My Journey into Calvinism: Part Two
Written by: Dan Stump
In part 1 of this series I shared how I went from having no understanding of Calvinism, to not believing it and not liking it, to believing it was true but still not liking it, to finally loving these doctrines. Many call Calvinism the Doctrines of Grace. I imagine John Calvin himself wouldn’t love the idea of having a theology named after him. For me, it isn’t about following a man, but digging into God’s word to see what it says.
I don’t really care what you call it. I just want it to be true.
One thing you will find when researching Calvinism is the acronym TULIP. It isn’t the most helpful and can lead to some unhelpful assumptions, but since it is so well known, I plan to use it as a frame of reference when discussing this theology. Here is what it stands for:
Total depravity is a good place to start. What is the condition of humanity after the Fall? Are we able to choose to follow God? Total depravity is also referred to as total inability, which I think presents a more accurate picture.
Paul lays out our rebellion in
Romans 3:9–18. “I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one seeks for God….There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Later in Romans 8:7–8 Paul says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Finally, in Ephesians 2:1, we are told that we are dead in our sins. Until God makes us alive, by His mercy and love, we will remain spiritually dead.
A small sample of some more passages would include: Mark 7:21–23; Jeremiah 17:9; Titus 1:15–16; Psalm 51:5; Colossians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Isaiah 53:6.
We are hopeless, “But God”We are spiritually dead, “But God”We are deserving of His wrath, “But God”
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4–5).