True Calvinism is NOT Hyper-Calvinism

CalvinismWhen people take issue with Calvinism it is usually because they think that Reformed theology (Calvinism) is actually something that it is not. My experience has revealed that when people respond negatively to my Calvinism (better Reformed theology) it is most often from a lack of understanding of what Calvinism really teaches. The mistake they make is not due to their ignorance of Calvinism; most people I speak with know something about Reformed theology. Their problem is they are mistaken about what Calvinism / Reformed theology really is. Or to put it differently, they don’t like a version of Calvinism that true Calvinists don’t actually believe, and would, in fact, reject. It’s not that they have committed the straw-man fallacy, building an opponent that doesn’t actually exist, but they critique a version of Calvinism that is abhorred by non-Calvinists and Calvinists alike. What they question is actually not Calvinism at all, but what is known as HYPER-Calvinism. To be blunt, Hyper-Calvinism, is not biblical and is not what true Calvinists actually believe. One author has correctly called Hyper-Calvinism a rationalistic perversion of true Calvinism. Another goes even further, and correctly observes,

The difference between Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism is the distance between heaven and hell. Calvinism is full of life and passion for God and desires to make God’s glory shine among the nations. Hyper-Calvinism is lifeless heresy that damns people to hell, kills evangelism, and ruins churches. Continue reading “True Calvinism is NOT Hyper-Calvinism”

Amazing Grace: Irresistible Grace

The following is part of a series of blogs written for the Covenant Reformed Church website.

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In the simplest of terms the doctrine of irresistible grace, or better effectual calling, points to the clear biblical reality that Christians cannot take credit for their salvation. Since we are totally depraved and totally unable to come to Christ on our own, we are in need of outside help to do so. Those who come to faith in Christ are not more intelligent, more spiritually aware or religiously harder working people than those who don’t come to faith. God’s grace alone is what determines who comes to faith in him. Continue reading “Amazing Grace: Irresistible Grace”

Amazing Grace: Limited Atonemen

The following is part of a series of blogs written for the Covenant Reformed Church website.

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There is no doubt that, other than unconditional election, limited atonement is the Reformed doctrine of salvation with which people struggle the most. This is usually the case because people don’t fully understand how Scripture presents the work of Christ and what it actually accomplished. Continue reading “Amazing Grace: Limited Atonemen”

Exciting News!!!

On August 7, 2016 I preached my first sermon in the newly founded Covenant Reformed Church in Steinbach, MB. I had no idea what God was going to do that Sunday and beyond, but it sure has been a lot of fun to be a part of it. About 35 people gathered that day, and it was an awesome day. Between then and now God has doubled our congregation (roughly) and he has done some pretty amazing things in our small group.

About two weeks ago the elders called a meeting for those in our church. They presented to the congregation three steps for the future of CRC including staffing and budget. I will spare the details, but essentially the long-term plan was to bring me on as a part-time pastor in the Spring with an eye to fulfilling the pastoral role full-time in 2018. But the congregation would have none of it. They asked the elders to call me to the full-time role, immediately, effective April 1, 2017!!!

Needless to say I was both shocked and awed by this decision. Tanya and I accepted this call with no hesitation. We are so happy to be a part of this group of people, and we are so excited to see what God will do with our little church in the heart of Anabaptist country.

Please pray for our church and for Tanya and I as we begin this new and exciting chapter of our lives.

Soli Deo Gloria

Amazing Grace: Unconditional Election

The following is part of a series of blogs written for the Covenant Reformed Church website.

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‘Election’… ‘Predestination’… say these words to a room full of Christians and many of them begin to feel very uneasy, if not outright contempt. (Technically these are slightly different theological concepts, the latter being broader than the former, but we will use these terms synonymously in this post). These terms should not bring this kind of reaction. They are, after all, biblical concepts. Nobody can say they don’t believe in election and predestination for the simple reason that these concepts permeate ALL of Scripture. You may not like certain aspects of the doctrines attached to these words, but you cannot say you don’t believe in them… at least not if you also claim to believe in the truth, infallibility and inerrancy of God’s word. Continue reading “Amazing Grace: Unconditional Election”

Amazing Grace: Total Depravity

The following is part of a series of blogs written for the Covenant Reformed Church website.

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We continue in our exploration of the Reformed doctrines of grace. We are now three posts into what will be at least 8 in total. Since it has been a while since I have posted let me remind you of the topics of discussion; we are currently at #2 on the following list:

  1. God’s sovereignty in salvation

  2. Total depravity 

  3. Unconditional election

  4. Irresistable grace

  5. Limited atonement

  6. Perseverance of the saints.

My goal in these blogs is to allow the truth of Scripture to speak. As we do so you will see that Reformed theology is built entirely on Scripture and follows the truth of the Bible wherever it leads. I also trust that as we go through these beautiful doctrines we will see how amazing grace really is. Continue reading “Amazing Grace: Total Depravity”

The Danger of Being a DIY Theologian

Do It Yourself (DIY) is all the rage in home renovation, decorating, landscaping, repair work, and just about anything else related to your home and yard. This is typically how it works: We have a project that needs doing. We know that it is beyond us, but we are going to try to tackle it anyway. So we read something on the internet, or watch a YouTube video (whether they are a good source or not is often irrelevant). We may talk to someone we know might be able to help us (again whether or not they are a good source of information is usually irrelevant). After all this ‘research’ we think we have an idea of what we should be doing, so off we go; with varying degrees of success. Continue reading “The Danger of Being a DIY Theologian”

Amazing Grace: The Sovereignty of God in Salvation

The following is part of a series of blogs written for the Covenant Reformed Church website.

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All Christians believe, or at least should believe, in the sovereignty of God. Listen to people pray and they confirm that belief. People pray for God to have his hand in everything from weather, to protection, to health and strength, to wisdom, to the changing of someones heart and mind, to the salvation of another persons soul. In the way we think about and pray about the stuff in our lives, from the simple to the complex, we all believe that God is in control and that he is able to do whatever he likes, whenever he likes, however he likes. He is God after all. Continue reading “Amazing Grace: The Sovereignty of God in Salvation”

Amazing Grace: A Study in the Reformed Doctrines of Grace

The following is part of a series of blogs written for the Covenant Reformed Church website.2-website-amazing-graceHow are people saved? The answer to this question is pretty simple and is agreed upon by most Protestant Christians – we are saved by faith alone in the work of Christ alone.

But ask a follow-up question – Why is one person saved, and another person is not? – and the disagreements fire up pretty quickly.

Let’s take the example of Sven and Goren. They have a mutual friend, Fredrick, who is a believer and who has witnessed to them faithfully over the course of their lives. Sven and Goren have heard exactly the same message, they have gone to the same church services with Fredrick, been a part of the same theological discussions, read the same books, read the same Biblical passages, had the gospel explained to them in myriads of ways, etc.. In every situation of their lives where the gospel was presented Sven and Goren have experienced it together. Yet at some point in his life Sven believes in Christ by faith and Goren doesn’t. Sven, to the surprise of no one, begins witnessing to Goren along with Fredrick, yet for his entire life, Goren does not come to faith in Christ. At the ripe old ages of 90+, Sven, Goren and Fredrick all die together on the same day in an old-folks home in Sweden; Sven and Fredrick die as believers; Goren as an unbeliever.

The question then is – why did Sven believe but Goren did not? Continue reading “Amazing Grace: A Study in the Reformed Doctrines of Grace”