Those of us who are opposed to Calvinism will agree that God is completely sovereign and is demonstrated over and over again in His Word. We will also disagree with the philosophy of Calvinism to be the guide of Christian faith as opposed to Scripture. The same holds true with Scripture demonstrating the omnipotence of God instead of leaning on Calvinism. Do I believe that God is all-knowing? Absolutely, because Word of God speaks of His omnipotence countless times throughout. My question is this, “Why should I or anyone else listen to the philosophy of Calvinism?”
The Bible narrative from Genesis to Revelation demonstrates that God never changes. “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by foods, since those involved in them have not benefited.” Hebrews 13:7-9 HCSB.. One of the most difficult things that Calvinism expresses is ‘total depravity’ which removes anyone from responding to the message of the Gospel to save those who believe. Is man sinful? Absolutely so, but Calvinism restricts God from allowing His most precious of creation, because of sin, to freely believe that His Son’s sacrifice on a Cross provides eternal salvation.
We know that God’s grace is demonstrated in Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Please note that mankind has access to His grace by faith and not that His grace is irresistible as Calvinism claims.
Election is not at issue with those who have a high regard for the Word of God because we find that anyone who is found to be “in Christ” is of the ‘elect,’ but the philosophy of Calvinism holds to an ‘unconditional election.’ In other words, some folks will go to Heaven and others to Hell because of God’s predetermined selection before time began. But, what does Paul write? In Romans 8:15-17 is found these words, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” And in Ephesians 1:10-13 the Apostle continues, “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him. We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 1:21 reads like this, “For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.” But, what does Calvinism express? This philosophy changes that last phrase to say, “was pleased to save those who He caused to believe.”
Ephesians 1:13, “When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” again, we find a discrepancy in Calvinism which tells us, “after that you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, you believed.” Which is correct? Calvinism or the Word of God?
Romans 5:2 tells us, “We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” But, Calvinism simply changes the position of the words ‘faith’ and ‘grace’ and then we find, “we have access through Him by grace into this faith.” Which is correct, Calvinism or God’s Word?
John 6:44-47 records these words of Jesus, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me— not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father. I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life.”
However, the philosophy of the Calvinist will claim that Jesus is speaking of irresistible grace, but what is actually said here? Jesus tells us, “Everyone who has listened and learned from the Father comes to Me.” Yes, the one who learns from Him will come to the Christ, but this is an illustration of the undeniable freedom of the will to listen which is not prejudiced by a predetermined act of God.
And, yet again we find that Calvinism throws a wrench into the Word of God and attempts to change the context of Acts 13:44-48, “The following Sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the message of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to oppose what Paul was saying by insulting him. Then Paul and Barnabas boldly said: ‘It was necessary that God’s message be spoken to you first. But since you reject it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles! For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.” Follow this statement of Luke with Paul’s statement in Ephesians chapter one. The entirety of this chapter speaks of predestination founded upon the fact of believing faith in what Christ had done on the Cross. Paul writes that the Gospel message is what God uses to bring His elect to faith, that is, the good news of “salvation.” When Gentiles heard it, they listened to it and believed Paul’s message just as Jesus had said in Luke’s narrative. Their faith resulted in salvation and being sealed by God’s Spirit. He simply provides eternal security as a result their expressed faith in the Christ.
The point to be made is that we who are not Calvinists certainly believe in the stated fact of election or predestination as found in the New Testament. However, where we differ with the Calvinist is that faith is an expression of the freedom of the will which God allows us and not His predetermined and calculated design for all of mankind to be allowed into Heaven or condemned to Hell. Read what the Christ said to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” vv 16-18. Jesus is Lord.