(And the challenge to calvinists, as always, is to prove me wrong, or accept what I say. So far the silence from calvinists has been deafening. They will tell me I’m wrong but completely fail to properly support their debate in any way.)
1/. The calvinist gospel in a nutshell.
The calvinist gospel is very simple to explain. The calvinist God has chosen (from the beginning) a small group (his elect) for heaven and the rest (most of the world) for eternal condemnation. Where you go when you die was determined by the calvinist God from the beginning of time without any regard to anything you might do, whether good or bad. You have no choice in the matter and can do nothing to influence the calvinist God. This is the calvinist gospel in a nutshell. You are either going to heaven or you’re going to hell; one or the other is your destiny and you will go where the calvinist God tells you to go. And he decided who would be on each list from the beginning; you literally have no say in the matter! Like a dictator (see point 9 below), the calvinist God’s will is the only will in the universe.
The calvinist Jesus only died for the sins of the ones chosen to go to heaven. Not one of the rest can ever be forgiven even if they wanted to be, for no-one died for any of their sins. The calvinist God didn’t intend saving them. The biblical gospel is irrelevant to those heading to hell for they can never be forgiven anyway, ever. And the chosen ones of God (the elect) can only respond to the biblical gospel of faith in Christ after they have been born again (regenerated). Thus, according to calvinist teaching, the biblical gospel cannot save any of those chosen to go to hell, and can only save those chosen for heaven after they have been born again.
2/. Calvinists teach universal salvation.
Calvinists love to teach that, according to John 6:44, all whom the Father calls (draws) will come in faith and go to heaven. But John 12:32 says that Jesus drew all (all mankind) to Himself on the cross, which means that all may come if they choose to do so, yet many do not come. Therefore, either all must come in faith (which they don’t), or there must be free will to resist the calling and drawing of God. Calvinists claim that John 6:44 proves their unconditional election, saying that all whom God draws will come in faith, yet that can only be true if man has no free will to resist God’s drawing. Also, if all are drawn, then all must come if there is no free will. So, without free will, calvinists have locked themselves into a universalist salvation logic. Please think carefully on this!
3/. Calvinists teach that God’s elect have eternal life before they can come to Christ to receive eternal life.
Calvinists teach that we must be born again with life from the Holy Spirit before we may respond to God in any way. Then why is there any need to come to Christ for eternal life if they already have eternal life?
John 5:39-40 – 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
Why bother coming for life if you already have life before you can come?
4/. The calvinist God cannot be eternal.
Calvinists love to mock those who teach (quite correctly, of course) that God uses foreknowledge to determine His elect. (The Bible does teach clearly that God’s elect people are chosen according to His foreknowledge of future decisions as per 1 Peter 1:2a – Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. Thus it is an election conditional upon God’s foreknowledge.) Calvinists picture this foreknowledge as God peering (or looking) through the corridors of time (or history) in order to see the future which they picture as being quite distant. But, if God is eternal, He has no need to peer through any corridors of time. The God of the Bible is outside time, not bound by time in any way. Any who picture God as peering through corridors of time are depicting their God to be merely temporal, bound by time, not eternal.
Because God is eternal, He can see the end at the same time as the beginning. God is the I AM, as also is Jesus; Before Abraham was, I AM. (John 8:58). God doesn’t just know what is going to happen in the future; He is already in the future, and the past, and the present, all simultaneously. In fact, in the same way that God exists at all places in the universe simultaneously, God exists at all points along the timeline from the beginning of time to the end of time, all simultaneously. This is the definition of eternalness: that one who is eternal must not be bound nor limited by time in any way or at any time. Even when Jesus came to earth and people therefore say He existed at a particular point in time, He also made it clear that this was not so, that He in fact existed before Abraham was born simultaneously with His time on earth as a man. Thus, “before Abraham was, I AM”.
Therefore God can make promises that will come to pass because he can see them come to pass at the same time that He promises them. And God, from the beginning of time, can observe all future decisions made by man throughout all time, at all times, simultaneously. Think about this carefully!
Calvin said it was futile (vain) to discuss God’s foreknowledge (or prescience) because he knew all things merely because he had already decreed everything. If God merely foresaw human events, and did not also arrange and dispose of them at his pleasure, there might be room for agitating the question, how far his foreknowledge amounts to necessity; but since he foresees the things which are to happen, simply because he has decreed that they are so to happen, it is vain to debate about prescience (= foreknowledge), while it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment. (Institutes, Book III Chapter 23 Section 6)
And Boettner in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Page 30) says Common sense tells us that no event can be foreknown unless by some means, either physical or mental, it has been predetermined. That is, unless the calvinist God predetermines future events, then he cannot know those future events until they happen. Clearly Boettner’s God isn’t eternal! It seems that calvinists deny foreknowledge because their God is unable to foreknow things unless he has already decreed that they should happen!
This is at the very least making mockery of the God of the Bible, for they make it impossible for Him to know the future except by peering through the corridors of time, or decreeing everything totally from the beginning. Such a God is not eternal but temporal; that is, bound by time.
5/. Calvinist salvation is not a gift of God.
While the Bible says clearly that salvation is a gift of God, calvinists teach that if you choose to receive this gift, then that is a work of your salvation. However, a gift is only a gift if it is willingly received (that is, an act of the will) or else it becomes a requirement or an imposition. The calvinist God requires that those whom he has chosen must receive the “gift” (they cannot refuse it) and those whom he has not chosen for salvation cannot receive the “gift”. Thus the calvinist God imposes his “gift” upon a select group of people who are not permitted to refuse it. Thus the imposed calvinist salvation cannot be defined as a gift because gifts must be willingly received, and shouldn’t be imposed upon people without any option to refuse.
6/. Calvinists teach that if we willingly receive this gift of salvation, then that makes the gift imperfect.
However, receiving a gift can never alter the intrinsic value of that gift. A gift must be fully paid for before it may be offered as a gift. Just the receiving of a gift can never define that gift to be imperfect. This is illogical. However, calvinists do illogically teach that if we decide to accept the gift of salvation offered by God, then that is a work of that salvation and thus renders the salvation imperfect. Of course, if that “gift” is really an imposition (that is, thrust upon us without any choice), then we have no say in the matter, which is really what calvinism teaches anyway. They teach that God chooses who goes to heaven, and therefore chooses who goes to hell. You have no say in the matter, ever. This is the calvinist gospel in a nutshell, after all. If you are chosen for heaven, the calvinist God will impose salvation upon you. If you are not chosen for heaven (that is, most of the world), then the calvinist God has not provided any salvation options for you at all.
7/. The calvinist unconditional election is really a conditional election.
If the calvinist election is truly unconditional (as they try to claim), then why are there no converts among the heathen until the missionaries get there with the gospel? An unconditional election would not rely upon the preaching of the gospel. And why is there a greater percentage of calvinists among white Caucasians than any other racial group? That is, calvinism is most likely to be found among those who are most likely to hear the gospel preached.
Calvinists will then say that it is the gospel which the calvinist God uses to draw his people to himself, yet conveniently ignore the fact that this then imposes a condition, that the gospel must be preached in order to be chosen as God’s elect. But, how may the gospel preaching draw them if they cannot respond to God (and his gospel) until after they have been drawn to God and regenerated? Of course, the calvinist gospel is whether or not you have been chosen for heaven; this is all that counts in their teaching, and the biblical gospel of faith in Christ can only happen after you have been born again.
8/. Calvinism does not teach assurance of salvation.
Calvinists can never be sure they have been chosen by their God until the day they die. Calvinists teach the perseverance of the saints (or the elect), but can only be assured of salvation if they persevere to the end. As they say, it is not the words we say but the life we live that determines our entry into heaven. If your works fall away before the end, then they teach that you were never saved in the first place. Even Calvin taught that God gave a temporary faith to some, an inferior operation of the Spirit (Institutes Bk 3, Ch 2, Section 11). Such people could think they were saved, and others around them could also think they were saved, and yet the calvinist God never chose them for heaven. So a calvinist who thinks he is heading for heaven may actually fall away before the end, and then he is to be considered unsaved, in fact, never saved in the first place.
9/. The calvinist God is a dictator
The calvinists love to claim how sovereign their God is, yet they depict a God far from sovereign. Sovereignty has more to do with right to rule, while a dictatorship has more to do with rule by might. Sovereignty generally exhibits power and authority over a nation by right of position or descent, or by common vote, or by being chosen for the task. That which uses force to demand power and authority rarely, if ever, exhibits sovereignty of rule, especially if the ruler, being fearful of opposition, considers it necessary to continue to rule by might rather than by right.
A sovereign ruler may feel comfortable with permitting basic personal freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc, while a dictator is so afraid of an uprising against him that he quells all forms of personal freedom, effectively forbidding his subjects to demonstrate a will that is not totally in line with his own will. It is the dictatorship that forbids the free will in its subjects. In a dictatorship, only one will is permitted: the will of the ruler (which will be demanded by force if necessary). In a dictatorship, no-one has the freedom to choose whom they wish to serve. If anyone does demand freedom to choose, he is likely to quietly or otherwise “disappear”. Ask yourselves: why does the calvinist God refuse anyone the free will to choose this day whom they will serve.
But the God of the Bible is not a dictator, for He permits personal freedoms including the freedom to choose whom they will serve. Listen to Tozer’s wisdom here.
Here is my view: God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, “What doest thou?” Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so. Knowledge of the Holy P 76
And if all free will choices, both good and bad, are to be judged one day, then God’s sovereignty is total. A doctrine of no free will for man merely reduces absolutely sovereign God to a fearful dictator.