Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

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 you can square this statement with Calvinism, I’d like to know how, since according to Calvinism, men are either born “elect” or born doomed to Hell by God’s sovereign pleasure (allegedly). So I’d like to know how a preacher, according to Noblit, can doom souls that are already born doomed? After all, if God has passed them by, with all of the casual indifference of the priest and Levite of Luke 10:30-37, then what worse thing can a preacher do to them? Or, if they are one of the Calvinisticly elect, how is the preacher going to block an Irresistible Grace?

Calvinist, Jeff Noblit, states: “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)

First of all, how does he know that a prayer to God in repentance and asking for salvation does not result in salvation? How does he know this? Some Calvinists do suggest such a prayer:

Calvinist, D. James Kennedy, writes: “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)

Here is something that I find particular alarming:

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, states: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)

How would an invitation to receive Christ be scandalous among his Calvinist peers? Perhaps this could be chalked up to Calvinists simply being wacky in those days. Good for Spurgeon to stand up to them.

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, once prayed: “Lord, hasten to bring in all Thine elect—and then elect some more.” (An Intimate Interlude, emphasis mine)

But thats the problem. According to Calvinism, there can be no more.” In other words, Spurgeons prayer is not in sync with his theology. For this reason, Spurgeon was known to say: “I fear I am not a very good Calvinist because I pray that the Lord will save all of the elect and then elect some more.”  (The soteriology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon and how it impacted his evangelism)

Sometimes Calvinists say the darnest things. Here’s one:

Another Calvinist explains: “An extreme view of this doctrine is what some call ‘hyper-Calvinism’ which is the philosophy that it doesn’t matter if we ‘spread the Gospel’ because God will save who He will save with or without us. This is NOT Christianity and, I’m afraid, most of those who hold this type of belief will have missed the boat, so to speak. True Christianity, as I see it, is ‘spreading the Gospel’ as we’re commanded to do (Mat. 28 & Rom. 10) with both our mouths and our lives. But I’ve recently begun to understand a difference between ‘living out Christ’ - which is the ‘spreading the Gospel with my mouth and life’ - and evangelizing. I see evangelism as more of a proselytizing thing now than before. And, I’ve become convinced that it is not my responsibility to help God save those whom He has elected to save. Salvation is God’s responsibility - period. My responsibility, I’ve come to understand, is to: love God with all my heart strength, mind, and soul.” (Evangelism - My responsibility?, emphasis mine)

If that one makes your head spin, try this one:

Calvinist, John MacArthur, states: “That’s one of the reasons I know the Bible is written by God, because men would fix it. If I wrote a book that had those contradictions, Phil [Johnson] would edit them all out. One of the bench marks of divine inspiration is the fact that you’re dealing with transcendence.” (Election and Predestination: The Sovereignty of God in Salvation, emphasis mine)

If contradictions are a mark of divine origin, shouldnt MacArthur’s writings be equally contradictory, in order to demonstrate similar origin? Or, perhaps, the Bible does not have contradictions, and Calvinism is just wrong. Is that up for consideration?

Calvinist, James White, writes: “Surely it is part of modern evangelical tradition to say, ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,’ but providing a meaningful biblical basis for this assertion is significantly more difficult.” (Debating Calvinism, p.265, emphasis mine)

White adds:Everyone knows John 3:16, and that’s the problem. So many are familiar with the verse that very few stop to consider the traditions that have been packed very carefully into its constant and often acontextual citation.” (Debating Calvinism, p.376, emphasis mine)

When you read something like this, you just have to ask yourself: Do they really mean this?

One person comments: “To say that God hates sin while secretly willing it, or to say that God warns us not to fall away though it is impossible, or to say that God loves the world while excluding most people from an opportunity for salvation, or to say that God warmly invites sinners to come to Him, knowing all the while that they cannot possibly do so—such things do not deserve to be called mysteries when that is just a euphemism for nonsense.”

One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians states:The gospel may be foolishness to some, but it is never convoluted.(SEA)

Arminian Charge:  Calvinism is convoluted.

Myth or Reality:  Perhaps not Calvinism itself, but Calvinists sometimes make really odd statements that are simply out of tune with Calvinism, and sanity.