Infectious Errors of Calvinism

John Calvin

John Calvin

Calvinism truly has spawned great errors, many of which have even infected Pentecostalism.

You have heard people say, “God is in control”?  Where does the Bible say that?  It says God withdrew himself from Adam & Eve, & the devil is now “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).  God is in the process of “putting all things under [Christ’s] feet,” the last enemy of which will be death (1 Corinthians 15:26).  Till then, the Church is in a spiritual war.  We have to pray pray pray, and walk in the power and revelation of the Holy Spirit, to not be deceived but walk in truth, to not fall away but to “endure to the end.”

You have heard that God knows the future? Is God reading tea leaves or a road map? No, He MAKES the future, according to his Plan.

You have heard people say that God has determined who will be saved (the Elect)?  How better for the devil to sap the impetus for evangelism than to convince us that people will be saved, even if we do not share the Gospel with them — or that prompts us to try to predict who will get saved when they hear the Gospel, so we think we ought not waste our time on people with spiked hair and piercings, or the wrong clothing or speech?  Jesus showed us the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13 & par.), in which the seed was to be broad-cast, without assurance which seed would ultimately prosper.

Calvinists stumble over words like elect, predestined, and foreknowledge, which they have theologically loaded till they are blinded by doctrine.  The Elect, the chosen (like Jacob over Esau, Romans 9:13), are still constituted of Israel, because of Abraham’s faith & God’s promise.  Followers of Christ have been grafted into Israel.  The Elect is a class of people whom God has chosen by his predeterminate counsel (foreknowledge), as a people, a remnant, whom God has predestined to be redeemed and glorified in Christ (1 Chronicles 16:17-22; Romans 8:29 f., 9:11, 11:7, 28; 1 Peter 1:2).

Moreover, if God has predetermined who will be saved, why is the Bible chock full of choices — to obey God in the Garden (Genesis 3:12 f.), to obey Moses in the Wilderness (Exodus 32:26), to serve God under Joshua (24:15), all the way to John the Baptist’s call to repent, and Jesus’ further call to believe the Gospel, and Paul’s declaration, “whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10), and Jesus’ command to “preach the Gospel to every creature”?

Calvinists have said that man has no free will, but these choices, which have no meaning in the case of predetermination, on the contrary, presuppose freedom of the will.

Calvinists say that a God who does not know the future (which He must then have predetermined) is not sovereign, and therefore not God.  In this, they impose upon God the requirement to predetermine everything in order to be God.  Thus, in their minds, God has no free will in the matter, but is compelled to predetermine — which is faulty logic by which their whole system falls.  (How misguided they are in their zeal to “protect” the sovereignty of God!  They are like the Pharisees in their concern to protect God from blasphemy.)  If God is sovereign, is He not free to predetermine that which He chooses to predetermine, and equally free to withhold determination in order to allow free will in his Creation?

The genius of God is that He can predetermine the bounds of Creation, yet allow for self-determination of creatures within those bounds, while bringing his ultimate Plan to fruition.  He has planned his work, and now works his Plan.

© 2011 Paul A. Hughes

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7 Comments on “Infectious Errors of Calvinism”

  1. If God looks down the corridor of time and sees what you will chose and do at every point in life, and if His knowledge is never wrong and is perfect. Then your still not free. His foreknowledge being perfect locks you into future actions in real time and hence your can only do what God saw you would do (since his knowledge is always right). So the reality is, even in an Arminianism system there is still only fatalism. so if you believe in evolution, Arminianism or Calvinism…there is no freedom of the will.

  2. As an athiest I intend to stir the pot. Most of you will disregard what I write. John Calvin was a mis-guided individual who did order the deaths of many includeing the noted Michael Servatus. If he had any “in” with God, then he would have known that his acts were evil. Of coarse he felt like he was acting with God’s guidance along with all the other religious figures in history who have committed crimes against humanity with God’s supposed blessing or at least wthout his interference. It stuns me to know that people can believe that God would guide them in their very mundane activities of life yet remain so silent about the real crimes committed in his name. Christians would say “it is in his divine plan and how are we to know the mind of God. And of course Satan is brought into the discussion. He was loosed apon the earth to do his harm all because a pair of naked people with the mind and life exerience of a toddler ate a piece of fruit offered by a talking snake in a magical garden. If God is all knowing then he must have known the untold sufferings this would bring apon their decendents for tousands of years. Seems like quite a harsh punishment from such a loving God. To KNOW that millions apon millions of women and children were going to suffer untold agony at the hands of mis-guided men who apparently have nothing better to do than pick apart the intricate details of one of the many mythological religions …to KNOW this and still drive those first two unfortunate beings out of paradise is evil in itself. I would never meet out such a harsh punishment to anyone I love. I know “Whom the Lord loveth he chastiseth”. There is a difference between correction and evil rage. If God were a parent we would be calling for the death penalty!!

    • biblequestion says:

      Here we have the usual Atheist talking points. What the Bible teaches, however, is that He gave man free will. So you are right, to an extent, that the Calvinistic view makes God ultimately responsible for evil, whereas Scripture makes clear that God does not originate evil. When ejected from Paradise, mankind became responsible. Thereafter they “did what was right in their own eyes,” which of course was often egregiously wrong.

      However, God himself took steps for the salvation of all mankind who would repent and receive grace. He sent part of himself, in the form of his Son, to break the Law of Sin and Death once and for all. What more could a good God do, or a good parent (to use your analogy), than to give his creation a choice, than make a way of redemption when they fail, indeed paying the price of redemption himself?

      Fact is, He gives us all many choices along the way: to obey conscience or violate it till it is callused over? To remain innocent or venture into experimentation with sin? To seek God or to shun him or run away? But like a rebellious child, we must humble ourselves and return, in order to find grace and forgiveness.

      That humility, not the sense or nonsense of human conceptions and resentments toward God, is the crux of the matter, the sticking point for every Atheist. An Atheist is not one who knows there is no God (for none can disprove him), but one who chooses to deny one, and therefore answerability for their choices.

  3. As an atheist I do have to answer for my choices. Not to a higher being..who by the way has a questionable morality, but to my own concience, to my family, to my community and ultimatly to the world. One does not need a God to have good morals. The evolution of man and society naturally brings about a moral structure that most humans find it beneficial to live by. We can firgure out on our own that it’s wrong to kill. We can figure ot that it’s not always benificial to a good marriage to commit adultery. It is good to honor your parents..unless your parents are evil people themselves. Stealing is another “no brainer” if you want to live and thrive in a community as is bearing false witness. As usual, Christians completely ignore the harshness of God in his punishment of the first two people. It is veiwed as an inevitable if not even loving for the creator to have planned his world this way. He gave us freedom of choice, he put a temptation in front of Adam and Eve that they were sure to succumb to given their non-existent knowledge of actions and consequences. These days we would call this “baiting”. God (who supposedly created everything..including Satan) is totally obsolved in any wrong doing. Evil apparently came out of no where and began brewing in the hearts of his created creatures. If god created Satan, than God created the propensity for evil. If you beleive in God, than you must beleive that every emotion, every possible thought, every deed originated in his mind. If it did not and Satan was able to “conjure up” his evil on his own, that makes him a god too. You have to accept this or accept that the seed of evil originated in the creator himself and no where else. Personally, I accept none of it. As a former Christian who has sat through years of Sunday school, attended a Christian school and church three times a week and have read the Bible from cover to cover, I came to a point where I could no longer accept the excuses of the Church for the very bad behavior of the Creator of the World.
    Then we get to Christ, who for the most part said good things. Taught kindness and humility and railed agaist the establishment. But for us to think that Christ’s death was the only way God could redeem us from our sins is purely a pagan concept harkening back to the days when humans were sacrificed for all kinds of reasons. If a loving God could not find any other way than the brutal death of his child..than he truley is the blood thirsty god of the old testament. If you read history and read about other cultures and mythologies you will see the same blood sacrifice theme over and over again. Some Christians would say that God put these ideas and themes in place. I say it is all a man made myth created because years ago we had no explanation for the world or why we are here. We are on a good path to knowing all of this now through truley testable ideas brought to us by science. It’s tme to put the creation/god myth in it’s place. Right along side Zeus, Odin, Ishtar, Demeter, Persophone and so on and so forth.

    • biblequestion says:

      By “testable ideas brought to us by science” you mean empirical evidence, a ground commonly claimed by Atheists. As Paul the Apostle wrote, “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse,” Romans 1:20. Creation itself proves a Creator.

      Creation is the ultimate empirical evidence. Atheists have advanced the Theory of Evolution as an alternative, but for the creation of life where there was none, and the complexity and organization of even the simplest organisms, they have neither empirical evidence nor a plausible explanation — to the point that Evolutionists are beginning to say, with bold face, “Complexity does not suggest intelligence” and “Evolutionary Theory has nothing to do with the origins of life.” By these amnesiatic subterfuges they tacitly admit the utter failure of alternatives to Intelligent Design.

  4. Adam and Eve did not have the mind of “toddlers” as you say. Adam had the knowledge of God (I don’t recall the scripture at this time). When God decided to flood the earth, he said to his angles something to the effect,”Man knows all of which we know and his knowledge is too great. And after the flood man would be “dummied down” so to speak, so man would not be able to do (in my interpretation) greater things than God Himself”. Come on..how could someone with the intellagence of a toddler name countless species and know survival techniques? Adam, without a doubt, was the most intelligent man to walk the earth. He could have built a compuiter, a plane, the factories to manufacture what was needed as well. I will post the scripture for you in awhile. i have to run some errands. Joe Machtemes.

  5. I’m going to respond one last time then someone else can have the last word. There is no way I can prove that God doesn’t exist but I shouldn’t have to. We don’t try to make people who don’t beieve in faeries prove that they don’t exist. The burden of proof is on the believer. Believer almost always quotes the Bible as a reference to the facts about their beliefs. That is the equivalent of quoting the Iliad to prove the existence of Zeus.
    The Bible is a compilation of Jewish folklore and thoughts about life and their belief in Yaweh. You can see through the Bible how even their ideas of Yaweh changed. He went from the terrible tribal God from Genesis through the psalms, then in the prophets he is seen more as a sadded God waiting for his children to come back. A direct reflection of how Isreal felt while they were in Exile.
    The fact of the matter is that we would not be having this discussion if we had been born into a Hindu, Buddist, Muslim or any other type of religion. The overwhelming majority of the time we believe in the beliefs of our parents. Or at least some version of it. Those ideals run deep and to question them is akin to questioning who we ourselves are. There are powerful emotions attatched to doing this which make it difficult if not impossible to stray to far from the “faith of our fathers”. So this belief system get “tweaked” here and there in order to fit the times. Just as the Jews did long ago and continue to do. We don’t take everything in the Bible literally anymore. If we did then we would be stoning non-virgins, killing adulterers and homosexuals and the Sabbath would never be broken because the punishment would be death. Christians believe that Christ Changed all that. To quote to Bible Matthew5:17-18 says, “Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Assuredly I say to you, Till heaven and earth shall pass away, one jot or tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”.
    Thankfully Christ had that “he who casts the first stone” moment which probably has saved a few women…but not enough.
    I am thankful that the majority of believer live under “Grace” and enjoy quoting “Judge not least ye be judged” more than some of the other more condemning verses. It would be a much harsher world if that were not so. Religion evolves right along with people and is a direct reflection of thier mind set. The early Jews were tribal, the Dark Ages were fearful, nowadays I think most people just want peace and love….unless you are a far right fanactic such as the Taliban or the wing nut from Norway.
    I think believers and athiests need to keep the dialogue open. I beleive the vast majority of believers are good people as is the vast majority of athiests…And neither group should feel threatened by the other or be afraid to talk about the issues and enjoy some lively debate. There are times we may feel angry because beliefs are personal and we hold them dear. But discussion is essential to all of us getting along in this very diverse planet that we live in.
    Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.
    Peace.


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