Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, writes: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)

Spurgeon states:I further believe, although certain persons deny it, that the influence of fear is to be exercised over the minds of men, and that it ought to operate upon the mind of the preacher himself.”  (How to Win Souls for Christ, emphasis mine)

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)

So not all Calvinists oppose Altar Calls and Gospel Invitations. Some support it, despite the shrieks and cries of their own peers.

One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains:The altar call impresses on the hearers, that they need to do something. Even if they are not saved at that moment, they realize that they do have to do something in response to the gospel, which often folks do not know.” (SEA)

The reason why most Calvinists oppose what is referred to as the Altar Call or Gospel Invitation, is because they feel that it equates to Decisional Regeneration. In other words, a Calvinist does not believe that a person can simply make a positive “decision for Christ” with the result that God makes them Born Again and spiritually regenerated, but that they must already be Born Again and regenerated (even being preemptively made “in Christ”), prompted by an Irresistible Grace, which is given only to the Calvinistically elect. Thus to a Calvinist, many who make decisions for Christ, are either not elect, or are, but haven’t been drawn to become saved yet, and therefore are left with a false sense of security.” Somehow, an alleged false sense of security for the alleged non-elect, pains many Calvinists, for some inexplicable reason, especially since they also teach that the Calvinistically elect will eventually receive their Irresistible Grace, regardless, and cannot believe until then.

Calvinist, Joel McDurmon, writes:If ‘saving souls’ is the main end-game of your Christian faith, and if the free will is the last hurdle of salvation, then why would you not what the help of an army of marketers, managers, assembly lines, pre-packaged directions, techniques, tools, processes, and networks of support farms and professionals who can claim billions served”? (Elevation Church planting converts? It’s just logical Arminianism., emphasis mine)

Ok, so what is yourmain end-game” then? If it’s not “saving souls,” then your business is not Jesus’ business, because Jesus’ business is to seek and to save that which is lost. (Luke 19:10) The reality is that the only thing that such Calvinists are interested in spreading is just more Calvinism. So it makes perfect sense that a Calvinist wrote that article. They hate Altar Calls. They hate Invitations. As already stated, Charles Spurgeon said that he defied his fellow Calvinists and gave Gospel Invitations to receive Christ despite their protests, and that leads me to this question: Whose side are they on?

These people are about to make a life-changing decision, to receive Christ in their heart, which will effect the direction of their eternity, and the invitation is an encouragement in this manner as a soul-winner. He who wins souls is wise, Scripture tells us. However, dissenting Calvinists term this as “decisional regeneration,” but our decision does not at all regenerate us. God does the regenerating. In the divine initiative (meaning that God initiates it, and makes it possible for those who are spiritually dead to receive Him), we simply submit to His will in passive non-resistance. However, Calvinists think that there is a specially elect upper caste, and that in the course of time when such alleged people hear the Gospel with an Irresistible Grace (Effectual Call), they will respond positively without needing any supportive Invitation.

Calvinist, Joseph R. Nally, states: “Reprobation is indeed a very sad truth. But how much more reason to be thankful that I am saved.”

One, that is not a truth at all. James White calls that the “hard truths.” (Debating Calvinism, p.124, emphasis mine) Second, that quote shows that Calvinists have the exact opposite attitude and feelings towards the unsaved than what God expects of Christian believers. It’s a me first attitude that has nothing to do with loving God first and loving your neighbor as yourself. It almost sounds like an adaptation of what the Pharisees said: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, even as [the Reprobates].” Third, any Calvinist who opposes Altar Calls or Gospel Invitations should not be called “evangelical” in any sense.

Former Calvinist, Steven Hitchcock, writes: “The Calvinist misrepresents God when he asserts that sinners are not saved because God is not willing to save.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.202, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, James White, writes: “Jesus does not seek to ‘woo’ them to a ‘freewill decision,’ nor does He strike up a lengthy invitation hymn and try to overcome their stubborn rejection of truth through an emotional appeal.” (Debating Calvinism, pp.121-122, emphasis mine)

One Calvinist explains:I do not like altar calls because I understand them to be an emotional appeal which pressures people to do something that the Bible does not necessitate.” (Cobb: Altar Call, emphasis mine)

But as already shown, Spurgeon states: “I further believe, although certain persons deny it, that the influence of fear is to be exercised over the minds of men, and that it ought to operate upon the mind of the preacher himself.” (How to Win Souls for Christ, emphasis mine) While I’m not saying that Spurgeon supported Altar Calls, per se, what I am saying is that Spurgeon agrees that pressure and emotion should be applied to coerce the lost in evangelism, and Spurgeon definitely supported Gospel Invitations, to the dismay of some of his Calvinist peers.

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)

But isnt this conclusion indistinguishable with what had initially been defined as “missing the boat”?

In contrast, Adrian Rogers comments: “You have been called to minister. You have been called to bring souls bound in the golden chains of the Gospel and lay them at Jesus feet. Dont you boast about your salvation; dont you boast about your piety; dont you boast about your spirit-fullness, dont you tell me about your spiritual gifts if you are not endeavoring to bring souls to Jesus Christ. What right do you have to call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ if your business is not His business? And what is His business? The Son of God has come to seek and to save that which is lost. ...Would you pray, oh pray it, mean it, mean it, dont just say it, ‘Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, and win that soul through me.’ If you can’t win an adult, win a child. If you can’t win your neighbor, win somebody else’s neighbor. If you can’t win somebody in your family, win somebody in somebody else’s family. If you can’t bring a soul to Jesus, help somebody else to bring a soul to Jesus.” (Saved To Serve: Romans 15-16, emphasis mine)

Adrian Rogers points out that unless you are endeavoring to win souls for Christ, you are not right with God, and are guilty of High Treason against Heavens King. (Saved To Serve: Romans 15-16)

Besides the fact that an Altar Call or Gospel Invitation invites someone to receive Christ in their heart, it also serves as a public profession of faith. Consider what Jesus states about public affirmations: “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 10:33)

Jesus states:The tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) In considering that the fruit of Calvinism is opposition to the Altar Call and Gospel Invitation, what kind of tree does that make Calvinism?

One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains: “As a preacher and Bible teacher, I want people to be in a place of decision (i.e. they have heard the Word and now must choose about what they are going to do in response). The Bible faithfully preached and taught, ALWAYS DOES THAT. So if you have given a Biblical message, then people are always put in a place of decision. To then invite them to pray about it, talk about it, etc. is merely an attempt to deal with the actual reality that is taking place. To see people go into this place of decision, ignore it or try to act as if it is not there, is just lazy and negligent. Again, one of the main reasons that I am in this group is because Calvinism is not just another mistaken belief; it speaks to evangelism, the Gospel and God’s plan of salvation. When you mess these things up, as Calvinism does, the fruit that results is really going to be rotten. (SEA)

Catholicism had something to say about the means of grace, and the availability of grace. The means of grace was the sacraments, and the availability of grace was through the priests, who conferred salvation through the sacraments.

The Protestant Reformation asserted that the means of grace was faith in Christ (i.e. Justification by Faith), and the availability of grace was directly through Christ, without having to go through a priest, Mary, the Saints or the angels. In the Protestant Reformation, anybody, anywhere, could now call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

Mac Brunson states: “Arent you glad that you can come to Jesus and get grace? Amen? If you need grace tonight, let me tell you something. You dont have to go through me. Ive got to come to the cross just like you. And if you go to the cross, He gives you all the grace youll ever need.” (Church History: The Dark Ages)

And that’s the beauty of the Gospel Invitation. You can come to God and receive it. There’s no Middle Man (or Middle Woman), and you can have direct access to God through Jesus’ shed blood at Calvary, washing you white as snow. You don’t need candles, or a priest, or even water. You just need to come to God in Jesus’ name, with genuine repentance, and He will do the rest.

Here is a link to a Blog Discussion on this subject.

Here is an additional Blog Discussion.


A Calvinist produced this gem, and I would like to focus on the part about a “Magic prayer”?

Romans 10:9-10 states: “...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who CALL ON HIM; for ‘Whoever will CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD will be SAVED.’

Notice the part about “call on Him,” and “call on the name of the Lord,” and the part about “saved.”

So when Calvinists refer to a “Magic Prayer,” is this verse what they are referring to, or are they referring to something else? “Call on Him” (resulting in being “saved”) sounds exactly like our prayer to Jesus who knocks on the door of our heart, as per Revelation 3:20. No?

Additional discussion:

Spurgeon on preachers becoming obstacles for sinners coming to Christ.

This particular Calvinist has declared War on the Sinner’s Prayer, indicating that it has sent people to Hell, which is awfully strange for a Calvinist to say, who otherwise believes in the Calvinist doctrine of a Limited Atonement, in which the alleged non-elect have no Savior who died for them. That alone, would make it impossible for such to be saved. What about the Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional Reprobation in terms of how it condemns a man to Hell, before he was ever born? Would the Sinner’s Prayer be the decreed means to their destruction? The fact that the alleged non-elect person was unlucky enough to be born with a God who hated them, would be the primary factor of their doom, and the Sinner’s Prayer would only be the secondary cause. Moreoever, if a person is born elect, while another person is born non-elect, then how does the Sinner’s Prayer change their destiny? Calvinism seems like a really mixed up theology. The Sinner’s Prayer seems to be rooted at Romans 10:9-10 and Revelation 3:20, and notice it in action, even when it is led by a reluctant Atheist doctor, who was simply trying to appease the concerned nurses:

Trevor Baker Song Related to David Platt/Sinner’s Prayer Article – “You Don’t Have the Right”

Question:  Where is the desire for “Altar Calls” and “Gospel Invitations” born?

Answer:  It’s born out of the heart of concern for the lost in a desire to see the lost saved.
Question:  So where does apathy toward “Altar Calls” and “Gospel Invitations” come from?

Answer:  It’s born out of the heart of casual indifference concerning the salvation of the lost.
Question:  If a person makes a decision to receive Christ, and truly means it in their heart, what does the Bible promise that God will do?

Answer:  “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord, except to pray to Him? Therefore, in addition to presenting the Gospel, an evangelist will invite the lost to receive Christ, and when they do, according to Romans 10:13, they become “saved.” However, to a Calvinist, they are not saved, because they simply cannot truly mean it, unless they are already Born Again, and thus would have to have some worldly motive for wanting to receive Christ.
Question:  Why even give a Presentation of the Gospel if you are unwilling to give an Invitation to receive the Gospel, and allow the Holy Spirit to work?

Answer:  It’s born out of the heart of concern for the lost in a desire to see the lost saved. However, the answer to the Calvinist is if they are “elect,” they will come regardless, having been monergistically saved, and therefore there is no need for an Invitation or an Altar Call because they will be irresistibly compelled to come. In other words, if they are “elect,” they will come to you, rather than you having to come to them. (In my opinion, anyone who opposes an Altar Call or Gospel Invitation might as well have “666” emblazoned across their forehead.)
Question:  So what is the “Altar Call” and why do Calvinists vehemently oppose it?

Answer:  It is not the idea that a Pastor is conferring salvation, nor is it mandatory for salvation. It is simply an invitation to a lost person to come and pray with a Christian to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. Are they necessary? No, of course not. But if you want to pray with someone to receive Christ, come. Now why is that so abhorrent to a Calvinist? The answer has to do with something that Calvinists term: Decisional Regeneration.
Arminian Charge:  Calvinists oppose Gospel invitations and “Altar Calls.”

Myth or Reality:  Calvinists such as Charles Spurgeon and D. James Kennedy are exceptions. Others dont believe in giving an invitation because they dont believe the invitation to be saved is for everyone.
Question:  What is the biblical case for issuing a Gospel Invitation?

Answer:  First it must be established, what is the nature of salvation? Salvation occurs when: (1) a person is covered by the blood of Christ, and (2) the Holy Spirit inhabits a person in the Indwelling. According to Ephesians 1:13, this occurs when a person believes in the Gospel. Based upon Romans 10:9-10, confession of the Gospel occurs when a person confesses Jesus as Lord, and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, resulting in salvation. Does a person need a Church altar to be saved? No. A person can call upon the Lord from anywhere. What Gospel Invitations do is offer prayer support in coming to Jesus by prayer.

Matthew 11:28: Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

The idea of come to Me” is an invitation, and we come to Christ by prayer.

Exodus 32:25-26:Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies—then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!

This is another example of an invitation. The whole point of a Gospel Invitation is to encourage people to act upon Jesus’ invitation to come to Him, and experience the eternal life that He offers, so that a person, in a given instant of time, goes from lost to saved, passing out of death and into life. Anyone who would oppose this, or so much as not even encourage it, stands opposed to God, including all of those who are actively praying for the salvation of such lost people. Instead of complaining about Invitations, they should join in participation in prayer for the lost. I don’t think that Calvinists understand the corruption in their heart concerning this matter.
“One Sunday morning, the Pastor gave an Altar Call. John went forward, but wasn’t prepared for what happened next.”

This is also available from CBN here.