Do calvinists ever listen to others?
You can always tell a calvinist, but not much!
Are calvinists so arrogant that they cannot even bear to listen to others properly before they then attempt to shove their lies down our throats? I answered a calvinist with my last post (Reply to a calvinist) but received a reply that demonstrates that he either does not read anything properly or he is incapable of reading anything properly. He did not answer most of my questions, and those he did answer were not actually answered anyway; they were more of the “please can we change the topic” variety.
He also copied out a whole lot of stuff from somewhere else (probably some calvinist self-proclaimed teacher) without any personal notes to explain what points he was really trying to make, other than I was wrong. Can’t he think for himself and produce his own thoughts as supported from the Bible, or does he have to run to his calvinist heroes to get answers every time someone offends his calvinist heresies. I wish more of these calvinists would just say what they think, rather than quoting some calvinist “hero”. Are these calvinists so immature in their Scriptural understanding that they cannot come up with what they actually think for themselves? Do they always have to let others think for them? Of course, that’s probably how they became sucked into the quagmire of calvinism in the first place. They didn’t know enough of the Bible to defend themselves from something that was targeting poor defenseless Christians with insufficient understanding to know that they were being drawn in like gullible fish on hooks of heresy!
When previously putting his case to me his arguments were so vacillating and vague that it was almost impossible to answer them clearly. He kept on putting in personal views that said nothing, yet expected me to be swayed by such. But how can I be swayed by vague and inconsistent rhetoric when I find it difficult to know just what point he is trying to make. I refuse to accept something another says unless I can see some rational and logical way to check it out in the Bible. But if I cannot understand just what the calvinist is trying to get through to me, then I cannot test it against Scripture, and therefore I have to reject it. This is standard behaviour from any Christian who desires to test all things as per 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
I like to say something straight forward; I don’t like to beat about the bush in getting to the point. I can’t see how anyone can fail to understand what I am saying, even if they disagree. If they do not understand, they should ask me to clarify it, which I will do, because they have asked me to do so. This is how Christians should treat others who are seeking answers. They must be allowed the means by which they may check what I am saying against the truth of the Bible. They might disagree with what I am saying, but at least I prefer to be logical and rational with my statements. I guess it comes from having a Maths degree; I have to see everything set out in order.
However, with this post, I wish to demonstrate the typical calvinist profile.
1/. Calvinists rarely like to stand on their own two feet. Instead, whenever they are challenged on some point of Biblical doctrine, they’ll run to one or more of their calvinist heroes such as Calvin, Boettner, Hodge, Piper, Sproule, MacArthur, etc. I can’t remember the last time I came across a calvinist person who didn’t use other calvinist references to make his point.
The calvinist has to accept that such men are great teachers and therefore cannot be wrong on matters of Biblical doctrine. They will often act as though these calvinist heroes are even superior to the Bible. (For instance, I have personally never heard any calvinist ever acknowledge that MacArthur could ever be wrong in any way. If I say one thing and MacArthur says something else, then he is always right and therefore I am always wrong.) This behaviour rarely changes. Calvinist teachers are always right when they discuss Scriptural matters with non-calvinists. Therefore, calvinists who trust and quote their calvinist teachers can never be wrong because their teachers are always right.
By the way, we are told to test all things according to the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:21). But, calvinists test all things according to their calvinist teachings which apparently override Scriptural truth. A recent email comment said: He (Calvin) merely helps to magnify theology. Now, that sounds like he is claiming Calvin’s writings to be extra-Biblical revelation, like the Book of Mormon is extra-Biblical revelation to the Mormons. So we never knew what the Bible really said until Calvin came along?!!
No Christian ever has a 100% correct doctrine. We are always learning until the day we die, so anyone who can never learn from another is arrogant enough to think that he has passed the stage of having to test all things, because he now knows all things!
2/. Calvinists are often reluctant to give straight-forward answers to straight-forward questions, especially when their straight-forward answers might cause them to be less trusted as a fellow Christian. If a non-calvinist asks direct and specific questions that require an answer, the calvinist will only answer them if he can do so without compromising his already “fully-correct” doctrines. He will often avoid answering direct questions if they might involve some fancy sidestepping of facts, or verbal gymnastics (MacArthur is good at this one) or where the other person appears to have a much better grasp of the Bible than he does. At such times, vague answers are the order of the day.
3/. Calvinists do not like to go face-to-face with those who might trip them up with superior knowledge and understanding, especially when they are on their own. They do prefer to be supported by other calvinists alongside them or backing them when they are dealing with someone who knows the Bible well. They do far prefer to deal with those who are reasonably new Christians, those who might not be as sure of their doctrines as they should. They also prefer Christians who are pliable, those who can be manipulated by the more aggressive tactics of the calvinists.
In fact, the people most likely to be converted to calvinism are generally young or immature Christians with a poor understanding of the major doctrines of the Bible. Such people often do not have the skills to be able to test all things, often never having been taught this necessary skill by their churches. That is, they do not have sufficient knowledge nor understanding of the Bible to be able to readily check those things which the calvinists thrust upon them. They are often confused by calvinist aggression and tend to tentatively and meekly submit to the new beliefs unless they can see certainly that they are wrong. Often new or immature Christians don’t have the experience to determine many heresies because their churches are failing to teach them properly from the Bible. It is hard for such Christians to stand up to a more mature person who appears to be very assured about his Biblical knowledge!
4/. Calvinists rarely (if ever) announce their whole doctrine from the start. If they were to do so, more Christians might be aware of their heresies. But it is more difficult to detect false doctrines when they are progressively taught over a period of time. What they teach always seems to be on the ball; it often takes an alert and experienced Christian to notice the small discrepancies in doctrinal truth. However, a lot of small pieces of false doctrine finally build into a heresy. And, like a bushfire, heresy is always easier to stamp out in its early stages.
By far the most common practice is for the calvinist to firstly establish the lines of agreement. If the non-calvinist tends to agree with the calvinist, then he is likely to think that the calvinist is a good Christian with whom he might fellowship. If the non-calvinist is not a mature Christian, then he may look upon the calvinist as a kind of mentor. He may consider that the calvinist has an understanding that the non-calvinist might desire. The calvinist does not usually state any of the major calvinist teachings at first, but may vaguely appear to state doctrines that sound like they are in line with the Bible. If he appears to know the Bible well, then he may eventually be trusted enough to be able to commence strengthening some of his more questionable doctrines, such as limited atonement – always a hard one to “sell” to non-calvinists at first. Finally, when the calvinist feels he has enough trust of the non-calvinist, he will then lead that person into the esoteric belief system of calvinism – a belief system that only permits you the knowledge according to the level you have reached in their organisation.
Note that people never become calvinists by just reading the Bible. Every calvinist has learned calvinism from another calvinist. It is a belief system propagated by people, not the word of God. The Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) can never teach people to be calvinists!
5/. Calvinism, like many Christian cults, teaches its members by requiring them to learn calvinist interpretations of Biblical doctrine, rather than training them to study the Bible for their own understanding. Far too many churches teach facts. They fail to teach Christians how to seek truth from the Bible, but instead tell them what they should believe from the Bible. The emphasis is upon the leadership determining what the congregation should know, rather than teaching the congregation to seek truth for themselves. And, like many cults, they know a lot about what they believe, but not much about why they believe as they do. It is difficult to explain Biblical truth to such people because their knowledge overrides understanding. Like many cultists, they can only parrot off what their revered calvinist teachers have taught them. When faced with opposition to their beliefs, they will fall back upon what they have learned as their safe ground. Explaining the Bible to them often only strengthens their belief in their learned doctrines. In many ways it is like talking to a Jehovah’s Witness; you just don’t seem to get the Biblical message past their cultist teachings.
Calvinists will often demonstrate an almost unshakeable belief in their doctrines, even when you consider that you have proven them wrong ten times over. So often they just don’t seem to see the truth that is right under their noses. I define this unshakeable level of belief as cult-like in its intensity.
6/. Calvinists cannot put up with competition. They must be the ones who lead the discussions on doctrine. They are never comfortable with listening to others teach doctrines differing to their own. This is especially true if the other person is teaching from the Bible; this labels the other person as someone who may know the Bible and therefore someone to avoid if possible, unless the calvinist is doing the talking! As new calvinist Al Mohler said: Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism, or you’re going to have to invent some label for what is basically going to be the same thing, there just are not options out there (https://www.newcalvinist.com/albert-mohler-and-hip-hop-culture/)
Clearly Mohler doesn’t appreciate competition. Either you are with him (as a new calvinist) or you are not a proper Christian! This is a common attitude with calvinists today.
Calvinists will often demonstrate an air of superiority because of this “better” view of Christianity. They believe their God is more sovereign, more gracious, more this, more that. You just don’t know you’re living unless you’re a calvinist!! I fail to understand, however, just how the calvinist God can be more sovereign, more gracious, than the God of the Bible! If a calvinist says that he has a higher view of God’s sovereignty, just ask him if he is worshipping the God of the Bible! Those poor non-calvinist Christians are so often the lesser beings in a church which favours calvinism!
7/. If a calvinist cannot win a debate with you (usually because you know the Bible too well and can’t be shaken), then name-calling often becomes the order of the day. The non-calvinist becomes a “problem”, or he is “non-spiritual”, or “Arminian” or “Pelagian” (either semi or full), or he is “misrepresenting the calvinist” (which is unlikely if he quotes their actual statements), or he is “misled by his views on the free-will of man”, or he is “non-elect”, or he is a “universalist”. Now, that last one is one that MacArthur levels at non-calvinists (who believe that Jesus died for all the sins of all the world without exception, which is actually what the Bible says – see 1 John 2:2). MacArthur says that all those whose sins were paid for on the cross will go to heaven; so, if you aren’t going to heaven, your sins were not paid for! As A W Pink (a calvinist “teacher”) said: Not one for whom He died can possibly miss heaven. Note that if you don’t make heaven, then Pink is saying that Jesus didn’t die for you. But, if Jesus died for all people, and if all for whom Jesus died go to heaven (as per MacArthur), then MacArthur is really teaching universalism!
8/. Calvinists see non-calvinist churches as their mission field. Calvinism does not have a viable gospel of salvation; they teach that you must be made alive (born again) by the Holy Spirit before you may hear the gospel, believe in Jesus and be saved. They cannot preach the gospel (unless you have already been born again) because it would be telling lies to most of the world (for whom the calvinist Jesus didn’t die for on the cross). They believe that you must first be drawn by God into the body of the church and made alive (regenerated or born again) before you may be considered one of the elect, and only the elect will be permitted by the calvinist God to respond to the gospel. Note that they may only hear and respond to the gospel after they have been firstly regenerated (born again).
Thus, those who are already attending churches are seen as the elect of God. Therefore non-calvinist churches are filled with likely recipients of the calvinist gospel. In particular, if you are a fundamentalist evangelical church, you may one day be targeted for takeover by a calvinist church group in your area. They may infiltrate your small study and prayer groups, even giving the impression that they are like-minded fundamentalists like you. However, if you are not careful, they may be able to “convert” some of your more impressionable members, making it more difficult to withstand their onslaught on the whole church when it comes. They may initiate debates or discussions on issues related to calvinism without showing where they stand; such discussions may serve to introduce calvinism without appearing to threaten the non-calvinist members.
9/. Calvinists like a church that permits strong leadership, as long as they are that leadership! A W Pink, a calvinist author, teaches that the silence of the people as they marched around the walls of Jericho proved that the common or lay person was to keep quiet and leave all the teaching to the leaders. The forbidding of “the people” to open their mouths signified that the rank and file of Christians are to have no part in the oral proclamation of the truth―they are neither qualified for nor called to the ministration of the Word. (P 10, Studies in the Scriptures, A W Pink)
Calvinist churches like to declare their teachers as teaching elders, while the common workhorse servants (non-teaching leaders) of the church are often the deacons. If your church has deacons and the pastor wants elders to be appointed as well, ask if they are the teaching elders as opposed to the non-teaching deacons. This may be a sign of calvinism sneaking in the back door.
10/. New calvinism (a particularly aggressive form of calvinism today) is building a strong power base in many fundamentalist evangelical churches, such as among the Southern Baptists of USA (although this infiltration is a largely world-wide phenomenon now). They seek to take control of the Bible colleges and seminaries (have already done so in many places) such that the new generation of pastors and church leaders is sympathetic to calvinist teachings. Bible college students are quite susceptible to pressure being brought to bear by aggressive calvinist Bible teachers. With new calvinism has also come the Biblical Counselling movement; both new calvinism and Biblical Counselling were largely developed alongside each other at Westminster Theological Seminary in USA. Biblical counselling is used by many churches as a means of control of their members. Beware of signing a membership agreement that includes a discipline clause. Many churches already have such clauses and those who sign them may find that the church can and will dictate to them how they should live in order to remain acceptable to God. Biblical counsellors usually work in with the church leadership, advising them of potential threats to the stability of the church. Church members may be publicly named and shamed in church services if the church finds them guilty of sin (as the church defines it).
Be very careful and alert in your church. Your freedom to worship Biblically might be under fire from people whom you might trust, yet shouldn’t. Test all things your church teaches you; do not accept any doctrine unless you can understand it for yourself from the Bible. Watch for those who might be using small church study or prayer groups to reach out to individuals or small groups. Remember, vigilance is the cost of your freedom to worship. Calvinism is an insidious evil that should not be permitted into your church group. Calvinists are like wolves who, if admitted to your sheep fold, will rapidly spread their heresies, soon taking over the sheep-fold if not stopped in their tracks.
If you liked this post, here are some more links to try.