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Archive for October, 2011

Why Calvinism is Wrong, pt. 1

October 25, 2011 3 comments

This title alone is likely to attract all sorts of criticism and angry comments. I’ve written a few blogs on Calvinism before, and I always end up with comments from strangers who are either angry, or who pity me for not being as enlightened as them (my apologies for the sarcasm). However, I think I have some things that need to be said, even if they will inevitably (attempt to) be refuted in the comments.

My beef with Calvinism today is the following:

Calvinists believe in a cruel and unjust God.

Perhaps you feel this is too harsh. Maybe I ought to have chosen a less controversial statement to begin with. But perhaps it is all the politeness that has allowed this false doctrine (maybe heresy) to become so popularized in America lately.

I say that the Calvinists believe in a cruel God, not because it is how they speak of Him, or even believe Him to be. I say this because their claims inevitably lead to this conclusion. Allow me to quote Jean Calvin:

“God preordained, for his own glory and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation.”

Find quote here.

In an attempt to be fair, let me quote him yet again:

“No man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men: neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief”

I can agree with the second statement, but not the first. In fact, the two are mutually exclusive and contradictory and cannot both be true. How Calvin is able to say both, should be of concern to all Calvinists.

How are they contradictory? In the first, Calvin states that “a part” of the human race has been preordained to eternal salvation, whereas in the second he states “the gate of salvation is set open unto all men.” So is salvation for a “part” of the human race, or for “all?” It cannot be both.

Indeed it is clear that Calvinism, as a theological system, is set upon the idea that only a part are predestined “by God’s grace” to salvation, and the rest are excluded. Some will say that God does not predestine the rest to damnation, only He has not predestined them to salvation. Either way, the result is the same – the rest go to hell for eternity.

Predicated upon this fundamental belief, all of the 5 Points grow outward. The first, Total Depravity, states that because man is totally/entirely depraved, he cannot ever desire or choose God. Thus God must choose him. Unfortunately, God hasn’t chosen everyone – even though He could have. Calvinists acknowledge that faith is essential to salvation, but since we cannot ever come to faith on our own, God has to give faith to us (cf. Total Depravity). Again, unfortunately God has not chosen to give faith to everyone.

Here’s  the issue: if man cannot believe, then he cannot rightly be held responsible for believing or not. Yet Calvinists say that God is just in sending such people to hell because they don’t believe. Such a scenario is akin to a father insisting his children clean their rooms or else be punished, only then to lock one of those rooms, thus preventing his child from cleaning it, but still proceeding to punish that child for failing to clean his room.

I hear their arguments already…”The issue is not that the child could clean his room, but is prevented from doing so. The issue is that the child is not capable of cleaning the room! If the room is to be cleaned at all, the father will have to clean it for him!” Unfortunately, this scenario is worse. If the child is incapable, then the child is inculpable (like what I did there?). If the room must be cleaned (i.e., a person must believe in Jesus), but only the father can clean the room (i.e., only God can grant that faith), and the father chooses not to clean the room (i.e. God does not grant faith), and then the father punishes his child (i.e. the person goes to hell), that father has become the cruelest and most unjust father on the planet! Yet somehow, Calvinists believe just that about God, and say that He is just because man is sinful.

“If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to you.”

The God portrayed by the Calvinists is cold and cruel. Under his regime, children are born without any hope of ever knowing Jesus, without ever having the joy of sins forgiven or hope of heaven. Babies are born to burn in hell for eternity.

The Scriptures portray a different God; a God whose promise of salvation is universal:

“For everyone who calls upon the name of Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:13 (cf. Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21)

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!” Isa. 45:22

“…God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. 2:3-4

“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” 1 Tim. 4:10

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9

There are more scriptures. Many more. This truth – that God desires ALL MEN to be saved, and NONE to perish – is so clear in the scriptures that the attempt to teach anything only reveals a deep blindness. Those who purport that God has preordained only a few, that Jesus died only for a few, cling desperately to the teachings of a man, and not the clear teaching of scripture.

Therefore, I am bold to say that God is calling you, whoever you are, and that God will save you if you will call upon Him. Choose Him today. He already sent His Son to die for you, placing upon you the highest possible value. You are loved beyond words by the same God who put the stars in the sky. He’ll take you in, embrace you, forgive you, give you purpose and direction and you will become part of a family that you will know for eternity. You are not excluded. Come to Christ today and be saved.

Categories: Bible, Life, Ministry