Those of you who oppose calvinism because of its non-biblical teachings may have noticed that the moment you try to use the Bible alone (sola scriptura) to discuss issues with a calvinist, he or she usually tries to avoid open and frank discussion. So I’m proposing some of the more common ways that calvinists use to avoid having to defend their heresies. After all, most calvinists know that they will lose any debate on calvinism using the Bible alone. And fear of losing drives them to avoid the truth of the Bible alone.
1/. “I’m not a calvinist.” or “I don’t believe in calvinism.”
Yet so many who say this will then say that they don’t have any issues with it. Often they will end up defending calvinism, which is rather weird for people who do not believe in it. Sometimes they will add that they don’t want to talk about it, either (see No.2 below). This is “calvitalk” for “I know calvinism is right but I don’t know how to justify it from the Bible alone.” Many calvinists “know” that they are right but do not know “why” they are right, and will try to avoid confrontations by denying that they are calvinists. Yet, if they are right, then why hide the truth (if it indeed be truth) from others? That’s certainly not very Christian, is it?
2/. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Most calvinists realise that their beliefs cannot be fully supported by the Bible alone. They may try to quote from their favourite calvinist authors, but if you demand to discuss it using the Bible alone, they will say that they do not want to talk about it (or a number of variations on this theme). Most calvinists know that the Bible cannot actually demonstrate the alleged truth of their beliefs and do not want to be drawn into an argument that they know they cannot satisfactorily defend from the Bible alone. They are certain in their minds that they are right and therefore can justify manipulating the Bible to defend their “truths”. However, they also know that if taken in a perfectly straight-forward way, without any explanations from calvinist authorities, the Bible can easily be used to prove them wrong. In this they have the same outlook as JWs: calvinists “know” they are right because their calvinist teachers have said so! They will claim to be so biblical, but run away at the first sign that someone might actually use the Bible alone to oppose them. They fear the truth of the Bible! (Is there a word for Bible-phobia?)
3/. Go silent and ignore the nuisance!
A common variation on No.2 above is to go silent, turn their backs and stay away from those who threaten their teachings through the use of the Bible alone. Such people are so scared that their beliefs will fail the test of the Bible alone that they avoid anyone who appears to know the Bible well. They may even call them names, accuse them of bigotry, or use all manner of put-downs in an effort to divert attention from their inability to properly defend calvinism from the Bible alone. Their policy is that if you throw enough mud, some of it might stick, and then people might just not notice their failure to defend calvinism from the Bible alone.
4/. “I’ve been to an approved Bible college and you haven’t.”
They clearly don’t realise that Calvin had no formal theological training at any Bible college, approved or otherwise. He initially studied Latin, then philosophy (especially Plato, whom he quoted in his Institutes) and then went on to study law. “He was intrigued by Andreas Alciati, a humanist lawyer. Humanism was a European intellectual movement which stressed classical studies.” (Wikipedia)
And, like all good lawyers, he knew the value of verbal gymnastics, or, as the Bible defines it. “with feigned words” (2 Peter 2:3), or “with carefully sculpted words”.
5/. They cannot defend calvinism using the Bible alone!
On this website we have challenged over and over again the false teachings of calvinism. A few have responded with wild accusations, including that we are of satan, or non-biblical, or lacking respect for great calvinist teachers, and so on. Name-calling occurs, although it isn’t usually recorded on our Comments page. Some make accusations about what I’ve written but don’t quote what it is that has offended them, or they incorrectly quote me, or, as is most often the case, don’t actually quote anything that they have disagreed with (yet still disagree with it!), nor do they explain why they disagree (especially using the Bible alone!).
If I explain factually and biblically why their statements are inadmissible or even false, they will not reply to defend themselves from my biblical facts. The reason is clear! They know they cannot defend themselves from the Bible alone and so, once the Bible is used to demonstrate their false teachings, they refuse to say any more about it. This in itself proves that they do not believe the Bible alone is able to defend their beliefs. As I say in some documents, silence is interpreted as their inability to defend from the Bible alone.
A challenge most calvinists can’t afford to take up:
Most calvinists know that they cannot successfully defend their beliefs against the straightforward truths of the Bible. Therefore most calvinists will avoid writing genuine comments to this website. I know calvinists disagree greatly with what I say, yet they are also afraid to get involved in a debate here because they fear the probability of losing, especially if using the Bible alone. Some calvinists still do write in, but they are usually the ones who do not realise (yet?) that the Bible alone does not support calvinism. These naïve ones usually are not great thinkers and rarely present their thoughts in any coherent fashion. They do occasionally use the Bible alone (but without much understanding of its meaning) and almost always parrot off the teachings of their false calvinist teachers to explain the Bible. They obviously do not know any better.
However, here’s the challenge (which has been presented before but never taken up). If calvinists believe that their teachings are supported from the Bible alone, then take up the debate with me. If you believe you are right, then what have you to lose? Of course, you are risking calvinism being demonstrated as non-biblical, but if you are so sure you are right, then you should have nothing to lose. You must use the Bible alone of course. But, if I am right, then you will refuse to take up the challenge because you know that the Bible alone does not teach calvinism. (You just don’t want too many people to know it, though, do you?)
I have added an addendum at the bottom of this post with 3 examples of calvinist “silence” when faced with serious questions that require an answer Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone).
An addendum to Calvinist Cop-outs. Two examples of calvinist “silence”.
Earlier this year (2020) I had a series of emails from someone who was apparently calvinist.
His initial comment (18th April) concerned my alleged treatment of Todd Friel. He wrote (in part): “You are willing to stand up in your pride, and slander Mr.Friel and gossip about other Brothers and Sisters in Christ.”
He also wrote a second comment that same day in which he proposed some Bible verses and suggested how they should be interpreted. It was indeed a pleasant surprise to actually have someone try to use the Bible to explain things, so I commended him for this.
“Thank you for being brave enough to at least try to defend your beliefs from the Bible. It makes a pleasant surprise from the standard calvinist fare of name-calling and failure to use the Bible when making a point.”
I certainly did appreciate his efforts here, so I wrote a comment reply to politely explain my views here and asked some questions for him to research for himself.
One of his questions was: “Do you really think that mere man can determine their eternal salvation?” and he quoted John 15:16. In my reply I said: “John 15:16 does say that Jesus chose the disciples to bear fruit. Please note that Judas would have been among this group. Jesus also said that He had chosen (as one of the 12 disciples) Judas who was a devil (John 6:70-71). Was Judas therefore one of the elect?”
The next email received from him (15th May) tackled not even one of those questions I had raised. Instead he raised some unrelated issues. I was disappointed that he had not considered it possible to reply to my questions.
He also asked at that time if he could have our website email address for more private communications. “Also, I would like to get your email in order that we could have further conversations. I do not have a phone number, and would like to talk privately.” I gave him our website communications email address.
In my reply to that email I noted that “Of course, there are some non-biblical issues that do affect the credibility of Bible-teachers. These include such as the foul-mouthed statements of Mark Driscoll, the unacceptable personal activities of some such as R C Sproul Jr, the refusal of MacArthur to deal with the freemasonry problem in his ancestry, etc.”
On 16th May 2020 I received an email from him in which he said: “So, you mentioned John Macarthur’s Great-Grandfather’s freemason stuff. What relevance do you think that has to Macarthur’s ministry? I would also like to hear more of what you have to say about Macarthur and Piper’s ministries. What are your biggest issues with them?”
I replied with the following email.
In answer to your question regarding MacArthur, I’ll present some material for you to assess and consider.
1/. MacArthur says that freemasonry is “a Satanic false religion”. (https://www.gty.org/library/print/sermons-library/2006) This is definitely a true assessment.
2/. MacArthur’s great grandfather (Thomas Fraser Fullerton) was a Presbyterian minister and a 32-degree freemason who held the office of Provincial Grand Master. (https://peifreemasonry.com/thomas-fraser-fullerton-pgm/)
(Note that both John MacArthur and his father have Fullerton as their middle names. Why is the Fullerton name so important?)
3/. John MacArthur praises the spiritual harvest of his great grandfather and claims that his own ministry results from the spiritual crop planted by Thomas Fullerton.
The good news is, when the soil is prepared by God, there’s going to be an explosion of spiritual fruit and the harvest will go on and on and on and on and on and on. A nice young man in our church was recently in Prince Edward Island and I had said in the church service that my great grandfather was a pastor of St. James Kirk Presbyterian Kirk in Prince Edward Island back in the 1800’s. So when he was up there, he started digging around and found all kinds of things about my great grandfather. Thomas Fullerton was his name and he was pastor there at the main church in Charletown(?) (Charlottetown) for about twenty-eight years. He was a chaplain in the Canadian Military and he went to the Bower(?) (Boer) War in South Africa and fought and did ministry among the troops. And you look back and that and you say, “Okay, there’s a…his father was also a pastor who had been in Scotland and then gone to Australia and come there and at some point the Lord plowed the heart of that family and it just kept going and it just kept going and it kept going and it came down through my…from my great-grandfather to my grandmother, his daughter, and then through her to my father and then through me and this is the explosion and we’re all in this process somewhere.
So, what exactly is MacArthur’s spiritual harvest? Is this not relevant to MacArthur’s ministry?
4/. MacArthur wrote in A Father’s Legacy in 2005:
My Dad, Dr. John “Jack” MacArthur, was born March 30, 1914, in Calgary, Alberta, to Harry and Olivia Fullerton MacArthur. His mother’s father was a Presbyterian minister on Prince Edward Island, and his father, who dedicated his life to Christ as an adult, served as a pastor and an example for his young son. …….
My grandfather took over the church’s pastorate in 1943 as Dad moved to Fountain Avenue Baptist Church in Hollywood, California. At Fountain Avenue, Dad helped establish the Holly wood Christian group, an outreach to people in the film and television industries. He counted Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who came to Christ under his preaching, as close personal friends.
(Note that Roy Rogers – real name Leonard Franklin Slye – was a 33-degree freemason. While this doesn’t implicate John MacArthur directly, it does raise questions. It is claimed that Jack MacArthur led Roy Rogers to Christ in 1948, yet Rogers rose to the 32nd degree in 1950 and 33rd degree in 1979.)
So I’ll let you consider these points. See what you think. Why does MacArthur seem to avoid the issue of the high-ranking freemasonry of his great grandfather, yet praises the spiritual harvest of his ancestors including his great grandfather? Doesn’t it raise serious doubts concerning his alleged Christian ministry? (Especially when he declares freemasonry to be “a Satanic false religion“.)
I have not received any communication from him since then.
Stop News: As of 9/03/21 I have now received a reply which I have placed on my Comments page. I have also removed my other comments here regarding his non-reply up until now. I appreciate his reply even though it has taken a while to arrive. All who make genuine efforts to respond should be treated with respect, whether or not I actually agree with them. It is not about winning arguments but instead is about determining the truth.
We had a family friend who was a good calvinist. A few years ago he commended his current pastor as someone whom he could fully agree with, and offered to have him send us this pastor’s newsletter. That pastor was Terry Arnold who was aggressively calvinist. We told our friend that Terry Arnold didn’t believe in free will and that his calvinist doctrines were false. Our friend has been ever-ready in the past to explain anything else using the Bible, but in this case he just cut communications with us. He replied that “I don’t think it would be profitable for us to continue in correspondence.” And we haven’t heard from him since. Again, it is likely that he knew that the Bible actually opposes calvinism unless the explanations of calvinist writers are added to “explain” their apparent non-biblical skew. We would like him one day to give biblical reasons for his disagreement with our beliefs but it doesn’t seem likely that he will do so. We have simply honoured his request that we do not continue in correspondence, realising that we may offend by causing further conflict if we write at this time. It is in God’s hands now and we can only pray that God will open his eyes to the truth one day before it is too late.
A comment in 2018 said: “Calvinism simply quantifies many passages of the bible, and the doctrines of Calvin or doctrines of the Bible. He merely helps to magnify theology.” This is exactly the point I am making: that calvinism is an esoteric belief system (that is, only those initiated into its belief system can understand its full knowledge). Therefore only calvinists may be permitted to understand the deeper theology of the Bible, and therefore only calvinists are qualified to assess true doctrine. Non-calvinists can thus be rejected as lacking the higher knowledge that only a calvinist is permitted to know. This is a satanic esoteric knowledge belief system. Most calvinists are afraid to dig too deeply into their doctrines in case they find something truly abhorrent!