ARMINIAN & CALVINISM FROM BIBLICAL VIEW POINT

Explaining the relationship between the doctrines of election and salvation by grace can be perplexing for the teacher of God’s word. These two doctrines are widely debated by conservative Christians who divide themselves into two opposing camps, the Calvinists and the Arminians. We will examine the various positions, the terms used, and a brief history of the controversy. We will present a biblical solution that correctly addresses the issue, avoiding the unbiblical extremes of the Calvinists and Arminians.

Calvinism

     John Calvin, (1509-1564) the Swiss reformer, theologian and philosopher, drafted the system of soteriology (study of salvation) that bears his name. The term Calvinism refers to doctrines and practices that stemmed from the works of John Calvin. The tenants of modern Calvinism are based on the works of Calvin that have been expanded by his followers. These beliefs became the distinguishing characteristics of Reformed churches and some Baptists.

     Simply stated, Calvinism claims that God predestined or elected some people to be saved and others to be lost. Those elected to salvation are decreed by God to receive salvation and cannot resist God's grace. However, those that God elected to be lost are born eternally condemned to the Lake of Fire, with no hope of salvation.

     Calvinists are divided into three groups: the extreme Hyper-Calvinist, the Five Point Calvinists and the Moderate Calvinists. The Hyper and Five Point Calvinists hold to the five points of Calvinism, shown in the acrostic below. The Moderate Calvinist may accept one or more of these five points, but not all. The Hyper, and Five Point Calvinist teaching of limited atonement is generally rejected by the Moderate Calvinist.

     The controversy began between the Calvinist during the Reformation in the sixteenth century, and grew out of John Calvin's teaching that some men were predestined by God to receive salvation and others condemned to hell. Calvin taught those that God, in His sovereignty, chose to be saved will be saved by God's "irresistible grace" and cannot reject salvation. The remainder of humanity, not chosen by God to receive everlasting life, has no opportunity to be saved. According to the Hyper-Calvinist, God in the past decreed their damnation. Today this theology is known as Covenant or Reformed theology. This is taught by Presbyterian, Reformed, and a number of Baptists.

     This teaching is referred to as Five Point Calvinism. The five points are represented by using the acrostic below:

  T - Total depravity of man.
  U - Unconditional election.
  L - Limited atonement.
  I  - Irresistible grace.
  P - Perseverance of the saints.

     Basically, Calvinism teaches that a man is totally depraved, and unable to receive salvation. The Calvinist assumes that man's has no free in his coming to Christ and receiving salvation. He teaches that God, exercising His sovereignty, first elected and decreed certain individuals to salvation in time past. Christ's death was not for all people, but only for the elect. God then extended "irresistible" grace to those He elected. Therefore, man had nothing to do with receiving salvation because God chose to save him and caused him to believe.(1)

     There are many strong objections to Calvinism. The main objection to the teaching is that God chose to save some and chose not to save others. This contradicts the biblical teaching that Jesus Christ died and paid the sin debt of all men (1 John 2:2); and that God ". . . will have all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4); and that God's nature is to love, and to seek the best for all men (1 John 4:7-8, 16).

     Calvinism correctly teaches that once saved, a person cannot lose his salvation. It uses the term "perseverance of the saints" instead of using the better term the "security of the believer." The word "perseverance" means to "continue on a course of action" or refers to steadfastness. This is a minor point, but a believer can and will sin and may sin to the point that God will take the person's life. The believer is assured that he is secure in Christ and will go to heaven. Once saved, a person cannot be lost because he did nothing to earn his salvation and cannot do anything to keep or lose it. Salvation, according to the Bible, is totally the work of God, Once saved a person is kept secure by the power of God unto salvation.

     God said:

     "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5).

  "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30)

Arminianism

     James Arminius (1560-1609), was the first to formally address this issue in writing. He attempted to ". . . modify Calvinism so that, according to him, God might not be considered the author of sin, nor man an automaton in the hand of God."(2)

     He presented the view that God was indeed sovereign and elected men to be saved. He taught that election was based on God's foreknowledge of who would by faith accept Christ and who would reject Him. He taught all men could be saved if they exercised their wills and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. He rejected the idea that atonement was limited to a few and that God was the author of sin. Arminius insisted that Christ died for all men and saves all who receive Him by faith.

     Arminius was doctrinally weak in the area of eternal security of the believer. Eternal security means that once a person is saved, he cannot lose his salvation. Arminius thought the Scriptures were unclear and seemed to teach believers could lose their salvation.(3) Most, who identify themselves as Arminians, believe that a person can be saved and afterwards lose their salvation.

     Just as those that followed John Calvin carried his teachings to extremes, many who succeeded James Arminius carried the matter a step further, teaching that man had a part in salvation.(4) The Arminians, as they became known, teach that man took part with God in salvation. The natural conclusion of this was that salvation could be lost. If through man's efforts salvation is acquired, then through his actions salvation could be lost. The belief can be expressed this way; Christ made the down payment on our salvation on the cross, however, once a person is saved he has to keep up the payments through being faithful and with good works. This is a serious error because it bases salvation on the ability of a person to merit his salvation by his good works. The Bible condemns this false teaching: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).

     Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers in recent times, dealt with the matter by alternately preaching both salvation by grace and man's responsibility to respond to God's offer of redemption. He would preach election to salvation one Sunday and preach that man must exercise his will and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ the next. Like most Calvinists, Spurgeon made the error of defining election as referring to a person being chosen for salvation. The Bible teaches that what God elected was His plan for salvation, not which individuals would be saved. More will be said about this later. The Calvinist takes great stock in the fact that Charles Spurgeon was a Calvinist.

     Author Arthur Pink, also boldly taught that God has predestined some to be saved and equally predestined others to be damned to hell. Pink said the person predestined to salvation will absolutely be saved nothing he does can to prevent it. This is the teaching of Irresistible Grace. If God offers grace then it cannot be refused. On the other hand, the unfortunate soul who has been chosen by God to be lost is not offered grace, but is born for hell and cannot receive Christ.

Popular Radio Preachers Who Are Calvinists.

     John MacArthur, of the radio program "Grace to You", is a Five Point Calvinist. He states that the dispute over this matter is because man does not want to accept God's sovereignty. He says the truth of God's sovereignty offends man's pride and his sense of fairness. MacArthur resorts to name calling and quotes Arthur Pink, calling those who reject Calvinism as being "merit-mongers." He further states that some men reject the sovereignty of God in salvation "because fallen man wants to assume some responsibility--even if it is a very little--for having believed. He desperately wants some credit for having made the right choice." (5) No sound biblical student would deny God's complete sovereignty over all things. Nor would a believer who knows anything about the Bible and salvation teach that salvation is earned and thereby be a "merit monger." That is a foolish assumption.

The Bible is emphatically clear that man cannot merit his salvation; as it is the work of God. But the Calvinist mistakenly infers that if a man uses his will and believes in Jesus Christ, it means man is earning or meriting his salvation. That is an unacceptable conclusion to those who believe God’s word and reject the tenants of Calvinism, because it is not biblical.

     MacArthur further says that man is repulsed by the doctrine of election because it seems unfair that God would choose to save some, but not others. MacArthur says, ". . . the reason man so strongly wants to have a part in his own salvation is because he wants to exercise his pride."(6) It is a serious error of MacArthur to judge the hearts of men he does not know. Further it is tragic that a man of his popularity would equate accepting Calvinism to the status of believing God's word. According to John MacArthur, if you reject Calvinism you are not a Bible believer!

     There are many believers who do not fit into either of MacArthur's supposed categories. They reject the Calvinistic view based solely on what the Bible says about the matter. These people, and the author of this article, reject both the Calvinistic and Arminian views and appeal to the Scriptures alone. There is compelling biblical evidence to reject both ideas. There are many godly people who totally accept the sovereignty of God and reject human pride or any participation of man in meriting salvation.

     David Jeremiah, of the program "Turning Point" is another prominent Calvinist. In a reply to a letter this author sent to David Jeremiah, one of his assistants wrote saying, "In the study of predestination and election our poor minds may not reconcile them both, but our faith knows them both and holds them both to be truth. Scripture is addressed to faith not reason." (7) He further stated "Now do not seek to mix these two things (predestination and election) and still more emphatically . . . do not try to reconcile them. Profitless controversy and partisan feeling will be the only result. Who told us to 'reconcile' in our little minds, these seemingly contradictory things? . . . if you undertake to 'reconcile' God's sovereign election with His free offer of salvation to all, you must sacrifice one truth for another."(8)

     In this reply, David Jeremiah's representative built a straw man in his poor attempt to defend this unbiblical teaching. His statement that "Scripture is addressed to faith not reason" is grossly unsound. Yes, we do live by faith: faith in God's revealed word! Our faith is not blind, but based on God's stated word. Biblically, God is not the author of confusion and further cannot lie or contradict Himself. It is a contradiction for God to state, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4), and on the other hand decree, as David Jeremiah teaches, that some men are elected and born to be condemned to hell. The reason the Calvinist wishes to condemn those who disagree with them for trying to reconcile the matter is that their view is in direct opposition to what God has plainly stated and cannot be biblically defended. They correctly state that they cannot reconcile God decreeing to save some and refusing His grace to others, because you cannot "reconcile" truth with error. You cannot reconcile being a loving and just God, and on the other hand teach that He withholds His mercy and grace and condemns most of the world to hell, not allowing them to believe and be saved. It is an unreasonable idea that God's word does not substantiate. There is no verse in the Bible that states that God has limited His grace or decreed that some men will go to hell without any chance of being saved. Not one verse in the Bible teaches irresistible grace. Calvinism is a false formed by men who dogmatically support an indefensible system with a flawed theology. The Calvinist dogmatically holds to his view regardless of its contradiction with God's word.

     Calvinism is also contrary to God's grace itself, which stems from God's love and unmerited favor toward man. To accept Calvinism is to proclaim that God does not love all His creation nullifying His grace. It makes God unloving and unjust to most men on earth. It makes a man a robot in the matter of salvation. Calvinism restricts God's love to only a part of His creation and makes untrue God's statements that He loves the world (John 3:16). God is love and that is His very nature. He cannot go against who He is and deny His love to some.

     God says He is love. How then can the Calvinist say He is not? Not one word in the Bible limits God's love. God's love is offered freely, and is only limited by sinful men who will not accept His love. That is not God's fault, but man's. John 3:15-16 states plainly "God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son." If you truly believe that statement from God's word, you cannot be a Calvinist. Man goes to hell because he is a sinner who rejects God, not because God decreed him to burn in hell and refuses to allow him to repent (Romans 1:18-23). It is a perversion of God's sovereignty and His grace to conclude He would violate His own nature and withhold His love toward the world. Does the Bible say that God loves the world and Jesus Christ, God incarnate in the flesh, came to the earth, suffered, and died for the sins of mankind? The answer is overwhelmingly YES! Then how can the Calvinist teach He didn't? On what basis can he teach that God did not extend His love to all men?

Does Calvinism give a biblical explanation of election?

     The beliefs of the Calvinistic system of theology misinterpret the Bible's teaching on election. Christ died for all men. This can be seen in many passages of God's word. To the contrary, Calvinism teaches that election is limited to a select few whom God chooses to save. However, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world and offers salvation to all who will believe. Note that this is plainly taught in the following verses:

  "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).
  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

  "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).

  "Who (speaking of Christ) gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Timothy 2:6).

  "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead" (2 Corinthians 5:14).

  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).

  "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

  "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30).

  "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life (Romans 5:18).

  "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9).

           Clearly, each of these Scriptures teach that Christ died for the sins of all men and wishes all men to be saved. Any teaching that contradicts this truth is false and this should settle the matter. It is understood that those that believe in limited atonement often counter by saying "the world" and "all men refers only to the "elect." Surely, such a line of thinking is based on man's faulty reasoning and not on sound hermeneutical principles. The clear meaning of the word "world" (cosmos), as used in the Bible, means the whole earth and everyone on it or the lost world. It is never used in the Bible as referring to God's elect or those who are saved. The word "all" is all-inclusive. "All men" encompasses everyone. If God had wanted to limit the scope of salvation, He could have easily chosen a better word than "all", "world" and "every" man! He chose these words because they convey the meaning God intended. He paid the price for all men's sin everywhere in the entire world! He bought with His own blood the right to offer all men salvation. Limited atonement would mean he only suffered for those that will be saved, and is clearly an unbiblical teaching.

           The Calvinist must disagree with many portions of God's Word to continue to teach that Christ's death was limited to only a few men who would be saved. Matthew 7:13-14 and Romans 3:10-26 explains why men are lost and are condemned to hell. Romans 1:18-22 says:

        "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For 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: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things." (Romans 1:18-23)

           The verse says that God's wrath is revealed from heaven against men's sin and that man holds the truth in unrighteousness. It states that God has revealed Himself to all men and therefore all men are without excuse. This begs the question . . . "Why would God reveal Himself to all men and base His wrath on the fact that men know the truth, but reject it, If some men could not respond to God's revelation of Himself?"

           Further, the Calvinist must conclude that when he preaches the Gospel and presents salvation to his listeners he is doing so disingenuously. He must admit he is offering what some hearing him cannot receive because God will not permit them to. The Gospel then becomes Good News, only to the select few. The others, whom the Calvinist says are born for hell, are wasting their time even hearing of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, because they cannot receive Christ. They are, according to Calvinism, elected by God to an unalterable course to hell.

          The Calvinist who preaches, teaches and witnesses the Gospel is in reality lying to most of the people who hear him and he's doing so in Jesus' name. It is a lie to tell a man that if he will believe in Jesus Christ that he shall be saved (Romans 10:9-10) while, at the same time, believing and teaching most cannot accept Christ. According to Calvinism, the unelected are not offered God's grace and most of the human race is doomed to hell. Technically and practically it is a lie to tell an unelected person he can be saved when he cannot. The Calvinist never gives any criteria for determining who is elected and who is not. The reason is clear; not even the Calvinist would go that far in their false teaching. Doctrinal error perverts God's truth and corrupts the very Gospel the Calvinist claims to believe. The questions the Calvinist must answer are these: How do you know someone is elected? On what basis do you make such a determination?

           Jesus, speaking to Israel warned that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah would receive less punishment in the day of judgment, because Israel had the privilege of seeing and hearing the Messiah, but rejected Him.(See Matthew 10:15) He said the same thing of Chorazin and Bethsaida warning them of the results of their rejection of their Christ. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes" (Luke 10:13).

           Jesus stated that their condemnation was seeing His miracles and hearing His message, but rejecting Him as Messiah. This clear truth is another death blow to the heresy of Calvinism. Clearly, the people in these two cities, where Jesus presented the Gospel, willingly rejected the truth that they heard from Jesus Himself. Because of their rejection, Jesus said they would be judged more harshly than those who had not been privileged to hear the truth. If the people in these cities in Israel could not have responded to the truth after hearing it, because they were predestined by God to Hell, on what basis could God judge them more harshly than those who had not heard? Doubtlessly, God held them accountable for their sin of rejecting the truth, verifying that they could have responded, but chose not too. The people of these two cities condemned themselves to hell by their rejection of Jesus Christ. It was not God in His sovereignty who chose to send these people to hell. They were given a choice, but rejected it.

          The Great Commission to go into all the world and teach the Gospel loses its purpose in Calvinistic teaching. Why teach salvation to all the world if God is going to save the elect anyway? The Calvinist again will counter by saying that God commands us to preach the Gospel and that is God's method to reach the elect. Again this is an example of the poor reasoning behind Calvinism. If the Bible teaches we are to tell all men everywhere they can be saved by trusting in Christ Jesus, but in fact has limited the offer to only a select few, then we become liars. It is a lie to stand before an audience and preach that God will save them if they will believe and put their trust in Jesus Christ, if God has elected that some of them cannot respond! God is not the author of lies; Satan is. (John 8:44) What a gross insult to the truth and to Almighty God to make God a liar, by this false teaching.

          Acts 17:30-31, explains "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."

           God in this verse commands "all" men "everywhere" to repent. The use of the words "all" and "everywhere" makes it doubly clear that this command is not limited to a select few, but to everyone, everywhere, none are excluded. This passage teaches that man is responsible and will be judged for his sins. The basis of this judgment is the fact that Christ came into the world and brought salvation. You take away man's responsibility to receive Christ as Savior if you remove a man's chance to be saved. If you remove God's offer of grace you leave God without a basis for judgment. God cannot unjustly condemn a man for not receiving something he was unable to receive. Revelation 20:12 states that at the final judgment of the lost, the unsaved will be judged according to their works, not because God decreed their damnation. How could a just God judge men according to their works when, because of His sovereign choice, He decreed them only able to do sinful works and denied salvation to them?

           God says, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18). The false conclusion of Calvinism is that some cannot be saved, because God decreed their damnation. This verse says the unsaved are condemned because they would not believe. Calvinism destroys this biblical truth. The Bible's teaching of the nature of God shows us that He cannot be just if He decrees some to hell without giving them the possibility of accepting or rejecting God.

           Going back to the many verses stating that Christ died for the sins of the world, one must assume that Christ's death was for the salvation of those who believe and the grounds of condemnation for those who do not believe. (9) The basis of man's condemnation is that man is a sinner and justly deserves hell. That is mirrored by the marvelous love of God that offers man redemption, but does not force him to receive it. If a man responds under the convicting and enabling ministry of the Holy Spirit his sins are forgiven completely; he becomes a child of God and receives eternal life.

        "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where [emphasis added] to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men , in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). 

  IS ARMINIANISM BIBLICAL?

           Arminianism teaches that man has a spark of divinity in him and thus he can respond to the Gospel and be saved within his own ability. Yet, the Bible says all men are sinners without merit and saved by God's grace apart from any works of man. Man cannot will himself to be saved and has no ability, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, to respond to God.

        "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

        "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

        "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." (Galatians 3:22)

        "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)

        "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." (2 Corinthians 5:14)

        "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12)

God is clear in stating that man is a sinner unable to save himself. Therefore to say that within man is a spark of divinity or goodness is to contradict God. The Arminian, who teaches that man has a part in his salvation, is making the same mistake as the Calvinist: using faulty human reasoning in interpreting God’s word. God says, “. . . the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). The carnal man has nothing to offer God for his salvation. God said that the natural man is “dead in trespasses and sin.” (Eph. 2:1, Col. 2:13) That which is dead has no life and cannot do anything for itself.

           Romans 10:13 says "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." It must be concluded then, in receiving salvation, that person must be given the capacity to answer the call from the Lord. That is the work of the Holy Spirit who bringing conviction to the heart of man. Thus supernaturally God allows a man to respond. Verse 17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Therefore, it is clear that when a man hears the word of God, God enables him to believe and accept it. The Bible does not teach that man has a spark of divinity or man merits salvation by consenting to the truth the Holy Spirit enables him to understand and receive. Salvation totally the work of God and is a freely offered to man. (See Eph. 2:8-9, Romans 5:15-16, 18)

          The Greek word grace"is "charis" and it means "a gift one receives without any merit of his own." Thus receiving God's grace, through salvation by faith, is not a work of man by which one merits salvation. It is simply a matter of responding to the urging of the Holy Spirit and believing by faith that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. The person who is saved puts his trust wholly in Christ's shed blood for his salvation.

           The Bible teaches that when a man is saved he receives everlasting life. The Arminian limits the meaning of the word eternal. He interjects that salvation is eternal only if a man maintains his faithfulness by his good works. Therefore the Arminian concludes that the word eternal does not mean everlasting. This plainly violates the correct meaning of the word. Something that is eternal continues forever uninterrupted. If an action can be discontinued it cannot be called eternal.

           The Arminian also falsely concludes that in receiving the gift of salvation a man innately has the ability to respond. He fails to recognize that man, being spiritually dead, cannot respond in his own ability, but can only believe and receive the truth when supernaturally enabled by the Holy Spirit. The Arminian, bound to his unbiblical system, assumes that if man has within himself the capacity to affect his salvation and has to maintain it through good works. He has degraded God's plan of salvation by grace to a plan of salvation by grace plus works. Therefore, he falsely assumes that if a believer has the ability to accept salvation on his own, he then can stop believing and fall from grace. Thus the Arminian gospel is actually another gospel that is not "another" (Gal. 1:6-7).

  THE BIBLE COMMANDS ALL MEN TO BELIEVE

           The Scriptures tell us that man must believe on Jesus Christ in order to be saved. There are hundreds of Scriptures that teach that man must believe, trust and have faith in God.

        "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

        "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16)

        "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)

        "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: {it is} the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:9)

        "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21)

          A man must believe; by faith receiving God's offer of salvation. Belief is an act of man's will. However, man has nothing to boast of in exercising his will and believing what God has said. The act of atonement for sin was accomplished by the Lord Jesus, not man. Suppose you received a gift from someone that offered it to you out of the goodness of their heart. They did not offer you the gift because you deserved or had earned it, but because they "willed" or wanted you to have it. In their love for you, they wanted you to have something nice. Reaching out and taking the gift does not change it into something you deserve, does it? Would your receiving the gift mean you had earned it or paid something for it? Obviously, the answer is no; the one who offers the gift decides, within themselves, why they give the gift, not the one who accepts it.

           The Calvinist is correct in stating that salvation is totally the act of a Sovereign God. He is wrong, however, when he concludes that a man receiving Christ is in some way working for, or meriting salvation. The Calvinist's views are wrong when they take away man's responsibility to receive Christ, stating God has decreed some to be saved and others to be lost and that grace is irresistible. God rightly commands all men to believe and receive His Son the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. A man cannot exercise his will outside the limits which God has set in place. Thus God has, in an act of His will, enabled all men to receive salvation.

  God Will Not Violate a Man's Will

           One important truth that further refutes Five-Point Calvinism is that God will not violate a man's will. God has not created man as a programmed robot with his life predestined. God's plan allows man the freedom to choose for himself the course of his life. It was God's sovereign choice to create man with the ability to reason and to love, which are acts of one's will. Man can respond to God when the Holy Spirit enlightens his heart. That happens when a man hears the Gospel or, as Romans 1:19-20 states, when man responds to revelation which God shows him through nature. God elected the plan of salvation and what He designed it to accomplish. He gave man a will and allows a man to respond to God willingly and in love.

  The Calvinistic Teaching of the "Perseverance of the Saints."

           The Calvinist uses human reasoning, unbiblically confusing the doctrine of the security of the believer with the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. The Bible clearly teaches a man can backslide allowing sin to rule his life. Hebrews 12:6-11, 1 Corinthians 11:32 and 1 John 5:16 teach that God will chasten a sinning believer even unto death to end his rebellion. The Biblical doctrine is the security not the perseverance of the saints. A saint of God can fail God, but God will not fail the saint. God gives eternal life to those who He saves and they cannot be lost, thus they are secure in God's grace.

          The Arminian is wrong when he says a man can lose his salvation. Salvation is totally the act of God and not of man. When a man receives Christ he becomes a new creature, a saved child of God, indwelt by the spirit of God. He cannot be lost, once saved.
  Does Romans 8:29-30 support Calvinism?

        "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Rom. 8:29-30).

           There is much debate over the meaning of God's foreknowledge. The word "foreknow" is the Greek word "proginsko" ("pro" = before and "ginosko" means "to know"). The definition of the word is simple, "to know before hand." God is omniscient and knows all things past, present and future. God is not subject to time and sees all things as present. The problem is that the Calvinist defines foreknowledge as being determinative. In other words, they conclude that if God foreknows something it means He causes it to happen.

In Romans 8:29, the Lord used two words to convey His truth. He said, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.” The wording of the verse communicates two separate actions. One, God knew through His omniscient who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, those He foreknew would believe He predestinated “to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.” If foreknowledge was causative He would not have stated that He predestinated what they would become.

           Because God knows the future, it does not mean He makes it happen. In His foreknowledge he also knows what would happen under different circumstances. For example in 1 Samuel 23:12, David asked the Lord if the men of Keilah would hand him over to Saul. God replied that they would. However, it never happened. David and his men left and went into the mountains of Ziph. God's foreknowledge is simply that; He is omniscient without the limitation of time. God's foreknowledge does not make an event happen.

          Proper hermeneutical principles would dictate that a passage be interpreted literally, observing the definition of the words and their grammatical construction within the sentences. In other words, we must take the statement literally at its face valve. Barnes, commenting on the word "foreknowledge" says:

        "The literal meaning of the word cannot be a matter of dispute. It denotes, properly, to know beforehand; to be acquainted with future events." (10) 

           The question is what does the word "election" refer to and what did God predestinate? God is omniscient and says God foreknew those who would be saved. Thus, He predestinated them "to be conformed to the image of his Son." The verse does not say God predestined those He foreknew to be saved. Rather He states that those who are saved are to be conformed to the image of His Son.

           The word conformed means "to be made unto like fashion." God's plan is that believers are elected to be made in like fashion to Christ, meaning to be like Christ and to live godly lives.

           1 John 3:2 states that believers will be like Christ, ("we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is"). Election then explains God's plan for those who believe and are saved. God's election was not which individuals would be saved, but what salvation would bring to those who are saved.

           Paul in Romans 8, states several blessing that God's predestined plan gives the believer. Please note that these truths are in context Romans 8:28-29. The believer becomes a spiritual being as Christ, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:9) Also Paul explains that believers are made joint heirs with Jesus Christ. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:17) Romans 8:29 explains that this is God's plan for what believers become in Christ.

           Ephesians 2:10 states "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Election or foreordination established the result of salvation for those who will believe in Jesus Christ. It ordained that those who believe would be made alive (given eternal life) and declared in God's favor forever. The Calvinist, in his blind sided view of Scripture, concludes that this verse means election is to salvation by God. Election rightly refers to the plan of what salvation accomplishes for the believer, not to whom God offers He grace, or whom He withholds it.

           The context of Romans 8:28 addresses God's plan in salvation; that, "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose." God is revealing the result of His plan of salvation, in that He is working in every believer's life. This is expounded further in verses 31-39 that teaches assurance of salvation based on the work and plan of God.

           The context of verse 29-30 is clear. God is talking about a Christian living within the purposes of God. He is referring to His plan for believers. He is certainly not telling us that He chooses only to save certain individuals and condemn the rest to Hell. The passage does even infer that idea. In other words God is saying He is in control of all that salvation accomplishes in the life of a believer. This is God's plan; whatever happens to the believer will work out for good. Further, the verse says this is applicable to those who are "called according to his purpose." What purpose? The part of His purpose that all things work for good in a believer's life. The verse is not addressing who will be allowed receive salvation, but the result of the circumstances of life the believer faces. God says believers are called by Him to live according to His plan. This refers to what God purposed salvation to accomplish; not who would be saved.
        Verses 29-30 continue the discussion and state that God predestined, or planned for believers to be conformed to the image of Christ. That means to strive to live like Christ. Christ is the standard that believers are to live judge their lives. Again, the verse is not talking about salvation but rather God's plan for the believer after salvation.

           In verse 30, God says those whom He foreknew, He called, justified and glorified. Here is the work of God in salvation. Those God foreknew would believe, He called, justified, and glorified. God plainly states the calling, justification and glorification was for those He foreknew would believe and be saved. In the next verse God gives absolute assurance to the believer that God is working in his life, not only in salvation, but in eternal security. The believer is assured that God will carry out His plan.

           In 1 John 5:13, the Lord bases assurance of salvation on belief in the name of the Son of God. The verse says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." The basis of assurance of salvation given in the New Testament is belief in Jesus Christ. Salvation is never presented as being based on election by God. A person knows he is saved because he truly believes in Jesus Christ, not because he was elected to salvation by God. There is not one word, stated or implied, in Romans 8:29-30 that says God predestined some to salvation and condemned the rest to Hell.

  Does Ephesians One support the Calvinist's view?

          Ephesians 1 is another passage the Calvinist misuses to teach God chooses to save some and condemn others. Let us examine the passage biblically:

        Ephesians 1:3-12

        3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

        4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

        5 Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

        6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
        7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

        8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

        9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

        10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

        11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

        12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

        14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. 

           This passage in Ephesians is dealing with God's plan for the believer. Verse three, introduces the discourse and states God has blessed believers with "spiritual blessings in heavenly places." Note that the word blessings is plural, therefore it is referring not to a single blessing, but to multiple blessings. Verse four, continues stating the believer is chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world to be holy and without blame before Him in love. The verse does not say a person is chose "to" Christ but "in" Christ. The significance of using "in" instead of "to" means that the person who is saved and "in" Christ is chosen to accomplish a purpose of God. God is revealing what redemption will accomplish in the believer's life. His plan is that, through His love, believers would stand before Him. Specifically, the passage says, "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1:4b-6) God's elected plan is that a believer would be, holy, without blame (forgiven of all sin). Further, God predestinated that the believer would become an adopted child in the Lord Jesus Christ, which was God's good pleasure to grant. God is explaining that those who are saved become His children and part of His heavenly family. (See Col. 1:12, 3:24; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 3-4) The believer then is elected to be to the praise and glory of His grace. All this God elected so that the believer is made accepted in the beloved meaning Jesus Christ. This passage does not say that God chose these to be saved, but rather He chose what they would become when they were saved.

           As in Romans 8:29-30, this passage explains God's plan for believers in salvation. These passages are not saying that God made a sovereign choice to call some to salvation, and withholding that call from others. This passage does not state that God elected some to be born destined for hell, but rather presents God's plan for the believer's life in Christ.

           Verse nine, reveals that this was a mystery, a truth not previously revealed; that in the fullness of time He would gather together, as one, all things in Christ (v10). In the Old Testament God instituted the nation of Israel to be His witness to the world; the people to whom the Messiah would be born. In Ephesians 1, God is revealing His previously undisclosed plan for the institution of the local church, which is the Bride and Body of Jesus Christ on earth. The special relationship with God as part of in His family was not offered to Israel. The word family is found seventy three times in the Old Testament, but never used to refer to Israel. Israel was never called the "the children of God." Six times believers in this dispensation are called the children of God. Believers today are in a special dispensation and are the Body and Bride of Jesus Christ. (See Eph. 5:30, Rev. 21:9, 22:17) This is the truth God reveals in this passage. He is not stating that He only offers salvation to a select few whom He elects to receive grace. g that He only offers salvation to a select few who He elects to receive grace.

           Verse eleven, further explains that God's plan is "That we should be of his glory, who first trusted in Christ" (v12). Believers are to bring glory to God and this was a purpose of His plan. This is what God elected for those that would believe.

          Verses 12-13, addressed to believers, says, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13).

           It is noteworthy that those who are saved are not sealed with the "Holy Spirit of promise" until they believe. This is an important point. Surely, if God had chosen them to be saved before the world existed, then in His sovereignty He would have sealed them to salvation before they believed. Ephesians 1 is not saying God predestined some individuals to be saved and others lost. The passage states that God predestinated that all who believe would be saved and subsequently "sealed" with the "spirit of promise" meaning that they would not be lost. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).

  Does Roman Nine Support Calvinism?

           Often the Calvinists refer to Romans nine as proof of their false view of election. However, to properly understand the statements of this chapter we must first consider the context and subject being addressed. The failure to consider the context of this passage has resulted in its gross misinterpretation the same way as with Ephesians 1. The context of Romans nine is Paul's answer to the question of Romans 3:1, "What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?" This discourse begins with this question and ends with Romans 11. Paul is addressing the misunderstanding Jews' conclusion that they were in God's favor because they were born Hebrews, God's chosen people, and were assured of heaven and of God's grace.

           John 3:1-7 an example of this error in Jewish thinking and was the reason for Jesus' response to Nicodemus. Jesus explained to this Pharisee that he must be "born again". Nicodemus believed that he was going to heaven would be a part of God's kingdom because he was born a Jew. Jesus said, "Not so." A man (Jew) must be born of water (human birth) and of the Spirit (spiritual birth) to be saved. He was saying to Nicodemus that in order to be saved you must be spiritually reborn, which happens when a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 3:15-16, Jesus continues, explaining how to be saved by faith. Paul explains in Romans 3-11, that the Jew, like the Gentile, is responsible to God. The Jew's only advantage is that he has been born among a people tp whom God chose to reveal Himself, thus the Jews had the knowledge of God. Being a Jew does not preclude salvation, because as Paul plainly states in Chapter 10:9-10 salvation is a matter of faith.
           The Calvinist teaches that Romans 9:13-14 states that God rejected and condemned Esau to hell, but sovereignly chose to save Jacob. "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." However, this is not what the verse is saying. Paul is not talking about God decreeing Jacob to heaven and Esau to hell. Rather, God is saying He chose to use Jacob in his plan, and rejected Esau.

           The term "hated" used in Romans 9:13 means to "love less or to choose instead of." It does not mean to condemn. Jesus in Luke 14:26 uses the same word stating, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Clearly, God does not require we "hate" our family, but in using the term He means we are to place Him before our relatives. God is also not saying He simply hated Esau and sent him to hell. God is saying he chose to reject Esau and He had good reasons. What God is revealing is related to His plan of bringing salvation through the Jews, mainly through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God is to have the preeminence in our lives as Colossians 1:18 instructs.

           The word "hate" means to "love less" and in Romans 9, God uses the illustration of choosing Jacob rather than Esau to illustrate the point that being born a Jew does not save a person. God says He chose not to use Esau, the first born son, because he was not a man who loved and served God. His interests in life were worldly and did not include the Lord. The promise made to Abraham would normally be through his first born son. This promise was God's plan for the coming nation of Israel and the Messiah. However, Esau showed no interest in his birth right and the sacredness of God's promise. He thought so little of it, that he sold it for a bowl of pottage. Therefore, God rejected him as the natural heir of Abraham and Isaac and as the one through whom God would bring the Messiah who would be the Savior. The verse does not teach that God just chose to hate Esau, or that God in His sovereignty decreed to send him to hell, as Calvinism teaches! God did not decree to hate Esau, but rather rejected him because he rejected God. A false interpretation of God's word always leads to confusion and false doctrine.

           Consider this. Suppose there are two brothers in a family. One is a rebel and always in trouble. The other is a Christian and lives for the Lord. Who would God choose then to serve Him? God is omniscient; would He choose the rebellious son who rejected God and His purpose for his life, or the faithful one who believed in God?

           It should also be understood that the names Jacob and Esau also refer to the progeny of both men. The Book of Obadiah makes this perfectly clear that God rejected the "house of Esau," who were the enemies of the house of Jacob. God said He would destroy completely the house of Esau (also called Edom, Mt. Seir) and none of them would remain (Obadiah 17-18). The decedents of Esau hated God and for generations opposed Israel (Jacob) until God finally destroyed them. Hermeneutically, the passage is correctly interpreted in its context as referring to the Nation of Edom (Esau), not strictly to Esau who fathered the nation.

  Romans 9:20-21

           Romans 9:20-21 is also a passage that is misunderstood and incorrectly used to support Calvinism's false idea that God predestined some to hell.

        "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

           God is the "author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews 12:2) In His sovereignty He has chosen what salvation is to be. Romans 9:20-23 is Paul's second answer to the question asked in verse 19, "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?" Vessels fitted for destruction are those that reject God. You cannot blame God for that, or make Him the cause of the rejection of Him. Paul is addressing the Jews that rejected Jesus as the Messiah. These people by their rejection of Christ, made themselves "vessels fitted for destruction." Jesus fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies of His coming and work. He performed supernatural miracles that only God could do. (See John 3:1-2) Yet, in spite of all the signs and wonders God showed them, they rejected Him as their Messiah. Therefore, by their actions they condemned themselves. Nothing in the passages says God decreed to make them "vessels fitted for destruction." Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Does not God plainly state in 1 Timothy 2:4 that He would that all men be saved? How then can the Calvinist totally miss the point of Romans 9-11 and suppose that it supports the idea that God, in His sovereignty, chose to send some to hell, excluding them from his plan of salvation?

           Paul uses the example of Pharaoh to illustrate his point. Pharaoh chose to reject God over and over.(Romans 9:17) Pharaoh refused to believe God and submit to Him. Is God to be blamed for Pharaoh ultimately rejecting God, especially after God showed him who He was by demonstrating His power repeatedly in bringing the plagues? The plagues was God demonstrating His power to Pharaoh to persuade Him to obey God and let Israel go. Pharaoh could have believed and obeyed God, but he chose rather to reject Him in the face of overwhelming evidence. Paul asked the question, "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid." (Rom. 9:14) In other words is God at fault for Pharaoh's condemnation? The answer is "of course not" . . . Pharaoh condemned himself by rejecting God. There is plainly no support in this passage for God electing some to hell denying them the opportunity to believe and be saved.

           The statement that God "hardened Pharaoh's heart" means that God permitted Pharaoh to resist Him. God did not make Pharaoh reject Him; that is the point Paul is making. Genesis 6:3, states that the Holy Spirit will not always "strive" with man. God does seek to guide and direct man, but in time, if the man resists God, the Holy Spirit will stop seeking to win Him and leave that man to his own devices. Man's rejection of God does not allow God to work; God will not violate a man's will. He will allow men to remain, as men choose, to be blind and hardened in their heart rejecting God. P>         God further states, "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid." (Romans 9:14) God is not unrighteous which means He does that which is right. By God's own principles He is a God of mercy. "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." (Romans 9:15-16) God's nature is to offer grace and to show mercy. That is exactly what He did with Pharaoh. He repeatedly revealed Himself to Pharaoh through the plagues. God was doing what was right and offering him salvation. Pharaoh rejected God and refused to believe. Thus he condemned himself. The blame rests on Pharaoh, not God. God was righteous in offering His mercy to Pharaoh. It is a gross misinterpretation to suggest God revealed Himself to Pharaoh all the while knowing He would not allow Pharaoh to respond in faith. "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." (Romans 9:17) If Pharaoh could not have responded then God would be unrighteous.

           God is not to blame for the damnation of a man who chooses to be blind and hardens his heart against the urging of the Holy Spirit. God has gone to great lengths to bring men to Himself (Romans 1:20-21). God does not force man to believe or accept Him. He allows them to resist and exercise their own wills. Pharaoh's heart was hardened because he was a sinful, proud man and would not give up his sin. He valued the slave labor of the Hebrews more than his own soul. He chose to reject God's truth as John 3:19-20 says "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." James 1:13-14 says that God does not tempt men. God presented to Pharaoh the truth of who He was and His will. He did not tempt Pharaoh with the intent to prevent Pharaoh from accepting Him. To the contrary He revealed Himself to the Egyptian ruler that he might believe. Pharaoh refused to believe God for his own reasons and the blame rests solely on him. Pharaoh was condemned by his unbelief and by his own sinful nature (John 3:19-20, James 1:14-15). Nothing in this passage supports the idea that God in His sovereignty has decreed who would or would not be allowed to be saved. God did decree that all who believed would be saved.

  DOES 1 PETER 2:9-10 SUPPORT CALVINISM?

           "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:8-10)

           One major error of Calvinism is that it interprets the scriptures with the presupposition that Calvinism is the correct view. This eisegetical hermeneutic imposes an interpretation of the passage that fits this preconceived premise. The interpretation of a passage must be based on the definition of its words, grammatical construction, analogy of the faith, and its context. If these principles are ignored the interpretation will be incorrect.

           Applying proper principles of interpretation, note that the verse states that to the unbeliever Christ is ". . . a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient." In other words these people to whom this verse is referring heard the word and stumbled at it. The word "stumble" is the Greek word "proskopto" and means to "strike or surge against." They heard God's truth, yet were deliberately disobedient. They knew it was God's word, but they refused to accept Him or His word. God then says ". . . whereunto they were appointed." The word "whereunto" refers to God's plan, which because of their rejection of God's word, would result in their ruin. Therefore they are appointed to God's plan, that those who reject His mercy and grace, refusing to believe upon hearing the Gospel and being convicted by the Holy Spirit, would be condemned to eternal damnation.

           The passage cannot be said to support the idea that God is revealing who He decreed to be appointed to condemnation. The condemnation from God was because the person was disobedient to God. (See verses 7 and 8) That is what the verses state. Note that the disobedience was followed by condemnation. The passage is not stating that God refused to offer His grace, resulting in the person being elected to be eternally lost. It plainly states that the reason for their condemnation was that they were disobedient to God, not because He decreed they would be lost. If God decreed their condemnation He would not have referred to their disobedience as significant. God is not the cause of man's disobedience, but it is man's love of sin and refusal to bow in faith to God that brings condemnation.

           1 Peter 2:9 says ". . . But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people . . ." The misuse of 1 Peter 2 is a good example of the error of Calvinism. The Calvinists sees the word chosen and concludes that this refers to their view that God decreed in His sovereignty whom He would save and who He would not. They believe that God has chosen whom He will allow to receive Him and from whom He will withhold His grace. Those chosen are the "elect" and those not elected God condemns to the Lake of Fire with no chance of salvation. This is a false premise that is not found in God's word.

           The Calvinist does not use a correct exegetical approach to interpretation. 1 Peter 2:9-10 contextually states what the believer is chosen to, not who would be chosen. The verse states that the believer is appointed to be a part of a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a peculiar people." Note that each of the words used describes what the believer is chosen to, not addressing individuals, but groups or classes of saved people.
A "chosen generation" is not talking about an individual, but people within a time frame. A "royal priesthood" is referring to a class of people. Clearly, a "holy nation" cannot be applied to an individual, but to all believers and a "peculiar people" is referring to humans considered as a group of an specified number.

           1 Peter 2:8-10 exegetically gives no support to Calvinism. The Calvinist imposes his false view on these verses to support his faulty human idea. This passage is revealing God's plan; not whom would be saved or from whom He would withhold His grace.

  Do passages such as Jeremiah 1:5 support Calvinism?

       "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)

           This verse plainly states that God "knew" Jeremiah. This clearly refers to God's foreknowledge of the birth of Jeremiah and who Jeremiah would be. God is omniscient. He knew that Jeremiah would be a man of faith and serve Him. God chose him to be a prophet to Judah and the nations in that area. God clearly says that He chose Jeremiah to be a prophet by His foreknowledge.

           Foreknowledge is not the same as "fore decreeing." If God decreed to make Jeremiah a prophet without giving him a choice, why did He not say that? Why did he say He "knew" Jeremiah? Knowing is not the same as decreeing. God is omniscient; He knows all things including who would be born on earth and how they would live their lives. God knows all men and here emphasizes that He had knowledge of Jeremiah's character and faith. God then chose to use a man who would be faithful to him.

           Again the Calvinist interprets this passage eisegetically, applying his presupposition that God decreed certain ones for salvation and withholds His grace from others. They conclude that God did not give Jeremiah a choice, but forced him to obey His will. Yet, the passage does not state that idea. The Calvinist's problem is that he sees everything within the tenants of his false system of theology. His interpretation of God's word will always supports his Calvinistic ideas. God is telling us that He "knew" Jeremiah would be a man of faith and that God could use him as a prophet to Israel. There is no support in this passage for opinions or presuppositions that go beyond what God has stated.

           Clearly, Calvinists are grabbing at straws when they use Jeremiah or others like John the Baptist, who God chose as His prophets, through His foreknowledge, to support their false teaching. This explanation does not fit their erroneous theology so they reject this truth.

           The Bible does not teach that God predestined some to Heaven and others to hell. Nowhere in these verses, or anywhere else in God's word, is it stated or implied that God predestined some to salvation and others to hell, with no chance to be saved. Those that make such statements have gravely misapplied God's word to their false ideas. What is predestined is God's plan of salvation. That plan is what a believer becomes as a child of God, which is the result of salvation. It states the believer's position is with God, once they are saved, and the life he then lives in Christ. God's plan is what He predestined. God's plan is that a man who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved and the one that rejects God's grace is lost and condemns himself.

           When a man believes in Calvinism it is always the result of accepting the teaching of some man. Calvinism is only accepted by those to whom it is taught. If a man studies the Bible alone he will never become a Calvinist. Understanding that God is love and offers grace freely, it would never enter in a Bible student's mind that God would choose to send some individuals to hell and deny them the ability to respond to the Gospel. The Bible's theme, presented repeatedly, is that God is a God of love and grace. Understanding God's unchanging character of love and justice would not allow me to be swayed in that false direction.

           Calvinism seems to pride itself in praising and defending the sovereignty of God, which is the premier doctrine of Calvinism. The believer who rejects Calvinism also accepts that God is absolutely sovereign. But God's sovereignty cannot contradict His other attributes. God's attribute of love and justice would not allow Him to deny His grace to untold millions. It would be against God's very nature for Him to do this. Calvinism, in reality, misrepresents God's nature. The Calvinist demeans and degrades God's sovereignty, making God unloving and unjust, by saying that God uses His sovereignty unjustly, not allowing some to be saved.

  THE BIBLICAL EXPLANATION

           Many believers, who accept a literal and holistic interpretation of Scripture, have the correct biblical understanding of the matter, and reject both extremes of Calvinist and Arminian systems. Both the Calvinists and the Arminians have fallen into a trap set by human wisdom, which tries to explain and systematize every act of God. They have used the poorest of hermeneutical principles and reached wrong conclusions about God Himself. God clearly has not told man everything about Himself or given us the "why" of all He has done. But what He has plainly revealed is that we are to believe Him, trust Him, accept Him and live. It is unthinkable that God would leave us in a state of confusion over the matter of salvation! Yet, that is what the Calvinist concludes. All this confusion is not in God's word, but in the unsound reasoning of some men.

           God made salvation so simple and clear that even a little child can believe, be saved and become a witness to others. What is the value of spending countless hours concocting theological systems which seek to second guess all God has done? The Bible principle that "you can know the vine by its fruit" is well applied here. What is the fruit of Calvinism and Arminianism? They have both led to confusion, division and false teaching. Therefore both systems should be rejected because both produce unbiblical results.

           One response of those who have extreme views on the doctrine of election is often resort to judgmental and cult-like attacks on those who would differ with them. Almost every Calvinist writer I've studied, to some degree, harshly judges the motives of non-Calvinists.

          Calvinist Gordon Clark criticizes those who differ from the Calvinist view by concluding they are not students of the Bible and not interested in doctrine.(11) That is a meretricious and unscholarly attack on those who disagree with him. A swipe at non-Calvinists establishes nothing and does nothing to support his credibility as a Bible scholar. It is a childish response and out-of-place with biblical scholarship. Many renowned and scholarly men with earned degrees in the Bible disagree, rejecting Calvinism. To say they are not scholarly or interested in truth shows an extreme unsound bias.

          Calvinist C. D. Cole makes this harsh judgment toward those who do not accept Calvinism, saying, "Ah, the real trouble with the objector is not election; it is something else. His real objection is to total depravity or human inability to do good."(12) This is simply a false statement. Most Bible scholars and students reject Calvinism, and totally accept that man is a depraved sinner lost in his sins as Romans 3:10 plainly states. Once again the Calvinist does not offer any real defense of his beliefs, but makes unfounded critical statements about those who do not agree with him.

           John MacArthur also fits this mold accusing objectors to the Calvinistic system of ejecting because of pride.(13) Kenneth Good, who falsely places all traditional Baptists as Calvinists correctly says, "It is to be regretted that both confusion and emotion seem to reign in the current discussions on Calvinism versus Arminianism. Considerably more heat than light is being generated by the energy presently expended in most quarters."(14)

           The Calvinist often resorts to defending his position by stating that those that reject this false view are rejecting God's sovereignty. This is also an absurd statement. Such a weak defense shows the unsound foundation on which their ideas are founded. Certainly, Almighty God is absolutely sovereign, which precludes Him from going against His own nature. The true biblicalist correctly understands and accepts God's sovereignty, but this does not mean he must accept the theology of Calvinists, which contradict God's other attributes. The true Bible scholar knows that God, in His sovereignty, does not violate His own nature or His stated word.

           Both the Calvinists and Arminians have taken extreme positions. Neither has proved its system to be biblical or a correct explanation of the doctrines of election. Huntsmen, of David Jeremiah's "Turning Point," in a weak attempt to defend Calvinism's contradictions, tell us not to attempt to reconcile the teachings of God on election and the sovereignty of God.(15) Both the Calvinist and Arminian teachings contain some truth, but they go further than God does, making them erroneous. I have been a student of the Bible since I was saved in 1972 at 32 years of age. I thank those that taught me that the first distinctive of a New Testament believer is to accept the Bible as my sole authority for faith and practice. The Bible is the authority, not the theological systems of man. I am a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ, and I identify myself totally with Him alone.

           Paul condemned the error of identifying oneself with man or religious teachers in 1 Corinthians 1:12. In 1 Corinthians 3:4, Paul says identifying oneself with anyone but Jesus Christ is a carnal act. True believers identify themselves with Jesus Christ; He is the Word, and only His word is Truth. The true believer is to accept God's word as the only source for faith and practice. The Calvinist by accepting John Calvin's "Institutes" as the source and explanation of faith, make a serious mistake.

  The Conclusion On a Personal Note.

          I am not a Calvinist nor am I an Arminian. I reject both titles and systems. Both are heretical and cult-like systems of fallible men. I choose to call myself simply a Bible believer. I identify myself with my Savior and His word. I take no pride in the fact that I am saved; yet I am eternally grateful. I am awed by the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ died on Calvary's cross for my sin. I am deeply and eternally grateful to God who loved this blind sinner that much! I totally reject the idea that I received salvation on any merit of my own! I was, as God said, a sinner, dead in trespasses and sin, sold unto sin, a child of sin, with no righteousness of my own. I was saved by the sovereign act and plan of our loving God, who came to the earth, incarnate in man and totally paid my sin debt. I did not merit salvation and was totally in bondage to my sinful nature. I absolutely had no spark of divinity in me. Yet, God loved me, His created being, and suffered for me while I was yet in my sin. He provided the way and the means of my salvation, by His grace, through faith. I do not try and put Almighty God in a box and try to systematize God's act of saving the sinner. I just believe His very Word and thank Him for loving me, the sinner that I am, and forgiving my sin and giving me eternal life.

           Man cannot take pride or boast of any merit on his part in his salvation. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

           Man cannot merit salvation by good works. "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).

           Man has no goodness or righteousness in him upon which to base his salvation. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

           Many in history have fallen into the trap of going further than Scripture goes; trying, with human rationalization, to explain and systematize God's actions. The result of such rationalization is extremism. Finite men with finite minds cannot systematize Almighty God! It is an extreme and false view that says God predestined some men to be damned to hell, not offering them salvation. It is equally an extreme view that states that man can in any way merit his salvation or lose the eternal life that God gives the believer.

           Each view, Calvinism or Arminianism, when adhered to, violates clear biblical teaching, and therefore cannot be truth. I reject the extremes of both the Calvinists and the Arminians and do not use either name in identifying my stand on accepting what the Bible clearly teaches.

           There was a time when I did not think that these issues were important. I have since changed my mind, because I have seen the fruit of Calvinism. Over the past years many people have written and expressed the confusion and anguish the teachings of Calvinism causes in their lives. One dear lady wrote and said she had not had any children because she was afraid that God would not elect them to salvation. (16)

           Calvinism has cast a shadow over some people's assurance of salvation, because they wondered if they were elected or rejected by God. One man wrote that when his church began teaching Calvinism. He said "I was sick for 2 weeks, couldn't sleep or eat. I was bothered by it taking away the loving Savior I had known all my life."(17)

           Another young man wrote saying he was seeking the Lord and studying the claims of Christ. He then stumbled across the teachings of Calvinism and said it shattered him. He said, "My question to you is, am I able to make a choice to follow Christ? If I want to follow Christ, can I do so? Or is it not my choice? I feel odd trying to put this question into words, but I've tried. The bottom line is, if I wished to become a Christian today, tomorrow or whenever I feel I am ready, can I do so? Calvinists have tried to tell me that I have the inability to call upon Christ, and that if not one of the elect, I won't be saved. Please help!"(18)

          For years I have corresponded with Calvinists, and found they will rarely concede to any plain biblical truth that does not agree with their theology. From their statements about the issue, they seem to be a proud people who see themselves superior intellectually and spiritually. However, their fruit is corrupt because it ignores God's word, and worse distorts even the very nature of God.

  *All Rights Reserved. Cooper P. Abrams III, May 2008. The author grants copying rights for individual personal use and for use in type of Bible studies. This document must not be: 1. Distributed in multiple copies without my permission, except as stated above. 2. It must not be sold. Permission to republish is readily offered if I am contacted. Thank you.

Implikasi yg menyeramkan…Not knowing whether you are elected or not by GOD :’(

Memang manusia tidak akan pernah tahu apakah dia dipilih hingga dia dipilih. Tetapi sungguh pun demikian, predestinasi terlaksana melalui kehendak bebas manusia, dan tidak ada pertentangan di antara keduanya.

Manusia terkadang merasa mendikte Allah, padahal sesungguhnya tidak.

@david,

Pandangan anda salah kaparah…!!
Dan sama sekali tidak memahami antara Paham Calvanis dng paham ARMINIAN…walaupun sdah disajikan begitu panjang post nya oleh rekan @quicksilver dng susah payah…hehhehehhe

Belajar lebih intens broo…baru keluarin kesimpulan yang memberkati rekan disini ya…?? hehehh

Loh, saya tidak sedang membicarakan Calvin atau Arminian. Saya cuma sedang berpendapat. Dari dulu saya bukan Calvinis, dan pandangan saya juga bukan Arminian.

kalau bukan calvinis dan bukan armenians terus apa?

Lebih mudah dipahami bagi orang indonesia, jika sang pengentry pertama menterjemahkan ke bahasa indonesia.

St Agustine :afro:

St Yopi, Ajaran Agustinus dan Ajaran Calvin yang berbeda dimana dan apanya?

heheheh ya lebih parah lago dunk…!! pantesan pandangannya sedemikian rupa adanya ya…Tapi ga papalah, yng penting ada pandangan …tapi juga
belum pas …mnurut saya.!?. Karena disitu sepertinya jadi ga menjadi pasti
pijakan Iman Percaya yng anda punya sekarang ini…ada dimana dan kepada siapa…?? GBU

http://www.sarapanpagi.org/predestinasi-john-calvin-vt185.html

Ajaran Agustinus yang masih murni diteruskan oleh Katolik & Lutheran, sedangkan Calvin menambahkan sendiri sesuai dengan pemikirannya :slight_smile:

mana kemurnian katholik? Indulgensia? Menyembah Maria? Mendoakan arwah ? Menyembah Patung?

Tuhan Yesus tidak pernah mengajarkan dan memberi teladan hal tersebut. Tidak Pernah sama sekali.

st yopi, dari link sarapan pagi yg kamu tampilkan adalah kutipan institusio, mana yang kamu nilai salah, salahkan dengan dengan standar paramater dari ayat ALKITAB, jangan pakai standar pikiran dan perasaan manusia. Standar manusia tidak sebanding/sederajad dengan standar ALLAH

Ah yang benar… emang SEMUA selama 3.5 tahun TERTULIS dengan LENGKAP? ;D ;D ;D :2funny:

Hihihihi… jadi harusnya sesuai dengan standar kamu??? ;D ;D ;D :2funny:

st yopi, udah kamu tunjukkan ayat Alkitab yg mengajarkan atau ada teladan Tuhan Yesus yang membenarkan indulgensia, menyembah maria, mendoakan arwah, meyembah patung.

standar kamu itu standar siapa? anda itu seenaknya diskusi, kalau diskusi pakai literatur, jangan asal bicara. Jangan sembrono kamu dengan Firman Tuhan. berdoalah minta hikmat Tuhan. Kecuali kamu memang bukan orang pilihan Allah ndak bakalan dapat hikmat dan anugerah keselamatan Tuhan