Calvinism is incompatible with biblical doctrine
Many people might wonder why I am apparently so opposed to calvinism, declaring it to be heresy. Once upon a time I was like most non-calvinist Christians, accepting calvinism as an alternative view of Christianity that I couldn’t agree with, while still regarding them as Christians. However, it was the calvinist-influenced aggressive takeover of one of our local fundamentalist churches that made me start seeing it in a totally different light altogether.
I now label calvinism (especially neo or new calvinism) a demonic heresy full of lies, for the more I study it, the more I see that it is absolutely incompatible with what I understand to be biblical Christianity. Either they are right (and therefore I am wrong) or I am right (and therefore they are wrong). Of course, we could both be wrong, but it is certain that calvinism and non-calvinism cannot both be right! The two doctrines are incompatible.
(a) Calvinists refuse to accept the free will of man, especially in matters of salvation. In all matters of choice, especially in salvation, God alone chooses. You don’t choose God; He chooses you! They teach that lost man is absolutely incapable of seeking God in any way because lost man is dead in sins and trespasses. Man in this dead state can neither hear nor respond to the gospel. You must be spiritually alive to respond to God in any way. Therefore you must be born again (calvinists call it “regenerated”) before you can hear the gospel, believe in it and be saved by Christ. You cannot do this before you are born again, only after! In calvinism, being born again is not the same as being saved. This means that while the Bible teaches that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, calvinists must teach that you have to be given life (born again by the Spirit) before you can believe in and respond to Jesus and be saved and receive eternal life. That is, you must be born again before you can believe in or have faith in Christ, according to the calvinist interpretation of John 3:3.
By denying the free will of man in salvation, calvinists have to teach another gospel, one that is incompatible with the biblical gospel.
(b) This calvinist lack of free will leads directly to a serious problem between calvinists and non-calvinists. Calvinists cannot accept any notion at all of free will in your salvation. If you claim to be a Christian because of any decision of your will to repent and be saved, or pray the sinners’ prayer, or ask Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour, or anything else that relates to choosing today whom you will serve, then calvinists have to reject your testimony as invalid. “You do not choose God; God chooses you!” is their catchy-cry. If your claim to salvation is based in any way upon some sort of free will decision you made to be saved, then calvinists cannot accept it, telling you that your free will input is a work of yours that renders your salvation imperfect and thus you cannot really be saved.
If they are being honest, they will inform you that it is the life you live, not the words that you say, that determines your eternal destiny. Therefore, to be a Christian acceptable to calvinists, you have to demonstrate that you have forsaken all your sin, and are now living a life worthy of a good puritan. Otherwise they cannot truthfully accept you as a Christian brother or sister. It’s the puritan life that determines the saved status of the calvinist elect of God. (Do some research today to check this one out if you doubt what I say!)
(c) Another incompatibility caused by the calvinist insistence on no free will for man is that God’s will must be the only will in the universe. No other will may exist in opposition to the calvinist God’s will. Thus Calvin’s statement: 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. (“Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God” P 179) Calvinists have no way of explaining sin and evil without making God the only cause or origin of sin and evil. For if Adam had no free will to choose concerning sin, then God must have chosen it for him. This is a huge dilemma for calvinists. And utterly incompatible with the God of the Bible who is so holy that He cannot even look upon sin, let alone decree or ordain it.
(d) Calvinists believe that Jesus died for the sins of only the few that their God selected to go to heaven. To do this they must reword verses such as 1 John 2:2 (“the whole world” means only those who believe), Hebrews 2:9 (“taste death for every man” was only for those who believe), 1 Timothy 2:4 (“who will have all men to be saved” is described as God’s will of desire but not His will of command, or else “all” means only the Christians), John 3:16 (“the world” is reworded as “the elect”), John 12:32 (“will draw all [men] unto me” becomes “will draw all believers unto me”), and so on. Calvinists refuse to accept Jesus as the Saviour of the world (inclusive of all men), teaching that Jesus did not die for the sins of any who have not been chosen by God go to heaven. Calvinists have to teach limited atonement (by Jesus on the cross) because without free will of man, only those chosen by God may go to heaven, and therefore why would the calvinist Jesus bother to die for those whom God had decided to send to hell anyway.
But Jesus died for the sins of all mankind without exception. All mankind must choose to either accept or reject this sacrifice made for them. The calvinist and non-calvinist teachings here are incompatible with each other.
(e) Calvinists make a big deal about the election or predestination of God’s elect to salvation. For example, Ephesians 1:5 – Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will
They say that this proves the predestination of God’s elect to salvation. Well, yes, that is not disputed, anyway, is it? What is really disputed is how God chooses His elect. You see, every passage that calvinists claim to support their doctrine of unconditional election can also just as easily (and more biblically, too) support an election conditional upon God’s foreknowledge. It’s not whether there is an election, but how God chooses His elect people. Without free will, calvinists have to teach that God chose them (without any condition at all) from the beginning of the world. But, if man has free will, then God may choose His elect according to His foreknowledge of what decision they will make with that free will. That is, an election conditional upon the foreknowledge of God. In fact, this is what 1 Peter 1:2 says! Romans 8:29 also makes it clear that the predestining of Christians to conform to the image of Christ is dependent upon God’s foreknowledge.
Foreknowledge depends upon the free will decisions of man to foreknow. Therefore without free will of man, foreknowledge becomes irrelevant. What’s the point of foreknowing decisions that could never be made? For calvinism, man’s free will and the foreknowledge of God stand or fall together. Foreknowledge demands that there be decisions to be foreknown.
Once again, though, it’s that denial of the free will of man in salvation that makes calvinism again incompatible.
(f) Because calvinists cannot teach that man can believe (or have faith) in Christ unless they have firstly been born again (regenerated), they are forced to make alterations to a number of verses or else be seen as liars. These altered verses include (i) altering “opened” to “opened and caused to believe” (Acts 16:14) – That is, belief is something God gives to you (avoiding the free will explanation!), and (ii) “see” becomes “believe in” or “have faith in” (John 3:3) – In this way they attempt to “prove” that faith comes after being born again, yet still fits in with the requirement to believe before being saved. Of course, this means that, to a calvinist, “being born again” cannot be the same as “being saved”!
In all these examples and many others, calvinists desperately try to show that man cannot have free will especially unto salvation, and therefore God’s foreknowledge cannot have anything to do with God’s perfect knowledge of future free will decisions to be saved, if no such decisions exist. In all calvinist doctrine, if you add in the free will of man unto salvation and consequently God’s foreknowledge to know such free will decisions, then calvinism ceases to exist.
If calvinists could show that God’s foreknowledge is not His perfect knowledge of the future, then they could demonstrate that God could not know any future free will decisions, thus rendering free will unworkable. Calvinists therefore redefine God’s foreknowledge as the special loving relationship God places upon his elect people. But this then introduces another big problem: such foreknowledge may only apply to God’s elect people. Therefore the actions of the non-elect must be completely foreordained or else God wouldn’t be able to control them. They also claim God is totally sovereign, so therefore the calvinist God would have to write the complete script for the lives of all non-elect people from beginning to end. In fact, Calvin taught that God (from the foundations of the world) wrote the complete script of actions for all mankind from the beginning to the end.
Calvinists would like the foreknowledge of God to be redefined as the fore-ordination of God. That is, it would be very useful for calvinists if they could show that God’s foreknowledge was foreordained. That would remove foreknowledge from having to be God’s perfect knowledge of the future. That is why some calvinists make impossible claims such as the “determinate counsel” and the “foreknowledge” of God (Acts 2:23) being synonyms (having the same meaning). That is, what God foreordained became God’s foreknowledge. They misuse a little-known rule of Greek (the Granville Sharp rule) to bend the truth to their lie here.
Calvin had another angle on the problem of foreknowledge. He said that discussion of foreknowledge was irrelevant (futile) because God had already foreordained everything anyway.
Each defence of their doctrines introduces more and more twists and turns to cover up the non-biblical nature of calvinism. Ultimately, because their doctrines are incompatible with biblical doctrines, then either calvinists are lying, or the Bible is lying. And, if the Bible is truth, then there’s only one alternative remaining: that calvinists are liars. And, because all lies ultimately stem from the devil as the father of lies, and because calvinism is full of lies, therefore it is full of the devil’s doctrines. And therefore I as a biblical Christian, after testing all things calvinist, must reject it as a doctrine of devils.
Many calvinists claim that non-calvinists are either lesser Christians or not Christians at all. They reason that if a person is a Christian, then he’d believe in the calvinist election. They see a conflict in being a Christian yet not being calvinist. You should be both calvinist and Christian, or else neither calvinist nor Christian! In fact, this is how Calvin saw it. You agreed with him, or else you were lost. Those who disagreed were either thrown out of the city, thrown into prison, or executed. Calvin ruled!
The major area of incompatibility is in the proclamation of the gospel. The Bible tells man to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, while calvinism says that no-one may be saved unless and until after God first calls them to be born again. Calvinists teach that man cannot choose to accept salvation in Christ Jesus unless he has already been born again by the Spirit. The Bible teaches that God has given a gift of salvation to all men, and that man must accept it by faith to partake of it. “No free will” versus “free will” of man. One or the other. Either by your free will you choose or reject salvation in Christ, or by God’s will alone you will or will not be chosen for salvation in Christ. For one it is your responsibility to choose this day whom you will serve, and for the other God will choose and you will have absolutely no say in the matter of your eternal destiny. These two doctrines cannot exist together. Each doctrine denies the other. They cannot both be right! They are absolutely incompatible!
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