PMT 2017-036 by Stephen Altrogge (The Blazing Center)

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Calvinist”? A grumpy, cold-hearted person who only wants a select few people to get into heaven? An annoying guy who won’t stop rambling on about Romans 9? That awful, sterile, passionless church you used to go to?

I get it.

Calvinism doesn’t have a fantastic reputation, at least in some circles. Some people feel like it focuses more on theology than on loving people. Others have had really bad experiences with Calvinists. And some people think it runs counter to the beautiful free offer of grace found in the Bible.

But what if someone who is not a jerk (at least most of the time) could talk about Calvinism in a way that didn’t make you want to smash your computer?

That’s what I’m going to try to do in this post. I want to explain why I’m a Calvinist, why it brings me great joy, and why I think it’s profoundly biblical. If at the end you disagree with me, that’s okay. We can still be BFS (best friends sometimes).

I can’t answer all your objections in this post. I’m not intending to turn this into a furious, spittle-flying debate. Think of this as a pleasant conversation over a craft beer (or coffee if you’re a Baptist).

John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings (Vol. 3)

Includes more than thirty short, pointed essays, sermons, and addresses that summarize some of John Frame’s central (and sometimes peripheral!) ideas about the nature and method of theology, theological issues, epistemology, apologetics, the church, and ethics.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com

What Is A Calvinist?

Before we dive off the deep end, I should take a minute to define what I mean by Calvinism. A simple definition is this:

Calvinism is a series of doctrines that describes the state of humanity apart from God, how God saves people, and how God will ultimately bring those people to Glory.

A common acronym used to remember the doctrines of Calvinism is:

T – Total Depravity
U – Unconditional Election
L – Limited Atonement
I – Irresistible Grace
P – Perseverance of the Saints

I don’t like some of the phrases in the acronym and I think they can be confusing but it’s what most people use.

Because It’s All Over The Bible

I am not a Calvinist because of John Calvin. In fact, if John Calvin never existed I would still be a Calvinist (except it wouldn’t be called “Calvinism”). I don’t have man-crush on Calvin, nor do I think he’s the greatest person since Jesus. I won’t name any of my kids “Calvin”.

Calvin simply took some biblical ideas and organized them. Actually, I prefer the term “Doctrines of Grace” rather than Calvinism. It better describes the doctrines. Plus it takes the focus off John Calvin who, just like everyone else, had some great strengths and wicked weaknesses.

Lord of the SavedLord of the Saved
(by Ken Gentry)

A critique of easy believism and affirmation of Lordship salvation. Shows the necessity of true, repentant faith to salvation.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com

I believe in the doctrines of grace because they run throughout the entire Bible, like a golden thread from Genesis to Revelation. In the Old Testament, we see that God unconditionally chose Israel to be his people….

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6 thoughts on “5 REASONS I’M A CALVINIST

  1. Robert J. Macauley May 5, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I love you Ken Gentry and I am amazed how God has enabled you to clarify so much of the scripture. It seems incredibly ironic somehow that one so gifted in so many areas can be so wrong in another. Seems that is the lot of us all. None of us are perfect and that should keep us humble. For the life of me, I will never understand Calvinism – though I have tried. With all due respect to you and the many Calvinist I’ve met throughout the years, I can only conclude there is a veil, or blind spot, somehow that can seldom be overcome. It would take a work of grace as powerfully effective as that offered to “everyone” for salvation. Sometimes, I’m left thinking that such “misses” of correct theology are just a necessary part of keeping us humbly dependent. Great knowledge puffs us up. Missing the obvious should surely keep us humble. Missing the truth must be a theologian’s “thorn in the flesh”. Again, I can think of few teachers that have changed my scriptural understanding as much as you. With all my sincerity, I love you and respect you as a teacher and brother. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Kenneth Gentry May 5, 2017 at 8:46 am
  3. Robert J. Macauley May 9, 2017 at 6:29 am

    With great respect, I don’t see my need of a “cure” that would convince me of Calvinism. I’ve studied the matter for years and grown weary of the mental gymnastics of all sides. Have you ever heard the saying, ” A theologian is someone who can take a drop of doctrine, spread it into such a mist, that no one can find their way thru the fog.”? Unfortunately, this can be true – as much as we need theologians in the church. It is why I appreciate them so much. The following is a brief but hardly exhaustive list of books, articles and lectures I’ve studied: http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/calvinism.html http://thomastaylorministries.org/blog/calvinism-refuted-total-depravity/ http://www.a-voice.org/tidbits/calvinp.htm And my current favorite lecture series on the subject, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Daomzm3nyIg
    Now, let me get back to my reading, “He Shall Have Dominion” by, oh yes, by you.
    Love it.

    Thank you,

    Bob Macauley
    (a big fan)

  4. Kenneth Gentry May 9, 2017 at 10:11 am


    As one brother to another, I must ask: Mental gymnastics? It seems more like mere reading (of Scripture). I don’t see how it is missed, but I do know why it is missed: it is difficult to believe because we exist on the temporal plane and are sinners who cannot comprehend God’s mind (Isa. 55:8-9). Yet we have his revelation in Scripture.

    Ephesians 1:4-5
    Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

    Romans 8:28-30
    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    John 15:16
    You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

    2 Timothy 1:9
    Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

    John 6:44
    No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

    Ephesians 1:11-12
    In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

    Acts 13:48
    And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

    Proverbs 16:4
    The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

    Revelation 13:8
    And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

    Acts 2:23
    This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

    Mark 4:10-12
    And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

    Galatians 1:15
    But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,

    Titus 1:1
    Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,

    John 15:19
    If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

    Jude 1:4
    For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    Matthew 22:14
    For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    Romans 8:30
    And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    2 Thessalonians 2:13
    But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

    1 Thessalonians 1:4
    For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,


  5. Robert J. Macauley May 12, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Been there, done all this before, as I’m sure you have. I am no longer interested in wrestling with anyone on this issue, even with someone I admire as much as you. Truly.

  6. Kenneth Gentry May 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Well, all I can say is: I guess it was predestined that you not believe in predestination. 😉

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