442 thoughts on “Support

  1. I didn’t know how to start a “thread” so I’m leaving this question as a reply:

    How do you start over in Christianity when you’ve lost foundation completely as to who Jesus is?

    1) Is Jesus the “Reformed Jesus” who all my former church friends still worship, seem so blessed by, openly preach “God didn’t choose everyone” (quoting their recent sermon) and quietly scrutinize everyone in their midst since some can be false converts, “reprobates”? Are these rather cold and dismissive people, but whom I have seen many times really worship Jesus, the chosen sheep whom I have to wait to be irresistibly drawn to be transformed into? Is salvation like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” but with a “new heart”?

    2) Or is he the Jesus I grew up with who talked like Linus in Charlie Brown Christmas and said “peace on earth” was for everybody and you could make your own decision about believing—but God isn’t going to stop you if you walk away because you’re not predestined to salvation or anything else so you’d better be careful?

    3) Or is it the Jesus in the middle who chose you already but doesn’t want you to know that or draw you to salvation yet because you’re still not asking in the “right way” or haven’t suffered enough loss and consequences yet to satisfy God that you’re repentant now and can receive mercy and salvation?

    I’m honestly not overjoyed to worship any of the Jesus’s above since they completely contradict each other so who knows which one is real. And each of these “brands” of Jesus are what I have been actually taught, all using the same book! I think my difficult experience in a Calvinist church seared a deep distrust as to who is. As frustrated as I get with the sermons of John Piper and his cronies, the plain truth is that his interpretation could be right. Which means I’m a trillion miles away from being elect since I’ve never ever been drawn by that Jesus or received that “spirit of truth” ever. Yet I see how steadfast these Reformers are and this is growing, not shrinking, in denominations. How can that many smart devoted followers of Jesus Christ be THAT completely wrong?

    Can someone start over somehow when they no longer trust God, the church and have even become afraid of Christians? Is there such thing as a spiritual “blank slate” or “delete” button with previous ingrained theologies?

    1. Hello Confusing Paths and welcome
      Yes you can start over – and the Lord would dearly want you to.

      I totally understand church as a place where unsuspecting people are abused!
      And I can especially understand how that would take place within a Calvinist church.

      Firstly – Jesus is your primary friend and the rock upon which you stand.
      I would suggest you read the words of Jesus on a regular (perhaps nightly) basis.
      Jesus is not compromised!
      His motives are pure!

      There are books are churches that abuse – which can be helpful for those who are struggling with doubts about whether they can trust their own perceptions in the matter of churches that abuse. If you are having those struggles – I would research those books.
      You will read the testimonies of others who have come out of painful and devastating situations which for some of them took years to be healed from.

      I think you will eventually also find like-minded sincere and honest people who understand churches that abuse.

      Don’t give up!!
      The Lord can and will deliver us from evil!
      The Lord can and will heal our wounds!

      blessings!
      br.d

    2. Confusing,

      You asked a very very important question.

      From my studies, the answer is number 2, the Jesus you grew up with.

      Your #1, I believe, is for the Jews only, and that is the confusing issue for reformers who think that “FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE. The problem with that is that gentiles weren’t already God followers to begin with.

      Those Jews were already God followers in the Law of Moses, aka works, who were chosen, if you will, to be God followers of Jesus, aka grace.

      Gentiles were never under works to begin with.

      You are safe to return to the Jesus you grew up with.

      I’m not reform, never have been, never will be.

      Ed Chapman

    3. Man I enjoyed reading your questions about Jesus and appreciate you sharing your story. I can def relate to the frustration and confusion that comes with seeing and hearing seemingly polar opposite conclusions drawn from the same text or book. I grew up in church and actually worked for one as a children’s and youth pastor. Im currently not in full time ministry( not because I walked away from faith or the church ) but life /kids / marriage have lead me to other sources of provision for my family. However along the way I have experienced similar frustrations when it comes to my faith. I would read or listen to many different types of speakers/ authors and find myself confused as to how they could be so right on some things but in my opinion be so off on many others. Over the years I have longed to do exactly what you talked about; Hitting the reset button. Not walking away from faith but just coming to Jesus without all of the baggage and presuppositions that I’ve picked up over the years. As a dad of 5 young kids I want to get this right and pass along to them a solid faith that is real and not leave them confused as to what version of christianity they should adhere to as they get older. I certainly don’t have a black and white answer for you but I want you to know that you are not alone in this feeling/ desire to spritityablly clean house and start over. Here are some things that are working for me and helping me de clutter my mind of all the confusion. If there was any advise or recommendation that I could offer it would be this; Find a good bible that has a decent concordance so you can look things up with out your phone and possibly some commentary ( I like the Life application Study bible in the NLT or NIV) I know that all the hard nose theologians may turn their nose up at that because its not the ESV study bible but the goal here is not to impress but rather to get back to a thriving,lifegiving relationship with the Son of God. Secondly I would try to create time to be outside ( trail, park, woods….anything where you are surrounded by nature and quiet) and bring your questions to God. This isn’t creation worship but I do think that there is something about being in creation that connects us to the creator and evokes worship. Finally I have been trying to spend less time watching videos, listening to sermons, reading commentary from so many christian leaders. Im not saying that we shouldn’t have extra-biblical study or influence but for me its been helpful to detox on all the books, and sermons while Im trying to get back to who Jesus really is. I have so enjoyed just putting the phone away, graying my study bible and just praying and reading with out all the other influence or distraction. And If i come across something that needs a deeper look then I’ll pull other resources just to get a better idea of the context and audience but for the most part just getting alone with god and his word and spending more focused time in the quiet, solitude, and nature has been very helpful in hitting the “reset button” of my faith. I hope this doesn’t come across as cheap advise. Again I appreciate your willingness to share and be vulnerable on here and I pray that you and I both will find a way to clear out all the baggage and come to know and love the Son of God in a way that not only is real and practical for our lives but so much so that those around us will see a real faith that would ultimately draw them to Him as well. ( I guess that last line reveals that I’m not a 5pt calvinist 😉

  2. I love this forum because I can finally ask questions about Jesus and Christianity I was never able to ask in my former reformed church without fear of rejection and judgement.

    I have now asked, prayed and begged Jesus to draw me to salvation hundreds of times since having to resign from my Calvinist church a few years ago after being publicly shamed and called a reprobate when they found out I had been hiding an alcohol problem but never told anyone at the church because I was afraid of the exact judgement and gossip that ultimately did result. if I were drawn to salvation, I would have never had that kind of a problem they said. The Pastor said that, “When you’re elect, you can take or leave alcohol. You can pick it up and just put it down and it has no power”. That’s never been true of any recovering alcoholic or addict I’ve known so that must be only the chosen elect who are “delivered” while the unchosen, unelect, who are predestined to hell, need AA and recovery programs to stay sober because they have no hope of deliverance? All these decades I thought I was saved but still struggling with addiction and despair. I didn’t realize that I was never saved, never even called to be saved, just foolish and deceived. I quit alcohol nearly three years ago but I guess I did it without God and just with pride since God doesn’t help anyone or listen to anyone’s prayers He didn’t already effectually choose. I keep waiting for something to change within me, some sign, some fragment of supernatural love that everyone who is effectually saved says they experience. I have never had that.

    I want to stop praying for salvation. It’s truly causing me harm at this point. To choose Jesus and then find out He didn’t, and still hasn’t, chosen me, has exhausted me. I’ve tried and tried for years but at some point just have to stop.

    My question: If I stop ridiculously asking Jesus to save me when he’s clearly heard me endless times, can I now assume that’s it? If God has to draw you and I now am certain he has chosen not to offer that to me, why not stop? I go to hell because I stopped asking? What kind of insanity is that! I can’t live like this anymore! I have to stop before continuing to beg for salvation destroys me. All I get in return is the dark lingering voices of my former church, pointing and shaming at me.

    1. Hello Giving Up
      What God requires of you is to believe in the FINISHED work of Jesus Christ on your behalf.
      He does not require you to continue to ask for something – when he has already communicated to you what he requires.

      Every human being is going to sin.
      That is the nature of being human.

      But every time you have the option to sin or not to sin – God is there to give you strength to sin less.
      For example – a drug addict may not have the power to stop taking the drug because his body is addicted to it.
      But he does have the power to take less of the drug today, and less of the drug than that the next time – and less of the drug than that the next time etc.

      Eventually he will have the physical power to resist taking the drug.
      And in the midst of temptation – God will be there to give him strength so that he can resist that temptation.

      There are many people who have come to Jesus with much greater and more powerful addictions.
      And He has delivered them wonderfully!!
      And His desire is to do that for you.
      He is FOR you and not against you.

      Blessings!
      br.d

    2. Welcome, “Giving Up”! Do you believe Jesus died on the cross to have your sins removed from your life, to save you from hell, and to make you become an everlasting member of His family? When you pray do you feel that God is your Father? Do you hate sin, love righeousness, love His Word and His people? If you can answer “yes” to all those questions without thinking you created those changes in your feelings yourself, but that God created them in you through His new birth, then you really should begin to have a settled assurance that you are in Christ.

      The condemning feelings that you feel, which were either created by others or even by yourself, or perhaps are fiery lying darts from the evil one shot into your mind, will not be enough to quench those results of the new birth that I listed, and are clearly listed in God’s Word, if the new birth has truly taken place.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,

    The freeing thing about Provisionalism is that God offers salvation to all that would take Him up on His offer. There is none of this (for lack of a better term) voodoo, where you magically may or may not be ordained to be in the club. In Provisionalism you simply understand you have sinned, and accept the offer to be reconciled to the Creator through His Son. So simple. When you doubt, if you have even a hint of Calvinism in your life, it can take your eyes off the offer, and put it on yourself, i.e. “Maybe I am not of the elect” or “maybe there is something wrong with me”.

    1. Hello williamacowell and welcome

      Yes I agree!
      And additionally – you are not left – as the Calvinist is – with no CERTAINTY of whether or not you have been designed/created specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire.

      And the non-Calvinist has another nice blessing which is never granted to the Calvinist.
      He is granted the function of choice.

      Blessings!

  4. In Calvinism, does Satan have free will? If one is born unelect, since Satan wants everyone but God doesn’t, isn’t that unelect person already “turned over” to Satan their entire lives since salvation will always be unattainable? Is God still directing each moment of the life of an unelect person or is Satan given some free reign since that person is doomed to hell anyway? I’m very curious about this.

    1. Hello LFG and welcome

      To your question – Calvinism is predicated on the concept of Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
      Sometimes called “Exhaustive Divine Determinism”

      In Calvinism there is a FORM of “Freedom” for the creature
      1) The creature is FREE to be and do ONLY what Calvin’s god determines and infallibly decrees the creature will be and do
      2) The creature is NOT FREE to be or do anything other than what Calvin’s god determines and infallibly decrees the creature will be and do.

      So in Calvinism – the state of nature – at any instance in time – including the state of man’s nature – at any instance in time – is 100% predestined.
      And can only be what it was predestined to be.
      It is not permitted any FREEDOM to Be or Do OTHERWISE than what it was infallibly decreed to be and do

      Concerning Satan – John Calvin says:
      -quote
      “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, ……can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as He……COMMANDS…..they are….FORCED to do Him service.” Institutes I, 17, 11.

      Concerning mankind – Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin says it this way:
      -quote
      “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions” (The Doctrine of Divine Decree)

      Calvinist Paul Helm’s says it this way:
      -quote
      Not only is every atom and molecule, EVERY THOUGHT AND DESIRE, kept in being by God, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN of each
      of these is under the DIRECT CONTROL of God (The Providence of God pg 22)

      1. This was very helpful, thank you. I heard my former Calvinist pastor say in an online sermon recently, “Your choices in life are more like McDonald’s than a Buffet–God’s menu of options for your life are almost none”. How hopeless it seems to me to radically love a God who’s predetermined every devastatingly bad choice you’ve made along with its consequences, as well as every tragic thing that’s happened to you. To ask God for forgiveness almost doesn’t seem an appropriate relationship in Calvinism. it makes more sense to thank God for what good you do get since he predetermined it—-and all of life’s horrors and human mistakes you just accept as part of your day. God willed you make that mistake or have that terrible thing happen to you today. It’s almost none of your business—you’re just to “persevere ” through it.

      2. Hello LFG,
        You have to be aware of the fact that many aspects of Calvinist doctrine are not emotionally palatable to the Calvinist.
        And that includes your Calvinist pastor.
        I think you should be able to understand why that is the case.

        Take for example what your Calvinist pastor says about “your choices”

        In Calvinism – per the doctrine of decrees – the creature is not granted the function of choice.
        If you look up any number of definitions for the term “Choice” you will find a necessary condition is “Alternative Possibilities” from which to select.

        According to the doctrine of decrees – there is no such thing as an “Alternative” from that which has been infallibly decreed.
        And in Calvinism – everything without exception has been infallibly decreed.
        So any time your Calvinist pastor insists that he is granted an “Alternative” from that which has been infallibly decreed – he is denying the doctrine of decrees.

        Now your Calvinist pastor can have a PERCEPTION of having multiple options from which to select.
        But that PERCEPTION would be an infallibly decreed FALSE PERCEPTION.

        Lets use an example
        Lets say your Calvinist pastor is standing in a garden path which splits to the left and to the right.
        He has the PERCEPTION that he has a choice between those two options.
        But one of those options is infallibly decreed.
        And as soon as that one option was infallibly decreed – its ALTERNATIVE was infallibly EXCLUDED.
        That EXCLUSION took place at the foundation of the world.

        If it was infallibly decreed that your Calvinist pastor go to the left – then going to the right was EXCLUDED by the infallible decree – and therefore not available to your pastor.

        If it was infallibly decreed that your Calvinist pastor go to the right – then going to the left was EXCLUDED by infallible decree – and therefore not available to your pastor.

        So in Calvinism – for every event
        1) The creature is granted only ONE SINGLE option.
        2) That one option is RENDERED-CERTAIN
        3) All Alternative options are EXCLUDED – and their EXCLUSION is also RENDERED-CERTAIN

        Therefore – the necessary condition of “Alternatives” available to the creature do no exist for the creature.
        And since “Alternatives” is a necessary condition for “CHOICE” then – the function of “CHOICE does not exist for the creature in Calvinism

      3. I have been studying Demonology and the writings of those who have been on the front lines of possession deliverance and demonic oppression for decades and centuries. Religious demonologists are pretty consistent in their findings about the “mind of the demonic”.
        They universally agree that demonic infestation, oppression and possession can only begin in one of two ways:
        ATTRACTION or INVITATION. And either of these options require man’s FREE WILL to manifest. One 19th century exorcist wrote that demons look endlessly for those whose “FREE WILL is distorted or made impressionable by tragedy or emotion” because only through FREE WILL can the demonic directly enter your life. You must invite them (through conjuring) or attract them (through rumination on dark thoughts), and once you do, you have given Satan “free will” in your life. And only the name of Jesus Christ will ever put a stop to him.

        So if Calvinism were true, God would have to predetermine demonic oppressions and even possessions of his own creation. Demonic possession is the ultimate perversion of God’s created beings. If Calvinism is true, then God orders the vile infestation and destruction of his own creation in real time for his own glory. And if God IS predetermining a demon’s every move, why have an Angel guard a
        tree?

      4. yes – you are correct with all of that!
        The demon is forced to use both TEMPTATION and SEDUCTION in the process of gaining ground in a person’s life.

        In Calvinism a fundamental rule is that nothing is *UP TO* the creature.
        Because everything is 100% meticulously determined at the foundation of the world before the creature exists.
        So in Calvinism – everything without exception is *UP TO* a divine mind who determines 100% of everything there is to determine.

        Now since it is the case that NOTHING is *UP TO* the creature – then who would the demon be tempting or seducing?

        In Calvinism – the state of the creature is – at every instance in time – exactly what Calvin’s god decrees it to infallibly be
        So a demon – in order to affect that – would have to be able to affect that which Calvin’s god infallibly decreed.

        And of course that does not make any sense at all.

        So yes you are correct – Calvinism and demonic activity are simply Logically incoherent.

        And if you ever see a Calvinist taking authority over a demon – or casting a demon out – that Calvinist is doing so in direct contradiction and denial of his own own doctrine.

        And that is why you will hardly if ever – see a Calvinist deliverance ministry.

  5. I was very intrigued when this same Calvinist pastor rather proudly said in a sermon some years ago that he had never had a demonic experience or seen or felt any spiritual presence of Satan—-as though he is living in a special bubble granted to him with election. I frankly had never heard a Pastor say he’s not had any supernatural demonic experience, especially since becoming a Pastor when you’d certainly think he’s a target. I wondered if he’s right about nothing ever rocking his boat because, if he’s teaching a false Jesus, he’s already in Satan’s camp so why discourage him?

    1. Good comments!
      Yes – it makes perfect sense that he would say that – because it is a “Self-Complimenting” way of acknowledging that his belief system is at odds with the principles of seduction and temptation expressed within scripture.

      So in an offhanded way – he is acknowledging that his belief system doesn’t jive with the general narrative of scripture on this subject.
      And at the same time – in order to compensate for that – he frames it into a self-complimenting statement.

      However, he certainly doesn’t see himself has having a false Jesus.

      I think its much more realistic to say that he has been captured by a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system.
      And he needs deliverance himself – from the snare of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.

      As long as his ego and his pride do not permit him from acknowledging that ensnarement – he will remain ensnared in it.

      The same principle of deliverance is at work for his deliverance than for anyone else.
      He has to come to grips with the fact that his mind became ensnared in a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system
      And he has to ask the Lord for forgiveness – because he allowed himself to be seduced into that condition.

      Once he acknowledges the ensnarement and asks for forgiveness , and asks the Lord for deliverance – he will be delivered.
      Then after that – he will have a personal knowledge of how Calvinism ensnares the mind
      And he will help to keep (especially young and easily influenced believers) from getting captured by the same ensnarement.

  6. ………and isn’t “Desiring God” an oxymoron of a ministry name if you’re incapable of that on your own?

    1. Yes! Another very excellent observation!!

      The whole notion of “Desiring God” for a Calvinist is part of its DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.

      Once we understand – in Calvinism – the state of man’s nature – at any instance in time – is 100% predestined – and nothing about it is ever *UP TO* any man – then what does that tell us about any “DESIRE” that will exist within any man – at any instance in time?

      Whatever DESIRE exists within any man at any instance in time is also 100% predestined.
      And nothing about it is ever *UP TO* any man.

      So the Calvinist exhortation for other Calvinists to “Desire God” simply functions as one more denial of their doctrine.

      A Calvinist has no more control over his “Desire” than he has over any other impulse or inclination that comes to pass within his brain.

      For a Calvinist to even think that he is permitted to be the DETERMINER of any “Desire” that comes to pass within himself – is a total denial of his own doctrine.

      So yes!
      You’ve accurately identified another area in which Calvinism is simply a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system :-]

  7. If salvation is predetermined then what is the point of the gospel even being in the Bible? Why didn’t God just give us a Bible that is written with instructions only for the “elect” – cuz they would not need the gospel written. They would just need a set of rules to live by since they are chosen by God. Isn’t that what the OT was… a set of rules to the chosen people??? Does this make sense?

    1. Hello Diana and welcome
      In Calvinism – not only is salvation predetermined – but them movement of every molecule – and every impulse that comes to pass within within every human brain is AUTHORED at the foundation of the world – and made to come to pass irresistibly.

      In Calvinism – the state of nature – at any instance – including man’s nature – at any instance – is 100% meticulously predestined.
      In such case – 100% of everything is *UP TO* a THEOS – leaving ZERO% of anything *UP TO* any man.

      Accordingly in Calvinism – the vast majority of the human population are designed/created specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure. And a large percentage of the believing church are also given a FALSE SENSE of salvation/election.

      So Calvinism – is much much more about salvation.

      As Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin puts it:
      -quote
      “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions” (The Doctrine of Divine Decree)

      And Calvinist John H. Leith puts it:
      -quote
      ” On the natural level, what we call the order of nature [i.e. what we call naturally occurring events, for Calvin], is REALLY the ACTIVITY OF GOD. (John Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life pg 111)

  8. Hello Soteriology101, I was wondering if someone well learned could make an organizational chart showing what you must believe if you believe something else. Example: If you believe in innate inability, then you must believe in prevenient grace. I believe that this chart would make debates much easier by holding people accountable to cognitive dissonance.

    1. Hello Zane and welcome
      I like your idea
      You may want check out Dr. Flower’s face-book page.
      It may be the case that he’s already done what you suggested.

      Thanks
      br.d

  9. I was confused by the Christmas Eve message by my former Calvinist pastor who I still catch online once in awhile. He was offering the salvation message but also offering you to confess or repent something you are maybe doing that you shouldn’t be doing and blah blah. But this is the same pastor who said just two months ago in his Calvinist sermon that your choices in life is like “McDonald’s”–limited choices if any. So, what does that mean? How does this pastor believe you have only choices God gives you but somehow you did something outside of God’s will anyway? Is this what double minded means or am I just not understanding how you can be predetermined but still capable of sin that needs repenting.

    1. Hello LFG and welcome

      I’m sorry to tell you that – the self-contradicting nature of what you are observing with your Calvinist pastor is exactly what I would expect.

      The core of the doctrine is simply too radical for any Calvinist to fully adopt.
      They of course have an urgency to APPEAR to be consistent with the doctrine for the sake of appearance.
      But there is a form of double-speak that is completely characteristic of language.

      And it is that double-speak that I suspect you are observing.

      Calvinists are often quite caring and normal in all other respects.
      But when it comes to their doctrine – double-speak is the what you eventually learn to expect.

      And I want to thank you and let you know I appreciate the sincerity in your question!!
      Blessings!
      br.d

  10. I am not sure how to start a new thread on this website, but I would like to comment about something I was reading in the Bible today:

    [1Ki 11:14 KJV] 14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he [was] of the king’s seed in Edom.

    At least Eight times I have found that God stirs up someone to do His will. Five in the negative sense (like the above verse) and at least three in the positive sense, like He does with Cyrus to rebuild the temple. I could see how this could be done by circumstances, without God forcing His will on someone. For example, if the Prodigal Son was a true story, I could see how God could use a famine to stir someone to repentance. Anyway, when I first read the above verse it sounded like God was forcing His will. Is this compatible with Provisionalism? I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this.

    1. Hello williamacowell and welcome.
      I’m not a provisionist – so I can’t give you an official answer.
      But I know Dr. Flowers well enough to have confidence in what he would say.

      The provisionist would certainly agree with the verse all by itself.
      And he will not rule out the options that God has for FORCING a person to do something – if that is what God would wish to do.

      But the provisionist would say that that is not something we would find as NORMATIVE within the general narrative of scripture.

      God can certainly do whatever he wishes.
      In the book of Acts we have God striking a man such that he is eaten by worms.
      If he wants to do that to any person – he is certainly at his discretion to do so.
      But is that the rule or the exception?

      The provisionist is going to have the same position on the issue of Exhaustive Divine Determinism (aka Calvinism)
      Per Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – we have a god who AUTHORS every impulse that will come to pass within the human brain.
      And makes every impulse come to pass infallibly – and thus irresistibly.
      And humans thus have no say in the matter of anything
      And they cannot even have a thought that they can call their own.

      So the provisionist rejects Exhaustive Divine Determinism (aka Calvinism) for the same reason.
      The provisionist finds an occasional place here and there within scripture – where God determines a person’s impulses or determines their will – and does not permit that person to have any alternative impulses or will.
      But the provisionist sees that as the exception within scripture and not the rule.

      The Calvinist on the other hand – takes those few instances in scripture in which Exhaustive Divine Determinism can be construed – and he extrapolate that as the RULE and not the exception for all human functionality.

      And that is why Non-Calvinists often will observe that Calvinism reduces human functionality to the functionality of a robot.

      I hope I answered your question.

      blessings!
      br.d

    2. Hi William… Yes, most Provisionists believe God can impose His will and turn the hearts of others, but never towards sin, except in the sense of confirming the hardness they freely created in their hearts themselves… and never to force a covenant love commitment of faith… which requires free will choice to exist.

  11. I’m wondering how Calvinist pastors hold up to extreme personal tragedy since they believe God orchestrates all situations. Has anyone ever known of a Calvinist pastor who’s had a child murdered or a spouse killed who still preaches the next Sunday that God ordains everything? Or do they go through a crisis of faith?

    1. Unfortunately, Lfg, “God wills it”, is a strong mental drug, when one swallows it. It was one of the “drugs” used to justify the murderous crusades in the Dark Ages.

      Yes, Calvinist pastors would deal with personal tragedy, using that “drug.” One problem is that they are already aloof from having deep personal relationships, because they believe in God as being aloof and impersonal, unable to feel changes in emotion. So to them, being stoic about tragedy is godly. Very sad!

    2. Hello Lfg and welcome

      Your question is very logical.
      And the answer has to do with the normal human emotional response to the doctrine of decrees.
      Basically the Calvinist holds the doctrine to be TRUE – while going about his office *AS-IF* it is FALSE

      I know that doesn’t sound very reasonable a way to live with a belief system.
      But the fact is – the belief system is simply too radical for any person to be logically consistent with.

      Take for example the consequence of what we humans understand as the function of “Choice”.

      If you look at any number of dictionary definitions for “Choice” you will see a consistent theme – in which a Necessary Condition for the function of “Choice” is multiple options available to an individual from which to select.

      So take for example – the 10 year old boy whose does not want to go to the dentist.
      His parents tell him he *WILL* go to the dentist whether he likes it or not – because they have DETERMINED that for him.
      They have only given him ONE OPTION
      He is given NO CHOICE about what option will be
      And he is given NO CHOICE about his role in that option.
      So – the bottom line is – he has NO CHOICE in the matter.

      Now on Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – 100% of every human impulse, inclination, and action are DETERMINED for each human.
      So whether you will go to the dentist or not is already DETERMINED for you.
      Whether you will commit a specific sin at a specific time is already DETERMINED for you.
      All of which is DETERMINED and FIXED by infallible decree – which means it you *WILL* do it infallibly.
      No alternative from that which is infallibly decreed is granted existence at any time.

      So in Calvinism – your Calvinist pastor is never granted more than ONE SINGLE option for every impulse, action, and event in his life.
      He is never granted a CHOICE about what that option will be
      He is never granted a CHOICE about what his role will be in that event.

      Consequently – according to the doctrine – human beings are not granted the function of CHOICE in Calvinism.

      But that is simply too radical a consequence for any Calvin to live with.

      And that is why all Calvinists – including your Calvinist pastor – hold the doctrine as TRUE – while going about thieir office *AS-IF* the doctrine is FALSE

      Blessings
      br.d

  12. I know I keep kicking the same deceased canine here but I just read Piper’s answer to someone struggling with believing in Jesus and he systematically says a laundry list of things you need to do “or else” you will be lost with no hope. I don’t understand. If I have lost faith in Jesus and God (which I am deeply struggling with) and Piper says it’s a gift in the first place that you can’t choose to want and it’s irresistible, how can any single thing I do now make any difference anyway? I have prayed for God to love me and save me for so many years, it’s honestly now just a broken record in my head and rather stale and moldy. Like I’m still praying for a boy in 7th grade to ask me to the dance except now I’m 62 years old and that boy is long married and maybe even dead now. The answer’s been “no” for decades. I usually try to avoid reading any Calvinist teaching these days but somehow, when I’m feeling deeply down, I seem to keep gravitating back to those I used to think were so right. Now Piper’s words just strike fear and frustration in me. I don’t want to keep praying in terror and frustration to Piper’s God. So I don’t pray anymore at all.

    1. Hello lfg and welcom

      There is a characteristic of Calvinist thinking – which to most people is non-intuitive – but to the Calvinist is it his normalcy.

      You can start to understand this characteristic – when you understand the burden the Calvinist bears – embracing Calvinism’s underlying foundational core doctrine.

      The underlying foundational core doctrine – which is unique to Calvinism alone – and which separates Calvinism from its alternatives – is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.

      In Calvinist vernacular – it is stated as “WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS is CAUSED by infallible decrees established at the foundation of the world – before creatures are created.

      The reason it is classified as **EXHAUSTIVE** Divine Determinism – is because absolutely NOTHING is left UN-Determined.
      Not one nanosecond is left UN-Determined.
      Not the slightest vibration of a molecule is UN-Determined.

      Not one impulse can come to pass within a human brain – that was not AUTHORED at the foundation of the world
      Every human impulse comes to pass INFALLIBLY within the human brain
      Which means there is absolutely nothing about anything that is UP TO you.

      THE PROBLEM THIS RAISES FOR THE CALVINIST:
      The burden the Calvinist has to bear with that doctrine – is that he cannot possibly experience any sense of NORMALCY if he lives his life consciously acknowledging that doctrine.

      Consequently – the Calvinist lives out a constant MENTAL TAP-DANCE trying to simultaneously AFFIRM and DENY his belief system.

      What you are observing with John Piper’s statements – is that MENTAL TAP-DANCE routine.

      For the Calvinist – according to the doctrine – every person’s election/salvation status is FIXED at the foundation of the world
      And there is absolutely NOTHING any Calvinist can do to alter it – in any way shape of form.

      Consequently – the Calvinist as a coping mechanism – learns to live *AS-IF* his/her election status is NOT FIXED at the foundation of the world. And they live *AS-IF* their election/salvation is dependent upon their own discipline and faithfulness.

      The answer for you LFG – is to stop looking to any Calvinist for your answers – because you are guaranteed to listen to what they have to say – and consider it viable at first. But as soon as you start to examine it under LOGICAL SCRUTINY – you discover – as you have in this case – that falls apart and becomes unstable.

      CONCERNING YOUR PERSONAL SALVATION
      —————————————————————-
      The scripture says “What shall I do to be saved”?
      The answer is BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ – and you shall be saved.

      You BELIEVE in Jesus!

      BELIEVE that Jesus – died on the cross as the sacrificial lamb – to pay the price for every sin you have committed and will ever commit.

      That doesn’t give you license to go out and sin when your conscience tells you you shouldn’t
      But it tells you that you can trust God
      You don’t have to worry about the finished work that Jesus completed on the Cross for your salvation.

      So – don’t look to Calvinism for answers.
      There is no need for you to get ensnared in the MENTAL TAP DANCE that comes with adopting John Calvin’s belief system.

      Calvinists have the burden of it – because they embraced it.
      And until the Calvinist comes to realize he is reaping the consequence of an unhealthy belief system – he will have to live out his life performing Calvinism’s MENTAL TAP DANCE.

      But you don’t have to be ensnared in that.
      And you can put your personal confidence in the person of Jesus Christ.

      Blessings
      br.d

    2. Welcome lfg, I will be praying for you today that you will meet a godly Christian woman whom you will choose to walk with. She needs to lead you into the learning how to recognize and trust presence of and salvation of Jesus. She needs to help you focus on worshipping and serving Jesus, and serving others, more than focusing past or present personal failures.

      How do you discern what God has created in your life through His salvation presence, if you are one of His? Any hatred of the evil that is still in your flesh that you feel, that hatred is from Him.

      Any desire to do good only for His glory without expecting anything in return, that desire is from Him. Any sacrificial love you feel for other Christians, especially annoying ones, that is evidence of God’s presence in you.

      Your constant assurance that Jesus is the only Savior and that you can freely call God “Father” when you pray are also proofs that you belong to Jesus.

      And each time you want to, and are able to, say “no” to the temptations of the world, feeling certain in your heart that heaven will make up for any “loss”, which the world suggests you might face, should also add to your peace that you know you belong to Christ.

    3. Dear LFG,
      Your post resonated with me! .. partly because I am a 68 year old woman:)

      I did not grow up in the Church – which sadly can be a good thing, depending on the church. As a teenager, I suffered from serious anxiety and depression, in part due to parental abuse… out of desperation, I reached out to Jesus in hopes that He could help. And boy did He! He loved me like no one else ever did or could… I was hooked; I fell deeply in love with Christ, and my life changed. Fortunately, I landed in a wonderful – completely non-Calvinistic – Christian youth group (Young Life)… where it was all very simple: God loved me with a passion (so much that He’d rather die than live without me), so I couldn’t help but love Him back… and love myself and others too in response!

      Fast forward many years…..

      A few years ago, our pastor retired and was replaced by a new, young pastor. We loved him at first as he was very passionate… I was sure that his passion for God came from the same place as mine – I was wrong. He began to say things like, “God doesn’t want you to love yourself, and God doesn’t want you to be happy.” He also quoted John Piper constantly. So, I began to do some research about Piper, reading many of the articles on the Desiring God site. … something I wished I had never done!!! One article chastised Christians for “gorging themselves” on verses about how much God love them!!! …and if you think you have value and worth, you are stealing God’s glory! What better way to keep people OUT of the Kingdom, than convincing them that there is nothing they can do to enter … something that the Bible refutes over and over and over again! After exchanging many long emails with my new pastor, I discovered that he interpreted much of the Bible very differently than I did…I felt confused and discouraged; my faith took a real hit.

      Since then (after leaving our church of almost 20 years), I have been researching this strange movement… trying to compare their understanding of Scripture with what the Scripture really says (or at least what I think it says)… trying to understand why they would pervert the beautiful message of Christ’s loving sacrifice for ALL people into something unrecognizable… making God sound more like the abusive parent I grew up with than the loving Heavenly Father I fell in love with at the age of 17.

      My heart goes out to you. DO NOT give up… don’t keep exposing yourself to this twisted version of Christianity. Read and listen to Jerry Walls; Dr. Flowers; Austin Fisher. Even more, read the Truth of who God is (His good character) in the clear and simple words of the Bible. God DOES love you, maybe more that you could ever imagine or even hope!

      Austin Fischer expresses it exactly:

      “…the silhouette of the crucified God of Golgotha is an image chiseled into my heart. When sin within rises, chaos without descends, confusion all around lays waste to any semblance of comprehension—when I don’t feel like I understand a damn thing—I look up there and I understand enough to say thank you. I understand enough to call it love. And I watch as it casts sparks of light into previously darkened corners. So when someone messes with this picture, adding a cryptic backdrop that threatens to stain the whole thing, I’m against the backdrop only because I’m for the picture I think the backdrop ruins. I’m not against the Calvinist picture of God so much as I am grieved by what that picture does to the picture I love… “

      1. Wonderful post!!!
        Thank you Jane
        Your humble and Christ-like spirit is evident!!

        I’m personally thankful that the Lord delivered you from the snare of the Fowler (i.e. Calvinist confusion) as he did me also.

        May the Lord continue to bless you – and bring you ever closer to himself! :-]
        br.d

  13. This forum is really amazing information and it’s been very helpful! I am pasting below the complete list (sorry it’s lengthy) of all the “recommended reading’ from my former Calvinist church of which I won’t name. This may be a dumb question, but I had never been directly exposed to Calvinism before so I had no idea I was reading books required for bible study that might say something different than I grew up with. So I’ve gotten curious. Can you please tell me what percentage of this list of books, music and commentaries I was “recommended” or “required” to read at my former church over 5 years that you would consider Calvinism and perhaps wouldn’t have chose for your own flock or for your own spiritual growth? How exposed to Calvinism was I?

    Apologetics
    Expository Apologetics: Answering objections with the power of the Word. – Voddie Baucham Jr.
    Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Life changing truth for a Skeptical World – Josh & Sean McDowell
    The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus – Lee Strobel
    More than a Carpenter – Josh McDowell

    Attributes of God
    The Attributes of God – A.W. Pink
    The Holiness of God – R.C. Sproul
    The Pleasures of God – John Piper
    The Knowledge of The Holy – A.W. Tozer

    Bible
    NASB
    ESV
    CSB
    ESV Study Bible
    Zondervan Study Bible
    MacArthur Study Bible
    Gospel Transformation Study Bible

    Bible Interpretation
    Basic Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth – Roy B. Zuck
    Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is knowable, necessary, and enough, and what that means for you and me. – Kevin Deyoung
    The Hermeneutics of the Biblical Writers – Abner Chou
    Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical exegesis for preaching and teaching. – Walter C. Kiaser
    Understanding and Applying the Bible – Robert McQuilkin

    Bible Reference
    A Harmony of the Gospels – R. Thomas, S. Gundry
    The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary
    The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
    The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament – Walton, John H., Victor H. Matthews, et al.
    The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament – Keener, Craig S.
    A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament – Brown, Francis, Samuel R. Driver, and Charles A Briggs
    An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words – Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger, and William White

    Biography
    21 Servants of Sovereign Joy: Faithful, Flawed, and Fruitful – John Piper
    Here I Stand: A life of Martin Luther – Roland H. Bainton
    Johnathan Edwards: A New Biography – Ian H. Murray
    George Whitfield – Arnold Dalimore
    Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – John Foxe
    Long Line of Godly Men (Book Series) – Stephen J. Lawson
    Wesley and Men who Followed – Ian H. Murray
    The Forgotten Spurgeon – Ian H. Murray

    Children
    Preschool
    The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible – ​Jared Kennedy & Trish Mahoney
    The Biggest Story ABC – Kevin DeYoung
    Grade School
    ​The Biggest Story: How the snake crusher brings us back to the garden – Kevin Deyoung
    The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments – Marty Machowski
    The Ology: Ancient truths, ever new – Marty Machowski & Andy McGuire
    Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

    Confessions / Catechisms
    1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
    The Baptist Faith and Message – 2000
    The New City Catechism – Kathy Keller
    The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits – R. Albert Mohler Jr.

    Christian Classics
    Confessions – Augustine
    City of God – Augustine
    Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
    Institutes of the Christian Religion – John Calvin
    Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
    The Weight of Glory – C. S. Lewis

    Creation / Science
    Creation Q&A: Answers to 32 Big Questions about the Bible and Evolution – Institute for Creation Research
    Theistic Evolution: A Scientific Philosophical, and Theological Critique – J.P Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, et al
    The Battle for the Beginning – John MacArthur
    The Genesis Record – Henry M. Morris
    Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive origin of animal life and the case for Intelligent Design – Stephen C. Myer
    The Lie: Evolution – Ken Ham
    Pocket Guide to Astronomy – Answers in Genesis
    https://www.icr.org
    https://answersingenesis.org/

    Discipleship
    Partners 1on1 Discipleship – Mike Farbarez
    The Master Plan of Evangelism – Robert E. Coleman
    Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus – Mark Dever

    Devotionals
    New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional – Paul David Tripp
    Morning and Evening – Charles H. Spurgeon
    The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions – Arthur Bennett

    Ecclesiology (Church)
    Nine Marks of a Healthy Church – Mark Dever
    Biblical Eldership: An urgent call to restore biblical church leadership – Alexander Strauch
    Church Membership – Jonathan Leeman

    Evangelism
    Evangelism – J. Mack Stiles
    Tell Someone – Greg Laurie

    Ethics
    Christian Ethics – Norman L. Geisler

    Gospel
    The Gospel According to Jesus: What is authentic faith? – John MacArthur
    The Gospel According to God: Rediscovering the most knowable chapter in the old testament – John MacArthur
    God is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s love as the gift of himself – John Piper
    A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to see the glories of God’s love – Milton Vincent

    History
    Long Before Luther: Tracing the heart of the gospel from Christ to the Reformation – Nathan Busenitz
    2,000 Years of Christ’s Power (4 volume Set) – Nick Needham
    Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church – Earle R. Cairns

    Homosexuality / Same Sex Attraction
    Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The surprising plausibility of the celibate life – Ed Shaw
    Is God anti-gay?: And other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction – Sam Allberry

    Hymnals
    Hymns of Grace – The Master’s Seminary Press
    The Baptist Hymnal

    Marriage
    The Excellent Wife: A Biblical perspective – Martha Peace
    The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical perspective – Stuart Scott
    Strengthening Your Marriage – Wayne A. Mack
    What did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage – Paul David Tripp
    When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage – Dave Harvey
    Preparing for Marriage God’s Way: A Step-by-step guide for Marriage success Before and after the Wedding – Wayne A. Mack

    Manhood and Womanhood
    Family Shepherds: Calling and equipping men to lead their homes – Voddie Baucham Jr.
    Thoughts for Young Men – J.C. Ryle
    Biblical Manhood and Womanhood – John Piper
    Men and Women: Equal yet Different – Alexander Strauch
    Disciplines of a Godly Man – R. Kent Hughes
    Disciplines of a Godly Woman – Barbara Hughes

    Parenting
    Family Driven Faith: Doing what it takes to raise sons and daughters who walk with God – Voddie Baucham Jr.
    Your Child’s Profession of Faith – Dennis Gundersen
    Family Worship: In the Bible, in history, and in your home – Donald S. Whitney
    When Good Kids Make Bad Choices: Help and Hope for Hurting Parents – Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jim Newheiser
    Parenting: 14 Gospel principles that can radically change your family – Paul David Tripp
    Tying Their Shoes: A Christ-centered approach to preparing for parenting – Rob & Stephanie Green
    Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Tedd Tripp
    Raising Men not Boys – Mike Fabarez
    Don’t Make me Count to Three – Ginger Hubbard

    Politics
    The Constitution of The United States of America
    A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. – William Wilberforce
    The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution – Gregg L. Frazer

    Prayer
    A Call to Prayer – J.C. Ryle
    Praying The Bible – Donald S. Whitney
    Transforming Prayer: How everything changes when you seek God’s face – Daniel Henderson
    The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions – Arthur Bennett
    Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation – D.A. Carson

    Preaching
    The Supremacy of God in Preaching – John Piper
    Preaching & Preachers – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
    Lectures to My Students – Charles H. Spurgeon
    Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon – Bryan Chapel
    The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    Providence
    The Sovereignty of God – A.W. Pink
    Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God – J.I. Packer
    Chosen by God – R. C. Sproul

    Sin and Repentance
    Spectacular Sins: and their global purpose in the Glory of Christ – John Piper
    The Doctrine of Repentance – Thomas Watson
    Passions of The Heart: Biblical counsel for stubborn sexual sins. – John D. Street

    Suffering / Grief
    Good Grief: A companion for every loss – Granger E. Westberg
    Suffering: Gospel hope when life doesn’t make sense – Paul David Tripp

    Technology
    The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place – Andy Couch
    12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You – Tony Reinke

    Theology
    Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem
    What is Reformed Theology: Understanding the Basics – R.C. Sproul
    The Death of Death in the Death of Christ – John Owen
    The Heart of Christ – Thomas Goodwin
    The Whole Christ – Sinclair B. Ferguson

    Trinity
    The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the heart of Christian belief – James White
    On The Trinity – Augustine

    Worship
    Strange Fire: The danger of offending the Holy Spirit with counterfeit worship – John MacArthur
    Charismatic Chaos – John MacArthur
    Let The Children Worship – Jason Helopoulos

    1. Thank you LFG
      I can definitely see some materials here which are Calvinistic indoctrination materials.
      Anything by John Piper, John Macuarthur, R.C Sproul, A.W. Pink

      But some of the authors I do not believe are infected by Calvinism.

      The easiest way to figure this out yourself – is to take the author’s name and paste it into google, and after the name place a comma and then the word “Reformed”

      For example “John Piper, Reformed”
      You may get results in which you see the author advertised as “Reformed” or associated with a “Reformed” organization.

      And you are wise to question materials – because Calvinists do not advertise their materials as Calvinist materials.

      For example –
      “The Attributes of God – by A.W. Pink” should MORE TRUTHFULLY be called “The Attributes of God according to Calvinism”.

      And “The Holiness of God – by R.C. Sproul” should MORE TRUTHFULLY be called “The Holiness of god according to Calvinism”

      Unfortunately – Calvinist language is not a TRUTH-TELLING language.
      Calvinist language is a MARKETING language.

      It hides what it doesn’t want the Non-Calvinist consumer to see – in order to make itself APPEAR acceptable to the Non-Calvinist consumer.

      1. Gary,
        I emailed you – using your email displayed by the system – but that email address bounced back and does not work.

  14. My church of 7 years has brought on a new Calvinist lead pastor. With this he also brings on covenant theology as well as a Covenant Membership document that I am required to sign before my wife and I are welcomed to take communion. It’s all so messed up. I attended a new membership class this past week in which we were told that sound doctrine is one of the church’s 4 major pillars. I am considering to email the membership pastor the following question and am looking for thoughts on this as well as the accuracy my question as to its representation of Calvinist teaching. MY QUESTION: Would the Church accept me into its membership if I revealed that I held to a doctrine which teaches that before creation God ordained everything that occurs? Through His eternal unchangeable decree God is the exhaustive divine determiner of all things. God not only has ordained good but has also ordained all evil. Every evil thought, every evil desire and evil action of every man and woman flows from his decree. By ordaining everyone’s greatest desires God had determined each person’s every choice. He ensures that most of humanity will never want a relationship with him. Instead, each would be incapable of choosing to come to Him in humility, incapable of asking for forgiveness and incapable of accepting the Gospel. Having ordained this before their existence, God determined the eternal damnation of the majority of mankind. His purpose in creating these unwanted and eternally damned souls was such that all of creation, angels and men alike, will on judgment day play witness to His great sovereign and holy justice.

    1. Ask them, youngearther… I’d love to hear how they answer you! Change – “He ensures” to “He ensured”.

    2. youngearther,

      You are already in the New Covenant, and it was sealed with the Blood of Christ. This “Covenant Church” is making you sign a contract that holds you accountable to the doctrines that they teach, and will use it to PUNISH you with, if you fall out of line with their theology.

      So, are you willing to give ten percent to the pastors paycheck to get beat down with? I wouldn’t. But then again, I’m not into bondage.

      If I were you, I’d leave now, while you have the chance, before signing anything. If you sign that thing, and then leave, he might just track you down to whatever church you go to, and badmouth you to the new church.

      I speak based on the testimonies I’ve heard at spiritual abuse blogs. My advice, leave, and don’t let the door hit you in the rear end. Run as fast as you can, and don’t look back.

      Never sign a contract with any church’s that call themselves a COVENANT church. It could also have LEGAL consequences, outside of church.

      Respectfully,

      Ed Chapman

    3. br.d
      Dear yougnearther,
      What you are seeing imposed upon the people of that church – is what someone purposefully intended.
      And its not going to get any better!!

      You would be well advised to leave – while leaving can be done without raising controversy.
      If you don’t leave – you will be expected to obediently submit – with the possibility that you will be expected to obediently submit to things that are against your conscience.

      At that point – it would be no surprise to find yourself the brunt of accusations.

      If I were you – I would leave – while you can do so – and avoid devastation to yourself or your family.

      Calvinism advertises itself a doctrine of “Grace”
      And everybody involved is going to be toting that line.

      But it is actually a doctrine of “Good-Evil”

      And in order to embrace it – the Calvinist must learn to condition his mind to obfuscate its “Evil” parts.

      If you don’t believe that is realistic for yourself or your family then you would be well advised to not put yourself or your family through that situation.

      Wisdom cries out in the gate.

      1. Thank you BR.D (and Ed) for your concern for me and my family. At this point God is directing me to stay and to be a prophetic voice of confrontation, one which hopefully will lead to repentance. If no repentance, leadership will be faced with a continual confrontation of their evil. There are many others attending our Church that my wife and I cherish and for whom God is calling us to stay and fight.

      2. youngearther,

        You are one brave soul there, brother! I wish you all the God given talents to do as you are called to do here. You are noble! Keep your wife/family informed, however, forwarning them of the retaliations that this church’s new paster will have on those who question his “authority” over your souls.

        A couple things. They will lord over you, even tho Jesus tells them not to. Elders are supposed to be mentors, not authoritarians. But they will be authoritarians anyway.

        If your family is aware, and is behind you, go for it. But if it is going to hurt them in any way, causing them to become atheists…re-think that.

        Many people have become atheists due to the spiritual abuse they have endured. Get ready to enter the den of demons.

        One such church was Mars Hill Church in Seattle with Pastor Mark Driscoll.

        Respectfully,

        Ed Chapman

      3. Wow!
        I hate to say it – but past history in this regard would suggest a 99% probability that the Calvinist pastor in this church is going to secretly see you as a fly in his ointment – and he will find a way to justify accusing you or your family with whatever accusations he can manufacture on short notice – which he calculates will work to force you out of the church.

        I suspect you’re going to be forced to leave one way or another.
        Or your going to be assimilated and become a Calvinist BORG.
        And there is the possibility of the pastor and his teachings on submission – causing a rift between you and your wife.

        I have seen Christian families destroyed by situations like this.

        I pray for your family that the hurt and devastation they will endure – will not produce wounds that will take years to heal.

        br.d

      4. I have unfortunately found that Calvinism only attracts two types of individuals: ones already arrogant by nature who have found another reason to feel “entitled”, and one’s who have deep jealousy issues of others and cope by using limited atonement as a weapon. Neither type will ever change because their egos and false sense of selves are being “fed” constantly this steely cold theology. Leave.

  15. Great post, youngearther. I’ve had to sign those at the last few churches and they are deceptively vague. It’s usually something like “I will conform all areas of my life to the truth of God’s word”. But “The Truth Of God’s Word” can frankly be interpreted in as many personal creative ways as there are individuals alive on earth. So if my pastor has a “pet gospel” of something like limited atonement, whatever you sign agrees with that, based on “God’s Word”. It’s an endless circular argument that you will always lose. I sure did. That’s why I quit.

  16. So, not about Calvinism, but I am in need of good theological advice on a matter.
    For background information, I am the drummer in the worship team, and the congregation that I am at had a drum set donated to it by a parishioner because I play drums.
    I have had confrontations with a couple of parishioners about certain teachers that they have praised, specifically Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen, and I have rebuked the head pastor for edging dangerously close (as I discerned it) to “name it and claim it” philosophy. He has a condition similar to plantar fasciitis that afflicts one foot or the other, but, so far, never both at once. He told this to the congregation during a sermon, and one of the people called out for him to “not claim it”, to which he said that he denied claiming it. Uncomfortable, and I called him out in front of the congregation over it, and he, and the parishioner who called out to him, denied it.
    Now, today, the deacon was giving the sermon because the pastor wasn’t there. I walked out during the first five minutes of the sermon. Two weeks ago his son passed out at school and tested positive for Covid. Because of that, the entire family was quarantined for five days, and they missed last Sunday. The deacon recounted this to us this morning, and said how he denied that his son had Covid, even when the doctor and nurse assured him that, yes, his son did in fact have it. Now, he wasn’t acting in denial, he clarified that his son couldn’t have Covid because he (the deacon) declared that his family would never have covid, because if he or his wife caught it, it might kill them, and they had kids to take care of, and God would never give them anything that they could not handle. I got up at this point. When he told us that he wasn’t quarantined because of covid, and that covid would never touch his house, I walked out.

    So, given the above evidence, and the obligation I feel towards the church because of being part of the praise team, what do I do? Do I take my wife and keep walking? Do I make another, probably ineffectual, attempt to correct the issue?

    Thanks in advance for any advice y’all can give.
    -Isaac

    1. Welcome Isaac… Those men are not yet qualified to pastor or oversee the spiritual health of God’s people. Find men in your community who are and join your testimony and service for Christ with theirs.

      You could still meet personally with those other men leading the congregation where you are now and share the important Scriptures that clearly show they are following their own imaginations concerning what they think “faith” is. God nowhere calls us to claim a denial of reality, but actually calls us to suffer for his sake.

    2. Hello Isaac and welcome

      Here are my thoughts on your question.
      1) In every social group there are always going to be conflicts and disagreements between people.
      And that is no less the case with Christians.

      Since wisdom tells us that conflicts and disagreements are a given for us – then it would seem the better part of wisdom for us to make decisions about whether or not any given conflict or disagreement rises to the level of us departing from that group.

      For example, the issue of a Calvinist Pastor who obtained his position within a Non-Calvinist church by deception – and he is using deceptive and manipulative strategies to manipulate the congregation would be such a situation.

      Another example would be the Reverend Jim Jones example – where a false teaching arises to the level of leading people into affects which are serious and deleterious. The people of the Jim Jone’s congregation did not have enough discernment to recognize that he was going off in a dangerous direction – and they suffered the consequences of not having that discernment.

      Personally – the situation of a Christian man who makes the claim that there is no possible way his family can get a sickness – represents a lack of Christian adult maturity. So a man in a pastoral role making that kind of claim – simply shows a lack of maturity.

      And the rest of the congregation should be provided with information concerning that – so that they have the opportunity to not be mislead by that man’s immaturity. If that level of immaturity shows up in other ways – then I would say its time for the congregation to consider his qualifications for being in any king of leadership or pastoral role. But no one has to leave the church because of one man’s immaturity, if the people of the church are informed enough to not be mislead by it themselves.

      2) The business of a Christian “Calling someone out” publicly in front of a congregation – I personally believe to be a sign of immaturity also. I do not see that practice as wisdom. Especially over trivial matters.

      It sounds to me that the congregation you are in – has people in and out of leadership position – who are not very mature. There are probably members of the congregation who are more mature than that. And they can be used as a kind of “BALLAST” to keep the whole boat stable. Their maturity can operate to gently and lovingly INFORM the congregation – so that the congregation does not have to be tossed about by the immaturity of others.

      Blessings!
      br.d

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