Leighton Flowers is sincere and genuine…and that’s why Calvinists are angry with him.

Let me premise this article with a disclaimer: Dr. Flowers does not tell me what to write. Never has. Not once. On occasion he has asked me to amplify something he wrote but he has never told me what to say about him or what position to take on a subject. He does not hold up these blog articles for his editorial oversight, though perhaps some would argue he should.

Let’s begin.

The general consensus among the Calvinists who watch online teachers and engage in online discussions (“Internet Calvinists”) regarding Dr. Flowers is not that he is wrong, not that he is mistaken, but that he is a liar.

I will use a recent interaction to highlight this consensus

Leighton Flowers and Jeff Durbin

Jeff Durbin, who is an apologist focusing usually on such topics as Abortion and Mormonism, recently put out a sermon he gave at his church where he defends Calvinism from common objections. I will embed the sermon below:

Dr. Flowers put out a broadcast critiquing Durbin’s use of the Early Church Fathers to defend Calvinism and lo! “Apologia Studios”, presumably Jeff Durbin himself, commented during the live broadcast. Here is what he said:

According to Jeff (presumably), Leighton wrongly portray the point of Jeff’s use of church history not because he’s simply mistaken nor using faulty reasoning, but because he’s “misrepresenting the message”. In other words, Leighton really does know what the message is about, understands Jeff’s point regarding the church history references, and is lying about it.

My point is not just to point out the substance of the critique laid against Leighton all over the internet every day, but to display Dr. Flower’s response to it in real time, which is the real source of the Reformed anger towards him. Let me show you.

To Durbin’s accusation of dishonesty, Leighton said this:

I would love to know how I’m misquoting what you said, I’m playing you for yourself, you did just read the quote and then say ‘That sounds like a Calvinist’…I’m open to correction and so if you can explain to me how I can ‘do better’ that would be great”


While Leighton is standing on what he said, he comes across as genuine in his openness to correction. “…that would be great” is not couched in sarcasm that says “I can’t possibly be wrong”, none of it is condescending and dismissive. You don’t have to take my word for it, I time-stamped the quote and will embed the video below:

The exchange continues:

Unwillingness to properly represent opponents is another way of saying Dr. Flowers is lying. Flowers responds:

Jeff we just disagree with each other, obviously, you’re a Calvinist and I’m not, I think we have different reasons for why we hold to the views that we hold to.


Notice that he gives Jeff Durbin the benefit of the doubt, the charity, to assume that he is sincere, that he has reasons for believing as he does, and is sincerely mistaken; this is a level of charity that Durbin cannot give to Flowers.

What, specifically, have I said, Jeff…like, if you could quote me or just say ‘when you said xyz‘ you misrepresented me this way. That would help us because right now I’m playing your own words, I’m playing your video. And I’m letting you represent yourself and then I’m disagreeing with you…


Here is the sincerity the Reformed Internet Teachers cannot muster and their Internet Calvinist followers know it and so they cannot stand it when they see it from Flowers, whom they are told is a liar.

I welcome you on the program, just like I have welcomed James White on the program, you have a standing invitation, if you want me to send you a link right now you can come on [the program] and defend yourself even now, if you’d like to. I’d love to have that conversation with you. I’m a nice guy…I’ll…let you have time to talk, if that’s what you want to do.

*Flowers then waits for a few seconds, and then says, smiling all the while, his tone being one of how silly this all is*

It doesn’t sound like he wants to, it sounds like he’s doing to do a show in response, just like James White! Why don’t you just come on guys? I’m nice, talk, face to face, we don’t have to do dueling shows…just talk…brother in Christ, talk…I don’t understand it.

Why Are We Doing This?

I’ll let two tweets from a Calvinist tell you:

This is about branding, not dialogue. Showing strength, not dialogue.

Matt Estes recognizes that Durbin calling Flowers dishonest makes it look like Durbin does not have good arguments. That’s true…it does. The part that Matt probably would not admit is that some of the arguments Jeff Durbin uses to defend Calvinism in this sermon are truly weak just from a rational standpoint. Durbin acts like he doesn’t have good arguments because he actually does not have good arguments.

While Calvinist sincerely believe they have good biblical reasons for their theology, know also they do not have good arguments for those reasons; that’s why Dr. Flowers’ demeanor in the face of being called a liar is such a threat to them. Calmly looking at the camera and going “Let’s talk about it and you can tell me exactly how I’m being dishonest” is an infinitely better response than “I’m not dishonest” because going on the defense let’s Durbin maintain the dialogue on Dr. Flowers’ character. “Let’s talk about it” asks Durbin to show his hand and so he has to call or fold.

Calvinists Are Playing To Win

Calvinists see the soteriological controversies in terms of power.

Leighton Flowers is a threat, and so the worst thing they can do to is give him any more air time. Flowers, and Provisionism, cannot be destroyed by argument, if it could, that’s what they would do. But they cannot so they throw the rhetorical kitchen sink at Flowers to see if he will flinch so they can assuage their collection conscious. Making him angry so he will be discredited is the goal.

What they don’t get is that the very reason Dr. Flowers does not get angry at being called dishonest is because he does not see the soteriological controversies in terms of power. He does not think that giving Durbin or White credit for the other parts of their ministries gives them power or some imaginary “brand points”; so he does so freely. Durbin, on the other hand, cannot do the same.

You may think I’m picking at low hanging fruit by quoting from anonymous Twitter randoms and that may be true. But it shows how the ideas and rhetoric propagated by Calvinist teachers filters down to their many followers who engage in the soteriological controversies online. You can trace a direct line from Durbin calling Flowers dishonest to this…

You don’t cordially engage with a liar, you say stuff like…



Not arguments. Not dialogue. Not Christian brothers who disagree talking about their differences. But “be quiet because we told you to be”. Why? Because Dr. Flowers is a threat, Provisionism is a threat, which cannot be destroyed with argument. When it comes to views I disagree with, I tend to think that more speech is better. If I think your arguments are bad, I want you to take more not less. So…why do they want us to talk less?

Is this self-aggrandizing and hopeful? Maybe. But if we’re such a silly, insignificant ministry, if we’re not convincing people and making good arguments, then why are Calvinists so mad at Dr. Flowers? It reminds me of when atheists are furious with a Being they do not think exists. It would be like being angry with the Tooth Fairy. Yahweh is the aroma of death to atheists; He reminds them their death is immanent and their lives are not their own and they hate him for it. Leighton Flowers is the aroma of death to Calvinists; unflappable, genuine truth-seekers, people who evaluate arguments and confessions, are their kryptonite, and they know it.

165 thoughts on “FlOwErS MaN BaD

  1. “Making him angry so he will be discredited is the goal” – I believe that comment is correct. Leighton’s ability to remain calm, reasonable and charitable while others take cheap shots at him, only underscores the fact that you point out – his arguments MUST be better. .

  2. Wonderful article Eric!!
    Please allow me to comment on some highlights:

    From the Article:
    This is about branding not dialogue


    Calvinist language is MARKETING language.
    And MARKETING language is NOT TRUTH-TELLING language.
    Christians need to recognize the signs – and understand – Calvinists are NOT TRUTH-TELLERS.

    So what percentage of Calvinism is simply FALSE APPEARANCE?

    From the Article:
    While Calvinists sincerely BELIEVE they have good biblical reasons for their theology….

    And this is why Dr. Tim Straton says – a Calvinist is nothing more than a “bag of beliefs”.
    There is no RATIONAL thinking in that bag.

    From the Article:
    Leighton Flowers is a threat…..

    The reason Dr. Flowers is a threat is because Dr. Flowers thinks RATIONALLY.
    And RATIONAL thinking is the real threat to the Calvinist.

    From the Article:
    so they throw the rhetorical kitchen sink at Flowers

    And this is why Dr. Jerry Walls says:
    “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”

    From the Article:
    the very reason Dr. Flowers does not get angry……

    Dr. Flowers understands how futile it would be – to be angry at IRRATIONAL & SHALLOW thinking.
    There is nothing substantive to be angry about.

    The more LOGICAL response would be disappointment.
    Disappointment with the consistent lack of intellectual honesty – one finds with Calvinists.

    1. I think it’s a little more than the language of branding, it’s the language of authoritarian control. For a reference to what I’m talking about check out Steven Hassan’s BITE model, especially the “Thought” and “Emotional” sections.

      Here’s what I believe I’ve observed. Calvinists can’t escape that basic idea that God created people whom he desired to banish to hell for all eternity. There is no logical continuation of that idea to the premise that God is recognizably good.

      So…in order to keep Calvinists from thinking too hard about this, “thought stopping” techniques must be employed as well as other techniques of mind control. Otherwise, far, far fewer people would be Calvinists. I don’t think many Calvinists are actually aware of what they are doing in this regard, but mind control has now become part of the culture of the New Calvinists. The unbelievably common refrain, “So-and-so doesn’t understand Calvinism” is simply a thought stopping cliche that is designed to control thought. Calvinists aren’t the only Christians who do this: the phrases “God works in mysterious ways” or “God works all things for good” can sometimes function in the same way.

      1. Hello Paul and welcome
        Very insightful post!!

        Yes – I’m familiar also with what is called “Milieu control” and “Closed system of logic” which I am convinced are an integral part of the Calvinist social structure.

        I also very clearly see what Dr. Bella Depaulo Social Scientist calls ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY as a Calvinist behavior pattern

        Dr. Depaulo
        “Altruistic dishonesty occurs when a person is working to protect a ‘target’. A high percentage of people who rationalize the use of dishonest language, experience some sub-level degree of discomfort, but which is effectively outweighed by rationalizations. And they generally do not regard their lies as lies. And this is especially true with people who are working to protect a ‘target’.”

        These are called “other-oriented” or “altruistic” dishonesties. Protecting the ‘target’ allows them to perceive themselves as honest rather than dishonest. For the sake of protecting the ‘target,’ a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the “target” they do not want people to see.”

        Altruism is in fact an excellent way to understand Calvinism’s euphemistic, equivocal, and cosmetic language.

        A battered wife may choose to restrain herself from communicating anything that may paint her husband in a bad light – even if she knows what she is communicating is false rather than truth-telling. She is simply protecting the ‘target.’

        How much more would a Calvinist refrain from communicating anything that would in any way reflect badly on God or the Gospel. He would feel worse if his language were truth-telling – because it would reveal things about the ‘target’ he doesn’t want people to see.

        John Calvin was honest enough to describe his emotional response to the doctrine – saying it produced in him a sense of “horror”.
        That would be quite natural – given the fact that the doctrine depicts a god who designs the vast majority of human race – and a large percentage of the believing church – specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        In TRUE Calvinism we have a higher degree of divine malevolence than divine benevolence.

        Its no wonder then – “thought stopping” and “altruistic dishonesty” would be psychological byproducts of that.


  3. They are like any false religion, telling their followers to not engage with anyone who sees things differently than them because they will be taken captive by lies. Fear is their main tactic

    1. I know many Calvinists who came out of Roman catholic church and yet say many of the same arguments. irresistible grace is one that Catholic’s teach, that you are born again by the grace of God and then are saved at a later time, but scripture says we are born again of the word of God. Jesus said my words are Spirit and truth, and we are born of the Spirit. I can’t say I believe any of the five points of Calvinism and don’t believe from what I have heard in their debate’s changes any of my beliefs on those points.

      1. Welcome Joe! You said the three most important words… “but Scripture says”! As long as you continue to take Scripture’s meaning according to normal rules of grammar and context, you’ll never be misled by the false doctrines of others, like Calvinism.

      2. Hello Joe and welcome!

        You are correct when you point out that Calvinism “Comes out of” Catholicism.
        N.T. Write for example – calls John Calvin a Catholic with a small “c”.
        And the primary Catholic – which Calvinism comes out of is Augustine the Catholic NeoPlatonist.

        However Calvinism’s conception of that which is IRRESISTIBLE to humans is more precisely stated by Calvin himself

        John Calvin
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that *NOTHING HAPPENS* but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes, book 1, XVI)

        So in Calvinism *ALL* human functionality is made IRRESISTIBLE to humans – simply because *NO* human functionality happens that is not knowingly and willingly decreed.

        If a GOOD impulse comes to pass within the human brain – that would be classified as a “GRACE” impulse. And since that impulse comes to pass infallibly – it is made IRRESISTIBLE to the human brain.

        And if a SINFUL/EVIL impulse comes to pass within the human brain – that would be classified as a “BAD” impulse. And since that impulse comes to pass infallibly – it is made IRRESISTIBLE to the human brain.

        So in Calvinism – every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain or the human body – to either make that human perform something good or to make that human perform something evil – is an IRRESISTIBLE impulse – which was FIRST CONCEIVED in the mind of Calvin’s god – and then made to come to pass at the exact instance he decreed it to come to pass.


    2. I appreciate the work Leighton Flowers at Soteriology 101. I am not a Calvinist, and have always found some of their beliefs very jarring, appearing to me like an attack on God’s character, especially his sovereignty, justice and love. Yet, there are people I love, who also love God, that hold to at least some Calvinistic ideas. I referred one to your website. He saw the picture of Calvin with red dagger glasses on, and chose not to look at your articles. He assumed you hate your brothers, and doesn’t want to read your material. He has looked at the arguments of non-Calvinists who present their ideas in a respectful manner, so it was clearly a presentation issue. Given that many Calvinist have honest reasons for believing as they do, and given that such a picture is unnecessarily offensive (even to me as a person that considers Calvinism outright heresy), I wish you did not put such things on your website. I believe unnecessarily offensive pictures hurt your ministry, and encourage a mocking tone in others in this debate. As strongly as I disagree with Calvinism, it pains me to see things degenerate into uncharitable comments and mocking. We win our brothers by speaking the truth in love, not by being disrespectful. And there is plenty they can teach us, too. None of us has a monopoly on truth.

      1. Welcome Jean. Tell your friend that picture might rightly be considered “unnecessarily offensive”, but I can assure you that it would be hard to find an offensive tone in anything Leighton has written or produced in a video.

        Your friend should read more Calvin, if he wants to read hatefulness towards other real Christians. Consider this.
        Calvin wanted heretics dead… even spoke approvingly of death for those who published things against his doctrine of predestination. Hmmmm. Not very Christlike!

        Calvin – statements pro capital punishment for heresy.

        In his Prefatory Address to the Institutes –
        “For I fear not to declare, that what I have here given may be regarded as a summary of the very doctrine which, they [the heretics] vociferate, ought to be punished with confiscation, exile, imprisonment, and flames, as well as exterminated by land and sea.”

        In Schaff’s Church History, vol VIII, para 157 – from Calvin’s Treatise Against Servetus –
        “Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church.”

        In his commentary on Christ’s command in Matt 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest” –
        “This passage has been most improperly abused by the Anabaptists, and by others like them, to take from the Church the power of the sword. But it is easy to refute them; …. I shall satisfy myself with replying, that Christ does not now speak of the office of pastors or of magistrates, but removes the offense which is apt to disturb weak minds, when they perceive that the Church is composed not only of the elect, but of the polluted dregs of society.”

        In his Letter 389 –
        “…papers and books of his Castalion [a heretic], in which an attempt was made to impugn our doctrine touching predestination, have been condemned with a prohibition to publish them on pain of death.”

        Responsio ad Balduini Convicia, Opera, IX. 575: (in Schaff, VIII, 137)
        “Servetus suffered the penalty due to his heresies, but was it by my will? Certainly his arrogance destroyed him not less than his impiety. And what crime was it of mine if our Council, at my exhortation, indeed, but in conformity with the opinion of several Churches, took vengeance on his execrable blasphemies? Let Baudouin abuse me as long as he will, provided that, by the judgment of Melanchthon, posterity owes me a debt of gratitude for having purged the Church of so pernicious a monster.”

      2. Hello Jean and thank you for your post.

        He saw the picture of Calvin with red dagger glasses on, and chose not to look at your articles.

        There are – of course – two sides to every coin.
        And there will be people who will look at that same picture and want to discover what truth it represents.

        The probability is – that person has never personally researched anything by John Calvin and will never do so – because he is afraid of the disturbing things he might in fact find when he does.

        The average Calvinist pastor today – totally refuse to teach his congregation the dark side of Calvinism – because he knows full well – his congregation would dwindle down to nothing if he did.

        He will not for example – teach Calvinism’s doctrine of the WHEAT AND THE CHAFF
        Which stipulates that Calvin’s god deceives a large percentage of the believers
        Giving them a FALSE SENSE of salvation
        So that he can -quote “Forsake Them” and -quote “Strike them with greater blindness”

        One can easily understand why no Calvinist pastor today would present that aspect of Calvinism to a congregation .

        Consequently – Calvinists today are fed a sugar-coated version of Calvinism
        And its quite understandable that Calvinists – would want to avoid anything that would create cognitive dissonance.

        But we do thank you for your kind and sincere approach to the mater!

      3. Thanks for the response Brian and BR.D. Leaving a response here is very confusing, so it may not show up in the right place! To Brian: I am aware that Calvin sanctioned the death of people who disagreed with him. He is not my favorite reformer. However, my friend who is a 5-point Calvinist does not believe he gets his theology from Calvin, but from Scripture. He is not the one I referred to this website. To BR.D: I am them sure there are plenty of people who fit your description. The person I know does not (a relative, not the friend I mentioned earlier to Brian). He encountered Calvinism in seminary, he already knows he does not agree with everything Calvin stated, he is honestly seeking answers. He is in a church that is not 5 point, but still has some teachings of the TULIP. Maybe you are intending to target a less well educated crowd, but then Leighton videos are way over their heads. The people such a picture appeals to, I would think, are probably people that cannot follow Leighton’s arguments. And although there are many articles on your website I would recommend, this is not one of them. I agree that Leighton’s opponents were not engaging the topic and unfair to assume ill motives, but at the end of the article the author does the same thing – assumes motives. It doesn’t help our cause when we stoop to the poor quality reasoning as our opponents. Anyhow, none of the people I know who hold to various amounts of Calvinism feel there ideas are coming from Calvin. They think they come from Scripture. So, engaging the Scripture should be the focus. Comparing Calvin or any Calvinist to Scripture is great. Pointing to Calvin’s offensive ideas may be ok in some contexts, but other times it is a straw man argument. Depends on the specific conversation.

      4. Jean
        my friend who is a 5-point Calvinist does not believe he gets his theology from Calvin, but from Scripture.

        Yes – that is to be expected.
        A person who claims to get his theology from a man – knows he is guaranteed to not be taken seriously
        Every Jehovah’s witness make the same the same exact pattern.

        Additional – one Calvinist will disagree with another Calvinist
        With both of them have not problem insisting two contradicting positions come from scripture. :-]

        Anytime someone claims to get his theology from scripture – is a tell-tale sign he is deceiving himself.
        He might must as well claim he is no human! ;-]

        Additionally- there is an observable degree of discomfort that Calvinists have with statements John Calvin made.

        Calvin – during his life-time – had many detractors – which forced him into a defensive posture.

        Within his theological writings – Calvin did not have the luxury of back-pedaling or distancing himself from his doctrine.

        Over the years – various reformed thinkers recognized that people within congregations found John Calvin’s harsh IN YOUR FACE language unpalatable.

        Various confessions were crafted – which are essentially statements which carefully omit the divine malevolence enunciated in Calvin’s writings

        Calvinists today – label Calvinism “Doctrines of Grace” as a way of obfuscating the DARK SIDE of the doctrine.
        It is actually a doctrine of “Good-Evil”

        But the “Evil” side is obfuscated to make it palatable for current day Calvinists and to make it more a more marketable product.

        Here are a couple of examples from Calvin

        By the eternal good pleasure of god though the reason does not appear, they are NOT FOUND but MADE worthy of destruction. – (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of god pg 121)

        Not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been CREATED FOR THIS VERY END that they may perish. – (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

        if he has DOOMED US TO DEATH it is vain for us to fight against it. (Institutes 3:23:12)

        You will not find any such characterizations within the reformed confessions.
        Nor will you find any Calvinist pastor of any moderate sized congregation doing so either

        But Calvin was LOGICALLY COHERENT with the underlying foundational core of the system – which is the doctrine of decree

        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly
        decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

        Calvinists today avoid the doctrine of decrees like the plague – while insisting they are Calvinists.
        Such claims are simply logically impossible – because they are denying the core essence of what makes Calvinism unique.

      5. Wait a minute. You said: “Anytime someone claims to get his theology from scripture – is a tell-tale sign he is deceiving himself.” But I make that claim, too. I have read through the Bible in a year more times than I can remember. I compare Scripture with Scripture. Sure there has been human influence, but my reason for rejecting false doctrine mostly comes from engaging Scripture and having a healthy relationship with God (which includes healthy fellowship with other believers, of course). I once believed in the doctrine of the Trinity because I was taught it. Then a JW came to talk with me, and I challenged that person not to rely on the Watchtower, but to read the Bible for themselves, asking God to guide them. I felt like God challenged me to do the same thing regarding the Trinity. At first I was scared … that is a major doctrine. But I realized I would be duplicitous not to do so, and it would show a lack of faith in God, who said he gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. When I put my prejudice aside and looked at Scripture I found all sorts of passages supporting the doctrine of the Trinity, most of which are not typically used as proof texts. I no longer believe that doctrine just because I was taught it, but because I have seen it for myself in Scripture! That is why reading through the Bible for themselves, and being in right relationship with God, is the foundation of discipleship for my grandkids. That works to everyone’s advantage as it tempers false beliefs that I and my Calvinist leaning family members might have.

        I remember feeling like I was going to throw up when I realized that doctrines of grace referred to the 5 points. That is part of what I find jarring in Calvinism, as I see the implications. I have found that few people are good at seeing the logical connections (though I am ok with them being pointed out in a healthy way that doesn’t get unnecessarily offensive; if offense comes when we are lovingly explaining the truth, so be it). Many people are good at holding to the 5-points and mutually exclusive sound doctrine at the same time, and this type of thing is not just limited to theology … I see it in my field, too. Rather than demean them, I recognize that God created us differently, and I shouldn’t expect everyone to see the connections I see.

        Anyhow, this is going off topic. The other offensive claims of Calvin, which I was already vaguely aware of, really do not address the issue of how effective the website is for a place to refer my Calvinistic leaning friends and family. I think most are aware that Calvin made comments they do not agree with, so it typically appears to be a straw man.

      6. Jean,

        Amen to what you have said. I’ve been hinting at your comments for a long time. I have a similar story about the JW’S as you regarding the divinity if Jesus. I believe Jesus is God alone, but I do not believe in the Trinity at all. I believe that the Father is God, I believe that the Son is God, and I believe that the Holy Spirit is God. But I do not believe in the Trinity. I’m sure you would agree that makes no sense, right? Well, my scripture only had me study 1 Thessalonians 5:23…in detail. Spirit, soul, body. Each needs study. My determination of Jesus being God alone came from that study, especially when Jesus told Philip that if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the father. Jesus is the body of God. The Spirit of Jesus is the Father. And the Holy Spirit is the Mind of Christ…soul of God. One person, not three people.

        Moving on…

        The Doctrins of Grace, whether Calvin’s Irresistible, or Armenians Preveniant, is totally dependent on the Doctrines (plural) of ORIGINAL SIN.

        Based on scripture alone, can you debunk the Doctrine of Original Sin?

        I can. Those who adhere to that doctrine think that Romans 5 supports it. I don’t.

        We inherited death of the body only. But Adam was gonna die ANYWAY, based on 1 Cor 15:42-46…planted in corruption, meaning a decaying dying body, planted in dishonor, planted…the body is dirt, a natural body.

        In order for Adam to have gained eternal life, he would have had to eat of the Tree of life, and he failed. I’ve got a lot more on that subject, but the so called experts came up with goofy terminology that only college educated knows. For example, I never heard of OPEN THEISM until about a year ago. I never heard that before. So I Googled it, and based on definition, yes, I’m open theist…but scripture must define it, and prove it.

      7. Jean
        Sure there has been human influence

        The question then becomes the nature of the influence.

        Jesus asks the lawyer who tempted him 2 questions:
        1) What does the text say?
        2) How do you read it?

        The lawyer – answered Jesus’ 1st question – by quoting the text verbatim.
        But notice – he did not answer Jesus’ 2nd question.

        Jesus clearly draws a distinction between what the text says – and how one reads it.
        They are two different questions

        I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with Calvinists who refuse to acknowledge that distinction.
        Even when I point out – it is a distinction which Jesus points out as important – they will still refuse to acknowledge it.

        They will claim – they don’t INTERPRET the text – they just read what it says.

        The reason they make that claim – is because they do not want to face the fact that the process of HOW THEY READ IT – is subject to human bias.

        The text itself is Canon
        But they have gone beyond that – and canonized the Calvinist reading of the text.

        So they have 2 canons
        1) The text is treated as Canon
        2) The Calvinist reading of the text is also treated as Canon

        The Calvinist reads the text the way he reads it within the Calvinist social structure.
        He draws comfort from that social structure.
        He derives an sense of personal identity within and from that social structure.
        He will not risk threatening something which he draws comfort from and derives identity from.

        Dr. Gordon Fee – in one of his seminary lectures on Biblical Hermeneutics – asks the question “What INFORMS your interpretation of scripture?”

        In the Calvinist’s case – what INFORMS his interpretation of scripture – is INFORMATION his mind has received from Calvinist sources – which his mind has accepted as unquestionable truth.

        His mind becomes conditioned to read certain concepts INTO THE TEXT whether he is aware of it or not.

        And this becomes all to obvious – when we have Calvinists who quote scripture verses here.
        They are not as savvy as the lawyer who tempted Jesus.
        They don’t quote the verse verbatim like the lawyer did.
        They quote the verse the way their minds have been conditioned to read it.
        In in the process they read thing INTO the text that are not there – and remove things form the text that are there.

        This becomes a clear indication – they have a high urgency for that verse to say what some Calvinist authority figure told them it says.

        And that is the influence you wisely mentioned

      8. Thank you Jean for your thoughtful response. There are many who self identify as Calvinists who cannot bring themselves to say anything negative about Calvinism. Those who are not loyal to Calvinism, like your friend or relative, if they want Leighton’s helpful view on specific scriptures, there are podcasts that address each one.

        One picture, or some inconsistency in argumentation, doesn’t usually put off someone, who has a basic amount of Christian maturity, from their looking at opposing views, if they really are looking for good argumentation or understanding of the opposing side. I look at influential Calvinists argumentation, even Calvin’s, regularly, especially about specific Scriptures. And Calvin would have had me killed. 😉

        Leighton has some good videos/podcasts about the main Scriptures that Calvinists lean on. Some are short in length. And I deal with a number of their favorite passages on my site,

        And I would be more than happy to discuss by email with any of your friends and relatives any specific scriptures.

  4. You’re doing a good job. Making people think and inspiring people to re-evaluate their beliefs. Causing genuine Christians to hold on to the right to think, read the Bible and believe the Bible and if need be, think differently.

    Christians believe what Christians have believed for 2000 years. Christians do not invent doctrines and mould Scripture to their own persuasion. For me, I welcome any challenge. No system of belief or interpretation of the Bible is beyond criticism. If it thinks it is, it is wrong.

    In his 1534 New Testament, William Tyndale once wrote (to the reader) that if there be faults in his work and “the word of God disallow it”, “refuse it”. He then stated “And where they find faults, let them show it me, if they be nigh, or write to me, if they be far off: or write openly against it and improve it, and I promise them, if I shall perceive that their reasons conclude I will confess mine ignorance openly.”

    I believe Tyndale’s example is one of excellence. None of us are perfect or beyond reproach. If our doctrines are true then they are not our own. If we are true, then we seek truth.

    May the Lord guide and strengthen us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  5. It’s a pity Jeff Durbin hasn’t shown the same humility as Leighton in basically admitting ‘I could be wrong’. And if I am wrong I want to know it, so that I can know and speak truth. In fact, I believe that Leighton would actually be thankful to the person who showed him the error of his ways, because he found out about it now, and was able to correct it. I didn’t see Jeff Durbin show that same spirit!

    What is there to fear if you are genuinely seeking after the truth? And what is there to fear if, at the very least, you trying to love others with what you believe is the truth, and would be of unimaginable benefit for all concerned? Why would you not want it to be examined – if you had nothing to fear? I think the question answers itself!

  6. Leighton Flowers appears to make a fundamental mistake when he offers “just talk…brother in Christ, talk.” He appears to assume that his opponent is a brother in Christ who might respond in a Christian way to such an entreaty. I suppose it is conceivable that he is a brother in Christ but it is almost certain that said “brother” does not regard Leighton as any kind of brother, and so treats him with disdain. I suppose Leighton is giving him the benefit of the doubt in speaking so kindly to him but really these guys wanna fight and they ain’t gonna let anyone rob them of the satisfaction of it and the cheers of their fans.

    1. Hello zoransulc and welcome.
      Your point is well taken!

      Yes – I think Dr. Flowers is following the principle of charity – which is practiced by scholars in debates.
      But your point is correct – also for Calvinists themselves.
      For no Calvinist is permitted by Calvin’s god – to know whether or not he is TOTALLY DEPRAVED or not.

      Calvin’s god could have designed him specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for Calvin’s god’s pleasure.
      And according to Calvin’s doctrine – the Calvinist has no way of knowing.

      So it LOGICALLY follows – Calvin’s god does not permit the Calvinist to know whether or not Calvin’s god is deceiving him – and giving him a gift of FALSE faith. He doesn’t know how many beliefs Calvin’s god has given him are FALSE beliefs. And he doesn’t know how many perceptions Calvin’s god is giving him are FALSE perceptions.

      Makes you want run right out and sign up for Calvinism doesn’t it!!! :-]

    2. Zoransulc, it is possible they see Leighton as a threat, and are afraid to give him air time. It is better for them that they turn him into the big bad wolf and keep him at arms length. I’m not a provisionist, but I see that he makes some reasonable arguments and is a friendly reasonable guy.

      Remember, the truth is out there (actually it’s in the bible); it’s just not to be found in Calvinism! I’ve looked everywhere, and I couldn’t find Calvin’s name anywhere in the bible – I don’t know why they are following him!🙈

  7. Psalm 119:105
    “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
    It seems there is a fear to step into the realm of relying on the Bible to direct, rather than following a man. Many Calvinists don’t realize how far away from Biblically debating with people they have gone. This leaves them on a crumbling foundation which ends typically in name branding/name calling. I’m teaching through Exodus, myself having to revise some of my outside of Bible information in accordance with the new historical discoveries made/compiled within the past 10 years alone setting the Exodus back to an even earlier then the old Halley’s early Pharaoh from Bible college. Same for them, their Church historic views taught need to be updated with truthful information showing they are seeking truth. Traditions vs. seeking of truth. Traditions are the hardest thing to overcome since we all sit & like to relax in them…gives a sense of security. Threatening to take away traditions stirs up the hornets nest. God bless!
    -Pastor Mike

    1. Thank you Pastor Mike – and welcome
      Yes – I agree.
      The Calvinist is convinced that his doctrine has its source in scripture.
      What he is blind to – is the way he gets there.
      He starts with a non-Biblical concept which is sacred to him.
      He takes that concept and searches for verses that can in any way be construed to affirm it.
      Many of the verses he finds have nothing at all to do with what he trying to use them for.
      But that doesn’t bother him – he uses them anyway
      He looks for verses in scripture that he can super-impose his sacred concepts on.
      Then he can claim he derived is doctrine from those verses.

      The whole process is backwards – but certain Gnostic/NeoPlatonic doctrines are so very sacred to him he simply doesn’t care.


      1. And then he turns around and preaches sermons accusing the non-Calvinist of those very things he is doing to justify his theology.

    2. I can identify with that. When I read the Bible I find it very clear and precise and I agree with every word. When I read the 16th century (1st generation) reformers, I am often very edified. But when I listen/listened to modern ‘Calvinists’, I am drawn away from the Bible and into circular arguments, confused interpretations and ‘echo chambers’. That’s why I don’t listen to them anymore, I find them confusing and out of touch. They spend all their time arguing themselves into Calvinism.

      These days it actually feels really good when a Calvinist says ‘I disagree with you Simon’. I respond, ‘Yes, that’s because I believe the Bible first, whereas you believe Calvinism first and the Bible after…’.

      1. Very insightful post Simon!

        The interesting thing I eventually discovered about Calvinists – which they are oblivious to – is that they both agree and disagree with you.

        For example, they will assert that they hold to a higher view of divine sovereignty than other Christians – who reject their system out of a concern for it making god the author of evil.

        But then they manufacture a constant stream of DOUBLE-SPEAK – all designed to masquerade those problematic aspects of their system – to make themt APPEAR to resemble the system of those very Christian’s who rejected their system.

        They will claim to hold to Calvin’s god determining 100% of whatsoever comes to pass – leaving ZERO% left un-determined.

        And after that – they will claim that Calvin’s god leaves many things OPEN for them to determine *AS-IF* he didn’t determine 100% of whatsoever comes to pass.

        So yes they will claim to disagree
        And then spend the rest of their time crafting denials of that disagreement within cloaked language designed to hide the contradiction.

        Its a massive amount of DOUBLE-THINK!

    1. Thank you Mark!
      Dr. Flowers – due to a very busy schedule – doesn’t interact here very frequently.
      You may more readily find him on Facebook.
      But I can tell you – he does sincerely appreciate all who are thankful for his ministry.

  8. Hi!

    This might be weird, because I suppose one would consider me to be more “Calvinistsic” in my convictions, I however enjoy Leighton Flowers content. I follow both Durbin and White, but found out about flowers through that 2015 debate.

    I’ll be honest, while I’m more Reformed, and have become more so over the past few years, the online community couldn’t be more cringy and bullheaded. It’s like if 4chan scrolling neckbearded basement dwellers were Christians. It’s why I don’t primarily associate with that community, and honestly find myself more frequently in fellowship with Arminians or Molonists.

    So even though we might have some disagreeances soteriologically, I would like to say thank you for your ministry, and your love for Christ and pursuance of truth.

    1. Caleb, thank you for the kind thoughts. Even though you have not yet left Calvinism, 😉 you might find this interesting.

      11 Ways People End Up Leaving Calvinism that I have read.

      1 Some became willing to test again each of the arguments of Calvinism that they presumed were true only because of the men (books, podcasts) they respected teaching them those premises. They approached them anew for themselves, and from the perspective of a debater who must force themselves to take the other side and to try to see the strongest legitimate arguments for that other perspective.

      2. Some of those had started reading through the whole Bible and noting that the tenor of the majority of Scriptures was plainly teaching the opposite of what the few favorite Calvinistic proof texts seem to teach.

      3. Some started looking back on their life became convinced in their heart and mind by the HS that they could have done differently at times. They knew this thinking clearly rejects what their deterministic theology says about everything happening in a predestined way.

      4. Some started to sincerely listen to good testimonies of former Calvinists and the sound arguments from Scripture that began then to convince them what the HS had been nudging them to reject all along in the harmful doctrines of Calvinism.

      5. Some started wondering, after having children of their own, how their love for each of their children, even wayward ones, could be any more than God’s for all of His “children” by creation. How could He not give them all equal opportunity to seek His mercy and grace? This led them to recheck the underlying teaching and alternative teachings to predestination of a limited elect.

      6. Some started seeing the unspiritual responses of some who professed Calvinism, like calling it the “gospel”, or those in leadership being oppressive, plus seeing some other reformed teachings that they felt the Scripture didn’t support, all of which caused them to research the points of Calvinism more in depth and that study led them to reject Calvinism.

      7. Some started seeing that attributing their own failures/sins to God’s predestination and not accepting personal responsibility for them was a reaction from fleshly pride. They decided to reevaluate the theology that taught them all was predestined to work out only one way. Studying graciously presented teachings contrary to that idea of predestination helped them reject Calvinism.

      8. Some researched the Servetus affair and became alarmed by the defense and revision provided by Calvin and Calvinists for such an un-Christian response against heresy. They became willing to research opposing explanations of Romans 9 and other passages, leading them to reject Calvinism.

      9. Some saw the hardening effect the teaching of Calvinism was having on their children… producing a fear of God but not a love for God or for the lost. They then prayerfully read through Scriptures and saw more clearly God’s universal love, leading them to reject Calvinism’s view that God eternally hates most people.

      10. Some didn’t get satisfactory answers to the questions that plagued them. Listen to this personal testimony:
      “They couldn’t answer my questions. For me there’s a point where you think they just don’t want to. Then you graduate to – they just can’t be bothered. Then you graduate to the realization that it’s not that they won’t; it’s that they can’t. Then you either accept the incoherence for whatever reason or you roll up your metaphysical sleeves and get to work finding a system that is more coherent.”

      11. Some began to rethink why they should be forced to think God is less merciful. Listen to this personal testimony:
      “Seriously though, the thing that really got me rethinking Calvinism was a quote I saw on twitter…: ‘Calvinism has taught the church that we should all be shocked that God would show mercy to even one unworthy sinner, but anyone knowing Jesus and His selfless sacrifice on the cross should be shocked that God would refuse to show mercy to even one unworthy sinner!’

      …I couldn’t think of anything to say right then so I just went on about my day and forgot about it. That night I was trying to fall asleep and pulled back open twitter and my message box was still open waiting for me to reply… I remember thinking to myself, ‘Why do we (Calvinists) work so hard to try and make people think it should shock us that God would be merciful to as few people as we can imagine….’

      That question ran through my mind for a good week and I just kept trying to ignore it by telling myself, “My flesh is trying to take glory from God by claiming it for myself.” But deep down I knew that wasn’t my root motive in asking that question. My motive was that I really wanted to highlight God’s love for everyone and his genuine desire for their salvation. Deep down I wanted for God to be more loving and desirous of others salvation than I am. I know that my heart’s desire for my sister and many of my close friends that remain lost is for them to believe and be saved and I wanted to believe that God really wants that too. I knew that consistent Calvinism doesn’t allow for that and that was my struggle.

      So, that’s when I went back and read… articles about how defending free will is actually more about defending God’s holiness and something just kind of clicked.”

  9. Please proof read these articles! Sloppy grammar and spelling issues make them look less than professional, and this is a very good article that deserves to be presented with its best foot forward! Get a ‘copy’ of Grammarly, it does all the work of proofreading for you and is super cheap.

  10. Eric Kemp wrote:
    Leighton Flowers is sincere and genuine…and that’s why Calvinists are angry with him.

    No, that is not why Calvinists are angry (I would say frustrated) with him. This Calvinist, is frustrated with Leighton because he continually refuses to properly represent Calvinism. In a recent video I watched with Eric Hernandez, Leighton and Eric both discussed the importance of categories, in a philosophical sense, in order to make theological arguments. It is this very position that Leighton denies to Calvinists. He refuses to allow us to hold to our categories yet expects others to do so when he is stating his theological and philosophical positions. Leighton boils Calvinism down to this: God decreed it, therefore, we don’t have freewill, we are not responsible for our actions, God decrees evil, etc. It is really unfair to not allow us to hold our definitions and our categories. Among other things, Leighton loves to accuse us of straw man attacks, distinctions without a difference, ad hominem, and every logical fallacy he can think of. Of course, Leighton and his followers will deny this and say, “Oh, no. We quote everyone so that we do not misrepresent.”

    I think it is entertaining how upset Leighton gets when James White plays his Choice Meats analogy and complains about it only being seconds of a longer segment. Yet, Leighton does this all the time. Unfortunately, nothing will change, the name calling of Calvinists will continue as we are called heretics, cultists, a false religion, association with JW, Mormons, and others. I’ve heard Leighton call us brothers, but I really don’t believe he believes that we are brothers in Christ.

    1. Hello Roland and welcome

      Leighton ….continually refuses to properly represent Calvinism

      Dr. Flowers has address this a thoundand times.
      Firstly he uses direct quotes from leading voices in Calvinism.
      Some Calvinist don’t follow one particular leader – while they follow another one.
      Then there are Calvinists who claim to follow a specific confession and reject specific things within historic Calvinism taught by Calvin himself.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve quoted John Calvin – to a person who claims to be a Calvinist.
      And he says “I’m a Calvinist and that is not what Calvinists believe”

      Calvinists have turned this into a game of whack-a-mole.

      Leighton…..refuses to allow us to hold to our categories

      There is a difference between refusing to allow a category – and finding that category logically incoherent?
      Dr. Flowers doesn’t have the power to refuse anything to a Calvinist.
      But he does have the ability to critique something that is logically incoherent – or something that is simply a form of double-speak.

      Leighton boils Calvinism down to this: God decreed it, therefore, we don’t have freewill

      Now I happen to know that half of that is correct and half of it is false.
      Dr. Flowers recognizes the Calvinist appeal to compatibilistic freedom.
      But compatibilistic freedom is not a magic wand
      It doesn’t magically get everything every Calvinist wants.

      In Calvinism – you are free to be/do what you are infallibly decreed to be/do
      And you are NOT permitted to be/do what the infallible decree does not decree you be/do
      And it logically follows – you are not free to be/do what the infallible decree does not permit.

      It is really unfair to not allow to hold our definitions and our categories.

      See answer above on this question.

      Among other things, Leighton loves to accuse us of straw man attacks

      I don’t see how you can even go there!!
      I’ve watched plenty of videos of James White and John MacArthur manufacturing straw-men of non-Calvinists

      Dr. Flowers will say – Oh, no. We quote everyone so that we do not misrepresent.

      If you’ve watched as many of Dr. Flowers youtube videos as I have – you’ll know that is correct.

      I think it is entertaining how upset Leighton gets when James White plays his Choice Meats analogy and complains about it only being seconds of a longer segment.

      Are you sure Dr. Flowers is getting upset?
      Or is he simply expressing frustration with all of the games James Whites plays
      James White must have some kind of following – but I personally feel sorry for anyone who does.

      The name calling of Calvinists will continue as we are called heretics, cultists, a false religion, association with JW, Mormons, and others.

      Now Roland – you are stretching things a little too far here!
      Dr. Flowers has never made any such statements about Calvinists.
      You may hear that from other non-Calvinists – but not from Dr. Flowers.

      I’ve heard Leighton call us brothers, but I really don’t believe he believes that we are brothers in Christ.

      I appears to me – that has to do with your feelings – and those feelings affect your perception of Dr. Flowers

      BTW – I do find all of this quite ironic! If I had a dollar for every-time a Calvinist harshly accused me of being a god-hater or a reprobate, or a heretic – I could treat myself to a dinner at an expensive restaurant! :-]

  11. I’m not so sure Jeff originally meant that Leighton is lying. You can misrepresent something by inadvertently leaving out an important aspect, or by simply being ignorant of an important aspect. However, Jeff did get too hot under the collar, and though that is understandable and human, it is not excusable. These things (soteriological matters) are important, and it is important to think through them soberly and patiently.

    Personally, I don’t know much about Leighton, so I don’t think I can ascribe good or bad motives to what he does. I know a little about Jeff and I think he should just join on a chat-with-Leighton live session and not worry about brand so much (if that is what is happening). If Jeff has the truth and he is able to present it, then he should take the opportunity. If he isn’t able to present it, he should work on that, but in the meantime he can maybe get someone else to talk to Leighton. If he doesn’t have the truth, he should find that out sooner rather than later, since he is a pastor.

    So, by now you have probably figured out that I’m a Calvinist (I know Jeff but not Leighton, so that is probably a big warning sign that I like Dutch flowers but disagree with Dr Flowers). I hope I’m welcome here to visit this website and see what Provisionism is. I’ve been yanked out of the cage stage by marrying an Arminian wifey and having a few warm disagreements with her, but I really appreciate that Arminians want to be Biblical. Now I’m curious about Provisionism, since I don’t think it is much represented here in my country.

    1. Hello Calla and welcome

      If you are referring to Jeffw – I would say we had a productive chat.
      Thanks for your thoughtful input though

      You will find a mixture of representations here from posters.
      I personally do not identify with any particular label – such as Provisionist or Arminian.
      And you may in fact already know that Jacobus Arminius spent and inordinate amount of time trying to defend himself from the charge that he had departed from Calvin. So a serious Arminian today will tend to be more Calvinist leaning than the average Non-Calvinist evangelical Christian.

      The articles here by Dr. Flowers or Eric – will of course represent a more pronounced position toward Provisionism.
      But a number of active people here who post would probably best be understood as having their own individual views.


      1. Oh I see!
        Well – from my observation – a lot of the “You are misrepresenting Calvinism” is all to often based on subtle semantics.

        For example:
        Hillary Clinton claimed she did not wipe her email server.
        That was her representation.

        And yet the evidence eventually proved that she did wipe her server.
        Yet if you (based on that evidence) were to say she did – you would be misrepresenting her representation.
        And on that account – her argument would (in that respect) be true.

        You would not be duplicating her representation.
        Thus she can argue you are “misrepresenting her representation”

        Never the less you would be representing the TRUTH.

        Quite frequently when a Calvinist claims to be misrepresented – his claim follows that very mode of argumentation.

      2. I see what you mean. It would be my guess that people often don’t make the subtle yet crucial distinction between what they believe and what the truth is. That is to be expected: people usually don’t believe falsehood knowing that it is falsehood. They believe that it is the truth, and they believe that therefore they can treat it not only as their believe, but also as the truth itself. It is difficult to keep making that distinction, and people slip up. I know for a fact that I have slipped up in the past in this very respect. If a Calvinist is then a hard-headed person who doesn’t want to make allowances for anyone else, then it is only fair dealing to not give them the benefit of the doubt either.

        My conclusion is this: we should all treat each other not as debating points but as humans. We are called to love humans. We aren’t called to love theological positions regardless of whether they are true or not, but as Christians we have the obligation to treat each other (not only unbelievers!) with gentleness and respect in accord with 1 Peter 3:15. I’m sure that passage is no justification for treating unbelievers better than we would treat our own brothers and sisters in the faith.

      3. Hello spurcalluth and welcome

        Yes I agree with you!
        Treating people with respect is always the Godly thing to do.
        But at the same time – if they believe a falsehood – even if they’ve not take the time to realize it – we don’t want that falsehood to mislead others.


      4. This is why many, perhaps most, comment here. We believe people have been deceived by faulty premises, that are not only false, but lead to a lesser view of God, and a distortion of the most important truth of all time – that God loves and desires to save all men from sin and death. This is not an insignificant deception, and many who have come out of it believe it is worth taking risks to help deliver others from.

  12. Seems that spurcalluth outed himself once before back in August on this post. So there was no doxing after all. Just a simple accident on his part.

    I think we can all rest easy now.

    Ed Chapman

    1. yes thank you chapman

      Pretty sure he typed something into a name field and then thought the system populated it all by itself
      And the system doesn’t have the functionality to do that.

  13. Apartheid: whites only, blacks go live in misery

    Calvinism: Chosen only, the rest go to hell

    Real God: Everyone is welcome, they just need to believe

    i used this analogy with many calvinists but they weren’t able to give an objection to it, do you think this is a good analogy? do you think it could be used to prevent more people to become calvinists?


    1. Hi Heinrich, yes, I think helping Calvinists see how bad their theology makes God look can help them stop and think.

      But I’ve found in many testimonies of previous Calvinists that they must eventually return to looking at Scriptures for themselves, and at the grammatical, contextual evidence against favorite Calvinist proof texts, before they really make the break.

  14. No one EVER answers me when I ask over and over what’s with the calvin label? Forget calvin. Just believe scripture. God says NONE seek after HIM. He says we hate HIM in our deadness and we WILL not come unless the Father draw us

    1. Hello Sarah and welcome
      If it were possible to dismiss the whole thing that easily – everyone certainly would.
      Unfortunately – taking that approach does not deal with the issue.
      The Apostle Paul identified those whom he called “Super Apostles” in his frustrated letter to the Galatian church.
      And the Apostle John identified one by name – whom he said “loved to have the preeminence among the brethren”
      These are issues that spring up in the church because people are who they are.
      And as you can see by those two examples above – concern for God’s people being misled is at the forefront of concern.
      And therefore – those who are involved are identified.

    2. Hello Sarah, Can you find a verse that says God only draws certain, preselected people to Him, that He only offers eternal life to some people? Or a verse that says that being dead in sin means being unable to make decisions unless God does it for us?

      And you say to believe Scripture. Do you believe it when it says that God so loved the world, that He wants all men to be saved, that Jesus died for all? Do you take Scripture at face-value, or do you believe there is a secret, deeper level of understanding that contradicts the plain, commonsense meaning of verses like these?

      Calvinists ignore what Scripture plainly, clearly, commonsensely says, in favor of things it doesn’t clearly, plainly say (things they have to read into Scripture) to make it fit Calvinism.

      Here is something I wrote once, showing what I mean:

      I just watched a video of a Calvinist preacher (David Platt) who said it’s unbiblical and dangerous to tell people they can “accept Jesus into their hearts.” He says to his congregation, in a very creepy, wide-eyed, mouth-hanging-open, stilted way (paraphrased), “Shouldn’t it bother us that we tell people to do this but that the phrase ‘accept Jesus into your heart’ isn’t in the Bible anywhere?”…

      Well, let’s see what else is “not in the Bible”:

      1. There is no verse saying that in order to be a sovereign God, God has to control all things, as Calvinists believe. (In fact, the word “sovereign” is not even in the concordance, the King James Bible, the Greek, anywhere. It’s the NIV that adds it hundreds of times. And it uses it to replace the title “Lord.” The word “sovereign” is a title, designating that God is Lord over all, in authority over all. It is not about how He has to use His power or authority to control everything.)

      2. There is no verse saying that it’s impossible to seek God unless God makes you do it. (God calls to all people and makes it possible for all to come to Him, but He lets us decide to respond to Him or resist Him.)

      3. There is no verse saying that “spiritually dead” means you are “dead like a dead body and cannot do anything but lay there all dead, that you are unable to want God or think about God unless God enables you to.”

      4. There is no verse saying that the Holy Spirit has to regenerate you before you can believe.

      5. There is no verse saying that God only chose a few people to save and that He predestined the rest for hell.

      6. There is no verse saying that God only loves a few people enough to save them or that Jesus only died for the sins of a few people.

      7. There is no verse saying that God has two different Wills that oppose each other or that He has two different kinds of calls, one for the elect and one for the non-elect.

      8. There is no verse saying that Adam and Eve lost the right to make decisions after they sinned.

      9. There is no phrase saying that God “ordains sin/evil.”

      10. There is no phrase “total depravity” or “unconditional election” in the Bible anywhere. There is no phrase “limited atonement.” There is no “irresistible grace.”

      11. And my Calvinist ex-pastor once said something like “We tend to have a problem with the idea that God can choose who to save and who not to save. We don’t like it. But the Bible clearly teaches it. The Bible calls it ‘the doctrine of election, the doctrine of predestination’.” (But the funny thing is, you won’t find the phrase “doctrine of election” or “doctrine of predestination” in the Bible anywhere. So … NO! … the Bible does not call it that. But making it sound like the Bible actually uses those phrases and clearly teaches those “doctrines” is a good way to deceive people, to manipulate them to accept it without question. Calvinists tell you that predestined/election means “predestined/elected for salvation” and then they take you to verses that have the word “predestined/election” in it and say “See, those words are in the Bible, so we’re right.” But there is no verse saying that predestined means “predestined for salvation” or that election means “elected for salvation.” They assume that, and then read the Bible through those assumptions, changing the meaning of so many verses and destroying God’s character in the process.)

      And these are just a few.

      Should it not bother us that none of these essential Calvinist ideas are clearly laid out in any verse in the Bible? That they have to fabricate support for these ideas by cobbling together other verses taken out of context and reinterpreted through a Calvinist lens?

      And in fact, the opposite of Calvinism is in the Bible, when read plainly, as it was written, without filtering it through one’s own presuppositions first.

      In Genesis 1:26 and Psalm 8:6-8, we read that God sovereignly decided to give man a certain level of control, dominion, over His creation.

      In Amos 5:4, God tells people who have rejected Him to “Seek me and live.” If they aren’t spiritually “alive” yet then they are “dead,” which means God is telling “dead people” to seek Him, to find life in Him. (But Calvinism flips that, saying that people have to come to life first in order to seek.) God expects “dead people” to seek Him because He knows that our brains still work, that we can think, reason, and make decisions (because He gave us the ability to do this). I guess “dead people” can seek. God says so. And likewise, Deut. 30:15,19 says “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction… Now choose life…” If they have to choose life then it means they are not “living” yet. Therefore, they are “dead.” And God told these “dead people” to choose life. I guess “dead people” can choose to live. God says so.

      In Acts 2:38, we see that the Holy Spirit enters a person as a result of their choice to believe, not before he believes in order to give him the ability to believe. And this is evident in Acts 19:1-6 when Paul found some disciples who hadn’t yet received the Holy Spirit. They were disciples, believers, before they got the Spirit. And 2 Corinthians 3:16 tells us when the veil (of our minds) is removed – “Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” After we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed. But in Calvinism, the veil has to be removed before you can turn to the Lord. Big difference!

      There is no verse saying that God only loves a few people, only wants to save a few people, or that Jesus only died for a few people, but there are multiple verses saying that God loves the world, wants all to be saved, and that Jesus died for all: John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, John 1:29, Romans 5:18, Hebrews 2:9, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, Ezekiel 18:32, Romans 10:13, etc.

      There is no verse saying that God has two different Wills, one that wants all to be saved and one that really wants most to go to hell. But there is a verse – Acts 20:27 – about how Paul preached the “whole will” of God. And what was the thing he preached? “Repent and believe to get eternal life.” And he calls this “the whole will of God.” Where is there room for a secret “God-really-wants-most-people-to-reject-Him-and-go-to-hell” Will?

      “Election,” in the Bible, is not about God choosing certain people for heaven; it’s about God choosing to use certain people for certain purposes, to give certain people a job/responsibility (generally, God gives anyone who becomes a believer the job of representing Him to the world). And in the case if Jacob and Esau (a big Calvinist proof text), it’s about God choosing Israel (Jacob) to be the bloodline that brought Jesus into the world, not about Calvinism’s view that God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Election is about being chosen for a certain responsibility, not about being chosen for salvation.

      And, yes, predestination is a biblical concept, but not the way Calvinists view it. Notice how it’s used in Romans 8:29: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…” It’s not that people are predestined for salvation; it’s that true believers (foreknown by God) are predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Whether or not you get saved is not predestined, but if you become a believer, the ultimate path you take has been predestined, because the Holy Spirit leads us to reflect Christ more and more.

      And these are just a few.

      Calvinists ignore what God plainly, clearly, repeatedly said, in favor of their “secret knowledge” of what God supposedly “meant to say,” turning the consistent, easily-understood, available-for-all gospel into a contradictory, confusing, only-for-a-very-few-lucky-people mess. If you change what God clearly, plainly said to make it fit your views of things that God never clearly, plainly said – your views which contradict what God clearly, plainly said – then it is absolutely certain that your theology is wrong!

      Just something to consider. I don’t think Scripture is as obviously, clearly Calvinistic as you think it is, Sarah. You might want to try reading it again after taking off the Calvinist glasses. Blessings!

      1. Well Heather, you probably won’t even read my reply or know the scriptures l give you that clearly disagrees with your religion.
        People like you NEVER see that l clearly tell them over and over and over that l have NOTHING to do with calvin. They viciously label me that because it adds to their agenda of religion
        IF you want to be ABLE to stand before the Lord and be ABLE to brag THAT YOU chose to be saved by the FINISHED and completed work of Jesus then HE may say ” l never knew you”
        John clearly says that NO ONE CAN come UNLESS the Father draws him.

        Romans tells us THAT NONE seek HIM and that worse yet , we hate HIS claims on our lives.

        Read Isaiah 45 carefully and then tell me there’s no verse THAT says HE is ABSOLUTELY SOVEREIGN .
        Read 11 thessalonians 2: 13 about we WERE chosen TO SALVATION

        Iam not calvinist — l do NOT agree with alot of these so called calvinist preachers —- l believe clear scriptures and IF scripture offends us the THAT is our problem

      2. Sarah,

        If I may, I would like to address your Calvinist position, even tho you deny Calvin. Many Calvinists deny Calvin, I have learned over the years. So since you have a problem with the word Calvinism, let’s address what you THINK scripture states.

        First, you had said:
        “John clearly says that NO ONE CAN come UNLESS the Father draws him.”

        I’m assuming that you are quoting the following:

        John 6:44
        No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

        Now this is where I bring up the fact that…

        Romans 15:8
        8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

        And this is PAUL FOR US GENTILES:

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

        Why is all that important?

        Because your famous John chapter 6 was a conversation that Jesus was having to the Jews, and NO ONE ELSE.

        In this case, your NO MAN words are attributed to the JEWS ONLY. Gentiles were NOT a part of the deal AT THAT TIME. Gentiles were NOT under the law of Moses. The Old Covenant was THE LAW OF MOSES. Gentiles were never a part of that old covenant.

        So here we have the Law of Moses people, that Jesus was converting to The Law of Christ people. You have heard of the Law of Moses, right? When were Gentiles ever under that? NEVER.

        What Calvinists do, as you do, too…you can’t seem to separate the Jews from the Gentiles. You lump everyone together. And that is a major problem. And you wonder why people confuse you for being a Calvinist? Come on, Sarah!

        Next, you had said:

        “Romans tells us THAT NONE seek HIM and that worse yet , we hate HIS claims on our lives.”

        Oh, Sarah…tisk tisk…This also is discussing the LAW OF MOSES people. Not your generic human. The Law of Moses people are constantly walking on egg shells with WORKING the WORKS of the Law, that they don’t have TIME to seek God.


        Again, it’s a JEW THING, not a generic human thing.

        And finally, you MISQUOTED 2 Thessalonians 2:13, by saying:

        “Read 11 thessalonians 2: 13 about we WERE chosen TO SALVATION”.

        It does NOT state what you say it states.

        It states:

        “…God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”

        You MISSED the word “THROUGH”.

        YOU were not chosen for salvation. YOU is not the issue. It is telling you HOW you were saved. THROUGH a PROCESS…and guess what? Sanctification comes AFTER you believe, not before.

        And your famous EPHESIANS 1:4, to also does NOT say that YOU were chosen, either.

        Ephesians 1:4
        4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

        That verse does NOT say that they were CHOSEN before the foundation of the world PERIOD.

        What was chosen was how Christians are to BEHAVE, aka, THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME BEFORE HIM IN LOVE.

        I sure wish that you Calvinists could read a sentence, as how sentence structure works, and understand how a sentence works. But then again, you are not a Calvinist, huh? Could have fooled me!

        One last thing…You had said:

        “you probably do NOT believe THAT once we are saved it is FOREVER complete”

        You are 100% CORRECT. I do not.


        Hebrews 3:1, 12, 16-19
        1 Wherefore, holy BRETHREN, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

        12 TAKE HEED, BRETHREN, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in DEPARTING from the living God.

        16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

        17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

        18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

        19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.


        Ed Chapman

      3. Oooohhhh my dear person YOU ARE so typical of satanic deception and hate filled agenda seeking whom you may devour. You twist scripture and do not know rightly dividing.
        I don’t mix the Jews and gentiles. Jesus came to the Jews — but thank God that HIS gifts and callings are without repentance. He will keep HIS promises to the remnant of Israel. It will be a joyful day. You cannot take away ALL l have in the Lord Jesus Christ and the FINISHED work HE accomplished for me. Thank God you are NOT my judge. I have ALL l need in HIM and lam co heirs with Christ. He sees me in heaven even now. God sees me COMPLETE IN HIM. Iam looking up for the soon rapture to meet the ONE WHO sees me COMPLETE in HIS righteousness

      4. Sarah,

        Satanic deception, huh? Interesting. I just showed you that you don’t know how to read scripture, because you LEFT OUT A LOT OF WORDS in your own references. But I’m the one being deceptive? Hardly.

        You come HERE with your hate. So what you are doing is exactly what you accuse others of.

        You might want to first READ THE WHOLE BIBLE before twisting one verse here, one verse there, such as Ephesians 1:4, and 2 Thes 2:13, and Romans 3:10, etc. Those are Calvins FAVORITE PET VERSES.

        You say that you don’t mix Jews/Gentiles. Yes, you do. If you didn’t, then you would NOT use John 6 as a means to say that God must draw YOU in order to be saved. That was a JEW ONLY statement. Not a Gentile statement.

        You are the one not rightly dividing the word of God.

        Ed Chapman

      5. I thought that when l told you ALL l HAVE in the Lord Jesus Christ — ALL the blessings l have being God sees me COMPLETE IN HIM — l thought THAT as a GREAT man of God, you would say THAT you ARE so happy and blessed to meet another believer in the Lord Jesus Christ .
        BUT sadly you couldn’t do it.
        I pray THAT God will open your eyes to discover the blessings we have IN HIM.
        Perhaps I Corinthians 13: 4-7 would help you.
        Don’t be so disrespectful to a 78 yr old lady. Iam looking up for the rapture and l pray God will help you look up as a SAVED person and complete in HIM

      6. Sarah,

        With all due respect to your age, you come across as RUDE, not as a believer in Christ. You bring to the table Calvinism doctrine, while stating that you are not a Calvinist. Who can tell? Just believe the Bible, you say. I do. Just not your Calvinist interpretation of verses.

        Heather tried to converse with you, regarding your Calvinist interpretations, and you mocked her.

        Then you tell me that I’m Satanic. So if you think I am going to be happy with you with that attitude, not gonna happen.

        Acts 15:
        37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

        38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

        39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

        40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

        I’ll be 60 my next birthday, so you are not as older than me than you realize. My parents taught me to respect my elders, because they are supposed to be wise, lived life already, been there done that, bought the T-Shirt. Where is your T-shirt at?

        Ed Chapman

      7. Sarah,

        Submitted for a minor correction:

        In my last, I had said:

        “And this is PAUL FOR US GENTILES:

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


        Change verse 21 to verse
        16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

        So, Jesus, the minister to the Jews, Paul, the minister to the Gentiles. That’s what I meant to say. So, John 6 was TO THE JEWS. Not to you.

        Ed Chapman

      8. One more comment added to the one above —- l do pray sincerely that you ARE saved by the FINISHED work of Jesus for salvation. However you probably do NOT believe THAT once we are saved it is FOREVER complete

      9. Wow, Sarah, you sound like a delightful person. So glad you decided to stop by Sot 101 to share your encouraging, Christianly comments. We are the richer for it. God bless!

      10. Sarah says “I thought that when l told you ALL l HAVE in the Lord Jesus Christ — ALL the blessings l have being God sees me COMPLETE IN HIM — l thought THAT as a GREAT man of God, you would say THAT you ARE so happy and blessed to meet another believer in the Lord Jesus Christ… BUT sadly you couldn’t do it.. Don’t be so disrespectful to a 78 yr old lady…”

        Sarah, I’m jumping in here for Ed (not that you need me to, Ed, I’m sure you’ve got it covered, but I wanted to comment anyway). What makes you think that Ed would be happy and blessed to meet someone who is acting so abrasive, rude, and aggressive?

        And with all due respect to your age, true respect is earned, not just given automatically. Yes, a certain level of basic respect should be given to all people regardless. But above and beyond that, especially when it comes to conversations/debates/arguments, respect is earned, based on how you treat other people.

        And the way you’re treating other people comes across very insulting, judgmental, and un-Christian-like, so it’s no surprise that people are responding to you as such. You came here with guns blazing from the very beginning, and so you shouldn’t be shocked that others dive for cover or fight back, instead of being happy to meet you.

        And I’m glad you’re looking for the rapture. Me too. But if it’s coming as soon as we hope it is, it might be wise for us to search our hearts and evaluate the way we treat God’s other children, before we’re standing before the Lord face to face. God bless. (And amen, come, Lord Jesus.)

      11. Also, Sarah said “Read 11 thessalonians 2: 13 about we WERE chosen TO SALVATION.”

        I see that Ed already commented on it (good job), but I’ll add my two cents also.

        “from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth”…

        If we look up the word “saved” from this verse in Strong’s concordance with Vine’s Expository Dictionary (and once again, it’s about how we are saved, not about electing certain people to salvation), we see that it’s not about eternal, heaven-or-hell soul-salvation after all. It’s about God choosing to spare (save) believers from the end-times wrath He will pour out on those who reject Him. Because we have faith in Jesus, we will be spared during the tribulation/end times. And considering that 2 Thessalonians is about the end times, this interpretation fits.

        Many times that the word “saved/salvation” is used in the Bible, it doesn’t have to do with eternal/soul-salvation but with being saved from something else. We must always consider the context and the original, intended meaning of the words.

        And you, Sarah, also say “Read Isaiah 45 carefully and then tell me there’s no verse THAT says HE is ABSOLUTELY SOVEREIGN.” I don’t think anyone here is debating that He is sovereign, but I think we have different definitions of sovereign and different ideas of how God exercises His sovereignty. And it makes all the difference.

      12. Heather,

        Yes, exactly. This is why salvation can be lost… because in essence, salvation is future. We are in the promise. The promise isn’t fulfilled yet. And notice, that the process in 2 Thes refetence is…our belief. And Hebrews 3 warns us about falling into unbelief.

        I can promise you a piece of cake, but until you actually get that cake, it’s only a promise.

        It ain’t over until the fat angel sings!

        Last day. Hence, Jesus saying, “I will raise him up on the last day…”

        We can screw up our own salvation, just by changing our minds.

        And this is why I disagree with Brian about this.

        The finished work of Jesus isn’t exactly finished until all is fulfilled. We ain’t there yet. The jots and tittles are still present in THE PROPHETS and THE PENTETOUK.

        Ed Chapman

      13. Ed, Personally, I believe that salvation (if we are a true Spirit-filled believer) cannot be lost. I think this “future salvation” isn’t at all about the condition of our souls, about where we are going in the end, but it’s about the fact that true believers will be spared from the tribulation wrath. It’s a different kind of salvation. The tribulation is in the future, meaning that salvation from the tribulation is in the future. But I believe eternal life is secured for us when we believe (truly believe/commit), and this eternal soul-salvation will be fully realized in the end, and it cannot be lost.

        If it could be lost, why would we be warned merely to not grieve or quench the Spirit who seals us? Why wouldn’t we be warned to not make Him flee or leave us? At what point would be go from grieving/quenching Him to losing Him? How could we quench Him if we lost Him (there would be no Spirit there to quench then)? Does God not know us better than we know ourselves, and so wouldn’t He know who truly believes and who doesn’t? Is He tricked into giving the Spirit to any old person who claims to believe, even when they don’t?

        I’ve gone round and round on this in my own mind/research, and I always come back to true believers can’t lose salvation. We can be unbelievers who trick ourselves into thinking we are saved, or we can be believers who think we “left the faith,” maybe during an especially hard time in our lives (but over time, the Spirit inside us will continue to call us back into fellowship, even if we resist for awhile).

        But true believers cannot lose salvation. We can lose fellowship, blessings, guidance from/sensitivity to the Spirit, and eternal rewards when we drift from or rebel against God, but we can’t lose salvation. Just my thoughts on this. God bless!

      14. Heather,

        Read Hebrews 3:1, 12, and the rest. Then re-read the whole chapter. Our salvation is based on our belief…our faith. So it can be lost.

        What you are presenting is that the saved person was not saved to BEGIN WITH, negating out free will.

        You are saying that a believer has no free will to leave God. He’s stuck, like it or not.

        That’s not how Hebrews 3 presents it. Especially when your consider the words, “holy brethren” in verse 1, and 12.

        Ed Chapman

      15. Hi Heather,

        A disciple can be cut off, cast away and thrown into the fire.

        John 15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

        Rom 11:19-22 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

        Christians are the ones who have… “escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Pet. 1:5). But….

        “..if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet. 2:20-22).

      16. Ed, Like I said, I’ve gone round and round on this, and I always come back to true believers can’t lose salvation, no matter what angle I look at it from. I do not expect all Christians to agree on this, nor do I expect to be able to change anyone else’s mind about it. Nor will I die on this hill. I am always trying to keep a teachable spirit about this, but I keep coming back to true Spirit-filled believers can’t lose salvation. That’s my view, but it’s okay with me that you see it differently. God bless. 🙂

      17. Heather,

        Soooooo, what do you make of Hebrews 3:1, 12?

        Do you not consider it?


      18. Heb 3:1, 12 are very clear. These “holy brethren” who are “partakers of the heavenly calling” had been “sanctified” because that’s what “holy” means, it means they are “sanctified.”

        Only those who are “in Christ” are sanctified! “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:11). Paul calls the Jews who were NOT “in Christ” … LOST (Rom 10:1).

        (Heb 2:10-12)
        10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who SANCTIFIES and those who are being SANCTIFIED are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them BRETHREN, 12 saying:

        “I will declare Your name to MY BRETHREN;
        In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

      19. Aidan,

        Now read verse 12 of Hebrews 3, addressed to those HOLY BRETHREN.


      20. Heather,

        And to piggyback from Aidan,

        Luke 13…a Christan not producing fruit…

        Luke 13
        6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

        7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

        8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

        9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down

      21. Hi Aidan and Ed, I appreciate you both sharing your views, but I have no desire for you to try to convince me of your position right now. My mind is full enough of many other stressors right now that I won’t take this issue on too. I am respecting your right to have your own opinions on this, please respect my right to mine.

        Besides, I do not think this is an issue worth fighting over or one we should force others to take our side on (to me, it’s a secondary issue), but it’s one we should all consider on our own as we read God’s Word. And considering that I do that regularly on my own, for years, I’m okay and don’t need to discuss it. Usually when this topic comes up, I stay out of it. But I brought it up now as a response to a direct comment/question from Ed, to offer up the flipside to his views.

        You can both talk to each other about it, if you want, but I’ll be bowing out now. God bless!

      22. Heb 3:12 “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”

        Yep! I’ve known about the context of (vs 12) that he is writing to Christians “holy brethren” (vs. 1) for a long time now. Falling away from God by developing an evil heart of unbelief is no secondary issue as far as I’m concerned. In the very next verse he warns them about being “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13).

      23. Ed, I’m starting to get worried! We’ve both reached the age of 59, and now we are starting to agree on something? Is this the start of senility?

      24. I don’t know, Ed,… but I think ORTHODOX SPS has “fallen away” from SOT101… Lol🤣🤣🤣!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      25. Aidan and Ed, Watching you two go back and forth like this makes me think of Waldorf and Statler from the Muppets. I can almost hear the laughing. 🙂

  15. In context, John 6:44 our Lord is referring to those who were present during His incarnation. The Father was drawing the lost sheep from the house of Israel to Christ. In John 12: 32 Jesus states “if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”. There is no limit whatsoever to the offering of salvation to all mankind. That is why in the Great commission the apostles were commanded to preach the gospel to “every creature.” (Mark 16: 15)

    If the gospel is offered to all it is available for all. If it is offered but not actually available it is a false gospel. Even Calvin himself knew this. In his commentary on “Therefore, forasmuch as no man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men;” (Calvin’s Commentaries, Acts 2: 14-21)

    Modern day Calvinism is not authentic 16th century reformed theology, it is a revisionist position based upon the 17th century teachings of Puritan John Owen and the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    1. Simon Peter Sutherland,

      Hey Simon, it’s been a while.

      If what you quoted from Calvin is true, then based on the Acts 2:14-21 reference, I must even disagree with Calvin’s statement.

      Acts 2 was Pentecost for the Jews in Jerusalem. The so-called “Gospel” was not yet offered to the Gentiles at that time.

      While I agree that the gospel is open to every living creature that we call human, I disagree on the timing of WHEN the Gentiles were to enter in. Acts 2 was not that time.

      Ed Chapman

  16. Amended:

    In context, in John 6:44 our Lord is referring to those who were present during His incarnation. The Father was drawing the lost sheep from the house of Israel to Christ. In John 12: 32 Jesus states “if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”. There is no limit whatsoever to the offering of salvation to all mankind. That is why in the Great commission the apostles were commanded to preach the gospel to “every creature.” (Mark 16: 15)

    If the gospel is offered to all it is available for all. If it is offered but not actually available it is a false gospel. Even Calvin himself knew this. In his commentary on Acts 2: 21 he writes, “Therefore, forasmuch as no man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men;” (Calvin’s Commentaries, Acts 2: 14-21)

    Modern day 5 Point Calvinism is not authentic 16th century reformed theology, it is a revisionist position based upon the 17th century teachings of Puritan John Owen and the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    1. Simon,

      Acts 2:14-21…I’d sure like to know what Calvin was thinking when he did his commentary on that reference, because based on what you quoted him as saying, “Therefore, forasmuch as no man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men;”, that’s certainly not what I get.

      Romans 11:25
      For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

      As far as I understand Acts 2:14-21, the “timing” of WHEN Acts 2:14-21 happens is approx about the time that Romans 11:25 takes place…then end of days…for the Jews.

      My commentary of Acts 2:14-21, my own words, is:

      Peter just mentioned the 6th Seal here, as mentioned in the last part of Revelation Chapter 6, IN CONJUNCTION WITH the 144000 Jews being SEALED with the Holy Spirit in the beginning part of Revelation chapter 7. They, too, will be speaking in tongues, etc., as Acts 2 states.

      That is very important to note, and why? Because Jesus mentions the 6th Seal, as mentioned in the last part of Revelation 6 as well. He did not mention the 144000, as Peter did (SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT/SPEAKING IN TONGUES, etc.), but he did mention the LATTER PART of Revelation 7, whereas Peter just mentions the first part of Revelation 7. To wit:

      Matthew 24:29
      Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

      Mark 13:24
      But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

      Luke 21:25
      And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

      And here is Revelation 6:

      Revelation 6:12
      And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

      And here is Peter’s references to Joel:

      Joel 2:10
      The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

      Joel 2:31
      The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.

      Joel 3:15
      The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

      WHY do I concentrate so much on the 6th Seal? Because that is where Jesus STOPS in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. There is absolutely NO MENTION of the 7th Seal of Revelation chapter 8-16. HOWEVER, Jesus does mention the LATTER PART of Revelation 7 right after the 6th Seal. The Rapture.

      And why is my mention of that so important?

      Because Jesus never mentions the 7th Seal of Revelation, which begins in Revelation chapter 8, AT ALL. There is no discussion of it whatsoever. Therefore, 70 AD cannot be the eschatology that preterists claim, because, according to Jesus, believers are RAPTURED out before the opening of the 7th Seal.

      Acts 2:17
      17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

      Note the word, “your”. That would be Jewish heretage, not Gentile.

      Besides, Peter didn’t realize that Gentiles were even allowed until Acts 10.

      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; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

      Therefore, in Acts 2, he certainly would not be discussing entry to salvation for ALL MEN…just all men of the Jews. Acts 10 is about 8 chapters from Acts 2.

      So what Peter was doing by discussing Acts 2:14-21, is by telling them that THIS SAME THING will happen AGAIN, in the latter days for other Jews, in conjunction with the 6th Seal of Joel/Revelation 6.

      Ed Chapman

      1. Calvin’s writing is full of contradictions, so I would never take what he said at face value. Somewhere else he will contradict it or qualify it or add a different layer that changes it. I can see where Calvinists get it from.

      2. Heather,

        Yep! This just goes to show that John Calvin wasn’t as learned as he makes himself out to be.


  17. A sign of being a great scholar is the ability to change one’s mind and improve one’s system of thought. Calvin had that ability, as did Luther and many other great theologians. In this light I would ask you to demonstrate the alleged contradictions from Calvin’s writings?

    1. Simon Peter,

      That quotidian be great, if John Calvin were a student, aka disciple.

      John Calvin was the Guru that knew it all.

      He was the teacher that had people killed for disagreeing.

      How many great scholars, besides Saul, before he was Paul, had Christians killed, over a Doctrine disagreement?

      After Paul was converted… how many did he kill… for the righteous cause?

      Calvin was that well respected?

  18. “How many great scholars, besides Saul, before he was Paul, had Christians killed, over a Doctrine disagreement?”

    Are you saying John Calvin had Christians killed? If so, I assume you are referring to Michael Servetus (c 1511–1553)? If so I would add that Michael Servetus was unorthodox and not defined as a Christian.

    To clarify, John Calvin did not have Servetus killed, Calvin did not have the authority to have him burned. Calvin was merely a witness in his trial and appealed to the authorities to not have him burned.

    I would like to see the proof for the alleged contradictions of Calvin.

    1. Simon Peter,

      Well there ya go defendingJohn Calvin for having people killed.

      I could care less who is… what is word…unorthodox?

      That gives no one the right to kill the guy.

      So what you are saying is that the orthodox folks had him killed.

      I guess that makes it ok, huh?

      But you are being a bit misleading by exonerating John Calvin. Both were mortal enemies, in which John Calvin wanted him dead, court, or no court.

      “Although Calvin insisted with the rest that Servetus must die, he urged that in mercy Servetus be executed by the sword, not by burning, but the Council rejected the suggestion.”

      So much for the suggestion of Jesus to love your enemies, so good to those who… well, you know the words.

      Ed Chapman

      1. Somehow people tend to equate being a so-called “great scholar/theologian” makes one a Christian…it doesn’t!

        I don’t see how Calvin was either.

    2. Simon Peter [“won’t you put those nets down, follow me I’ll lead you out of this town, to a place where no boat has ever been, I will make you a fisher of men”… Can anyone name that tune? 😉]

      Anyway, you asked about the contradictions in Calvin’s writing. Here’s a (very trimmed down) post I once wrote about it. Take it or leave it as you will, and you can have the last word about it:

      One of the big problems I have with John Calvin’s theology (with Calvinism) is that he contradicts himself. Honestly, I had almost no problems with the first four chapters of the first book of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, other than that he paints with very broad brushstrokes about how all people respond to God the same way. But other than that, it was fine enough. But then Calvin goes and ruins it at the end of book 1 chapter 5 section 14, when he begins to talk about how the evidence of God in His creation is insufficient to lead us to God (Romans 1:20 says otherwise) and how our own minds can’t perceive it without first being given faith from God. This is when he slowly starts to alter the Bible’s truth and contradict himself.

      For starters, in chapter 2 section 1, he says “For, until men feel that they owe everything to God … they will never submit to him in voluntary obedience …” He calls it “voluntary obedience,” making it seem like we make real choices and have some sort of control over ourselves, our behaviors, our thoughts, etc. But then he goes on to say (his own words):

      “The counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” (book 1, chapter 16, section 8).

      “… everything done in the world is according to His decree…” (book 1, chapter 16, section 6).

      “… 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 much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God] permits – nay, unless in so far as he COMMANDS…” (book 1, chapter 17, section 11, added emphasis)

      “[Man] cannot even give utterance except in so far as God pleases…” (book 1, chapter 16, section 6).

      “… it is certain that not a drop of rains falls without the express command of God” (book 1, chapter 16, section 5) and “… no wind ever rises or rages without His special command” (section 7).

      Calvin goes on and on about how we have no control, no ability to act or even speak on our own, saying that God controls every action of His creation, even all the evil and tragedies. And this contradicts the idea of “voluntary obedience.” In one place, he talks like we have control over ourselves, but in another place, he talks like we have no control. He talks out of both sides of his mouth and expects us to accept it. (When Calvinists use words like voluntary, choice, free-will, etc., they mean something far different than what we think they mean, different than the way we commonly understand/define these words. And that’s just how they want it. They want us to think they are saying something they aren’t, in order to hook us in deeper into Calvinism.)

      There are lots of other times when Calvin makes it sound like he believes that mankind makes real decisions, that we have some sort of control/influence over our thoughts, behaviors, choices, etc., but he totally negates/contradicts these with the above “God controls everything” statements:

      #1: In chapter 17 section 3, he says that we should “inquire and learn from Scripture what is pleasing to God, and then, under the guidance of the Spirit, endeavor to attain it.” [So here it’s “endeavor to attain it,” as if we can choose to do it, as if we have control/influence over it … but in other places it’s “the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” and “… everything done in the world is according to His decree…” and “[we cannot] move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God]…commands,” etc.]

      #2: In chapter 15 section 1, Calvin basically says that we can’t blame God for mankind’s problems or try to excuse ourselves for the problems we cause. He says we must “diligently guard” against the “depraved procedure” of blaming God and trying to excuse ourselves. [So we must “diligently guard” ourselves… but “the counsels and wills of men are so governed…” and “everything done in the world is according to His decree” and so on and so forth.]

      #3: In chapter 2 section 2, Calvin says that the pious man stands in awe of God’s justness and thereby “curbs himself.” And in chapter 4 section 3: “…[men] choosing rather to indulge their carnal propensities than to curb them …” [So man can supposedly “curb” himself, and he can choose between indulging or curbing his sinful desires, but “the counsels and wills of men are so governed…”, etc.]

      #4: In chapter 3 section 1: Calvin says that primitive man “chooses to worship wood and stone…” [So it’s “choice” here, but later it’s “the counsels and wills of men are so governed …”, etc.]

      #5: In chapter 3 section 3: “When the stupid hardness of heart, which the wicked eagerly court as a means of despising God …” [Here we “eagerly court,” as if we desire/choose to do anything on our own, but later, our “counsels and wills… are so governed…”, etc.]

      #6: Likewise, in chapter 4, section 1, Calvin says that men “of their own accord court darkness, nay, bewitch themselves with perverse, empty show.” [“Of their own accord”, and yet “the counsels and wills of men are so governed…”, etc.]

      #7: In chapter 4 section 2: “The expression of David ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,’ is primarily applied to those who … stifle the light of nature, and intentionally stupefy themselves.” [“Intentionally stupefy themselves”, but our “counsels and wills are so governed…”, etc. Do you see a deceptive pattern here, trying to sound like he is teaching that we make real choices and have a level of control over ourselves, while REALLY believing that we have no control, that God preplans, causes, decided, controls everything we do?]

      #8: In chapter 5 section 15, Calvin says: “It were, indeed, a strange defence for man to pretend he has no ears to hear [to hear God]…” He says that we are guilty of “corrupting the seed of divine knowledge so wonderously deposited in [our] minds” and we “prevent it from bearing good and genuine fruit.” [But “the counsels and wills of men are so governed…”, etc. And if God predetermined that we would act in such a way that it wouldn’t bear fruit, then what exactly are we preventing? How can we prevent something that God predestined wouldn’t happen anyway? Doesn’t make sense. And it’s a contradiction.]

      #9: In chapter 11 section 1, he warns about the dangers of “clinging to [our] own speculations.” [Our “own” speculations, but “the counsels and wills of men are so governed…”, etc.]

      Here are some more contradictions, on different notes:

      #10: In chapter 11 section 4, Calvin states “Whence had idols their origin, but from the will of man?” But in chapter 18 section 2, Calvin says, “… the will of God is said to be the cause of all things.” So by whose Will were idols created: man’s or God’s? Plus, as you’ll see next, Calvin doesn’t believe in free-will, but here – when it comes to who created idols – he tries to blame it on the will of man, even though he says that God’s Will is the real cause of all things.

      #11: In book 2 chapter 2 section 8, Calvin condemns the use of the term “free-will.” And he says, “If any one, then, chooses to make use of this term … but I am unwilling to use it myself; and others if they will take my advice, will do well to abstain from it.” But as we’ve already seen, Calvin believes God controls and causes everything, even our utterances, and so therefore there can be no free-will. But then Calvin claims he has the freedom to will himself to not use the term “free-will”. Ha-ha-ha! What irony! What contradiction! And he says that other people could “choose to make use of this term,” but that they would do well to take his advice and not use it – AS IF they had any control over themselves or any ability to make decisions about their will (something Calvin totally denies is possible). You can’t have it both ways, Calvin. Make up your mind!

      [The only way Calvin affirms the idea of free-will is by using it to make us responsible for sin, as if we somehow willingly sin, even though, as Calvin claims, God is really the one who controls all sin and wickedness and rebellion and unbelief. Calvinists still deal with this messy contradiction – believing that God causes all evil and unbelief but saying that He is not responsible for it, that we are still somehow responsible for our sin and unbelief even though God caused it and created us that way. And the only answer they can come up with to this contradiction is “Well, the Bible teaches both God’s sovereignty and mankind’s responsibility, so we have to believe both, even if we can’t understand it.” But the problem is that Calvinists misunderstand what sovereignty means, how God works sovereignly in the world. They say it has to mean that He preplans/causes all things, but then they run into the problem of who’s responsible for evil.]

      #12: In chapter 5 section 1, Calvin says that the impression of God in creation is so bright that “none, however dull and illiterate, can plead ignorance as their excuse” for not believing in God. And in chapter 5 section 2, he says that all of us can see God in His creation, that it’s clear to all: “It is plain that the Lord has furnished every man with abundant proofs of his wisdom.” So here he makes it sound like all men should be able to see God in creation and, consequently, to believe, like we all have the ability, the choice.

      This contradicts not only his idea that “the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined,” etc., but it also contradicts what he says later about the evidence of God in His creation being insufficient to lead us to God and that our own minds can’t perceive it without first being given faith from God, book 1 chapter 5 section 14: “Wherefore, the apostle, in the very place where he says that the worlds are images of invisible things, adds that it is by faith we understand that they were framed by the word of God… we have no eyes to perceive it until they are enlightened through faith by internal revelation from God. When Paul says that that which may be known of God is manifested by the creation of the world, he does not mean such a manifestation as may be comprehended by the wit of man (Romans 1:19); on the contrary he shows that it has no further effect than to render us inexcusable (Acts 17:27).”

      [Basically, he says earlier that all men should be able to see and believe, that there is no excuse for not, but later he says that God doesn’t reveal Himself in nature so that we can see it, understand it, and believe in Him, but so that He can hold us guilty for not seeing Him, for rejecting Him – even though, in Calvinism, it’s up to Him whether or not we see/believe. And if the non-elect reject Him, it’s because He caused them to reject Him, even after providing them with “proofs” of His existence meant to lead them to belief. So full of contradictions.]

      #13: Along these lines, not only does Calvin says that God puts enough evidence of Himself in creation so that all men may see Him and seek Him, but in chapter 14 section 1, he says “… yet so sluggish and grovelling is our intellect, that it was necessary he [God] should be more clearly depicted [in creation], in order that the faithful might not fall away to Gentile fictions…. So that we might not wander to and fro in uncertainty.” [And yet, “the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.”] And in chapter 6 section 1, Calvin says that God gave revelation of Himself in nature (paraphrased) “in order to bring the whole human race under the same condemnation.” So which is it? Did God reveal Himself in nature to draw us to Him, to keep the elect from falling, or to condemn us? [Not to mention that if the faithful fall away, it’s because Calvi-god caused it to happen because it was his Will, and so why would he bother to try to stop them from falling away if that’s what He wanted/planned to have happen? It doesn’t make sense. Contradictions.]

      [This thing is, Calvinists have no problem saying that God gives proof of His existence to all people and calls all people to believe and wants all people to be saved but that He still makes the non-elect unable to respond/believe, and then He holds them responsible for their unbelief. They would say this isn’t a contradiction. And do you know why? Because they change the word “contradiction” to “mystery.” Voila, no contradictions in Calvinism anymore! (This reminds me of a question Lincoln once asked that went like this: “If we call a dog’s tail a ‘leg’, how many legs does a dog have?” The audience replies, “Five.” Lincoln says, “No, the correct answer is four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”)]

      #14: In chapter 5 section 8, when talking about God being seen in all things and how few there are who acknowledge it, Calvin says “Still, neither [God’s] power nor his wisdom is shrouded in darkness.” So here Calvin says that God’s power and wisdom is not a mystery … yet later he clearly teaches that God’s sovereign Will (regarding salvation) IS a mystery, that it’s unclear, that we can’t understand why He chooses some and not others or how He can cause evil/unbelief yet hold us responsible for it. Yet here, in this section, Calvin says that God’s power and wisdom are not shrouded in darkness, that we can all readily see Him at work in the world, enough to find Him. So which is it? Is He or is He not shrouded in darkness? Is He or is He not clear to all? Contradictions.

      #15: Calvin calls God “just” for punishing the wicked [chapter 10, section 1: “… he is the just punisher of the wicked, especially when they continue obstinate notwithstanding of all his forbearance”], even though, in Calvinism, He is the cause/controller of that wickedness and obstinance (“the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” and “[we cannot] move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God] permits – nay, unless in so far as he commands …” and “… the will of God is said to be the cause of all things,” etc.). Is this not a contradiction? But once again, switch the word to “mystery” and – voila! – no more contradictions!

      #16: In chapter 14, section 13, Calvin says “… let us invoke the help of God, and attempt nothing without trusting in him…” And yet in chapter 17 section 4, he says that Solomon “derides the stupidity of those who presume to undertake anything without God, as if they were not ruled by his hand…” So which is it: Can we attempt to do things on our own or are we ruled completely by His hand?

      #17: In chapter 14 section 15, Calvin calls Satan the “adversary of God,” saying that Satan aims at the extinction of God’s glory. And yet “… 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 much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God] permits – nay, unless in so far as he commands …” And “[God is] the most perfect cause of all things…” And “everything done in the world is according to His decree”. And so therefore, God is causing Satan to try to extinguish His glory, for His glory. Contradiction!

      [What was it again that Jesus said in Matthew 12:25 about a kingdom divided against itself? That it cannot stand, that it will be laid waste. And what does James 1:8 say about a double-minded man? That he is unstable in all his ways. And yet Calvi-god actively works against himself and contradicts himself all the time.]

      #18: In chapter 17 section 5, Calvin addresses the dilemma of “If God controls us and we do the evil He wills us to do, why is He not accountable for it? Why are we?” And about the actions of wicked people, he says “I deny that they serve the will of God.” He says that we cannot say that “he who has been carried away by a wicked mind are performing service on the order of God” because the evil person is “only following his own malignant desires,” not acting in obedience.

      And yet… “the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” and “[we cannot] move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God] permits – nay, unless in so far as he commands …”, etc. And in section 4, he goes on to say that even “prudence and folly are instruments of divine dispensation,” that God either causes us to be prudent and safe or to be foolish and to bring disaster on ourselves. But now he says that wicked men doing wicked things are not controlled by God. Contradiction!

      #19: And Calvin says that “Obedience is when we are instructed in his will and hasten in the direction he calls” (chapter 17 section 5). Doesn’t needing to be “instructed in his will” imply that there are things that happen outside of His Will? Yet according to Calvin, as we already saw, “… the will of God is said to be the cause of all things.” Contradiction. And if everything that happens is because God preplanned, willed, caused it, then isn’t everything and everyone technically acting in obedience to Him anyway, even those who are wicked and break His commands? And so why should we bother trying to be obedient if everything – even disobedience – is actually obedience to His Will? Contradiction.

      [Basically, Calvin’s theology is “Everything that happens is done by the Will and hand of God. We can’t do anything, even evil things, unless God wills/causes it to happen. But if we do evil, it’s not God’s Will because only obedience to the Word is God’s Will, even though God controls all we do and we can’t do any evil unless God wills/causes it. And if you don’t agree with me then you are a bad, unhumble Christian who dishonors God, and I’ll have you burned at the stake with green wood that takes longer to burn.”]

      As Calvin says in other places, in addition to the previous “God causes everything” statements:

      – God completely controls and causes every little thing that happens, “down to the minutest detail, down even to a sparrow.” (book 1 chapter 16 section 5)

      – “Therefore, since God claims for himself the right of governing the world, a right unknown to us, let it be our law of modesty and soberness to acquiesce in his supreme authority regarding his will as our only rule of justice, and the most perfect cause of all things…” (book 1 chapter 17 section 2. If God causes all things, even everything we do, then if we do not “acquiesce,” wouldn’t it be because He caused it? And if He willed to cause it, how could we even attempt to do otherwise? Advising people about how to live is a contradiction when you think that God preplans/controls how we live.)

      – And we commit blasphemy if we “refuse to admit that every event which happens in the world is governed by the incomprehensible counsel of God.” (book 1 chapter 17 section 2)

      – And it is “insipid” to say God is just the originator of all things, but not the controller of all things. (book 1 chapter 16 section 3)

      So … everything that happens in this world is “by His Will,” yet there is still some need to be “instructed in His Will,” as if anything can happen outside of His Will! Contradiction.

      “Hi, my name’s John Calvin. And I’m a schizophrenic megalomaniac with irrational thinking, delusions of grandeur, and a messianic complex. Would you be my disciples?”

      #20: And in a grand display of contradiction, in chapter 18 section 2, Calvin says, “The sum of the whole is this, – since the will of God is said to be the cause of all things, all the counsels and actions of men must be held to be governed by his providence; so that he not only exerts his power in the elect, who are guided by the Holy Spirit, but also forces the reprobate to do him service.”

      Hold your horses there, mister …

      Remember that he previously said “I deny that [wicked men] serve the will of God. For we cannot say that he who is carried away by a wicked mind performs service on the order of God …”

      But now he says “the reprobate do him service”!?!

      If that’s not a contradiction, I don’t know what is!

      Calvin says God controls all evil when he’s trying to uphold God’s “sovereignty” (by that, he means “micromanaging control”), but he denies that God controls all evil when he’s trying to figure out who to “blame” for it.

      “Confused, inconsistent theologian, table of one!”


      Calvinism is so full of contradiction, nonsense, and hogwash. And yet most Calvinists eat it up because they think Calvinism is simply about upholding God’s sovereignty. And yet in attempting to uphold their messed-up, unbiblical view of God’s sovereignty, they are doing great damage to the Gospel, Jesus’s sacrifice, God’s character, His love and grace and justice and righteousness and trustworthiness, people’s hope and salvation and faith, etc.

      You know, one thing we learned in my graduate school psychology classes was that the more words people use, the less truthful they are. And I think Calvin’s 1000+ pages of trying to describe his theology are 1000+ pages of trying to make nonsense into sense, trying to clean up the messes his wrong assumptions and bad views created. And since that’s not possible, he has to constantly add more words and ideas to try to make his errors and inconsistencies and contradictions sound reasonable and biblical.

      By comparison, the Bible’s book of John – which pretty much contains the foundational things we need to know about mankind and Jesus and the path to salvation – is only about a couple dozen pages long. Interesting!

      The Bible nicely explains the gospel in one verse (John 3:16), but Calvinists have to write hundreds of pages and spend months and months studying the writings of Calvinist theologians to even slightly understand it. And even then, in the end they have to resort to “Well, God is so far above us that we can’t understand Him, and so we just have to accept these ‘mysteries’ and live with the tension.” (Hogwash!)

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you do not see the grave theological errors in Calvinism, then you either don’t really understand Calvinism or you don’t really understand the Bible!

      ——end of post——

      Okay, I’m done now. Like I said, you can have the last word. But I at least wanted to back up my statement that Calvin has contradictions. I don’t usually make uneducated, unthought-out comments or ones I can’t back up. I usually have a lot of reason and thought and research behind what I say. God bless!

    3. Simon:
      To clarify, John Calvin did not have Servetus killed, Calvin did not have the authority to have him burned.
      John Calvin (Written to William Farel – 13 February 1546)
      If he [Servetus] comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.
      Every honesty historian knows – John Calvin’s authority was indeed sufficient in that – and and other exercises of authority – during his rule over Geneva.
      Servetus was daring enough to write comments in a copy of Calvin’s institutes – and mail those comments to Calvin to read. He obviously did not consider the degree to which Calvin would be infuriated.
      And Servetus must have realized after he was captured by Calvin’s magistrates within Geneva – that he had seriously underestimated Calvin’s demeanor as a follower of Christ.

      1. Br.d,

        “John Calvin (Written to William Farel – 13 February 1546)
        If he [Servetus] comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.”


        There is no doubt about the letter, or Calvin’s role. However I would like to add that Servetus was arrested on April 4, 1553 by the Roman Catholic authorities and imprisoned in Vienne. Three days later he escaped from prison. At that time Calvin was only a preacher/minister in Geneva and Servetus was going to head for Italy and stopped at Geneva and he attended a service where Calvin was preaching and he was arrested after the service.

        I make no defence of Calvin’s involvement in the execution of Servetus, I am only highlighting other points. Servetus was an escaped convict and had already been arrested and imprisoned prior to going to Geneva.

        “To clarify, John Calvin did not have Servetus killed, Calvin did not have the authority to have him burned. Calvin was merely a witness in his trial and appealed to the authorities to not have him burned.”

        So to clarify my meaning, the authorities in Geneva did the actual burning, Calvin did have conversation with Servetus and pleaded with him to change his mind, but Servetus would not. Calvin appealed for the authorities to have him beheaded rather than burned. The very fact that he had to appeal and his appeal was not granted means that his so called authority was restricted.

        Granted, burning people at the stake is none of Christ, and facts do not make what Calvin did right, but they show that he was willing in some sense for Servetus to repent and turn. But in reality, Calvin’s involvement is no better than the Roman Catholic Churches execution of Protestants or Cromwells wars.

        Any further thoughts?

      2. Simon Peter,
        Seems like you are saying that Calvin was a product of his times. That seems like a good argument, except some might say that he, like others, are without excuse because they were not ignorant of the word of God and loving your enemy.

        Isn’t that the whole argument here? Will he not be beaten with more stripes than those who were ignorant?

      3. Aidan McManus,

        “Seems like you are saying that Calvin was a product of his times. That seems like a good argument, except some might say that he, like others, are without excuse because they were not ignorant of the word of God and loving your enemy.”

        I am not a Calvinist so I don’t feel any need to defend him. So of course, I think Calvin was a product of his time, as we all are. In America, people, including preachers and Christians, carry guns and are ready to use them. Does that have any ethical warrant in the New Testament?

        In England we don’t carry weapons. Neither is Calvinism any issue here.

        But when we look back at Christian history, it presents a series of reactions. Each reaction is often related to this heresy or that and shows us the danger of people falling into extremism and the wrong side of history. I think a lot of Christians, past and present are in danger of extremism. Much of which comes from preachers who want to keep their jobs and people get caught up in it all. But in reality, all God wants from us is to each have faith in Christ and live out our lives in love and good faith.

        I think once any Christian becomes a minister and thinks himself God’s man or God’s mouthpiece he is in danger of becoming intolerant and extreme.

        “Isn’t that the whole argument here? Will he not be beaten with more stripes than those who were ignorant?”

        God will be the judge of that.

      4. Simon says:

        In America, people, including preachers and Christians, carry guns and are ready to use them.
        Does that have any ethical warrant in the New Testament?

        Did Jesus tell them to take up arms, or didn’t he? Yes, Luke 22:35-38 confirms this.

      5. Simon Peter,

        You had said:
        “There is no doubt about the letter, or Calvin’s role. However I would like to add that Servetus was arrested on April 4, 1553 by the Roman Catholic authorities and imprisoned in Vienne. Three days later he escaped from prison. At that time Calvin was only a preacher/minister in Geneva and Servetus was going to head for Italy and stopped at Geneva and he attended a service where Calvin was preaching and he was arrested after the service.”

        Was Geneva doing the bidding for the Roman Catholics? Why didn’t Geneva just ship Serv back to the Roman Catholic Jurisdiction for them to deal with him?

        If he [Servetus] comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.”

        Was that statement due to Serv being an escapee fromt he Roman Catholics? Or was there a different reason?

        John Calvin wanted him dead long before this trial. And it was not due to him being an escapee. He had hate in his heart for the guy. And why?

        Why did John Calvin hate this guy so much? Forget the trial for a moment. Why did John Calvin want him dead, having absolutely nothing to do with the trial.

        On a side note from yesterday, did David kill Goliath, or did David murder Goliath? Goliath, a man created in the image of God! Interesting that people seem to forget those two characters from the Bible. Who was Goliath? And why did David want him dead?

        So John Calvin wanted Serv dead for a disagreement over Jewish writings!

        By the way, it’s obviously clear that John Calvin didn’t object to the law that put Serv to death. Just the manner of death. He didn’t protest the law.

        Ed Chapman

      6. Mr Chapman, although I profoundly disagree with the logic contained within your continuous bombardment of comments and criticisms, notwithstanding your delusional interpretations of Scripture and Christian history, I am content to know that you have the right to have your opinions. However, I have no desire to engage with you, nor do I require to know your thoughts or opinions about anything.

        Best wishes

      7. It’s okay, Simon. Our friend, Ed, is just a bit rough around the edges.

        In Ireland, as you might know, we would call him a “gas” man. Some might think I’m saying he likes to gas light people. On the other hand, us leprechauns would say that he simply likes to have a bit of craic. As an Englishman, I think you understand what I’m saying, namely, that he likes to have a bit of fun, but he has a rough sense of humour at times.

        Just give him a few verbal digs and he’ll be alright!

      8. Well, I’m happy to converse with you about scriptural things anytime. Us English and Irishmen will have to stick together to fight these foreigners.

      9. I can’t help but wonder if Servetus appeared in Geneva to flaunt his escape in Calvin’s face, ensuring his even greater rage. But I doubt even Servetus realized the depth of Calvin’s depravity, and never thought he would stoop to the evil he was obviously capable of. Servetus did not think he was in danger of the fires of the Inquisition in the Protestant Geneva. He discovered his error.

      10. There is good evidence that Calvin was also influential in Servetus’ earlier arrest, i.e., that he provided the written evidence to his ‘Enemies’, the Roman Church, in order to prove the ‘heresy’ of Servetus’ beliefs. Calvin had long sought the death of Servetus, (my own theory is that Servetus was all to intelligent and clever in revealing the contradictions and biblical inaccuracies of Calvin’s Institutes) and when he escaped from the Roman murder machine, he was forced to set in motion his own, contrary to his earlier writings against the murder of heretics.

      11. Simon
        I would like to add that Servetus was arrested on April 4, 1553 by the Roman Catholic authorities and imprisoned in Vienne.
        Yes – Calvin – as N.T. Wright accurately notes – was a Catholic with a small “c”
        He follows the Romanized model of religious/political authority which thrived and exercised dominance of the general population of that day – operating as a principality and power.
        Calvin informed the Catholic Inquisition of Servetus’ location.
        Calvinism today continues to operate as a principality and power.
        Calvinist pastors are instructed to gain entrance into a sheep-fold by what Jesus called “entering the back door”.
        Deceive the congregation – in order to take possession of its properties
        Then raise a reformed flag over the castle.
        During Jesus’ earthly ministry – he refereed to the practice as “robbing widows homes”
        There are letters from Calvin to Catholic head-hunters – in numerous occasions – instructing them of the whereabouts of protestants who disagreed with Calvin’s doctrine – asking those head-hunters to kill those protestants.
        So Calvin obviously operated as a principality and power – after the model of the Romanized church.
        So to clarify my meaning, the authorities in Geneva did the actual burning
        Yes – Calvin refereed to his magistrates as “the arm of god”.
        The city kept notes of the punishments that were processed by the magistrates
        Searching of homes for extra food
        Burning a woman alive as a witch because she offered medical assistance saving a person from death.
        Driving a red hot iron through the tongue of anyone who denounced Calvin.
        Many imprisonments
        All of these were punishments were meted out for religious crimes.
        The magistrates were operating the same exact way – German officers under Adolph Hitler would.
        They did what they did – because they believed it would please the person of authority – who had the power to promote them.
        The authors of the N.T. do not instruct us to justify our own sins – or the sins of our day.
        Neither are we instructed to justify the sins of those who went before us.
        During Jesus’ earthly ministry – a certain man fell on his knees before Jesus and called him “Good Teacher”
        Jesus answered “Why do you call me Good? There is no one good but God”
        If Jesus does not allow himself to be called “Good” – as far as I am concerned – that puts John Calvin in his proper place.

      12. br.d
        I don’t have the authors here in front of me at the moment.
        And I read about this a few years ago.
        But you should be able to easily find this information yourself.
        What I have indicated – is derived either from letters written by Calvin himself – and from the Geneva historical records.

      13. As I replied, but it showed up in an odd place, Calvin not only was the main driver behind the arrest and murder of Servetus, there is good evidence that he was also the one who provided the ‘evidence’ of Servetus’ ‘heresy’ to his ‘enemies’ at the good ol’ Roman Inquisition, (giving them a good laugh, btw). I would guess that Servetus was dead on in his challenges to the contradictions and biblical inaccuracies of Calvin’s Institutes, and that was what Calvin sought to put an end to. Even if it meant having to show his true colors, and begin a new chapter of murdering dissenters, as he once condemned the Roman Church for doing.

        Historians have documentation for much of this, so, in spite of the rewriting of history that Calvinists have done so well, the evidence of the true nature of Calvin remains in letters and documents, despite his many attempts to hide it with his doubletalk and flowery language.

      14. TS00, It will always be a topic of discussion concerning Calvin and Servetus. But as to the incident showing Calvin’s “ true colors, and “a new chapter of murdering dissenters” I think that rather than showing his “true colors” I think the evidence partially shows him to have been a timid scholar, who was brought into ministry in Geneva, even though he didn’t want it at first. When I have read through biographies of Calvin it seems to me he had anxiety and there are examples of him having panic attacks. This presents for me a window to view the man behind the history. Insecurity sometimes causes Christians to embrace Once Saved Always Saved and also causes ministers to think they are being undermined or attacked by Satan.

        In America for example, 95% of pastors are narcissists and many of them would throw any individual out of their churches for simply challenging the pastor or contradicting him. Many of those ministers may even carry guns. So who then is worse? Calvin back then in 16th Geneva, or the average fundamentalist preacher in America?

        Are there not many Christian peoples who’s minds and families have been destroyed by Christian religion and by preachers gaslighting and manipulating people from their pulpits? Who then is worse? Calvin for feeling he needed to defend the faith? Or a fundamentalist preacher who drives a believer church goer away for daring to challenge him?

        There is no justification for what Calvin got involved in with Servetus, but we can all learn it.

      15. I would indeed put both parties in the same category – false teachers who have no business calling themselves men of God. Should we be surprised that Satan attacks ‘the Church’ with false teachers and false teaching – would this not be his primary target and agenda, to pervert the Truth and confuse those who truly desire to follow God’s ways?

        I believe Calvin was as much a narcissist and false teacher as the typical Mega church pastor, and as far from the true Spirit of God. They can quote scripture, write moving messages and all manner of cymbal clanging, but if they have not love they are not of God.

      16. TS00, I thought this quote from the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs might interest you. Forgive me if you’ve already read it:

        “ It has long been the delight of both infidels and some professed Christians, when they wish to bring odium upon the opinions of Calvin, to refer to his agency in the death of Michael Servetus. This action is used on all occasions by those who have been unable to overthrow his opinions, as a conclusive argument against his whole system. “Calvin burnt Servetus!–Calvin burnt Servetus!” is a good proof with a certain class of reasoners, that the doctrine of the Trinity is not true-that divine sovereignty is Antiscriptural,–and Christianity a cheat.

        We have no wish to palliate any act of Calvin’s which is manifestly wrong. All his proceedings, in relation to the unhappy affair of Servetus, we think, cannot be defended. Still it should be remembered that the true principles of religious toleration were very little understood in the time of Calvin. All the other reformers then living approved of Calvin’s conduct. Even the gentle and amiable Melancthon expressed himself in relation to this affair, in the following manner. In a letter addressed to Bullinger, he says, “I have read your statement respecting the blasphemy of Servetus, and praise your piety and judgment; and am persuaded that the Council of Geneva has done right in putting to death this obstinate man, who would never have ceased his blasphemies. I am astonished that any one can be found to disapprove of this proceeding.” Farel expressly says, that “Servetus deserved a capital punishment.” Bucer did not hesitate to declare, that “Servetus deserved something worse than death.”

        The truth is, although Calvin had some hand in the arrest and imprisonment of Servetus, he was unwilling that he should be burnt at all. “I desire,” says he, “that the severity of the punishment should be remitted.” “We wndeavored to commute the kind of death, but in vain.” “By wishing to mitigate the severity of the punishment,” says Farel to Calvin, “you discharge the office of a friend towards your greatest enemy.” “That Calvin was the instigator of the magistrates that Servetus might be burned,” says Turritine, “historians neither anywhere affirm, nor does it appear from any considerations. Nay, it is certain, that he, with the college of pastors, dissuaded from that kind of punishment.”

        It has been often asserted, that Calvin possessed so much influence with the magistrates of Geneva that he might have obtained the release of Servetus, had he not been desirous of his destruction. This however, is not true. So far from it, that Calvin was himself once banished from Geneva, by these very magistrates, and often opposed their arbitrary measures in vain. So little desirous was Calvin of procuring the death of Servetus that he warned him of his danger, and suffered him to remain several weeks at Geneva, before he was arrested. But his language, which was then accounted blasphemous, was the cause of his imprisonment. When in prison, Calvin visited him, and used every argument to persuade him to retract his horrible blasphemies, without reference to his peculiar sentiments. This was the extent of Calvin’s agency in this unhappy affair.”

      17. What a crock of a Braveheart moment! Maybe you could get Mel Gibson to play the part of Serv…

      18. The Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was originally named “Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church” and was written by John Foxe (1516-1587) and published between 1563 – 1583. It is a monumental work and Foxe began writing it in 1552 until his last edition in 1583. It is based upon actually 16th century eye witness accounts and first hand testimonies.

        John Foxe refused to receive any payment for his book.

      19. Simon
        Are you saying Calvin was a false teacher
        Calvin gets his theology from Augustine – who is noted within scholarship as influenced by Gnostic and later NeoPlatonic teachings (doctrines of Plotinus) which Augustine retained until his death.
        Augustine corresponded by letter to a close friend Nebridius, who praises how Augustine’s letters: “speak of Christ, Plato and Plotinus”. The recognition of syncretism here is unavoidable.
        Augustine lives within a time-period in which the Catholic church is in its embryonic phase – embracing every possible form of paganism – and adding them to itself.
        Instead of warring against principalities and powers – the Catholic mindset was to add them to itself – in order to retain their prowess.
        Many Catholic monasteries were built on top of pagan worship sites – which it maintained underground.
        Catholic historian Theodore Maynard writes: “It has often be charged… that Catholicism has been overlaid with many pagan incrustations. Catholicism is ready to accept that charge – and to make it her boast. The great god Pan is not really dead, he is baptized.”
        Augustine did not baptize the great god Pan.
        He baptized conceptions which he valued as “Truth reflecting” – derived from Zoroastrianism, Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism. He synchronized those conceptions into his theology.
        Both the ancient Gnostics and NeoPlatonists held a very strong belief in Determinism.
        That is why Calvinism’s underlying foundation is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) – as enunciated within Calvin’s doctrine of decrees.
        John Calvin
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes 1. 16. 3)
        Thus – the only way a sinful evil impulse can come to pass within your brain – is if that sinful evil impulse was knowingly and willingly decreed.
        And the decree – since it is infallible – does not permit any ALTERNATIVES from that which is decreed.
        Thus – where a sinful evil impulse is decreed to come to pass within your brain at TIME-T – it follows – no ALTERNATIVE impulse is granted existence within your brain at TIME-T.
        And since everything without exception is determined at the foundation of the world – it follows – there is no such thing as humans being granted CHOICE in the matter of anything.
        In Calvinism – for every human event – and every human impulse – there is never granted more than ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN OPTION.
        And man is granted NO CHOICE in the matter of what the option will be – and no ability to refrain.

  19. I often find in conversations with people, be they of this denomination or that denomination, or no denomination at all or simply Christian, when people take sides, prejudice runs deep.

    Best wishes.

    1. Simon Peter,

      Your comment makes me think that you approve of the death sentence of Servetus. Just because he was not an orthodontist…I mean orthodox.

      Yes, I take the side of Jesus, that said to love your enemies, and to do good to them who…

      You don’t sound like that kinda guy.


      I say… so what if he’s unorthodox. I certainly do not believe in the 325 ad conclusions about the trinity either. In your world…I’d be dead.

      Jesus is God. That’s the easy part. But there is not 3 people playing the role of one God.

      What kind of death would you request the council that I get? Since I’m unorthodox. Cut my head off… for mercy sake?

      Ed Chapman

  20. Mr Chapman, it isn’t correct to interpret the past according to the present. The reformers were 16th century men and were governed by the laws that existed in their time. The punishment for heresy back in those days included death by burning.

    If you don’t like the reformers, or history, and don’t care for orthodoxy what is that to me? And if I remain true to orthodoxy what is that to you?

    1. Simon.
      The punishment for heresy back in those days included death by burning.
      And of course – when they burned to the stake Christians who didn’t believe their doctrine – they were surely being led by the Holy Spirit!
      Everyone knows the Apostles teaching and the Holy Spirit inspiration – for Christians to murder other Christians. :-]
      Or perhaps they were following the spirit of the age.
      Which – would be a different spirit.
      Which would mean – they knew not what spirit they were of.

  21. Mr Chapman, incidentally, you wrote “ Your comment makes me think that you approve of the death sentence of Servetus.”

    My response is no, absolutely not. I do not approve of the death sentence of Servetus. He made a huge contribution to medicine. Heretics have the human right to be heretics before the law. However, I would like to ask you a question: do you approve of firearms or weapons of war?

    1. Simon Peter,

      You are trying to bait me. I see that.

      I’m a USN Vet of 20 years. So yes, I believe in weapons of war. We defected the Church of England with that mindset. You wouldn’t let us leave voluntarily. I believe in our 2nd Amendment rights… to take out a despot government, and to protect ourselves. And I believe in the court system to adjudicate justice.

      But what you are doing is justifying the death of Servetus as if it was a war.

      It was a court hearing, not a war.

      And differing opinions on Bible doctrines is not justification to adjudicate a death sentence. Not for Christians. They may do that in other religions, but that’s not what Jesus laid out as to how we behave.

      Ed Chapman

  22. So Mr Chapman, since you comment to me “ Your comment makes me think that you approve of the death sentence of Servetus.” of which I respond “no, absolutely not. I do not approve of the death sentence of Servetus. He made a huge contribution to medicine. Heretics have the human right to be heretics before the law. However, I would like to ask you a question: do you approve of firearms or weapons of war?” To which you respond “I’m a USN Vet of 20 years. So yes, I believe in weapons of war.”.

    It seems to me you are the one who actually believes in the death sentence and would carry a gun and use it!

    So please, before you criticise any historic figure, please take the plank out of your own eye before you attempt to remove the spec out of someone else’s eye.

    With weapons of war at large, and guns, you make Calvin an amateur by comparison.

    Ask yourself the question: have you ever brought about the death sentence on another human being?

    1. Simon Peter,

      I do agree that the idea of taking up arms to overthrow the government is against what Jesus and His apostles taught. That’s what men of the world do is kill their enemies, but not those who call themselves citizens of the kingdom of heaven. They are under a different government. They serve a different king!

      On the other hand, we do see, in the N.T. that governments themselves are given the right to use the sword to punish evil doers. Many believe this only applies to matters of internal order and not external wars. We certainly know that governments and politicians get involved in all sorts of wars that are for worldly carnal reasons more than anything else.

      Unfortunately, not every young person sees this when they enter into the military, especially if they were not a Christian at the time they entered. All I can say is God help us all.

      1. Thanks. Yes, the reformers also took that view, as you rightly say “ we do see, in the N.T. that governments themselves are given the right to use the sword to punish evil doers.”

        At that time, in the 16th century, heresy was illegal and the punishment for that crime was execution. A person can debate the legitimacy of that law, but some reformers took the position that those who were outside of Christ were under the law, and were to be judged according to it.

      2. Well, that’s what you get when you have a church/state theocracy. They were idiots. The law of Moses was NEVER given to the Gentiles. It was a COVENANT to the Jews only.

      3. Simon Peter, you wrote: “At that time, in the 16th century, heresy was illegal and the punishment for that crime was execution. A person can debate the legitimacy of that law, but some reformers took the position that those who were outside of Christ were under the law, and were to be judged according to it.”

        I would say we have to be careful about what we are prepared to overlook! Were there not times that Christianity itself was illegal and the punishment for that crime was imprisonment and execution? It seems that the tables were turned in the times of the reformers, if as you say, “some reformers took the position that those who were OUTSIDE OF CHRIST (namely, heretics) were under the law, and were to be judged according to it.” Who were making those laws? The “in Christ” crowd? Sounds like the persecuted had become the persecutors! And besides, should a Christian obey a law if it transgresses the law of God? I think any reformer worth his salt would know the answer to that question.

      4. Simon Peter,

        I commend you willingness to defend your position against popular opinion here, not to mention Ed. But having said that, I do think it would be better if you signed off as


        It would be a lot cooler than just S.😎

      5. Aidan,

        I’m not a young person, Aidan. And I believe in a nation that has a SELF GOVERNING government, like the one we have in America. And I love our Declaration of Independence, as written. It lays out all of the grievences that our founders had against the government of a church/state.

        In addition, it states:

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–

        That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

        That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,

        it is the Right of the People

        to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

        Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

        But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,

        it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,

        and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.


        When we join the service, we know that it is our duty to support and defend the United States Constitution, against all enemies, foriegn, and domestic.

        Jesus mentions WAR! So did the law of Moses, and that nations should defend themselves agains enemies.

        Luke 14:31-32
        31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

        32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

        And then we have:

        Luke 22:35-38

        35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

        36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

        37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

        38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

        Ed Chapman

      6. Ed, you quoted Luke 22:35-38 seemingly to suggest that Jesus was encouraging His disciples to take up arms and fight for the cause! I hope that’s not the case, because Jesus soon afterwards rebukes Peter for doing that very thing:

        Mat 26:51 “And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.”

        Mat 26:52 “But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

        The kingdom of heaven is a community from “every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” which must fulfill the prophetic vision of a realm where men learn war no more (Isaiah 2:4; 11:9). And, if in the service of kingdom righteousness, we forfeit our lives, nothing unexpected will have happened (Luke 14:26).

      7. Aidan,

        To clarify your, “for the cause” issue, I suggested no such thing.

        Did Jesus tell them to take up arms, or didn’t he? Yes, Luke 22:35-38 confirms this.

        And then you, just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do, mention, “because Jesus soon afterwards rebukes Peter for doing that very thing”

        So let’s clarify that. The JW’s say that Jesus told them to take up arms, JUST SO that Jesus could later point out that they aren’t supposed to take up arms.

        Does that make sense to you?

        Consider the situation. The mission of Jesus was THAT CROSS. He had to get there. Peter, on a number of occasions, told Jesus, THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN…to where Jesus rebuked Peter by saying, GET BEHIND ME SATAN.

        Then Jesus said, if my Kingdom be of this world, then my disciples would fight!

        If Jesus did not get to that cross, then NO ONE would be “saved”.

        Peter thought he was protecting Jesus with his sword. Jesus didn’t need to be protected. His mission was that cross.

        However, Jesus was teaching that the sword (GUN) is used as a DEFENSE, not as OFFENSE.

        Yes, we belong to the KINGDOM OF GOD…but yet, we STILL RESIDE on the earth, that has leaders. What is THE CAUSE, in this case? DEFEND YOUR NATION against enemies. Defend your family against those who would do them harm. Defend yourself against those who would do YOU harm.

        I surely hope that you don’t think that Jesus wanted us to be DEAD VICTIMS of crime committed against us? I think that Jesus would want us to defend and protect ourselves, and our families, and our own nation!

        Ed Chapman

      8. I think you are assuming too much about Luke 22:35-38. Jesus does not say why they are to take a sword along with them on the Great Commission.

        He certainly does not mean that they were to take up arms to fight for the nation. That’s probably what some of them might have thought, but Jesus was not a zealot. That’s not what He came for!

        The fact that he later told Peter to “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Mt 26:52) should tell you that He didnt want them to take up arms to fight for the Nation.

        Therefore, I’d be more inclined to think that because they were going on a long trip, namely, the Great Commission, they would need supplies, including a sword for protection against wild animals. Which might also be useful for killing them for food.

        But certainly I would rule out, taking up the sword to die by the sword.

      9. Aidan,

        You had said:
        “I think you are assuming too much about Luke 22:35-38. Jesus does not say why they are to take a sword along with them on the Great Commission.”

        My response:

        Just as predicted, you answered exactly the way a Jehovah’s Witness would, which is why they refuse to join the military and police force.

        But, I might remind you to go back to that Luke reference and expand the reference to include previous verses, which will show you ALL of the items that Jesus told them to get.

        And, you should notice the exact TIME that Jesus told them.

        It was at the last supper.

        So your “Great Commission” statement is irrelevant.

        So here we got Ireland going thru terror religious wars, but in your religion, you are not allowed to protect yourself, or your family, that has their mind set on killing you or doing harm to your family??????

        You are just supposed to be all hippie lovie dovie towards the criminal, passing out flowers, singing kumbaya?


        Ed Chapman

      10. Ed,
        Concerning Luke 22:35-38 you said:….”What is THE CAUSE, in this case? DEFEND YOUR NATION against enemies etc,.”

        My response is there’s nothing in the context where Jesus indicates that He wanted them to defend their nation against enemies!

        First of all, I doubt two swords would have been enough (v.38), to defend them against a nation.
        Secondly, when Peter does take up a sword, Jesus tells Him, No! Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.
        Thirdly, in the book of Acts we never see the Apostles using the sword to fight off their enemies. They were persecuted and even put to death…but never took up arms to defend themselves and kill their enemies!
        In fact, nowhere in the N.T. do we see the apostles counsel the churches to take up arms to defend themselves against their enemies… foreign or domestic. We do see the Jews, and even the might of Rome come against the early church. Many were tortured and killed. Where do we see the apostles counsel them to take up arms and fight? Where were they told to fight against the might of Rome?

        Instead, I think you’ll find they were told to hold fast and trust in God.

      11. Aidan, the history has it, so I’m told, that many early Christian ministers who attended the Council of Nicaea, we’re missing body parts. The early Christians were without question pacifists, that’s why many were executed. Christ affirms this in John 18: 36.

      12. Agreed, Peter,
        Jesus was talking about matters of the kingdom and the gospel. That’s the context of passages like Luke 22:35-38 and John 18:36. When He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” (Mt 5:9), Jesus was referring to citizens of His kingdom! The “peacemakers” in this context are Christians,…. those who preach the gospel of peace and reconciliation (Eph. 2:13-17). No other people could be called the children of “the God of peace” (Rom. 15:33). The ones who are reconciled to God and the peace of Christ rules in their hearts, with the spirit of things like compassion, meekness, forgiveness etc, (Col. 3:12-15). They are the true servants of peace in the world!

      13. Amen, as the author of Hebrews communicated to the early believers, “for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.”

        (Hebrews 10: 34)

        Clearly they didn’t fight or take up arms against their oppressors.

      14. Aidan,

        And, I might add, isn’t it you duty, and moral obligation to protect your family? Property? If you love your family, you will protect them. With a weapon. Who here, is actually living by the sword? You? Or the criminal?

        Ed Chapman

      15. Yes, and there are many ways to protect both family and property without having to resort to killing people. You don’t have to go all “Christian militia patriot movement” passing around hand grenades and singing songs in memory of David Koresh to do this!

    2. Simon Peter,

      Sorry, but I do NOT take the position that you think I do. Yes, I believe in the death penalty, and yes, I would use a gun to kill a person.

      But NOT over a disagreement of doctrine of scripture. That is insane. One guy calls himself a Christian that doesn’t believe in the Trinity, SO FREAKING WHAT?

      John 16:2
      They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

      All of your EXPERTS that you have so much respect for, were idiots.

      Ed Chapman

      1. There, I leave Mr Chapman’s views in your care dear readers. He condemns orthodox historic Christian’s and calls them “idiots” yet defends a heretic who denied the Trinity. Then he affirms that he would kill another person by firing a bullet into the flesh of another human being who was made in the image and likeness of God.

        Does that sound like a Christian to you?

      2. Simon Peter,

        Yes, I do condemn YOUR so-called ORTHODOX, because as you once noted not long ago, about scholars CHANGING THEIR MINDS…well, over time, we have found out that a lot of your ORTHODOX is garbage.

        We can start with the doctrine of Original Sin…garbage! Debunk that, and all of your other points in the flower disinigrate, such as prevenient grace and irresistible grace.

        Ed Chapman

      3. Simon Peter

        Genesis 9:5-6
        5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

        6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

        That was before the law of Moses, therefore, it still stands after the law of Moses.

        Ed Chapman

      4. Simon,

        Oh, and to be clear, I deny your ORTHODOX Trinity. I believe that Jesus is God. But they way I understand THE FATHER, and THE HOLY SPIRIT, is that they, too, are JESUS, not two other people. And no, I am NOT Pentecostal.

        Spirit/Soul/Body…one person, not three people.

        The Body of God, the spirit (John 4:24) is Jesus. The spirit of Jesus is THE FATHER. The Holy Spirit is…the mind of Christ.

        There is one spirit and there is one body. Spirit plus body is ONE PERSON.

        I could go on for a long while on this topic. Yes, I condemn your version of the trinity. I condemn your orthodox.

        Ed Chapman

  23. HEATHER, thank you for your reply to my question about proof from Calvin’s writings about alleged contradictions. I have no problem with people criticising Calvin or disagreeing with him, as long as those disagreements are constructive and come from his writings and not from hearsay or myths.

    Many people who criticise Calvin have not read him, as many Calvinists who criticise John Wesley have not and will not read him. Let alone Arminius himself.

    I personally do not agree with Calvin’s view of determinism presented in Institutes, and a number of perspectives of his theology. I have had a number of disagreements with Calvinistic believers who do agree with him. However, I do regard Calvins commentaries on the Bible as among the best and most devotional on the market. That being said, I am not a 5 point Calvinist.

    Have you ever heard of, or read Moses Amyraut I wonder?

    1. Thank you, Simon Peter. I agree that when it comes to debates/disagreements, we should be able to back up our arguments, we should have real reasons for why we take the stands we do, that it shouldn’t just be hearsay/myth/baseless opinions. But as long as people have real reasons for why they believe what they do and are mature and respectful in the way they disagree, then I think it’s okay (and even constructive) to disagree/debate. (And no, I’ve never heard of Amyraut.)

      [And the song was “Walk on Water” from Audio Adrenaline, one I’ve always liked. “Simon Peter” are the first words of the song, so I think of it every time I see your name. 🙂 ] God bless. And have a great day.

  24. Mr Chapman, you wrote “ I could go on for a long while on this topic. Yes, I condemn your version of the trinity. I condemn your orthodox.”

    I’m sure you could go on from now until heaven or hell finds you. But for a man who thinks he has the right to kill another human being, Mr you don’t have the authority to condemn anything.

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