The Religion of Calvinism
Out of all the false teachings in the Church, Calvinism is probably misunderstood the most. In part this is due to the fact that public opinion of so-called “reformers” like Calvin, John Knox, Martin Luther, etc., embraces the idea that these men straightened out a corrupt Roman Church and were therefore to be hailed as mighty men of faith. However, it is a matter of historical record that this is not the case with all reformers.
In this brief study, we shall determine if Calvin was truly a “reformer” or just another zealot who didn’t mind floggings, tortures, drownings, beheadings, and even burning of individuals at the stake to force his brand of Christian theology on the populace. One such unfortunate individual was Michael Servetus, a Spaniard who, as a doctor, was credited with the discovery of pulmonary circulation of the blood from the right chamber of the heart to the lungs and then back to the left chamber of the heart. He was also a bible scholar who criticized Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion by sending pages back to him with notes in the margins. The two had been friends until Calvin was outraged that Servetus would dare to oppose him in theological matters.
After escaping from the Roman Catholics who had arrested him on April 7, 1553, Servetus went to hear Calvin preach on August 13 of that same year. Calvin promptly had him arrested and charged with heresy for disagreeing with him. Despite pleas from many, including Servetus that he might be condemned but not killed or that he might have a quicker death by being beheaded, Calvin refused and Servetus was burned at the stake on October 27, 1553, in extreme agony for thirty minutes. Calvin would brag about his murder of Servetus in years to come, and it was revealed that he had planned the murder of his supposed one-time friend, if he ever set foot in Geneva. (This author paraphrased from the article, “Calvin’s Reign of Terror,” Posted Dec. 5, 2010, by Narsis)
John Calvin was born on July 10, 1509 in Noyon, France as Jean Chauvin. His family members were devout Roman Catholics. His father held the esteemed position as legal advisor and secretary to the bishop and thus was an inside partner in a [corrupt religiously based political system]. (Dave Hunt, ‘What Love Is This?’ p.2)
Young Jean was put on the Church payroll at the age of twelve and remained there for 13 years, even one year after he converted to Luther’s Protestantism. It was this type of upbringing that taught him how to manipulate civil and religious authorities, a skill that proved handy to him later in Geneva when he single-handedly had a strangle hold on its citizens. On his father’s orders he became a lawyer and thus learned the way of legalism, which he undoubtedly added to Christ’s Gospel, and thus legalism was brought into his personal theology which is not to be found in the New Testament. Calvin had such control that even executions were carried out on his orders on those who would not accept his brand of “Christianity,” so much so that he earned the nickname Pope of Geneva.
There was another giant influence in John Calvin’s life that would shape what would become known as “Calvinism,” which today is referred by many as “Reformed Theology.” This influence came in the form of Aurelius Augustinus commonly known to Catholics as St. Augustine. He was born November 13, 354, at Tagaste, near Algeria. His father was a Roman official and a pagan; and his mother Monica was a Christian. After studying law, philosophy, and the classics he became enamored with Plato. He soon became a “Christian,” joined the Roman Catholic Church, and became one of its bishops.
Augustine is considered the father of Roman Catholicism’s major doctrines, and Calvin clung to his twisted explanations of Scripture like they were good. The pages of Calvin’s personal Bible are covered with notes showing his acceptance of Augustinian beliefs and theories concerning the truth of Scripture. In his “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” Calvin quotes Augustine more than 400 times and called Augustine by such titles as “holy father” and “holy man.” (Hunt, ibid, p. 51) What blasphemy - how can a true Christian stoop so low? Only God is holy!
As is true in all situations, a difference of opinions regarding some verses of Scripture is one thing, but to dogmatically insist that something is so, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is quite another. This is where the rubber meets the road. God meant what He wrote and wrote what He meant. Correct exegesis always bears true, and the meanings of the major doctrines of Christianity were at the time, (the 1500s), and are today, well known.
What we call Calvinism today is not biblical Christianity because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is totally ignored in favor of man-originated suppositions. Not only do these suppositions attack the very foundation of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but they in addition distort and divide the minds of those who want to serve the Lord with all their hearts. Calvinists claim to have the gospel, as Charles Spurgeon boasts: “There is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless you preach what …is called Calvinism… It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel, and nothing else.” (ibid)
Reformed Baptist John Piper says this about Calvinism: “The doctrines of grace (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints) are the warp and the woof of the biblical gospel that so many saints have cherished for centuries.” (Quoted in The Dark Side of Calvinism, George Bryson, p. 37) Calvinist Arthur Custance, who is also a “gappy” (one who believes in the heretical “Gap Theory” of creation) makes this claim: “Calvinism is the Gospel and to teach Calvinism is in fact to preach the Gospel. It is questionable whether a dogmatic theology which is not Calvinistic is truly Christian.” How arrogant one has to be to claim that a mere man, Calvin, pulled off the perfect expression of the Gospel when God, Who wrote the completely inerrant and thus perfect Bible, apparently did not. Not only did God write completely without error, but He did it PERFECTLY in speech, grammar, syntax, etc. God didn’t write the Book so that mere men would have to re-write it. So, when someone reads the Bible and gets a revelation from the Holy Spirit, for that is how it must come, that someone should first consult Calvin’s take on it. How absurd indeed.
We have here a well-known writer in Christian circles, at least reformed circles, who plainly states that Calvinism is true Christianity to the exclusion of any other dogma. It is clear that Custance, and others like him, are totally unaware of the box that they have crawled into, leaving behind whatever real Gospel they once may have known, but have elected to scrap from their theology, when they entered the narrow and sharp slit that this box provides. Even in today’s Market strategy sessions on “how to be more successful” seminars, the training they advocate is “don’t get in a box,” and if you’re in one, “get out.”
That these examples of the Evangelical Church are from time-honored and popular men is not the issue; rather, the issue is: is what they are claiming true? In The dark Side Of Calvinism, author Bryson relates, “I have yet to meet a Calvinist who claims to have embraced the five points of Calvinism when he turned in faith to Jesus Christ. For some, the time span between conversion to Christ and conversion to Calvinism may be years, even decades.” (p. 37)
The letters T.U.L.I.P. is an acronym for Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints. This is what makes up the core of Calvinistic beliefs and is commonly known as the 5 Points of Calvinism. Calvinism is dangerous precisely because it is not the Gospel, which is the power unto salvation for everyone who believes. (Rom 1:16) If only confessing and accepting the real Gospel saves, and it does, then anything that is not the real Gospel would be false and therefore lacking in any saving power. In fact, confessing the Gospel as in Romans 10:9-10 is not even in the mind of Calvinism because the “I” in “TULIP” stands for irresistible grace, meaning that God saves those that who are saved whether they wanted to be saved or not. More on that later.
The fact that one has to be indoctrinated into Calvinism is proof positive that it is not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The very idea of TULIP is not deduced from Scripture when one reads it and also, it is impossible to exegete TULIP from Scripture because it isn’t there in the first place. Calvinist James White tries in vain to claim biblical exegesis but fails shamefully as he bounces from one wall of his pagan box to another. (Debating Calvinism, Hunt and White)
The very fact that an ideology with an acronym TULIP is clung to, at all costs, proves that it is but of a man-made religion that confuses people and thus can draw some away from the only true Gospel with power to save. (Rom 1:16) To better understand why such “off the wall” interpretation of Scripture is given, we must go to the source of where John Calvin got his ideas in the first place. As already mentioned, Calvin, at the orders of his father, went into the practice of law. This gave him a solid grasp of legalism, which he employed with zeal during his days as the infamous “Pope of Geneva.” The fact that Calvin was completely overtaken by the writings and ideas of Augustine is in the historical record, and a major facet of the framework of the establishment of his system of religion. Augustine taught numerous heresies that are all well documented.
“Augustine taught that foreknowledge was the same as predestination; he taught infant baptism (infants who die un-baptized are damned); he taught the lie of purgatory; he taught salvation in the Church alone through its sacraments; he taught persecution to all who rejected Catholic dogmas; he taught the acceptance of the Apocrypha, which he admitted even the Jews rejected; he taught that the creation account in Genesis is not necessarily literal but allegorical; and he taught there is no literal millennial reign of Christ but that the Church is now reigning with Christ and that the devil is now bound and that we are now in the millennium. Augustine was also the first to place authority and tradition of the Church on par with the Bible and added much philosophy, especially Platonism. He believed in Apostolic succession from Peter and taught that Mary was sinless and promoted her worship”. (Hunt, WLIT, p.50)
Appropriately, Augustine is called, “the first real Roman Catholic” and the “principle theological creator of the Latin-Catholic system as distinct from …evangelical Protestantism….” (Peter Ruckman, The History of the New Testament Church, Pensacola Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1982, 1:1, 149; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910; Wm B. Erdmans Publishing Co., reprint 1959, III:1018)
Calvin rightly called himself “an Augustinian theologian.” (Hunt, WLIT, p. 51)
Martin Luther too had great admiration for Augustine but when he realized that salvation by works was not the Gospel, he changed his loyalty, for he wrote, “In the beginning, I devoured Augustine, but when…I knew what justification by faith really was, then it was out with him.” (Timothy George, op. cit., p. 68; cited in WLIT, p. 52) Another reason for the system of Calvinism, and there are many more, is the use of the Latin Vulgate Bible, which is an extremely perverted and corrupted translation of the Scriptures. It has been the official Bible of Roman Catholicism since it was first composed by Jerome.
Pope Damascus commissioned his secretary, Jerome, to undertake the task of producing one authorized Latin version of the Bible. Jerome was told to be cautious for the sake of “weaker Brethren” who did not like to see their favorite texts tampered with, even in the interests of greater accuracy. …” (F.F. Bruce; The Books and the Parchments, Pickering and Inglis, LTD., 1950, p. 191-195)
Phillip Schaff states, “The Vulgate can be charged, indeed, with innumerable faults, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and arbitrary dealing in particulars.” (Schaff, op. cit., II:975-76)
Samuel Berger called the Latin Bible “the most vulgarized and bastardized text imaginable.” (Fisk, op. cit., 68) Grady comments, “Damascus commissioned Jerome to revive the archaic Old Latin Bible in A.D. 382… the completed monstrosity became known as the Latin ‘Vulgate’ …and was used of the devil to usher in the Dark Ages.” (Grady, op. cit., 35) Luther’s version of the New Testament of 1523 was one of the most important works, which was heavily influenced by the Vulgate, and this is significant because Luther’s translation was relied upon for the early English Bibles, which were now also corrupt on several important issues. The Catholic system of “penance” for instance, came from the Vulgate’s “do-penance” which should have followed the Greek and rendered “repent.” Also, the word “sacrament” was a misreading from the Vulgate of the original word for “mystery,” and the word “presbyter,” which means “elder,” was rendered “priest.”
When one enters a “box,” one has by necessity excluded any and all windows or other openings by which the light of truth may come in. This results in gross contradictions in what is claimed and in what is believed by an individual living in that proverbial “box.” As Dave Hunt asks, “How can Warfield sincerely declare that ‘it is Augustine who gave us the Reformation’ and at the same time acknowledge that Augustine was ‘in a true sense the founder of Roman Catholicism and the creator of the Holy Roman Empire’? Such incongruous statements leave one truly perplexed.” (WLIT, p. 52)
Of course, the seriousness of Scriptural errors always leaves a trail that permeates through the ages seemingly without interference. The New Geneva Study Bible, now reprinted as The Reformation Study Bible, is being marketed to effectively indoctrinate readers into the Religion of Calvinism. Although it is produced in the New King James version, its notes are Calvinistic in make-up. The appeal is made to treat the reformation as being equal with Calvinism, but in doing so, proponents have sanctioned so much of the teachings of Roman Catholicism, the very system which allowed deadly corruption to flourish through its veins, to such a degree that to break from it was the only option.
The clean break it should have been was never actually accomplished because within less than 100 years, the Roman Church gained back more than half of what she had lost. And today our mainline evangelical leaders are abdicating their position of freedom from Rome’s clutches by reuniting with the Vatican through organizations like ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) as if we had a common cause and belief. All of the heresies that the Reformers pointed to, including Luther’s “95 Thesis,” are still in force in the RCC and have been affirmed with the Council of Trent 1545-1563, which is considered the granddaddy of all councils, as well as Vatican I & II in the 1960s.
As far as Calvin is concerned, he believed that Christ’s Kingdom on earth started with His birth and is now going on. As a consequence, he took matters into his own hands to further Christ’s Kingdom by purely human methods like the forcing of his theology upon those over whom he held sway.
Calvin accepted “the church as Constantine had molded it and Augustine had cemented it: A partner of the state enforcing orthodoxy (as the state defined it) upon all its citizens.” (Hunt, p. 61) Historian Will Durant writes, “To regulate lay conduct a system of domiciliary visits was established …and questioned the occupants on all phases of their lives …the allowable color and quantity of clothing, and the number of dishes permissible at a meal, were specified by law. Jewelry and lace were frowned upon. A woman was jailed for arranging her hair to an immoral height … Censorship of the press was taken over from Catholic and secular precedents and enlarged: books …of immoral tendency were banned … To speak disrespectfully of Calvin or the clergy was a crime. A first violation of these ordinances was punished with a reprimand, further violation with fines, persistent violation with imprisonment or banishment. Fornication was to be punished with exile or drowning; adultery, or idolatry, with death ..a child was beheaded for striking his parents. In the years 1558-59 there were 414 prosecutions for moral offenses; between 1542-1564 there were seventy-six banishments and fifty-eight executions; the total population of Geneva was then about 20,000.” (Caesar and Christ, pt. III of The Story of Civilization [Simon and Schuster, 1950] p. 474)
The Five Points of Calvanism
Let’s move on to the crux of what Calvinism actually espouses. The identity of this system of religion that masquerades as the “true gospel” is explained in the acronym TULIP. It is important to understand that none of the ten words that make up the acronym TULIP mentioned above are found in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation; neither are the pagan ideas that they portray found in the whole of the Bible.
There are other aspects of religious thought and behavior that are not found in the Scriptures, and those are the formulation of “creeds.” The Lutherans, the RCC, as well as the Calvinists all have their creeds, such as The Apostles Creed, The Westminster Confession, and the various recitations of the RCC. The problem with all these “creeds” isn’t necessarily the words they use to describe their beliefs; rather, it is retelling of what God has already written about the subject. In many cases such as in the Calvinist camp, this retelling of God’s words ended up in ruining the actual words and meanings of biblical contexts, thus altering the Word by adding to or subtracting from the Holy Word of God. This is something that’s prohibited in (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 22:18, 19).
The founders of many sects, cults, religions, etc., are not necessarily the ones who formulated the various “doctrinal” stances as outlined in creeds and synods. This is in fact one of the reasons anyone should not want to be considered the “founder” of any supposedly biblical belief system. This can only be trouble to such a seeking individual since we’re talking about mortal, sinful men who need to repent, to say the least, every single day. God already said it, so it’s best to leave it alone, rather than being under the false assumption that we need to “help” God explain it better. All we need to do and all that God commanded us to do is share His Word, the way He gave it to us, with as many people as He puts in our path.
John Calvin did not come up with TULIP, rather his followers did at the Synod of Dortrecht. Similarly, Jacobus Arminius was not the author of the so-called five points of Armenianism; they were instead organized by his followers in countering the flagrant and many-times vicious claims of the Calvinists. The 66 books of the Bible that make up the canonized Scriptures are all that is needed: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) That says it all about that.
We know that the canon is complete in these 66 books, firstly, because the Holy Spirit gives anyone who seriously studies them this truth, and secondly, because men of learning and authority were chosen by Him to settle the issue once the canon of the New Testament was complete and affirmed by the 12 apostles themselves. The apostle Peter in his second Epistle, 3:15-16, affirms the apostle Paul and his writings, even though some of what Paul wrote was hard for them to understand at the time. Also, Paul authored the vast majority of what we call the New Testament and we can trust him. For the rest of the New Testament authors, they too are confirmed in who they were, but especially in what they wrote. Even the authorship of Hebrews, which God chose to leave unknown, is not a problem, for it explains what Leviticus really means in the lifting up of Jesus over anything and everybody that was thought holy or worthy of worship.
What we Gentiles need to understand is that the New Testament was primarily written so that we Gentiles and those Jews who didn’t get it, would understand the Jewish mind-set behind all of God’s ways. Since we were never under the yoke of the Law of Moses, we can never understand the deeper meanings behind the giving of the law. Therefore, God raised up Paul to explain this to us Gentiles, as well as to Jews who were so far removed from Moses that they had nothing but lies taught to them by their evil religious leaders who made up the Sanhedrin. In his letter to the Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews (I believe he authored Hebrews, but Apollos is another possibility), he wrote to the Romans, because they were Gentiles mostly, and had no clue about the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. He also wrote to the Galatians and Hebrews, because they were mainly Jews who were in danger of leaving the faith, to return to dead and unprofitable law keeping, now that Grace is in full force rather than Law. Either way, Paul expounded the truth to them by inspiration of the Lord. While Paul’s authorship was accepted by the apostles, who also of course accepted each other, having been actually with the lord, Luke would be an example of an immediate second-generation true follower of Christ, whose credentials was recognized by authority, namely, the other living apostles of that time.
Tulip’s “T” stands for total depravity. This teaching declares that since the fall in the Garden of Eden, man has been completely unable to even receive God’s free grace without God re-generating him first. The Canon of Dort declares: “Therefore all men…without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit…are neither able nor willing to return to God …nor dispose themselves to reformation.”
This statement flies in the face of logic and reasoning because it says that a person is unwilling to do that which he is not able to perform. Dave Hunt puts it this way; “How can it be said, for example, that a man is unwilling to fly like a bird? If he were able he might very well be willing. One thing is for sure: his alleged unwillingness to fly like a bird cannot be blamed as the reason he doesn’t do so. Nor can he be held accountable for failing to fly so long as flying is impossible for him.” (WLIT, p.93) What this means is that Calvinism declares a man to be incapable of repentance and faith, on one hand, and condemns him for the failure to repent and come to faith, on the other. It goes without saying that Calvinists themselves cannot agree on the five points of TULIP, yet most are also unable to recognize the folly that the points present. Highly respected author and Bible scholar David Breese has stated, “it cannot be shown that ‘total depravity’ is in fact scriptural truth.” (The Five Points of Calvinism; Self-published paper)
Calvinist R. C. Sproul declares, “A cardinal point of Reformed Theology is the maxim, regeneration precedes faith.” [This means being born-again before faith in Christ. What nonsense! Without true repentance there cannot follow forgiveness of sins!]
One of the premiere theologians of our time, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, in pointing out what total depravity means, explains it first in a couple of negatives, in other words, what it doesn’t mean. He teaches that total depravity “doesn’t mean that man is as bad as he could be.” (Ariel Ministries, Come and See, online teaching on Eternal Security) All of Scripture points to repentance first and foremost. Only after repentance can anyone hope to receive the grace of God. The prophets of old preached repentance, John the Baptist preached repentance, Jesus preached repentance, the apostles preached repentance, and any preacher or pastor worth anything at all, still preaches repentance, without which there is no chance for someone to say yes to Jesus and His Gospel. Galatians 3:26 says, “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” And 2 Timothy 3:15 likewise tells us, “…to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Faith means “trusting in God” and that can only come from a grateful heart, which influences a willing mind. This is where many people get confused. The confusion can, however, be undone, as well as the false Calvinistic teaching concerning this. Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13 are crystal clear that we are DEAD in our trespasses and sins. This being the case we have no choice and neither does the Lord in how to bring us to commit ourselves to Him. We are spiritually dead; therefore, we must be spiritually quickened or made alive. Unlike the Calvinist who goes overboard and simply combines the quickening with saving faith, the truth has to be, yes we must be quickened to be able to choose, but the choosing must come from our own volition or it isn’t real. Certainly, it couldn’t be called love.
What God does to a spiritually dead individual, according to His perfect timing, is known as an ekklentic. The definition is – from the Greek - Ekloge = a selection, choice extracts, from eklogein = to pick out. In short, this is when God gives a measure of spiritual power so someone can then have the ability to choose to believe the Gospel. This is a far cry from Calvinism’s heresy which states that God arbitrarily chooses whom He will for heaven or hell and that He does so according to His good pleasure. Salvation has always been designed, offered, and given free of charge by God, whereas receiving this free gift has and can only and always be done by an individual’s free-will choice in faith toward the Lord Jesus and His Gospel, after the ability is made available to individual by the ekklentic.
The bottom line is that Calvinists equate depravity with inability, a fact that just cannot be substantiated by the Bible. The sad fact is men fail to come to Christ, not because of inability but because of unwillingness. This is substantiated in the Bible from cover to cover. Hebrews 3:7-8 is succinct: “Therefore as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.’”
Speaking of unconditional election, Herman Hanko, a Calvinist, declares, “No man can claim ever to be a Calvinist or Reformed without a firm and abiding commitment to this precious truth.” Dave Hunt comments, “Unconditional Election is the outworking of the Calvinistic view of sovereignty and predestination. Once the latter two are accepted, this doctrine inexorably follows.” (WLIT, p.189) Clearly, according to the Calvinist, sovereignty and predestination must be accepted to buy into the man-made doctrine of Unconditional election. The Reformed /Calvinist view of sovereignty maintains that God is so sovereign that He chooses certain men for salvation while choosing to condemn others as per His pleasure, “…that god by his eternal and immutable council determined once and for all those whom it was his pleasure one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was his pleasure to doom and destruction.” (Quoted in WLIT, p. 41, Op. cit., III: xxi, 7) “Now since the arrangement of all things is in the hand of God…he arranges…that individuals are borne, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction…” (ibid, Op. cit., III: xxiii, 6)
Calvin states, “God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.” And again, “…some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and accordingly, as each has been for one or other of those ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or death.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, iii, xxiii, sec. 7, 1063; Ibid, iii, xxi, sec. 5, 1030-1031)
“Calvin also made it clear that although the reprobate is deserving of hell, that is not the reason for his ultimate rejection by God. Rather, he who ends up in hell is there because this is what pleases God and where He unconditionally sends them.” (Bryson, TDSOC, p. 67)
The awful implication in all this is that God is made the author of sin. Calvinist Edwin Palmer makes this claim: “…the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist – even sin.” (ibid, p. 69)
This all ties in, with the teaching that we really don’t have free will. The Bible however refutes that all the way through. Choices are put before us by God to freely love Him and to choose to walk in His statutes and ordinances. The idea that the saved are elected by the sovereign will of God regardless of our input is preposterous. God being omniscient already knew which of us would choose Him. Thus, by being omniscient or having foreknowledge, he chose those who would choose Him. The apostle John declared, “God is Love”. Any love that is true must of necessity be free to choose. To be a robot in love is not true nor edifying.
John R. Gross, in The Stranger on The Road to Emmaus [Good Seed International, 1997, pp. 56, 57) has this to say, “From the third chapter of Genesis on, the Scriptures shout ‘free will.’ The whole volume talks about choices, and the associated consequences. God saw fit to write an entire book on choices, the Book of Wisdom (Proverbs). Having free will makes sense of God’s free love…
Suppose you met someone who…showed real love for you – going out of his way to do special things for you…telling you they loved you. Then you found out that they had no choice – they were programmed to ‘be loving’… well, it would be a terrible disappointment. It would all seem so artificial, so meaningless, so empty. And it would be. Man was given a choice…
Having this choice defined man as a human being: to eat or not to eat, to obey or disobey, to love or not to love. Man was not a robot. Man was able to love by his own free choice [without which love is not love].”
The heretical doctrine of “Unconditional Election” plainly affirms that those who are saved are saved by the decree of God whether they like it or not. It also plainly affirms by saying that those who are not saved are in their miserable predicament whether they like it or not, and all of this because supposedly God cannot be truly sovereign without causing the saved to make life everlasting, as well as to cause the unsaved to suffer eternally in the Lake of Fire. The fallacy of misunderstanding the true sovereignty of God is surprising, given the scholarly status of so many of Calvinism’s top proponents as well as John Calvin himself having been a lawyer and all. It must be that at the heart of these heresies looms another spirit which is not of God and His Christ.
This third letter in TULIP (for limited atonement) is sometimes referred to as “particular redemption” or “definite atonement.” This is the teaching in Reformed Theology that says that God’s atoning for the sins of all mankind is really only for the elect. Again, we have the precedent set by Calvin: “All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation…” (Institutes, 1998 ed; III: xxi, 5)
George Bryson correctly points out, “The dark side of Reformed doctrine says that for the reprobate, there is nothing in the blood of Jesus to atone for sin.” (TDSOC, p. 137)
Despite the clear teachings of Scripture that Jesus died for the whole world, Calvinists keep insisting that He died for only certain ones, the elect. R.C. Sproul, a staunch Calvinist, speaks for most Calvinists when he says of John 3:16, “The world for whom Christ died cannot mean the entire human family. It must refer to the universality of the elect (people from every tribe and nation).” (Chosen by God, p.237)
These statements are from Bible scholars who should know better but opted for adherence to a system of belief with which they feel comfortable, yet is obviously blinding them to the truth. As we shall see later, nowhere in Scripture is it mentioned that predestination/election has anything at all to do with salvation.
Twisting words and even well-known meanings of Scripture is standard procedure in all circles of false religions and cults. Since scriptural satisfaction is not possible with faulty doctrine, then the attack on meaning of words and even calling the known meanings “heretical” is what must be done to keep alive the stench of lies. The argument is made that if Christ died for all but not all are saved, then His blood was a waste to spill for the unsaved. This, however, is blasphemy and shows a clear ignorance of the blood of Christ, for His blood had and does have saving power irrespective of someone’s faith. Otherwise, to say “saved by the blood” is totally meaningless. To section off Christ’s blood quantitatively is absurd. His blood was spilled, that’s it. Nothing needs to be said about some of His blood having been used in a good way, to save someone, but other of His blood was wasted. Those who choose not to accept this saving blood cannot by their refusal of it make it worthless, or the giving of it in vain.
Life is in the blood, we read in Leviticus 17:11. Jesus’ blood, being pure and holy, had everything needed to perform the cleansing of the the entire world. It wasn’t the substance of the blood anyway but the fact that innocent blood had to be spilled.
Hodges points out that the God of Unlimited Atonement “is hardly the God of love whom we meet in the bible… Christ’s atoning work is limited to the elect. The non-elect are both unloved and doomed. The cruelty implicit in such a view is obvious to any observer outside of those who have been brought up in, or have bought into, this kind of theology. Despite specious arguments addressed to every text alleged against such theology, determinists of this type are bereft of true biblical support. It is absurd, for example to claim (as they sometimes do) that when the Bible says, ‘God so loved the world,’ it means only ‘the world of the elect.’”. (Quoted in WLIT, Hunt, p. 241)
That Limited Atonement is a false teaching is clear from the Bible. Consider the following: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53:6) - Us all being the point. “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
“If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” (John 7:37) “Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16) “But the Scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise of faith… might be given to them that believe.” (Gal. 3:2) “Who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) “The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14)
Limited atonement is trash. Clearly God died for all; it’s just that all don’t desire or want the Salvation offered. Many more verses of Scripture could be given.
The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “All those whom God has predestined unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving them a heart of good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.”
This is clearly psycho-babble double talk. How is it that one can “come most freely” when one is “made willing”? Also, what’s up with the distinction made between an “inward” call and an “outward” call to come to Christ. As with all of Calvinism and cults in general, mental gymnastics are required to glean the view that Reformed scholars have adopted. The claim is made that an “inward call” of God is responded to because it was an effectual call, as opposed to an “outward call” which is an invitation to the Gospel and not necessarily answered by an individual. This is one way Calvinists get around the idea of evangelizing. Indeed, sharing the Gospel with someone is a waste of time in Calvinism because individuals/the elect have that status because God picked them out for that whether they wanted it or not.
There are those Calvinists who do evangelize but cannot see how this action is directly counter to the system to which they claim allegiance. It is astounding that, once someone is justified by accepting and confessing the simple and true Gospel, they can then turn to outrageous beliefs concerning it. As already noted, Augustine was the catalyst for this form of theology but himself once taught the truth of free will and the fact that God desired to save all of mankind.
So when did this grace become “irresistible” anyway? The word “grace” is found in the Bible 170 times in 159 verses. Not one time in all these occurrences is grace said to be “irresistible.” Grace, like any other true gift, must be accepted or rejected by a legitimate free choice in order to be, in the case of acceptance, appreciated, or in the case of rejection, reviled. The Reformed notion that the grace of God is put on those whom He “elected” whether they like it or not is unbiblical and presents a God who must not be big enough to be able to take rejection for fear of losing His sovereignty.
God’s sovereignty is used as a supposed defense against any reasoning that settles on a “free will” of man. If man truly has free will, it is postulated, that would interfere with God’s total sovereignty. On the contrary, free will is the very proof of the sovereignty of God. We see this in the example the Book of Job gives. Even though Satan is allowed by God to afflict Job, he never turns from God by an act of his free will. He moans and groans for several chapters and listens to his friends who try to blame Job’s troubles on some sort of personal sins Job must have committed. Before that, his wife proves her worthlessness by telling him to “curse God and die”. (Job 2:9) This too was an act of her free will. Job, however, chose to stay true to his God. God, having foreknowledge of everything, had no problem letting Job be tested by the devil because He knew that Job knew that it wasn’t the riches with which he’d been blessed that would see him through, but the love of the Almighty. Job had a close personal relationship with his Creator and understood where his loyalty should be no matter what. Job clearly wasn’t compelled to “not sin with his lips” ( Job 2:10) he freely chose not to.
Conversely, he was absolutely free to curse God, which is something the devil really wanted him to do in order that he might prove God wrong. Satan’s delusion that God can be overthrown or even destroyed is remarkable in light of the fact that God is God because of His attributes, not His throne. God is LOVE (1 John 4:8, 16) and LOVE never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)
Irresistible grace to a Calvinist means that those who come to Christ, as in (John 6:40), came to Him and believed afterwards. Scripture however points to the fact that it is believers who come to Christ, not unbelievers. Upon believing, unbelievers cease to be such, and then gladly come to Christ. John chapter 3 really puts that myth to rest and many other passages could be given. “…whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life,” in verse 15 and again in verses 16-18, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he had not believed in name of the only begotten son of God.”
Also v. 36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Obviously, salvation doesn’t come, and faith then suddenly appearing because of it. The Father must “draw” unbelievers who then, on the basis of the “ekklentic”- that measure of power to enable the “dead in sin individual” to choose to believe the Gospel. Upon recognizing the sinful state of their hearts, they thus repent, which leads one to confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus as Savior. (Rom. 10:9-10) This spiritual baptism is how someone is actually admitted into the body of Christ. (John 6:44) The phrase, “no one can come to Me unless the Father draw him” does not say that faith is given to anyone by God. It merely confirms that God has to be the One to initiate the enablement for individuals to choose. Completely opposite of Calvinism, the Bible clearly states that we must come to faith in the Son. Receiving power to be able to choose is not the same as the choice itself; it must still be made.
Finally, verse 47, with Jesus speaking, points out, “most assuredly, I say to You, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” If the life giver Jesus chooses who comes to Him and goes to hell, this statement from Him is most absurd. Jesus did not say, “He who has everlasting life believes in Me.” When Paul and Silas were freed from jail by God’s earthquake, they did not answer the inquiring jailer who asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” with, “Get saved and then you’ll believe.” This idiotic thinking permeates the Calvinistic camp. Notice too that the jailer asked, “What must I do?” The fact is that we all must do something to get salvation, everybody knows this. It’s just that we don’t work or perform anything for it. We simply must engage the power of choice once the Father releases His enabling “ekklentic” to do so, and actually believe. The Father does this releasing for all serious seekers of salvation. (Heb 11:6)
Perseverance Of The Saints
Simply put, this doctrine of Calvinism makes claim that those who are the elect of God are eternally saved and secure. The problem for Calvinists, however, is a daunting one, since how can someone be sure if he or she is among God’s elect? If you remember, Unconditional Election is the 2nd point of Calvinism, and according to it, God elected those whom He willed to salvation before the foundation of the world and He did so according to His pleasure. No concrete evidence has ever been given as to how one would know if one is among those so blessed. This is also among the reasons that Calvinists don’t evangelize. What they do instead is try to win people away from other assemblies and indoctrinate them to their own.
After all, there’s no need to witness to just anyone, as the Bible teaches, because how do we know they were chosen by God before the foundation of the world, and if God chose some whether they liked it or not, then the issue for them is already settled. Remember, Reformed doctrine or Calvinism teaches that God elected to choose some to be saved for heaven while condemning others (whom He could have elected to salvation) to the Lake of Fire, and that He was pleased to do so.
Ezekiel 33:11 tells us, “Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will you die, O House of Israel?”
Based on the Scripture just mentioned, clearly, this (Calvinistic god) is not the God of the Bible. One of the problems with all of TULIP is that Calvinists interpret faith as being the same as works, thus denying God’s Word in Ephesians 2:8-9, which reads, “For by grace are you saved through faith…” This could only be true if faith was a force that one could attain to control and thereby use this force to create one’s own universe as is taught by the false teachings of the Word of Faith Movement. (Click on the Word Faith Movement for more info)
Eternal security of the saints is supposedly accomplished by God, who keeps those whom He elected to be saved secure, and says that anything on our part, even faith, is irrelevant to the issue. R. C. Sproul declares, “The Reformed view of eternal security is called ‘perseverance of the saints’ …the idea here is … ‘If you have it, you never lose it; if you lose it, you never had it.” (Chosen by God, p. 174) Sproul is considered a first-rate scholar, yet incredibly, he makes stupid statements like the one above. I’m not being harsh by using the word stupid, I’m being truthful. Is there anything common sense about what he said “the idea is”? First off, I repeat my question, How can anyone know they have it? In truth, all that Calvinists have is the assurance (a false one of course) that God chose whom He wanted with zero input from any individual. Yet Leonard Coppes foolishly puts his hopes on a man-made doctrine, for he says, “God’s answer to doubt…the only proper font of assurance of salvation…of getting to heaven (glorification) is the doctrine of predestination.” (Are Five Points Enough? The Ten Points of Calvinism, 1980, pp.25, 27)
As one can see by the title of his book, he is advocating ten points instead of just five. This unbelievable nonsense was propagated by Calvin himself, for he taught that being born in a family of believers would get one into heaven, along with infant baptismal regeneration. This is pagan Roman Catholicism to the max. The ruining of word meanings to suit their doctrine is much of the problem. Lorrain Boettner, in his book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination back in 1932, wrote, “Every person who loves God and has a true desire for salvation in Christ is among the elect, for the non-elect never have this love nor this desire.” Well said, but it isn’t biblical. Just because one believes they love God isn’t an automatic insurance to the conscience. According to John the Apostle, obedience to the Scripture is truly loving God. (John 14:21-24)
Again, assumptions are made to twist predestination into something it is not. In the first place, those called “the elect” aren’t necessarily saved, according to the apostle Paul, and we should believe him over Calvin or anyone else who didn’t participate in the canonical writings of the Bible. “Therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is of Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim. 2:10) The “elect” above are clearly not saved, yet they are the elect. What Calvinists can’t admit to, without destroying their beloved yet convoluted theories, is that predestination has nothing whatsoever to do with salvation. It never did, doesn’t now, and ever will.
The terms predestination and election are actually used interchangeably. The basic meaning of both is to “mark out beforehand for a special purpose and blessing.” Concerning mankind, the sole reason and basis for this “marking out” is given and its always foreknowledge.
This begs the question, what foreknowledge would cause God to mark out certain ones? The answer is, the ones truly seeking would one day believe the Gospel, and take advantage of the ekklentic which only the Father can provide in His timing and thus be saved; for this reason He has an inheritance for us. (Eph. 2:7)
Dave Hunt tells us that, “…it is vital to realize that neither in these passages Rom. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1-2; Eph. 2:7 nor anywhere else does election or predestination refer to salvation but always and only to particular benefits.” (WLIT, p. 219)
H.A. Ironside lets us know, “You will note that there is no reference in these four verses [the only four which refer to predestination] to either heaven or hell, but to Christ likeness eventually. Nowhere are we told in Scripture that God predestined one man to be saved and another to be lost.” (Full Assurance, Moody Press; 1937, p. 93, 94)
David Breese, a popular Bible teacher on the TV program The King is Coming, says, “We also notice that election in Scripture is not unto salvation, but unto obedience…In Romans 8…predestination is based upon foreknowledge of God and its object is not salvation but conformity to the image of Christ.” (Self-published paper, The Five Points of Calvinism)
Hunt further points out that, “The lost could be saved from eternal doom without granting them son-ship and perfection and the other blessings God has graciously and lovingly planned for the redeemed. Furthermore, not only is predestination/election never said to be unto salvation, but Paul carefully separates predestination from salvation whether in its call, justification or glorification: Whom He did predestinate, them also He [kai] called…them He also [kai] justified…them He also [kai] glorified.” (Rom. 8:30)
“The Greek ‘kai’ shows that a distinction is being made: predestination is not the same as calling, justification or glorification.” (Hunt, WLIT, p.228)
We have to make sure we fulfill the responsibility that comes with election, not somehow be sure that one is among some special group picked out by God at the expense of many others. (2 Peter 1:10)
“Ekloge, election [is] used of God’s selection of men or agencies for special missions or assignments…[nowhere] in the New Testament is there any warrant for the revolting doctrine that God predestined a definite number of mankind to eternal life, and the rest to eternal destruction.” (Marvin R. Vincent Word studies in N.T. 1924; IV:16)
“Nowhere in the Bible is election connected with the salvation or the damnation of a human soul…It has to do with service. It is God’s elect who serve Him.” (Subject of Sovereignty, Harvest Time Ministries, 1980 p.55, 56)
The fact is that belief in God, which always comes first and which then leads to full faith (trusting God), is taught all over the Bible and should be ample proof that this is the doctrine God wants us to uphold. Some of the many examples are: “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16)
“…to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12)
“He that believes on Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:67)
“…he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25)
“…that believing you might have life through His name. (John 20:31)
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
“…and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8)
“…the Gospel of Christ…is he power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes…” (Rom. 1:16)
“That if thou shalt …believe in thine heart…thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)
It should be clear that believing always comes first, and actually, until someone gets hoodwinked by some smooth Calvinistic theologian, everybody gets this truth.
As far as the perseverance of the saints is concerned, this phrase is from Ephesians 6:18 and has nothing to do with the Reformed Theology spin. Paul is simply telling the church to persevere, that is, to commit wholly, to continue in prayer and supplication for all the saints.
John 15:4-10 is the true answer to how to stay saved, namely, to abide. Abiding means not going in and out, rather staying for the duration. Without abiding in Christ we can do nothing; conversely, if we continue to abide, we have assurance of salvation because, as Jesus says in John 15:7 that if we abide in Him we get what we ask of Him. Once we are in Him by relationship, anything we ask will be in line with His plan for our lives.
Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel Movement wrote the foreword to Bryson’s book, The Dark Side of Calvinism, where he stated, “According to Calvinism, it is futile to try to convert the lost who are not predestined to be saved. Perhaps this explains why so many Calvinists are spending so much time and energy trying to win the already saved to Calvinism. What this means is that Calvinists want other Christians to believe their convoluted theology, which if fully understood, destroys the gospel to every creature.”
If Pastor Chuck was right, and I believe he was, then Calvinists are leading people away from the true Gospel and the true salvation that comes only from believing the true Gospel. (Rom. 1:16)
William McDonald, author of more than 80 books in 100 languages, including The Believer’s Bible Commentary says this in endorsing Dave Hunts What Love is This? “This book exposes traditional Calvinism for portraying God in a totally unscriptural manner.”
Again, if it’s unscriptural, and I believe it is, then it has no power to reach souls with true salvation.
Calvinism, as we have seen, espouses true exegesis of Scripture. When pressed to actually present their case, which can be summarized as TULIP, Calvinists find themselves unable to produce, except where, in their folly, they turn and twist known meanings of Scripture in the hopes that it would somehow yield fruit for their cause. As stated earlier, nothing but the 66 canonized books of the Bible is needed for bringing the Gospel to the world. In considering what is claimed in the Calvinist camps, and there are many, it is astounding that so many otherwise solid scholars can be so duped. Whether they are considered hypo or hyper Calvinists, their false doctrine is heresy.
We hope that you, the reader have been edified somewhat and will continue to study the Scriptures for yourself in order to know exactly what you believe about God’s Word and what you don’t endeavoring to be influenced only by the Holy Spirit.