Answering Calvinism 1


Understand this: Once Calvinists find this blog, they’ll start arguing. And the very thing they’re going to accuse me of is this: Misrepresenting Calvinism. It’s interesting to me this is the very thing that the New Atheists complained about as well.

I can quote extensively from John Calvin, and Calvinists will STILL accuse me of misrepresenting them. And they may be in a way correct.

Why?

Because the easiest way to get a fight going is to get two Calvinists together. Each Calvinist almost invents his or her own take on what Calvinism is. And rest assured that many who call themselves Calvinists would have been hauled to prison or to a whipping post by John Calvin himself.

What is Calvinism?

Calvinism is Augustinianism. Let me explain. Augustine wrote a number of foundational texts that many claim was the true start of many of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, i’ll be repeating a great deal of material from the Roman Catholic pages to refute Calvinism.

When John Calvin was being raised, he was driven with the desire to be a priest. And so in his studies, he became an Augustinian. In his Instittutes he repeatedly asserts that all his doctrines can be found solely in the writings of Augustine. Indeed, it is very possible that when Calvin left the Roman church, he wrote his institutes by first writing an outline of points by Augustine, and then fleshing it out with his own musings based upon those writings and those of Jerome, who Calvin also admired.

Calvinism is best known by the TULIP acronym. AS anyone who’s ever heard of Calvinism should already know, the acronym is listed like this:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistable Grace

Perseverence of the Saints

One former Calvinist had this to say: “The last four doctrines rise or fall by the first one.” In other words, a Calvinist may consider themselves 4 point or 4 1/2 point – but they must all accept point one. Let me explain these in a little detail, and once you understand them, it’ll cure any fondness you may have for Calvinism. I was very nearly a Calvinist, because when I first got saved I listened to John Macarthur a lot. He was very good, but I had a lot of emotional turmoil over Calvinism – it bothered me. Once I understood what it was, I realized why it bothered me, and I was able to let go of it before I really got into it.

Total Depravity means mankind is troo depraved and foul to even understand or accept the Gospel. When you got saved by God, according to Calvinism, you were saved – and then you understood the Gospel. You are completely unable to understand or accept the Gospel until you’re saved. It really should be called Total Inability.

Unconditional Election means you had absolutely no assent in your salvation. God decides who gets saved, and you have no choice whatsoever. Which I suppose is great if you’re one of the elect, but if you’re not – oh well. Too bad, buddy. You’re condemned to Hell. Four point Calvinists and 4 1/2 point Calvinists (Macarthur followers) tend to modify this with the statement that “prior election does not absolve us of the requirement to be born again.” However, here’s the question – does the fact that one is sovereignly elected (in other words, God decided you’re oneof the elect, and thus will be saved) mean you are guaranteed to want to be saved? In other words, is this a moot point? We’ll return to this.

From the Westminster Confession: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and defnite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.”

Limited Atonement. This one really shocks Christians to hear this one. The Calvinist believes Christ died only for the elect. This is why one of the non-elect can’t be saved, even if they wanted to – Christ didn’t die for them. Calvinists have to mentally replace certain words in the Bible as they hear them or read them to maintain this mindset.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)

The Calvinist has now a conflict between the Bible and his beliefs. To reconcile this, he will have to mentally replace the words “The world” with “the elect”… and “whosoever believeth…” has to be replaced with “the elect.” That’s twice in the most foundational Bible verse in Christianity one has to make mental substitutiions.

Think about that. The first verse one learns as a Christian – has TWO conflicts with Calvinism. We could almost end the entire examination of Calvinism right now! It’s unBiblical, and that should be enough for any Bible believing Christian.

Irrisistable Grace: This actuallly contradicts the beliefs of 4 point calvinists. The Elect, having been predestined, cannot refuse God’s grace. He responds as does a robot. Sorry, you’re predestined to Heaven, and cannot refuse.

If this was Biblical, why would God command men to repent? You don’t need to – you’re already saved. Again, major problems with this doctrine.

Perseverence of the Saints: similar to the Baptist doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” It’s slightly different. The rationale here is, if Christ’s atonement was limited to the elect, and if your salvation is irresistable… then you are unable to leave that salvation. The way Macarthur explains this is actually the Baptist doctrine of Once Saved, always saved – which is not the Calvinist understanding. However, since most Calvinists do understand this as the Eternal Security doctrine, I’ll for the most part leave this one alone.

We’ve barely started, and already we’ve got major problems with Calvinism.

The point here is – Calvinism is not the historical interpretation of the Bible. It is not found in the writings of the very earliest “church fathers”. It is not found until Augustine, around 450 or so AD. This is centuries after the churches began to slip into decline, apostasy and error.

Okay, can I derive the doctrines of Calvinism from a plain reading of the Bible, without any knowledge of Calvinist doctrine or TULIP theology?

Ouch. That’s the major weakness of Calvinism. The Calvinist who has attended a Calvinist church for years will have a hard time remembering this but.. you had to read about Calvinism, or be taught it. Because anyone who, separated from other Christians, has read the Bible in seclusion and read ONLY the Bible, has always derived a Baptist doctrine. Anyone who has decided to reject the teachings of churches, and go back to the Bible and only the Bible, has always ended up with Baptist doctrines.

Not Calvinist. Indeed, two well known missionaries, about to go overseas, both had spent their time investigating doctrines only as the Bible teaches them… and ended up separate from one another accepting Baptist doctrine.

Both had been Calvinist prior to their re-reading of the Bible.

If you’re a Calvinist, by the time I’m done, I’m praying I’ll have freed you from this elitist belief system.

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Author: philipdean2013

Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer! Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere... "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV) So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???

7 thoughts on “Answering Calvinism 1”

  1. The Bible describes God hardening the Pharaoh’s heart. There is, therefore, a certain amount of election going on for who shall and shall not be saved.
    It also depends on the mechanism of the elect. Consider you and me: something about your psychology and your experience (neither of which you choose) has allowed you to believe in God. You are one of the elect. Something about my psychology and experience (again, which I did not choose) means I do not believe in God and am not saved. This would mean that God does elect. But He does not elect the way you see it; He elects certain people to have certain psychologies or microstructures in their brain which permit faith (like you) and elects other not to have that (like me).
    If you look at it this way then there is no contradiction between what you call the foundational verse of Christianity and Calvinism. I’m not a Calvinist (I’m an atheist, you may remember me). But I do think it is important to accurately represent views.

    If you have an issue with people claiming “you’re misrepresenting me” then let them represent themselves and critique the view they offer you. It is burdensome and inaccurate to try to posit some else’ view for them.

    All the best.

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    1. Of course, I remember you! And I’m glad your still taking an interest and reading.
      I explain the way that predestination is described in the Bible, and that has to do with foreknowledge. It is not that God chooses any one person to be saved, and another to burn in Hell. Rather, all men are invited to accept the Lord Jesus Christ. The predestination has to do with the ordaining of an office of “The saved”. The Lord foreknew who would respond and who did not. That is how Scripture speaks of Predestination. I’ll be addressing that over the next few days.

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    2. Hi there Allallt – election has nothing to do with salvation, and it is not a salvitic term. Election means chosen. You can be “unchosen” – as King Saul was – but you can not be “unborn,” or unsaved.

      Jesus Christ Himself was “elect,” and He certainly did NOT need salvation as He is the provider of it!

      Isaiah 42:1-3

      King James Version (KJV)

      42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

      2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

      3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

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  2. I agree that Calvinists misinterpret the Bible, but I think we need to be careful. First of all, I believe Satan is looking for ways to split the church, and I think Calvinism is one way he can do that. We need to be cautious to not spend all our efforts fighting against fellow believers. Yes, we need to speak the truth to one another, but we need to do this in love. Also, I don’t know if anyone has his or her theology completely accurate. What’s most important is unity within the church so we can continue being the church for the purpose of doing God’s will. Let’s not bash one another, but lovingly correct one another so that we can begin to work together instead of fighting against each other.

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    1. 17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17 (KJV)

      Some Calvinists are the first to call anyone who believes the words of the Bible a heretic. And there is, as you’ll read, a move by some Calvinists to subvert the Southern Baptist convention. While not all Calvinists believe this way, there’s no doubt that there’s been a number of articles appearing in Pastor’s articles by Lifeway about “how to slowly change your church.” This is a standard operating procedure of many Calvinists – they get hired by a church, then begin slowly introducing Calvinism a step at a time.
      This shows an amount of dishonesty.
      Notice I’m refraining from calling Calvinists heretics, while most do consider the belief that just anyone can repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ to be a heresy, which they call semi-pelagianism. Read the entry on Semi-Pelagianism ar C.A.R.M.

      6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Ephesians 5:6-13 (KJV)

      I have to fight for the stand of the Bible, because so many are attempting to take it away, subvert it, etc. Timothy was charged by Paul to keep his doctrine without spot – that’s a very small thing. I will have to account to God for how well I do teaching a congregation, and one thing the SCripture speaks on over and over again is not to allow anyone to change the doctrine as presented in the Bible.

      Am I doing this in love? Oh, yes! I’m not being harsh about it, nor responding in anywhere near the arrogance and disdain that Calvinists express for Biblical doctrine or for Armenianism, which they lump us in. As you can see, I’m certainly not shy against taking the battle against the cults. But what good does it do me, if I allow my congregation to be subverted into a false doctrine and did nothing?

      Thanks for your thoughts, and for reading!

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  3. Calvin did not completely leave the Catholic church in that he taught, to a certain extent, baptismal regeneration. He taught that circumcision and baptism were much the same and initiated one into the grace of God. This is clearly not taught in the Bible. How many circumcised Jews were rejected because of their unbelief? Countless numbers.
    Augustine is considered the father of the Catholic church. This is the problem with much that is taught in the churches today, those who teach lean upon the doctrines of men rather than the Word of God. Therefore we are led away from simple adherence to God’s Word the Bible.
    I do think that you have a problem though in that the term “elect” is used many times throughout the Bible, and we also see the work of God in the life of the sinner for salvation clearly shown throughout the Scriptures also. Then there are, of course, Romans 9-11, and John 1, 6, 8, 10, 17 which all point to God choosing us for salvation.

    And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” John 6:35-45

    Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 1:1-2

    Foreknowledge here when coupled with the verses out of John 6 indicates that God chose us.
    We have to be careful when opposing the doctrines of men, not to oppose the truth of the Scriptures. God bless you:)

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