Author Archive

The TULIP’s Petals and Sepals, part 4

by Ronnie Rogers

Irresistible Grace: The Holy Spirit efficaciously applies salvation to those unconditionally elected sinners whom He personally calls to Christ.

Calvinism believes that the general call of the gospel extends to everyone, but the internal efficacious call of the Holy Spirit that is both required and inexorably results in salvation is only extended to the unconditionally elect. The nature of these two calls is that the former can only be rejected and the latter can only be accepted. That is to say, the non-elect can never do anything but reject the preaching of the gospel, and the elect will do the same until they receive the internal efficacious call, which they can only respond to by believing.

Regeneration is monergistic (God alone), and man is totally passive until regeneration is accomplished. After God regenerates an elect individual, then and only then does the relationship become synergistic. Calvinism’s understanding of God’s work of regeneration (sometimes referred to as or included in the concept of the efficacious call) necessarily involves irresistibility in purpose, availability to the unconditionally elect only, and the inevitability of a subsequent free exercise of faith.

Worth noting is that the adjectives “general” and “efficacious” in both order and description are not explicitly taught in Scripture, but rather are understandings of Calvinism. I would suggest that the term “general call” be replaced with the much more biblically congruent term “sufficient call;” additionally, that the efficacious call (if there is such a thing) be understood as consummating (securing) salvation for all who accept the sufficient call rather than initiating salvation for the unconditionally elect.

It is important to understand that while, according to Calvinism, the act of faith that follows regeneration is a free act, the act of regeneration which inescapably leads to this free exercise of faith is forced upon the totally passive and depraved unconditionally elect (monergism and compatibilism). That is to say, the “free act of faith” is more accurately defined as an eternally predetermined free act of choosing, which excludes any idea of having choices (i.e. compatibilism). Thus, eliminating even the remotest possibility for the elect to do other than what he did in fact do and the non-elect the same end. While this is Calvinism’s portrait of the inner workings of the gospel, I do not believe it is the picture of the gospel painted by Scripture.

God’s choice to ration His salvific grace to only the unconditionally elect necessarily means that the lack of faith and resistance to the gospel by the non-elect is as equally and inviolably a predetermined free act as is the predetermined free exercise of faith of the unconditionally elect. Therefore, the offer of salvation to some and the withholding from the incalculable majority were predetermined by God’s good pleasure; thereby, making the gospel the most unfathomably and ghoulishly macabre news for the great majority of God’s humanity.

Therefore, if a person believes the Scripture teaches the following, he cannot be a Calvinist: the gospel is good news for everyone and not merely some who hear the words “whosever” or “who wishes take the water of life without cost;” God has grace enabled all who hear the good news to receive His forgiveness by faith in the gospel. These truths are embraced by other biblical approaches but not in Calvinism.

Ronnie is senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., and is the author of  “Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist.”

The TULIP’s Petals and Sepals, part 3

by Ronnie Rogers

3. Limited Atonement: Christ’s death is of infinite value, but He died salvifically only for the unconditionally elect.

Calvinism understands limited atonement to mean that Christ’s death did not in any eternally meaningful way pay for the sins of the non-elect. Thus, there is not even the remotest possibility of even one of the unconditionally non-elect experiencing salvation in spite of such opportunity being so lucidly and compellingly commanded and presented in the simple call of the gospel for everyone to repent and believe; correspondingly, this point, along with the aforementioned points, gives rise to the need for and creation of the extra-biblical “good faith offer.”

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The TULIP’s Petals and Sepals, part 1

by Ronnie Rogers

Before you make the TULIP your flower of choice, consider it in full bloom.

TULIP is used acronymically to succinctly point out the major emphases of Calvinism. I well understand that the use of the TULIP does not fully illustrate the depth and breadth of Calvinism. I do understand that some believe the acronym has outlived its usefulness. However, it still enjoys ubiquitous usage among Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike. I find this to be particularly true among those seeking to explain Calvinism to people who may demonstrate some interest in understanding Calvinism, or as a simple tool to convince young people of its biblical and systematic cogency. I am not considering this acronym in order to either portray Calvinism simplistically or inaccurately. Rather, I use it in the manner described by Roger Nicole when he said, “the five points provide a classic framework which is quite well adapted for the expression of certain distinguishing emphases of Calvinism.”

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A Case Study of Media and Doctrine, Part One: Jeffress, Collins, Tebow, and Doyel’s Quest for Fifteen More Minutes

by Johnathan Pritchett

Here’s how it works:

DallasNews.com posts a story about how CBS sports writer Gregg Doyel is attacking Dr. Robert Jeffress (pastor FBC Dallas) again in his latest article regarding NBA player Jason Collins announcing to the world that he is a homosexual. Sure enough, the entire story DallasNews.com ran on Doyel versus Jeffress is based on a toss away line that Doyel launched at Jeffress, which was a mere throwback to the article that basically made this sports writer famous when he launched a tirade at NFL quarterback and outspoken Christian Tim Tebow regarding his planned appearance to speak at FBC Dallas. Now, what is important here is that the toss away line aimed at Jeffress was at the very end of his recent article regarding Collins, and yet, DallasNews.com, and others, have written entire stories focusing on Doyel criticizing Jeffress, FBC Dallas, and their views.

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The World Court

by Dr. Franklin Kirksey

Psalm 75:1-10

 

Introduction

The World Court receives mention more and more in news stories like one on PBS (08/12/12) about the island of Palau related to the issue of “Global Warming.”

Dr. Paul Lee Tan shares, “The International Court of Justice or the World Court sits in the Palace of Peace in The Hague, Holland.  Fifteen judges from different countries are there.  The UN pays for the bill.

But in nearly 30 years of its life, the World Court has handled only 61 cases, rendered 26 judgments and given 15 advisory opinions.  It has settled only 10 disputes, mostly ‘trivial conflicts of a technical nature.’

And then on Dec. 10, 1979, the World Court began hearings on an American request to find Iran guilty of international law.

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