Q&A: Is It Possible to Teach the Cross and Sovereign Grace Without Being A Calvinist?
Q: Is it not possible to teach the Word, the blood, the cross, sovereign grace and death to self without being a staunch 5 pointer?
A: Short answer? No. Because anything less than 5 point Calvinism, or, the doctrines of grace leads to – and is – unorthodoxy.
Longer answer? Sure, one can teach these things and not be a ‘staunch’ Calvinist, but they would be teaching unorthodox doctrines. For example, take the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. Of those teachings which you mention above, which ones have to do with the substitutionary atonement of Christ? Right, all of them.
When it comes the purity of the Gospel, the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ for His elect is non-negotiable.
In fact, the most often rejected doctrine of what you call ‘staunch’ Calvinism is that of limited atonement. That’s the ‘L’ in the Calvinistic acrostic, T.U.L.I.P.
Usually, when you run across a (so-called) ‘4-point Calvinist’ you’re really dealing with someone who is not a Calvinist at all, because they have rejected the doctrine of limited atonement, and, by doing so, have rejected biblical, historical, orthodox Christianity.
Before I go any further, let me say this. We need to be careful about which doctrines we take adamant stands for. In other words, not every hill is worth dying on, but those which affect the purity of the Gospel, like limited atonement, are indeed worth it, in fact, necessary, and limited atonement is one of them.
Here’s why: Christ died as a substitute for those to whom the Father gave Him. Ephesians 1:4 and following. Christ died for the elect unto salvation and He accomplished what He set out to do, purchasing or redeeming those whom the Father had given Him to save. Now, When one rejects limited atonement, he is at the very least, perverting the doctrine of substitution, and therefore the Gospel.
How? Simple. If Christ died as a Substitute for everyone who ever lived in all ages, then no one goes to Hell – ever. But we know the Bible teaches differently don’t we? Of course. Hell was been created for the Devil, his angels and those who serve him.
Many today teach their version of the Word, the cross, the blood, sovereign grace and death-to-self, but it is just that, their corrupt, perverted version of truth as it is revealed in Christ Jesus.
Bottom line, one cannot teach these things as presented in Scripture while rejecting limited atonement, and it is this doctrine, the ‘L’ in T.U.L.I.P., that separates the orthodox from the unorthodox ‘Calvinist’.