What qualifications does a calvinist need?
This post came about because calvinists who make comments on this website generally make wild accusations without presenting a shred of evidence to support their claims.
The latest one simply said, “You are clueless”. So, what was the point of his comment? Absolutely no point at all! With an abundance of such point-less comments from calvinists, I have now concluded that a lack of rational thinking must be a prerequisite for being a calvinist. So here’s a short-list of my observations after a few years of receiving calvinist comments.
Here’s some suggestions on what a calvinist should attach to his resume.
(Of course, many calvinist prospective pastors will refuse to acknowledge much of the following to any church which might use the Bible to select their pastor. These resume points below are only going to look right to a non-biblical calvinist church.)
1/. He must always be right.
He must have an unshakeable confidence in the rightness of his beliefs in the face of much logical opposition. He must know he is always right and therefore anyone who disagrees is always wrong. To admit that he could be wrong would be to accept that others who believe differently could be right. This is unacceptable to a calvinist, that someone else might actually be right!
2/. He must have an ability to believe what the Bible cannot teach.
Even if the Bible says that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, he must still stubbornly state that Jesus only died for a few that their God has chosen for heaven. Even when the Bible says we must choose whom we will serve, he must maintain that choosing never means to actually have a choice!
3/. He must be able to ignore anyone biblically challenging his beliefs.
Time after time I get calvinists quoting verses that “prove” their doctrines. Yet, when I point out questions the Bible raises against their interpretations, they will not reply, or else they will change the topic. A few have quoted John 15:16 to “prove” that God chooses us and we do not choose Him. But when I ask if they realise that Judas was one of those chosen there, they either do not reply or push on with a different set of “proof” verses.
4/. He must believe that the Bible doesn’t mean what it says.
For example, “all” often means “some”, “many” often means “all”, “the whole world” often means only Christians, and “does not” means “cannot”!
5/. He must believe that his God has divine schizophrenia (multiple personality disorder).
He must teach that God desires one thing (the salvation of all mankind) yet decrees something quite different (most of mankind goes to hell). You have to ask why Piper should want to defend his God against a charge of divine schizophrenia! He says: “Affirming the will of God to save all, while also affirming the unconditional election of some, implies that there are at least “two wills” in God, or two ways of willing. It implies that God decrees one state of affairs while also willing and teaching that a different state of affairs should come to pass.” Yet “his will to elect unconditionally those who will actually be saved is not a sign of divine schizophrenia”
6/. He must have a lack of ability to engage in meaningful and intelligent debate.
When others oppose his doctrines, the calvinist must stick to his guns and maintain that he is right because (a) he has been to an approved Bible college, or (b) he reads books by calvinists who teach the same “truths”, or (c) only calvinists are qualified to assess the deeper truths of the Bible, or (d) there are mysteries that God does not want us to know, or (e) you cannot be one of the elect! If you will not play his game by his rules, then he won’t talk to you again!
He must have a supply of names he can call biblical non-calvinists who dare to use the Bible to refute him. Because he cannot abide using the Bible alone for his debates (because he knows he would lose), he must have an arsenal of names and epithets to fire at his “enemy”. These include “clueless”, “non-elect”, “misrepresenting”, “rude”, slander”, “out of context”, “unbiblical”, “you are trying to twist things to fit your own agenda”, “you are teaching heresy”, “both your name and qualifications could very well be an issue with what I believe”, “unbecoming of a brother in Christ”, “very arrogant and hostile”, “lack discernment”. I have been declared the servant of satan, of the devil, evil, hateful, and worse. Yet not one of these people actually demonstrated why they said it. They declare me wrong yet are unable to say why.
The latest comment, by the way, accused me of tirades, yet all he could do was present a tirade of his own soap-box variety! Of course I won’t reply, nor will I print his heresies. Let him commence his own webpage and say what he wants on that. See lower down for my conclusions on his tirade!
7/. He must be unable to present logical debate when refuting said opposition.
In fact, he will usually refuse to engage in any serious debate with someone who knows the Bible well. Those who know the Bible well and quote it in support of their beliefs are considered to be not playing the game by the rules (their rules!). Mormon Joseph Smith had special glasses that only he could use to interpret the extra-biblical writings of the angel Moroni and therefore considered himself above human debate. Many calvinists have their own special set of such “glasses”. They claim that only calvinism categorises the Bible such that only calvinists may understand the deeper “truths” of the Bible. In fact, calvinism is an esoteric knowledge system where only those who are initiated may be permitted to know its deeper truths!
8/. He must declare non-calvinists to be theologically untaught.
He must be prepared to call out non-calvinists as theologically untaught with man-centred thinking, such as stated by calvinist Steven Lawson who said of those non-calvinist Christians that: “In my earlier years, the greatest challenges I faced were preaching the doctrines of grace to congregations that were theologically untaught. To say the least, it was difficult and demanding to try to establish God-centered truth and a biblical philosophy of ministry where there had previously been a stronghold of man-centered thinking concerning the work of God in salvation. Though it was obviously a painful process, the only way to meet such an obstacle was head-on, unashamedly preaching the full counsel of God.”
9/. He must be willing to teach that only calvinists are biblically correct.
He must declare that calvinists are the only evangelical, biblical, theologically correct Christians, such as calvinist Al Mohler states: “Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism, or you’re going to have to invent some label for what is basically going to be the same thing, there just are not options out there”
10/. He must be good at verbal gymnastics.
That is, he must be good at interpreting the Bible to mean the opposite to the clear straight-forward meaning. He must be persuasive, believable, even when telling lies. Like the false teachers of 2 Peter 2:3, he must use “feigned words” (verbal gymnastics) to mean the opposite of what he appears to be saying.
11/. He must be good at mentoring gullible Christians.
He must be able to choose the right people to mentor into the philosophy of calvinism. He has to be careful not to get into a debate with those who might show him up to be the charlatan that he is. Young, immature, naïve, gullible Christians are ideal for his purposes. When he joins a church, he’ll set his sights on such people in order to do the “I am biblical” boast in front of. He’ll talk very biblically-sounding talk, and walk a very biblically-acceptable behaviour, in order to convince these naïve Christians that he is a mature Christian who has all the answers. Of course, he’ll work on individuals or small groups only, in order to better ensure that he will not be opposed by one of those nasty biblical Christians who know their Bibles well.
12/. He’ll boast of the superiority of his God.
And, therefore, will boast of his own superiority in believing in a more sovereign, more gracious (though also more judgmental and less loving) calvinist God. He’ll claim to have experienced a higher view of God that clearly must make him a better Christian.
13/. He might even teach that only calvinists can be saved.
It does sound like those in many Pentecostal churches who boast of the superiority of their spiritual experience because they have spoken in tongues etc. And like such people who claim to be real Christians because they have spoken in tongues (I have met a few), there are calvinists who maintain that it is only calvinists who may be of the elect. Even if I say I have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) calvinists have to say that unless God chose me, then I still cannot be saved.
14/. He must believe that God ordained or decreed sin.
Because the calvinist God makes all the decisions in his universe, then the calvinist must believe that his God is responsible for the existence of all sin. Many prominent calvinist “theologians” acknowledge that God created/decreed/ordained/authored sin. Even Calvin stated “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)
15/. He must believe that satan is an obedient servant of God.
Calvin said that “Satan cannot possibly do anything against the will and consent of God” (Institutes Ch.1, Bk.14, Section 17)
16/. He must believe that his God created most of mankind to go to hell.
Calvin said “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” (Institutes Ch.3, Bk.21, Section 5) And because most of mankind will go to hell according to the Bible, then they were predestined to go to hell by the calvinist God.
17/. He must believe that God hates most people.
While God tells us to love our enemies, the calvinist God creates his enemies by predestinating them to hell for no other reason than he doesn’t love them enough to want them in heaven. The calvinist God hates most of the mankind he has created.
18/. He must believe that prayer is ineffectual.
If the calvinist God has foreordained all things from the beginning, then no amount of prayer can ever make any difference at all, because no-one can ever change what the calvinist God has willed should happen.
19/. He must believe that preaching the gospel is not to save people.
Calvinists will often say that they preach the gospel in obedience to God, for if God has already established from the beginning who will be saved (and no-one else), then no amount of evangelizing can ever change what God has predetermined.
Calvinist Bryan Liftin (professor of theology at the Moody Bible Institute) says “But then why evangelize anyone if God’s decree is already fixed? The mistake is thinking that we evangelize in order to save people. That is incorrect. …. The right reason to evangelize is to be obedient.“
20/. He must believe that the gospel is completely irrelevant.
He must believe that it is impossible for anyone to respond to the gospel until after he has been born again (they call it being regenerated). You cannot be saved until after you have been regenerated.
21/. He must believe that only those chosen from the beginning will go to heaven.
And he must believe that there is absolutely nothing that he or anyone else can do that can ever make any difference at all regarding who goes to heaven or hell. If you are not on the list for heaven from the beginning of creation, then you were always earmarked to go to hell.
22/. He must believe that it doesn’t even matter what you believe.
In calvinism it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, because if you are one that God has chosen, you will go to heaven, and if you were not chosen, you will go to hell. This is the calvinist gospel in a nutshell.
23/. He must believe that God has a celestial lottery to choose his elect.
Calvinism teaches that God unconditionally chooses his elect to go to heaven. The rest he chooses to send to hell. An unconditional election means a statistically random selection. It is a celestial lottery that determines where you go when you die. Most of course will go to hell, unless you are one of those special ones whom he loves. And the calvinist God chooses whom he will love via his celestial (unconditional) lottery. Everyone has an equal chance of being drawn out of the barrel. Unfortunately, 99% or more will remain in that barrel. And those names that remain in the barrel will be sent to hell. No matter how good a life you live, if you were not chosen in that lottery, you will go to hell.
24/. He must believe in a temporary faith, an inferior operation of the Spirit.
There are those who appear to be of the elect yet fall away before the end. Calvin taught that these had been given a temporary faith, “an inferior operation of the Spirit”. Calvin also says that “Hence it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith, is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption.”
(Institutes Bk.3, Ch.2, Section 11)
25/. He must believe that no-one can know if they are saved until they die.
Calvinists must believe that a proof of their election to heaven is that they will persevere until the end. If they do not persevere to the end, then they had a temporary faith only, and were never programmed to persevere to the end. Not one calvinist can ever be sure that he is one of the elect until he dies and stands before God in judgment. Only perseverance to the end proves your faith!
The tirade mentioned above claimed a belief in predestination. Keep in mind that if God has predestinated all mankind to either heaven or hell, then
(a) praying for anyone’s salvation cannot change where that person goes when they die
(b) evangelisation and mission work are a total waste of time
(c) even doing good works is of no benefit at all to you