Thursday, September 17, 2015

What's so good about being a Calvinist?

Came across my copy of The Practical Calvinist, a book that was published in honor of one of my seminary professors, D. Clair Davis, upon his retirement. Following is part of an article that he wrote in the Presbyterian Journal in 1986, under the title above. I was going to quote just two paragraphs, but once I got going, I just couldn't stop. And I'm not even going to apologize. In fact, you're welcome.

"Basically, the Five Points tell you how God saves people, and you've been saved for years. What you need to know is how to be a better wife and mother. You need to know how to get ready for your next mid-life crisis. You need to know how to pray when the pain gets sharper. how does being a Calvinist help then?
"It helps because underneath all those questions about how to live is a much bigger, more essential one: Why bother? How do you know the Lord really cares?
"You don't ask that one out loud in your Sunday-school class. But you know you're eaten up with worry. You've gotten used to being bored with the Bible. You can't identify with the things the other Christians talk about. You need a fresh start with the Lord. But where do you begin?
"Now that's where Calvinism really comes through for you. It applies the Bible where you need it the most. Think through the basics. Jesus died for you personally (Personal Atonement). He loves you, not what he can get out of you (Unconditional Election). He pours out his love on every bit of you, not just what you think is your sweeter and nicer side (Total Depravity). His love is stronger than all your doubt and foolishness and fear put together (Irresistible Grace). He keeps on loving you, all the way through to the end (Perseverance of the Saints). That's the Five Points of your Father's love!
"When you've digested how much the Lord has done for you, then you'll know what you're doing. That's why the Lord kept telling his people, 'Remember the Exodus!' In the middle of the clutter and snarls in your life, keep in mind the Lord's mighty, loving arm that lifted you out of slavery into the Land of Promise. 'He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?' (Rom 8:31-32).
"Pondering the five points of God's grace isn't a nostalgia trip. When you're alert about your salvation, then you know what life is all about. When you see how your salvation comes only from the Lord and not a bit from yourself, then you understand a lot of other things too...
"...After turning away from glorying in yourself, be sure to start glorying in Jesus Christ. If you stop half-way, all you have left is apathy. But the Lord has called you to enjoy him forever. you do that by looking at Philippians 2 and doing some solid thinking about what Jesus gave up for you. Weigh what it meant for him to be a servant. Consider his obedience all the way to death. Try to grasp Jesus Christ crucified, crying out, 'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me!' Now you're ready to start telling yourself and the Lord how wonderful and glorious Jesus Christ is."
The Practical Calvinist, pp. 47-49

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