Calvinism Really is the Gospel- Calvinism Preaches the Sovereignty of God in Dispensing His Grace

March 13, 2009

After yesterday arguing that Spurgeon’s initial evidence was true, that Calvinism’s teaching of justification by faith without works really is part of the gospel, we now want to move on to his second claim:

Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace . . .

The second evidence offered in support of Spurgeon’s claim that Calvinism is the gospel is that we are not preaching the gospel unless we are preaching of God’s sovereignty in His dispensation, or giving, of grace.  

Is this the gospel?  Well, first I guess we should dissect a little further what this actually means.  I think as a general rule (and in light of the next part of the quote) we would be going too far in assuming that here Spurgeon is talking about election.  Surely he would argue that God is sovereign in election, but that is a level of structure further into the nature of God than we need to be yet.  Here I believe that Spurgeon is simply speaking in accord with Jonah and the Psalmist when both of them proclaim “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jonah 2.9, Psalm 3.8).  Thus, the position is that there is no salvation apart from God’s sovereign allowance of it.  As it stands,  no man has the authority to come up to God and demand salvation; God is sovereign in granting it, and no man may partake of it otherwise (cf. John 6.44).

So, is this the gospel?  We can certainly see that it seems to be captured in the teachings of Scripture.  But is it good news?  How could it not be?  Is it better news to say that God is not in control, that God does not have sovereignty over his grace and that there is some way in which his granting of it is simply out of his hands who receives it?  In what way could this even take place?  Would grace be dispensed at random to people by a cosmic lottery?  Surely this is not good news.  Then maybe it is obtained by a Darwinistic natural selection of the population?  Yet, this also seems to not 0nly not be good news but also in opposition to Scripture  (1 Corinthians 1.26-29).  Maybe it is granted to those who perform mighty works in their own power?  But we have already expelled that idea by saying that we are justified by faith apart from works and by the fact that grace is not grace if somehow it is meritted.

Clearly, there is no good news in grace that is not sovereignly metted out by an omniscient, omnipotent Heavenly Father.  God’s sovereign dispensation is a truly a most glorious truth of the gospel.  It is also a part of Calvinism, and thus, two evidences in, we still have consensous between Calvinism and the gospel.