Sunday, January 31, 2010


The so-called Five Points of Calvinism are cast in a negative form and can in some ways be misleading. Nonetheless we cannot change the course of history, and so the Five Points have come down to us and we must learn to live with them.

Take the last four points — unconditional election, particular redemption [Christ died to save specific people], the efficacious call of God and the preserving work of God in all whom he has called and joined to his Son:

What is the focal point in all of these? The ultimate focal point, of course, is the display of the glory of God’s grace, as we read in Ephesians 1; but as the immediate focal point, how is that glory displayed? By what means?  By the taking of totally depraved creatures and making them wholly men and women in whom the very likeness of God’s Son can be seen.

What is the goal of election? Ephesians 1:4 tells us: ‘According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that’ . . . we should glory in our election? No! But ‘that we should be holy and without blemish before him’. Election unto holiness!

What is the goal of the atoning work of Christ? Listen to the testimony of Titus 2:14: ‘Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people as his distinct possession, zealous of good works’. He died to have a holy people ‘zealous of good works’.

__Albert N. Martin

(This is an excerpt from Albert Martin's The Practical Implications of Calvinism. Read the entire article,  posted at Let Us Repent and Believe.)


SamWise said...

The Five Points where only "negative" in that they are counter responses to the the Five articles of Remonstrance thrust upon the Reformed churches by theologians who had "departed from the faith."

Five articles of Remonstrance:
I. Conditional Election
II. Unlimited Atonement
III. Total Depravity
IV. Resistable Grace
V. Conditional Perservance

It was the Wesleyan, Finneyan, and Anapbaptists who destroyed III. Total Depravity and added Perfectionism to boot! said...

Thanks SamWise.

What you said is true. Where Martin here uses the word "negative," others say "responsive," or "of a defensive nature." The Refution of Errors sections of the Canons of Dort are a great resource for those who defend the Doctrines of Grace. As one of our pastors, Daniel Hyde, said, "The preacher in Ecclesiastes reminds us, 'There's nothing new under the sun.' The same objections that were leveled against the Reformed doctrines then are still being used today."

Anonymous said...