In my current series on Calvinism, I have had several Calvinists leave comments about their areas of disagreement with what I have written.
I fully expect and invite disagreement. Please … if you are a Calvinist and disagree with what I am writing, let me know, and present your views!
However, I have noticed a trend in the comments that have been left by Calvinists thus far. There seems to be three main tactics or approaches that Calvinists have used in their attempts to defend their ideas and disprove mine.
1. Name Calling
It always surprises me how quickly some Calvinists turn to name calling as a way to defend their ideas. If you are not a Calvinist and seek to teach your views, be prepared to be called a heretic, a reprobate, a mouthpiece of Satan, and a fool. Some Calvinists may simply say that you are stupid, ignorant, or spiritually blind.
When I was in grade-school, I never understood why some kids thought they could win arguments by calling other people names, and I still don’t understand it today.
Very rarely is there any proper place in serious theological discussion for cajoling, slander, vilification, and the mocking of others.
If you are a Calvinist and you believe that I am stupid, ignorant, and the mouthpiece of Satan because I am not a Calvinist, show it by the weight of your exegetical arguments; not by calling me silly names.
2. Scripture Quotations
Along with name calling, Calvinists seem to think that everybody would become a Calvinist if they would just “read their Bible.” I often find that when Calvinists disagree, they think they can settle the argument by telling the person to go “read their Bible.”
Of course, I find this tactic used by many various groups within Christianity. Most people seem to think that what they believe is exactly what the Bible teaches, and if people would read the Bible, they would come to the same beliefs.
What many Calvinists do not seem to grasp is that reading the Bible is one thing; understanding it is another. Even highly educated and well-respected scholars and Bible teachers disagree with each other about the meaning of the text.
Do I read and study the Bible? Of course! I have been reading and studying it for decades. In fact, it is exactly because of my reading and studying that I eventually abandoned Calvinism.
Often, along with inviting non-Calvinists to just “read the Bible,” Calvinists like to type out longs lists of Bible quotes which the Calvinists thinks proves and defends the Calvinistic system of theology.
Their approach goes like this:
You heretic! If you had simply read the Bible, you would know that you are filled with the lies of the devil! Here’s proof:
Bible Quotation 1
Bible Quotation 2
Bible Quotation 3
In fact, one classic book on Calvinism (The Five Points of Calvinism) contains little else but pages upon pages of Bible quotations.
In a post from several years ago, I referred to this tactic as Shotgun Hermeneutics. Some people seem to think they can win theology debates by simply quoting a lot of Bible verses, as if the other person was not aware of those verses and had never read them in the Bible.
Usually, when Calvinists do this to me, I simply reply with a comment like this:
I am fully aware of all of these verses. I have read them many, many times, and I have deeply studied most of them in the Greek or Hebrew, as well as in their historical, cultural, and grammatical contexts. I simply have a different understanding of these verses than you do, and if you read some of the others posts on this blog, you will learn how I understand those texts you quoted.
Of course, Calvinists think their understanding of Scripture is the only valid one, and part of this is because of their appeals to tradition and authority.
3. Appeals to Tradition and Authority
The final tactic that Calvinists often use to defend Calvinism is with appeals to tradition and authority. Usually, if you disagree with a Calvinist on the meaning of a particular Bible verse, rather than deal with the exegetical evidence that was prevented about the verse, they will say that your understanding is wrong, because it disagrees with what John Calvin, John Piper, or John MacArthur teaches (or some other Calvinist).
I have a book in my library where an extremely popular Calvinist in which he lays and defends the Calvinistic doctrines. When I first read it, I was a Calvinist, but I remember being extremely uncomfortable with how he defended his views. Rather than base his arguments on a detailed analysis of pertinent Scripture texts, he tended to quote St. Augustine (who predated Calvinism), John Calvin, and other prominent Calvinistic theologians.
There is nothing inherently wrong with pointing out that other Bible teachers and scholars agree with your views, but the trouble comes in when some people seem ignorant of the fact that there are many good and respectable Bible teachers and scholars who disagree.
Furthermore, I always find it interesting that Calvinists praise men like Martin Luther and John Calvin for seeking to reform the traditional teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, but then condemn those who want to reform the traditional teachings of the Calvinistic system of theology.
Anyway, even though you can quote a bunch of scholars, authors, and Bible teachers who agree with your perspective, this does not prove that your view is correct.
Main Problem: A Lack of Grace
The main irony or problem with lots of the disagreement that comes from Calvinists is that it lacks grace.
Usually, when a Calvinist engages in the 3 tactics listed above, it is done with a complete lack of grace. I find this most troubling. Why is it that Calvinists, who claim to teach ‘The Doctrines of Grace” are so ungracious when dealing with those who disagree?
If we truly hold to grace, does it not seem that our dealings with others should also be full of grace? I think so.
I know that many non-Calvinists are guilty of the three things above (I fall into them myself sometimes), but what have been your experiences with debating Calvinists? Share in the comments below!
Pal Madden says
I was in Calvinist churches for years. I was also in a number of other church camps for extended stays, i.e., Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Evangelical Free, Calvary Chapel when I was moving around the country. The Calvinist churches are without doubt the least transparent, most legalistic, performance based, arrogant, and heavily controlled and dominated by top down hierarchical clergy. They were also filled with a high degree of spiritual abuse simply by virtue of having to accept Calvinism or you cannot be a member. This, of course, restricts open discourse, and makes it a cult. They love to proclaim how they do things sola scriptura, by scripture alone, when little they do is.
Jeremy Myers says
I think we all like to claim that our theology alone is based on Scripture, etc, when in reality, there is a whole host of other influences that get poured into our theology as well. It is a good reminder!
B. Levi says
I agree. I believe much of it has to do with our geographical culture and how we’ve learned to interpret ourselves. I don’t believe people are really angry when someone disagrees with their views (of most anything). I think they’re frightened.
Karen Reid says
I have found what you wrote to be so true. I thought of myself as a Baptist cessationist (I’ve never been charismatic), yet I’m in the strange position of having had Jesus come to me in an awesome dream in 1973. I first posted my dream (and all the Scriptures that explained it to me) on a Christian book review site when I wrote a negative review of “Heaven is for Real,” and was subsequently emailed for a year by Thomas Nelson and Crossbow publishing to write a book about it. I declined as I didn’t want to profit from this gift I was given, but as I know from the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 that the Lord uses testimonies to draw others to Himself, so at my own expense I had my testimony printed at a local print shop for a few hundred dollars, and am distributing it with New Testaments to people as the Lord leads.
I tell this because last Easter I’d taken the rough draft of my testimony to a church in another town, to give to a friend for her editing skills. My friend wasn’t there, and I shared my testimony (which includes the dream the Lord gave me) with another man, who unknown to me, whispered in the ear of the new pastor that I was talking about a “mystical experience.” All I knew was that the pastor invited me to dinner with his family. I was very touched, but declined as I’m in a powerchair. He insisted, saying his kids could carry me in the house. I thought he was being kind so I accepted his invitation. I transferred into his car, and one of his kids took my chair back into the church. Then as we left the parking lot, the unthinkable happened. He turned around and said (with an ugly expression on his face), “And I don’t want you talking about a mystical experience.”
I told him I won’t deny Jesus came to me in this dream. So he turned the car around and kicked me out of his car. As I sat there in the parking lot awaiting my wheelchair cab, feeling humiliated and shamed, I started crying, and I asked him why he even asked me to dinner. He said, “Because I wanted WITNESSES.” First of all, Jesus said that if someone offends you, go to HIM and tell him.” But I am deep deeply disturbed that NO ONE associated with the Strange Fire conference is obeying 1 Thess. 5:20-21, which says, “Do not quench the Spirit. DO NOT DESPISE PROPHECIES, BUT EXAMINE EVERYTHING. Hold fast what is true.” And as John MacArthur says, “prophecies” means all extra-biblical revelations. 1 John 4:1 also commands us to not believe every spirit, but to test everything. And again, as MacArthur says, the criteria is biblical. But on the way home that day, as I rode in the cab, the Lord comforted me. I opened my Bible right to 1 Peter 4:14, “If you are insulted for the Name of Christ you are blessed, because the Spirit of God and of glory rests on you.”
The calvinists with whom I’ve dealt strain out a gnat of mystical experiences, then swallow the camel of the sins of unbelief and failure to obey 1 Thess. 5:20-21 and 1 John 4:1, not to mention all the other commands to love one another. Then I subsequently made the mistake of making some posts on the Calvinist Dispensationalists Unite! Facebook page, and even after these people read my dream on my FB page which includes the Scriptures that explained my dream to me, they mocked me, called me names, questioned my mental health and said I saw something demonic (as if Satan would tell me, “Repent NOW. Turn from your sin NOW”–I have quite a testimony, and it’s posted on my FB page on Dec. 2).
I actually rejoiced in all of that, however, and told them to read John 10:20, for this is exactly what they said of Jesus, “Many of them said, ‘He is possessed by a demon, and is insane. Why listen to Him?” I knew I was in good company, but then, the unthinkable happened once again. One of them posted a link with my name on it, and if you clicked it, it said that I was something obscene (I won’t repeat it here). I was revolted, and told them that Jesus said, “Whatever you have done unto the least of one of these, you have done it unto Me” (M. 25:40). And Jesus also said in Mt. 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not cast your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” Truer words were never spoken, sorry to say.
Very interesting. So, looks like I’ve experienced only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ so to speak thus far. I have felt the undercurrent since just barely stating that ‘I didn’t think I ascribed to Calvinism’ and since have been told ‘the problem with you is,’ ‘you misunderstand the meanings of words,’ and one friend said ‘Poor Sue’ in the subject line of an email she sent me in response to an email on my understanding of the means of salvation! Also, I’ve felt a subtile questioning of my sincerity as a Christian for not attending every service at church and of a few other less than perfect behaviors. Also the word ‘heretic’ has already been pinned on my belief system if not me personally. Yikes!
Karen Reid says
I am sorry you had this experience also. I truly don’t understand how ANYONE could be a Calvinist if they truly understood what Calvin was. According to the Bible, he isn’t even in heaven. I asked a question on my FB page, “Would you invite a man who burned a dog at a stake with half-green wood s-l-o-w-l-y, so that he suffered agonizingly for half an hour before dying, to your church? Would you want him to interpret the BIBLE for you?!”
Welcome to the world of John Calvin, who burned Michael Servetus at the stake in this manner, someone with whom he had theological differences. 1 Jn 3:12 says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” And yes, that is the impression I got from Calvinists also. If you go to all the church services and are involved in all the classes and ministries, you will be in the “haves” section of heaven, while those that fall short will be in “have-nots” section.
I wrote my testimony once, which includes the awesome dream the Lord gave me in 1973, and at the end wrote the question all Christians should ask themselves, “Will I hear ‘Well done’ when I stand before Him?” A “friend” who has been one such Calvinist Baptist all her life actually called me and said in a sarcastic voice, “Honey, those words…” In other words, SHE will be in the “haves” section because she has done 50 spiritual push-ups and sit-ups under a steeple, while I’ll be in the “have-nots” section, because I have fallen short.
Frankly, this woman has been handed life on a silver platter compared to what I have suffered, and she knows it. So I sent her an email suggesting that she examines herself before the Lord in the light of Mt. 20:1-16. I told her if Jesus gives me a Denarius, which is the same amount He gives her, will she resent His generosity? “But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I m doing you no wrong. Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me/ Or do you begrudge my generosity? So the last will be first and the first last.”
I have recently been led to a “John MacArthur Cult” website, http://www.thewatchmanwakes.com, and have been appalled by what I’ve learned about GCC and Grace to You from former members, or from parents whose children will no longer have anything to do with them because they are “sinners.” Sad, really. I also read information concerning the man who organized the Strange Fire conference for John MacArthur, who is the man who kicked me out of his car, and it seems he is actually a Kabbalist from what he believes, yet he obtained a Master’s degree from the Master’s Seminary.
Karen – I just stumbled back on this website after a couple of months. I wrote three posts just this evening, but I see I had written one back in January also. You replied to that January post, and I just read it now. You put a lot of thought into it and I appreciate it as I see we have had some similar experiences with Calvinist friends. I’m aware of John MacArthur and that he is strongly Calvinist, but I’m interested in the link you provided, so thanks for sharing that. If you come back in this site, please check the blog post by ‘Maggie.’ She beautifully articulates what we DO believe, or I should say, WHO we believe! I think that needs to be our focus, what we DO BELIEVE as opposed to what we DON’T believe! God bless you Karen! Happy Easter!
Where can I read a copy of your dream about Jesus? Can you please share a link to it or email it to me?
Thank you so much!
Gary campbell says
It’s really scary that such an sick , evil doctrine could spread and infect the Christian church. So many famous preachers spreading this monstrous theleogy. It’s dividing the church like never before and deceiving millions. Making god out to be some kind of evil monster, selecting a few “elect” lucky ones to heaven and billions,billions to hell for his glory. No
Normal human being could ever love such a god.
I agree. In other words, Calvinism is a CULT — the spirit of cultism governs it.
Jurgen Domacassee says
It must have been a calvinist who invented prooftexting
Jeremy Myers says
We all love to prooftext, I suppose!
Susan Shuman says
Lacking grace, along with empathy and compassion I find. 🙁
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, though I know I fall into this trap myself quite frequently.
randy liles says
paul said”that anyone who does not follow the gospel that i preach let him be eternally condemned”.Paul explains his gospel to king Agrippa
in acts 26:20″that they should repent and turn to God,and do works meet for repentance.”(the same thing john the baptist peach)jesus said “be ye doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving yourself”paul said again in IICor.
7:9″now i am glad i sent it,not because it hurt you,but because the pain caused you to repent and change your way.i listen to charles stanley say ” he(a calvinist)did not believe in repenting and changing your ways.”so he does not believe the gospel that paul preached which means he is a sadly mistaken.
Double amen. Good Scriptures you brought up.
Bud Brown says
Good stuff, J-Man.
A fourth tactic that slides in between #2 and #3 is an appeal to extra-biblical theological constructs (think “covenants” as they frame them).
A fifth tactic that emerges when they are pressed is a retreat to “mystery”, which is really a retreat into irrationality.
Jeremy Myers says
Excellent! Yes, you are right. Those fit in here as well.
Exactly. When Calvinism stops making sense it’s because “Gods way are higher”.
Another extremely common tactic is to accuse the non-Calvinist of being unable to handle the truth about God. The truth is too big/mean/scary for us to face so we retreat to the false god we invented to make us feel good.
I’ve also had an entire blog post written about me – complete with a picture of a possessed looking female spewing fire from her mouth entitled “Vanessa’s rant against God” (this was emailed to me as a way to convince me of their “correct” view…) – as a result of comments I made saying I didn’t believe in Calvinism.
Karen Reid says
And rather than obey the commands in 1 Thess. 5:20-21 and 1 John 4:1, to not quench the Spirit, to not despise prophecies, but to examine all extrabiblical revelations according to biblical criteria and test all persons, like the noble Bereans in Acts 17, who “examined the Scriptures daily to see if this were so,” the Calvinists/MacArthurites deleted my post of my testimony on SO4J’s FB timeline–because it threatened them, and they knew I am telling the truth about an awesome dream of Jesus in 1973, as I emerged from a traumatic childhood with a mother who had worked the Ouija board when I was 11.
As I said many times to several MacGroupies after the Strange Fire conference, in which John MacArthur trashed anyone who’s ever had a dream of Jesus without even examining it as Scripture commands us to do, “Did Satan stop traumatizing children past the Apostolic Age as well?” (they believe all divine revelations stopped past the Apostolic Age. They need to read Job 33:19-18.
Then I posted my testimony on my Google Plus page with the Selah song, “Before the Throne of God Above,” and referenced it on a couple youtube videos where I was being attacked by Baptist Calvinists, and rather than read my testimony and critique it according to biblical criteria, they had the beautiful song I posted with it deleted.
And a pastor of a Baptist church in Colorado actually kicked me out of his car (and I’m a disabled woman veteran in a powerchair) after inviting me to Easter dinner with his family, because I refused to deny that Jesus came to me in that dream. Then he informed me I have no fear of God; that we’re all going to stand before Him someday.
Now, unfortunately, when anyone tells me now that they are Baptist, I immediately recoil, and will, I suspect, until the day the good Lord takes me Home. These people venerate and idolize John Calvin and John MacArthur.
I’m sorry for your experience, but try not to recoil against baptists. I was raised baptist and never met a Calvinist until into my 30’s. And even now most baptists I know do not subscribe to this false system of belief. I strongly believe MacArthur to be a false teacher and will now not listen or touch a single thing he says/has written. Hope that helps….
Christopher Seal says
Not to comment on this comment I just couldn’t easily find the “Leave comment here” button. I just want to say how refreshing it is to find a site where one is urged to leave well thought out cogent remarks and thoughtless name calling is not approved of. I accept Christ 47 years ago and stayed in the Baptist – evangelical circle of influence until I went to a “community church” that had a heavy influence of Calvinest Reformed Theology. I was ignorant of what Calvinism was but learned over a period of seven years that I attended that church. I absolutely rejected the premise of TULIP and over the years of study in books and online I have been pleased that my simple belief in the salvation of Jesus the Christ and accepting Him as Lord of my life was all we need. Was I saved by Grace – absolutely. Did God predestin my salvation – absolutely. Did I choose Christ over the world – absolutely.
Billy Davis says
They get mad and walk out……
James Ball says
Spiritual truth is also rightly divided with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual blindness is a condition of the reprobate where God gives us over to delusions so that we cannot find the truth. Yet Romans 1:28 is talking about those who have put away the knowledge of God. Jesus said however that if we seek Him we will find Him and if we knock the door will be opened.
I find that one characteristic of Calvinistic logic is an underlying difference in definitions. They mean quite different things when they define the word “all: as used John 3:16 or 1 John 2:2. You noted a difference in the application of the word grace, but I believe you’ll find that even the word grace is different because God’s grace isn’t shed abroad as the Angel proclaimed saying God’s goodwill is now toward man. God’s grace is only directed toward the elect and is coercive nature.
The same also goes for sovereignty. With Calvinists, we shouldn’t have to pray God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven because it is an accomplished fact and always has been.
This underlying difference in basic vocabulary undermines any thoughtful discussion because the differences in meaning have to be bridged first.
Antonio Gonzalez says
You hit the hammer on the nail… Any scripture not Rightly Divided is part of the counsel (Word Of God) not the whole counsel.. Deductive reasoning used to explain God’s Word.
Deductive Reasoning Example:
1. Point one: Dogs bark – True
2. Point two: Dogs are animals – True
3. Conclusion: All animals bark – Not True
1. Point one: God is Sovereign – True
2, point two: God is All Powerful – True
3. Point three: God is all mighty – True
4 Conclusion: God can do as he Pleases – Not True
God cannot LIE or commit UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
Titus 1:2 NKJV
 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
Psalm 11:7 NKJV
 For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.
Calvinism wrong on so many levels..
Edward Rushing says
Yeah calvanist are pretenders not contenders of the faith Jude 3. In John 3:16 Jesus said “whosoever’ thats pretty plain. I respect the view of calvanist but it disagrees with what Paul said in Romans 10:13-15
K.W. Leslie says
These aren’t just Calvinist tactics, of course. They’re across the board.
One of the Calvinist tactics I run across most is sola doctrina, always coming back to sovereignty and the five points. Again, other Christians do this with our favorite beliefs: We’ll claim our views are wholly based on scripture, but in fact our favorite proof-texts are cherry-picked, and least-favorites are dismissed, wholly based on our theology. It’s a form of the appeal to authority, but disguised as sola scriptura.
Fr’instance, limited atonement. Point out verses which rebut that view, and they’ll argue, “Well, that can’t mean what you claim it does.” Why not? “Because limited atonement.” Yeah, but show me why this verse means otherwise. “Okay…” then they fumble a poor explanation, then wrap it up with, “Because, as we all well know, limited atonement.”
Jeremy Myers says
Very true. I love that “sola doctrina” word. That is what it really is.
And like you say, we all do this from time to time. Maybe more than we like to admit. I sometimes wonder if there is such a thing as a “non-proof-text” theology….
Karen Reid says
Or when I give them Scriptures which refute what they’re saying, they claim I’m “taking Scripture out of context.” When I ask them to give me specifics, they’ve never been able to do it, then they call me a name. It’s been a nightmare dealing with Calvinists, but I love now to ask them this. I say, “Would you invite a man who s-l-0-w-l-y burned to death a dog, using half-green wood to insure prolonged suffering, to your church? Would you want him to INTERPRET THE BIBLE FOR YOU?” Then I tell them, “Welcome to the world of John Calvin.” Calvin burned Michael Servetus to death using green wood, because he disagreed with him theologically, and according to 1 John 3:15, “…no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
The problem with this truth is that they deny the facts of Calvin’s treatment of Servetus and blame the town council etc. etc. One pastor almost had a fit when I criticised Calvin. He was truly horrified and warned me against the things I was telling him as though it was blasphemy to use the name of Calvin in vain. Truth means little to those that deny that truth.
Chuck McKnight says
Unfortunately, I see these tactics being used in defense of pretty much all theological viewpoints. God’s church as a whole needs to show more grace.
Jeremy Myers says
You are right. Is there any way to avoid it, or insulate ourselves from it? If not…. are all theologies just about the same? Should we just give up trying to align theology with Scripture?
I am not challenging you…. these are just some of the questions I have been facing recently.
Chuck McKnight says
No, I don’t think we should avoid theology. Done properly, I believe it is honoring to God when we try to learn more about him. But we have to come at it with humility and love.
Something that has really helped me is making the deliberate choice to discuss theology but never debate it. (Not referring to a “formal” debate.) When I discuss theology, my desire is to learn from my discussion partner, not to defeat him or her.
As appropriate, I’m happy to share my views as well, but I must resist the urge to prove my point of view. I’ll convey what I believe, but I don’t have to convince anyone of it.
And going along with the desire to learn from others, it’s important to remember that everyone—and I do mean literally everyone—has something to teach us. And I’ve found that, very often, those with whom I most strongly disagree in one area have the most to teach me in some other area.
I absolutely love the display of humility I’m finding here…which is unfortunately, so often lacking in me. I love your decision to not “debate” but rather discuss and learn. I hope the next time I find myself in a theology discussion, that I’ll remember these words and humble myself to listen and discuss, rather than try to debate and prove.
Wanda Daniel says
Yes! Love is the key. My daily prayers include: “Teach me and tell me Your secrets. Grant me to rightly divide Your Word of Truth. Grant me to be able to give an answer to those who ask me to give an answer for the hope that lies within me with gentleness and reverence. Write your words on my heart.” We should respect others when we discuss the Word. If they are wrong (or we believe they are wrong) we should be like Jesus and “intercede” for them. The devil is the Accuser. We should be Intercessors. We love like Jesus loves. Does that mean that we give approval to those in error? No. But we love…
Allan R. Lee says
“God’s church as a whole needs to show more grace.” ??? Maybe its what is “growing beside” it or from those “who come from among you..” but are not “of us.” 🙂 Discernment required these days for sure. Love these stimulating, thought-provoking “comments.” Selah!
What i love about your website, is the boldness you have to say what we are all thinking. Unfortunately these characteristics are there in most “Christians”. This week i stopped by at a website where two “spirit and grace” believers were casting stones at Joel Osteen. Whether we agree or disagree, we should be doing it from a standpoint of grace and love. The grace Pharisee is just as upsetting as the fundamentalist. It is the Kindness of God that leads us to repentance, not the bashing over the head with our personal positions. God’s grace is given and reaches to every one of us and we are to show that same love and acceptance to all, even those that disagree with us.
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks for pointing this out. It is so easy to cast stones and quote scripture at others. I do my fair share of it here on this blog….
Thank you for the reminder and the call to focus on the grace of Jesus Christ!
Keith Melton says
Calvinism= Gods unmerited favoritism and to Hades with everyone else.
Jeremy Myers says
Ha! Well, that is one way of summarizing it!
Wesley Rostoll says
Good one Jeremy, I’ve suffered plenty of abuse from Calvinists using the same tactics. I find a fourth method to shoot me down is not by arguing against what I or someone else is saying but by pulling out the slippery slope card. Eg – “So and so who teaches what you are saying wrote a book and the foreword was written by a guy whose uncles website endorses gay marriage”. Or they accuse you of being emergent and proceed to list a bunch of guys (whom I have never heard of) who teach weird things that you do not believe in either.
Jeremy Myers says
Ah yes! The guilty by association and the slippery slope cards. I run into those all the time as well. Thanks for adding them.
As a former Calvinist, I have been accused of “not really understanding Calvinism”, which I find very frustrating. So far no one has been able to explain to me how God predetermined someone would adopt Calvinism and think themselves to be elect, and then be saved out of Calvinism and suddenly be non-elect, all to His Glory.
They never seem to have an explanation for all of the born again believers who do not know who Calvin is and who do not care, yet function just fine anyway.
Nor have I ever heard a good explanation as to why God had to wait so long to reveal His truth to people who killed those who disagreed with them, but I suppose that it is unkind to mention that…
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, this is frustrating. It seems that the only ones who truly understand Calvinism are those who are Calvinists.
If you don’t accept it, or abandon it, this is only because you never understood it…
Ugh, that is what I get, too, even when I preface the entire conversation with the fact that I was a Calvinist for almost 40 years and have read all the Calvinist authors, loved and agreed with them. But now that I’m not a Calvinist anymore, somehow I just don’t “understand” it.
Could you share how you managed to get out of Calvinism? In your view are calvinists “true” followers of Jesus – just confused, or do you think that some of them fall beyond the bounds with false beliefs about Jesus and His work on the cross?
To answer your second question, I do believe that most Calvinists are true followers of Jesus, because I consider myself to have been a true follower of Jesus, even with Calvinist persuasions. However, I was definitely confused and also uninformed about the implications or logical conclusions of Calvinism, such as the fact that if Calvinism is true, God is the author of sin, since He, according to Calvin, predetermined every single little thing that has ever happened in history, including the sins of every man, including Adam!
I want to mention that, when speaking to pastors and others about the Calvinism debate, they will often say that it really doesn’t matter, because these doctrinal issues are not “essential.” I find this to be an insufficient conclusion, because they usually simply want to make the point that it’s not essential for salvation. And it is true that whether or not you believe in Calvinist ideas, you will still “make it to heaven” regardless, if you have faith in Jesus. BUT they usually don’t seem to realize or want to talk about the fact that ideas have consequences, and that believing or not believing in the ideas of Calvin has a major impact upon our daily walk and the way we view God, ourselves, and the people in our world. So I believe it really is essential to “get it right” when it comes to Calvinism. As for how I made it out of Calvinism, wow, that is a really long story that I love to tell people, but I may save it for another time here. I believe that those who seek, find, as the Lord said, and that because I was seeking, He showed me the truth in bits and pieces as I became more and more confused and frustrated with trying to “walk the walk” according to Calvin. Thanks for asking! If you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to anwer them.
Thank you so much! This has been the most helpful response I’ve encountered since being attacked by the ugly side of Calvinism a few years ago (and being kicked out of church for refusing to repent of “my pride in believing that I accepted Jesus as my Savior”).
There was definitely some demonic oppression at play and I spent months studying Calvinism and trying to ascertain whether they really are “in the circle” or not. Your perspective makes perfect sense to me as I can certainly see how Calvinist beliefs would hinder both your walk with and your witness of Jesus. One of the many things I was taught by my pastor is that prayer doesn’t change anything other than your perspective – and he even admitted to me that he had never prayed for longer than 15min because there was no point.
As someone who has witnessed time and again the incredible power of prayer, it was clear to me this was not Biblical/true.
Calvinism tore a hole in my soul that it’s taken God a couple years and counting to repair. I even rejected God and abandoned my faith as a result of beliving it might be true.
Anyway, I do believe that true seekers find and I hope get God will continue to draw people out of these destructive beliefs and into closer fellowship with Him.
I do have a question. What would you say about the staunch Calvinist who is not only not ignorant about the “dark side” of Calvinism, but actively seeks to indoctrinate other Christians with it. Teaching from the pulpit, for example, that God willed Adam and Eve to sin, that cancer is predestined by God, that prayer doesn’t cause anything to change in the world, and that evangelism has no purpose since sheep are sheep and goats are goats? (This isn’t a hypothetical – this was my experience, as well as my first encounter with a Calvinist!).
(I’m not sure where to hit the “reply” button, so this might look out of place here . . .?)
Okay, wow, I can’t believe you were actually taught that stuff by a Calvinist pastor!!! I’m really sorry, that is Terrible. Yet, you can regard it as a blessing in disguise, because if you had encountered, first, a Calvinist church like many of the ones I am familiar with, you would have not been taught those things right off the bat, and you would probably have stayed there, not knowing the difference until years later, and then only if you would have really studied Calvinist doctrine. That’s what happened to me. But anyway, I myself struggle with the same question you asked about pastors who know and embrace the full implications of Calvinism, and I have to say I DO regard a pastor like that as one who teaches False Doctrine and who is dangerous because of it. Clearly, he was dangerous for you, because you almost lost your faith entirely as a result of encountering that church! However, I really doubt that the pastor you mentioned was doing this in order to hurt and deceive people. I’m sure he really believes all that stuff, and has come to the end of the line and embraced the logical conclusions of Calvinist thinking. It’s very sad, and I really feel sorry for him, and for everybody he teaches. He is really entrenched in a false belief system. I’m glad you told me this, because I believe that any honest pastor or individual who understands the full spectrum of Calvin’s ideas MUST end up where that pastor did. He’s a really Honest Calvinist, in my opinion. It’s scary . . . and you know what’s even more scary, is the fact that most 5-point Calvinist pastors keep these disturbing ideas to themselves, and they are leading both small and exceedingly large churches in the direction of Calvinist thinking without the flock even knowing. Sigh. I wish I could stop it, and I don’t know where the “line” is between “saving” people from it and causing division. We have an Assembly church here in town — a mega church — and very few people know the pastor is a 5-point Calvinist, because the Assemblies of God denomination is traditionally Arminian. Many of my friends go to that church, and I really struggle with whether or not to inform them of the truth. We are in the process of finding a non-Calvinist church (at least among the leadership) and I am finding out what a strong segment of the church population is now Calvinist. It’s really discouraging, when you try to find a church that isn’t Calvinist, and isn’t supposed to be (per the denomination) and then you talk to the pastor on the phone and are told that you “don’t understand Calvinism” (even though I’d been a Calvinist longer than he was alive)! Ahh!
Yes, Deborah, I’ve been told that neither I nor my Calvinist/false teacher pastor understand Calvinism even though it’s all he ever reads, studies, or talks about, and I myself spent 100s of hours studying it trying to make sense of how this belief could possibly be biblical.
It’s been a long, and frankly, horrible journey. I’ve been devastated to find that satan has planted himself so firmly into the church and is leading people away from the truth about who Jesus is and what He did on the cross, and keeping Christians from prayer and evangelism, focusing instead on attacking believers and turning them from simple faith in Christ to Calvinism.
And the problem is the average Christian is completely unprepared to deal with it because they – like I – had no idea what Calvinism even was! And those who have a vague notion just “agree to disagree”, “embrace unity”, and say essentially, “both are biblical and both are right”. And this has been the point that has kept me tripped up for the past 18months because either Christ died for (all) sinners or he died for the elect only. It can’t be both. Both cannot be true. If it is, it means that God and the Bible contradict themselves and make no sense and cannot be known or understood in any meaningful way. There are some confusing things that we won’t understand this side of heaven. How to get to heaven isn’t one of those things! It can’t be, else what kind of hope could we possibly have!?!?
Anyway, all this to say that you have finally be able to unlock a major mystery for me and give me insight into the possible reason that God allowed me to be so viciously attacked (I was maligned, kicked out of church, lost all my friends, the whole bit… There are still people posting publically that I’m satan spawn, a worker of unrighteousness sent to destroy Gods Church, etc, etc – all because I refused to “repent of my pride which believes I chose to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior”.)
Truly, Calvinism is to blame for the darkest, most difficult period I’ve ever walked through in my life because initially, I believed my pastor – and since this “new” god was frankly sadistic and not worthy of worship, I told him I would never bow to him and would resign myself to eternity in hell instead. I wanted to kill myself since the God I had always loved no longer existed except in my imagination (as I was told) and I would have done, had I not had two little ones who needed me and also been expecting a third! (Who my pastor said was probably a goat too…)
As you can imagine after my experience it’s been quite difficult for me to simply “embrace calvinists as my brothers in Christ” and “agree to disagree” as I’m constantly told. (Especially since there was a very intense demonic element at play in this whole mess with the pastor and the church and the suicidial thoughts and stuff…)
So to have someone who can finally speak from experience and explain to me that most of them don’t understand their own doctrine, but it’s still not an excuse because it’s a damaging and false doctrine that the Bible clearly contradicts – is incredibly helpful and healing to my soul. And that this was actually an act of mercy and grace by God to “rip the bandaid” off quickly. While it was intense and painful at the time, He did save me from perhaps a lifetime of ignorance and ineffectiveness in sharing the gospel had a been slowly sucked in and these lies had been allowed to take root and grow.
You have given me an incredible gift in sharing this insight. Truly, thank you!!
I was born into a calvinistic preacher family and can tell you right now, they are all a bunch of soulless psychopaths. They absolutely DO understand their doctrine. It is dangerous to project the idea that they have human morality in them and want the world to be a good place because most humans do. They do not think like that or feel like that and they admit it. They think god is a trick and the only one who’s gonna survive is the one doing the tricking. Calvinism is an elaborate survival system for people who believe in slavery and murder as a lifestyle choice. I recommend everyone here integrate some psychology studies into your religious studies and things will start to make a lot more sense. No Calvinist truly is a decent person. They are predators. Period. They hunt their own children. They believe god is the devil basically, so no they will never ever be reasonable, or wake up to their problems, because they think they don’t have any, that is until someone discovers their clever doublespeak is hiding a black hole of a soul, no conscience and an infantile non developed personality and then they willget angry. They believe only that their words and group cover allow them to stay a secret and keeps them in power. The leaders are good with words, lies and manipulations.. and they know how to find followers that are good mimics and similar thinkers that will do their bidding.. that is all. They are mostly occultists I surmise from my experiences. The only thing Jesus or the concept of love is to them, is a cover to make people think they are good and an easy way to control others. They act like their lack of emotions is strength. The commenter above, Karen Reid, that described the pastor turning on her and demanding she take back her dream – that description gave me shudders and flashbacks -because that is their real face. The good christian face is a mask. The Calvinist is their true essence and lack of a developed self entrenched in evil. I do not recommend trying to talk to these people. I recommend running away permanently.
Hi Vanessa, you poor dear! Did he really say your unborn child would probably be a “goat?” Incredible! Yes, I can understand why you would have a hard time recognizing Calvinists as “brothers in Christ,” and I don’t blame you at all! I had a similar experience, and I have a hard time recognizing them as spiritual siblings, too. Growing up in a Reformed church, I wasn’t taught the “deep” spiritual ideas of Calvinism, so naturally I thought God loved all people. But through reading Piper, Sproul, etc., I “grew up” into a more intellectual understanding of Calvinism, and I thought it was all correct. BUT that all changed when my husband and I, along with our 4 girls, started going to a very STRONGLY CALVINIST church a few years ago. We lasted 9 months, and in that short time, I became extremely concerned with many aspects of what the pastor was teaching. At the time, I didn’t know the pastor’s disturbing comments were just the result of Calvinist thinking, but my concern set me on a quest to find out the root of his ideas, and as I studied, I realized his ideas all found their source in John Calvin. So, like you, it was the really hard-core, honest Calvinism that became the impetus for me to abandon Calvinism entirely, because God showed me through it all what the logical conclusions of Calvinist thinking will come to. And I also have a hard time recognizing Calvinists as brothers, because I believe I was spiritually abused both by Calvin’s ideas, and by his followers. When we decided to leave that church, I was told by the pastor’s wife that we could not be friends anymore because I wasn’t committed to them, that I had been like a “live-in girlfriend” because I had been fellowshipping with them and had decided to leave them. She said many other disturbing things to me, which I have begun to forget, mercifully, although it took me a couple years to get over it. So yeah, I, like you, am trying to get as far away as possible from all things Calvinist. Blessings to you, and I’m so glad I could help. I’d love to talk to you more about your experience. I’d be happy to give you my phone number, if you like, via e-mail, and we could talk more about this. Love you!
Karen Reid says
You have my deepest sympathy. I have been thoroughly chewed up and spit out by Calvinists, because I had an awesome, glorious dream of Jesus in 1973. A Calvinist pastor actually kicked me out of his car (after inviting me to Easter dinner with his family) because I refused to deny that Jesus came to me in that dream.
I was also raked over the coals because of this on the “Calvinist Dispenstionalists Unite!” Facebook page. They said horrible things to me and about me; that I was mentally ill, demon-possessed, etc. Then someone posted a link saying, “Karen Reid is a ….(and there was a link). I clicked it and it said, “douche bag.”
If I didn’t truly know the Lord, I would have turned away from Him because of their hatred. But I know I’m in good company, because they also said that JESUS was demon-possessed and raving mad. And He tells us in His Word, “When you are insulted for the Name of Christ you are blessed, because the Spirit of God and of glory rests on you” (1 Peter 4:14).
He also said in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they treated the prophets who were before you.” Hallelujah!
Go to any venue that has Christians debating / discussing an issue, and the three tactics described above are used in full force. It literally does not matter what the venue is those tactics will be present — Bible software development, blogs, IRC, convert to “x”, where “x” can be any belief system. (Rule 34, except applied to religion, not pr0n. Maybe it should be called Rule 35: _If it can be conceved of, it is the basis of a belief system_.)
Jeremy Myers says
Right. I am guilty of them myself (probably more often than I know).
I wonder … these sorts of tactics are even applied in politics and sports debates, and maybe even with arguments over favorite ice cream flavors….
Lynne Tait says
Kevin Hansen says
Great post. I enjoyed #3 with the appeals to tradition. I was part of a church for a number of years that understood grace, had a great grace message. They fully were non traditional, often stated as such. But it went so far as to become a tradition. But if challenged as a tradition it was stiffly renounced as such. “Its just the way we do it”. At first it was kinda funny but really it was sad. How quickly man imparts himself and develops the next best system. All awhile God shows and demonstrates that all that is needed is Him.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, it does get sad, especially when it start causing fear and strife within the church body, and even within the minds and hearts of individual believers.
You might substitute the word “Christian” for Calvinist and the words “Those the Christians perceive to be non-Christians” for the word Non-Calvinists and have a new (and often accurate) post for tomorrow. I would add a fourth tactic: Remain forever angry with the Non-Calvinists (or “Non-Christians” as the case may be) if they do not accept what you say or if they best you in discussion, especially if it is a discussion of the meaning of Scripture.
To see ourselves as others see us – many never do.
Jeremy Myers says
Yep. I know I engage in these tactics myself quite often. It is easy to fall into this scapegoating, finger-pointing mentality and accuse others of doing it while I myself practice it toward them!
I fear somewhat that this series on Calvinism will fall into that, but I am trying my hardest to keep it positive and encouraging…
This could just as easily be a primer for how fundamentalist debate is handled. I engage with folks of that persuasion all the time, and yes indeed, the above could be a handbook for the basic Fundamentalist, Independent Baptists. It is amazing to me that a disagreement in interpretation becomes person and attacks become personal, when in fact rational discourse is what JESUS would have done. Intriguing post, and most timely. As always, you are right on the money.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes. I used to be a fundamentalist, and in the past 5 years have had numerous discussions and debates with fundamentalists. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, these are often how some of the debates go.
The biggest hurdle I’ve noticed in theological discussions is at the least one party comes to the table with the mindset that they are elect/saved and the other party is reprobate. Because of this, every point or argument the other side makes is dismissed as error. I believe this is why the Pharisees slew Jesus. He was the polar opposite of the god they had been taught to expect. No argument He made or miracles He performed would have convinced them because the Pharisees had already decided they could not possibly be wrong.
Jeremy Myers says
Of course, this isn’t just in theological debates among “Christians.”
Have you ever had a discussion with a Muslim or a Mormon? I find myself with this same mindset, and I know that they have it as well.
Is this mindset wrong in all settings?
For me, realizing that none of the doctrines, teachings, or practices of 21st Century Islam are congruent with those of 19th Century Islam, was the biggest obstacle to face, when talking with Muslims.
The same thing is true Mormons. What Joseph Smith taught is not the current teaching of either The Community of Christ, nor The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, nor any of tbeir offspring.
One other thing that they have in common, is denying that tneir major sacred text (Q’ran, BoM) have been redacted, or altered in any way, since they were delived to their Prophet, but both internal, and external evidence conclusively demonstrate extensive post-publication editing of those texts.
Gerrie Malan says
Thanks Jeremy. As one who also grew up in a Calvinist church I remember that my young mind was so impressed with the notion that the reformed family of three Afrikaans reformed churches were the only ones “saved”. Any other church was a sect.
I wish to add one other favourite expression I have been confronted with when explaining my “deviant” non Calvinistic understanding of predestination – Armenian heretic.
And if you have and dare to express a preterist understanding, the label grows to the “damnable heresy of Hymenaeism”.
Jeremy Myers says
Ha! Yes. We love our holy huddles and to point fingers at everyone else.
Their missionaries literally give the shirt off their back to their flock.
_Liptiek Dipstiek_ perfectly captures the typical dominee.
Ryan James Teodosio says
… and they are not aware….
Paul Swilley says
I find this post lack grace and it is not just Calvinist who use these tactics it seems to me that this is universal
Jeremy Myers says
I tried to write it graciously, but may have failed in that….
Anyway, I think if you read the comments, you will see that I agree with you that these tactics are universal… I engage in them myself.
The difference, however, may be that I am aware they exist and try to avoid them (though often fail). These tactics are most dangerous when people deny that they are using them.
The tactics they use are cult mind control and Machiavellian tactics. Generally decent people do not even think this way to the level we are talking. I have never seen one Calvinist that would even question themselves the way you are on here.. notice that? This is the exact kind of confusion they create and they love it. Do you all read this thread in full? The words cult has been used, sadistic has been used, people expressing they feel no brotherly love in christ.. these are very dangerous people and you are all still trying to not make an error in your spiritual life. Its ok to make errors and point them out in others. Its because of hearing interactions like this that a ten year old Calvinistic preacher’s innocent Jesus- loving daughter had no idea if there was ever ONE ACTUALLY GOOD PERSON IN THE CHURCH OR IN THE WORLD ANYWHERE. Because all this kind of dialogue is so confusing! Who was standing up saying NO! THIS IS WRONG! There is a gigantic character difference in deliberately harming people and accidentally messing up. Its not this complicated. I am bringing this up because I happen to KNOW they want you to stay emotionally confused so you cannot think rationally and see their tricks, expose them or do anything to heal the world. So they use your spiritual life against you because they don’t have one! I think a lot of people get so obsessively lost making sure they are never doing anything bad and that takes the focus off of the people ACTUALLY doing horrible things right under your noses! Did you ever stop to think that maybe some of the verses in the bible were written by or for predators..and that is the main reason for a lot of the cherrypicking in religion? Please consider what I am writing. I want you all to see clearly. They probably even study this forum and others like it so they know how you think and what threats are against them.
I consider myself a Calvinist, although I did not begin my Christian life with such a view.
I think a wonderful starting point for any Christian who wants to discuss Calvinism vs. Arminianism is Romans 14. Not that this passage touches on the debate itself, but rather it is the attitude we shall all – on both sides.
As a Calvinist, I believe my position is correct (otherwise, why would I believe it?). Yet despite knowing tthat there are scholars who support this view, I also know that there are Scriptures which seemingly contradict my view, as well as scholars who disagree. I also know, from personal experience, that these people love Jesus, worship Him with all their hearts (or at least as much us Calvinists do!). So how do I handle this?
1. Scripture often speaks of truths which are above the human intellect, trying to describe realities that we cannot humanly fathom. I believe this is the case here, and that Calvinism and Arminianism are two sides of the same coin. While they appear to contradict each other from our vantage point, they really do not.
2. If my suppositions in point #1 are wrong, and there really is a difference, and are not reconcilable on any level, here or in the world to come, then I adopt the attitude of Romans 14 – the weaker brother. I am more convinced by the arguments for Calvinism than the other side; yet I can’t deny there are strong arguments for Arminianism too. Both theological positions have Scripture passages which seem to poke holes in their beliefs. So am I the weaker brother, as a Calvinist, or is the Arminian? I don’t think it matters. The weaker brother should not pass judgement on the other; the stronger one should not despise the weaker one. “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” (v5). Verses 15 and 16, as an application to our discussion here, instructs us not to let our theology grieve one another, and that when it does we “are no longer walking in love. By what you eat [or theology you hold to], do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”
Verse 20, “Do not, for the sake of food [theology], destroy the work of God.”
Discuss, yes, for personal edification, for BOTH sides. We may even learn from each other. Don’t feel threatened by the other, and do not try to intimidate the other either. We are equals, brothers in Christ.
Jeremy Myers says
Excellent comment, Bill! Really, really excellent. Know, of course, than I am not an Arminian either. My series of posts on Calvinism are not meant to be a defense of Arminianism.
Regardless, your final point is exactly right. We can learn from each other, work with each other, and not feel threatened by each other. Thanks!
Know that truth matters but not sure why brothers and sisters use/invest so much into changing/convincing other brothers and sisters. These discussions never seem to actually bring you to Jesus. . . always miss Jesus in a living way in these things. Thinking when we meet Jesus, he won’t be impressed with how much we know but with how much we love. Maybe because I’m just not equipped/have no heart for theological arguments but if a brother or sister are in Christ, that’s enough. Wishing that brothers and sisters would use all that passion/energy to act faith in the world rather than convince others in the church.
I agree. To frame the Christian world view into a narrow view of Calvinist vs. “x” is to deny that there was no “Calvinism”, per se, when Jesus went to the cross. And what the world needs is the love of Christ and the Spirit of Christ expressed by those who claim to have it. I have never seen a theological debate win anyone to Christ. There were millions of Christians, and are millions of Christ followers, who do not know or care who any of these people (16th century theologians) are, who do not need to know, and who do not care. It doesn’t effect their faith at all. It is so unnecessary that it is laughable to them to even intrude on their faith in that way.
The Christ follower who doesn’t have enough food or clean drinking water does not need to be assaulted by someone’s theology. That much should be obvious.
Agree back atcha Doug. Never want to find myself in a place where I’m trying to convince a brother or sister who have seen beauty in Jesus and found life in him and love him that they don’t. . . thinking that I’ll be arguing not against them but against God who made them his own. Glad you are my brother.
Amen, and amen!
Drew Neven says
Take out the term Calvinist and replace it with whatever you call yourself and you will be rather annoyed by the mean spirited generalizations that seem to flow so easily from your keyboard. Grow-up!
Is this intended to illustrate the point of the post?
Jeremy Myers says
😉 (you read my thoughts)
Jeremy Myers says
I do not deny that I can sometimes get rude in my comments and interactions with others. But I do try, to the best of my ability, to write my posts with love and grace, and to respond to comments – even the negatives ones – in the same way. Have you read any mean-spirited generalizations from me on this website?
Nick Clenney says
I have tried to debate calvinist,they usually attack you personally and try to use big words to sound very educated and always say you are misrepresenting what they believe but never actually tell you what they believe.
Jeremy Myers says
My experience as well, Nick. I think that one thing at least we can learn is not to respond to others in the same way when they disagree with us.
Please stop and leave the Calvinists alone, I know they are not perfect in their doctrines but then again who is? I don’t like pointing out other Christians doctrinal errors as I know that this side of eternity I will never be completely right and it is not our duty to point out Christ’s servants faults. I like your teaching very much and love it when you point out Christ and His love for me but will continue to ignore you as long as you point out the faults and errors of others.
Please go back to drawing me closer to Jesus?
Jeremy Myers says
You actually are expressing my thoughts. I am not fond of most of these posts on Calvinists. They are a burden for me to write. They leave a bad taste in my mouth.
And yet over the course of writing my blog, I have found that vast numbers of people struggle with fear, guilt, shame, and all sorts of terrible thoughts about God and others, and as I have learned more, I find that many of these feelings come from a faulty view of God. Much (but not all!) comes from a Calvinistic way of viewing God.
The problem, however, is that most Calvinists are so caught up in the logic of the system, they cannot escape it, and so cannot view God differently, and so cannot ever truly experience His grace, love, or forgiveness as seen in Jesus Christ.
So in writing these posts on Calvinism, I am hoping to show Calvinists that there is another way, that they can truly believe that God is love, that God looks like Jesus, and that grace and mercy abounds to all. I am not trying to attack Calvinists, as much as show them the love and light of Jesus.
You are right, Calvinists do have tremendous flaws in their theology but then so do we all and I have found through the years that it does not help to point out peoples flaws or errors as some are just downright unteachable and others are extremely zealous for what they know.
I have found that a far better way is to uplift Christ, His love, mercy and tremendous grace and in so doing all, I say again “ALL” men will be drawn to Him.
I have heard it all, Baptists against Anglicans and Charismatics against non Charismatics or Pentecostals against Historicals etc etc.
You know I read about people like Smith Wigglesworth whom God used tremendously in all churches but Jesus would not allow him to stay more than three months at a church because He didn’t want Smith Wigglesworth to become like them in their fixed ways but wanted him to be like Him (God)
I leave you with that thought and will continue to follow you as you lead into Christ.
God Bless You my Brother
Boyd King says
Have you ever met a Calvinist who believed they were one of the reprobate?
At its core, Calvinism is Gnostic: A few select individuals are given an exclusive dispensation of ability and extra-biblical revelation of knowledge.
Jeremy Myers says
Good point. I never have. It definitely falls into the stream of some having special privilege and knowledge that nobody else has.
One thing I’ve told Calvinists, is that they have no idea whether they are elect or not. They have a 50/50 chance of being chosen by God. Just because you believe something or have special insight into the mysteries of God, does not ensure them they are the elect.
Judas, was elected by Jesus Himself, given insight into mysteries of the kingdom, given power to heal and cast out demons, and followed Jesus for over 3 years. This did not guarantee his predestined salvation. Judas knew more about the Savior than any Calvinist would ever hope to know.
In reality, all Calvinists are playing the ‘predestination lottery’. Since they can do nothing to assure their election, they only have a dim hope of being chosen by God. For all they know, they may have been predestined to be only a reprobate, disguised as an angel of light.
I have had no intelligent response from any Calvinist about this dilemma they have. They have resorted to name-calling and fumbling with this truth. In fact, I’ve had them use tactic #4 – get in one last derogatory word and say they will not discuss anything with me anymore and leave.
Phil DuFrene says
I find that people in the contemporary resurgence of Calvinism called “Reform” movement are simply arrogant. THEY understand the truth of Scripture and WE are simply deluded. THEY have come to the truth while WE are following a myth. THEY follow Scripture while WE follow wishful thinking. (I find this characteristic among “post trib” people as well.)
Any attempt to discuss is treated as really not worth talking about because, like debating flat earth, all the evidence is there so why bother.
To them there is an “Us and Them” between Christians as well an “Us and Them” between Christians and non-believers, although many would say that the Thems among Christians are likely non-believers anyway.
IMHO, these people simply must know all there is to know about God. They have to understand Him and compartmentalize Him and be able to explain everything he does. It all has to fit perfectly. Like sorting out a large can of nails and screws … the nails are sorted from the screws, then sorted by the use of the nail or the use of the screw, then the head, then the diameter, then the length, then if they are clean or rusty … and on. Their only “mystery” is why God chooses some for salvation and rejects the rest.
All this so they can be smug in their position … when in reality, no one knows absolutely, 100% what God does beyond death. I’d bet that if when they got to heaven they discovered that Jesus did indeed pay for the sins for all and give all eternal life … man! … they would be so mad!
As a Baptist minister, the older I get … the more I study Scripture … the less I know about Scripture and about God … and the more I teach the simple basics: Man is a sinner in need of a Saviour and guide for both this life and the next, “Come.”
shaun humphreys. says
I am a Calvinist in my theology, but I agree that the rebuttals used by Calvinists as listed above are unhelpful. But I have seen Arminiansts name call to, calling Calvinism a doctrine from hell, (which is clearly ridiculous) A thorough reading of the New Testament can lead to either a Calvinist or an Arminianist take on things.
I find reforming Calvinist theology dangerous, because it reformed traditional catholic theology as you said. If it wasn’t for the reformation, we probably would not have any theology except Catholic theology, which I think all protestants would agree is at least in parts heretical. Calvinist theology is the opposite of Catholic theology, and I know that Arminius from whom we have Arminianism was highly influenced by Jesuits. Also Roman Catholics were so incensed by the doctrines of grace that they physically attacked or subtly tried to infiltrate churches with this doctrine. Catholics actually liked Arminius and his doctrine, and hated Calvinism and the doctrines of grace. Remembering that Roman Catholicism so attacked the reformation and the doctrines of grace seems a good sign to me that the doctrines of grace are the correct path to take. Unless of course, you have a sympathy for Roman Catholicism. But a quick review of the persecution dished out by Roman Catholicism to the reformation should get rid of that.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes. I am not an Arminian either, but completely agree with you that far too often, discussions about these topics degenerate into name calling and finger pointing, so that we never actually get to hear what the other person is saying.
Sorry, but any legitimate history book will show that the ‘reformed’ Christians killed as many Catholics as vice versa. And if you think that “Calvinist theology is the opposite of Catholic theology”, then you are completely ignorant of the numerous Catholic theologians who also taught strict election and predestination (including St. Augustine, whom Calvin quotes more than any other theologian).
And until Calvinism does away with it’s inherent Nestorianism (which reemerged recently when a group of Calvinists attempted to redefine the Trinity in order to make it compatible with their new doctrine of ‘complementarianism’, you look pretty hypocritical saying that Catholic theology is ‘at least in parts heretical’. Calvinism is in no ways innocent of that charge itself.
David Morrison says
Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s great friend, said, “All the waters of the Elbe are not sufficient for the tears I could shed for helping the cause of the reformation.” I don’t see Calvinists out helping anyone; I DO see the Catholic charities and organizations quickly on the scenes of disaster. You trash the Catholic Church, but you have the Scriptures BECAUSE of the Catholic Church.
I have debated Calvinism heavily on a few occasions. I have studied Calvinism diligently in order to not misrepresent “their” Calvinism. I have read Dave Hunts “What Love is This” and David Clouds “Calvinism Debate” and some of Calvin’s institutes. As best I know how I have tried to follow the truth where ever the truth leads. While Calvinists have a few decent scriptures they end up contradicting far to many others. “Whosoever” is found 7 times in the new testament. Whosoever to me sounds like whosoever can be saved!!
My older brother is a staunch Calvinist and he ALWAYS accuses me of misrepresenting his Calvinism. Calvinism is not simple by any means and this is one reason why it tends to produces an elitist mentality. The Calvinist enjoys trying to overly “awe” with intellectual brilliance. The apostle Paul warned that it is the devil that makes theology that complicated. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). http://www.twoedgedsword.org
Jeremy Myers says
I am glad you are reading and researching the truth. I find that many Calvinists don’t actually know what Calvinism teaches, and so when you try to show them, they accuse you of misrepresenting Calvinism. This is why it is often a good idea to present Calvinistic ideas in their own words, from Calvinistic authors and teachers.
Maureen MacTaggart says
Jeremy, yes the worship of their gods, such as Augustine, Calvin, MacArthur, Sproul, Spurgeon, the extremely rude James White always come to the fore, and as such these Calvinists imitate their gods. And the elitism that the writings of Calvinists and the defense of their doctrines of disgrace display are rather appalling and make it very hard to group them in the born-again Christian camp.
Karen Reid says
Yes, I truly don’t understand why men who claim to be born-again Christians spend YEARS studying the volumes of Calvin (which is simply what a very evil man thought of the Bible), when Jesus Himself said that the Holy Spirit would teach us all things. Yes, Calvin, MacArthur, Sproul and Spurgeon are their gods (although I DO gain from listening to Spurgeon’s sermons). I wonder if Spurgeon, with his limited knowledge, was not aware of Calvin’s bloody reign of terror?
Thanks Jeremy for your posts they are very helpful & informative.
I have some friends that are listening & promoting sermons from Calvinist teachers like Paul Washer & others, even they don’t agree with their doctrine of election, but they say it is because they find their sermons edifying. I’m praying for them & looking for information on how to help them, because more recently they started going to a Calvinist church.
Besides praying for them, & according to your personal experience, is there anything else I can do?
I truly thank God for your ministry & Pray that He will continue to provide for everything you need. God bless you
Jeremy Myers says
Well… there is probably not much you can do. Maybe recommend a few non-Calvinistic books for them to read? But if they don’t want to read them or get too angry by what they read, the best thing would just be to back away from the issue to maintain the friendship.
This might be a little bit off-topic here, but I see it as a progression of the discussion. I wonder why two people reading the same Bible, loving the same (?) Jesus and being in earnest about Him can understand it in two diametrically opposed ways? (Not just calvinists and non-calvinists, take any other topic, like trinity.) May it be that all theology doesn’t matter that much? But then, why do we need such a big book like the Bible? Is it God’s word? How can we know what the truth is? Am I even saved, or do I believe in a wrong god? I myself have more questions than answers.
Thanks you Jeremy, for challenging old traditions to find the REAL GOD. It helps an awful lot to know one is not the only one with doubts.
Craig Giddens says
Jesus said the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Jesus prayed to the Father “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Paul said “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”(Ephesians 1:13). Of the Thessalonian believers Paul said “when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). How can you know about God? How can you understand what Jesus did on the cross for you, how to be saved and what happens when you get saved if you don’t know the truths of the word of God? You could spend hours discussing why people believe different things about a same passage, but if you take away the Bible you take away your only source of truth in understanding God and what He’s doing. Take away the Bible and you are left to your own imagination with each person doing what is right in his own eyes. Religion binds you while the truths of God’s word will make you free.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Craig Giddens says
Its been my observation that the Christian life is similar to walking down a road with a ditch on both sides and when we take our eyes off the Lord and His Word we’re all prone to stumbling on either side of the road. These ditches can lead to extreme views, error and an imbalance in our walk. On one side might be the legalist and on the other side the one who espouses the philosophy of whatever feels good do it. On one side might be the Calvinist and on the other the Arminian. On one side might be the person that believes everyone should be quiet and solemn when in church and on the other might be the person who believes you can’t worship unless you’ve achieved some highly emotional state. On one side are those that say we don’t have the Word of God today and on the other side some say every version available is the Word of God and you could go on and on with the different comparisons. The Christian walk shouldn’t be that difficult and as long as we focus on the Lord and His Word He will keep us in the road. The problem is we’re all prone to focus on what a man, movement, church, denomination….etc teaches and then all of sudden our eyes are off the Lord and His Word and we run into the ditch. I don’t know why, but it seems so difficult to keep a right balance in the church. The Word of God keeps us on the road and keeps us balanced. For instance in Ephesians 4:15 Paul doesn’t tell us to speak the truth or to speak in love, but to speak the truth in love. Peter doesn’t tell us to grow in knowledge of Jesus or to grow in the grace of Jesus, but to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I know in my own walk I tend to emphasize the growing in knowledge and I think it is good to be as solid in Bible knowledge as possible, but it must be balanced with a good spirit. I’m learning (slowly, but surely) when someone disagrees with me I don’t have to blast away at them or even correct them. I’m afraid churches, with all of their activity, are actually keeping people from the most important thing which is seeking God through His Word. How many folk get pressured to leave a good SS class or Bible study where they are receiving the meat of the Word so “they can get busy for the Lord” and “helping His church to grow”?
Karen Reid says
Yes, I can see how we beat each other up over theological differences, but the issue isn’t simply Calvinism, which I can’t agree with.
I thought so highly of John MacArthur and gave for years to GTY, but when I heard John MacArthur’s beliefs on the blood of Christ (that when the Bible speaks of the blood of Christ, it’s a “metaphor” of His death), and his belief that those in the Tribulation can take the mark and still be saved, I knew I had to obey the command in 2 John 1:10-11 not to even give false teachers a greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
name withheld says
I began attending a so-called “non-denominational” church only to find out later that what our preacher was preaching was Calvinism. As someone wrote in an earlier post about pastors kind of “sneaking” it in, I see him leading us into deeper and deeper waters of Calvinism as he goes. At first, I thought I just disagreed with him on a few matters but now I am seeing there are many more. Most important to me, though, is how I find what is being taught to be totally against the character of God. So, I began to study Calvinism and am flabbergasted that Christians can actually believe God has the kind of character that would send innocent people to hell. I say “innocent” of course because these people are not one of the “elect” and have no chance so that would make them innocent. I would not consign people to hell for my glory. I am not more merciful than God. Yet, when I expressed this to one of the Calvinists, I was told that God’s ways are higher than ours and that we couldn’t understand everything in the Bible. First of all, I do understand what mercy is. God wants me to understand mercy. He talks a lot about it in His word. It’s not a mystery. And yes, His ways are higher than mine which means His mercy is too. I am so disappointed that God’s character is being impugned in my own church by those who would rather claim “mystery” than admit to the common sense God has given them. How can the Holy Spirit lead someone and work in them if they deny their own thinking processes? I pointed out to one Calvinist that God said, “Come, let us reason together…” to point out that God does expect us to use our reasoning abilities. He does want us to search His scriptures and He does claim to be a merciful God. Please pray for me because I love the people in this church. I love my pastor but I know that I have to leave. It’s going to be difficult but I can’t be a part of this kind of teaching or lend my support to it. I am also so disappointed that this kind of teaching is going on in a church claiming to be non-denominational. Maybe this is one argument for having denominations. At least you know what you’re getting into.
neville briggs says
My friend I know exactly what you mean. As the cliché says : been there done that.
” I know in whom I have believed” wrote Paul to Timothy.
Let’s hold that thought.
James Ball says
I had the exact same issue with a Church on Long Island. I actually invited before the Pastor and Elders to emplore them to abandon this teaching and to discuss the reasons it was wrong.
This doctrine is slipping into many different denominations and if you check historically this happens but has always been beaten back. The truth really does win. This is especially true in churches where children memorize scripture. Thank God for John 3:16 confirmed with 1John 2:2. I think it shocks people when they hear Calvinists boldly proclaim that Jesus only came to save the elect and that everything that happens is according to God’s will. They proclaim murder, rape, a baby’s death all happen because God made it happen it’s all part of his wonderful plan and you should praise God for it.
I googled “Calvinist argument tactics” and found your web-site!
Very nice piece!
If I may, from reading comments here, two things stand out.
1) Calvinists are inherently reliant upon rhetorical tactics to forward their system.
This should be sufficient indicator that something is wrong. Margaret Singer (expert on aberrant religious groups) describes what she calls, a “Closed System of Logic”. Many of the comments listed so far on this topic, are, in fact, characteristics she identifies. And one of them is: “An obsessive determination, and the crafting of ways, to never be wrong”.
2) Everyone who observes Calvinists, will eventually comment on the irony, of a belief system which deploys benevolent advertising language, e.g., doctrines of “grace”. With the specter of a significant lack of genuine benevolence in Calvinist behavior. Calvinists lament, they are likened to “Ishmael”, yet they continue to exhibit “Ishmael” behavior. Consider the scripture’s warning; a principle concerning humans crafting graven images of gods, where it says: “They who make them, become like unto them”. The behavioral patterns we observe in the Calvinist is a reflection of the character of his deity. We humans become like unto, what we worship.
Craig Brandenburg says
Calvinists label everyone who disagrees with them an “Arminian,” and use it like a swear word. I have not researched the topic, but it always strikes me as a false dichotomy they’ve set up.
They also pride themselves on their intellectualism to an unhealthy degree. Even the words in the TULIP acronym scream “prideful intellectualism on steroids” to me.
So many of the points in the blog and comments made reflect what I’ve experienced. A couple of family members have been drawn into Calvinism and I’ve seem them become more and more sad, angry and arrogant. Because I believe in freewill, they keep insisting I don’t believe in the sovereignty of God. So, in other words, they define what God’s sovereignty means, and if I disagree with their definition, which is nowhere in the Bible, I don’t believe in His sovereignty. I have tried to find common ground that we can agree on. Let’s major on the majors and agree to disagree on the minors. I recognize that we see through a glass darkly and that sincere people can disagree. They arrogantly respond that they would rather be divided over the truth than united around a lie. It is tearing our family apart. I’m not sure if other Calvinists believe this, but they also believe you should not pray about decisions. They don’t believe God, or the Holy Spirit, speak to us today. I find this a recipe for disaster. No wonder they can be deceived by their teachers when they are being told, at the same time, not to pray for understanding.
I would be sad and depressed if I thought that my wife, child, mother, etc may have been chosen by God for hell.
Jeremy Malone says
1. Hi- Calvinist here. Just wanted to say I’ve experienced the same “tactics” from people who disagree with me. Anyone who stoops to #1 on any side of any issue needs to examine their hearts. I’ve no doubt some Calvinists have done this- they are wrong for it- but others do it as well. It’s not a “Calvinist” tactic, it’s done across the board. I experienced it recently myself. I don’t consider non-Calvinists heretics, but brothers and sisters in Christ if they teach salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ.
2. Naturally anyone who is defending any position is going to quote Scripture. An anti-Calvinist recently sent me to his blog where he does exactly what you described in #2. He linked together a bunch of verses assuming that if I read them I would automatically be convinced of his position. But, I disagree with the way he used them and the assumptions he made from them. Point is, this is also not a Calvinist “tactic”, but a pretty universal one. But you can’t really fault someone for using Scripture as a basis, but perhaps for their (perceived) misuse of it.
3. This can be a problem, but again it is universal. Others just refer to some different set of teachers/leaders. A really good quote can go a long way, but it shouldn’t be used authoritatively. Scripture is our only authority.
So, in my opinion, these are not Calvinist tactics, but theological, or even oppositional tactics. People from many different views on many different issues use them. Other than referencing Scripture (which I try to do thoroughly and contextually), I certainly don’t do these things and I don’t know anyone else who does either. Not saying it’s never done, just that I’ve never seen a Calvinist act this way directly. It would be greatly looked down upon in the circles I’m in. We must always seek to act with grace and love to those we have disagreements with. Most importantly, we must preach the gospel to the lost. God bless.
This just JUMPED out from your claims…”It would be greatly looked down upon in the circles I’m in.” How sanctimonious does that sound! I think this is the problem with the modern church today…we should not be in “circles” Also, saying that you will acknowledge someone as your brother or sister in Christ based on YOUR perception of whether they are actually saved or not IS sanctimonious. Only God knows the heart. And it works out he knows a sanctimonious one too. I find it ironic that Calvinists I know always sum up with the “salvation by grace alone through faith alone” and then have their own interpretation of what God’s grace is.
michael riggs says
Well said. Everyone has circles they are in. Ppl you know, associate with. It’s not sanctimonious at all.
I agree 100% with your article. I have debated Calvinists many times on different site forums. They can be extremely difficult, argumentative and most unChrist like. Hard to believe they are Christians sometimes as they have the same attitude as the world.
I have also noticed in the last several years or so, how Calvinism is running rampant on these forums. I guess listening to John Piper and James White will do this. But it has become almost a fanaticism. I have ceased debating with them because they have proven unteachable and it gets real ugly. The best we can do is pray that God will open their eyes.
The thing that I find amazing is that they don’t see any unfairness in a God who chooses some people for heaven and the rest for hell. They have no problem worshiping a God who shows favoritism.
To me, that’s not a God of love, but a monster!
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, many aspects of the Calvinist god more closely resembles some of the monstrous gods of ancient Greek and Roman mythology than the God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Joshua Collins says
Can you pray to God for God to change a person’s mind? If you believe in free will it is not proper to ask God to change anyone’s mind. God would be forcing himself on the person. Can you pray for such a thing if you believe in free will? That would be Calvinism. So, why pray that God changes a Calvinist’s mind? However, a Calvinist is consistent to pray that for someone who believes in free will to be changed to be a Calvinist. So, someone who believes in free will should not ask God to change anyone’s mind since God does not do such things. Prays to God should be precisely in line with how God really operates. So, can you pray to God for God to change someone’s mind to the position that God does not change anyone’s mind? Yeah, I am one of argumentative, unteachable, extremely difficult, and unChristian Calvinist. Pray that God changes my mind.
I pray for my Calvinist friends just as I do for an unbelieving brother. That God will send someone in their life with the truth. That they will begin to see. That they are drawn to the to the truth of scripture. That His word be revealed to them. That they know that it is Satan that comes to destroy and that Jesus came to give Life for ALL sinners, so that NOT one shall parish. We are to pray for others. Will you pray for your brothers and sisters? For your enemies? What will you ask? Can you ask your Heavenly Father that your family come to know Him? or will the confines of your religion prevent you from that. Calvin put limits on God’s mercy. Calvin only reached the elect. God’s mercy expands beyond the “elect”. His mercy reaches into the darkest places. Places Calvin never went. God didn’t give me sin…I chose it. But He did give us All the gift of life…I accepted it. Will you?
Joshua Collins says
It is interesting that Calvinists are accused of using a great deal of scripture. It seems as though they might have some clue about what the Bible actually as a result. It is true that Calvinists are considered rough in certain ways. The religious leaders of Jesus’s day probably considered Jesus rough when He called them a brood of vipers. He probably considered as being unloving to those who are responsible for the spiritual well-being of Israel. The Judaziers’ insisted that to be saved one had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses as well as believe in Jesus of Nazereth as both God and Messiah. You could say they were a certain type of “Christian” or “Follower of Jesus of Nazareth.” Well that type of “Christian” was said by the Apostle Paul should be emasculated for their heretical teaching.
I think this the proper method. I do think that Calvinists make certain mistakes. Before judging or condemn one should individually minister to the person they are trying to persuade. Kindness and gentleness needs to be demonstrated in the process of persuasion. If resistance continues to the message and is directly assaulted with apparent forethought disfellowshipping is proper. Under very precise circumstances naming someone a heretic or viper could be appropriate if it actually stirs the people of God in the right direction in thinking and action. It should be used very sparingly and perhaps only by an ordained minister trained for this much more complex task. An ordained minister must involved any official charge of heresy. This is advice to my Calvinist brethren.
Those who are not Calvinist. I say this no matter what kind of church you go to. Every church in existence in our day have its roots in one way or another from the Reformation of the 1500s. If you believe that the scripture should be readily available to be read in the language you actually use in your everyday life that idea is out of the Reformation. William Tyndale actually work to make that happen. In the 1520s it was illegal to have the Bible in a language actually that commonly used by the normal everyday person. Tyndale translated much of the Bible into the English language. As a result of his work he was eventually executed for making a translation of the Bible into the English language. Tyndale did agree with Augustine’s view of unconditional election. I am confident of this. I would love for someone to prove me wrong. Being a Calvinist brings much ridicule and scorn from both those from the Christian community and the world in general for Christian stances. If I believed in free will I could be more well respected and liked better. I would have personal connections that would help me to do whatever, I want to do. Help me not to be a Calvinist so I be personally benefited by it. Alas, standing up for the the truth brings much disdain for the one doing so. Tyndale was used by God to make the Bible easily available to those who call themselves Christian. Every sort of “Christian” religion including oddly enough Roman Catholicism has been influenced to have the Bible into commonly understood languages because of Tyndale and the Reformation.
My appeal is this. Based on these historical facts it would be worth someone’s time to study something like the Westminster Shorter Catechism with scripture references. I recommend at least contacting a Reformed minister in your local area. The Presbyterian Church in America and Orthodox Presbyterian Church are both good denominations. Call such a local Reformed minister. Go visit that minister’s church. Now, since there are not a huge number of Reformed churches. You might have to drive a good ways to visit one. It is worth it. Is not the truth worth a long drive? The internet is a great tool, but we rely on it too much. God never intended us to live in a cyberworld. You could say, “man shall not live by the internet alone.”
Jeremy Myers says
It’s not about using lots of Scripture. I use lots of Scripture too. It is about understanding the various Scriptures in context. Many Calvinists seem to try to defend their views by simply quoting Scripture, without being willing to have a discussion about what those Scriptures actually mean.
I believe the truth died with the apostles….that should take care of all the camps you’ve listed.
Constantine and the like have done a world of damage … best to just stick with Jesus
I WAS BORN INTO THE PCA. I WAS TARGETED FOR DESTRUCTION BY THE PCA AS A PRETEEN.
Not one person from my PCA life has cared that this group and my family destroyed my life and left me homeless/penniless with cptsd after framing me for being mentally ill and emotionally unstable when their abuses started naturally coming to light (the natural consequence of being held hostage from birth by a bunch of psycho con artists pretending to be parents and leaders and teachers).
There is WAY more corruption than most of you have even put your fingers on. It just gets darker and more evil the more you peer behind the curtain.
All leaders in the PCA have to sign the Westminster Confession of Faith. That is a Calvinist doctrine.
I loved Jesus when I was young and thought I understood what they were teaching me. Jesus wasn’t a part of the PCA experience after the age of ten. They pretend to love people. It is all a lure. I grew up terrified and still am. I recently found out my entire life was a lie.
No, it is not a good church or organization. They are a dangerous cult. They believe in child abuse and avidly practice it..they believe in covering for abusers and much darker practices. Any good person in a PCA church is VERY LOST or controlled to a point they have no freedom to leave and they will, like many here, be finding problems with it and leaving or aiming to or else being shunned, abused or targeted.
What church allows a pastor to get parishioners to mob abuse, bully and target his own child and then protect him from ever getting in trouble and prevent the child from receiving any help or justice?
Arrogant Calvinist churches and the PCA.
Lurlene Jacobs says
I have just learned about Calvinism a few weeks ago. I was feeling uncomfortable in the Bible Study that I attend with the leader of it.
I came to learn that he was a Calvinist .
I talked to him about it and told him that whenever I think of it I think of the scripture that talks about beware of false prophets crept in unaware.
Limited Atonement is one of Calvin’s 5 points in the Word T-U-L-I-P.
I can hardly believe in the Church age that any born again believer could buy this lie. To put the word limited with Jesus and to believe that God saves some and dooms others is calling God a liar.
He told us to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone everywhere . If some are doomed why would the Lord have us lie to some of them. He wouldn’t .
I think a non denominational Church that believes in Calvinism should have to post it on the door so we wouldn’t be tricked.
The Bible Teacher called me out at a evening service and said that he has been a Christian for many years and quoted the scripture so the congregation would think negative of me. I stood up and said to everyone .
“Anyone that believes in limited atonement is calling God a liar.”
I believe the truth will set a Calvinist free.
In Christ Jesus
Another tactic of Calvinists is to immediately label you Arminian , I am not a Calvinist or an Arminian. Arminian was wrong about things just like Calvin. I am a traditionalist born again Christian. Also after they label you Arminian ( even though you are not ) some in their arrogance will pretend they are being nice and give you back handed compliments , yes! They will insult you with compliments , very passive aggressive and a touch psychotic.
jay a. adams says
In this great debate I picture a referee coming onto the field and throwing a yellow flag at both Calvinists and Arminians. They both can be very staunch and will use the same tactic that if you arent for believing all points of Arminius you cant be Armenian and if you are say a 4 point Calvinist then you are Arminian. In addition to throwing a bucketful of scriptures as has been said there is also the tactic of insults and lack of grace like the article states. But this is not solely in this Doctrinal division but I see it also in Pre-Trib vs Post-Trib as well.
The mature, graceful way is to say ‘I am fully convinced of how the scriptures speak to me on this and if we can agree on the Major Doctrines of Christianity we can still agree to disagree’.
For those on here attacking John McArthur please be careful there too. I watched just about every Strange Fire video and never did I hear them dispel Jesus speaking to people in a dream. There are missionaries to Africa/Asia/Middle East that tell many stories of unbelievers who say they saw Jesus in a dream before the missionary came to them and there is nothing to support nor dispel this kind of miracle. The scriptures only tell us that Tongues will cease and Prophecies will fail. This is why the Canon of the Bible is complete. We have all the Prophetic inspiration God chose to give us and we know what happens in the end, Jesus wins and unites with his Bride, the Church.
Jorg Winston Nolan says
I am in a heavy struggle right now with this very topic.
The Majority Rules, No Doubts! The biggest issue is the Child Psychology used on non-calvinists. An obvious abused!
Many brothers and sisters have left entirely! I want to leave the Baptist church but is very hard for me to do, on the other hand, I find it very hard to kneel in prayer next to them, knowing that they refuse Jesus Calling to become Fishers of Man ( Matt 4:19), nor do they obey Jesus Last Command, The Great Commission (Matt. 28: 16-20).
Not Asking During Hiring Interviews nor Discharging them eight years ago only allowed them to grow like an infection. They teach the youth in secret, recruit in secret, study in secret, to a point that many of our church leaders are hidden calvinists, which I find to be so wrong because they are deceiving and deceiving our elderlies!
How can anybody chose to follow the opinion of a fruitless man over Jesus The Christ!
Matt 28: 16 So the eleven talmidim went to the hill in the Galil where Yeshua had told them to go.
17 When they saw him, they prostrated themselves before him; but some hesitated.
18 Yeshua came and talked with them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh,
20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.”
They should frighten everybody. If you are concerned for them, praying for them or arguing with them, they have already won and have you distracted. I think it is insulting to think that Jesus was so stupid he would kiss a predator or wash its feet. There is a lot about these stories I never understood , but love your enemies is what predators want you to do so your defenses are low when they go to take bites out of your soul, pocketbook or whatever else.. anyone dealing with domestic violence will tell you right away that loving your enemies is called Stockholm syndrome.. which means you got poisoned (love bites) and are currently paralyzed while the predator goes about his business. Maybe loving your enemy can take on a different form, but certainly not allowing yourself or others to be harmed or abused in the name of protecting beliefs is.
Bottom line: it’s not about placing one in a Calvinist or Arminian camp. It’s about what does God’s word teach.
Christianity is littered with teachers who “go beyond what is written ” and many are only intellectual Christians.
Many display nothing of the Love of Jesus Christ. There is nothing spelled out so deliberately as to formulate a doctrine on Predestination.
We know Calvin from his works… So blatantly and conveniently dismissed by his followers. I mean come on. Is this the biblical example of the revealer of such an important truth… a Maniac whose every action was diametrically opposed to his doctrine. He was charge of Phariseesical works clinic for crying out loud.
Men want to tell everyone just how gifted they are at interpreting God’s Word… They want *That to be their good works. Yeah, I’ll appoint myself pit bull of truth while you all feed the poor. Division after division has been caused by these men who have traded the simplicity of Jesus Christ for chaos and strife. It’s not just this… it’s pervasive, permeating the history of the Kingdom of God.
The core teachings are obvious. The uncertainties have made enemies of us all.
Lay people…don’t participate. Be Priests & Saints of Christ’s Love preaching the simplicity of the gospel, never going beyond what are the clear teachings of the New Testament, having the faith to allow the mysteries to be God’s prerogative.
That our Father is Love. That he is faithful. That we trust.. that we *Know His plan is derived from the Nature he demonstrated through the Son of Man who while in the world sought to heal all in his path.
We all actually know what to do,… they know, but they chose the easy path of staking out their immovable truth so they can lust for crushing a brother under the weight of their brilliance. We don’t need to participate except to say enough is enough.
After 8 months of attending a Reformed Church of the Calvinist Doctrine, I asked to speak to an authority on the Doctrine because I had some questions. I sensed that the Pastor was uncomfortable to have a meeting with me although he agreed, so I let him off the hook, and asked instead if there were someone else, an elder perhaps, of whom I could ask my questions. The Pastor was non-committal. So I left the Church, realizing I was expecting too much even though the Pastor never actually knew what I had intended to ask in the first place. Interesting, isn’t it. I have peace, and I am sure he does, too. Amen.
Jeremy Myers says
Well done! You handled this situation peacefully, and probably saved yourself a lot of grief. I have heard so many horror stories of people who question Calvinism to their pastor, and they get put under some sort of church discipline or shunning behavior. I’m not saying that would’ve have happened at your church, but either way, you created peace through your actions. That looks just like Jesus!
Unfortunately, I have butted heads with Calvinists all my life. They are everywhere– in all sorts of churches, in my family, everywhere. The first time I spoke up against Calvinism was at age 15 in a Southern Baptist Church. Dr. Clyde T. Francisco, considered by many to be THE expert on the Old Testament, was giving a study on Job with an emphasis on the absolute sovereignty of God with the lack of human free will. I have always undertaken my own Bible study, relying upon the Holy Spirit to interpret the Scriptures so this teaching made no sense to me. My question/ argument went like this: God created everything and when He was done creating, He saw that it was good. He created the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life and gave man the choice (free will) to eat of both, with instructions on which Tree to choose. Somehow, sin and evil entered the world, and if it was not by the free will of the angels and of man, then God must have created sin and evil after the original Creation, and there is no Biblical evidence of this. He became angry and yelled at me from the pulpit. Afterwards, he apologized for his outburst.
I have had much experience with “Christian” cults and have learned that every cult (which is usually defined by behavior) has at its heart a cultic doctrine that establishes a hierarchy where men are subjugated by church authority (the cult leaders and elders) and women and children are subjugated by men. This is achieved through strict legalism (the law of sin and death) and spiritual oppression (not the Holy Spirit.)
I believe in the healing work of the Holy Spirit and so when I have encountered illness in my family, I have gone to the church elders (at two different Bible churches) and had them pray over me or my children. Every time, the pastor has asked if there is unconfessed sin before the laying on of hands. This has always rubbed me the wrong way as it implies that God is punishing His children with illness for their sins, but really, this demonstrates their belief in a Calvinist God. Well, we all got healed anyway, because that’s why Jesus suffered and died.
My husband, who was raised Lutheran (which is Calvinist), and who gave his life to Jesus during a Billy Graham crusade, has exhibited an unfortunate propensity to come under the influence of cultic doctrine such as the First Apostolic (Jesus only) church and the Local Church movement of Witness Lee. Both of the cults deny the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. He has trouble understanding that he does have free will and that God does not force us to serve Him but wants us to respond to His free gift of Grace with love. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
Recently, after my daughter suffered a year-long (undiagnosed) illness with severe neurological issues, some close family members blamed me for her illness, supporting her delusions. I told them that I had been in a life and death struggle for her mind, trying to ground her in truth and that she had nearly died. “Well, then, why didn’t she die?” was their response. I replied that she was kept alive by the Grace of God and by her mother holding her from the brink of insanity. I told them I would have died in her place if I could have. I was shocked by the arrogant, mocking tone of voice when she told me that “love” was an awful burden to put on my daughter. We have not spoken in nearly a year and I am just now realizing that they have been trapped in the legalism of Calvinism and so do not understand that God is Love, just as Jesus is Truth and the Holy Spirit is the only Spiritual Authority.
This, then, is at the root of Calvinism: Its followers do not know God in any of His Persons and continue to try to explain Him through their human intellect and appease him through their own good works while submitting to the “authority” of their own church doctrine (discipline). They are in a prison of their own making whose foundation is the smug assurance that they have been “chosen” by a God who does not love them. How great a deception!
Jeremy Myers says
I like your summary there at the end. Calvinism is indeed a very intellectual approach to God, which makes people feel that it must be ‘right’ because it appears to be logical. But there are some bad foundations at the very beginning of their system, which leads them off into dangerous directions. You have pointed some of these out. I am glad that you are seeing the truth!
For what ever it is worth to readers: I have reason to believe they also target and lure people with aspergers or people who are low on the scale of emotional intelligence and this could explain some people’s intellectual approach that may not be guilty of truly being Calvinists, they may be manipulated to a point that cannot see what is going on and do not have the emotional abilities to figure it out. This portion of the church population will be very vulnerable and possibly also very defensive and confused why they cannot explain their beliefs.
WOW ! AFTER GROWING UP WITH MY MOTHER AS FATHER HAD MADE A LARGE MISTAKE . IT SEEMS TO ME THE CALVINIST AND FREEMASONRY ETC . A MAJOR BATTLE TO UNDERSTAND FOR A CHILD TRYING TO GROW UP BUT FOR THE GRACE OF YHHY CAME IN YESHUAS NAME TO UNDERSTAND ALL THE CRAPVTHAT WAS BEING PASSED OFF BY EACH CULT.
IN MY HOMETOWN AND THEN AS I FOUND AROUND THE USA HUMMMM AS WELL AS USMC . AS I THINK ABOUT IT . IN ALL ASPECTS OF HUMAN LIFE . TAUGHT TO BE A CONCERNED CITIZEN NOT REALIZING THE WEB OF DECEIT AND WE ARE BELIEVERS AS LONG AS WE CAN DO IT THE WAY, WE DECIDE, IN DIRECT OPPOSITION TO THE PLAIN VERSE EVEN JUSTTHE SIMPLE ONES . OH LIKE WE THREE KINGS OF SOUTHERN BAPTISTS EXPERIENCE LONG AGO !
HUH WELL AS ONE THINKS ABOUT IT WHEN WOULD WOULD YOU SAY THIS CRAP REVIVAL GOT STARTED . DO I HAVE 14 BOOKS OF LEARNED MEN
C A L V I N I S T S .
GEEEEEES WHAT A MESS.
NOW I KNOW WHAT MY MORNING PRAYERS WILL BE ABOUT . BEING AN OLD FART AND PARTS FALLING
OFF THE MAN. HA HA COULD IT BE THAT THIS IS WHAT YHHY LET ME BE FOUND AND PULLED OUT OF THE BUNGY PIT FOR. YHHY CALLED UP NEPACANESSOR AGAINST HIS PEOPLE WHEN THEY HAD GOTTEN WORSE THAN THE INHABITANTSBOF THE LAND BEFORE THEM. I DO NOT BELIEVE YHHY IS DONE WITH HIS CREATION FOR IN THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR HERE COMES M O N D A Y ” AGAIN ” ! EVEN SCIENTISTS FIND NEW CRITTERS ALL THE TIME.
MAYBE I AM THE BRIGHTEST BULB IN PACKAGE THE OTHERS ARE BROKEN !!!! ?????????? AND ALL THIS TIME I THOUGHT NOT TO BE PRIDEFUL BUT HUMBLE. HA HA HA AND NOAHS ARC WAS A HOUSE NOT A BOAT, SO TO SPEAK . JOHAVA WITNESS . CULT
MAYBE STOCKS IN COURTYARD IS NOT SUCH A BAD IDEA . SELL TOMATOS CANCEL ALL TAXES . HA HA HA HA GTRRRRRRRR!!!¡!
I fear that often they were saved, knew the Lord but then felt ( especially males; I fear it is a thing that draws men by its extremely subtle ( not so subtle) pull that seems to shout “ You are a man; you must be educated and to do that, you cannot simply quote your Bible! You need books! Many books. Lots of men’s books!” ) …. as if they were missing out on being in “ the know.”
The Bible says to “ take heed lest he fall.” I take great caution from my Lord as I read that verse. I am fallible. So it is with much love avd hopeful respect that I say I have often wondered if these folks have ever met the real Jesus? And if so, perhaps that lure if Jesus lets then get pulled away from seeking HIM first. Abd if not, I can see why this lure if Calvinism would maybe seem like a great replacement fir the missing of God Himself in your soul. So, focusing all about Him night then feel like s good way to be doing the right thing for God? Not sure. I know it la Ms love for certain. I hate it!!! I love my Jesus. He is faithful and all who call on the name of the LORD shall be saved. He is faithful. Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
Abd that co- redemption thing is true!!! I heard with my own ears, a friend say to me “ I am a Calvinist.” And I said ( in front of the youth we are both mentoring…) “ Don’t you think saying “ I am a Christian!” Is first a d the only thing we should proclaim?” He replied: “ I can’t talk about that right now.” I almost dropped! So, that taught me about the grip that this cult tries to take on its people!
My own son was bit by the serpent of Calvinism ( not even sure Calvin himsejf wanted it that way?…refuse to read about it too much because my Bible is thee only bookmark deserving of my full attention and with my children, a homeschool, and some work, this single Mom needs to apply every free minute on pursuing her King Jesus, first, last and always!!!) …. and so I told my son: “ They our on a pair of tinted glasses- Calvin tint- after they convince you that they too know the Bibke abd God; Then they ask you “ Here, read the Bible again”… big smile…@ but read it with these twists in mind – thus- the tinted glasses.” ( a new view taught by men a d men alone! And yes- untrue story! Appalling how “ they” see everything through church history, Luther, Calvin, piper and Catholicism! My Lord rescued me out of tradition as king and the cult of Catholicism. Thank you Jesus.
We must live like HE loves. Pray like HE prays. Preach like HE preaches. He is alive and with us always!!
See you at home.
In His Grace
Karen Reid says
Wow, you really phrased things well–they ARE a cult, “bitten by the serpent of Calvinism,” looking at Scripture through “Calvin tinted glasses.”
I’m going to have to remember the things you’ve said here, now that I’m thinking of them as a CULT! That explains the beating I have taken from the “Calvinists Dispensationalists Unite!” FB page.
They actually posted a link that said “Karen Reid is a …” You click the link and it says “douche bag.” Yes, they are a cult; one which idolizes man, and feels the need to put a human being between them and God, JUST AS with Catholics and the POPE! Thanks for your insights.
Karen Reid says
Wow, you really phrased things well–they ARE a cult, “bitten by the serpent of Calvinism,” looking at Scripture through “Calvin tinted glasses.”
I’m going to have to remember the things you’ve said here, now that I’m thinking of them as a CULT! That explains the beating I have taken from the “Calvinists Dispensationalists Unite!” FB page.
Yes, they are a cult; one which idolizes man, and feels the need to put a human being between them and God, JUST AS with Catholics and the POPE! Thanks for your insights.
Karen Reid says
I don’t know why my comment was posted twice (oops!). But yes, I see that these Calvinists see everything through “church history.” I’ve heard John MacArthur often mention “church history,” and understanding Scripture in the light of “church history”–I’ve always said to people, “What is church history? It’s “Man’s Opinion About the Word.”
John MacArthur and other Calvinists idolize “Man’s Opinion About the Word.” Interesting to see these insights. I highly recommend “Servus Christi’s” YT videos about John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, etc. He also has some good insights as well.
My wife and I attend one of the few Reform churches in town. They shy away from saying Calvinist, but books offered for sale (not to make $$ just to cover costs) are by and about John Calvin, R C Sproul and especially John Piper. The elders all teach, but frequently I hear attacks on Arminian doctrine, some of which I also take issue with. They teach the Five Solas which I heartily agree with.
I like the church because it does stay away from politics, teaches about grace and
and sin and heaven and hell and repentance… Many churches don’t dig into the Scriptures, but go on and on about experiences and the mystical. Yet this Reform church struggles with the’one anothers’ and goes overboard on doctrine which is clearly Calvinist through and through.
They also have God-focused, singable worship without the ‘concert’ style and ‘me-focused’ music that is so prevalent in the American church. Needless to say, I’m torn and conflicted. 50 years of experience with a living Saviour and sitting under some thoughtful Pentecostal preacher who have not gone off the rails into heresy. If I go back to my church fellowship roots, they are withered. Little prayer, lots of program and political sermons. And a watered down Gospel and celebrating new member instead of new converts.
Keep up your work Jeremy. We need more voices like yours.
Karen Reid says
I’m responding to your comment about churches not “digging into Scripture but going on and on about the mystical and experience.” I have never even BEEN charismatic, but listened to the Strange Fire conference (I have the CD’s). I used to be a “MacGroupie” and contributed to GTY. HOWEVER, though JMac REPEATEDLY quotes 1 Thess. 5:20-21 in the conference, “Do not despise prophecies, but EXAMINE THEM,” he NEVER quotes 5:19, which is “Do not QUENCH the Spirit,” and he and his cronies such as Phil Johnson and Travis Allen (TMS grad who is now pastoring Grace church in Greeley, CO) DO in fact quench the Spirit and despise prophecies, and they DO NOT examine them!
They immediately discredit ANYONE testifying to having a dream of Jesus, without examining it themSELVES. A TMS graduate named Lyndon Unger told me on the GTY FB page that he’d read my dream (which was posted on my Google Plus page), and “show me my error.” I never HEARD from Lyndon again! I found him several months later on FB and challenged him to that biblical critique he said he’d give me–and again, he never contacted me.
You see, these men DO NOT believe what the Lord HIMSELF said in Joel 2 regarding dreams and visions in these last days, NOR do they believe what Elihu said in Job 33 (and Elihu was NOT rebuked by the Lord).
Elihu said that God DOES speak to us in dreams, in a vision of the night, to terrify him with warnings, to turn a man’s soul back from the pit. JMac, Phil, Travis AND Lyndon READ my testimony, and KNOW my dream passes biblical inspection (one of three things Jesus said to me was, “Repent NOW. Turn from your sin NOW,” yet they are too prideful to admit it–especially to a WOMAN.
Now, the Calvinist Dispensationalists Unite FB page RIPPED ME UP, and actually posted a link saying “Karen Reid is a …..” (You click the link, and it says “douche bag.” Nice people. Nice “Christian” people).
And there John MacArthur is, profaning the blood of Christ and teaching one can take the mark and still be saved, yet these men “strain out a gnat” of a despised “mystical experience,” and “swallow the CAMEL” of BLASPHEMY!!!
Carrie Smart says
Several months ago, I discovered that a friend of mine at the time is Reformed/Calvinist. This “friend” uses all 3 of these tactics. I was labeled as “spiritually immature” with a “weak faith” and “limited understanding of God and theology” when I refuted her Calvinistic beliefs. Sadly, our friendship has not survived and we have both agreed to go our separate ways. Your posts are so spot-on with my experience with this person and this set of beliefs. Thank you for writing about this.
Dennis Wilson says
Jeremy…Dennis Wilson here…good to hear from you. My first encounter with Calvinism was at the Missoula Alliance Church in a Sunday school taught by Cecil M. and I remember thinking that I had stumbled into a cult because these men, and they were all a select little group of men, were all dead set on such ideas as limited atonement, one of the five so called graces of the TULIP. I thought that surely they were wrong. I thought that everybody is a Calvinist if they are pretty fundamental in their exegesis. How wrong was I. Later teaching Christian school in California I encountered a bunch of students who had been pre programmed to attend the Master’s College, John MacArthur’s school, and I could not believe my ears. That is when I got hold of “What Love is This?” by Dave Hunt and read it cover to cover…I also discovered a little novel called “John Calvin Goes to Berkeley” I highly recommend it for the non student just wanting an over view of this hermeneutic which I now consider to be a reincarnation of the Manichean Gnostic Cult. Augustine never actually left the Gnostics and gave his system to Calvin. Well anyhow it is far to long to cover here but good to hear of your growth in this Jeremy and nice to near from you again.
Karen Reid says
I listened recently to a video Dave Hunt did on Billy Graham. Was Hunt a Calvinist, or is “What Love is This?” a critique of Calvinism?
Dave Hunt was anti-Calvinist and a great researcher on the evil topic.
Karen Reid says
Jeremy, your website is malfunctioning. I left a comment asking the commenter above a question about Dave Hunt, but was unable to post due to “duplicate comment.” It’s NOT a duplicate comment! Let’s see if THIS comment will post!
Linda Hartranft says
I greatly appreciate your insights here in this article. I have observed similar reactions myself. Years ago I was listening to a radio program called “The White Horse Inn,” the purpose of which was to discuss and hammer out the great theological questions. It was a call-in program, and this one night in particular someone who called in was challenging their Calvinistic positions, which somehow always seemed to “bleed through” everything. Rather than address the argument, one of the hosts actually mocked the caller, saying in a rather snide, mocking tone, “You people really hate this doctrine, don’t you?” I was appalled by this reaction, and it certainly gave me pause. Another oddity I noticed as I have come to a position of clarity on this over many years is how I would tune in to Dr. R. C. Sproul ‘s radio program every now and then. I wasn’t a regular daily or even weekly listener, but would turn on the radio as I was working around the house, and if it was during the time in the afternoon he was on, I would catch the program. There would be a few weeks or a month or two before I would catch another program. I noticed something I found to be remarkable, that at LEAST half the time I caught the program (and, really, I do think it was much more than half), he would be expounding on the doctrine of election! It was actually kind of shocking to me because he was such a respected man of God and theologian—yet he always seemed to fall back onto riding this “hobby horse “ of the Calvinistic view of election. Anyway, thank you for the insights.
Ismael Rodriguez says
I am not as forgiving as you are. To me Calvinism is flat out a herecy. Most people concider herecy when it comes to Christology , the deity of Christ. Herecy comes in many shapes and forms, what realy defines a herecy is how damaging it can be to the plan of salcation of Jehovah God.
Here are 2 areas in which herecy is more frequent: Christology, who is Jesus Christ.
Soteriology: Salvation and Jesus Christ atonement
Calvinism falls into the 2nd area, Calvinism presents a complete different view of salvation (limited atonement) and an opposite order of the process of redemption (regeneration preceeds Faith).
Calvinism is as much of a herecy as Catholicism because both are theological wrong when presenting the Gospel, salvation and EXPECIALLY Christ atonement.Calvinism presents a complete atonement but NOT available to ALL sinners .Catholicism presents an incomplete atonement because Christ blood is NOT sufficient if man’s works are not added to give Jesus a helping hand!.
Both views are HERETICAL and DAMNABLE , false teachings which contradict the Bible and are very damaging to the Gospel because it can send people to hell!.
For this reason I don’t consider Calvinists and Catholics my brothers in Christ, if Paul would be alive today he would agree with me.Why?, because the Gospel according to Calvinism and Catholicism is NOT the same Gospel preached and taught be the apostle Paul!.
I have a friend who uses R C Sproul’s commentary, totally believes in predestination (God’s chosen).
I have a grandson who has been arrested which involved drugs. In a conversation with my friend and me expressing the families disappointment and upset about my grandson, and that we were trusting in the Holy Spirit to speak to his heart. Her come back to me was “ maybe he isn’t chosen”. I could hardly breath! First of all trusting the Holy Spirit wasn’t about my grandsons salvation, it was about him having a contrite heart and getting right with the Lord.
She definitely showed a lack of Grace, and as her friend she crushed me.
Horrible. I have felt attacked and head rammed by a fellow sheep. The arrogance and pride that has come out of many reformed I know is ridiculous and hurtful. Chest puff out and big, elaborate words are used that make absolutely no sense. But they sound so intelligent with their lofty vocabulary.
I do see the 3 tactics that you describe. However – after scrutinizing Calvinist language for many years – I observe a highly evolved practice best exemplified by the classic “Shell Game”. In other words: double-speak.
The underlying linguistic pattern entails presenting “little truths” designed to masquerade as the “Whole Truth” – with an unrelenting commitment to never communicate the “Whole Truth”.
Calvinism as a practice inherently entails a form of double-think – which can be loosely described as: *AS-IF* thinking. *AS-IF* thinking can be see in propositional form as: [X] = TRUE *AS-IF* [X] = FALSE.
*AS-IF* thinking allows the Calvinist to make assertions which contradict his own belief system. But to retain credibility – a dedicated Calvinist must gain a sufficient expertise in language designed to hide contradictions.
A few examples:
1) Calvinism entails a THEOS – who at the foundation of the world determined absolutely everything that will come to pass – leaving nothing left over for creatures to determine. But the Calvinist is taught to -quote “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”. And in such case the Calvinist can assert that man is -quote “Self-Determining”.
2) Calvinism entails a THEOS – who DESIGNS the vast majority (i.e. the many) of his creatures specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure. But the Calvinist is to go about his office *AS-IF* the THEOS gives creatures an alternative option.
3) Since the THEOS determines *ALL* things – leaving nothing left over for creatures to determine – it logically follows – the THEOS leaves absolutely nothing UP TO the creature. But the Calvinist is to go about his office *AS-IF* some things are UP TO the creature (for example the creature’s state of nature).
3) Since the THEOS determines *ALL* things – leaving nothing left over for creatures to determine – it logically follows the THEOS gives the creature NO SAY IN THE MATTER of anything. But the Calvinist is to go about his office *AS-IF* this is false. So for example when answering the questions: “Why do Christians resist Calvinism” or “Why do people sin” – Calvinist answers are consistently predicated on the notion that people have a SAY IN THE MATTER *AS-IF* that were true in their system – when it is actually false.
Understanding this aspect of Calvinist thinking and language goes a long way at allowing you to cut through the fog of Calvinist statements.
Cobus van Rooyen says
The good news is that Jesus never asked His followers to believe the TULIP to have eternal life! Jesus taught about repentance and believing in Him.
Repent from your sins and believe in Jesus the Son of God and He will give you life!
What is the best thing to do, if you’re in a calvinist teaching church, and don’t agree with that doctrine? It’s either stay or leave, but then what churches teach free will, and how can I tactfully leave this church? I know there’s no perfect church, am I overreacting?
Craig Verdi says
I debate it quite a bit. To me, they deflect change the subject or use the old standard cults use, which is “we don’t emphasize that, but that’s what people bring up to argue against us”
They, like Mormons for instance are impossible to pin down. I don’t see a lot of grace and I see some harsh things. Another commonality with cults is that within the Church Calvinism is a secret known by only those at the top. I use to go to a very large church. There is nothing preached from the pulpit. None of the TULIP doctrines. The people that go there are completely unaware. But if you pay attention you will see it. I took people there many times hoping for them to hear an invitation to accept the Gospel. It never happened.
So I began to research the founding of the Church. All Calvinists. This seems to be common. I don’t think we will ever see a pastor looking over the crowd and saying, “Thanks for coming today, even for those of you have zero chance of being in Heaven with Jesus when you die’!!
David Morrison says
My adoptive mother…though officially United Methodist…was a “closet Calvinist”. She believed in predestination, a very angry God, was puritanical to the point of OCD. She was also cruel, harsh, mocking, and controlling.
Darryl Palmer says
Do you have a resource list for websites, authors, helps, etc with non-reformed, non-Calvanistic theology? I am constantly being asked for these. For me, the late C. Gordon Olson was one source whom I’ve read extensively and helped open my mind about the predestination and limited atonement arguments.
David Morrison says
I have had to deal with Calvinists my whole life. As I wrote in a post above, my mother was a “closet Calvinist” whose religion was all “head religion” and whose life was sad and dreary. In college I joined a prayer group made up of Lutherans, Evangelicals, and Catholics where we focussed on the common beliefs of traditional Christians and prayed for each other (this was in the ’70s). It was a wonderful experience UNTIL…two of our members came back after a summer break and announced that they had discovered “true Christianity” and it was…Calvinism! Within two months of their badgering and hatefulness there was no more prayer group. In the years since I have kept having to deal with Calvinists. One…a very good friend…simply could not say, “Thank you,” when anyone did him a favor. He said that “since everything is predestined, you were preordained to help me, so I must only thank God; you did nothing.” I wanted to just scream sometimes. Turns out he was raised strict old-fashioned Scots Presby. Now Calvinism is running rampant through Baptist churches here in the South and splitting many apart. Here is what I see: Calvinists are, as my mother was, all in their head. When I have asked them about the joy they feel with Christ and their experience of communion with the Savior I have been told “that’s mystical nonsense”. It’s sad, sad, sad. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told I’m going to burn because I reject Calvinism (and it doesn’t help that I am a Maronite Catholic!). When I try to explain that we DO believe in election but that it is through God’s eternal foreknowledge, I am told I am a heretic. It is exhausting.
I grew up in a hyper Calvinist home but reading the Bible opened my eyes out of Calvinism. I’m older now and my parents still try to convince me that I’m wrong and they’re right. I try to keep the peace and not argue but they want to scream at me and call me names. Growing up I was not saved because you had to wait to be saved to be an elect which scared me and I waited and thought God wouldn’t pick me even though I had faith because to them, faith is not ours. So with this confusion I came to the conclusion that God didn’t pick me to I rebelled as an adult once I moved out but later in life by reading the word and not Calvin, I was saved by Jesus by having faith in Him for dying for my sins and rosing from the dead. It was supernatural. I wasn’t confused if I was saved. The more I read over the years I saw the truth in Calvinism. I know all the Calvinist books from the back of my hand. At first I even thought I was a Calvinist and was finally saved and was so happy but as I read the Bible, I saw the truth but my parents saw I’m wrong because I don’t follow Calvin. That just seems like a cult. Luckily my husband is not a Calvinist but we both grew up in Calvinist homes. His parents are no longer Calvinist. I love Calvinist. I love my family. I wish they would stop trying to force this on me. They say I’m brainwashed. They think all non reformed people are going to hell. It’s disheartening to say the least.
Calvinists are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are children of Satan that must be destroyed, and God be praised, eventually they will be. They are heretics of the worst order, following after that debauched and depraved madman John Calvin, the “Scourge of Geneva”, that false prophet who has deceived and swindled and persecuted so many Christians with his lies, his followers carrying on his Satanic legacy centuries after he has been thrown into hell to burn for his wickedness.
When the Lord Jesus returns to the earth, a great many Calvinists will be thrown into hell, and good riddance. Their filth and lies and manipulation have no place in God’s kingdom of truth, holiness, righteousness and purity. Even now, a great many Calvinists are cast out of God’s kingdom, they are hell-bound frauds and wicked reprobates, hypocrites, liars and thieves, teaching all manner of false doctrines in order to profit themselves on this earth.
They are some of the most obstinate and donkey-minded, goat-minded people to have ever lived; they are no better than Muslims, perhaps even worse if such could be imagined. The fires of hell are unceasing and all-devouring, an unquenchable furnace that continues to demand more, as yet more Calvinists are thrown into it upon their deaths, piles and piles of CHAFF that have been gathered, fit only to be burned endlessly, worthless for any other good purpose.
And as for this prophet of God, this faithful servant of the Lord Jesus? Even I am not satisfied, and only when Calvinism is completely and utterly purged from the earth, when all of that false prophet John Calvin’s followers are slain and thrown down and their lying tongues burned to ash, only then, perhaps, the fire of God that rages within me will be soothed for a time.
You may think I am harsh and hard, but I tell you now, all who read this, as a faithful prophet of the Lord; God HATES AND LOATHES CALVINISM. With a fiery passion. They deserve the death penalty, every last one of them that teaches these lies and perverts the truth of God’s Word, teaching Calvin’s five points which are in direct opposition of what God has laid down and made common knowledge to men. God utterly despises John Calvin, and He hates and loathes Calvinism, and His fierce anger burns bright at the persecution of His faithful servants, who speak what is true, persecuted by Calvinists, persecuted by these loathsome swine pretending to be God’s children, pretending to be children of light, pretending to be part of the Body of Christ, pretending to be fellow servants of God, yet all the while speaking Satan’s native tongue and putting forth their best efforts to conceal the truth, the truth that GOD HIMSELF has made known before men.
The time of God’s mercy on reprobate fools who plead for endless leniency is almost at an end. Soon, there will be no mercy, none at all, no mercy left, no chances, no times of quiet and solace. Soon there will be only God’s contempt upon the wicked, and where will Calvinists be then? NO RAPTURE TO SAVE YOU NOW! No Rapture heresy to put your faith in, no sweet escape from trials and tribulations, no convenient and arrogant, obnoxious platitudes and mockeries of true servants of God, no. Calvinists will cry with terror at the skies, for the God they thought they knew, will reject them utterly, renounce them, rebuke them, disown them, and cast them out of His kingdom. Many Calvinists will take the mark of the beast when the time comes at last.
An eternity in hell is a just punishment for a Calvinist theologian or “teacher” or “pastor”, who teaches Calvin’s Satanic lies despite knowing the truth and hearing all the evidence that disproves Calvin’s heretical nonsense. And the greatest irony of all? They choose of their own free will to reject God and embrace evil, and they choose of their own free will to enter into hell.
Soon, all talk of mercy, love, compassion and peace will end. Soon, there will be only fire and death and judgment and punishment. Destruction for the wicked, complete destruction for hypocrites, liars, slanderers and persecutors of faithful Christians who serve the Lord. And no one will say any more bullshit about how we should be kind and patient and full of grace toward DOGS and PIGS who pretend to be our brothers and sisters, no one will say any more bullshit about how we should be compassionate to some of Satan’s most evil and worthless children, whose entire lives are willfully spent only to pervert the truth and drag others into hell along with them.
Soon, no one will try and excuse away any more of Calvin’s bullshit, and no one will shed a tear nor lift a finger to defend any Calvinist from God’s wrath. They will instead be silent, as idiots should not speak, and they will watch as God executes fierce judgment and wrath over a worthless and evil people. And I will dance on their graves!
You have no idea how much God absolutely hates Calvinism and those who spread that vile filth. But you will, soon. Oh yes, soon…
Calvinism is like Amway. (Amway is a network marketing scam). Only a few prosper at the cost of many. Once people figure this out and leave it, they rebrand themselves. Whether it’s Calvinism, Presbyterian, Huguenot, Reformed Theology, Reformed Baptist, New Calvinism, Hyper Calvinism, Predestination, Double Predestination it is still the same…something John Calvin created. My experienceS with Calvinist are that they are arrogant, self righteous, elitist, who have no sense of humor. Ask yourself, have you ever seen a Calvinist really laugh.
The World—the elect
Kosmos—Greek for the elect
Why do Calvinist do so poorly on test?
Because they are can’t handle multiple choice.
I bet no Calvinist laughed at these.
Anthony Prichard says
Hello.. I think that there is some confusion regarding Calvinisim.
We don’t follow a man named John Calvin. We adopted the theology. If you were to ask John Calvin about TULIP. He would take you too his garden. And say “here dummy, A tulip.” Which I think it should be STUPIP. (sovereignty of God, Total depravity or Total inability, unconditional elect, perfect Atonement, irresistible Grace, and perseverance of the saints.)
I failed to see how anyone can deny the scriptures and say no Thats not what is being said.. We some how want to make God comprehensible and diminish his sovereignty over ours. Like saying we have free will to do as we please.. yes to a point.. we choose what sin we want, but still God restains even that.. read the story of Joseph. How his brothers wanted to kill Joseph and God restains thier desires and ended up selling him instead. Also look at Judas Iscariot He wasn’t able to sin again Jesus till the last super. When Jesus told him “go and do what you must and be quick about it”. John 13:27. These are just two examples of his sovereignty over ours.
If you read the Gospel of John. Talks alot regarding the “elect” or choosen ones depending on what version you own. Matt. 1: 21 says ” and she will bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He WILL save HIS people from thier sins.”( who is his people?) The Elect..yes?? . This makes for a perfect Atonement. John 6:37 says” all that the Father gives me will come to me.” Notice what come First in that text. It doesn’t say all that come to me the Father will give to me. He later says in vs 44 ” no one can come to Me unless the Father draws him”
If we say that Christ died for everyone then his death was a potential Atonement not a particular one. Why? Bc then he awaits for the sinners to come to him in order to make is Atonement a actual one. When scripture clearly says we are dead in tresspasses and sin. Ephesians 2:1 (what can a dead man do….nothing) so how is it we are able to come to Him on our own. Again in Romans 3. Talks about how no one is righteous. And there are no God seekers. If there is no God seekers how is it that we came to know God? The Answer is by Grace. We heard the gospel. As Jesus said ” he who has ears to hear, let him hear. We recieved and embraced it. We are the sheep and Christ is the good shepherd who loses nothing. (I challenge you go and try to call another shepherds flock to see if his sheep will even acknowledge you) I would like for you to notice I didn’t quote anything John Calvin said.. never even read anything he wrote. Just bible verse. I believe that there is a negative comment about how we Calvinist use the Bible to back up our theology by dropping a bunch of scripture that we stand on to show our theology. I’m not sure why, or how thats a bad thing.
And if you Jeremy Myers can refine my Calvinistic view and show me how I’m wrong I would love to hear your thoughts. I appreciate the comments about what was said regarding Calvinisim. Its very humbling.
Love you guys.
Things to ponder. Would a father not bring all his children a gift. What kind of father would only bring gifts to a few while his other children received nothing. And on top of it they were all misbehaving. Another; Let’s say a man had 5 children. One night he went into the room where they slept. Stepping over one child he grabbed the one next to him. He picked him up came back and got another. He left 3 there to continue sleeping. One was a baby in a crib. When he and his 2 children were out he then set the house on fire. His 3 children perished in a horrible manner, some screaming for help. What would we think of a father that could do that? Or have you ever given a gift to someone and they didn’t like it. Or maybe just didn’t appreciate it. Maybe just tossed it aside. After all the work and thought and possibly money you had put into it. Does it make your gift any less than what you intended. God didn’t ration His Mercy. He is not limited. Not by Calvin or anyone else. God doesn’t make me sin…I choose to. Jesus died so that everyone’s sin could be cleaned and Everyone could be saved. That is the gift He gave us. Some have tossed it aside. Some haven’t opened it yet. And some have and will accept it. If the only way to be saved from Hell and death and anguish is for God to choose us then why didn’t He just choose us all…why would God lie and say He wants us all to be saved if He is the one damning us as well. That is not my God.
Robert Howard says
I read this article you have about calvinism/calvinists. Good article and I agree with it. I feel that the calvinist and the once saved always saved crowd seem to “look down on me” in what I believe the Holy Spirit has taught me. I also do not believe we can lose our salvation like a set of keys, but if we deny Christ, then He will deny us. Matthew 10:33….Free will…. I believe we are saved as long as we REMAIN in the faith. I have had debates with calvinist and they tend to do as you state. I am told I am wrong and I dont know scripture. They have the “I’m right and your wrong mentality”. They go to a few select verses and tend to twist them for thier own benefits on “thier” form of understanding doctrine. Yes, they like to quote alot of biblical teachers and not from scripture so much. Doctor so and so said this and Saint so and so said this. I was told once by a Pastor that had strong calvinistic beliefs that he could not study all thing in the bible because he did not have the time. I was confused, are you not a Pastor and are you to study to teach other. Are we not to to study to show ourselves approved. I can go on and on, but I will cut this short. Thank you for your articles on these subjects. I also was once a calvinistic, once saved always save, pre tribulation, I can not be touch by no one type at one time as well. The Lord Himself took me by the hand and opened my eyes. Praise goes to the Father, son and Holy Spirit, in Jesus Christ Name.
Please pray for me. My Calvinistic pastor has “asked” to come to his office Wednesday morning to talk. Please pray that I have a clear mind. He was also a police officer in our town. Great first job for a Calvinist huh? Anyway, reading this is helping me to understand what I am up against.
I’m really sorry you’ve had such a bad experience discussing these things with calvinists. I would say my community of believers who are reformed and calvinists are the exact opposite. I think it may be unfair to have such a blanket statement of believers who agree with Calvin. I think believers would do well to sit face to face and lovingly discuss these things rather than put content out that hurts, divides, and is making false statements about how Calvinists.
I have researched John Calvin, as 1 John 4:1 commands us to do, and have broken fellowship with Calvinists, as John Calvin was a wicked mass murderer, known for his bloody reign of terror. Not only did he kill 58 people, but there’s also evidence he was also a freemason. I consider Calvinists to be a cult much like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.
John Miller says
I have spoken to many Calvinists. They love logic and are argumentative… It’s almost a certain personality type that gravitates to Calvinism… I love God and am filled with his Holy Spirit… His glory is magnificent… John 6:29 “The work of God is this, to believe in him who he has sent.” So I share the gospel with people of the world. I am not going to get caught in the endless quagmire of arguing free will versus predestination. That is not “the work of God”!
Well the Calvinist that I deal with have yet to call me names but i like some of their rappers like Timothy Brindle and Shai Linne. I know a lot Christian don’t like Holy Spirit rap music but I honestly disagree because through that music from Calvinist men of Jesus I had to cry out to the Lord God.
Timothy Brindle raps about Killing Sin and Shai Linne raps about the deity of Jesus Christ in a song called Hypostatic Union.. the song blew my mind wide open. Besides that I love them but I don’t believe in limited atonement. I believe God gave Adam and Eve two people created perfect without sin a choice to obey God or bow down to Satan. Just like we have free will today. I believe salvation is available to all that are open to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s another story. It would be cruel to create people that you didn’t predestinated to be saved and when they learn who Jesus is pursue Jesus but to find out they are going to hell anyway because they aren’t predestinated. But thanks for letting me share my thoughts God bless..
Troy C Pearsall says
my biggest problem was that they just seem to plane mean!
They where mean to anything I disagreed with them mean to other calvinst that don’t agree with them. mean to the paper boy, the guy who bags your groceries. you name them they are mean toward them
Dale Mackay says
I have found some unwilling to do a thorough study of certain Scriptures.
Lurlene Jones says
My first pastor was not C., but my second was. Both godly, both educated, but both taught me, dogmatically, opposite interpretations. (Perfect conditions for faith deconstruction. This isn’t like pre/post/amillennialism. This “pre-picking but saying it’s a choice” makes a person think of a used car salesman. Both pastors believe they are correct. Neither will admit to the possibility of being mistaken. The former pastor said, “Well, there are good men on both sides of the fence.” The current pastor said, “Election (God pre-picks specific people to be saved) is in the Bible; so is free will.” I asked how both could be true. He said, “It doesn’t have to be logical. It’s a mystery. You don’t question God! Just believe it!” I said, “Ok, so you’re a Calvinist.” Pastor #2, “No! I’m not! I don’t believe in limited atonement.” Me, “Do you believe in irresistible grace?” P2, “No. Man must choose to respond to God’s call to salvation.” So, later I’m explaining to a student what our pastor believes. She asks, “So what about those people who are ‘elect’ but decide to reject God?” I said I’d ask. P2 finally admitted he didn’t have an answer for that. I asked what led him to believe the way he did, then. He said he just didn’t have any other way to wrap his mind around the verses that seemed to teach election (God pre-picking who could be saved). So, is your book out yet?
Raul DelaRosa says
I find that Calvinists are quick to call all who don’t agree with them Arminians, and even that’s a word they use as a term of reproach and not even knowing what it means if you’re to ask them about what Arminians believe in…
They’re quick to defend their fellow calvinist people to the death even whenever they’re wrong.
Case in point,try any group within christendom that’s got a decent amount of calvinist folks posting on a social media page.
Francis Cafazzo says
I recently found joy meditating on the riches of christ and it drew me to believe in him a Calvin has told me I didn’t believe the whole Bible I’m and only believe snippets that believe in believing the word of God in the record and testimony of scripture wasn’t faith because I didn’t “I will have version on whom I will have mercy of course I believe that but as a sinner I found that christ satisfied me in my conscience it drew me to him and brought me peace with God the father fruit Jesus Christ can you tell me what hes talking about
Sunil Mendis says
Since of late I have been struggling with my beliefs ans Calvinism,which resulted in sincere search for truth.I found that most popular preachers on you tube are Calvinist.Are their any teachers of the gospel? Is John MacArthur’s church Calvinist? I like his sermons
I resorted to their tactics (name calling).
I repent. I was wrong, but im damn mad about all the people they are deceiving!
Yes John McArthur is definitely Calvinist. So is John Piper, RC Sproul, Charles Spurgeon, and so many others that Christians listen to. But once you know what Calvinism is you can start to see that they are inserting Calvin/Reformed Doctrine into what otherwise seems to be biblicaly sound sermons. These are great speakers indeed. But don’t be mislead. I believe they are are contributing to the resurgence of reformed theology. Because no one knows when they are listening to them that they are listening to Calvinist preaching. Satan came to deceive. That keeps ringing in my ear when churches or speakers aren’t being transparent about their doctrinal beliefs. I know many feel tricked.
Dr of Theology says
MacArthur is a huge Calvinist. I saw a video where he said that God creates people to go to hell. Now where is that in the bible? I used to like MacArthur until I heard some of the things he taught. They were completely unbiblical. Check out Charles Stanley. He’s on youtube. I’ve listen to him for years. No one is 100% error free, but I can say that Charles Stanley has kept to the Scripture.
Here are two churches that have a good online service the first of which is not Calvinist at all. The second some pastors might be at the senior ones not. I hope this is a blessing to you:
mark anderson says
If you cannot afford a theological education, start a conversation with a Calvinist. You will get free lectures ad infinitum!
I recently learned that Calvinism has polluted SO MANY people and churches that IM BLOWN AWAY!
They love to call names and they are NEVER WRONG!
I can admit when I am wrong. I have had tons of practice.
Calvinism has such a warped view of God that I’m utterly appalled with it.
I dont even see how studying the Bible can lead you to their conclusions.
Oh yeah. They think the WHOLE BIBLE pertains to them because they are so chosen and special.
I feel sorry for them. They need to be born again so the Holy Spirit can show them how wrong they are.
It’s the name calling and especially their twisted views of God that infuriate me the most.
Dr of Theology says
I’ve used scripture and exegete the verses to show the Calvinist person to what is going on in the chapter and verse. I will ask them questions, but all I get is, “this person said this”, or “we’ll just have to disagree” or some other answer, but not the answer to my questions. It seems like some Calvinist rather stick with their theology than to see that their theology is flawed, even when the the truth is staring them in the face.
Thomas Brooks says
What are Calvinists trying to tell me ,that God cannot change his mind about one’s salvation?
Danny kluver says
Calvinist in my experience is like arguing with a campellite and it’s a waste of time. I personally don’t believe that the ones I have debated are born again Christians. Their fruit is rotten and falling to earth. I have learned that they don’t pray because everything is set in store or predestined. The fact that they believe my Jesus who died for all would send people to hell and strip away free will says enough to realize that these people are fools and misrepresent our Lord. I won’t waste another minute with these devil 😈 infested people!
I have only recently come to the realization that calvinism has so thoroughly infiltrated the evangelical church. What has been very difficult is the way churches hide this fact and you become aware only over time. Then, you feel like a frog being slowly boiled in a pot of hot water. Once I realized the situation and began reading more about the Gospel Coalition, Neo-Calvinism, and the spread of this doctrine I felt like a complete dupe. As we continue to search for a new church home, the church web sites are so vague about doctrine that it often takes a deep search to understand their stance. I will often look at their “book resources” to see if Piper and Keller, our Tripp are listed. They may also have some association with the Gospel Coalition, or call themselves “gospel-centered” (oddly enough). But, it’s often very hidden. So far, I have been unable to find a church within 100 miles of us here in Chicago. After moving here we started attending an Evangelical Free church which was very strong biblically but did not openly convey their calvinism. After becoming more involved all the signs slowly became clear – very intellectual approach, authoritarian, conformist, performance oriented, etc. Eventually someone actually said that the pastor was a strong 5-Point Calvinist. Ah Ha!! Suddenly many things made a lot more sense!! But after more than a year it was very hard to leave, although necessary. The influence of Moody Bible Institute and Trinity Divinity School in Chicago is huge. I am just very wary of the sneaky way they avoid coming out and saying what their doctrinal views are. It’s so insidious because it really does matter! All this to say, we are currently without a church. We even tried a Vineyard church and a Pentecostal church but they were just was too far the other direction. Our church in Cincinnati was part of the American Baptist denomination, but not Calvinist or Fundamentalist. (Although looking back, I think that a Calvinist take-over was underway when we left). Is it even possible to find a church that is biblically strong but not Calvinist at this point?
Bob Sharpe says
I am a Southern Baptist. A lot of Southern Baptist churches are not Calvinist, but a growing number of them are falling prey to this heresy.
Greg Winch says
I got saved in 1978 in a very scripture-oriented Baptist Church. Every Sunday morning, Sunday School, morning Worship time, Sunday night church, Wednesday nught Bible study. Mixed in there my own Navigators bible memorization, and AWANA scripture memorization. 18 years went by from my age 17-35; and then, I met my first Calvinist “evangelist”. He told a bunch of us plain , ordinary Christians (mostly Baptists) that we (I) was an Arminian (spelling?, I suppose if I was one, I would Know how it is spelled). Much later when he was really frustrated with me…he called me a Semi-Pelagian… I thought, Wow, what would I have to do to be a full-blown Pelagian?
Somehow, I attracted those folks to myself after that time like mosquitoes to a banquet of blood.
Just about every one was contentious, disruptive, and problematic to me.
Also, they don’t really like their “cover to be blown” in public where it is disclosed that they think Jesus Christ only died for “the Elect”, and only lives “the Elect”. Hmm.
michael riggs says
Just found these by clicking on a verse link that I was looking for. Skimmed through another and clicked on this article. I tend to lean toward Calvinism as do my pastors. A decades long member of the church is not Calvinistic. The beauty of our church, is we share Grace. We love and pray and our pastors teach and preach from a Calvinistic viewpoint and that particular member teaches a bible study and evangelism class at our small church. None of us are glorified yet, but grace abounds in our congregation. 🙏
It is evil to be Pentecostal. Especially one who received training by a graduate of BSSM! Even though the training caused me to witness to like 6 members of another religion in the space of a few weeks. You know…people who believe in actual heresies such as, “Jesus didn’t die on a cross,” “Jesus didn’t rise from the dead,” “Jesus is not God,” etc. In spite of all this, I was the one trained by a dangerous heretic. I should just be quiet, anyway – I’m a woman! Leave me alone and let me back to writing my discernment blog! And don’t ever experience the Holy Spirit – heresy!
Prior to my recent experience with Calvinists on the ‘net, the majority of Reformed folks I’ve met have been gracious, full of the light of Christ, super cool, taught me a lot about kindness and discipline. It is because of these many awesome people that I’m choosing to work through the present stubbornness and frustration.
Fred Morgan says
Have you ever read A Calvin Testimony of Salvation, When and did. He get saved? The Leigoner website said in a video that there is no clear salvation testimony but points to his writings as proof of conversion, was he saved????? HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW someone without knowing they are saved?
Bob Sharpe says
I was wondering that myself. It’s possible that Calvin was saved, but I’m not sure.
Also, I can’t find any record of Calvin being baptized or sprinkled after he left the Catholic Church. If he wasn’t, that meant he viewed the Roman Catholic sacrament as valid.
Karen Reid says
The apostle John wrote that “no murderer has eternal life.” John Calvin was a wicked mass murderer who killed 58 ppl, many of whom were women, which he’d falsely accused of being witches.
As you said at the very end of your post, since both camps use the same attitude (calling names, accusing others of not understanding the Bible properly, etc.), your post is self destroyed by itself. Now, I challenge you (and any others) to help us how could we approach the following question. Two viewpoints which disagree with each other on the exact same topic can’t be true. One can be true while the other can be false. Or, both can be false. But both CANNOT be true. How do you deal with that?
Bob Sharpe says
Calvinism blasphemes God by reducing salvation to a lottery. If Calvinism was true, they we are SAVED BY LUCK.
If you are one of the lucky ones God picked, you win and go to Heaven.
If you are one of the unlucky ones God didn’t pick, you lose and go to Hell for eternity.
A Calvinist once refuted me by saying that there is no such thing as luck in the Bible. He’s right. That’s why Calvinism is false doctrine.
A little over a year ago, the church I attend made the decision to have another church “merge” with us, bringing along the pastor from the merging church but keeping the name of the existing church.
Right away, the members from the merging church appeared hostile with judgemental questions and remarks to existing church members. The incoming pastor immediately took down our website and disabled our church app, declaring a new one in the works. The cross was replaced with a lighthouse and branding of the church seems to be the goal with a new image, colors, and slogan. There was even a day that the women from the merging church (obviously planned) all wore matching t-shirts with the former name of their church printed on the front.
Then came the messages. There were many times that my husband I raised our eyebrows and excused the pastor when he misquoted scripture thinking he mis-spoke. “Small groups” for bible study were formed and some members mentioned they seemed more “book-clubish” because they read a book (How to Eat Your Bible) and not the bible. Recently, the pastor has addressed the church with threats of members being asked to leave if we have a disagreement with the message he is giving or if we are not volunteering unconditionally (he doesn’t want us to fit the church into our schedule or skills, but to be unconditional about our ministry).
There have been a few remarks as well that made us cringe, but we just love our church and have kept attending. Recently, the pastor mentioned Calvin. I also looked up the authors of books he is distributing and of the next “bible study” book. It got my attention because he said we would be reading Galatians and I thought, “Oh good, the bible this time,” and he followed that with, “…by Tim Keller.” I wondered why we would be reading another book about Galatians when we have the perfect book of Galatians in our hands. I looked up the author of this book and of the other books he has been distributing… all of them are Calvinists! No wonder! This explained a lot including why he has limited baptisms to the members/children of his former congregation.
So, what now? My husband and I don’t know what to do. Do we alert other members that they are being fed the word of Calvin? Do we just quietly go find another church? How do we find a church that is not led by Calvinism? In our experiences, Calvinists are sneaky and slip their doctrine in without disclosing that it’s based on Calvin’s philosophies.
By the way, as I pointed out to my husband, airports use beacons. The lighthouse is not a “beacon” as the pastor claims. It was used as a warning to ships that if they get too close, they will perish.
Same. They shun, shame and basically call you an idiot. If you challenge must Calvinist teachers in their study groups with strong biblical evidence they will usually make you an object of a group effort to get you out of the study. Then when you leave because it’s so nasty they praise God that He has removed the False teaching heresy.
4. When you have argued your position, underpinned by various points and references, Calvinists simply refute your position with unsubstantiated assertions. so you never find out why they disagree. They never argue your position by addressing each point you made.
Thomas James says
I have spent the majority of the last 5o years coming to the same conclusion about Calvin ism as you have.I attended the Moody Bible Institute from 1976-1979, and came away with the fundamental conviction that ” somethings not quite correct” about this whole approach to Scripture and Calvin’s doctrines in particular.
I sought to leave “no stone unturned” and proceeded over those 5 decades, to formulate what I call the SOW, or the stewardship of the Word, based on Paul’s description of his own discipline as described in 1 Cor.4:1-6. I have discovered numerous fallacies of reason, uncritical inference, and just downright fanciful invention, that leave me without a shadow of a doubt, that Calvin and his teachings, belong in the trash bin. However, I wouldn’t be so crass as to actually say that publicly, but, I trust, you know where I’m coming from.
The Claim is one of Sola
Scriptura,, but in actually practice, it’s the worship of human Reason, with a clever Scriptural cover!
Original Sin, assumes a solidarity of the race, or some kind of Federal headship, that is flatly contradicted by Deut. 24:16; 2Kings 14:6 , and Ezekiel 18:1-20. Guilt of sin is not inheritable
“All souls are Mine, declares the Lord. The soul of the father as well as the soul of the son, is Mine. There is no “corporate soul” of mankind! Accountability is individual. There was no ” covenant of works” in Gen.2:16-17, that’s an uncritical inference! Anyway, yada,Yada Yada, you know all the issues.
A popular book written by Michael Horton, PUTTING AMAZING BACK INTO GRACE, really corked me, when Horton appealed to our intellect, as the final arbiter of truth, in chapter 2 , as I recall. Reason is the SERVANT of Revelation. NOT its master, and “when push comes to shove” Calvinists have it reversed, and all their clever arguments come to nothing, because in the final analysis, it is presupposition read into Scripture, not the text itself, that determines the outcome. I’m not a Greek and Hebrew scholar, but I have seen and understood from my study of the SOW, that Calvinists violate the most fundamental aspects of exegesis on a regular basis, to the degree that rejection of their system is a ” no brainer”.