Yes, I have an agenda, and I want you to know it before we go any farther. Here, in bold print, is my agenda. I want my readers to accept that a 5-point Calvinist can say the following things:
God loves all men.
God desires the salvation of all men and offers salvation to all by faith in Christ.
Christ died for all men; he died for you.
The last item on the agenda is particularly important to me as it affects the way I describe Christ’s work to others. Though I am not and have never been the pastor of a church, I have had many opportunities to preach in churches over the past 20 years. Until a couple of years ago, I was perplexed about what to say when preaching the gospel. What do I say about the death of Christ? Do I say nothing? Absurd! Do I say “Christ died for you” if I think that he might not have? Again absurd. Do I say “he died for sinners” when my audience might properly draw the conclusion that since they are sinners, Christ died for them? Absurd — and dishonest (I make no accusation here — I speak only for myself) if I really am trying to hide from the consequences of belief that Christ did not really die for many in my audience.
To present the gospel freely, I believe we must be able to say "Christ died for you, and if you believe on him, you will be saved." The freedom to say exactly that is a great relief. And it is perfectly in keeping with historic Calvinism.
That’s basically it. There are some additional items that might qualify as pet peeves but are only tangentially related to the main topic. I’ll squeeze them in anyway. My main pet peeve — which I will address early and often — is the matter of the power of prayer. Prayer does change things, and I can prove it from the Bible.
So there you go. That’s the goal, the road map, the telos. Have fun!Technorati Tags: Calvin, historic, Calvinism, limited, atonement, duty, faith, free, offer, gospel, common, grace