In the pages under this topic, I will mark the problems, abuses, error (heresy), and refutation of Calvinism. Over the years I have come to increasing see Calvinism taking the exact form of a cult, and this is very serious. In contrast to being the mark of fidelity, it is the mark of error. Although most people who are Calvinists simply won’t consider anything else as being true to God, please read my arguments against Calvinism and compare them with the reality of church life and the truth of God, and you will see in a Calvinist church, there are grave problems.
What’s your beef with Calvinism?
I grew up in a church that had a “good Calvinistic pastor”. I respected him greatly, and I truly think that he is saved. I am no judge, but I remember him going across state to visit the sick just to witness to them because they were in jeopardy of dying. Unfortunately, today, Calvinism has gone into a more advanced form where it is aggressively attacking true Christianity, and to even “offer the plan of salvation” is being attacked as “decisional regenerationism”, a horrible heresy in their eyes. While some aspects of Calvinism seem to fit with what the Scriptures teach, the hard-liners of today are taking things way far from any biblical norm that it must be denounced and attacked as a false cult. Ministers who are true to God and the Word of God have no other option here.
What I see as my major “beef” with Calvinism is a hell-bent desire to attack and destroy the very foundation of Christianity, true salvation.
The Schizophrenic Calvinist
Calvinism is truly a weird belief system. I have never studied any cult or false religion that is as strange as Calvinism. If you confront a Catholic, and he says that he doesn’t believe in the spiritual authority of the Pope and Roman, but he does go to a priest to confess, and he worships the Virgin Mary with images, and partakes of Mass, what would you say to him? “Well, you have separated yourself from a grave error of Catholicism, so you must be okay.” No. You would say, “Even though you have seen the true error of the Pope in Catholicism, and you have denounced that, you do not understand that it is all connected into a big ball of heresy, one thing depending on another, and one doctrine coming from another. Mary worship is asserted from the spiritual authority of Rome. Rome’s authority is associated with its particular doctrines and practices. The pope is a priest, just like every other Catholic priest, and he just sits at the top of pyramid, while the local priest is pretty much at the bottom.
You would insist with the Catholic that you must take the whole system, or reject the whole system, and a Catholic that holds to 7 of 10 principle doctrines of Catholicism is just as wrong as a 10 pointer.
But when you come to Calvinism, this identification with error coming from John Calvin apparently makes no impression on Calvinists. I rarely find hard liner Calvinists (5 pointers), and the vast majority of Calvinists hold to something less than the full 5 points of Calvinism.
So you know where I am coming from, I denounce all 5 points and a lot more in Calvinism. Calvinism uses a bate and switch method, proclaiming one thing, and then redefining that to suit them, and if anybody attacks one of the 5 points of the Tulip (like Total Depravity), all of a sudden we drop total inability, and we are back to talking about no merit in the individual. This is a very sutle deceptive trick of Calvinists, and if you examine what they actually teach on each of the 5 points, a true biblical Christian CANNOT ACCEPT ANY OF THE FIVE FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES OF CALVINISM.
What really has surprised me over the years is to look into the ministries and lives of preachers and pastors who are Calvinists. I really think some of them are truly saved (not the die-hard ones though), and they know in their heart and the Holy Spirit working in their conscience what they should be doing (what is God’s will), but they wrestle with their Calvinism and the logical conclusions of that thought processes (where the strong current of calvinistic thought drags them to) and what the Bible truly teaches.
What this produces in them is a kind of schizophrenia where logically their Calvinist teachings and foundations would lead them to give up any kind of effort towards true evangelism, true prayer, true exhortation, or true biblical missions. They know what the Bible teaches and they just cannot go (in their heart) where Calvinism is leading them because their soul begs the truth upon them. They pray, they witness, and they preach, but they don’t know what is the foundation of truth, or what they are any more, and they fight within themselves over where is the Bible’s true line. This is manifested by endless debates between Calvinists over these topics, but in the end, it is simply a confrontation process of truth against the Calvinist error.
The entire Calvinist system drags people away from the truth of Scripture, and even though we can debate all this and never get to any definitive conclusion, I would appeal to Christ and the apostles. Christ witnessed to many a person, presenting himself as the key to eternal life, and ALWAYS the issue is pressed by Christ upon the human sinner, repent (change), and believe in the Messiah. Somehow today in modern Calvinism, that is a great heresy. How? Being like Christ is wrong? This shows you the truth of God against the black heresy of Calvinism. Calvinism drags people into a form of life, conduct, and doctrine that is not Christ-like.
All the Marks of a Cult and Heresy
One of the strong marks of a cult is the way in which they handle Scripture, the way in which they think, and the kind of reasoning that they use. Calvinism is very adapt at twisting, turning, and redefining concepts and biblical words to suit their teaching and doctrines. When the Jehovah’s Witness twists and turns the word “God” in John 1 to make it mean anything but the true and singular real God of heaven, we all attack them for twisting the obvious and most common sense of Scripture to mean something that obviously it doesn’t mean. They (the Jehovah’s Witnesses) themselves denounce a plurality of gods as unbiblical, and yet they propose that God the Father (Jehovah) is somehow different in essence that Jesus, which they denominate “the son of God” as being inferior to Jehovah. This kind of twisting and turning we reject with the cults. So why is it now acceptable when the Calvinist does it?
I have read arguments on why the word “all” doesn’t mean all when it refers to Christ dying for all the world. Salvation for the Calvinist is not for everybody, it is only for the elect.
In the studies below, I will slowly go through as many of these problem areas of Calvinism as time and my energy permit.
Studies on Refuting Calvinism
- What is your Gospel?
- Verses that refute Limited Atonement
- Verses against Calvinism
- Total Depravity: 7. What does the Bible really present?
- Total Depravity: 6. Can a person please God?
- Total Depravity: 5. Righteous men delivering their own souls
- Total Depravity: 4. Counter Example of Daniel
- Total Depravity: 3. Counter Example of Jobs Piety
- Total Depravity: 2. Counter Examples of Noah and Abraham
- The Problems of Calvinism Part 2
I will gradually add more pages to these as I deal with different aspects of Calvinism.