John Piper On “Why We Love The Doctrines Of Grace”

In this short post Piper gives us a great deal to contemplate.  If you hold to the Doctrines of Grace (Reformed Theology or Calvinism, if you prefer) then this post really helps put what we believe in perspective and does it in a succinct manner.  If you do not hold to the Doctrines of Grace, this post should give you some things to ponder or contemplate.  As you consider this, turn to the Word of God and see what it says.  I encourage you to do so.  It will be time well spent.

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3 Responses to John Piper On “Why We Love The Doctrines Of Grace”

  1. Drewby says:

    I guess I’m confused as to why he would quote the Tanakh to support his own Christian doctrine, seeing as how the “you” to which God is referring is the Hebrews.

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  2. Tom Shelton says:

    Drewby,

    It is true that the context of the verses Piper cites is the nation of Israel. I think he is using this passage as an example that God chose the Hebrews for His own purpose and they had done nothing to “earn” being chosen. This is still the way God operates. He chooses His people based on His purposes and nothing in them. Therefore the election is unconditional. This was true of the selection of the Hebrews and it is true of Christians.

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    • Drewby says:

      Well yes, but God tells the Hebrews why in this specific situation he favors them over the other nations, and it’s because they both (God and the Hebrews) have kept the old covenant. Who knows why God chose Abraham over all others, but generations later, God remains faithful because the Hebrews have remained faithful to his law and commandments. That’s sort of the key mechanism to the Hebrew story. If they perform his commandments, God will love and bless them. Later on he specifies that it’s only after the people have made the conscious choice to not keep his commandments that he will hate and not bless them…”But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him”. The word “repay” here is key, I think, because it implies that God’s action of blessing or hating is only a reaction on the DECISION of the Hebrews to not follow God’s law. It’s their choice to do or to not do it, and that choice will subsequently bring about their position in God’s eyes (hence the reason God follows by telling them to be careful to keep the commandments). He then says that he will keep his covenant with them ONLY if they follow his law. That’s why I just think it’s sort of flawed to use this kind of material to support a Christian doctrine of election, because the mechanisms are radically different. For the Hebrews, Abraham may have been chosen, but his “chosenness” still relied on his action and his performing of certain things God asked of him. Otherwise, God would abandon him and his people. The covenant was very clearly a two-way street. Election, though, it seems, tends to negate this aspect of a person’s responsibility to follow God’s commandments to maintain chosen status. It’s not that being chosen by God will result in outward, good actions; these good actions are a necessary prerequisite for the love, blessings, and favor of God. I just think there’s very little Jewish basis for election in a Christian sense, and that it’s a stretch to compare God’s relationship between the Jews and God’s relationship between the Christians. After all, doesn’t Jesus represent the end of the traditional understanding of the law and that two-way path? Rather than have God bless only those who keep his laws, isn’t the typical Christian sentiment that God blesses and saves those who simply believe in Jesus, independently of the law?

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