Friday, September 7, 2007

A Book You Ought to Have

Today being Friday at Rolfe Christian Homeschool Academy, it's a lighter workload than the rest of the week. I've changed up the schedule a bit to leave Fridays open for test taking & correcting, and any other sort of projects such as science or art or social studies projects. While correcting Jessica's daily work in her Bible/Christian Doctrine course, we had a good opportunity to discuss at length, some of the answers to the questions at the end of chapter 9.


Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Arminianism: A Workbook

Here are questions at the end of chapter 9 just to give you an idea of what I mean:


1. Did God foreordain sin?
2. Does this mean that God is the author of sin? Explain.
3. What is meant by secondary causes?
4. What are the three unbiblical views of evil presented in this chapter?
5. Does God use evil for His own purpose to accomplish His will? Explain.


No question about it, this is a really great workbook that I would and do highly recommend for anyone. The only problem with it, is that Jessica is almost done with it, so it's time to start making decisions about what to purchase for her next, for her last year of homeschooling.


While browsing around today at different options, I noticed an author who's name sounded familiar and thought it was one of the authors of this book (it wasn't) but when I picked up the book I noticed something that I had forgotten. The foreward to this workbook was written by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. Since he just passed away this week I found that rather interesting so I stopped to read the foreward again (I read it when the book first arrived, but that was last year). I found this not only timely in light of Dr. Kennedy's passing, but a very encouraging word. Here is a part of the intro:


Introduction


I am a Presbyterian and a Calvinist. That comes as a surprise to many even though I have worked in the Presbyterian Church for many years and served it in many capacities. Many people ask, "How can you be a Calvinist? You preach the Bible, and don't Calvinists believe in ...?"

I am a Calvinist precisely because I love the Bible and the God of the Bible. The doctrines of the Calvinist theological system are the doctrines of the Bible. When you get to know what we actually believe you may find you too are a Calvinist, especially if you love the Lord Jesus Christ and desire with all your heart to serve Him.

Calvinism represents the central message of Scripture of and our doctrines are held to some degree by most evangelical Christians. One group will add a few doctrines and another group will subtract a few, but most Biblical Christians will find when they learn what we actually believe, that we have much in common.

Calvinists refuse to accept easy solutions to the great teachings of God which appear in the Scriptures. Perhaps the greatest tension in the Christian faith is between the authority of God and the responsibility of man. People tend to emphasize one or the other. Calvinism maintains both. Those who eliminate the responsibility of man, are Hyper-Calvinists. Those who eliminate the the authority of God, are Arminians. Neither of these positions accurately deals with the full message of the Bible. God's grace is simply bigger than either exaggeration.

Today as I was reading the questions in chapter 9 and checking Jessica's answers, and then it sort of springboarded us into a good conversation about God's grace and provision, I had a very similar thought to the one Dr. Kennedy expressed about how God's grace is simply bigger!

Although I'm a Baptist, I have to say this is one of the best little investments I've ever made for our homeschool. Not only have I learned a lot from it, so has Jessica, and Lord willing, so will the younger 4 after her. Just to whet your appetite, here are the chapter titles:

1) When Two Creeds Meet
2) The Sovereignty of God
3) Man and the Plight of Sin
4) Divine Election or Human Decision?
5) The Atonement of Christ
6) Calling Men to Christ
7) Perseverance or Once Saved Always Saved
8) Divine Providence or Christian Humanism
9) Is God the Author of Sin?
10) Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism
Appendix A: A Display of Arminianism by John Owen
Appendix B: Calvinism in America by Lorraine Boettner

If you have students ready for this sort of material, I can't encourage you enough to get this book, and do it with them. At the very least, do it on your own when they're done with it (have them write their answers in a notebook seperate from the workbook). If you don't have a student, or a student anywhere near the age ready to do this workbook, get it anyway. It will bless you.