My Journey Out of Calvinism

This article is re-blogged in its entirety with permission from Matteo Mortelliti over at Mirror Dimly. We will check back in with Matteo as he continues to relate his journey. 

I distinctly remember the warm and sunny drive back home to Montreal from my Pentecostal Bible college in Massachusetts. It would be the last of many I had made over the years. Most of the drive was spent with windows down and music loud; I felt nervously exhilarated by the sensation of leaving one stage of life and entering a new one. Always keen for a new adventure, I was feeling receptive and open. Degree in hand, and car brimming with all the possessions I had accumulated, my drive was christened by a 5-hour lecture series on Calvinism by a well known Calvinist pastor (a topic I had been exploring over the last three years). When I got home (to my Pentecostal pastor of a father), I looked at him and with the ambivalent confidence of a freshly certified undergraduate student in theology I declared: “Dad, I think I’m a Calvinist.”

“We’re created to glorify God,” I asserted, “and God forgives us for his own glory,” I continued, quoting Isaiah 48. “We are born depraved and can’t possibly respond to God’s gracious election apart from his irresistible exploits.” I had my dad’s attention, but he didn’t seem worried. He listened curiously and waited patiently for me to finish my speech and then responded. He pointed out his own proof texts in a respectful, classy way, in the form of questions to get me thinking. But I had just gotten my degree in Biblical studies, and I was 20, so it didn’t really matter what proof texts he had. I had TULIP-coloured glasses on, helping me see Scripture in a new (and true) way. How could he not see what I see?

My newfound confession of the “doctrines of grace” was the culmination of about three years of reading books and listening to sermons and lectures from Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, John Piper, and one of my favourites, RC Sproul. Driscoll of course, was the gateway drug. I still remember where I was sitting when I first heard him talk about men and manliness on a video clip from a “Desiring God” conference in 2007.

calvinist reading

Without really knowing it at the time, I began to drink, eat, and sleep Neo-Reformed theology (also distinguished as Neo-Puritan theology by some).

I immersed myself into any book I could get and any sermon I could find. I loved what I considered to be strong preaching, with Biblical books and verses coming alive to me in a way I had never experienced before. And some of these guys were cool too. They communicated eloquently and were in tune with cultural norms. And I was a great evangelist of the content–I’d share lectures and sermons and even burn CDs with whole sermon series for those who showed the slightest interest.

Finally, I had discovered the true gospel, in its full form, I thought, uncontaminated by any “works” pseudo-gospel that told me to “do better” or “try harder.” I came to believe that if you weren’t preaching imputed righteousness via justification by faith alone through Christ alone, then you weren’t preaching the gospel. Verse-by-verse exposition was the only justifiable way to preach biblically (making Paul and Jesus “unbiblical” preachers). I was convinced that “topical” preaching was for the seeker-friendly crowd, and would sooner or later dilute the full gospel (because of course Jesus wasn’t a friend to seekers).

My tribe and I embraced and accepted this new line of believing. We had the truth. And it was God’s truth.

On January 1, 2012, a year and a half after my drive home from Bible college, I moved to Vancouver BC to begin my MA in Theological Studies at Regent College. In the time between I had been devouring anything I could from the aforementioned four horsemen of Neo-Puritanism. In that process I had discovered JI Packer, who’s Knowing God was new and exciting territory for me. Packer wonderfully combined theological vigour with heart, devotion, and emotion–combinations I hadn’t seen modelled before. I remember it not being too arid or abstract theology, nor airy-fairy feel-good Sunday school lessons about nice-guy Jesus. It beautifully captured a Christianity that lived in the tension of the head and the heart–and presented a much more confrontational Jesus that I admired. Though I may not agree with all of Packer’s views today, his writing drew me to Regent College where he taught, and where I’d eventually get to meet him and discuss other topics around pastoral ministry, theology and spirituality.

Though some might consider Packer as one of the father figures of the Neo-Reformed movement, his influence on the true leaders of the movement was behind the scenes. What’s unique about Packer is that he’s Anglican, an Anglican who’s done quite a bit of work to help evangelicals appreciate other Christian denominational expressions,something R.C. Sproul and his crew was not happy about. Indeed, Regent College was and is an evangelical, trans-denominational school; and so it was where I met Christians who weren’t Pentecostals, for the very first time.

Regent was where I was introduced to some of the contemporary hard hitters of the Christian faith in the likes of James KA Smith, NT Wright, Mark Noll, Henri Nouwen and others. As Smith depicts it so well in his Letters to a Young Calvinist, I was so enamoured with a small room of Neo-Puritanism in a mansion of Christian spirituality, to the point where I came to believe that the small room was all there really was and all there needed to be. Of course, Smith uses the analogy of a mansion to speak of the riches of the Reformation, though I think he’d agree that the mansion can also be the “Great Tradition” beyond the Reformation. For a long time, I didn’t explore life outside my own like-minded Neo-Puritans–and I mostly just read from one publishing house.

I was [pleasantly] surprised to discover that Regent would begin the slow process of unraveling my Neo-Puritanism. It wasn’t something that happened overnight, and not via any intentional process on the part of Regent. At Regent, I was gently and respectfully challenged to visit the other rooms in the mansion. With hesitation I did just that; visited these room, mostly because I had to or I would fail. Regent challenged me to read outside of my comfort zone, and at least learn to thoughtfully understand and articulate the theological positions I was claiming to oppose.  Initially I treated them as rooms that could be visited only for educational purposes–like an ancient ruin sealed off due to its dangerous air quality. It was already a stretch to read and write about the various Christian expressions that were vastly different than my own. So I inspected them as if visiting a crime scene, but not really a place to inhabit. I’d always just go back to the room I was most comfortable with.

With time I found these rooms were far from ancient ruins or a crime scene to be investigated. They began to provide new vistas by which I could see the world and be enriched in my faith. They were a source of oxygen for my suffocating spirituality, which was beginning to wane with its overly cerebral dogmatism and stoic passivity. My spiritual life was being rescued because I was being introduced to the deep well of the Christian faith, much more robust in its theology, practice and spirituality.

My studies at Regent were only the beginning of my journey out of Calvinism. It took a few years and a lot of dark nights of the soul from my first day at Regent in 2012 to the day I would resign from my position at a church and move back to Quebec in 2016. That part of the story will be addressed in my next post.

27 thoughts on “My Journey Out of Calvinism

  1. Wow ….that journey sounds just like so many others!

    For the hip, Driscoll is the”gateway drug” (sex and tattoos!)

    For the soft-voiced, go with Piper.

    For the cigar-smoking, studious sounding, go with Sproul….

    But whatever you do….. get on the Doctrines of Grace wave!!

    I joined in the late 70’s when it was a trickling stream running quietly by. But the YRR wave is all the rage now. Drink from one (publishing house) source and you will be convinced.

  2. Wonderful Testimony!!

    They were a source of oxygen for my suffocating spirituality, which was beginning to wane with its overly cerebral dogmatism and stoic passivity. My spiritual life was being rescued……..

    Stoicism synchronized into Christianity – maintained by shear human dogmatism.

    The Stoicism was synchronized into the doctrine via Augustine.

    The Dogmatism was Calvin’s defense strategy for preventing the light from illuminating things he didn’t want people to see.

    John 3:20
    For he who abides in the shadows – does not come into the light – lest what he has should be reproved.

    1. Not to seem pedantic, but perhaps the word you seek is “syncretized” rather than “synchronized” — as synchronization pertains to timing or occurrence/concurrence. 2¢
      Excellent observations.

  3. Wow it’s awesome to hear of those who came out of calvinism I too look forward to the next post! I’m sure this wasn’t a painless transition thank you for your testimony!

    Revelation 12:11 NASB — “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

  4. It is always encouraging to hear these stories, which are all somewhat similar. I think it is especially helpful to those who are still in the thick of Calvinism, but with some nagging doubts that just won’t go away. Listen to the experiences of others, and you will know you are no alone. The seduction of modern Calvinism has been carefully designed to draw in sincere, well-meaning believers. But many, many have found their way back out, and, like this author, back to a living, full-orbed faith. I rejoice to count myself among their number.

    1. Seduction is a good word lol. That’s exactly what it was. But I’m thankful for a little bit of if because it took me out of Pentecostalism/ word of faith churches. I’ve been a Calvinist though for over 10 years now. And I only know how to debate from that side lol. I’m coming across these x calvinist articles and it’s really helping me. I don’t feel so alone. I’m in the danger zone you know.

      1. There are a lot of good x-Calvinist sites. I’ve read many of them over the last 3-4 years. If you join the Sot101 FB discussion group thttps://anticalvinistrant.blogspot.com/here are a lot of good conversations on there as well. I would also recommend Heather’s blogs (she has more than one) as she only recently left a church that was stealthily taken over by a Calvinist. This one is the primarily anti-Calvinist one, and will lead you to the others: https://anticalvinistrant.blogspot.com/. You are not alone. It was a real turning point for me when I discovered that many others have had similar experiences. God bless you and draw you ever closer to himself.

  5. WHY RATIONAL REASONING DOES NOT EXIST FOR CALVINISTS

    Approximately 1.1 billion people today think/believe Hinduism is true. Approximately 500 million Buddhism. Approximately 8 million Jehovah’s Witness. We could go on – but suffice to say a significant percentage of the world’s population think/believe things as true – which are in fact false.

    Now Calvinism specifically stipulates the cause for people thinking/believing things as true – which are false.

    In Calvinism *ALL* things (including what people think/believe) are RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world. No person exists at that point – so they have no say in the matter. It is not “UP TO” people what they think/believe as true. It is “UP TO” the THEOS who RENDERS-CERTAIN what people will think/believe as true. And we can see from the statistics above – that vast populations are RENDERED-CERTAIN to think/believe falsehoods.

    Now Calvinists also assert that the THEOS has not given man alternative possibilities from which to choose – or the ability to do otherwise (what is known as libertarian free will).

    So now lets look at what is required for a sentient being to exercise rational reasoning:
    Rational reasoning requires the ability to examine and compare alternative possibilities and to choose one over the other. To choose (or do) otherwise. So rational reasoning requires the very things which Calvinism stipulates the THEOS does not make available to created beings – at least not to humans or angels.

    So on Calvinism – people (including Calvinists) don’t think/believe what they do because of rational reasoning. They were RENDERED-CERTAIN to think/believe what they do. And rational reasoning is non-existent for them.

    Calvinists are RENDERED-CERTAIN to think/believe things as true. And since no Calvinist is without sin – it follows some of the things they are RENDERED-CERTAIN to think/believe are falsehoods.

    The THEOS has not granted Calvinists that (alternative possibilities and do otherwise) which is necessary for rational reasoning. They think/believe falsehoods – simply because they are RENDERED-CERTAIN to do so.

    Therefore according to the Calvinist belief system – Calvinists do not have the ability to rationally affirm truth from false.

    But that does not prevent the THEOS from RENDERING-CERTAIN that they think/believe they do! :-]

  6. Just started my journey out of Calvinism. A friend of mine knows and is trying to talk me out of it. It’s hard because I know all her arguments and what she going to say. I don’t know how to counter act though with the “other side”.I still don’t know how to debate yet lol I do struggle a little because There is some doctrines I hold on to. Like the P in Tulip. I just started my blog ( I have only 2 entries) and it’s pretty raw and real. Your welcome to read it.

    1. Hi Christina,
      I would say give yourself plenty of time and space to work through the steps as the Lord is leading you out of it.

      I think you will eventually find that a large number of the arguments Calvinists have actually represent a tap-dance
      .
      Where they assert something in one statement only to later deny it in another (yet different) statement.

      My guess is – you already recognize that much of Calvinist dogma is expressed using very specific talking-points.

      And the fact that enunciating any doctrine is so heavily reliant upon highly strategic talking-points becomes a red-flag – revealing that these critical for hiding contradictions.

    2. Christina, Just so you know, you don’t have to throw out the idea of “you can’t lose your salvation” in order to be against Calvinism. I am a strong anti-Calvinist, but I still believe the Bible teaches that we can’t lose our salvation if we are truly Spirit-filled believers. And if I’m not mistaken, I think Leighton Flowers believes this too, even though he is against other parts of Calvinism.

      The big difference for me, though, is that I do not see “salvation security” the same way that Calvinists do. They think that because God chooses someone and gives them faith to believe, then that person can’t lose their salvation. (John Calvin also taught that Calvi-god gives some people a “fake salvation”: to make them think they are saved when they really aren’t, so that he can have more reason to damn them to hell. But you won’t know for sure if you’re really saved or not until you die. Just how can that be called “security”!?! I think we can convince ourselves that we are saved when we aren’t, but God doesn’t trick us into thinking we are saved when we are not.)

      But I think we can’t lose our salvation if we have truly chosen Jesus as Lord and Savior because God seals us with the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit helps us on our journey, even if we stumble along the way. We don’t have security because of some false idea of “God elected me,” but we can have security because of God’s promise to save, to indwell, and to come back for those who truly put their faith in Him. If we do what He said we are supposed to do to be saved, then He’ll do what He said He would do for those who are saved. (Of course, not everyone will agree with me, but this is what I believe the Bible teaches.) Blessings to you!

  7. “John Calvin also taught that Calvi-god gives some people a “fake salvation”: to make them think they are saved when they really aren’t…”

    I tried searching for any quote by Calvin that matches or was similar, and was unable to find anything. Can you point me to a source for that quote?

    I can’t help but tie that in to the parable of the goats and sheep, and wonder if Calvin had that in mind when concocting such nonsense…?

    1. Sure thing Raymond
      It all comes from Calvin’s interpretation of two things
      1) The “Many” vs. the “Few” as spoken of by Jesus
      2) The principle of the wheat and the chaff as spoke of by Jesus

      So for Calvin – the “Many” and the “Few” are also see within the population of the church
      The “Many” = chaff (they are given a false salvation)
      The “Few” = wheat (they are given a true salvation)
      No man is given to know which are wheat and which are chaff as this is a SECRET.

      John Calvin
      -quotes
      “….He holds it [Salvation] out as a savor of death, and as the occasion for severer condemnation ….only for a time to partake of it; then he…..strikes them with even greater blindness” (Institutes 3.24.8)

      …a small and contemptible number [elect] are hidden in a huge multitude [false elect]
      …a few grains of wheat are covered by a pile of chaff

      “…by his eternal providence they were before their birth doomed to perpetual destruction…….doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.” (Institutes 3 23 6)

      “we must leave to God alone the knowledge of his church, whose foundation is his *SECRET* election”. (Institutes 4.1.4)

      “we are not bidden to distinguish between reprobate and elect – that is for God alone, not for us, to do . . . (Institutes 4. 1. 3.)

  8. It’s called “evanescent” grace.John Calvin taught that God sometimes lies to people, giving them the feeling that they are saved even though in fact they are not, and the reason he does this is so he can damn them with even greater ferocity afterward. John Piper believes this too.

    From John Calvin-“Experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them. Hence, it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption …. there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith …. Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment; not that they are partakers of the same faith or regeneration with the children of God; but because, under a covering of hypocrisy they seem to have a principle of faith in common with them. Nor do I even deny that God illumines their mind to this extent …. there is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent” (3.2.11, Institutes).

    1. Wonderful post Dianna!
      And welcome

      Some terms Calvin uses – serve as KEY INDICATORS of what Calvin’s god gives to the vast majority of Calvinists.

      – they are *AFFECTED* in a way that is similar to the elect
      – in *THEIR OWN JUDGEMENT* there is no difference
      – a temporary faith is *ASCRIBED* to them
      – they do not *PERCEIVE* the power of spiritual grace
      – he *INSTILLS* in their minds a *SENSE* of goodness
      – he *ILLUMINES* their mind to this extent

      So what we have here is divinely predestined neurological programming of FALSE PERCEPTIONS.

      The result being a church full of Calvinists who go about their lives having thousands of pre-programmed FALSE PERCEPTIONS of themselves. Believing, bible reading, praying, preaching, witnessing…etc…etc *AS-IF* they are Christians.

      Thus per Calvin – in the Calvinist church we have a -quote LARGE MIXTURE – a -quote HUGE PILE of chaff – covering up a -quote FEW grains of wheat.

      Calvinists specifically designed to go thorough their lives having thousands of divinely programmed FALSE PERCEPTIONS – only to wake up in some day in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

      Who wouldn’t want to run right out and sign up for that!! :-]

  9. There is overwhelming Biblical evidence that Satan is the deceiver of man and not God. And to imply that God is a deceiver of man as Calvin said he is sometimes, is cause enough for me to run from Calvinistic doctrine. How can a Calvinist rest assured in their salvation if there is a possibility that they may actually be deceived by God? Calvinism is confusing to me and I know who the author of confusion is also.

    1. Thanks Dianna,
      And yes your response is logical – and therefore understandable.
      But what I’ve learned – is that Calvinism teaches more than a Theology
      In order for a person to find this theology palatable requires a certain conditioning in DOUBLE-THINK

      We find Calvinists constantly tap-dancing between asserting-now and denying-later the “Good-Evil” dualism inherent in the system.
      And that is quite natural for a person to do.

      When one learns to look for it – one will find Calvinist language is saturated with DOUBLE-SPEAK.
      That is how the Calvinist learns how to block-out conceptions
      And your mind hasn’t been conditioned to do that.
      Since your mind can acknowledge those dark aspects of the system you are able to reject them.

      Calvinist tell themselves they accept them – but that is just part of wearing a theological mask

      When I came to understand the DOUBLE-SPEAK is always an attempt to put a benevolent mask over evil – then I realized the Calvinist believer actually exhibits a love-hate relationship with his belief system.

      Part of Calvinism’s socialization processes requires conditioning the new believer’s mind into this state of DOUBLE-THINK.
      John Piper’s popularity – for example – is attributed to the fact that he has an expertise in DOUBLE-SPEAK.
      The DOUBLE-SPEAK allows elievers to effectively block out dark aspects of the doctrine so that the mind does not connect with them.

  10. We have a Calvinist friend in our couples connect group at church. I’ve noticed that he talks about God’s sovereignty but he doesn’t mention God’s love. I’m not a theologian nor well versed in the Calvinistic doctrine but it seems they lean heavily toward the sovereignty of God and have a hard time with God being fully God and fully a man who is acquainted with our griefs, temptations and weaknesses. Is this an accurate description of all Calvinists or just the ones I’ve encountered?

    1. I have been told “You are focusing too much on Jesus!”

      Imagine that!

      Many Calvinists want only the OT/ Greek God that always gets what He wants…. who lets no dust particle fall without exactly controlling it.

      That is not the God we see in Christ.

      The doctrines of immutability and impassibility are man-made doctrines (carefully plucking a very few verses out of context), but they speak nothing to the person of Christ.

      For instance: The Bible says that God is pleased, displeased, angered…and on and on….but (Greek philosophy based) reformed leaders say that this does not mean what it looks like (they say that a lot!) cuz God “cannot change.”

      So “unchanging God” is just making it sound like He becomes displeased. Grudem (some people like his theology books) says He does change in “real time” but is unchanging because He planned to “change” like that. What gymnastics you get into when you make God be how you think “He must be”!!!

      Obviously —no brainer level obvious—- Christ “changed” in many ways. He even grieves over an unrepentant Jerusalem showing that He does not always get what He wants.

      Here must be the Calvinist version of Matt 23:37

      “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who did exactly what I planned and wanted you to do when you killed the prophets I sent to you, how often I have longed (in “real time” but not really eternally) to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing (because I planned all along to make you unwilling).”

      Real version:

      “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

      1. The fact is, few have any trouble understanding the implications of Mt 23:37; i is simply that Calvinists have been persuaded that the implications are false, so must be denied, ignored or twisted into meaning something else.

        ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem’

        Who cannot see the loving regret in the repetition ? Is it not exactly how we often reassure someone who doubts our love or sincerity? ‘Joey, Joey; how could I ever forget or give up on you, the child I carried for nine months, bore, nurtured and loved since I knew of your existence?’

        ‘you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you’

        The ones being spoken to hear (unbelieving Jews) knew exactly who the prophets were, and their purpose. They were specially called and given understanding by God to take to the people who were ignorant and/or guilty of evil doings. And yet, did they hear and harken to these divine messengers? No, they killed the messenger because they did not like the message.

        ‘how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings’

        Perhaps modern urban dwellers do not grasp the imagery here, but if you have ever had chickens, you know exactly what is being portrayed. The mother hen takes her young chicks out into the farmyard, teaching them how to scratch for food, but the moment she senses any danger, or it is time to return to the nest, she raises her wings and clucks loudly for her chicks, who almost always come running immediately. Those who don’t may fall victim to a nearby predator.

        ‘and you were not willing’

        This too is a pretty straightforward phrase, easily understood by almost any English speaking individual. It reveals that the mother desired to protect and shelter her innocent ones, but they would not heed her recognizable call. There is nothing a healthy mother longs for more than to protect and nurture her young. So too with God. There is nothing he desires more than to protect, rescue and set on a healthy path the children he designed, created and breathed life into. The fact that they could, and did, resist, is unmistakable.

        Were they unable to hear or respond, this statement would never have been made. Under Calvinism it would read something like:

        ‘How often did I call to you like a hen gathering her chicks, but of course, since I had cursed you with an inability to hear and respond, only those whose hearing I supernaturally restored could hear, respond and come to safety.’

        With excessive words the Calvinist will often assert that scripture means one thing, when any objective, honest reading presents a meaning few can miss. That is all their claims are – mere assertions, not backed by any genuine scriptural declarations and only read into twisted-out-of-context verses and phrases patched together to declare a ‘truth’ that is nowhere found in scripture.

        This is the beauty, and amazing marvel, of scripture. The actual words, like any words, can be twisted and distorted to appear to mean almost anything. So how does the honest seeker determine which meaning is actually intended? The answer is in the narratives. We see in the stories of scripture the love, mercy, unfailing faithfulness and desire of God to restore all men to the relationship he always intended to have with them. We can affirm our interpretations, or discount them, by holding them up to the narratives which reveal, through simple, easy to understand stories how God has interacted with men through the ages.

    2. Great observation Dianna!
      Calvinism is predicated on what is called “Universal Divine Causal Determinism”

      Universal: Everything without exception – nothing left over
      Divine: A reference a THEOS
      Causal: A reference the principle of cause and effect – with the emphasis on causation
      Determinism: A reference to the thesis of determinism.

      So within Calvinist vernacular the term “sovereignty” really boils down to the idea – that everything without exception – is determined at the foundation of the world – before creatures are created.

      This becomes a double-edged-sword for the Calvinist.
      He is totally fine with it as it pertains to “Good” events.
      He has a serious problem with it – as it pertains to “Evil” events – because it LOGICALLY resolves to him being the AUTHOR of evil.

      As stated by Calvinists:

      John Calvin – concerning evil
      -quote
      ” It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that god otiosely permits them, when scripture shows Him not only willing but the **AUTHOR** of them. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of god pg 176)

      Author in the Old French of Calvin’s day is the word: Auctor – meaning Originator, Creator, Instigator

      Calvinist Paul Helm’s
      -quote
      …every atom and molecule, every thought and desire….every twist and turn of each of these is under the *DIRECT CONTROL* of God (The Providence of God pg 22)

      John Calvin
      -quote
      “Men can deliberately do nothing unless he *INSPIRE* it.
      (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)

      Concerning the LOGICAL consequences of Theological Determinism – here is Peter Van Inwagen’s “Consequence Argument”

      If Universal Divine Causal Determinism is true:
      1) Our every thought, choice, desire, and action, are the consequences of divine decrees which occurred at the foundation of the world – having been determined at a point in which we do not yet exist.

      2) Additionally those thoughts, choices, desires and actions, are framed within the boundaries of nature, which exist at the time in which they are actualized in our lives.

      3) But then it is not UP TO US what immutable decrees were established at the foundation of the world before we were born.

      4) And neither is it UP TO US what attributes of nature – including our own – exist at any time.

      5) Therefore, the consequences of these things are not UP TO US.

      That is the problem Calvinists are burdened with – in their definition of “sovereignty”

      They love to occasionally boast a “supposed” superior stance on “sovereignty”
      But they also find the evil that comes with it unpalatable.

      Thus spending the other 99% of their time trying to manufacture 1001 ways to obfuscate it
      And that is why Calvinist language is saturated with DOUBLE-SPEAK.

    1. Dianna you are so cool!! :-]

      Yes – I gave it a listen

      MacArthur quote
      “If he died for the whole world – then you are no different than anybody else”

      In other words – if he died for everyone just as he died for you – then there is nothing special about you that he should select you out from among everyone else.

      We should be able to see how this language facilitates a certain degree of carnal self-centeredness.
      It makes just enough wiggle-room for the Calvinist to have a sense – something special about me that he should select me out of everyone else.

      MacArthur quote
      “He only dies for those who die in him”

      This is just another way of using the doctrine of “Particular Redemption” (i.e., Limited Atonement) as a lens through which to read scripture. This is the way the Calvinist is taught to read scripture – as an affirmation of the underlying doctrine.

      MacArthur quote
      If Christ died for (ALL without exception) then (ALL without exception) would be saved.

      Here MacArthur is using a standard philosophical argument predicated on Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
      Predicated on the presumption that Universal Divine Casual Determinism is unquestionably true.

      MacArthur quote
      “You can call the missionaries home – stop the preaching and we’ll all just look at our watches and wait to go to heaven”

      This is an excellent example of why Calvinism is classified as anti-evangelistic.
      Its also predicated on the presumption that Universal Divine Casual Determinism is unquestionably true.

      ***** However does anyone notice what MacArthur is NOT telling his congregation*****

      1) That Calvin’s god DESIGNED the vast majority of them for eternal torment in a lake of fire for his good pleasure.

      2) That a “FEW” of them are DESIGNED as wheat

      3) That a *HUGE PILE* of them are DESIGNED as chaff

      4) That the vast majority of them are being “divinely illumined” with FALSE PERCEPTIONS of salvation/election.

      5) That as chaff – they will go through their lives having thousands of FALSE PERCEPTIONS that the promises of scripture apply to themselves.

      4) That the vast majority they will eventually wake up in the lake of fire for his good pleasure.

      Teaching them about the wheat and the chaff must have slipped his mind! :-]

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