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Subject: Thanks for website
I came across your website a few months ago and have been greatly encouraged. We have just recently had to leave a church that we had only been in for just under a year. At the time the Pastor that had been there for over 20 years was still serving. We had become close to a couple in the church who had been in there for about a year when we came along, he too is a pastor. We grew close very quickly because they seem to truly love the Lord and were always wanting to get together and talk. A long story short we started to notice he was saying things that seemed off and I was started to question some of her behaviours. They started a bible study in their home and we were doing the Kay Authur precept on precept book on Peter. As time went on and many discussions later he started to push calvanism, and was calling my husband “a confused calvanist”.Well months later they thought we were on board with them but we weren’t. The church had decided to make him pastor (apparently they prayed and God sent him to them) because the serving pastor was retiring. After some very alarming things he was starting to say to us and after trying to reason with him from the scriptures nothing sunk in and he just started to turn the bible study into a platform to push his rubbish. We stopped going to the study and he called (husband) one day and after some discussion he said to my husband “well I wont be able to change your mind and you wont be able to change mine so we will have to leave it at that”.He was taking over as Pastor at the beginning of the year so we decided to go and let the current pastor know our concerns and things he had been pushing at the bible study. The pastor knew full well how dangerous and divisive calvanism was and seemed to be concerned, and that he would hand it over to the elders and they would need to deal with the situation because he was retiring. He did hand it over and they apparently went to the pastor and spent hours with him and saw no problem with what he believed.I will say at this point this church we were in was so dead and immature it was extremely sad to see christians in this state. So it wasn’t hard for this pastor to convince the elders he was ok. This is a man that believed God died on the cross, that Diving Nature died, that babies go to hell because they have sin, John Piper is his hero, whenever subjects came up he and his wife would go to the books for the answers, never the bible. They also would use the fact that they went to seminary made them far more knowledgable that the rest of us mere christians.There is much more to this story but we were thrown under the bus and have never heard from anyone except one person who told us that this pastor was in a church previously that he was in and they left that church because issues. After that he started up his own church and that lasted 2 years and fell apart and he admitted to us that it was because he was teaching calvanism and people didn’t stay. He also admitted to us that he knows people will leave this one but it’s because they are wrong not him.
I’m sure you have heard stories like this too many times, the good that is coming from this is we are fired up and in the word every day learning about this deception, we are not strangers to deception and have come across so much in our walk but it will make us closer to the Lord.
We are on our own now and hopefully we will find a fellowship or some christians but in the mean time I want to thank you for what you are doing on the website, we personally are very encouraged, keep up the fight brother. If you do know any kind of fellowship of know any like-minded christians over this way could you let us know.
Your brother and sister in Christ
Yes, I do hear stories like this, a few directly through personal contact including this website, many indirectly mostly through comments and posts on other websites. In general, very few people who get deeply into calvinism ever escape its clutches. It’s like a cult that works on convincing you that if you leave, then you’ve dropped out of the running for heaven. Calvinists will tell you that if you leave (even to run a home church), then that demonstrates that you are not one of the elect and therefore leaving them means you are leaving your hopes of heaven behind. Many that do manage to see some light of truth, enough to get them out of calvinism, like most cults, find themselves shunned by those with whom they used to have fellowship.
And there are many anecdotes online of churches that have appointed a new pastor who seemed to be on the ball and biblical, yet, once settled, started to mix in a bit of calvinism here, a little there, and slowly their church (most, anyway) accepted the new doctrines. They don’t usually push their contentious doctrines all at once, but will ease their beliefs in bit by bit, mixing them with the long-established biblical beliefs of the church members. The church members generally don’t pick up the little changes as they happen, and mostly become good little calvinists without realising it. Often the pastor will end up teaching straight calvinism, yet never call it calvinism. He might start using terms like “grace” or “doctrines of grace” or “reformed” or “biblical” to describe his doctrines, but if it is calvinist, then it is calvinism! By the way, a lot of calvinists like to call their churches Grace or Bible churches, in an effort to convince people that they are really on-the-ball Christians. But, like most of their doctrines, these church names are also a lie.
Of course, those who read their Bibles for themselves are far less likely to be taken in by calvinist sneakiness. This is the best antidote against all kinds of heresy: know your Bible and how to find out what it says for yourself. When faced with church members who dare use their Bibles to ask probing questions of the pastor, they will often be told that (a) the pastor is the teacher, not them (because he’s been to Bible school), or (b) certain great calvinist writers agree with the pastor, or (c) are you really one of the elect? or (d) it’s a mystery hidden within the secret counsels of sovereign God, or, as a last resort, (e) I won’t talk to you anymore!
Calvinist pastors taking over a non-calvinist church will often agree to differ in the early stages of take-over, but once they feel they have a firm footing, they will put pressure on those who disagree. They believe that only those qualified for ministry should be teachers of the Bible, and lesser beings who don’t have that qualification (usually given by themselves to each other, especially in USA) must listen to the overwhelming intellect and understanding of the pastor. He rules! If the church has deacon rule, then the pastor may introduce elders to govern the deacons. The elders are the teachers, while deacons are generally not permitted to be teachers. The pastor also will like to call himself a teaching elder. In a church that has elder rule, then they will be divided up into teaching and non-teaching elders, based on their perceived spirituality (read “agreement with and support for calvinistic principles). And beware of “Biblical Counselling”, a church counselling program introduced by calvinists to govern the behaviour of their members. It is widely used across many denominations.
I recommend that you (a) continue to read the Bible, even if it is just the two of you studying it each week. Calvinist pastors will try to bully you by telling you that you aren’t attending church and therefore must be non-elect. They don’t agree with home churches because home churches have a tendency to read the Bible for themselves. (And they can’t control home churches! It’s all about control!) Our previous pastor came to visit us after we started our home church and tried hard to get us to return to our respective churches, finally telling me that I was suffering from “the imaginations of an over-sensitive nature”, that is, I was deluded!
(b) If possible find a pastor who encourages belief in the Bible itself. Avoid a pastor who, rather than teach what the Bible says, instead teaches what he “knows” the Bible says. Don’t let any pastor take the responsibility for learning God’s truth out of your hands.
Subject: No subject offered
While I don’t agree with Calvinism, you have completely taken a lot out of context in regards to what Mr. Todd has said. He’s stated repeatedly that he doesn’t believe in works salvation. But, as the Bible states, faith is never alone. There will be fruit and a transformation. Just “saying a prayer” is not enough. Faith without works is dead. No. This does not mean works saves, but works/fruits are a BY PRODUCT of a genuine confession. We are saved and justified through grace, and Christ righteousness is imputed to us. Sanctification should be intentional and as the holy spirit makes us more into the image of Christ, we are growing. No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.
I am unsure just what I have said that you disagree with. What have I actually stated which you feel is incorrect? Please quote my words! I have repeatedly said that if anyone wishes to comment on what I have said, you must state clearly what it is that I have allegedly said. Unless, of course, you don’t really know what it is that I have said that you find out of context.
You say, “There will be fruit and a transformation. Just “saying a prayer” is not enough. Faith without works is dead.” Where have I said otherwise? In fact, I do not have any disagreement with these words. In fact, I agree with much (not all!) of what you have written. You seem to have misread what I have actually said!
Friel says (“Ten reasons to not ask Jesus into your heart” – also see The Heresy of Todd Friel) So, what must one do to be saved? Repent and trust. (Heb.6:1)
Yet Hebrews 6:1 (Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,) actually teaches that we should move on from the foundation of repentance and faith toward God. That is, to grow as a Christian instead of staying a Christian baby. (See the context in Hebrews 5:12-14 in your Bible.) Apparently Friel is teaching that we must do the works of our salvation in order to be saved. But the works should be a consequence of that salvation, not the cause. At the very least Friel seems to be mightily confused here.
I have quoted Todd Friel (with my comments added) in The Heresy of Todd Friel:
In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith. [I fail to see even one justification, here or anywhere else for that matter, how asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith! This is a ridiculous grasping at straws! It might be possible to leave out faith, but nothing says the sinners’ prayer cannot involve faith! It’s the person who has or hasn’t faith, not the sinners’ prayer!]
Are my comments out of context here? The mere praying of the sinners’ prayer cannot automatically assume faith, nor the lack of faith for that matter. And if you think faith is a gift of God, check it out properly, for faith is the response of man to the character of the God who makes such great and precious promises. (Try reading Hebrews 11 carefully.) Also, the gift of God in Ephesians2:8-9 cannot grammatically be faith. The word genders are wrong! The gift of God there is your salvation by the grace of God.
I also mention the sinners’ prayer in Calvinism is incompatible with Biblical doctrine: “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.”
The point being made is that any decision made by one’s own free will is unacceptable to the calvinist because of that claim to have used free will to decide. It is not giving an unqualified tick of approval to the sinners’ prayer. However, if one has free will to decide to come to Christ for salvation, then one must pray to Him at some stage. (I assume you believe that it is acceptable and maybe probable even that a person may pray at this time?)
Todd Friel says: People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. (“Ten reasons to not ask Jesus into your heart”)
Where does it say in the Bible – or even suggest it – that “people who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved”? Is it a sin to ask Jesus into your heart? And where does it say that it was because they asked Jesus into their hearts that caused Jesus to reject them? Read it carefully! Also note Matthew 7:21-23 – 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
It is those who Jesus never knew (who didn’t do the will of the Father) who will be rejected. And the will of the Father is that all should call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4). There are many who profess to know Christ but never submitted to His authority.
You said, “No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.” However, as for the sinners’ prayer not being in the Bible, how else may one call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) if one cannot use prayer to do so? Calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved is the biblical requirement for salvation. Please tell me, how may someone call upon the name of the Lord to be saved without praying? And if someone calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved, then that is a prayer for salvation, that is, the sinners’ prayer. I do not claim that all who pray such a prayer will be saved, either. If a person’s life does not show the change of such a prayer, then that person’s salvation must be considered non-existent. I quote from my latest post: “Many do struggle with sin for a while after they are saved; as a rule sins such as addictions do not miraculously completely disappear when the person comes to Christ for salvation. If they do not disappear at all, ever, then that person’s salvation was probably non-existent.” (Just exactly what is the calvinist gospel?)
That is, if there is no transformation ever in a person’s life after praying to be saved, then it may be assumed that the person was never truly saved. Certainly faith without works is dead. Where have I stated (or even implied) that this is not so?
In Luke 18:10-14, Jesus gave the example of a sinner who prayed to God to be merciful to him a sinner (actually “to propitiate him a sinner”). This man prayed a prayer to God, “Lord be merciful to (propitiate) me a sinner!” He showed no works other than extreme repentance for his sins, yet Jesus declared him justified. Now, if the sinner had then made little or no effort to put this prayer into action (that is, continuing to live as he had previously), then it is clear his prayer may well have been false and his justification non-existent. Of course, this is just a parable that demonstrates the effective use of a sinners’ prayer. Because it is not necessarily a real situation, we are not told what happened after that. It was a parable, after all.
But it is an example of a sinners’ prayer. Is it not in your Bible?
One last thing to note: the only people who deny a sinners’ prayer in any shape or form are those who believe that man has no free will to choose his salvation. Thus the calvinists teach that only God alone may choose your salvation for you, and thus a sinners’ prayer cannot be acceptable to them regardless of whether it is genuine or not! You disagree with calvinism but you also appear to disagree with a salvation that requires a person to pray to God for salvation. Some sinners’ prayers may well be a waste of time, especially if not accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
However, some sinners’ prayers must be genuine. If man has free will to choose to accept or reject salvation, then in order to be saved he must pray a prayer at some stage to call upon the name of the Lord. (Unless no genuine Christians exist in the world today??)
By the way, did you make a decision to be saved at some point in time? That is, did you call upon the name of the Lord to be saved? Of course, calvinists don’t agree with this, because they don’t believe man has the free will to do so. “You don’t choose God; God chooses you!” they say. But you have said, “I don’t agree with Calvinism” which may assume you agree in the free will of man. Or do you? Free will requires a response to God, generally in the form of prayer, unless you have found another way?
You said, “No, “the sinners prayer” is not in the Bible.” Apparently the following verse may be missing from your Bible?
Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(This comment will also appear in my posts section.)
Subject: todd friel
asking Jesus into your heart without repentence does not change the fact that a person is still lost.
Yes, you are absolutely correct on that. Anyone who asks Jesus into their heart without repentance is certainly still lost, yet anyone who asks Jesus into their heart and does repent may be saved. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Note that not one single Christian could claim to be perfect before they die. Those who demand that a person repent of and forsake all their sin before they may claim to be Christian (as I believe such as Ray Comfort teach) are teaching a holy perfectionist belief, an ultra-puritanical life-style, that may impress those on earth, but simply being a puritan isn’t sufficient to save you. (That would surely be a works-based salvation!) It is the truly repentant sinner calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved that God will bless with eternal life. That is His promise, after all!
Also, asking Jesus into your heart is merely a manner of speech. Asking Him into your life as Lord and Saviour could also be acceptable, as might be a number of other prayer formats. There is no set sinners’ prayer format as such. A prayer without repentance won’t save you. It’s not the prayer on its own that saves you, but the repentant sinner calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved.
Subject: General question
What denomination or type of church is Hoppers Crossing? Did you express your concerns personally to the preachers that you are labeling as heretics prior to making public online statements about them?
Thank you for your comment. Our website does say that Hoppers Crossing Christian Church is a small home based church in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. Perhaps our website should state it more clearly, though. We do not claim a particular denomination, although my background is probably closest to Baptist. We accept that, where differences occur, the Bible overrules all church doctrinal statements. Our beliefs are therefore Biblical, so if anyone wishes to discuss our beliefs, they should firstly test all things according to Scripture and challenge accordingly. We rest on sola scriptura, something that calvinists love to claim yet they rarely defend doctrine on the basis of the Bible alone. We have had a number of people accusing us of misrepresenting or otherwise calvinist or reformed doctrine, yet not one up until now has been able to actually explain clearly from the Bible alone just what it is that we have stated incorrectly. In fact, not one has clearly quoted (verbatim) even one single offending statement of ours. I can only assume that they object to me not agreeing with them, but are unable to state exactly what it is that I have said that they disagree with!
As for expressing our concerns personally to various preachers, I’m not sure what exactly you are wanting to know. If you wish to discuss this further, please enlighten me as to your purpose for knowing this.
I thank you for your effort to make this comment.
Subject: Todd friel
Hello. Just wanted to make a comment on you criticism on the Jesus prayer and his thoughts. Although I agree with some of your thoughts, some of his are correct on this issue as well. I know Dozens, if not hundreds of people that think they are saved because they said a Jesus prayer, but go on to live their lives as before, NO change at all in their lifestyles. They think they are saved. Sorry, they are not. I believe this is what he is arguing against and warning about. I have not done an in-depth study on this, but that is my take away.
Thank you for your comment. I note that Friel condemns the praying of the sinners’ prayer in general. This is based upon his calvinist view that man has no free will to choose to be saved in any way, and therefore a sinners’ prayer for salvation is irrelevant. He believes that God makes the choice and you have absolutely no say in the matter! On the other hand, while I believe that a person may pray the sinners’ prayer in order to be saved (as per Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved), not all who pray such a prayer can automatically claim to be saved. This appears to be your view also. So, what have I said that you actually disagree with? What you are saying appears to be biblical truth!
In How may one be saved without praying, I make this very point, that the mere saying of a “sinners’ prayer” is not a guarantee of salvation. I quote from that document.
“The mere praying of the sinners’ prayer cannot automatically assume faith, nor the lack of faith for that matter.”
“I am not giving an unqualified tick of approval to every sinners’ prayer that is prayed.”
“I do not claim that all who pray such a prayer will be saved, either. If a person’s life does not show the change of such a prayer, then that person’s salvation must be considered non-existent.”
“That is, if there is no transformation ever in a person’s life after praying to be saved, then it may be assumed that the person was never truly saved. Certainly faith without works is dead.”
“In Luke 18:10-14, Jesus gave the example of a sinner who prayed to God to be merciful to him a sinner (actually “to propitiate him a sinner”). This man prayed a prayer to God, “Lord be merciful to (propitiate) me a sinner!” (And if a sinner prays to God like this, then how is it not a sinners’ prayer?) He showed no works other than extreme repentance for his sins, yet Jesus declared him justified. Now, if the sinner had then made little or no effort to put this prayer into action (that is, continuing to live as he had previously), then it is clear his prayer may well have been false and his justification non-existent. Of course, this is just a parable that demonstrates the effective use of a sinners’ prayer. Because it is not necessarily a real situation, we are not told what happened after that. It was a parable, after all.”
“Some sinners’ prayers may well be a waste of time, especially if not accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
However, some sinners’ prayers must be genuine. If man has free will to choose to accept or reject salvation, then in order to be saved he must pray a prayer at some stage to call upon the name of the Lord. (Unless no genuine Christians exist in the world today??)”
So let’s get to Friel’s problems here. Let me quote from him.
“Brace yourself for this one: with very few if any exceptions, anyone who asked Jesus into their hearts to be saved…is not. If you asked Jesus into your heart because you were told that is what you have to do to become a Christian, you were mis-informed.”
“People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment.”
(“Ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart” – By Todd Friel)
Friel’s problem is that he strongly advises people to not pray anything like the sinners’ prayer. This is based upon his calvinist belief that God has chosen unconditionally from the beginning of time those who would be saved (the elect of God), thereby condemning those who were not chosen to an eternity in hell. Calvinists believe that man has no free will to change God’s choice in this matter, and thus are either saved or lost for all eternity. This belief renders the sinners’ prayer obsolete, for what point is it to pray such a prayer if you can never change what God has chosen for you? Whatever the calvinist God chooses for you is your destiny for eternity, and no sinners’ prayer can ever change that!
(Of course, if you pray a sinners’ prayer and the calvinist God has already decided to “regenerate” you (make you born again), then your sinners’ prayer might be acceptable to the calvinist God. Calvinists believe that you must be born again before you may believe in Christ and be saved. Many won’t readily admit to this but if they are calvinist, then their God must make you alive before you can be saved.)
Note that according to the Bible God does choose those who are saved (the elect); however, this choice is according to His foreknowledge of their decision to be saved. This is what the Bible really teaches: that we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”. (1 Peter 1:2) Calvinists do not believe that we can choose to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, and therefore God doesn’t use foreknowledge to determine such decisions that they (calvinists) claim can never be made anyway. Instead, they teach that such a choice is always made by God alone and never by the person. This is Friel’s heresy.
While many who pray the sinners’ prayer may not actually be saved (easy-believism is a serious problem), there are also many who pray the sinners’ prayer and are saved to the uttermost. The one who genuinely prays the sinners’ prayer and means every bit of it should demonstrate his faith by his resultant works. If his works support his new-found faith in Christ, then we may assume that he is most likely the consequence of a genuine sinners’ prayer. If a person claims to be saved by having prayed the sinners’ prayer, yet shows no works to justify that claimed salvation, then we may assume that his sinners’ prayer was probably just so much hot air, that is, worthless.
While many who pray the sinners’ prayer are as lost as they were before they prayed it, Friel’s problem is that he denies those many who pray the sinners’ prayer who are genuinely saved. This is his heresy. He is half-right, but also half-wrong. And half the truth is not the truth, but a lie. And, as unclean put with clean renders the clean unclean and not the other way (Haggai 2:10-14), lies mixed with truth renders the truth lies and not the other way. A half-truth is always a lie!
Please feel free to comment further on this if you wish. I am always agreeable to discuss any reasonable and genuine comment.
Subject: Todd Friel
Have you gone to Todd Friel about your concerns following the guidelines in Galatians 6:1 and Matthew 18?
Firstly, what exactly is the point of this question? Are you really so concerned for Friel’s well-being, or are you merely trying desperately to find fault with what I do (probably because you cannot find scriptural fault with what I actually say)?
Note that both Galatians 6:1 and especially Matthew 18:15-17 refer to how we should approach a Christian brother (or sister) when a disagreement may disrupt our fellowship together. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee ….. (Matthew 18:15)
It does not have to apply in general to all mankind, especially those who are heretics and apostates.
Friel is clearly not my brother in Christ, for if he is Christian, then I am most certainly lost, and vice-versa. He has greatly offended me by informing me (via his website, of course) that because I prayed a sinners’ prayer to be saved, then I will perish on the day of judgment. He says clearly that “People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment”. Did Friel come personally to me about his concerns regarding my lost state as he obviously sees it?
In documents on my website, I have stated a number of times that calvinist doctrines are not compatible with biblical doctrines. Calvinists teach that you must be born again before you can believe in Christ and be saved, yet the Bible simply teaches that you must believe in Christ in order to be saved. These two “gospels” are diametrically opposed to each other and therefore cannot be compatible without a great deal of compromise. That is why calvinists teach that if you are not a calvinist, then you have a lesser understanding of the Bible. They know that there is indeed much conflict between the two belief systems.
For example, Calvinism is the Gospel and to teach Calvinism is in fact to preach the Gospel. It is questionable whether a dogmatic theology which is not Calvinistic is truly Christian. Arthur C. Custance, The Sovereignty of Grace (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1979), p. 302.
Or Al Mohler: 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 (http://www.newcalvinist.com/albert-mohler-and-hip-hop-culture/)
Or “any compromise of Calvinism is a step towards humanism.” Kenneth G. Talbot and W. Gary Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Edmonton: Still Waters Revival Books, 1990), p. 3
Or Boettner: Some have declared—and rightly we believe—that there is no consistent middle ground between Calvinism and Atheism. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination P 244)
Or the comment passed on to me this morning where Person 1 says “I’m not calvinist or arminian. I just believe in the Bible.” Person 2 slaps him over the face and says, “You’re a calvinist, then!” Sounds just like the way calvinists evangelize the lost, doesn’t it!
Our church ministry seeks to expose the truth concerning the lies taught by heretics, especially calvinists. There is no requirement for a biblical Christian to personally express these views to heretics before exposing their lies. After all, many calvinists avow that because I’m not a calvinist, then at best I’m not biblical and at worst I’m going to hell. Not one calvinist has expressed a desire to discuss my “heresy” personally with me from a biblical point of view. (They do, however, quote all the calvinists they can think of, from MacArthur to Piper to Sproul and beyond, to “prove” that I’m not acceptable to calvinists.) Friel obviously believes I’m going to perish in hell because I dared ask Jesus Christ to save me to the uttermost.
So, as long as I am accurately portraying his beliefs (and I do that by quoting him word-for-word as much as possible), then I am entitled to do so. If you have a problem with the accuracy or truth of anything I have said, then please let me know. And keep it scriptural; remember sola scriptura – the Bible alone. If I have misrepresented Friel in any way, please let me know, but be both scriptural and logical. So far no-one has yet been able to challenge me on biblical grounds.
I trust that this answers your query satisfactorily. I thank you for your comment and request that if you have more discussion on this matter, please feel free to reply to this comment.
Subject: THE NOTION THAT “ASKING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST INTO YOUR HEART” AS BEING HERETICAL
In The Lord Jesus Christ, I greet you! I started reading your comments on Pastor Todd Friel and other’s error concerning “Asking The Lord Jesus to come into one’s heart”. I too KNOW that their denouncing the practice of the “Sinner’s Prayer” and the subject is in error. Didn’t THE LORD JESUS say in Luke 11:13 “…how much more will your Heavenly Father give The Holy Spirit to him that ASK?” Furthermore, doesn’t Romans 8:9 refer to The Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of Christ”? Apparently, when we repent and ask for forgiveness, using such verbiage as “Oh Lord Jesus, won’t you forgive me and come into my heart” FULFILLS THESE TWO PASSAGES! Now, I know that there is false teaching that is genuinely dangerous which lead people to act like a poly-parrot and repeat after the evangelist a particular sincere prayer, and then, “Wella’, you’re saved if you sincerely meant what you said. Not our prayers, remorse, or squeezing ourselves of every drop of faith we muster will save us, GOD SAVES! The Lord calls and draws us, we obediently respond accordingly, and HE saves us. Many a person have complied with what they thought was “the right” tap dance, only to become disgruntled later on and say, “it didn’t take”! So, we need a BIBLICAL balance in rightly dividing God’s Holy Word. May The Lord God bless you and thanks!!! (Interested in your feedback!)
Thank you for your encouraging comment. Yes, it is abundantly clear that we do have the free will to choose this day whom we will serve. And it is also just as clear that God does indeed call and draw us toward His salvation. But, John 12:32 says that Jesus drew all to Himself on the cross, which means that all may come if they choose to do so, yet many do not come. Therefore, 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. Otherwise, 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.
Todd Friel is merely teaching the calvinist line that says that man has no free will in salvation. If you take free will out of the equation, then man has no choice in accepting or rejecting God’s salvation. Free will requires God to foreknow from the start all decisions of all mankind from beginning to end. And the biblical predestination of man is according to an election (choosing) of God based upon His foreknowledge of man’s decisions. This is what 1 Peter 2:1 clearly teaches – Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
But without free will, foreknowledge becomes unnecessary. The calvinist God then just chooses his elect people to be predestinated for heaven, and the rest he predestines for hell. 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! The calvinist God’s will is the only will in the universe – this is their definition of his sovereignty.
Of course, many who do pray the sinners’ prayer are not saved because they didn’t believe in their hearts that it was true. Romans 10:9 makes it clear: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. It must be a decision of the heart as well. If it is just parroted words to save you without the heart to believe in it, then that person is not saved at all. On the other hand, it is hard to see how we may call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) without praying something like the sinners’ prayer.
Being saved is not an easy way out; in fact, it is the hard road, the tough road of suffering that we are called to, according to 1 Peter 2:21 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. And, it is the measure of the godly Christian that he or she suffer tribulation for their belief in Christ (2 Timothy 3:12). This is not salvation for the faint-hearted. We must take up our own crosses and follow Jesus or else we cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27), nor are we worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38). Many parrot-off the sinners’ prayer but refuse to take up their crosses. Many refuse to let go of the world; like Demas, their love for the world is too great (2 Timothy 4:10). So I’d agree with you that for many the gospel “didn’t take” because, as you so rightly point out, “we need a BIBLICAL balance in rightly dividing God’s Holy Word.” (as per 2 Timothy 2:15)
But a simple sinners’ prayer can bring salvation to the uttermost, as long as it involves genuine repentance and a desire for forgiveness (as you have rightly pointed out). For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Also note that when we pray the sinners’ prayer, the final decision still rests with God to accept our plea for forgiveness. This is what faith is all about, our trust in the One who makes such great promises. Yes, God will save to the uttermost all who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him (Hebrews 7:25). So when we call out to Him for salvation, He will answer and He will save us, for our faith trusted in God who promises this when we cry out to Him.
So yes, the sinners’ prayer can save to the uttermost but only if we believe it in our hearts as well as our mouths. And, as long as our works support our faith, for James 2:17 says that faith without works is dead. If we believe in Christ for salvation, then our lives will demonstrate that. We are not saved by works, but our works should show that we are saved.
May God bless you as you seek to serve Him through rightly dividing the word of truth.
Thank you for taking the time to research Calvinism so thoroughly and for being bold enough to speak against it. I am currently trying to do the same thing (https://mycrazyfaith.blogspot.com). I’m sure my story is similar to other ones you’ve heard. We recently got a new pastor, a dogmatic Calvinist, who slowly started introducing Calvinist ideas into his sermons (but never calling it Calvinism). The more he preached things that conflicted with the Bible, the more I researched and discovered how wrong (and horrifying) Calvinism is. I heard he requires all the elders to go through Grudem’s Systematic Theology with him, and that other members are invited to go through it with him in small groups. So he is slowly spreading it, one person at a time.
The last straws for me were when he gave a sermon about God causing all things for His glory, even child abuse, … and his manipulation tactics (shaming people into not disagreeing with him by telling them things like “This IS what the Bible teaches. Humble Christians will accept it. There are only three possible responses you can have to it: ignore it, get angry about it, or accept it.”) … and when he (or at least someone in the office) deleted a biblically-accurate comment I left on his blog post about predestination, disagreeing with his view that the Bible clearly teaches it and that we simply have to accept it.
Because of these things, my husband and I decided to write a long letter to the elders (most of whom are Calvinists), sharing our concerns. So far, nothing has come of the letter, except that the pastor has gotten more vocal about his views (which I predicted would happen). And now we are shaking the dust off our feet and working towards leaving that church, considering possibly a home church. But one good thing is that it has caused me to deeply research this issue and speak out against it. It is slowly infiltrating churches everywhere, unnoticed and unopposed. So I always appreciate when I see others writing against it too, like you. Keep it up, and God bless.
Thank you for your kind words of support for our work on this website. The encouragement is much appreciated.
We don’t get much response from calvinists these days (although many must read our pages, and just recently a big effort – probably militant calvinists – was made to hack into our site to crash it). Calvinists just don’t like the Bible alone (sola scriptura) to be used because without the input from their calvinist hero writers they cannot justify their false doctrines. In reality they hate and fear sola scriptura. Calvinists only take up the battle openly when they think they cannot lose. If they think they might risk losing a debate, then they almost always just ignore us and hope we’ll go away one day! Most calvinist teachers are cowards who never fight unless they have all the firepower! And if you know your Bible, you will always have more firepower than any calvinist.
It is good to hear of the experiences of others. People who are neither calvinist nor Arminian nor anything else but just biblical have to stand together against this wave of aggression from the servants of satan, false teachers. And keep on encouraging others to join the battle against this insidious heresy. The truth must be made known, and only the truth will set people free.
I’m sure there are many others experiencing the same problems, but so many give in to pressure rather than try to cause disruption in their churches. And calvinists do play on the keeping of the peace to keep dissident people from rocking the church boat too much. They will try to focus on common ground so that others find it difficult to argue. After all, how do you argue if some of what they say is true. Most will simply surrender!
Wayne Grudem is a contributor to the ESV Bible that the calvinists love, and general editor of the ESV Study Bible. But keep in mind that fundamentalist Bible-believing Christians used to strongly condemn the RSV Bible for its twisting of Scripture, yet the ESV is simply a revision of the RSV. It’s just that calvinists prefer a Bible with lies built in that can be twisted more easily.
It is also common for calvinists to initially work with individuals and small groups in a church until they get sufficient support to push their heresies upon the whole congregation. And they never call it calvinism until most have been converted. Calvinists teach that calvinism is the gospel (as per Spurgeon) yet never preach this calvinist gospel until after the person is saved using the biblical gospel (often before the calvinist came on the scene). The main mission field for the calvinist today is the non-calvinist biblical church.
Many calvinists do teach that unless God ordains sinful acts, then there is no meaningful purpose in evil. On John Piper’s webpage it says: In Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, contributors John Piper, Joni Eareckson Tada, Steve Saint, Carl Ellis, David Powlison, Dustin Shramek, and Mark Talbot explore the many categories of God’s sovereignty as evidenced in his word. (https://www.desiringgod.org/books/suffering-and-the-sovereignty-of-god)
In this book (which is edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor), contributor Mark Talbot says (on Page 42) the following: In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory and his people’s good. This includes – as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem – God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child. (This is absolute blasphemy against the holiness of God!)
By the way, predestination and the election are biblical doctrines, but the calvinists add to these truths the lie that it is all and only by the will of God alone that you are either heading for heaven, or heading for hell. They call it the unconditional election. We are indeed the elect of God, but elect by the foreknowledge of God the Father (1 Peter 1:2) and we are indeed predestinated to conform to the image of Christ but once again it is for those whom God foreknew (Romans 8:29). Thus we believe in an election and predestination that is conditional upon man’s free will to be saved, and God’s foreknowledge to determine those free-will decisions to be saved. Thus both the election and predestination exist but are conditional upon your free will, not the calvinist God’s so-called “sovereign” will.
Calvinists cannot accept that man has free will to choose this day whom he will serve, and therefore they reject the biblical truth that God uses foreknowledge to foresee such personal choices to be saved.
MacArthur redefines foreknowledge as God’s special loving relationship He has with His people; he says: They’re (Israel) the only ones with whom I (God) have an intimate predetermined relationship. …. But what you must understand is that God predetermined in his plan to set his love upon certain people. That’s foreknowledge. He foreknew you. (“Chosen by God Part 2”)
MacArthur also teaches on his website that: When the Bible speaks of God’s foreknowledge, it refers to God’s establishment of a love relationship with that person. (Grace to You, “Considering Election (Not Politics)” – Article 132)
And Piper says: God does not foreknow the free decisions of people to believe in him because there aren’t any such free decisions to know. (“What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism” 1998 revision)
Calvinists hate the true meaning of the foreknowledge of God because it demands the use of man’s free will to choose to receive God’s gift of salvation, and calvinists will never permit man to receive the Saviour. Like Todd Friel, they teach that if you were saved because you prayed a prayer to receive Christ as Saviour, then you are still going to hell. You do not choose God; God chooses you! Friel says: People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. (“Ten Reasons to Not Ask Jesus into Your Heart”)
So after our two local churches that claimed to be Biblical went quite calvinist (of the MacArthur variety), we saw no option but to start our small home church and study the truth of the Bible for ourselves. That was how the original Church started in many places, and it seems to be going back to home churches to maintain our ability to seek the truth of God’s Word without interference from heretics such as calvinists.
Please continue to stand firm on biblical truth in spite of pressure that will certainly be brought to bear against you. Calvinists cannot bear to be wrong; a calvinist can never be wrong! Therefore, anyone who challenges them will be bullied by the arrogant aggression of calvinists who will not put up with any opposition; they desire a monopoly of belief (calvinist, that is!) in all churches they attend. If they have Biblical Counselling (as per the new calvinist Westminster Seminary) then they may publicly name and shame you in front of the rest of the church (it does happen) as part of their disciplinary procedures. Those whom you thought were friends may be stopped from speaking to you; you may be crossed off their social calendar. Your church leaders may advise other church members to limit (or even stop) their communications with you. If you try to contact other members individually to explain what you see happening, you may be ordered to not contact them again and to send all your church correspondence to the pastor who probably won’t answer – this happened with us.
Calvinists do not like to have the Bible alone (sola scriptura) used to oppose them. They have no effective answer if you stick to the Bible alone. All their lies may be refuted by the Bible alone.
Your website may be hacked (we had to put in extra security measures a little while back to help here). And, be careful with any links people may attach to their comments.
All these and more may be thrown at you; however, if you are testing all things and holding fast to that which is true (1 Thessalonians 5:21) then God will indeed win the victory through your trials and sacrifices.
To God be the glory, great things He hath done! May God bless you with wisdom and courage to pursue the course that God has chosen for you. Thank you for your comment and keep on fighting the good fight of truth.
Subject: Biblical Reasoning for Pastoring a house church?
After reading a number of your blog posts and articles, I’m intrigued by your line of thinking. But I’m troubled by your biblical reasoning compared with the fact that you’re a pastor of a house church. knowing that of course the early church met in houses, doesn’t necessarily a principle that says that we, the church, MUST meet in homes. Since the bible doesn’t expressly command us to meet in homes it has always been difficult for me to biblically justify the house church, and even more the role of home church pastor for the following reasons.
1) I have see quite a few house churches that are just one or two families. While I believe that it is of incredible value for families to meet together and study the word of God, I’m not certain that that is the same thing that the New Testament describes when it instructs us of what we ought to do together as the church.
2) Almost any time I have spoken to the pastor of a home church, he had come from another church and had some type of falling out. Rather than embracing his discipline and being restored, he simply left the church and went off to form his own little home church where he could be in control. This is problematic since part of the roles and responsibilities of the church is to hold each other accountable for our sin (Matthew 18).
3) This also brings me to one of my biggest cautions towards home churches: the lack of accountability. The bible gives a pretty extensive list of qualifications for leaders of the church (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1), so who is holding the pastor of a home church accountable?
I hope that my questions have not come across as too aggressive or mean. The internet is not often a good medium to communicate compassion and genuine curiosity.
Thankyou for your comments. I know a lot of people appear to be intrigued (or maybe that’s not quite the word some would use!) by my line of thinking. I am quite well educated at university level (Pure Maths, Statistics, Education, Music) and in particular have a strong sense of logical reasoning (thus the strength in Maths). In fact, I find it difficult to think along any lines that are significantly illogical, and see things in terms of the whole picture rather than in sections. As a result, any inconsistency in any doctrinal viewpoint from a biblical point of view will stand out clearly in my thinking. It is this that leads me to see the inconsistencies of such as calvinism.
But why calvinism? Surely there are other false teachings out there? But it was calvinism of the MacArthur variety that took some measure of control over two fundamentalist churches in our area (where most of our family attended), and it was this attack on our liberty to worship biblically that prompted our resulting offensive against them. Calvinism was indeed illogical, yet pushed this illogical mess upon people in an aggressive and arrogant manner. Disagreement was not an option; either agree or else. There was little scope for agreeing to differ.
And, it is quite logical for you to ask such questions. It is also quite correct that I should be able to give reasonable answers. I do not consider such questions to be aggressive or mean. You have a perfect right to ask them!
So let’s look at your points.
1/. House churches are often small. If they grow (and many do), they tend to become proper churches, but a lot of churches begin as home churches or similar. How are they any less than a church just because they are small? And does that imply that the bigger the church, the more legitimate it is? Studying the word of God is a very important function of any church, so if the local churches will not teach biblically, then a home church is often the only acceptable solution. If we are limited in some ways, then that is better, rather than to have more but with compromise. Also, knowing that the early church often met in houses, doesn’t necessarily mean that we, the church, MUST meet in homes, but it also cannot mean that we must not meet in homes!
2/. Yes, it is true that many home churches start after a falling out with another church. Of course, many also commence because there just isn’t an acceptable local church in the area. And in our case, both are true. We had a falling out with the non-biblical doctrines that calvinism was pushing upon us, and there wasn’t a suitable local church remaining to transfer to. And it’s not a matter of being in control when biblical truth is compromised. We are commanded to separate ourselves from apostasy (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).
But, one point first: Where two or three are gathered together is biblically sufficient for a meeting. So the lack of numbers isn’t a problem, as long as there is a need to hold home church in the first place.
We have lived in this area for many years now, yet travelled around to various places as God has called, to ministries that have needed assistance at that time. We even spent 3 years in Alice Springs in central Australia working with aboriginal people (and still have regular contact with them, being considered family by some).
At first in our area we went to a local Baptist church, yet left a year later because of the music. I don’t mind music with a beat, or using guitars, but I cannot feel free to worship God when drums override all else (such that outside the building you can hear only the heavy thump of amplified drums shaking the surrounds). We then went to another Baptist church but it soon started using drums. Most of the other churches in our area were also into heavy rock and drums so we ended up at the Presbyterian church which didn’t have drums. The minister there at the time was evangelical and reasonably biblical, so we were satisfied. But, after returning from Alice Springs we found it had changed. A new minister was present and the calvinist Westminster Confession was being systematically pushed at us, yet we persevered for a few years. (And that minister ran off with another woman later on, after we had left that church. Clearly the Westminster Confession which defined him as one of the eternally elect – according to Presbyterians – was able to sin and yet not really sin, it seems!) But for the meantime we continued there, yet considering what we should do.
Then, after another 3 years away (as Principal of a Christian school) we returned only to have the Presbyterian church ask us why they shouldn’t remove us from their membership because we hadn’t attended a Presbyterian church for some years. (It was fairly dead anyway in the town where we had been staying; we had instead attended a small struggling yet on-the-ball church out of town.) We said that the Presbyterians were welcome to remove us from membership, as we were becoming more aware of their growing calvinist stance.
We tried a number of local churches, but very few lacked the heavy rock band with its ubiquitous amplified drums ruling all. We ended up at a church 30 minutes drive away (it had no drums nor rock band), and attended there for some years. But then a local calvinist church (of the MacArthur variety) started taking control of the church that two of my sons attended; it was time to consider alternatives. Enough was enough! Especially as our church was also becoming more entrenched in MacArthur-style calvinism. And we found fairly quickly that arguing with calvinists is a total waste of time and energy; they can’t be told anything; they are always right!
There were no other suitable churches now that we knew of within reasonable distance of us, and all local non-calvinist churches either had rock bands, worldly teaching, or both. You say that we should embrace the discipline and be restored, yet how may this be done when our area doesn’t have any biblical churches, where instead the loud music is the mainstay of their services. How may others (such as calvinists) who are not biblical hold biblical Christians to account? Should we live with the compromise of limited atonement and lack of free will to choose this day whom we will serve? Should we put up with a belief that none may call upon the name of the Lord to be saved unless they have already been born again (regenerated) previously? This is clearly taught by our local now-calvinist churches. Should we believe along with MacArthur that God did not intend to save everyone. He is God. He could have intended to save everyone. He could have saved everyone. He would have if that had been His intention. The atonement is limited. (The Doctrine of Actual Atonement Part 1)
3/. The lack of accountability is certainly one factor that must be looked at seriously in the case of home churches. But I have done my apprenticeship in the past and have had some real experience of running a satisfactory church. Many years ago I was church secretary and organist of a small (maybe 50 strong) independent Baptist church in a remote farming area. (This was for more than 10 years.) Most of the time we had no pastor because we were in a remote region of our state, and our congregation was drawn from an area of more than 2000 km2. Consequently I had to arrange speakers from the church or other regions, or, as the case was, did many sermons myself. This has become excellent training for our home church.
So who is holding the pastor of a home church accountable? Hebrews 13:17 says that pastors must give account to God for their ministry, and 2 Corinthians 5:10 says that all of us must be accountable to God one day for everything we have done, both good and bad. And I maintain the right of the others in our home church to question at any time (on biblical grounds, of course) anything I say. I also do not demand that they have to believe as I do but must determine for themselves what they believe before they believe it. I have no right to push my beliefs upon anyone else, but instead must preach the word faithfully and let them decide what they do after testing everything I say against the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:21). And I accept that I must be somewhat accountable to such as you who ask reasonable questions that demand reasonable answers.
My reply is probably over-long, but I do not like to answer good questions only partially. Good questions deserve good answers and I pray that I have given reason for my actions. Of course, you must test all things and determine for yourself what you believe; I only state my reasons, not necessarily yours. If you have further queries or comments to make, please feel free to comment further.
May God bless you with wisdom as you consider these issues.
Subject: Bad Discernment
I’ve read several articles on your site and you seem to lack discernment, or you intentionally take people out of context. For example you say MacArthur teaches works based salvation which looking at literally the same thing you claim to be heresy it shows that he teaches the exact opposite.
Maybe instead of being a Hardline Calvinist and picking and choosing Bible verses you take it all as the Word of GOD and realize it’s not as straight forward as you might think.
There are some comments that are intelligent, even some of those that disagree with me. I appreciate thoughtful comments even if I don’t agree.
But this comment fails to make any intelligent point at all. After allegedly reading several articles on my site, you say that I (seem to) lack discernment. This is clearly an unqualified opinion, for you give not one single example of such lack of discernment. It seems to me that you haven’t found any evidence of lack of discernment in any of those articles you allegedly read (did you actually read any of them??). Without documented evidence to support your opinion, it is just so much hot air!
And, you claim that I take people out of context. But once again, no actual example of such. Who have I taken out of context, and what have I stated out of context? But no, you have apparently failed to find examples of such for I am certain that if you had found any clear examples, you would have stated them. But you haven’t, so logically you didn’t find any evidence of such accusations!
Clearly you have plucked these words out of the air for you have given not one single example of such. There is no need for me to defend such empty accusations.
If you want me to take you seriously (I seriously do not take you seriously at this stage!) then please document any lack of discernment or taking people out of context in any of those alleged articles. You are like a person who tries to defend himself in a court of law by using his opinions alone; you present no witness statements, no supporting evidence. And if we are talking about my articles, then please be specific about what it is you disagree with. I will not waste my time being drawn into vague, senseless and trivial arguments.
Also, you say, “Maybe instead of being a Hardline Calvinist….” But, if you have read several of my articles, then you had to have noticed that I am not a Hardline Calvinist! What are you talking about? Perhaps you didn’t actually read any of my articles? Or maybe you have delusions that misinterpret what you read? I won’t comment on the rest of your statement quoted above as it makes no sense at all. Probably you might realise one day that the Bible is actually quite straightforward and is able to make complete sense without any of the doctrines of Calvin being used to interpret it. After all, no-one ever becomes a calvinist by the reading of the Bible alone.
So, if you want me to take you seriously, please be more competent and document your opinions with facts. In particular, if you talk heresy, then you must define it from the Bible alone. But you have said “you say MacArthur teaches works based salvation which looking at literally the same thing you claim to be heresy it shows that he teaches the exact opposite.” So what is the biblical doctrine that is queried here? What does the Bible say about it? So, like other calvinists, you probably claim “sola scriptura” (the Bible alone) yet totally avoid using “sola scriptura” in your comments!
I have been reading through some of your articles on Calvinism for about the last hour and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I am a Christian of about 16 months, and have recently left a church because of their Calvinism beliefs. I might add I didn’t know they were Calvin until the pastors admitted it to me recently, though I had suspected it for a long time (they say the are moderate calvinists, but calvinism is calvinism, right?) They admire John Piper (I definitely do not). The icing on the cake was when I was told that health problems I suffer were because God had given them to me, on purpose, to teach me something (what I don’t know). This is what calvinists believe, that everything that happens, even sickness and evil and sin, are because God willed it. Of course, when I objected to this, they said they didn’t mean it the way they meant. The problem with calvinistic churches is that a lot of what they teach is Bible based, but they then mix in Calvinism, which is heretical in my opinion. If we accept that God wills EVERYTHING in this world, then he is reponsible for the Jewish holocaust, child murderers, genocide etc. It is quite clearly rubbish this belief of their’s.
John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world”, not God so loved the elect. Everyone can make a choice for Jesus, not everyone will, but the offer is there for all who will accept it.
I know God will guide me to another church, and I pray that it will not be a calvinistic one.
Keep up the good work.
I thank you for your encouraging comments. It is clear that you are able to think for yourself and to discern error in doctrines taught. Many Christians today do not appear to have such discernment.
The huge problem with calvinism is that it denies the free will of man to choose this day whom he will serve (thus condemning personal belief and the need for discernment, for all belief is dictated by the calvinist God). All their other doctrines are based on this heresy, including their insistence that God’s foreknowledge is not His perfect knowledge of the future. They are also forced to teach that you must be born again (= regenerated) with eternal life from the Spirit before you can believe in Christ and be saved (and receive eternal life which you already must have received when you were born again, supposedly!).
The profile of the typical calvinist convert is a young Christian who desires to be a better Christian. He generally looks to apparently more mature Christians to assist with his desire to know the Bible better. The profile of the typical calvinist is a person who projects an image of being a mature Christian who knows his Bible well. He seeks out less mature Christians who desire to be better Christians, often individually, to mentor them to his calvinist doctrines. And he generally has far less knowledge and understanding of the Bible than he appears to have. Calvinists have a few favourite Bible verses and passages that they use repeatedly to “prove” their teachings, and avoid other verses and passages that are inconsistent with their doctrines. In particular, the typical calvinist has a strong tendency to dictate the meaning of verses and passages to others, often denying their right to question or query his teachings. He believes strongly that he is right, and therefore any who disagree are wrong. Calvinist evangelism tends to be aggressive, dominating the conversation.
It is common for them to assert that all personal problems are the result of personal sin of some kind, for their God has ordained all things to happen, including sickness, suffering and abuse. Their Biblical Counselling focuses upon what sin you must have committed to have caused such misery, and your need to repent of it in order to be reconciled to God. If you cannot be reconciled to their doctrines, then you may be considered non-elect, for the calvinist God will always restore his own back to fellowship. (That is, if you are not restored to fellowship, then you are not God’s elect!) This comes from Sonship Theology (the forerunner of new calvinism) that teaches that there is no sin that God’s children can ever commit that could ever prevent them from getting to heaven, for the calvinist God will always provide grace for his elect. If you sin and do not repent as they feel you should, then you may not be restored to fellowship, and may be encouraged to leave the church. (The calvinist God only provides grace for his own! If you don’t repent, it’s because the calvinist God has not granted you grace, “proving” that you are not his child!)
Piper has edited a book (Suffering and the Sovereignty of God) in which contributor Mark Talbot says (on Page 42) the following: In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory and his people’s good. This includes – as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem – God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child. Anyone who supports this blasphemy cannot be one of God’s children!
“New” calvinism is very aggressive in contrast to the old-fashioned Presbyterian-type calvinism. Piper, MacArthur, Mohler etc are new calvinists. Mohler teaches that new calvinists are the only truly biblical Christians. And while many calvinists may claim to be moderate, they are most likely not being up front and honest about everything they believe in. Calvinists will usually put on an image of being like the others at church, rarely coming out in the open until they have a large number of supporters in the church. They will often find common ground upon which you both agree, and then build their lies upon it, making it hard to deny the lie without denying the truth. So yes, they do mix good teaching with heresy such that it’s often hard to know where the truth ends and the lies start.
And finally, always test all things for yourself. Don’t ever believe what another person teaches until you understand and believe it for yourself. If you are unsure of something that is taught, always do the research (especially in the Bible), ask the hard questions of others (but be discerning – ask them to explain how the Bible actually consistently teaches what they say it does), and then prayerfully meditate on it, think it over until you can see the direction that your studies are leading you. Check the Bible for yourself for the context of a teaching; is it consistently taught the same throughout the Bible? (Any inconsistency probably means a lie somewhere!)
If something doesn’t add up, then think it over until you can see for yourself whether it adds up or not. No-one should believe on your behalf; you must determine your belief for yourself. Good Christians are those who know what they believe and why, and can give their own good answers to those who ask them why they believe as they do.
I would recommend that you find a good biblical church that encourages its members to test all things and to be good Bereans as per Acts 17:10-11, who received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Do not forsake the fellowshipping together with like-minded Christians if possible; mutual encouragement is important for Christians.
You have demonstrated discernment in that you are clearly able to assess what others teach compared with the truth of the Bible.
And thank you again for your encouragement; we all need encouragement at times.
May God continue to bless you with wisdom as you seek to serve Him.
Subject: I quit the church due to Calvinism
My personal thanks to Andrew Dunstone for his biblical research, frankness, and clarification on this Calvinism that is affecting our current western civilization.
I have been in spiritual turmoil for two years and have decided to actually leave God as I felt that I was not chosen by Him and had no recourse to my perceived eternal damnation.
No, I’m not a teenager or new Christian. I am 56 years old and a retired senior US Coast Guard officer with a beautiful wife of 29 years and five children. I have led bible studies and music for 40 years until falling out of the American church routine after our small church disbanded in ……. two years ago.
The mentors that I held on to for biblical clarity were devout Calvinists. Some very popular in America and others who followed their footsteps.
There is a dark side to this Calvinism belief that creates torment if you do not feel as if you are one of the chosen. If God has made His predestined plan and you are not included in it, misery, confusion, and loneliness is all that is left.
In addition, It is pure Hell thinking that possibly your children and other loved ones may never have a chance for salvation under the Calvinistic doctrine. After hearing the response from a very well known Calvinistic pastor who was asked his feelings if one of his children were not chosen by God, his bone chilling response shook me. His response was that even though He loved his children very much, God knows what He is doing for not selecting them to be saved!!! I cannot follow a god like this and have decided not to worship this Calvinistic creation that a lot of America worships.
In the mean time, I had been searching for someone to provide a biblical answer to my dilemma and Andrew has done a great job. I will continue to read his and other material from Hoppers Crossing Christian Church to gain more biblical comfort and find my way back to God with an uplifted focus.
You know, I have sensed a false confidence and smugness in those that I know are Calvinists. Sadly, this appears to be the end result of such a belief; either a smug confidence of being chosen or total separation from God regardless of ones sincerity for salvation. To relate this to scripture; I think of the biblical account of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector both praying and the difference in conviction between the two. One with a smug heart of thinking he is chosen and the other begging for mercy from God. This is the God that I wish to serve not a cold hearted dirty that simply chooses His own with a cold heart.
Thanks again for your courage to post such an article. I hope that my wife and I can visit some day from …… .
Thank you for your kind comments. It is true that calvinism has become much more insidious in the past 20 or so years. It is because the older-type calvinism has largely given way to the new calvinism which is more aggressive in its evangelism, not to the lost, but evangelism to non-calvinist Christians (who are lesser Christians as seen by them). The evangelical fundamentalist church is therefore a prime mission field for calvinist evangelism. It isn’t good enough to be just calvinist; every other Christian has to be a calvinist too or else be considered some lesser kind of Christian, or even non-elect. And the calvinist God’s sovereign decree for all mankind can be a torment to those who feel that they have been left out. There can be a feeling of helplessness at not being able to choose to do anything about it, that you are just puppets being manipulated by the puppeteer. Those who want to be better Christians just have to wait and see if that’s what the calvinist God wants! All too often it is the church that decides what God wants for you. It’s all about control, control, control.
There are many calvinists who actually believe that they are following the genuine true teaching of the Bible. Such people are not to be despised, but rather to be seen as those who need to know the genuine truth of the Bible. They seek out teachers who could help them know the Bible better, yet they are deceived by calvinist teachers who all too often know that calvinism is a false heresy. These false teachers are tares among the wheat; they demonstrate their deceptions in deliberately changing the meaning of verses by exchanging, adding or removing words, and totally ignoring the inconsistencies of what they are teaching. Such false teachers are the dangerous ones, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9) Many high-profile calvinist “teachers” avoid certain passages, or use ambiguous terminology. But many of the rank and file calvinists still seek to serve the true God of the Bible, yet are led astray by the leaders they trust so much. The calvinist teacher often uses their desire to be better Christians to lead them astray.
Old-style calvinism taught that a Christian should live a pure life free from sin. After all, they were puritans. At least such people were very morally and ethically correct – you could trust them to do the right thing. They were generally good people, good citizens. (I know; I was brought up Presbyterian.) But today’s new calvinism teaches that a man may sin (even bad sins), yet if he repents and confesses, and is consequently restored by the church, then this is evidence of God’s grace in his life, thus demonstrating his elect status. It used to be sin that declared a person non-elect in older calvinist churches. Now it’s not the sin (no matter how bad it might be) that cancels your elect status, but whether or not you are given repentance (by God’s grace) which then leads to your confession which then permits the church to restore you to fellowship again; this restoration to fellowship is what now confirms your elect status. This is the consequence of the Sonship Theology influence, that no matter how badly you sin, if you repent and are restored to fellowship again, then you do not lose your elect status, for the calvinist God only gives such grace (enabling repentance and confession) to his elect! It is those who sin yet do not repent (as the church thinks you should repent, that is) who are declared the non-elect, for the calvinist God will not give repentance to those who are not his children.
Sonship Theology and new calvinism developed largely from Westminster Theological Seminary. This is where Biblical Counselling also developed alongside Sonship Theology; the two go hand in hand. Biblical Counselling has now become the place where your spiritual status is determined, much like the catholic confessional determined their status with their God. Those who do not confess as the church thinks they should are considered to be unrepentant sinners, for all people sin and therefore all must confess (unless they are not God’s children!). And such confession must be demonstrated to the church through such as the pastor or Biblical Counsellor. Unrepentant sinners are not permitted to be the calvinist God’s elect people!
Your story is one I often read about on the internet. Those who are disillusioned by calvinist teachings can end up deciding that it just isn’t worth it all anymore. Such people have probably served God with a whole heart, desiring only to know Him better, yet the more they serve the calvinist God the more they realise they just don’t add up to the requirements (often because the church rejects their efforts to serve God). They have wanted to be better Christians for a long time, but the more they try, the more they feel that they have failed. They start thinking that if they feel so empty after so many years, then why bother keeping on. And so they can hit rock-bottom. Calvinists have to feel that they have achieved something for God or else they have failed. It is a works-based belief system where your elect status depends upon how the church assesses your works for God. Works prove that you are saved; no works (according to the church) prove you are lost!
But God is faithful; He will not let those who desire only Him to fall without lifting them up again. Though a good man fall, he shall not be utterly cast down! Those who truly seek the Lord God will surely find Him. But they might have to be convinced to leave the old pathway before God brings them to a new pathway. I recommend that you focus almost entirely on the Bible alone, only using guidance of such as commentaries to assist with understanding, but not to teach you true doctrine. You must determine true doctrine for yourself, not depending on another to rest upon. Others may get you on your feet, but only God can carry you through life. Study the Bible, and only believe a doctrine if you are assured that you personally understand it. Don’t believe anything simply because someone else says to believe him. No-one can believe for you; you must believe for yourself. Only God can lift you up again, too. Be encouraged indeed by this!
Sadly, not one calvinist can be assured of eternal salvation until he reaches the end without falling away. The calvinist perseverance of the saints to the end is what demonstrates your eternal salvation, and you have to reach the end of life to be assured of it!
Unfortunately, unless you travel to Australia we will never meet in person until in glory. But when you are able to share your understandings with others, do so. The trials of your faith and the upholding of God throughout can be a testimony to others who are still caught up in the same trials. The comfort with which God has lifted you is that same comfort that may be given to others still in difficulties.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – 3Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Thank you for your valuable comments on the trials of your faith. May God bless you richly as you seek to serve Him.
1 Peter 1:7-8 – 7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: