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In this paper I would like to briefly articulate why each of Calvinism’s 5 points are at odds with Scripture, and why I consider it no less of a cultic doctrine than Adventism, Roman Catholicism, or even that of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which all in similar manner end up denying the plain meaning of Scripture on the basis of doctrines based on fallible human reasoning.  Not unlike Adventism’s emphasis on Daniel and Revelation, or Catholicism’s emphasis on Matthew 16, Calvinism’s main arguments for the predestination of individuals is largely based on Romans 9.  However, the clear context of Romans 9 is not in regard to individuals, but the nation of Israel which rejected Jesus as their Messiah in relation to the Gentile nations who received Him.  The same is true of Ephesians 1, another favorite Calvinist passage.  The surest way to be led astray by religion is to take one part of the Bible that is difficult to understand, remove it from its context, elevate it above the rest of Scripture, and interpret it not in terms of its historical setting but in terms of religious philosophies that arose hundreds of years after the actual passage was written.  One should wonder why it isn’t called “Paulism” or maybe “Clementism” or “Tertullianism”, after those who lived much closer to the time of Christ, instead of “Calvinism”, after someone who lived 1500 years later.  Was Calvin really smarter than the first Christians to propound what they never advocated from the Scriptures?

Total Depravity:

Man is lost and without any hope of salvation apart from God, as a man who will drown unless someone comes to his aid.  But it is not as if he is already entirely dead in the water so as to not be able to grab on to the life preserver God throws to him to save him and commands that he put on.  While Calvinism teaches that man is totally dead in the water and must first be resurrected in order to even have the life to lay hold of the salvation provided in Christ, the Bible teaches very plainly through all of Scripture that man is capable of choosing by faith to lay hold of the salvation God provides as a free gift of His grace, even though we all deserve to drown and it is only through His mercy and grace that we won’t.  Thus Moses could write,

Deuteronomy 30:19-20  19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,  20 by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

And for this reason also the first word of the gospel from the mouth of John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul, is the command to repent, to turn one’s heart to God in simple faith, by which means we lay hold of the salvation He provides by forgiving our sins and giving us His Holy Spirit to walk in newness of life.

Acts 2:37-38  “Brethren, what shall we do?”  38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Unconditional Election:

The Jews as a nation “from the standpoint of God’s choice … are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:28-29).  But while God’s purposes in history and for mankind are sure, He still allows each individual the freedom of will to choose in faith whether or not to believe that God really is God and His will must ultimately be done regardless of the choices men may make that determine where they will fit into that will.  Millions even of the Jews were called and delivered from the land Egypt, but their election to salvation was not unconditional, and in fact all but Joshua and Caleb perished in the wilderness and did not enter the land of promise.  Still, though, God’s promises regarding the nation did not fail, for He did lead the nation of their children across the Jordan.  So too at the time of Jesus, as in the parable of the wedding feast we read, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited (literally, called) were not worthy” (Mat 22:8).  But again, God’s promises to the Jews did not fail, as many Jews were in fact saved, though the nation as a whole rejected their Messiah, Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple burned, and they ceased to be a nation.  Mindful of these things, Peter warns us Christians to whom the gospel came as a result of the Jews’ disobedience to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2Pe 1:10).  For as Jesus summarizes in the parable of the wedding feast, many are called, but few are chosen, and as the parable makes clear, those who are chosen are those who will but come and put on the garments of salvation freely provided by God through the gift of His Holy Spirit who leads us in holiness and is the oil that allows the lamp of God’s word to give its light so that we may partake of the feast he calls us to in His word.  And thus Peter continues, “For as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2Pe 1:10-11).

Limited Atonement:

That this doctrine is contrary to Scripture is abundantly clear, so that only by doing violence to the word of God can it be maintained.  It is derived not from the plain meaning of Scripture, but from man’s fallible reasonings based upon faulty premises of Scriptures.  For the Bible does not say that God so loved the elect, but “For God so loved the world…”  For God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Ti 2:4).  “We have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1Ti 4:10), which makes clear that Christ died for “all men” in contradistinction to believers who receive God’s free gift as opposed to those who reject it.  God “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (1Pe 3:9).  “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Eze 18:23).

Irresistible Grace:

That God’s grace can be resisted is equally clear from numerous Scriptures, which is why the author of Hebrews warns repeatedly, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”.  Likewise did God say to those whom He delivered from their bondage in Egypt, which is a type of our deliverance from the bondage of sin, “Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs, which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. (Num 14:22-23).  As this passage indicates, not only can His grace be resisted, but it may be resisted to the point of God giving men over to their stiff-necked, stubborn rebellion, which is why there are a multitude of warnings throughout Scripture against this very thing so that we don’t fall away through a hardness of heart that is deceived by such false doctrines and follows the same example of disobedience.  Which leads us to the…

Perseverance of the Saints:

God is full of mercy and so long as we do not persist in resisting His grace to us through His Holy Spirit who leads us out of the world and into holiness to be a people for His own possession, he will perfect what He has begun within us and carry it on to completion (Phi 1:6).  However, one does not lose his free will upon becoming a Christian.  As in the case of those whom the Lord saved out of their bondage in Egypt, he may long for the flesh pots of the world he has forsaken (Exo 16:3) and turn back from following the Lord so as to not enter the promised land of inheritance—which things were written down for our instruction.  And thus Jesus warns of those who like rocky soil receive the seed of His word and “believe for a while”, but “in time of temptation fall away” (Luk 8:13).  He also warned His own disciples that they could be “cut in pieces” and assigned “a place with the unbelievers” (Luk 12:46).  So too does Paul write that “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith” (1Ti 4:1) and specifically warns us “to let no one in any way deceive you”, for the time prior to the Lord’s coming will be marked by a great apostasy or falling away from the faith (2Th 2:3).  The author of Hebrews also warns the Christians to whom he was writing: “Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God” (Heb 3:12).  He then continues with a crystal clear warning for those who have been saved:

Hebrews 6:4-6   For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,  5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,  6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.

As someone once said, the Greek word for “fall away” means “fall away”.

An exhortation to those who are smug in their Calvinist Theology:

For those who are smug in their Calvinist theology I would like to ask the following: In the day of judgment, do you really suppose that the arguments put forth by those who make such confident assertions to explain away the most obvious, plain meaning of these Scriptures are going to stand up before the eyes of Him whose eyes are a flame of fire, about whom righteous Job said “If one wished to dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times” (Job 9:3).  Are you so prideful that you are willing to bet your soul that the whole tenor of Scripture is wrong and these doctrines guarantee that you are so depraved there is absolutely nothing that you must do to lay hold of that for which Christ lays hold of you, but because Christ has laid hold of you, you must be part of those whom God has unconditionally elected to salvation, and are among those elect few for whom only Christ died, and since God’s grace is so completely irresistible that you are guaranteed you cannot lose your salvation, your ticket is punched, and you are guaranteed a seat at God’s table in the kingdom of heaven?  If so, you are no different from those religious leaders in Jesus’ day who thought the same thing, but eventually found out differently (see Mat 21:31,41,43, 22:8, 23:33).  Call me a fool for not being smart enough to see that the Scriptures don’t mean what they plainly say, but I fear the day of judgment will reveal who are the real fools.  We are all  wretched sinners, but let us not add to our sin by denying what God has plainly said.

It is for these reasons that I reject Calvinism as a false doctrine, that like all other false doctrines is rooted in the devil’s lies that gives men a false security so that they are misled and won’t give heed to God’s many warnings He has given for the preservation of their souls.  “Yea, hath God said…?”  Please read False Prophets and False Security.  It was precisely against such doctrines and for such reasons that we left Babylon over two decades ago and fled for our lives; please read Escape From Babylon.  We left because we believed God when He said to “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues” (Rev 18:4).  We also believed Him about our need to beware of false prophets, “who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mat 7:15).  For a false prophet doesn’t know he is a false prophet, but is deceived himself even as he is deceiving others (2Ti 3:13).  And as we came to understand, false prophets are found among more than just the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, for in their form of godliness they can lead even a conservative, evangelical, but worldly church down the broad road to destruction.  And so we left the worldly church, because we believed Him that the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

It is for this reason also that we perhaps seem so “odd” to the rest of the world, a “peculiar people” (see Exo 19:5, Deu 14:2, Tit 2:14, 1Pe 2:9 in KJV) who don’t fit in, who don’t walk, talk, and act like the rest of the world.  We don’t fit into the world because we don’t value the things it does, like sports and other a-musements, or how dressed up the carton is, or the security of our goods or even our lives in this world, for our real treasures are in heaven where we long to go.  But for this we are grateful that we are out of step with this world.  For in order to fit into the world you must be worldly, but Jesus calls us out of the world:

John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

As the author of Hebrews wrote, “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14), and as Paul continues,

2 Corinthians 6:17 – 7:1  17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.  18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.  Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Holiness is not the same as being religious.  A form of godliness is not true godliness.  Any religious system that does not lead one into holiness is not being led by the Holy Spirit of God, but by the spirit of the world.  As evidenced by Calvin’s Geneva, Calvinism may make one religious, but it won’t necessarily make one holy.


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