Calvinism and the TULIP Biblical?
That God is almighty and all-powerful is not questionable.
That man is held responsible for his life and sin is also not questionable. With both
views clearly presented in Scripture, we are automatically left with something that
is totally irreconcilable to the human mind: how can God be God, if man is man, or
in other words, how can God be sovereign, if man has a free will?
If man has a free will, is God still God? If God
is omnipotent, than man is subject to God, not vica versa, or as Calvinist R.C. Sproul
"My children have free wills. When our wills clash
I have the authority to overrule their wills. Their wills are to be subordinate to
my will; my will is not subordinate to theirs" (8 p.
The following verses clearly present this Biblical
paradox of man's accountably and God's supremacy, which is based on His foreknowledge:
"The Son of man goeth as it is written of him (written
in time and according to God's foreknowledge): but woe unto that man by
whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been
born" (man's personal accountability) (Matt. 26:24).
delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (God's foreknowledge),
ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (man's personal accountability)
the Bible presents this paradoxical view of God and man working together to further
God's plan of redemption, whether man is aware of this or not (Gen. 50:20; John 11:50-52),
what the Bible doesn't support however, is the strange seventeenth century ideology,
which is called "Calvinism."
us further understand this, may I share the following and very helpful explanation,
from William Lane Craig:
foreknowledge of a free action, one may infer only that that action will occur, not
that it must occur. The agent performing the action has the power to refrain, and
were the agent to do so, God's foreknowledge would have been different. Agents cannot
bring it about both that God foreknows their action and that they do not perform the
action, but this is no limitation on their freedom. They are free either to act or
to refrain, and whichever they choose, God will have foreknown. For God's knowledge,
though chronologically prior to the action, is logically posterior to the action and
determined by it. Therefore, divine foreknowledge and human freedom are not mutually
exclusive (The Only Wise God, p. 74).
is honest enough to accept that the Reformers could all be wrong with their reformed
sure, it is possible that Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Edwards could all
be wrong on this matter" (8 p. 15).
Sproul seems to think that Thomas Aquinas was a Christian?!? He was in fact, a Roman
Catholic, and one that has also been canonised. That means Catholics can pray to him
and other departed "saints" for "intercessions" and so on).
only could these men be wrong but what about Martin Lloyd Jones, who I am reliably
informed, changed his reformed view on eschatology and embraced the rapture, seven
year tribulation, and the thousand year reign of Christ on the earth. However I am
aware that certain disciples of Lloyd Jones question the validity of this claim, so
one would be wise to do further research on this matter.
When I began researching Calvin and his legacy, back
in 2004, I tried to be as impartial and as open minded to this Genevan theologian
as possible. I read many books, both for and against Calvin, and therefore I believe
this article will hopefully be as faithful to the man, his legacy, and theology as
"The Doctrines of Grace [TULIP] are the warp and
woof of the Biblical Gospel cherished by so many saints for centuries."
"I do not ask whether you believe in Calvinism, it
is possible you may not, but I believe you will before you enter heaven; I am persuaded
as God may have washed your heart, He will wash your brains before your enter heaven."
as these are breathtaking. Yet wasn't it Spurgeon, saved over thirty years, who wrote
the following, when commenting on Ps. 87:
"May it be our happy lot to be numbered with the
Lord's chosen...let us pray, then, for the adoption and regeneration which will secure
us a place among the heaven born."
Now isn't this amazing! Spurgeon was no doubt one
of England’s finest ever Bible teachers, and yet he doesn't know whether or not he's
saved. What an absolute and avoidable tragedy!
"Arminianism, it has been said, is the back door
to Romanism" (David Samuel, The Church in Crisis, p. 132).
So if one is not a five-point Calvinist, than they
are either at best, a sympathiser to Roman Catholicism or at worst an agent, consciously
or unconsciously, for the Jesuits. More nonsense!
The writer to True Wisdom Has Two Sides - Calvinism
- is it Biblical? believes Calvinism is another gospel, which would mean it's
a false gospel; therefore a curse from God is on them and their proponents (11 p.114).
The following quote from Calvinist John Bratt is
"[Calvin was] the stone which the builders had rejected"
(John Bratt, The Life and Teachings of John Calvin, p. 32).
Such an appalling comparison to the Lord Jesus Christ,
should make today's Calvinists cringe with horror, when they see their fellow brethren
in times past, trying to draw comparisons between Calvin's initial rejection from
the people of Geneva, to the Jews rejection of their Messiah!
However not all people agrees with this statement:
"Gross hypocrite, thou and they companions will gain
little by your pains. If you do not save yourselves by flight, nobody shall prevent
your overthrow, and you will curse the hour when you left your monkery" (Philip Schaff, History
of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 502).
"Freemasonry, far from declining, has
been spreading. Most alarming, perhaps, is its penetration deep and wide into the
established 'reformed' churches and the new ground it is breaking in to in the Evangelical
fellowships of this and other lands" (W. J. McCormick, Christ, The Christian And
Freemasonry, p. 16).
So not only have the masons infiltrated
some reformed churches but according to Adam Weishaupt,
the former trained Jesuit turned Illuminati supremo:
"The most wonderful thing of all is
that the distinguished Lutheran and Calvinist theologians who belong to our order
really believe that they see in it [Illuminati] the true and genuine sense of Christian
religion. Oh, mortal man, is there anything you cannot be made to believe?"
As I cannot substantiate whether or
not the above quote is authentic or not, may I suggest therefore to those of you that
are in reformed churches, or any church for that matter, to ask your pastors/leaders,
whether or not any of them are freemasons or members of the Illuminati. And if they're
not, what is their view on Christians that are and more importantly, what is their
position on masonry in general? You may be surprised not only by what they say, but
what they don't say! And while you're in the "pastors office," ask him/her, what they
think about the Catholic church and the ecumenical movement? Again,
you may be surprised by their reply.
When only three years old or so, his mother died
and left his father with the responsibility of raising young John and their five other
children. Once remarried, two new daughters from his second marriage would be added
to the Calvin clan.
His parents were wealthy, well thought of and dedicated
Catholics. Their children enjoyed a comfortable and privileged upbringing.
Calvin was a bright young man and highly thought
of in his Catholic and even royal environment.
Calvin the student
As a dazzling student in Paris, we read the following
grim conditions that welcomed French students:
"They contained no accommodation for the students,
so the students had to find their own lodgings. These, for the most part, were execrable.
A slum in a modern city is clean and sweet compared with the filthy lanes they were
situated in. As there was no supervision, life for them was free and easy, not to
say disreputable, and the students were often in bad odour with the citizens...rising
before five in the morning...picked their way through mud and puddles to the room
where the professor awaited them...went to their lodgings...or to the wine shop to
find relief from their drudgery...Erasmus says that in the college he attended, in
a year's time, by wretched lodgings, bad and spare diet, late and hard studies, of
many young men of genius, some were killed, some went mad, some became infected with
loathsome diseases, and all were brought into danger" (3 p.
"He stayed for a few weeks in Ferrara among kindred
spirits at the court of the reform-minded Duchess Renata (Renee of France), daughter
of King Louis XII of France and sister-in-law of King Francis I" (4 pg.
"On July 25, 1541, Marguerite of Angouleme, Queen
of Navarre, wrote Calvin a letter of thanks in the name of her brother Francis I because
during the religious colloquy in Worms he, together with Melanchthon and Bucer, had
urged Philip of Hesse (alas, in vain) to forge an alliance between the German princes
and the king of France against Charles V. such an alliance would have brought an end
to the persecution of the French Protestants" (4 p.
Of all the Reformers, Calvin was the most prolific
writer. Each of his Biblical commentaries would be dedicated to Dukes, Queens and
even Kings. His commentaries on James, Peter I, II, and Jude, were presented to King
Edward VI of England. His commentary on Isaiah would also be offered to the king personally,
by one Nicolas de la Fontaine (4 p.
"It is a grand thing to be king, especially of such
a country, but I have no doubt that you place an incomparably greater value on being
a Christian. Thus God has conferred upon you the still greater, inestimable privilege
of being a Christian king, indeed of being allowed to serve him as 'lieutenant' in
the maintenance of the kingdom of Jesus Christ in England...the good understanding
between Edward VI and Calvin can be seen from the fact that the king paid Calvin a
hundred crowns as thanks for the writings he had received" (4 p.
Calvin blamed John Knox for Queen Elizabeth's rejection
of his revised commentary on Isaiah, for Knox had previously written against female
rulership, for which the queen was naturally opposed to such a position.
As far as the queen was concerned, Calvin shared
Knox's view (which he didn't), and therefore relations between England and Geneva
were strained even more (4 p.
Calvin and his family
He was married for only nine years, when his wife
and their son, (who was only a few days old), both died in the same month in March
1549. Calvin would go on to adopt her two other children from her first marriage.
(Was history repeating itself again?)
Two members of Calvin's family were excommunicated
from the Catholic church; one being his uncle, a Catholic priest and the other his
father, due to views deemed heretical by Rome. So worried were Catholics in those
days about burying excommunicated relatives, that Calvin's brother, Charles had the
delicate task of negotiating with the cathedral to allow a Catholic burial for their
late father (4 p.
Before his father died, he instructed John to abandon
his studies in philosophy, and begin legal studies instead (3 p.
12). Calvin of course listened to his father’s counsel, but in his heart he wanted
to be a philosopher, so after his father's demise, and upon finishing his legal studies,
he returned to his theological work (3 pg.
Calvin had once been a humanist, and like Luther,
law was something both men had trained for, prior to going into full time ministry
Only once in his commentary on the Psalms does he
mention his conversion. Oddly he would go on say how he didn't know for sure when
he was saved/converted from catholicism (1 p.
Professor Lefranc, in his book La Jeunesse de
Calvin, thinks that, "though the decision may have been sudden at the end, the
conversion was a gradual process."
However one of his contemporaries,
Pieter Bloccius, wondered if Calvin was ever saved:
"They who recommend that heretics be
put to death show that they are not truly regenerate...this you have not learned from
Christ, who rebuked the vengeful disciples" (11 p.
Throughout this article you will see
how most of Calvin's critics are ironically from the reformed/Calvinist camp.
"So, it would appear that the man whom
many today take as their spiritual guide was regarded, and understandably so, by some
of his contemporaries, as not being born again" (11 p.
Peter Ruckman believes that Calvin was either unsaved
or 80% Roman Catholic, because he held to the heresy of baptismal regeneration from
John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38 (12 p.
Calvin and Augustine
It has been said that Calvin leaned very much on
his hero Augustine for much of his theology (even though Augustine knew no Hebrew
or Greek 11 p.
43), for both men - even though they lived over a thousand years apart - wanted to
set up their own kingdom of God on earth, but without King Jesus on the throne. The
only difference being that Augustine's kingdom would have been 'a catholic city of
God,' whereas Calvin's would have been 'a Calvinists city of God.'
Billton offers the following on this rehash of Augustinism:
"Calvin resurrected Augustine's teaching, which was
rejected by the early church as unacceptable and heretical" (11 p.
"From the Greek Fathers he received the doctrines
of the Trinity and the Person of Christ. From the Latin Fathers and especially from
Augustine, he took his doctrines of Man, of Sin, and of Grace. From Luther he derived
the doctrine of Justification by Faith" (3 p.
"John Calvin was part of a long line of thinkers
who based their doctrine of predestination on the Augustinian interpretation of St.
Paul" (Richard Muller, Christ and the decree, p. 22).
"There is hardly a doctrine of Calvin that does not
bear the marks of Augustine's influence" (Alvin Baker, Berkouwers Doctrine of
Election: Balance or Imbalance?)
In his Institutes, which he wrote in the South of
France in 1534, he quotes Augustine over four hundred times, and goes on to call him
"holy father," and proudly says of him:
"Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished
to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fullness and satisfaction
to myself out of his writings" (2 p.
He was so besotted with Augustine, that he dubbed
himself, "an Augustinian theologian" (see introduction to Calvin's, Institutes,
p. 1303, IX. xiv. 26).
Even Luther was addressed as "my
revered father" (4 p.
And yet I cannot help but note that such admiration
would not have been recompensed back to Calvin from Augustine!
It must also be mentioned that Calvin's initial purpose
was to reform the church of Rome, not to reject it. The same is true of Martin Luther.
"They [the Reformers] never doubted the validity
of the Catholic ordinances, and rejected the idea of re-baptism" (Philip Schaff, History
of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 313).
and his theology
Aurelius Augustine, after the apostle Peter and Thomas
Aquinas, is probably Catholicism’s greatest "saint" in their church. He was the son
of a pagan father, but his mother, "St." Monica was a Christian (probably safer to
say catholic). This African Catholic from Algeria was seen very much as the founder
and architect of the today's Catholic church.
His road to Catholicism is an interesting one. After
converting to Manichaeism (which lasted 8 years) he then lost interest in this pagan
religion, so left for Rome. He was very much taken in by pagan philosophers, upon
It's stated that during a period of great testing,
Augustine claimed to hear a child's voice, under a fig tree, which allegedly told
him to, "Take up and read."
Augustine would go on to make many theological errors
and blunders, which regrettably to this day, have remained in Christendom.
In S. Baring Gould's book The Evangelical Revival, he
says the following:
"With his new dogmas Augustine introduced a whole
category of new terms, "Universal human depravity," "Original sin," "Effectual calling,"
and God's irreversible "Decrees." Novel altogether Augustine's doctrine was. He was
the first in Christ's Church to deny that Christ
died for all men, to deny to man the exercise
of free will, to urge on the persecution
of heretics to death, to exalt slavery as
a divine institution, to forge a theology so cruel, so shocking, that he himself,
as he contemplated his accomplished work, stood aghast at its hideous completeness.
He was actually, truly an innovator altering the whole character of Christianity"
He taught infant sprinkling was essential for salvation
(Augustine, On the Merits and forgiveness of Sins 1.23-26-34).
Believed that non-baptised infants who died at birth
would go to Hell if they hadn't been baptised in time (Augustine, On the Merits
and forgiveness of Sins 1.35).
Casper Schwenkfeld however, believed infant baptism
was heresy (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 7, p. 574,
And so did some of the early church "fathers."
From 90-300 AD, Church historians universally agreed
that the doctrine of baptising infants was not practiced anywhere. For example, Alexandra
(254), Hilary of Poitiers (360), Basil of Caesarea (379), Chrysostom (400), Gregory
of Nazianzen (386), and Ambrose of Milan (390) all held to adult only baptisms.
Historians such as G. H. Orchard credit this doctrine
and practice to the Roman Catholic, Augustine himself.
Ruckman offers us the following on this:
"Augustine and Calvin taught that a man got saved
by being elected when he was sprinkled, unless he wasn't elect to start with, and
then the sprinkling was actually a waste of time."
Roger du Barry, a five-point Calvinist, confirms
how the reformers taught that baptism for infants was essential for their salvation:
"This was the position of the entire Reformation
(infant baptism for salvation), whether Lutheran or Reformed, Presbyterian or Anglican.
They were completely unanimous on this point, and fought vigorously against those
who tried to downplay it or turn it in a more baptistic direction. Today, most evangelicals
would insist that one enters into the kingdom of God simply by believing the gospel,
or making a decision for Christ, without at any time mentioning baptism" (The
Journal of the Church of England Continuing, December 2004, p. 10).
For more information on infant salvation, please
see unconditional election.
Augustine said that nobody could be completely sure
of salvation, and only through the Catholic church, with all its pagan sacraments
could one ever hope to be saved! This would differ from the protestant reformers belief
that one is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. He of course
never held to the reformers doctrine of justification by faith alone, even though
many of them totally misunderstood baptism being only for adult believers.
Again, it's almost comical when examining the major
theological differences between Augustine and Calvin, to try and fathom why Calvin
repeatedly praised and fought so hard to credit and align himself with Augustine,
and yet had Calvin lived in the days of Augustine, he almost certainly would have
been executed, possibly even on the orders no less of Augustine.
Calvinist, William Cunningham said of Augustine's
view on salvation:
"[It was] defective and erroneous."
Believed the Septuagint was divinely inspired.
Said the Apocrypha was canonical, even though he
acknowledged the Jews rejected it.
Wrote to Jerome asking him to translate the Old Testament
from the Greek Septuagint and not from Hebrew.
Once held the view that man had freewill.
Advocated violence and death towards "heretics,"
i.e., Bible believing Christians and all non-Catholics (Philip Schaff, History
of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 144).
One group that was persecuted the most were the Donatists.
One of his victims said the following of Augustine:
"The Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of souls, sent
fishermen, not soldiers, for the propagation of his gospel."
Billton also adds to this:
"Calvin seems to have forgotten that the Lord Jesus
Christ was put to death by religious people who
believed Christ to be a blasphemer, because He claimed to be the Son of God" (11 p.
Followed Ambrose and allegorised large portions of
Stated that Satan had been bound in Hell since the
Church was formed, and would only be loosed at the end of the world.
Believed that the Church was the Kingdom of God and
that it is now reigning.
Stated that Isaiah 35 was fulfilled in the Catholic
Falsely date-fixed Jesus' return to 1000 AD (City
of God, Book XX, Chapters 7, 9,13).
Said Israel would never return to their land.
Taught the authority of tradition and the Catholic
Church being the sole authority of interpreting the Bible.
Said Mary was sinless and advocated worship of her
(Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 1021).
Also believed in the intercession of the saints and
adoration of relics.
Is credited for establishing the doctrine of purgatory
(Loraine Boettner Immortality, p. 135).
Took the odd view that all sex was sinful, if not
used for procreation.
Followed the Mormon line that polygamy over monogamy
was acceptable, if used for propagation (Augustine on Christian doctrine, 3.18.27).
Quick facts on Calvin
Wisely said that the Lord has not given any one person
full insight into everything (4 p.
While Calvin should be credited for achieving much
for the Body of Christ during and after the Reformation, it must be said however,
that he remained rather shortsighted; for he seemed to look only as far back as Augustine
for much of his theology, and not the word of God.
May I quote a puritan pastor, John Robinson whose
views are, I believe, very relevant for then and today:
"I bewail the condition of the Reformed churches...the
Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw. And the Calvinists, as you
see, stick where Calvin left them...Luther and Calvin were precious shinning lights.
Yet God did not reveal His whole to them...I am very confident that the Lord hath
more truth and light yet to break forth out of His Holy Word" (Andrew
Landale Drummond The Story of American
Protestantism, p. 51).
Much of what this puritan
pastor said is correct. But tradition, whether catholic or protestant, has the unfortunate
habit of hindering one to salvation, and also stunting one's growth in Christ.
Was offered the role
as chief pastor of St. Peter's Cathedral in Geneva, with 250 gallons of wine a year
Considered the attacks on his character and doctrine
to be the equivalent to what the apostle Paul suffered (A Defence of the Secret
Providence of God, p. 292).
Also compared himself to Ezekiel, when he offered
the following of himself, "because they did not know that a prophet was in their midst"
Never afforded himself
a holiday and took little interest in money (1 p. 118).
"While studying at the
College of Montaigu, he would regularly study till midnight, eat a little dinner,
awake early the next morning, revise what he had studied the night before, and then
begin his next day...his carelessness about bodily exercise and regular food, made
serious inroads on his vitality, and created the dyspepsia and nervous irritability
that tormented him increasingly all the rest of his life" (3 p. 13).
This same author says
Calvin had a retentive memory, from all the years of hard and dedicated study.
Wasn't paid by the church
but the state. Upon his return to Geneva, he was offered one house with a garden,
and a generous stipend of 500 florins per annum.
Had little interest in eschatology.
"Calvin is the least satisfactory of all the Protestant
leaders regarding prophecies in general" (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian
Church, Vol. 7, p. 295).
Failed to understand the book of Revelation (John
McNeil, The History and Character of Calvinism, p. 153).
Said the idea of a thousand year reign of Christ
was "childish" (Institutes, p. 995, III.xxx.5).
Luther, on the other hand, desperately hoped Christ's
return would be less than a hundred years away (H.T. Kerr, A Compendium of Luther's
Theology, p. 245).
Yet Luther also ridiculed the millennial reign as
Was ecumenical and said the following about protestant
"...and so, according to the rule of Scripture, to
bring the separated Churches into one, neither labour nor trouble of any kind or to
be spared" (1 p.
Made a peculiar statement concerning God's effectual
"....Yet sometimes He also causes those whom He illuminates
for a time to partake of it; then he justly forsakes them on account of their ingratiate
and strikes them with even greater blindness."
Not only is this unscriptural and sounds rather Islamic,
but the whole structure of his system contradict this, for Billton offers an explanation
as to how Irresistible Grace works:
"...Whom He gives grace cannot reject it, and the
rest being reprobate cannot accept it" (11 p.
Believed 2 Peter was divinely inspired, but questioned
if Peter had written all of it (1 p.
Retained invocation of purgatory and the saints (1 p.
Never believed there were grounds for Christians
to leave church fellowship.
At every meeting that was held, communion was to
be dispensed, or at least once a week.
Believed two "sacraments" helped with salvation:
baptism and the Lord's Supper (1 p.
72; 2 p.
110). Those that opposed this non-biblical view were called "frantic spirits and mad
Roger de Barry, again towing the reformed line, adds
further thought to Calvin's foaming rhetoric:
"For this reason they (the Reformers) considered
the denial of baptism to the children of believers to be a great sin, worthy of severe
punishment by excommunication, as well as active from civil magistrate. To
deny baptism to a Christian child is to deny it salvation, just
as failure to circumcise a Jewish child resulted in its excommunication from the people"
(The Journal of the Church of England Continuing, April 2005, p. 16).
There are several problems however with the above
summary, but I will only list two of them.
Circumcision in the Old Testament was only for boys,
never girls. And circumcision was carried out on the boy before he had even come of
age, which meant simply that the newborn child was now a member of the commonwealth
of Israel, based on the faith on his parents.
Also if Mr. Barry also shares this view of the reformers,
it isn't lost on us how he conveniently omitted boy for "child" in his premise.
As has already been stated, this act was for the
nation of Israel only and, was for men, never women. Therefore, it cannot be understood
to be essential for salvation, for if it were then only men would be saved.
Abraham was saved before he was circumcised, not
after. And all of the men which wandered in the desert for 40 years were not
circumcised until Joshua 5:2-7.
In the New Testament, faith comes first, followed
by baptism. But baptism will not save anyone. Like circumcision, it is symbolic, and
as such, should be remembered as such.
I would also add that if circumcision were needed
for salvation, than Miriam (Moses' sister) and Mary (the Lord's mother) would both
have been lost. This type of poor exegesis is also found in the New Testament, where
other groups of people came to a flawed conclusion that unless women have children,
they cannot be saved (1 Tim. 2:15).
And what of Lydia or Anna, were they damned too?
I suggest that the reformers were still stuck and
indoctrinated with this erroneous and almost obsession with water baptism sometime
aiding sinners into Heaven! One can only wonder why they never broke free from it?
Would also oppose the idea of "lay people" baptizing
infants and he would oppose the idea of women baptising children. Augustine again
is cited for this (4 p.
His opposition to lay people baptising infants, and
possibly adults as well, was no doubt down to his stubborn refusal to recognise lay
people in principle having any direct role in the local assembly, much like his catholic
counterparts, for he would not want to relinquish power over the people at all.
During the Lord's Supper, he believed not only was
Christ's body spiritually and really present during communion (2 p.
107), but that the Supper was the "sacrament" to help us to live a Christian life
This doctrine is rather similar to the mass, for
Catholics not only believe they were born again when first baptised, but they are
being born again, each time they receive their
Calvin also seems to have adopted a confused view.
How can the breaking of bread be spiritual and literal?
Like baptism, he seems to have retained more Catholic
The three main leaders of the Reformation disagreed
with one another on the actual substance of communion.
Luther believed in consubstantiation (a middle view
from where Rome stands).
Zwingli correctly understood it to be a commemoration,
although Calvin said of this, "(it is) false and pernicious" (Francois Wendel, Calvin:
Origins and Development of His Religious Thought, p. 333).
Reinstated confirmation for youths. Bishops would
lay hands on those being baptised (1 p.
Was arrested and re-arrested many times for his dogmatic
stand on theology, before returning to Geneva.
First edition of Institutes was written
in Latin (1 p.
26-27), when he was just 26 years old (11 p.
Praised the pagan writings of Plato and Aristotle
Said Adam did have a free will (1 p.
Taught that Jesus, upon death, went to Hell. "Bore
in His soul the torture of condemned and ruined men" (1 p.
It's not clear if he held to the same extent the
heresy which Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer and most word of faith preachers hold to, how
Jesus was then born again in Hell?
When he returned to Geneva, immorality was everywhere
While exiled from Geneva, due to his financial burdens,
he had to sell his books and take in lodgers to get by (1 p.100).
Was called "the pope of protestantism," by Church
historian and five-point Calvinist, Philip Schaff (G.G. Herrick, Some Heretics
of Yesterday, p. 295).
He was very much a philosopher at heart.
Was hounded and persecuted by local mobs, not for
his soul winning, but because of his aspirations to be an ecclesiastical dictator.
Calvin and Ignatius Loyola were both in Paris in
1528, studying at the same College.
While Calvin was writing Institutes, Loyola
was founding the Jesuits.
When Calvin was organising his theological training
academy and college in Geneva, Loyola was establishing similar institutions for training
students and provocateurs in Rome. Before Calvin died he had sent preachers of the
reformed faith into every country in Western Europe. Loyola on the other hand had
a thousand centres of activity in Italy alone" (3 p.
Enjoyed playing quoits and a table game called clef.
A play, probably of the Passion, was performed in
Geneva on 8 April 1546 (1 p.
In Geneva, the Lord's Supper was observed four times
a year. In Calvin's own church, it was observed once a month (1 p.
By 1540, the style of church worship, was as follows:
A confession of sins and absolution
The reading of the Scriptures followed by singing
A long prayer followed by the Lord's Prayer
Congregational signing followed by a benediction.
Upheld the office and titles of paid bishops and
archbishops (1 p.
The new city of God
On 1 May 1541, the Council of Geneva revoked their
ban on the exclusion of Calvin from Geneva, and subsequently wrote to him seeking
Yet after a period of absence, Calvin wasn't too
keen to return, and wouldn't rush to respond to this formal request either. However
he did grudgingly return on 25 August 1541.
Problems soon arose, for Calvin found himself at
odds on many occasions when it came to who had the final say on matters such as excommunication,
and those able to partake in the Lord's Supper. Calvin won some battles, whilst the
Council won others.
However on the subject of excommunication, Calvin
victoriously wrote to Heinrich Bullinger:
"Recently, it was finally decided after a long struggle
that the right to excommunication belongs to us" (4 p.
By 1559 his academy had trained 2000 men to go back
to France and teach against Roman Catholicism. The academy was nicknamed "the seminary
of death." Many of them were killed by the Catholics.
His educational system was free but mandatory. It
was later imitated by the Jesuits, who were also copied by the Nazis (1 p.
Was also credited for initiating justice in courts
for victims and assailants, and a decent system of education.
By the time of his death 1200 scholars had been registered
with his university, with three hundred students, two of them being John Knox and
James Arminius (1 p.
Calvin conducted his way of religion, much like that
of a church-state, and believed that his city of God was a theocracy (1 p.136).
Elders from the churches enjoyed having a seat in
the civil courts (1 p.
(A bit like the Anglican bishops enjoy in the House
Around 13,000 people lived in Geneva, with 5,000
If one wished to live there, they would have to take
an oath of loyalty, and then live according to the reformation, and be obedient and
subject to them (1 p.
Although for those that agreed with the reformer,
life must have been good, however for those that disagreed with them, living under
such tyranny couldn't have been easy (2 p.
Church attendance was mandatory - all were to publicly
denounce blasphemers and dishonest persons (1 p.
If one converted to Catholicism, he would forfeit
his citizenship (1 p.
Calvin inherited much of this framework, which dated
back to the dark ages but chose, along with the town officials, to not only retain
them but to revive it (2 p.
Schaff offers his thoughts on this churchocracy:
"It was a glaring inconsistency that those who had
just shaken off the yoke of popery as an intolerable burden, should subject their
conscience and intellect to a human creed; in other words, substitute for the old
Roman popery a modern Protestant popery" (History of the Christian Church,
Vol. 8, p. 357).
Another Calvinist writer acknowledged that Calvin's
stringent man made rules were unacceptable:
"Calvin thus denied and violated the rights of conscience
and personal liberty in private life and in matters of religion - a deplorable but
natural consequence of his contempt for and denial of man's free will in his general
doctrine" (Guizort, Great Christians of France, p. 267).
and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
this is true in the case of Calvin's police state. And Ruckman echos this sentiment:
wanted to be a king, issuing orders to people. That is why he was in Geneva, and that
is what he did" (12 p.
When any of the reformers are mentioned, Calvin's
name is forever associated with his brutal method of putting down those who'd oppose
him and his theological views. Or if he wasn't to blame for the persecution himself,
he certainly would have been aware of it, therefore he is still accountable for his
part whether directly or indirectly, for he could have left Geneva due to its tyrannical
method of enforcing Protestantism on its subjects.
Calvinist writer C. H. Irwin, states
that he condoned of torture and death to "heretics" (1 p.
However his brutal legacy didn't die with him, for
alas, his faithful followers would continue in his steps, during their desire to set
up reformed churches throughout Britain and Europe.
In the seventeenth
century, the Episcopalians and Presbyterians
in England were all Calvinistic (1 p.
The Church of England, funded and controlled to some
extent by Parliament during the sixteenth
century, forced Calvinism on all its subjects.
Refusal to accept this resulted in reprimands, imprisonments, and in some cases, death
The Presbyterians would dominate the Church of England
during this period. All who denied God, the Scripture, and the final Judgment, were
to suffer the pains of death.
The Westminster Assembly was also funded and controlled
by Parliament, with Presbyterians once again having the final say on all issues. Other
Christian groups were strictly prohibited.
Religious freedom, something forever absent in so
many Catholic countries during this period, was also absent in the UK during this
time. In fact Calvinists would say the following about those who didn't agree with
Calvinism, "the last and strongest hold of Satan."
Non-Calvinists suffered terribly at the hands of
Calvinists. Baptists and independents would also be treated with utter contempt, with
some being called "mortal enemies of the state church."
"Many thousands [Anabaptists] were martyred by the
Roman Catholic church and they suffered a great deal of persecution at the hands of
the reformers, because they did not accept the doctrine of either Luther, Calvin or
Zwingli and opposed the link of church and government" (11 p.
Calvinist Samuel Rutherford, who was also swept up
during this time of extreme censorship and mind control, would say the following:
"There is but one true church and all that are outside
of it are heretics who must be destroyed."
Where have we heard this type of foaming rhetoric
"That the present Catholic Roman Church is the Church
founded by Christ and attested by Scripture and tradition; that she, and she alone,
is the heir to the promises of Christ and the ark of salvation" (A Catholic Dictionary,
St. John's Seminary, Wonersh, p. 168).
And not only would English and European Christians
suffer under Calvinism, but groups such as the Quakers and others would also be persecuted
by Puritan Calvinists in New England, during the (1664-1692) (The Emergence of
Liberty in the Modern World, Douglas F. Kelly, p. 126).
Jacques Gruet was beheaded on 26 July 1547, with
the consent of Calvin (4 p.
Jerome Bolsec, a Genevan doctor, who publicly criticised
Calvin's views on predestination, was cautioned and threatened with the whip, should
he return to Geneva, for he had been forced to leave due to his "erroneous views"
on Calvinism. Bolsec would go so far as to draw conclusions between the god of Jupiter
and the god of Calvinism: "(They make God) a tyrant, and in fact an idol, as the pagans
made of Jupiter" (Register of Geneva, p. 137-138).
One Giovanni Valentino Gentilis, who opposed the
Trinity, was sentenced to death. This ruling would later be overturned by the Council,
but he would go on to break the terms of his release from custody, and on 10 September
1558, under the jurisdiction of Bern, was beheaded (4 p.180).
It has been claimed that 60
people were burnt alive at the stake, in Calvin's theocratic city (5)
The most infamous incident, which will be forever
associated with Calvin, would have to be that concerning the torture and subsequent
public execution of the Spaniard, Michael Servetus.
In fact I would suggest that when one thinks of Calvin
they cannot help but think of Servetus; much like when one thinks of Kennedy they
think of Oswald.
Interestingly, numerous Calvinists line up to condemn
the action of their 'reformer in chief':
"Calvin burned Servetus" (Robert Farrar, History
of Interpretation, p. 351).
"When all is understood, admirers of Calvin must
still look upon it with shame" (John McNeil, The History and Character of Calvinism,
"In our judgement Calvin was guilty of sin" (John
Bratt, Teachings of Calvin, p. 41).
So what exactly were Servetus' crimes? Well, he rejected
the Trinity, Christ's eternal Sonship, infant baptism, and endorsed astrology.
This on its on, although heretical, could never be
'justifiable' to warrant the death penalty.
a linguistic expert, who lived in France and studied medicine, and was very much a
thorn in the side of Calvin, and the Catholic church for that matter. The Catholics
loathed him for his views on the pope:
"O vilest of all beasts, most brazen of harlots,"
he would say (2 p.
the first of many people who dubbed Calvin, "the pope of protestantism," and would
accuse him of being a sorcerer who should be imprisoned and banished from Geneva (4 p.176).
Such comments soon landed him in trouble with all
branches of Christendom.
His main opponent was Calvin however, and after various
correspondences between both parties (Calvin had sent him his Institutes to
read), Calvin later dissociated himself from him.
Calvin would say of his writings:
"(They were) defiled by his vomit" (Philip Schaff, History
of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 728).
One thing that has never been explained satisfactory
was why Servetus travelled to Geneva, when he must have known death awaited him.
Rumours of collusion however, between
Calvin's enemies and Michael Servetus, have long existed.
According to the Swiss historian Bonnivard:
"The enemies of Calvin, who were then
governors of the city, by means of the bastard of Geneva, who was the jailer, and
was at the same time one of Purrin's partisans, stirred up Servetus against Calvin,
giving him the hope of their support, and in this way they persuaded him to not only
dispute with Calvin, but to insult him when the magistrates took him into the prison
with them" (3 p.
"I am led to believe that these people
favour this profane good-for-nothing, because of their hatred to Calvin" (3 p.
Whether this is true or not, one thing is certain:
Servetus had crossed the line. His heretical allegations against the word of God,
and his prolonged antagonism of Calvin meant his life now hung in the balance. Geneva,
being a self-proclaimed Old Testament styled theocracy, had the power to enforce the
full weight of the Mosaic Law.
Calvin would later write of this period:
"I shall never
permit him to depart alive, provided my authority be of any avail" (Letters
of John Calvin 4 p.
"I hope that sentence of death will at least be passed
upon him" (Letters of John Calvin, p. 82).
So it was, that he now found himself under arrest.
A trial soon followed, which lasted over two months, with Calvin leading the prosecution.
He was subsequently found guilty on 27 October 1553, with the charge being publicly
"Having a summary of the process against
the prisoner, Michael Servetus, and the reports of the parties consulted before us,
it is herby resolved, and in consideration of his great errors and blasphemies decreed,
that he shall be taken to Champel, and there burned alive; that his sentence should
be carried into effect to-morrow, and that his books (only three have survived today,
one being in Edinburgh University, which Calvin once owned) be burned with him" (3 p.
Calvin first tried to have the mode
of death changed to beheading (4 p.
176), but when this failed, he called for the sword instead (3 p.
Such 'little' mercies from the 'reformer
in chief' have long caused his disciples shame and pain. All these attempts failed,
"The council of Geneva therefore turned
a deaf ear to Calvin's arguments and ordered its sentence to be carried out" (3 p.
It should be pointed out that Calvin
did try to witness to the Spaniard before he died, but to no avail (3 p.
185). Whether this helps Calvin's reputation or not, will need to be decided not only
by church historians, but more importantly at the Judgment Seat of Christ (for saved
people) or the Great White Throne (for lost people).
Calvin, after spending some considerable
time pleading with Servetus to repent of his views, said:
"Then, seeing that my exhortations
affected nothing, I did not wish to be wiser than my Master, and, following the commandment
of St. Paul, I withdrew from a heretic who was self-condemned" (3 p.
Again Calvin's own camp are quick to
condemn their 'reformer in chief':
"Calvin does not appear well in this.
His own words are convincing proof of a coldness and hardness of nature, which, in
the sad circumstances, makes him peculiarly unlovable. A sentence of grave regret
that a sense of duty compelled him to pursue Servetus to the death, and an appeal
that Servetus would forgive him if this sense of duty had led him astray, would have
commended him to Servetus and to men of subsequent generations with more effect than
this self-righteous lecture" (3 p.
"On 1 September eleven members of the
Council visited Servetus in his cell and took Calvin with him. A theological discussion
ensued, which the councillors cut short, ordering both Servetus and Calvin to set
down on paper their leading positions with proofs in support of them" (3 p.
"O Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have pity on me"
Some say Servetus' torturous death
lasted 30 long minutes. (3 p.
Billton records it actually lasted
some 3 hours, because they used green wood (11 p.
"Calvin never regretted the part he
played in the case of Servetus, any more than the public prosecutor regrets the part
he played in securing the punishment of a notorious criminal" (3 p.
In fact, in his book Fidelis Exposito errorum
mich. Serveti, he argues that Scripture condoned of capital punishment. He quotes
the Lord who said, 'Compel those to come in' (Luke 14:23), and then he uses two other
verses, (Acts 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:20).
The only problem with these verses is this: in Acts
5, God Himself intervened and death occurred for Ananias and Sapphira.
In 1 Tim. 1:20 this means excommunication, therefore
Calvin is still not exonerated for his awful treatment of this heretic.
It isn't surprising that once again Calvin looks
to Augustine for justification for capital punishment to silence Servetus (4 p.
Billton says the following of Augustine:
"...through his doctrine (he)
has the blood of millions of devout believers in Christ, as well as Jews and Muslims
on his hands"! (11 p.
350 years would elapse until the 'Calvin faithful'
would officially apologise for their beloved leaders actions.
On 27 October 1903, some European and American Calvinists
came together to erect a monument, in remembrance of Michael
and grateful sons of Calvin, our great Reformer, but
condemning an error which was of his age" (Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology,
We also read of the following bizarre accounts of
this type of self-proclaimed theocracy, when taken to the extreme:
"The wife of Pierre Ameaux...had been condemned for
life because of immoral behaviour....the Little Council could not decide between a
mild and severe form of punishment....Ameaux had to kneel at the door of the Council
and ask Calvin for his forgiveness....Calvin had wanted to visit Ameaux in prison,
but was prohibited by the Council...Ameaux had publicly offended God with the assertion
that Calvin had been preaching heresy for seven years without the church's intervention.
Now Calvin favoured a more severe punishment, namely, that Ameaux in penitential dress,
bareheaded, and with a burning torch in his hand, be led from prison to the town hall.
Kneeling there between the two doors, he was to beseech God and the tribunal for mercy.
Ameaux was sentenced to this public penance on April 8" (4 p.
"A man was banished from the city for three months
because he heard an ass bray and said jestingly, 'He prays a beautiful Psalm'....Three
men who had laughed during a sermon were imprisoned for three days....Three children
were punished because they remained outside of a church to eat some cakes....A child
was whipped publicly for calling his mother a thief....A girl who struck her parents
was beheaded to vindicate the dignity of the Fifth Commandment...A person was imprisoned
for four days because he wanted to call his child Claude [the name of a Catholic saint]
instead of Abraham" (J.H.
Merle, The History of the Protestant Church
in Hungary, 1871, Vol. VII).
"Those who dissented from them [the Reformers] were
not to be tolerated. This included not only Catholics, but that noble group of 'heretics'
who thought the Reformers did not go far enough [in their Reformation of the church.]
In Zwingli's Zurich they were ordered to have their infants baptized. Rebaptism was
made a crime punishable by death. On January 5, 1527, Felix Manz was bound and thrown
in the river by the Zurich authorities because of he had become involved in Anabaptism.
Executions and banishments followed in other Swiss cantons as well. In Germany they
fared no different. They were persecuted, by both Catholics and Protestants. The aforementioned
Second Diet of Speyer in 1529 decreed that all Anabaptists, male of female, of mature
age, shall be put to death, by fire, or sword, or otherwise, according to the person,
without preceding trial" (2 p.
"One citizen who refused to attend sermons was imprisoned,
forced to go hear sermons, and finally banished from the city...Calvin used the power
of the State to enforce his system of discipline. A hair-dresser was imprisoned for
two days for arranging a bride's hair in an unseemly manner. Two Anabaptists were
banished from the city on account of their theological views. Penalties were assessed
for making a noise or laughing during church. A gambler was publicly punished" (2 p.
"The number of dishes eaten at a meal was regulated.
Attendance at public worship was made mandatory and watchmen were directed to see
that people went to church. Press censorship was instituted and books judged to be
heretical or immoral were banned. Interest on loans was capped at 5 percent...during
an outbreak of the plague in 1545, over twenty persons were burnt alive for witchcraft,
and Calvin himself was involved in the prosecutions. From 1542 to 1546, fifty-eight
people were executed and seventy-six exiled from Geneva. Torture was freely used to
extract confessions" (2 p.
Adulterers and fornicators were imprisoned and fined;
they would also be expected to make a public penance (1 p.
136-137); Calvin favoured the death penalty (2 p.
Calvin's own sister-in-law and stepdaughter were
both caught in the act of adultery.
"A girl who sang vulgar songs went into exile; a
couple whose adultery was uncovered could be publicly disgraced and punished. Originally,
this placed too much power in the hands of civil authority. At no moment of the day
was the citizen free from the inquisition of public guardians. To make such a system
work, spies and informers were needed; and a grosser evil was sometimes introduced
in order to chastise a lesser one" (10 p.
"In Calvin's later years, and under his and under
his influence, the laws of Geneva became more detailed and more stringent" (John McNeil, The
History and Character of Calvinism, p. 189).
"It is impossible to deny that this kind of legislation
savors more of the austerity of old heathen Rome and the Levitical code than of the
gospel of Christ, and the actual exercise of discipline was often petty, pedantic
and unnecessarily severe" (History of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 464).
Lewis Mumford echoes Schaff:
"Calvin's Church claimed for itself a more constant
supervision over every detail of human life than Rome had claimed. So long as the
sinner did not cut himself off from God by heresy, the Catholic Church was lenient
to him. But Calvin's government practised no such indulgence: its aim was to reduce
temptation and to root out sin: even little errors in conduct required correction"
There is nothing in the New Testament writings concerning
the New Covenant that John Calvin or anybody else could use to ever justify the above
atrocities. It doesn't matter what age he or others lived in (now or then), this is
not the type of behaviour for the Christian to partake in, especially when the Law
was fulfilled in Christ - only Grace is what should have been practiced in Geneva.
And this is something that Caspar Schwenkfeld, I believe, would agree with me on.
I believe Calvin, like all men in positions of power,
was fearful of losing his power and grip over the people, so he did whatever was necessary
to silence his critics and heretics; and for this, he will be forever tarnished and
associated with the class of tyrannical dictators.
In fact, the following Scripture speaks loudly about
this type of aggression and brutality:
“Then gathered the
chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth
If we let
him thus alone, all men
on him: and the Romans shall come
and take away
both our place and nation…
Then from that day forth
they took counsel together for to put
him to death”
(or Jacob) Arminius
FIVE POINTS OF ARMINIANISM
1) God has decreed to save those who shall believe
on Jesus Christ and preserve in faith, leaving the unbelieving in sin, to be condemned.
Christ died for all men, providing redemption if a man believes on him.
is in a state of sin, unable himself to do anything truly good, but needs to be born
4) Man cannot
without the grace of God accomplish any good
deeds or movements, but this grace can be resisted.
have power to persevere, but as to whether they can fall away, that must be more particularly
determined out of the Holy Scriptures.
James Arminius, much to the horror of Calvinists,
mirrors Calvin in so many ways: both died very young (James being only 49; John being
54). His father died when he was an infant. Calvin lost his mother when only three.
Both were brilliant scholars and both would end up
attacking Rome for her many heretical and man-made doctrines. I suggest they had more
in common than many Calvinists are aware or even prepared to publicly acknowledge.
Both were dogged by poor health, for on one occasion,
Calvin was house bound for five months, due to a severe illness (4 p.
214). And like Calvin, Arminius suffered numerous physical and theological attacks
from his opponents.
For example both were forced to defend themselves
against the charge of Pelagianism (a
belief that original sin did not taint human nature, which, being created from God,
was divine, and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without
divine aid) (4 p.
Both were buried in very modest ways.
Arminius died at home with his family around him.
Calvin was laid to rest, just a day after he died,
in a grave with the initials, "JC," although vandals soon stole it.
Arminius would decline the offer to be a doctor of
theology at the university of Basel.
Would marry and father twelve children, with three
dying in infancy.
Arminius was incredibly orthodox in his theology:
accepted the Scriptures to be infallible. Believed all 66-books were canonical. Accepted
the Trinity and deity of Christ.
Calvinist Joseph Wilson:
"The language of Augustine, Martin Luther, or John
Calvin is scarcely stronger than that of Arminius" (Atonement, p. 1).
Correctly condemned Rome for her many statements
that she and she alone could understand and authenticate the Scriptures.
Would also line up with Luther with the following
attack on the pope:
"The adulterer and pimp of the church, the false
prophet, the destroyer and subverter of the church, the enemy of God and the Antichrist"
And like Luther who happily dubbed Leo XIII "your
hellishness," would go one better:
"I openly declare, that I do not own the Roman Pontiff
to be a member of Christ's body; but I account him an enemy, a traitor, a sacrilegious
and blasphemous man, a tyrant, and a violent usurper of most unjust domination over
the church, the man of sin, the son of perdition, that most notorious outlaw" (2 p
"My opinion (on justification) is not so widely different
from his (Calvin) as to prevent me from employing the signature of my own hand in
subscribing to those things which he has delivered on this subject, in the third book
of his Institutes; this I am prepared to do at any time, and to give them my full
approval" (2 p.
He would also echo Calvin on the subject of the eternal
security of the believer:
"At no period have I asserted that believers do finally
decline or fall away from faith or salvation" (2 p.130).
He would however, 'suggest' that it might be possible
for a man to fall away from salvation (James Arminius' Works, Vol. I, p.
Some Calvinists also hold to this too. And I would
add that both parties do so because they have failed to rightly divide the word of
God into the correct dispensations.
Believed in infant sprinkling. Yet unlike Calvin,
this Dutchman never persecuted any of the groups of his day; he would disagree with
ones such as the Anabaptists, but always in a Christian framework: debated them, yes;
harm them, no!
Or as the 16th century lawyer, Hugo Grotius put it:
"Condemned by others, he condemned none."
The only direct connection between these two protestant
heavyweights would be that Arminius studied at Calvin's Academy, under the watchful
eye of Theodore Beza; for Arminius was only four years old when Calvin died.
Arminius was not only tolerant towards Calvin and
others, but would highly endorse the writings of Calvin:
"I exhort them to read the commentaries of Calvin,
on whom I bestow higher praise than Helmichius (a Dutch theologian) ever did, as he
confessed to me himself. For I tell them, that his commentaries ought to be held in
greater estimation, that all that is delivered to us in the writings of the Ancient
Christian Fathers: So that in a certain eminent Spirit of Prophecy, I give the pre-eminence
to him beyond most others, indeed beyond them all" (2 p.
This remarkable and glowing reference would make
any Calvinist blush, for there can be no greater cheerleader, than Arminius himself!
Yet who can believe such a thing, if one listens to some of the foaming rhetoric from
leading Calvinists today and yesteryear?
Well to top this, I quote one more source, which
will astound some:
"As to Calvin's extraordinary talents, there can
be no doubt. Both in Latin and French, his writings are a model of clear, concise,
nervous language; he had great stories of varied learning at his command; his commentaries
on Scripture still hold a very high place in the esteem of Protestant scholars, and
his subtlety and power of reasoning fitted him to become the great theologian of the
Reformed sects. With a vast section of Protestants in Switzerland, Holland, England,
Scotland, etc., his Institutes (Institutio Religionis Christiance) possessed almost
unlimited authority, and were esteemed as the greatest work which had appeared since
the days of the Apostles" (A Catholic Dictionary, St. John's Seminary, 1960,
The above quote comes from an official dictionary
of the Catholic Church in 1960.
Yet the only compliment to be returned to Arminius
would have to come from Calvin's successor, Theodore Beza:
"Arminius' life and learning have so approved themselves
of us.... such is our opinion of Arminius - a young man, unquestionably, so far as
we are able to judge, most worthy of your kindness and liberality" (2 p.
It appears through reading the different accounts
of Arminius and Calvin's views, that the main issue that caused the split was sin,
free will, and predestination, something that to this day can either unite or divide
Once again, may I quote from the above Catholic dictionary:
"Its peculiar doctrines (Institutes) have
long since lost their hold on Protestants of the better sort, and his system outrages
the principles of natural as well of revealed religion" (p. 98).
Although the doctrine of predestination didn't rate
very high with Calvin in his first edition of Institutes, by the time Arminius
arrives on the scene, this issue has become a huge issue (even though Luther hadn't
written much about it either).
It's my opinion that some dishonest Calvinists have
set out to attack Arminius for no good Scriptural reason whatsoever.
So often I've heard the 'derogatory' term, "he's
an Arminian." Yet if these same Calvinists took the time to read some of Arminius'
writings, they would see that they have more in common with him than they do with
But regrettably, they have been maligning and misrepresenting
Arminius for years!
Louis Berkhof affirmed this:
"It is a
well known fact that Arminius himself did not depart as far from the Scripture truth
and from the teachings of the Reformers as did his followers" (2 p.
Other slurs and misrepresentations of Arminius would
be how he allegedly held to the Perseverance of the Saints. Please see Calvinist
Kenneth Good's Calvinists, p. 63, which refutes this.
FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM
(TULIP) Total Depravity or Total Inability
is born in sin and is totally dead to the things of God. Until God regenerates those
to whom He has personally chosen before the foundation of the world, man remains totally
hopeless and has no hope whatsoever of ever being saved from eternal Hell.
does speak of man's wicked heart and his righteousness being like filthy rags, but
to prove total depravity from Scripture is impossible to do.
Unregenerate man, therefore, is totally unable to
believe or comprehend the things of God until the new birth (1 Cor. 2:14).
Again this is something all faithful believers would
have to agree with, because prior to me being saved the deep things of God were foolishness,
but once I was saved, I believed and understood things only a regenerated sinner could
And in Romans 3, the apostle quotes Ps.14 to demonstrate
that man has no intention of seeking after God, yet while this may be so, the Calvinist
fails to point out Luke 19:10:
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save,
that which was lost."
God, therefore, took the initiative and came looking
for man, because man wouldn't come looking for Him. And this was something that happened
in the Garden of Eden, for God came seeking man; Adam didn't take the initiative to
find God. All religions of the world have men looking for God. The Bible, on the other
hand, has God looking for man.
Yet while these verses mean what they say, and say
what they mean, I believe that the interpretation of such verses is this: in Matt.
19 the Lord was telling the Jews that nobody is as good as God. Nobody lives up to
His standard, for we've all missed the mark completely (Ps. 14:3).
How true this is. So as the Gospel narration goes
on, we learn that Jesus would be that perfect Person (Matt. 5:48) that mankind could
never be (2 Cor. 5:21), and in the process Jesus would be the propitiation for sinful
mankind and the whole world over (1 John 2:2). With this achieved, man would now be
able to have full union and fellowship with a holy and righteous God (1 Tim. 2:5),
should he choose to receive Christ as Saviour (John 1:12).
One verse that Calvinists point to for ‘ammunition’
for their belief that the new birth is completely of God, not of men, would be John
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power
to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which was born not
of blood, nor of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God."
Laurence Vance offers the following solution to answer
"Verse thirteen is giving us the source of the new
birth, not the reason why men receive Christ....the new birth is 'not of blood.' The
source of the new birth is not reformation, self-development, or self-effort. The
new birth is not 'of the will of man.' The source of the new birth is not relatives,
preachers, or priests. The threefold negation empathizes the fact that the source
of the new birth is of God...the new birth is God's work, but the receiving of Christ
is man's" (2 p.
And Ephesians 1:12-13 states the believer was saved after hearing
the gospel preached:
"That we should be to the praise of his glory, who
first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after
that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after
that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
Therefore as Romans 10:17 tell us, that "faith cometh
from hearing, and hearing from the word of God."
All men could come to Jesus and follow Him, if they
chose to - the Lord tells man to decide which gate to chose to enter (Matt 7:13) -
something that would be absolutely pointless if they were unable to decide themselves.
But they won't (not can't) come to Jesus because they love their sin too much (John
"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It
was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing
ye put it from you (man's own wilful rejection), and judge yourselves unworthy of
everlasting life (chose to remain under the powerless Mosaic law), lo, we turn to
the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46).
The Bible teaches that man can call on God (Gen.
4:26), reject Him (1 Sam. 8:7), grieve Him (Gen. 6:6), resist Him (2 Kings 17:13-15)
and blaspheme Him (2 Sam.12:14).
It never teaches that man cannot come to Him of his
Another verse used to try and prove total depravity
would be the following:
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance,
will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts" (Ps. 10:4).
That this verse is speaking of all unsaved and unregenerate
people is in no doubt. But let us read carefully, what this verse says:
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance,
will not seek after God."
It says, he will not seek after God, not that he
This is affirmed in Psalm 119:155:
"Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek
not thy statutes."
And also in the New Testament by the Lord Himself:
"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have eternal
life" (John 5:40).
Calvinist John Macarthur turns Arminian when he offers
the following to this verse:
"They searched for eternal life, but were not willing
to trust in its only source" (Study Bible, p. 1589).
But one would be justified to ask John Macarthur,
what about irresistible grace?
These verses cannot be used to argue total depravity.
Voluntary rejection, yes, total inability, absolutely not!
That man has a free will is found and taught in Scripture
has already been demonstrated, so perhaps some more verses need to be offered to convince
"I make a decree, that all they of the people of
Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own
freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee" (Ezra 7:13).
The word, "freewill," appears in Scripture, a total
of 17 times (1 Chr. 29:6-9).
God would also call on the Jews to bring their sin
offering to Him, with a freewill (Lev. 22:18).
We also read in Joshua 24:22: "And
Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen
you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses."
Judges 10:14: "Go and cry unto the gods which ye
have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation."
1 Kings 18:21: "And Elijah came unto all the people,
and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him; but
if Baal, then follow him."
Manasseh refused to harken to God (2 Chr. 33:10).
Hezekiah prayed for Israel saying: "The good LORD
pardon everyone that prepareth his heart to seek God" (2 Chr. 30:18).
Although he was a king in God's elect nation, he
would commit idolatry; caused his children to pass through fire as living sacrifices
to demon gods; used witchcraft and wizards, and defiled the house of God.
So, God raised up the pagan Assyrians to punish him,
to bring his elect king back to repentance - this subsequently worked with him going
on to cleanse the house of God (2 Chr. 33:13).
And for those that believe a saved party who sins
wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth can then go on to lose their salvation,
clearly this is not the case, for the above king would have been an ideal candidate
for such a belief, but not so. While he lost his fellowship with God, he was never
in jeopardy of losing his salvation.
Manasseh's two sins of idolatry and child sacrifices
both were capital punishments, yet he did not perish. If the truth were known, God
loves His people more than we love Him.
In the NT we see that man has a freewill and is able
to use it when discerning whether or not Jesus came from God or not (John 7:17).
In Acts 8:37 Scripture demonstrates to the reader
how the Ethiopian eunuch, upon believing in Jesus, was asked by Philip:
"If thou believest with all thine heart."
No coercion from God was used here. The eunuch simply
made up his mind, after reading Isaiah 53 and speaking to Philip, used his own free
will, and subsequently was baptised, once he had believed with all his heart on Christ.
May I share with the reader the following story,
taken from Curtis Hutson's 23-page pamphlet:
"D. L. Moody addressed a large crowd of sceptics.
He said, "I want to talk about the word believe, the word receive, and the word take."
'When Mr. Moody had finished his sermon, he asked, "Now who will come and take Christ
as Saviour?" One man stood and said, "I can't." Mr Moody wept and said, "Don't say,
'I can't.' Say, 'I won't! And the man said, "Then, I won't!" But another man said,
"I will!" Then another said, "I will!" and another said, "I will!" Until scores came
to trust Christ as Saviour (7 p.
While many Calvinists despise the 'altar call,' Calvinist
Gordon Clark said:
"Possibly even inviting the audience to walk down
to the front could be a good thing" (Evangelism, p. 59).
Sproul offers his readers the following:
"...We may visit the altar many times or respond
to invitations." He also went on to say that such calls can, 'strengthen our assurance
of salvation and to deepen our commitment to Christ' (8 p.
Calvinist Donald Barnhouse however, never believed
in altar calls, he just preached the gospel and let the Holy Ghost do the work of
convicting and drawing sinners to Christ. He did, however, believe regeneration proceeded
If we are to believe that Old Testament saints were
regenerated by the Lord, in order to follow their prophets, and if a person had been
predestinated and chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world, and if
such a person is forever safe in the arms of the Lord, then what are we to make when
three thousand died, due to idolatry and gross immorality (Ex. 32:28)?
The same can be said of Ananias and Sapphira.
Both were in the early church, and both sold all they had (voluntarily) and then lied
to the Holy Ghost about how much they had received. There is no reason to doubt their
salvation, for only a chapter earlier, we note:
"And fear came upon every soul: and
many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" (Acts 2:43).
Clearly these people must have been regenerated to
partake and be in the presence of the Lord? So why didn't they endure to the end of
their lives (Matt. 24:13?)
With the Bible advocating freewill, not total depravity,
it's interesting to note the following Calvinists, which agree with this:
"(Calvin's) view of the fallen will not only manifest
an inconsistency; it is defective as well" (Jonathan Israel, The Dutch Republic,
p, 425, 440).
Charles Hodge, professor of Princeton university:
"It must, we think, be admitted that to deny the
freedom of the will is to take away human responsibility, and therefore human guilt'.
There can be no right or wrong, no morality or immorality, if the will is not free.
We have no right to punish the criminal for his actions, if he is not a free agent
and therefore a responsible agent" (1 p.
"Calvin retains in the fallen state so little of
the will as it was created that he cannot explain adequately the moral character of
human action in that state, when it still makes choices between good and evil" (Joseph
"In this declaration our Lord laid down a principle
of supreme practical importance. He informs us how certainty may be arrived at in
connection with the things of God. He tells us how spiritual discernment and assurance
are to be obtained. The fundamental condition for obtaining spiritual knowledge is
a genuine heart-desire to carry out the revealed will of God in our lives. Wherever
the heart is right God gives the capacity to apprehend His truth" (Arthur Pink, 2 p.
(Peter Ruckman blames Pink for the enormous damage
his book The Sovereignty of God caused to young street preachers that he
had personally worked with when studying at Bob Jones University. Apparently these
men never returned to soul winning or street work again; they went 'slap out of the
ministry - permanently' 12 p.
In David Samuel's book, The Church in Crisis he
states, that '(churches) are empty because people are no longer drawn to them in their
search of God' (p. 145).
I thought man doesn't seek God on his own merits?
Clearly this Calvinist is inconsistent with his own view of Irresistible Grace!
Like the above quote we find other Calvinists breaking
ranks, when a UK protestant paper, Christian Watch told an unregenerate man to "Believe
upon Christ with the whole heart."
So it's interesting that some Calvinists don't hold
completely to the first part of the TULIP.
However, other Calvinists make their views very clear
"Freewill is the invention of man, instigated by
the devil" (David O. Wilmoth, The Baptist Examiner, p. 5).
"The heresy of freewill dethrones God and enthrones
man" (W. E. Best, Free Grace Versus Free Will, p. 35).
Because Calvinists believe that 'dead men' cannot
believe on Christ, unless God draws them and regenerates them first, than it would
be logical to say that 'dead men' cannot disbelieve Christ either.
In my discussions with Calvinists one thing that
comes through time and time again is that God must receive all the glory for man's
salvation. This I would agree with totally. But like everything else with Calvinism,
what they mean is that man has no part whatsoever in responding to the Gospel. Man,
to the Calvinist, is no more than a robot or a meaningless puppet waiting to be programmed
to believe in Jesus Christ, and unless the Operator does this resetting, then the
robot is forever shutdown and totally oblivious to the dire need of repentance and
the new birth, something Calvinists omit to inform their audience, for God has
already granted repentance to the Jews (Acts 5:31) and the Gentiles (11:18).
(More on this later).
"Not all men are created with similar destiny but
eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others. Every man,
therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestinated
to life or to death" (John Calvin, Institutes, Book III, chapter 23).
The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Canons
of Dort later affirmed this doctrine of Calvin's:
"By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His
own glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others
foreordained to everlasting death."
Sproul also holds to this view too (8 p.
Calvinists believe it is God's good pleasure to damn
billions to Hell. However, the Scripture doesn't teach this, but quite the opposite:
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I
have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way
and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Billton has the following words of condemnation to
"God does not love everybody; in fact He hates most
people, because they are not elected, and is going to condemn them to hell for ever,
and there is nothing the sinful unelected can do....And they have the audacity to
call that 'The Gospel,' Good News for sinners" (11 p.
So not only do Calvinists contradicts one another,
but more importantly, Calvinism contradicts Scripture; for God takes no pleasure in
wicked people perishing, but He wants to be reconciled to man. Again, this is something
that the New Testament speaks of:
"Now then we
for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in
Christ's stead, be
ye reconciled to God"
(2 Cor. 5:20).
"For the love of Christ
constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves,
but unto him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14).
Here we read how the
Saviour died for all, for all are dead in sin, elect and non-elect included. Then
we read the following:
"...God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath
committed unto us the word of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:19).
Now this verse doesn't teach the heresy of universalism,
but what it does clearly teach is that God has provided an atonement for the world
(More on this under Limited Atonement)
What about those who don't believe on Jesus?
"For I could wish that myself were accursed from
Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:3).
What a strange thing for Paul to say when, according
to the Canons of Dort, God never willed it to save the billions that go to Hell in
the first place. God only intended to save a limited number. One would think that
a man who was raptured to the third Heaven would know this reformed belief? Perhaps
the Calvinists could explain to Paul that it is God's good pleasure to ordain the
majority to Hell, and the few to Heaven.
With the vast majority of Calvinists upholding the
above confession of faith, it is interesting to note what the following Calvinists
have to say about this second part of the TULIP:
"Predestination occupies a comparatively small place
in Calvin's teachings...the subject of predestination occupies four chapters out of
eighty, or fifty pages out of two volumes of 1,200 pages, one twenty-fourth part of
the whole" (1 p.
"The doctrine (predestination) is not mentioned in
the first edition of the Institutes. He mentions it first in the edition of 1539 and
then only in passing. It assumes prominence in later editions" (John Bratt, Teachings
of Calvin, p. 49).
Calvin taught some were chosen to life;
some were chosen to damnation (1 p.
He would say:
"All are not created on equal terms,
but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and accordingly
as each has been created for one or others of these ends, we say that he has been
predestinated to life or to death" (11 p.
Calvin would also go on to say:
"I admit, (it) is dreadful" (1 p.
Billton offers the following to this
type of twisted Scripture tampering:
"...God hates most people and has appointed
them to damnation...what a monster of a God they depict in their theology" (11 p.
He believed, much to the disagreement of today's
Calvinists, that Romans 9 was speaking about nations, not individuals (1 p.
The following quote comes from Heinrich Bullinger:
"Believe me, many are displeased with what you say
in your Institutes about predestination" (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian
Church, Vol. 8, p. 618).
Out of all Spurgeons 1000 sermons, only 10 qualified
to contain the doctrine and preaching of TULIP.
Yet when Calvin was pressed to defend this position,
"No one will ever attempt to disprove the doctrine
which I have set forth herein, but he who may imagine himself to be wiser than the
Spirit of God" (Eternal Predestination, p. 185).
Such a bizarre and prideful statement as this sounds
to me like Calvin was once again offering himself and his ‘writings’ to be on par
with Scripture. A very dangerous and deranged thing to do!
Did God create evil and is He the author of all sin?
"God, from all eternity, did by the most wise and
holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to
pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered
to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken
away, but rather established" (8 p.
However Jean Trolliet, one of Geneva's notaries,
believed Calvin and his writings taught that God was the author of sin. So enraged
by this 'slur,' the following statement was put out from city officials, in defence
of Calvin's Institutes:
"Calvin's book of the Institutes was a good and godly
composition....no one should dare to speak against this book and its doctrine" (Register
of Geneva, p. 201).
Arminius also believed Calvin made the Lord the Author
of sin (2 p.
So too, does Ruckman:
"It is more than evident that this (Psa. 115:3; Prov.16:9)
includes all the actions of men [rape, child molesting, cursing, lying, swearing,
cheating, torturing, sex perversion, blackmail, embezzlement, etc] and this truth
is more clearly seen in special instances. Many...refer all these statements to the
permissive will of God (rape, child molesting, cursing, lying, swearing, cheating,
etc). But this solution appears to me unwise. His will (God's) is one and undivided"
This article has exposed the legalism, the "theocracy,"
and the killing of those that refused to bow the knee to this Genevan and his council.
Such charges as these are most profound and the repercussions for the reformed world
of those that follow him will no doubt be deafening. However if these things weren't
serious enough, there is one sin that Billton believes Calvin to be guilty off. A
sin so serious, that if it were true, than this man is forever lost in Hell. Yes,
the unpardonable sin!
Perhaps I better quote Billton one last time and
let him explain his position:
"In Matthew 12:24, the Pharisees accused the Lord
Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub and by so doing they were committing the
unpardonable sin, by attributing to Satan the work of the Spirit of God through Jesus,
as Jesus tells them in Verse 31. Surely Augustine and Calvin are doing the same, by
attributing the evil deeds of men and the work of Satan, to the work of God's Spirit"?
Now I am not necessarily saying that Calvin was lost
or committed the unpardonable sin, for even Ruckman believed Calvin to be saved, although
he calls him a 'wretch of a man.' All I am doing is presenting the thoughts and comments
from those in Calvin's camp and those outside.
I will leave you, the reader, to check these statements
and come to your own conclusion.
However Calvin would contradict what he just said
and would say it was blasphemy to identify God as the author of sin. Yet he later
would say that what he teaches does not come out of his own head; he has received
it from God" (6 p.
It would appear once again that Calvin was claiming
'divine inspiration' for his writings, something only the writers of the Bible are
credited for (2 Pet. 1:21).
"Not only did His omniscient eye see Adam eating
of the forbidden fruit, but He decreed beforehand that he should so" (Arthur Pink The
Sovereignty of God, p. 249).
(Incidentally Pink, who was saved in his bedroom
as a youth, dropped the Moody Bible Institute, after spending just six weeks there
as a student, and also went on to abandon his pre-millennial beliefs. Years later
after failing to find a church to pastor in American, Britain, and Australia, he became
a recluse, along with his wife, Vera. They produced a newsletter, which was read by
a very small circulation of people and in reality, they cut themselves off from the
wider world. He died in the Scottish Hebrides, apparently unnoticed by the world.
(Dictionary of Pre-millennial Theology, p. 306).
A Calvinist professor from Herborn, Germany, John
"God justly wills that sins be committed by us, and
indeed absolutely wills that they be committed; nay, procures in time these sins themselves"
"...God eternally hates some men; has immutably decreed
their damnation; and has determined to withhold them from Christ, grace, faith, and
salvation" (David Engelsma, Hyper-Calvinism, p. 45).
"It is hard for us to realize that many of those
around us (in some cases our close friends and relatives) are probably foreordained
to eternal punishment" (Predestination, p. 125).
And yet Boettner would 'tempt fate' by saying:
"Prove any one of them false and the whole system
must be abandoned" (Lorraine Boettner, Predestination, p. 5).
This smug and arrogant hymn is an old Baptist one.
Yet isn't pride condemned in Scripture? (Pro. 8:13).
"We are the Lord's elected few,
Let all the rest be damned;
There's room enough in hell for you,
We won't have heaven crammed"! (2 p.
Such statements and views as this make God out to
be some kind of a monster, which is exactly what Arno Gaebelein said, when he terminated
fellowship with Arthur Pink, over his book The Sovereignty of God:
..."It is just this kind of teaching which makes
atheists" (2 p.
These hyper-Calvinistic views (supralapsarianism)
were once held by Calvin himself, yet according to Calvinist, Arthur Custance in Calvin's
latter years, he 'softened his position' (A. Custance The Sovereignty of God,
There are other Calvinists that cause divisions in
"God himself is neither the author of sin nor a participant
in the act of sinning" (Richard Muller, Christ & the Decree, p. 84).
"One thing is absolutely unthinkable, that God could
be the author or doer of sin" (8 p.
More Calvinists come to the aid of Beza and Sproul:
"(It is) illogical, ridiculous, nonsensical, and foolish" (Edwin Palmer, p. 85).
"God does not create men in order to destroy them"
(Charles Hodge Romans, p. 321).
Those of the last 100 years or so that would agree
with Beza, Muller, and Palmer on this one point, would be D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday,
and J. Vernon McGee, just to list a few!
Yet in the times of the reformation, it fell to the
Wesley brothers and James Arminius to respond to this poisoned chalice, and refute
And we mustn't forget to mention the King of England,
for King James I had the following to say of this:
"This doctrine is so horrible, that I am persuaded,
if there were a council of unclean assembled spirits assembled in hell, and their
prince the devil were to put the question either to all of them in general, or to
each in particular, to learn their opinion about the most likely means of stirring
up the hatred of men against God their Maker; nothing could be invented by them that
would be more efficacious for this purpose, or that could put a greater affront upon
God's love for mankind, than that detestable formulary, by which the far greater part
of the human race are condemned to hell for no other reason, than the mere will of
God, without any regard to sin; the necessity of sinning, as well as that of being
damned, being fastened on them by that great nail of the decree before-mentioned"
(Works of Arminius, Vol. I, p. 213).
"Sing, O hell, and rejoice ye that are under the
earth. For God, even the mighty God, hath spoken and doomed to death thousands of
souls, from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. Here, O death, is thy
sting. They shall not, cannot escape. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. Here,
O grave, is thy victory. Nations yet unborn, or even they have done good or evil,
are doomed never to see the light of life, but thou shalt gnaw upon them for ever
and ever. Let all those morning stars sing together who fell with Lucifer, sun of
the morning. Let all the sons of hell shout for joy. For the decree is past and who
shall disannul it" (2 p.
"I freely acknowledge my doctrine to be this: that
Adam fell, not only by the permission of God, but by His very secret council and decree;
and that Adam drew all his posterity with himself, by his fall, into eternal damnation"
(Secret Providence, p. 267).
Because many Calvinists refuse to hold to man's freewill,
it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are Calvinists that reject praying, for
God has already decreed the end from the beginning.
David S. West:
"Prayer does not change things, nor does prayer change
God or His Mind" (The Baptist Examiner, 18/2/89, p. 5).
Even Martin Lloyd Jones had a similar and peculiar
"My friend, if you are a Christian, do you know that
you were the object of God's interest and concern before the foundation of the world?
All these things have been worked out in eternity, before time, so you must always
remember that nothing can happen in time which will make the slightest difference"
(Saved in Eternity, p.16).
the above clearly in mind, we can fully sympathise with Billton's understanding of
just how harsh and desperate Calvinism is:
"If you are saved don't bother to pray for your lost
ones, because if they are not among the elect, you can pray as earnestly as you like,
they won't be saved if God hates them, and if they are elected they will be saved
anyway" (11 p.
I chose you!
John 15:16 is one of several key verses which Calvinists
use to try and prove their theory of God choosing those whom He will before the world
have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and
bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask
of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
The verse is clearly speaking about Jesus choosing
His apostles for service, not to save them from Hell. Once saved, fruit would come
from their new lives. But we must also remember, that the Lord Jesus did not choose
these twelve men before the world began,
but while He was here on the earth, and Luke tells us He prayed all night before He
was sure who He wanted (6:12).
Please also remember, that Luke 10 tells us that
there were many other disciples that followed the Lord, and any one of them could
have been chosen too. We also read from John 6 that many chose to reject Him of their
own free will.
Romans 9 is also cited by Calvinists to prove their
doctrine that God, in eternity past, chose some for salvation and left others to Hell.
However not all Calvinists believe this to be so.
Herman Ridderbos stated that this chapter spoke of
'the principle that God's election is not of works and that the destiny of Israel
as a whole is in view' (2 p.
Calvinist Oliver Buswell, former president of Wheaton
College would also take issue with his fellow Calvinists' stock interpretation of
Romans 9, for he would say:
"...In the Malachi passage from which Paul quotes
these words, the prophet is clearly referring not to individual Esau, but to the people
of Edom who had been a sinful and rebellious people, though they were, according to
God's covenant with Israel. There is nothing in the Genesis record to indicate that
Esau, when Jacob returned to his home land, was other than a sincere worshipper" (Buswell, A
Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, p. 148).
And L. S. Ballard would also contribute on this passage:
"To contend that this election was to salvation is
preposterous, false, and as far from the truth as heaven is to hell, or as the east
is from the west. It was an election to national preference or theocratic privileges
and there is nothing akin to salvation in it" (Election Made Plain, p. 15).
Ruckman has the following to offer:
"Two nations in thy womb." There weren't two literal
nations inside of Rebekah. Obviously the statement is figurative. Esau represents
one nation, and Jacob represents another nation. It is a statement of prophecy based
on God's knowledge of the future. Look at verse 13. Verse 13 is a quote from Malachi
1:2-3 where God is looking back over His dealings with Edom and Israel. It had nothing
to do with the individual salvation of Jacob or the individual salvation of Jacob
or the individual damnation of Esau" (The Book of Romans, 2003, p. 354).
Acts 13:48-49 is used by the Calvinists to demonstrate again
their view of people being chosen before the world:
the Gentiles heard this,
they were glad, and glorified the word of
the Lord: and as
many as were
ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of
the Lord was published
throughout all the region."
Calvinist John Macarthur in his study Bible, says
"One of Scripture's clearest statements on the sovereignty
of God in salvation. God chooses man for salvation, not the opposite" (p. 1658).
However Oliver Buswell once again differs from his
"Actually the words of Acts 13:48-49, do not necessarily
have any reference whatsoever to the doctrine of God's eternal decree of election"
(A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, p. 152).
Is not this verse simply referring to the fact that
all are ordained to everlasting life (John 12:32), but only those that actually believe
and receive Christ are then appointed to receive life eternal (John 1:12).
If the elect are elected unconditionally, then how
are we to understand 1 Cor. 1:26:
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not
many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called."
Excluding the fact that the last two words are not
found in the Greek, this verse would seem to teach that God's election was conditional,
for He chose the base sort to be saved (vs. 28), and not the high flyers and wealthy
which, I regret to say, most well known Calvinists are!
I once told a Presbyterian Calvinist that he couldn't
go to Hell even if he wanted to. "Either you're saved or you're not," I said. He looked
very upset and shocked at this. Yet Calvinists believe that if they are one of the
elect, than they couldn't be lost even if they wanted to (2 p.
Or as Arthur Custance put it:
"No man elected to salvation could possibly die or
be killed unsaved" (The Sovereignty of Grace, p. 24.)
We must also remember that Calvinists believe all
the elect are in chosen in Christ before the world began. However this philosophy
of the French reformer is foreign to Scripture, for in Romans 16:7, Andronicus and
Junia were 'in Christ' before Paul.
And in John's Gospel 17:6, we read that the ones
given to Jesus were men. Women and children it would seem weren't called?!?
Eleven chapters earlier, Jesus told the multitude:
"Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for
the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto
you: for him hath God the Father sealed" (6:27).
Yet by verse 36, we read:
"But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me,
and believe not. And in verse 66, we read: "From that time many of his disciples went
back, and walked no more with him."
So, if all these people were regenerated, offered
eternal life (vs. 27), for God only gives eternal life to His chosen elect before
the world was, how are we to understand many rejecting His irresistible grace and
leaving Him indefinitely?
clear therefore that God holds man accountable for his decision as to whether or not
receive or reject Christ because man is fully capable of deciding which route he wishes
to take in the first place. And also why would Christ have spent over 3/5 years criss-crossing
Israel offering everlasting life to people that a) He knew would not receive it and
b) those that could not receive it! To suggest that Jesus wasn't really sincere in
His call to repentance is blasphemous, and seeks only to dishonour His genuine and
authentic desire to see all of His audience believe on Him.
Can God's decrees be overthrown or
changed by man?
Such a question as this will no doubt seem preposterous
to many Calvinists, yet what does the Bible say on this?
Two decrees are worth mentioning. This first:
said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And
the LORD said, They will deliver thee up" (1 Sam. 23:12).
This didn't happen and it didn't happen for one reason:
David left the city of his own freewill, thus avoiding what would have happened had
The second is Jonah and the people of Nineveh:
"And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey,
and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people
of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest
of them even to the least of them" (Jon. 3:4-5),
Again man was able to avoid the consequences of God's
decree by taking heed to His warning, via His prophet.
One other segment of Holy Writ should be cited to
demonstrate how God could decree something, man refuses it, and subsequently punishment
Let the reader also be reminded that Israel is God's
"Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words
in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words
of this covenant, and do them. For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the
day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early
and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear,
but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring
upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did
them not" (Jer. 11:6).
Testament also has decrees, which God gives, but once again, they are conditional
upon you responding to it:
Pharisees and lawyers rejected the council of
God against themselves, being not baptized
of him" (Luke 7:30).
"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" (1 Tim. 2:4).
It might infuriate some to learn that there are Calvinists
(including Calvin himself) that believe dead babies, who aren't baptised go to Hell
In the Catholic church when the priest baptises the
child, this not only 'washes away' original sin, but apparently also exorcises any
demonic spirits. That's right, the priest performs an exorcism on your child!
Nurses and nuns working in Catholic hospitals sprinkle
dying infants, even without the consent and knowledge of their parents.
For years the Catholic church even practiced this
among its laity. Isn't it tragic how the reformers didn't ditch this blasphemous view?
Calvin, like Augustine, held to the view that some
non-baptised dead infants would suffer eternal damnation (Philip Schaff, History
of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 558-559).
No wonder the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown
and his wife urgently sent for a minister of the Church of Scotland to baptise their
dying daughter, when only 10 days old. Mr Brown obviously still holds to his late
father's Calvinistic beliefs.
So incensed with this appalling and heretical view,
Charles Wesley put pen to paper, and came up with the following:
"God, ever merciful and just,
With newborn babes did Tophet fill;
Down into endless torments thrust;
Merely to show His sovereign will.
This is "Horrible Decree"!
This is that wisdom from beneath!
God (O detest the Blasphemy)
Hath pleasure in the sinners death" (2 p.
And to Wesley's utter surprise, for once at least,
Spurgeon would concur with his opponents view on this Catholic practise:
"A human and carnal invention, an addition to the
word of God, and therefore wicked and injurious...There is no distinction between
a child of godly or ungodly parents" (Charles Spurgeon, Infant Salvation,
p. 3, 35).
Ruckman offers his thoughts to this blasphemous babble:
"Do you honestly think that the Lord who said, 'Suffer
the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not' (Mark 10:14), would send
a little baby who didn't even know the difference between right and wrong or good
and evil to Hell or some place away from Him, like Limbo? You're crazy" (Romans
Commentary, 2003, p. 163).
John Macarthur, in his book, Safe in the Arms
of God, recalls an occasion when he was part of a panel of theologians, that
were asked where dead infants go when they die. After asking four out of the five
members, and with each one answering they didn't know, he was the first one to respond
emphatically that they were safe in the arms of God. Whether they had been baptised
or not, regardless of their parents faith and non-faith in Jesus.
Charles Spurgeon would also have to concur with Macarthur,
for he would say:
"Among the gross falsehoods which have been uttered
against the Calvinists proper, is the wicked calumny that we hold the damnation of
little infants. A baser lie was never uttered. There may have existed somewhere, in
some corner of the earth, a miscreant who would dare say there were infants in hell,
but I have never met with him, nor have I met with a man who ever saw such a person"
(Doctrines of Grace, p. 300).
With these two Calvinists agreeing that dead infants
would be elect, and with Spurgeon's words, 'I have never met with him, nor have I
met with a man who ever saw such a person,' he should have recalled how Augustine
and Calvin were such men. For both believed in the damnation of all non-baptised infants
(Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 558-559).
Out of all of the reformers however, Zwingli was
the only who held to a universal salvation for dead infants.
Luther, on the other hand, seemed to be unable to
publicly commit himself to go on record and tell his congregation that Zwingli was
correct; for he feared his church members would not bother to bring their children
forward to be baptised in future, and therefore church earnings would go down (Timothy
George, Theology of the Reformers, p. 95).
The Scriptures, which Macarthur's colleagues should
have cited to prove salvation for all dead infants would be (Deut.1:39; Rom. 4:15;
"The doctrine that God elected some men to Hell,
that they were born to be damned by God's own choice, is a radical heresy not taught
anywhere in the Bible" (7 p.
"If they (Arminians) could prove that the love which
prompted God to give his son to die, as a sin-offering, on the cross, had for its
objects all men indiscriminately, and that Christ actually sacrificed his life with
the purpose of saving all indifferently on the condition of faith, then it appears
that their inference is irresistible that the central principle of Arminianism is
true" (A. A. Hodge, Atonement, p. 348).
Confusion seems to abound as to whether or not Calvin
held to an atonement for the elect of God only, or for the whole of creation. I am
convinced that Beza held to a limited atonement, but whether or not Calvin did, remains
unclear amongst some Calvinists.
"There is too little evidence in the Institutes to
reach a conclusion on the extent of the atonement" (Robert Peterson, Calvin's
Doctrine of the Atonement, p. 90).
So, I have decided to list two of his commentaries
on the atonement, which I believe suggest that Calvin held to unlimited atonement.
On the subject of 1 Tim. 3:
"We say what everyone sees: It is God's will that
we should all be saved, when He commands that His Gospel should be preached...We ought,
therefore, as far as lies in our power, to seek the salvation of those who are to-day
strangers to the faith, and endeavour to bring them to the goodness of God. And why?
Because Jesus Christ is not the Saviour of three or four, but offers Himself to all...Jesus
Christ did not come to be mediator between two or three men, but between God and men;
not to reconcile a small number of people to God, but to extend His grace to the whole
world" (1 p.
On 1 John 2:2:
"Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world,
and in the goodness of God is offered unto all men without distinction, his human
blood being shed not for a part of the world only, but for the whole human race; for
although in the world nothing is found worthy of the favour of God, yet he holds out
the propitiation to the whole world, since without exception he summons all to the
faith in Christ, which is nothing than the door unto hope" (Augustus Strong, Systematic
Theology, p. 778).
This view of unlimited atonement is affirmed by Calvinist,
James Richards for he stated that Calvin re-examined limited atonement as he got older
and came to an understanding of unlimited atonement (Lectures on Mental Philosophy
and Theology, p. 308).
If one takes the time to read The Articles of Faith
for the Church of England, published after Calvin died, we discover that the Anglican
church (article thirty one) also held to an unlimited atonement:
"...the offering of Christ once made is the perfect
redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all sinnes of the whole worlde" (Philip
Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Creeds, Vol. 3, p. 507).
Luther on his commentary on Galatians, said the following:
"...one that hath taken upon Him the sins of all
men....By this means the whole world is purged" (David Samuel, The Church in Crisis,
The five-point Calvinist, Bob Ross (who was dubbed
by Eddie Garrett, 'an Arminian posing as a Calvinist') said:
"All those that want to be saved will be," therefore
the blood of Christ would have to be capable to cleanse all sinners of the world (Rev.
However the problem Calvinists have with the blood
of Christ is this: if He dies for all, than His blood was wasted, for most will perish.
Unfortunately man with his limited understanding of the atonement, approaches this
subject without being able to fathom how God distributes the blood to repentant sinners.
Robert Dabney hits the nail right on the head:
"Had every sinner of Adam's race been elected, the
same one sacrifice would be sufficient for all. We must absolutely get rid of the
mistake that expiation is an aggregate of gifts to be divided and distributed out,
one piece to each receive" (Calvinism, p. 61).
Please see two totally opposite views, taken from
two Calvinist writers:
"A Christ for all is really a Christ for none" (Homer
Hoeksema, Limited Atonement, p. 65).
"Christ died for the whole created world (John 3:16)
including Satan" (Gary North, Dominion and Common Grace p. 43).
whom did Christ die?
The Scripture tell us this:
a) Jesus loved His own until the end (John 13:1).
b) He lay His life down for His friends (John 15:13),
which would be publicans and sinners (Luke 7:34).
c) He calls Judas His friend (Matt. 26:50).
d) He chose Judas (the same Greek word eklego is
also used in Eph. 1:4) (John 6:70).
e) And He prophetically calls Judas mine own familiar
friend (Ps. 41:9).
f) He died for false prophets by buying them with
His own precious blood, hence how they were able to go on to deny Him (2 Pet. 2:1).
g) He died for all of nature. His crown of thorns
(Matt. 27:29) would be a fulfilment of Gen. 3:18, where He paid for the sins of all
nature - this is pictured in Is.11:6: "The wolf also
shall dwell with the lamb."
And this is seen in Romans 8:22: "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth
in pain together until now."
h) Matt. 13:44 would also be a picture of Jesus buying
the field (the whole world, vs. 38) with His own blood.
Through the atonement, God has made possible the
provision for all mankind, but mankind must accept the appropriation, if salvation
is to be of any benefit (Matt. 11:28).
And for once, even Augustine got this one point right:
"Christ's blood is sufficient for all, but it is
only efficient for those who seek it."
But a Dr. Paul Reiter still unsure about this, asks
the question, for whom did the Saviour die for?
Well the Bible tells us He died for:
All men (1 Tim. 2:6; Is. 53:6)
For every man (Heb. 2:9)
For the world (John 3:16)
For the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2)
For false teachers that deny Him (2 Pet. 2:1)
For many (Matt. 20:28)
For Israel (John 11:50-51)
For the Church (Eph. 5:25)
And for me (Gal. 2:20)
And if the above Scriptures aren't clear enough,
may I quote a Richard Baxter:
"Now I would know of any man, would you believe that
Christ died for all men if the Scripture plainly speak it? If you would, do but tell
me, what words can you devise or would you wish more plain for it than are there used?
Is it not enough that Christ is called the Saviour of the World? You'll say, but is
it of the whole world? Yes, it saith, He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole
World. Will you say, but it is not for All men in the World? Yes it saith he died
for All men, as well as for all the World. But will you say, it saith not for every
man? Yes it doth say, he tasted death for every man. But you may say, It means all
the Elect, if it said so of any Non-Elect I would believe. Yes, it speaks of those
that denied the Lord the bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And yet all this seems nothing to men prejudiced."
Therefore the Bible clearly and unambiguously states
"God has reconciled the world to Himself (provision)...we
pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (appropriation)
(2 Cor. 5:18-20).
"Who is the Saviour of all men (provision),
specially of those that believe" (appropriation) (1
himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Tim. 2:6).
"Therefore as by the offence of one
(Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation
(everyone has the problem of original sin); even so by the righteousness of one
(Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life
(provision for all of mankind without exception but only of benefit to those
that personally appropriate/receive this gift). For as by one man's disobedience many (used
interchangeably with all from above) were made sinners
(without exception), so by the obedience of one shall many (again
used interchangeably with all from above) be made righteous"
He would taste death for every man (Heb.
Not once, not twice, but often Jesus called Jerusalem
to come to Him (Matt. 23:37).
Why would Jesus bother to do this if a) He didn't
really mean it and b) He knew they couldn't anyway?
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten son (provision), that whosoever believeth in him (appropriation)
should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
"Behold I stand at the door, and knock (provision):
if any man hear my voice, and open the door (appropriation), I will
come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).
It should be pointed out again that when the Bible
uses the word "many" or "all" most of the time both words are used interchangeably,
Mark 1:32-34: all came to be healed by Him. He healed
many of them.
Matt. 8:16: many are brought to him. He healed all
who were sick.
Whilst leading Calvinists hold to the view of a limited
atonement, what is intriguing is how Macarthur, who also holds to this view, ‘unfortunately’
contradicts himself, when he says the following of Jesus:
"...becoming an atonement for the sins of the very
ones who killed Him" (9 p.
The ones who killed Him, like Caiaphas, Pilate, and
Herod never repented and believed on Him, so Macarthur will have to revaluate his
private interpretation on this. Either Christ died for the elect only, or He didn’t.
With all of the above dying in their sins, Macarthur will have to decide if either
they were indeed never members of the elect, or that Jesus' precious blood was wasted
for them, for he can't have it both ways.
The late Sir Robert Anderson had the following to
say about his struggle with 'tradition' and his presuppositions when reading the Bible:
"In the early years of my Christian life I was greatly
perplexed and distressed by the supposition that the plan and simple words of Scriptures
as John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 2:6 were not true, save in a cryptic sense understood
only by the initiated. For, I was told, the over-shadowing truth of Divine sovereignty
in election barred our taking them literally. But half a century ago a friend of those
days-the late Dr. Horatius Bonar-delivered me from this strange prevalent error. He
taught me that truths may seem to us irreconcilable only because our finite minds
cannot understand the Infinite; and we must never allow our faulty apprehension of
the eternal counsels of God to hinder unquestioning faith in the words of Holy Scripture."
Does this sound a little familiar to you? Where else
have we heard this type of battle before? Yes, that's right, evolution.
Sir Fred Hoyle:
"As a young student I was brainwashed into accounting
everything without God."
Praise the Lord Hoyle saw through the lie and deceit
of evolution, and so too did Anderson with the vain philosophy of Calvinism!
"Grace means 'God's unmerited favour.' Or G-R-A-C-E
means God's riches at Christ's expense" (7 p.
There are two verses that have been argued over and
debated more than most and they are 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9.
Paul, it seems, teaches that God's will is for all
men to be saved. So strong is this interpretation that even the leading apologist,
Lorraine Boettner sees how this view can be taken.
The question as always must be this: does God want
all men to be saved or not? According to Calvinist John Piper, "(He) desires the salvation
of all men" (Two Wills, p. 108).
Yet Piper, I believe, is a solemn voice in the community
The Holy Spirit, according to the Lord Jesus, would
reprove the world of sin, yet according to Calvinists, this would not only be unnecessary
but contrary to the TULIP. For if God will only save the elect, and if Jesus' blood
is only efficient for this group, why then would the Holy Ghost need to convict the
whole world of sin, if it can't benefit them?
"O horrible decree, worthy of whence it came! Forgive
their hellish blasphemy who charge it to the Lamb"! (Philip Schaff, History of
the Christian Church, VIII, p. 567).
If protestants are content to challenge the pope
to release all souls from purgatory, something Rome teaches he can do, when he wears
the Triple Tiara, than these same protestants, one would think, might hold to the
belief that if God uses irresistible grace to woe ungodly depraved sinners to salvation,
than why not use irresistible grace on all? If the pope is challenged to release all
tormented souls from the excruciating pain of purgatory, than why doesn't God inflict
His irresistible grace upon all?
May I say, that the office of that papacy hasn't
the power to release anybody from purgatory, for there is no purgatory, and the Lord
is near to all those that will call on Him (Ps. 145:18); but man loves in his sin,
which grieves the Lord (Eze. 6:9).
This dreadful doctrine of Calvinism must be Biblically
sound, if it is to be trusted and relied upon as orthodox theology, but as we have
already seen, when the reformers go to men like Augustine, then one is truly heading
for theological suicide, not to mention, genocide.
When does repentance come to the sinner?
The late Donald Barnhouse, another five-point
Calvinist, told his radio audience that regeneration and repentance would have to
come to the sinner before he/she could believe on Christ.
This would also be stated by Hoeksema Herman:
"He must have the power of faith before he can believe,
the gift of repentance before he can repent" (Grace, p. 73).
So if man needs to receive faith from God before
he can believe on Jesus, how are we to understand the following:
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in
the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent, ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand" (Matt. 3:1).
And in the next chapter, the Lord Jesus Himself would
echo John the Baptist:
"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say,
Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17).
So clearly man is able to repent, without God needing
to help him. And please remember that John spent six years preaching in the wilderness,
and Matthew tells us how all of believing Judea, Jerusalem, and all of the believing
region round about Jordan came out to be baptised (3:5). However not all of these
baptised people would later believe on Christ when He came!
The apostle Paul would also call on the multitudes
to repent, for in Acts 11:18 the reader is told how God has already (past tense) granted
repentance to the Gentiles, therefore when Paul confronts the pagan Athenians in 17:30,
there is no reason for these people not to conform with God’s command either.
And let us not forget that in Acts 5:31 God also
granted (past tense) repentance to the Jews as well.
So, when we examine these verses together, we discover
quite simply how God has already granted repentance to the Jews and the Gentiles.
Now all that He expects individuals to do is believe on Jesus when presented with
Who can come to the Father?
Jesus said God would draw all men to Him in order
to save them from their sins (John 6:44). When we use Scripture with Scripture (1
Cor. 2:13), we discover in John 12:32, that if He, (Jesus) be lifted up from the earth,
which He was when He ascended into Heaven, that He would draw all men to Himself.
And in 16:8, the Holy Ghost fulfils this Trinitarian commission by reproving the whole
world of sin.
And we would also read from John 1:9:
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man
that cometh into the world.”
So not only do the elect have the Light of Christ
once they have appropriated the atonement, but so to does every living soul since
creation. However this Light is not sufficient for one to be saved on itself. A person
must believe and receive Christ for salvation for it to be sufficient.
Grace or faith, which is the gift?
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourself: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8-9).
All Calvinists believe that faith, as well as grace,
are gifts given from God for those that will believe, i.e., the elect.
Macarthur in his study Bible says the following to
"Although men are required to believe for salvation
(how can a dead man believe on God?), even that faith is part of the gift of God which
saves and cannot be exercised by ones own power" (p. 1805).
Sproul also echoes Macarthur:
"The faith by which we are saved it is a gift....it
is given to us" (8 p.
Yet if one turns to Romans, they will see that the
Holy Spirit has defined what this gift is:
"But not as the offence, so also is
the free gift. For if through
the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it
was by one that sinned,
so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the
free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by
one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they
which receive abundance of grace and of
the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment
came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the
free gift came upon all men unto justification of life"
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God
is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
So using Scripture with Scripture, we see very clearly
that grace is the gift of God not faith per se.
Another verse that is used by Calvinists
would be Romans 9:15:
will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will
Once again, if we use Scripture to
interpret Scripture, this verse is defined in same epistle just two chapters later:
God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all" (11:32).
be grateful that the IFCA doctrinal statement understood this to be so:
"We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought
to man and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is the gift;
faith is the hand of the heart that reaches out and receives the gift which God offers.
We need to be careful not to confuse the gift with the reception of the gift."
And one other surprise would be Calvin himself:
"But they commonly misinterpret this text, and restrict
the word 'gift' to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating his earlier statement in
other words. He does not mean that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is
given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God" (Commentaries,
p. Vol. II, p. 145).
One other verse that should be mentioned would be
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath
appeared to all men."
What about the Great Commission?
Calvinist Kevin Fralick:
"The population of heaven after the end of the world
will not be determined by those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, but by those
whom the Lord Jesus Christ accepted before the beginning."
"If Election guarantees the salvation of all that
are predestinated to be saved, why should we bother with evangelism, personal or missionary?
What possible difference can it make whether we speak to men or not"? (Arthur Custance The
Sovereignty of Grace, p. 277).
"God has an elect people and Christ died for them
and they all will be born again and will live in heaven; all due to his sovereign
grace. Many of them will have never heard the gospel" (Garrett Two Salvations,
The latter quote should cause all Bible believing
Christians to feel very concerned and horrified by what Garrett said. Not only is
this totally unscriptural, but I believe it make grace very cheap! Something non-Calvinists
are often charged with.
Ruckman offers the following thoughts to this kind
of deranged thinking:
"Twentieth century Calvinists are totally defunct
in all branches of soul winning and evangelism. They live off the glory of a handful
of Calvinists back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They do not like to
be reminded that although Spurgeon was a great Baptist preacher, he won less than
half the number of sinners to Jesus Christ than Billy Sunday did, less than one quarter
as many as Dwight L. Moody did, and less than one-eighth as many as John Wesley did"
Yet Garrett is in very good company, for even Billy
Graham and the late John Paul II both said the same thing. Graham believes there are
heathen throughout the world who have never heard of Jesus yet God will accept their
pagan worship as a 'substitute' for His true gospel. The late pope would also say
that all those who lead a 'good life' would get to Heaven. So on this view alone,
hyper Calvinists and humanists are in total agreement as to how it will all work out
in the end!
So, just when we thought we were back on more solid
ground, another Calvinist comes along, with the following to offer:
"For us to say that one must hear the gospel in order
to be saved for heaven, it would severely limit the Holy One of Israel."
Any Bible believing student of the word of God knows
that the above is totally nonsensical. Mankind has to hear the gospel in order to
be saved (Mark 16:15-16).
For if he doesn't hear the gospel, how then is he
expected to be saved (Rom. 10:14-17)?
It doesn't take long, however, for more moderate
Calvinists to regain control of their system and come back into line with a more moderate
and Biblical understanding of Scripture. The ecumenical Anglican Calvinist, J.I. Packer:
"That God in the gospel really does offer Christ
and promise justification and life to whosever will" (Evangelism and the Sovereignty
of God, p. 100).
Yet Packer doesn't really believe this. I mean how
could he? According to him, Christ died for only the elect. Again this is inconstant
and double talk aimed at appeasing his non-Calvinist/ecumenical friends in the apostate
churches together movement.
And not only does Packer presents us with such double
talk, so too does Sproul:
"The Calvinist view of predestination teaches that
God actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to make absolutely sure that they
are saved. Of course the rest are invited to Christ
and given an 'opportunity' to be saved if they want to" (8 p.
Well the latter part of that paragraph is all very
well, but if 'others' do come, there's no blood for them, for He only died for the
elect. Confused? So am I!
As has already been stated, the Wesley brothers were
very much in the front line when it came to repealing the pagan philosophies of Calvinism
in their day. One of John Wesley's most damning statements against the disastrous
TULIP would have to be the following:
"(Calvinism) represents our Lord as a hypocrite,
a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity, as mocking his helpless
creatures by offering what he never intends to give, by saying one thing and meaning
another" (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 8, p. 566).
And let us not forget the 'infamous' and 'loathed'
"I am fully persuaded, that the doctrine of Irresistible
Grace is repugnant to the Sacred Scriptures, to all the Ancients, and to our own Confession
and Catechism" (Works of Arminius, Vol. 1, p. 301-302).
I would say that with quotes from certain Calvinists
from above, is it any wonder there are so many 'lazy' and 'absent' Christians on the
streets! And yet false religions seem to be out in abundance, peddling their worthless
and powerless 'gospels.'
of the saints
Spurgeon once said:
"I do not believe in the perseverance of the saints.
I believe in the perseverance of the Saviour" (7 p.
I thought that the last section of the TULIP system
would be the easiest to write on, but it has in fact been the most challenging.
For while I hold to the eternal security of all genuine
and regenerated sinners, I know that some will take exception to this. I once tried
to explain to two Mormon missionaries that were knocking on doors in my town that
once a person has believed on Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, they are saved and
sealed forever (Eph. 4:30). The missionaries then asked me: "What would happen to
a Christian if they murdered a person, surely they would lose their salvation, wouldn't
they?" "No, I replied. “If a person is saved, they are still saved." A person, after
being justified by faith in Christ alone, cannot be unjustified, anymore than a person
who is literally born cannot be literally unborn. Samson and David had people murdered/killed
after they had been saved; yet they are in Heaven today.
(Incidentally, the reason this question was asked
by the Mormons is because they believe some sins are so bad - murder being one - that
a blood atonement from a third party may be needed if the 'faithful' Mormon ever hopes
to one day become a god).
Macarthur to his credit understands perfectly well
how eternal security works:
"No sin a believer can commit - past, present, or
future - can be held against him, since that penalty was paid by Christ and His righteousness
was imputed to the believer. No sin will ever reverse this divine legal decision"
(Study Bible, p. 1706).
Now no doubt there will be some self-righteous Christians
reading this that will be fuming with me on this point, so let's take a more detailed
look at some of the saved saints in the Bible, and see how they lived while in the
flesh, awaiting the transformation of their vile bodies (Phil. 3:21).
King David: saved and anointed with the
Holy Ghost when only a youth (1 Sam. 16:13), yet he would go on break six of the Ten
commandments, with two of them demanding the death penalty.* He lied, deceived, committed
treason (1 Sam. 27-30); *adultery (Deut. 22:22); got a man drunk and then had this
man *killed (Ex. 21:12-14,22-23), yet he was saved during this whole period, for if
it had been possible for him to have lost his salvation, he would have (Heb. 10:26).
Only after the prophet Nathan confronted him, did
he finally repent. And although he begged God not to take the Holy Spirit from him,
there is no reason to come to the conclusion this was meant for his salvation. He
was speaking of his priestly anointing, which only Old Testament saints enjoyed.
The very night he saw Bathsheba he slept with her
(2 Sam. 11:4.)
Due to his carnal desire for her, and later knowledge
that she had fallen pregnant by him, he allowed the enemies of Israel to kill her
husband, a faithful son of Israel (2 Sam. 12:14), so God in His infinite mercy doesn't
have David executed but spares him (2 Sam. 12:13). But due to David and Bathsheba’s
adultery, their firstborn child dies (2 Sam. 12:15-18).
Yet David has full assurance that in the resurrection,
he will see his child again. And the Lord appears to bless polygamous David, for he
would have intercourse again with Bathsheba and subsequently, not only would Solomon
be born but two other sons too (2 Sam. 12:24; 1 Chron. 3:5).
As God is no respecter of persons and as Solomon
was an infamous idolater, one could speculate that infants that die young or prematurely
are not Hell bound but Heaven bound).
And for Christians
that fear that they might lose the Holy Spirit, they would do well to remember that
the Father and the Son also reside in them, but nobody ever talks about losing the
first and second members of the Godhead.
While God heard David's beautiful prayer of repentance
(Ps. 51) he still suffered terribly for his sins. For according to the Law, David
should have been put to death with his mistress, but God chose His own punishment
for David instead.
Four acts of retribution would follow: 1) David and
Bathsheba's baby died. 2) Amnon, one of David's sons, raped his half sister. David
refused to punish this act, so for two long years, bitterness and anger built up within
David's family and servants. 3) Absalom, furious that his father failed to deal with
this, hatches a plot to kill his half brother, for revenge for his sister's rape.
Again David fails to respond to this act of murder with righteous judgement. 4) David
doesn't punish him, even though he knew all along where he was hiding (2 Sam. 14:21).
And this family tragedy, in which several crimes
were committed, resulting in three demanding capital punishment, would go from bad
to worse, for Absalom tried to take his fathers throne from him, and at one stage
consented to his father's murder (2 Sam. 17:4). All during this tragic turmoil 20,000
men perished (2 Sam. 18:7). In the end, the coup was thwarted and David would go on
to lose another son, when Joab killed Absalom while he was trapped, hanging from a
tree. This devastating news was too much for David, for he had told Joab and others
to spare this renegade's life, even after he had had intercourse with David's concubines.
The text doesn't tell us whether this act was consensual or not. With so many fatalities,
David grieves for his son's death, even though the kingdom was almost destroyed; yet
his attention is towards his disloyal and wicked son.
In 2 Samuel, David's transgression, when numbering
all of Israel with a census, would cause the death of some 70,000 people; due to a
famine that God had sent them (2 Sam. 24:1).
This great king was saved when only a youth, died
a good old age, full of days, and riches, and honour (1 Chr. 29:28), yet his sins
nearly destroyed him and his kingdom. The results of such sins would last his lifetime
David even acknowledged that all of the evil which
came upon him was from God as punishment (2 Sam. 16:10).
So if a Christian is going to lead a carnal life,
be warned! Everything you cherish and all those that you love will suffer!
You might lose your job, house, friends, family, money, health, and possibly even
die, but if you are saved, than you will remain forever saved!
King Solomon: David affirms God chose Solomon
to be king (1 Chr. 28:5). David makes it clear that blessings will come to him if
Solomon obeys God, and curses will come if he disobeys God. Deut. 31:16-21 however,
states that future disobedience would plague Israel - Solomon's sins, resulted in
his breaking several commandments, with two calling for the death penalty, i.e., idolatry
and adultery. God warned Solomon about the consequences of disobedience (2 Chr. 7:17-22),
yet this king was not only chosen by God (before the foundation of the world according
to Calvinists), twice communed with God; led a great multitude of people; had kings
and queens from all over the world come to seek his wisdom; built the temple for the
Lord, something David wasn't allowed to do; a whole chapter in 2 Chr. 6, is given
to his prayer, with Solomon on his knees throughout, yet I believe he remained saved
all along. And does not 2 Sam. 7:14-15, tell us how God would not take His mercy from
Solomon as He did with Saul?
be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with
the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not
depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee."
Solomon was saved when he was old enough to comprehend
God, something that is still applicable today for Christian youths.
The writer below, under the inspiration of the Holy
Ghost, offers the following about this wayward king:
"Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things?
Yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and
God made him king over Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to
sin" (Neh. 13:27).
King Saul: "Because thou obeyedst not
the voice of
the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore
hath the LORD done this thing unto
thee this day. Moreover
the LORD will
thee into the hand of
the Philistines: and
to morrow shalt
thou and thy sons be
with me: the LORD also
shall deliver the host of Israel into
the hand of
(1 Sam. 28:18-19).
on the premise that Samuel was saved (Heb. 11:32), and based on the premise from Luke
16:19-31 that hell (known also in the Bible as the pit, tarsus, gehenna,
hades, etc, etc) is in the ground, and based on the premise that everyone, saved or
unsaved all went into the ground upon death, pre Christ, we can ascertain from this
piece of Scripture alone that Samuel, upon death, was in the ground, along with Saul's
sons, awaiting Saul to join them all within 24 hours.
we know from the first death, Luke 16:19-31, how the righteous dead were unable to
cross over and interact with the unrighteous dead. All they were permitted to do was
speak to one another from their relevant sections.
Samuel's words to Saul about 'to morrow shalt
thou and thy sons be
with me' must be taken literally. Saul would soon be with Samuel and his sons in the
righteous part of hell, albeit arriving with nothing to show for his life. (This picturing
a carnal Christian arriving at the Judgment Seat of Christ, saved, but still with
nothing to show for their Christian life).
Lot: was called just and righteous (2 Pet.
2:7-8), yet he offered up his virgin daughters to a crowd of sodomites. He lost his
wife, and his daughters lost their virginities, but he was saved (1 Cor. 3:15).
Jacob: lied about his birthright, deceived
his father twice and even told him how God gave him his food, which Jacob had sent
him out for (Gen. 27:20). When Esau came for him, he aligned his family into positions
so as to avoid those he loved the most being hurt (Gen. 33:2), yet he was saved (Heb.
Samson: fornicator, murders thirty men for
their garments, committed suicide, and murdered many Philistines as well, yet he was
saved throughout (Heb. 11:32-35).
So while the Bible says we can live above sin, when
we walk in the Holy Spirit, we can't live permanently without sin in our lives:
"If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a
liar, and his word is not in us" (1 John 1:10).
This verse is also something that every Old Testament
saint adhered to (1 Kings 8:46).
We must remember of course that the Old Testament
was written so Christians wouldn't make the same mistakes (1 Cor. 10:11). However,
there is no reason to conclude that people today can't be as sinful or even worse
than their forefathers were (vs.12).
I remember once discussing with a pastor whether
or not I had to 'continue in the faith,' if I hoped to ever be saved. I responded
by saying, 'If my salvation/continuing to do a, b, c depends on me, than I would lose
my salvation tomorrow.' I still believe this to be so, and I am quite content to tell
people that I meet, that one is saved (past tense) by what Jesus did for them, not
by what one does for Him. In other words His substitutionary death
and my faith in it is all that Scripture teaches is needed to be saved. After I am
saved, then works would naturally follow.
Yet, if one has to persevere in order to be saved,
what would happen if one didn't persevere enough? Or if they did persevere, than they
are not saved by faith alone (something all Calvinists hold to) but by faith and works,
something Catholics would certainly agree with. And if faith and works were needed,
every Catholic that I knew would be saved?!? And how would a person know if they had
endured enough? Or if they hadn't endured enough, would it be possible for them to
know, before death? Would they lose their salvation for not 'enduring' enough? Or
would they be disqualified? And if they did lose their salvation, when might one expect
to be made aware of this for what sin would need to be committed for the loss of salvation
(Jud. 16:20)? And of course, according to Hebrews 10:26, if you could lose it, you'd
never get it back.
So, I have to ask the same question again: either
one is saved or one is not. Holy and Godly living are one thing, and certainly elements
that should be evident in each Christians life. But if one trusts in their goodness
and their religious output (Acts 17:22-23), than this too is no guarantee that one
is saved. Or if one does live the 'complete and supreme' Christian life, than who
saved whom? Did Jesus save that person, or did that person saved himself?
Isn't this what the Paul warns against in Romans
4:2: "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before
"Friend, if Jesus Christ isn't Lord of your life,
then you are yet lost in your sins" (John Otis, Who is the Genuine Christian,
"No man can accept Jesus as Saviour of his soul without
accepting Him and Lord of his life" (Shank, Life in the Son, p. 15).
"Christians will never be ashamed at the judgment
seat of Christ" (John Macarthur, Marks of a true believer, p. 34, 37).
According to the above Calvinists, Sproul better
watch out then, for he openly acknowledges how he's addicted to ice cream, and that
he doesn't totally love Christ to perfection (8 p.
And what about the Corinthians? Didn't some of them
die due to their carnality? I'm sure many of them will be ashamed and disgusted with
themselves at the Bema Seat.
A controversial teaching that made news in the evangelical
world in the 1990s, in which the question was asked, 'To be saved, does one need to
believe on the Lord Jesus and make Him Lord of one's life, or can they just accept
Him as Saviour?'
Macarthur, Hanegraaff and James White,
all declare that Jesus needs to be one's Lord and Saviour, if they are to be saved
and stay saved.
Yet the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, when asked by one
of his radio listeners whether Jesus was Lord of his life said:
"I accepted Christ as my Saviour. He's not Lord of
my life. If that's heresy, so be it."
David Hocking however, one of McGee's biggest admirers,
and one who believes in lordship salvation, told me, in an e-mail how he didn't agree
with McGee on this issue. Interesting isn't it!
So once again, all different views from different
Bible teachers, on this particular issue on lordship salvation.
When I was a Catholic, there used to be a joke, which
went like this: "Pick your favourite priest for confession." Some priests would give
you a lenient penance, others much harsher. The same can be said today. Pick your
favourite preacher, for the view you want to have and promote.
All genuine Christians know however, that Jesus Christ
is the most important and central Figure in their lives. They love Him, live for Him
and strive for Him. But to say He has to be Lord of one's life in order to then be
saved and stay saved is problematic.
For example, how does one know if they've done enough
to make Him Lord of their life? What happens if they slip every now and then, and
then die? According to some conditional security proponents, such a person would need
to be born-again, again. Yet these same people refuse to be held accountable for such
a banal view. Such holiness groups will tell their congregations that unless they
are perfect all of the time and don't sin, than they'll be okay, but if they don't
behave themselves, they might perish. Here's the problem: in Hebrews, we are told:
"If we sin wilfully after that we have received the
knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" (10:26).
Therefore, according to conditional security proponents
and all other ‘holiness’ groups, this is speaking of all sins in general. Yet if
they wish to use this verse and apply it doctrinally to Christians, than they have
one big problem: these people are damned and cannot ever be reconciled to God, even
if they wanted to! So, realising this, the conditional security proponent looks elsewhere
for a verse he can use to teach reconciliation to God, while at the same time, holding
to one losing their salvation.
The late Barry Smith was devastated when one of his
daughter's committed suicide. For years this Pentecostal preacher rigorously towed
his denominations party line when it came to the 'reality' of believers losing their
salvation. He would often tell his audience that it was blasphemy to commit suicide
and may in fact be one of the unpardonable sins. Of course, Barry was wrong and only
when his daughter took her own life, was he forced to leave the mainstream Pentecostal
world, due primarily to their insistence his daughter had committed blasphemy, and
was now in Hell. This naturally forced his re-think of this nonsensical doctrine of
Christians loosing their salvation, no matter what they did once saved.
And how intriguing it is when leading charismatic
leaders such as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, both hold to the fact that you can
lose your salvation, if/when you sin wilfully, yet neither of these men lost their
salvation when they sinned.
It may be of interest to the reader that many Calvinists
don't believe in carnal Christians, or the two natures of the believer.
Macarthur believes the old nature and new nature
terminology is not a Biblical term. He seems to lean to almost entire sanctification,
something Wesley and all holiness groups adhere to.
Yet did not Macarthur recently buy the copyright
to all his books? This
would have cost a small fortune, and was done to secure his financial interests as
a worldwide writer. What's wrong with this, some might ask? Nothing, but I wasn't
the person who said that 'he would be happy to eat grass,' or that 'money meant nothing
to him.' Macarthur said this.
The late Harry Ironside said the following about
"...The flesh in the believer is no better than the
flesh in an unbeliever."
There are however, several Calvinists who take issue
with Macarthur's views on lordship salvation:
"Macarthur attacks justification by faith alone and
suggests that works be understood as part of faith" (John Robbins, The Gospel
According to John Macarthur, part 1, p. 1).
"Macarthur's book (The Gospel According to Jesus)
is very confused and dangerous. It does not present the Gospel according to Jesus,
but another gospel, which is not a gospel at all, similar to that of the Roman Church"
(John Robbins, The Gospel According to John Macarthur, part 2; p.
This last statement is devastating to Macarthur,
for not only is he accused of preaching a false gospel, but is also dubbed a 'semi-Arminian.'
However Pink and Garrett both hold to these Biblical
facts, concerning carnality and the twin natures, in all Christians (2 p.
Must the elect persevere till the end to be saved?
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same
shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22; 24:13).
Here are two totally opposite views on this most
First, from a reformed Calvinist, who was one of
the editors for the NIV New Bible Commentary, 1997, and the other from a
"To follow Jesus is not a route to popularity and
influence; it leads to life on the run (vs. 23a). But v 23b assures the Twelve that
their mission would not be complete before the Son of Man comes. However often they
were repulsed, there would always be more of the cities of Israel to take the message
to" (p. 917).
"The end has no reference to the end of their lives,
and it is aimed at 'them,' referring to the people to whom they are getting ready
to witness....no way refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, for many who
endured to this end were not saved. Furthermore, many who were saved spiritually were
killed physically before, during, and after 'the end'...to make matters worse, many
of the 'saved' did not endure to the end of A.D. 70 and died before A.D. 50 (1 Cor.
15:5-10)" (Peter Ruckman, The Book of Matthew, p. 219-220).
Now certainly Paul finished the course, kept the
faith, and won the crown that the Lord had set him (2 Tim. 4:7). But is this something
that is applicable to all believers? Didn't the Lord tell Paul, that he would have
to take the gospel to kings and leaders, and suffer many things for Him (Acts 9:15)?
So wouldn't be fair to say that Paul was somewhat of a special case?
However the apostle did say that the crown that awaited
him would also be for others too. Yet what crown are we referring to? I believe this
crown is one of five that Scripture speaks of. The crown of Life (or martyrs crown),
the crown of glory (this is an elders or pastors crown), the crown of rejoicing (this
is the "soul winners crown," i.e., those brought to Jesus by us), the crown of righteousness,
(this is the crown for those who love His appearing and will be given in that day),
and the incorruptible crown (this is the victor's crown that did not yield or was
diverted from the work of the Master).
Friends, salvation is not the subject here. What
is being discussed are rewards for those that are already saved. This is what Paul
was enduring for, not his own salvation.
Israel, as God's elect nation, was the smallest and
least important of all nations (Deut. 7:7), yet they rebelled against God (2 Kings
17:20-21), and at one stage a pagan king sent for one of their priests to teach them
the ways of God (2 Kings 17:27-28): they were worse than the pagan nations at times
(2 Kings 21:9; 2 Chr. 33:9).
Not only did they not all persevere with Him, they
weren't even faithful to Him, yet because God strived with them, and because God kept
His oath, which he has sworn with their fathers (Deut. 7:8), they were never cast
away. Yes many would die physically, but there is no need to believe they perished
In Isaiah, we read:
spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that
was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually
to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh,
and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Which say, Stand by thyself, come
not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that
burneth all the day" (65:1-5).
Moses disobeyed God (Num. 20:12), was still full
of life when he was put to death prematurely by God, yet he was saved (Heb. 11:23-29).
Aaron broke the 2nd commandment (something punishable
by death, Deut. 27:15), failed to confess this fully when confronted by Moses (Ex.
32:22-24), and later went on to smite the rock twice, and therefore along with Moses,
died prematurely, yet there is no reason to doubt he wasn't saved.
In New Testament theology, the following Calvinists
line up, with their take on this:
"The doctrine declares that once God has begun the
work of salvation in any person, He will preserve therein to the end and will never
let any of His own be lost" (Ben Rose The Five Disputed Points of Calvinism,
Macarthur would certainly not agree with this statement,
for he believes that one needs to live righteously and persevere, if one is to be
"The ones who persevere are the same ones who are
saved - not the ones whose love grows cold" (Study Bible, p. 1439).
Yet before long, another Calvinist is found who agrees
with Macarthur too:
"This doctrine teaches that those who truly have
come to saving faith in Christ will preserve in the faith" (Grover Gunn,
"Perseverance is what we do. Preservation is what
God does. We persevere because God preserves" (8 p.
All this may sound good but my question is this:
how does one know if they are persevering enough? How can one know for sure if their
level of holiness is sufficient to demonstrate that they really are saved? And what
would happen to such a person if they committed a sin, never confessed it, and then
According to Pink and other Calvinists like him:
"Those who persevere not in faith and holiness, love
and obedience, will assuredly perish" (Eternal Security, p. 28).
And yet as no Christian has ever lived to perfection,
how can they know if they've made the mark?
Even Hebrews 12:4 declares this:
not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin."
Calvinists correctly inform their audience that when
Paul tells us how we've missed the mark, and that even when we're saved, we still
continue to totally miss it, how can these views hold up? (Rom. 3:23). Either a person
is totally justified by the finished work of Christ, or he's not? Or once a person
is saved, is he expected to work to stay saved? Surely if a sinner cannot save himself
before he's saved (Rom. 4:4), he certainly doesn't help himself after he's saved!?!
Some seem to think that when sinners become saints,
they become partners with God, at least a very junior partner, in the process of 'bringing
about glorification.' So, I ask this simple question: either a person is saved when
he/she believers on the Lord, or one is not. Which is it?
A well known Christian once said that Christians
will fall in the mud (the world system) roll around in it for a while (enjoy the sin),
but eventually they will get up, repent of this and continue on in the faith, until
the next time they stumble. The unsaved man however, like all dogs and unclean animals,
loves the mud, desires to always be rolling around in this filth, has no intention
of ever doing anything else, for it is all he knows.
Calvinist Steven Houck, finds a similar analogy:
"Though the true believer may slip into grievous
sin, he does not fall absolutely. God brings him back so that by faith he walks in
the ways of God. He is preserved in the way of faith - a faith that results in godly
living" (God's Sovereignty in Salvation, p. 32).
Or another helpful and traditional expression:
"A believer may fall in board but never overboard."
Now of course not all people agree with these statements.
Please see what John Otis said on this:
"Falling away from the Faith, doesn't mean that one
loses his salvation, it means that one never had any salvation from the beginning"
(Who is the Genuine Christian, p. 40).
I return to my early point: what about the carnal
Corinthians then? Were they all unsaved? Paul never said they were, only that many
of them slept, a meaning they were dead in the Lord, not dead and lost in hell.
"Calvinists emphasise continuance in believing and
living in holiness to the end of one's life much like the Arminian would do" (2 p.
So, is the old sound bite, 'once saved, always saved'
considered orthodox theology or not?
Please see what the following leading Calvinists
"(This doctrine) of once saved, always saved is one
of the grandest of Biblical teachings" (Edwin Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism,
Yet if one holds to the second and third aspect of
TULIP, than surely they would expect this to be so, for surely God would never allow
one of His elected saints to perish, if He chose them in eternity past?
"The Canons of Dort do not in any way support the
erroneous understanding of this doctrine that some seem to have, namely, 'Once saved,
always saved', regardless of how we live" (Saved by Grace, p. 253-254).
So, if one lives correctly than they are saved, but
if one doesn't than they're damned? How can this be? Again, either a person has passed
from death to life (John 5:24) or he hasn't. How can a saved sinner, covered in His
Saviour's imputed righteousness, add anything further to his perfect salvation? Of
course a saint can live carnally, which all do from time to time, but nothing and
nobody can keep a justified and sanctified saint from Heaven (Rom. 8:38). Yet according
to Calvinists, Jesus may refuse them entry to the Kingdom, if they haven't been perfect,
after being saved!
Macarthur in his study Bible, p. xx, lists the following
points to look out for, when checking ones spiritual life:
Are you saved by faith in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 2:14-16?)
Are you hungering for God's Word (1 Pet. 2:2?)
Are you searching God's Word with diligence (Acts
Are you seeing holiness (1 Pet. 1:14-16?)
Are you Spirit-filled (Col. 3:16?)
While I can appreciate these helpful and useful pointers,
I am still unsure whether one can say yes for sure to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th to
What if one is lagging in some of these areas? What
if one goes through a dry period? Does this mean they are not saved? One Calvinist
told me that saved people 'don't have dry periods.'
Yet the Calvinist pastor, Warren
Wiersbe spoke of times when he was so dry,
he couldn't preach. Others in his church had to step in for him.
I have also heard of numerous pastors needing long
sabbaticals to 'reconnect' with God, so I believe it's more common than some would
like us to believe.
What is faith, or how much faith do I need for Heaven?
Paul told the petrified Philippian jailer, who knew
he would be executed by his Roman superiors for failing to secure the prison, to simply
believe on the Lord Jesus to be saved (Acts 16:30-31).
In Romans 10:9:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou
shalt be saved."
So are these verses clear or not? Does a person need
to add works to be saved? Or how many 'good works' does the potential Christian need
to be saved, and 'stay saved'?
Pink suggests works are necessary:
"There is a deadly and damnable heresy being widely
propagated today to the effect that, if a sinner truly accepts Christ as his personal
Saviour, no matter how he lives afterwards, he cannot perish. This is a satanic lie,
for it is at direct variance with the teaching of the Word of truth. Something more
than believing in Christ is necessary to ensure the soul's reaching heaven" (Ian Murray, Life
of Pink, p. 248-249).
Maybe Pink was a closet Catholic all along. He was
certainly more at home with them, as the following quote affirms from the Council
"If anyone says that a man once justified cannot
lose grace and therefore that he falls and sins never was truly justified, let him
be accursed" (6/23).
Now Rome knows that Sola Fide (faith alone for salvation)
is deadly for her religious structure, for if she held to this correct Biblical doctrine,
than her whole apparatus will collapse. If souls are saved by faith in Christ alone,
than people need not go to her church or any church for that matter.
Think about it, for a moment. If sinners are saved
by faith in Christ alone, something all evangelical protestants hold to, than nobody
needs to ever go to church. People would only go to church because they are saved,
not because they want to be saved. Rome understands this very well, for the word "alone"
has to be dropped, and curses put on those that threaten her pagan priesthood.
Did not Paul in Galatians 3:3 tell the church that
faith alone was sufficient for salvation? One is saved therefore simply by their faith
in Christ alone.
Now I would have to agree with Paul, when he totally
rejects the anticipated criticism from those who were going to oppose him on justification
by faith alone:
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin,
that grace may abound"? God forbid (Rom. 6:1-2).
Or as one Bible teacher helpfully noted, 'We want
to live our lives to His glory and to please Him.' This is very true and I would concur
with it 100%. Like children, who are forever trying to be like their parents and please
them, Christians desperately and consistently long to honour and please the Lord.
But I cannot agree with Pink on the latter part of
his statement. Faith is all God wants from imperfect people, and this is all imperfect
people can give Him.
Otherwise if man can live righteously enough to enter
Heaven, Jesus wouldn’t have needed therefore to become a substitutionary Saviour for
"This one word 'believe' represents all a sinner
can do and all sinner must do to be saved" (Salvation, p. 33).
What about legalism?
"Those who do not love their neighbour, especially
those of the household of faith, are yet lost in their sins" (John Otis, Who is
the Genuine Christian, p. 22- 23).
"Reader, if there is a reserve in your obedience,
you are on your way to hell" (Arthur Pink, Practical Christianity, p. 16).
If these extreme views were to be considered as serious
and helpful contributions to the Body of Christ by able scholars, than one would wonder
how the Apostle Peter stood, when the episode of Galatians 2:11-14 occurred? Certainly
he wasn't 'reserve in his obedience' to the Gospel (Acts 15:19-29).
Or perhaps he, up until that stage at least, wasn't
saved? Or maybe according to the above Pharisees, he was never saved?!?
The problem with legalism is it makes salvation a
yoke (Acts 15:10) something Jesus said He'd come to remove (Matt. 11:30). It also
takes any joy, peace and assurance of salvation that the Christian may have, and cause
him to become dragged down with the burden of being unable to reach perfection all
of time, every time.
As nobody ever kept the law of God perfectly (John
7:19; James 2:10) than how are we, while living under Grace, expected to? And if Old
Testament saints couldn't do it - Calvinists believe they too were regenerated like
we are - then it is certain that New Testament saints won't deal much better either.
One other danger with legalism is the false teaching
that one needs to continue to live holy in order to stay saved, or demonstrate one
was initially elected in the first place to salvation.
I lose my salvation?
Charles Hodge tragically believed the apostle Paul,
a man who had seen the three heavens, wrote nearly half of the New Testament, and
was called brother before he was baptised, could have lost his eternal salvation,
when he spoke of himself being a castaway; if he didn't control his body (1 Cor. 9:27):
"...this devoted apostle considered himself as engaged
in a life struggle for his salvation" (Corinthians, p. 169).
For anyone to seriously believe this is quite amazing.
Then Robert Shank makes the same blunder:
"...Paul's fear was the possibility of losing, not
opportunities or rewards for service, but for the salvation of his own soul" (Life
in the Son, p. 37).
And may I also quote Sproul once more, who offers
a rather self-righteous thought:
"We are to work hard, resisting sin unto blood if
necessary, pummelling our bodies if that is what it takes to subdue them" (8 p.
How sad and tragic it is that such men as this really
believe that one can slip out of the Lord's hand (John 10:28-30). One must also come
to the conclusion that men such as these 'super-duper' Christians, must be so holy
and saintly all of the time, that perhaps God should have chosen them instead of Paul
to be His victorious apostle; for these men would never have come near to losing their
A quick re-read of Heb. 12:4 brings us back to earth
with a crass.
Other passages that haunt believers into concluding
that a bought sinner can lose his salvation would be Hebrews and 2 Peter. Both these
books however, need to be understood in their correct context.
For example, Hebrews is not only the epistle to Leviticus,
it's also clearly aimed at Jewish Christians not Gentile ones. (1 Cor. 10:32). Now
please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that this book is only for the Jews;
but may I quote J Vernon McGee: "It's all for us, but it's not all to us." In other
words the Bible is for all those that believe on the Lord, but the teachings aren't
applicable to everybody living in different dispensations. I would also refute right
now, the slander that I might be one of those that is quite happy to calve up the
word of God and take from it what I want.
The Bible is a Jewish Book, written by Jewish men,
for Jewish people. The Messiah of Israel was Jewish. His apostles were all Jewish,
and every writer of the New Testament was Jewish.
Therefore one would do well to remember that the
Jews are God's main concern and interest, and this is especially presented in the
When Jesus died, the dividing wall of separation
between Jew and Gentile was about to be brought crashing down (Eph. 2:12-13). With
both groups now being seen as one in the
eyes of God (Gal. 3:28), all that was left was for the writers of Scripture to make
sure that the Jews who had come to Christ would remain faithful in their faith in
Christ. In other words, once they had received Him, there was no turning back to Judaism
or one's good works (John 6:66; Rom. 10:1-4).
If a sinner is saved, justified, and being sanctified,
it is impossible therefore for such a person to slip into sin and go to Hell.
The Bible teaches that we are now the Sons of God
(1 John 3:2); bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh (Eph. 5:3), and sealed by the
Holy Ghost (Eph. 4:30). Therefore it is totally nonsensical, insane and probably even
sinful for those that have passed from death to life (John 5:24); being conformed
to His image on a daily basis (Rom. 8:29); promised they will never be cast out (John
6:37), if such saints of God believe they and others could still perish and go to
Hell! Such folks should spend their time worshipping and praising their Lord and Saviour
and not wasting their time and His, worrying about a demonic doctrine of losing their
salvation and subsequently being severed from His own body!
The Bible does speak however about
endurance and the need for one to better their walk with the Saviour.
We should also be mindful that even if a faithful
saint, loved and adored by the local church, fell into sin, left their church and
never returned, one shouldn't be so quickly written off. There is too much of a tendency
to say things like, "Oh, well, he wasn't ever saved in the first place." Or, "Well,
he's lost his salvation now." God's given him up."
Such talk is certainly immature and potentially poisonous.
What a local church doesn't know is that such a person might come back to the Lord
I once knew a brother who fell away from the Lord
for 12 years. He left his wife and kids and then during that time returned to his
old life of gambling. No doubt his friends and family wrote him off, but you know
what, he repented and later returned to the Lord, even winning souls to Him.
The following verses are often used to argue that
those that are saved can lose their salvation, if they don't continue in the faith.
I don't believe this. I have come to the opinion that the following Scriptures are
indeed speaking to the then (1st century Jews) and a future time period, i.e., (Great
Tribulation Jews). Of course the entire Bible is written to us (all people) but it's
not all for us (for different time periods!)
"They (false Jewish disciples, teachers and
prophets which went back to Judaism) went out from us (true sanctified
and justified believers in Jesus), but they were not of us; for if they had
been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they
might be made manifest that they were not all of us" (1 John 2:19).
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto
love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (being
identified with other Jewish Christians in a public way), as the manner of
some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching"
to read the above statement, about unity and identity with Christ, not Judaism!
we sin wilfully (Jewish people rejecting Christ, His atonement and returning
to Judaism after being baptised into Him) after that we have received the
knowledge of the truth (only faith in Jesus could this refer to, John 14:6),
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment
and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Christ is the
only substitutionary atonement for man) He that despised Moses' law died
without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose
ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath
counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and
hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace"? (Heb. 10:26).
I say the following concerning this passage. Some prophecy teachers believe this is
speaking to Jews in the Tribulation. I have known of Christians, and please don't
ask me how, falling into cults and even the occult, yet years later, they've repented
of this and returned to Christ. Nobody in their local church refused them entry and
nobody as far as I am aware doubted their faith, yet if the above verses could be
used today, than how would these Christians stand? People will say, perhaps they weren't
saved in the first place to start with. Maybe this is so, but maybe it's not. Maybe
they were saved all along, yet they had never matured as saints of Christ to resist
the very strong pull of such groups.
"For if after they (false Jewish believers)
have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse
with them than the beginning" (2 Pet. 2:20).
Now with these verses clearly teaching that if one
'turns back' to Judaism, the reader is presented with the Biblical fact that judgment
awaits such people. And the language seems to suggest it may be eternal judgment.
So how this could apply to Christians today, I don't
know. For Christians don't have a Jewish temple to go back to, nor would a Jewish
synagogue welcome such people. What I do know however is that the Lord promises eternal
salvation to anyone who trusts Him alone. Or as the Apostle Peter so brilliantly said:
"...Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).
And isn't this the same chapter where His disciples
walked with Him no more (vs. 66). I wonder where they went to....back to the temple
of course! And it's these kind of people that the New Testament speaks of, not carnal
Christians who fall into sin and spend years out of fellowship with God.
If a person wants to meditate on Scripture to assure
oneself that they are saved, please see the following verses:
"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" (John 5:24).
"But we believe that through the grace of the Lord
Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they" (Acts 15:11).
we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if
Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For
what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him
that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted
for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto
whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities
are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will
not impute sin" (Rom. 4:1-7).
One other thing that
I would like to demonstrate is how amazingly faithful and merciful God is.
For example, a believer is told to confess his Saviour
before men (Matt. 10:32-32), but if he is unfaithful in doing this (Matt. 26:73) God
cannot deny Himself, for though we may be unfaithful; He always remains faithful (2
Vance, once again makes good sense when he states
that Calvinists get so upset about Christians who do not persevere is because of 'pride
and envy' (2 p.
Yet even these 'supreme' Calvinists better be cautious,
for Pink tells his reader:
"To be a staunch and sound Calvinist is no evidence
one is regenerate" (2, p.
Self-righteousness and pride is the cause of legalism.
If one gets control over drinking and smoking, and another believer cannot, the self-righteous
believer makes the sweeping declaration to his friends that this failed Christian
is in fact, still dead in his sins. Salvation has yet to come to this person. Yet
what can be worse then self-righteousness? Hypocrisy, something all saints are guilty
of. However, when a leading five-point Calvinist, who expects perfection from others,
is reported to drink and smoke too, well this person loses all credibility in the
eyes of his perfect circle of Christians (Gertrude Hoeksema on Herman Hoeksema, Therefore
have I spoken, p. 240).
And did not this same tobacco loving Calvinist say
the following about the heart of the Bible:
"John 3:16 is probably the most frequently misinterpreted
and misused verse in all Holy Scripture. I refer to the fact, of course, that so often
it is explained as meaning that God loves all men. Nothing could be further from the
Hoeksema, how should Ps. 119:160 be interpreted:
Arminius' statement, should be read and re-read by
all his critics for what he says here, not only clarifies his views on one's eternal
security in Christ, but it does echo very much what honest and moderate Calvinists
"...Though I here openly and ingenuously affirm,
I never taught that a true believer can either totally or finally fall away for the
faith, and perish; yet I will not conceal, that there are passages of Scripture which
seem to wear this aspect; and those answers to them which I have been permitted to
see, are not of such a kind as to approve themselves on all points to my understanding"
(Works of Arminius, p. 664-667).
As I've already stated, I'm convinced that James
Arminius must be one of the most misunderstood and despised Christians that ever lived.
And why is he hated? Because Calvinists loathe the idea that they might be wrong and
others correct. However this cannot justify the character assassination that he has
had to undergo, nor is it fair for non-Calvinists to be ridiculed with derogatory
terms that all those that reject TULIP are really just Catholics, Jesuits or inferior
Christians in the Body of Christ. The Lord Jesus at His Judgment Seat will judge such
people that slander the Saints, if they themselves are even saved (Matt. 7:21-23).
When I started researching and compiling this article
in 2004, I was amazed at where most of the criticism of Calvin and his theological
system came from. One would imagine that ardent Arminians and Catholics would be the
most vocal, but they're not. The most critical voices of this reformer and his views
are fellow Calvinists. (Philip Schaff not only held to the TULIP but was also head
of the ASV committee and spoke of Calvin, in my opinion, with utter contempt.)
It also appears that Calvinists not only blame God
for every abortion, rape, murder, and other evils and wickedness, but they also seem
to have no assurance of salvation, nor can they know for sure if they are even one
of the elect. The best they can hope for is that they live perfectly (which of course
nobody does) and trust that this endurance and perseverance will be sufficient to
demonstrate to themselves, that they are indeed, one of the elect. There are so many
problems with this, I scarcely know where to begin.
For don't Catholics, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses
endure? The ones I know do: church everyday; attend all services; on multiple committees;
give generously to charities and so on, so if endurance and holiness is needed to
be sure one of them is one of the elect, than Catholics in my opinion, "win" hands
down. And what if a person, after believing in Christ for 50 years, starts to fall
into old sins and even new ones, just before he/she dies, and never repents? Is their
holiness good enough, or not? Did they really repent and believe on Jesus enough all
those years ago? Do they now need to be born again, again?
Vance, once again says it all:
"The only difference between a Calvinist and an Arminian
when it comes to assurance is that the Arminian requires holiness to prove salvation
while the Calvinist demands holiness to demonstrate election, which then substantiates
salvation" (2 p.
May I also share with the reader this sad and ridiculous
quote from Calvinist, Lorraine Boettner:
"We can never know that we are elected of God to
eternal life except by manifesting in our lives the fruits of election - faith and
virtue, knowledge and temperance, patience and godliness, love of the brethren. It
is idle to see assurance of election outside of holiness of life" (Predestination,
Some years ago I had 'the good pleasure' of
meeting a fanatical five-point Calvinist in a town not far from where I live, whenever
we went there to preach and evangelise. He occasionally 'proselytised,' along with
his friend. Each time we met, we'd lock horns with each other.
I would put my point to him, why I felt Calvin was
wrong in this and that, and especially for the 60 people that were killed in Geneva.
And he would fire back at me with his defence of Calvin and on and on it would go.
Then one day I said to him: "Do you think
Calvin would defend you so rigorously? I've known Catholics that would die for their
pope and in the process knock anyone down to the ground that didn't agree with their
view on him and his church, so maybe you're not much different than they are? Why
not fight for Jesus?"
He replied by saying to me: "Do you mean to say that
Spurgeon and Whitefield were all wrong when they said how much they had been indebted
to Calvin?" I replied, "Well these men, who still retained their old nature,
turned a blind eye to Calvin's police state ('thought police'), or they didn't know.
I believe the former to be correct. However didn't the Allies' like Joseph Stalin
during the Second World War? Only after he died and the mass murders (30 million+)
came out, did they try and play down their praises of him.
The fact is for those that are in organized religion,
they cannot really speak out against those that have gone before them. This is the
difference between Biblical Christianity and organized religion. Only when one leaves
organized religion, can one see its sheer folly and nonsense.
Friends, if you're in a man-made theological system
(a term even coined by Calvinist W.J. Seaton on the TULIP), please get out of it!
You cannot defend men like Calvin anymore then you
would JoseMaria Escriva. They will always let
you down sooner or later, but Jesus Christ will never let
you down. Stand for Him and on His foundation alone!
Billton echo's this:
"Those who are 'Ambassadors for Calvinism' defend
and put forward Calvin's ideas and doctrines and some have the arrogance to claim
this as the gospel message, which in fact contradicts and dishonours Christ and His
Gospel. They are far more zealous to win Christians over to Calvinism than they are
to win the lost to Christ and His Kingdom! They show this in the vast amount of man
hours and finance used in promoting and defending Calvinism" (11 p.
I agree with this 100%!
So, the last word of this article goes to Curtis
"Calvinism is a philosophy developed by man and depending
on fallible logic and frail, human reasoning, with the perversion of some Scriptures,
the misuse of others, and the total ignorance of many clear Scriptures" (7 p.
C.H. Irwin, John Calvin, The man and his work, 1909
Dr. L Vance, The Other Side of Calvinism, 2002
Hugh Y. Reyburn, John Calvin, his life, letters and work, 1910
W. de Greef, The Writings of John Calvin, 1993
Dave Hunt video, What Love is This?
H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation, 1887
C. Hutson, Why I disagree with all five points of Calvinism.
R.C. Sproul, Chosen by God, 1986
John Macarthur, The Murder of Jesus, 2000
Lewis Mumford, The Condition of Man, 1944
James F. Billton - True Wisdom Has Two Sides - Calvinism - is it Biblical?, 2001
S. Ruckman, Why I am not a Calvinist, 1997
2006/1 November 2014