Many Christians refer to themselves as "Calvinists."
To the Calvinist there are only two groups: Calvinists (emphasis on God's sovereignty) and Armenians (emphasis on man's freewill). To the Calvinist, if you don't believe in T-U-L-I-P theology, you are teaching a man-centered doctrine. I am neither a Calvinist or an Armenian. I am a BIBLE BELIEVING CHRISTIAN. My teaching and preaching is not "man centered" but BIBLE CENTERED (KJV). One reason I am not a Calvinist is because John Calvin was not a Bible believer. If he was he would not have endorsed the burning of Servetus at the stake for disagreeing with him doctrinally (October 27, 1553). Calvin wrote, "whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt."1 This should be reason enough for any Bible believer disdaining being called a Calvinist. Where did Jesus Christ, the Apostles or Paul ever advocate the killing of heretics? Calvin is not fit to be followed anywhere. I am not a Calvinist because Calvinism is non-biblical heresy. John Calvin's system of theology rises or falls on the acrostic T-U-L-I-P. Hence the term "five-point Calvinism." If one point is true, then all the others must follow suit. Likewise, if one is false, then the whole system is false.
I. Total Depravity (Inability)
It is true that no man can merit salvation. It is true that man has
a depraved and sinful nature (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3). But to Calvin, total
depravity meant total inability. Calvin taught that since a man is "dead
in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1-4), he cannot do anything to receive
Christ as his Savior, even though God commands him to receive Christ. Calvinists
believe that it is impossible for man, by his own act of the will, to do
anything God commands him to do unless God first regenerates him. The Calvinist's
error is in his stretching the parallel between physical death and spiritual
death. If you make a parallel between the inability of a physically dead
man and a spiritually dead man to receive Christ, then you must likewise
say that neither one can reject Christ. Calvinists deny the fact of man's
"free will." The term "freewill" is a Biblical term. It is used in seventeen
different verses of Scripture (Lev. 22:18, 21, 23; 23:38; Num. 15:3; 29:39;
Deut. 12:6, 17; 16:10; 23:23; 2 Chron. 31:14; Ezra 1:4; 3:5; 7:13, 16;
8:28; Psalm 119:108). You will notice that all these verses are in the
This statement is Ruckmanism Error...rest
of tract excellent.
No one in the Old Testament was "quickened by the Holy Spirit."
No saint from Genesis to Malachi was regenerated! No one in the Old Testament
was "chosen in Christ." These acts of "freewill" were all performed by
unregenerate men who were still dead in trespasses and sins!
Man is responsible, by the act of his own will, to receive Christ, then God wills the new birth. "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" (John 1:12). The new birth is conditioned upon a man receiving Christ. There is not one case in Scripture of anyone being regenerated until he first received Christ. The responsibility is man's. Jesus said, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40). Notice He did not say, "Ye cannot come to me..." Man does have the ability to choose. Jesus said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem... how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 23:37). Jesus was willing, but Jerusalem was not willing. It was never a question of inability. Man does have a will that can choose for God or against God (John 7:17; Rev. 22:17). The Calvinist will run to John 6:44 to support their teaching. "No man can come to me, except the father which hath sent me draw him..." Of course the Father must draw a sinner, but in John 12:32, Jesus assures us "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto me." John 1:9 says, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." The Calvinist teaches that man's salvation is God's responsibility. If man is dead in trespasses and sins and is not responsible for receiving Christ, how can he be responsible for rejecting Christ? Calvin's doctrine of total depravity is totally deprave. Instead of Total Depravity, the Bible teaches that men are Totally LOST.
II. Unconditional Election
Calvin taught that God unconditionally and arbitrarily selected some people to go to heaven, and others He elected to burn forever in hell.2 The Calvinists believe that it is already decided who will be saved and who will go to hell, and the individuals have nothing to do with it. Now, while election is a Bible doctrine, unconditional election is not biblical. But election in Scripture is always conditioned according to God's foreknowledge (1 Pet. 1:2). Because God is omniscient (all knowing), He knew from eternity who would choose to trust Christ and be saved and who would reject Christ. On the basis of that foreknowledge, God elected those He foreknew to be predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28-30). Calvinists try to use verses such as Ephesians 1:4-5 or John 15:16 to prove God elected some to be saved and others to be damned. However, these verses are not dealing with salvation. These verses simply teach God's plan of adoption and His desire for us to be holy, and without blame and fruitful. God does not will anyone to be damned. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9) "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). The only way the Calvinist can handle these clear verses is to say that "all" doesn't really mean all! While Calvinists pride themselves in believing their doctrine is God centered and God honoring (while Bible believers are holding a man-centered Gospel), they misrepresent God and the Bible. They make God the author of sin. Since God has decreed the damnation of the wicked (reprobation), He must also have decreed the reason for their damnation which was the fall of man in the garden of Eden. God first chose to damn certain men to hell, so upon creating them, He made them fall, using Adam as a scapegoat, so it would look like they deserved to go. Reprobation is the deliberate, foreordained, predestinated damning of millions of people to hell as a result of god's sovereign good pleasure and according to the "counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11). This Calvinistic heresy is the most vulgar, obscene, blasphemous, repulsive part of the TULIP system. Calvin's doctrine of unconditional election deserves unconditional ejection. The Bible teaches CONDITIONAL election.
III. Limited Atonement
Since the Calvinist believes some men are elected to be damned and only a few are elected to salvation, he must also believe that Jesus did NOT die for every man's sin. The Bible teaches that Jesus tasted death for EVERY MAN (Heb. 2:9). But the Calvinist will quickly run to such passages as John 10:11 to try to prove Jesus only died for His sheep (the church). Certainly Jesus died for His sheep since His sheep are part of the whole world for whom he died. 1 John 2:2 says clearly, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Calvinists teach that when God said "the world" He really meant "the elect." So the Calvinist slanders God by saying God only loves the world of the elect. This is what is called "hermeneutical gymnastics." The context of 1 John 2:2 shows very clearly that "the world" is the unsaved (2:15-17; 3:1; 5:19). The doctrine of "limited atonement" really equals "limited love." Calvinistic doctrine would render John 3:16 to read, "For God so loved the elect that he gave his only begotten son, that the elect would believe and not perish, but have everlasting life." The truth is Jesus loves the unsaved (Mark 10:17); and gave shed His redeeming blood even for those who would deny him (2 Pet. 2:1).
IV. Irresistible Grace
It is only logical that if God elects a man to be saved, no matter what that man does, God must FORCE him to accept Christ. The Bible teaches otherwise. Proverbs 1:24-26 reveals that God stretches out His hand, but is resisted. Stephen preached to a group of unsaved men saying, "ye do always RESIST the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51). Paul said God's grace could be frustrated and received in vain (Gal. 2:21; 2 Cor. 6:1-2). Jude adds that God's grace could even be turned into lasciviousness (Jude 4). Hebrews 10:28, 29, 39 show how a man can do despite unto the Spirit of grace and draw back unto perdition. Psalm 78:41 shows that God can be limited by man. Furthermore, Titus 1:11 says that "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto ALL men..." Are all men saved? Obviously not! So many have resisted the grace of God to be saved. I can't resist resisting Calvin's teaching on irresistible grace.
V. Perseverance of the Saints
Finally, since God has elected some to go to heaven, those whom He elected will persevere to the end. While I believe in the SECURITY of the believer, I do not accept the PERSEVERANCE of the believer. Perseverance is one thing; preservation is another. The Bible teaches that the saint is "preserved in Christ Jesus" (Jude 1). I don't persevere. Instead, God preserves me. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." I am sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). God is the one who keeps me from falling (1 Pet. 1:4-5; Jude 24).
For further study see The Other Side of Calvinism by Dr. Larry Vance ($15 + $2.50 shipping; available through "The Armory Bookstore," 902 Dekalb St., Port Orchard, WA 98366. )
1. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Erdmans Pub., 1910), Vol. 8; p. 791.
2. John Calvin, Institutes, Book III, chapter 23.
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