It has been a long time since I have been actively engaged in debates over TULIP–commonly known as the Five Points of Calvinism. I came to these convictions in college. In fact, I remember when the very mention of the word “Calvinism” was seen as a violation of all that is sacred. I remember a friend indignantly asking me: “What kind of God would violate my will to do His will?” I still remember my calm response: “The kind of God who is gracious enough to love you.” Unfortunately, I can’t say all my responses were with such dignity. Some of you reading this may even remember a time or ten that I opined with excessive zeal.
I recall my roommate’s mom sending him books with bold warnings on the front page: “Danger: This book is written by a Calvinist.” I often wondered why the book wasn’t burnt if it posed such great danger. The answer was/is that these Calvinists were actually producing great material on behalf of the Pro-Life movement (Francis Schaeffer), in favor of inerrancy (R.C. Sproul), biblical apologetics (Greg Bahnsen), etc. They were the leading voices of everything evangelicals thought noble, yet they had this supposed intellectual disability when it came to the doctrines of grace.
Many years later, I continue to find the inestimable value in these Calvinist writers. They continue to shape modern exegesis, hermeneutics, cultural ethics, the role of the Church in society, and more. And since those early days in college, the so-called Calvinist population has increased dramatically due to the popularity of well-known preachers. As a friend recently observed to me: “Uri, when I saw the Bible through the lens of God’s sovereign grace everything began to make sense.”
As Reformation Day approaches, I believe the entire evangelical Church owes a great debt to the Reformation. I am not naive to the critiques and some even right ones, but still, we live these days in the glorious overflow of benefits brought by the labors of our Reformed forefathers.
Soli Deo Gloria.
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
― Abraham Kuyper