Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, writes: Predestination seems to cast a shadow on the very heart of human freedom. If God has decided our destinies from all eternity, that strongly suggests that our free choices are but charades, empty exercises in predetermined playacting. It is as though God wrote the script for us in concrete and we are merely carrying out his scenario.” (Chosen by God, p.51, emphasis mine)

Sproul adds: 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)

So why does R.C. Sproul need a “guarantee”? Can’t he just trust that God is big enough to handle free-will?

Calvinist, R.C. Sproul, explains: In Reformed Theology, if God is not sovereign over the entire created order, then he is not sovereign at all. (What is Reformed Theology?, p.27)

It seems evident that Calvinism is driven by an irrational sense of fear.

So now the hamster is sovereign? Its a hamster. Its a rogue molecule. What are they so afraid of? Calvinism provides a sense of control that they emotionally desire. Its all emotionally driven.

One member of the Society of Evangelical Arminians writes: “Calvinists cannot accept the idea of anything in eternity being conditioned upon them, since their actions are uncertain and they fear that they would be (or would have been) doomed to failure if they weren’t irresistibly pulled along. Everything has to be very tidy and just-so, or they panic. Everything has to be all completely God’s will and doing, or it must all just be meaningless, randomness and chaos. Such ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking explains the way many Calvinists view free will (e.g. their repeated assertions that it must be ‘random’ if it isn’t predetermined).” (SEA)

To a Calvinist, if anything is undetermined and left for man to decide, literally anything, then the entirety of existence is in complete chaos. Thankfully, Calvinism makes everything simple: God did it. This way, the Calvinist can sleep at night.

Here is the candid testimony of a convert to Calvinism: “Short version, I was raised ‘Arminian’ although I believed myself to be ‘Calvinist’ because I believed in Eternal Security. Later in life - after becoming an adult - someone suggested that ‘regeneration precedes faith’. I knew that to be false, so I went to bat for the truth. Every time I stepped up to knock down these heresies, I got a face full of Scriptures that seemed, for the life of me, to say that Man is depraved at his core, that God chooses who He will save based on His own purposes, not the ones being saved, and that when God moves, no one can stop Him. I kept swinging, but after awhile I realized I had lost the battle. Overcome with Scripture and unable to disagree with the logic, I found myself engulfed by a sense of awe that grace could be so large, and a sense of awe that God could be so sovereign. Never before had these two features loomed so large.” (, emphasis mine)

Doubt:  man is too depraved to open the door to Christ.

Continuing: “I gave up the fight. I won’t do battle anymore, but I am pretty well ‘snared’ by the ‘Scripture and evident reason’ that has forced me against my desires to acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and finally made me comfortable enough to allow myself to be called ‘a Calvinist’ (although I still despise the term). In the course of my battle, my mother was swept along as well, and she has surrendered, too, but my father, raised a Presbyterian, is still a ‘one pointer’. We, however, never do battle over it.”  (, emphasis mine)

Simple answer:  God is behind everything.

Continuing: “Considering my life and my circumstances and my biblical conclusions, you are offering to move me from a rational theology, a confident hope, an assurance that God is absolutely in control when the world around me looks out of control, and an assurance that God can and will save a wretch like me, to the certainty that I am forever damned and, well, too bad, He tried but I wouldn’t let Him.” (, emphasis mine)

More doubt:  doom & gloom apart from fatalism.

Concluding: “I’m sorry. The whole of Arminian theology, in my mind, elevates Man, denigrates God, and leaves me with a mortally wounded sovereign who fell victim to His creation when He surrendered to their wills. In a world where terrorists fly aircraft into buildings, where Christians are divorcing as often as non-Christians, where I live imperfectly myself, I cannot afford a God who is not sovereign, nor can I afford an elevated view of Man. I couldn’t continue the conversation in good conscience because 1) I have been forced by the biblical logic of it, and 2) having arrived here, I like it
... a lot. You ask me to surrender my mind and my God, and I cannot.” (, emphasis mine)

The part about, “I like...a lot,” is very telling. Free Will is frightening to a Calvinist.

Arminian Charge:  Calvinism is driven by Fear.

Myth or Reality:  Calvinists often describe their conversion to Calvinism as one in which had given them comfort. In a world spinning out of control, it brings them comfort to know that God is causing it all, and directing the outcome.
Calvinist, Peter Pike, explains: Suppose that I have a hamster in my hand. I am completely sovereign because the hamster must do what I demand it to do. If I put it down on a table, it can now make free choices, but I am no longer sovereign, because I cannot determine what the hamster will do.(Peter Pike and The Illogical Arminian, emphasis mine)