Do You Think You Emphasize Calvinism and the Doctrines of Grace More Than the Bible Does?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Do you think you emphasize Calvinism and the doctrines of grace more than the Bible does?
It's an ambiguous question. So I'll clarify it and then give an answer for both meanings.
I certainly mention the word "Calvinism" more than the Bible does. Though I don't think I use it very often. I don't mention it very often in preaching, and only if I do seminars on Calvinism do I talk about it much.
"Doctrines of grace" is not a phrase you'll find in the Bible. So if I use that, I use it more than the Bible does. I use the word "Trinity" more than the Bible. I use the words "substitutionary atonement" more than the Bible. I use the word "abortion" more than the Bible. I use the word "wife" more than the Bible.
The point is: the frequency of our vocabulary compared to the Bible is not an essential issue.
So that's one interpretation. Confession: Yes, the Bible doesn't use the words "Calvinism" or "doctrines of grace". I do. Therefore, I use them more than the Bible.
The real question is, Do I have a balance in my teaching concerning the sovereignty of God, the depravity of man, the nature of election as unconditional, the nature of the atonement as powerful and effective, the nature of the work of the Holy Spirit as irresistible, the nature of God's faithfulness as preserving me to the end? Does my understanding of those things and my weaving them into my teaching have a balance to it that is different from the Bible's?
And my answer is, I don't know. I hope not!
I try to be proportionate. I try not to get on a hobby horse and ride something to death that the Bible has way off to the side as non-essential.
The way I've tried to prevent my boat from getting tipped over by the winds that blow around of emphases that are not essential is to make "spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things" the ballast in the boat.
My life has been devoted to the supremacy of God in the mind of God for our enjoyment, because that I see on almost every page of the Bible. God's passion for his glory, God's passion for his name and his fame exercised through mercy and the cross toward us. "Christ came as a servant to the circumcised ... so that the Gentiles [so that John Piper] would glorify God for his mercy" (Romans 15:8-9)—that's what I want to say at the center.
God is glorious and I'm experiencing it mainly as mercy, because I'm a sinner. And I would like everybody to be stunned by the magnificence and majesty of the glory of God. And to me the doctrines of grace are all there protecting this truth, making this truth plain.