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Rick Holland on the Sovereignty of God in Salvation and being a Real Calvinist vs. a Theoretical Calvinist
In this episode of the Straight Truth Podcast, we are talking with Rick Holland on the Sovereignty of God in Salvation and being a Real Calvinist vs. a Theoretical Calvinist.
This season on the Straight Truth Podcast we are conducting interviews with special guests from recent conferences held at Founders Baptist Church. Dr. Richard Caldwell sits down this week with Rick Holland, Senior Pastor of Mission Road Bible Church and Professor of Homiletics at The Expositors Seminary. Rick was here speaking on the conference topic of Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.
As with our other guests these past few weeks, Dr. Caldwell asks Rick to begin by telling us about his own story in relation to the doctrines of grace. What was his exposure, when did he come to understand them, and how did he arrive where he is now? Rick tells us that he grew up in a very modest Baptist church that did not teach the doctrines of grace but taught very much against them. The teaching there made the God of the Presbyterians and the Reformers out to be a pernicious, persnickety, precarious God who willy nilly picked people out for salvation. So in his heart, he leaned away from these doctrinal truths.
The Depravity of Man
His exposure to these doctrines didn't come until his first year in seminary, where he studied the depravity of man and learned how depraved men are. As he studied this he began to understand that if dead is dead, and sinful is sinful then it’s God who has to rescue us from that situation. He says there were no lights or flashing signs, he just realized at that point that Gods sovereignty in salvation was true. It was total depravity that convinced him, and the other doctrines just lined up after that. He explains that the hardest doctrine to accept was limited atonement because when he first heard it, it was so ill-defined. He states that he prefers to call it definite atonement saying it just makes more sense theologically and exegetically.
Rest in Gods Sovereign Purposes
Next, Dr. Caldwell asks Rick to tell us how the doctrines of grace have shaped his ministry and his personal life. Rick tells us they have given him confidence enabling him to rest in Gods sovereign purposes. He understands that as he faithfully preaches the gospel week after week that the results are truly up to God. There is comfort also in that he doesn’t feel the burden of other people’s souls as he used to.
This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have and feel the burden for people to be saved. He just knows that he has a responsibility to be faithful and to proclaim the gospel, he doesn't have to lasso people into the kingdom of God. Rick moves on to share about a personal crisis his family went through. Explaining that there was a period of time where one of his sons was rebellious and recalcitrant. Nothing that Rick and his wife did appeared to have any effect on that son. He tells us that that time in his life rocked his world and changed their lives, sharing that he moved from being a theoretical Calvinist to being a real Calvinist.
Teach the Text
Dr. Caldwell proceeds with asking Rick what advice he would give to young men coming out of seminary, that believe and embrace these doctrines, who might be going into a church that hasn’t had much exposure to Calvinism. Rick says that these men should not try to teach a system or a theological perspective, they should just teach the text. He expresses the point of endearing yourself to the people where they trust your handling of God’s Word. Then when you come to something they disagree with they can trust you with that as well. He says these are battles that need to be fought, but rarely should they be the first. He reminds men to be patient, let the scriptures dictate the agenda of the pulpit, not their own curiosities or favorites. God will get you there and you need to let Him decide when.
Lastly, Dr. Caldwell asks Rick to share some resources that were influential and helpful for him that he believes would be helpful for others as well. Rick tells us that there are a couple that he thinks will do this, one in a theological way and another in a more practical way. The first is by J.I. Packer, in his “Introductory Essay to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ,” it's more deep and theological. It can be read here.
Second, on the more practical side, he recommends J.I. Packer's book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, which is a more sweet, gentle approach than a theological argument.
If you are interested in listening to the conference messages on Gods sovereignty in salvation and the doctrines of grace that were presented at Founders Baptist Church, you can click on the following link:
(Ricks message on irresistible grace, can be found and accessed for listening from this same link)
For more information about the Truth In Love Conference visit http://truthinlove.org
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
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