Why do Christians treat calvinists as brothers in Christ?
Much distress can occur when two conflicting ideologies exist within the same social group, especially within churches. For that reason it is always good to heed Paul’s admonition to not be unequally yoked together. Christians would (or should) be quite rightly upset if a practising Mormon (or Jehovah’s Witness, etc) were to be admitted to membership to their church; that is, assuming that their church is not one of those allegedly progressive Christian churches I have read about in America where some kind of brotherhood is implied between certain “Christians” and Mormons. I understand that it is one of the values of the emerging church movement to try to be as compatible with as many other belief systems as possible in order to keep the peace in their social communities. However, all they end up with is those beliefs that are compatible with all who attend; thus, the more beliefs you accommodate within your church, the fewer those beliefs can be. If you take this to its natural conclusion, it must be possible to have a church that will accept any who come, where there can be no conflict because you have no remaining beliefs with which to conflict!
Clearly, a genuine fundamentalist Christian should never consider fellowshipping with a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, or even those which some might label as “Christian”, such as Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists (because many of their beliefs are far from Christian). So why do such Christians still insist on fellowshipping with calvinists? Why are calvinist beliefs acceptable when the beliefs of other cults are not? Their man-made calvinist 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];
Look at all the calvinist beliefs that are incompatible with true Biblical doctrine. To start with, let’s look at the gospel. The gospel has to be the basis, the foundation, for every other Biblical doctrine, so if the gospel is wrong, then all other doctrines are going to be skewed out of shape. Therefore, if the calvinist gospel is incompatible with the Biblical gospel, then Christians should avoid fellowshipping with calvinists just as they would avoid JWs and Mormons etc.
The Bible teaches very clearly that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind without exception. While it does teach that man is so depraved that he will not under any circumstance desire to seek after God, it does not teach that man is incapable of seeking after God. That is, the Bible does not teach the total inability of man to seek after God under any circumstance. Biblical Christianity does agree with the calvinists that God must intervene in a man’s life before that man may respond favourably toward God. However, unlike the calvinists, the Bible teaches that God intervenes in the sinner’s life through the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the preaching of the word of the gospel that gives light to man’s dark soul, which is why satan tries so hard to hide it from the lost of the world.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
When the gospel is preached faithfully, the hearer will recognise it for what it is: that God condemns sinful man to hell, but has provided a remedy for it, through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The hearer of the gospel has to determine if he is prepared to believe that the God who punishes sin really exists, and if the proposed remedy (salvation) is more desirable than what he already has. That is, the hearer must determine by faith that God does truly exist and that He will reward those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) by delivering the salvation that He has promised through the gospel. On this basis, the hearer must either choose to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, or to reject the promised salvation and not be saved. (Free will is very much a part of Biblical salvation, as is the necessity of God’s intervention in the first place if man is to be saved, by offering full and free salvation to all who would come for it.)
The calvinist teaches that lost man is dead in trespasses and sins, and incapable of responding to any intervention of God (including through the gospel). Calvinism teaches that until a man is made alive again (termed regeneration = being born again) he cannot respond at all. They teach that the lost, as dead men, are incapable of doing anything spiritually, quoting Ephesians 2:1 – And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins. While some calvinists say that the gospel is God’s means of reaching out to the lost, this is actually diametrically opposed to their doctrine of total inability to respond at all before being quickened (made alive) by the Spirit. For, according to calvinism, how can a dead man respond to anything at all until after he is quickened – made alive again – regenerated?
To the calvinist, the gospel is the external call of God which can and will be resisted by all men, including the still-lost calvinist elect. The internal call of the Spirit is only made to the elect of God and this call will not be resisted by any who are called. Once the person has been called by the Spirit to be quickened (made alive) through regeneration (being born again), he is then able to hear the gospel of salvation in Christ, believe by faith in that gospel, and be saved, and receive eternal life. That is, the calvinist has to be made alive, born again by the Spirit of God, before that man can hear and believe the gospel and be saved! Yes, that’s right, to the calvinist, you must be born again before you are able to be saved!
Being made alive through regeneration also raises some awkward questions for the calvinist, because he has to accept that the life of regeneration (being born again) is, in fact, eternal. It cannot be permitted to be any life which is inferior to eternal life, so therefore, according to the calvinist, a person has to receive eternal life from the Spirit at regeneration. But the Bible teaches that we must come to Christ for eternal life. John 5:40 says And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. That is, they would not come to Christ and therefore they would miss out on that eternal life which they could have had if only they would come. But calvinism teaches that a person has eternal life when he is regenerated (born again) which has to happen before a man can come to Christ for eternal life. Calvinism actually teaches that you have to have eternal life in order to come to Christ for eternal life!
Spurgeon, that allegedly “great” preacher (who could have been truly great had he more consistently taught Biblical truths only) admitted to this problem in his Sermon 52 (Free Will – A Slave; John 5:40) Eternal Life is Given to All Who Come for It
There never was a man who came to Christ for eternal life, for legal life, for spiritual life, who had not already received it, in some sense.
Spurgeon here is admitting the calvinist teaching that a man receives life at regeneration, yet still states that eternal life is given to all who come (to Christ) for it. Now, this life received at regeneration must be eternal life and not some inferior life, because calvinists also teach that this regeneration life is of the Spirit of God. It must be eternal life or else it is not given by the Spirit of God. This means that while we must come to Christ to receive eternal life, the calvinist has to teach that this is irrelevant because he already has eternal life before he comes to Christ! Thus, according to the calvinist, Christ has become irrelevant in the gospel of salvation. He isn’t a necessary part of their salvation, for a man may be born again and receive eternal life before he has even heard of Christ, let alone believed in Him! The calvinist is already going to heaven before he believes in Christ and is saved (and receives eternal life!).
Of course, Calvin taught that God sometimes gave a person a temporary faith (one that wouldn’t get him to heaven) by an inferior operation of the Spirit; this shocking blasphemy may be found in his Institutes Book III Chapter 2 Section 11.
Some calvinists recognise that being born again (regeneration) must be the same as being saved, yet are unable to teach this clearly because then a person would need to believe in Christ before he was regenerated, if regeneration were to be the same as “being saved”. Because a man cannot do anything spiritually good before he is regenerated (according to calvinist teachings), then he cannot even believe in Christ before he is saved. Thus calvinist “teachers” such as Boettner teach that A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved. (P 75, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination – Loraine Boettner)
The Bible says that Jesus died for the sins of all the world (that is, all mankind without exception); salvation is offered to all who would receive the offered gift of life. The calvinists say that Jesus only died for those whom God would choose to go to heaven; salvation is offered to absolutely no-one else.
The Bible says that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Calvinists say that God decides who will be saved and that calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved cannot save you unless God wants to save you.
The Bible says that you must come to Christ for eternal life, whereas the calvinist says that you must receive eternal life before you can come to Christ.
Thus the calvinist gospel is clearly incompatible with the Biblical gospel. And, if the calvinist gospel is a false gospel, then other doctrines will also be badly skewed, such as the free will of man, the extent of the atonement of Christ, and the foreknowledge of God. And, in fact, each of these doctrines is twisted out of recognition in order to support a false gospel that cannot accept any free will of man, a false gospel that only permits Jesus to die for those whom God selects for heaven, and denies God’s perfect knowledge of the future, redefining it as a foreordaining, or predestination, or even a love relationship between God and his elect. All the major calvinist doctrines sound the same as Biblical doctrines in name only; in actual fact they are vastly different, in order to support a vastly different gospel! Please read for further information: When will calvinists become Biblical?
So, if you are a discerning, Bible-believing Christian, then consider carefully who you are fellowshipping with. You surely wouldn’t fellowship with a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, because light has no fellowship with darkness. Likewise, you should avoid fellowship with all cults that teach another gospel other than the Biblical gospel. Too many Christians today have meekly accepted calvinists as another type of Christian when in fact they preach another gospel that denies all the major tenets of the Biblical gospel. Be discerning! Test all things! Understand that there are many conflicts between the Biblical gospel and the calvinist gospel. There can be no compromise between God’s people and cults with a false gospel. Even if they pretend to be the same, calvinists are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, and, like wolves, usually end up taking over all the sheep-folds they are accepted into. Would you let wolves take charge of your flock of sheep? Then don’t let calvinist wolves into your sheep-fold in the first place!
Be warned! Don’t let the wolves dictate what you should believe! Think for yourselves; be thoughtful and alert, for the devil seeks to devour your faith. Resist the devil and his servants (the wolves); resist them steadfastly; don’t back down; don’t give in. Stand up for what the Bible teaches, not the teachings of man.
1 Peter 5:8-9 – 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Far too many churches today have been destroyed for lack of knowledge due to the false teaching of such wolves as the calvinists. The church today desperately needs good solid teaching that trains Christians to stand in the face of enemy attack. Good solid teaching unadulterated by false doctrines such as the calvinists teach!