Many people struggle with God’s sovereignty in election because they believe it excludes the activity of evangelism. If people are eternally elected or not, they ask, what good will preaching do? What difference will it make? However, as Scripture teaches, God’s sovereignty in election and the activity of evangelism are not enemies but friends. Evangelism is rooted in election, and while man may plant and water the seed of the gospel, God brings the growth. Means and Ends The sovereignt y of God in salvation is most clearly and vividly seen in Scripture’s teaching regarding election. Election is “unconditional,” that …
The term Calvinism was first used by Lutheran theologians to refer to what they regarded as the peculiar views of Christ’s real presence at the Lord’s Supper held by John Calvin and his followers. It is not used in this way nowadays. What does it refer to now? In some cases, it denotes the entire theological system of Calvin himself as we find it in the four books of his Institutes of the Christian Religion. In other cases, and more usually, it refers to the understanding of the doctrine of salvation as we find it in the first three books. …
How do we estimate what a person is primarily interested in? Perhaps by seeing how often they return to the subject, or what they mention on important occasions. And perhaps, also, by the manner in which people write about things: is it detached, or is it impassioned — “urgent,” as Wright says?
We routinely speak of “the problem of evil.” But during the Christian era there have been two main problems of evil, and it is important to distinguish these, as well as how Christians ought to respond to them. Let us consider each in turn. The Christian Problem The first — let’s call it the Christian problem of evil — is: How could evil occur in a world made good by God? It has as a fundamental assumption that God exists, that He is the good Creator of all that is, and that what He created expresses that character, and …
Paul Helm is professor of theology at Highland Theological College in Scotland and teaching fellow at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. He is author of The Providence of God and John Calvin’s Ideas.