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Calvinism vs Free Will - A Choice

Doctrine Article - D.0114_02

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1. One can find a confusing array of conflicting beliefs, all of which are presented by people who claim to be Calvinists.  So, it would be helpful if the real Calvinists would stand up and would speak with consistency and reason.  To date, we have found none that promote 'Biblical Calvinism', as some profess there to be.

 

2. We do not adhere to Arminian doctrine either.  For one thing, James Arminius reportedly believed in 'eternal security', a teaching that we have found to be unbiblical.

 

3. Some Calvinists point to the fact that God chose Israel, as if that fact validates the doctrines of Calvinism.  Yes, God chose Israel.  But God didn't save every descendant of Israel/Jacob, so his 'choosing' of Israel, a people to proclaim his name, had nothing to do with the personal salvation (nor damnation) of those people.  Each of them was free to obey or to disobey, and they were judged (and will be judged) accordingly.

 

4. Likewise; yes,  God will choose His church as a bride for his Son.  But he won't do it arbitrarily.  He doesn't force anyone to love him against his/her will.  (Abraham is a "type" of God and he told his servant that if 'Rebekah' – a type of the church - refused to marry his son Isaac – a type of Christ – then the servant was free from his oath.  But Rebekah chose to marry Isaac.) (Gen 24:8)  God "lets" us choose.  He allows us to make choices.

 

5. The bible is full of choices that men and women were allowed to make – from Adam in Genesis to the person in Rev 22:19 whom God blots from the book of life.  God did not force Adam to eat the fruit, to disobey and to sin.  Adam chose to sin.  Cain chose to sin.  And conversely, Abel chose to obey.  Likewise, God doesn't force us to sin.  We choose to sin, or we choose to obey.

 

6. The bible is also full of "ifs".  If we obey….then we will be blessed.  If we disobey…. then we will be judged, cursed and/or damned.  There is no reason for having "ifs" in the bible unless we really have a choice to choose one of the alternatives. 

Psalm 95:6
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

 

Matthew 16:24
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

 

John 11:40
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

 

John 7:37
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

 

Romans 4:24
But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

 

1 Corinthians 15:2
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

 

Revelation 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely

7. Jesus himself said that, 'whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved'. There is no contradiction between this and his subsequent words – where he gives eternal life to his sheep and states that his father has given them (his sheep) to him.  God has set up the process, or the path, through which people can be saved.  All who come to him (through that process or path) shall be saved.  Those who choose to go their own way are thieves and robbers. (John 10:1)

 

8. God tells us this in so many ways.  Even the word "life" has IF in the middle of it.  We have life, IF we believe on him.  And we have the "gift" of the Holy Ghost, which is salvation, IF we believe.

 

9. Some Calvinists point to the story of Lazarus' resurrection and teach that it represents Sovereignly imposed regeneration.  Lazarus is certainly a "type" of the Christian believer.  But these people misunderstand what happened in the story.  Lazarus was a faithful believer in Christ before he (Lazarus) died physically.  Think about that.  Lazarus believed on the Lord Jesus Christ before he died.  By resurrecting Lazarus, Jesus was not demonstrating the Calvinistic regeneration of a depraved unbeliever who was dead in trespasses and sin. Lazarus was already a believer; he was not an unbeliever.  So, Jesus was demonstrating that he is the resurrection and the life (just like he said at the time) and that Christian believers who die physically will be resurrected again, (I Cor 15:52).  He has the power to give life, and he gives eternal life to those who believe on him, just like the bible says over and over again.

 

10. Many Calvinists we know believe that Calvinism IS the gospel - that TULIP describes the gospel - and that anyone preaching a gospel other than Calvinism is preaching "another gospel" (i.e. heresy).  That, obviously, makes me a heretic to those Calvinists; so I couldn't be considered a "brother" to them - even though many of them employ the term "brother", to appear to be kind and loving.  So, it cannot be stated that I am arbitrarily judging Calvinists to have "another gospel".  If they, themselves, are correct that Calvinism is distinct from all other gospels, then I would have to conclude the same about them and their gospel, for the same reasons.

 

11. Some Calvinists claim that their beliefs are "advanced doctrines".  This implies that Calvinists have superior understanding, perhaps even a superior intellect – which, not surprisingly, is consistent with some of the less-than-humble attitudes of the Calvinists we know.

 

12. Further, if the gospel that the Calvinist preaches requires an understanding of these "advanced doctrines", then: 

1) it lacks the simplicity that is in Christ.  (I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. II Cor 11:3), and

 

2) it lacks the simplicity and humility of a child that is necessary for salvation.  (Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. Luke 18:17)

13. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matt 23:37)  Did Jesus force his "Sovereign will" on these people, or did they have a choice?

 

14. The bible is actually full of passages that refute the doctrines of Calvinism.  There is no such thing as "Biblical Calvinism'.  We have spent considerable time researching the issue and have found none of the core beliefs of Calvinism that could be considered "Biblical" in any of their forms – hyper or otherwise.

 

15. There are Calvinists who are 'insulted' by our association of the Calvinist god with Allah, the god of the Muslims.  Is the God of the bible capable of saving everyone?  (We believe that the answer to that question is yes.)  Therefore, by choosing some and by damning others (whether by decree or by inaction) at his own discretion, the god of the Calvinist distributes life and death without regard to anything but his own "Sovereign will".  Given that Allah does exactly the same thing for Muslims, why would Calvinists be so upset by this factual comparison?

 

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (I Thess 5:21)

 

 

 

 

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The "Berean Research Institute" is a scripture-based, family-oriented area of cyber-space wherein men, women and children can research beliefs and doctrines that impact their assembly, ministry and/or personal lives.

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