Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Dave Hunt writes: “[James] White says, ‘Since we do not know who the elect are, we…preach the gospel to every creature.’ But he can’t tell ‘every creature’ that the gospel is for him!” (Debating Calvinism, p.334, emphasis mine)

With the Calvinist doctrine of a Limited Atonement, a Calvinist like James White can’t tell “every creature” that Jesus died for them, as he simply doesn’t know who Jesus died for (except in a more general sense of the Calvinistically elect).

Calvinist, Jay Adams, writes: But counselors, as Christians, are obligated to present the claims of Christ. They must present the good news that Christ Jesus died on the cross in the place of His own, that He bore the guilt and suffered the penalty for their sins. He died that all whom the Father had given to Him might come unto Him and have life everlasting. As a reformed Christian, the writer believes that counselors must not tell any unsaved counselee that Christ died for him, for they cannot say that. No man knows except Christ Himself who are His elect for whom He died.” (Competent to Counsel, p.70, emphasis mine)

Steven Hitchcock explains: “According to his doctrine, the Calvinist is unable to preach the gospel, because he cannot proclaim the certainty of God’s promise in such a way that an unbeliever can be encouraged to lay hold of it by faith. When a ‘Calvinist’ does seek to persuade sinners to come to Christ based upon God’s love for them it is only because he is not allowing his Calvinism to get in the way of the gospel.” (Recanting Calvinism, pp.181-182, emphasis mine)

In other words, then, the Calvinist is an evangelist, not because of Calvinism, but in spite of Calvinism.

Steven Hitchcock explains: “The necessary conclusion for the Calvinist is that God created many angels and humans without any real love for them, because His love is exclusive to election.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.182)

When Calvinists insist that Arminians otherwise deny God the freedom to love people in different ways, this is a classic Red Herring argument, because to predestine someone to Hell, either by an act of commission or omission (Unconditional Reprobation or Preterition), is not any type of love at all. 

Laurence Vance writes: “All Calvinists, whether they be Presbyterian or Reformed, Primitive Baptist or Sovereign Grace Baptist; all Calvinists, whether they be premillennial or amillennial, dispensational or covenant theologist; all Calvinists, whether they go by that name or not; all Calvinists have one thing in common: God, by a sovereign, eternal decree, has determined before the foundation of the world who shall be saved and who shall be lost. To obscure the real issue, a vocabulary has been invented to confuse and confound the Christian. The arguments about supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism, total depravity and total inability, reprobation and preterition, synergism and monergism, free will and free agency, common grace and special grace, general calling and effectual calling, perseverance and preservation, and the sovereignty of God are all immaterial. The stumbling block for the Calvinists is the simplicity of salvation, so upon rejecting this, a system has to be construed whereby salvation is made a mysterious, arcane, incomprehensible, decree of God.” (The Other Side of Calvinism, p.35, emphasis mine)

One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians states:Calvinists seem to give elongated explanations of what the Gospel is all about.(SEA)

Another member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians adds:Religion in general is about complicating the simplicity of the Gospel; a message so easy a child can understand it. This is but one more reason I am very suspicious of Calvinism and its adherents.(SEA)

Arminian Charge:  Calvinism ruins the Certainty of the Gospel.

Myth or Reality:  The Gospel is God’s personal promise to each person that He wants, and will, save you if you will turn to His Son in faith. Calvinism both undermines and complicates the simplicity of the Gospel message by insisting that God does not love all men in a salvific way.
Calvinism complicates the certainty of the Gospel, which is a message so easy a child can understand. However, Calvinism is not naturally understood from simply reading the Scriptures. One must be taught it as a system. In missionary environments where Calvinism is taught, Calvinism is believed. Conversely, in missionary environments where Calvinism is not taught, it is not believed. Now why is that? Is it the fault of the converts in their fallen state, or is Calvinism simply not a natural reading of Scripture? You could say the same thing of cults as well, in which an indoctrination training period is necessary.