Calvinism is OK until it gets stupid: Part I

February 24, 2001

I think I got it. First of all you hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Responding eagerly, you go through all the notions and motions into the Christian church. You believe in it, you give your life to Christ and get baptized, you join a prayer group, you are faithful in your giving and try to help the poor and thanking God all the time for sending you to the church that you are in. Then God starts giving you more and you respond even further. Something within you seeks to find that inner place that you have only heard about so God reveals to you an even further calling on your life. You go to church to share your newfound joy and desire of that inner place and something dreadful happens. You meet a Calvinist.

You don't see the Calvinists of today with the doom and gloom faces pointing their fatalist fingers at you anymore. They don't call themselves Calvinists and still parade around in black garb, now they blend in to whatever church is around. You share with them what God is doing in your life and they have a comeback every time, they know the bible so well that you trust them. There is plenty of redemption to go around for all of us and they understand the atonement and regeneration and tell you all about it, real evangelical like and spiritual with all the fundamentals.

I approached the Calvinism dialogue a little differently this time wanting to find a balance between the two sides of this issue and not be so hard on them. There is no balance. Each view is hopelessly at odds with the other. Calvinism in its entirety is to be thrown out; there are no redeeming features whatsoever aside from going through the Passover experience.

All Christians can come unto some common ground but with the Calvinists, the influence of a false premise has developed a series of doctrines to quench the spirit and stunt your growth. Calvinism is predicated upon the notion of the doctrine of predestination and taken to further extremes to bolster the position. Calvinism falls on every point. It may be disallowed intellectually by believing in free will but the influence is still lurking and still taught. This false premise has inflicted great inneffectiveness on the church.

Martin Luther got the ideas of saving grace and the priesthood of all believers right but made a mistake concerning determinism. John Calvin took the error of determinism, the omniscient nature and foreknowledge of God and made a codified theology upon the foundation of predestination and persecution of those that disagreed. Because God already knew beforehand who was of the elect, there are a predetermined number of those that will be saved and damned so there is nothing that we can do that makes any difference. Here's where it really gets stupid. By following absurd reasoning, man no longer has the responsibility to repent or have the power to do anything to change the will of God or alter these predetermined circumstances.

Now there must be a doctrine to explain how we become Christians. Well, it is called irresistible grace and since we have no will of our own to come to the Lord, He must draw us to Him. There is nothing that we can do to refuse that grace because it is already a predetermined number. If it didn't happen to another, it is because it was not God's will and they were not foreordained to salvation.

It gets worse. The reason that we cannot come to the Lord ourselves is because we are all depraved through the fall of Adam and stay in that evil condition for there is nothing good enough in us to want to better ourselves. Jesus did not die for the whole world but only for the elect so their election is sure because they do not have the ability to fall away. Because we are unable to draw near to God a mechanism has to be in place for us to be the righteous people that Christians are supposed to be. The Bible is thought of then, not only as the Word of God, but the completion of revelation and followed to the letter. Since the influence of God is no longer necessary in a system that cannot be perfected further, the Bible is used to replace the power of the Holy Spirit as to the final authority in people's lives. Prophetic gifts, revelation and inspiration are no longer needed and since faith is only given from God, reason is also thrown out. Because righteousness is then based upon the letter and not the spirit, only the appearance of righteousness remains and the misplaced gratitude through the work of the cross by misunderstanding grace thereby gives them the confidence that they need to know that they are among the chosen elect and to hell with the rest.

I have to tell you that prayer changes things and we can approach God with boldness and make our requests known. We do not have to accept things the way that they are and can do the works of Jesus. Hear me now end-time church, Jesus died for you to give you that freedom to choose holiness. The Calvinists may be right in a way, they are depraved, incapable of coming to Jesus themselves but that's just plain stupid. God wants you to know that you are His children and He has made you into new creatures. He has given you the gift of the Holy Spirit but a gift must be received and that puts the responsibility on you.

Remember what Forrest Gump's Mama said? "Stupid is as stupid does." It's only a bit of simple advice and I mean no harm but it's time for many in the church to get out from under the covering of stupid.

More later. The dialogue from our discussions on Calvinism may be found at


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