Hard Conversations Blog Part 1: Calvinism

August 6, 2019  |  Redemption AZ

By Dave Goffeney & Stephen Collins

This original blog was written during our time in Ephesians, we have edited it for our Hard Conversations series. The heart of the series is that we as a church family would approach these hard conversations with humility, respect, and grace. We encourage you to study, learn, and have conversations around these these resources with a posture of love and seeking to understand. For more vision here is the Hard Conversations sermon Dave preached on 8/4/19 on Calvinism. 

At Redemption Church we hold a high view of scripture, submitting every aspect of our church and individual lives to God’s Word. One outcome of such a conviction is that we embrace God’s sovereignty over all things–great and small. Abraham Kuyper, from whom we established the phrase “All of Life is All for Jesus”, said “there is not a single square inch in the entire cosmos over which Christ, who is Lord of all, does not cry out, ‘Mine!'”  God’s sovereign rule means every aspect of life falls under His perfect will, including:

  • Every historical event (Ephesians 1:11, Psalm 115:3)
  • The life trajectories of His people (Romans 8:28-29),
  • The effective salvation of individuals (John 15:16)
  • The election of a particular people (Ephesians 1:3-6)

          The above explanation falls in line with what is commonly referred to as “Reformed Theology”, or “Calvinism” (After the 16th-century French theologian, John Calvin). While we unashamedly embrace Reformed Theology, we are quick to recognize the confusion and pain that often surrounds this subject (many times due to the fact that those who embrace this theology commonly have a posture of arrogance, hubris, and pride). We also understand that many faithful and godly people today, and throughout history, have held a different position. The following resources* were put together in an effort to equip Redemption Tucson to better understand, practically embrace, and experience the life-giving freedom of understanding how God “works all things according to the council of his will” (Ephesians 1:12).

SCRIPTURE (meditate upon):
Matthew 22:14
John 6:35-71
John 10:26-29
Romans 8 & 9

Ephesians 1:3-2:10
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
1 Timothy 4:10
2 Timothy 1:8-9
Titus 3:3-8

*The only resource we fully endorse is the Bible. Use the book, article, and video resources with discernment.



An Organic Journey Towards the Doctrines of Grace by Tripp Lee (a helpful personal testimony)

Being a Reformed Christian by Thabiti Anyabwile (a really good intro narrowing down what Reformed theology is)

Theological Imperialism and the Black Community by Eric Mason, Lecrae, and Trip Lee (African American leaders talking about the tension of embracing the theology but dealing with the broken history)

Widsom Wednesday: Race and Reformed Theology by Carl Ellis

Why So Few African American Calvinists by John Piper

What is Predestination? by Matt Chandler (a very clear, short, helpful explanation)

God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility by Tim Keller (a thoughtful short video unpacking the tension between these two realities)

Does God Control Everything? by Tim Keller (a sermon unpacking pastorally God’s sovereignty, a great introduction to this heavy topic)


3 Objections to the Doctrine of Election by Tim Keller (a short practical article on the subject)

Intro Saved by Grace by Andrew Hoekema (a shorter resource and great introduction)

“The True Calvinist” in The Doctrines of Grace by Boice & Ryken (A more academic article that is incredibly helpful + provides a full view of reformed theology)

“J.I. Packer’s Introduction” in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen (An academic article that again is very helpful especially for a full view of reformed theology)

What is Calvinism? By The Village Church (a short, clear, and helpful layout of some of the tenets of reformed theology, including an explanation of TULIP)

Do We Have Freewill? By Geoff Ashley (a helpful article on this common question)

God’s Plan for Salvation Study Guide (an old Redemption study guide on the subject)

Afraid of Calvinists or Calvinism by Thabiti Anyabwile (a five-part series confessing the pitfalls of many “Calvinists”)

-Affirming Predestination Does Not Deny These Four Truths by Luke Simmons (Redemption Gateway’s lead pastor wrote a helpful article addressing some common misconceptions about predestination)


PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace by Montgomery & Jones (a great introductory primer/new lens to reformed theology)

Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition by James K.A. Smith (a must read for anyone who is new to the reformed worldview)

Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton (a classic resource on the subject looking through the lens of God’s radical grace)

Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul (one of the most influential books on the subject)

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer (one of the best resources on the subject/question of why evangelize in light of God’s Lordship over salvation?)

Lectures on Calvinism by Abraham Kuyper (a very academic but important resource for understanding the full scope of Calvinism) a free pdf HERE