One member of the Society of Evangelical Arminians writes: “If anyone can be fooled about their conversion, no Calvinist can say they ARE elect with impunity. They ‘feel’ elect, maybe, but they have no idea if Christ died for them or not, since Christ only died for a select few. The irony is most Calvinists tout this as one of their distinctive advantages, in that they KNOW they are saved; but we can see there is really no grounds for this.” (SEA, emphasis mine)
Consider a Calvinist’s contrast between “saving faith” and “nonsaving faith”:
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)
If it it’s not a possibility, then I can’t imagine how White would explain Luke 8:11-15 because they received the word with joy and believed for a while but fell away.
Thus, a Calvinist’s blessed assurance is the ability to perform “truly good works,” confirming Election.
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! Not only is Calvinism a diversion from trusting in Christ into Legalism, but after having trusted in Christ, they demonstrate that they do not really trust in Him at all, when they hope upon a secret Election for security.