Calvinism Obscures the Simple Gospel

Original post by Ronnie W. Rogers

I agree with the Calvinist claim that the gospel is simple and clear, but I contend that Calvinism, by its very nature, complicates and obscures the simple and clear gospel.[1] Yes, someone can be saved when anyone says something like, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” but the difference between what a Calvinist and Extensivist (non-Calvinist) mean when uttering those words is quite different.[2] Just the cache of extra-biblical concepts needed to characterize Calvinism as a biblical position is telling.

Their view requires concepts such as two wills (revealed and secret), two calls (external to all and internal to the elect only), two loves (salvifically speaking rather than different kinds such as love of a child or spouse), two levels of atonement (sufficient for the non-elect but efficient for the elect only), two parallel lines (to give an appearance of reconciling unconditional election, micro-determinism, and God’s salvific love for all with man’s freedom), two gospel offers (good faith offer which is not an actual offer as opposed to the Bible’s good offer of the gospel), compatibilism (but regularly speak libertarianly),[3] mystery (gloss of Calvinistically-generated contradictions), and using the distinction between man’s intellect and moral aspects to obfuscate the plight of the non-elect (i.e., the person cannot choose to believe).[4] In Calvinism, Scripture is not simple with depth but cryptic, with these concepts only accessible to Calvinism’s theological sophisticates.

For example, in Scripture, we see Jesus making good offers to repent and be saved (Matt 4:17; 11:20-21; Luke 5:32; 15:7; 24:47). Some Calvinists say Jesus was making a “good faith offer” (if there is such an idea) since, as a man, he did not know who the elect were. There is an insurmountable problem with imposing an unawareness of who the non-elect are upon Christ to sustain the idea that rather than presenting a good offer, he only presented a “good faith offer.”

Because Jesus said he always did the will of the Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 17:4) and spoke not of his own initiative but what the Father wanted him to speak (John 3:11, 34; 5:19; 7:16; 8:26, 28, 38; 12:49-50; 14:10, 24, 31; 17:8). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus and filling him without measure (Isa 61:1; Matt 12:18; Luke 3:22; 4:1, 14; John 3:34; Acts 10:38). Consequently, even if Jesus did not know, the Father and the Holy Spirit knew; therefore, the Calvinist doctrine of selective regeneration makes the Trinity complicitous in this unscrupulous misrepresentation. The obvious truth is that Jesus commanded them to repent because he was not willing that any would perish and desired that all would come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9), something God has grace enabled everyone who hears the truth to be able to do.

Calvinist Kevin DeYoung asks, “Is God wise enough to make himself known? Is he good enough to make himself accessible? Is he gracious enough to communicate in ways that are understandable to the meek and lowly? Or does God give us commands we can’t understand and a self-revelation that reveals more questions than answers?”[5] My answer is yes; he is wise enough, good enough, and gracious enough, but I do not think Calvinists can consistently say yes in the same sense because Calvinism burdens God with withholding, for most, what is necessary to know him and make him accessible. And if Calvinism is true, God has surely not communicated in ways understandable to the meek, lowly, or the hoi polloi but only to the enlightened theological sophisticates.

The truth is, while God made Scripture to be exoteric (to be understood by the average person), Calvinism makes Scripture esoteric (truly understood by a chosen few). This is in spite of the fact that Calvinists still proclaim the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture.[6]


[1] For example, Calvinist Kevin DeYoung states, “The saving message of Jesus Christ is plainly taught in the Scriptures and can be understood by all who have ears to hear it. We don’t need an official magisterium to tell us what the Bible means.” In his book Taking God at His Word (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), 45.
[2] See my book Does God Love All or Some? Particularly chapters 20, 21, and 25.
[3] COMPATIBILISM: Determinism and moral responsibility are compatible, hence the name. This compatibility is not achieved by compatibilism being less deterministic than hard determinism. Rather, it is achieved by defining free choice to mean as long as a person chooses according to his greatest desire, he has made a free choice for which he is morally responsible; even though given the same past, he cannot choose differently in the moral moment of decision.

Consequently, the difference between compatibilism (soft determinism) and hard determinism is not to be found in the levels of the deterministic nature of each since they are the same. Rather, the difference is compatibilism simply contends people are morally responsible for their choices if they are made according to their greatest desire, and hard determinism says they are not. Therefore, moral responsibility is the product of defining free choice as a person acting in accordance with his greatest desire even though the desire is determined.

LIBERTARIAN: Man is not determined. He has the actual ability to choose between accessible options, at least in some scenarios. Libertarians contend determinism is not compatible with moral responsibility. Man possesses actual otherwise choice and can, therefore, act or refrain in the moral moment of decision, given the same past within a given range of options.

Extensivism argues God endowed man with this ability, which is an aspect of being created in the image of God. God determines the range of options. Adam’s range of options, the result of creative grace, was greater than mankind’s options after the fall. Fallen man can still choose between options, but the range of options is less than man had prior to the fall. This lessening includes losing the ability to make choices that are inherently righteous or spiritually restorative (making one right with God) based solely on creative grace. In order to make an inherently righteous choice or one that is spiritually restorative, God had to provision redemptive grace—grace enablements—which he did.
[4] Add to these Calvinism’s uniquely narrow definitions such as sovereignty being causal and only exercisable over determined or compatibly free beings, or the necessary adjectives in the TULIP.
[5] Kevin DeYoung, Taking God at His Word (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), 69.
[6] DeYoung comments, “The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture is not a wild assertion that the meaning of every verse in the Bible will be patently obvious to everyone. Rather, the perspicuity of Scripture upholds the notion that ordinary people using ordinary means can accurately understand enough of what must be known, believed, and observed for them to be faithful Christians.” Kevin DeYoung, Taking God at His Word (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), 59. I think the Calvinist system fails here as well.

163 thoughts on “Calvinism Obscures the Simple Gospel

  1. Great article. “Just the cache of extra-biblical concepts needed to characterize Calvinism as a biblical position is telling”. And then the author goes on to do a great job of summarizing all of the “two’s” and “mysteries” of Calvinism, none of which are explicitly found in scripture. This is so true and this is a part of two of the four main reasons I rejected Calvinism as a false, unbiblical doctrine.

    The only good thing (good for the gospel, bad for hiding what they really believe) is that I’ve noted for the most part when a Calvinist is giving an evangelistic sermon or call to come to Christ, they leave out all of this stuff and it usually sounds like the same invitation a non-Calvinist would give. They don’t bring all this stuff up typically until a person is saved (or has had a profession of faith).

    The more serious problem comes in when someone really isn’t a believer but is in a Calvinist church sitting under this teaching (like many youth that are brought to church by their parents but not yet a believer) they get very confused and many times don’t hear the clear gospel and/or reject the gospel because of this confusion. I personally know many young people who unfortunately went through this very process.

    1. I agree with you Andy. I was involved in a Calvinist church for over a decade before I heard Calvinism blatantly preached. Until that time, any non-Calvinist (of which I was one) could have listened to the weekly message and never know he was in a Calvinist church. Indeed, I was deceived into joining this church by the pastor’s claim that He would not preach Calvinism, but simply scripture, whatever it said. I took this to mean that he did not really, deep down, believe in Calvinism, but had merely been persuaded that its interpretations of certain prooftexts could not be overcome.

      Of course, in the end, the truth is always revealed. When a pastor begins to preach on orphanage fires in which most children are needlessly left to perish, you know how he, and his religion, view God.

      It is just as Ronnie so masterfully put it. Calvinism simply redefines important terms, without making this clear to the acolytes. It mostly remains the ‘secret’ of the ‘enlightened’. You won’t hear it taught to the children, the visitors, or even most members, until they are judged ‘hooked’ enough to begin to expose them, gradually, to the ugly truths of Calvinism.

      And yes, I must sadly add that I have young adult children who suffered the very thing you describe. To this day, I am not sure they fully understand the gospel, or the true nature of God. While I would love to share it, and have tried from time to time, it is not something they are open to discussing, because reexamining Calvinism would threaten friendships (mostly from their churches) that they treasure. I understand. This was not easy for me either, as Calvinists well know. This is why they reel people in, get them deeply enmeshed into a community in which they find friendship and support, and only then, if at all, begin to expose tiny bits of what mostly remains in the dark.

      1. Thanks TS00. Unfortunately our stories about how Calvinism confused the gospel and affected our adult children is a very common issue I hear quite often.

      2. Yeah, they cannot hide for long
        They simply can’t help themselves. John Calvin is their Hero and that hero worship cannot be contained.

        Just look at how similar their tactics are compared to the liberal media and the atheists.
        They infiltrate every avenue that allows them to spread their worldview. It is the fanaticism of ERROR. It’s like a disease and they all use the same playbook. I’m not saying they copy each others Plan(although it is a plan) I’m saying “Worldview Error” by its very definition is caused by Sin. Groups that spread Error use deceitful tactics to spread such error. It’s just the nature of falsehood – it ultimately corrupts you.
        Next time you scan the internet, notice just how many websites are dominated by Calvinists. Error seeks to corrupt everyone.

        The Truth uses no such tactics and by its nature will be muted, conservative, with nothing covert about it. That’s why it’s so utterly obvious where error lies and so clear what the Truth is.

      3. I am agreeing with you John and BRD, but I disagree that people always figure this out. I know a Presby brother that seems like he tries so hard to be “good” in a works-righteousness mindset. I don’t know whether or how to break the (Good) news to him.

        Over the weekend I was thinking that this whole Calvin/Lutheran/non-FreeWillBaptist thing (are there others?) is a conspiracy and a cult, not unlike the JW’s, Mormons and Gnostics before them. It’s extremely human-centered and non-Spiritual. It’s a game of “Hide The Ball” (a deceitful negotiating tactic, where you build your document without direct mention of the “escape clause” that makes all other clauses null-and-void). Awesome deal for those in control of the church, enslaving for the laity.

        For me, I still can’t get over how Augustine (and followers) re-defined faith and grace. That is not of God.

        “And His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.” Isaiah 53:9 NASB

      4. br.d
        I understand your point and position on the subject Eric.

        Quite frankly – it all appears to be a natural transition within human history – applied to Christian doctrine.
        We have the logical system which evolved through Plato and then Aristotle which has become so powerful and preventive within human societies because it provides coherence which allows human thinking to avoid self-contradiction.

        Along side that – we have the constant historical record of what is called “Syncretism” which is the mixing of different religious doctrines into each other.

        Syncretism was a prevalent problem for the people of Israel.
        They were constantly being warned about embracing false gods and commanded to tear down the high places.
        They eventually disobeyed both and ended up in slavery because of it.

        The people of God – in the N.T. era fell into the same weakness.
        Catholicism is essentially a system of Syncretism.
        Augustine becomes a power figure within the Catholic power system.
        Augustine is an educated intellectual – who recognizes the power of logical thinking – but at the same time is seeking answer to internal questions.

        Just prior to Augustine’s life-time – the religion of Gnosticism is blasting through many geographical areas.
        Almost all pagan religions entail some form of DUALISM with a or twin-deities who appear good/evil form.
        Manichaeism is a mixture of Christian doctrine and Zorastrian doctrine in which these twin “Good-Evil” deities are combined into one god (mono-theology) who incorporates the principles of both good and evil which in other pagan religions would attributed to twin-gods.

        Augustine is heavily affected by Manichaeism because for him it promises to provide answers to the problem of evil.
        Augustine is also heavily influenced by the doctrines of Plotinus – who has essentially taken doctrines of Plato and re-shaped them into a religious form.

        So once again – we have Syncretism – with academia acknowledging that Augustine is one of the primary conduits through which Neo-Platonism (i.e. doctrines of Plotinus) are mixed into Christian theology.
        Here is where Augustine adopts a strong emphasis on Determinism – from Greek intellectualism.

        Calvin as a young man – is influenced by the early Reformers concerning issues its complaints against Catholicism.
        He unfortunately looks to Augustine as his primary source in his search for a golden standard of Christianity.
        Unfortunately he does not realize – through Augustine – he is drinking from the well of Syncretism.

        Augustine attempted to reconcile a conflict between human accountability and exhaustive meticulous divine control.
        Augustine knew he was was unsuccessful in establishing that reconciliation – so he strategically relied on equivocation within his language in order to present a facade of logical coherence.

        Calvin simply followed in Augustine foot-steps – but with a higher emphasis on exhaustive meticulous divine control.
        Calvin eventually relies on the same strategy that Augustine relied on – and Calvin becomes a double-speak artist.

        Calvinism – is thus a system of double-mindedness – with a highly evolved language of double-speak

        Blessings!
        br.d

      5. Br D
        Thanks for the explanation. I guess I see Augustine even more harshly. He didn’t want to learn Greek, which most of the Early Church Fathers used (right?), and he didn’t receive formal Christian training (he was a rhetorician and polemisist tho). So he figgered Truth is relative, and logic is King (especially the kind that benefits himself).

        His quote ‘Grace won through’ (I can’t remember it exactly) is telling to me, ie, I am going to pretend that God’s system is forcing me to write this down (though actually it’s just to defeat my rival Pelagius). He also told people to read his writings in order, which I think only Ken Wilson has ever done. Auggie basically said, if people aren’t smart enough to catch him, then they deserve what they get (a life of bondage to cynical churchmen). Hence, my rather negative view of determinists.

        I would be very open to comments on my (somewhat fresh) understanding of all this. I have some ideas posted at wordlight.net/another_gospel.html and perhaps wordlight.net/occams_razor.html. My email is in the About page.

      6. br.d
        If you are interested in an analysis of Augustine from the perspective of Augustinian scholars – you might very well be interested in a small summary of that – available on Youtube – by Dr. Paul Maxwel. It is titled “Is “New Calvinism” a Theological Rip-Off?” I know Ken Wilson is also an Augustinian scholar – and your reference of him is well noted.

        And what Paul Maxwell concludes lines up with what Ken Wilson concludes. You might find that youtube interesting.

    2. Leighton’s Title “Calvinism Obscures the Simple Gospel” stimulated an old project I started some time ago on how to write a Calvinist Gospel presentation which incorporates the main tenets of reformed TULIP ideas…(with integrity of course). I developed some ideas and had a draft composed. However, while studying “Deconstructing Calvinism” by Hutson Smelley I found his version to be excellent and is quoted below. I have broken it into parts while memorizing it so hope you will appreciate it as much as I did.

      How many time have you heard a Calvinist present the good news of the gospel in this manner from the pulpit?

      Mike R
      Springfield, VA
      ——————————————————————————————-
      “We should not think of this exercise in refuting Calvinism as merely academic.

      Calvinism strikes at the heart of the gospel message, and if there

      is any place where the Christian should take a stand, it is on the gospel.

      Simply put, Calvinism robs the gospel of its integrity.

      Imagine trying to express the gospel with integrity if Calvinism

      is true. It might sound something like this:
      ===================================================

      Let me tell you that every person is born under sin.
      You are a sinner separated from God,
      you are completely dead in your sins,
      and a dead person cannot do anything.

      But there might be good news for you.

      Before God created the universe He decreed everything that would ever happen
      and He decreed to save some people, and if you are one of those He
      picked, then I can tell you that Jesus, the very Son of God, died
      on a cross to pay your sin penalty.

      But then again, perhaps God did NOT select you for salvation
      before He made the universe.
      If that is the case then you are going to the lake of fire for
      eternity no matter what. Of course, you are reprobate and you cannot understand what I am
      telling you anyway. Is this making sense to you?

      Well, so like I was saying, the Son of God may have died for your
      sins. If he did, then you need to know he was buried and rose
      again three days later and you can trust him and him alone for the
      forgiveness of sins
      whenever God decides to give you the trust.

      But today might not be your day to be efficaciously called. If
      God did pick you before He created the universe,
      then at some point He will drag you to Jesus and only at that
      moment will you even be able to understand what I am saying.

      So if you are understanding this now, then God must have
      regenerated you and made you spiritually alive already and so now
      you must believe in Christ. But obviously, it cannot be this
      simple. You cannot just trust Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.

      Before you can be saved you need to commit to a life of complete
      obedience to his commands.
      You need to turn from your every sin in your life and purpose to
      live right, and then Jesus can save you.
      But remember, your works have nothing to do with you getting
      saved. Just understand that you will never get into heaven without
      works.

      This is obviously exaggerated, but the reality is that at every
      step of trying to present the gospel and give people context for
      understanding their sin condition and need for Jesus Christ, the
      TULIP imposes upon us to caveat each statement we would make.
      For example, I cannot, with integrity, tell anyone that Jesus
      loved them enough to die for them so that they might have eternal
      life if they trust him.

      I simply have no way of knowing if they are elect or not, and if
      they are not elect, then obviously I would be a liar to suggest
      that Christ died for them or that there is any good news for them.

      Moreover, I cannot tell people that they simply need to trust
      Christ. I have to try to explain the commitment they must make to
      obey Christ’s commands, which they may know little or nothing of,
      so that they can get saved.

      And what if I become aware that they sinned within the hour of
      professing Christ?
      Perhaps their commitment was inadequate, so what do I do then?

      — Deconstructing Calvinism by Hutson Smelley

      1. Welcome Oilbrain – I’m not quite sure I understand what you are asking. Can you simplify it into one sentence?

    3. Andyb2015 you typed on January 31, 2022
      ““Just the cache of extra-biblical concepts needed to characterize Calvinism as a biblical position is telling”. And then the author goes on to do a great job of summarizing all of the “two’s” and “mysteries” of Calvinism, none of which are explicitly found in scripture. This is so true and this is a part of two of the four main reasons I rejected Calvinism as a false, unbiblical doctrine” Just curious what are the Other two or more reasons you rejected Calvinism , just curious ?
      What do you think of the Way Calvinists Interpret the Bible ?

  2. One of the many inaccurate and disingenuous things that calvinists state is that the non-elect go to hell because they reject the gospel. When the truth is that there is no gospel that is genuinely offered to the non-elect from God’s point of view. The Gospel is not intended for them and so it is not available to them to either accept or reject.

    1. They also have the nerve to claim that they mourn over the millions who will ‘go to hell’ if their congregations do not assist the church in its calling to spread the gospel – usually to their ‘saved’ but non-Calvinist friends. They need the numbers and the dollars, and, let’s face it, no one gets ‘saved’ in a Calvinist church. Rarely is the gospel of salvation even preached by most Calvinists, as they struggle with their own personal cognitive dissonance over the Calvinist version of election. Besides, most of those in their churches are already saved; most just need to be ‘reformed’.

      The joke that Calvinists let the Baptists bring ’em in, then they work ’em over, contains more than a grain of truth.

      This is why I can not visit family members’ Calvinist churches. I would not be able to restrain myself from standing up and challenging the absurd and contradictory words of the Calvinist, seeking to appear biblical, while neglecting or blatantly negating his adopted theological system.

      1. They also have the nerve to claim that they mourn over the millions who will ‘go to hell’ if their congregations do not assist the church in its calling to spread the gospel…

        Yes, consider this from the inconsistent calvinist Spurgeon: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” Or if he was genuine, then he was basically admitting that he loved the non-elect more than his god does.

        Somebody should have reminded him that no amount of wrapping arms round knees, no amount of imploring them to stay, no amount of toothful exertions, no amount of warning and praying is going to save a single non-elect cosmic lottery loser. They are worthless firewood, human excrement in the calvinist god’s eyes. But of course he also unchangeably decreed them to make this show of virtue signalling also, to follow the example of his pantomime with Cain, or making a show of weeping over Jerusalem.

      2. You go Loz!

        Every time I read quotes like the Spurgeon one you used, I am struck with the fact he is imploring us all to: (1) love deeper than God does (2) work harder than God does, and (3) go against the “will of God” (who doesnt even want those people you are grasping at).   

        It is just plain nonsensical. 

      3. Agreed, and the common calvinist response of “we don’t know who the elect are” does not change this one bit, because:

        1. It is still possible that we could clutching at the legs of someone who calvi-god purposely designed for the purpose of destruction, even if we don’t realise it

        2. The integrity of the offer, the clutching, the imploring, the warning, the pleading, that in calvinism God has unchangeably ordained us to do, is non-existent from God’s point of view (the one that actually matters) because:

        (a) He does not back that offer by any substance, i.e. intentional atonement

        (b) He does not WANT them to heed the warning and accept the offer

        (c) He has chosen to withhold the ABILITY from them to accept the offer

      4. Pastor Loz
        the common calvinist response of “we don’t know who the elect are”

        br.d
        Except when it comes to their own election status 😀

    2. Good point Pastor Loz!

      For me – this is another example of how the Calvinist holds his doctrine as TRUE – while treating it *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

      In this case – the doctrine stipulates that the gift of salvation is never offered.
      And thus the “Good News” associated with that gift is also not never offered.

      Unless the Calvinist wants to argue that the gift of eternal damnation is “Good-News”.

      The Calvinist doesn’t like the idea that people who are created for damnation are never really offered the gift of salvation and its “Good-News”

      So they simply treat what they WANT to be the case *AS-IF* it is TRUE
      It doesn’t matter if its not logically coherent.

      When they WANT something to be TRUE – when it isn’t – WANTING it is all that matters them…
      Otherwise Calvinism has another blemish – and they can’t have that.

      There’s a lot more Psychology to Calvinist thinking than there is Theology

      1. <<>>

        It’s also the fact that they want to pretend (and try to fool others that they are seeking to proseletyze), that in calvinism, man is a responsible, accountable moral agent and so preserve the illusion of “justice” on calvi-god’s part. It appears more acceptable that people were offered the gospel / salvation and rejected it, and were therefore condemned to hell, than that they were never given a chance. The only consistent calvinists here are the “hypers” who deny the well-meant offer”.

    3. Pastor Loz,
      I have heard many times in many Calvinist settings, the speaker say to the crowd (something like) “God loves you; Christ died for you; Christ is calling you.”

      Of course in Calvinism you cannot say that. They cannot tell everyone in a given room that Christ died for them!!! That is so clearly NOT Calvinistic! And yet …..and yet…… they do it.

      1. Yes, I heard this many times in the Calvinist church I previously attended. Of course, I was happy they were giving a true gospel invitation. But what they said in the invitation was diametrically opposed to what they said they believed. There were times when the pastor gave a Calvinistic sermon, laying out or teaching on a fundamental of Calvinism, then would give this type of invitation at the end of it!

      2. Yes, Calvinist D A Carson says the most common question he is asked by calvinists is whether he tells everyone God loves them, and he answers unequivocally, “of COURSE I do!”. Of course what he conveniently neglects to mention is that he is not necessarily referring to salvific love, but an “inferior brand” of general benevolence that allows the non-elect a few gulps of air and drops of water on their way to eternal conscious torment. Jerry Walls deals with this really well in his video series “What’s Wrong with Calvinism”. And of course Wesley rightly described this as the kind of “love” that makes your blood run cold.

      3. Loz,
        Some of my Calvinist friends ask if I love all women like I love my wife (thinking…wink, wink….I’ll show FOH the difference in the kinds of love….).

        I tell them I do not love the women in my neighborhood like my wife, true, but I would not say I created them for eternal torment!

        What a silly comparison….that like all comparisons backfires on them.

      4. Good one FOH

        What is also ironic about that – is if you ask a Calvinist if he would tie the hands of an 8 year old girl behind her back and lock her in a closet and if she doesn’t come out – you will throw her into a fire and watch her burn (Calvinism’s father model for the MANY) the Calvinist will reject using any human analogy concerning the things of god.

        Obviously that rule only applies – when the conclusion compliments the sacred image! 😀

      5. Yes, they have tried that anthropomorphic nonsense with me too. As if agape could ever be conceived to be remotely like the “love” the Calvinist god displays to those he designed specifically to be worthless cosmic firewood.

  3. Roger
    Their view requires concepts such as
    1) two wills (revealed and secret)
    2) two calls (external to all and internal to the elect only)
    3) two loves (salvifically speaking rather than different kinds such as love of a child or spouse),
    4) two levels of atonement (sufficient for the non-elect but efficient for the elect only),
    5) two parallel lines (to give an appearance of reconciling unconditional election, micro-determinism, and God’s salvific love for all with man’s freedom),
    6) two gospel offers (good faith offer which is not an actual offer as opposed to the Bible’s good offer of the gospel)

    br.d
    It has been noted here before – that Calvinism contains many conceptions which appear in the form of “GOOD-EVIL” pairs.

    I believe this aspect of Calvinism – is best understood as a “GOOD-EVIL” DUALISM – which is a derivative of Gnosticism/NeoPlatonism – which Augustine never evolved out of.

  4. Roger
    Calvinist Kevin DeYoung asks,
    “Is God wise enough to make himself known?
    Is he good enough to make himself accessible?
    Is he gracious enough to communicate in ways that are understandable to the meek and lowly?

    br.d
    All of which are not LOGICALLY CONGRUENT with Exhaustive Divine Determinism – because all of these are premised on the creature having a degree of mental AUTONOMY – and Libertarian Choice.

    Both of which do not exist for the creature in Calvinism

  5. To be clear:
    Calvinists CANNOT say that a person goes to hell for “rejecting the Gospel.” The Gospel was never intended for them, or offered to them (other than perhaps an insincere, mocking offer). They make that very clear in Limited Atonement.

    1. Ahhh, FOH, but they can say it! They shouldn’t say it, but they can say it! They have the ability to freely say things that are clearly dishonoring to the righteousness of God! 😉 They even say that God gives the gospel to those who are unable to respond so that God can judge them more harshly for their rejection. Direct proof that loyalty to man-made theology clearly causes cognitive dissonance and blasphemes God’s character!

      Calvin said – “There is an universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation.” (Institutes 3.24.8)

      1. <<>>

        If there are any calvinists who have been unchangeably ordained to continue interacting in this group, can one of them explain what constitutes a “severer condemnation” than eternal conscious torment?

      2. According to Calvin, it’s not enough for Calvi-god to cause the non-elect to be born blind to the gospel, but he has to further harden their hearts.

        But, apparently, it’s not enough for him to just make them blind and hardened, but then he has to trick some of them into thinking they are saved.

        And it’s not enough to just trick them into thinking they are saved, but he has to make it feel so much like real faith that the deceived non-elect people can’t tell the difference between themselves and the elect (until they die).

        Because apparently, it’s not enough for them to just spend eternity in hell, but Calvi-god wants them to be condemned more severely (whatever that means) for doing exactly what he predestined them to do.

        And also, according to Calvin, if a mother does not have enough milk to feed her baby, it’s because God was pleased to cause her to be unable to feed her baby, while giving other mothers more than enough milk to feed theirs. And according to Calvin, if someone is out on a walk and takes a wrong turn and gets beat up by bad people, it’s because God caused them to take the wrong turn so that they would get beat up by bad people. And according to James White, of course, it’s not enough that child rape happens, but God has to be the one who planned it and caused it … or else it would be a purposeless, meaningless rape. Because, apparently, it’s better to have purposeful, meaningful rape that God causes than to have purposeless, meaningless rape that men choose to do on their own.

        So it’s not enough that evil happens … but Calvi-god has to be the cause of it all. Or else he wouldn’t really be an all-powerful, in-control, sovereign God. And if he’s not all-controlling, to the point of causing all sin and evil, then we couldn’t really trust him, could we? But as long as we know that he’s the cause and controller of all sin and evil, then we can trust him, right? (And you better watch out, because if you disagree with Calvin, he might burn you at the stake with green wood that takes longer to burn.)

        So let’s all humbly accept Calvi-god’s right to do whatever he wants – even causing sin and evil and rebellion against his commands and starving babies and physical assault and child rape – because “he is the potter and we are the clay.” So let’s just praise him for his mysterious ways and for doing all of this for his glory, even though it kinda makes him sound like a monster! But, hey, who are we, O men, to talk back to Calvi-god!?! If he thinks it’s good and glorifying to cause sin and rape and abuse, then who are we to question him? Even if it sounds an awful lot like Satan.

  6. Another thing I have noticed that Calvinists do.

    Let’s say someone like Kevin DeYoung (mentioned here) is very Calvinistic in his (written) theology. Then he says things (like he is quoted here in footnote 1).

    Do you know what happens to me sometimes when I tell a friend that what he just said does not match his Calvinist stance? He will reply “Yes it does, cuz Paul says that.”

    That means they can verbally say all the Arminian-sounding things they want….and then claim…”It’s consistent cuz Spurgeon says it.” “I’m still Calvinist cuz Paul says what I just said.”

    Of course anyone acquainted with that tactic (even though they dont know they are using one) can see that they are just de facto assuming that Paul is a Calvinist. Then whatever provisionist stuff Paul says is Calvinistic too. It’s a win-win for them.

    But that just assumes that Paul is the father of Calvinism and we would of course disagree. Crazy thing is they cannot even hear themselves doing it!

    1. br.d
      Arminian-sounding – and doctrine of decrees denying
      And yet its Calvinism because its the TWO FACED way they need to interpret scripture..

      Its called EXEGETING out of both sides of the mouth . 😀

  7. Not only was the article lucid and helpful in spelling out the problem of calvinist doublespeak, but these comments have been equally as crisp and insightful. Great responses!

  8. Let me unpack my above comment a bit more here.

    Kevin DeYoung states, “The saving message of Jesus Christ is plainly taught in the Scriptures and can be understood by all who have ears to hear it. We don’t need an official magisterium to tell us what the Bible means.” 

    That is the very position of the provisionists!

    If this was stated by Roger Olson in an Arminian book many Calvinists would cry blasphemy!  They would say, “of course it cannot be understood by a dead man!   Of course it needs a special visit from God (to be made alive!) to understand.  Your ears cannot hear anything —you’re dead— until God opens them and then irresistibly makes them hear!”

    What’s a magisterium?  The authority to teach religious doctrine.  Naturally they invoke a word whose definition includes “doctrine”! And naturally they dont want the Catholic church to dispense this clearly taught grace ….. it is free to all, right?

    Nah.

    Not to all.  Just a few that get the “magisterium” (however their doctrine defines it) to open up those dead ears and eyes.

    Silly.  Theologize like a Calvinist but preach like an Arminian. 

    “…. and can be understood by all who have ears to hear it….”  Which only includes [wink, wink] those who have been given the ears to hear it.  All others were never offered the option…. created specifically for destruction… for God’s good pleasure.  

    Yum. 

  9. The “story of twos” is another excuse blindfold when the main points of Calvinism are once again shown unscriptural, anti-scripture. 2 wills, 2 loves, 2 atonement’s, etc. etc… Suppose to base clarity through God’s word, 2 Tim. 3:16+17. You speak against Calvinist main points ‘reaction of true Calvinists will harshly state- “we don’t know, & how dare you try to know! No one can know God because so beyond us! Arrogance!” They remove God as revealer in relationship with us, to replace with revelation of man being the “true insight” above revelation of God through His Word. Proverbs 14:12, the ways of man lead where? Lead to death. Calvin is not Jesus & came out of an era of new Baby Christians trying to find their way back to God from being stuck in the orthodox cults. Calvin is not going to be right on all things & Calvin’s words are not the inspired word of God stated in 2 Tim. 3. The Bible holds answers for all of our questions. My life has been nothing but seeking answers to questions. I haven’t come across a question yet that I haven’t found an answer to in the Bible, & I have a PH.D. so my questions are quite tough! But don’t just take my word for it. Pro. 23:23, “Buy the truth & sell it not”… Test everything with your Bible open. If the “story of twos” is correct, that means we have a crooked god we cannot trust…one top reason why people leave the Calvin faith.

    1. Exactly, Brother Mike! Determinists want us to believe that God spoke through His prophets and apostles in ways that actually mean the opposite of what they wrote down, but thankfully God raised up “scholars” to tell us really what God meant.

    2. Dr. MIke
      They remove God as revealer in relationship with us, to replace with revelation of MAN being the “true insight” above revelation of God through His Word.

      br.d
      Well said!!!

      John Calvin can declare the bible teaches the moon is made out of green and yellow cheese puffs.
      And if you disagree – your disagreement is illegitimate because the divine revelation is beyond human understanding.

      You are to simply believe every word.

      When you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and given reverence to the divine revelation – which god gave to mankind – through Calvin’s INSTITUTES OF DOUBLE-SPEAK 😀

  10. A point of contention or perhaps just needing clarification, Rogers writes when promoting Extensivism “losing the ability to make choices that are inherently righteous”. I’m wondering what “inherently righteous” means. When my unsaved neighbor (whom I have yet to find out who did it) shovels my driveway during my knee surgery, was that “inherently unrighteous”? When Jesus tells of the good Samaritan deeds and tells others to do likewise, were his deeds “inherently unrighteous”? When Jesus speaks of the evil giving good gifts to their children are these “inherently unrighteous” gifts. I realize our works cannot merit us God’s grace but I wonder if we go to far Calvinist speaking of inability of our unsaved friends to make choices “inherently righteous”. Or did I just misunderstand? Was it implied that these would be actions that make one righteous before God?

    1. Hello Larry and welcome

      You raise a good point!
      Unfortunately – Roger – the author of the article is not here to interact and respond to queries.

      I personally also have a similar question regarding the term “EXTENSIVIST”

      In my years of experience with Calvinist/Non-Calvinist discussions – I have never seen this term used to describe anyone.
      I will guess what is meant it is “Non-Determinist” – but that is only a guess.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think either our questions will be able to be answered.

      Blessings
      br.d

      1. In his book, “Does God Love All or Some?: Comparing Biblical Extensivism and Calvinism’s Exclusivism,” Rogers writes: “I call my position Extensivism, which…. encompasses all who believe God’s salvific love is for every person in contrast to Calvinism’s exclusivism, which limits God’s salvific love to only some.”

      2. AH!
        I get it!
        God’s salvific love “Extends” to all – where in Calvinism it is “Exclusive” to the “Frozen Chosen” :-]

        Thanks Maron!

    2. Luke 1:6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.

      Calvinist can do nothing with this verse. In theory these are “dead people” “doing evil all the time” right?

      1. Welcome Larry. Yes, I think most traditional in reformed theology would say that.

      2. And yet how strange that there is not a single mention of such a significant event as regeneration in the narrative of Abel, Enoch, Noah, or any other OT Saint prior to their belief in God.

      3. Exactly, Bro Loz… nor any mention of an all encompassing divine decree before creation for everything to work out only one way… But many mentions of God making decisions and choices after creation, with some clearly made in response to man’s choices.

  11. Fromoverhere: ” In theory these are “dead people” “doing evil all the time” right?’

    Good point! Other “totally depraved, dead people” are Lydia and the believers in Acts 19. Here’s something I once wrote about them on my blog (I may have posted this in another Soteriology 101 comment section too, so I’m sorry if it’s redundant. And I’m sorry that it’s quite long.):

    My Calvinist pastor loves to use Lydia, from Acts 16:14, as an example of God opening someone’s heart and causing them to believe. Calvinists love this verse and use it all the time because they think it “proves” their idea that God has to regenerate the elect before they can believe, all because it says “God opened her heart.” Calvinists will say, “See, it says God opened her heart to believe.”

    But look at the text for yourself. It does NOT say that God opened her heart to believe. “To believe” is an assumption, added by Calvinists.

    But what it does say is that she was already a worshipper of God. It says, “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia … who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” That’s it. Notice that it does not say “to believe.” It does not say what the message was. It does not say that Paul’s message was the gospel’s message of salvation, as Calvinists assume it must be.

    In a letter we sent to the elders, I pointed out that Lydia was already a believer, and so the pastor couldn’t use it to prove that God opened her heart to believe. She already believed before her heart was opened by God. But then when the pastor would preach on it after that, he would add something like “Yes, it says she was a worshipper of God, but she was not saved yet. She was not a true believer until God opened her heart.”

    Where does it say this in the text? Nowhere. He didn’t even have a verse to back him up. He just proclaimed it like it was truth. But he’s adding something that isn’t there. It’s basing what the Bible says on their own idea that a “totally depraved” person can’t possibly seek God or believe in Him until God “opens their hearts,” so therefore Lydia couldn’t possibly be a true worshipper of God because God didn’t open her heart yet.

    Even though the Bible itself said she was a “worshipper of God.”

    So am I to assume then that God misspoke when He wrote the Bible. Do we need Calvinists to tell us what God really meant to say, as if God doesn’t say what He means or mean what He says?

    And if they can’t weasel out of what the Bible says in any other way, they simply deny it altogether with “Oh, yeah, it says that, but it’s not what it seems.” My pastor also does this for God hardening Pharaoh’s heart too. The Bible says that for the first several plagues in Egypt Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and then God hardened his heart, making Pharaoh’s choice permanent. But our pastor said something like, “Yeah, the Bible says Pharaoh hardened his own heart … but God really did it first, even though it says Pharaoh hardened his own heart first.” And yet it’s sad how many in the congregation never notice or stop to really think about what he’s saying.

    But do you know the best part of all this?

    The pastor’s response itself (saying Lydia was not a believer yet) actually contradicts and defeats Calvinism, when you consider what Calvinists believe. Because if she was a God-worshipper but not a believer yet – if she was, as my pastor calls all unregenerated people, “totally depraved, desperately wicked, rebellious sinners who can’t do good or seek God” – then she was doing good things and worshipping God before she was regenerated, before God “opened her heart to believe.” She was still in her “depraved” state, yet she was worshipping God. The highest “good” we can do.

    This totally destroys the T (total depravity/inability) in Calvinism’s TULIP, which says that men are so fallen, so wicked, so depraved that they cannot do, think, or want anything good, nor can they want or seek God, until and unless they were elected and God regenerates them first. But this unregenerated unbeliever was worshipping God all on her own, before God “opened her heart.” Not so “totally depraved” now, are we!?!

    This tears down the T in TULIP, effectively proving that there is no Total Depravity … which means we are not so fallen that we can’t think about God unless He makes us do it … which means that we can think about and want and seek God on our own … which means regeneration isn’t necessary first … which means there are no elect people that God has to irresistibly call to Him and to regenerate … which means Jesus didn’t die just for the elect but He died for all people. This verse is a gift to anti-Calvinists because it effectively destroys Calvinism’s TULIP.

    And on the flip side, if Calvinists admit that she really was a believer, then God didn’t open her heart to believe through Paul’s message. Because she believed before her heart was “opened.” And this means they can’t use this as a proof-text that God opens our hearts (of the elect only) to believe.

    So then what was Paul’s message? What did God open her heart about? I believe it’s about the importance of believers getting baptized, because that’s the next thing she does.

    And where in the Bible is there support for what I think? Well, just a few chapters over. What happened to Lydia is probably similar to what happened in Acts 19 when Paul met believers who did not yet have the Holy Spirit because they hadn’t been baptized in the name of the Lord but only in John the Baptist’s “baptism of repentance.” Paul convinced them to be baptized in the name of the Lord to receive the Holy Spirit.

    Now pay attention here because this is important: Calvinists say we can’t believe until we get the Holy Spirit, until He regenerates the hearts of the elect to make them believe. This is what the T (Total Depravity) and the U (Unconditional Election) and the I (Irresistible Grace) of Calvinism’s TULIP is based on. This is essential for their theology – that man is so dead and totally depraved inside that we can’t possibly seek, want, or believe in Jesus unless and until the Holy Spirit draws the elect with irresistible grace, regenerating their hearts and causing them to believe. All of this has to happen before believing, for Calvinism to be true.

    But the Bible itself says these men were believers, but they hadn’t yet received the Holy Spirit.

    Now how did they do that? How did “totally depraved, unregenerated” people become believers before getting the Holy Spirit?

    Do you know how?

    Because Calvinism is wrong! We do not get the Holy Spirit to cause us to believe. The Holy Spirit does not regenerate us (well, the elect only) before we believe, in order to make it possible to believe. We get the Holy Spirit after we choose to believe, in response to our belief (as seen in multiple verses). He comes into the hearts of those who have chosen to believe in Jesus, and He regenerates our hearts to help us grow to understand God’s Word, to be obedient, to convict us of sin, and to grow to be more like Christ. (He convicts the world of its sins, too, and calls all men to believe, but most people ignore or reject it.)

    In the face of so many Bible passages, Calvinism is wrong! But Calvinists would rather make up alternative meanings for Bible verses/words than to throw out their Calvinism and start reading the Bible the correct way. They read the Bible through the lens of “How does this fit with Calvinism?” And many of them have invested far too much of their life and energy and pride and reputation into being a Calvinist to turn back now. But I tell you, the deeper you study the Bible, the more wrong Calvinism gets. And the deeper you study Calvinism, the more wicked you realize it is.

    Lydia (and these believing-before-receiving-the-Holy-Spirit disciples) destroys Calvinism! But Calvinists won’t – can’t – see it. Many of them are in too deep. And so they just keep using Lydia’s conversion over and over again, telling people it proves Calvinism, saying something like this (basing it all on their Calvinism), “Yeah, it says she worshipped God but she couldn’t be a believer yet because she didn’t have the Holy Spirit yet because God didn’t open her heart yet.”

    And no one questions it because, after all, they claim they are only preaching “right from the Scriptures.”

    FYI: Calvinists will come up with all sorts of rambling answers to try to cover for their theological nonsense. Don’t buy it! It’s hogwash! Debating a Calvinist is like trying to wrestle a greased pig. You’ll never be able to get a grip on them because they’re constantly shifting and squirming and doing anything they can to wriggle free. But if they have to try that hard to spin their nonsense into “truth,” it’s because it’s not truth. Always go back to the text to see what it really says. And the Bible’s message is easy to understand. So much easier than Calvinists make it. And it makes sense. So much more sense than Calvinism.

    1. Heather – didn’t you know – Lydia was a worshiper of God who didn’t believe in the God she was worshiping?

      Is that a conception of a human female brain – made after the IMAGE and LIKENESS of the Calvinist brain??? 😀

      1. Br.d: “Heather – didn’t you know – Lydia was a worshiper of God who didn’t believe in the God she was worshiping?”

        Yeah, an interesting Calvinist conundrum. And how do they sqaure that circle? Just like my pastor did “Yeah, the Bible says she was a worshipper of God, but she really wasn’t.” Yep, sounds biblical to me! 😉

        And the congregation’s apparent reply: “Uh, okay, because you said so, I guess.” With no further inquiry or pushback. Except from me, of course. 🙂

      2. Heather
        And the congregation’s apparent reply: “Uh, okay, because you said so, I guess.” With no further inquiry or pushback.

        br.d
        This IMHO is one of the characteristics of Catholicism within Calvinism
        Calvinist doctrine is given to mankind EX-CATHEDRA

        It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make any sense and is self-contradicting
        You are to “believe every word” without question.- because the mysteries of god are inscrutable.

        Thus they can declare the moon is made out of green and yellow cheese puffs – and you are to simply “believe every word” because Calvinism is endowed with divine revelation – and anyone who questions is operating in human reasoning.

        Heather
        Except from me, of course.

        br.d
        Its wonderful!
        The Lord gave you a THINKING brain – which allowed you to escape the mental ensnarement.

      3. I have notice many, many times that Calvinist will start to explain a passage with some sort of phrase like, “it says that but it doesnt really mean that.”

        Now, I know we have to do that once in a while (We dont really hate our parents), but they do it hundreds of times….especially with all of the OT passage where God, “the Eternal of Israel” (making sure we know who is talking) says “I would have…” “I did not plan….” “it never entered my mind.”

        Calvinist exegesis: “It says that, but we know it doesn’t mean that….. [add bloviation here].”

      4. Br.d.: “You are to “believe every word” without question.-”

        Yeah, Calvin and Catholicism are not too different in that regard. Sounds like how Calvin ruled Geneva. And the consequences for getting out of line were severe.

      5. Yes!
        I think this is one of the reasons N.T. Wight calls Calvin a Catholic with a small “c”

        A number of years ago – I read a book on Calvin and Geneva – which indicated there remain letters from Calvin – addressed to Catholic head-hunters who were looking for Protestants – telling them the where-abouts of those who disagreed with Calvin institutes – asking the head hunters to kill them.

        And that is also a Catholic thing to do.

      6. This is why (one reason) I think the reformers are over-rated.

        Luther has hero status for stepping out of line insisting on salvation by faith and faith alone….saying “Here I stand, I can do no other.”

        But ….

        1. No one was allowed to “step out of line” by them (No, they got it right and it’s the stocks or the river for you if you dont toe the new party line!).

        2. Apparently the faith-alone that he is referring to is forced on you by God (and not offered to anyone else), so really a moot point when you think about it, right?

        ps. I could go all day by adding ideas like the Catholic leaders were only doing what God predetermined they do anyway.

      7. FOH says:
        “No one was allowed to “step out of line” by them (No, they got it right and it’s the stocks or the river for you if you dont toe the new party line!).”

        Huge red flag. Just one group of power hungry authoritarians setting up their own fiefdom. So unlike the One they claim to serve, the humble, self-sacrificing one who did not come to make himself King of the World (which he could have done with a word), but to suffer and die that all men might know the heart and will of God: to redeem mankind from the slavery of sin and death.

        How long will men allow authoritarian Religion to replace walking with God?

    2. Oh man oh man Heather!

      I was gonna start writing about Lydia but decided to read yours first. Exactly!! You nailed it!

      They refuse to deal with “worshipper of God” right in the same “proof-text” verse!

      Either she was a believer (as a “worshipper of God”), or …

      She was an unbeliever and a “worshipper of God” (so, not really “dead” and a God-hater, all the time evil).

      Nah…. they cannot have it both ways!!

      1. fromoverhere: “Oh man oh man Heather!… Exactly!! You nailed it!”

        Thank you. I just wish I could’ve shared this with the people in my own church. Or I wish that they would stop and think for themselves when the pastor says things like “Yes, it says she was a worshipper of God, but she was not saved yet. She was not a true believer until God opened her heart,” when there is no verse that says that. But when someone holds pastors and theologians in such high regard, they turn off their red flag radar and don’t think to question what they’re being told. Sad.

    3. Lydia was very likely a Jewish convert that worshipped the true God, like all Jews did, but she didn’t know Jesus, therefore, regardless of any good deeds she may have done (like believe in the living God), she remained in her sins and wasn’t saved… Just like Jews aren’t saved just because they also worship the one true God. To be saved one needs forgiveness for their sins, to be forgiven they need to know who Jesus is and what he did, knowing all that they need to repent and place their faith in him, they need to confess he is Lord. God prepared a servant to bring her that knowledge and opened her heart to receive it. And she did.

      1. Hello Jana and welcome.
        And “Well said” on your post.

        Of course the Calvinist – because Calvinism is predicated on EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM has to find a way to make the story of Lydia fit into their system.

        In Calvinism – humans are granted no autonomy – because any degree of autonomy given to a human – would represent a degree of divine sovereignty taken away from Calvin’s god. This is part of Calvinism’s “Zero-sum game” belief system – where any LIBERTY granted to a human would represent a LIBERTY taken away from Calvin’s god.

        Blessings!
        br.d

      2. I not only agree with your assertion, I would posit that the same is true for most people who come to Christ. They are, for the most part, not people who have written ‘a Creator God who loves, pursues and saves’ off as a myth. They are not, for the most part, people who have dealt honestly with the concept of God and chosen to reject, deny or ignore it.

        People who come to accept Jesus as the Son of God who demonstrates love, mercy and the promise of eternal life are most likely in similar circumstances as Lydia. They have not yet heard, and understood, the entire story, but neither have they closed off their hearts from the wooing of the Spirit in their lives. They are open to the truth they do not yet possess.

      3. Jana, isn’t it such a wonderful, beautiful calvinistic mystery that this totally depraved, God-hating spiritual corpse called Lydia, was already a worshipper of God before God opened her heart! Isn’t it amazing how we are humble and spiritual enough to accept this mystery!

      4. I’m with you PL, not sure what Jana is saying about this passage.

        But When my Calvinist friends bring this passage up, I simply ask them was she “dead” (or was she at a place of prayer), and was she a God-hater (as Calvinist say all non-believers are), or was she a worshipper of God?

        The passage is pretty non-Calvinistic!

      5. Hello Jana!

        You said “To be saved one needs forgiveness for their sins, to be forgiven they need to know who Jesus is and what he did, knowing all that they need to repent and place their faith in him, they need to confess he is Lord.” And you are right.

        But then you said “God prepared a servant to bring her that knowledge and opened her heart to receive it.”

        If I may ask, where in the passage does it say that the message her heart was “opened” to receive was the salvation gospel message? Is it possible that Paul’s message could have been about the need to be baptized, as happened a few chapters over in Acts 19? This little distinction would make a huge difference in how we read the Lydia passage, in whether or not it appears to be Calvinist or not.

        Blessings to you!

  12. I always thought it was odd that the key reformers hero and the person they got most of their ideas from was Augustine, the “Father of the Catholic Church.” Most Calvinists I know rail against the Catholic Church yet (probably unknowing for most of them) many ideas and theologies they still hold to even to this day came from the Catholic Church.

    1. Yes! Good point andyb2015

      There are some obvious aspects of historical Catholicism which Calvin – and his off-spring today dare both adamantly cling to – and for obvious reasons..

      1) Historical Catholicism boldly pronounced itself as the “Golden Standard”
      All competing theologies are aberrant in comparison..
      John Calvin – and his off-spring today – assume that Catholic mantle for themselves.

      2) Historical Catholicism – assumes itself to be endowed by divine revelation – to speak EX-CATHEDRA concerning all things pertaining to God and his design of creation.
      John Calvin – and his off-spring today – assume that Catholic mantle for themselves.

      3) Historical Catholicism – had its DIVINE INTERPRETATION of scripture – treated as CANON
      John Calvin – and his off-spring today – assume that Catholic mantle for themselves.

      In your dialogs with a Calvinist – when anyone disagrees with them – that one is AUTO-MAGICALLY disagreeing with scripture – rather than a HUMAN INTERPRETATION of scripture.

      I have observed this for example in my dialogs with Calvinists on the subject of the Catholic HOLY INTERPRETERS of scripture – .condemning Galileo and Copernicus as heretical – because they contradicted the DIVINE INTERPRETATION of scripture.

      Most Calvinists will come to the defense of the Catholic church on the Galileo/Copernicus affair – because Calvinism follows the Catholic model of CANONIZING its own interpretations of scripture – in order to posture itself as the “Golden Standard” – and pit everyone else as against scripture.

      One of Calvinism’s “claim to fame” is that it is the “Golden Standard” of “biblical”.
      And pretty much every Calvinist walks around speaking EX-CATHEDRA – AUTO-MAGICALLY assuming Calvinism as the pontifex maximus.

  13. Thank you for the article once again you show clearly how convoluted calvinism is,! but the worst part is “if” you’re an unsuspecting believer it could put doubt and confusion about the goodness of God in your head unnecessarily.. But then you also have those who just want to sweep this under the rug or not talk about it.. & then others who just want this to go away and all get along, because they think speaking up is a divisional thing. Well really– if you get the doctrine of salvation wrong (HUGE) then hmm seems it’s only a matter of time before you get something else wrong as well! The Bible is clearly a message of hope from the beginning pages to the end. Calvinism is void of hope for the majority of humanity!! Then I’m told who am i to talk back to God ~well actually I’m His child and this isn’t what i believed about Him nor even considered it in reading Scripture.. so when i heard of this systematic by someone i trusted (human) i simply asked Him!!! This was introduced to me in an article written haha by a man!! So my comment is ~the confessions of men mean nothing~ in light of His Word and the good news of the gospel period..  though calvinist don’t see this they seem to exalt self, but they claim non-calvinist do it, yet we don’t need two wills to explain the Bible, but they do ie. man made theology.. It really came from a master manipulator who could change the meaning of terms easily under the radar in my opion. It is telling that many who hold this position don’t just come out and say it on the pulpit… So at first glance it doesn’t seem alarming, but the more you see the more alarming it actually is!! again this is my opinion.. And studying His Word is always about exalting Him and not making God out to be double willed etc.. such baggage at best, but if in the end they voluntarily hide the fact, that this makes God unjust and essentially a liar then i question does a person like that even know Him… maybe it’s not that simple but….. I found this site when i felt so very overwhelmed by the giant of this systematic… God is faithful and when i say we can trust what He says i don’t mean only a small minority that He salvafically loves i mean all even those who reject Him, because they get what they want in the end. There is comfort in knowing🌻

    2 Thessalonians 2:10 NASB95 — and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

    1. Well said, Reggie. Lots of insight in what you said.

      Reggie: “…but the worst part is “if” you’re an unsuspecting believer it could put doubt and confusion about the goodness of God in your head unnecessarily.”

      Heather: And sadly, it’s not just unbelievers who are damaged by this. A bunch of the Christian musicians who have recently recanted their faith came from Calvinist churches. I just read about one two days ago who just recanted Christianity, and in an article, he says his faith started unravelling when he (surprise, surprise! I knew it was coming.) began attending a certain reformed college. Well, no wonder! I can understand why someone would want to reject God and faith if they were taught that God causes all evils and predestines people to hell and only loves a few people and that most people were created specifically for hell for God’s glory and pleasure and that God says one thing but means another, etc. Sadly, these “believers” choose to walk away from God instead of Calvinism, not realizing that Calvinism is NOT the gospel. I hope and pray God keeps working on their hearts to draw them back to Him, to real truth.

      Reggie: “… then others who just want this to go away and all get along, because they think speaking up is a divisional thing. Well really– if you get the doctrine of salvation wrong (HUGE) then hmm seems it’s only a matter of time before you get something else wrong as well!”

      Heather: My husband and I struggled with the “division” thing, wondering how and when and if to speak up. That’s a hard one. We chose to not broadcast our concerns to the congregation (which I still feel bad about, not sure if we did the right thing, but I did leave comments on the church blog, disagreeing with the pastor’s view of predestination, and we did tell a few key people exactly why we were resigning from the church so that some others knew and could pass it on), but we sent letters to the elders since they are in charge of the direction the church goes, clearly spelling out what we disagree with and why. But of course, since they are all Calvinists, nothing happened. But at least our conscience is clean before God, knowing that we took a stand as best and politely as we could.

      As much as we loved our church (it wasn’t always Calvinist), we just could not stay there, especially when we saw that disagreement is not allowed and that they would do nothing about our concerns. (In fact, the Calvinist pastor only got more vocal about it all after we sent our letter. Almost like “now that my cover’s blown, may as well shout it out loud.”) For us, the message of salvation, what Jesus did on the cross, is the very heart and soul of the gospel, of faith. And so if a Calvinist pastor gets the salvation message wrong (damaging God’s character and trustworthiness in the process), then it doesn’t matter what they get right. If they get the key point of the gospel wrong, then it’s all wrong. Too wrong to tolerate even their “good” points. And so we had to leave. I could not risk looking like we support/tolerate their twisted gospel.

      Reggie: “… It really came from a master manipulator who could change the meaning of terms easily under the radar…”

      Heather: Exactly! Makes it hard to pin them down or debate them when they can pivot or change definitions or disguise what they really mean anytime they want. It should be a major red flag to us all when a theology relies on deception.

      Reggie: “It is telling that many who hold this position don’t just come out and say it on the pulpit.”

      Heather: Exactly again! They need time to weave Calvinism in, unnoticed. To reel people in without their knowledge, oftentimes with manipulation. If they revealed right away that they were Calvinists teaching Calvinism, we could look up “Calvinism” for ourselves to evaluate it. But if we don’t know what their theology is – or that they even have a particular brand of theology – then we can’t look it up and are often unaware that we should look it up. We just think they are teaching “right from the Scriptures,” like they tell us they are.

      My ex-pastor, although he’s a strong, dogmatic, in-love-with-MacArthur Calvinist, never used the word “Calvinist” or “Calvinism.” It took him years to begin revealing this openly. If I had known then what to look for, the signs of Calvinism, I could have seen it. But I didn’t know the signs and red flags, and so I didn’t know there was anything to be concerned about – until I began to notice the manipulative tactics he used to shame people into agreeing with him (as a licensed counselor, I notice this stuff) and that his interpretation of verses didn’t fit with what the Bibe plainly said. (When presenting their Calvinist views, Calvinists often use the term “the Bible TEACHES ….”, in opposition to what it actually SAYS.)

      1. You both make excellent points about disagreement.

        Without disagreement we don’t have “Iron sharpening Iron”

        So we should be able to see the Calvinist prohibition of disagreement has a more hidden strategic purpose.

        The REAL IRONY with that also is – their own doctrine stipulates – no Calvinist has any certainty of his election/salvation – because that is for Calvin’s god alone to know – and not for any man to know.

        As such – the claim that disagreement over doctrine within a Calvinist church equates to disagreement among the saints serves as a DENIAL of the doctrine – which is itself a disagreement!

        So their argument against disagreement over doctrine is a disagreement with their own doctrine!

        I still think God gave Calvinism to mankind as a form of entertainment!

        Entertainment of the DOUBLE-MINDED kind! 😀

      2. Heather,

        The points you all make on here and your willingness to speak up and God’s Word give me the courage to speak up as well in love well hopefully in love!! & i definitely agree with Br.d iron sharpens iron! If we didn’t warn/speak up where is the love in that!! Thank you for your wisdom in this matter it is greatly appreciated. I think we need to contend for the faith even within church walls. Faith is not a work, it is simply trusting in what was done for us! Such freedom and true power in the gospel! Which is clearly revealed in the Scriptures unless you have to add to it to fit some sort of agenda. Though we don’t fight against flesh and blood ugh sometimes… because tricky sounding men sure try to make it palatable or they shame people into silence. Again thank you all for sounding an alarm🌻

  14. From the article: “I agree with the Calvinist claim that the gospel is simple and clear, but I contend that Calvinism, by its very nature, complicates and obscures the simple and clear gospel.”

    Calvinism doesn’t just obscure the simple, clear gospel message, but I think it presents a whole different gospel, obscured just enough so that it APPEARS to be the biblical gospel.

    In the Bible, God loves all. But in Calvinism, He loves just a few but APPEARS to “love” all through the idea of two different kinds of love.

    In the Bible, Jesus died for all, God truly wants all to be saved, and God calls all people to believe in Jesus and offers salvation to all. But in Calvinism, salvation is only for a few preselected people, but it’s made to APPEAR to be for all people, through things like God’s “two wills” and “two calls,” etc.

    In the Bible, man has the ability to choose between real options and is therefore truly responsible for his sins. But in Calvinism, man only has the ability to choose the one thing God predestined/causes him to choose and so God is truly responsible for man’s sins, but it’s made to APPEAR like man is responsible and has the ability to choose, through things like “two causes of sin” and “God’s two types of decrees: spoken vs. hidden,” etc.

    In the Bible, we are saved through faith, by believing in Jesus, and then we get the Holy Spirit who indwells us and regenerates us. But in Calvinism, the elect are saved by getting the Holy Spirit first who regenerates them and injects “faith” into them and causes them to believe in Jesus. But it’s made to APPEAR like they are saved through faith, through belief in Jesus, when they are really saved first, BEFORE faith and belief.

    Calvinism doesn’t just obscure the gospel but it completely changes it, presenting us with a different God (whose character is very different from the God of the Bible), a different Jesus (whose death accomplished something different than what the Bible says), and a different way to salvation, etc.

    1. Wonderful post Heather!!!

      I totally agree!
      Calvinism is highly reliant upon hiding its TRUE face behind COSMETIC LANGUAGE.

      It wants to call itself “Doctrines of Grace”

      But in reality it is “Doctrines of GOOD-EVIL”

      And as you so keenly point out – in order to make itself palatable – it has to APPEAR like something it isn’t

      LANGUAGE is its tool-box – with which it paints SEMANTIC MASKS – behind which hide the EVIL parts.

      1. Br.d.: “It wants to call itself “Doctrines of Grace””

        Heather: Like John MacArthur’s “Grace to You.” Which should more honestly be called “Grace to Few.”

        Br.d.: “LANGUAGE is its tool-box – with which it paints SEMANTIC MASKS – behind which hide the EVIL parts.”

        Heather: Totally agreed! And we all know who it was, in the garden of Eden, that played games with God’s Words!

      2. Heather:
        Totally agreed! And we all know who it was, in the garden of Eden, that played games with God’s Words!

        br.d
        Bulls-eye!!!

    2. Heather,
      I absolutley appreciate how honest and direct you are; ~”Calvinism doesn’t just obscure the gospel but it completely changes it, presenting us with a different God (whose character is very different from the God of the Bible), a different Jesus (whose death accomplished something different than what the Bible says), and a different way to salvation,”~

      Such a gospel of baggage being offered in doctrines of grace etc..! It is flat out bad news the complete opposite of what the message is/was and continues to be! The “good news”

      Hebrews 4:2 NASB95 — For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

      1. Thank you, Reggie. I appreciate your comments and willingness to speak up too.

        As you said, the gospel is supposed to be “good news,” but there is no gospel, no good news, for the Calvinist non-elect.

        This makes me think of the angel’s proclamation when Jesus was born, in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men.” (That is the KJV.) Jesus’s entrance into the world was for the good-will of men. It was good news for all.

        But it’s interesting because the ESV (a Calvinist Bible) says “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Notice that it’s not good-will toward all men here, toward mankind in general, but it’s peace for those God is pleased with. Which, of course, in Calvinism, would be the elect only. The Calvinist ESV seems to make sure to limit the peace/good-will of God and the good news of Jesus’s birth to certain people, instead of being for all people.

        [Side note: I looked up Hebrews 4:2 in the KJV and the ESV, and it’s interesting.

        In the KJV, the last part of that verse reads “…but the word preached did not profit them. not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” This sounds like the people heard the Word but did not put any faith in it, and so therefore, the Word did not profit them. (Notice that the people “that heard it [the Word]” are the unbelievers who heard the Word but did not have faith in it.)

        But the ESV says “… but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” To me, this is very different.

        In the KJV, faith is what we do. After hearing the Word, we either choose to have faith in it or not. But in the ESV (in Calvinism), faith is like a big, heavenly rubber-band that wraps around certain, pre-chosen people and unites them together as believers. (Notice in the ESV that “those who listened [to the Word]” are the believers – not the unbelievers, as in the KJV. And the unbelievers are not united with “those who listened” because God did not give them faith.)

        In Calvinism, believers are not united THROUGH faith (because of our decision to believe) but BY faith (because Calvi-god injects certain people with “faith” that causes them to believe). In Calvinism, people don’t choose whether to have faith or not, but “faith” (determined/given by Calvi-god) chooses which people to tie together as believers.

        Others might not see it the way I do, but I have found so many verses in the ESV that appear to be deliberately translated to be more Calvinist. Which is no surprise, considering that it was created by Calvinists.]

      2. Perhaps it would be more accurate for them to call the ESV – the JCV
        John Calvin version 😀

      3. Brdmod: “Perhaps it would be more accurate for them to call the ESV – the JCV
        John Calvin version”

        It would be more honest at least, less able to deceive people. 🙂

    3. Against secret will

      Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

      Also, if world means “the elect” how is this verse explained?

      John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

      Why would anyone think God would condemn the people He unchangeably determined to NOT condemn?

      1. Bravo A2A,
        You see that so much of The Bible is either redundant, unnecessary, unexplainable, or outright deceptive if you superimpose Calvinism

  15. Heather, 

    Very interesting indeed!!! i often compare versions and I’ve stayed away from the ESV, because of how it was presented to me. I trusted He was Who He said He was in an NIV someone (not sure who) gave me years earlier.. i then bought a 1988 version and i still it, but i definitely see what you’re saying… Hmm and when you point out… at least i believe i heard it here the eternally sovereign version (maybe Brian said that) anyway it hit home, because of how it was presented to me. 

    Heather i also find you to be a very good Berean or rather like those from Berea… Acts 17:11 NKJV — These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

    Because of what you said here;
    “”[Side note: I looked up Hebrews 4:2 in the KJV and the ESV, and it’s interesting.””

    I then decided to look it up on blue letter Bible app and here is what i found; 

    to mix together, commingle

    to unite

    caused the several parts to combine into an organic structure, which is the body

    to unite one thing to another

    Thank you for the heads up & again i agree with Br.d iron sharpens iron😊

      1. Thank you, Heather, for drawing my attention again to this important verse that I point to often to show that the gospel can be heard and not mixed with faith.

        I hadn’t noticed this change in modern translations, which have drastically changed the meaning of the two participles, “mixed” and “heard” away from their subjects, “the word” and “those” not profited, and pointing those participles instead to “those” not profited as the subject of “mixed” and those who “heard” to those in Israel who did hear and believe.

        The argument turns completely on how to take the last participle “heard”. The NASB even changed in its updated version.
        1995 – because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
        2020 – because they were not united with those who listened with faith.

        The “word” is definitely the subject of “mixed” in grammatical form, so the change to “they” is pure extrapolation based on the last choice for “heard”. In other words, since the word wasn’t mixed with faith in some, that group then didn’t mix with the faith of those who did hear and believe.

        The context however points clearly to those who “heard” as those who “rebelled” (3:16), not those who heard and believed.

        These modern translations have ruined a very important teaching from this passage, and the main warning. If you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart (3:7-8). That warning does not fit Calvinistic teaching of irresistible grace. That is probably why they changed this translation.

      2. Brian,
        Exactly! Good point.

        I noticed but didn’t elaborate on how this verse (the altered version) could be used to justify the Calvinist’s view that only the elect can really “hear” the gospel. In the corrupted translation, only those who believed the Word actually “heard/listened to” the Word. Whereas in the more accurate version (according to my assessment), the unbelievers heard the Word. They just chose to reject it. But since unbelievers “hearing” the Word would not fit with Calvinist theology, then no wonder “hearing/listening to” was attributed to the believers instead, in the newer versions.

      3. Digging deeper Heather… there is a manuscript issue with the first participle, and the modern translations are now following the weight, though still uncertain, of taking “mixed” as accusative plural (they who did not mix) and not nominative singular (it was not mixed). The issue still remains how to take the last participle. And I still think the emphasis is on their not mixing with faith “with the things they heard” and not their not mixing with faith “with those who heard”, based on context.

      4. Brain: “And I still think the emphasis is on their not mixing with faith “with the things they heard” and not their not mixing with faith “with those who heard”, based on context.”

        This would make the most sense to me too. That the unbelievers didn’t mix the Word they heard with faith (they chose not to have faith in it), not that the unbelievers weren’t mixed with believers by faith (as if faith was only given to certain people, uniting them together, and the unbelievers were not given this faith). And if it’s accusative plural, then it sounds even more like the people themselves are responsible for not mixing the Word with faith (would that be right?). This would contradict the Calvinist view that people are not truly responsible for whether they have faith or not, but God is. That faith is something that just happens to them.

      5. THE CALVINIST’S IMAGE – OF THE FATHER OF THE MANY

        He is a father who blinds his little girl’s eyes
        And ties her hands behind her back
        And locks her in a closet.

        Then he commands her to come out
        If she does not obey his command and come out of the closet – he will throw her into a fire and watch her burn.

        In Calvinism – every little girl who doesn’t obey the father’s command “deserves” to be thrown into a fire so that he can watch her burn

        So the Calvinist naturally is going to see a verse that indicates a group of people who Calvin’s god did not mix faith with the word.
        These are the little girls whom he blinded and tied their hands behind their backs and locked in the closet of evil

        These are the MANY who are specifically created to “deserve” to be thrown into the fire so that he can watch them burn.

      6. brdmod: “THE CALVINIST’S IMAGE – OF THE FATHER OF THE MANY…”

        It’s sad but that’s exactly what the god of Calvinism is like.

        As my Calvinist ex-pastor clearly said it one day (he’s usually much more veiled): “God loves people. He loves peoples. But the Bible is clear that He doesn’t love all people and He doesn’t love all people equally.”

        How anyone could stay in that church after that (and also after he said God “ordains” all tragedies that happened in your life, including your childhood abuse) is beyond me. It made me sick, but it made others in the congregation shout out “Amen” and “Hallelujah,” as if believing that God “ordains” (they mean preplans/causes) childhood abuse and that God doesn’t love most people is a badge of honor and the best way to humbly honor God.

        It’s sick.

        And I wonder how any Calvinist can find comfort in a God like that or trust a God like that. They’d be horrified by any person causing abuse, but it’s okay for their god!?!

        Sick, sick, sick.

      7. Heather,

        Ugh you guys are right! How can they see this in a God Who is clearly separate from such evil sin… especially in a child☹.. if I thought that He was a God Who ordained every childhood abuse and life tragedy simply for His glory I’d be ashamed of the gospel, because the only power would be, that He’d be fixing what He decreed to happen exactly one way… But since it’s the power of God to save there must be SO MUCH more going on here ie. real separate humans He created to decide is He enough or do we need to add baggage to Scripture to clarify how He interacts with His creation, because we are so intelligent… I would see no sacrifice in the cross nor in any human who can cheer on the calvinist version of God, because really that is a simple version that pins evil on the Creator… Yet thankfully!!! we see the profound Awe inspiring Savior of the Bible is not in the worldy wisdom of men..

        Colossians 1:16 NASB95 — For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

      8. I think Calvinists actually know internally that the doctrine is sick and perverted.
        And that’s why they blame it on the Bible.

  16. Hey, guys! I have a new term for the Calvinistic doctrine of regeneration. It’s the Holy Spirit’s prewash cycle. They divide scriptures about baptism and washing into two different events. So they add a prewash cycle.

    1. Hello toomanymarys and welcome
      Humor is often good.
      Personally I see the Calvinist doctrine of regeneration as the changing of a floppy-disk located in the forehead of the Calvinist. The only thing that changes is the programming which controls every impulse that will irresistibly come to pass within the Calvinists brain.

      The Calvinist couldn’t have an impulse in his brain he could call his own prior to that.
      And he can’t have an impulse in his brain he can call his own after that.
      So even though the programming changes – the fact that every impulse that comes to pass within the Calvinist brain – is AUTHORED by an external mind – and every impulse is CAUSED by antecedent factors outside of his brains control – still remains the same. :-]

  17. Heather wrote … “It’s sad but that’s exactly what the god of Calvinism is like.

    As my Calvinist ex-pastor clearly said it one day (he’s usually much more veiled): “God loves people. He loves peoples. But the Bible is clear that He doesn’t love all people and He doesn’t love all people equally.””

    These are the exact words I heard from my Calvinist ex-pastor. He would then go on to say that he finds, and we all should also find, “great comfort” in this.
    “And I wonder how any Calvinist can find comfort in a God like that or trust a God like that.” We (my wife and I) wondered the same thing as we heard him say this. In what way does this give us comfort? Only if you are completely selfish and only thinking about yourself would this give you any kind of comfort as in “well I’m one of the one He loves in the “special, salvific” way, so I’m comforted. But too bad for all those other people, maybe my kids, other family members, friends, that He doesn’t love in that “special, salvific” way, they are going to hell with no real, true choice about it but oh well, I’m good. The only way this would comfort someone is if they don’t really care or love those others. If we really care and love others as or more than ourselves (as scripture clearly teaches us to), then this isn’t a comfort but a horrible, sick, thought that should torment us day and night.

    1. I 100% agree. I get in a fair bit of trouble for saying that Calvinism is a “narcissist’s charter”, but that is exactly what it is. Even if it doesn’t start out that way for some, it will slowly become that way. Because we become like the one we worship, and Calvinists worship a narcissistic god.

      It’s highly ironic when Calvinists accuse us of having a “man-centred theology”, because Calvinism is as man-centred as it gets. It’s elect-man-centred, electocentric, not Christo-centric. It’s an “I’m alright Jack” philosophy, hiding behind the fake humility of, “I’m so HUMBLED that God chose a wretch like me!”

      And the sickeningly pious statement, “It’s amazing that God saves ANY”. Very convenient to say that when you just so happen to think you are one of the “any”. And why is it amazing that God, who IS LOVE, should choose to save any, or to die for ALL and desire the salvation of all and enable all to receive both the gift? It’s amazing in the sense of wonderful, but not in the sense of “surprising”, which is how Calvinists use it.

      The more I debate with Calvinists, the more convinced I am that many of them actually find it OFFENSIVE that God loves all with a salvific love, as if their sense of self-worth is dependent on the belief that they are part of an exclusive special boys and girls club.

      Truly, Calvinism is as demonic as it gets. I think Satan must be very proud of how he has managed to infect a sizeable minority of the church with this spiritual virus

    2. Andy: “The only way this would comfort someone is if they don’t really care or love those others. If we really care and love others as or more than ourselves (as scripture clearly teaches us to), then this isn’t a comfort but a horrible, sick, thought that should torment us day and night.”

      Heather: So true! Either they don’t truly love others, which is heartbreaking … or, if they do truly love the “non-elect,” then they love others more than God does. Neither is good. Or scriptural.

      Pastor Loz: “It’s highly ironic when Calvinists accuse us of having a “man-centred theology”, because Calvinism is as man-centred as it gets.”

      Heather: We had a baptism service at our church one day, and there were lots of beautiful testimonies, such as one old guy who was so humble and had learned such wonderful godly lessons over the years that it brought tears to my eyes. But then the nephew of our Calvinist pastor got up there and gave his testimony, and he went on and on about how “God chose ME! What an honor that God made ME saved. He chose ME before time began. Blah, blah, blah.” It brought the whole beautiful ceremony to a screeching halt. We could tell just how well-trained in Calvinism that family was.

      Totally reminds me of the “Jesus died for ME, ME, ME” video that Br.d. (I believe) linked to:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMmNf7PN0bc

      It’s brilliant! And listen to how offended he is at the idea that God would have a general love for everyone and that Jesus would die for everyone. It’s like, to Calvinists, God’s love only means something if it’s reserved for a few specific people, including, of course, “ME.”

  18. Thanks Pastor Loz. Some tough words but unfortunately they are true. “Spiritual virus” is really a fitting description. Like any virus, it grows and distorts and does much harm to its host.

    One of the reasons I started questioning Calvinism when I was confronted with it head on was that it was beginning to distort my view of who God is. Did God really create most people with the knowledge that they would be unable to respond to His invitations of salvation so that He could then condemn them to Hell? Why would He only save a relatively few when He could regenerate every person? How did He choose some but not most? Why would He do these things? Well He made these decisions “in the secret councils of His will” and He did it “for His glory” would always be the answer I got from the Calvinist pastor or elders (who got it from Calvin). I questioned whether this was really who God was could see my view of God beginning to be distorted, which led me to delve deep into these questions.

    Thank God for Soteriology 101 and many other resources I was able to find that brought me back to the true, Biblical view of who God really is.

    1. Andy: “Well He made these decisions “in the secret councils of His will” and He did it “for His glory” would always be the answer I got from the Calvinist pastor or elders …”

      If God was really glorified by sin (not just in spite of sin, but BY sin), by evil, by child abuse, by lies, by murder, by idol worship, by people being in hell … if He preplanned all these evil things and caused people to do it, for His pleasure and glory … then we’d really have to wonder how sick and twisted He is, if He’s any different from Satan, and if He’s worthy of praise. But instead, Calvinists trick themselves into thinking that they are being most humble and most God-glorifying to praise Him for this kind of stuff. (Actually, they let Satan trick them into it.)

      Personally, I think Calvinism is so destructive because the lies are so subtle at first that people can’t hear how wrong it is. Glad to hear, Andy, that you could think for yourself and see past the Calvinist manipulations and deceptions. 🙂

      1. Heather, “Personally, I think Calvinism is so destructive because the lies are so subtle at first that people can’t hear how wrong it is.

        Exactly!!! So love the fact, that those on here see through this subtle deception!! What really gets me upset is sitting under a pastor who is not being intellectually honest with either the church or himself, that he’s teaching from a calvinistic vantage point.. I’m cautious because they really don’t all have it in their beliefs. I do agree though they may not say it, but they seem to think they’ve got something on the rest of us (supposedly emotional) people.. I don’t see it like that i see it that God gave me a new heart and i literally care and want people to be saved and ugh i don’t have agape love like God!! I actually know that without Jesus people are going to hell!! I trust God at His Word period… and there is no comfort in equal ultimacy and anyone who finds comfort in that has to be selfish/self centered or something…

  19. Very good, Heather!!! Like Leighton Flowers often says — perhaps the best way to defeat Calvinism is to explain their own system in simple, understandable terms for all to see. To clearly see it for what it is …. by seeing through all its contradicting doublespeak, and to plainly see it in its ungarnished and unprotected form (unaided by use of their softening euphemisms) — to see it’s ugly underbelly is to simply reject it in total.

    1. Thank you, Marlon. It’s just too bad Calvinists can’t recognize what they say as the contradictory doublespeak it is. They just parrot back some new talking point or out-of-context verse, convinced it solves the problem or wins the debate.

      1. Yeah….well with guys like John MacArthur it doesnt work. He just says “They are both true. Just live with it.”

        Some things actually are “both true” ….and we do live with it: God is three in one. Jesus is man and God. We dont get it…but that is the nature/person of God and it is not completely “getable”.

        Other things are “both true” cuz we (they) box ourselves in by man-mde interpretation of verses: Proverbs 21:1 (A “proverb” no less) says….

        “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases” …..so we (they!) extrapolate from that that God makes every decision before time exactly what every person will do.

        Then we (they) encounter the hundreds of verses like “decide for yourselves” or “they did not follow the Lord” or “The Lord says ‘The thought did not even enter my mind.'” And they say …”Yes, man chooses! They are both true!”

        That’s just dumb.

        It is just dumb and bad exegesis and theology to tell the world that God hates all sin, rape, murder, child abuse, and at the same time insist that a Holy God immutably decided —before the foundations of the world — every action, thought and dust particle that will ever be.

        “He ordained it all (even sin)!!” they say, “And yet He is without sin.”

        When you cry “that’s nonsensical” they just simply pull out their ” The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God…”

        Their interpretations, are, of course, the things of the Spirit.

        You try to tell them what their theology teach and they say “you are setting up strawmen.”

        And ’round and ’round…..

      2. Fromoverhere: “Other things are “both true” cuz we (they) box ourselves in by man-made interpretation …”

        Exactly! Calvinists first create a contradiction that isn’t really in Scripture and then they present themselves as so “humble” and “God-glorifying” to accept it without really understanding it, as if it’s a true mystery that God expects us to accept even if we can’t fully understand it, such as the Trinity.

        I’ve given this example before, but my Calvinist pastor would ask the church “How can God ‘ordain’ all evil but hold us accountable for it?” And then he’d respond: “I don’t know, but the Bible teaches both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. It teaches both these truths with no tension. It’s only WE who have trouble accepting it and understanding it. But God has no problem with it. And so I accept them both as true, even though I can’t understand it all.” And he says this like “Look how humble I am to accept hard teachings I don’t fully understand.”

        However, the congregation is unaware of the Calvinist definition of “sovereignty” and “ordains” and “man’s responsibility”, and so they can’t see exactly what he is saying. And notice how he sets it up as biblical “truth,” therefore anyone who disagrees with him would be disagreeing with the Bible (according to him). They shame and manipulate people into Calvinism, into not questioning it.

        I’ve also noticed several other ways Calvinists try to manipulate people into accepting their contradictions, such as:

        1. They blame you for your “emotional reaction” to Calvinism with things like “Yeah, we know it’s hard to accept” and “It’s natural to have an emotional reaction to this stuff” and “I felt that way too when I first learned this” and “Give it time; you’ll get there.” They make it seem like the problem is with YOU, your emotions, not with their bad theology. And so if you don’t accept it, it’s just because you don’t like it and your emotions are getting in the way.

        2. Changing the question. They pose the question “How could God predestined most people to hell” but then they say “Actually, the real question is ‘Why did God choose to love any of us when we all deserved hell?’ The fact that He loved and choose any of us when we didn’t deserve it shows how good He is.” You can’t ask the hard questions in Calvinism. They change it to one that doesn’t reveal the terrible nature of Calvi-god.

        3. Bait-and-Switch. This is when they present a truth and get you to agree to the truth … and then they attach that truth to their viewpoint, making you feel like since you now agreed with the truth, you have to also agree with their view. I noticed this with a well-known Calvinist who said something like “Our great Holy Father in heaven – the Creator of all – expects us to evangelize, right? And we are supposed to be obedient, even when we don’t understand, right? Therefore, we need to be obedient when it comes to evangelism, even if we don’t understand how evangelism affects things since God has already predestined people’s destinies. But since God told us to evangelize, we need to do it without reservation.” He presents some truths that no one should disagree with: God is our Holy, Heavenly Father, He created all, He commands us to evangelize, and we need to be obedient to Him. And once he gets you to feel appropriately humbled before God and to agree with these truths, then he slips “predestination” in there, adding it to the list of clear biblical truths you can’t argue with, making you feel like you can’t argue with “predestination” either.

        4. Bad comparisons. To support their idea that God causes sin, they’ll bring up verses about God causing things like natural disasters, “proving” that God also causes sin. But for God to cause a natural disaster is nowhere near the same thing as Him causing people to do something He commanded them not to do. He can cause a hailstorm and not be guilty of sin, but He cannot cause sin without being guilty of sin. Or they bring up verses about God using mankind’s sin for His plans (such as using Assyria to punish Israel or using wicked men to crucify Jesus) to “prove” that God CAUSED them to be wicked and to make the choices they did. They believe that since God predestined Jesus’s death, it must also mean He predestined that the people would be wicked and then He caused them to make the wicked choices they made. But this would make God the author, instigator, and ultimate cause of evil. But biblically, God can foreknow who will choose to be wicked and He can work it into His plans without causing them to be wicked, and this is how He can accomplish His plans without being the cause of evil.

        5. They refer to something like the Westminster Confession, as though it wins the argument. A Calvinist in a recent post was trying to explain the Calvinist contradiction that God ordains all things (even sin) but is not responsible for the sin, and he quoted the Westminster Confession as if it proved his point: “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin…” But this is just repeating the contradiction to try to prove the contradiction. It’s nonsense. And it’s just essentially saying “Even though we believe God ordains (preplans/causes) all sin, we don’t really SAY He causes sin.” The thing is, they do say it in so many words; they just don’t admit it. And they trick themselves into thinking they aren’t saying/teaching it as long as they don’t use the words: “God causes sin.” But it is in the very essence of their theology, for anyone with the brains to see it.

        6. Many of their tactics – and their responses to any doubts or challenges you have against them – involve the idea of shaming you into falling in line: “Humble Christians accept this view.” … “God is God; He can do whatever He wants. Who are you to question Him?” … “His glory is all that matters. He does everything for His glory, so if He predestines people to hell then it’s for His glory. Are you saying God doesn’t have the right to do whatever He wants for His glory!?!” … “You rob God of His glory if you say He doesn’t control and cause everything!” … “Who’s in control: you or Him?” … “You don’t have to understand it or like it; you just have to accept it.” … “God is so mysterious and can’t be fully understood by us. He has hidden certain things from us. So why are you trying to figure out something He doesn’t want us to know? Who are you to demand answers from God?” … “God loves Himself more than anything else, even people, and He worships Himself above all. He has to, or else He’d be an idolater. And so He can do what’s best for His glory, even if it’s ordaining people to hell.”

        Basically, it always comes back to “Just be a good little Calvinist and accept what I tell you. Don’t disagree, and don’t research it or think too deeply about it.” (Can you say “cult”!)

        Like fromoverhere says: “And ’round and ’round…..”

      3. Heather
        Calvinists first create a contradiction that isn’t really in Scripture and then they present themselves as so “humble” and “God-glorifying” to accept it…..

        br.d
        The Bible clearly teaches – the moon is made out of green and yellow cheese puffs.
        If you disagree with me – then your disagreeing with scripture – and the inscrutable mysteries of god.

        P. T. Barnum could have said: A Snake-Oil salesman is born every minute! 😀

      4. Oh man Heather, it is great to see you come along and pick up some communication here!

        They constantly say that the bible teaches both these things without tension…..but they dont teach it themselves.

        In all my years attending a Calvinist, Reformed church (we are missionaries sent out from one) I have never, ever heard a message on God ordaining and being glorified by evil. What’s more….. we should hear that kind of message all the time if it is so equal in truth and value to the “Doctrines of Grace.”

        (On our mission field) We watch some local pastors convert to Calvinism. They preach like Arminians (cuz that’s what they were for 35 years!) (before they, in their own words, “discovered” Calvinism—-where was it hiding?), but never, ever preach that God is in fact glorified by the rejection of Christ and even departing from Christ by some of their own kids.

        If man’s rejection of Christ is as glorifying as salvation in Christ, they need to be consistent and preach that.

        Don’t hold your breath for that!

      5. Heather; Like fromoverhere says: “And ’round and ’round…..”

        I 100% agree they exhaustively seem to be a very “humble” group and why don’t “we” just shut up and get along🤔🙃 If we look closely some of the dogmatic 5 point calvinist even think it’s our responsibility to get earth ready for Jesus to come back, so work at making it better here… so not being led by the Spirit, but rather legalisticly just do it.. clearly we aren’t preparing a place for Him to return that isn’t what Jesus said;

        John 14:3 NKJV — “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

        I think the worst thing for me about calvinism is those trusting this systematic blindly, because of hmm i don’t know -possibly many factors… and i literally can’t stand the thought of some new believer thinking this is the true character of our Holy God and then they don’t ask questions out of fear.. I definitely agree with those on here when they say; May God bless soteriology 101 always!! – it is needed🌻

      6. fromoverhere: ” In all my years attending a Calvinist, Reformed church (we are missionaries sent out from one) I have never, ever heard a message on God ordaining and being glorified by evil. What’s more….. we should hear that kind of message all the time if it is so equal in truth and value to the “Doctrines of Grace.”

        Yeah! If Calvinism’s god gets so much glory from evil, as much glory as from good, then why are Calvinists so reluctant to proclaim it outright? Calvi-god is apparently not ashamed of that “truth,” so why are Calvinists?

        My Calvinist pastor actually did come right out and say that all tragedies in your life, including childhood abuse (a horrible evil), were ordained by God; for His glory, for your good, and because He knew what needed to happen to keep you humble. I wanted to throw up, and yet I heard moans of approval from the audience, as if they were trying to show how “humble” they are to accept such wretched sounding things about God’s “sovereignty.” It’s almost like a competition to see who can admit to believing the worst thing about God and who can admit to being the most depraved, wretched human being. It’s twisted. (That sermon was when I knew I was done listening to that man!)

      7. But you see this is an never-ending cycle also.

        You said this robotic pastor parroted ….. “because He knew what needed to happen to keep you humble..”

        What? You are only gonna be as humble as He makes you right? I mean God (and Christ while on the earth) cannot “teach” us anything, since we are not making the choices anyway. I mean that rabbit hole just keeping deeper an’ deeper.

        Restated: If what they say is true then even our response to the heinous act He foisted on us is programmed by Him, so why do the evil?

      8. This is a great point and is the flip side to the question, if God unchangeably pre-determined the salvation of the elect, why pray, why evangelize. The standard answer to both questions is that it is a “predetermined means to a predetermined end”. Calvinists don’t seemto recognize that a pre-determined end renders a pre-determined means redundant. It’s what Roger Olson calls a “meaningless means”.

      9. Br.d.: “If you disagree with me – then your disagreeing with scripture – and the inscrutable mysteries of god….”

        Amazing how we common, lowly Christians can’t understand the “mysteries” of the things God clearly said in Scripture, but Calvinists have all the secret, hidden, double-layered things of God figured out! 😉

      10. Heather
        Amazing how we common, lowly Christians can’t understand the “mysteries” of the things God clearly said in Scripture, but Calvinists have all the secret, hidden, double-layered things of God figured out! 😉

        br.d
        Yeh!
        They know exactly what god means by what he says
        And especially when he means the opposite of what he says! :-]

      11. Reggie: “i literally can’t stand the thought of some new believer thinking this is the true character of our Holy God and then they don’t ask questions out of fear.”

        You hit the nail on the head about one of the most damaging things about Calvinism: what it does to God’s character and what it does to people’s faith to be told they have to believe the terrible things Calvinism teaches about God’s character.

        No wonder lots of Calvinist celebrities have recently left the faith, having been brainwashed into believing that Calvinism IS the gospel. If I thought that’s what God was really like – like the Calvinist god – then I’d probably leave the faith too. Because there’s little difference between Calvinism’s god and Satan.

        (But at least when it comes to Satan, we expect him to be – and know that he is – a deceiver and a liar who can’t be trusted, who twists Scripture, and who wants people to sin and do evil and reject Jesus and go to hell. But with Calvi-god, his outside doesn’t match his inside. He says one thing but means another. He presents only the good side, but he hides the bad side which looks an awful lot like Satan. Obvious lies are not as insidious and destructive as the subtle ones that look so close to truth that it’s hard to tell the difference. The subtle lies and twists are the ones that really trap people. And Calvinism abounds with those subtleties, which makes it more dangerous and more liable to deceive than something like, say, witchcraft.)

      12. Heather,

        Your imagery is spot on!! and the subtleties are sooooo devious, because they really can’t live out this systematic and trust good = good and wicked = wicked though they move away from saying this by twisting the truth- though we all know our righteousness comes only from Christ and what He did…  But if everything i did prior and subsequently since becoming a believer by necessity (in calvinism), ie. out of my control.. what is life all about? and what’s the use??? To me this mocks the gift of life we have been given!!! & to live for the Lord after we know Him seems obscure in calvinism -at least if someone were intellectually honest..  we have the ministry of reconciliation, but if everything i do is completely set prior to my birth in one end result I’d feel like it’s a duty (job, chore) to witness, because we don’t know who has a yellow strip down their back (seriously this brings them comfort??…) I don’t see emotionless letters in the Bible, so i guess they can call me emotional…

        And in regard to high jacking a church for calvinism… where is the kindness or love in purposely withholding truth in what a pastor believes about their soteriology view??? And to come in as a pastor under the guise of a neutral soteriology view, but really inwardly they are a calvinist… that would be masquerading as something you claim not to be🤔 Woe! 

        Our infinite God gives us much about His character within the Bible -He’s Amazing Strong, Wise and Wonderfully Perfect & He is Just.. But among the descriptors we have of how clearly Amazing God is… the simple phrase we find in 1 John 4:8… – for God is love.  Love is not just what God does – which is clearly displayed in the cross. But it is rather Who He is!!

        i read this some where and it’s great…  “love invites our submission without robbing us of our autonomy”  i find that to be powerful!

        so true!! an all Knowing Creator doesn’t have to irresistibly grace me for me to see He’s, so beyond human understanding!!! That of itself is humbling not to mention the fact, that He loves me inspite of my sins.. Wow🙆‍♀️

      13. Fromoverhere: “Restated: If what they say is true then even our response to the heinous act He foisted on us is programmed by Him, so why do the evil?”

        Good point. If God ordained that we be humble, why can’t He just cause us to be humble? Why the need for evil? Could we have somehow chosen to be unhumble if the abuse didn’t happen, even though Calvi-god predestined we’d be humble? How “sovereign” is that!?!

        And why bother trying to fight evil, if evil glorifies Calvi-god as much as good does? And why bother caring or putting effort into fighting evil or into being good? Whatever Calvi-god ordained is going to happen and we can’t change it. So let’s just wait and see what he makes us do, whether it’s being good or doing something wicked. We can’t stop what Calvi-god ordained. (Sounds a bit like how Hindus don’t interfere with the karmic destiny of the Untouchables.)

        Calvinism really is a messed-up theology that can’t be lived out consistently.

        “I mean that rabbit hole just keeping deeper an’ deeper.”

        That’s exactly what I said about Calvinism too, the more I studied it!

      14. I have commented many times on these pages that Calvinism is like Islam’s Qadr (fatalism). It all will be what God has ordained…. nothing you can do good or bad.

        I mean Piper preaches against doing evil, but also preaches that we can all say at the end of each day that God had us do exactly what we did….and what He wanted.

        Bring on the lasciviousness! And why not right? Apparently that honors God (“to humble us”) as much as anything else.

        But really, bottom line…any Calvinists listening here: At the end of the day, you say that everything you did was exactly what God wanted/ planned/ ordained, right?

        I sure dont!

      15. End of the day Calvinist prayer:

        Lord, forgive me for the sins that you had me commit today. Help me tomorrow to only do what you want (well, that’s a given cuz it is what happens, but I just wanted you to know that where my heart is…since you put my heart there).

        Round and ’round and down that rabbit hole….

      16. Br.d.: “They know exactly what god means by what he says
        And especially when he means the opposite of what he says!”

        That’s funny. 🙂
        Must be nice to be a Calvinist, to be able to know when God means exactly what He says and when He means the opposite of what He says. No wonder we lowly Christians need to spend months studying their Calvinist literature, so that we can try to catch up with them. Otherwise, we might be tempted to think that God actually means what He says and says what He means every time He speaks. 😉

      17. Yes!
        Very TRUE

        And the telling part for me – is their image of their deity just happens to condescendingly follow the same exact pattern.

        He treats what he knows to be TRUE *AS-IF* it is FALSE – just like like the Calvinist does.

        When we observe this as the case – it raises the question:

        Does the Calvinist manifest that pattern because the Calvinist is made in the image of his god?

        Or does Calvin’s god manifest that pattern because he is made in the image of the Calvin! ;-D

      18. Reggie: “To me this mocks the gift of life we have been given!!! ”

        True. And I would add it mocks God and Jesus’s work on the cross and the Gospel and faith and God’s grace and God’s forgiveness, etc. Everything is quite meaningless if everything has been predestined. Life is all one big charade, if Calvinism is true.

      19. Yes Heather even you saying…

        “Everything is quite meaningless if everything has been predestined. Life is all one big charade, if Calvinism is true.” has been scripted.

        Even the youtube debate on infant baptism by Calvinists MacArthur and Sproul was scripted so that we can “decide” which position is right (but our decision was scripted too).

        It’s like so many of my non-Calvinist friends say, “I was sovereignly ordained to be a non-determinist, non-Calvinist.”

        Some of our young buck YRR Calvinist friends on this site might be saying, “That’s right FOH! You reprobates were set up as opposition to highlight the beauty and mystery of Calvinism!”

        Man, if they draw “comfort” in that is truly sad.

      20. Amen! & we trust in faith & through the harmony of God’s Word calvinism is the opposite of true🌻

      21. Fromoverhere: “Some of our young buck YRR Calvinist friends on this site might be saying, “That’s right FOH! You reprobates were set up as opposition to highlight the beauty and mystery of Calvinism!” Man, if they draw “comfort” in that is truly sad.”

        Yeah, and it’s also sad how they can’t see that this is God working against Himself. Calvi-god works against himself all the time: commanding evangelism but causing people to not evangelize, commanding obedience for his glory but causing sin for his glory, causing people to reject him after saying he wants all people to be saved, etc. A house divided cannot stand!

      22. Which takes us back to the very point of the article – does Calvinism present or obscure the gospel? Rogers quotes Calvinist DeYoung asking “Is God wise enough to make himself known? Is he good enough to make himself accessible? Is he gracious enough to communicate in ways that are understandable to the meek and lowly? Or does God give us commands we can’t understand and a self-revelation that reveals more questions than answers?”

        Obviously the divide is not over God’s wisdom. But DeYoung ignores the fact that Calvinism, in its very systematic, asserts that God is not good enough to make himself accessible. Under Calvinism, God is not gracious enough to communicate in ways that are understandable to the meek and lowly, or those who are too ‘dead’ to understand God.

        Calvinism’s god does not simply give us commands we can’t understand, but commands that he knows we cannot possibly keep. And the price for not obeying these commands which we cannot keep, unless he graciously grants us the new life and alleged gift of faith that enables us to keep them, is eternal separation from God and his promise of eternal blessings.

        This is so far from ‘graciousness’ that it looks pretty much like its antithesis, which is cruelty.

        And in the face of this most cruel decision by the One who holds our destiny in his hands to withhold grace and life, any other ‘gnosis’ or questions don’t really seem to matter much.

        Mr. Rogers was much too kind. Calvinism does not merely obscure the gospel, but horribly corrupts it, so that even those who might ‘understand’ it, unless they are one of the select lucky few, are left without hope.

      23. TS00: “Mr. Rogers was much too kind. Calvinism does not merely obscure the gospel, but horribly corrupts it, ”

        I kept meaning to get around to saying the same thing, but you said it for me. 🙂
        “Obscure” is way too benign a description of what Calvinism does to the gospel. Obscure means to make it less clear. But Calvinism doesn’t just make the gospel less clear; it destroys it, twists it into something it’s not. The gospel is supposed to be good news for all people about what Jesus did for them and how they can be saved. But in Calvinism, it’s not “good news” for most people; it’s a death sentence. Hopeless, eternal condemnation. A cruel cosmic joke.

  20. Typo, or confusing sentence:
    “Because Jesus said he always did the will of the Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 17:4) and spoke not of his own initiative but what the Father wanted him to speak (John 3:11, 34; 5:19; 7:16; 8:26, 28, 38; 12:49-50; 14:10, 24, 31; 17:8).”

    OK to delete when moderator has seen this.

  21. After being a Christian for nearly 60 years, I feel somewhat naive to finally understand that Augustinians (Calvinists, Lutherans and …) have re-defined what “faith” means (eg Eph 2:8-10). Because of that, it seems very clear that they preach a “different gospel” (Gal 1).

    Most people interpret Gal 1 to be a rebuke of works-righteousness, but at this point, I do not see how Calvinists etc. can know anything about soteriology unless they look at works.

    Like Heather said above “Calvinism doesn’t just obscure the simple, clear gospel message, but I think it presents a whole different gospel, obscured just enough so that it APPEARS to be the biblical gospel.”

    This is a very, very, VERY big deal. Call it a Conspiracy, but it is no theory. I don’t see many people on the internet mention the “different gospel” connection to Augustine. Can I be wrong? Is it just me?

    I highly recommend Dr. Ken Wilson’s “The Foundation of Augustinian-Calvinism.” It’s earth-shattering, but it seems to have been censored, given how little impact it seems to have had.

    1. Hello Eric!

      You said “This is a very, very, VERY big deal.”

      Yes, I think so too, which is why I speak so forcefully against it.

      I’ve had people (non-Calvinists) challenge me to be more loving/tolerant with Calvinism. They want me to give Calvinism the benefit of the doubt, to respect the fact that most Calvinists’ hearts are in the right place.

      But while I respect the average Calvinist person (I believe most of them are manipulated/trapped into Calvinism without even realizing it, unaware of what Calvinism really teaches in the deeper layers), I will not be tolerant of the theology itself (or the educated teachers who push it on the trusting, naive masses). And in fact, I cannot be tolerant of it if I believe it truly is a false gospel disguised as the real thing.

      Calvinism’s lies are so cleverly-disguised, so subtle, and that makes it even more dangerous, more likely to deceive and spread, than something that is clearly, obviously false/wicked such as, say, witchcraft or Hinduism. There are enough Christians who politely tolerate it (which is why it’s spread so far and wide) that we can’t lose the few voices who will/do speak out against it.

      Recently someone on a different blog basically said that I was violating the Scriptural command of seeking peaceful unity with other believers when I call out Calvinism’s errors as forcefully as I do (he also said that he believes Calvinism’s idea of predestination is biblically inaccurate but that it doesn’t make Calvinism heretical or fundamentally dangerous). Here is my reply to him:

      “You said “… is your response to Calvinists really ‘endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’”. I have a heart for the average pew-sitting Calvinist, most of whom I think are just doing their best to try to be humble, God-honoring Christians, as taught them by the Calvinist leaders. But I cannot and will not seek unity with a theological system that damages God’s character, Jesus’s sacrifice, the gospel, and people’s chance to be saved the way Calvinism does. You said that “Calvinists agree with the entirety of scripture, but they interpret it differently than you and I do.” How much wrong interpretation should we put up with in the name of peaceful unity? Does “peaceful unity” imply “at all costs”, including massively different interpretations of God’s character and who Jesus died for and whether or not all can be saved and who ultimately causes sin, etc.? I’m asking this seriously, not sarcastically. I have heard many Calvinists use “peaceful unity” to keep people in line, to keep them from pushing back against their theology and voicing concerns. We need to be Bereans. To study Scripture for ourselves to see if what we are being taught is accurate. And if it’s not, then we need to push back and correct it, not tolerate it and let it grow/spread through our silence.”

      And then I added this in reply to another commenter on the same issue:

      “When it comes to Calvinism, I never thought much about it or would have developed such a forceful attitude against it if it weren’t for watching a Calvinist pastor take over our non-Calvinist church.

      We got to see his manipulative tactics firsthand, such as how he shamed people who would disagree (framing them as prideful, self-righteous Christians who reject God’s sovereignty and try to steal His glory, etc.) and praised those who would agree (framing them as God-glorifying, humble, more intelligent Christians). And this was even before he began revealing his Calvinist views (which he did very slowly, over time, in between lots of manipulation and verse-twisting). He set people up to not want to disagree (or at least to not speak out about it) and to look down on anyone else who did disagree. (Maybe I noticed the manipulation more easily than others because I am a licensed counselor with a Master’s in Counseling Psychology.)

      And we heard firsthand how he misused Bible verses to make them fit his view. We (my husband and I) wrote them down during every sermon and went home and read them in context for ourselves. And it was amazing how much his version did not line up with what the verse was saying in context. Calvinists teach you to read Calvinism into the Bible, while making you feel like it’s been there all along and that you just discovered it with their help.

      And yet, no one else seemed to be alarmed. He carefully, strategically weaved his disguised Calvinism and twisted Scripture into his sermons, with lots of quotes from Calvinist authors, until he had everyone convinced that Calvinism is in the Bible.

      And then after doing much more research about it and seeing how much it has spread with very little pushback and how most people are unaware of how it’s spreading (the tricks and tactics they employ), I felt compelled to take a very strong, vocal, active stand against it.

      I agree with Kevin Thompson from Beyond the Fundamentals, that Calvinists will use our politeness against us, taking advantage of our niceness to push their views harder. And I agree with him that by the time you realize that your pastor is preaching Calvinism, by the time you are concerned enough to research what they’re saying to see if it’s accurate, it’s too late; they’ve already got a strong hold on most of the congregation by then.

      And so, with their word games, Scripture twists, redefined words, manipulative tactics, and the strategic, stealthy ways they disguise/spread their theology, I don’t mince words or tiptoe through the T.U.L.I.P.s gently. Time is of the essence, and Calvinism is spreading much too fast and too strong to be overly gentle about it.”

      [Just thought I’d share that here too, just because. It seems to fit. God bless!]

      1. br.d
        I think – knowing what I know about Heather – she is “Tolerant” of every living human being.

        That would include those who are – by definition – followers of the reverend Sun Myung Moon
        As well as those who are – by definition – followers of Joseph Smith
        As well as those who are – by definition – followers of John Calvin.

        The Christian is to love the sinner – while hating the sin.

        Two predominant sins within Calvinism – are found within its language practices.

        LANGUAGE MODE 1:THE LIE OF OMISSION
        A lie of omission – is a strategic statement – designed to mislead – by OMITTING any critical fact – which if not OMITTED would not mislead.
        The “T” , the “I” , and the “P” within Calvinism’s TULIP – for example – function as lies of omission.

        LANGUAGE MODE 2: DOUBLE-SPEAK
        Double-Speak is language designed to hide dark implications.
        Double-Speak basically is language that pretends to communicate, but really doesn’t.
        It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to.

        Double speak is not a slip of the tongue or a mistake in use of language. Its exactly the opposite.
        It is language used by people who are very sophisticated in the use of language.

        Calvinist language – is not a TRUTH-TELLING language.
        Calvinist language is a COSMETIC language.

        It is language designed to paint word pictures
        It uses words to paint FACADES of things which do not actually exist within the belief system.
        It uses words to hide things which do actually exist within the belief system.

        Anyone who has to face these characteristics of Calvinism consistently enough – will understand what it means to love the sinner while hating the sin.

      2. Br.d.,

        Yes, thank you for your support, knowing that I would and do tolerate all people of all walks, loving the sinner while hating the sin. I believe every soul is worth it and has a chance to be saved, and so we need to do all we can to help others find their way to salvation, including respecting them and lovingly telling them the truth.

        And I totally agree about Calvinism’s lies of omission and their double-speak. And we can totally see when they say things like “God commands all people to seek Him,” while secretly meaning “But no one can seek God unless and until God causes them to, and He will never cause the non-elect to” … and “God loves all people” while secretly meaning “But God has two different kinds of love, a saving one for the elect and a non-saving one for the non-elect” … and “Anyone who wants to can believe and be saved; God doesn’t force anyone to believe in Him” while secretly meaning “But only the elect can/will want to be saved because God gives them – and only them – the regenerated nature that contains the desire to be saved, and then since they ‘want’ to be believe and be saved, according the nature God gave them, He didn’t have to ‘force’ them to do it” … etc.

        The things they hide change the meaning of everything they say. And I believe they know not to reveal the hidden stuff too quickly and too openly because it would scare people off (as if they could affect anyone’s destiny anyway, if God predestines/controls it all). They deliberately obscure what they really mean, the nasty side of Calvinism, to trick people into thinking we are on the same page so that they can hook you and reel you in deeper, bit by bit.

        And for me, it’s the deliberate deception that is the most angering because it’s so stealthy and easily tricks naive people. And it’s also the most telling part of Calvinism, revealing who is really behind it. Because God is not a God of deception and confusion. He is not the father of lies. If He was, He couldn’t be trusted at all.

        “Double-Speak is language designed to hide dark implications. Double-Speak basically is language that pretends to communicate, but really doesn’t. It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to. Double speak is not a slip of the tongue or a mistake in use of language. Its exactly the opposite. It is language used by people who are very sophisticated in the use of language.”

        Very insightful and well said! And it’s what makes Calvinism so dangerous, and yet so trusted by those who follow it but who are probably unaware of what Calvinism is really about!

        “Anyone who has to face these characteristics of Calvinism consistently enough – will understand what it means to love the sinner while hating the sin.”

        I really do feel for my Calvinist friends, who are some of the nicest people I know but who are trustingly following a twisted theology, all because they’ve been tricked into believing it’s the most biblical, most humble, most God-glorifying theology out there. It’s sad. I wish we could wake them up, but Calvinism can have a steel grip on people, because of its lies of omissions, double speak, twisted verses, and manipulative tactics. Many Calvinists really do think they are honoring God best by being Calvinists.

      3. Thank you Heather
        Well said!

        In my observation – a very large percentage of Calvinists today – are unwittingly fed an “Arminianized” form of Calvinism.

        They are not told what the underlying foundational core of Calvinism is.

        Many are told Calvinism is best understood by the TULIP – because the TULIP functions to HIDE the underlying doctrine.

        I bump into Calvinists almost daily – whose response to quotes from John Calvin is “I’m a Calvinist and we don’t believe that”

        Actually they do believe it – because their pastor knows those quotes from Calvin are the foundational core of the doctrine.

        But the Calvinist pastor also knows – if he reveals that to his congregation – most of them probably won’t come back.
        That pastor envisions himself ending up with half a dozen congregants in his church – and he doesn’t want to see that happen.

        A very high percentage of Calvinists are fed a consistent diet of a magical – sugar-coated version of Calvinism.

        Calvinists today want a “softer” – “gentler” – “benevolent” version of Calvinism – where divine malevolence magically disappears..

        They defer to the reformed confessions – because the confessions were created to avoid the *IN YOUR FACE* language which people cringed at within John Calvin’s writings.

      4. Rock on Heather!

        Sorry to hear about your church. I am really saddened that this kind of stuff happens. Maybe a ministry for Sot101, or others, is to provide a bible study for non-Determinists to be as wise as serpents (and harmless as doves!)? I know you care about the people in your church, so maybe the Lord will prompt you to just get started with whatever you can find? Totally unauthorized, of course? The stuff from Ken Wilson is unimpeachable (and I would love to hear if anyone has peer-reviewed-seriously criticized him, not the James White-style nonsense) and talks a lot about a firm foundation, which we should all agree on. Sounds uncomfortable, but so was the Son of Man, who had no where to lay his head.

        I was hoping to get a notice about your reply, but apparently that’s not working. Being confused by that and FYI, I posted again below, some of which is similar, but said a different way.

      5. Thank you, Eric. I appreciate it.

        FYI, I don’t get notices about replies either – on purpose, to protect my time – so if I don’t respond to something someone says, it’s probably because I didn’t know their reply was there. I only know they’ve replied when I take a moment to get back on Sot101 and check through the comment section. God bless!

  22. Br.d.: “Many are told Calvinism is best understood by the TULIP – because the TULIP functions to HIDE the underlying doctrine. I bump into Calvinists almost daily – whose response to quotes from John Calvin is “I’m a Calvinist and we don’t believe that”

    Yeah, I doubt most even realize where their Calvinists beliefs lead, the inevitable, inescapable end points of the white-washed Calvinist pat-answers they’ve been taught. They’ve been shamed into not examining their own views too closely to see where they lead because to question Calvinism is to question God. And no good Christian wants to question God.

    “Calvinists today want a “softer” – “gentler” – “benevolent” version of Calvinism – where divine malevolence magically disappears. They defer to the reformed confessions …”

    They truly think that saying something like “We don’t believe God is the author of sin even though He predestines everything because the Westminster Confession says that God ordains everything but is not the author of sin.”

    How does that answer anything? It doesn’t. It’s simply restating the contradiction, acting like it resolves the contradiction, while failing to address the very serious issues caused by the contradiction. It’s bizarre. Any thinking person can see so many errors in their “logic”, if we take the time to think for ourselves and compare everything they teach against what the Bible actually says.

    And this is why Calvinist leaders make sure to try to prevent the average Calvinist from thinking for themselves, from looking into it too deeply, shaming them into accepting the nonsensical, contradictory, deceptive, Calvinist half-answers. They make sure to tell the congregation what to think, how to interpret Scripture in a Calvinist way, and then spend the rest of the time helping them “discover” Calvinism in the Bible (their twisted version of it), acting as if it’s been there all along, just waiting to be found after they were enlightened.

    The Calvinist leaders will be accountable for deceiving and for spreading a bad theology, but the naive followers will be accountable for letting them, for not being Bereans. They have put their trust in men to tell them how to think, how to read the Bible, instead of heeding the Spirit’s red flags and examining Scripture for themselves. And as a result, the gospel is tarnished, God’s character is damaged, Jesus’s sacrifice is minimized, God’s love and grace are shrunken, and people’s faith and relationship with God is strained. It’s sad.

    1. Oops, I forgot a part of a sentance … “They truly think that saying something like “We don’t believe God is the author of sin even though He predestines everything because the Westminster Confession says that God ordains everything but is not the author of sin” solves the problem, that it effectively answers the contradiction.”

      1. Yes… Heather… there is an underlying allegiance to human authority and tradition that makes them unwilling to question the illogical and unscriptural accusations given against that authority and tradition. Jesus faced the same unwillingness in the scribes and Pharisees!

    2. Yes!
      Wonderfully said!

      It is clear – when one reads John Calvin’s writings – that he creates the blue-print for what today is called “Milieu control”
      Milieu control – produces what is called “Thought-Stopping” practices – which stop the mind from rational thinking..

      Anytime your brain attempts to think rationally about the doctrine – will lead to examining the doctrine under the microscope of sound reasoning.

      When that happens – the doctrine is found to be utterly self-contradicting and self-refuting.

      Calvin cannot allow that to happen.- because the doctrine has become like a volcano god who demands a human sacrifice.

      A man cannot serve two masters.
      He will eventually compromise one in order to cleave to the other.

      Calvin must compromise sound thinking in order to cleave to his doctrine – which has become his master.
      So in order to make sure his disciples minds are kept securely captured within the prison cell of his doctrine – their minds must be conditioned to never open the prison cell door – or look out the prison cell window.

      Calvinism is a form of mental ensnarement.

    3. Heather; “They have put their trust in men to tell them how to think, how to read the Bible, instead of heeding the Spirit’s red flags and examining Scripture for themselves. And as a result, the gospel is tarnished, God’s character is damaged, Jesus’s sacrifice is minimized, God’s love and grace are shrunken, and people’s faith and relationship with God is strained. It’s sad.”

      Agreed!!! & those who finally know what is taught within calvinism, and go along with it hmm… .& then are careful not to reveal certain aspects up front odd at best… to me this is exactly as stated here “omission” to me it seems some sort of alarm should be sounding like… —hmm aren’t we called to bring things into the light???! Aren’t hidden things Not of God ding ding ding ⏰ I like Leighton’s take on the redundancy of Satan in calvinism “he” would not need to blind eyes that will never be opened…

      2 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV — But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

      A non biblical quote i like. —”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

      It seems the supposed “itchy blanket” they except as truth is more like a habit of trusting men above God… i fear if i just shut up to get along with someone who teaches this different gospel, then I’m just condoning it… I think your right it is like an iron grip, but light dispels darkness and we have to trust speaking up in love matters!!! I do tend to shy away from boldness with some family members who hold to this position & others who hold that without baptism your soul is going to hell… —Ugh no simplicity in either of these positions just baggage.. Thank you for your boldness🌻

  23. Thanks Ronnie, and others that have posted here, but I have no idea what you are talking about. The article begins “I agree with the Calvinist claim that the gospel is simple and clear…” but I cannot agree, at all. I am not willing to concede when it comes to the gospel.

    The Calvinist (and Lutheran, Manichean, Gnostic and ???) gospel is, simply, that God chooses. The gospel I know says that I choose (Free Will).

    Somewhere, Leighton and the person he interviewed agreed that there are many things that Christians should be able to agree-to-disagree on, but not soteriology. That’s where we ‘put up our dukes.’ This is that fight, brothers and sisters.

    Galatians is extremely clear and condemning of anyone that messes with the gospel. Paul goes on to describe the alternative, a Different Gospel, and most would agree that he is clearly pointing to a Pharisaical works-righteousness. But isn’t that what Calvinists (and Lutherans, Manicheans, Gnostics…) believe? According to them, why on earth should we believe Sproul, Packer, Spurgeon, Edwards, or anyone that preaches this Different Gospel? According to them, they have no idea whether they (or anyone else) are saved, so how can they claim that their Different Gospel saves? I’ll tell you how. Hubris. It’s Legalism, pure and simple. It’s staring at the scriptures (particularly Romans 9) and trying to have faith in logic, not in Jesus (“You examine the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is those very Scriptures that testify about Me; and yet you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” — John 5:39-40 NASB20).

    Ronnie, Leighton and others, God bless you for what your doing, and I do appreciate the “sensitivity” of your position and mission. But it is like you are agreeing to step into their funhouse for the sake of cordiality, then actually start to believe what you see in the hall of mirrors. Don’t! When it comes down to it, they may be the ones that are shut out of the Kingdom, regardless of how many “miracles” they performed in His name.

    They may preach the Gospel I know, but how can they say they are not bearing false witness? They use words like “believe” and “faith” knowing full well that their audience does not understand their secret definitions.

    They seem to know the gospel mechanism and use it to get people in the door (and money in their coffers, and accolades on their walls…), but there is a huge risk that they (and some or many of their followers) are going to hear ‘Depart from me, I never knew you.’

    Beyond their complex theology of determinism, there is a responsibility to ‘consider their end.’ This is not judgement, it is discernment. It is a time to be sober, and grieve, and roll up our sleeves for the work. This ministry has been a great help to me, but at some level, we are supposed to be harvesting (the lost), and let the blind lead the blind into the ditch.

    To try to sum up simply: determinists don’t know whether they are saved, so they can’t claim to be Christian, so they shouldn’t be preaching the gospel.

    1. br.d
      Hi Eric,
      If I understand what you are saying – you are saying you don’t agree with the gospel as it is defined by Calvinism.

      Wouldn’t that be different from saying you agree that the gospel is simple and clear?

      1. I think the gospel is simple and clear, and I think that the Different Gospel that determinists preach is extremely complex and opaque.

    2. Eric,

      Something I’ve noticed along the way:

      Former Calvinists did not ditch everything Calvin.

      When you read much of Ronnie’s posts on his blog, you will see. He is just one example. Even posts on here.

      It’s no different than any reform, whether Lutheran or Calvin, both have not ditched everything Catholic, either.

      From what I gather that all have in common is the word WORKS, as in the book of Romans discussing there is no one righteous, no not one… and yet, I can identify many righteous, more than one. They mention the filthy rags.

      Some confuse the deeds of the law with YOUR OWN faith, therefore define faith as a work, because it is YOUR OWN faith, not an imputed one.

      They also think that GOOD WORKS is what is being discussed regarding your own merit.

      Anyone can do good works, but that’s not what James is talking about. Good works is an expectation of the ALREADY SAVED.

      So… what is WORKS?

      If you work, you EXPECT a wage. The wage is owed.

      What is works?

      Performing the law of Moses perfectly is earning a wage. But the Bible states for all have sinned, and the wages of sin is death. That grace is a free gift. All you have to do is believe it, aka faith, boom. Saved.

      Faith is not a work, nor is it imputed. God does not choose…we do.

      I can now hear both sides ask, “Well what about David, a sinner from the womb?”

      They have twisted what that states, and made a doctrine out of their erroneous interpretation.

      Yes, the Bible is free from error, blah, blah. But man can’t comprehend what it states.

      David’s mother conceived David in sin. She was sinning against her husband, because she SECRETLY slept with him, trading places with a someone. You can research this from Jewish web sites, then you would understand what the whole family despised David, because they thought of him as illegitimate. David’s father had no idea that he was the father, and David’s mom winds up pregnant. She was despised, too.

      Preachers and teachers today make things difficult. Like the pharisees for the Jews.

      1. Chapmaned: “I can now hear both sides ask, “Well what about David, a sinner from the womb?”. They have twisted what that states, and made a doctrine out of their erroneous interpretation…. David’s mother conceived David in sin. She was sinning against her husband, because she SECRETLY slept with him…”

        Interesting. I never heard that about David’s mother secretly sleeping with the father, but it would go along with the KJV of that verse:

        Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

        That is what the verse should be, but many modern translations have changed it to:

        “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (NIV)

        “For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” (NLT)

        “Surely I was brought forth in iniquity; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.” (Berean study Bible)

        “Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.” (CSB)

        “I have sinned and done wrong since the day I was born.” (CEV)

        Those versions say something very, very different from the KJV. And this difference can have a huge effect on people’s theology, on whether we believe in total depravity (total inability) from the womb or not, on whether babies are wicked, unregenerated “vipers in diapers” or not.

        Personally, based on my research, I believe the KJV to be the most accurate translation, and so I would say that David is saying that he was conceived in sin, not that he was sinful/guilty from birth. It’s not a verse about his moral condition from birth but about the condition he was conceived in.

      2. Heather,

        Indeed there is a huge difference between the KJV and all the other versions. That’s why I don’t trust other versions.

        What got me curious about the whole story is that David’s whole family despised him, and I wanted to know why. The bible does not delve into that at all. David’s mother’s name was Nitzevet, and that name is not mentioned in the Bible.

        I found the following on a Jewish website, celebrating the life of David’s mother, which does tell the complete story:

        https://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/280331/jewish/Nitzevet-Mother-of-David.htm

        It also goes into detail about Jessie, David’s father, and WHY he was going to sleep with who he planned on sleeping with.

        Jessie was in DOUBT of his Jewish heritage, because his grandmother, Ruth, was a Moabite. People should know that the Jewish line is thru the mother, not the father, and with Ruth being a Moabite, Jessie struggled with the thought that maybe he isn’t a Jew after all. It was forbidden to marry a Moabite.

        In the end, you see that God had accepted Ruth as a Jew, much like a proselyte, in which is proven by the deeds of one anointed King David, which God chose. But again, you must keep in mind that it was God who forbade marrying Moabite women. Hence, the struggle.

        And you will read why he was going to sleep with a particular person, but his wife spoke to that woman, and they switched places.

        Ed Chapman

  24. Thanks CHAPMANED24, it is helpful to know Ronnie’s perspective. But if that is the case, it certainly adds another layer of complexity to the discussion. I guess I’m glad I spoke up then.

    Eph 2:8-10 harmonizes James and Paul (until the determinist redefines ‘grace’ and ‘faith’). If you have real faith, you will do good works (though I think a lot of works done by those that call themselves Christians, even determinists, are just wood, hay, stubble). David may have been saying no more than he recognizes that reproduction is a very strong drive (work), and it is made holy only when children are brought into the world for more than just biology (I’m a biologist, so that would of course be my perspective :).

    Here’s a bombshell, which perhaps betrays my own hubris, but… I don’t find any contradictions in the Bible. Somebody, please help me find one… 😉 With determinism, there are certainly “mysteries” they will admit to, but many (many, many) flat out contradictions that are only solved by extra-Biblical redefinitions.

    As we are seeing now, many of these churches have turned very liberal, and I have it on good authority that the laity now demands far more than what the clergy are comfortable with. They have sown the wind.

    Back to the gospel, we should all be recognizing that there is only One Way. It makes me very concerned when people call themselves Christians and don’t recognize that.

    1. Eric,

      Thanks for the reply. In Galatians 5, it talks about FREEDOM.

      I wanted to know what this freedom thing was all about. Freedom from what, exactly?

      This was when I was studying the 7th Day Adventists (not to be one, just to find out why they insist going to church on Saturday).

      Anyway, here is my very small interpretation of Calvinism:

      They (both sides) constantly quote “for there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, male or female…IN CHRIST”

      THEY forget the IN CHRIST part tho.

      And they definitely tell you the difference between male and female…that is ingrained.

      So, outside of IN CHRIST, there is a difference between Jew and Gentile.

      Calvinists take what was meant for Jews ONLY, and make it apply to EVERYONE, because, as they say, FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE”.

      I disagree… for there is a huge difference.

      They also use the word ELECT to mean both Jew and Gentile who are saved, or will be saved. That is true for the Jew, but not the Gentile.

      Both sides do this.

      Abraham was never under the law. That topic is virtually ignored, or minimized. Yet, we are sons of Abraham.

      Isaac didn’t have the law either.

      Not Jacob, either. But the children of Jacob did.

      What is it about that law of Moses separates Jew and gentile?

      The word KNOWLEDGE is ignored, as in Tree of Knowledge, and that the ignorant…

      I’ll leave it right there, because that leads to the topic of children, which both sides has a thought, that maybe God gives those children MERCY?

      MY study shows that no one is imputed sin unless they first have Knowledge of it being a sin.

      And that goes back to Adam. Until Knowledge… care free. Innocent.

      Basically, God told Adam to remain ignorant (don’t eat), but Satan said, “Stop being so ignorant, and get educated!”. So, they ate, and got Knowledge of their sins.

      Knowledge…

      Ed Chapman

      1. Hi Ed
        Actually I spent an hour reaponding to you yesterday, the my fat finger pressed a different link and now its gone. Is there a way to PM you without violating privacy?

  25. AndyB2015 , you said in your post of January 31, 2022
    “Just the cache of extra-biblical concepts needed to characterize Calvinism as a biblical position is telling”. And then the author goes on to do a great job of summarizing all of the “two’s” and “mysteries” of Calvinism, none of which are explicitly found in scripture. This is so true and this is a part of two of the four main reasons I rejected Calvinism as a false, unbiblical doctrine.” What are your other two or more reasons for Rejecting Calvinism ? What else makes you think Calvinism is False, what do you think of the way Calvinists Interpret Scripture ? Would you say Calvinism produces bad fruits or shows a lack of love ? The word “Trinity” is no where to be found in the Bible, yet the doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught

    1. Hello Lonnie and welcome.
      A claim – without evidence – is simply an unsubstantiated claim.
      And in most cases – the reason no evidence is provided – is because the person making the claim knows it is false.

      You do have the option of trying to provide evidence.
      The we can see whether your claim is TRUE or FALSE

      Otherwise – blessings!
      br.d

      1. I think Lonnie was attempting some kind of pithy soundbite, MacArthur style. And of similar value.

      2. br.d
        I get a kick out of MacArthur.
        He’s just as much a DOUBLE-SPEAK artist as John Piper is.
        He’s obviously not as smooth about it as Piper is.
        But he tries! :-]

      1. br.d
        In my dialogs with Calvinists – that kind of behavior is typical
        They know they really don’t have any LOGICAL leg to stand on.
        Asserting bold-claims “making believe” they are true – produces an artificial form of self assurance

    2. Would you care to engage, or are you just a drive-by? Been waiting for days for you to expound and elaborate. I’ve got $5 roll of dimes for you!

      Ed Chapman

    3. Lonnie Vang,

      Would you care to engage, or are you just a drive-by? Been waiting for days for you to expound and elaborate. I’ve got $5 roll of dimes for you!

      Ed Chapman

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