So what makes a Calvinist?

My last blog postCalv_Arm Divide posts small lead me to think about what it would take in someone’s belief system for me to consider them in the Reformed/Calvinistic/sovereign grace camp (Oh, how I dislike the labels, necessary though they sometimes may be).

I suppose most Christians I’ve known have affirmed the doctrine of Eternal Security, and I could probably get tacit approval of Total Depravity (but not affirmation of the full implications of it). Effectual Grace and Particular Redemption are normally the last points to be affirmed. But when someone comes face to face with the realization that before the foundation of the world, God chose his elect, not as a result of foreseeing any action on their part, but because he did so unconditionally according to his own good pleasure, then that person is well on his way to affirming sovereign grace doctrine. So, if you affirm Unconditional Election vis a vis Conditional Election, you are at the very least, a budding Calvinist.

What think ye?


One response to “So what makes a Calvinist?”

  1. I agree. Labels are a necessary evil. Last semester I taught soteriology, the doctrine of salvation. My stress for the semester was that we need both doctrine and narrative in our studies in order to avoid imbalance. The first night, I began with Genesis 1-3 as the beginning of the gospel. The first question out of my students’ mouths was, “What about free will?”

    We walked through the text and read what it said. By the end of the class, one of my students said, “This doesn’t say anything about free will.”


    In Genesis 1, God exercises absolute free will. In Genesis 2, he creates the man and woman with a purpose and mandate. They are complete in him. “Free will” does not even enter the text until chapter 3, when the serpent challenges God’s authority. The myth comes about with the desire to take forbidden fruit that is supposedly “desirable to make one wise.”

    Good job, Bro.


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