Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Scriptural Refutation Of Calvinism

  • Introduction:
          -Calvinism is a movement within traditional Protestantism that was developed by John Calvin (1509-1564), a French theologian. He was heavily influenced by the writings of the church father Augustine. There are five major points to this complex theological system that are known by the acronym: "T.U.L.I.P."
  • Total Depravity:
          -The Bible never states that we are unable to do anything, but rather that we are unwilling to come to God (Isaiah 59:1-2). One consequence of the fall is that man has been corrupted by sin. This is why He sent His Son Jesus Christ to make atonement. We can only be justified by the grace of God. Salvation is not merited by works. But we must choose to accept His free offer of salvation as proclaimed through the gospel. The biblical doctrine of total depravity is distinguished from the Calvinistic notion of total inability.
  • Unconditional Election:
          -“All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book 3, Chapter 21, Section 5)
          -"The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree." (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, section 7)
          -The Bible teaches a different form of predestination than what is found in Calvinism. The scriptural view is that God determined beforehand, not which individuals will receive salvation and damnation, but the character, service, and plan of those who are justified in His sight. That view is known as corporate election. God foreknowing is not the same as Him foreordaining. God has predestined believers to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-6). God has prepared in advance that we do good works (Ephesians 2:10). We become a part of God's elect by hearing and believing on the gospel as it is being proclaimed (John 6:51; Ephesians 1:13-14). 
          -God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11-12; 1 Peter 1:17). He does not will that any perish, but all be saved (Titus 2:11; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9). God does not lead any into temptation (James 1:13-15). Sin is not from God (Jeremiah 7:24).
          -If we have already been predestined to heaven or hell, then what is the purpose of being cautious of the devil's plans of causing deception (1 Peter 5:8)? Would it even make sense for God to judge sinners? Why pray that His will be done (Matthew 6:10)?
          -If God has already meticulously predetermined everything since the foundation of the world, then it makes perfect sense for one to say that we have no free will. Why preach repent or perish?
          -Why would God sentence sinners to eternity in hell when He created them to be that way? Why would He punish people who had no control over their sinful actions in the first place? How does it not follow that God is the author of sin?
          -If God has already meticulously predetermined everything since the foundation of the world, then there is no point in debating these issues since He created members of His elect to oppose Calvinism.
          -If God has foreordained since the beginning of time that the unbelieving and unrepentant are to perish eternally, then why did our Lord Jesus Christ claim that He was sent to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:9-10)? Why did God grieve over making man (Genesis 6:6)?
          -Since we have no way to know God's predetermined decree, it follows that we cannot have any objective basis to know whether or not we are a part of His elect.
  • Limited Atonement:
          -"It maintains that God's design and intent in sending Christ to die on the cross was to pay for the sins and secure the redemption of those whom God has predetermined to save, namely the elect." (Theopedia, "Definite Atonement")
          -According to Scripture, Jesus Christ died not only for our sins, but also the whole world (1 John 2:1-2). He tasted death for all men (Hebrews 2:9). See also 1 Timothy 2:4-6 and Revelation 22:17. God wants every nation to repent and seek Him (Acts 17:26-31).
          -According to Scripture, Christ died even for false teachers (2 Peter 2:1). He has died for both the just and the unjust (1 Peter 3:18).
          -If Jesus Christ was able to save the Apostle Paul who referred to himself as being the chief of sinners for persecuting the church of God in his younger days (1 Timothy 1:15-16), then would that not also imply that salvation is available to all who believe on the gospel (contrary to limited atonement)?
          -Notice how Paul included in his inspired definition of the gospel that Jesus Christ died "for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This sounds like a personal invitation to salvation. That is literally equivalent to me saying that Christ died for you and me, which refutes limited atonement.
  • Irresistible Grace:
          -"Those who obtain the new birth do so, not because they wanted to obtain it, but because of the sovereign discriminating grace of God." (Theopedia, "Irresistible Grace")
          -If irresistible grace is a biblical doctrine, then why is it that God would "spread out His hands all day long" to His rebellious nation Israel (Isaiah 65:2)? Why would God put Himself through so much distress when He could have instantaneously resolved the problem?
          -Scripture very clearly affirms that God has given us reason and free will, which also encompasses the ability to refuse the grace of God. Consider texts such as Joshua 24:15, 2 Chronicles 15:2, Psalm 119:30, Proverbs 1:29, Nehemiah 9:30, Isaiah 63:10, Matthew 23:37, and Acts 2:40. 
  • Perseverance Of The Saints (Also Known As Eternal Security Or Once Saved, Always Saved):
          -"...those who are truly saved will persevere to the end and cannot lose their salvation. It doesn't mean that a person who is truly saved will never lose faith or backslide at any time..."Eternal security" is often seen as synonymous with "Perseverance of the saints." (Theopedia, "Perseverance of the Saints")
          -Warning texts for Christians against apostasy do not sit well with the idea that it is impossible for one to lose his or her salvation (Hebrews 3:12; 2 Peter 3:17; 1 Corinthians 8:10-12; 9:24-27; Colossians 1:23; 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-4; 6:20-21; Acts 20:28-32; Galatians 5:4-5; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 20-22; James 5:19-20). We even have a few examples of genuine Christians falling away from the faith recorded in New Testament (1 Timothy 1:18-21; 5:11-15; 2 Timothy 4:10). In other words, it is possible for Christians to walk away from or abandon their salvation.

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