It’s been a while, but I started reading The Pleasures of God by John Piper again this morning. In the chapter “The Pleasure of God in Election” he quotes Iain Murray’s biography of Jonathan Edwards and gives a historical reason for why it’s important to believe in, and continue to believe in, the “truth of God’s free, sovereign, unconditional, individual election by grace of who will be saved.” He writes that:
this truth tends to preserve the church from slipping toward false philosophies of life. History seems to show that this is so.
For example, toward the end of the eighteenth century, “Calvinistic convictions waned in North America. In the progress of a decline which [Jonathan] Edwards had rightly anticipated, those Congregational churches of New England which had embraced Arminianism after the Great Awakening gradually moved into Unitarianism and universalism, led by Charles Chauncy.” It seems that there is something about the truth of God’s free and sovereign election that stands guard over the mind and heart of the church and keeps her alert to tendencies and shifts that swing wide from the plumb line of God’s Word.
And didn’t Paul write something similar in his second letter to Timothy?
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
I should add that Piper goes on to give another reason for why these are precious truths:
[T]his truth is the good news of a salvation that is not just offered but effected. Election is the guarantee that God not only invites people to be delivered, but also actually delivers them. “You shall call his name Jesus because he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God undertakes with omnipotence to save his people. He plans it in election, and he achieves it through the work of his Son, and he applies it infallibly by his Holy Spirit through faith. The predestined are called, the called are justified, the justified are glorified (Romans 8:30). The destiny of God’s people, rooted in election, is unshakably sure. And that is good news.
I agree – that is very good news. If it depended on me, it would fail miserably.