Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 1

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 1

(Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 2)

(Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 3)

This is a hotly-contested issue upon which many will take sides largely based upon what they have been taught to believe. I have done some research on this matter over a number of years and was very surprised to find that what I had been taught (and had also believed) was not necessarily so. So often Bible passages are explained according to what the “teacher” already believes to be the truth, such that we get interpretations of verses and passages that are compromised by such beliefs before they are “proved” or “tested” according to 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Too many interpretations are made to fit what the person already believes to be true (and this occurs in more than just this particular doctrinal issue).

There are a number of “proof” verses that each side of the debate claim to “prove” their stand; these should all be looked at to determine if, in fact, they teach what they are claimed to teach, without any added preconceived ideas from beliefs already held by the teacher. I have, for a number of years now, settled upon my views on this matter, and I no longer fully believe what I had always been taught to believe. And, this is one of those topics that can only be seen in its proper light if one puts aside all previously held beliefs and investigates the issues with an open and rational mind. Also, all too often, a person is labelled with a particular “-ism” according to what they determine to believe, regardless of whether or not they actually are of that “-ism” belief. There should be room for allowance for Christians to actually read the Bible itself to determine what they perceive to be the truth independently of other doctrinal belief systems (with “-isms” such as calvinism and arminianism being thrown around like confetti).

At first glance, there appear to be two main camps of opinion, loosely described as “Yes, you may be assured of your salvation for eternity; you cannot under any circumstance lose your salvation!” (sometimes termed Once-Saved-Always-Saved) or “No, you cannot be assured of your salvation for eternity; certain circumstances may prevent you from continuing with your salvation!” Yet, on closer inspection, a third view may be understood: that you cannot lose your salvation unless you by your own free will renounce such eternal life. Of course, it is difficult to understand why anyone who had eternal life would ever want to give it away for the sake of the world, but nevertheless it may be seen as a doctrinal point of view on this issue.

There are even more views on this. They include the belief that you have to lose your salvation at least once. I never could understand this from any Biblical point of view; no doubt the person who told me this was certain that he was right. Another view states that all names of all mankind are written in the book of life and are removed at death if that person hasn’t made a decision to be saved by that time. Hal Lindsey in “There’s a New World Coming” P 48 says (of Revelation 3:5) that “his name will remain in the Book of Life. This Book contains the names of all the individuals ever born. If a person does not receive Jesus Christ as Savior by the time he dies, his name is blotted out of the Book of Life.” However, I’ll concentrate on the 3 main options as first listed above.

Firstly I’ll look at verses and passages which support the assurance of eternal salvation.

1/.  1 John 5:12-1312 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

This states two facts that cannot be denied: (a) that the one who has the Son of God (Christ) has life, and (b) that those who believe on the name of the Son of God have eternal life. It may be assumed that this means born-again Christians who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. In addition, this verse has clearly been written with the purpose of assuring such Christians that if they have the Son and believe on the name of the Son of God, then they may be assured of eternal life, and that they may continue to confidently believe in the name of the Son of God.

This verse appears irrefutable, yet some comments must be raised: (a) If life is attached to having the Son, and not having the Son means not having life, then all this verse is saying that having life eternally is dependent upon you having the Son eternally. Permanence of life is dependent upon permanence of having the Son. It really comes down to whether or not you can choose to stop having the Son at any time. Thus, personal free will may be an objection to the claim of assurance of having eternal life. (b) Why assure those who believe on the name of the Son of God that they may believe on the name of the Son of God, if in fact this is a permanent state of belief?

This verse is strong evidence of the assurance of salvation, yet does appear to rely upon continuing to have the Son and to believe on His name. Can a person choose to not have the Son after firstly having the Son? Or is it impossible to reject the Son once you have Him? If free will permits a person to choose to have the Son, can free will also permit that same person to then stop having the Son? Thus this verse teaches assurance of salvation as long as the Christian does not have a free will to turn away from the Son again.

2/.  John 5:24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

The question of eternal security rests upon the promise of having eternal life that can never be lost under any circumstances. So, this is an assurance of everlasting life as long as it is impossible for a person to choose to not believe. Does this verse require the person who believes on the Son to continue to believe on the Son for the rest of his life? Or does this verse allow the possibility that a person may cease believing on the Son? Once again, if free will permits a person to choose to believe on the Son, can free will also permit that same person to then stop believing on the Son? Thus this verse teaches assurance of salvation as long as the Christian does not have a free will to cease believing on the Son.

3/.  Jude 1:24Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Being able to keep the Christian from falling, and being able to present the Christian faultless before the presence of God’s glory does not actually promise that it will happen but is simply a statement of capability. God is able to keep a Christian from falling into sin, but does He actually do it without the Christian wanting God to do so? I may be able to jump into deep hot water, but does that mean that I will do so? The truth is that Christians do fall into sin when God commands them not to do so; therefore it is clear that personal free will is involved in this situation. This verse simply states what God is able to do, not necessarily what He actually will do. It’s the calvinist denial of personal freedom of will that makes what God is able to do the same as what He actually will do. Thus this verse does not necessarily assure the Christian of eternal security of salvation.

4/.  Romans 8:16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

A very good verse to demonstrate eternal security of the believer, as long as we have the Holy Spirit eternally (and unquenched) in our lives. Ephesians 4:30 says that we are sealed by that same Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. But, we may also quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) in which case does the Spirit then continue to bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God? Does that mean then, that if the Spirit (through being quenched) cannot bear such witness, that we are not the children of God? This verse appears to teach assurance of salvation, yet also appears to depend upon whether or not we choose to commit sin which may quench the Spirit of God. Once again, freedom of will may be a factor here.

5/.  Hebrews 7:25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

As per the argument for Jude 1:24, this states the ability of God to save to the uttermost, yet does not actually say that he will do so. Again, if by our free wills we choose to disobey God, then we demonstrate that we do not love Him (John 14:15) So, can our disobedience jeopardise God’s ability to save us to the uttermost?

6/.  John 10:28-2928 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.

This passage, along with Romans 8:38-39, does make it very clear that no-one may take us out of God’s hand. This is quite conclusive, except for one thing which must be noted. We do have eternal life and shall never perish while we are in the Father’s hand, and certainly He will not permit anyone to take us out of His hand. And, if God is infinitely more powerful than all His creation put together, then literally no-one may overcome God’s protection of His children. These facts cannot be denied. But, are we able to take ourselves out of the father’s hand?

7/.  Ephesians 4:30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

This verse certainly looks like a bullet-proof defence of eternal security. A seal is just that: a seal, something that cannot be broken by anyone except an authorised person. And if it is the seal of God, then who can break it. It is definite that this is as strong a verse in support of eternal security as you can get, up there with not being able to be plucked out of God’s hand. After all, who is going to be able to overcome God’s authority?

But, does anyone other than God (via His Holy Spirit) have the authority to break this seal? A seal was put on a document or correspondence to ensure that only the authorised person could open and read it. Thus, only two people had the authority to break that seal, the one who put the seal there, and the one to whom the document was addressed (or two parties to a covenant or contract). In this case, a seal is placed upon the covenant that God makes with the Christian in ensuring the eternal salvation of that believer. There are two parties to this covenant, God and the Christian. It is clear that God will not break this covenant, but does the other party to this covenant (the Christian) have the authority to break that seal? Once again, this would rest on whether or not the Christian is permitted the freedom of will to make such a decision.

8/.  John 6:47bHe that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

As with John 5:24 above, this assurance depends upon whether or not a Christian is permitted the freedom of will to cease believing? It is hard to understand why any Christian would wish to cease believing in the Saviour, but if he could, and did so, then he would lose his eternal life. But, can he cease believing in Christ? Is this a choice God permits him to make? Once again it really depends upon whether free will may be applied to our belief in Christ after as well as before we believed.

9/.  Romans 8:38-3938 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the one verse which seems to be absolute in its support for the assurance of our eternal salvation. It covers just about everything. Absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Once we’re on that train to heaven, nothing whosoever or whatsoever can ever take us off it, because God will prevent every effort to remove us from His love. However, that one problem still raises its head: Are we able to get off that train to heaven if we should choose to do so? Unless you’re a calvinist who denies the free will of man to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, then you will believe that anyone who makes a genuine decision to be saved does so by their own free will. Does the person who chose to be saved by his free will, have the right to reject that salvation also by his free will? Can he choose to lose his salvation? Or is that prevented by God by not permitting man free will to choose the world once he is saved for heaven?

Two of the above passages (3, 5) have more to do with God’s ability to save to the uttermost, rather than whether or not He will actually do it. But many passages (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9) do not allow for any possibility of loss of salvation/eternal life unless one is permitted to use freedom of will to recant one’s belief in Christ.

Basically this is what it comes down to: Can a person, after coming to Christ of his own free will, also have the right to leave Christ by his own free will. A major difference between calvinist and non-calvinist doctrines is that calvinism demands no freedom of will especially with respect to spiritual matters such as salvation and its consequences. Non-calvinist doctrine teaches the free will of mankind to accept or reject God’s gift of salvation. However, does salvation remove that freedom of will from the person once he is saved? This will be looked at in further posts.

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 2

Eternal security? or Can you lose your salvation? Part 3

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Piper says holy God ordains unholy acts of sin

Piper says holy God ordains unholy acts of sin

John Piper, like most calvinists, is far too vague on the truth of the Bible when it comes to the use of isolated Bible verses to support his false doctrines and blasphemies. For example, let’s have a look at his reply to a question on whether or not God ordains sin. Unless otherwise stated, I will quote from Piper’s “Does sin have a necessary place in God’s plan for the universe”. (In other words, Piper teaches that God’s plan for the universe is imperfect without sin! That sin has a necessary place in God’s ultimate plan! That is, sin perfects all things? Sin puts the finishing touch on God’s creation?)

A podcast listener named Brandon writes in: “Pastor John, in your book Spectacular Sins, your main point is that God can and does ordain that sin happen in order to accomplish His glorious purposes, of which I agree. But it raised a question in my mind. Since God uses sin to accomplish His purposes, is it true to say then that there are some of God’s plans that only sin can fulfill? Does this mean that there is a need or necessity for sin in his ultimate plan?”
My answer is yes. In God’s ultimate plan, sin has a necessary place. And I will try to explain why from the Bible.  ….. So why do I say that in God’s ultimate plan sin has a necessary place? I say it because of three passages of Scripture, for starters. And there are others.” So sin is necessary? Then why doesn’t God command us to do it?

At this point Piper lists three passages that he claims demonstrate the necessity of sin in God’s ultimate plan. I won’t go into these, other than to say that they don’t demonstrate such, unless you remove the free will of man and the foreknowledge of God from the discussion. Piper doesn’t believe in either free will of man or the foreknowledge of God. He says “God does not foreknow the free decisions of people to believe in him because there aren’t any such free decisions to know. …. As C.E.B. Cranfield says, the foreknowledge of Romans 8:29 is “that special taking knowledge of a person which is God’s electing grace.” Such foreknowledge is virtually the same as election: “Those whom he foreknew (i.e. chose) he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.(from “What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism” Piper, 1998)

Piper then invokes the holiness of God to demonstrate his argument for the necessity of sin in God’s ultimate plan. (Although it is difficult to understand how the necessity of sin can in any way uphold the holiness of God!)
He says, “And at this point it is very important that we stress the holiness of God when we say this. God’s holiness is not the least compromised or impugned by the fact that God wills for unholy acts to take place.” (Does Piper really believe this blasphemy he has just written? That God’s holiness is not compromised nor impugned by God willing for sin to take place? This is God who cannot permit sin to come into His presence, who Piper says “wills for unholy acts to take place”! It’s a bit like a policeman telling the bank robber to go rob a bank!)

We can see this, for example, in the book of Isaiah. Few books lift up the holiness of God like Isaiah. You remember chapter 6. “One [angel] called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3). That three-fold “holy” is one of the strongest biblical statements there is about the unimpeachable holiness, purity, sinlessness of God.
Yet it is Isaiah who in 63:17 says, “O Lord, why do you make (cause) us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?” So God is ordaining for whatever the rationale and reason here that there be a season in which this people not fear him.” Is God really ordaining that His people not fear Him? Is this what this verse is actually saying, or has Piper got this interpretation totally wrong? Clearly Piper’s God is not the God of the Bible for the God of the Bible says: Serve the Lord with fear (Psalm 2:11) and Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God (Deuteronomy 10:20).

I determined then to look up the various commentaries on ( to see what others taught about this. There’s a range of comments from calvinist to not so calvinist writers; I will quote the main ones documented on their “Comment” page. I note that even Gill, who is quite calvinist in his teachings, fails to support anything to do with the necessity for God to ordain that His people not fear Him.

Pulpit commentary Verse 17. – Why hast thou made us to err from thy ways? Confession is here mingled with a kind of reproach. They have erred and strayed from God’s ways, they ‘ allow; but why has he permitted it?

Cambridge commentary17. Render: Why shouldest Thou leave us to wander, O Jehovah, from Thy ways; and harden our heart so that we fear Thee not? etc. Israel had rejected God’s guidance, and He had given them up to their sins; how long was this to last?

Ellicott commentary(17) Why hast thou made us to err . . .—The prophet identifies himself with his people, and speaks as in their name. Have their sins led God to abandon them, and to harden their hearts as He hardened Pharaoh’s?

Benson commentaryIsaiah 63:17-19. O Lord, why hast thou made us to err — Suffered us to err; from thy ways — Thy commandments. And hardened our heart from thy fear — That is, the fear of thee? Why hast thou withdrawn thy grace, and left us to our own hardness of heart?

Barnes commentaryO Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways?  ….. Calvin remarks on the passage, ‘The prophet uses a common form of speaking, for it is usual in the Scriptures to say that God gives the wicked over to a reprobate mind, and hardens their hearts. But when the pious thus speak, they do not intend to make God the author of error or sin, as if they were innocent – nolunt Deum erroris aut sceleris facere auctorem, quasi sint innoxii – or to take away their own blameworthiness. But they rather look deeper, and confess themselves, by their own fault, to be alienated from God, and destitute of his Spirit; and hence it happens that they are precipitated into all manner of evils. ….
At all events, this is the doctrine which was held by the father of the system of Calvinism; and nothing more should be charged on that system, in regard to blinding and hardening people, than is thus avowed. It is not to be supposed that this result took place by direct divine agency. It is not by positive power exerted to harden people and turn them away from God. No man who has any just views of God can suppose that he exerts a positive agency to make them sin, and then punishes them for it; no one who has any just views of man, and of the operations of his own mind, can doubt that a sinner is voluntary in his transgression.

Jamieson commentary17. made us to err—that is, “suffer” us to err and to be hardened in our heart. They do not mean to deny their own blameworthiness, but confess that through their own fault God gave them over to a reprobate mind.

Matthew PooleMade us to err from thy ways, commandments. It is the language of the godly among them being troubled, and therefore complaining that so gracious a Father should leave them to such exigences.
Made us to sin by withdrawing thy Spirit and leaving us to ourselves. It is not to be understood as if God did force them to it

Gill commentaryO Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?…. These are the words, not of wicked men among the Jews, charging all their errors, hardness of heart, and wickedness they were guilty of, upon the Lord, as if he was the author and occasion of them, and led them into them; but of the truly godly, lamenting and confessing their wandering from the ways, commands, and ordinances of God, the hardness of their hearts; their want of devotion and affection for God; and their neglect of his worship; not blaming him for these things, or complaining of him as having done anything amiss or wrong; but expostulating with him, and wondering at it, that he, who was their loving and tender Father, that he should suffer them to err from his ways, and to wander from his worship, by withholding his grace and withdrawing his presence from them; by leaving them to the corruptions and hardness of their hearts; by chastising them sorely, and suffering the enemy to afflict them in such a severe manner as laid them under temptation to desert the worship of God, and cast off the fear of him.

Not one reputable commentary can be found that states that it was God who ordained their wandering from His ways and ordained their hardness of heart! Even Gill, a declared calvinist, teaches that it was the decision of God’s people to wander from God’s pathways. Piper is out on a limb on his own here. He has taken a verse out of context without scriptural consistency, and made it say what he wants it to say regardless of the truth (which he conveniently ignores at his peril).

Piper continues: “With a partial explanation, perhaps, given in the next chapter, where he says, “There is no one who calls on your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have handed us over to our iniquities” (Isaiah 64:7).” By the way, Isaiah 64:7 cannot be shown to give support for Piper’s teachings here, either. People can teach any heresy they wish by using individual Bible verses taken out of context and ignoring Biblical consistency.

Piper continues: “So Isaiah, on the one hand, gives the highest testimony of God’s holiness and spotlessness and sinlessness and, on the other hand, gives one of the clearest statements of how God wills that sin happen in certain situations.” I note that other commentaries deny that “clearest” statement of “how God wills that sin happen in certain situations”. But calvinists so often claim to have the clearest statement of their heresies, or that their teachings are ultra-clear, or any other statement designed to convince us by their confidence! However, Piper’s efforts here to demonstrate such from Isaiah 63:17 fail miserably!

Piper concludes: “So I would say on the basis of the Bible, three things that many people find hard to put together, but the Bible does, so I try:
1) God is absolutely sovereign and governs all things including the existence of sin.
2) The absolute, unimpeachable holiness and sinlessness and purity of God.
3) The complete responsibility and accountability of all human beings to believe and to do the things they know are right to believe and do.

Of course, without the free will of man (which God has certainly permitted by His sovereign will), these statements above by Piper will certainly be hard to put together. It is certain that God has governed the existence of sin in that he has permitted it (by His sovereign will) to occur by the free will of some of His creatures, including man. God commands (and has always commanded) that man not rebel (commit unholy acts, sin) against Him. If man (by his own free will) commits unholy acts (sin) against holy God, then complete responsibility and accountability for that sin rests entirely with man who has committed that sin by his own free will. All that is required for God to remain sovereign, in spite of the freedom of will granted to mankind, is to require judgment be made for every act of free will that all mankind has committed for all time. And it will be so.

1 Corinthians 3:11-1511 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

2 Corinthians 5:10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.

By the way, there are other occasions where Piper conveniently strays from scriptural accuracy in order to support his false teachings. For example, in “What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism” Piper, 1998, Piper says “Romans 14:23 says, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” This is a radical indictment of all natural “virtue” that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God’s grace.
The terrible condition of man’s heart will never be recognized by people who assess it only in relation to other men. Romans 14:23 makes plain that depravity is our condition in relation to God primarily, and only secondarily in relation to man.” So does Romans 14:23 really say that?  

Romans 14:22-2322 Hast thou faith? have [it] to thyself before God. Happy [is] he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.

The context of this passage is that some people couldn’t eat some foods (such as meats offered to idols) because they believed it to be wrong, while others could eat such foods because they didn’t see it as being wrong. That is, some had faith that wouldn’t condemn them if they ate certain foods, while others who had doubts about the food they were eating should not eat if they believed that eating such food was wrong.

Thus, “Have you the faith to believe that the eating of such foods is acceptable? Then eat it before God without guilt. Happy is the person who doesn’t condemn himself through the eating of something he believes is permissible. On the other hand, he who has doubts about the eating of such food will be condemned if he eats it, because he does not have the faith to believe that it is permissible to eat it. For to eat food when you don’t have faith to believe you can eat it is a sin. That is, if you eat something you believe you shouldn’t eat, then it is a sin.”

So, if you had the faith to eat certain foods, then it was OK but if you lacked such faith, it was not OK to eat it. But Piper has turned this into a teaching that anything we do without faith is a sin. He says that “This is a radical indictment of all natural “virtue” that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God’s grace.” But, how can he get this interpretation from a passage that simply discusses the eating or otherwise of certain foods depending upon whether you felt right about eating such foods or not? Lacking faith to eat certain foods did not in any way make you a lesser Christian; instead you were just one who had more of a conscience about the eating of certain foods. The one who couldn’t eat foods offered to idols wasn’t necessarily a lesser Christian than the one who could eat such foods. How has this anything to do with “natural ‘virtue’ that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God’s grace”?

Note that the one who had faith to eat such foods should not, by eating such foods in their presence, offend the brother or sister who lacked such faith. Please read the whole passage (Romans 14:13-23) for the proper context.

Piper, like other calvinists, uses verses and passages out of context and with dubious connections at best to support his false teachings. Either he should learn to exegete better or start listening to others who have a greater desire to understand the truth of Scripture. Unfortunately, there are so many gullible people today who like nothing better than to listen to those self-proclaimed “teachers” who say the words they want to hear. They never bother testing (or proving) all things as commanded by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. The church today desperately needs more people who seek the truth of God’s word without the need to twist it to suit their own selfish needs and desires. False teachers like Piper say the “right” things, but not necessarily the truth. And only the truth sanctifies!

John 17:17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

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Calvinists teach that their God is the only wilful sinner in the universe

Calvinists teach that their God is the only wilful sinner in the universe!

Calvinists, in requiring that their God be the only sovereign will in the universe, have created a massive problem that will not go away, and at best can only be dealt with by huge cover-ups (lies) and verbal gymnastics (re-wording the Bible or false interpretations). For, if the calvinist God is the only sovereign will in the universe, then no other may oppose his will, ever. No other will can exist unless it is permitted by his sovereign will.

And for those calvinists reading this (and some do, I know), if you don’t agree, then demonstrate clearly (sola scriptura, of course) without going around in circles – all those brave enough to answer so far have clearly gone around in circles, just not brave enough to get straight to the point! List clearly the offending item and why it is not acceptable (remember – sola scriptura). Of course, if you have no way of refuting my statements, then you have my permission to hold your tongues; silence (that great “weapon” of calvinist heresy) is always taken as evidence of an inability to refute! So far, no-one has effectively refuted anything I’ve said (and I’ve been saying a lot of it online for almost 3 years now).

Calvin says “it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.” (Institutes Bk 3, Ch. 23 , Section 6)
Calvin also teaches that all things are decreed by God, even criminal acts. “Let us suppose, for example, that a merchant, after entering a forest in company with trust-worthy individuals, imprudently strays from his companions and wanders bewildered till he falls into a den of robbers and is murdered. His death was not only foreseen by the eye of God, but had been fixed by his decree.” (Institutes Bk 1, Ch. 16, Section 9)

That is, the calvinist God foreordained all things before creation; he wrote the complete script before the play began! The only problem here (and it is a massive problem indeed) is that no free will of man can be permitted unless it is completely subject to the calvinist God’s sovereign will at all times. No-one may ever do anything that the calvinist God hasn’t already foreordained as part of his sovereign will. This includes sin, for if man cannot oppose God’s sovereign will at any time, then he must sin whenever the calvinist God has decreed that he should do so. Sin must be committed according to the calvinist God’s will at all times.

But, sin is described as rebellion against God. MacArthur describes sin as wilful rebellion against God. “It is not only defiling; it is rebellion.  It establishes not only a defilement, and a filth, and a pollution, and a corruption, but it establishes a life of rebellion.  It is, by its own nature, as Leviticus 26:27 says, “Walking contrary to God.”  It is just walking in constant opposition, in constant rebellion.  A sinner tramples on God’s law, tramples on God’s character, willfully crosses God’s will, affronts God, spites God, mocks God.  And the Hebrew word for “sin,” one of the Hebrew words, pasha, signifies rebellion.  Is it, at its core, rebellion.  That’s what it was for Lucifer.  That’s what it was for Eve.  That’s what it was for Adam.  That’s what it is for all of us.  Perhaps a good definition, Jeremiah 44:17, “But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goes forth out of our own mouth.”  That’s it.  God, we will do exactly what we want to do.  ……  So, sin is defiling, and sin is open, incessant rebellion.” (90-233 What is Sin? Jan 30, 2000)

Clearly MacArthur sees sin as an act of the free will of man, yet unless that man also has the free will to deny sin, then there is literally no free will at all. Free will requires a choice, in this case between rebellion against God, and obedience to God. MacArthur teaches that sinful man may choose his own poison, but may never have the right to choose to not sin. “But within the framework of our sinfulness we could pick our poison. When you talk about free will, we’re talking about the freedom that the sinner has to choose his iniquity. That’s what his freedom is, that’s the sum and substance of his freedom. The one thing he’s not free to do is to choose salvation, or to choose righteousness, or to choose holiness, or to choose God, or to choose Christ unaided and on his own.” (from “Answering the key questions about the doctrine of election” GTY 106)
And yet, if the calvinist God’s will is that which determines all events in the universe, then even the choice of poison (sin) must be fully controlled by his sovereign (and only) will. Free will never exists when it is totally controlled by another will!

How can sin be such rebellion against God and still not be seen as another will in opposition to God’s will. For, if sin is rebellion against God, then there are only two logical options here: either (a) the sin is wilfully opposed to God’s will [that is, the person has chosen, through his freedom of will, to oppose God’s will], or (b) God has decreed by his sovereign will that the person should sin [that is, the person has been given no freedom of will to oppose God’s will]. The first option (a) requires that man has an individual free will of his own in order to oppose sovereign God. The second option (b) excuses man from any culpability for committing the sin, but instead places all responsibility for that sin upon the sovereign will of the calvinist God who decreed it. Thus the calvinist God, in denying any freedom of will to oppose his will, is actually wilfully sinning against himself.

You can’t have it both ways. Either man has a free will to wilfully sin against God, or else God is dictating to man that he must sin against God without any free will to resist. The key to it all is free will, and it is why calvinism, in refusing the free will of mankind, has created a massive headache for all calvinists. Many, of course, will deny that man has no free will at all, claiming that man can make choices in his life. However, they always put in a codicil that in all spiritual matters, such as salvation, there is still no free will to make any choice at all, crying “There is no free will unto salvation”. (Note MacArthur’s illogical statement that man can choose his own poison, but is unable to choose to not take poison in the first place!)

There are, of course, many calvinists who actually state the truth without trying to do any cover-ups. Their words are unpalatable, even to many calvinists, yet at least they are not telling the lies that other calvinists tell. The truth is that the calvinist God decrees sin, yet punishes those who commit the sin, even though they had no say in the matter. The calvinist God who blames others for his decisions is both unjust and unrighteous.

From Sproul we read (in “Almighty over All”, P 53-54) that “I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that He created sin. … God desired for man to fall into sin.” But, please explain, calvinists, how one may create sin without actually sinning?

From MacArthur we read (in “The Vanishing Conscience & Hard to Believe”, P 113) that “Ultimately, we must concede that sin is something God meant to happen. He planned for it, ordained it – or, in the words of the Westminster Confession, He decreed it.” So, according to MacArthur, God decreed sin which he (MacArthur) has defined as defiling and incessant rebellion against God. So, please explain how holy God may create that which “establishes not only a defilement, and a filth, and a pollution, and a corruption, but it establishes a life of rebellion.” That is, MacArthur teaches that the calvinist God has decreed defilement, filth, pollution, corruption and rebellion, yet still claims to be holy! Such teachings would be blasphemy indeed if applied to the God of the Bible; however, MacArthur is defining a God who is not the God of the Bible.

Edwin H Palmer, a calvinist writer, says (in “The Five Points of Calvinism”, P 25) that “It is even biblical to say that God has foreordained sin.
(Palmer was educated at Westminster Theological Seminary and the Free University of Amsterdam, and was even an instructor in systematic theology at Westminster 1960-64. This clearly defines his calvinist standpoint.)
Then the calvinist God must love sin since he has foreordained so much of it. How can the Bible say that Christ knew no sin, yet the calvinist God knew so much about sin that he foreordained it.
2 Corinthians 5:21For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Boettner says (in “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination”, P 169 & P 172) that “The Reformers recognized the fact that sin, both in its entrance into the world and in all its subsequent appearances, was involved in the divine plan; that the explanation of its existence, so far as any explanation could be given, was to be found in the fact that sin was completely under the control of God; and that it would be overruled for a higher manifestation of His glory.
So sin is that which makes the calvinist God look good?
And since the plan of redemption is thus traced back into eternity, the plan to permit man to fall into the sin from which he was thus to be redeemed must also extend back into eternity; otherwise there would have been no occasion for redemption.
And it was necessary for Adam to be made to sin to prevent the calvinist God from creating an unnecessary plan of redemption? What? Is the calvinist God unable to know what’s going to happen in the future? According the Boettner God cannot foretell the future unless he has foreordained it. “Common sense tells us that no event can be foreknown unless by some means, either physical or mental, it has been predetermined.” (Ibid P 30)

Vincent Cheung says (in “The Author of Sin”, P 4) that “Those who oppose me stupidly chant, “But he makes God the author of sin, he makes God the author of sin.” However, a description does not amount to an argument or objection, and I have never come across a decent explanation as to what is wrong with God being the author of sin in any theological or philosophical work written by anybody from any perspective.  The truth is that, whether or not God is the author of sin, there is no biblical or rational problem with him being the author of sin.
Of course, this is abundantly true if this particular God is actually satan.

Cheung also says on P 10 of that same book that “We are not using the word “create” in the same sense as God’s original creation out of nothing, but we are referring to God’s control over things that he has already created. Although God must actively cause evil thoughts and inclinations in the creature, and then he must actively cause the corresponding evil actions, he does not create new material or substance when he does this, since he is controlling what he has already created.
It is true that a person sins according to his evil nature, but as Luther writes, it is God who “creates” this evil nature in each newly conceived person after the pattern of fallen Adam, whose fall God also caused. And then, God must actively cause this evil nature to function and the person to act according to it.
Cheung’s God is an unrighteous sadist, because he actively creates man’s evil nature, yet punishes him for sinning according to his created nature.

Further to this, Cheung says (in “The Problem of Evil, God’s Sovereignty”) that “God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power. Since we have shown that no creature can make completely independent decisions, evil could never have started without God’s active decree, and it cannot continue for one moment longer apart from God’s will. God decreed evil ultimately for his own glory” (
Please explain, calvinists, how God can decree evil for his glory? Evil world leaders and dictators may make evil decisions for their glorious benefit, but they serve satan, don’t they?

A W Pink says (in “The Sovereignty of God”, & also “The Wisdom of Arthur W Pink Vol 1”, P 445) that “Plainly it was God’s will that sin should enter this world, otherwise it would not have entered, for nothing happens except what God has eternally decreed. Moreover, there was more than a simple permission, for God only permits that which He has purposed.
The calvinist God willed that man rebel against him? That man be disobedient? Yet the Bible says that if we love God, we will keep His commandments. (John 14:15If ye love me, keep my commandments.) So does this mean that it is the calvinist God’s will that we do not love him?

Piper says (in “Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained That Evil Be?” and quoting from Jonathan Edwards) “Why Does God Ordain that there Be Evil? It is evident from what has been said that it is not because he delights in evil as evil. Rather he “wills that evil come to pass . . . that good may come of it. ….. Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.” That is, God has ordained sin (evil) in order that He may produce good! And, without sin, God’s glory would be lacking (imperfect!). In fact, God’s glory could scarcely shine forth at all without sin! Does that mean that I have to sin in order to give God greater glory? Am I committing sin by not sinning?

Piper also says “Everything that exists—including evil—is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly.” (as quoted in August 29, 2007)
So sin is glory? Vainglory? (See Galatians 5:26)

Piper also has co-edited a book (Suffering and the Sovereignty of God) which says (on P 42) that “(God) actually brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those that love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory. …. This includes God’s having even brought about the Nazi’s brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child.
Any God who brings about such evil causing Hitler and his sadistic crew of Nazis to commit the atrocities of the 2nd World War is himself sadistic! This is a sick belief system indeed!

Calvin says (in “Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God”) that “The will of God is the chief and principal cause of all things. ……
First, it must be observed that the will of God is the cause of all things that happen in the world; and yet God is not the author of evil. …… But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it. ……. For the man who honestly and soberly reflects on these things, there can be no doubt that the will of God is the chief and principal cause of all things. …… But the objection is not yet resolved, that if all things are done by the will of God, and men contrive nothing except by His will and ordination, then God is the author of all evils. ….. Many go astray in not holding that God wills what men by sinning do. …… Must we then impute the guilt of sin to God, or invent a double will for Him so that He falls out with Himself? I have shown that He wills the same as the criminal and the wicked, but in a different way.” That is, Calvin’s reasoning leads him to discover that God must be the author of all evils, yet when God wills the criminal to sin, God is not guilty of the sin; rather, the criminal is guilty of the sin he committed by the will of God. The calvinist God is either unwilling or unable to take responsibility for his own actions.

Calvin also says “But when they call to mind that the devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay, unless in so far as he commands; that they are not only bound by his fetters, but are even forced to do him service(Institutes Bk 1, Ch.17, Section 11)
Please explain, calvinists, how the devil can only do that which is God’s will for him to do!

Charles Hodge (in Systematic Theology Part 1 (Theology Proper) Ch.9 “The Decrees of God”) says “The Bible especially declares that the free acts of men are decreed beforehand. ….. The Scriptures teach that sinful acts, as well as such as are holy, are foreordained. ….. It is therefore beyond all doubt the doctrine of the Bible that sin is foreordained.
This is truly systematic satanic theology. Satan must love all these false calvinist teachings. Let’s put the record straight! It was satan, not the God of the Bible, who tempted Adam and Eve to sin!

Edwin Lutzer says (in “The Doctrines that Divide” P 220-221) that “Satan, regardless of how evil his actions, always serves the purposes of God. God frequently uses the devil to serve his higher ends. …. (the devil) always stands in opposition to God even when he does what God ordains.” Lutzer says (Ibid P 210) of God and evil that “Nonetheless, his (God’s) permission (for evil to occur) necessarily means that he (God) bore ultimate responsibility for it (evil). After all, he could have chosen ‘not to permit’ it.
So satan opposes God yet always according to God’s will? God ordains that the devil commit sin?

Yet another calvinist explanation says that God by permitting sin has effectively predestined it. “If God knows that Adam will sin—or that you and I will sin—and could keep it from happening, but does not, and God’s knowledge is infallible, then it is just as certain as if he had predestined it. In fact, it is the same as being predestined.” (
That’s a big leap in poor logic indeed! Permitting sin is the same as predestining it? Giving permission for an action is the same as ordering that action to be carried out?

And then, from the Gospel Coalition (a new calvinist “club”) we get the following:
If God’s primary purpose in creation and redemption is the display of his glory, what does that tell us about why he allowed the fall? Both logically and chronologically, the fall comes between creation and redemption. Without a creation there could be no fallen creation; without a fallen creation there could be no redeemed creation. Salvation presupposes sin; restoration presupposes a fall. Thus it’s reasonable to infer that God’s primary purpose in allowing the fall was to showcase his glory both in the original creation and also in his powerful and merciful restoration of that creation from its rebellion and corruption.
But was redemption really necessary for God to be glorified? Couldn’t an unfallen creation glorify God as much as a restored creation?
….. The basic idea is this: While the fall was a great evil, it made it possible for God to bring about even greater goods in its wake: the God-glorifying goods of the incarnation, atonement, resurrection, and all the salvific blessings that flow from them.
One might think an unfallen creation would be preferable to a fallen creation—and all else being equal, that’s true. But all else is not equal, for our world is not merely a fallen creation. It’s a fallen creation into which the eternal Son of God has entered, taking on human nature, perfectly expressing God’s likeness in our midst, living a morally flawless life, making atonement for our sins through his sacrificial death, rising in triumph from the grave, and ascending into heaven, where he continually intercedes and secures for us an eternal joyful dwelling-place in God’s presence.
A world with no fall and no salvation is altogether less God-glorifying than a world with a tragic fall but also a wondrous salvation.

In other words, the sin of Adam (and consequently the rest of mankind) was necessary for the calvinist God to exhibit his full glory. Without sin, the calvinist God is lacking in glory!! The problem for the calvinists is that in making their god’s will unique in the universe, they have to make him the reason for sin. Effectively the calvinist God is the only wilful sinner in the universe. Otherwise there would have to be another will in the universe that could wilfully oppose him. To the calvinists man is still a sinner, but he can never sin wilfully unless he has some measure of freewill. Without free will, he can only sin according to God’s decree or will.
Therefore, to allow man as the wilful author of sin would have to allow man the free will to do so. Therefore, the calvinist god logically has to be the only wilful sinner in the universe.

And, did you notice the lack of scriptural support for their claims? They claim sola scriptura, yet use everything else but the Bible!

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