Calvinism

by J.I. Packer

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” JOHN 3:3

Regeneration is a New Testament concept that grew, it seems, out of a parabolic picture-phrase that Jesus used to show Nicodemus the inwardness and depth of the change that even religious Jews must undergo if they were ever to see and enter the kingdom of God, and so have eternal life (John 3:3-15). Jesus pictured the change as being “born again.”

The concept is of God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ. Jesus’ phrase “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) harks back to Ezekiel 36:25-27, where God is pictured as symbolically cleansing persons from sin’s pollution (by water) and bestowing a “new heart” by putting his Spirit within them. Because this is so explicit, Jesus chides Nicodemus, “Israel’s teacher,” for not understanding how new birth happens (John 3:9-10). Jesus’ point throughout is that there is no exercise of faith in himself as the supernatural Savior, no repentance, and no true discipleship apart from this new birth.
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The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

If at the end of your life you could say one thing to the next generation of church leaders, what might it be?

This is risky, because I know how it could be misused by people who don’t like me anyway. But I think I’m going to say to them on my death bed, “Make the Bible the supreme intellectual and emotional authority in your life, for the sake of magnifying Christ in the fullness of his person and his work, so that generation after generation preserves the foundation and the capstone of the glory of God in Christ, and the grace that is the apex of that glory.”

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by Paul Helm
Originally posted here:

The term Calvinism was first used by Lutheran theologians to refer to what they regarded as the peculiar views of Christ’s real presence at the Lord’s Supper held by John Calvin and his followers. It is not used in this way nowadays. What does it refer to now? In some cases, it denotes the entire theological system of Calvin himself as we find it in the four books of his Institutes of the Christian Religion. In other cases, and more usually, it refers to the understanding of the doctrine of salvation as we find it in the first three books. What’s the difference? Well, the fourth book of the Institutes contains what Calvin may have thought to be the climax of his system, his doctrine of the church (and sacraments) and its relation to the state. Briefly, he sets forth a Presbyterian system of church governance and a close connection between church and state, one in which the magistrate is regarded as the minister of God, whose duty it is to uphold the true worship of God — worship according to the principles of Reformed theology, and no other. READ MORE

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from Keith Mathison
originally posted here:

When Dutch Calvinists and Arminians squared off against one another in the early part of the seventeenth century, the Calvinists won the opening battle. The controversy, however, soon spread beyond the borders of the Netherlands. Now, four hundred years later, the conflict continues, and in terms of numbers alone, Arminianism is clearly winning the war for the hearts and minds of professing Christians. Today, Calvinists are a small minority. But why the debate in the first place? Is it really that important?

Many professing Christians today would say that the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism should be put to rest, that we have more important things to think about. Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams disagree. In their book, Why I Am Not an Arminian (IVP, 2004), these two authors not only explain what Arminianism is, they demonstrate how it is biblically, theologically, and philosophically unsound and why it must be rejected by those concerned to be faithful to the teaching of Scripture.

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Total Depravity

May 24, 2010

Objection is sometimes made to the doctrine of total depravity. If men turn away from God in anger, I can understand it. If men turn aside form God in justice, I can understand it. But when they so hate God that they will not even have his salvation, when they refuse pardon through the precious […]

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Monergism vs. Synergism Debate Part II

April 3, 2010

We took the gloves off today a bit, but remained within bounds for brothers in the Lord, as Michael and I debated again on the DL. Accusations of a “schizophrenic God” and “robots” came up, which surprised me a little, but that’s OK, at least we got down to some brass tacks, so to speak, […]

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Christian faith: Calvinism is back

March 30, 2010

In America’s Christian faith, a surprising comeback of rock-ribbed Calvinism is challenging the Jesus-is-your-buddy gospel of modern evangelism. America’s Christian faith is experiencing a comeback of Calvinism and its God-first immersion in Scripture. Catherine Snow prays during an event at the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., intended to introduce new people to its […]

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Monergism vs. Synergism

March 27, 2010

James White and Michael Brown discuss John 6, Romans 8-9, Ephesians 1 in a debate between Calvinism & Arminianism. Here is the program. “…I suppose it is the classical Calvinist/Arminian debate, but I prefer the monergism/synergism description myself….” – James White

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