…the individual doctrines of Calvinism are intelligible only as parts of the system of the life and world view of which they constitute a part. We hold to this system not because we live in the “Bible Belt” or because we have never heard of Biblical Criticism and The Critique of Pure Reason. To be sure, we accepted our system of truth on the authority of parents and teachers who believed in the Bible as infallibly true. But we believe our system, if possible, more ardently than ever now that we know that those who reject it can find no alternative but pure irrationalism. We believe our system more ardently than ever too, when we see both the Roman Catholic and the Arminian apologists slip down the smooth decline into the cauldron of irrationalism as they seek to draw out those that are already swirling about in its midst. We admire the person of John Calvin. But we are not mere hero worshippers of the “ascetic heretic-burning” Reformer. We think Calvin taught what Scripture teaches. We have learned to believe what Scripture teaches not because we were wiser than other men but by the “testimony of the Holy Spirit.” But now that we have believed, our eyes have been opened to the fact that our system is true or there is no truth…
Just like a corpse cannot breathe and a living body cannot NOT breathe, one who has been brought out of spiritual death to spiritual life in union with Christ (and all the spiritual blessings that flow forth from it) ought not return and dwell in the grave of sin and the profane or even meddle in the mundane, but ought to live and thrive upon the holy and righteous, breathing in the fullness of the new creation he is in Christ.Edit
Tunnel-vision theology can be an ever-present danger for the Christian. Oftentimes, many brothers will latch onto one truth about God or salvation and make it the “tunnel” by which they see all of Scripture. Though justification by faith alone, the sovereignty of God, the five points of Calvinism are absolute truths of the Bible, and though we should rightly refute and oppose the mighty errors of Rome, Arminianism, and the like, we ought not reduce the majesty of Scripture to fit into just a single focal point of our choosing. Rather, let us see the Covenantal framework of the entirety of Scripture, the backbone and framework by which God Himself has laid out His Scriptures to tell us sufficiently and authoritatively of faith and practice, and then we shall see how the flesh, blood, and veins of our high Calvinistic doctrines are knit together with the skeleton of God’s masterpiece of His redemption.
What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ—the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.
|—||The Reformation in England, London, 1962, Vol. 1, p. 98.|
The moral law and its use as a rule of obedience in believers, not as a means of justification but as guidance for sanctification. Written by Samuel Bolton, one of the Westminster Divines.