Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Calvinism confuses Christianity with Satanism, by elevating glory above character.

In the clip above, Calvinist John MacArthur states:His love is qualified by His glory....”

However, he has it backwards, since God’s glory is qualified by His principles and character, in which God is defined by His actions, which reveals that God is love. God does love all, as per Matthew 5:43-48 and John 3:16. The reason why not all are saved is because God’s promise of salvation is conditional, rather than unconditional. Calvinists have this wacky idea that God values them more than their neighbor even though Scripture states that God does not play favorites. (Acts 10:34)

Former Calvinist, Steven Hitchcock, explains: “My first reaction was a profound sense of awe and wonder of this view of God that emphasized His majesty above everything else. I was duly humbled before such a view of God in which I was informed that He had first chosen me and had caused me to believe.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.xxv, emphasis mine)

Hitchcock adds: “I exchanged the joy of the gospel for the glory of Calvinism when the basis of belonging was no longer faith in Jesus, but a complex brotherhood that identified itself as God’s chosen people.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.xxvii, emphasis mine)

Calvinists proudly express the idea that “it’s all about the glory 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)

Calvinists seem to have the impression that God even gets glory by sending people to Hell, certainly not themselves, of course, but others, namely those non-elect people over there.

Calvinist, J. Vernon McGee, writes: “I don’t care who you are or where you are, God created you for His glory. Somebody says, ‘What about the drunkard in the street? What about that crooked man? That lost man--what about him? You mean he’s for the glory of God?’ My friend, this is a strong pill--are you read to swallow it? All of that is for the glory of God. ‘Oh,’ you may say, ‘I don’t like that.’ I don’t remember that God ever asked anyone where or not he liked it. He has never asked me that.”  (Thru the Bible: Proverbs Through Malachi, p.56, emphasis mine)

John Calvin explains: “At this point in particular the flesh rages when it hears that the predestination to death of those who perish is referred to the will of God.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.208, emphasis mine)

Calvin writes: “But here he runs full sail against God for determining some from their very creation to destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.78, emphasis mine)

Calvin writes: “...the secret counsel of God whereby He chooses some to salvation and destines others for eternal destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.53, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, John Piper, explains:God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. And I don’t want to turn that against the fact that God does indeed glorify his wrath by punishing justly those who refuse to be satisfied in him.” (Desiring God)

Piper states:When I say God is most glorified in us’ I mean: if your aim is to glorify God, you will do it most by being satisfied in him. Now this question raises something that Im not answering, namely, What if you dont give a rip about glorifying God and you plan to go to hell and be an unbeliever and an atheist to the end? In that case God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him doesn’t even work. It doesn’t even have a bearing on that person.” (Desiring God)

Calvinist, James White, comments: “The punishment of deserving sinners glorifies Him in the demonstration of His holiness and righteousness.” (Debating Calvinism, p.269, emphasis mine)

Deserving sinners” who think only the thoughts that they are immutably, prescripted to think?

White adds: “God is all-sufficient, and all life, glory, goodness and blessedness are found in Him and in Him alone. He does not stand in need of any of the creatures that He has made, nor does He derive any part of His glory from them. On the contrary, He manifests His own glory in and by them.”  (Debating Calvinism, p.35, emphasis mine)

White continues: “The truth is that the Bible speaks much of free will-God’s free will, that is, not man’s. The utter freedom of God to do with His creation as He sees fit, not as His creatures see fit, is a constant theme. God’s purpose rules over all, not just in the ‘big things’ but in all things. This is the basis of the Christian doctrine of God’s eternal decree: that in creating all that exists, God does so for a purpose, that being His own glorification.” (Debating Calvinism, p.36, emphasis mine)

White continues: “The complete freedom of God, combined with God’s role as the divine King who rules over His creation, provide the irrefutable foundation of God’s sovereign decree.” (Debating Calvinism, p.38, emphasis mine)

White concludes: “In the final analysis, all things lead to the glorification of God.” (Debating Calvinism, p.45, emphasis mine)

Now consider the response by Dave Hunt:

Dave Hunt responds: “...God sovereignly endued man with a free will so that he could love God and his fellows from his heart. Man’s will is no threat to God’s sovereignty. Instead, it brings greater glory to God, who wins the love and praise of those who are free to choose otherwise.” (Debating Calvinism, p.49, emphasis mine)

So Calvinism does not work towards God’s greatest glory after all?

Dave Hunt writes: “Surely love is the most important and most thrilling subject of all--and nothing is so beautiful as God’s love manifest in Jesus Christ. Tragically, Calvinism robs us of what ought to be ‘the greatest story ever told.’ It reduces God’s love to a form of favoritism without passion, and it denies man the capacity of responding from his heart, thereby robbing God of the joy of a genuine response from man and the glory it alone can bring.” (Debating Calvinism, p.255, emphasis mine)

Hunt concludes: “We have quoted leading Calvinists to the effect that God is the cause of the evil in each heart. If so, in preventing evil, wouldn’t God be restraining Himself? What is the point, and how would that bring Him glory? The sovereignty White elevates above all else turns out to rule over a theatre of meaningless marionettes.” (Debating Calvinism, p.51)

God is most glorified when people love and worship Him, and spend eternity with Him in Heaven, and less glorified when people reject and forsake Him, and spend eternity apart from Him in Hell. But for God’s part, as much as it depends upon Him, He is willing the former, but will allow man to experience the latter, if that is what they desire the most. Nevertheless, in the end, God will still have the last word, when “every knee will bow.” (Philippians 2:10)

Question:  If God is “most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him,” then does that mean that when God allegedly predetermined that the vast majority of mankind would reject and forsake Him, He intentionally predetermined less glory for Himself?

Answer:  What this is all going to boil down to, is a teaching that God gets the most amount of glory by displaying His attributes, rather than getting more glory by people being “satisfied in Him” or not.
Question:  If God predetermined that a person would live such a life to not “give a rip about glorifying God, then did God predetermine less glory for Himself?

Answer:  Reading between the lines, Pipers statement only applies to the Calvinistically elect. For the rest, God did indeed predetermine the most amount of glory for Himself because God gets more glory by creating the (alleged) non-elect to spend eternity in Hell, in order for God to display the full breadth of His own  attributes, and hence that is what gives God the most amount of glory in the Calvinist paradigm.
Arminian Charge:  Calvinism distorts the glory of God.

Myth or Reality:  From the Calvinist perspective, Calvinism is all about the glory of God. But have Calvinists really considered whether Calvinism would bring God any meaningful glory at all, or any real joy at all? If everything is fatalistically prescripted, and God thinks everyone’s thoughts for them (in order to infallibly know what a person would think next, as per Calvinism), where would God’s joy be in that? In fact, there is no life in that. Free Will brings God’s creation to life, and gives rise to meaningful, two-way relationships. Calvinistic Determinism simply cannot. So Arminianism does not deny the sovereignty of God. Rather, it affirms it, insomuch that it is God’s own sovereign choice to decline Calvinism, principally for the sake of His own glory and joy.
Dissenting from MacArthur, I infer that Gods character determines that which He values. For instance, a mothers character explains why she treasures and is glorified in her baby. The problem with Calvinism, as I see it, is that it makes glory into the qualifier, as if self glory was the highest attribute of God. Arminians see Gods principles and character as His highest attribute, which then defines what particular things that God takes glory in.