Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

When Calvinists find an unprepared Christian candidate to convert to Calvinism, at first they can be as sweet as honey, but if they are rebuffed, the Calvinist can become pushy, aggressive and mean-spirited. One possibility for the extreme defensiveness of Calvinists is that Calvinists like Calvinism so much that they really want to believe that it’s true. Having the support of many current and past Calvinists, they are further strengthened to boldly confront the enemies of Calvinism, meanwhile, forgetting the example laid down by the Apostle Paul for godly dialogue: “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (2nd Timothy 2:24-26) Another possibility of why Calvinists are so defensive is because they are somewhat hardened in their heart toward God because they know that they are sinners, but have not correctly responded to God, and being not right with God, they respond to their guilt by adopting a harsh view of God as depicted by Calvinism. Here is what I mean by a harsh view of God:

Calvinist, Vincent Cheung, writes: “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)

That’s a brutally harsh way of looking at God, and God has certainly never expressed His feelings for mankind in that manner.

Next, here is an example of Calvinists becoming testy when being disagreed with:

Chad from states: “I’m just getting weary of watching you repeat the same error over and over again. Debate and discussion of doctrine is good and important. You may not agree with Reformed theology but you are not properly informed enough to competently run your own blog on this issue.”  (ExaminingCalvinism)

It seems as though some Calvinists are quite hostile to their arch rivals, the Arminians. Obviously, there are Arminians who have done the same in return, as Charles Spurgeon points out:

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, states: “The fact is, that the great questions about man’s responsibility, free-will, and predestination, have been fought over, and over, and over again, and have been answered in ten thousand different ways; and the result has been, that we know just as much about the matter as when we first began. The combatants have thrown dust into each other’s eyes, and have hindered each other from seeing; and then they have concluded, that because they put other people’s eyes out, they could therefore see.” (Jacob and Esau)

It’s very important that Christians treat one another with respect and dignity. After all, Jesus states: “‘By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’” (John 13:35) This is the proper frame of mind, but notice what you find when you read John Calvin’s book, Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, in which he references his opponent as a “Cyclops” (p.76) and “hog.”  (p.78)

From the same book, Calvin writes: “Now some space must be given to Georgius of Sicily also. Everything about this man is so insipid that I feel ashamed to spend time on his refutation. Nor should I think it worth while come to grips with this shadow, did not the foolish consternation show by many force me. Nor do I think there will be wanting those who, seeing me win so easily a victory over such puerile trivialities, will deride such a useless investigation. Indeed, did he not, as I hear with great grief, do mischief, I should think he ought to be met with contempt rather than explicitly refuted with words. But since his books fly about Italy, driving many people to distraction on every side, I would rather myself play the madman with this crazy fellow for a little than by silence allow the Church to be attacked in such furious assaults.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.143, emphasis mine)

So you can see that this alleged attack on “the Church” was actually an attack on Calvinism. There is a big difference.

Calvin writes: “Now I want to consider not so much what and how Pighius speaks, as how this worthless fellow may fall and lie buried under the ruins of his desperate impudence.”  (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.102, emphasis mine)

Here are additional samples from the same book. This is simply not how the Apostle Paul spoke.

So why are the Calvinists so susceptible to bitterness and rage, when challenged on Calvinism? Is it because Calvinism is their “sacred cow”? Realize that Calvinists believe that they were not elected on the basis of their need for salvation, since they believe that they were elected before their need ever arose. Hence, their ultimate salvation does not stem from Calvary, but from Election. That is where they have placed their hope. That is where they have placed their confidence. Then you, the non-Calvinist, responds to their aggressive proselytization by informing them that their view of Election is unbiblical. What you have done is dashed their prime source of hope, their Gospel:

Former Calvinism, Steven Hitchcock writes: “As far as what the gospel really is to the Calvinist, which is his election, we find that what the Calvinist preaches is not so much an offer to sinners, and certainly not that God loves them, but rather, an in-house idea to those already saved that God has saved them, in such a way, that He has even caused them to believe. This in-house idea of an absolutely done-for-you salvation is the gospel to the Calvinist.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.74, emphasis mine)

As evidence of this kind of Gospel, consider John Calvin’s explanation:

John Calvin explains: “God’s grace is illustrated by the fact that he does not give away salvation indiscriminately, but gives to some what he denies to others.” (Institutes of Christian Religion, p.213)

Calvin adds: “There is no other sure ground for confidence.” (Institutes of Christian Religion, p.214, emphasis mine)

Calvin adds: “All who do not know they are God’s special people must be miserable and in constant fear. So those who ignore the advantages of which we have spoken destroy the basis of salvation and do everyone a disservice.” (Institutes of Christian Religion, p.214, emphasis mine)

The Calvinist is absolutely focused on whether or not he is “one of the elect.”

Calvin explains: “If Pighius asks how I know I am elect, I answer that Christ is more than a thousand testimonies to me.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p. 130, emphasis mine)

One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians states: “If God had ordained that there would be heretics who would call themselves Arminians then why is anyone getting upset? After all it is what He wanted them to do. He ordained that they should, so then His will is being done so we should all be happy about it. I mean isn’t it supposed to glorify God that His will is done?” (SEA)

Exactly, if God ordained this, why are the Calvinists so angry all the time? Are they angry with God’s sovereignty? Are they angry with how God ordained things? “No,” says the Calvinists, because Scripture records that God is angry at in. So, then, what do we conclude, that God is angry over the very things He scripted to occur, simply to display an attribute of anger? The Calvinist account turns God into being disingenuous. What boggles my mind, though, are the contradictions that Calvinists embrace. They will say, “Calvinism is true,” and “the Bible is true,” therefore “while we might not understand how these things all coincide, we can rest on the fact that they must,” and then the whole thing is declared a “mystery.” It’s ironic how when a Calvinist sees a potential scriptural contradiction against Calvinism, it only emboldens their convictions, rather than getting them to question their foundational trust in Calvinism. MacArthur summed it up by saying that the “contradictions” are "one of the reasons why I know that the Bible is written by God,” because if man had written in, he would have edited out all of those “contradictions.” (Election and Predestination: The Sovereignty of God in Salvation)

Arminians are Christians by promise, knowing that God promises “eternal life” to whoever believes in His Son.

Calvinists are Christians by presumption, presuming that they are ofthe elect,” and hopefully do not possess a mere, temporary and seasonal grace termed: Temporal Grace.
Arminian Charge:  Calvinists are overly defensive about Calvinism.

Myth or Reality:  True, and a person defends that which they wish to protect, and Calvinists are protecting something, namely a theology which declares them to be special, chosen and elect, and here an Arminian comes along and is basically telling them that they are just like everyone else, and that Jesus loves and died for everyone else, just as much as He loves and died for them too.