I do not devote much time at all to debating the various systematic theologies. See the rationale for this in the questions asked below. But occasionally I am approached with a question. I try to deal with it briefly and return to more fruitful issues.
I have close friends that belong to reformed churches. It never crosses my mind to discuss it! In seminary I had both biblical theology and reformed professors. CT is considered an acceptable segment of the evangelical family. Extreme forms of CT, including Hypercalvinism, can be more controversial.
CREAM is an acrostic for my views though I hold no glassy-eyed devotion to debating them nor foist them upon others.
QUESTIONS/ISSUES FOR CALVINISM, HYPERCALVINISM :
- How has Calvinist theology (CT) impacted your zeal to fulfill the Great Commission and winning the lost ( Matt 28.18-20; Mk 16.15; Act 1.8)?
- Apparently not a few reformed CT churches have backed away from full scale evangelism and even usage of Bible terms including ‘saved,’ ‘born again.’ For some this CT slant on election seems to preclude the need to reach those who not elect. Is this biblical?
- It is reported that none of the Puritan writers adopted CT. (see apuritansmind.com)
- There is a mystery interwoven in God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. Is it wise to go beyond what the Bible tells us? CT seeks to resolve this heavenly mystery by eliminating man’s responsibility. Is this wise or biblical?
- Paul opted to major on majors not minors: “For I was determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Cor 2.2).
- ‘In [salvation] essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity.” – old saint.
- God is using men I disagree with. -Warren Wiersbe’s Bible commentary
- Is the zealous Christian wiser to devote his time to the harvest field or cleaning out his neighbor’s theological fence rows?
Complete Atonement – Christ died sufficiently for all people, but effectively only for the elect – Jn 1.12
Ruined Nature – Man’s condition is lost, separated from God -Jer 17.9; Rom 3.23
Eternal Security – assurance of salvation for those trusting Christ’s payment alone for their sin debt – 1 Jn 2.25
Abundant Grace – God provides sufficient grace for “whosoever will’ receive Jesus Christ as his Savior – Rom 10.13; John 1.14-17; Rev 22.17; Eph 2.8-9
Moral Accountability – despite his sinful nature, moral responsibility has not been waived. Choices matter. He is eternally created in the image of God. His God-given conscience has the potential to respond to the wooing, the drawing of the Holy Spirit’s conviction -Lu 13.3; Romans 10.13.
T: Total depravity – Every facet of every person everywhere has been marred by sin.
U: Unconditional election – God chooses those to be saved based solely on His will.
L: Limited atonement – Christ died only for those who are elect.
I: Irresistible grace – The elect cannot resist God’s call to salvation.
P: Perseverance of the saints – The elect cannot lose their salvation.
D: Diminished depravity – Humanity is depraved, but God uses prevenient grace to restore man’s ability to respond to Him.
A: Abrogated election – God bases His election on His foreknowledge of those who freely choose Him.
I: Impersonal atonement – Christ died for everyone, making salvation possible for everyone.
S: Sedentary grace – God calls everyone to salvation, but many freely reject it.
Y: Yieldable justification – The saved can fall from grace and lose their salvation.
*The DAISY acronym is much harder to pin down as there are several different versions (I’ll discuss another when analyzing Arminianism). Also, many Arminians do not like the acrostic. Several versions of DAISY have been pushed by Calvinists as caricatures of Arminian theology. Many Calvinists seem to also enjoy making the lame joke that the Arminian flower is a daisy because they pull the petals off saying, “God loves me. He loves me not.”
R: Radical depravity – Every aspect of humanity is depraved, but we are not always as bad as we could be.
O: Overcoming grace – God’s grace is persistent in the life of the believer, but it can be resisted.
S: Sovereign election – God desires the salvation of all, but our salvation is based on His choice not ours.
E: Eternal life – God grants believers eternal security in their salvation.
S: Singular redemption – Christ died sufficiently for all people, but efficiently only for the saved.
*Timothy George, a Calvinist Baptist, uses the same acrostic as Kenneth Keathley, a Molinist. The differences lie in way the terms are defined. I will focus on the Molinist understanding as we will discuss the various forms and moderations of Calvinism with the TULIP.