A Brief Review of Calvinism

We are not to believe everything we hear. John warned, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). We test the spirits (teachers and their teaching) by the inspired, infallible word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17; Psalm 119:160).

Some of the most common doctrines in the denominational world fall under the heading of Calvinism. Calvinism simply refers to the doctrines and teachings of John Calvin and his followers. Calvin was a theologian from the 1500′s who greatly influenced the Reformation movement. He was a brilliant man, but brilliance does not always translate into faithfulness to God or one accurately handling His word (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27). These doctrines are accepted by many, but are not taught in the word of God.
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The Purpose of Preaching

Man with Open Bible

From the beginning of the New Testament we read about preaching. First we see John the Baptist “preaching in the wilderness of Judea” (Matthew 3:1). A little while later “Jesus began to preach” (Matthew 4:17) and went “throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23). Jesus commanded His disciples on different occasions to go out and preach the gospel (Luke 9:1-6; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). Throughout the New Testament, this is what we see – the gospel being preached. Though men may see this as foolish, this is what God desires (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

God designed preaching to accomplish certain things. Let us notice the purpose of preaching.
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Doing the Will of God

Man at Sunset

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus described the character of one who would be a citizen of His kingdom. The kingdom is open to all; but sadly, not all will choose to enter. Who is it that will enter the kingdom? Jesus said, “He who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Do we want to be a part of God’s kingdom? If so, we need to do the will of God.
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The Love of the Truth

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10).

Those who do not possess a love of the truth will be lost. Their fate will be the same as the “lawless one” – the one who acts contrary to God’s revealed will who will be slain by the Lord. Why is it that we need to have a “love of the truth” in order to be saved? What will a love of the truth cause us to do?
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Calling on the Name of the Lord

Baptism

The Scriptures plainly teach that calling on the name of the Lord results in salvation. Nowhere is this affirmed more plainly than in Romans 10:13 – “For ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” I would imagine that the vast majority of professing Christians believes that we must call on the name of the Lord in order to be saved. The point in which we have controversy is how we call on His name.
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What Shall We Do?

Shortly after Jesus had ascended back into heaven, the disciples were gathered in Jerusalem. Being the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), a Jewish feast day, there were many Jews from different regions who had come to Jerusalem (Acts 2:5, 9-11). It is at this time that Peter delivered what we often refer to as the first gospel sermon. In a sense, the gospel had been preached before. It was preached in promise to Abraham (Galatians 3:8). When Jesus began His public teaching, He taught the “gospel of God” (Mark 1:15). But this was the first time the gospel was preached in its fullness. The gospel was the good news of salvation from God made available by Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead which gave us hope of eternal life. Before, this was said to be coming. By the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, it was a reality. This was the first time the gospel was preached since all these things were fulfilled.
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Will Only Members of the Church of Christ Be Saved?

A common criticism about those who are members of churches of Christ is that “they think they are the only ones going to heaven.” It is likely that we have heard this or something similar to it before. The important question for us to answer is not whether people are making this claim or not. We need to be answering the question, “Is it true that only members of the church of Christ will be saved?” The answer to this question, as well as any Bible question, will not be found in the opinions of you, me, or any other man. The answer is in the word of God.
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