“For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
“Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
(1 Corinthians 1:11-13)
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?”
(1 Corinthians 3:3-5)
“And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it. . .
Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.”
(Judges 6:25, 32)
The five points of Reformed theology or Calvinism are as follows:
- Total depravity
- Unconditional election
- Limited atonement
- Irresistible grace
- Perseverance of the saints
These five points are summarised in the acronym TULIP and are also known as the doctrines of grace.
There are some very lovely and sincere Christians who mean business with God, who hold to these doctrines. This is not an attack on them. However, we do need to address the subject.
Okay, firstly to build a doctrine around any man or build a cult-like following around any man, reeks of carnality, not spirituality. We should be able to see this straight away based on what Paul said when he spoke regarding saying that you are of this man or that man, being carnal.
Secondly, I fully believe that a spiritual monument has been built to this man that even he did not intend, and if he could speak from the grave, he would scream to his followers to knock it off! This monument or altar needs pulled down in the name of Jesus, as it is akin to the altar of Baal that Gideon pulled down in his day. And please, before you get angry or dismiss this, please just hear me out.
John Calvin is not entirely responsible, as the TULIP or doctrines of grace, did not entirely originate with Him, nor is he responsible for the monument his followers have made of him.
More importantly, God is not pleased: God’s people have always tended to go off track and erect monuments and altars where God has not directed them to do so. Calvinism is not the Gospel, and John Calvin is not the Saviour, nor is he an apostle that was used to write Scripture. He was simply a man, and the Gospel or the Christian faith does not revolve around him nor should church doctrine be built around him. He was, of course, a significant reformer but we are not to turn reformers into idols and build a movement around them. This is wrong.
The Christian faith is based upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His teachings, and the teachings led down by the early apostles. This will lead to sound thinking and sound doctrine. If John Calvin has been placed on a pedestal where he does not belong then it is idolatry is it not?
It is wrong to build a doctrine around any man. To hear some of Calvin’s followers speak, you would almost think that Calvinism is the Gospel, which it is not (some have claimed this).
John Calvin five hundred years ago was not the man used to deliver the mystery of the Gospel to the church—it was Paul the apostle, two thousand years ago (Hebrews 16:25, Ephesians 6:19). He is the man that fully understood the Gospel of grace and he is the man God chose for the job—not John Calvin.
Monuments have been built to John Calvin but nothing is worse than the monuments in the hearts and minds of the people.
Many Calvinists take refuge in those doctrines because it is a defence against the Roman Catholic teachings. But, have you not done the same thing and made for yourselves your own pope? Except that this is a protestant one?
Denial of fundamental truths
Thirdly, some of the so-called doctrines of grace deny some very fundamental truths regarding the simplicity of the Gospel and do not come across as very graceful at all, namely the following:
- That Jesus did not die for everyone, that is, the sins of the world (limited atonement)
- God does not will all men to be saved (limited atonement & unconditional election)
Scripture refutes such claims, and these unscriptural claims are ironically considered to be part of the “doctrines of grace”. These are two basic, fundamental truths of the Christian faith. To deny these are wrong. How is this sound doctrine?
Jesus did die for the sins of the world:
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
(1 John 2:2)
God does want all men to be saved. That’s His will:
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
(1 Timothy 2:4)
You do not find any of the apostles teaching any such thing. This is over-complicating something very simple God has put in His word. Jesus said,
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The person does the believing; the Holy Spirit does the convicting (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit does His part; the person his part. It is a two-party process. Without involvement from both sides, it won’t work. Why does the church take something like this and spend hundreds of years debating it? Stop over-complicating God’s word getting into areas where you don’t know what you are talking about. God gives us the ability to believe:
“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
This is how he distinguishes between the righteous and unrighteous—the righteous believe.
God’s grace is not irresistible. Demas walked away from it, so did the young widows who cast off their first faith (1 Timothy 5:11-15), as well as others. King Agrippa resisted it (Acts 26:28) and we are told not to harden our hearts against it (Hebrews 3:7-11). Paul did not teach this “irresistible grace”.
Calvinism Versus Arminianism?
This is not a Calvinism versus Arminianism debate. I refuse to engage in such endless arguing that only leads to further confusion, division, and ill-feeling. I don’t hail one side or the other—just the Bible.
What I’m saying is that God’s people have built for themselves a monument unto John Calvin and it must be pulled down because it is an error and a stronghold in the hearts and minds of the people. Instead of trying to win an argument, you should be on your knees repenting of allowing Calvinism to become an idol in your life. Seriously, repentance is due, and pray God to open your eyes by the power of the blessed Holy Spirit to truly see the error of your ways.
Many won’t repent because they think that you are trying to take the Gospel itself from them, so they will hold unto it for dear life. But seriously, if you can’t see the difference between trusting in the Gospel, and trusting in Calvinism, how sad! Whole churches and denominations have been built on the “foundation” of Calvinism. Friend, if you have built your church on the foundation of Calvinism, you have built on the wrong foundation. This ought to be your foundation:
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
(1 Corinthians 3:11)
“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”
It’s okay Christian, you can do it, it’s not hard: just get on your knees and tell God that you are sorry for allowing Calvinism to become an idol in your life, and for building your doctrine around a man. God will not be displeased with you for doing this. On the contrary, He will respect it and you may find yourself coming into a whole new revelation and experience of God, in other words, a deeper walk.
There is predestination according to God’s foreknowledge in the bible, but it is not taught according to Calvinism:
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
(1 Peter 1:2)
Perseverance of the Saints
The Bible does not teach that the true Christian will persevere and that those that fall away “were never saved in the first place”, but that true Christians are urged to continue in the faith if they want to remain saved and if they truly want to receive their inheritance to hold out to the end. Yes, a true Christian can persevere but sometimes a true disciple very sadly quits (Demas). There is a slight difference in these two concepts but it significant difference when it worked out in reality. The New Testament does not teach “Once Saved Always Saved”:
“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.”
“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.”
We can however have assurance of salvation:
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
(1 John 3:22)
There are many Scriptures on this particular subject, that we will not take the time to get into. It’s a whole other teaching by itself.
Not Very Loving
Calvinism can be a very damning doctrine for the following reasons:
- Some are doomed because the blood was not shed for them
- Some are doomed because God does not will their salvation
- Others were damned even when they were Christians because now that they are backslidden, “were never saved in the first place”
On the contrary, God is not quite so damning. He will damn those who reject the Gospel, and he will damn those who desert the Gospel. He has provided full salvation for all men, and wills all men to be saved, and calls for the backslider to come back home where he belongs. Does this not sound more like God’s grace as opposed to Calvin’s doctrine of grace? God is a good God who delights in the salvation of souls, and not the God of elitism. He is bountiful to all men and not mean-spirited toward them.
It is a very cruel thing to say to (or about) someone who was saved maybe five, ten, or twenty years that they were never saved in the first place. Ezekiel 3:20, and James 5:19-20 declare that a righteous man can become wicked and that a Christian can become a sinner again and spiritually die. We should be trying to convert such a person again and bring them back into the fold instead of saying, “they were never saved in the first place”. That is actually evil, and it is not true. I will tell you one thing: Calvinism is not very loving when it would lead you to say and think such things. That is totally unjustified and unfair. And just think, if some of you Calvinist people teaching this happened to (God forbid) fall by the wayside, some of your Calvinist comrades would be typically saying that about you also.
God had Moses make a brazen serpent that God used to heal the people but they ended worshipping it (2 Kings 18:4; Number 21:8-9). Hezekiah had to destroy it.
There are five points of Calvinism (TULIP) and none of them are correct.
Calvinism teaches that man has no say at all in getting saved, and no say in staying saved. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? And I do have to say, that after studying these doctrines against the light of Scripture I do sense a wrong spirit here at work. What will it take to bring this altar down?
Of course, we are saved by grace but it is not according to the Calvin version of grace.
Do not come out to defend Calvinism. If God is truly in it, He will defend it, but if not, it will crumble.