I. Calvinism defined:
A theological system distinguished chiefly by its view of the absolute sovereignty of God and His relationship to fallen man. The main emphasis of Calvinism may be seen in the verse “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)
A. The Calvinist prayerfully endeavors to center his thoughts upon God, His grace, His love and His glory. B. Calvinists do not necessarily accept all of John Calvin’s teachings. C. We use the term “Calvinism” merely for identification. We teach Calvinism, not because it was taught John Calvin, but because we believe it to be the only system of theology contained in the Bible.
II. The Content of Calvinism: The Five Points (TULIP)
Total Depravity – The absolute inability of man to come to God for salvation through the exercise of his own will (John 6:44).
Unconditional Election – The good pleasure of God’s will in choosing some as objects of His love without any merit on their part (John 6:37).
Limited Atonement – Christ’s death was intended to result in the actual salvation of the elect and only the elect (John 10:14-15; John 17:9)
Irresistible Grace – The infallible, irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the elect to turn them from the power of Satan unto God (John 6:37).
Perseverance of the Saints – The indwelling Holy Spirit preserves and enables each of the elect to endure (persevere) to the end, in holiness, righteousness, good works and faith (John 10:27-29).
III. Advantages of Calvinism
A. Scriptural. B. Relatively simple to learn. C. Excites thought. D. Coherent in all its parts. E. Consistent with the experience of believers. F. Produces the holiest of people.
IV. Sovereign Grace Reading List
Such is the scope of Reformed theology that a thorough investigation of it necessarily involves in-depth study. This list of easily obtained books, recommended to be read in the following order, facilitates that study. A. THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM
W. J. Seaton Banner of Truth In 24 pages the author gives an introductory overview that serves as a fine primer and stimulus to further reading.
B. THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM
Steele & Thomas Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co. This paperback contains hundreds of scriptures systematically arranged in logical, sequential categories. An appendix on the meaning of the word “foreknow” in the Bible is invaluable.
C. CHOSEN BY GOD
R. C. Sproul Tyndale House Readability is the hallmark of this recent work: Dr. Sproul says it so well. Each chapter is followed by an outline summary.
D. THE REFORMED DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION
Loraine Boettner Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co. About 1/4 of this book deals deftly with common objections to sovereign grace. A masterpiece!