I believe not a blade of grass moves without God’s permission. I believe He knows the name of every star. He put them all there. He is ALMIGHTY! I believe that. I believe in foreordination. I believe in predestination. I believe in calling. I believe in election. I believe in all of that. Why do I believe that? Because I can read the Bible! Anybody who can read the Bible has to believe in all that, because it’s all there…black print on white paper. And you can just sit down and read that. So, I have no difficulty with that.
But I want to talk to you about Calvinism in its extreme form and tell you why I’m not a five-point Calvinist. Now, there are five points in historic, extreme Calvinism. Some call it “hyper-Calvinism”.
There are five points and they spell TULIP. That’s a little memory device and the T stands for “total depravity.” That means we are just about as bad as we can get. TOTAL DEPRAVITY (to be depraved means to be evil). The U stands for “unconditional election.” That is, salvation begins in the heart and mind of God and it is without any conditions whatsoever. God determines it…UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION. God just simply elects some individuals to be saved. The next thing is the L which is “limited atonement.” These people believe that Jesus did not die for all. He died for the elect. So the atonement is limited to the elect…LIMITED ATONEMENT. The I stands for “irresistible grace”. If God is going to save you, there’s nothing you can do about it. His Holy Spirit is going to zap you and you’re a goner, because that is irresistible. There’s no way that you could resist the Holy Spirit of God. So, if you’re one of the elect, you’re going to be saved and there’s nothing you can do about it. And if you’re not one of the elect, there’s nothing you can do about that either. So that is IRRESISTIBLE GRACE. And then, the last, the P stands for “perseverance of the saints.” Once you’re saved, then you persevere and you go on to Heaven…PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
Now, that’s TULIP. You know, every road has two ditches. On one side I think is “hyper Calvinism” and on the other side is Arminianism. Arminius taught that you could be saved and lose your salvation, so rather than TULIP it was DAISY… “He loves me, He loves me not…” Either way, you don’t have to wreck the car in either ditch. You just stay on the road that is the Bible road. Now, I want to tell you tonight why I am not a five point Calvinist.
(Stay tuned for PART TWO….)