Thursday, March 18, 2010

Calvinism as defined by J.I. Packer

One of the best books I've ever read is The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen. J.I. Packer's introductory essay alone is worth the purchase but Owen's work is a classic. John Piper has recently blogged about the oft misunderstood and oft maligned acrostic TULIP which explains the Biblical doctrines of grace. Regarding this he has posted some great quotes from Packer's introductory essay to Owen's classic book on the atonement. Here is how Packer defines Calvinism, and I hope this clears away some misrepresentations,

It would not be correct to simply equate Calvinism with the 'five points'... Calvinism is something much broader than the 'five points' indicate. Calvinism is a whole world-view, stemming from a clear vision of God as the whole world’s Maker and King. Calvinism is the consistent endeavour to acknowledge the Creator as the Lord, working all things after the counsel of His will. Calvinism is a theocentric way of thinking about all life under the direction and control of God’s own Word. Calvinism, in other words, is the theology of the Bible viewed from the perspective of the Bible—the God-centred outlook which sees the Creator as the source, and means, and end, of everything that is, both in nature and in grace. Calvinism is thus theism (belief in God as the ground of all things), religion (dependence on God as the giver of all things), and evangelicalism (trust in God through Christ for all things), all in their purest and most highly developed form. And Calvinism is a unified philosophy of history which sees the whole diversity of processes and events that take place in God’s world as no more, and no less, than the outworking of His great preordained plan for His creatures and His church. The five points assert no more than that God is sovereign in saving the individual, but Calvinism, as such, is concerned with the much broader assertion that He is sovereign everywhere.

HT: John Piper

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