November 14, 2009

Cold, Sad, Mournful, Depressing Calvinism is not Calvinism at All!

This is an excerpt from an address given by Lloyd-Jones on the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Williams (a Welsh Calvinistic Methodist). I encourage all to read the full address. The link is posted at the end of this excerpt.

My argument is, that cold, sad, mournful, depressing Calvinism is not Calvinism at all. It is a caricature; something has gone wrong somewhere. It is mere intellectualism and philosophy. Calvinism leads to feeling, to passion, to warmth, to praise, to thanksgiving. Look at Paul, the greatest of them all. We should not talk about 'Calvinism'; it is Paul's teaching. He tells us that he wept. He preached with tears. Do you?

When did we last weep over these matters? When did we last shed tears? When have we shown the feeling and the passion that he shows? Paul could not control himself, he got carried away. Look at his mighty climaxes; look at the way in which he rises to the heavens and is 'lost in wonder, tore, and praise'. Of course, the pedantic scholars criticize him for his anacolutha. He starts a sentence and never finishes it. He starts saving a thing and then gets carried off, and forgets to come back to it. Thank God! It is the truth which he saw that led to these grand climaxes of his; and it is bound to do so.

If we understand the things we claim to believe we are bound to end in the same way. 'Who shall separate us from the love of God?' And the answer is, 'I am persuaded'- and in the language of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists it is much better and stronger- 'I am certain'. It is sure, it is certain, 'that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord'. Or listen to him again at the end of Romans 11, 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.'

How often have you had that 'O' in your preaching - you Calvinists ? Calvinism leads to this 'O'! - this feeling, this passion. You are moved to the depths of your being, and you are filled with joy, and wonder, and amazement. 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!' -and so on.

Or take the same thing at the end of Ephesians 3. These are men dominated by a sense of the glory of God, and who are concerned about His praise.

In other words, am arguing that the first Christians were the most typical Calvinistic Methodists of all? I am just describing them to you. Not only the great apostles - Paul and others - but the people, the ordinary people - joy and rejoicing, praising God and thanking Him always 'from house to house' as they ate their bread together. Peter can say of them: 'Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now' ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.' That is 1st-century Christianity! it is also the very essence of Calvinistic Methodism. It leads to praise and thanksgiving and reioicing. It always leads to something like this:

We praise, we worship thee, 0 God.
Thy sovereign power we sound abroad:
All nations bow before Thy throne,
And Thee the Eternal Father own.
Loud alleluias to Thy Name

Angels and seraphim proclaim:
The heavens and all the powers on high
With rapture constantly do cry -
'0 holy, holy, holy, Lord!
Thou God of hosts, by all adored;
Earth and the heavens are full of Thee,
Thy light, Thy power, Thy majesty

Apostles join the glorious throng
And swell the loud immortal song;
Prophets enraptured hear the sound
And spread the alleluia round.

Victorious martyrs join their lays
And shout the omnipotence of grace,
While all thy church through all the earth
Acknowledge and extol Thy worth.

Glory to Thee, 0 God most high?
Father, we praise Thy majesty,
The Son, the Spirit, we adore,
One Godhead, blest for evermore.
* * *
Glory be to God the Father,
Glory be to God the Son,
Glory be to God the Spirit,
Great Jehovah Three in One,

Glory, glory- [that was the great shout of the Calvinistic Methodists]
While eternal ages run.

Click HERE for the entire address.

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