Calvinism and Arminianism:
Myths & Realities

Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “When D.L. Moody quipped, ‘The elect are the whosoever wills and the nonelect are the whosoever wont’s,’ he was right. Calvinists could not agree more. Does this mean that God has violated man’s freedom? Again, I must stress that fallen man’s freedom is one-sided, that is, he is free only to choose various shades of evil.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.192, emphasis mine)

Lutzer adds: “I cannot emphasize enough that Calvinists agree with Arminians that whoever desires to be saved can be.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.198, emphasis mine)

Calvinists cannot complain about being misrepresented when they help create the problem. Nevertheless the Calvinist argument is essentially that since mankind is totally depraved, no one desires to be saved, except those who receive Irresistible Grace, and thus they alone comprise the whosoever wills.” However, Calvinists like Erwin Lutzer are missing the bigger picture, which John Goodwin explains:

John Goodwin explains: “...Suppose a great king having many sons, should express himself thus: I so love my children, that whosoever of them shall be dutiful unto me; I will bestow principalities, dukedoms, or other great matters upon them.’ Should he not plainly imply a possibility, at least, that some of them might not prove dutiful unto him?” (Redemption Redeemed, p.24, emphasis mine)

The thrust of “whosoever will” is the possibility that some will and some won’t, and thus the pool from which it is drawn, namely “the world” according to John 3:16, cannot merely mean the alleged, “world of the elect,” as many Calvinists presume. In other words, Lutzers admission of the whosoever wills in contrast to the whosoever won’ts, effectively establishes that the corresponding world” from which they are both drawn, must be greater than just the wills. So if the world includes the wills and the wonts, then the world means everyone, and it is this world that God loves and sent His Son to save. Mirroring John 3:16-18, John 12:47 states: “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

Adrian Rogers explains: “And ‘whosoever will,’ let him take of the water of life freely. Now friend, that’s what motivates the great evangelist, and people who see churches grow: The whosoever will. Don’t take the ‘whosoever will’ out of the Bible. And don’t just give kind of a falsewhosoever will,’ and say whosoever will may come (Oh I know they really can’t, but let’s just tell them they can). No, no, no! Whosoever will, let him freely come! God wants everybody saved. The Lord is not willing that any should perish. And if you drop into Hell, God will say, ‘Not My will but yours is being done.’” (You Can Be Sure: Romans 8:28-31, emphasis mine)

So that’s the counter-charge, in that Calvinism presents a false “whosoever will.” Moreover, the concept of “whosoever will” presumes an indiscriminate, universal offer or invitation of the Gospel, for which some will and some won’t receive it, but nonetheless presumes a larger pool of candidates, than just the alleged, world of the elect, as argued by Calvinists. In other words, if you have a larger pool of candidates for the invitation than just the whosoever-wills, there must necessarily be an Unlimited Atonement to support the universal offer for all of the invitees, which doesn’t work with 5-Point Calvinism and its associated doctrine of a Limited Atonement.

Some of the “whosoever will” verses are listed below:

John 3:16:For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 4:13-14:Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’

Romans 10:11-13: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.’

Revelation 22:17:The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Yet, Calvinist pastor, Steve Hereford, shouted from the pulpit: “And some people believe in Whosoever-will [to which I blurted out: “Amen”], but no, we were chosen!
Calvinist Charge:  Arminians misunderstand “Whosoever Will.”

Myth or Reality:  The Calvinist charge is that “whosoever will” is the elect, whom God rescues from spiritual death by an irresistible grace, without which, there is only the “whosoever won’t.”