Reformed Theology Gone Sour: A Warning

Ray Ortlund: The Rev. William Still, a patriarch of the Church of Scotland in the 20th century, preaching on Romans 5:5 and the love of God being poured into our hearts, said this: “I wonder what it is about poring all over a great deal of Puritan literature that makes so many preachers of it so horribly cold. I don’t understand it, because I think it’s a wonderful literature. . . . I don’t know if you can explain this to me. I’d be very glad to know, because it worries me. But I hear over and over and over again this tremendous tendency amongst people who delve deeply into Puritan literature that a coldness, a hardness, a harshness, a ruthlessness–anything but sovereign grace–enters into their lives and into their ministries. Now, it needn’t be so. And it isn’t always so, thank God. And you see, the grace, the grace, of a true Calvinist and Puritan–that is to say, a

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The Continental Divide of Theology

Steven Lawson: Through the western regions of North America, there runs an imaginary geographic line that determines the flow of streams into oceans. It is known as the Continental Divide. Ultimately, precipitation falling on the east side of this great divide will flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Likewise, water falling on the western slopes of this line will surge in the opposite direction until it finally empties into the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, a vast continent separates these immense bodies of water. It is seemingly far-fetched to ponder that a raindrop falling atop a mountain in Colorado will flow to the Pacific, while another drop, falling but a short distance away, will flow into the Atlantic. Nevertheless, once the water pours down on a particular side of this great divide, its path is determined and its direction is unchangeable. Geography is not the only place we find a great divide. There is a high ground that runs through church history

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What was God’s Purpose in the Cross?

  R.C. Sproul: The doctrine of limited atonement (also known as “definite atonement” or “particular redemption”) says that the atonement of Christ was limited (in its scope and aim) to the elect; Jesus did not atone for the sins of everybody in the world. In my denomination, we examine young men going into the ministry, and invariably somebody will ask a student, “Do you believe in limited atonement?” The student will respond by saying, “Yes, I believe that the atonement of Christ is sufficient for all and efficient for some,” meaning the value of Christ’s death on the cross was great enough to cover all of the sins of every person that ever lived, but that it applies only to those who put their faith in Christ. However, that statement doesn’t get at the real heart of the controversy, which has to do with God’s purpose in the cross. There are basically two ways in which to understand God’s eternal plan.

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What Is the Heartbeat of Reformed Theology?

  Jason Helopoulos: What is the heartbeat of Reformed Theology? Some would point to the Doctrines of Grace (Five Points of Calvinism) and others to the Solas of the Reformation. Still others may be inclined to assert that it is the sovereignty of God or union with Christ. All of these are good answers, but if I was pressed to articulate the one thing that drives Reformed Theology, I would reply that it is the glory of God as revealed in the Scriptures: We emphasize reliance upon the Scriptures because observing the rule He has given for faith and practice ascribes glory to God. We emphasize the sovereignty of God because a theology rooted in His supremacy ascribes glory to God. We emphasize the distinction between Creator and creature because a right understanding of His “otherness” ascribes glory to God. We emphasize the sinfulness of man because recognizing His unfathomable grace ascribes glory to God. We emphasize the inability of

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