A few years ago, when I was beginning my transformation from an “independent, fundamental, soul-winnin’, separated, premillennial, (semi-pelagian), King James Bible-believin'” Baptist, having come to learn “the way of God (specifically, the way of his grace) more perfectly,” I began to notice traces of those doctrines which have been most controversially affected by God’s sovereign grace throughout much of the New Testament in familiar places which I never dreamed I’d find them. As I noticed them, I began to mark them in the margin next to the verses or passages in which the doctrines evidenced themselves in varying degrees.
Of course, I’m speaking of what Calvinists call “The Doctrines of Grace,” and what most semi-pelagian, “independent, fundamental . . .” Baptist preachers mistakenly call “Hyper-Calvinism” (mostly in an attempt to commit the logical fallacy of “guilt by association”). As many of you are aware these are the doctrines which have been grouped together and given an acronym over the years (do any of you theologians out there know who it was that first popularized the acronym? I’m aware of its origins with the Synod of Dort, what about the acronym itself?), presumably to aid in memorization. The Doctrines of Grace are those doctrines which are radically God-centered, contrary to the way they are naturally and commonly understood by the “unlearned and unstable” (and I mean that charitably); they are those doctrines which eminently magnify God and humiliate man. Indeed, they so humiliate man, and sometimes so infuriate him, that even the Apostle Paul had to answer some of the very questions raised by these doctrines in Scirpture, which are always raised by non-Calvinists to this day, as well as defend them against the same charges which continue to be made against them to this day.
These “Doctrines of Grace” are:
Total Depravity (In other words, “How the doctrine of the sovereignty of the gracious God affects the biblical doctrine of human sinfulness”)
Unconditional Election (“How the doctrine of the sovereignty of the gracious God affects the biblical doctrine of election)
Limited Atonement (“How the doctrine of the sovereignty of the gracious God affects the biblical doctrine of the atonement”)
Irresistable Grace (“How the doctrine of the sovereignty of the gracious God affects the biblical doctrine of the gospel call and regeneration”)
Perseverance of the Saints (“How the doctrine of the sovereignty of the gracious God affects the biblical doctrine of the security of the believer”)
So as I noticed traces of these doctrines throughout Scripture, I’d mark a “T” or a “U” and so on, in the margin, until my New Testament was littered with them. These I intend to begin sharing one by one each week, with a few comments of my own so that these wonderful doctrines may be made more clear to those who continue to struggle with them, and likewise for the edification of those of us who already hold them so dear.
But this is just the introduction. Probably next week we’ll begin our stroll through the New Testament and occassionally “Stop and Smell the TULIPS!”
Great blog! I am looking forward to smelling the tulips with you here in the near future.