The Doctrines of Grace

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This short course “The Doctrines of Grace” is to help Christians develop a healthy and biblical understanding of the controversial doctrines that are often hotly debated among Christians.  Why bother?  Here are the objectives and purpose as they are spelled out in the week 1 introduction:

Good Reasons

  • Worship/Humility–That we may better know God and delight in Him. As He increases, we will decrease.
  • Maturity/Renewal of the Mind–That we may develop our theological framework (our body of sound doctrine) through which we see the world, derive our attitudes and practices.   Orthopraxy follows orthodoxy!
  • Equip members of the body to be conversant with these topics. Our focus will be on what the Bible teaches about these doctrines, but it is important for you, as ambassadors for Christ, to be able to understand what common misunderstandings you will run into.

Bad Reasons

  • Pride (win an argument)
  • Pride (show others how smart you are)
  • Pride (any other glory stealing motive … )

The purpose for this class is to equip you as ambassadors for Christ. For those who have been in some or all of the ambassador series of classes, you’ll know that we equip in three areas of ambassadorship:

  • knowledge — What is the message of our Sovereign? (What does Scripture teach?)
  • wisdom — How do we maneuver conversations in productive directions?  How do we find out how and what they think? How do we scale the language barrier?   (What do others mean when they use certain words?) What do they think? How do they think?
  • character— What kind of person ought we to be to represent our sovereign faithfully? … the kind of person who commends rather than discredits his message?


I worked very hard to base the teachings in this class on Scripture rather than tradition.  I draw from the works of several authors in the effort to bring the light of Scripture to bear on these important doctrines. Here is a collection of some of the books I used as sources for this class.  Each image is a link to




Here is a brief outline of the course with links to the teaching notes and handouts for each week.

LESSON 1 — Introduction –Names, Labels, and Paradoxes–Oh My!     download: Notes, Handout

  • Introduction, Objectives …
  • Overview of names and labels and a brief history
  • Living With Paradox — Doctrines in Tension  (we already do this in theology and science)

LESSON 2 — The Sovereignty of God    download: Notes, Handout

  • The Holiness of God — you must start here!
  • God’s Libertarian Free Will
  • Man’s Creaturely Will and Freedom
  • Sovereign Love, a Difficult Doctrine
  • Appendix: The Five Solas of the Reformation

LESSON 3 — Fallen Man’s Radical Corruption    download: Notes, Handout

  • God’s Glorious Image Bearer — Human Dignity
  • The Fall
  • “Total Depravity”
  • What About Free Will?

LESSON 4 — The Father’s Sovereign Choice    download: Notes, Handout

  • Predestination, Election
  • “Unconditional Election”
  • Fairness & Mercy
  • What are its implications really?  (a.k.a. “What’s so great about it?”)

LESSON 5 — The Son’s Accomplished Redemption    download: Notes, Handout

  • Christ Our High Priest (and perfect Savior)
  • “Limiting” the Atonement
    • Limit its scope or its efficacy
    • Everybody except universalists limit one or the other
  • Why Did Jesus Come?
  • Problem Texts: “All,” “Every,” “World” … etc.

LESSON 6 — The Holy Spirit’s Effectual Call    download: Notes, Handout

  • “Irresistible” Grace — What do you mean by that? (Myths dispelled)
  • Effectual Call
  • Regeneration
  • The Order of Salvation

LESSON 7 — God’s Preservation of the Saints    download: Notes, Handout

  • Perseverance of the Saints
  • “Once Saved Always Saved”
  • Eternal Security
  • Assurance of Salvation

LESSON 8 — The Great Commission    download: Notes, Handout

  • Evangelism: Mission, Means, and Motivation
  • Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God
  • Miscl. additions and “final exam”
  • Appendix–Does Calvinism Kill Missions?
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