“There is no such thing as ‘dead Calvinism,’” writes author Ian Hamilton. Calvinism, simply put, is biblical Christianity. No mere human devised theological system, Calvinism is rooted in and shaped by God’s revelation in Holy Scripture. Hamilton asserts that Calvinism is “natively experiential.”
In What Is Experiential Calvinism?, the author shows us that Calvinism is far richer and more profound than five points and helps us see that the lives and ministries of those who are true Calvinists pulse with living, Spirit-inspired, Christ-glorifying, God-centered truth.
Why Calvinism is Experiential
The Formative Principle of Experiential Calvinism
The Foundational Experience of Experiential Calvinism
The Fundamental Features of Experiential Calvinism
Ian Hamilton is minister to Cambridge Presbyterian Church in Cambridge England and author of The Erosion of Calvinist Orthodoxy.
“It is not every Christian book (or booklet in this case) that you read and find that nearly every line and thought are gems that urge you to stop reading and ponder and worship the living God of grace! But this is such a book! In a short compass, Ian Hamilton has wonderfully captured the experiential heart of true Calvinism: ‘deeply affectional, God-centered, cross-magnifying.’ In a word, this is an essay deeply needed by all who call themselves Calvinists—and even all those who do not!” — Michael A. G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality, and director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”
Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.
For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.
The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.
We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He be pleased to do so again.
Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.
Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.