The Calvinist Blooper Reel

The Calvinist Blooper Reel

Sometimes Calvinists put things in writing that really backfires. This article is dedicated to highlighting such bloopers.

Dave Hunt writes: “In defending God’s sovereignty, another Calvinist, at the same time that he denies that man has a free will, implies that man’s will must exist after all: ‘Free will is the invention of man, instigated by the devil.’ How can free will be man’s invention by an act of his will if his will doesn’t exist?” (What Love Is This?, p.185, emphasis mine)

The Calvinist is left to concede that God invented “free will” so that it could be made to appear that man invented it, by secondary causes. Taking it a step further, change “free will” to “the Occult.” Normally, we would have no problem saying that the Occult is the “invention of man, instigated by the devil,” but for a consistent Calvinist, his sovereignty perspective, with an all-encompassing decree, requires that he concede that the Occult originated, not from “free will” which allegedly does not exist in the first place, but originated from the creative mind of God, and carried out by the secondary-cause of man. So the sovereignty perspective can get quite dark.

Calvinist, Jeff Noblit, states: “...any preacher who tries to dumb down the doctrine of sin, the depravity of man, and the necessity of repentance is not preaching the true gospel. This approach is not new or clever but wicked--dooming men’s souls and leading millions to false assurance.” (A Southern Baptist Dialogue: Calvinism, p.102, emphasis mine)

If the people being doomed constitute the alleged non-elect, and the non-elect never had a Savior who loved and died for them at Calvary (as per the Calvinist doctrine of a Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption), and everyone who is of the Calvinistically elect will receive an Irresistible Grace anyway, then how is the “preacher...dooming men’s souls” and what difference does a “false assurance” make, if they had no Savior’s atonement anyway, and were born with no hope at all? Moreover, if something is dooming them, outside of an eternal decree of Unconditional Reprobation, then it logically follows that they weren’t born damned at all, and thus the implication is that they otherwise could have been saved, if not for the alleged false gospel which gave them an alleged fase sense of assurance, and hence there is no such thing as an elect vs. non-elect caste system. So Noblit’s comment backfires on Calvinism.

Calvinist, James White, writes: “Why should we give thanks to God upon hearing of the faith of fellow believers, if in fact having faith in Christ is something that every person is capable of having without any gracious enablement by God?”  (Debating Calvinism, p.20, emphasis mine)

What about the Arminian doctrine of Prevenient Grace?

White also writes: “No more soul-destroying doctrine could well be devised than the doctrine that sinners can regenerate themselves, and repent and believe just when they please.” (Debating Calvinism, p.90, emphasis mine)

Obviously, these quotes are misrepresentative of Arminianism. That much is clear. Hunt rightly asks: “Who imagines that receiving by faith the gift of eternal life causes eternal life?” (Debating Calvinism, p.303)

White writes: “Every works-oriented system must deny God His kingship over the creature and must give to man abilities and powers beyond his sinful state, so that in the final analysis God’s power can be ‘channeled’ through human structures, whether they be rituals, sacraments, or even the very popular concept of ‘decisionalism,’ the idea that man, by his autonomous will, controls the very work of the triune God in salvation.” (Debating Calvinism, p.99, emphasis mine)

God established the conditions of Numbers 21:6-9, as it pertains to John 3:14, and God controls the conditions at John 3:16. It was Gods sovereign choice to design the Gospel as an offer.

Gerhard Forde explains what he feels that the Arminian must be thinking, and perhaps he is drawing upon a recollection of his own disposition, pre-Calvinism, though I think that it is more of a post-conversion reflection of what a Calvinist feels that an Arminian might be thinking, because Arminians really don’t think in terms of Reprobation, as Gerhard Forde supposes. As an Arminian, I believe that Jesus died for all, and thus if Jesus died for all, I can know for sure that He died for me, and thus I don't feel that I need to have the “freedom” of “some say” in order to veto an Unconditional Reprobation. Rather, as an Arminian, I instead think that the Bible shows that God forces a choice upon us, to pick which eternal destination to make our home, Heaven or Hell.

Recall when Jesus asked whether it was a good trade to accept all that this world has to offer in exchange for our soul:

Matthew 16:26:For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus is showing that our eternal destination is a choice that is forced upon us. It’s not that I demand the freedom to choose, but rather that God is making us pick one, and Jesus is telling us that picking “the whole world” over God is an unwise, foolish choice, which ultimately has no eternal profit. Why would God press such a Heaven or Hell choice upon us, if God has already made that choice for us?

Question:  Was the concept of “free will” invented by man’s free will, or did God invent that man should invent it? Hunt’s question is classic. How could man invent “free will” if he has no free will in order to invent it?
Gerhard Forde: “God is a threat and a terror to the alienated. Faced with the threat of God and especially with the mere idea of God’s election, I can only say ‘no.’ In defiance of God and all the logic of the case, I must simply assert my own freedom so as to have some say about my own destiny. So I must take over God’s role. I must say to God, in effect, ‘God I do not know what you plan to do; I cannot trust you. Therefore I must take my destiny into my own hands because I believe I can better decide such things.’”