John Calvin: “I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Should any one here inveigh against the prescience of God, he does it rashly and unadvisedly. For why, pray, should it be made a charge against the heavenly Judge, that he was not ignorant of what was to happen? Thus, if there is any just or plausible complaint, it must be directed against predestination. Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, section 7, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “...God has chosen to salvation those whom He pleased, and has rejected the others, without our knowing why, except that its reason is hidden in His eternal counsel.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.53, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” (Institutes of Christian Religion: Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 5, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “Hence Augustine, having treated of the elect, and taught that their salvation reposes in the faithful custody of God so that none perishes, continues: The rest of mortal men who are not of this number, but rather taken out of the common mass and made vessels of wrath, are born for the use of the elect.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.107, emphasis mine)
Yet at the same time, John Calvin also states:
John Calvin: “Let us heed the simplicity of Scripture with more attention and respect, in case our over-ingenious philosophizing leads us, not to heaven, but rather, to the bewildering labyrinths of the depths beneath.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, Matthew, Mark and Luke, Vol. III, James and Jude, p.331, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “We have no reason to ask what God decreed before the creation of the world in order to know that we have been elected by Him, but we find in ourselves a satisfactory proof of whether He has sanctified us by His Spirit and enlightened us to faith in His Gospel. The Gospel is not only a testimony to us of our adoption, but the Spirit also seals it, and those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14), and he that possesses Christ has eternal life (I John 5:12). We must note this carefully, so that we may not disregard the revelation of God, with which He bids us be satisfied, and plunge into an endless labyrinth with the desire of seeking revelation from His secret counsel, the investigation of which He compels us to abandon. We are, therefore to be satisfied with the faith of the Gospel and the grace of the Spirit by which we have been regenerated. By this means we refute the depravity of those who make the election of God a pretext for every kind of wrong-doing, for Paul connects it with faith and regeneration in such a way that he would not have us measure it by any other standard.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.410, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “For it is not right that man should with impunity pry into things which the Lord has been pleased to conceal within himself, and scan that sublime eternal wisdom which it is his pleasure that we should not apprehend but adore, that therein also his perfections may appear. Those secrets of his will, which he has seen it meet to manifest, are revealed in his word--revealed in so far as he knew to be conducive to our interest and welfare. … But since both piety and common sense dictate that this is not to be understood of every thing, we must look for a distinction, lest under the pretence of modesty and sobriety we be satisfied with a brutish ignorance. This is clearly expressed by Moses in a few words, ‘The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever,’ (Deut. 29:29). We see how he exhorts the people to study the doctrine of the law in accordance with a heavenly decree, because God has been pleased to promulgate it, while he at the same time confines them within these boundaries, for the simple reason that it is not lawful for men to pry into the secret things of God.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 1, emphasis mine) (1)Heed the simplicity of Scripture. (2)We have no reason to ask what God decreed. (3)The decrees are an endless labyrinth. (4)Not lawful for man to pry into the secret things of God.
And then there’s this…
John Calvin: “Whatever things are done wrongly and unjustly by man, these very things are the right and just works of God. This may seem paradoxical at first sight to some....” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.169, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.171-172, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “Indeed, the ungodly pride themselves on being competent to effect their wishes. But the facts show in the end that by them, unconsciously and unwillingly, what was divinely ordained is implemented.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.173, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “Does God work in the hearts of men, directing their plans and moving their wills this way and that, so that they do nothing but what He has ordained?” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.174, emphasis mine)
Here is more:
Calvinist, Vincent Cheung: “One who thinks that God’s glory is not worth the death and suffering of billions of people has too high an opinion of himself and humanity.” (The Problem of Evil, p.10, emphasis mine)
One Calvinist explains: “I would add that to an Arminian, man’s will is so strong, that not even the Creator of that will can turn it. Hence the Creator has created a creature too strong for Himself! He’s become like Frankenstein building a monster in his laboratory that then chases him out of the lab and goes berserk.”
One Calvinist converses: “A Calvinist ordinand was asked by a member of the ordination committee: ‘Young man, would you will your own damnation if it were for God’s greater glory?’ The ordinand responded: ‘Sir, I would will the damnation of this entire committee if it were for God’s greater glory.’” (God loves you … but he hates that guy over there)
Calvinist, R.C. Sproul: “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled. Perhaps that one maverick molecule will lay waste all the ground and glorious plans that God has made and promised to us. ... If we reject divine sovereignty then we must embrace atheism.” (Chosen by God, pp.26-27, emphasis mine)
The Calvinist, Omega Letter Intelligence Digest: “According to Arminianism, then, salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God and man. One is saved by grace through works, and one’s salvation is maintained by not sinning -- at least not habitually. Sort of like maintaining a balance between good works and bad works.” (The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest, Vol: 20 Issue: 3 - Saturday, October 03, 2009, emphasis mine)
So for Calvinists, believing in Christ is a “work,” unless accompanied by Irresistible Grace.
Calvinist, Jeff Noblit: “The work of praying a ‘sinner’s prayer’ is not salvation. It can become a silly superstition and nothing more than a sacrament in Baptist clothes.” (A Southern Baptist Dialogue: Calvinism, p.98, emphasis mine)
One Calvinist responds: “Do Calvinists secretly believe that God chose them for some reason other than their need for salvation? Would I, as a Christian, believe that God chose me for some other reason than my need for salvation? Yes, I do. God chose me for His glory, for His pleasure, for His purposes. Sure I had a need for salvation. But that is not why He saved me primarily. ... In the Bible, God does not say He chose us because of our desperate need. He chose us before our need ever arose.”
John Calvin comments on Romans 9:1-3: “It is no objection that he knew that his salvation was founded on the election of God, which cannot by any means fail. The more passionate emotions plunge impetuously on, without heed or regard for anything but the object on which they are fixed. Paul, therefore, did not add the election of God to his prayer, but put it out of mind, and gave all his attention on the salvation of the Jews.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.192, emphasis mine)
“Put it out of mind”? Is Calvin actually suggesting that Paul’s prayer was not because of Calvinism, but in spite of Calvinism? What an admission!
John Calvin: “Solomon also teaches us that not only was the destruction of the ungodly foreknown, but the ungodly themselves have been created for the specific purpose of perishing (Prov. 16:4).” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, pp.207-208, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “...the wicked were created for the day of evil simply because God willed to illustrate His own glory in them; just as elsewhere He declares that Pharaoh was raised up by Him that He might show forth His name among the Gentiles (Ex 9:16).” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.97, emphasis mine)
That’s a YouTube clip by Todd Friel, a Calvinist, who really is advocating that view, rather than being a parody by an Atheist who is mocking Christianity. Calvinists really do believe these things.
Question: Is Calvinism a sin?
Answer: Automatically I want to say, no, of course not; Calvinism is just a theological perspective. But what about those who openly mock Jesus, as described by Arminianism? What about those who mock the Gospel, as described by Arminianism? If Arminianism is an accurate teaching of the Bible, then Calvinists are mocking the Gospel. Consider the following quotes, and see what your conscience says.
Calvinist, James White: “Indeed, we must conclude [according to Arminianism] that God will be eternally unhappy, since He will love those in hell with the very same kind of undifferentiated love He has for the myriad surrounding His throne.” (Debating Calvinism, p.18, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, Phil Johnson: “God is not going to be frustrated throughout all eternity because He was desperately trying to save some people who just could not be persuaded. If that’s your view of God, then He’s not really sovereign. Pharaoh fulfilled exactly the purpose God raised him to fulfill. God is not wringing His hands in despair over Pharaoh’s rebellion and disbelief.” (For Whom Did Christ Die? The Nature of the Atonement, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, Matthew McMahon: “I reject anything which makes God a cosmic bell-hop tending to the commands and demands of sinful men as another gospel. I reject anything which removes God’s sovereignty to place man as the Sovereign as another gospel. I reject anything which denies the sovereign decrees of God and His electing grace to put salvation into the hands of sinful men as another gospel. I reject anything which denies man’s total depravity and exalts his fictitious free will as another gospel. I reject anything which places the perseverance of man to glory in the incapable hands of a sinful man as another gospel. I reject anything which endeavors to treat God as the great Grandfather in the sky beckoning and pleading with man to be saved as changing the true God into a pitiable wimp.” (Why I am a Calvinist, emphasis mine) Calvinist, Alan Kurschner: “God desires that his sheep are saved. God desires that his people are saved. He does not desire that every single individual who has ever lived, live in glory with him forever. If that were the case, we have an incompetent, unhappy, and impotent God.” (The Calvinist Gadfly, emphasis mine)
One Calvinists states: “The Arminian (false) god, sits on the edge of his throne, pining, and hoping, for men to come to him. Just like a teenaged school girl, who desperately awaits to be asked to the prom. The Arminian god is a powerless joke, that stands in submission to the will of his creation. It makes me want to vomit. I have very little desire to discuss this further, as it just makes me sad, and frustrated, that any man, that claims to follow Jesus Christ, would then want to turn around and say that this Jesus, who is Lord, and God, is subject to OUR will. That this ‘sovereign’ god hopes man makes the right choice, and is powerless to do anything about what ever that choice is.” (emphasis mine)
One Calvinist explains: “You have quoted Adrian Rogers as saying: ‘If you go to hell, a broken-hearted God will watch you drop into hell.’ Of course, the bible doesn’t teach this sappy nonsense at all. God hates the wicked, not just their sin but them specifically. (Psa 5:5; 11:5)” (“Giant Sale! All merchandise half price”, emphasis mine) Calvinist, J.I Packer: “…the new gospel has in effect reformulated the biblical message.…we depict the Father and the Son, not as sovereignly active in drawing sinners to themselves, but as waiting in quiet impotence ‘at the door of our hearts’ for us to let them in.” (Introductory Essay to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ, emphasis mine)
Another Calvinist explains: “A god who does not exercise meticulous providence is not worthy of being worshiped as our Christian God.”
- “frustrated throughout all eternity”
- “great grandfather in the sky”
One Calvinist states: “Then your god is not the all powerful God of the bible, because your god doesn’t get his own desires. Your god is impotent and is at the mercy of his creation. Indeed your god is in need of them and is unable to save without our help. I can’t serve such a weak god. The real God doesn’t depend upon his creatures and the real God will always get whatever he wants and he guarantees the salvation of his people. All that God wants to save he will save.” (emphasis mine)
This was because Arminians reject the Calvinist doctrine of Irresistible Grace.
The same Calvinist adds: “...there is no greater blasphemy than a god that cannot save. I believe in the biblical God that is more than able to save. So if it’s blasphemy to believe in that God, so be it. I would rather serve Satan than the weak, non sovereign god expressed here.” (emphasis mine)
This is when denominational pride, couched in theology, can becomes dangerous. Jesus states: “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37) What such Calvinists need to keep in mind is what God says about His ways: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8) Therefore, we must always have a healthy mistrust of ourselves, and abandon our own feelings, and submit to exactly what God says, because that is truth.
What about when Arminians refer to Calvinism as making God into a “cosmic rapist,” “puppeteer,” “author of sin,” or “enthroning Satan”? Is that a sin, too?
It depends, though. In my question, the what-if was first established by presuming Arminianism as right, and then asking, what then of Calvinists who blaspheme Jesus and the Gospel, if Arminianism is right? So on the flipside, then, we’d have to conversely ask, “If Calvinism is right, then would it be a sin to call God a cosmic rapist, a puppeteer, the author of sin, and enthroning Satan?”, and the answer would be yes. So it depends upon what the truth is. Blaspheming against the truth, would be a sin. Blaspheming a false teaching, probably would not be a sin. For instance, if I called the Watchtower Society a fraud, and if it was a fraud, then that wouldn’t likely be a sin. But if the Watchtower Society is true, then calling the truth “a fraud” would be blaspheming the truth. Also, the thing about the “author of sin” charge, is that it was something that was first asserted in the affirmative by the Gnostics, and the early Church responded to that affirmation by refuting it, and the title of the charge has stuck, ever since.
Consider the example of Elijah. At Mount Carmel, he mocked the prophets of Baal. “Elijah mocked them and said, ‘Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.’” (1st Kings 18:27) I don’t think that this was a sin. But, if the prophets of Baal mocked Elijah’s God, then that would be a sin, because Elijah’s God was God, and they would be mocking the truth.
Here are the things that Calvinists have said, that provide balance to High Calvinists:
Calvinist, D. James Kennedy: “Our faith and our repentance are the work of God’s grace in our hearts. Our contribution is simply the sin for which Jesus Christ suffered and died. Would you be born anew? There has never been a person who sought for that who did not find it. Even the seeking is created by the Spirit of God. Would you know that new life? Are you tired of the emptiness and purposelessness of your life? Are you tired of the filthy rags of your own righteousness? Would you trust in someone else other than yourself? Then look to the cross of Christ. Place your trust in him. Ask him to come in and be born in you today. For Jesus came into the world from glory to give us second birth because we must--we MUST--be born again.” (Why I Believe, p.140, emphasis mine)
Kennedy writes: “Again and again we see that people are predestined (elected) to salvation--but nowhere do we see that anyone is ever predestined to condemnation of Hell. When we think of God as unfairly, arbitrarily electing people to Heaven or Hell, it is as if we have a mental picture of a row of people sitting on a fence, and God passes down the line and points at each one, ‘It’s Hell for you, Heaven for you, Hell, Hell, Hell, Heaven, Hell...’ Now, that would be unfair--and absolutely capricious! But that’s not the kind of God we love and serve.” (Solving Bible Mysteries, p.29, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon: “Some of my Brethren are greatly scandalized by the general invitations which I am in the habit of giving to sinners, as sinners. Some of them go the length of asserting that there are no universal invitations in the Word of God.” (The Silver Trumpet, 3/24/1861, emphasis mine)
Spurgeon concludes: “I know the Lord has blessed my appeals to all sorts of sinners and none shall stop me in giving free invitations as long as I find them in this Book. And I do cry with Peter this morning to this vast assembly, ‘Repent and he baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus. For the promise is unto you and to your children, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.’” (The Silver Trumpet, 3/24/1861, emphasis mine)
Spurgeon states: “I further believe, although certain persons deny it, that the ‘influence of fear’ is to be exercised over the minds of men, and that it ought to operate upon the mind of the preacher himself.” (How to Win Souls for Christ, emphasis mine)
John Calvin comments on Ephesians 2:8 “…if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all praise, it follows that salvation is not of us.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, p.144, emphasis mine)
Calvin adds: “Now it may be asked how men receive the salvation offered to them by the hand of God? I reply, by faith. Hence he concludes that here is nothing of our own. If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all praise, it follows that salvation is not of us. … When, on man’s side, he places the only way of receiving salvation in faith alone, he rejects all other means on which men are accustomed to rely. Faith, then, brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of Christ.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, p.144, emphasis mine)
Sometimes the best refutation against Calvinism are Calvinists themselves. The reason why is because the lesser knowledgeable Calvinists (who lack the more experienced skills of Double Talk), tend to speak with greater clarity in their Calvinism, than they otherwise ought, by mistakenly trying to work out the logical progression of their Calvinism:
One Calvinist explains: “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the means through which God accomplishes His good work in us. I would agree that the gospel doesn’t save <by itself>, but must be accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God.”
To paraphrase: “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the means through which God accomplishes His good work in us. I would agree that the gospel doesn’t save <by itself>, but must be accompanied by [Irresistible Grace].”
To a Calvinist, the Gospel without an accompanying Irresistible Grace, is ____________ ?