Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Daniel Whedon explains: “The early Christian fathers, like Paul, encountered the same doctrine of unconditional election of all Jews.” (Commentary on the New Testament, Vol.III: Acts-Romans, p.350, emphasis mine)

One member of The Society of Evangelic Arminians writes:If Calvinism were correct and God hand picks who is and is not saved, then Christianity is reduced to being an extension of Judaism. The Jews believed then and still do that they are the ‘chosen ones of God’ because they are born physically into the Jewish family. God most certainly is the One responsible for a person being born a Jew. That is an undeniable fact. If Calvinism is correct, then a Christian is born again because God chooses to save him, which is no different than God choosing to make someone a Jew. The Scriptures are clear; the true chosen one in God’s eye is not the one born into a family, the one who is truly chosen is the one who by faith repents and believes God as Abraham did and follows Him.” (Calvinism is an Abominable Theological Position, emphasis mine)

When gifted faith becomes Irresistible Grace, focus is shifted away from the Cross to what sovereignly brought us to the Cross in the first place, via an unknowable decree, thus making Calvinism into the gospel behind the gospel, as a search for a special relationship hidden in the Father.

Former Calvinist, Brenda, explains: “This dynamic of looking for the ‘right’ kind of faith plays out in Lordship salvation which undermines assurance in the cross. Calvinists eventually come to believe that supernaturally gifted faith will produce obedience. Therefore, election is best seen through obedience. If the Calvinist cannot obey, they begin to fear they have believed with human faith from the heart rather than gifted faith from God. If they can’t obey, then perhaps they weren’t elected. To prove that one has indeed been elected and gifted with the ‘right’ kind of faith, the Calvinist can easily turn to works for assurance, because belief in the cross has been effectually nullified (Gal 5:2).” (A Calvinist Objects To Brenda's Testimony, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, James White, writes: “As we have seen in John, the Bible contrasts the saving faith of some with the nonsaving faith of others. Saving faith is the work of the Spirit in the heart, which is why it preserves to the end. Hence, Hunt trashes another straw man when he posits the idea of a man who has faith in Christ but is not one of the elect. That is not a possibility, because unregenerate men cannot do truly good works.” (Debating Calvinism, p.405, emphasis mine)

Dave Hunt writes: “It is Calvinism that in effect offers salvation by works because it looks to works for assurance of salvation. Biblically, assurance comes by faith in the promise of eternal life in Christ made by ‘God, who cannot lie...before the world began (Titus 1:2).” (Debating Calvinism, p.416, emphasis mine)

Robert Shank explains: “In other words, the only real evidence of election is perseverance, and our only assurance of the certainty of persevering is—to persevere!” (Elect in the Son, p.214, emphasis mine)

It sounds like “perseverance” is a Calvinist’s blessed assurance that they are secretly elect, and the only way to maintain such assurance is to continue to persevere, which sounds like a man-centered theology, rather than a God-centered theology of simply trusting in Christ, while forsaking a supposed, secret election. So is it any wonder that Legalism has become a common thread among denominations of Calvinism? What a better way to demonstrate that they are truly among “the elect” than to prove it by works!

Arminian Charge:  The Calvinist doctrine of an Unconditional Election bears some resemblance to Judaisms expectation of salvation for having been chosen to be born as a Jew.

Myth or Reality:   Calvinism makes salvation, and God’s saving love, exclusive to the alleged race of the Upper Caste of the elect [in the Father]. So instead of Jesus being for the whole world, Calvinism reduces Calvary to an exclusive community alone, who are not chosen for salvation because of their faith in Jesus, but chosen on account of a secret relationship with the Father, who chooses for them to believe. When the unbelieving Jews rejected Jesus, they did so while maintaining an unconditional right of being as a child of Abraham. This mistaken notion was refuted by Jesus, Paul and John the Baptist. Today, Arminians refute the Calvinistic notion of some who also claim to have born with an unconditional right to salvation.
Instead of looking outwardly to the Cross (like the thief on the Cross), focus is then shifted inwardly to a Lordship salvation, in which the individual has the right stuff, a gifted saving faith, rather than a manmade nonsaving faith, which then raises a concern of Christianized Judaism.