Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians states: I have always confronted Calvinists that their belief system is similar to Hinduism. Calvinism sets up a spiritual caste system. There are the haves and the have nots. Some Calvinists even treat the non-elect as the untouchables. They usually don’t like it when I say these things but  it’s their belief system not mine....” (SEA)

John Calvin writes: “Hence Augustine, having treated of the elect, and taught that their salvation reposes in the faithful custody of God so that none perishes, continues: The rest of mortal men who are not of this number, but rather taken out of the common mass and made vessels of wrath, are born for the use of the elect.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.107, emphasis mine)

Calvin adds:All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” (Institutes of Christian Religion: Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 5, emphasis mine)

Arminian, Robert Shank, comments: “Thus the mass of mankind are created with no prospect of salvation, but exist only for the benefit of the arbitrarily and unconditionally elect minority, to provide the milieu within which the purpose of election may be unfolded.” (Elect in the Son, p.225)

For Calvinists to allege that Arminianism gives rise to boasting, seems to be a charge that falls fairly flat, considering that according to Calvinism, if one is born elect, then by virtue of being born into an elect caste system, the Calvinist not only has something for which to boast (i.e. having a superior birth right, and unconditional favor with God), he also has something for which to look down upon others, as having been born non-elect, by virtue of having been born into an inferior caste (i.e. inferior birth right, and unconditional disfavor with God). So it seems that Calvinism is the ultimate caste system, and certainly does give more of a reason to boast than its chief rival, Arminianism.

For more on this point, here is an article entitled: The Caste System in India... and Jesus

Here is another article.

One of the significant issues looming, is the question of why one person is born Calvinistically elect, while another person is born Calvinistically non-elect. Obviously in Hinduism, the same question applies. Why is one person born into a favored caste, while another is born into a slave caste, otherwise known as the Untouchables. The Hindu answer is bad karma,” in paying for the sins of past lives (i.e. reincarnation). In contrast, Calvinism simply has no answer, other than arbitrary choice:

Calvin writes: “There are some, too, who allege that God is greatly dishonored if such arbitrary power is bestowed on Him. But does their distaste make them better theologians than Paul, who has laid it down as the rule of humility for the believers, that they should look up to the sovereignty of God and not evaluate it by their own judgment?” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, pp.209-210, emphasis mine)

For more on this point, see here.

Question:  Does Calvinism teach a Caste System in which a small minority are born elect as the haves (predetermined for salvation), while the majority are born non-elect (predetermined for damnation, or predetermined simply to be passed over), as the have-nots?

Answer:  A major difference is that the caste system in India is just for this life, while the cast system in Calvinism is for all of eternity. But regardless, the Bible does not teach a caste system since God stated that He genuinely desires the salvation of all men (1st Timothy 2:4), made evident in the giving of His Son to the world (John 3:16), though which, by faith in Him, any man in the world can be saved.
  • The caste system in India is just for this life.

  • The caste system of Calvinism is for all of eternity.

See also: Acts 10:28.
Arminian Charge: Calvinism is Hindu-Christianity.

Myth or Reality:  Calvinist theology is “Caste System” Theology, in which there is the upper caste of the Calvinistically elect, and the lower caste of the alleged, non-elect, and castes cannot be changed, but are fixed by eternal decree. Theese untouchables have no Savior, no atonement, no saving grace, and are born for the use of the elect.” (It should also be pointed out, that simply highlighting the dissimilarities between Calvinism and Hinduism does not negate the apparent similarities concerning its dreadful caste system.)