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Doctrine #1- Radical Corruption PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 29 September 2008 20:56

It is clear that everyone sins, defined as transgressing the Ten Commandments.  It is also clear in Scripture that the Final Judgment is based on the lives we have lived, upon our works. The wages earned by a life characterized by sinning will be death.  The wrath of God awaits sinners on Judgment Day.  Our sins will find us out in this life as well.  They have negative consequences now, as well as in Eternity.  That said, the Doctrine of Radical Corruption (old name: Total Depravity) is not about our sinning or the coming Judgment.  Rather, it is about the more fundamental problem of why we sin in the first place. 

 

The explanation of that begins with Creation and the importance and goodness of being fully Human.  God created human beings to be His representatives in His world.  We “re-present” Him by the fact we image Him here on earth, as no other created thing can.  We have His faculties for rationality, creativity, morality, communality and spirituality.  The latter is most important.  We were created to be spirit beings as God is.  This makes possible our fellowship with Him.  We can communicate with each other. We were created for a communion with God that begins now and extends, way beyond this earth, into Eternity with God.

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Doctrine #2- Effectual Calling PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 29 September 2008 20:53

Every Doctrine we will be discussing builds upon the other. [Calvinism is a logical theological system.] Before we go on to the next Doctrine, it is important that what I have written about “Radical Corruption” sinks in. What comes next will not make sense without it, especially the part about the bondage of the will. That Doctrine is what makes this next Doctrine absolutely essential.  It is “Irresistible Grace” or “Effectual Calling”.

 

If people must chose Christ to be saved and no one can or will make that choice then no one will be saved.  What is absolutely essential is for God Himself to intervene and set the will of a sinner free from its bondage, so that s/he may choose Christ.  This God does by what is known as Irresistible Grace.  I prefer Effectual Calling.  God the Holy Spirit draws individuals to Himself.  The Spirit calls them with a voice that can not be denied.  If His calling can be denied, it will be and again, no one would come to Christ.  That is why God’s calling must be irresistible or effectual.

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Doctrine #2- Effectual Calling, Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 29 September 2008 20:50

What are the means God uses to do His effectual calling? The Law and the Gospel. Visiting an impoverished town in Haiti or rural village in Mexico or a squalid slum in an American city may well bring about revulsion and determination to “do something” about poverty, but the emotions and conviction to do something about sin requires visiting the Ten Commandments, all of them, not just the second Tablet.  We hear about people using “bad judgment” and inappropriate behavior. We hear about graft, corruption and white-color crime, racial discrimination and illicit drugs and illegal immigration and all kinds of sexual immorality; we almost never hear about the real problem: sin, meaning trespass of God’s Law.  In fact, these very acts that are so upsetting, and many more that are perfectly acceptable to most people, may very well be sins, but they will not be properly understood or effectively dealt with until they are seen to be sin.  I realize to use the word “sin” is taboo in many circles.  That is because sin is a religious concept and involves God. Exactly! And so does the real solution.  Otherwise, we just continue to try unsuccessfully to fix problems with money and programs.

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Doctrine #3 Unconditional Election PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 29 September 2008 20:47

When we talk about Effectual Calling, we are talking about being chosen or the subject of Election. Our next topic is “Unconditional Election”, which, in turn, is part of the Doctrine of Predestination.

We have tried to explain that those who chose Christ do so only because they have first been chosen (to do that) by God. Remember why this has to be: the bondage of the will to our Sin Nature. Because of that bondage no one wills to come to God in Christ. If that happens in anyone’s life, it is only because God has made it possible by regenerating that person, setting their will free to chose. If the teaching of the will’s bondage is an affront to man’s assumption that his will is free and if the idea that we do not really have a free choice in the matter of salvation is a stumbling block to most people, than the Doctrines of Predestination and Unconditional Election are really tough to swallow. This in itself is the prime evidence for the nature of Sin as rebellion against God. The insistence on the autonomy of the Self and commitment to the free-will of the Individual conflicts with the very heart of Reformed Theology which is the Sovereignty of God. God is God. We are not.

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Doctrine #4- Particular Redemption PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 29 September 2008 20:43

The theme of God’s Sovereignty continues in the next topic- the Doctrine of Particular Election (traditionally called “Limited” Atonement).  All Evangelicals affirm that the death of Jesus was a substitutionary atonement for sin.  It is commonly believed that this atonement was for all people, inasmuch as all sin.  It is assumed that the Atonement is unlimited.  In fact, everyone believes that the Atonement definitely is limited. 

 

Arminians (most Evangelicals these days) agree that the Atonement is limited in its results.  Jesus died for all, they say, but only those who accept his sacrifice are saved.  The results of Christ’s death are thus greatly limited, as most people do not accept it.  More than that, according to Arminians, the effectiveness of Christ’s Sacrifice is actually determined by the (so-called) free will of sinners, most of whom “decide” to reject it.  If no one accepted the Sacrifice, it not only would be limited, it would be reduced to nothing.  Christ would have died in vain! Where is the sovereignty of God if unregenerate human beings have the final say, passing judgment on the work of God, deciding if the sacrifice of Christ will have results or not!

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