I have been blogging for over a year now and I really haven’t said much about the Doctrines of Grace. What are the doctrines of grace you ask? Some call them the 5 points of Calvinism, the Cannons of Dort, TULIP or ROSES. I like the term Doctrines of Grace (or DoG) because I do think that each point highlights God’s all sufficient grace as the only adequate remedy for sin. I know I got all fired up around the time of the John 3:16 conference, but other than that, I haven’t really blogged much on these doctrines for a number of reasons. First I don’t feel that these doctrines are primarily what define me as disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore I have never felt the need to write every other post on Calvinism. Secondly, the doctrines of grace are controversial amongst evangelical Christians. There are many people who disagree with me on these doctrines who I would call beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So why am I taking up these doctrines on my blog? Firstly, though the Doctrines of Grace do not define me as a disciple of Jesus Christ, they do challenge and encourage me as a follower of Jesus. They move me to worship, praise, and adore Christ my savior. They move me to evangelize because I know that my God’s Word will not return void and that God will draw people to himself from every tribe tongue and nation–the results of God’s powerful Word being preached to the nations are not in doubt! The primary reason I am now blogging about the DoGs ( on a side note, “Where my DoGs at?” or “Who let the DoGs out?” would make excellent titles for Reformed Christian rap songs) is because the DoGs are found all over the place in Scripture. I firmly believe that these all-to-often neglected doctrines are found in the Scriptures–if that is the case, then we as believers ought to address them, come to grips with them, and apply them to our lives.
I believe that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) and all of it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Therefore, if the Bible teaches the DoGs, then they must be profitable for training us in righteousness and equipping us for every good work including taking the gospel to the nations. Therefore, the doctrines of grace do matter. They are not to be feared, though they are difficult, a right understanding and appropriation of them will result in the bearing of much fruit for God’s kingdom! If we abide in Christ and His Word abides in us–we will bear much fruit (John 15:5)–this includes the portions of His Word which deal with controversial doctrines!
I won’t pretend that the DoGs are not controversial, especially in Southern Baptist life (in which I find myself as an SBC pastor), but I also won’t pretend that these doctrines are not addressed extensively in Scripture. Just because something is controversial doesn’t mean it is not true, nor does it mean that it is not worth fighting for. Even if there were just one clear Scripture on election, I would still seek to submit myself to its truth and apply it to my life as a Christian. For instance, there are only a handful of Scriptures that speak directly to the immorality of homosexuality–does that make it any less true? No of course not! I do think that certain truths are addressed at great length in the Bible because of their importance for us as believers and because of what they communicate about almighty God and the human condition. I think this is the case with most, but not all the doctrines of grace. For instance–election and total depravity are addressed quite extensively, limited atonement, however is less frequently discussed doctrine in the Bible.
For the record, I am a 5 point Calvinist most days of the week–sometimes I find myself drifting away from limited atonement (I hate the title “limited” atonement” by the way). I just want to be clear that the Bible calls all Christians to be fervent evangelists and that the gospel is to be preached to all people and everyone who believes the gospel of Jesus Christ WILL be saved!
Here is the skinny: you might be surprised to find that the doctrine of election is a central doctrine in the Bible, so in a series of short posts, I intend to show that the Bible’s references to election are many and are found in many more places than Romans 9 and Ephesians 1–they are all over the place! So I intend to post on what Moses, Matthew, Mark, John, Peter, Paul, Luke, and James have to say about election–probably each of these biblical authors will receive their own post. Once we have established the Bible’s thorough teaching on election, then I will likely write a few short posts on some of the most controversial passages of Scripture that are often pitted against the DoGs. With the help of some of my friends here at Elect Exiles, I hope to address other important DoGs such as irresistable grace (I prefer effectual calling) and total depravity (or better yet, radical corruption).
Finally, I am also taking up the doctrine of election because others are talking about this doctrine in ways that I do not feel represent what I believe fairly and honestly–so instead of twiddling my thumbs while I and others who value the doctrine of election are misrepresented, I will just tell you what I believe and show you from Scripture! I hope these posts prove to be helpful resources to you and above all, I hope they point you to Christ!
If you completely disagree with my take on these verses, by all means, please leave a comment in the comment meta explaining why. I simply want to submit to and benefit from the teaching of Scripture, even if you think I am completely wrong, the passages of Scripture I will cite must be addressed–so at the very least, I hope these posts will help us all to be better Bible readers and theologians and I hope that they result in more faithful kingdom living until our Lord returns or calls us home!