Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities













John Calvin comments: “Since the whole human race is blind and stubborn, those faults remain fixed in our nature until they are corrected by the grace of the Spirit, and that comes only from election. Two people may hear the same teaching together; yet one is willing to learn, and the other persists in his obstinacy. They do not differ in nature, but God illumines one and not the other. We are, indeed, made God’s children by faith--faith is for us the door and beginning of salvation; but there is something deeper with God. He does not begin to choose us after we believe, but by the gift of faith he seals the adoption that was hidden in our hearts and makes it manifest and sure.” (Acts: Calvin, Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.229, emphasis mine)


















2nd Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Romans 2:4: Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Romans 9:22-23: What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.

Isaiah 65:2: I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, a people who continually provoke Me to My face.

God beforehand prepared glory for those in Christ. Romans 9:23 states: And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.” God desires to make known to you the riches of His glory. He doesn’t want to destroy you. He wants to glorify you, and is He patient toward that end. Again, 2nd Peter 3:9 states: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Therefore, do not exhaust God’s patience or else you will “fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) To “fall” into something implies something unintended such as falling into money or falling into a mud hole. They are not planned. God does not want His children (by creation) to fall into judgment, which is not what He had purposed them for, which is especially evident on the basis of Matthew 25:41: “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Hell was not prepared for man, but for the devil and his demons.

However, Calvinists object that the same problem for Calvinism, also applies to Arminianism:

Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “Even if, as Arminians believe, foreknowledge does not cause anything to happen, still the future will unfold as God knows it will. Yes, even for Arminians, whatever will be, will be. (The Doctrines That Divide, p.216, emphasis mine)




















To the Calvinist, how can God be patient with those whom He knows, by His omniscience, will never accept Him? As mentioned, God’s foreknowledge doesn’t make anyone do anything. It is simply God knowing ahead of time what someone will freely do, because He dwells in all time and space. God is patient” simply because He gives them both the time and ability to repent (i.e. Prevenient Grace).

Question:  Besides the obvious reference to 2nd Peter 3:9, we might also ask on the basis of Isaiah 65:2, how can God be patient” for the repentance of those whom He, allegedly, withholds the only means by which to repent? Furthermore, how can God be long-suffering with those in whom He, allegedly, appoints a date to impose an irresistible grace?

Answer:  This is not a misunderstanding of Calvinism. It is simply Calvinism not making any sense, when viewed from the perspective of God’s patience.
Question:  And who determined what will be?

Answer:  Calvinists have already concluded their mind that God decides whatsoever will come to pass (essentially assuming Calvinism’s Theistic Fatalism), and thus concludes that God’s foreknowledge renders Arminianism just as fatalistic. Calvinists seem to have a hard time grasping the concept that Arminian foreknowledge is knowledge that is after-the-fact, in that God, dwelling independent of time, can foreknow the free choice of another, which, to the Calvinist, draws a crystal-ball analogy. Nevertheless, I find it amazing that otherwise intelligent Calvinists find it so difficult to grasp competing views on Foreknowledge.
Arminian Charge:  Calvinism can make no logical sense of Gods Patience.

Myth or Reality:  How would it make sense for God to be patiently waiting for someone to repent, when according to Calvinism, God determines the moment to give them an Irresistible Grace? That seems to scramble the logic of divine patience.