Before I begin this post, let me say that I am not going to discuss or debate anything in comments. I am open to questions and discussion, but I'd rather keep it private in messages via Facebook or email. The subject matter sometimes gets heated, and thus I'd like to keep the discussions private rather than public.
Wayne Grudem's glossary in his book Systematic Theology states:
Reformed: Another term for the theological tradition known as Calvinism.
Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 1253). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
Of course, then we could ask what does Grudem mean by Calvinism?
Calvinism: A theological tradition named after the sixteenth-century French reformer John Calvin (1509–64) that emphasizes the sovereignty of God in all things, man’s inability to do spiritual good before God, and the glory of God as the highest end of all that occurs.
Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 1237). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
Millard Erickson writes . . .
Reformed theology Theology that emphasizes the Calvinistic approach, especially with respect to the matter of salvation. It is often accompanied by a presbyterian type of church government.
Erickson, M. J. (2001). In The concise dictionary of Christian theology (Rev. ed., 1st Crossway ed., p. 168). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Others would include the idea of Covenant Theology as part of the definition. R.C. Sproul writes , , ,
Reformed theology has been nicknamed “Covenant theology,” which distinguishes it from Dispensationalism. Dispensational theology originally believed that the key to biblical interpretation is “rightly dividing” the Bible into seven dispensations, defined in the original Scofield Reference Bible as specific testing periods in redemptive history.1 Dispensationalism sought a key that would unlock the proper structure of biblical interpretation.
Every written document has a structure or format by which it is organized. Paragraphs have subjects and chapters have focal points. Reformed theology sees the primary structure of biblical revelation as that of covenant. This is the structure by which the entire history of redemption is worked out.
Sproul, R. C. (2000). Grace unknown: the heart of reformed theology (electronic ed., p. 99). Grand Rapids: Baker Books.
As I understand Sproul, as he uses the term, he would not include men that speak at his conferences such as John MacArthur and Steve Lawson as reformed since they are dispensationalists. Grudem and Erickson would not seem to see that as a distinction that puts them outside of the term Reformed. I know MacArthur refers to his view as Reformed. I haven't heard enough of Lawson, but I would not be surprised to hear the same from him.
So, yes, I am now a Calvinist. I never would have imagined I'd be a Calvinist, but I am. Neither am I a dispensationalist any longer though I have not espoused dispensationalism for a few years now. I embraced Calvinism about a year ago.
Why am I a Calvinist? Simply put, as I have continued to read through the Bible every year, and as I have continued to study the Bible, I came to the conclusion that I think that Calvinism gets it right when it comes to the Gospel and soteriology (doctrine of salvation).
As I have continued to read through the Bible, there are passages that on a surface level reading that have the appearance of aligning with Calvinism and there are others that have the appearance of aligning with Arminianism. Isn't it possible that there is a third option in some cases? Perhaps. We need to keep open to that option. However, sometimes this is not possible.
To put this into logical form, if there are options A and B, it is possible that there is an option C. However if the options are A and non-A, then there will not be a third option.
I'm not seeking to prove one view or another here, I'm simply providing definitions and foundation for how I got to where I am at.
Calvinism is known for the acrostic T.U.L.I.P. Let's take the "L" - limited atonement.
Jesus either died for all people or he did not die for all people. There isn't a third option. Under those two options, there may be other options. For example, those who say he died for all people include universalists and those that are not universalists.
In this life, those who are justified are either eternally secure or not eternally secure. Within those categories there are further subcategories, but there isn't a third option from eternally secure or not eternally secure.
That's enough for now and the post is getting longer than I think blog posts should be. I will probably write a little more on my transition in another post.
As I said at the beginning, I am not going to discuss or debate anything in comments. I am open to questions and discussion, but I'd rather keep it private in messages via Facebook or email.