Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul.
These are some of the notable names throughout history that have contributed to and/or have embraced Reformed Theology – or a “Calvinistic” view, as what it had been identified by many. These faithful men of God have come to their doctrinal convictions, not because they have invented them out of thin air, but because they have turned to the Scriptures, thoroughly studied them, and made conclusions that they believed are firmly based on the Word of God and would glorify God the most. As Charles Spurgeon once stated, “I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, for them, “Calvinism” is just a labeling that got stuck, but essentially, it’s simply traditional Christianity. They believe that Calvinistic doctrines are what the Bible has been saying all along.
To imply otherwise is a seriously unfair insult to them.
Likewise, to conclude that those who agree with Calvinistic doctrines, like me, deem Calvinist authors and their books to be above Christ and the Scripture is seriously unfair. Isn’t it possible that we’ve come to agree with Calvinism, not because we think of it as superior to the Scriptures, but because – after personally reading and meditating on the Scriptures, not relying on our own intellect, but praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit – we found out that it vibrates with the truth of the Gospel? Because, personally, that’s how I had come to agree with Five Points Calvinism.
The Bible is the Word of God. Thus, everything in it is the absolute truth. So as Christians, we submit to its authority. I actually don’t accept doctrines or beliefs that won’t Scripturally hold.
So whenever I argue for Calvinism, I do not rely on passages from John Calvin’s books. I site Scripture texts. As what Spurgeon once stated, “Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself.” And the Bible affirms Calvinistic points easily.
My call is not for division, but for my fellow Christians – especially my peers, the younger ones – to pursue a more in-depth, intellectual study of the Scriptures. The Greatest Commandment goes, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” With all your mind! We can show love to God by making use of our mind at its most utmost ability. And we can do this by thinking with all our might on what God means or intends with a certain Bible passage, corroborating it with other Bible passages, considering the context, and not by how we subjectively interpret it at face value.
Christians love Truth, thus, if we profess to be Christians, we should always pursue the truth with the best we can, that we may glorify God properly. As Christians, there’s the need to thoroughly study the Bible (Acts 17:11, Joshua 1:8, 2 Timothy 3:14-17) individually, and apply and celebrate its truths in our lives. Furthermore, we are personally responsible for verifying doctrines and beliefs if they are indeed in accordance with the Scriptures. If there’s the need for discussions among us in order to attain the truth (1 Peter 3:15-16), then let us do so – but in a gentle, humble, well-reasoned, Christ-exalting, and Bible-centered manner. Most importantly, we should not obnoxiously rely on our own strength and mind during this process; on the contrary, we should humbly turn to the Holy Spirit and ask for wisdom and understanding. And whatever He reveals to us – especially if we are proven wrong – we should submissively “Amen” on it.