Category: Calvinism

A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 4: An Argument for an Irrefutable Gospel

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 4: An Argument for an Irrefutable Gospel


By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary


This article is the fourth in a series that offers an alternative to the classical Reformed T.U.L.I.P. The entire series by Hadley is available at
http://www.transformedtheology.com
The previous articles are:
Total Lostness
Unconditional Love
Limiting Atonement


The fourth point of Conversionism is an Irrefutable Gospel as opposed to Calvinism’s Irresistible Grace. The latter basically states that there is nothing an individual can do to keep from being saved if it is indeed God’s will for that individual be saved. God’s elect will be saved. God gives His grace to those that He foreknew before the foundation of the world; this gift of God’s grace is both unmerited and unexpected on man’s part. Unregenerate man has nothing to do with the gift of God’s grace and is powerless to resist this grace. There’s absolutely no question that salvation is the work of God’s amazing grace (Eph. 2:8). God’s grace is His unmerited and undeserved favor offered to sinful men who deserve death and eternal separation from God. God’s grace has been defined or characterized as His giving to sinful men what they do not deserve. God’s mercy has been defined as His not giving men what they do deserve. Mercy and grace often go hand in hand.

Instead of looking at God’s grace being irresistible, consider the plausibility of God’s gospel being irrefutable. For Paul says,

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:16-17).

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Theological Terminology Thursday:
The Study of Specialized Words Relating to Theology

Decisionism

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Theological Terminology Thursday:
The Study of Specialized Words Relating to Theology

Decisionism


By Ron F. Hale,
Minister of Missions,
West Jackson Baptist Church,
Jackson, TN


Jesus did not call us to anonymity, living and lurking in a shadowy secret society.

Jesus calls us out into the open and into the arena of our community and culture. He promised, “Whosoever confesses me before men, him will I also confess before My Father in heaven” (Matt 10:32). On the other hand, He warned, “But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (v.33). How this has been done publicly has fueled heavy debate through the centuries.

My more Calvinistic brothers have things that we non- or less-Calvinistic brothers need to hear and learn and vice versa. How we share with one another is very important. But when it is done as a doctrinal dressing-down, it is not received sympathetically.

Paul challenged Timothy to do the work of an evangelist as he ministered and proclaimed the Gospel.[1] Every minister or member has a responsibility in sharing the Good News! The Great Commission gives us a compelling reason to be proactive and persistent in our outreach; this commission is for those who stand behind pulpits and those sitting in pews. My motive and means for evangelism should stem from a loving relationship with Jesus; He is to be first and foremost! Sharing Jesus should be done with a dependence on the Holy Spirit and with a humble desire to unfold the Gospel plainly and practically so that a lost person can hear, understand, and respond to God according to His will.

Some years ago, I started seeing the word “decisionism” and related words like “decisional regeneration” or “decision theology.” It is usually referenced by those who are more Calvinistic (Reformed) along with other terms like: “Altar calls,” “clever emotional devices,” “the modern invitational system,” “easy-believism,” “decision cards,” “walking the aisle,” “mourner’s bench,” and “the sinner’s prayer.” It became obvious to me that critics and cynics of invitations and altar calls consider these approaches as dangerous . . . for it is too anthropocentric, meaning it gives man too much control over his salvation or is tantamount to a man-centered salvation by works.

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 3: An Argument for Limiting Atonement

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 3: An Argument for Limiting Atonement


By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary


This article is the third in a series that offer an alternative to the classical Reformed T.U.L.I.P. The entire series by Hadley is available at www.transformedtheology.com. The first two articles addressed “Total Lostness,” and “Unconditional Love.”

The foundational, bed rock tenet of Reformed Theology is contained in the third point of Calvinism, commonly referred to as Limited Atonement. Wayne Grudem defines limited atonement in the following way: “The Reformed view that Christ’s death actually paid for the sins of those whom He knew would ultimately be saved. Another term for this view is ‘particular redemption’ in that the power of the atonement is not limited, but rather it is fully effective for particular people.”[1] In a sermon preached at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens in London on February 28, 1959, Charles H. Spurgeon made the following comment in a message dealing with Limited Atonement; he said, “The doctrine of Redemption is one of the most important doctrines of the system of faith. A mistake on this point will inevitably lead to a mistake through the entire system of our belief.”[2] Whether one accepts his conclusions on this matter or not, Spurgeon statement was absolutely correct.

The issue of Limited Atonement offers a number of valid answers to the many questions dealing with Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Most of the problems that surface with respect to the doctrine of Limited Atonement do so when its proponents carry it to its extremes. Most, if not all, Southern Baptists agree with a concept of Limited Atonement. Anyone who is not a proponent of universalism must by default favor some concept of Limited Atonement. Because Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross paid the penalty for “the sin of the world” there are a couple of things that necessarily follow. First, the penalty for all sin, which is death, was paid when Christ died on the cross and second, God is “in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Cor. 5:19). One interpretation of this passage opens the door to Universalism. However, a closer look at the context from which this phrase is contained, reveals a much different picture. First of all Paul says, “17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 2:17-18a). Obviously, Paul is clear in this discourse that those whom God has reconciled to Himself, are those who are “in Christ” and are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Paul goes on to say that God has given all who have been reconciled into Him a ministry of reconciliation; “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19a). This is not a statement describing God’s character or purpose as much as it is a statement describing the ministry of reconciliation that every born again child of God shares a responsibility to be a part of. Not only is God not directly responsible for the choices men make in accepting the redemption made possible by Jesus’ death on the cross, those who have received this redemption are responsible for leading lost men to the cross where they too may find redemption for themselves.

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 2: An Argument for Unconditional Love

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 2: An Argument for Unconditional Love


By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary


This article is the second in a series that offer an alternative to the classical Reformed T.U.L.I.P. The entire series is available at www.transformedtheology.com. The first “Total Lostness.”

If there’s anything that’s unconditional where God is concerned, it would have to be His love for man. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).[1] “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32). Here is the real story. God did not spare His own Son but allowed Him to be sacrificed on the cross to pay the penalty for an unholy and ungodly world. In analyzing this, the apostle Paul makes the following statement:

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:7-10).

 

The Apostle John makes the following declaration in 1 John 4,

9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

 

In 1 John 2 he writes,

1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 1: Total Lostness

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A Need for a New Identity:
Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip
Part 1: Total Lostness


By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary


This article is the first in a series that offer an alternative to the classical Reformed T.U.L.I.P. The entire series is available at www.transformedtheology.com. This article addresses “Total Lostness.”

Calvinism and Arminianism have been a major part of the theological landscape for centuries and the debate today is no closer to being resolved than it was in the days of Calvin and Arminius, themselves. A number of attempts have been made to strike a balance between the two. Conversionism and Transformed Theology is an attempt to begin that process. There are a number of ways that one might establish a new identity associated with a change in terminology from Calvinism to Conversionism and from Reformed Theology to Transformed Theology. One way involves modifying the framework that Reformed Theology has built itself around, namely the TULIP which is an acronym representing the five points of Calvinism. By using the same five letters, this section will focus on a new identity that will find its significance in a New Tulip. Consider the following acrostic:

  • An Argument for Total Lostness
  • An Argument for Unconditional Love
  • An Argument for Limiting Atonement
  • An Argument for Irrefutable Gospel
  • An Argument for Perseverance of the Savior

In evaluating this new proposed position, it is important to remember that each plank must rest on its own merit based on what the Bible has to say as opposed to interpreting each through the lens of some preconceived premise. For example it can be argued that each of the points of Calvinism have been so developed to support the underlying premise that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross could not have been for all men because it is obvious that not all men are saved and headed for heaven. While the latter part of this statement is absolutely true, that does not validate the former part of the statement. To be fair, there is always a tendency no matter how well intended, to frame one’s theology around certain preconceived theological foundations and frameworks. Just as every man is a product of his own environment, so is his theology a product of his overall evaluation of the Scripture itself. However, when questions concerning theology are presented, it behooves those on both sides of the issue to consider certain arguments on their own merit in light of a standard, which must be the Word of God. Please consider the following points with an open Bible and an objective mind.

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