John Calvin was a False Teacher

Status
Not open for further replies.

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
He was one of the greatest and most influential Theologians of all time!
You won't find many on this Forum who would subscribe to that sentiment. Calvin was a murderer and a tyrant who copied most of his theology from Augustine. Augustine, in turn, was likely influenced by his earlier paganism to be fatalistic (in contradiction to Scripture) and by the fact that he used an inferior Latin version of the Scriptures because he did not read Greek.
 

JSTyler

Well-Known Member
His Institutes was perhaps the single greatest book that was not in the inspired scriptures ever written!
They are just the enthusiastic and misguided, albeit well intentioned blurtings of a 24 year old, immature believer in Jesus Christ. The institutes don't even seem to reconcile with what modern 'calvinism' has become.

Because the plumb was off by fractions in the early 1500's, it's off by an immeasurable amount in the mid 2020's.

It only takes a little leaven.
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
Here's a great thread about Calvinism. In it Mattfivefour wrote this excerpt below:

https://www.raptureforums.com/forums/threads/calvinism.123765/

I promised to write this in an attempt to help some understand Calvinism—what is wrong and what, if anything, is right.
As is well-known and already discussed above, Calvinism rests on five points. As is also pointed out in a post above, they are known by the acronym TULIP, which stands for
  • Total depravity
  • Unconditional election
  • Limited Atonement
  • Irresistible grace
  • Perseverance of the saints
I don’t have space here to launch into a deep theological study of these doctrines. Nor do I have the time to prepare such a study. But I suggest that such a deep study is not needed for the average Christian. God’s teaching in this area is, I believe, quite straight-forward—although man seems able to make that appear not to be so. (Having said that, I notice that it has taken me almost four and a half thousand words to speak of this “straightforward” doctrine! :lol )

Anyway, let’s begin.

Total Depravity
The original meaning of Total Depravity was extensive, rather than intensive. In other words, as the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics puts it,

“The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

“The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).”

And to this degree, the Calvinists are correct. No person can come to Christ unless the Father draws him or her. That’s a gospel fact (John 6:44). But they go way beyond this simple meaning and suggest that the Father’s calling of those who become saved is limited to just those people and is based on some sovereign decision made by God within His secret eternal council and results solely from His sovereign will being toward some and not others. But the Bible does not say this, as we shall see as we press on with this brief study. The context of the idea of Total Depravity sits in part upon two key passages of Scripture—

Isaiah 54:6 “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Psalm 14:3; 53:3; Romans 3:12 “They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

The problem for the Calvinist interpretation of these passages is that the context does not refer to an inability of man to seek God. If man could not seek God, then why would God repeatedly call on man to seek Him?
Amos 5:4 “For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live.”

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Isaiah 55:3 “"Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.”

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

There are dozens of similar verses. None of them would make any sense unless God believed that man could seek Him. Of course, the seeker needs divine help. And God says plainly that He will come to whomever tries to find Him.
1 Chronicles 28:9b “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”

Unconditional Election
The Calvinists view this doctrine as teaching that:

“God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would ‘accept’ the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation.” (Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics)

And they use Romans 9:15,21 as their proof texts. These verses state,

“For He (God) says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion’ … Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?”

But look at the context by reading all of Romans 9. If you read it carefully, seeking God’s illumination , you will see that the Holy Spirit here is not using Paul to teach the sovereign will of God but that God is not unjust in His decisions. The issue is without question the justice of God, not anything else.

We must never focus on one characteristic of God and allow that to trump other equally valid characteristics of His. God has said He IS love. Not love as humans practice it, but giving, self-sacrificing love that has as its focus not self but the other person. God’s love does not seek some return, but only operates in order to give.

As a result of that love, God tells us that He is not willing that any be lost but that ALL might find repentance (2 Peter 3:9). To attempt to draw a doctrine from Romans 9 that supports God making some cosmic eeny-meeny-miny-moe choice of souls whom He creates, the winners being given salvation, the rest of the people being sent to a destruction they have no choice either to choose or reject, is to contradict the fundamental doctrine of God’s love for ALL humankind, not just the Jews and not just a few specially chosen ones.

Further, the Calvinists’ belief that God has elected to save only a certain portion of the souls He has created and that this election is “not based upon his looking forward to discover who would ‘accept’ the offer of the gospel” runs utterly counter to God’s own Word! In Peter’s first epistle, the Holy Spirit tells us the following:

1 Peter 1:1-2 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”

A couple of years ago, as I was driving Dr. Thomas Ice somewhere, I asked him how he reconciled this verse with his Calvinist teaching. His answer was to tell me that “the foreknowledge of the Father” did not mean “the foreknowledge of the Father” as we would think of foreknowledge. He said the word “foreknowledge” here actually means “foreordination” and that God simply foreordained as elect the ones to whom Peter is writing.

I won’t get into the depth of the convoluted grammatical reasoning behind this view, but I will lay it out in broad strokes. The Calvinists draw their re-interpretation of the word “foreknowledge” (Greek prognosis) in this verse from the grammatical construction of Acts 2:23 where the words “determinate counsel” of God and “foreknowledge” of God appear in a form which, arguably (though not to them), makes both words possibly refer to the same act of God. From this the Calvinist says that since God’s “determinate counsel “ and His “foreknowledge” refer to the same thing then the word foreknowledge cannot simply refer to previous knowledge since “determinate counsel” refers to an act of mutual discussion and consideration of a matter. Therefore, after further reasoning from word meanings, the Calvinists say that foreknowledge must simply “refer to that counsel of God which after deliberative judgment certain from among mankind were designated to a certain position, that position being defined by the context.” (First Peter in the Greek New Testament, Kenneth Wuest, Erdman’s 1942, 1970.) That position and context here, of course, refers to salvation.

This is an argument worthy of a Jesuit! Note that it is entirely grammatical, not theological. Let me assure you that the simple fact of God's Word is that He does not hide His truths, to be discovered through convoluted thinking or reasoning. And certainly His truths in one place will never contradict His truths in another. Based on an in-depth study of the Greek, I believe that in both occurrences of the noun prognosis in the NT and all five occurrences of the verb prognosko, we can confidently translate the meaning as to "foreknow" in the sense of "know beforehand". To doubt this meaning is to doubt—or in some way limit—the truth of God's omniscience.

Limited Atonement
The Center for Reformed theology and Apologetics says of this doctrine, in part:

“Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, "for whose sins did Christ atone?" The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28).”

I wish I could say at least say that their interpretation of Scripture here is faulty but I can see where they think they have scriptural support for their view. Unfortunately, I can see no such place of scriptural support at all. John 17:9 does not dictate a limit, nor does Matthew 26:28. Not in the slightest. It is stretching scripture to the breaking point to find limited atonement in those verses. Or in any other verse of the Bible. But I can find many, many verses that tell me that salvation is intended for all and, were it not for the fact that God has given man free will to choose or reject Him, God would have ALL men to be saved:

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

1 Timothy 2:3-4 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. “

John 3:16-17 “For 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 to save the world through Him..”

Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”

1 John 4:15 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

Further, Scripture is very clear that Christ’s atonement was not just for a select few but for ALL humankind.
John 2:2 “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

John 4:42 “They said to the woman, "We now believe not only because of your words; we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man truly is the Savior of the world."

1 John 2:2 “He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.”
Now, there IS a limitation on the atonement; but not the kind of limit the Calvinist posits. And we find it clearly outlined in the most famous salvation verse in the Bible— John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…” There is the breadth of God’s love: “the world.” He loved the world (Greek kosmos, meaning ‘the entire created earth including all of its inhabitants’) to such an extent “that He gave His only begotten Son.” This describes the extent of God’s love (he gave His only begotten Son) and the focus of that love (for “the world”.) So there is no limit there, at all. But keep reading . “… that whosoever believes in Him ...” and there we have the limitation. Christ died for all mankind, but only those who believe in Him—only those who, by faith, genuinely accept that sacrifice for themselves—will “not perish but have everlasting life.”

So the limit on the atonement is that only those who accept it can benefit from it. Those who reject it have no benefit from it, even though it was made available to them.

I once described the universality and the limitation of the atonement through the following story:

A father had two sons from whom he was estranged. They had no interest at all in having anything to do with him. Without the wealth possessed by the father, the two sons lived humbly and walked everywhere, having no means of transportation. One day, in an attempt to reach out to them and bring them back into the family fold, the father purchased two beautiful cars and delivered them to the residence of each son. The first son was touched by the gift. He went and took the key, opened the vehicle, turned on the ignition, and began to drive everywhere he needed to go. The townsfolk shook their heads and said, “The father really loved that son., Look at the vehicle he bought him.” But the second son wanted absolutely nothing to do with his father. In his bitterness, he rejected the gift. He refused to use the key, leaving it lying where it had been placed. And even though the vehicle was at his disposal, he chose to continue walking everywhere, proud that he was leading his own life and was not beholden to the father. And as he walked the streets of the town, the townsfolk shook their heads and said, “That poor boy. The father does not love him like the other son for, see, he is still having to walk everywhere.”

The townsfolk of that story are a lot like the Calvinists. They see one person with the father’s gift and believe that shows his love for that son. And they see the other son without a gift and presume that is because the father has not chosen to bless that son. But the simple fact is the father had given the same gift to both sons. One chose to accept it; the other chose to reject it. End of story. The views of the townfolk were in error.

So too, God the Father has given the gift of salvation to the entire world; sadly, only some choose to accept it. This does not mean that God only intended his gift for those who accept it. He intended it for everybody. That many reject it in no way changes that fact. Salvation is for all. Only those who finally and utterly reject it can not receive it and therefore die in their sins.

Irresistible Grace
The Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics says that

“The result of God's Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44), and the very Spirit of God leads God's beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts and wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!”

Certainly it is possible to see from the verses above how someone could view God’s grace as being imposed on the recipients. But this is demonstrably erroneous. A proper review of Scripture shows that irresistible grace is not—nor could it ever be—the case. God gave man free will. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Moses said to the people of Israel “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live … (Deuteronomy 30:19),” which would be a rather silly thing to say if the people had no choice. Further, under the same anointing Joshua said to the people of Israel, “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell (Joshua 24:15).” If they had no free will, it would have been equally silly for God to have had Joshua say that. And God never says anything foolish.

When He set blessings and curses before the people of Israel, He was giving them a very real choice. They were free to make their own choice and God accepted whatever choice they made, regardless of how foolish it may have been. Now that didn’;t mean that He would sit back and not try to bring circumstances into their lives that would cause them to voluntarily turn back to Him; but He did not force or coerce them into repentance. He simply let them reap the results of their choice. Our God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He did not give Israel choices which He withholds from the rest of the world. Love that is compelled is not love.

Unfortunately, when Calvin developed his doctrines he lived in a world-wide culture that fully understood (and lived under) an absolute monarchy. A monarch was sovereign in every degree. No sovereign could truly be sovereign if members of his or her realm could refuse the sovereign’s commands and substitute their own. It was this view that colored the view of John Calvin (and many other reformers) regarding the sovereignty of God. They believed that if a man could refuse the will of God, then God could not be God. Hence, by their logic, man could not have free will if God was to have true sovereignty.

Again man painted God in his own image. The fact is that God’s sovereignty is shown to its uttermost in the fact that God can allow man to have his own free will and in no way weaken His sovereignty. In fact, God’s sovereignty is magnified by the fact that nothing man does can threaten or weaken it in any way. The simple fact is that God’s omnipotence is such that regardless of what man or Satan does, He will work it all to His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom. God’s will shall remain supreme despite allowing Satan and man to have their ways.

Perseverance of the Saints
This is the final point of Calvinism. It is a doctrine which states simply …

“… that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God's hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God's stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the "last day" (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ's promise that he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect. (Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics)

Well, here is where—if this were the only point of Calvinism—I could be a Calvinist. Indeed, God will not lose one who comes to Him. All who accept Christ will be kept forever, because it is God who does the initial work and the continuing work in the saint.

John 6:39 “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”

1 Corinthians 1:8 “God will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 1:22 “But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy, unblemished, and blameless in His presence.”

Philippians 2:13 “God is the One working in you both to will and to work according to His good pleasure.”

2 Timothy 1:12 “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

Philippians 1:6 “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

To support the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, the Calvinists have many of the right verses. But they impose on those verses the erroneous doctrine of limited atonement. And in so doing they further pervert the gospel of universal grace offered, man being free to choose it or reject it.

Before I leave this point, may I suggest that the idea of “the perseverance of the saints” is inextricably intertwined with the idea of “the preservation of the saints”? We persevere because God saves us, He indwells us, He works in us, He keeps us, and above all He guarantees to present us faultless before His throne in Glory (Jude 1:24). Glory to His Name!!!

Conclusion:
Calvinism as it is believed and practiced today does not—nor can it—stand on bare Scripture. It can only stand as man redefines the meanings of words and adds his own conditions to God’s statements. And ultimately it falls not just on the basis of Scripture alone but on the basis of the character of God as revealed in Scripture.

God gave us the ten commandments not simply as a set of rules to live by but as a revelation of His character. When He calls on us to live justly and with love, He says so because He is both just and love. If we are to be in communion with Him, we must be like Him. He is the pure and holy one who is perfect love and perfect justice. He gives with no thought of return in mind and has no respect for a person’s status or self-view but only looks at the heart and He responds freely and willingly to all who seek Him. In no way would this God impose standards of selfless love for ALL mankind (remember the lesson of the parable of the Good Samaritan) but choose to act toward many whom He created without that same love … simply because He is God and sovereign and who can do what He wills.

God will not act contrary to His revealed character. He is the God of Perfect Love and Perfect Justice. The doctrine of the Calvinists denies this … regardless of their disclaimers and repudiation of the charge.

No, there is no truth in the idea of the total depravity of man. But there is truth in the idea of the depravity of man. We have seen in Scripture that it is not total. Man can still seek God, despite his depravity. Indeed, God expects him to do so.

No, there is no truth in the idea of unconditional election. There is, however, truth in the idea of election according to God’s foreknowledge. In other words, God by His omniscience foreknows who will accept Him and what it will take in their life to bring them to that point. And He determines to do all necessary to get them to that point where they can exercise their free will and accept Him once they realize who He is and what they are. Those whom He foreknows will NEVER accept Him regardless of what He does (short of compelling them to accept Him), He does not put the same effort into. And that is not unjust in the least. The injustice is purely on the part of the man or woman who rejects all that God has done for them.

No, there is no truth to the idea of limited atonement in the sense that the atonement is limited only to God’s elect. But there is a limitation to the effectiveness of the atonement— it can only be effective for those who accept it. It is of absolutely of no value to the rebel who rejects it

No, there is no truth whatsoever to the idea of irresistible grace. It is an erroneous doctrine that is predicated on the human concept of the absolute sovereignty of God combined with the idea of the total depravity of man.

Yes, there is great truth to the idea of the perseverance of the saints and, I like to add, to the truth of the preservation of the saints.

I think if you prayerfully consider this topic, leaving aside all preconceptions (either for or against), asking God to guide you, and then undertake a study of the character of God as revealed in Scripture along with the verses used by both sides, you will definitely com to the belief that the Calvinist gospel as proclaimed today is in sufficient error as to be rejected by necessity in order to preserve the faith once delivered. (Jude 1:3). Therefore, let us fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).

I pray this all helps someone.
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
Here's a write up I came across by Dr. Rice:

By Dr. John R. Rice

Through the years there has been a conflict between the doctrine of eternal salvation by grace through faith, not of works, and the doctrine of salvation partly by God's grace and partly by man's works or by deserving it or by faithfulness. We know that all false religions teach salvation by good works, character, human merit, or rites, not the free salvation given instantly to penitent, believing sinners, wholly by grace. But many Christian groups tend to include works or mourning or faithfulness as the way to get saved and the price of keeping saved. Those who believe men must "hold out faithful" to keep saved and think they will never be surely eternally safe until they reach Heaven are of what is called the Armenian position because it was so insistently taught by Arminius. Wesley and his followers held to this position, as do all who think a saved person can be lost.


I. WHAT IS HYPER-CALVINISM?​

Those who believe in eternal salvation wholly of grace are usually called Calvinists simply because, in the Protestant Reformation, Calvin strongly emphasized that doctrine long contradicted under the Roman heresy of salvation by merit and church rites. So any person who is not Armenian in faith but rather believes in eternal security of the believer is likely to describe himself as a Calvinist. Or where Calvinism has not been carried to its more unscriptural, unevangelistic, arrogant extreme, one might probably call himself a "moderate" Calvinist. Most of those who might be called Calvinists do not believe in a limited atonement, for example, nor do they believe that some are foreordained by unconditioned election to go to Hell and so could not be saved, that salvation was never provided for nor offered for them. But they do believe in eternal salvation by grace, the principal truth Calvin emphasized.

Those who do believe a doctrine of God's limited love, limited grace, limited atonement, and unchangeable plan to damn millions who could not be saved, are called hyper-Calvinists.

These extreme doctrines were first taught somewhat by Augustine. Then for about a thousand years no one found them in the Bible, of course, till Calvin developed such a theology. Adopting the theory men then persuaded themselves that they find it in the Bible.

Salvation by grace, eternal salvation, without works, is a Bible doctrine. I believe hyper-Calvinism is not a Bible doctrine but is a perversion by proud intellectuals who thus may try to excuse themselves from any spiritual accountability for winning souls.

II. EXAMINE THE DOCTRINE OF HYPER-CALVINISM​

Those whom we call hyper-Calvinists usually outline their doctrinal position as represented by the letters TULIP:

  • T for Total Depravity of the sinner
  • U for Unconditional Election
  • L for Limited Atonement
  • I for Irresistible Grace
  • P for Perseverance of the saints
Sinners Are Depraved, Cannot Be Saved Unless God Calls,
but All Have Some Light, Some Calling

The hyper-Calvinist says sinners are totally depraved and so incapable of repentance except as God calls some selected individuals, and leaves others He has predestined for Hell, unable to repent.

Now the doctrine that all are sinful, incapable of being saved or doing good without God's help, is true. But it is certainly not true that some never could repent, that God leaves some intentionally without light or calling. Consider these Scriptures:




a. "God... now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30). Can anyone accuse God of commanding people to do what He has made it impossible for them to do?

b. The apostle said, after hearing of Cornelius' conversion, "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18). God granted repentance to the Jews; now they see repentance is granted "to the Gentiles" -- not to a few selected individuals, but to the Gentiles, as to Jews.

c. In John 1:9 we are told about Jesus, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." So every man in the world has light from God and from Christ, and so could be saved.

d. In John 12:32,33, Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." When Jesus draws "all men" unto Him, then any one of "all men" could be saved.

e. Romans 1:18-21 says that after the flood, the races became heathen, idolaters, barbarians, and are without excuse because the truth of God was manifested unto them. It says:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened"







f. Psalm 19:1-4 tells us:

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun."

So there is a speech in nature to turn men to seek God. It speaks in all the world and every man is therefore accountable to God for it.

g. Romans 2:11-16 says:

"For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be jasitfied. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another,) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."

Does that not mean that every person in the world is warned from God, either by the Word or by God speaking through the law He has written in their hearts, that is, their consciences?

And God, in this matter, has "no respect of persons," we are told here, giving every man alike a call to be saved. All who seek more light find enough light even as Cornelius did in Acts 10.

Man's sinfulness does not mean some men could not be saved.

h. We are told that "the gospel of Christ... is the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). And again Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" Does not that Scripture surely mean that the Scriptures themselves call men to repentance? And would you say, like the neo-orthodox teachers who do not accept the Bible as objectively the Word of God, that it becomes the Word of God to individuals only as it affects them? No, the very nature of the powerful Word of God, "sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow," means that it acts upon all who hear it. And again, we read in I Corinthians 1:21 that "it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" And that means, of course, the preaching of the Gospel of the Word of God. The Word of God itself has supernatural power to affect the lost sinner, and it needs only to be "mixed with faith" (Heb. 4:9.) to save the sinner.

So every lost sinner is in some sense lighted by Jesus who "lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), is somewhat moved by his conscience, is preached to by the creation about him, and when he hears the Word of God he is called by that. Then the fact of the depravity of every lost sinner does not mean there are some sinners who cannot be saved.

"Unconditional Election" Is Not Bible Doctrine

It is true the saved are God's elect, "chosen... in him before the foundation of the world," as Ephesians 1:4 tells us. But it is wrong to make this election a whim of God whereby He saves some, compels them to be saved, and damns some whom He has decided He does not wish to save. No, election is not "unconditional." It is simply that God knows who will trust Him when they hear the Gospel and chooses them to be carried through till they be "conformed to the image of his Son."

Romans 8:28-30 tell. us so; thus:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

God gives the order of things here. First, foreknowledge, then predestination, then calling, then saving, then finally, at the resurrection, glorifying. To ignore or to change the inspired, divine order is false doctrine. Again, I Peter 1:2 says that the saints addressed were "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." That is a flat contradiction of so-called "unconditional election." Election is based on God's foreknowledge of who will trust Christ. So salvation depends upon personal faith in Christ.

The Term "Limited Atonement" Really Means Limited Love, Limited Grace of God,
and So Slanders God, and Is Unscriptural

The heart of hyper-Calvinist doctrine is the "Limited Atonement" claim, that Christ did not die for all men, made no provision for them so they could possibly be saved. It really claims that God did not love all men enough to have Christ die for all, that His grace is limited, so is finite instead of infinite. But this is contradicted by many plain Scriptures.

a. John 3:16 says that "God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son" -- that it was so that "whosoever" could believe on Him and be saved. No limited love or atonement in John 3:16!

b. In John 1:29 we read the inspired statenent of John the Baptist about Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," Since Christ atoned for "the sin of the world," not just part of the sin of the world, it could not be a limited atonement.

c. First John 2:2 plainly says, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world." No limited atonement there!

d. Romans 5:20 says, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Does not that mean God has grace for all the sin in the world, and even a great surplus? So the total number of people who will ever be born on the earth is a finite counted number that God knows. But the grace of God is infinite, much more than for those who will be saved, even much more than for all the sins of all the people in the world, so says the plain Word of God. Romans 5:20 leaves no limit on the atonement

e. First Timothy 4:10 tells of "the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe." To those who believe, Christ is a special, personal, accepted Saviour. But to all who have not believed He is potentially and intentionally a Saviour. When God says in the Bible that He has provided a "Saviour of all men," what an arrogant wresting of Scriptures it is to say He did not provide and offer salvation for all!

f. Colossians 1:20 tells us that Christ, "having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Note that that verse speaks, not of all accepting Christ, but of atonement for all, amnesty offered every rebel, a peace treaty prepared to end the war between God and the sinner. If Christ, "through the blood of his cross," intended "to reconcile all things unto himself," as that verse says, who dares put a limit on that atoning blood, so offered for all?

God's Grace Is Not Irresistible;
Some Are Not Compelled to Be Saved Unconditionally,
Others Compelled to Be Damned

The fourth part of the doctrine of hyper-Calvinism, represented by the letter "I" in TULIP, is "Irresistible Grace," by which it is meant that all who are elected to be saved will be saved, that they cannot resist this special grace limited to them but will be saved when God calls. It would necessarily follow, first, that those not elected are irresistibly damned, cannot be saved; and, second, that since God works irresistibly to save or damn, Christians cannot affect the salvation or damnation of sinners and need feel no responsibility or burden about it. But this is wrong, unscriptural, and no doubt Satan uses this doctrine of "Irresistible Grace" to lull Christians to disobedience and lack of compassion and burden to get people saved.

Consider these Scriptures which prove sinners can and do resist God's grace and many are lost who could be saved, and refuse Christ.

a. In II Peter 3:9 we read, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" Then God desires all men to be saved. And as we showed in section 1, all are enlightened to some degree, and called.

So many resist the grace of God.

b. We are commanded to pray for "all men," says I Timothy 2:1, and verses 3 and 4 tell us, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have ALL MEN to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." We should pray for all men because God our Saviour "will have all men to be saved." So God would have all saved, but some will not be saved. So God's grace may he resisted.

c. We are told that Jesus wept over Jerusalem and told the sadness of His heart that His love and grace were refused. He said, in Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Jesus said, "I would," "and ye would not." So His grace was rejected. It was not irresistible.

d. In Proverbs 1:24,25, we have a clear statement that God, personified as Wisdom, calls and men refuse. That Scripture says, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof." And the context plainly teaches that the refusal is final and those who so refused God's wisdom and "did not choose the fear of the Lord" went to destruction. Surely, then, people do reject the call of God and resist His grace.

e. Paul says in Galatians 2:21, "I do not frustrate the grace of God?" That clearly shows then that those Galatian teachers who teach salvation by the law do frustrate the grace of God. Grace is not irresistible.

And did not you, my reader, long resist God's grace? Only very few were saved the first time they heard the Gospel at the first conviction of sin they felt! Did you not for a time resist God's grace? One who resists one time may resist the last time. And so many continue to resist and are lost forever.

f. In fact, the unpardonable sin is surely the sin of a lost man or woman, greatly enlightened and convicted, who comes to a final and irrevocable choice so that God's Spirit gives him up. Genesis 6:3 says, "My spirit shall not always strive with man." He does strive -- resisted to a certain point He sometimes strives no more, so the sin is unpardonable. If the Spirit who strives, then when men resist, may cease forever striving, then grace is not irresistible.

Hebrew 6:4-6 says, I think, the same thing:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers af the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame"

The term "partakers of the Holy Ghost," Dr. Scofield says, here is "Gr. metochous, going along with." So the Scripture here speaks of one not born of the Spirit but one who is followed, warned, convicted by the Holy Spirit going along with him. He has felt or "tasted" the "powers of the world to come," we are told; has "tasted the good word of God," but refuses Christ, still falls away from that conviction and, after coming to the verge of repentance, turns from it; it is impossible to renew such an one to repentance. So it is with those who, called, convicted, brought to the very crisis of decision, decide finally, eternally against Christ. Oh, every sinner who commits the unpardonable sin does resist the grace of God to the last. So we think did Pharaoh, Judas and, we think, those Pharisees of Matthew 12:24-32 who said Jesus cast out devils by Beelzebub but in heart knew better and blasphemously fought the Holy Spirit who convicted them. God's grace is not irresistible.

The Saints Do Finally Persevere

The P in TULIP stands for final "Perseverance" of the saints. In this, all Bible believers must agree if we mean simply that those who are saved have everlasting life. I think a better way to say it is the Preservation of the saints. I do not believe Christians always do right. They do not get salvation by works and they cannot keep it by works. So our righteousness is the righteousness of Christ who died in our place, paid for all our sins, and gives us eternal life freely when we believe on Christ. So John 5:24 says plainly, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

So in John 10:27-29 Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."

And Paul the apostle could say by infallible inspiration, "... for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (II Tim. 1:12).

III. WHY FOLLOW MEN?​

Do you follow Arminius? or Wesley? Then you are certain to be wrong wherever those good but frail men were wrong. Do you follow Calvin? Then whatever doctrine Calvin formulated or invented will be wrong for you as for him.

Charles Spurgeon, great and blessed London preacher, was a Calvinist though he spoke against "hyper-Calvinism," and called it that; and his hyper-Calvinist friends criticized him for preaching that "whosoever will" may come.

In his sermon on Sunday morning, March 24, 1861, on Isaiah 1:18, Spurgeon said:

OUR TEXT ADDRESSED TO SINNERS OF THE DEEPEST DYE​

Some of my brethren are greatly scandalized by the general invitations which I am in the habit of giving to sinners, as sinners. Some of them go the length of asserting that there are no universal invitations in the Word of God. Their assertion, however, is not so forcible an argument as a fact, and we have one here. Here is most plainly an invitation addressed to sinners who had not even the qualification of sensibility. They did not feel their need of a Saviour. They had been scourged and flogged till the whole body was a mass of sores, and yet they would not turn to the Hand that smote them, but went on sinning still. A more accurate description of careless, worthless, ungodly, abandoned souls, never was given anywhere. We have in the context one of the most graphic descriptions of human nature in its utterly lost and godless estate. There is not a single gleam of light in the midst of the thick darkness. The man is bad-bad-bad from the beginning to the end. Nay, he is all the worst, and the worst is come to its worst. There is not a ray of promise in their nature, not a glimmer of anything good in the description of the persons to whom this text is addressed.

So Spurgeon did not really believe all the points of hyper-Calvinism, did not believe that some sinners are not called or could not repent.

<>In the same sermon, he says,

Furthermore, I think that in giving this description, I shall be better preaching the Gospel than during the other parts of the sermon. Let me remind you that the invitation of the text is sent to men who appeared to have been totally depraved from the sole of the foot even to the head. [The emphasis is Spurgeon's.]

Again, in the same sermon, Spurgeon said,

Yes, Mercy Offered to "Every One of You"

I have a big net this morning -- Oh, that we might all be caught in its meshes! There is not one of us today who can be exempt from this invitation; not even that poor soul yonder who shivers in his shoes because he fears that he has committed the unpardonable sin, --


None are excluded hence, but those
Who do themselves exclude;
Welcome the learned and polite,
The ignorant and rude.

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you," said Peter. As John Bunyan puts it -- one man might have stood up in the crowd and said, "But I helped to hound Him to the cross! .... Repent, and be baptized every one of you." "But I drove the nails into His hands!" saith one. "Every one of you," says Peter. "But I pierced His side!" said another. "Every one of you," said Peter. "And I put my tongue into my cheek and stared at His nakedness and said, 'If He be the Son of God, let Him come down from the cross.'" .... Every one of.you," said Peter. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." I do feel so grieved at many of our Calvinistic brethren; they know nothing about Calvinism, I am sorry to say, for never was any man more caricatured by his professed followers than John Calvin. Many of them are afraid to preach from Peter's text, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you." When I do it, they say, "He is unsound."

Well, if I am unsound on this point, I have all the Puritans with me -- the whole of them almost without a single exception. John Bunyan first and foremost preaches to Jerusalem sinners; and Charnock, you know, has written a book, The Chief of Sinners, Objects of the Choicest Mercy. But I do not care for that; I know the Lord has blessed my appeals to all sorts of sinners, and none shall stay me in giving free invitations as long as I find them in this Book. And I do cry with Peter this morning to this vast assembly, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ .... For the promise is unto you, and to your children... even as many as the Lord our God shall call."


So Spurgeon was a Calvinist and said so, but he did not accept all the doctrines of hyper-Calvinism, and he said so.

In truth, the false doctrines of hyper-Calvinism would not do so much harm if they were emphasized as little as Spurgeon emphasized them, and particularly, if those who advocate them worked unceasingly to win souls as Spurgeon did.

But why follow Spurgeon? He was human. He was an amazing preacher, an evangelist. Some think he was the greatest preacher since the Apostle Paul. But when he was wrong he was wrong. He plainly said he did not know enough about the return of Christ to preach on it. No man is perfect. It would be as foolish to follow Spurgeon in whatever part of the false doctrine of hyper-Calvinism he believed as to follow him in smoking cigars. He saw the error of smoking a little while before he went to Heaven, and I am sure he saw the errors of hyper-Calvinism, besides those he himself criticized, as soon as he reached Heaven. Why not just follow the Bible instead of Arminius or Calvin or Wesley or Spurgeon?

IV. GOD NEVER IS PARTY TO SIN, NEVER ARRANGES SO ONE MUST SIN​

Did God plan every evil, every sin that men have ever committed? Did God predestine Adam and Eve to sin? Did He plan and bring about the rebellion of Satan, once Lucifer, an angel of light; and did He bring about the fall of the angels that fell? We must agree that God knew all the future, but can we say that all the sin really originated in the heart and planning of God? No! Surely such a thought is abhorrent to every spiritual mind. The Bible does not teach it.

God planned and elected much in the lives of all men, but not the sin. Men themselves do not have to sin. They sin because they are sinful and can choose to sin, or choose the path that leads to sin.

A man cannot choose the date of his birth, nor the place he is born, nor his parents. He cannot choose the color of his eyes, the shape of his face, the talents or limitations with which he may be born. Many of the things that happen to one he cannot control, but on moral issues, issues of right and wrong, man can choose and must choose. Election does not settle the choice anyone makes about sin or salvation.

Four great truths show that man is not coerced to sin, that sin and rejection of Christ are moral issues in which man always has a choice.

There Are God's Commands Which Men Can Obey or Disobey

God never commands a man to "be born in Chicago on June 30th." God settles that, with the person affected having no choice, no responsibility to obey or refuse. But on moral matters, right and wrong are clearly set forth in God's commands. The "Thou shalt not's" of the Bible show that on moral issues men have a choice to make and do make a choice.

God Gives Man a Conscience to Tell Him Right and Wrong

The Scripture says, "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly" (Prov. 20:27). On other matters men must decide; with no moral issue involved, a man does not have inward light always. Should he buy this house at this price? Should he have a Ford car or a Chevrolet? Conscience has no answer. One may ask God for wisdom and have help, but conscience says only, "This is right" or "That is wrong." So "that little spark of celestial fire called conscience" proves God gives inward light so one can choose right on issues of moral and spiritual duty. Men are not so predestined that they must sin or must reject Christ.

A Way of Escape From Sin Always Provided

Has God made man so, and provided circumstances so that a man can not avoid sinning in a given instance? No, for we are plainly told in I Corinthians 10:12,13,

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it"

So if one takes heed he need not fall. Always a way of escape is provided. God is faithful to not only allow one to take heed and choose not to sin, but also makes a way of escape in every case. In any particular case men may have help, may escape sin. So men are not predestined to sin or to reject the Saviour.

Men Come to Judgment for Their Sins, Are Accountable, So They Need Not Blame God Nor Predestination for Sins

For every idle word men shall come to judgment, Jesus said (Matt 12:36). And Revelation 20:12 tells us that the unsaved dead will be judged "according to their works," which are meticulously recorded. Does not that prove that in moral matters man is accountable and must choose?

God chose Jacob to head a nation for Him, and rejected Esau. That was predestined before they were born (Rom. 9:11-13). But Esau, while rejected as head of a tribe through which God would bring the Saviour, was not predestined to go to Hell, and for all we know may have been saved.

Pharaoh was a wicked, murderous man, and in the matter of letting Israel go from Egypt, God had raised him up to make an example of him and kill him ( Rom. 9:17,18). But there is no evidence that God predestined him to go to Hell. He could have chosen to be saved. Knowing ahead of time what Pharaoh would do, God planned to make an example of His destruction of a wicked king.

Hyper-Calvinism is unscriptural, false doctrine. It tends to flourish in intellectual pride and in neglect of soul winning, and is a symptom of moral guilt. It is Satan's effort to kill concern and compassion for souls.
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
Agree. Too much censorship on this forum, but I try my best to follow the rules, even those I dont agree with.
We are in agreement. I believe that the Lord would approve of our intention to "follow the rules" unless it conflicts with the dictates of heaven. If we attempt to wrongly muzzle followers of Christ, then, as Gamaliel noted in the Scriptures, we could even find ourselves "...fighting against God." (Acts 5:39) While I don't believe that Calvinism as a whole, preaches truth, I, paradoxically, count many Calvinists as fellow Christians. Yes, I think they are frequently under a burden of legalism, but I believe the Lord would call us to show them how their theology is detrimental to the Body of Christ.
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
Here's a great thread about Calvinism. In it Mattfivefour wrote this excerpt below:

https://www.raptureforums.com/forums/threads/calvinism.123765/

I promised to write this in an attempt to help some understand Calvinism—what is wrong and what, if anything, is right.
As is well-known and already discussed above, Calvinism rests on five points. As is also pointed out in a post above, they are known by the acronym TULIP, which stands for
  • Total depravity
  • Unconditional election
  • Limited Atonement
  • Irresistible grace
  • Perseverance of the saints

I don’t have space here to launch into a deep theological study of these doctrines. Nor do I have the time to prepare such a study. But I suggest that such a deep study is not needed for the average Christian. God’s teaching in this area is, I believe, quite straight-forward—although man seems able to make that appear not to be so. (Having said that, I notice that it has taken me almost four and a half thousand words to speak of this “straightforward” doctrine! :lol )
Anyway, let’s begin.


Total Depravity


The original meaning of Total Depravity was extensive, rather than intensive. In other words, as the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics puts it,


“The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

“The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).”

And to this degree, the Calvinists are correct. No person can come to Christ unless the Father draws him or her. That’s a gospel fact (John 6:44). But they go way beyond this simple meaning and suggest that the Father’s calling of those who become saved is limited to just those people and is based on some sovereign decision made by God within His secret eternal council and results solely from His sovereign will being toward some and not others. But the Bible does not say this, as we shall see as we press on with this brief study. The context of the idea of Total Depravity sits in part upon two key passages of Scripture—


Isaiah 54:6 “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Psalm 14:3; 53:3; Romans 3:12 “They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

The problem for the Calvinist interpretation of these passages is that the context does not refer to an inability of man to seek God. If man could not seek God, then why would God repeatedly call on man to seek Him?
Amos 5:4 “For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live.”

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Isaiah 55:3 “"Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.”

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

There are dozens of similar verses. None of them would make any sense unless God believed that man could seek Him. Of course, the seeker needs divine help. And God says plainly that He will come to whomever tries to find Him.
1 Chronicles 28:9b “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”

Unconditional Election
The Calvinists view this doctrine as teaching that:


“God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would ‘accept’ the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation.” (Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics)

And they use Romans 9:15,21 as their proof texts. These verses state,


“For He (God) says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion’ … Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?”

But look at the context by reading all of Romans 9. If you read it carefully, seeking God’s illumination , you will see that the Holy Spirit here is not using Paul to teach the sovereign will of God but that God is not unjust in His decisions. The issue is without question the justice of God, not anything else.


We must never focus on one characteristic of God and allow that to trump other equally valid characteristics of His. God has said He IS love. Not love as humans practice it, but giving, self-sacrificing love that has as its focus not self but the other person. God’s love does not seek some return, but only operates in order to give.


As a result of that love, God tells us that He is not willing that any be lost but that ALL might find repentance (2 Peter 3:9). To attempt to draw a doctrine from Romans 9 that supports God making some cosmic eeny-meeny-miny-moe choice of souls whom He creates, the winners being given salvation, the rest of the people being sent to a destruction they have no choice either to choose or reject, is to contradict the fundamental doctrine of God’s love for ALL humankind, not just the Jews and not just a few specially chosen ones.


Further, the Calvinists’ belief that God has elected to save only a certain portion of the souls He has created and that this election is “not based upon his looking forward to discover who would ‘accept’ the offer of the gospel” runs utterly counter to God’s own Word! In Peter’s first epistle, the Holy Spirit tells us the following:


1 Peter 1:1-2 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”

A couple of years ago, as I was driving Dr. Thomas Ice somewhere, I asked him how he reconciled this verse with his Calvinist teaching. His answer was to tell me that “the foreknowledge of the Father” did not mean “the foreknowledge of the Father” as we would think of foreknowledge. He said the word “foreknowledge” here actually means “foreordination” and that God simply foreordained as elect the ones to whom Peter is writing.


I won’t get into the depth of the convoluted grammatical reasoning behind this view, but I will lay it out in broad strokes. The Calvinists draw their re-interpretation of the word “foreknowledge” (Greek prognosis) in this verse from the grammatical construction of Acts 2:23 where the words “determinate counsel” of God and “foreknowledge” of God appear in a form which, arguably (though not to them), makes both words possibly refer to the same act of God. From this the Calvinist says that since God’s “determinate counsel “ and His “foreknowledge” refer to the same thing then the word foreknowledge cannot simply refer to previous knowledge since “determinate counsel” refers to an act of mutual discussion and consideration of a matter. Therefore, after further reasoning from word meanings, the Calvinists say that foreknowledge must simply “refer to that counsel of God which after deliberative judgment certain from among mankind were designated to a certain position, that position being defined by the context.” (First Peter in the Greek New Testament, Kenneth Wuest, Erdman’s 1942, 1970.) That position and context here, of course, refers to salvation.


This is an argument worthy of a Jesuit! Note that it is entirely grammatical, not theological. Let me assure you that the simple fact of God's Word is that He does not hide His truths, to be discovered through convoluted thinking or reasoning. And certainly His truths in one place will never contradict His truths in another. Based on an in-depth study of the Greek, I believe that in both occurrences of the noun prognosis in the NT and all five occurrences of the verb prognosko, we can confidently translate the meaning as to "foreknow" in the sense of "know beforehand". To doubt this meaning is to doubt—or in some way limit—the truth of God's omniscience.


Limited Atonement


The Center for Reformed theology and Apologetics says of this doctrine, in part:


“Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, "for whose sins did Christ atone?" The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28).”

I wish I could say at least say that their interpretation of Scripture here is faulty but I can see where they think they have scriptural support for their view. Unfortunately, I can see no such place of scriptural support at all. John 17:9 does not dictate a limit, nor does Matthew 26:28. Not in the slightest. It is stretching scripture to the breaking point to find limited atonement in those verses. Or in any other verse of the Bible. But I can find many, many verses that tell me that salvation is intended for all and, were it not for the fact that God has given man free will to choose or reject Him, God would have ALL men to be saved:


2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

1 Timothy 2:3-4 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. “

John 3:16-17 “For 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 to save the world through Him..”

Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”

1 John 4:15 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

Further, Scripture is very clear that Christ’s atonement was not just for a select few but for ALL humankind.
John 2:2 “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

John 4:42 “They said to the woman, "We now believe not only because of your words; we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man truly is the Savior of the world."

1 John 2:2 “He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.”
Now, there IS a limitation on the atonement; but not the kind of limit the Calvinist posits. And we find it clearly outlined in the most famous salvation verse in the Bible— John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…” There is the breadth of God’s love: “the world.” He loved the world (Greek kosmos, meaning ‘the entire created earth including all of its inhabitants’) to such an extent “that He gave His only begotten Son.” This describes the extent of God’s love (he gave His only begotten Son) and the focus of that love (for “the world”.) So there is no limit there, at all. But keep reading . “… that whosoever believes in Him ...” and there we have the limitation. Christ died for all mankind, but only those who believe in Him—only those who, by faith, genuinely accept that sacrifice for themselves—will “not perish but have everlasting life.”


So the limit on the atonement is that only those who accept it can benefit from it. Those who reject it have no benefit from it, even though it was made available to them.


I once described the universality and the limitation of the atonement through the following story:


A father had two sons from whom he was estranged. They had no interest at all in having anything to do with him. Without the wealth possessed by the father, the two sons lived humbly and walked everywhere, having no means of transportation. One day, in an attempt to reach out to them and bring them back into the family fold, the father purchased two beautiful cars and delivered them to the residence of each son. The first son was touched by the gift. He went and took the key, opened the vehicle, turned on the ignition, and began to drive everywhere he needed to go. The townsfolk shook their heads and said, “The father really loved that son., Look at the vehicle he bought him.” But the second son wanted absolutely nothing to do with his father. In his bitterness, he rejected the gift. He refused to use the key, leaving it lying where it had been placed. And even though the vehicle was at his disposal, he chose to continue walking everywhere, proud that he was leading his own life and was not beholden to the father. And as he walked the streets of the town, the townsfolk shook their heads and said, “That poor boy. The father does not love him like the other son for, see, he is still having to walk everywhere.”


The townsfolk of that story are a lot like the Calvinists. They see one person with the father’s gift and believe that shows his love for that son. And they see the other son without a gift and presume that is because the father has not chosen to bless that son. But the simple fact is the father had given the same gift to both sons. One chose to accept it; the other chose to reject it. End of story. The views of the townfolk were in error. So too, God the Father has given the gift of salvation to the entire world; sadly, only some choose to accept it. This does not mean that God only intended his gift for those who accept it. He intended it for everybody. That many reject it in no way changes that fact. Salvation is for all. Only those who finally and utterly reject it can not receive it and therefore die in their sins.


Irresistible Grace


The Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics says that


“The result of God's Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44), and the very Spirit of God leads God's beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts and wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!”

Certainly it is possible to see from the verses above how someone could view God’s grace as being imposed on the recipients. But this is demonstrably erroneous. A proper review of Scripture shows that irresistible grace is not—nor could it ever be—the case. God gave man free will. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Moses said to the people of Israel “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live … (Deuteronomy 30:19),” which would be a rather silly thing to say if the people had no choice. Further, under the same anointing Joshua said to the people of Israel, “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell (Joshua 24:15).” If they had no free will, it would have been equally silly for God to have had Joshua say that. And God never says anything foolish.


When He set blessings and curses before the people of Israel, He was giving them a very real choice. They were free to make their own choice and God accepted whatever choice they made, regardless of how foolish it may have been. Now that didn’;t mean that He would sit back and not try to bring circumstances into their lives that would cause them to voluntarily turn back to Him; but He did not force or coerce them into repentance. He simply let them reap the results of their choice. Our God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He did not give Israel choices which He withholds from the rest of the world. Love that is compelled is not love.


Unfortunately, when Calvin developed his doctrines he lived in a world-wide culture that fully understood (and lived under) an absolute monarchy. A monarch was sovereign in every degree. No sovereign could truly be sovereign if members of his or her realm could refuse the sovereign’s commands and substitute their own. It was this view that colored the view of John Calvin (and many other reformers) regarding the sovereignty of God. They believed that if a man could refuse the will of God, then God could not be God. Hence, by their logic, man could not have free will if God was to have true sovereignty.


Again man painted God in his own image. The fact is that God’s sovereignty is shown to its uttermost in the fact that God can allow man to have his own free will and in no way weaken His sovereignty. In fact, God’s sovereignty is magnified by the fact that nothing man does can threaten or weaken it in any way. The simple fact is that God’s omnipotence is such that regardless of what man or Satan does, He will work it all to His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom. God’s will shall remain supreme despite allowing Satan and man to have their ways.


Perseverance of the Saints


This is the final point of Calvinism. It is a doctrine which states simply …


“… that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God's hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God's stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfillment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the "last day" (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ's promise that he will perfectly fulfill the will of the Father in saving all the elect. (Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics)

Well, here is where—if this were the only point of Calvinism—I could be a Calvinist. Indeed, God will not lose one who comes to Him. All who accept Christ will be kept forever, because it is God who does the initial work and the continuing work in the saint.
John 6:39 “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”

1 Corinthians 1:8 “God will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 1:22 “But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy, unblemished, and blameless in His presence.”

Philippians 2:13 “God is the One working in you both to will and to work according to His good pleasure.”

2 Timothy 1:12 “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

Philippians 1:6 “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

To support the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, the Calvinists have many of the right verses. But they impose on those verses the erroneous doctrine of limited atonement. And in so doing they further pervert the gospel of universal grace offered, man being free to choose it or reject it.
Before I leave this point, may I suggest that the idea of “the perseverance of the saints” is inextricably intertwined with the idea of “the preservation of the saints”? We persevere because God saves us, He indwells us, He works in us, He keeps us, and above all He guarantees to present us faultless before His throne in Glory (Jude 1:24). Glory to His Name!!!


Conclusion:


Calvinism as it is believed and practiced today does not—nor can it—stand on bare Scripture. It can only stand as man redefines the meanings of words and adds his own conditions to God’s statements. And ultimately it falls not just on the basis of Scripture alone but on the basis of the character of God as revealed in Scripture.


God gave us the ten commandments not simply as a set of rules to live by but as a revelation of His character. When He calls on us to live justly and with love, He says so because He is both just and love. If we are to be in communion with Him, we must be like Him. He is the pure and holy one who is perfect love and perfect justice. He gives with no thought of return in mind and has no respect for a person’s status or self-view but only looks at the heart and He responds freely and willingly to all who seek Him. In no way would this God impose standards of selfless love for ALL mankind (remember the lesson of the parable of the Good Samaritan) but choose to act toward many whom He created without that same love … simply because He is God and sovereign and who can do what He wills.


God will not act contrary to His revealed character. He is the God of Perfect Love and Perfect Justice. The doctrine of the Calvinists denies this … regardless of their disclaimers and repudiation of the charge.


No, there is no truth in the idea of the total depravity of man. But there is truth in the idea of the depravity of man. We have seen in Scripture that it is not total. Man can still seek God, despite his depravity. Indeed, God expects him to do so.


No, there is no truth in the idea of unconditional election. There is, however, truth in the idea of election according to God’s foreknowledge. In other words, God by His omniscience foreknows who will accept Him and what it will take in their life to bring them to that point. And He determines to do all necessary to get them to that point where they can exercise their free will and accept Him once they realize who He is and what they are. Those whom He foreknows will NEVER accept Him regardless of what He does (short of compelling them to accept Him), He does not put the same effort into. And that is not unjust in the least. The injustice is purely on the part of the man or woman who rejects all that God has done for them.


No, there is no truth to the idea of limited atonement in the sense that the atonement is limited only to God’s elect. But there is a limitation to the effectiveness of the atonement— it can only be effective for those who accept it. It is of absolutely of no value to the rebel who rejects it


No, there is no truth whatsoever to the idea of irresistible grace. It is an erroneous doctrine that is predicated on the human concept of the absolute sovereignty of God combined with the idea of the total depravity of man.


Yes, there is great truth to the idea of the perseverance of the saints and, I like to add, to the truth of the preservation of the saints.


I think if you prayerfully consider this topic, leaving aside all preconceptions (either for or against), asking God to guide you, and then undertake a study of the character of God as revealed in Scripture along with the verses used by both sides, you will definitely com to the belief that the Calvinist gospel as proclaimed today is in sufficient error as to be rejected by necessity in order to preserve the faith once delivered. (Jude 1)
Excellent essay--although I'm afraid that those who need it most will fail to come to grips with the points that you rightly raise. There is an old teaching among the Jewish rabbis that the main dispute between God and His adversary (Satan) was over the matter of free will for mankind. Satan desired to make slaves of humans and God decreed that mankind would be free to make choices as to how to live life--God's life of blessing or the temporary thrill but extremely destructive pursuit of rebellion from God's decrees. As we see in the Book of Job, (arguably, the oldest Book in the Bible), God took the challenge from Satan and came out the victor--just as we gain the victory through Christ. In the End, God will have His way.
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
All save Lord Jesus were in the fall of Adam, as all lost full free will as now have a sin nature , which limits us to what we can do!
Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." Christians are a free people--we have been set free of the curse of separation from God, through the Blood of the Messiah, the Holy One of God. Focusing on the sin nature, leads to our failure to lift up our heads and watch as our redemption draws near. A joyless Christian (and I have known many Calvinists who are utterly devoid of joy) denies the words of our Lord who told us that He came so that we could share in His joy.
 

JSTyler

Well-Known Member
actually, I am a mature saint in Christ, saved by His grace now 40 years, and do not agree with Calvin in all areas, especially in regards to water baptism of babies, but his view on salvation proper very biblical!
I hope you realize that I wasn't questioning your maturity in any way whatsoever. I was pointing out the age and lack of 'weathering' of the person in question, calvin, when he developed his treatise. If I offended or mispoke in an offensive way, please accept my apology.

I'm getting old...or at least my body is and I doubt many people would mistake me for having much in the way of maturity, however I've been saved for a very long time, too. So, amen to your years in Christ, my brother or sister.

There's a lot more in calvin's 5-point ideologies that I disagree with than I agree with. That said, this is the kind of discussion that always devolves into scriptures at 20 paces, whether it's high-noon or not, and worse yet, typically becomes eisegetical nonsense.

I'd rather find areas we can fellowship over, as per the infant baptism issue you bring up. Heh, infant baptism, maybe the first oxymoron in written record?

Anyway, I hope we can move onward to areas of peace and unity.
 

Wings Like Eagles

Well-Known Member
I agree whole-heartedly with everything that Everlasting Life has posted, further up in the thread and much of it had to do with Calvin's flawed soteriology. I don't see any benefit in trying to rewrite what he has already posted but, I will say that there is one glaring flaw to which I strenuously object: Limited Atonement. The idea that the Creator of the Universe is, in any way, subject to my rules for Him--that He can only save those who He predestined, is offensive to me. An old Messianic rabbi, of my acquaintance once said to me: "The Blood of Christ has infinite atonement for all who will come to Him. There is more power in that Blood than all the energy in the universe. He is God--is anything too difficult for Him?" Calvinists make God to be subject to the Law and He is not. He makes the Law for us because we are sinners and we need it. He has no such need. Amen?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top