Around twenty years ago, I discovered the deep truths of the Sovereignty of God. When I was in my mid twenties, I came to believe that God was absolutely sovereign. I loved the endless implications of an absolutely sovereign God and I scoured the Scriptures and other theological books for a deeper understanding of what I perceived to be the truth. What I came to believe was mockingly referred to as "hyper-calvinism" by the religious world, but to me it was a joyful expression of Christ and His Gospel.
And today, I am glad to say that I still believe the same things I did twenty years ago. I still love the doctrines of Grace and all of their implications. I still believe that God's Grace is particular and not common. I still believe that the Gospel is to be presented and not offered as something that one can accept or reject to the salvation of their soul. I still believe salvation is not a result of a fulfilled duty, but one that is granted from above. I still believe in the absolute sovereignty of God and that He has predestinated all things - even the tiniest things. I still believe that God's plan to glorify Himself in the redemption of people in His glorious son was logically planned out prior to His planning to have His people plunged into sin starting with Adam in the Garden (supralapsarianism). I still rejoice in the doctrine of Justification from Eternity. And I still believe that sanctification is in Christ Alone, and that any progression we have is in grace and knowledge, not in Christ's holiness.
However, I am not absolutely dogmatic on all these things. I've learned to be tolerant of those that don't have my point of view on everything. If I am to remain true to what I believe regarding God and His plan of salvation, then I must admit that everything I know and believe and everything everyone else knows and believes is part of His sovereign plan. He's caused me to see things that others cannot see. And I'm sure there are others out there that see things that I cannot at this time. All revelation is a gift. All true knowledge is a gift. And If people are to learn of God, this knowledge must be granted.
And so when I see others that claim to share my perspective but are acting like arrogant jerks about their knowledge, I become quite distressed and heart broken over their misrepresentation and distortion of the truth. It's as if they are speaking the truth on one hand, and on the other hand completely denying it. Frank Tate said it best when he stated, "If my religion does not make me gracious, forgiving, peaceable, submissive, loving, and easy to get along with, I am sure that my religion has made me miss Christ."
Along with the arrogance amongst some in the predestinarian camp, I'm also observing strict dogmatism. I don't agree with the doctrine of common grace, but I don't believe that if one agrees with that doctrine that they are evidencing their unbelief in the Gospel. In my opinion there is nothing common about grace. But, God is indeed "merciful" with the reprobate at least for a short period of time. Now others may want to argue with me about that statement, but does it matter? Adherents to the doctrine of common grace do not agree with the concept that any sort of salvific love is shed for the reprobate. Yet I see this topic hotly debated on facebook with tons of accusations and strict dogmatism. Why? I didn't agree with Phil Johnson (John MacArthur's right hand man) years ago when he attacked me for not agreeing with his form of gospel offerism, but I didn't attack him as an unbeliever either. I kept things civil, and I went my separate way. I hope that he has grown as a person since that time and maybe one day we can join hands together in heaven around the throne delighting in the same Savior and Gospel. And as for the so-called doctrine of progressive sanctification, I don't agree with it either. However there are many of God's precious children that believe they are progressing along as God ordains it. It all depends on what one means by the term, and for me, it's not necessarily a deal breaker. Great theologians of the past held to a form of progressive sanctification, but when they presented it, it was not with the same meaning as defined by its detractors today. Straw man arguments abound in today's internet discourse. Instead of searching for truth, and seeking after righteousness, folks have found they just like to argue and prove their "rightness." Pastors will sometimes use their pulpit as a coward's castle and preach against articles that aren't worded to their satisfaction, and zealots on facebook get into long arguments and make long videos attacking those with whom they disagree. Instead of castigating people, arguing with folks, and acting like jerks when we find something with which we disagree, maybe we should just present what we believe to those who are interested and wait on the Lord to win the hearts and minds of His people. Arguing with people in my opinion shows that we don't rest in the Sovereignty of God. It proves that we are thinking as if we can change someone's mind by our clever arguments. Preaching is what people need to hear. And not just one sermon here and there. The mind needs to absorb the scriptures and hear the Gospel preached week in and week out for the remainder of their lives. He alone is the teacher of His people.
The doctrine of salvation by grace and only by grace gives me great comfort. I long for that comfort to be realized by so many struggling with their church or their denomination's teachings. There is a foggy lense that people see the world through. It's been darkened and made dim by the fog of sin and false religion. And as one who has been labeled as a hyper-calvinist, I truly long for people to see the truth of a Sovereign Lord reigning over His creation. I long for the day when the pure truth of the Gospel is proclaimed with boldness and embraced by many. I want to see those who do not believe come to a saving knowledge. I long for God's sheep to be saved and rejoice in the Gospel of Sovereign Grace. And I'm sad to say that many who claim to believe like me are complete jerks and overbearing and accusatory of those who disagree with them. And I think many don't even care about those with whom they find disagreement. Their lives are really hate-filled. And this brings shame to the Gospel. This brings shame to the truth. And sadly, this only shows that they don't believe what they claim to believe. They have faith in their faith, and not the Sovereign God of Scripture. They are very much like the free-willer and many others upon which they rail continually. And their attitude is a reflection of what they truly believe - and that is a formula must be followed perfectly to find salvation. But salvation is not a formula!
May the Lord give us ears to hear and hearts to love the truth. May our ears be unclogged and our eyes opened to the truth that is in Christ. May we present the truth with humility and not with arrogance. Those who fail to do so only evidence themselves to be unbelievers. To Him be the glory.