I finished reading Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul this past week (recommended by Michele). It is a very basic introduction to Calvinism and is written in a very easy to read fashion.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I am not sure where exactly I stand on Calvinism as I haven’t found much reason to decide one way or the other. But I find the insight that Calvinism provides into the characteristics of God and man very interesting. I think I will need to read more on the subject.
One thing that has stood out clearly to me lately as I read scripture is the role of God in every part of salvation. There is so much talk in the scriptures of election, predestination, calling, choosing, etc. I understand that the Arminian and Calvinist have different approaches to these terms, but I tend to think our limited minds have trouble understanding the workings of God in this area.
On this note, I was reading a transcript from MacArthur (who is a Calvinist) last night on predestination and salvation based on this verse:
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:30
I like the way MacArthur handled this verse and showed not only the assurance of salvation through God’s stepwise plan for us, but also elaborated on how God’s plan basically works for each individual. We are predestined, then called, then justified, then glorified. What God has started, God will finish.
Anyway, MacArthur went on to talk about the elect and the non-elect and I like one thing he said because it dealt a bit with some of the common hang-ups on the non-elect idea (predestined for destruction?). He basically said the non-elect were condemned for their non-belief because that is what scripture says, despite the fact that there seems to be a dissymmetry with that idea as compared to the work in the elect (being chosen and given the ability to follow God).
How can that be? It is one of those mysteries that our puny brains can’t comprehend according to MacArthur. I think a lot of scripture is clear, definitely the Gospel message. But I think it is sometimes easy to go with an interpretation that is comfortable (like the complete free will of man) rather than accept what the scripture actually says. And I think Calvinism makes people uncomfortable.
But I diverge. Back to Sproul…I enjoyed the book and would like to read more by Sproul. I think the one idea that stuck with me from the Calvinist point of view is the idea of man choosing to turn to God. Sproul makes the argument that we do that which we desire. Our desires determine our choices. With that in mind, why would a fallen man ever choose Christ unless God first gave him the desire. That makes sense to me.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the interplay between a sovereign God and a fallen man. I’m not quite ready to fully embrace Calvinism yet, but the one thing I can really appreciate about their viewpoint is the emphasis on the sovereignty of God. I just don’t think that God’s sovereignty can ever be overemphasized.
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8
Christian Women Blogging
Articles for Christian Women
- ▼ September (8)