What Does It Mean To Be A Calvinist?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Jared, Jun 23, 2008.

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  1. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I am new to the Puritan Board. I am not asking what you might think that I would be asking considering the title of this thread.

    I would like to know everyone's thoughts regarding people who affirm the TULIP but reject the label "Calvinist." I know of a few people like this. For instance, Francis Chan seems to be a closet Calvinist. I have never heard him refer to himself as a Calvinist, but if you listen to his teachings this seems to be exactly what he teaches. Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio would be two more examples.

    I'm not completely sure about either of them, but I believe they are monergists from what I can tell. Chris Tomlin's church teaches the doctrines of grace and every time I hear his song "Famous One" I always think of the chapter in John Piper's book The Pleasures Of God titled The Pleasures Of God In His Fame. I don't think that's too much of a stretch since John Piper is involved in the Passion Worship movement. And Louie Giglio is one of the founders of the Passion Worship movement and since reformed theology plays such an integral part in everything that Passion does regarding the emphasis of God's renown, I would assume that he's reformed.
  2. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    What it should mean is simply to be a Christian, we should be wary of identifying with teachers no matter how great. That is why I prefer to say that I am reformed more than a Calvinist.

    For this reason I am perfectly happy for people to reject the label of being a Calvinst, as long as they follow the teaching of the Apostles (which incidently is calvinistic;))
  3. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    It does make sense I guess. I affirm all five points of the Tulip. I am a credobaptist. And I am somewhere between New Covenant Theology and Progressive Dispensationalism. I am a modified supralapsarian. I am a complementarian. I am a classical premillenialist. I am a congregationalist.

    Well, that's basically where I stand on those issues. I can't think of any others right now.
  4. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    If you hold to dispensationalism then you are not a classical premillenialist. And if you are NCT or Dispensational then you do not hold to the 1689 LBCF. Classical premil was Covenantal. Dispensationalism is no where close. It holds a distinct view and makes a separation between Isreal and the Church.
  5. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    In the historic sense, a Calvinist would be one who follows Calvin's teachings (the term being loosly used by Lutheran theologians to refer to one who follows Calvin's theology AND sacramentology.).

    I'd agree. You read the Institutes and you agree with his overall theology proper, soteriology and sacramentology.

    I would grant loosely that many use the term TODAY as one who holds to the 5 points of Dordt.
  6. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I tend to emphasize the covenants more. I don't really believe in the dispensations, but I find some of the things that Progressive Dispensationalism teaches to be scriptural.

    I did not know that you could not hold to the LBCF and be NCT.

    How do I fix this problem? Can I still be part of the Puritan Board?
  7. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

  8. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    According to how you describe yourself (in your post above), affirming all of TULIP would seem to label you more Calvinistic than Reformed. See Josh's post above for a good definition of Reformed.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  9. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior


    It's nice to have you on the PB. Don't get overwhelmed and run off already. :lol:

    Seriously, take your time and listen to what a lot of these guys have to say. Things will begin to fall in place for you concerning your definitions of Calvinism, Reformed, etc.
  10. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    What about people who say that they are "Reformed" Baptists? I have a friend who describes himself this way and he is a progressive dispensationalist. In fact, most Baptists who affirm TULIP that I know of describe themselves in this way even though they are not Covenant Theologians.
  11. Pilgrim72

    Pilgrim72 Puritan Board Junior

    Personally, I gladly call myself a Calvinist when I need to emphasize my beliefs as opposed to Arminianism. I believe "Calvinism" is a far clearer representation of the Gospel of grace.

    But at the same time, being called a Calvinist, Augustinian, or Reformed, etc, isn't nearly as important to me as being called a Christian or a follower of Christ. I'm sure all Calvinists would say that. We identify ourselves with Christ. But because there are flawed views of the Gospel out there (Arminianism, Pelagianism) I think, for me, I would readily call myself a Calvinist whenever I had just reason to proclaim the doctrines of grace rather than those that are more man-centered.
  12. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I am certainly not an Amyraldian. I have moved away from dispensationalism considerably , but not altogether. As I said, I have moved far away from it enough so as to not call myself a dispensationalist (even a progressive one).

    I basically agree with Wayne Grudem's understanding of New Covenant Theology. But his understanding seems to be a lot like John Piper's and Piper basically stands where I do. At least, from what I can tell.

    Grudem and Piper teach that there is one church comprised of Jews, gentiles, and believing Jews who were saved by faith in Christ under the old covenant. However, both Grudem and Piper from what I have heard them say believe that Christians should not be anti-semitic and that we should expect a greater number of ethnic Jews to be saved in the end-times.

    That's basically where I am on this issue. The people of God are one people. Yet, God is working in a unique way among some ethnic Jews.

    Also, I believe that the nation of Israel will have some significance in the fulfillment of end-times prophecy. Not to the extent that dispensationalists do, but I think there is some significance there.

    The main thing that I agree with PD on is that the church is the next step in ushering in the kingdom of God rather than a parenthesis in the overall plan of God to save the Jews as classical Dispensationalists teach.
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    In the 17th century a Calvinist was distinct from Lutherans and Zwinglians on the doctrine of the Lord's supper. By the 19th century it had come to define those who maintained Calvin's teaching on the doctrines of grace as formulated by the Synod of Dort in distinction especially from evangelical Arminianism. The term is as useful and valid as the names of "Christian," "Puritan," or anything else men use to cast scorn on adherence to the truth as it is in Jesus. Fundamentally, though, if a person does not hold to the doctrines of grace as taught by the articles of Dort, he is not a Calvinist.
  14. Pilgrim72

    Pilgrim72 Puritan Board Junior

    I've got a question. In the above quote, what is the difference between the "Jews" and the "believing Jews" that make up the church? Because, it sorta reads like you have unbelieving and believing Jews making up the church. Hopefully, I read that wrong.
    I believe that no one, whether Jew or Gentile, can belong to the church (before or after Christ) if they don't believe.

    I remember listening to a Christian radio station (over 10 years ago) with some guy named Duffy as the host. That guy had a few screws loose. But the last show I listened to by him was when he had a Jewish rabbi on his show (who didn't believe that Jesus was the Messiah) and Duffy kept calling him "brother". And kept making comments that insinuated that they were of the same religion...
    (So, needless to say, to keep myself from vomiting, I turned the channel.)
  15. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear. I meant to say Jews and gentiles who have faith in Christ.
  16. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    Wayne Grudem is a classical premillenialist and NCT. It may have started out being covenantal, but I know of a number of people who are either NCT or PD and classical premil. I am closer to NCT, but as I stated before, I agree with most of what Grudem says concerning the covenants.
  17. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Josh, it's that and more. While there is a distinct difference in soteriology between Baptists and Reformed Baptists, RB's usually have a different eschatological and covenantal view than non-Reformed Baptists. RB's (or confessional Baptists, as I refer to us) take great comfort in our confessional subscription, as it helps keep us from much of the error that is rampant in the church today.
  18. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    But there are "Reformed" Baptists who aren't covenant theologians. I didn't know that covenantal Baptists existed until I joined PB.
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