Calvinism is a counterfeit Christian cult. It is actually carefully disguised Roman Catholicism.
When you clean away all the false distractors that clutter calvinist teaching – for instance, their claims that their God is more sovereign, and that they are more Biblical than the rest – you will see that calvinism is no more than just another counterfeit Christian cult. After all, how can the calvinist God be more sovereign than the God of the Bible, and how can they be more Biblical when they rely upon extra teachings to establish their doctrines of devils.
For one thing is certain: along with all other counterfeit Christian cults, they have their special common documentation underlying their false interpretations. Such counterfeit groups claim to be Biblical, yet their interpretations always rest ultimately upon the extra-biblical revelation that justifies their false teachings. The Mormons have their book of Mormon, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have their Watchtower Society, the Seventh Day Adventists have their writings of Ellen White, and the calvinists have Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.
Not only is calvinism a counterfeit Christian cult, it is also largely based upon the Catholic heresies which were greatly influenced by Augustine. And, no great surprise, for Calvin’s Institutes were also greatly influenced by that same Augustine. Thus, calvinism is merely a counterfeit Catholic belief; Calvin was, all along, a closet Catholic. He declared that the Roman Catholic church was the Mother church; that no-one had the right to withdraw from the Mother church even if it were sinful; and that there was no salvation outside the walls of the Mother church. (Book 4, Institutes, Calvin)
So, if we look carefully at the facts it can be demonstrated that calvinism is merely an alternative Roman Catholic belief system. Of course, calvinists generally disdain to look too carefully at facts as it might imply they could be wrong somewhere, perhaps! Their apparent arrogance is all too often a cover for their knowledge that calvinist teachings are actually in conflict with true Biblical doctrines.
The Reformation was a plan of satan.
Back in the early 1500s the Reformation was just getting under way. The usually accepted date for its beginnings was when Luther nailed up his 95 Theses on the door of a church in Wittenberg in 1517. Calvin, at first a supporter of Luther, commenced his own Reformation movement around the time he published, in Latin, his Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. At this time, the Catholic church was suffering a public backlash from many within the church because of its greed for money. In particular, the sale of papal indulgences (salvation for sale to those who could afford it) and simony (the buying of offices in the Catholic church, including the office of Pope) was seen as a serious compromise of beliefs.
The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice. They especially objected to the teaching and the sale of indulgences, and the abuses thereof, and to simony, the selling and buying of clerical offices. The reformers saw these practices as evidence of the systemic corruption of the Church’s hierarchy, which included the pope. (Wikipedia)
However, it would not have served the purposes of satan to have the Reformation recognised as his planning. So, it was important to have the general public see that, on the surface, the Catholic church was opposed to the Reformation. The Reformation had to be seen as an alternative to Catholicism, in order to be acceptable to those who despised the Catholic compromises of that time. Carefully note, though, that it was called the Reformation because of Calvin’s desire to reform the Catholic church, not to leave it.
In 1540, Ignatius of Loyola, together with six other men (including Francis Xavier) started the Society of Jesus with the approval of Pope Paul III. The members were called Jesuits, and their mission was to form a counter-reformation, opposing the activities of Luther, Calvin and others. This led to the Roman Inquisition commencing in 1542; it was aimed at opposing Protestantism, especially, but not only, in Italy. It was charged with prosecuting those who exhibited alternative religious doctrines or beliefs. This included the Anabaptists who denied that infant baptism was necessary for salvation. While not quite as bloodthirsty as the Spanish Inquisition (which commenced in 1478 and was not actually abolished until 1824), the Roman Inquisition was still one of the three major inquisitions of the Catholic church set up to oppose heresy within its ranks. (The third inquisition was the Portuguese Inquisition.)
But relatively small groups such as the Anabaptists were not a serious threat to the Catholic church which controlled much of Europe. The major threat to the Catholic church came mostly from within its ranks, with various priests, together with many rank and file Catholics, opposing what they saw as serious false teaching (such as papal indulgences and simony) in the church. Luther was but one of these; he is well-known because he dared to write out a list of 95 objections (called his 95 Theses) to what he saw as heresy within the Catholic church itself. Because he had powerful friends protecting him, Luther survived, while many others were executed, many by burning at the stake.
How could the Catholic church overcome this serious opposition?
The Catholic church now had a serious problem. If it pursued men like Luther and persecuted them, might it not actually lose more support than it could gain? It was dealing with people who had seen much religious persecution via the Spanish Inquisition in recent years. To prolong or even increase such extreme punishment would surely turn many more against the Catholic church, perhaps more than they could afford to lose. (The later Roman Inquisition of 1542 onward was not as savage as the Spanish Inquisition, probably reflecting the Catholic church’s realisation that too much persecution could actually turn even more against the Catholic church.)
Therefore, why not start a counter-reformation movement, one that would appear to be in opposition to the Catholic church, but would, in reality, be supporting much of the same teachings of the Catholics? Enter one John Calvin, a person who seemingly was greatly opposed to the Catholic church, yet many of his teachings are similar to Catholic teachings. In fact, both the Catholic church and Calvin greatly approved of Augustine’s teachings, something extremely unlikely for two groups allegedly so opposed to each other!
And so came the master-stroke of genius from the real power behind the Catholic church, that is, satan and his demons. The true church (not the Catholic church, by the way) has always survived in the background (and continued to be persecuted), from the first days of the Christian church until now. There have always been the more popular or more influential “church” groups; yet the real church has always existed, not as big, nor as influential, yet still, they are the true church.
And what was that master-stroke of genius? Why not start a Reformation Protestant church, one with which those who opposed the excesses of the Catholic church could identify? Satan doesn’t really care which church he uses, as long as it opposes the true doctrines of the Bible. If the Catholic church has lost its absolute supremacy, then give those disagreeable Protestants another church to run to. Give them a pseudo-church that appears to support their ideas of justice and Biblical teachings, yet underneath it all, this pseudo-church is actually still teaching the major tenets of the Catholic church. Give them something that they know is different, yet actually the same underneath all that glossy “Reformation” façade. (Note carefully that according to Schaff’s “History of the Christian Church”, calvinism was merely a Reformed Catholic belief, thus the term Reformation.)
In this way, even though the Catholic church seemed to have lost a great deal of power during the Reformation, the truth is quite different. While the Catholic church appears to have been weakened at this time, satan’s hold on the “Christian” religion has been maintained. The Reformation merely changed the focus to include the apostate teachings of Calvin as an alternative to the Catholic church. The apostate Catholic church has split into two apostate churches; if you don’t agree with one, then you may well agree with the other. In this way satan keeps his servants happy, yet deluded!
It had been a master-stroke of genius for satan to commence the Catholic church as a state-run religion in the 4th century. Until then, persecution of the church was only causing the church to grow stronger. Removing the persecution and making the church a state religion (and thereby setting up the Catholic church) caused the major part of the church of that day to steadily decay into the perverse sins of the Catholic church hundreds of years later. And it was likewise another master-stroke of genius by satan to establish Calvin’s church in Geneva in the 16th century, offsetting another possible build-up of the true Christian church. (Both Calvin and the Catholic church hated the Anabaptists. Calvin considered that the only good Anabaptist was a drowned one, and Zwingli had much input into a 1526 decree of Zurich that Anabaptists should be drowned. Luther, also, opposed them violently because they taught that paedo-baptism was non-Biblical.)
Choose a leader who can build the foundations for the counterfeit religion.
So how did this calvinist conspiracy to pervert the true church of God come about? Clearly a lot has to do with Calvin and the sort of person he was, combined with the special circumstances and needs of that day.
Calvin was born in France in 1509. His father was a lawyer who planned that Calvin should take up studies with the Catholic church. By the time Calvin was about 16 years old, he was already proficient in Latin and philosophy, and ready to learn theology in Paris. However, he was more interested in philosophy than theology, studying Greek philosophy, including Aristotle and Plato. He then entered studies to become a lawyer when he was about 20 years old, becoming licensed as a lawyer when he was about 23 years old (in 1532).
However, from an early age, Calvin had significant involvement with the Catholic church. He was employed as a clerk to a bishop at the age of 12, continuing with Catholic service in some form or another until his alleged conversion in 1533. Even then, his conversion was apparently more to do with making some sort of obvious break with the Catholic church rather than becoming saved at the cross of Jesus (as Biblical evangelicals would describe genuine conversion). Calvin lacks any similarity with Paul who claimed that he would boast in nothing except the cross of Jesus (Galatians 6:14).
When I was as yet a very little boy, my father had destined me for the study of theology. But afterwards when he considered that the legal profession commonly raised those who followed it to wealth this prospect induced him suddenly to change his purpose. Thus it came to pass, that I was withdrawn from the study of philosophy, and was put to the study of law. To this pursuit I endeavored faithfully to apply myself in obedience to the will of my father; but God, by the secret guidance of his providence, at length gave a different direction to my course. And first, since I was too obstinately devoted to the superstitions of Popery to be easily extricated from so profound an abyss of mire, God by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame, which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life. Having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness I was immediately inflamed with so intense a desire to make progress therein, that although I did not altogether leave off other studies, I yet pursued them with less ardor.
Preface of the Commentary on the Psalms (1557) John Calvin
This sounds similar to MacArthur’s testimony that he had always believed the gospel; it seems that MacArthur was never actually lost.
I always believed the gospel. I don’t ever…I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t believe the gospel.
Clearly there was no coming face-to-face with the cross of Jesus in MacArthur’s salvation! Jesus said He only came to seek and to save those who were lost, and the means by which He came to seek and to save was via the cross upon which He was crucified. (So it seems MacArthur couldn’t have been saved because he was never “lost” in the first place, according to him!) If you don’t come to the cross of Jesus, you cannot be saved! There is no evidence, either, that Calvin came to the cross of Jesus for salvation, nor is there any evidence likewise for MacArthur (and many other calvinists who proclaim that you have to be “regenerated” before you can have faith in Christ).
From the viewpoint of reason, regeneration logically must initiate faith and repentance. (The Gospel According to the Apostles, Note 27, MacArthur)
Nothing a lost, degenerate, spiritually dead sinner can do will in any way contribute to salvation. Saving faith, repentance, commitment, and obedience are all divine works wrought by the Holy Spirit in the heart of everyone who is saved. (Preface to First Edition of The Gospel According to Jesus, MacArthur) That is, not even faith can contribute anything until the Holy Spirit has wrought His work!
Or, from MacArthur’s Grace To You website, from a document by Fred Butler: Let me ask you a theological question: Are you born again which results in your believing in Christ, or does your faith in Christ result in your being born again? …… If faith comes first, and then the new birth, it will be easy for you to fall into the error of conditional security. ….. However, if you understand and accept what the Bible teaches about the new birth, you recognize it was God and God alone who produced your new life in Christ. And that makes all the difference in the world. (How Firm our Foundation, Code B110321 – https://www.gty.org/library/Print/Blog/B110321)
And Piper even goes further in his Regeneration, Faith, Love: In That Order says We can say, first, that regeneration is the cause of faith.
It is not universally accepted, either, that Calvin’s conversion was at a certain point in time, either.
Recently many Calvin scholars emphasized the gradual character of Calvin’s conversion, since it looks almost impossible to locate its exact date. Calvin’s conversion cannot be seen apart from the surrounding situation. However, if one — from a theological viewpoint — emphasizes the gradual nature of Calvin’s conversion as a process throughout his whole life, the questions regarding the date as well as the historical nature of his conversion do not have to be taken into account.
(Acta Theologica Supplementum 5 2004 CALVIN’S SUDDEN CONVERSION, H.B. Lee)
Of course, this is not surprising if you keep in mind that calvinists refuse to accept the sinners’ prayer as a means of being saved. (See The Heresy of Todd Friel.) If the calvinist God “regenerates” you, then you may not be immediately aware that you are then one of his! Most calvinists who deny the sinners’ prayer cannot recall any certain time when they were “regenerated” by their God, and certainly not at the cross of Jesus!
(Also see Calvin says Sinners’ Prayer not a Work of Salvation)
The evidence remains conclusive, that Calvin never actually left the teachings of the Catholic church. He was enamoured by the teachings of Augustine; even today such teachings are acknowledged as the foundation for most of Calvin’s teachings. Calvin stated that out of all the church fathers, only Augustine was acceptable, especially with respect to the free will of man.
Moreover although the Greek Fathers, above others, and especially Chrysostom, have exceeded due bounds in extolling the powers of the human will, yet all ancient theologians, with the exception of Augustine, are so confused, vacillating, and contradictory on this subject, that no certainty can be obtained from their writings.
(Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Bk 2 Ch 2 Section 4)
Yet Augustine is considered by the Catholics to be their most influential teacher and the one who has had the greatest effect upon their teachings in all history. Even Luther, also considered a great reformer, was a member of the Order of the Augustinian Eremites.
The Catholic church teaches, using the words of Augustine:
“We must hold fast to the Christian religion and to communion with that Church which is Catholic, and is called Catholic, not only by its own members but also by all its enemies. For whether they will or not, even heretics and schismatics, when talking not among themselves but with outsiders, call the Catholic church nothing else but the Catholic Church. For otherwise they would not be understood unless they distinguished the Church by that name which she bears throughout the whole world” — St. Augustine, Doctor of Doctors, Doctor of Grace.
Calvinism is, with only few differences, the same as Catholic teachings.
Therefore, if Calvin were a closet Catholic, then we would expect his teachings to be similar. So, let’s look at some of the major Catholic teachings as seen and taught by Calvin.
The Lord’s supper
Catholic doctrine states that the elements of communion (bread and wine) become the actual body and flesh of Jesus Christ (known as transubstantiation). That is, the Catholic mass celebrates the re-sacrificing of Christ every time such mass is offered. This is heresy.
Calvin doesn’t state that it becomes the actual body and flesh, but teaches that they are not merely symbols (as per Biblical evangelical belief) . He teaches that the elements also signify the actual presence represented by the symbol. There is no doubt that Calvin still believed in the Catholic teachings, yet by wordy definitions (of which he is undoubtedly an expert, being a lawyer) he attempts to define it more acceptably to those who had rejected the Catholic church and its excesses. As a logical exercise, it can be seen that Calvin goes around in circles without actually hitting the mark!
For unless we would charge God with deceit, we will never presume to say that he holds forth an empty symbol. Therefore, if by the breaking of bread the Lord truly represents the partaking of his body, there ought to be no doubt whatever that he truly exhibits and performs it. The rule which the pious ought always to observe is, whenever they see the symbols instituted by the Lord, to think and feel surely persuaded that the truth of the thing signified is also present. For why does the Lord put the symbol of his body into your hands, but just to assure you that you truly partake of him?
(Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Bk 4 Ch 17 Section 10)
To all these things we have a complete attestation in this sacrament, enabling us certainly to conclude that they are as truly exhibited to us as if Christ were placed in bodily presence before our view, or handled by our hands. For these are words which can never lie nor deceive—Take, eat, drink. This is my body, which is broken for you: this is my blood, which is shed for the remission of sins. In bidding us take, he intimates that it is ours: in bidding us eat, he intimates that it becomes one substance with us: in affirming of his body that it was broken, and of his blood that it was shed for us, he shows that both were not so much his own as ours, because he took and laid down both, not for his own advantage, but for our salvation.
(Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Bk 4 Ch 17 Section 3)
Catholics believe that baptism, particularly paedo-baptism (infant baptism) is essential for salvation, that without baptism a person cannot be saved. Thus, the younger a person is baptised, the less possibility of dying before baptism. (Dying before baptism meant you couldn’t go to heaven, although it is notable in the Lutheran church that the intention to be baptised may be sufficient to be saved, should you die before completing your baptism!)
Calvin likewise teaches very clearly that baptism itself brings salvation to a person.
We ought to consider that at whatever time we are baptised, we are washed and purified once for the whole of life.
(Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Bk 4 Ch 15 Section 3)
But we do not believe that the promise itself has vanished, we rather reflect thus: God in baptism promises the remission of sins, and will undoubtedly perform what he has promised to all believers.
(Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Bk 4 Ch 15 Section 17)
Purgatory and Confession
Calvin might have been opposed to purgatory as taught by the Catholics, likewise confession (yet calvinists of today teach something very similar: nouthetic counselling or “Biblical” counselling). We’ll come back to this later.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
All who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (1030).
This seems so simple. It’s common sense. Scripture is very clear when it says, “But nothing unclean shall enter [heaven]” (Rev. 21:27). Hab. 1:13 says, “You [God]… are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wrong…” How many of us will be perfectly sanctified at the time of our deaths? I dare say most of us will be in need of further purification in order to enter the gates of heaven after we die, if, please God, we die in a state of grace.
That is, Purgatory is for those “Christians” who, having lived a reasonably good life, died with unconfessed sin in their lives. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is the process known as sanctification which is ongoing throughout the life of Christians. But, it is not sanctification that gets us into heaven, but justification – the process of being made just with a holy God. Justification occurs when we come to the cross of Jesus and are born again, cleansed by His blood, reconciled by the death of Jesus, and saved by His life (Romans 5:10). Justification is a once-off act of salvation which is then followed by sanctification which is ongoing until we die.
Purgatory confuses sanctification with justification. The Catholic church teaches that we must continually confess our sins in order to be sanctified, but it is justification (being found just before holy God) that they really mean, for it is a lack of justification that prevents us from entering God’s presence. Catholics therefore teach an ongoing justification that is activated upon the ongoing confession of their sins. Therefore, non-confession of any sin at death will incur a penalty before that person may be justified (they call it “sanctified” but really mean “justified”) before holy God.
These Catholic teachings on Purgatory are non-Biblical; you either trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour to enter heaven (and be justified by your faith), or else you trust in your own works to get you into heaven (and be found in debt). (Romans 4:4-5).
The calvinists would wish to deny that they believe in something similar, yet they also make justification ongoing, along with ongoing sanctification.
The Gospel Coalition National Conference is a new calvinist organization; therefore, typically it preaches daily or ongoing justification.
As we sin daily, so he justifies daily, and we must daily go to him for it.
(Justification Vs Self-justification, The Gospel Coalition National Conference 13/04/11)
The biblical counselling movement (sometimes called nouthetic counselling) of new calvinism requires that people undertaking such counselling be willing to confess their sins. They teach that it is such confession that permits the counselee (the one being counselled) to receive the ongoing justification. They like to quote from 1 John 1:9 which actually teaches sanctification, not justification. For the calvinist, if you do not confess your sins, you are an unrepentant sinner (and therefore non-elect, or unsaved). They teach that the genuine elect (saved) people would confess their sins and be justified. They teach that God’s grace is only given to those who repent and that only the elect are able to truly repent. Thus if you do not repent, then you do not experience God’s grace and therefore must not be saved!
The Catholics required ongoing confession of its members (at least yearly). If someone didn’t go to confession, it wasn’t because they were good people and didn’t need to confess, but instead they had to be hiding things from their father-confessor. Thus, Catholic confession was a thinly disguised method of keeping control of the Catholic church, a type of blackmail situation to keep the people in line. “Biblical” (nouthetic) counselling is no different; it is likewise a thinly disguised means of keeping control of those under your “authority”. If they step out of line, then you can use pressure via their confessions to bring them back into line.
It may be noted that according to www.wonderingeagle.wordpress.com, CJ Mahaney (a “new calvinist”) of Sovereign Grace Ministries allegedly used confessed sins as blackmail to oppose the action of another person. It may be seen on this link The Alleged Blackmailing of Larry Tomczak. It alleges that the confessions of a son may have been be used in an effort to control the beliefs of his father. It might be a wise move for any who are doing “Biblical Counselling” to be careful what they say in case it might be used against them. Do your research and be careful who you trust with your innermost secrets!
The Catholic Purgatory is simply a means by which you go to a pseudo-hell of sorts to pay for those sins which you didn’t pay for, nor did you confess them, when you were still alive. Supposedly, once you have paid for your remaining sins in Purgatory, you are then free to go to heaven to enter God’s presence. It is interesting to note that MacArthur, a prominent new calvinist of today, also teaches a similar doctrine. However, while he teaches that sinners go to hell to pay for their sins (because the calvinist Jesus didn’t die to pay for the sins of the non-elect!) he doesn’t give them any option of ever being able to make full payment so that they can be forgiven and go to heaven.
There’s no such thing as Jesus paying in full for your sins and then you paying in full for your sins forever in hell.
(The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 1)
Of course, MacArthur believes that Jesus only died for a limited number of people (“limited atonement”) and therefore God cannot forgive, in fact, doesn’t want to forgive the majority of mankind, even if they wanted to be saved! He believes that the calvinist Jesus only died for the sins of some: the rest have to pay for their sins in hell because the calvinist God didn’t intend saving them! (The Doctrine of Limited Atonement Part 1, MacArthur)
Note that according to the Bible the lost are condemned to hell on their lack of works to get them into heaven (they will be found in debt! – Romans 4:4). Please check this out carefully! Which would you trust: the Bible, or a calvinist?
Those who leave the established church are “lost”
Catholics teach that if you leave the Catholic church you are committing a sin, and if you do not repent of that sin you are lost and will go to hell. Like most cults they teach that salvation is only to be found within their doctrines.
Calvin taught that salvation could only be found in the church (and in his day, if you lived in Geneva and didn’t attend church as he defined it, you could be expelled from the city, put in prison, or even executed in extreme cases). In the following, the Mother Church is the Roman Catholic church.
But as it is now our purpose to discourse of the visible Church, let us learn, from her single title of Mother, how useful, nay, how necessary the knowledge of her is, since there is no other means of entering into life unless she conceive us in the womb and give us birth, unless she nourish us at her breasts, and, in short, keep us under her charge and government, until, divested of mortal flesh, we become like the angels. For our weakness does not permit us to leave the school until we have spent our whole lives as scholars. Moreover, beyond the pale of the Church no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, can be hoped for
(Institutes of the Christian Religion Bk IV, Chap I, Part 4)
Even Al Mohler (a prominent new calvinist) says
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
That is, if you’re not a new calvinist, then you cannot be an on-the-ball evangelical Christian! Sounds like pure arrogance to me!
Mohler also says that we have no right to change churches even if we disagree with how the church is run!
We have no right to leave a church over preferences about music, personal taste, or even programming that does not meet expectations.
(Should I Stay or Should I Go, Al Mohler)
So, if I don’t like the rock band out the front with its scraggy, long-haired, torn-jeans members, often with T-shirts having impious slogans, then I should just put up with it? Get real, Al! You cannot dictate to your congregation that they must not have a choice in such matters. Clearly Al Mohler believes that leaving the “true” church (he appears to re-define “true” as “new calvinist”) is not an option. Does he also believe that people will be lost if they leave his church, that is, they become anathema according to the Catholic church teachings?
These are but just some of the evidences of my statement at the beginning of this document: that calvinism is no more than just another counterfeit Christian cult. And if there are any calvinists who wish to dispute this, do yourself a favour and do your research before you reply. Make sure you are truthful and, most of all, Biblical. Test all things and hold fast to that which is good!
For further reading try All “Christian” cults misquote or misuse the Bible, The Truth about the Reformation, and Calvinism, Cults, and Control
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