Nominal Calvinism

Nominal Calvinism:

And the Accusation of Misrepresentation

 by Leighton Flowers

Have You Heard of “Nominal Christians?”

The term nominal simply means “in name only.” So, when we refer to a Christian as being nominal we typically mean those who may call themselves Christian (and may even attend church once or twice a year on special occasions) but live their lives virtually the same as their unbelieving friends. These are people marked by inconsistency, or what some might call “hypocrisy.” They claim to believe one thing but live as if they really don’t.

Have You Heard of “Nominal Calvinists?”

I believe there are a subgroup of faithful Christians who claim the label “Calvinist” or at least some major tenet of Calvinistic doctrine, such as Eternal Security or “Sovereignty” as defined by God’s work to irresistibly save His elect, but really have never thought through the full implications of their worldview. Nominal Calvinists never allow their form of “Calvinism” to impact them in such a way that you could tell any difference from them and their non-Calvinistic Christian friends.

Please do not hear me saying that Calvinists are comparable to nominal Christians, in that they are less faithful to Christ or the church, because that is not true. In fact, in my experience, Calvinistic Christians are typically very faithful to the Lord and the mission of the church. The comparison I’m attempting to draw is between faithful Christians who affirm Calvinism and those who do not, and the Calvinistic Christians who are inconsistent within their Calvinistic worldview and those who are not.

The Inconsistency of Nominal Calvinists

Allow me to point out some of the more blatant inconsistencies of the nominal Calvinist.

A Calvinistic leaning friend sent me a note on Facebook stating in part, “Why are you standing in opposition to God and His ways? You should not disapprove of His sovereign plan and purposes.”

The first inconsistency: If the claims of Calvinism are true then my views on soteriology were sovereignly and unchangeably decreed in eternity past by God, so for a Calvinist to even ask this question is logically inconsistent. His own dogma tells him exactly why I’m standing in opposition to his soteriological perspective–because God ordained me to. If God decreed for me to re-adopt Calvinistic soteriology then I will, but his rebuke certainly is not going to impact God’s eternal decree on the matter. By sending this message he is expressing disapproval for what his doctrine claims came to pass by God’s own plan and purpose.

The second inconsistency: This same Calvinistic friend recently tweeted this message in response to yet another atrocious event in the news:

“Horrified over the senseless acts of violence and evil…”

I “liked” his message because I too am horrified by the heinously evil behavior of some people in our world. And I have no doubt that this Calvinistic friend genuinely feels the same way. I have purposefully not mentioned the actual event because I do not wish to “theologize” the personal pain of those touched by such grief. However, if our theology is to be practical, we must be able to consistently speak into the issues from our theological worldview, which brings me to my Calvinistic friend’s inconsistency:

Should Christians ever express disapproval or disgust for God’s self-glorifying will and plan?

It certainly seems reasonable to disapprove of the autonomous behavior of evil men who openly rebel against the will of God and seek to cause destruction. It does not seem reasonable, however, for one to express disapproval and disgust for that which was planned and brought about by God for His own self-glorification, does it?

Expressions of disapproval about things that have come to pass do cause me pause when brought by Calvinistic believers.  I cannot help but question the logical consistency of Calvinists who express feelings of indignation and disapproval over such atrocities given the ACTUAL CLAIMS of their doctrinal worldview.

Notable Calvinistic scholars teach that God has sovereignly planned and brought about every meticulous detail, including the evil intentions of His creatures, in order to glorify Himself.[1] In other words, if Calvinism is true, the shooting which horrified my Calvinistic friend was planned and brought about by God so as to bring Himself glory. So, in actuality, it is the Calvinist who is expressing disapproval of God’s plans, not me. I am expressing disapproval of man’s autonomously evil choices which stand diametrically opposed to God and His plan. My Calvinistic friend is expressing horrified disapproval of that which God planned for His own self-glorification. How can he do so consistently?

OBJECTION ANTICIPATED:

Here is where I am often met with the accusation of misrepresentation — or what is known as the fallacy of “straw-manning.” I suspect, however, that those bringing that accusation either (1) do not rightly understand Calvinism and Calvinistic scholar’s ACTUAL CLAIMS (read the footnotes) or they (2) do not really affirm the ACTUAL CLAIMS of John Calvin and most of the Calvinistic scholars, but have adopted a much milder, more palatable, and arguably inconsistent form of the systematic.

If it is the second, however, I cannot help but wonder why would they not stand with me in opposition to the ACTUAL CLAIMS of Calvinism rather than accusing me of not understanding it rightly?

I hope all those who wear the label “Calvinist” can rightly understand what I am opposing here. I have not misrepresented or “straw-manned” Calvinism. John Piper is arguably the most influential modern day proponent of Calvinism and he is representing exactly what John Calvin himself taught on this subject in the quotes provided (all of which are properly cited for contextual examination in the footnotes). Both of these Calvinistic scholars are abundantly clear about what they believe.

NOTICE: I am not suggesting a “Calvinist” must agree with John Piper or even John Calvin on every theological point in order to be considered a “Calvinist.” But if you are going to claim this label shouldn’t you at least affirm the basic theological claims over the issues that make Calvinism so controversial in the church?  The major reason we even know of John Calvin and “Calvinism” is because of his controversial views over predestination, election, free will, sovereignty, theistic determinism, etc. 

If you cannot affirm John Calvin’s own statements on at least those issues, then may I suggest you stop promoting the label “Calvinist?” Or, if nothing else, at least stop accusing people like myself of not really understanding Calvinism?

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[1] For instance, let’s consider this quote from John Piper’s ministry website, Desiring God: 

“God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child…” (Link)— Mark R. Talbot, “’All the Good That Is Ours in Christ’: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us,” in John Piper and Justin Taylor (eds.), Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 31-77 (quote from p. 42).

On the one hand we know that Piper has at times expressed disappointment and disgust for the Holocaust and the sexual abuse of children, while on the other hand claiming these same events have been brought about by a God seeking His own glory. Therefore, Piper has expressed disapproval and disgust of what he believes God has planned and brought about for His own glorification. As I said, Calvinists are the ones expressing disapproval of God’s will and plans, not me.

Piper also wrote: “…God is the only being who is ultimately self-determining, and is himself ultimately the disposer of all things, including all choices — however many or diverse other intervening causes are. On this definition, no human being has free will, at any time. Neither before or after the fall, or in heaven, are creatures ultimately self-determining. There are great measures of self-determination, as the Bible often shows, but never is man the ultimate or decisive cause of his preferences and choices. When man’s agency and God’s agency are compared, both are real, but God’s is decisive. Yet — and here’s the mystery that causes so many to stumble — God is always decisive in such a way that man’s agency is real, and his responsibility remains.” Link: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-beginners-guide-to-free-will

John Calvin himself taught:

“Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3)

“thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)

“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed.  Hence we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8)

 “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how muchsoever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay unless in so far as he commands, that they are not only bound by his fetters but are even forced to do him service” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 11)

“…it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are.”…”For God’s will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God’s will, which cannot be found.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an individual charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated. This they do ignorantly and childishly, since there could be no election without its opposite, reprobation.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“…it is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God’s secret plan… God’s secret plan is the cause of hardening.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“I admit that in this miserable condition wherein men are now bound, all of Adam’s children have fallen by God’s will.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 4)

“With Augustine I say: the Lord has created those whom he unquestionably foreknew would go to destruction. This has happened because he has willed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 5) 

“…individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“…it is vain to debate about prescience, which it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“But since he foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place, they vainly raise a quarrel over foreknowledge, when it is clear that all things take place rather by his determination and bidding.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“Again I ask: whence does it happen that Adam’s fall irremediably involved so many peoples, together with their infant offspring, in eternal death unless because it so pleased God? The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess. Yet no one can deny that God foreknew what end man was to have before he created him, and consequently foreknew because he so ordained by his decree. And it ought not to seem absurd for me to say that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his descendants, but also meted it out in accordance with his own decision.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 7)

“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 8)

“Even though by God’s eternal providence man has been created to undergo that calamity to which he is subject, it still takes its occasion from man himself, not from God, since the only reason for his ruin is that he has degenerated from God’s pure creation into vicious and impure perversity.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 9)

For more quotes of notable Calvinistic scholars: https://atheologyintension.com/2013/03/21/2376/

55 thoughts on “Nominal Calvinism

  1. Another wonderful article!!

    Years ago, Nobel laureate, Dr. Bertrand Russel relayed a true story of a certain woman who believed in Solipsism.
    The (foundational core and most sacred proposition) of her belief system asserts that she is the only person alive.
    Everyone else is a figment of her imagination.

    However, when she writes to Dr. Russel, she asks the question: “I wonder why there aren’t more of us?”

    This hilarious story always reminds me of Calvinists! :-]

    Because Calvinists also display a similar form of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS

    BUT WHY?
    The underlying reason points to psychological conflict:

    1) The human psychological need for normalcy
    2) A belief system with DISTINCTIONS that are so RADICAL – they come into conflict with one’s sense of “normalcy”.

    Both Solipsism and Calvinism contain RADICAL DISTINCTIONS sufficient to product this conflict.

    Calvinisms belief system has as its foundational core a sacred proposition:
    That all things which come to pass are predetermined – in minute detail – and in every minute part – by a THEOS
    All things are fixed in the past – at the foundation of the world – being determined to infallibly occur exactly as they do.
    Nothing that we think, say or do is UP TO US.

    John Calvin understood this RADICAL DISTINCTION would come into conflict with the human need for normalcy.

    And that is why he instructed his disciples to:
    -quote
    “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”.

    So when you see a Calvinist attribute an event – to something or someone other than his THEOS – then you automatically know – that Calvinist is following John Calvin’s instructions. Because that is the only way that Calvinist can retain a sense of normalcy.

    RADICAL DISTINCTIONS force both the Calvinist and the Solipsist into a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS
    Because every human being has a built in psychological need for normalcy.

  2. How is it that Calvin, Piper, and the rest of that ilk are not guilty of blasphemy?

    Gotquestions.org defines blasphemy as: “speak[ing] with contempt about God or to be defiantly irreverent. Blasphemy is verbal or written reproach of God’s name, character, work, or attributes. Blasphemy was a serious crime in the law God gave to Moses.”

    Jesus (who is God) defined blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (who is God) as “attributing the Lord’s miracles to the power of Satan, (Mark 3:22-30). The pharisees “portrayal of the holy as demonic was a deliberate, insulting rejection of God and was unforgivable” (Gotquestions.org).

    If Calvin, Piper, et al, agree that God commands thievery, murder, child rape and other perversions, then how is that not blasphemy as according to God the Son?

    Then there is the blatant inconsistency of God commanding evildoers to commit sinful acts that are contrary to the Bible. This is not for God’s glory. Rather, it is “fake theology.”

    And whereas I am sure Calvinists have employed enough hermeneutical gymnastics to answer the following, not a one of them has a biblical answer to explain this blatant buffoonery: “…it is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God’s secret plan… God’s secret plan is the cause of hardening.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

    Just a couple of questions: If it is God’s secret plan, how does anyone at any time know of such a plan; how can it be secret?
    And even more inane is that Calvin knows the content of the secret plan, “hardening.” This puts Calvin in rarified air: he know that God has a secret plan, and he knows one of the secrets in the secret plan. Well, guess what, John? Since you published the Institutes, the secret plan is no longer a secret.

    Such idiocy as Calvin demonstrates is enough for me to dismiss out-of-hand his entire view of soteriology. But like moths to the flame, Calvin’s devotees cannot divorce themselves from Calvin’s “disquieting realities.”

    1. Hi Norm,
      I agree with your post where you say:

      “How is it that Calvin, Piper, and the rest of that ilk are not guilty of blasphemy?

      Gotquestions.org defines blasphemy as: “speak[ing] with contempt about God or to be defiantly irreverent. Blasphemy is verbal or written reproach of God’s name, character, work, or attributes. Blasphemy was a serious crime in the law God gave to Moses.”

      GA: Calvinism has many problems in their systematic but my biggest problem with it is that Consistent Calvinism Blasphemes God’s Holy name, His Loving name, His Merciful name, His Truthful name. It represents God to be just as evil as Satan himself, in fact even worse than satan because everything Satan does, he does only by God’s irresistible decree and initiation.
      Calvinism does not glorify God, even though those who preach it THINK they are glorifying God because they believe ALL evil comes from God. It comes from Gnostic paganism that Augustine so skillfully brought into the church.

    2. Romans 11:33 (NKJV)….
      Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

      Sounds like the Calvinist has found Him out.

      “God did it!”

  3. Dr. Flowers, I think your article about “Nominal Christians” is an argument you have asserted before. The argumentation goes like this; “If God decreed and ordained all things, even the sinful actions of man, then how can the Calvinist raise an objection to such things since it is in the sovereign plan of God?” Unfortunately, you come against the theological system under the name “Calvinism” based on your objections more so than the scripture themselves. In this way you can quote Calvin, Calvinists teachers, etc., but ignore the fact that the Bible has much to say on this subject. Your “inconsistencies” can be explained by scripture.

    First inconsistency: You quoted a Calvinist that asked you why you are standing in opposition of God and His ways. Yet I’m unsure of the context. If the context means “why are you standing in opposition of what the Bible teaches on the subject,” then it is legitimate. There are plenty of Bible verses that speak on God’s sovereignty like Isaiah 46:9-11, Proverbs 16:9, 21:1, Ephesians 1:4, Romans 9, etc. There are plenty of verses where God plainly gives a decree or actually is the mover of an event but holds the person doing it responsible. This is because that person is violating the revealed commands of God. So it is not inconsistent for a Christian to be outraged at sinful actions because the Bible clearly tells them they are not to do it. And since they are sinners that are slaves to their sin (in fact they love darkness rather than light), it is no wonder they would disobey God’s Word. Sin is the transgression of the law of God according to 1 John 3:4. Romans 3:10-18, 8:5-8, Ephesians 2:1-3, Jeremiah 17:9, and many other verses illustrate the sinful nature of man. Christians should have no problem speaking against anyone violating God’s commands (whether believer or unbeliever) because they violate the revealed commands of God. We are not to worry about how God works out those things as it pertains to Him being in sovereign control because like Deuteronomy 29:29 states, it is a secret thing of God. We are just to obey what He commands.

    Second inconsistency: Basically covered in the first one. To say a Christian has no right to be horrified at sinful actions because God decrees things is unbiblical. If we don’t point out people’s sins, we can’t even rightly give the gospel message. And since God decreed the worst crime of all, the crucifixion of His Son, yet still said it was done by “wicked hands” (indicating their moral responsibility) in Acts 2:23, the Bible shows that God decrees, foreordains, and predetermines all things while still holding sinful man responsible. If scripture says so, then the Christian can still call out sin regardless. I understand your objection, but it wasn’t John Calvin that wrote these verses, it was by God’s inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21).

    Finally, your anticipated objection: You wrote, “Here is where I am often met with the accusation of misrepresentation — or what is known as the fallacy of “straw-manning.” I suspect, however, that those bringing that accusation either (1) do not rightly understand Calvinism and Calvinistic scholar’s ACTUAL CLAIMS (read the footnotes) or they (2) do not really affirm the ACTUAL CLAIMS of John Calvin and most of the Calvinistic scholars, but have adopted a much milder, more palatable, and arguably inconsistent form of the systematic.” Unfortunately, the objections come from the plain reading of scripture and what it says. And while I know you will say it all depends on interpretation; you have failed to show in many of your examples that the verses say the opposite based on content, context, and grammar. I saw this years ago during your Romans 9 debate because I really wanted to see you go verse by verse to show that Romans 9 didn’t say what it said, but instead you actually jumped from the end back to the beginning. (And before anyone accuses me of misrepresenting that debate, anyone can watch it to see if you started from verse 1 to the end to show the context).

    You tend to attack the theological system of Calvinism, painting it as wicked and evil based on your objections. Many Christians read these objections because you paint it as a Calvinistic system that was inserted into the text of scripture instead of a system derived from the text of scripture. In doing so, your readers believe your conclusions derived from your objections (using analogies, philosophies, etc.) before you go to a few verses that will “prove” your point. And while I give you credit for tackling verses you deem “Calvinist proof texts,” because you start with that presupposition, by default you have to read your own interpretation into the text to fit your view of libertarian free will, as well as your own view of God’s sovereignty (which the scriptures actually don’t support). Many Christians have struggles with these doctrines. The way to understand it is to prayerfully study all of God’s Word on the subject, not embrace your objections to it and find a way to misinterpret scripture or even make the ministry of other believers illogical to the point where you want to undermine them from even speaking against sin because unless God doesn’t decree anything, we shouldn’t speak against sin because that would make God the cause of it and we shouldn’t complain.

    1. Eric Smith, you say “your readers believe your conclusions derived from your objections …” Are you trying to insult all of us who read this blog? Because that’s what you’re doing. Basically accusing us of being unable to think for ourselves, unable to read and understand the Bible for ourselves, blindly accepting whatever Leighton tells us to believe.

      So may I be the first to pat you on the back for being more intelligent than the rest of us naive, uneducated simpletons! Congrats!

      1. Thank you for this honest assessment about Eric Heather!! I don’t believe I’ve been brain washed nor drank the cool aid🤔 I saw calvinism as a divisional system before I ever knew there were others who believed it was a contradiction to God’s Word! I appreciate the cander, that I’m able to read on this site, which is in opposition to the calvinists soteriological view.

      2. Indeed, what a relief it was to discover that there were others who have been through the Calvinist mill and now seek to wrestle not only with the theology but with why it is, even if temporarily, seducing so many. Very, very few become Calvinists because reading the bible led them to it. Nearly all were seduced by charismatic, clever influencers to adopt their interpretations of scripture, in spite of the repulsion most feel to the heinous caricature of God it asserts. They submit to the authority of men and traditions, rather than grappling with scripture and confronting logical contradictions and moral atrocities.

      3. Agreed Heather, Reggie and TS00,
        Most of us here have been where these Calvinist are right now, drinking the kool aid of Calvinism until we read the scriptures without the Calvi glasses on and were horrified at what we saw. We saw how twisted and tortured the Calvinist interpretation really was. How it distorts so many of God’s attributes.
        We experienced the oppression forced on us by clever word tactics used over and over again. They tried to make us believe Calvinism was the only way scripture could be seen and only the humble, the elect, the studied would see this secret knowledge. And yes there are many contradictions but that is a “mystery” they told us, you have to be humble enough to hold those contradictions in tension even if the contradictions make God out to be Less than truthful, less than holy, less than loving, just get over it, “who are you O man to question God”. They made us feel like when we questioned what they were saying about God that we were actually questioning God BUT we were NOT. We saw that God’s Holy name was being blasphemed and it troubled us greatly and still does.

        I have been bullied for too long and by too many Calvinist I can see their tactics coming a long ways off…yes, those tactics work on many people but once you see the light you will no longer be bullied by them. I have been where many of these guys are at… and there is no going back I have seen what they do here are a few things:

        1. Redefine biblical terms ( Love, Grace, Call, Faith, Sovereign, God’s Will, All, World… and the list goes on) if you give yourself the ability to redefine words to fit your theology we could make the Bible fit Islam or Hinduism the sky is the limit. It is shameful)

        2. They introduce extra-biblical terms, usually “two-word” terms and just assume those terms to be Biblical, they of course define those extra-Biblical terms to conform to Calvinism ( Limited-Atonement, Unconditional-Election, Sovereign-Grace, Irresistible-Grace, Secret-Will, Effectually-given, Effectual-Call, Particular-Atonment etc… the list goes on and on) and they keep adding to it when ever they get boxed in they create a new category – new term, to get around the obvious meaning of Scripture.

        3. These tactics of course lead to Contradictions and unholy conclusions. That is when the COVER-UP TACTIC comes out: “Oh that is a mystery” “that is a tension, a paradox, an antinomy” NO!!! it is a contradiction that only arises because you are mixing error with truth and the contradiction you have created must now be covered up so you use “mystery” and other words like that to cover it up and say there is nothing to see here just move on. The Truth of Scripture does not have all of those contradictions, but the Calvinist system does.

        4. Then out comes the false humility – “I am humble enough to accept these mysteries and you must also” –” Who are you o man to question God” Well, We are not questioning God we are questioning the terrible statements YOU are making ABOUT God. They use that phrase but what they Actually mean is “who are you to question me?” Or they will say about the error they have just tried to push on to you that “we are humble enough to admit we do not know everything and it is a mystery but you must humble yourself and accept it even if it does not make sense, this is what glorifies God”. NO!!! I am done accepting the untrue statements that they try to push onto me by saying it takes humility to accept it and it glorifies God. THAT IS A CALVINIST TACTIC to get you to accept a lie, to get you to swallow a poison. It is discernment that we need in the face of these tactics. They are skilled at trying to make you feel less than them for not accepting what they are selling. I have lived in the midst of that for way too long. I have seen what they are doing, I have been there.

        Conclusion: If I gave my self the liberty Calvinist give themselves I could easily make, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism “be totally Biblical” that is the scary thing about what they do. But because they are doing it in large numbers that seems to make it ok. Error is still error even if 70% believe it.

        I am also aware that many who are still in the Calvinist Camp honestly believe what they are selling. They are not purposefully being deceptive. The reason is they were deceived by someone else. 2 Tim says that we are in times where people will be “deceiving and being deceived” Deceived means you believe that what you are selling is the truth….so I am not attributing evil motives to most Calvinists – MOST are simply deceived BUT they use these tactics none-the-less. So don’t be deceived, or bullied but instead remember their tactics ( 1. Redefine Biblical Terms, 2. New Terms with Calvinist Definitions, 3. Cover over Error with Mystery, 4. False Humility Claims and Who are you to question.)

      4. GraceAdict, this is a great post and I agree with you even if 70% believe it, that only makes it part of ‘the popular crowd” not the truth!! unless as you say we can redefine terms. The popular crowd has always had a bully type connotation this follows the label. That seems to still be going on even way outside of high school. Though I will probably never understand how God spoke things into existence (now that’s a REAL mystery) I’ve never been one to back down to a bully, even if it wasn’t me being bullied. But honestly I didn’t expect it to be among other Christians. I’m not as eloquent or as learned about the Bible as others I can’t read Greek nor Hebrew, but I can read!! I also trust His Word along with the Spirit of truth to guide me. And it makes sense what you all say no one reading God’s Word alone came to these conclusions..

        Thank you also TSOO And Heather you are absolutley right Heather when you say;

        “In general, I think it’s the Calvinists who “believe the conclusions” of other Calvinists, because they’ve been charmed by charismatic, clever, dogmatic Calvinists, been shamed and manipulated into falling in line with them for fear of dishonoring God or being an unhumble Christian, been taught to not trust their intellect when they see problems or have concerns about the things Calvinism teaches, etc.
        Also
        “And we disagree with Calvinism because we take the Word for what it simply, clearly says, refusing to buy into the Calvinistic secret knowledge, hidden meanings, double-layers, and redefinitions. Those are the kinds of things that Calvinists have to learn from other Calvinists, because it’s not clearly in the Bible.”” This is ABSOLUTELY true without redefining terms and leaving parts out it’s not there!!

        Some people just trust blindly whether it’s a dr, lawyer, pastor etc these are titles yes earned, but not infallible…. When really the only One we need to trust is God and He isn’t out to confuse nor is there any darkness in Him, but boy they gloss over the dark road this systematic leads to… and maybe they honestly don’t see it or want to be part of the popular crowd and just don’t read for themselves or they have the glasses on, but again I’ve not been brain washed by Leighton I’m just grateful there are all of you who see this isn’t accurate now nor in the church history. What is our final authority?? Well it’s not man’s philosophical interpretation…

      5. Fabulous post! I am so thankful for Leighton Flowers, Sot101 and the Sot101 FB discussion page and all of you who are a part of them, along with the growing number of social media sites that share their experience going into and back out of Calvinism. These have given me hope and encouragement that I am not crazy, rebellious, hellbent or alone, despite what some Calvinists would like me to think.

        It is absolutely essential to call out and understand the tactics used by Calvinists (and other mind controllers) to seduce you into thinking in the patterns they desire, in order to avoid their traps. The typical, naive, trusting christian, many of who have no knowledge of Calvinism, hasn’t the slightest idea of such things happening in today’s churches, and it is difficult for them to even suspect such things. It goes against their concept of loving and thinking the best of others. Which makes them perfect targets.

        I had no desire to study such things. I frequently wish I could return to my innocent, naive days. But I cannot help but believe God allows the sometimes traumatic experiences in our lives in order to wake us up, educate us and equip us to protect and rescue others who are or may become victims.

        Thank you all for being willing to be Watchmen on the wall, even when it leads to rejection and condemnation – sometimes by those whose love and respect we most covet. I don’t imagine anyone speaks out against Calvinism and its deceptions simply because they are bored and can’t think of anything better to do. We are here because we experienced the confusion, tyranny and spiritual abuse that threatened our faith and our christian walk. May God be with each of you this coming year, strengthening, equipping and empowering you to serve others as he leads.

      6. TSOO you are so right when you say;
        “I don’t imagine anyone speaks out against Calvinism and its deceptions simply because they are bored and can’t think of anything better to do.”
        I soooooo agree with this & I sometimes wish I didn’t ever hear of this systematic too.. And that I could go back to when all that mattered was, the “Wow realization Jesus died for me” how Amazing that is and I sure wanted everyone else to know of this love He had for them too!! But then calvinism was presented to me as if it were the better of only two options🤔. I had already come to accept that if those I love didn’t accept Him that was still their choice but I would continue to pray and speak truth in love & hope that they would one day… But nope not in Calvinism they don’t have a choice they could have been born a reprobate without a possibility of parole WHAT how could I be that off in my reading… then I decided how could anyone believe this about a Creator who left heaven to serve and die for His creation??… But boy I sure did go through pain & uneasiness over this systematic not because I subscribed to it, but as you know it can be all encompassing and not in a warm joyful way!! Sooooo glad for this site!!! Thank you for your honesty and insight & may God guide you this new year as well!

      7. Thank you all for your comments, Reggie, TS00, and Graceadict. I agree with you all.

        And Graceadict, your comments totally fit everything I was going through at my Calvinist church. The manipulation, the shaming, the word games, etc. You sum it all up well.

        And regarding Eric’s subtle assumption that we readers are brainwashed by Leighton, that we get our information about what to believe right from him:

        I came to be anti-Calvinistic NOT by hearing anyone talk against Calvinism, but by hearing our Calvinist preacher preach Calvinism and then realizing that it doesn’t fit with what I’ve read in the Bible for the past 30 years.

        Thankfully, before our Calvinist pastor was hired, I had read the Bible for about 30 years, had read straight through it about 5 times, and had finished writing many posts on God’s Will, what prayer is and how it affects things, how God relates to us, etc. I had deeply studied for years what the Bible said about those things. So I already had a very good idea – from the Bible alone – of how God interacts with man, how we affect His Will, our responsibilities, etc. My views were based solely on God’s Word. I had never researched Calvinism nor anti-Calvinism at that point. (It wasn’t even on my radar.)

        But then in comes this new Calvinist preacher. (He never told us he was a Calvinist, nor used the word Calvinism. So “Calvinism” never came up in church nor in my mind.) And he starts saying things that completely contradict what the Bible taught about God and His Will and how God relates to people and our responsibilities, etc, (And he did EXACTLY the things that Graceadict wrote about! It’s uncanny!)

        And over the course of a couple years of listening to him, I got more and more disturbed. More and more shocked at how differently he presented the Gospel than the Bible. And so every Sunday, I would write down the things he said, the Bible verses he used, etc., and I would go home, read the Bible, look things up in the concordance, cross reference other verses, etc. until I had a very good idea of how wrong his theology was, the ways it was wrong, and what the Bible really said. And I started writing papers about it (ideally so I could share it with those at my church, but that didn’t happen so I ended up turning it into a blog).

        And I did all of this BEFORE I knew that this was Calvinism, before I ever even thought of the word Calvinism. I learned how wrong he was NOT by reading anti-Calvinist stuff, but by hearing him preach and comparing it to what the Bible said. And only AFTER all of this – after I saw and wrote about how different his theology was from the Bible – did I start looking online to see if other people shared my view. And that’s when I found Soteriology 101. And so Leighton (and the other anti-Calvinist writers out there) did not influence my Anti-Calvinist views at all. He confirmed them! He confirmed the views I had come to on my own by reading the Bible alone.

        It’s like Reggie said, “I saw calvinism as a divisional system before I ever knew there were others who believed it was a contradiction to God’s Word!”

        That’s how it was for me too. And for many others who know the Bible for themselves and who think for themselves.

        As TS00 says: “Very, very few become Calvinists because reading the bible led them to it. Nearly all were seduced by charismatic, clever influencers to adopt their interpretations of scripture, in spite of the repulsion most feel to the heinous caricature of God it asserts. They submit to the authority of men and traditions, rather than grappling with scripture and confronting logical contradictions and moral atrocities.”

        In general, I think it’s the Calvinists who “believe the conclusions” of other Calvinists, because they’ve been charmed by charismatic, clever, dogmatic Calvinists, been shamed and manipulated into falling in line with them for fear of dishonoring God or being an unhumble Christian, been taught to not trust their intellect when they see problems or have concerns about the things Calvinism teaches, etc.

        Graceadict hits the nail on the head: “We saw how twisted and tortured the Calvinist interpretation really was. How it distorts so many of God’s attributes. We experienced the oppression forced on us by clever word tactics used over and over again. They tried to make us believe Calvinism was the only way scripture could be seen and only the humble, the elect, the studied would see this secret knowledge. And yes there are many contradictions but that is a “mystery” they told us, you have to be humble enough to hold those contradictions in tension even if the contradictions make God out to be Less than truthful, less than holy, less than loving, just get over it, “who are you O man to question God”. They made us feel like when we questioned what they were saying about God that we were actually questioning God BUT we were NOT. We saw that God’s Holy name was being blasphemed and it troubled us greatly and still does.”

        In general, I think those of us who disagree with Calvinism do so because we know the Word for ourselves well enough to spot errors when we hear them. (And Calvinism’s errors are not small, subtle, or hard to see; they are huge, blazingly blatant, and totally obvious, if one will just open their eyes to see it.)

        And we disagree with Calvinism because we take the Word for what it simply, clearly says, refusing to buy into the Calvinistic secret knowledge, hidden meanings, double-layers, and redefinitions. Those are the kinds of things that Calvinists have to learn from other Calvinists, because it’s not clearly in the Bible. They have to be taught that stuff, which is why I say that it’s the Calvinists who believe what others tell them, instead of coming to their views by learning for themselves what the Bible says right from the Bible itself.

        In my opinion, Calvinism is a cult. And it’s not too different from the serpent in the Garden of Eden, subtly and cleverly using word tricks and mind games to manipulate Eve to doubt what God clearly said, to put her own thinking above God’s Word, to rationalize/excuse her drift from God and His Truth, etc. As I’ve said before: Calvinism is brilliantly satanic and satanically brilliant!

      8. Heather,

        Wow, you really hit the nail on the head with this comment.

        You had said:
        “Thankfully, before our Calvinist pastor was hired, I had read the Bible for about 30 years, had read straight through it about 5 times, and had finished writing many posts on God’s Will, what prayer is and how it affects things, how God relates to us, etc. I had deeply studied for years what the Bible said about those things. So I already had a very good idea – from the Bible alone – of how God interacts with man, how we affect His Will, our responsibilities, etc. My views were based solely on God’s Word. I had never researched Calvinism nor anti-Calvinism at that point. (It wasn’t even on my radar.) ”

        My response to that:

        I didn’t have that many years under my belt (your 30 years), nor was I ever in a Calvinist church. I had never known ANY kind of REFORM thinking before about 10 years ago.

        You might laugh at this, but when I joined the US Navy back in 1982, I had to fill out a Religious Preference form. It listed a WHOLE BUNCH of religions, but MINE was NOT LISTED. My religion was CHRISTIAN.

        That’s how ignorant that I was. I had known a few Catholics in my day (my school, not Catholic, did conform to the Catholic FISH ON FRIDAY rule for school lunches). I had NO IDEA what a protestant really was, except to note that they were not Catholic. I was 18 years old, and that is how IGNORANT I am about Christianity’s multi-denominations. I attended the Church of the Nazarene growing up, but had no clue that other Christian denominations didn’t teach the same things as that one did.

        On that list was Catholic, and Protestant, and Buddahism, etc., but Christian wasn’t there.

        Anyway, years later I began studying the bible, but before I did, I made for sure that I actually read the bible straight thru, 5 times. You can’ imagine that the book of Numbers was boring.

        I actually used pens, hilighters, college ruled papers, etc., when I began studying things out, along with a Strong’s Concordance (Before Comeputers, and internet).

        I studied the OBVIOUS religions first (Jehovah’s Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, etc). One thing I learned, is that cults have certain catch phrases that they use. For instance, both the JW’s and SDA’s believe in SOUL SLEEP. I’m like, WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?

        Then, later, when I had had enough of hearing the term, “Original Sin”, I had to figure out what that meant in English, too. Many more catch phrases I’d hear as time went on, too.

        So, I got used to studying those types of things out, first by finding out how THEY define it, and by what means they define it. Then I can take it back to the scritpures to debunk it. It takes a lot of time.

        Fast forward several years, a Jewish friend of mine, who converted to Christianity, was having difficulty trying to find a Christian Church to attend, due to his Jewish background. So, he went to both Pentecostal, because they claim to speak in tongues, and guess what? My Jewish friend actually has spoken in tongues as a new Christian. He was by himself, no one was around, but he said that it flowed out of him for about a half hour, and he could NOT stop it. So he learned that the Pentecostals were FAKING it, trying to FORCE people to speak the jibberish, telling them that they were not saved unless they spoke it, so you can imagine all the weird stuff coming out of people’s mouths.

        So…he found CALVINISM. Well, he being a Jew, as my study concludes, he really is THE ELECT, and THE REMNENT, and he actually speaks of the time when the BLINDERS were removed FROM HIM. It was easy for him to gravitate to Calvinism, and he began this “GOD IS IN CHARGE” routine, and one day, he asked me if I believed in “IRRESISTABLE GRACE”. Right away I saw that as a catch phrase, and I was resistent to his irresistible grace thing from the moment that it crossed his lips. I knew something wasn’t right about that.

        Then, him being a Jew, turned Calvinist, began a conversation about CHOSEN. Well, I know that HE is chosen, all because he’s a Jew, not because he’s a Calvinist, or a Christian. But Calvinists have turned that CHOSEN thing into something that doesn’t belong to them. Anyway, his take on CHOSEN was the Calvinists take, and we got into a MAJOR MAJOR argument over it, because he was stating that God chose who is gonna be saved (using the GOD’S IN CHARGE (SOVEREIGNTY) thing), and I was retoring that if that is true, then God chose whose going to hell, and I wasn’t having that at all.

        Advance a few more years, and I heard on the NATIONAL NEWS that an Oregon pastor was suing 3 women (mother and daughter and one other) for 1/2 million dollars for negative google reviews, which had mentioned being kicked out, shunned, punished for NO APPARENT reason, other than disagreeing with said pastors doctrines, to include “church discipline”.

        I tell ya, on this journey to learning Calvinism, I’ve come to the same conclusions as you do, a CULT, and the most dangerous of them all.

        I’ve even gone as far as to read what THOMAS JEFFERSON had to say about it. He thinks that the god (little g) of Calvinism is a DEMON.

        Ed Chapman

      9. Ed, Unrelated to anything detail, but I grew up in the Nazarene church as well. 😉

        I was just wondering if you might answer a few questions for me, and I truly mean them as sincere questions. You and I think alike in many ways, thus it always astounds me to hear your theories about ‘all Israel’ being deterministically chosen to be saved. I guess I reject this theory for the same reasons I reject Calvinistic determinism: God is not partial, nor does he enforce his will upon any. If I were to embrace determinism in any form, it would be Universalism.

        If, in the long run, all men will be ‘unblinded’ from unbelief and determined by God to ‘voluntarily’ believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and all be saved, I for one, will be deliriously happy. I do not, at this time, see how this is possible under the existence of free, uncoerced souls being required to ‘choose this day’ whom they will serve, and the many examples of those who choose wickedness and destruction over truth and life. But I would love, love, love to be pleasantly surprised! This is the only kind of God-determined eternal destiny I could consider reasonable, good and just.

        I grew up on dispensationalism and Zionism, as most believers my age did, but as I became old enough to think through and question such things, irreconcilable issues turned me from believing that the Jews were ‘the elect’ that were to be saved. I won’t spell out my views, as I am sure you have heard similar ones before. I have honestly never heard anyone adequately address the troubling issues. Again, please hear these as sincere questions in my mind and not personal challenges to you.

        You have your own theory, and I am not trying to dissuade you from it. I just wondered if you, having given this so much thought, might be able to provide some insight as to how someone in your shoes would respond to these issues so that they might make sense to someone like me. A couple of these questions I have presented on here before, but I just want to put them all on the table and see if you would give me some meat to chew on.

        It isn’t something I spend a great deal of time pondering, to be honest. I suppose if I believed as you I would think that Jews didn’t need to hear the gospel, as they are automatically going to be saved by some other means. (Again, note the similarity to the problems of Calvinistic determinism. If God has predetermined people to be saved, there is no urgency to spread the gospel.) This might present some problems if, indeed, the only way to God is through individual faith in Jesus, and I – along with other believers – wrongly neglected to share the gospel they need to hear. As it is, I view every single human being as being in the same boat, all equally in need of the gospel and making the decision to put their faith in Jesus – Gentile, Jew or Martian. (I think we have similar views concerning those who have never heard about Jesus being judged on a different basis.)

        1. If ‘all Israel will be saved’ means national Israel, who does that entail?
        a. Will all Jews who have ever lived, including those who perished during the Exodus for various acts of rebellion, be included? How will those who are already dead be saved? Do you believe in salvation after death?
        b. What about those who have converted to Judaism, both in biblical times and more recently? Would you include them as part of the ‘all Israel’ who will be saved? Are their descendants considered ‘elect’ Jews as well, even though they have no Jewish blood? If so, could we not all conceivably convert to Judaism and be guaranteed the promised ‘blessings’ of the Jews? Indeed, would it not have made sense for God’s plan of salvation to be for all Gentiles to convert to Judaism, if this is so?
        c. If all Jews will be eventually ‘unblinded’ and persuaded (by whatever means you propose) to believe in Jesus and be saved, why would God not use the same ‘power’ to ensure that all men eventually believe in Jesus and are saved? (To me, this presents the same issue of partiality and cruelty as Calvinism entails.)

        2. You reject the determinism of Calvinism, and call it ‘dangerous’ theology. How is the determinism of the Jews as ‘the elect’ chosen people any different from the determinism of Calvinism? Don’t both claim that God has predetermined, for no reason other than his own choice, to save a group of individuals, not based on their freely chosen faith but simply because he has decreed that it will irresistibly be so? Does this not negate the concept of free will, and God providing the same means and prospect of salvation for all men without distinction? Doesn’t it eliminate personal responsibility and accountability for faith as spelled out in scripture?
        a. Would it not seem likely that if there were two distinct ways to salvation, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles, that this would be spelled out very clearly in the New Testament writings, when such issues were being discussed and clarified?
        b. How then would you explain the verses and the emphasis on the veil being torn in two, the temple and city of Jerusalem destroyed, the barriers removed, the distinction between Jew and Gentile erased, the importance of unity, etc.?
        c. Would you assert that Jews and Gentiles should yet be separate, having different churches, different concepts of sin, salvation, election, unity, etc.? Why would God want such a distinction?
        d. Why did the apostles go to such great lengths to break down the barriers between Jew and Gentile if, in God’s eyes, there still was and would always be a distinction?
        e. Why is it inconceivable that God would create a Calvinist style predetermined, undeserving group of ‘elect’ which arbitrarily excludes all others, but it is perfectly acceptable to arbitrarily choose one ‘race’ of men to be saved while arbitrarily excluding all other races?
        f. What do you do with all of the verses that state that God is not partial and does not select people based on birth or any other personal attribute?
        g. What do you do with the many verses that explain, for instance, Paul’s deep sorrow for the unbelieving Jews? Why would he go to such great lengths to describe this sorrow if, in reality, it is not necessary, because all of his brothers according to the flesh actually are going to be saved?
        h. What do you do with the many verses that explain why Israel stumbled, how ‘some’ (not ‘all’) might yet be saved and grafted in again IF they believe, etc.? Wouldn’t this be nonsensical if ‘all’ Jews are actually going to be saved?

        3. What did Paul mean when he said ‘Not all who are of Israel are Israel’? How does this affect the concept of ‘all Israel will be saved’?
        a. Who are those who are the ‘not Israel’, and what do you propose happens to them?
        b. Why and how are those who are ‘not Israel’ distinct from the rest of Israel who are?
        c. Does having a group who are of Israel yet not Israel complicate the assertion that ‘all Israel will be saved’?

        4. You have a far different conception of the ‘blindness’ of Israel than I and I cannot say I can even follow your theory. How do you explain the unblinding of those Jews who became followers of Jesus, from the apostles to the many in the New Testament early churches, but not the unblinding of the rest? How is this piecemeal unblinding consistent with the rest of your theory of the blinding of the Jews?

        These are but a few of the questions that arise in my mind when people suggest that there is still a separate and different plan for the Jews than all other men, and that all ‘national’ Israel will yet be saved. Thanks ahead of time for your serious consideration of these questions.

      10. TS00,

        Hey there, TS00!

        OK, so…In a nutshell, I’ve been explaining it ten thousand times already, but I have yet to see anybody but Philipp on about the same page as me on this blog, but let me say, that there are TONS of people in Christendom that is on the same page as Me and Philipp are, plus or minus MINOR differences.

        I’m gonna start out by saying right away that I am a dispensationalist, and I am a Zionist.

        Let me tell ya why for starters.

        When Jesus said, When you see the OBAMA-NATION (just kidding), abomination of desolation standing in the HOLY PLACE…

        Matthew 24:15
        When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

        OK, so, I use the KJV, and there is a reason why…WORDS AND PHRASES. I’ve noticed that using MODERN English translations, there really isn’t any such thing as WORDS AND PHRASES in order to CONNECT THE DOTS, so to speak.

        The Holy Place is the Temple, and the Temple is in Jerusalem, and if you use the NIVr Version for Matthew 24:15, it references Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11

        We are talking THE, not just any, but “THE” Anti-Christ here, and THAT STORY is for END TIMES, and, at the moment, there is NO TEMPLE in Jerusalem, therefore, in order for Daniel’s prophesy to come true, a temple in Jerusalem must be built, hence, I am a Zionist.

        The Jews who have rejected Jesus, it’s the same thing as saying that THEY AWAIT A MESSIAH, and the word MESSIAH is the SAME word as CHRIST, hence Anti-Christ.

        This Anti-Christ is for the JEWS, not the WORLD, for the WORLD is NOT LOOKING for a savior, but the Jews are. Christians are NOT looking for a Savior, because we already have one, Jesus. Buddahists are not looking for a Savior, neither are Shintoists, or atheists. Just the Jews.

        So this Anti-Christ will come on the scene, and proclaim to the Jews, “I’m FINALLY HERE, GUYS!”. And they, except for 144,000 Jews, will believe that “HE’S THE ONE!”

        Now, if you listen to the 7th Day Adventists, They don’t even mention Matthew 24:15 at all. I once went to one of their END TIMES PROPHESY conferences, JUST FOR FUN, not for education…and they have a well put together presentation, but I DON’T BUY INTO ANY OF WHAT THEY ARE SELLING.

        What are they selling? The POPE is the Anti-Christ. Well, I got some news for the SDA’s. There has been NO JEWISH POPE, for the Christ must be a descendent of King David, and we all know how much the Catholics just HATE the Jews for killing Jesus (Mel Gibson).

        So, there has to be a Temple, there is no other way around it, and the Anti-Christ MUST BE IN IT.

        Prophesy, prophesy, prophesy. In Matthew 5:17-18, ALL HAS NOT BEEN ACCOMPLISHED FROM THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS yet, for there is STILL MORE TO COME. The story isn’t over, hence the book of Revelation, and Daniel, and Ezekiel, and Psalms, and…GENESIS.

        You see, most reformers do not read the bible in a spiritual manner, because they LOVE and only teach EXPOSITORY, and therefore, they miss A LOT. Expository is the ONLY way that they preach, and they HATE the spiritual, unless, of course, it’s PLAIN AS DAY to the average reader.

        One of those prophesies is the STORY OF JOSEPH…we’ll come back to that, as I keep repeating myself a thousand times regarding that.

        But let’s go back to the time when Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and WHY.

        Jacob WRESTLED WITH GOD AND PREVAILED.

        Wrestles with God, and PREVAILED. That’s the BIBLICAL (not dictionary) definition of Israel. That’s IMPORTANT to know, as it factors in to your ultimate quest for answers from me.

        So, people who convert to Judaism is called prosylites, BUT, once converted, they are a Jew, hence, Israel. But, I do not believe that this explaination has anything to do with “Not all who are of Israel are Israel”.

        Jacob was Israel, and there were FAMILY SPLITS off of that, in which the lines were CUT OFF.

        I LOVE THE NIVr VERSION for it gives REFERENCES while you are reading verses.

        The famous verse in ROMANS 9…

        13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

        Well, let’s see that from the NIVr Version:

        13 It is written, “I chose Jacob instead of Esau.” (Malachi 1:2,3)

        So, two things:
        1. IT IS WRITTEN
        2. WHERE IS IT WRITTEN?

        The Calvinists, do they REVEAL where it is written? Probably not. But the NIVr Version does.

        Malachi 1:2,3

        Malachi 1:2-3 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
        Israel Doubts God’s Love

        2 “Israel, I have loved you,” says the Lord.

        “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

        “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” says the Lord. “But I chose Jacob 3 instead of Esau. I have turned Esau’s hill country into a dry and empty land. I left that land of Edom to the wild dogs in the desert.”

        So, Esau is NOT ISRAEL, Jacob is. Esau is EDOM, the NATION OF, Jacob is Israel, the NATION OF. Now, were there family splits after that? What disqualifies a person from being a Jew?

        Exclusion from the Congregation

        Deuteronomy 23:2-3
        …2No one of illegitimate birth may enter the assembly of the LORD, nor may any of his descendants, even to the tenth generation. 3No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, even to the tenth generation.

        The FAMILY LINE of Jews runs thru the MOTHER, not the FATHER, so if the father fathered children from those who were NOT JEWS, then his offspring are NOT JEWS.

        Anyway, the same Romans 9 also explains that Abraham had 2 SONS, one Isaac, and one Ishmael, and Ishmael, the promises were NOT MADE TO THE RIGHTFUL HEIR, but God Chose a DIFFERENT HEIR, the SECOND SON.

        We all know that Ishmael is the father of the ARABS, hence, ISLAM.

        So, we have ISLAM, JEWS of the same FAMILY LINE of Abraham, but Israel is of JACOB…so this is FAMILY STUFF, The Apostle PAUL’S FAMILY, not the Gentiles family.

        Revelation 2:9 King James Version (KJV)
        9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

        BREAKING NEWS…

        These are JEWS that Jesus is talking to, NOT GENTILES…

        And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna.

        The JEWS have a PIVTOL role to play in the END TIMES, and it’s about PROPHESY.

        I’m gonna take a break for a bit, I’ll be back in a little while to continue, but the LAW (TORAH) AND THE PROPHETS have a lot to do with WHY I believe as I do, so it’s NOT out of some kind of PHILOSOPHY that the Calvinists or Reformers come up with by ISOLATING a verse or two to invent doctrines on DETERMINISM.

        When I see THE CHOSEN ONES, I do NOT define that as SAVED ONES, altho that is the end result…I define THE CHOSEN ONES as those who are REVEALING GOD TO THE REST OF THE WORLD for they are the ones CHOSEN to carry the ORACLES of God.

        I’ve studied this stuff so much that just by WORDS AND PHRASES, I can tell which epistle is being directed at Jews, and which epistles are being directed at Gentiles.

        But then I would have just about everyone in the reform world jumping down my throat saying, EVERYONE ATTENDED THE SAME LOCAL CHURCH, FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE, blah blah blah.

        Ya, I’ve heard it all before. They think that Jews and Gentiles attended the same church, sat next to each other, for they had MUCH SOCIAL STUFF IN COMMON with one another, aka, NOTHING IN COMMON, except Jesus. But sure, they hung out together for a POT LUCK AFTER CHURCH, Gentiles bringing HAM SANDWICHES telling the Jews to EAT UP, PLENTY OF THEM, and the Jews brought plenty of UNLEAVENED BREAD for the Gentiles to gobble up, as if it were a FRUIT CAKE that NO ONE LIKES.

        NOPE…Paul mentions the words, “Church’s of the Gentiles”, so what does THAT tell ya?

        Anyway, gonna take a small break for a bit. I’ll continue. I use my sarcasm here to make the story sound a bit interesting, cuz I HATE a boring church that you can fall asleep in very easy, BAPTIST CHURCH’S. Hint hint.

        Ed Chapman

      11. I’m afraid you did not respond to a single one of my questions. That’s all I really wanted –
        a serious answer to what seem to me irreconcilable problems with dispensationalism and Zionism. It’s not as if I haven’t heard all their rah-rah rants. (After all, you shout them all the time. 😉 ) I just want to understand what you do with the serious scriptural and logical problems. I’m not playing games, I want serious info.

      12. Really, dude? I am serious. I don’t play games.

        I’m not sure what you are really looking for as a response from me, but I’m not here for fun and games.

        I can’t understand what you are wanting from me.

        What specifically did you want me to answer that you haven’t heard before from me, or anyone in the Zionist movement?

        I do not comprehend your motive with me.

        Ed Chapman

      13. TS00,

        In short, ROMANS 9-11 is discussing the FAMILY LINE of the Apostle Paul, NOT GENTILES WHO BECOME CHRISTIAN, therefore, the church is NOT ISRAEL. Never has been, never will be.

        In the book of John, the Pharisees asked Jesus if they were blind, Jesus said that if they were blind they should have NO SIN, but since they claim to see, their SINS REMAIN.

        Romans 9-11 discusses things that state, “AS IT IS WRITTEN”, SO TAKE IT BACK TO THE ORIGINATING VERSES, where God PURPOSEFULLY did NOT give Israel a MIND TO UNDERSTAND, EARS TO HEAR, OR EYES TO SEE.

        I mean, really, this is not rocket science stuff here. Its CONNECTING THE DOTS.

        I’m really frustrated that people are NOT seeing this. The story of Joseph is the COMPLETE prophesy of this stuff.

        Joseph is portraying Jesus, and Joseph’s brothers are portraying the Jews…PROPHESY of the relationship between Jesus and his BRETHREN, the Jews.

        But, I get back lash from you guys. One reformer Calvinist on another blog thinks that my suggestion of Joseph and his brothers is SILLY.

        Silly. Imagine that. Silly!

        Ed Chapman

      14. TS00

        A. a. Would it not seem likely that if there were two distinct ways to salvation, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles, that this would be spelled out very clearly in the New Testament writings, when such issues were being discussed and clarified?

        My response:

        NO, I do not see different ways to salvation. I see ONLY ONE, and Jesus is the WAY, TRUTH AND THE LIFE, and HE is the ONLY WAY to salvation.

        Just because I see a DIFFERENT METHOD OF THE MADNESS does not mean that there are DIFFERENT WAYS. The only way is Jesus. But, Jesus deals with the Jews DIFFERENTLY than for the Gentiles. He didn’t give the Gentiles the Law of Moses, did he? Well?

        Romans 9-11 explains everything one needs to know, and it gives you REFERENCES by the words, “AS IT IS WRITTEN”. Well? WHERE WAS IT WRITTEN?

        It would take me a VERY LONG TIME to explain all of this with VERSES that YOU WANT me to provide. All I can do is to give you a BOOK REPORT, summarized.

        I don’t understand how you can’t SEEK YOUR OWN QUESTIONS youself in the bible alone. That’s what I did, and there are LOTS of people out there who believe as I do. Why don’t you? Just because?

        Ed Chapman

      15. TS00,

        b. How then would you explain the verses and the emphasis on the veil being torn in two, the temple and city of Jerusalem destroyed, the barriers removed, the distinction between Jew and Gentile erased, the importance of unity, etc.?

        My response:

        There was NO ERASED distinction between Jew and Gentile at all, EXCEPT those “IN CHRIST (Converted to Christians)”. For those Jews who are NOT a Christian, there is INDEED a difference between Jew and Gentile. There is a HUGE distinction between those Jews who are under the Law of Moses, which is an everlasting convenant, and Gentiles who are under the law of Christ. So to say that the distinction between the two was erased? NO, it was not.

        The Old Covenant is STILL IN EFFECT for the Jews who did not convert to the New. In the Book of Ester, you will find a teaching on the KINGS SEAL. Bring the word SEAL to the NT, we have the SEAL of the Holy Spirit (THE KINGS SEAL).

        The King sent out a Seal to kill the Jews. Esther, his wife, a Jew herself, asked the King to not do it. But he said that the seal already went out, but that he can make a NEW SEAL, which superceeds the OLD.

        Are you suggesting that the Jews are trying to obey a non-existant law now, all because of a torn veil?

        The word IN-CHRIST is the ONLY means by which there is no distinction…but there are indeed distinctions for those NOT IN CHRIST.

        I dont’ see the significance of a destroyed Jerusalem, except PROPHESY to SCATTER the Jews throughout the whole world, in which God will GATHER THEM BACK to Israel at a later date, which has already began.

        The Jews sitll have a STORY to finish as “UNBELIEVERS”…BUT THEY ARE STILL FOLLOWERS OF GOD. People seem to forget that part. Lydia is a good example…a Jew female, follower of God by the law of Moses, but CONDEMNED as a God hater, and a disobedient rebel by people calling themselves Chrsitians.

      16. TS00,

        c. Would you assert that Jews and Gentiles should yet be separate, having different churches, different concepts of sin, salvation, election, unity, etc.? Why would God want such a distinction?

        My response:

        What is it about this UNITY thing? How much IN COMMON did the Gentiles have with Jews? Crumpets and Tea vs. Unleavened bread and wine?

        Romans 16:4
        Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

        Churches of WHO?

        What are you discussing regarding “different concepts of sin”? Sin is defined as TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW (1 John 3:4).

        What other concepts are there?

        Jesus saves, so I don’t know of any other way to Salvation other than Jesus, so I don’t know what you mean by different concepts of Salvation.

        As both Philipp and I noted in the book of Isaiah, God states that Israel is his Elect, NOT ANY GENTILES, and there is no indication in the NT that this has changed at all.

        Why would God want such a distinction?

        Well, I suppose you should ask, WHY DID GOD GIVE THE JEWS ONLY THE LAW OF MOSES:?

        Acts 10:28
        And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;

        It was AGAINST THE LAW FOR THE JEWS TO MINGLE WITH THE GENTILES. Now, why would God want such a thing?

        Ed Chapman

      17. TS00,

        d. Why did the apostles go to such great lengths to break down the barriers between Jew and Gentile if, in God’s eyes, there still was and would always be a distinction?

        My response:

        I don’t believe that they did any such thing, except to say that “IN CHRIST” THERE IS NO DISTINCTION”. Other than that, I didn’t see anything that states a commandment that the two groups GO BOWLING together, or attend the SAME CHURCH together. Why is SOCIALIZATION, or as you call it, UNITY such a big deal here with you? My best friend is a Jew, and we attend church together, but we have an established relationship with one another, but in THOSE DAYS…really? Gentiles are NOT ALLOWED in a Jewish Synagogue. Distinction, buddy!

      18. Like I said, never mind. Seriously. You have no ability or intention of just answering my questions, so forget I asked. I honestly am not looking for a debate. Or a lecture. 😉

      19. TS00

        e. Why is it inconceivable that God would create a Calvinist style predetermined, undeserving group of ‘elect’ which arbitrarily excludes all others, but it is perfectly acceptable to arbitrarily choose one ‘race’ of men to be saved while arbitrarily excluding all other races?

        My response:

        Yes, sure, and it was UNFAIR that God excluded ALL RACES except for one in the giving of the Law of Moses, too, huh? Gentiles in all the world should have been included. God is a COSMIC RACIST FOR EXCLUDING ALL OTHERS from the law of Moses. We had to eat bacon and shellfish, when it was a SIN and abomination to God. How dare he forbid us from joining the Jews in the Law!

        There is a MISCONCEPTION that the word ELECT is a SYNONYM for the word SAVED. This is where the Calvinists get THAT ONE wrong.

        Those elect are saved, but saved does NOT mean elect.

        Gentile Christians are NOT ELECT = SAVED

        Gentile non-Christians are NOT ELECT = NOT SAVED

        Jewish REMNANT (woke) are ELECT = SAVED

        Jewish SLEEPERS (BLIND) are ELECT = WILL BE SAVED

        Jewish CLAIM TO BE AWAKE, BUT ARE NOT ELECT = NOT SAVED

        And Romans 9-11, and INVESTIGATE where it states, “AS IT IS WRITTEN”, and take it back to the ORIGINATING REFERENCE.

        Deuteronomy 29:4 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
        4 But to this day the Lord hasn’t given you a mind that understands. He hasn’t given you eyes that see. He hasn’t given you ears that hear.

        I’m sure that one verse sounds CALVINIST to you, am I right?

        Romans 11:7-8
        7 What should we say then? The people of Israel did not receive what they wanted so badly. Those Israelites who were chosen did receive it. But the rest of the people were made stubborn. 8 It is written,

        “God made it hard for them to understand.
        He gave them eyes that could not see.
        He gave them ears that could not hear.
        And they are still like that today.” (Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 29:10)

      20. To no one:

        h. What do you do with the many verses that explain why Israel stumbled, how ‘some’ (not ‘all’) might yet be saved and grafted in again IF they believe, etc.? Wouldn’t this be nonsensical if ‘all’ Jews are actually going to be saved?

        Only the BLIND stumble, those who can see, walk around the stumbling block: TO WIT:

        Leviticus 19:14
        Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord.

        WHY did Paul get mercy?

        DUE TO IGNORANCE IN UNBELIEF.

        How is Paul ANY DIFFERENT than the AVERAGE JEW?

        Or, was Paul SPECIAL?

        Romans 11:31-32
        31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

        32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        Ed Chapman

      21. 4. You have a far different conception of the ‘blindness’ of Israel than I and I cannot say I can even follow your theory. How do you explain the unblinding of those Jews who became followers of Jesus, from the apostles to the many in the New Testament early churches, but not the unblinding of the rest? How is this piecemeal unblinding consistent with the rest of your theory of the blinding of the Jews?

        My response:

        If God BLINDED them to begin with, don’t you think that God has a responsiblity to UNBLIND THEM as well?

        Joseph HID HIMSELF from his brothers so that they would NOT KNOW WHO HE WAS. So , for a while, Joseph TOYED with his brothers.

        But finally Joseph REVEALED HIMSELF to his brothers and gave them MERCY, for what they did. And what did they do?

        They threw him in a PIT (Jesus went to hell).

        Joseph went from the pit to the Palace (right hand of the father),

        and THEN…REMEMBER THE DREAMS THAT JOSEPH HAD WHICH HIS BROTHERS LAUGHED AT HIM ABOUT, AND MOCKED HIM FOR IT.

        To no one listening…I’m now done explaining for the millionth time. If you can’t get this, I don’t know what else I can say to convince ya otherwise.

        Ed Chapman

      22. And to clarify…

        I said that Calvinism’s errors are huge, blatant, and obvious. I’m saying that some of the ways it contradicts the Bible are clear and obvious (if you take the Word for what it simply, clearly says) – such as when Calvinism says that Jesus didn’t die for everyone, that men can’t seek God, that God gets glory by putting people in hell, that God causes sin, etc. There are many Calvinist errors that are huge and obvious, if only we open our eyes to it.

        BUT the things that are not huge, blatant, or obvious are Calvinism’s manipulative tactics, their subtle redefinitions of words, the secret double meanings, etc. They hide much of what they really believe (like hiding a hook in worm or poison in a shiny, juicy apple), in order to make their theology sound more biblical than it is, so that they can slowly lead you deeper and deeper into Calvinism, bit by bit, until you start willingly drinking the Kool-aid, convinced that you’re being a good Christian for doing so.

        While many of Calvinism’s errors are obvious, their cult-like tactics are not. And this is what traps people! I don’t think it’s the theology that gets people, but the cult-like manipulation by intelligent, dynamic, confident-sounding Calvinist preachers. (When you tell people what Calvinism’s core beliefs are, without the manipulative/deceptive layers they wrap it in, they go “That’s insane! How can anyone believe that stuff!?!”)

        But if more people were aware (BEFORE they listened to Calvinist preachers) of the subtle ways Calvinism changes things and manipulates/shames people and how they hide what they really mean under godly-sounding layers, I think there’d be a lot less people getting suckered into it.

        When we left our church, I made sure to say the words “the pastor’s manipulative tactics” to the few people we talked to after we left, so that it would get in the back of their minds and maybe help them notice it when it happened. It’s much easier to be manipulated if we don’t see it as manipulation, and especially if we’re taught that they (the Calvinist pastors) are simply “teaching right from the Scriptures,” that we have no choice but to agree with them because it’s “what the Bible says,” and that agreeing with them is the godly, humble thing to do.

        Anyway, I just wanted to point out that while many of Calvinism’s errors (compared to the truth of the Bible) are obvious, there is much about Calvinism that is not obvious. And that’s the stuff that traps people!

      23. Agreed Heather the elusiveness in calvinism is what is alarming as you said if they started with the truth about their core beliefs people who have been forgiven and have a relationship with the Creator should be like WHAT that is insane let me study for myself and more importantly trust God’s Word for myself!! Or someone who is seeking would be like WHAT that’s insane NO THANKS☹ There seem to be many factors as to why people staunchly cling to this itchy blanket as I’ve heard it called☹ Do they not see if their systematic were true then God would really be deceiving even His own followers, because we’d actually believe the transforming power of the Gospel, but all the while something extra was always needed and that it is irresistible… How can anyone call that good news?? I know they can cleverly present why this is a tension/mystery Nope it’s a lie. It’s a heart condition and yes we can’t change a heart, but the living Word of God can and it’s not for a select few… And super amazing this relationship that is offered to all who believe is actually genuine!!

      24. Heather writes:
        “BUT the things that are not huge, blatant, or obvious are Calvinism’s manipulative tactics, their subtle redefinitions of words, the secret double meanings, etc. They hide much of what they really believe (like hiding a hook in worm or poison in a shiny, juicy apple), in order to make their theology sound more biblical than it is, so that they can slowly lead you deeper and deeper into Calvinism, bit by bit, until you start willingly drinking the Kool-aid, convinced that you’re being a good Christian for doing so.

        While many of Calvinism’s errors are obvious, their cult-like tactics are not. And this is what traps people! I don’t think it’s the theology that gets people, but the cult-like manipulation by intelligent, dynamic, confident-sounding Calvinist preachers. (When you tell people what Calvinism’s core beliefs are, without the manipulative/deceptive layers they wrap it in, they go “That’s insane! How can anyone believe that stuff!?!”)”

        This is so, so true! One of the young women who grew up in the church along with my children (and is still a ‘nominal Calvinist’) frequently speaks of how the pastor’s teaching and demeanor changed over the years. The early, positive days gradually morphed into authoritarian, dark, controlling tactics. But most of us were like frogs in a boiling pot, and while we felt a bit of discomfort now and then, we did not understand what was truly going on.

        God had to get my attention through unrelated matters, then shocked me by showing me how these things applied to my church and christian beliefs. He has worked on me my entire life, gradually revealing and knocking down the idols I didn’t even know I harbored. ‘No, no!’ I cried. ‘Not this too. Oh, God, if you take my church, my community, my family, what will I have left?” And he quietly led me to consider if he was enough. All night. Was I willing to give up all else, if, in return, I grew ever more in my understanding and relationship with Him? Would I trust Him to provide all that I need?

        What else could I say but ‘Yes’? And I want to testify to the truth that he is faithful and good, a shelter in the time of storm. I had a mother and a few siblings who were my anchors in the most turbulent days. Later, as they grew older, most of my children also came to better understand my concerns, and are even now dealing with some of the same questions. God also led me to online sources of information, encouragement and interaction, giving me the opportunity to work through my trauma, begin the process of healing and start on a path of rebuilding my somewhat battered faith and relationship with God.

        Underneath all of the lies and error I had unknowingly embraced remained the God of my youth, who is good, gracious, loving, merciful and kind, desiring that none perish but all come to a full knowledge of who and what he is. My desire is now to help others who, unknowingly, have fallen under the spell of error and distortion that turns God into a cruel, loveless, narcissistic tyrant and his followers into little images of their caricature of God.

        Because, make no mistake, we will become like the God that we worship. Personally, I have enough problems to overcome, I don’t need a faulty image of God to screw me up even more. I aspire to the perfection of his beauty, love and selflessness, and to show these true and blessed characteristics to others. Perish the thought of meeting the broken and needy with the ‘good news’ that God just may not love them; may even have created them for nothing but evil, sorrow and destruction. That is a gospel straight from the pit of hell, cleverly disguised by its false angel of light as the true gospel.

        Why should we be surprised, as I was? Does not scripture warn us of such things? Does it not warn us that in the last days the deceit will be so great that, if possible, even the elect (real definition – all who choose to put their trust in God, not a random, preselected few) will be confused and deceived? How else could this be possible if the deception did not arise from within the walls of that which we call ‘the church’?

      25. Heather, you read my whole post and just quoted a small part of it to make an accusation that the readers here can’t think for themselves. Or that I said they’re blindly following him? And then you sarcastically want to pat me on the back for thinking I’m more intelligent than others, calling them uneducated simpletons. I wrote none of those things, thought none of those things, and meant none of those things. You took offense to something that I’m observing based on many that comment on Leighton’s blogs and comment sections on YouTube. They agree with his interpretation, either because they’ve heard it the first time and it makes sense to them or they already came to that conclusion and feel as if his teaching validates their view. So my statement is a reflection of that,not an attack on anyone. The fact is that Leighton has objections to the doctrines; he attacks those doctrines based on those objections, then he uses analogies, philosophy, and quotes from Calvinists to validate his complaints, then finishes sometimes with selected texts of scripture. Yet many times he misrepresents the other side (based on his objections) and ignores scriptures where these doctrines are derived. Based on just the comments in this section alone, I’m reading the same objections with hardly any or no scriptural reference. In fact,your own comments elsewhere do the same, making accusations about what Calvinists believe, how they teach, etc. without addressing any verses.

        First, you didn’t take time to address any of the verses I cited to make my point. As a Christian, the Bible is my source because it is God-breathed and sufficient for all believers (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We are to search it and study it to see if something is true or not (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 17:11). Whenever I post something for other believers to read, I try my best to either quote, reference, or allude to scripture as my source and stay away from personal attacks or sarcasm. I am not perfect and have messed up at times, but I don’t doubt the sincerity, zeal, or intellect of any believer just because I may not agree with them on doctrine. If you disagree with my assessment, then just go over the verses you think I misinterpreted and show me my error; it wasn’t necessary to accuse me of something I never thought. We are believers, if we can’t discuss theological issues from scripture without attacking character, all we do is try to “win” arguments by the logical fallacy of Ad Hominem.

        Second, I could easily accuse you of the same thing. In one of your comments here, you wrote, “While many of Calvinism’s errors are obvious, their cult-like tactics are not. And this is what traps people! I don’t think it’s the theology that gets people, but the cult-like manipulation by intelligent, dynamic, confident-sounding Calvinist preachers. (When you tell people that Calvinism’s core beliefs are, without the manipulative/deceptive layers they wrap it in, they go “That’s insane! How can anyone believe that stuff!?!”)” So based on this post are you saying Christians are too naive to hear a preacher teach or preach from a Calvinistic view and not be able to read and understand the scriptures themselves? Would it be necessary to call that preacher cult-like or manipulative? (By the way, it would be wrong for me to say that about Leighton Flowers.) And if you told someone Calvinists core beliefs, would your interpretation based on your disdain for those core beliefs go through the verses Calvinists use to explain how they’re misinterpreting Romans 9, John 6:37-44, Ephesians 1:4-5, 2:1-3, and many other verses or just give your objections to the doctrines without showing that there are verses that illustrate the doctrine? Contrary to what many think, there are believers that read their Bibles and actually come to the conclusions these doctrines teach based on scripture, but when they ask others about it, that’s when the hated word Calvinism rears its ugly head. That happened to me ten years ago. I don’t go to a reformed church at all and never heard the word Calvinism until I asked an older brother in the Lord to explain Romans 9 to me. That’s when he accused me of being a Calvinist or listening to Calvinists and I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he explained their “core values” and I said actually what you wrote, “I can’t believe any of that; that’s wicked.” But guess what, he never explained Romans 9 to me. So I studied and struggled for almost two years until I came to the conclusion that God is God and I’m not. But it was never a Calvinist that “brainwashed me,” it was my own deep study prayerfully with God, even asking brethren that were non-Calvinist to help. That is why I don’t label myself a Calvinist. But if a doctrine is in the Bible I believe it because it is in the scripture based on content, context, and grammar.

        Finally, if you read my original post, the only thing I addressed was Leighton’s inconsistencies with scripture. I’ve done so in the past and will always do so as a Christian. The sad part is that many times people that defend Leighton Flower’s view and interpretations, are just as mean-spirited and arrogant as some Calvinists. I’ve been called intellectually bankrupt, a snowflake, a heretic, brainwashed, blind, etc. But rarely does anyone engage or converse with me based on the Bible. I’m finding it ironic that the very things many people accuse Calvinists of they practice themselves. Jesus Christ said the Word of God is truth that sanctifies us in John 17:17, which means even the doctrines we may initially object to are part of our growth. For many struggling with these doctrines (like myself ten years ago) the demonizing and name-calling doesn’t help others understand what they’re reading in their Bibles. I read my Bible cover to cover from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 in a year every year for the last nineteen years (as a vow to God), not to be better than anyone or think I’m super spiritual, but to draw closer to God and share the gospel with the lost. And as I read my Bible every day for the past nineteen years, verses began to pop out that I studied, cross-referenced, etc. until I saw the doctrines of grace are true. When believers are trying to wrestle with these truths, they don’t need to read Calvinists calling non-Calvinists names or vice versa. They need someone to go through scripture prayerfully (perhaps for a long time) so they can come to the knowledge of the truth. I don’t think your comments and similar ones written here help anyone do that; just paint a picture of anyone calling themselves Calvinist as evil. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another.” (John 13:35) My question is, do you consider Calvinists your brethren that you love? If not, then do you love them enough to give them the gospel if you think they’re not saved? Just something to think about.

      26. Eric Smith,

        Just curious, Eric, have you ever read former President Thomas Jefferson’s letter to John Adams:

        From Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 11 April 1823

        Monticello April 11. 23.

        Dear Sir

        The wishes expressed, in your last favor, that I may continue in life and health until I become a Calvinist, at least in his exclamation of ‘mon Dieu! jusque à quand’! would make me immortal. I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. he was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Dæmonism. if ever man worshipped a false god, he did. the being described in his 5. points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a dæmon of malignant spirit. it would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin…”

        ————————–

        You had asked Heather:

        “My question is, do you consider Calvinists your brethren that you love? If not, then do you love them enough to give them the gospel if you think they’re not saved? Just something to think about.”

        My response:

        Long before I knew of Calvinism, I had read and studied the bible for several years. Never, had I ever heard of the doctrines of Calvinism. But when I did hear of them, I was flabbergasted at what they teach. I was disgusted at what they teach. I had never heard of such STRANGENESS, such weirdness in all my studies of CULTS before.

        Then I saw the CHAOS in the Southern Baptist Church with “Traditionalists”, which was also a new one on me, as well, willing to “co-exist” with Calvinists, and that BLEW MY MIND. I can’t wrap my head around the thought of 2 different belief systems in one organization, who constantly can’t get on the same page of SIMPLE DOCTRINE, and the only thing they have in common is BAPTISM by WATER.

        Then I saw the STEALTH that Calvinists do (DISHONESTY, WHICH IS A SIN, IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN), in order to TAKE OVER a SIMPLE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, doing it ever so slowly, so as not to be caught in doing so, then before ya know it, church discipline becomes forefront hot topic, as well as Romans 9. Man, you guys can do a TEN YEAR SERIES on Romans 9 alone, and still have another 5 years to go.

        Now, granted, Thomas Jefferson could not wrap his head behind the Trinity doctrines, and he explains WHY, but he does call the God of Jesus God Almighty that he acknowledges. But regarding Calvinism, I am in agreement with Thomas Jefferson, so NO, I do not consider Calvinist as BROTHERS IN THE FAITH, and why? Make 2 columns, label one column, Calvinism, the other, non-Calvinism, and describe EACH GOD as you would know that both sides would describe him in their differences, and then YOU TELL ME, SHOULD non-Calvinists be YOUR brethren?

        Seriously, there is CHAOS in the 2 differing belief systems, and there is DISHONESTY in the Calivnists when they have the desire to CONVERT a simple church congregation into something that they DON’T WANT, but end up having when Calvinists get done with them, all due to BRAINWASHING the congregation by bringing in Calvinism very subtley, without them realizing it until it’s too late.

        Then comes the ABUSE, by falsey accusing others of things that they are not guilty of, putting them in a false doctrine of Church discipline, for the simple thing as DISAGREEING with the pastor, the pastor and elders think that they have MORE POWER than Jesus ever had, ,and he’s God, and then we have not only spiritual abuse, but PHYSICAL ABUSE, as well…now where I come from, we call this behavior, a CULT.

        Read the spiritual abuse blogs. They are not lying. I’ve studied the bible for a number of years, and I do not see TULIP anywhere in the bible. Not at all. The T isn’t there, the U isn’t there, the L isn’t there, the I isn’t there, and the P isn’t there, either.

        Calvin defected Catholicism, and came up with a much stranger doctrine than the Catholics did, and their doctrines are strange to begin with. THANK GOD I am not a reformer, let alone a Catholic. Thank God I’m a NON-DENOMINATION that can see thru this nonsense of John Calvin.

        I put John Calvin right up there with CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, ELLEN G WHITE, HERBERT W ARMSTRONG, JOSEPH SMITH, etc. CULTISH.

        Ed Chapman

      27. Eric Smith,

        I noticed in your comment to Heather that you acknowledge that you are NOT a Calvinist, but you wrap yourself with the Calvinist PET VERSES, such as Ephesians 1:4, 5, and Romans 9, etc., and you claim that the Calvinist explanation of those are the same as your investigation.

        However, I have also studied those out LONG BEFORE I knew of Calvinism.

        Many here know my stance on the Calvinists PET VERSE that states, “For there is NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE…

        But, they neglect the following 2 words….”IN CHRIST”. Outside of Christ, there is INDEED a difference.

        Side note: In Christ, there is also no difference between male and female, but the Calvinists don’t REALLY believe that at all. To them, there is INDEED A DIFERENCE BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE, and they make sure that you know that GOD HATES WOMEN, and LOVES MAN.

        That was a bit of sarcasm.

        Now, when you actually separate Jew from Gentile, you will see that the Calvinist verses pertain to the Jews, not the Gentiles. Hence the word “ELECT”, which, by the way, is NOT a synonym of the word, “saved”.

        Regarding Ephesians 1:4-5, the conversation does not begin with verse 4, or end with verse 5. However, what was predetermined at the foundation of the earth was NOT AN INDIVIDUAL’S SALVATION, but the words after the comma of the “TO BE”, in that Christians are, to be holy and blameless before him in love, so this has nothing to do with INDIVIDUALS salvation at all, therefore, you can’t put a period at the end of the word “US”, making it say something that God chose YOU from the foundation of the earth, but that God chose Christians “TO BE Holy and blameless before him in love” at the foundation of the world (earth).

        Romans 9-11 is about the Jews only.

        The famous Pharaoh thing is about PROPHESY of Jesus, not about the Pharaoh.

        Moses portray’s Jesus AS THE REDEEMER, SETTING US FREE FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN, and the Pharaoh portrays the devil. It is PROPHESY, and God is USING the Pharaoh as a PROP to tell the story.

        And if you read VERY SLOWLY, you will see, that in the afterlife, NOT THIS LIFE, that because God “USED” someone as a prop, regarding prophesy, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITTH THE PHARAOH’s destiny to HELL, but Paul is explaining that the Pharaoh gets God’s MERCY, all because God USED HIM AS A PROP for the purpose of PROPHESY.

        Sure, the Pharaoh drowned, etc., etc., in THIS LIFE, but the next, MERCY due to IGNORANCE of what he was actually doing.

        So, those who God USES as a prop to show his power, in the afterlife, he gives MERCY to those people.

        Finally, the Jews are blind regarding Jesus, and God made them that way, but Calinists think that God made EVERYONE that way, hence the story of Lydia that God has to open the hearts of people in order for them to understand.

        But as many will ackknowledge, SHE WAS ALREADY A FOLLOWER OF GOD. If you read between the lines, She was a Jew, seller of Purple. Many put a spin on that, thinking about KINGS, etc. OK, so HOW MANY KINGS was in her neck of the woods? Read the OT, and you will see that Jews needed purple for RELIGIOUS REASONS.

        Paul had just gotten into town, and it was his CUSTOM to always go to the JEWS FIRST on the Sabbath, and it was a Sabbath that Lydia spoke to him, and if you know the actual history…Gentiles were NOT ALLOWED in any synagogue, or anywhere where Jews worship God on a Jewish Sabbath.

        Acts 10:28
        And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;

        Now, the rest of the conversation of Romans 9-11 is about the BLINDNESS OF THE JEWS, and it concludes in Romans 11 that he will be giving MERCY to the blinded Jews.

        Remember, they had to be blind in order to KILL JESUS FOR “YOUR” SINS to be forgiven. Had they not been blind, they would not have killed God on the cross, and YOUR SINS WOULD REMAIN. So, God to blind them.

        But Calinists conclude that all mankind is blind to start out with.

        But Paul states this about the Gentiles:

        Romans 15:21
        But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

        But about the Jews, Paul states:

        Romans 11:8
        8 It is written,

        “God made it hard for them to understand.
        He gave them eyes that could not see.
        He gave them ears that could not hear.
        And they are still like that today.” (Deuteronomy 29:4)

        Deuteronomy 29:4 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

        4 But to this day the Lord hasn’t given you a mind that understands. He hasn’t given you eyes that see. He hasn’t given you ears that hear.

        So, you see…there is a difference between Jew and Gentile for those who are “NOT IN CHRIST”.

        I reject Calvinisms explantions of their PET VERSES that they use to justify their doctrines, that you also use with their same explanations.

        Ed Chapman

      28. Even though I don’t always agree with Ed (love ya, Ed!) his comment suggest the limitations of prooftexting. Calvinists love to claim ‘we simply adhere to scripture’ but seem totally oblivious to the fact that it is simply one interpretation – and a horribly faulty one at that – of these verses that they cling to. Three other yokels can come along and offer three other interpretations of the same verses. The problem is not that people do not read scripture, but that they allow their influencers to distort it and take it out of context, without looking at the vast number of narratives that make Calvinism utterly impossible to defend.

        As for Heather, oh my. If you want to see someone who has looked deeply at scripture, as well as at what John Calvin wrote, just go to Heather’s blog – https://anticalvinistrant.blogspot.com/. You better pour yourself a tall latte, cause Heather is even more longwinded than I am. (And you know I love you, Heather, as well as your marvelous blog.) She has wrestled more in depth with Calvinist doctrines than the average bear, and shared her many insights, which are extremely helpful.

        The fact is, most who have been commenting on this site for long have addressed your Calvinist go-to verses countless times on these pages. So if you want to see what we have to say, go back and read through the comment section of the many articles posted here. You will see all of your favorite verses explained with the interpretations shared by the vast majority of Christendom.

      29. After over a decade in the Calvinist world, I know exactly what “I’m not a Calvinist” means, coming from someone spouting Calvinism. It means “I don’t want to have the baggage of centuries-rejected Calvinism, so I just call myself ‘Reformed'”. Show me a Reformed person without the Calvinist TULIP and I’ll show you my faith without works. This goes right to Ed’s comments about subtlety and deception, which most of us who have come out of the Calvinist world understand completely. It is only by disguising their true beliefs that the Calvinist ‘resurgence’ has been so successful. Until those of us who have been through the wringer, including Leighton, started finding our voices. God is doing a mighty work exposing the deceptive teachings of New Calvinism, a.k.a., Reformed Theology, for what it is.

      30. Eric Smith has a problem with my sarcasm and the way I argue against Calvinism. (I hope Eric didn’t intend to insult, but I still think it sounds like he’s saying that agreeing with Leighton means we’re being misled by him, that we are interpreting Scripture through his eyes instead of seeing it for ourselves.)

        Eric Smith also said “the Bible shows that God decrees, foreordains, and predetermines all things” … which would absolutely and irrefutably include my sarcasm and the way I argue against Calvinism.

        So … I ask … who does Eric Smith really have a problem with?

        He also says: “When believers are trying to wrestle with these truths … They need someone to go through scripture prayerfully (perhaps for a long time) so they can come to the knowledge of the truth.”

        So we NEED to go through scripture prayerfully in order to find truth … meaning that what we do has an effect of whether we find truth or not … meaning that we might not find truth if we don’t go through scripture prayerfully. I agree with this.

        But … from the Calvinist perspective where Calvi-god “decrees, foreordains, and predetermines all things” … what role does Calvi-god (who decrees, foreordains, and predetermines all things) play in all of this? Is he or is he not the one who causes the elect to believe and to know the truth? How “predetermining” can he be if our actions affect our faith, if we NEED to do certain things to find truth, as if not doing those things will cause us to not find the truth that Calvi-god predestined us to find? How elect can the elect be if what they do or don’t do affects the outcome?

        Eric talks like a Calvinist (saying God predetermines all things, meaning He inevitably brings everything about), but then he takes credit for finding truth, by searching Scripture and wrestling with Scripture for years. I wonder, where would Eric be now if he didn’t do those things, if everything’s been predetermined anyway?

        Any why don’t I address Eric’s other points by using Scripture? The same reason I don’t repeatedly beat my head against our steel front door in an effort to get through it. With most dogmatic Calvinists, it’s fruitless. Sometimes you have to address the cult-like, manipulative hold that Calvinism has on people before they can see they are trapped in it and how they got trapped in it. If someone doesn’t know they are in a prison, it’s nearly impossible to convince them they need to be set free.

        And Eric, don’t take my sarcasm personally. It’s not you, it’s me. Or more accurately, it’s not me, it’s Calvi-god. (I’m sorry, I just can’t stop it. It flows out of me so easily. No harm intended. And I can take it as easily as I give it. So it’s all good.)

        And to answer one of your questions, I do consider many “Calvinists” brethren whom I love. Some of our favorite friends at the church we left (because of Calvinism) are Calvinists. And they are some of the most godly, God-fearing, gentle, generous, loving people I know. And yes, we have gently tried to share our concerns about Calvinism with them, about what Scripture really says and how Calvinism twists Scripture. But they don’t want to listen or to consider that their beloved Calvi-pastor could be wrong. And so, out of respect for them and their right to believe what they want, we left them alone.

        But … the thing is … I suspect that most Calvinists are not really Calvinists at all. They are “Calvinists,” in quotes. Nominal Calvinists who are not really aware of the dark side of Calvinism, the horrible, Scripture-twisting things that are a fundamental part of Calvinism. They have simply bought into Calvinism because that is what a powerful, dogmatic, “educated,” confident-sounding Calvinist preacher told them they need to believe, in order to be a humble, God-honoring Christian. And if they are aware of the darker side, they’ve been manipulated and shamed into accepting it without question.

        I have seen the manipulation first hand. I’ve see the traps and the tricks that sucker people into Calvinism. When I hear a Calvinist preacher preach their destructive twists on Scripture, it causes me to go “Wow! That’s horrible! What an assault on truth and on the character of God!” But I am sure the Calvinist next to me, who hears the same things I do, thinks “Wow! How bold our Calvinist pastor is to preach such distasteful, difficult truths, and how humble he is to accept it without question or push back. I want to be that bold and humble too.”

        No wonder Calvinism has such a hold on people, especially on good, God-fearing Christians who desperately want to honor God and to be as humble as they can be. And that’s just like Satan – to use godly things and godly truths against God! I’ve said it before, but I believe Calvinism is satanically brilliant and brilliantly satanic. And if these nominal “Calvinists” will ever allow themselves to heed the red flags that pop up when they compare what Calvinism SAYS Scripture teaches to what Scripture ACTUALLY teaches – if they ever notice the Calvinist glasses they wear when reading Scripture and take them off – then they might realize they are not Calvinists after all.

      31. Clarification: When I say “How bold our Calvinist pastor is to preach such distasteful, difficult truths” … I mean “truths,” in quotes. The Calvinist considers them truths, but I do not.

  4. There are times I group Calvin with Russell, Smith and White together. After reading all those quotes in succession, this is one of those times.

  5. Ahh yes, let’s intentionaly make the picture mock Calvinists… And then make the accusation that any Calvinist who accuses you of strawman Arguments is a nominal Calvinist. This is a joke of an argument

    1. Hi Matt,
      In order for this argument to stick – you’ll have to show how Dr. Flowers is creating a strawman.

      The strawman you appear to be seeing – looks to be CONSISTENT Calvinism.

      And Dr. Flower’s article provides quotes from leading voices of Calvinism to show what CONSISTENT Calvinism looks like.

      So I think without realizing it – your seeing CONSISTENT Calvinism as a strawman actually proves Dr. Flower’s article.

  6. I have also often asked Calvinist friends how they can possibly question, rue or complain about any evil under the sun, if it all comes from the eternal divine decree of God for his glory? But the Calvinist, as br.d suggests, has learned to compartmentalize in order to minimize the cognitive dissonance that Calvinism inevitably creates.

    Few, if any, Calvinists consistently look at the evil events in the world, or even the small irritations they face daily, as being directly decreed by God and worthy of only praise and thanksgiving. If they did, they could not take a stand against abortion, genocide or child abuse, to name but a few of the evils in this world.

    They could not, consistently, mourn the loss of lives that abortions, mass shootings or imperial wars produce. Rather, they would have to embrace these and so many more evils, and proclaim the glory they supposedly produce for God. But few reasonable men can or will do such a thing, even if it is logically necessary under their chosen theological system.

    In reality, in the deep recesses of their minds, they believe, along with non-Calvinists that such things as murder and child abuse do not, nay, cannot come from the mind of a good, loving and sinless deity. In reality, in spite of their theology, they believe, rightly, that such things “[God] did not command, nor did it come into [His] heart”.

    It is true that we are all able to embrace such logical inconsistencies about cherished beliefs that do not hold up under closer examination; but Calvinism has turned this into an art. It literally teaches men how to say one thing while claiming to believe its exact opposite.

    Thus, men will embrace a theology that asserts that God created countless millions of people deliberately, irresistibly, hopelessly, for disobedience, wrath and punishment and blithely declare that ‘God is love’. They will assert that God determines whatsoever comes to pass, yet is not the author of evil. Simply by employing a euphemism, they can trick their mind into not seeing that one who determines all things is, without question, the author of all things. The ‘all things’ that come to pass in this world cannot by any definition of logic exclude those things which are evil. The sovereignty they so faithfully declare, that makes all things arise from God’s eternal decrees, cannot help but apply to abortion, murder and child abuse.

    Perhaps, those very few Calvinists who actually think through and embrace the heinous, arbitrary, narcisstic assertions Calvinism makes against God can be said to blaspheme. But the vast majority, in my humble opinion, simply do not know what they do. They have compartmentalized that which is unthinkable into the part of their mind which does not think, leaving them with no cognizance of the logical implications of the theology they cling to. Which is why most of us are here, in hopes of breaking through the mind walls that keep people from thinking though the issues.

    1. Well said, TS00! All of it.

      To point out one thing you said: “They could not, consistently, mourn the loss of lives that abortions, mass shootings or imperial wars produce. Rather, they would have to embrace these and so many more evils, and proclaim the glory they supposedly produce for God.”

      Great point! How can any Calvinist call any immoral thing “wrong” if Calvi-god himself decided it was the right thing to cause for his glory!?!

      You also said, “Thus, men will embrace a theology that asserts that God created countless millions of people deliberately, irresistibly, hopelessly, for disobedience, wrath and punishment and blithely declare that ‘God is love’.”

      I read one Calvinist who proclaimed that since “God is love” then everything He causes (since Calvi-god is believed to CAUSE all things) is done out of love … cancer, wars, disease, violence, unbelief, abuse, etc. She said we should view it all as acts of love, because God is love.

      That’s sick and twisted.

      My Calvi-pastor used to say, “The issue isn’t ‘Why doesn’t God save all people? Why does He cause people to sin and go to hell?’ The real issue is ‘Why does He choose to save any of us, when we all deserve hell?'”

      As if distracting people from the bad stuff – from the stuff that puts God in a very bad light – is going to make it all better. “Oh, don’t think about those multitudes of people predestined to hell; just think about those tiny few lucky ones that Calvi-god ‘graciously’ chose to save out of love.”

      You said it well, about the mind-tricks they play on themselves to trick themselves into believing the horrifying, unimaginable things: “Simply by employing a euphemism, they can trick their mind into not seeing that one who determines all things is, without question, the author of all things.”

      It’s hogwash!

      You also said, “They will assert that God determines whatsoever comes to pass, yet is not the author of evil.”

      My Calvi-pastor would say, “So how can God be the cause of all things yet still hold man accountable for his sins? I don’t know. I don’t know how it all works together. But I have to believe it because the Bible says both these things are true.” And he’d say this with a tone of “Look how humble I am to accept this difficult teaching, even though I don’t understand it.”

      Well, my thought is … He’d better understand it!!! If he’s going to say that God is the kind of God who first causes us to sin but then punishes us for it – and a God who apparently, if Calvinism is true, misleads us all through His Word (saying things He doesn’t mean, meaning things He doesn’t say), a God who didn’t send Jesus to pay for all sins of all people, a God who deliberately chose to create most people just so He could hate them and send them to hell for His glory (when He doesn’t need any more glory than He already has anyway) – he’d better understand it! Because if he’s wrong, there’s going to be a huge price to pay!

      A Calvinist can’t just wave their hand like a hypnotist and be like “Oh, don’t think about the hard stuff. None of your questions and doubts matter. Just accept what you’re being told. I’m telling you that this is what the Bible says, and so you’d better believe it or else you’ll be dishonoring God and His Word.”

      It’s manipulative, demonic hogwash (in my opinion)!

      You said, “The sovereignty they so faithfully declare, that makes all things arise from God’s eternal decrees, cannot help but apply to abortion, murder and child abuse.”

      My Calvi-pastor said it this way (paraphrased): “God is sovereign over all. Everything that happened in your life, even all evils, was God’s ‘Plan A’ for your life. It’s what He ordained (we know he means ‘preplanned and caused’) for His glory and for your good and to humble you.” And in the list of “God-ordained evils,” he included child abuse. I was furious when he said this, but no one else seemed to notice it or be fazed by it. And that boggles my mind.

      But what he’s basically saying is that God (Calvi-god) preplanned and caused any abuse (or other tragedy) you went through as a child, that God caused that person to commit the sins they did against you when you were just a helpless, innocent child (but of course, He’ll punish THEM for it), and that God never had anything else in mind for you than abuse. And that God did all this for His glory and for your good, because apparently you needed to be abused to keep you humble.

      [And silly me, I thought that God’s Plan A was a sin-free life in the Garden of Eden where we would be free from death and sin and problems, but that WE screwed it up. WE altered His Plan A. And He has been working to redeem it ever since. And someday, He’ll put it all right again.

      But what do I know!?! Apparently, Calvi-god’s Plan A was abuse and disease and causing sin and creating people for hell. For our good, to keep us humble, and because these things bring him some kind of sick glory! That’s a glorious, trustworthy god indeed!]

      But as long as he first traps us with “God is sovereign” – making us feel like humble Christians if we accept WHATEVER happens as God’s doing – then he can cause us to accept any horrible misrepresentation of God without question. Because it’s the “humble” thing to do.

      You said, “… But the vast majority, in my humble opinion, simply do not know what they do. They have compartmentalized that which is unthinkable into the part of their mind which does not think …”

      And I think this is exactly why so many well-meaning, naïve Christians get suckered into Calvinism! Like when my pastor manipulates people into just accepting what they’re told. If these nominal Calvinists ever gave themselves permission to question what they’re being told and to read the Bible without Calvinists telling them how to interpret it, there’d probably be a lot less Calvinists out there.

      I’ve said it before, but I doubt that there are many Calvinists who came to Calvinism simply by reading the Bible for themselves. It takes Calvinists to teach other people how to “find” Calvinism in the Bible.

      1. Happy New Year, Heather, and everyone!

        Heather writes:
        “My Calvi-pastor would say, “So how can God be the cause of all things yet still hold man accountable for his sins? I don’t know. I don’t know how it all works together. But I have to believe it because the Bible says both these things are true.”

        And – I know you know this, Heather – the error is in asserting that the bible says both these things are true. In reality, some man (council, creed, confession, denomination, institution, etc.) has TOLD you the bible says both things are true, and you have taken his (their) word for it. What if they are wrong, as so many have concluded over the centuries?

        Sure, they hold up their Who’s Who lists and try to browbeat you into humble, mindless submission, but the fact is, just as many intelligent, well-read, humble servants of God (I would say more, as many Calvinist celebrities do not fit that description) have rejected Calvinism’s claims and interpretations of scripture.

        I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll probably say it a million, but the only way people will ever escape from error, misconception and deceit is by grasping the fact that what we think we ‘know’ about God is, in reality, an interpretation of scripture. Too many simply choose which ‘authority’ they will believe. God calls us to apply our God-given minds, with the faithful leading of His very own Spirit of Truth, and allow him to chip away our misconceptions and deepen our understanding of what is truly true.

        The biggest mistake I made while under Calvinist teaching (which I never fully embraced) was to submit to the ‘authority’ of my pastor, and his claims to know more than what I possibly could. When he spoke from the pulpit, ‘He spoke for God’. Yeah, that statement not only made my skin crawl, but began the chipping away that freed me from the hold I had allowed to overcome my ability to think.

        While I greatly enjoy and appreciate reading other’s thoughts, especially those who have invested their time into reading so much more than I ever will be able to, I do not believe that any man or institution can claim a corner on truth to which I must submit. I can, and do, listen and evaluate what many people have to say. The more varying opinions I can study, the better. But I will never again allow someone to tell me I must believe ANYTHING.

        Take the concept of the Trinity? I’m no going to claim I have a better concept at this time, but I am never going to be forced to confess it as undeniable orthodoxy at threat of death. I am well aware that there are, and always have been, those who do not agree with the ‘orthodox’ concept of the Trinity. I have read some of such writings, and am not hesitant to read more. Nor am I afraid to confess that I don’t understand the full nature of God, and don’t imagine I ever will. Why would I demand that anyone else must?

        It is only when we reject the false authoritarian demands of men that we must submit to their truth claims and adopt ‘the traditions of men’ that we eliminate our ability to think, reason and follow the leading of the Spirit of God into as much truth as we are capable of grasping. I, for one, am going to keep grasping for what God sets before me, and I refuse to take the seductive shortcut of simply adopting some man-made teaching or creed. I believe God expects us to think for ourselves, as best as we can, taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge and wisdom of others, but never surrendering the accountability we have to study and find ourselves approved by God.

  7. “… Calvinism … literally teaches men how to say one thing while claiming to believe its exact opposite.”
    So, Adam Schiff must also be a Calvinist?

  8. 1 Corinthians 1:20 NASB — Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

    Wow another amazing article! & I’m so glad you articulate so well what I absolutely trust to be true within the pages of Scripture.
    ((Expressions of disapproval about things that have come to pass do cause me pause when brought by Calvinistic believers.  I cannot help but question the logical consistency of Calvinists who express feelings of indignation and disapproval over such atrocities given the ACTUAL CLAIMS of their doctrinal worldview.))

    Either they are honestly nominal calvinists or they are being deceptive, because God either controls all things or He doesn’t period!!!! No one denies God could control anything & everything if He wanted!!!! Or hmm maybe He allows real participation in His story…. Yes it is His story, but Wow He allows fallable finite human beings to REALLY be apart of it!! How AMAZING this One true God really is & How grateful we should all be, that He died for not just a limited number unless you have to convince yourself through another person’s view that this precious sacrifice is limited… I will never comprehend how or why Bible believing people can follow or call themselves a Calvinist or even a point on this flower?? The reason I call a calvinist a brother or sister is, because of this site,.. Because this does seem blasphemous to me too, but maybe I’m missing something… Actually another gospel which btw changes everything☹ I’m very grateful I don’t believe this nor ever have….. and I don’t think I’m less of a Christian because this (specia insight/ esoteric knowledge) a calvinist sees that I don’t… Yes He gave me forgiveness, because I cried out & I gratefully recieved it & I actually believe all of His Word matters not selective verses… I’d rather “stand against the world than against God” & I hope I never think He forced me to love Him!!! However it’s clear now I’m not alone in seeing where calvinism leads to & that would be, that God would be untrustworthy, because His Word speaks of genuine love even for His enemies!! I hope I always trust God above any humanbeing… there is only One who matters as to where we place our faith/trust and it sure is Not in a theological systematic…

  9. Future Comment on Nominal Autonomous Libertarian Free Will Non-Calvinism coming down the road who knows when?

    Somewhere down the road after I get my thoughts collected. This comment will have in it the topics of the “loss of real genuine Salvation in Christian, The Christian in Heaven, and Holy Angels in Heaven in connection with the above “Future Comment” mentioned above. Researching now to make a good cogent argument.

    This is a good article by Dr. Flowers and true. although I have through the help of BRD become unsure of my stance that everything is determined, I do not feel I am a “Nominal Calvinist” as there is much I still agree with in Christian Calvinism as it is found within God’s Holy Word. I know some are going to guess the direction I might go. One person on here defended it by saying certain option is taken away.

    BUT DO NOT GET TRIGGERED? WE ALL KNOW BRD IS GOING TO REFUTE ME ANYWAY. But I like trying.

    I believe in the Reformed understanding of Regeneration.
    I believe in the 5 Points of Calvinism, although I would call Limited Atonement, either Definite Atonement or Particular Redemption
    I believe that most definitely faith is a gift of God. I is created within the sinner through the hearing of the Word of God (the Gospel) in intimate connection with the inner working of the Holy Spirit, Verses below.

    John 6 : 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

    John 6:44 teaches the “moral inability” (to repent and believe) to contribute anything toward the Salvation of Sinner without the effectual Almighty Saving Power of the God our Salvation. “No man can come unless….unless what?

    Everyone who has “heard,” the outward preaching of the gospel” and “learned from the Father” the “inner teaching of the and illuminating of the Gospel by God”

    Now please do not tell me you disagree with me. I know respectfully you do. I know you all could say, ” I have looked at it and already refuted it before.”

    Just like I could look at your refutations (respectfully guys, I know you disagree as I disagree with you as to how God brings about Salvation.) I could look at your refutations and say, “move along folks, nothing here new to see”

    I am just stating what I have stated above to show I am not a Nominal Calvinist maybe one who is on a journey in one direction or the other.

    BUT I AM NOT THAT CONFIDENT AS TO WHAT I AM GOING TO SAY ABOUT NOMINAL LIBERTARIAN FREE WILL NON-CALVINISM BECAUSE I KNOW BRD IS ALWAYS LURKING AND READY.

    I did bring this subjects up to BRD once before and he could not give no definite answer. I mean in “autonomous LFW” you have the choice of two or more options with the ability to choose otherwise. The “will” has to be “free to do otherwise” for the “relationship with God of love and adoration” to be “genuine and real”

    Braxton Hunter defines libertarian freedom as “the ability to transcend cause and effect and actually make real decisions. These decisions may be influenced by outside factors but not to the point of coercion.”

    Which I believe BRD would agree with.

    Interesting since the word “influenced” is a synonym of “determined” Not that means anything at this time or ever will.

    Incompatibilist Christians (the regenerate) must be capable of rejecting God and returning to a state of fallenness in sin as they were prior to regeneration. Even in the New Heaven and New Earth, Christians must still be really able to sin, if incompatibilism is true and if we are still to be morally responsible beings. That is, incompatibilism seems to entail that impeccability is utterly impossible for us, even in the life to come after the resurrection, if we are to continue to exist as moral agents. The alternative to denying the eschatological impeccability of Christians for the incompatibilist who believes in an afterlife for Christians would be to concede that we who are Christians will be transformed so that we can never again sin, but along with that deny that we are moral agents from the moment we lose the real possibility of sinning. In other words, the price of accepting impeccability for the incompatibilist is that we lose our status as moral agents. On that alternative, not only can we no longer be morally vicious; we can no longer be morally virtuous, either. Neither the denial of impeccability for Christians in the afterlife nor the denial of morally significant freedom for Christians in the afterlife seems to me to square with the witness of Scripture.

    https://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/confession-of-a-reformed-philosopher/

    Again. “I mean in “autonomous LFW” you have the choice of two or more options with the ability to choose otherwise. The “will” has to be “free to do otherwise” for the “relationship with God of love and adoration” to be “genuine and real”

    So ask yourself if you should still be holding on to the Label of autonomous LFW in a spiritual sense. Maybe you guys can answer this for me so I do not even have to write anything if am convinced.

    This is just partially what I want to say. May have to link it.

    Not trying to trigger anyone. But I think, I said I think only. I see a flaw and weakness in “autonomous LFW” in the sense I see it above. You will understand later on why I entitled it as I did. I will probably seem foolish after I write it bc it will be proven wrong. But that is OK bc I am open to the truth and leaning from my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Not a gotcha verse below, Just seeking understanding. Anyone who wants to jump in and help is welcomed.

    Psalms 139:16 – Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. NKJV

    1. Been thinking in short as to what I am trying to say.

      You cannot change the rules half way through the game or the definition of autonomous (self-rule/law) when you become saved or are in heaven. (re-read last comment above to understand this assertion)

      Braxton Hunter said we have the same LFW as God because we are His Image bearers.

      So if God has LFW He can do otherwise than be Holy. I am not saying that is what Mr. Hunter is saying.

      But if we have the same kind of LFW as God then I logically God can sin and commit evil also other than being Holy.

      Or you cannot apply LFW, the ability to choose between two or more options and having the capacity to do otherwise.

      Also I do not think you can say God LFW is locked into His options that are available. That is not the consistent definition of autonomous LFW. If you go by Mr. Hunter who says we have LFW in the same way that God has it being His image bearers.

      Not trying to trigger anyone. Talking through this and appreciate all the help I can get.

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