Coming to the Doctrines of Grace

When I first read John Piper’s little book (based upon a lecture series on preaching) I was amazed and transfixed upon God’s glory and the goal of, not just preaching, but of everything. I had never taken this into consideration before. As I read, I came across quotes from men like Robert Murray M’Cheyene,Journey Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. These names were only familiar to me from my church history courses. But they were leaping off the pages into my heart, causing a yearning to learn more from them.

So, during the summer of 1992, I spent hours at the Grace College of the Bible library (the school is now known as Grace University). I found books by these men, and so many others. I began to try to absorb as much as I could from them about these “new” doctrines. And I learned, they weren’t new; just new to me. As I studied, I looked to the Word of God to see if these things were really true, if they could really be true; and, if they were true, what it would mean to my life, my preaching, my pastoring.

Some of the books/works I came across that summer were books such as:

Wrongly DividingWrongly Dividing the Word of Truth by John Gerstner John Gerstner(this one really rocked my world, since I had grown up in a typical Evangelical Free Church: very Arminian, very dispensational – one pastor I sat under spent at least 3-4 years in the book of Revelation and still wasn’t done!)

BoettnerThe Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Lorraine Boettner. My, how this book helped answer so many questions about God’s electing grace. When I read Gerstner, I’d very rarely heard (translated: paid attention in doctrine class) such things and they troubled me deeply. As I continued to think on how God could “only choose some” and that Christ could not have died for all and not have all saved, I dug deep into this work.

Martyn Lloyd-JonesDavid Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ teaching from the book of Ephesians became a foundationalEphesians reading for me. If I was going to learn the doctrines of grace from any particular book of Scripture, it would be preeminently from Ephesians. The feast that was prepared for me in this epistle and through Lloyd-Jones exposition has fed me well for many years since.

When a group of pastors within the EFCA, who also loved the doctrines of grace, encouraged me to read Spurgeon's AutobiographySpurgeon’s Autobiography, I was reluctant at first. SpurgeonHowever, once I began that work, I once again marvelled at God’s grace, free and sovereign. I have since learned much of God’s grace sitting at the feet of C.H. Spurgeon.

There were so many others that I really can’t recall them all. The trek had begun. God was now taking me on a journey which would be all too wonderful to me. And yet, it may not always have started out well, especially for those to whom I ministered, in that church in Iowa. I’ll deal more in my next post on this journey with the notion of becoming an angry Calvinist.
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BTW – if any who read this could direct me to some helpful resources on using ftp to upload pages to a web site, I’d like to start experimenting with creating my own site for this blog. I like WordPress, but I find the templates and use of images a bit more constraining than I’d like to be. TIA.

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3 Responses

  1. From one Pastor Kevin to another – you’ve pointed to some great reading.

    I’d like to help with your ftp and wordpress questions. Email me if you like.

  2. I am somewhat surprised they had all those books at Grace College of the Bible. It’s amazing what you find in libraries!

    Bill

  3. Grace’s library had an amazing array of reformed doctrinal works. It wasn’t until I realized the differences between the content of the books and what was the bulk of the school’s doctrine that it finally surprised me. I’m thankful, at least, that they weren’t afraid to have the “other side’s view” out there.

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