The False Calvinist Gospel blog
There is much false teaching in the world today, especially within what many like to call “The Church”. People are declared Christians because they speak in tongues or demonstrate spiritual manifestations such as Toronto, or they attend worship on Saturdays, or they go to mass, or they go to confession, or they relentlessly knock on doors, etc. But one group largely escapes the critical eye of those who seek out false doctrines. It is a group of people who claim to be more Biblical, with a higher view of God’s sovereignty, people who claim to be more scholarly than the rest (and therefore to trust them because they “know” more). They are generally well-accepted among fundamentalist believers because they, very importantly, appear to believe like them. They claim that their truth is the gospel, yet preach the gospel of the people who are not of their group. (They only preach their gospel to those who have already been won to their cause.) They claim their “truth” is better, yet do not preach it widely nor openly to the uninitiated.
And who are these false teachers? They are those who claim to be calvinist, reformed, or of the doctrines of grace, etc. They claim that calvinism is the gospel, yet not one person will ever be won for Christ by the preaching of the calvinist gospel alone. (The calvinist gospel is that list of calvinist distinctives known as TULIP, which was presented to the Synod of Dort in 1618-19, which are those distinctive doctrines which define calvinism as different from non-calvinist fundamentalists.) Only the gospel of Christ as presented in the Bible is able to save to the uttermost. But the calvinist continues to hold to his cry that “Calvinism is the gospel”!
This is the calvinist gospel (T.U.L.I.P.):
(a) Total depravity (or Total Inability) – The total absence of free will for man to ever be able to choose this day whom he would serve. That is, God chooses who will be saved. Whoever is chosen for salvation will go to heaven; those not chosen for salvation go to hell. (According to some calvinist beliefs, man may be permitted to sin, even be able to choose to sin, yet not have the free will to not choose sin!)
(b) Unconditional Election – The selection by God, from the beginning of time, of an elect (read “elite”) group who would go to heaven without any condition being required of man. That is, God’s choice did not depend in any way upon any quality of goodness or lack thereof in your life. Nothing you (nor anyone else) can do can ever influence God’s choice concerning you one way or the other. Effectively, this makes any kind of Biblical evangelism quite redundant, for according to this teaching, if you are on that list of elect, you will be regenerated (their term for “being saved”); if you are not one of the elect, you will not be regenerated, ever. No Biblical evangelism can ever logically make any difference at all!
(c) Limited Atonement – The atonement for sins on the cross to be limited to only those whom God has unconditionally chosen to be His elect. It is sometimes called “particular atonement” or “definite atonement” or “effectual atonement” – these various terms are designed to draw your attention away from the fact that they teach that the atonement for sins is limited only to the elect). Effectively, therefore, if you are not one of the elect, you cannot ever be saved because the calvinist Jesus never died for your sins. He only died for the 1% that God chose for heaven; the other 99% can never be saved, even if they wanted to be. That is, the calvinist God made absolutely no provision for any gospel of salvation for the 99% non-elect of the world. According to the calvinist, they were born with only one option from the start: eternal torment in hell.
(Some calvinists claim that the elect of God were important enough for Jesus to die for their sins, thus leaving open the implication that the non-elect were not important enough! See MacArthur teaches works salvation)
(d) Irresistible Grace – The total inability of man to resist the call of the Holy Spirit if and when he (man) is called for “regeneration”. (Regeneration is their term for “being born again”; it is rare to find a calvinist using the term “being saved”.) That is, if you are one of the elect of God, then when God calls you to regeneration, you will come; you will not be able to resist the call of the Holy Spirit to be saved. Effectively, if you are one of the elect, you cannot avoid, refuse, or resist God’s call. It is your destiny!
(In fact, the phrase “It is your destiny” effectively applies to every person on earth, 1% to salvation, the remaining 99% to hell. Note also that the Holy Spirit, according to the calvinist, will never call any of the 99% non-elect to salvation! It never was their destiny at any time, ever.)
(e) Perseverance of the Saints – The perseverance of the elect to continue faithfully until they enter heaven. That is, if you don’t persevere in your “faithful” works until the end, you never were one of the elect in the first place. It is effectively the same as “once saved, always saved”. While calvinists often deny that a person can be “once saved, always saved” as “easy-believism”, they do teach that once you are born again as one of God’s elect, you cannot lose your eternal salvation in heaven. I cannot see any significant difference between the two!
Once regenerated, an elect person cannot backslide, cannot lose his/her salvation, ever. (Because this strongly suggests a somewhat holy perfection of the Christian, some prefer to say the elect person cannot backslide significantly, but neglect to define “significantly”.) Backsliding, which in calvinist teaching is characterised by leaving regular church worship and other Christian activities, demonstrates that your faith may have been only temporary; that is, you never were really one of the elect in the first place. This was a teaching of John Calvin, who termed it “an inferior operation of the Spirit”! (Calvin’s Institutes Bk 3 Ch 2 Section 41)
Thus, the new calvinist, while attempting to appear evangelical and fundamentalist, fails miserably on both accounts. For the calvinist can offer absolutely no gospel of hope for 99% of the world, and the other 1% will be regenerated by the calvinist God even if they never hear the gospel. In fact, the calvinist teaches that it is only after a person is regenerated that he is able to believe in Jesus and His gospel of salvation.
“A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.” (Page 75, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination – Loraine Boettner)
The gospel of calvinism may be outlined as follows:
(a) If you were chosen by the calvinist God (clearly because you were important enough and valuable enough to be chosen – see MacArthur teaches works salvation), then you are going to heaven, all expenses covered, nothing required to be paid, nor even any action required. You will be notified in due time when God decides it’s time for you to be regenerated, and from then you are bound for heaven. We assume that’s OK with you? Of course, the calvinist God will ensure that you are important enough and valuable enough to warrant that salvation. He will create you as the right kind of person to inhabit heaven. Only 1% (or less) of mankind will enjoy such special privileges. It is your destiny to be special!
(b) If you were not chosen by the calvinist God (because he didn’t create you with sufficient importance nor value to be worth dying for), then you are going to hell, without any other option at all. Of course, all your expenses will be paid too, including your ticket to hell; and there’s nothing you have to do to get there, either, just sit back and enjoy (or otherwise) the ride! You will not be regenerated, nor saved, nor born again, or anything that might give you a chance at the calvinist heaven. While the calvinist God had infinite funds to pay for all mankind, he really only wanted to save a very small number of people (and that is his right, too!). He didn’t bother putting aside any provision for you to go anywhere except hell where you will pay for it for all eternity!
MacArthur says “God did not intend to save everyone. He is God. He could have intended to save everyone. He could have saved everyone. He would have if that had been His intention. The atonement is limited.”
(“The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 1”)
So, I’m sorry to have to tell the non-elect (the 99% or more of mankind) that the calvinist God did not intend saving you. He is God. He can do what he wants. He did not intend saving everyone. He could have intended saving you, but that was never his intention!
So, likewise, it is your destiny! Get used to it! After all, it will be your destiny for a very long time, eternity, in fact!
For further reading, please see The False Calvinist Gospel.