What is the Full Gospel according to Calvinism?

In an interview, posted in October on the Desiring God site, John Piper was asked:

Can an Arminian preach the gospel effectively — Christ and him crucified?

This question was prompted by Charles Spurgeon’s claim that “[t]here is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism”.

Arminian’s do preach an effective gospel, affirms Piper, if by effective it is meant that there is “enough of gospel truth so that God is willing to use it to save sinners.” While admitting that an Arminian can preach an effective gospel, Piper underscores the point that they cannot preach a full gospel; only one that is defective and harmful.

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Can an Arminian preach the gospel fully?
Can an Arminian preach the gospel without implicit or explicit theological defects?
Can an Arminian preach the gospel without tendencies that lead the church in harmful directions?
Can an Arminian preach the gospel in the most Christ-exalting way?
And my answer to all those questions would be: No, they can’t.

Piper explains that when gospel truth is presented it can and often is stated in such a way that both an Arminian and a Calvinist would readily accept it.

However, he rightly notes that as one unpacks the terminology in that presentation that there would be a different “direction” or meaning behind many of the words and phrases that are used. Differences that, Piper notes “really do matter as people grow in faith.” Continue reading

I am Thesis Man (Reform a Song)

What would it look like if Black Sabbath’s hit song Iron Man was written as a tribute to Martin Luther and the Reformation? I’m glad you asked.

It might go something like this:

Has he lost his mind
Luther is now in a bind
In the sight of all
95 thesis on the wall

People being led
By wrong things the Pope has said
You must pay the fare
To ascend heavenly stair

That is works based zeal
And a faith that is not real
Reform so sublime
Faces quite an uphill climb

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Martin Luther

Pope Leo wants him
Papal Bull is unfurled

Planning his vengeance
Kick him out of the fold

He stands without fear
Diet of Worms is now here
Writings he won’t waive
Why can’t Luther just behave

Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads

Nobody stops him
So Rome can’t get it’s revenge

Thesis has been read
Reform fever now has spread
Telling all the men they can
By faith alone we live again

Measure of Faith

In a prior post the idea that faith is a gift was explored (link). There are not many passages that describe faith as a gift, but in that post we did note two passages that do (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:9). In this post we will look at how a number of scholars understand the phrase “God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith” found in Romans 12:3.

For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3 NET)

Does the measure of faith given by God in Romans 12:3 mean that saving faith is a gift?

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via Wikimedia Commons

There are two primary ways to understand the phrase “God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith”. One
view is to understand “the measure of faith” as saving faith, which has been the focus of the letter to the Romans up to chapter 12.The other view is to understand this faith as being related to our spiritual gifts and how we use them as this fits the immediate context of the passage (see also Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:9; Eph 4:7). Continue reading