Tag Archives: calvin

Monergism.com: A Quick and Dirty Guide

Did you know that there’s a massive archive of all things reformed in a single place on the web? Discover it here.

Monergism is the name for the doctrine that the Holy Spirit acts independently of the human will in the work of new birth.

It’s also the name for one of the best online resources for all things reformed: .

In many ways, it’s the reformed communities best kept secret.

But it’s not likely to stay that way for long.

The Birth of Monergism

Around the year 2000, web developer  by the growth of heretical information on the web.

At the same time he also noticed that there wasn’t anywhere online you could go to find sound doctrine in a single place. Naturally, he felt like he should use his God-given creativity to spread the gospel.

So, in his spare time, he built Monergism.com to help recover the true biblical doctrines of the historic faith by collecting and centralizing reformed resources across the web on one site.

And what began ten years ago as a small website with a handful of links has grown into a mammoth directory of all things reformed.

Five Things You Can Do at Monergism.com

Monergism.com amounts to a vast archive of online articles, PDFs, books and mp3s. So if you’re new to monergism–whether the doctrine or the website–…

1. With over 80 links to topics on regeneration, the will of God, justification and biblical devotion you’re likely to be busy for awhile–especially if you settle into the 26-part .

2. The second great way to use Monergism.com involves the exposition of Scripture. Simply pop in any Bible verse into the search box, press submit and voila: a stout list of written and audio commentaries on that verse.

3. The third great feature at Monergism.com is it’s biography pages. Take , for example. On his bio page you get a professional summary then a long list of resources.

4. Then there’s the –a  massive archive of sermons and lectures on just about any topic under the reformed sun. Name a living theologian or pastor–like  or –and you are likely to find all their available sermons.

5. Lastly, Monergism.com has developed into a  where you can find classic Puritan works by Flavel, Edwards and Newton to current works by Francis Chan, Kevin DeYoung or Adrian Warnock–often at reduced prices.

Keep This in Mind

Monergism.com is a non-profit organization. That means Hendyx and Co. work off of donations and book sales…

Anyone who’s worked in non-profit knows that this often amounts to dirt, which should give you an indication when you consider the size and quality and longevity of Monergism.com that this venture has a lot to do with one man’s unrelenting vision to see the historic confession of Jesus Christ dominate the theological landscape…

Something I can wholeheartedly get behind. What about you?

TULIP: Where Did It Go Wrong?

Contemporary Calvinists suppose that the acronym TULIP is a time-honored, authentic distillation of what was achieved at the Synod of Dordt. They’re wrong.


The sacrosanct, historical formula understood to have been given to us by our Protestant fathers…

A formula that deserves consistent recasting to more effectively communicate the actual meaning of the five points that are often grossly misunderstood.

In the first case, you have what Covenant College professor  calls the “sovereign grace” tendency.

The second, an “apologetic tendency” towards TULIP.

Both tendencies, though, are grounded in a mistaken premise.

The Tragedy of TULIP

At least that’s Stewart’s argument in a recent essay “” [warning: PDF] in the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology.

Both tendencies–notable in the New Calvinists–suppose that the points of Calvinism (Total Depravity, Unconditional Grace, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints) are a time-honored, authentic distillation of what was achieved at the .

Stewart claims that’s a mistaken belief.

TULIP is NOT an accurate summary of the Dordt conference. And there are better ways to articulate it’s message than the contemporary, hardliner approach.

TULIP: A Brief History in the 19th Century

The most notable claim Stewart makes is that the acronym TULIP didn’t even appear in print until Loraine Boettner’s  [warning: PDF].

And that was in 1932.

Before that, in the 19th Century, you are hard-pressed to find a clear, positive reference to the acronym.

You have advocates for Calvinism. Proponents for the theology of Dordt. But no defenders of TULIP.

In fact, what you do find is subtle stiff-arming of the acronym.

In a small sample of 19th Century Calvinism Stewart demonstrates that consistency nor aggressiveness in stating the doctrines was on their mind.

For instance,  considered the five points of Calvinism “of little accuracy or worth; I use it to denote certain points of doctrine, because custom has made it familiar.”

TULIP: A Brief History in the 18th Century

Finding any sympathetic–let alone clear articulation of the modern TULIP–in the 18th Century is equally futile.

What most theologians of this time pushed was a presentation of “our common Christianity.” Things held in common with “Scriptural Christians.”

Most contended for Calvinist doctrine in a broad-brush approach, preferring “Particular Atonement” over “Limited” or “Original Sin and Incorrigible Depravity” over “Total Depravity.”

Even , fierce in his attacks on John Wesley’s Armenianism, did not use the formula.

What This Brief Historical Survey Means

This is what it boils down to: Stewart argues that contemporary advocates of the five points of Calvinism are wedded to a formula in a way quite unlike Calvinists of an earlier era….

A formula we’ve come to accept uncritically as a hallmark of Calvinist orthodoxy.

What does this say about us? Stewart contends:

“At very least, this use suggests that they have not understood their own past very well. At worst, it may mean that they have willingly consented to take a very loose rendering of the theology of Dordt in place of the actuality.”

What was once a gracious, sober minded egalitarianism has given way to a more slavish, unquestioning loyalty and use.

Not That We Weren’t Warned

To be fair, a few contemporary theologians have sounded the alarm.

Edwin H. Palmer–in his – stated in 1972, “Calvinism does not have five points and neither is Calvin the author of the five points.”

And in an essay written for a reprint of John Owen’s , J. I. Packer stated, ”It would not be correct to simply to equate Calvinism with the five point” and “the five points present Calvinistic soteriology in a negative and polemical form.”

In other words, the TULIP framework is deficient and the Calvinism of our age bears a belligerent, vehement streak in it…

This in spite of  and contemporary cautions.

The Solution

The solution to this mess, Stewart rightly suggests, is engaging with the actual . At least quoting them. Even crafting a compressed summary of their actual content would do us a world of good.

One piece of advice in particular I’m going to follow is to read Richard Mouw’s , a book Stewart believes will help us recover the “big picture” that was more evident in the past than it is now.

Anybody read it? What did you think? Looking forward to your thoughts.

What You Can Learn from the Severity of John Calvin

Perhaps no man was more devoted to the truth he believed in than John Calvin.

Perhaps no man has shown more fearless courage in running every risk–in making every sacrifice–in order to serve the cause which he gave his faith.

And his life.

No doubt, this is John Calvin’s noblest and most beautiful characteristic. One that was demonstrated at every step of his life.

But what made John Calvin so noble, made him so severe.

The Dark Side of Calvin’s Convictions

Calvin wasn’t simply a theologian. Or moralist. He didn’t just write books. He also governed human affairs. Attended theological conferences. Political meetings. Rubbed shoulders with princes, politicians and city patriarchs.

He fought social demolition and steered the soul of Geneva based on his opinions…opinions molded by divine authority and law.

Nothing was more important to Calvin than to secure the triumph and influence of the doctrines and disciplines found in the Bible over every man’s life–whether public or private.

Thus, he was not only critical and rigorous of his own life, but critical and rigorous of others also.

Affectionate and faithful to friends, Calvin often lacked sympathy for mankind in general. And justice to his enemies.

He believed and asserted that he had more right over men’s opinions and actions. Neither did he sufficiently respect their rights.

The convictions John Calvin held so firmly and systematized so carefully had a greater share in the severity and injustice of his conduct toward others.

One could say he was blind to these faults. And deaf to the criticisms of friends and enemies alike. Let’s not be like that. Let’s not walk away from this post without learning from Calvin’s mistakes.

Your Turn: Questions You Must Ask Yourself

So, stop what you’re doing right now, read the following questions and reflect on–whether in the comments, on your blog or in your head–your answers.

Where am I being critical and rigorous on myself and others…and is it necessary?

Whom am I being unmerciful to?

What people–whether an individual or group–am I snubbing?

Is there anyone–including myself–who I’m withholding grace from?

10 People Who Influenced John Calvin

Why would a young man with a bent for the quiet life of literature open himself up to the turmoil of the 16th Century Reformation?

One word…


Discover ten people who influenced and guided the life of one of history’s most important Christian figures.

1. Gerard Cauvin

Calvin’s father wanted his son to join the priesthood, but upon a breakdown with the church he recommended his son study law. Calvin faithfully submitted.

2. Martin Cordier

French schoolmaster who taught Calvin Latin and stoked his love for a literary life.

3. Nicholas Cop

Late 1533, Cop devoted his inaugural address–an address Calvin influenced–as rector of  to renewal and reform in the Catholic Church. The Church denounced the address as heretical. Cop and Calvin fled Paris.

4. William Farel

Fellow French Reformer living in Geneva, Switzerland, who persuaded Calvin to stay and assist in reforming the church there, circa 1536. Calvin faithfully submitted.

5. Martin Bucer

German Reformer who invited Calvin to  in Strasburg, Germany. Many reforms Calvin implemented in Geneva–like the liturgy and church organisation–were originally developed in Strasburg.

6. Calvin’s Friends

Caught up in his studies, Calvin forgot to marry, so close friends recommended Idelette de Bure as a suitable wife. Calvin was 30.

7. Idelette de Bure

Anabaptist widow with children married Calvin in August 1540. They were married for 8 years before she died.  About Idelette , “I have been bereaved of the best companion of my life, of one who, had it been so ordered, would not only have been the willing sharer of my indigence, but even of my death.”

8. Martin Luther

Calvin wrote a catechism during his first stay in Geneva which was largely based on Martin Luther’s Large Catechism.

9. Micahel Servetus

Spanish theologian who pulled out the worst in Calvin. When , Calvin had him arrested as a heretic. Servetus was eventually burned alive.

10. Lorem Ipsum

My name for the person or people who convinced Calvin to become a Reformer. To date, Calvin’s conversion to Reformation theology is a mystery.

Naturally, such a short post can’t do justice for a giant like Calvin. But hopefully this will provoke your appetite to learn more about this great Reformer who turned 500 this year.

Now, who did I miss? Anybody you can think of who influenced Calvin that I didn’t mention? Share your thoughts.