Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's Change "The Doctrines of Grace"

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't believe Calvinism is correct. But I can generally get along with Calvinists — and anyone who takes the Christian faith seriously and desires to love God with heart and mind.

But Calvinists have this one thing that drives me bonkers. The precepts of Calvinism, the TULIP, is often called the "doctrines of grace."

The not-so-subtle implication of that name is that the rest of us don't believe in grace. Since grace is the heart of the Christian religion and the foundation of the reformation and all protestant faiths, I take that as a bit of a slap in the face.

Whatever it's origin, I don't think most modern Calvinists mean to be offensive when they use the term. But it is offensive to many people.

So let's suggest some other names for this school of thought. Maybe one will catch on.

I think it would be simplest just to call it "Calvinism," but Calvinists will object that they aren't following Calvin but the Bible (yeah, I know), so they don't want to use the term Calvinism. Of course, "doctrines of grace" is no more biblical than Calvinism. But anyway...

I think "the doctrine of election" would get us in the neighborhood, but in truth Arminians believe in a kind of election. And TULIP is about more than election (though that's the heart of the matter IMHO).

Let's go back to "grace." Whatever may seem to be implied by their term, it's not the existence of grace but the functioning of it that is the issue. They believe in a very sovereign grace, one that does not merely save but chooses the saved.

Maybe we can borrow from that (and from C.J. Mahaney) then and call it "the doctrine of sovereign grace." Perhaps that will allow them to transmit the message they want without the poke in the eye. Unless, of course, that is the message they want.

What do you think? Anyone got another idea?

Can’t We All Get Along? 1


Steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ChrisB said...

Steve said:

"You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads, Sovereign Grace Ministries:..."

Not really, no.

I hated to do it, but I felt I had to remove your links. You're free to say what you feel you need to on your own site(s), but I can't provide a platform for allegations I cannot verify. Sorry.

Nancy said...

"Perhaps that will allow them to transmit the message they want without the poke in the eye. Unless, of course, that is the message they want."

Unfortunately, we all carry pointy sticks...*; ) And, what I have noticed in my web journeys, is denominational language is many times a bit confusing, but when we major on our like precious faith instead of the language we discover we have brothers and sisters in all denominations. It all boils down to this: Grace is shed abroad by our Sovereign God...because He loves the world.

Whether or not we believe it, or like it…as time draws to a close, we will become more alike than different and it remains to be seen exactly what that might be…

1 John 3:2 (New Living Translation)

Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.