A mini-firestorm, it seems, has been ignited by a statement that Dr. Jerry Falwell made concerning limited atonement. As I understand it, Dr. Falwell called the doctrine of limited atonement heresy. In doing so, he implicates all those who believe and teach this doctrine as heretics.
I certainly do not begrudge Dr. Falwell nor Liberty U. the right to believe what they believe and to state it publicly. I agree with Tom Ascol's statement; "I simply regret that they believe it".
My problem with this way of thinking is, I fear that often times, men will allow their own personal motives to govern how they interpret Scripture rather than allowing Scripture to govern their motives. Some men in the world of Christianity are so set on their own self-importance, their own desire for greatness, and their unfaltering dedication to their own sovereignty that they just can't see the doctrines of grace no matter how much Biblical evidence they are shown.
This is the root of the problem, as I see it: Men, even dedicated religious men, will not only reject the doctrines of grace (5 point Calvinism), but will fight them tooth and nail, because these doctrines will remove them from the throne of their own private, self-proclaimed kingdom. They long for place and position. They struggle ceaselessly for notoriety. They want to be catered to by political leaders and feared for their political clout. They want to be thought of as leaders so badly that they find a way to blend their doctrine with their ambitions.
The doctrines of grace will allow no self-exaltation. They will tear the crown from puny man's head and cast it at the feet of the only One who was ever worthy to wear a crown in the first place. The doctrines of grace, rightly understood, will put God high on the throne and a weak and utterly helpless man face down in the dust before God's throne.
To the men who would be king, thinking seriously on the doctrines of grace would be dangerous to their personal sovereignty. Therefore they bitterly oppose Calvinism. They build straw men to misrepresent the beliefs of those who hold to these truths in order to fight the misconceptions rather than the real issues. To fight the real issues would require an honest evaluation of them, and that would be a threat to their private little kingdom.
Have these men ever read this verse? Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. If they have read it, they have not rightly understood it, nor have they applied it personally.
On the other hand, the men of whom I am aware, who hold to the doctrines of grace, are men who have never sought great things for themselves. They are men whose first priority has been to know and honor God. They have studied deeply and passionately to know more about Him so that they could honor Him as He deserves to be honored. This has caused them to have an exalted view of God and His sovereignty while exposing them to the utter depravity of man. They have sought not only to know truth, but to apply it, first in their own lives, then to teach it to others.
These men, by conviction, do not seek for name nor for notoriety. They seek for God and His glory, depending on God alone to give them their place and position in His kingdom. Many of them have come to places of note and are in the public eye, but not because they sought it. They were busy humbling themselves in the sight of God and He has lifted them up.(James4:10) Among these are John MacArthur, Al Mohler, John Piper, R.C Sproul and many others who are our contemporaries. Others from the past who believed, taught and ordered their ministries in light of the doctrines of grace were Spurgeon, Whitfield, Bunyan, and William Carey (who is known as the father of modern missions).
These are the men whose examples I would emulate. As for the men who would be king, we shall see in eternity where their theology and their example lead.