Allen M. Rea
Higgston Baptist Church
The primary responsibility of the pastor is the ministry of the Word, i.e. preaching.1 This includes a moral obligation to preach what he believes to be true. However, what a pastor says in public should be consistent with what he says in private. If he publicly teaches a doctrine he believes to be false, he is guilty of dishonesty. The reverse is also true. The preacher must not give advice to others or evangelize in a way that contradicts what he believes and preaches. The ethics of preaching requires doctrinal consistency.
Is Calvinist pastoral ministry especially prone to this kind of ethical inconsistency? Are Calvinist pastors especially tempted to misrepresent, or even change, their theology because elements of Calvinism are “unpreachable?”2 Jerry Walls and Joseph Dongell have asked this question: “[Do] Calvinists forthrightly and consistently apply their theology in the rough and tumble of daily life and ministry or…[do] they tend to cloak their distinctively Reformed commitments in those contexts?”3 They believe the answer is “no” in the first regard and “yes” in the second, claiming that, “Calvinists are inclined to shroud and even misrepresent their central theological convictions at some of these crucial junctures where theology meets life.”4 Is that true? This article will examine five problem areas where Calvinist preachers are likely to compromise their message.
II. INCONSISTENCIES INVOLVING ASSURANCE AND DEATH
First, Calvinist pastors can demonstrate inconsistency between their doctrine concerning the assurance of salvation and what they say to the bereaved.
In Calvinistic spirituality, the church-goer is encouraged to question his salvation and to examine his behavior in an endless search for assurance. Calvinist David Engelsma criticizes Puritanism regarding assurance: “Puritan preaching…is forever questioning your assurance, forever challenging your right to assurance, forever sending you on a quest for assurance, and forever instilling doubt.”5
The reason this is the case is because Calvinism teaches what is commonly called the perseverance of the saints. By that, Calvinists do not simply mean that once a person believes in Jesus for eternal life he can never lose that life. They also mean that a professing believer must continue (persevere) in good works in order to prove to himself, and others, that he has indeed believed.6 In other words, Calvinism really has six points: “One could almost speak of the six points of Calvinism, the fifth point being the preservation of the saints and the sixth point being the perseverance of the saints.”7 The “P” in TULIP has two parts.8
For the Calvinist, then, assurance of salvation is not certainty. One cannot be sure that he has everlasting life because the basis of assurance is not simply the promise of everlasting life to the believer, but it also includes his works (the works of the Spirit in his life). Therefore, any degree of assurance involves works. A believer can gain a measure of assurance by looking at his works and feelings. But if persevering in good works is necessary for eternal salvation and assurance, then works become a condition for salvation.9 This leaves the believer always wondering if his works are sufficient to “prove” that he is a child of God or not.
It is no wonder, then, that assurance (i.e., certainty) is rarely found in the teaching of Calvinists. Since a believer can never know if he will persevere in good works until the end of his life, Calvinism makes the assurance of salvation impossible. For this reason, Calvinism, with its emphasis on Lordship Salvation, has been called “a gospel of doubt.”10
For example, Jonathan Edwards wrote a book intended to help readers figure out if we are truly converted or not. In the final analysis, Edwards does not provide any assurance of eternal salvation. His writings lead to a lifetime of doubt if the reader adopts what he says.11
When one reads the writings of Calvinist and Reformed teachers, this is what he finds. One writes in regard to 2 Cor 13:5 that there will always be unbelievers in the Church, but it can never be true for the whole Church. There are those within the Church that are reprobates.12 That begs the question of each believer: Am I a reprobate?
In discussing the same passage, MacArthur states that “doubts about one’s salvation are not wrong, so long as they are not nursed and allowed to become an obsession.”13 The believer who continues to live in sin should examine himself to see if he is really saved: “Those who think they can live any way they please should examine themselves to see if they are really in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).”14 But how does such theology grant assurance to people when they all continue to sin (Rom 3:23; 1 John 1:8, 10)? None can have assurance under such teaching. How can such a belief not result in being obsessed about one’s status before God? Isn’t the very essence of being a Christian the idea that the Christian is a child of God and has been born again/from above into the family of God?
Nineteenth century author F. L. Godet suggested that even the Apostle Paul did not have assurance of salvation. He wrote concerning 1 Cor 9:27 that Paul needed to keep his body under control because “his salvation” was “at stake.” Paul is encouraging believers to have “fear” and maintain a “serious watchfulness” in regards to their eternal salvation.15 If Paul lacked assurance, shouldn’t we?
Schreiner says there is another thing to consider if the believer wants to have some measure of assurance. In order to be in the kingdom—to experience “future glorification”—the believer must suffer with Christ (Rom 8:17). This involves “actual” suffering and not just “suffering in God’s sight.”16 Schreiner does not say what this involves, but once again the vast majority of believers today would question whether they meet this criterion. Particularly those who have lived in the West might wonder if they have actually suffered for the Lord.
Also commenting on Romans 8, Stott says that the believer will experience an “hourly putting to death of the schemings and enterprises of the sinful flesh.” If a professing Christian does that and suffers with Christ, he can gain “absolute assurance.” He goes on to say, however, that absolute assurance is not really absolute. There are, after all, “differing degrees of intensity” when it comes to assurance.17
Despite this emphasis on doubting one’s salvation, it often happens that the Calvinist preacher will tell the family of a dying loved one that their family member will soon be with the Lord. I have attended numerous funerals presided over by such preachers. I have never heard a word of doubt about the eternal salvation of the deceased. In fact, the opposite is the case. The family and friends are told that the deceased is with the Lord.
A fellow pastor once related to me the story of when he was presiding over a military funeral. A Calvinist preacher was asked by the family to assist in the funeral. The preacher told my friend that there was no way the deceased was with the Lord. He simply had not done enough works, and he was sure the man was not saved. However, in his funeral message the Calvinist preacher gave assurance to the family saying that the man was now with the Lord. That sort of ethical inconsistency is more common among Calvinist ministers than we might think.
R. C. Sproul was a famous Reformed scholar. He had a magazine called TableTalk. In one issue he plainly said that he was not sure he was saved.18 He was being consistent with his Calvinistic theology. However, after his death those involved in ministry with him have assured us he is with the Lord.19 The inconsistency is glaring.
No doubt this is done to “minister” to the family. It would be cruel to say that a deceased family member will be assigned to the lake of fire for eternity. However, this is inconsistent with Calvinist theology. At the very least, the Calvinist should say that we do not know where the deceased will be for eternity because we do not know where any of us will be. None of us have assurance that we are God’s children.
If we cannot know whether a person is a believer during his life, how can we know it when he is at the point of death? Are we being dishonest with the family members and giving them a false sense of security in regard to their loved one?
If the Calvinist were being consistent in his theology, he could not give such comfort to the bereaved. At best, he could offer hope, but not certainty, that the dying person will be with the Lord.
The fact that Calvinist preachers contradict their theology is not only inconsistent but may also reflect a troubled conscience about the implications of their theology. As Austin Fischer points out, “It is often said that one’s theology is not tenable unless it can be preached at the gates of Auschwitz.”20
III. INCONSISTENCIES INVOLVING PROVIDENCE AND SUFFERING
Second, Calvinist pastors can demonstrate inconsistency between their doctrine of providence and what they say to people who have experienced suffering and tragedy.
Ministry does not exist just in the pulpit. It also happens by the bedside of a gravely ill church member or in a hospital during a sudden tragedy. These are the frontlines of ministry. What is a pastor ethically empowered to say in such a situation? How the pastor will respond and minister to the families in such times will stem from his theology.
The fact of sickness, suffering, and evil raises special problems for the Calvinist pastor. It is a well-known criticism that Reformed theology holds to a troubling view of God’s providence. Grudem, in his definition of God’s providence, includes the idea that God cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do.21 He acknowledges that many have problems with this view because it can be used to argue that God is then the cause of evil. Grudem himself says that God does indeed cause evil events to come about but that He does not directly do anything evil.22 Grudem also acknowledges that the Calvinist doctrines of providence and election can lead to a fatalistic view of life. If everything has been ordained by God, then what we do and believe makes no difference.23
Osborne, however, points out that there are many verses in the NT which point out that men and women are indeed involved in decisions that impact their lives.24 Grudem maintains that God simply ordains that we choose the things we choose.25
Calvinism, then, teaches that God determines everything before it happens and men and women have no part in anything that happens. Since sickness, suffering, and evil happen, God must determine them to happen.
However, as Walls and Dongell write, “For if God determines everything that happens, then it is hard to see why there is so much sin and evil in the world and why God is not responsible for it.”26
If God is responsible for sin and evil, then He cannot be good. Grudem’s view that God causes these things, but does not directly do so does not remove the problem. As Roger Olson has claimed, the Calvinist view of providence makes God “a moral monster.”27 God’s goodness is smeared with evil, and the responsibility for sin is put on the Creator instead of the creature.28
How does that theology apply in a pastoral setting? For example, how does it apply when the pastor is faced with someone who has suffered a personal tragedy?
If a Calvinist pastor is honest, what he believes about God’s providence will be consistent with what he tells people who are suffering a tragedy.
What should or can a pastor say to a recent widow whose husband was murdered? The consistent Calvinist pastor should say her husband’s murder was predetermined before the foundation of the world, and God never had any intentions of giving her a long and happy marriage.
What can a pastor say to a mother whose baby died in childbirth? The consistent Calvinist should tell her that God chose the baby to die or that the child deserved to die because she was totally depraved. In fact, consistency would also dictate that in all likelihood the baby will spend eternity in the lake of fire.
The Calvinist view that God determines all these things is too simplistic. The Bible teaches us that suffering is often the result of decisions that people make. While God does allow Satan to inflict suffering, as in the case of Job, in many other instances even God’s people bring the suffering upon themselves. Ananias and Sapphira died because of their decisions (Acts 5). In Matt 23:37, Jesus cries over Jerusalem and says that the destruction of that city in AD 70 would come about because they willingly rejected Him. While there are things that we do not understand about certain instances of suffering, we can be certain that God did not determine in eternity past all the things that people experience and decide.
It also must be recognized that we live in a world that has been affected by the fall of man and sin. In Romans 1, Paul tells us that this brings all kinds of negative consequences in the world. If we do not make God the author of sin we cannot say that God has predetermined all these things to happen.
I have often shared the responsibilities of funerals with fellow pastors that I knew through private conversation were Reformed. However, when it came time for them to deliver their message, there was nothing about divine determinism in their sermons. They did not even speak of the person’s death as a step in the ladder of God’s glory. They were apparently too afraid to make their private theology public.
Thomas Oden axiomatically states that, “Pastoral care is always wrong to try to console sufferers that God directly sends suffering upon us, as if it were God’s absolute, unambiguous, original will for us.”29 Oden is correct. Using a verse like Rom 8:28, “that all things work together for good,” to tell believers that whatever happens to them was simply God’s eternal determined will for them is to offer unbiblical advice. As Hodges points out, that verse only applies to those who “love” the Lord and are suffering with Christ.30 God indeed uses suffering in the life of such a believer for good, but only that kind of believer can see his suffering as part of the process of being conformed into the image of Christ.31
At face value it seems that Calvinist pastors who offer counsel which contradicts their theology agree with Oden’s assessment. If you fail to publicly proclaim what you believe privately, then you must be ashamed of your beliefs and know deep down that they are wrong.
When it comes to the providence of God, the Calvinist seems to be in an ethical conundrum. The pastor will be forced to propagate doctrines that his church is not comfortable with, or he will be a theologian with a mask.
Theology should be an honest enterprise. The pastoral office must be one that bleeds integrity. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have any respect for someone who honestly believes God controls everything but does not preach that to all people at all times. Does this fit the requirement of a pastor being above reproach (1 Tim 3:2)?
IV. INCONSISTENCIES INVOLVING ELECTION AND EVANGELISM
Third, Calvinist pastors face an inconsistency between their doctrine of election and making a free offer of the gospel when doing evangelism.
Calvinism teaches that divine election is “God’s determinative initiative in human salvation.”32 In other words, God, before the foundation of the world, chose some people for salvation and others for damnation. As Olson notes, this doctrine is “crucial to all true Calvinists; it is the heart of their soteriology.”33 Alister McGrath concurs: “the doctrine of predestination is often thought of as being the central feature of Reformed theology.”34 Given this doctrine, Calvinism says that not everyone can be saved because not everyone has been chosen for salvation. In fact, since few will be saved, the Calvinist believes that most people he meets cannot be saved spiritually. “Election is to be looked upon as only a particular application of the general doctrine of predestination or foreordination as it relates to the salvation of sinners.”35
Theologians attempt to put a positive spin on the Reformed doctrine of election.36 Ware, for example, says that the Reformed doctrine of election is correct because it results in the salvation of the few who are saved as being all of God and all of grace.37 In other words, the doctrine of election to eternal life in eternity past properly gives all glory to God. Only in this way can God be properly glorified.
Sproul adds that the Reformed doctrine of election allows us to understand the fall of man. It “renders man morally unable, dead in sin, and enslaved to sin.” To deny such facts is to soften the impact of the fall. He says that while a fallen sinner retains the capacity to believe, in the final analysis he cannot because he is enslaved to the power of sin.38 God must grant freedom from this power in order to believe. This, too, gives all glory to God, according to the Calvinist.
While giving a sample of definitions of election, Lance notes that “in defining unconditional election, all Calvinists, whether Baptist, Reformed, or ‘other,’ say basically the same thing emphasizing different aspects.”39 The hard pill to swallow, however, is that “Reformed theologians say that God deems his own glory more important than saving everyone.”40 One could add to that. Calvinism deems the glory of God more important than everyone’s being savable.
How does this impact evangelism? By evangelism we mean the sharing of the Christian gospel for the purpose of the eternal salvation of the hearer. Chafer defined evangelism as, “the act of presenting to the unsaved the evangel or good news of the gospel of God’s saving grace through Christ Jesus.”41
If he is consistent, the Calvinist pastor will not make a gospel offer to any particular individual. He can proclaim what Christ did for the elect, but he cannot say to any one person what Christ has done for that person, because he does not know whom God has elected for eternal life and who is reprobate. Spurgeon, a self-professed Calvinist, wrote and spoke much of evangelism.42 However, such evangelists have confidence that is misplaced. Their confidence in evangelism is in the election of certain sinners rather than the gospel itself. They preach to all, but they do not know who the elect are. But when they evangelize do they announce that salvation is entirely dependent on whether or not an individual has been chosen? Do they explain that God’s choice was made long before they were born and they can do nothing to change it? If the Calvinist evangelist does not explain these points, he risks being ethically inconsistent.
As a matter of fact, Calvinist pastors are often inconsistent in this area and do make a gospel offer to particular individuals. If he is consistent and honest with his theology, a Calvinist cannot tell a random person on the street: “Christ died for you!” Indeed, a Calvinist cannot even tell his own son or daughter that Christ died for him or her!
V. INCONSISTENCIES INVOLVING THE ATONEMENT AND EVANGELISM
Fourth, Calvinist pastors face an inconsistency between their doctrine of the atonement and making a free offer of the gospel when doing evangelism.43 Calvinism teaches limited or definitive atonement. This is the belief that “Christ actually saves to the uttermost every one of those for whom He laid down His life.”44 Since not all will be saved, there was no reason for Christ to die for all. Christ died for some to save them completely.45 For the Calvinist who embraces limited atonement, will he or she really “do the work of an evangelist”? How does this doctrine involve the Calvinist pastor in an ethical inconsistency?
I have often heard preachers who are Calvinists tell the unbelievers they are speaking to that Christ died for them. Other non-Calvinists have heard Calvinists make similar claims, much to the surprise of the non-Calvinists.46 How can they make such a claim? They do not have definitive knowledge of that. Their theology says that Christ died for some, and the number of people for whom Christ died is few since few will be saved. Therefore, when Calvinists evangelize they should say to their audience that Christ probably didn’t die for them!
However, Calvinists find other ways to comfort themselves, especially about their own children. Lutzer writes:
God’s choice of those who will be saved appears to be neither random nor arbitrary. He planned the context in which they would be converted. That is why I have never wondered whether my children are among the elect. Since they were born into a Christian home, we can believe that the means of their salvation will be the faithful teaching of God’s Word. God’s decision to save us involved planning where we would be born and the circumstances that would lead us to Christ. Election is part of a total picture.”47
I find it so strange that he can be so sure his children are elect. Isn’t this simply wishful thinking? For example, what if they fail to persevere in good works?
Consistency is what is needed to dig themselves out of the ethical dilemma they find themselves in. A Calvinist once stated to me that he would not tell anyone, even someone who professed Christ, that Christ died for him. He would not do this because he said he could not be certain. While this sounds ludicrous to most, at least he was being honest and consistent in his theology.
Baggett and Walls summarize the issue well by arguing if election and limited atonement are true, then “there is no intelligible sense in which God loves those who are lost, nor is there any recognizable sense in which he is good to them.”48 In the Reformed system, God does not love everyone, and the pastor cannot honestly proclaim that He does. He also cannot claim that Christ died for someone.
How many souls would believe the message preached if pastors honestly communicated the gospel according to Calvinism? If they are honest, the invitation will mirror this:
“Excuse me, may I speak with you? God the Father may have chosen you before the world to be saved or damned. To be honest, in all probability, He did not choose you to be saved. But, can I help you find out which group you might possibly belong to? If He chose you to be damned, then Christ did not even die for you. You were created for hell. But if you were one of the fortunate few, you will be a part of God’s family and have eternal life, even though you won’t know it until you see Him after you die. Isn’t that good news?”
This, of course, is not good news at all. In fact, one could say that this paints a picture of God that is cruel. Even though this is what their theology proclaims, I have never heard a Calvinist share the Gospel in this way. This points out their inconsistency. Theology does more than inform us. It motivates us in how we serve the Lord. A wrong system of belief can certainly lead to the wrong application.
VI. INCONSISTENCIES INVOLVING SOLA SCRIPTURA AND TRADITION
Fifth, Calvinist pastors face an inconsistency between their doctrine of Sola Scriptura and their defense of Calvinism as a traditional system. The real question is what is primary for them: Scripture or their theology?49
Calvinist pastors, as well as all Protestants, are supposed to be committed to Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura, or Scripture alone, is among the five standing pillars of the Protestant Reformation.50 In fact, several major Protestant systematic theologies begin, not with theology proper, but with bibliology.51 Protestant preaching is meant to be Biblical preaching.
Calvinists, in their commentaries, consistently appeal to the Scriptures. They often loudly profess Sola Scriptura. Nevertheless, even though they habitually deal with the Biblical text, it is with TULIP colored glasses.52 In fact, Moo states that any attempt to interpret Romans 9 except from a traditional Calvinistic interpretation will be “unsuccessful.”53 The Reformed commentary conversation quickly becomes how this certain Biblical passage supports a particular Calvinistic doctrine.54 To the neutral observer, it certainly appears that they often are trying to fit their theology into the Biblical passage.
It is good advice to say that the Bible is able to shed much light on commentaries! It should not be the other way around. We should not go to a theological system to shed light on the Bible. Anything unbiblical has no place in pastoral theology, whose very foundation is laid in Scripture. It is unethical for a pastor, in a desire to hold to a theological system, not to uphold his chief text, which is the Bible.
The ethical ramification for Reformed pastoral ministry, at least the one that proclaims Sola Scriptura, is that the pastor must state his theology or the Scripture. He will either be dishonest or inconsistent. The same ethical ramifications hold true in the evangelism of the Reformed pastoral ministry. The Christian faith is already under attack from the culture, and the last thing the world needs is an unethical representation of Christ from those who claim to represent Him.
At its heart, “Calvinism deprives those struggling with their faith of the single most important resource available: the confidence that God loves all of us with every kind of love we need.”55 How can a pastor ethically adhere to that which deprives his sheep from that which they need most as well as what the Bible provides? Walls and Dongell summarize the point of this article well by noting that sooner or later Reformed pastors will be, “inclined to shroud and even misrepresent their central theological convictions at some of the crucial junctions where theology meets life.”56
The highest calling should have the highest integrity. Those that are called to be blameless should adhere to a theology that allows their ministry to be consistent and blameless as well. Instead of Calvinism constantly retreating to a theology that can only be described in many instances as a “mystery,” they would better serve the church by remaining true to the teachings found in the Scriptures.
We are to preach and teach in light of the coming Judgment Seat of Christ (Jas 3:1). Indeed, so much of the heavy doctrinal lectures and sermons of today may indeed be found to be wood, hay, and stubble on that great day. What a pastor believes should be proclaimed loudly and clearly from the pulpit and should be entirely consistent with every facet of pastoral ministry. His words in the counseling room, at the funeral home, and behind the pulpit, should be consistent with his private convictions. Above all, let pastors endeavor to be biblical at all costs. This is the case even if the costs may involve being libeled or slandered by many in the evangelical community. The consistent message of our preaching and pastoral ministry should be what the Bible says: Our freely offered-to-all salvation remains free, and discipleship remains costly. Calvinism denies the clear teaching of Scripture and falls into all kinds of inconsistencies by combining salvation and discipleship together.
1 John S. Hammett, Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic and Professional, 2005), 163.
2 James Daane, The Freedom of God: A Study of Election and Pulpit (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans,1973), 21.
3 Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell, Why I Am Not A Calvinist (Downers Grove: IL, InterVarsity Press, 2004), 188.
4 Ibid, 215.
5 David J. Engelsma, The Gift of Assurance (South Holland, IL: The Evangelism Committee of the Protestant Reformed Church, 2009), 53.
6 If the reader is interested, GES has done more than one regional conference that deals with this topic. The conferences can be accessed online at www.faithalone.org. See also Robert N. Wilkin, Is Calvinism Biblical? Let the Scriptures Decide (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2017).
7 David W. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, and S. Lance Quinn, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented, Second Edition (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1963, 2004), 148 49.
8 The letters stand for: total depravity (T); unconditional election (U); limited atonement (L); irresistible grace (I); the preservation of the saints (P1); and the perseverance of the saints (P2). This article will address some of these six points.
9 Zane C. Hodges, The Gospel Under Siege (Dallas, TX: Redencion Viva, 1982), 9.
10 Robert N. Wilkin, The Gospel of Doubt: The Legacy of John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2016). See also, Engelsma, The Gift of Assurance, 53.
11 Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2007). Originally published in 1746.
12 Philip E. Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1962), 481.
13 John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Gospel According to Jesus: What Does Jesus Mean When He Says, “Follow Me”? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988), 190, emphasis added. In the 2008 edition this was slightly softened: “Periodic doubts about one’s salvation are not necessarily wrong. Such doubts must be confronted and dealt with honestly and biblically. Scripture encourages self examination” (p. 213).
14 Ibid., 197 (p. 220 in the 2008 edition). MacArthur adds, “A Christian is one who follows Christ, one who is committed unquestionably to Christ as Lord and Savior, one who desires to please God. His basic aim is to be in every way a disciple of Jesus Christ…It is full commitment, with nothing knowingly or deliberately held back. No one can come to Christ on any other terms.”
15 Frederic L. Godet, Commentary on First Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1889, 1977), 476-77. Godet was associated with the Swiss Reformed churches of the 19th century and one of their leading theological scholars. However, many Arminians are drawn to his writings. I once heard a speaker suggest Godet was perhaps Arminian. A better perspective is that both Arminian and Reformed writers have something in common. Neither believes assurance of salvation is possible in this life.
16 Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 428.
17 John Stott, Romans: God’s Good News for the World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 230-36.
18 R. C. Sproul, “TableTalk,” Nov 6, 1989, p. 20.
19 See, for example, www.challies.com/articles/remembering-dr-r-c-sproul. Accessed Jul 1, 2018.
20 Austin Fischer, Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed: Black Holes, Love, and a Journey In and Out of Calvinism (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014), 20.
21 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 315.
22 Ibid., 322-23.
23 Ibid., 674-75.
24 Grant R. Osborne, “Exegetical Notes on Calvinist Texts,” in Grace Unlimited, Charles H. Pinnock, ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1975), 167-89.
25 Grudem, Systematic Theology, 680.
26 Walls and Dongell, Why I Am Not a Calvinist, 133.
27 Roger E. Olson, Against Calvinism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 85.
28 Ibid., 92-94.
29 Thomas C. Oden, Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry (San Francisco, CA: HarperOne, 1983), 230.
30 Zane C. Hodges, Romans: Deliverance from Wrath (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2013), 235-38.
31 Ibid. Hodges opines that “all things” in this verse refers to creation. Creation “longs” for the return of the Lord. The suffering, faithful believer does as well. The believer who suffers as he follows in Christ’s footsteps will share in Christ’s rule over that creation in the kingdom of God.
32 Robert W. Yarbrough, “Divine Election in the Gospel of John” in Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace, ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Bruce A. Ware (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1995, 2000), 47.
33 Olson, Against Calvinism, 103.
34 Alister McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), 132.
35 Loraine Boettner, Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1991), 83.
36 See especially Grudem, Systematic Theology, 673-74.
37 Bruce A. Ware, “Divine Election to Salvation: Unconditional, Individual, and Infralapsarian,” in Perspectives on Election: 5 Views, Chad Owen Brand, ed. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2006), 58.
38 R. C. Sproul, Willing to Believe: The Controversy over Free Will (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 204.
39 Laurence M. Vance, The Other Side of Calvinism, (Orlando, FL: Lance Publications, 2014), 244.
40 Grudem, Systematic Theology, 684.
41 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology: Doctrinal Summarization, vol. 7 (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1993), 143.
42 See C.H. Spurgeon, The Soul-Winner or How to Lead Sinners to the Savior, (New York, NY: Marshall Brothers, n.d.).
43 “But you be watchful in all things, enduring afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5).
44 L. Berkhof, Manual of Christian Doctrine (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1939, 1999), 216.
45 For a detailed defense of the Calvinistic view of limited atonement, see John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1959). Many, including myself, have found Owen to be unconvincing.
46 http://evangelicalarminians.org/calvinism-vs-arminianism-should-we-tellunbelievers-that-god-loves-them. Accessed June 28, 2018.
47 Erwin Lutzer, The Doctrines that Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historic Doctrines that Separate Christians (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1998), 217.
48 Baggett and Walls, Good God, 71.
49 The major issue with Calvinism is not whether it is logical or reasonable, rather is it Biblical. This issue has been covered recently in Wilkin, Is Calvinism Biblical?
50 See especially: James R. White, Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible’s Accuracy, Authority, and Authenticity (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2004).
51 See Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 71-125; Chafer, Systematic Theology, 1:21-124; Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2002), 1:229-541.
52 See especially William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 46 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000), 434. Mounce does not deal with Lordship salvation at all in the entire section. However, as he concludes the unit, he dictates that there “can be no salvation apart from discipleship.” He does this with no textual support nor any citations of literature to the contrary.
53 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary, Gordon D. Fee, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1996), 587.
54 See John MacArthur, Ephesians, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1986), 12-13.
55 Walls and Dongell, Why I Am Not a Calvinist, 201.
56 Ibid., 215.