Thursday, November 17, 2011

How to Call for a Gospel Response Like a Calvinist

"Think like a Calvinist. Preach like an Arminian."
That is how one preaching professor taught his students to call people to faith in a sermon. He couldn't reconcile a theological system that embraces God's sovereignty in salvation with a plea for sinful people to change. Ultimately, this prof thought Calvinism makes sense biblically and logically, but not practically.
Perhaps you have struggled with this, too. I know I have.
There was a season of my ministry where I didn't call people to believe the gospel. I preached the gospel, of course, but only with the hope that the Spirit would use his word to regenerate spiritually dead teenagers against their will. I merely implied that they must believe the gospel.
But I have turned from this mindset. This is not because my pendulum has swung to a more balanced position between Calvinism and Arminianism---I don't believe there is such a thing. It's because I've grown to understand what Calvinism is and, perhaps more importantly, what it isn't.