The Problems of Calvinism, Part 1 is a few scattered thoughts on why I reject Calvinism, based in its not representing the facts of Scripture.
The Problems of Calvinism Part 1
This article is just a sheet of my thoughts about the problems of Calvinism, and as I review sources on this, I add the ideas in a format that I can easily find things. The Problems of Calvinism Part 1
1. Death before the fall.
If Calvinism is true, then God has judged and condemned the majority of mankind as guilty before Adam fell into sin. Here we quote Calvin to explain the Calvinist side. Again we experience the recurring problem with Calvinism that the Bible simply doesn’t present things as the Calvinist thinks. Either Calvinism is wrong, or God lies to us by making reality one thing, and what he presents to us about reality something totally different.
- Rom 5:12 death came into existence BECAUSE OF ADAM’S SIN, not before that.
- Death came “BY MAN” 1Cor 15:21.
- The final judgment on man is at Rev 20:11-15, the Great White Throne, and man is not condemned before that point in time.
- According to Gen. 1:31 everything was “good”. Creating men sinful and condemned to hell before creation is not “good”.
- Rev 4:11 says God created all things for his pleasure. But Eze 18:23, 32; 33:11 all say that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
- Exe 33:11 God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, therefore God did not pre-plan so many people’s death and condemnation. It is not his pleasure.
Bible’s teaching on “predestination”
- Only mentioned in Rom 8:29-30, Eph 1:5, 11 – and never predestined “to” heaven or hell, but to conformity to Jesus Christ. “Predestination is not God from eternity saying ‘This man goes to Heaven and this man goes to hell.’ No, but predestination teaches me that when I have believed in Christ, when I have trusted Him as my Savior, I may know on the authority of God that it is settled forever that some day I am to become exactly like my Saviour” (In the Heavenlies: Expository Addresses on Ephesians, pp 34-35 Dr. H.A. Ironside.)
II. Man’s will is non-existent
Calvinism teaches that the order of salvation is election(done by God)-repentance (given by God)-faith(given by God)-eternal life(given by God). Scripture teaches that salvation is in this order repentance(attributed to man)-faith/belief(attributed to man)-eternal life (given by God)-election (done for service, not saving).
- If man has no will to resist God’s will, i.e. he is not a free moral agent, then he cannot be held accountable either. To accept this is to say that God CAUSED Adam to sin. If man can do no other than what God wills, then man’s rebellion is non-existent also. Man did not rebel against God and God’s will, because if he has no will of his own, God is just “playing” man in this game of life.
“Dr. S.H. Kellogg…wrote, ‘When a man acts, it is he himself who acts, not God. He acts moreover under no necessity or external constraint, but in the fullest and most unhindered exercise of that freedom of personal choice without which indeed he could not be regarded as in any true sense a responsive moral agent.”
- Acts 11:18 shows that repentance is before eternal life, not the other way around.
- Acts 16:31 “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”. Salvation is after believing, not being saved (elected), and then God gives saving faith. (Note: God gives more faith after salvation, but the believing faith that saves is attributed to man, not God.
- More verses about man believes and then is saved, John 1:12; 3:15,16,36; 5:24; 6:40; 7:39; 12:36 and 20:31
- John 7:17: “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” A man can choose to do God’s will then.
- John 5:40 “ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Jesus attributed (and accused them of this) their not being saved to their own willfulness.
- Rev. 22:17, the Word of God declares “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” God’s presentation of our reality is that salvation is a free will choice of the individual. Election, or a pre-chosing by God is not what causes a person to be saved, but rather a spiritual activity (not being a work as Scripture clearly makes the point) is what saves a man.
- Perdition (not being saved) is because of not believing – “hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4).
“Whosoever will” verses
These verses present God offering salvation to “whosoever will” without distinction nor reference specifically to the elect. The problem for the Calvinist is that why would God offer salvation to a condemned man waiting punishment, a person who is totally incapable and unable to accept it? The Calvinist fabricates an elaborate explanation here saying that God just “appears” to be offering it, but really knows who it is that is impossible to accept (those elected to perdition). Notwithstanding this lame explanation, it doesn’t explain how God can clearly appear to offer salvation to anybody “who wills” and then promises them salvation.
The issue is not to explain away what is obvious (in God’s mind and presentation of reality to us, ANYBODY CAN BE SAVED IF HE WILL DECIDE TO DO SO, but the issue here is why would God present this on the one hand and then it not be so on the other? Clearly throughout Scripture, there is a single factor which God offers will CAUSE A MAN TO BE SAVED! Never is that factor election as presented by the Gospel in many passages. ALWAYS that factor is SHOWN TO BE FAITH/BELIEF IN CHRIST! If the Calvinist has the essence of truth which is in Scripture, why isn’t the Calvinist’s perception, (nobody can be saved except if he is elect) given constantly and clearly in the Gospel message as preached to the unsaved? Why would any preacher of the Gospel ever use “if” or conditions in speaking to the unsaved when they are incapable (unable = total inability = total depravation)? Why isn’t the Gospel simply, “Look into yourselves to see if you are elect, and start believing and be saved. If you are not elect to salvation, sorry!”
Why did Jesus so misunderstand all of this in John 8:24, “for IF YE BELIEVE NOT that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Do Calvinists really understand these things BETTER THAN JESUS? Can they correct Jesus by saying “Going to hell is because of being elected to perdition, not because of anything having to do with believing in you yourself.”
- Whosoever will verses – John 3:15,16; 4:14; 12:46; Acts 2:21, 10:43; Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17
III. A man saved “just by his faith” is a work.
Calvinist teaches if a man believes in Christ, then that is a work. The Bible doesn’t teach this, but the opposite
- Rom 4:5 if a man believes, then God counts it as righteousness acceptable before God.
- Eph 2:8-9 ye are saved through faith, not through your election. The essential element in saving a man is his own faith, not God’s electing him, not God putting faith in him. Every saved man believes God, and that belief causes God to give him more faith.
- John 3:14-15 “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life“.
- Rom 10:17 The source of faith – The Word of God. This is 1.) God’s plan of salvation, 2.) The Gospel – God’s plan of salvation presented to the unsaved. 3.) The will of man – “whosoever will”.
- Acts 17:30 God commands all men everywhere to repent. God apparently expects that this is possible. He expects that they have the ability to do so, and that at least in part, some will.
- 2Pe 3:9 God is not willing that any man should perish. How does the Calvinist get away with changing what God says his will is? Twist, turn, overturn, shake, bake, do whatever you want, but God’s will is not the perdition of a single soul. Scripture declares that. Make an open will and a hidden will, make an absolute will and a permissive will, or invent any number of non-biblical concepts you want, and you still come back to the clear declaration of Scripture, God does not will anybody to be lost and perish. If the clear meaning of Scripture makes sense, look for no other sense. Calvinism is wrong! The Problems of Calvinism Part 1
(continued in part 2)
- Also see Morrell – TWENTY-FOUR SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS WITH CALVINISM
The Problems of Calvinism, Part 1
More Articles about Calvinism
- What is your Gospel?
- The Problems of Calvinism Part 2
- The Problems of Calvinism Part 1
- Total Depravity: 6. Can a person please God?
- Total Depravity: 5. Righteous men delivering their own souls
- Verses that refute Limited Atonement
- Calvinist’s Error with Covenants
- Old Calvinist’s and their belief in free offer
- Problems with Total Depravity or Inability
- Calvinism Enoch pleased God Total Depravity
- Total Depravity: 4. Counter Example of Daniel
- Total Depravity: 3. Counter Example of Jobs Piety