Monday, December 10, 2012

Killing Calvinism.

   Killing Calvinism How to destroy a perfectly good theology from the inside out.  

Dutcher364I am a new Young, Restless and Reformed person, just beginning to love studying Postmillenialism and Amillenialism, and to work out Calvinism in my mind as I seek what is true.   I needed to read this book NOW- Early in my Reformed journey. I needed it NOW because of all the times it poked me with truth.
 I may be new in Calvinism, but I am a sinner and that is who this book is for. This book is for sinners who have been saved by Grace and who love good, clear theology and Biblical truth, but who are still sinners, and we tend to ruin things.  We do not want to ruin Calvinism!  So what have I learned? That I will tend to make Christianity undesirable to my friends. That I might love my solid, serious study more than God. That I might grow prideful that I am part of this strong, healthy Theology Revival. That I might begin to label people as Calvinist and Non, and avoid the Nons like the plague. That I might find myself  not just rebuking the heretics, but the Non Calvinists. That I might make Christianity an intellectual exercise instead of a wholesome Discipleship. That I might believe that growing in my theology is equal to growing in mercy, and working out my Salvation with fear and trembling. In other words, we all need this book. This book had a lot to teach me. He hits hard!

"Christ is worthy of lives well lived. May he help us do just that!I am concerned that many Calvinists today do little more than celebrate how wonderfully clear their theological windshield is. But like a windshield, Reformed theology is not an end in itself. It is simply a window to the awe-inspiring universe of God’s truth, filled with glory, beauty, and grace. Do we need something like a metaphorical windshield of clear, biblical truth to look through as we hope to marvel at God’s glory? Absolutely. But we must make sure that we know the difference between staring at a windshield and staring through one. Frankly, it is indeed cool to be a Calvinist right now, and more resources are available to the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” crowd than ever before. Don’t get me wrong: I celebrate this resurgence and hope to see it flourish. Yet we should be careful to make sure that we are not busy polishing windshields just to mutually admire each other’s techniques."
"Can I say that I differ with John
Wesley, C. S. Lewis, or Billy Graham on their doctrine of salvation but still see them as wonderful Christian men whom God has used mightily to advance his kingdom in this world?48 There is something tragically ironic about
a young Calvinist who may never have shared his faith with an unbeliever looking down on some of the very men who should be looked up to as gospel champions."
 This one hurt, because I have begun to label preachers as Calvinist, Post Mil and Non. BIG MISTAKE.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). When Paul reflected on the doctrines that make up what we call Calvinism, he was moved to rejoice in God. This is the key to not killing off today’s Calvinist upsurge. When we read our books, attend our conferences, and “Piper- up” our iPods, the primary goal must not be to gain a better understanding of 16th- and 17th-century doctrine. It must be to be blown out of the water by the God who has chosen us in infinite mercy and wisdom. It seems that the Calvinist heroes of church history knew how to do this. They stared through Calvinism to get the best view of God’s splendor and the gospel’s glory.It’s clear that what supremely interested him was “Christ and him crucified,” and he allied himself with Calvinism because it was supremely interested in the same thing."  That is Calvinism.

This book reminds us that the point of calvinism is not to master Reformed theology, but to be Mastered by Jesus.
"It is interesting that Mark did not emphasize that Jesus would first train these men in order to send them. Rather, the emphasis is on the fact that they were simply with him. Discipleship is first and foremost about being with Christ. Learning his teaching, following his footsteps, and participating in his mission are all vital elements of discipleship, but they flow from being in his presence. One commentator captures this concept:  If, as Genesis 3:4–5 indicates, the essence of sin is substituting a false god for the true God, being with Jesus becomes the way of forsaking human idols and honoring the true God, thus recovering
the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27). From now on his person and his work determine the existence of the Twelve"  

"I have found that many Christians simply assume that learning more and more about the Bible and theology— Reformed theology in particular—is the same thing as growing as a disciple. It isn’t. Robust theology can be a powerful catalyst in this process, but like anything else, we can turn it into an idol...At that point, daily living is more about mastering Reformed doctrine than being mastered by Jesus and his total claim over every area of life."
Because he hits so hard on the way we live out our Calvinism, we might be tempted to think he doesn't really love Calvinism.  Nothing is further from the truth! He is not calling us to water down passion and Truth, he is calling us back to the real Christianity we became Calvinists to know and love better! Real Calvinism is the solution!  "How could one who revels in man’s spiritual impotence ever become proud? How could a worshiper who sings that he is “a worm” and a “wretch” as “vile” as the thief on the cross ever be smug, especially to a fellow sinner saved by grace?"

Greg Dutcher's own journey to Calvinism is so much like mine. He called himself a Theological Train wreck.  He was brought to Christ by a friend who said there are two things I know for sure. You have to be Born Again to go to Heaven, and you are not Born Again. He and his friend were new Christians in the days of Rapture movies and Televangelists. When he found Calvinism,  he knew he had found something wonderful. And he began to study it, buying every book he could and every tape. How did he know I did the same thing? Today they are both Reformed pastors and remain best friends. They preach at each others Churches. As a lover of Calvinism, and a Preacher of Calvinism, he is the man to write a book to help us keep our Calvinism alive. Greg Dutcher is the Pastor of a Church he planted, Christ Fellowship Church. He is the author of Killing Calvinism, from Cruciform Press,  Living Free in Enemy Territory, and  You are the Treasure that I seek- But there is a lot of cool stuff out there. He and his wife have four children.

 Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy A Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside (Sample)

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