All Articles For Death of Confessional Calvinism

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In his recent book, Behold Your God (BYG), prominent Scottish Presbyterian theologian Donald Macleod denies the Reformed doctrine of total depravity. He denies this basic truth of Calvinism in the interests of defending the doctrine of common grace. Macleod teaches an operation of the Holy Spirit within unregenerated men and women that makes them somewhat good, that fills them with “laudable qualities,” and that enables them to do much good in the areas of theology, ethics, science, and art. With the exception of a few hardened evildoers (Macleod mentions Judas Iscariot and Hitler), unregenerated men and women are somewhat good....

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The recent book, Behold Your God (BYG), by Scottish Presbyterian theologian Donald Macleod is a passionate plea for the doctrine of common grace. Three of the sixteen chapters are devoted to common grace explicitly. A fourth consists of the application of common grace to the saving will of God and the atonement of the cross. Macleod’s defense of common grace involves the denial of the Reformed doctrine of total depravity. For common grace keeps the unregenerated from being completely defiled by sin. The Presbyterian theologian defends his denial of total depravity in three ways. First, he redefines “total” to mean merely...

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Common Grace and General Revelation From Scottish Presbyterian Donald Macleod’s book, Behold Your God (BYG), we learn that “the primary instrument of common grace is God’s general revelation” (p. 121). In fact, the author does not mean this. For a little later he makes plain that he thinks the “primary instrument of common grace” to be God’s special revelation, that is, the preaching of the gospel.

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Providence and Sin More serious is Professor Macleod’s condemnation, in his book, Behold Your God (BYG), of Hoeksema’s doctrine of providence as “virtually blasphemous” (p. 131). Macleod is here commenting on Hoeksema’s criticism of common grace’s deviation from the Reformed doctrine of providence. Hoeksema is treating the question of the relation of the fall of man into sin and death to the providence of God. He is setting forth the truth that the one purpose of God with the creation was its perfection in Jesus Christ in the way of sin and grace. In this connection, Hoeksema denies that an...

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Influential Scottish Presbyterian theologian Donald Macleod denies the creedal Reformed and Presbyterian doctrine of total depravity. This is the biblical truth that the natural man, that is, the unregenerated human, is completely sinful. Macleod denies this doctrine in his recent book, Behold Your God (BYG). The denial of total depravity is clear, bold, and explicit: Some unregenerate men . . . (are) good (BYG, p. 130; emphasis, Macleod’s). Laudable qualities (are) to be found in the lives of those who are totally alienated from God (BYG, p. 117). Such is the goodness and moral excellence of these praiseworthy qualities in...

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Our Reformed readers may need to be informed that it is the glory of confessional Presbyterianism that it boldly proclaims the particular love of God. The eternal source of this particular love is God’s decree of predestination. The revelation of this particular love is the definite, limited atonement of the cross of Jesus Christ. The realization of this particular love – its being shed abroad in the hearts of the elect- is the call of the gospel, effectual and irresistible in the power of the Holy Spirit. The glory of confessional Presbyterianism is the same as the glory of the...

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