This is a book study on John Lennox’s book ‘Determined to Believe: The Sovereignty of God, Freedom, Faith, and Human Responsibility’. Lennox openly acknowledges that he has not provided definite solutions to these deep questions of the faith and that there is mystery involved. He clearly acknowledges that God is sovereign, but that we need to think carefully about what the word ‘sovereign’ means Biblically. This book, per my understanding, is an invitation for Christians to spend time thinking deeply about what the Bible means when it describes God as sovereign.
Greetings fellow bookies (@Interested_in_book_studies) - we are now on Chapter 17! I look forward to hearing your favorite quotes and your reflections on this subject matter.
My main takeaways were:
- calvinism does not help with assurance of salvation because before you can claim perseverance of the saints, you first have to figure out if you are one of the chosen, which can cause considerable anxiety
- Lennox believes that a truly regenerated person has a new nature and therefore will persevere, whereas an unregenerate person who has simply tried to be more moral may return to sin because it is in their nature
- For Lennox, the people who fall away are those who have no root - they were never saved in the first place
Questions for Discussion
- What is your view of Christian assurance?
- What do you think of Lennox’s argument that calvinism is not helpful for providing assurance?
- How do you think we can have peace about our salvation?
Let’s Be Practical
When it comes to discussions about assurance, I think the best thing to do is take the warnings in Scripture seriously by examining our hearts and lives. If we find anything amiss, we repent and run hard after Jesus. In other words, just skip the whole “Am I saved or not?” conundrum by repenting when we sin and chasing after Jesus, trusting in His goodness and mercy. None of us should stay as we are no matter our level of Christian maturity - further up and further in! Narnia and the North!
A question that frequently arises is: what level of assurance may a Christian legitimately enjoy? The topics of assurance and security are important in more general contexts.
Those who trust Christ can be sure, because their salvation is not of works but by faith, and that assurance rests on the character and trustworthiness of the One in whom that faith is placed. A second way
If there is no moral consistency between our lives and our professed belief in God, then our claim to know God will not be credible.
it turns out in practice that it is one thing to believe that the elect will persevere, it is entirely another to be sure that one belongs to the ranks of the elect oneself.
Sproul’s statement shows once more that the deterministic belief that election is entirely due to a seemingly arbitrary act of God can lead to stress and doubt – here am I and I can do nothing about my salvation, yet in order to know whether I am saved or not I have to engage in deep introspection to see if there is any evidence of
Whoever said, “The Calvinist knows he cannot fall from salvation but does not know whether he has got it,” had it summed up nicely.
I hold that Scripture teaches on the one hand that eternal life is precisely that – eternal – and so, almost by definition, it cannot be lost.
Jesus clearly teaches that it is possible for some people to believe for a little while and then fall away.
The key phrase is they have no root. That is, their response was superficial: it fell short of true repentance and belief.
John says that their action showed that they were not of us, that is, they never had been genuine believers.
Peter imagines a situation (possibly borrowed from a fable current at the time) where a pig had cleaned itself up in the public baths. However, being a pig, the moment it saw a muddy pool it leapt into it with abandon. That is what pigs do; it is their nature.
Moral reformation is a good thing, but it is not the same as regeneration. It is ultimately only the power of a regenerate life that can resist the appeal of teaching that is subtly clothed in Christian garb but is actually geared to leading people back into a permissive lifestyle.