Calvinist Non-Biblical Copouts!
That is, When will calvinists become Biblical?
I am amazed at the number of times allegedly calvinist apologists (I daren’t call them teachers!) make bold statements about the error of the non-calvinist views without any Biblical documentation to support their assertions. For example, Spurgeon (a dubious calvinist at best, anyway) says, “It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense.” (“Free Will – A Slave”), yet he provides not one supporting Biblical fact for this wide-sweeping statement. How is it nonsense? Who has indeed proved it? Where is their apparently non-existent evidence for such extreme claims? Yet, all too often, I have been told (or have read) calvinist words to the effect that the doctrine of no free will is consistently taught in the Bible.
Well, everyone is entitled to his opinion as to what the Bible teaches, but if that opinion is to carry any credibility at all, it must be supported by properly documented evidence from the Bible itself. What amazes me (well, I shouldn’t really be amazed, actually) is that I cannot recall any time ever when such a calvinistic denial of free will has been accompanied by some genuine effort to explain this from the Bible. They will aggressively state their opposition to the doctrine of free will, and then launch into a full-scale sales pitch on the lack of free will for man.
Of course, it is essential that calvinists set in concrete their assumption of no free will, because every one of their heretical teachings would come tumbling down like a house of cards if free will for man were to be added to their sales pitch. Note that well-worn verse of theirs that so many calvinists claim to literally put an end to all discussion on the free will of man: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him (John 6:44a) It is clear that no-one may come without that drawing, but is it also clear that all who are drawn must come? The answer is, “No!” The only way they can claim that all who are drawn must come is to deny all mankind the right to resist God’s drawing. That is, they have made the assumption that man has no free will to resist that drawing. However, if you add free will to the mixture, their teaching becomes somewhat non-Scriptural! No small wonder that they have to deny any doctrine of free will for mankind at any cost! (By the way, that same word for “draw” in the Greek is used in John 12:32 where Jesus says He will draw all to Himself when He is lifted up on the cross. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me. If Jesus draws all to Himself and none may refuse such drawing, then this verse demonstrates calvinists to be universalists!)
In order for calvinists to push their false teachings, they have to knock out inconvenient Biblical truths first. They do this by firstly aggressively denying the Biblical doctrine (without any genuine Scriptural evidence, of course, because no such evidence exists). Then, while hopefully some significant doubt has been bullied into their opponents, they leave this attack on Biblical truth hanging while they then push their own alternative which now becomes the “truth” once the real Biblical truth has been “shot down”. Most genuine Christians are not prepared for such aggressive tactics; under such an onslaught they tend to back down somewhat and try to take some middle ground in order to defuse the situation. The calvinist is usually quite happy to accept middle ground for the time being; he can always build on this foundation more strongly the next time. The key to it all is to aggressively deny any inconvenient Biblical truth, and then apply their own heresy as “truth” and seek, if at the very least, some agreement to begin with.
Look at the following from MacArthur (on 2 Peter 2:1). These false teachers — watch this — can be recognized because they characteristically say no to whom? To the Master who bought them.
There are two ways to understand this, apart from the analogy. The analogy simply says “unthinkably, unimaginably, having been bought by a master they refuse to submit to his authority.” In the spiritual dimension you would ask the question: In what sense did Christ buy these false teachers? Two ways to view it. First of all, you can view it as universal provision for the redemption of sinners, even though they refuse it and are damned.
But I think there is a second sense in which we have to understand this, that they have made an earthly identification with Christ’s redemption so that they claim Him as the one who bought them and they claim Him as their Redeemer, testifying that He indeed has bought them and their word then is taken at face value. No matter what they say, though they say they are Christ’s, they refuse to say yes to His sovereign lordship and thus they are false teachers. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/61-17/a-portrait-of-false-teachers-part-2
Do you see how MacArthur firstly says that this verse can be viewed in two ways? The first option is that these false teachers are part of a universal provision for the redemption for all sinners (which is clearly not the calvinist point of view!). But, MacArthur then adds his opinion on what he thinks it means, with the assumption that he must be right, so therefore those who believe the first option must be wrong. He doesn’t actually demonstrate in any way at all that the first option is incorrect. He gives no Biblical support to oppose the first option; he just pushes his own opinion (“I think there is a second sense in which we have to understand this”), similarly without Biblical support. Everything either stands or falls on the opinion of MacArthur, and thus, because MacArthur has taught such (regardless of any Biblical support or otherwise) then MacArthur must be right, and therefore the other view must be wrong. This is typical calvinist “teaching” methodology.
If MacArthur’s good standing as a “teacher” of the Bible is questioned, then other “heroes of the faith’ such as Jonathan Edwards, A W Pink, Calvin, Hodge, etc are called upon to add their vote of confidence to MacArthur’s “opinion taught as truth” (note Matthew 15:9). And, if those poor traditional fundamentalist Christians won’t accept such “erudite teachings” from such “great” men, then they can label them (shock! horror!) Arminians or even Pelagian! (Or maybe, if they are feeling kind, they might just call them “semi-Pelagian”!) It doesn’t matter if their opponents haven’t a clue what an Arminian or Pelagian is, the name-calling does seem to make calvinists somehow feel better. It’s a bit like MacArthur saying that he wouldn’t feel special if all those sinners going to hell also had their sins paid for on the cross; it would just spoil MacArthur’s day no doubt.
You hear people say, “Well, you know, when you say the atonement is limited, people don’t feel very special.” Well, I’ll tell you what. I don’t feel very special if you say to me, “Christ died for you, He loves you just like He died for the millions in hell.” That doesn’t make me feel very special. That’s kind of a hard way to do evangelism. Christ died on the cross for your sins and all the people in hell, too. That’s not special. That’s anything but special. You mean to tell me He paid for my sins and I’m paying for them forever? Then I’ll tell you, whatever His payment was, it was bogus.
Genuine Biblical Christians are often ill-equipped to defend true Biblical doctrine and often end up giving some ground in order to retreat and regroup. Instead, they should be taking the high ground of Biblical truth and requiring that calvinist false teachers demonstrate from the Bible alone – Sola Scriptura – why traditional Biblical truths (such as the free will of man) must be dismissed as untenable. The doctrine of the free will of man should never be dismissed just because some calvinist says so. Only the Bible may demonstrate such doctrines to be true or false, and when it comes to opposing such doctrines as the free will of man, the calvinists are almost always quite tongue-tied concerning Scriptural evidence. But the time has come for genuine Christians to stand up to these bullies and demand that they give clear Scriptural evidence for their dismissal of such basic Biblical doctrines.
If you were to establish the Biblical doctrine of free will, then not one single false calvinist teaching would be able to stand; instead all calvinism would be demonstrated to be the lies that it is. Every time a calvinist makes a statement that can only stand in the absence of free will for man, then ask him to demonstrate from the Bible that free will in salvation just cannot exist under any circumstances at all. If he dismisses your request as trivial, or says that it has already been shown beyond all doubt that free will does not exist, or that it is nonsense, or that the Bible consistently demonstrates that no such free will exists, then continue to demand that he show this clearly from the Bible. Ask him to prove it. Ask him to show from the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) that such free will is nonsense. Do not accept any waffling on about this, that and everything else, avoiding the issue; demand that he just stick to the point and demonstrate it! But, he won’t because they can’t!
And, it’s not only free will that is denied by them, either. They also deny that “the whole world” in 1 John 2:2 can possibly mean “the whole world”! Most calvinists teach that “the whole world” can only include Christians, or those who believe, or only the elect or anything else that only allows the calvinist Jesus to die for the sins of only those whom God has chosen for heaven from the beginning. They vary in their documentation and explanations as to why they say that the calvinist Jesus only died for the sins of believers; in fact, they can go to great lengths to push their views home to their opponents. However, I have never once heard (or read) a calvinist actually trying to convince non-calvinists (especially from the Bible) that “the whole world” can never mean “the whole world without exception”.
In general, calvinists, having “established” by their own belief that “the whole world” cannot mean “the whole world”, then proceed post haste to ram their non-Scriptural doctrine of limited atonement down their opponents’ throats. At this point, genuine Christians should demand of those calvinist “teachers” that they firstly demonstrate from the Bible that “the whole world” just cannot ever mean “the whole world without exception”. Don’t be put off by wild talk that suggests this and that, but never gets to the point of it all. Don’t be distracted by their talk of great calvinist authorities who support their views. Don’t be bullied by accusations that you aren’t spiritual enough to understand, or that you are Arminian or whatever they think might put you down. Just keep bringing them back to the point: where does the Bible teach that “the whole world” cannot mean “the whole world”? If they cannot demonstrate their opinions satisfactorily from the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura – they love those words!) then inform them that they are out of order and have no right to teach you anything unless they can show you clearly that what you believe is non-Biblical.
And, of course, another doctrine they side-step so adroitly around (in order to leave it behind) is that of the foreknowledge of God. They will tell you that God cannot use foreknowledge because common sense tells us so (Boettner – The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination), or that it is futile to discuss foreknowledge because God has already foreordained everything (Calvin – Institutes Book III Section 23 Part 6) or that the calvinist God does not foreknow the free decisions of people to believe in Him because there aren’t any such free decisions to know (Piper – What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism 1998). They might even tell you that God’s foreknowledge refers to the establishment of a love relationship with that person (MacArthur – Considering Election Not Politics) or that it is an intimate predetermined relationship between God and His people (MacArthur – Chosen by God Part 2). And so on ad infinitum!
There are many times when calvinists so confidently inform you that you are wrong (with little or no scriptural documentation for their accusations) and then proceed to give you all the “benefits” of their “superior” intellects and understanding, after which, if you have been paying attention, you might be confused enough to think that some of what they so aggressively threw at you might be right. So, next time this happens, work out what it is they are not telling you, or what it is they have dismissed without any Biblical basis for doing so. Just keep on bringing them back to the real question: please explain from the Bible why my belief in the free will of man in salvation is wrong. Please show where the Bible teaches that “the whole world” cannot mean “the whole world”. Please tell me why God is not to be allowed to have a perfect knowledge of the future (= foreknowledge). Do not let them get onto their bandwagon of lies, but force them to demonstrate why you should listen to them in the first place. Compel them to tell you why your traditional fundamentalist beliefs are wrong, using Sola Scriptura – the Bible alone. Be single-minded in your adherence to Biblical truth. Don’t be distracted by aggression, bullying, name-calling, mud-slinging and other derogatory behaviour against you. If you believe the Bible to be true, do not let someone else come and tell you that there’s a new truth called calvinism that redefines Biblical truth into greater truth. What they really mean is that you believe a lie, so now they will reveal the truth. Esoteric knowledge? Yes! Biblical? No!
My next post will focus on why Christians should consider treating calvinists as they would Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormans etc. After all, their man-made commandments are not compatible with the doctrines of the Bible alone, so how can light have fellowship with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14-17a – 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing];