Saturday, October 11, 2008

Practical Calvinism

The Practical Implications of Calvinism

A.N. Martin (Banner of Truth)

Using the definition of Calvinism as 'that sight of the majesty of God that pervades all of life and all of experience' Al Martin makes the point that unless the doctrines of God's sovereignty profoundly affect the whole of our experience, then we have not really seen God as God and cannot actually claim to be Calvinists. Drawing upon invaluable scriptures Martin presses this home with exhortation to a vital and practical godliness. The total commitment that Isaiah's vision produced in him follows as naturally as Ephesians chapters 4, 5 and 6 continue from chapters 1, 2 and 3. The author speaks of honest scriptural self-examination, a holy watchfulness and distrust of oneself, a consistent prayerfulness and a trustful dependence on God to fulfill all that he has purposed. All, at least, who hold to the doctrines of grace should be thoroughly acquainted with this booklet. That it is relatively cheap and only 23 pages long - leaves none with excuse. We wonder how much of this experimental Calvinism is present in the new Calvinism that is described in the book Young, Restless and Reformed.

The Dutch theologian A'Brakel puts it well in The Christian's Reasonable Service.
"God is not only the cause of spiritual life, but also the object of its motions. God Himself is all the delight, pleasure, and joy of the regenerate man. He cannot be without God. He wishes for and must enjoy the light of God's countenance, peace with God, and love and communion with God. By virtue of union with God he wishes to be united to His will, and thus to hate and shun what He hates, and to find delight in and in doing whatever God delights in and is pleasing to Him."

He also says: "Someone may have a very clear comprehension of all the mysteries of the faith, both as far as the truths and their desirability are concerned. Let him assent with full assurance to these truths as truths and to their desirability - it is nevertheless not true faith. It is indeed true that believers also have knowledge and assent, but they cannot rest in this. They know and experience that this does not cause them to be partakers of Christ, and therefore they go beyond this and appropriate Christ. They rest in Him, entrusting their soul and body to him in order that He would justify them"