A Problem with Calvinism By Colin Nunn

A Problem with Calvinism

Greg Dutcher, a Calvinist, authored a book “Killing Calvinism”, dealing with some problems within the Calvinist movement.  I acknowledge that Dutcher seeks to be aware of some of the unacceptable attitudes of Calvin-followers, and offers advice that he believes might mitigate wrong behaviour resulting from those attitudes.  However I find that he, like most Calvinists also has a mind-set that detracts from a true and honest understanding of God, and is quite ready to inflict his mistaken beliefs upon the unaware.  In this book he wrote that he was earlier in his Christian life bothered by the Reformed teaching of Predestination but was swayed toward Calvinism by a friend who asked him “Does anyone deserve to be in Heaven?” ”Of course not” he replied.  The friend’s next question that became a “stone” in the author’s shoe as he described it; was “Then why are you so bent out of shape if some people get grace and everyone else gets what they deserve?”  The friend said “Nobody’s getting shafted.”  This statement reveals clearly, though they would deny it; a callous attitude of many Calvin followers which seems to say “I’m saved (and implicitly, therefore worth saving), but the rest of the world is largely unworthy”.

I’m concerned by the failure of Calvinists and those under Calvinist influences to see past this kind of leading question and their willing submission to the influence of peers, Church, Pastors, teachers etc., without looking further and deeper into the scriptural implications and morality of the subject.  To be swayed by a question like this is to vitiate scripture and place it secondary to man’s reason.  It’s hard not to believe that the influence of peers, and Church has more to do with the decision Dutcher made than does scripture.  Apart from the fact that the questions and statement impugn the honor and reputation of the God that made these people and the God they truly desire to honor, they’re sadly, blind to the true spiritual situation, man’s relationship with God and even more importantly, God’s attitude toward and dealings with man.

After this experience, Dutcher’s “switch to Calvinism” as he called it took place when only half-way through the first chapter of R.C. Sproul’s book “Chosen by God”. He quotes Sproul: “Reluctantly, I sighed and surrendered, but with my head, not my heart.  OK, I believe this stuff, but I don’t have to like it” he said.  Duther accepted the doctrine based upon this human reasoning.  So Calvin-followers such as Sproul go on (unwittingly I like to think) undermining the faith of new converts to Christianity and causing dishonor to the God that ought to be honored by them and leading others into an experience of supposed enlightenment which is in fact blasphemous.

I have to ask why is it that pre-Calvinist Christians such as Sproul and Dutcher, until they surrendered to Calvinistic influence, reacted negatively to this particular doctrine – that of limited atonement? Why is it that they reacted to the unfairness of what the Calvinists claim about God’s absolute rejection of some and complete acceptance of others merely on His arbitrary decision, giving those He rejects no opportunity to repent to salvation?   Remember that these pre-Calvinists were Christians at that time and therefore were possibly developing tender consciences under God’s influence.  Many who later fall for the reformed doctrine are at first uncomfortable with the idea that God only chooses to save some; and that He calls those chosen people only, influences them to repent and ensures that they and they only persevere to full salvation. The struggling believers, hearing this dogma, pressured to go along with their friends, or pastors or church expectations, find themselves having to harden their hearts and minds and accept a horrifying scripture-obscuring proposition.

This proposition is one in which those who are not chosen, are rejected and will suffer in Hell forever because they were born as sinful beings, inheriting the blame as it were for the failing of their fore-father Adam, and these same lost souls can do nothing but choose to sin because of the sin-nature they inherit from that unfortunate ancestor.  Does God not care about the unsaved?  It seems not if these followers of Calvin are correct.  It would seem though that even the hardest of heart of any of these new believers, (at least until they fall into the Calvinist trap) will cry out for the salvation of all men, or at least that they are genuinely offered salvation.  Are these people more caring than God, or more aware of the injustice of the situation than God is?  The upshot of the struggle is that in order to accept the doctrine, they seem to harden their hearts as it were and become very willing to leave the non-elect to their fate.  They tend to say “God must be right in whatever He decides.  So long as I’m alright, let the rest be lost for eternity. It’s God’s prerogative”.  There is a temptation to rest on the Calvinistic election/perseverance teachings, and put honesty and truth aside for the sake of comfort.

The idea that every person born into Adam’s race is sinful, and therefore deserves to be tormented in Hell forever, somehow doesn’t fit in with the general theme of scripture – at least in the way that Calvinists would believe, nor does it fit with what new believers are led to understand when they are first introduced to the Gospel.  In fact, Reformed people often tend to avoid the subject of pre-election until the newcomer is a convinced believer in Jesus, and then begin to apply the pressure to conform him/her to their particular dogma.

One great danger with Calvinism is that in order to fit in with the prevailing doctrine of the peer-group, or the local congregation to which one may belong, and because of the pressure applied by the preaching of Calvinism as being the true and only Gospel, believers are strongly tempted, coerced and persuaded to conform. The pressure can come from Church, friends, or pastor.  By yielding and conforming, and also by pressuring others to do so, followers ignore very serious and severe scriptural and spiritual facts.  These facts reveal God to be greater, wiser, and more equitable than the followers of Calvin would have it.  (Dutcher regards Calvinism as the Gospel and the Gospel as taught by the Apostle Paul as Calvinism, which is disturbing).

The possibility is, and my experience with most Calvinists is that there is a tendency to look to their reformed doctrine to see what the Bible says about any matter rather than the other way round.  Once they have fallen into the “Reformed Doctrine is the only truth” error, they are rendered somewhat blind and able to see and understand scripture only through the lens of their ‘must-have’ doctrine.  This seems evident when they are challenged in their beliefs – they seem to close their minds to awkward questions, mould scripture to fit their doctrine and draw attention away from those subjects that are uncomfortable for them by using inappropriate questions or statements.

It would be mistaken to suggest that Calvinists generally don’t have a knowledge of scripture.  Most do.  We should keep in mind though that for those with scriptural knowledge, and a perspective that must be defended, the enticement to manipulate scripture, can be powerful. This is evident in the many sects that operate on the verge of Christianity.  The “defense of the faith” even from the Reformed point of view, produces out-and-out claims of doctrinal inerrancy.  John Calvin misaligned scripture to fit into what he thought to be a logical set of doctrines.  He connected and brought together the general reformist sympathies and produced what was acclaimed by many reformers of that time to be an accurate and more importantly, a logical creed.  But in order to accomplish this, he found it necessary to come to conclusions that suggested a ruthlessness and hatred in God.  As a consequence of being faced with the requirement to make his doctrines fit together in what he believed was a logical way, Calvin could only solve the conflict between sin, death, salvation and God’s will by extreme interpretation of certain hard-to-explain Bible passages.

Calvin-followers Idolators?

Sadly, many Calvinist young men, though they don’t recognize it, seem set on placing Calvin’s words above those of all others; even Jesus.  Their whole lives are Calvinist.  They live and breathe Calvin – when they speak, teach, and preach they live, speak, teach and preach Calvin – especially his doctrine of predestination.  Just recently, a young man from a reformed-doctrine-centered theological college, ‘preached’ at my local (Reformed doctrine) Church. The very first thing he spoke of was the fact that few are chosen and what a privilege it is to be one of the elect.  He quoted figures of around 3.5% of the population being Protestant and not all of them saved.  He indicated that it is a wonderful thing that God has chosen the elect out of the world of sinners, purely arbitrarily.  He dismissed the 96.5% that will burn in Hell forever.  His attitude seemed to be that what is important is that we should rejoice at being the chosen.  Then he began to defend his fellow Calvinists; telling us that they are committed to preaching the gospel – this to disprove many accusations to the contrary.  Instead of preaching about Jesus, he was keen to ensure our faith – the Calvinist faith.

Is God unfair?

Many non-Calvinists argue that for a righteous and loving God to create men, in the state of sin knowingly, (He is our all-knowing all-powerful Creator even though we are sinners), and then to condemn them for the sinful state and for the sins committed under the influence and control of that sinful nature, is unfair.  They would also claim that for God to condemn those people for the fact they continue in acting out the sinful nature they were born with as a consequence of God’s will is also unfair.  They would also understand that if Calvinists are correct, those unsaved have no possibility of turning to God or repenting from that sin because God will not save them.  He has predetermined that these people are to be treated as vessels fit for destruction, though they had no say in the whole transaction.  This too is unfair from the non-Calvinist point of view.

R. C. Sproul has said in answer to that claim; “Who says that God has to be fair?”  With this one question he asks all to re-evaluate their understanding of God’s character and ignore the many scriptures that tell us that God judges men for choosing to sin and warns against sinning.  He and those that follow Calvin are quite at ease with the anomaly that a God of love creates us knowingly in a state that causes us to sin, and then blames us for the resulting sin.  That’s quite fair of God according to them because His fairness is obviously different to, and in fact if Calvin was correct, inferior to or lesser than the fairness which He requires of us.  Don’t our hearts quail at the thought of this unfairness (as Dutcher’s and Sproul’s did pre-Calvinism)?  Isn’t there a much higher requirement of God in the minds and hearts of the average believer and non-believer? Isn’t there often a strong resistance in the hearts of even those that would eventually accept this Calvinistic doctrine, until they finally fall for the bait-and-switch trap; (ask the wrong questions, then offer the wrong solutions;)?  They avoid the unfairness of the situation, offer the questionable TULIP-centred doctrine as the solution to the perceived quandary and the new believers unwittingly comply and fit in with the peer group.  Is this doctrine morally and scripturally correct?  Is it not perhaps possible that they may be wrong? Is not God’s love, sovereignty and solution greater than man’s doctrines would have it?

The basic reason given in the Old Testament for God’s condemnation of Israel is that of refusing to listen to, trust, and obey Him, and rarely is there even the mention of inbred sin apart from some poetic statements.  How can they obey God while they have sinful natures? According to Calvin, men can only believe, turn to God, and obey, if God’s Spirit draws them, converts them, and keeps them through to glorification, (which teaching is only partly correct).  Yet to the honest reader, God was angry at sinners in the O. T. scriptures for their disobedience and their refusal to trust Him, not for their sin-nature, but for choices they made.  According to Reformist doctrine, these people could do nothing else but obey their natures – they couldn’t help but disobey.  This is especially true of those whom God had declared through prophecy would fail.  Does this Calvin myth not show Him to be inconsistent if it were correct?  It’s worse than expecting a pet dog to live and speak and act like a man and punishing him for failing. God is not inconsistent – unless you are a convinced Calvinist.

A Calvinist Pastor mentioned in a recent Bible-study, that the Old Testament reveals that God doesn’t lay the blame for the father’s sins upon their sons.  The inference was that He would be unjust to do so.  Rather, those that listen to God and obey Him will be accepted by Him. (The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself, Ezek 18:20 – note words like ‘the righteous’ and ‘the wicked’.  Thus this Calvinist pastor showed that he agreed with the need for God to be fair when it suited the teaching situation, yet he has not acknowledged the same principle in relation to the most basic of issues such as original sin and pre-election.

If we take an earnest and truthful look at Calvinist teaching, we’ll see that according to that doctrine, God’s love is limited – limited such that it applies to only some of mankind, though those Calvinists are unwilling usually to concede this in such a straight-forward, honest, open way. They preach a false call to all of mankind, but an effective call to those that are chosen. They believe that He only chooses to save a handful from among the desperately sinful hordes of wicked mankind.  Then they  profess that His unlimited love is demonstrated by saving to the uttermost those that He does decide to save.  This they claim, glorifies Him.

See Romans 2:5-11 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

God doesn’t show favoritism – all are treated alike with equal fairness and justice by God.  Note that God’s anger is because of an unrepentant heart, self-seeking, rejection of truth, and following evil.  Note also that there will be trouble and distress for those that do evil, and that there will be glory, honor and peace for those that do good.  This seems to be the general teaching of scripture to those that look honestly at the overall picture. This and many other passages of scripture, tend to be interpreted by reformists according to the need to fit the doctrine, rather than to seek to understand what Paul was actually telling the readers of that day.  The Calvinist is enticed away from grasping the overall picture and focus of the Bible in order to fit it within the ‘logical’ framework of the reformed doctrine.  The end result is a gross misrepresentation of God’s justice, love and mercy, and a dishonoring of God.

2 Peter 3:15-17 tells us the following: v15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  That secure position refers to not only our assurance of salvation, but our understanding of scripture.  Our understanding can be shunted aside into dead-end sidings and off the main line of truth by wresting the scriptures to our own satisfaction, and possibly destruction, for wrong but unseen motives.  Faith can mistakenly be centered upon doctrine rather than the Word of God.

The hard to understand passages of Holy Scripture, such those that speak about a pre-selection and God’s ‘hating’ of Esau, etc., can be understood differently to what Calvin believed them to mean. It’s important that they fit into the overall leanings of the Holy Word which tends very plainly to the fact that men’s wills and the choices they are allowed to make are what decide their fates.  Should we wrongly adjust the whole of our understanding of God – His nature, justice, love, mercy and what the rest of scripture tells us clearly of Him?  Should we rethink our understanding of such vital subjects in order to fit in with what a few disputed passages seem to say on the surface?  This requires us to overlook or change our whole understanding of the Bible and our appreciation of God’s nature and His attitude and His treatment of mankind in order to conform to a handful of passages that may be understood otherwise.

Calvin followers in accordance with their revered (and sometimes it seems worshiped) leader Calvin, refuse to consider or even think about the fact that there are those that have had no chance to repent or be saved and who must suffer eternal fires for a choice that was made for them, both by Adam and by God.  This awkward quandary is usually avoided by making astounding statements such as that by R.C. Sproul that God doesn’t have to be fair. I have listened to Sproul and noted that he centers his lectures only on those issues he wishes to emphasize while avoiding the hard questions and problems that arise, using red-herring type questions and statements to draw attention from the more important or relevant matters with which he fails to deal.

God doesn’t have to be fair?  If He is consistent then He is fair.  Does He not expect us to be fair?  Our fairness is a reflection of the light of Christ in us, and of the life of God in us.  Not only is God fair but He is trustworthy as well.  When He says God is not willing that any man should perish but that all should come to repentance, is He genuine? Of course He is. Why then, if the Calvinists are correct, does He not bring all to repentance, unless it’s because they have some say in it? One Calvinist said “II Peter 3:9 cannot mean that God is earnestly wishing or striving to save all individual men. For if it were His will that every individual of mankind should be saved, then not one soul could be lost. “For who hath resisted his will?” (Rom. 9:19).”

Could it not be that He actually truly allows men to make choices, and that those actual choices, (man’s limited understanding aside), do not interfere with His overall will?  Is He so limited as to be unable to do so?  Is He limited to the logic of man’s theology?  When He says Come unto me all you who… does He really mean “well – not really all of you – only those that I choose to care about”?  What about the many verses such asLuke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!.  Of course they could not if the Calvin heresy is true – they could not because God had pre-determined their reaction and destiny, and therefore Jesus wasn’t stating the full truth but was insincere. But in fact He said “you would not” indicating the will.  How many passages are there in scripture in which God makes this same kind of appeal to men to repent and turn to Him but their choices prevent it?

The sovereignty of God

The Calvinist would claim that if men are making decisions as to salvation or belief, then God is not sovereign.  They would argue that because God predestines men such as Jacob for salvation and rejects people such as Esau before either was even created, it proves that they were fore-chosen to either die as sinners or be saved through the Cross by faith. It ought to be mentioned though, that this passage is referring to the choice of Jacob’s lineage for God’s blessing and purposes, and not their personal election and rejection for salvation.

Fore-knowledge is not the same as fore-choosing and election does not rule out choice.  Fore-knowledge means that He foreknew who would or would not choose correctly – those whose hearts would open to truth and those whose hearts would close to Him.  Calvinists are somehow unable to grasp or unwilling to believe that God is somehow in His incredibly complex greatness and knowledge able to make choices ahead of time dependent upon mens’ choices.  They hide desperately behind doctrine in order to avoid this truth.  God is outside of time – He created time.  He is in the ever-present now and is able to manipulate, influence and manage His creation time, in a way that our tiny minds cannot grasp.  How can men think God must be limited in some way because of their limited “logic”?  There is only one thing that God cannot do – and that is to sin.  All sin is against God and therefore it’s not possible for Him to sin. This doesn’t limit God, but is part of His perfection.

The worldly-wise man would state “God can’t make a round square” and think that he is absolutely correct in this statement, thereby limiting God.  But God created maths and squares and circles and all of the principles that are operating in this universe.  He is not limited in any way by His creation, and is not subject to the principles He created, and I have no reason to doubt that He can easily make a round square in some incredible way that our tiny imaginations and understanding can’t grasp.  So too God can see all of our future from the point of view of His now, and is not limited by time in any way.  Thus He accepts those that He sees will obey Him in faith, calling them the ‘elect’ as He says “Well done good and faithful servants”.  Remember that Abram believed God and his obedience was what demonstrated his belief.  Did God take over Abraham’s will?  Was Abraham a robot?  Why did God choose him – because he was simply unable to express his own will?  Or was it because he responded to God’s promises and acted on that faith – an act of will?  Why was Abraham saved? James taught that Abraham believed God and that belief or faith was credited to him as righteousness.  How was this fact actually seen in effect?  According to James 2:21, his obedience sealed or proved his faith.  James even said that he was saved by faith.  Why were these things taught by James if it were not true that God accepted Abraham because of his faith and obedience?

We do need to remember though, that God is honorable and His nature will cause Him to do good, and be loving and fair.  After all – “God is love” – not “Partially Love”. God is not limited to the doctrines of men – those creeds that would make Him a lesser God than He really is.  Fortunately He is immeasurably higher and wiser and greater than anything our weak and limited imagination and wisdom can even begin to imagine or grasp and He, not man’s theology, calls the shots.  I’m sure that those that follow Calvin will be surprised when God calls us home, and we finally begin to see clearly what God is like.  Each and every one of us will finally apprehend that God’s great love, mercy and grace is even greater than we or Calvin ever envisaged and that we never ever came close to knowing Him as He really is and we never were able to grasp more than a smidgen of His greatness nor of His love and compassion.  At that time we will also better understand about the lost, and why they were lost.  We shouldn’t try to encompass God’s whys and wherefores with our limited sinful, foolish earthly minds, nor restrict those matters to the logic of our doctrines.  Instead we desperately need to humbly recognize our acute limitations.

That man who challenged Dutcher (mentioned at the beginning of this letter), seems to be rather callous in his statement: “nobody gets shafted”.  It’s easy for any person who gives it a moment’s honest consideration, to conclude that everyone that is not offered the possibility of salvation is certainly getting shafted – that is if Dutcher and friend are correct in their beliefs.  It means that millions of people are born with sinful natures not by their own choice, but by the choice and will of God and by the sin-choice of Adam their fore-father.  Only a handful (by comparison), of those millions of people have the possibility of being saved from the terrifying Hell that God has proclaimed for them – not one – whether elect or non-elect is given a choice in the matter in any way, shape or form.  It’s hard not to believe that the non-elect are being ‘shafted’ if reformists are correct.  Their presumption is wrong – that a man that is created sinful deserves to fry in Hell forever in fearful torment without hope of salvation.  God also believes this would be wrong and offers choices to men.

There is no difficulty believing that God is able to remain sovereign while at the same time giving men choices.  Even a normal human household can demonstrate this truth to some degree.  Parents control their children, allow them choices, and yet retain authority over them.  In fact children become mature by the experiences of life, and the choices they make.  Some of these children end up coming to a dreadful end because of wrong choices. For children to become mature they must face the making of choices and either grow and prosper or become poorer by their choices.  So too men must become mature through choices allotted to them by God. I don’t see any difficulty in believing that the God who “works all things together for good to those that love God” can allow a man to choose this day whom he will serve and God still be in control.  In fact God Gives people choices like this over and over again in the Bible, but followers of Calvin seem to be blinded to, or reject the fact in order to remain loyal to their Calvinist commitment.

God’s ability to retain authority while letting His creatures make choices, reveals Him as far greater than the Calvinist obviously can imagine (limited as he is by this doctrine).  Calvin restricts God to not being able to allow true choices while still retaining His sovereignty.  What a limited God the TULIP teachers preach.  God is not allowed to be what they say He can’t be.  God has to be as Calvin says He is, therefore His love is limited to only a few people.  To admit that His saving love encompasses. or is offered to all mankind, is to endanger the teaching and destroy the logic.  To claim that God’s power and will would be thwarted by those that choose to accept or refuse Him, and that thereby God would somehow be a lesser or weaker God is to lack understanding of the true unlimited greatness of God.

Why is it so hard to imagine that God can draw us and bring us to the knowledge of the need for something far greater than our earthly life and our experiences and abilities can provide for us, and with that drawing toward Him and that wakened awareness given by His spirit, He can make us sensitive to our great need for His salvation through Jesus Christ alone?  Why can He not allow us when thus awakened, to choose to turn to Him in the desperate need that He has revealed?  Why is it so hard to grasp that by choosing to turn to Him in our awakened desperation and embracing His salvation, we don’t save ourselves as the Calvinist would claim, but are saved by the very love and mercy of God?  A man that calls for help and is saved from a dangerous rip by a surf-lifesaver would not claim he saved himself.  Neither will the sinner who is saved by God’s grace, stand before God, proudly beat his chest and make such an obviously silly claim.  Somehow God is able in spite of the limitations of the Calvinist’s thinking, to save through the giving of a choice to men while warning them of the dire consequences of rejecting that salvation.  There is error in the Calvinist presumption that God cannot remain sovereign while at the same time calling and allowing men to choose or reject salvation.  Calvinists limit God by denying this possibility.

Consider a man blithely paddling along in a canoe upon a river, on a beautiful spring day, unaware that around the next bend is a very deadly waterfall.  A man on the bank calls out to him to warn of the danger and tells him to paddle in to shore quickly to avoid certain death.  The canoeist has a choice – he can either heed the warning, be alarmed at the danger and decide to avoid it, or he can simply ignore the warning.

Fortunately because of the warning, he is now aware of the rumbling noise from the waterfall and he is now in a state of alarm.  He decides to heed the warning and paddle to shore, but he is now too far out from the river-bank to save himself.  His paddling is futile and he realises that it is now not possible for him to extricate himself from the dangerous situation because the current will not let go of him.  He is unable to save himself from the certain death that awaits him around the corner.  He cries out for help.

The man on the river-bank has seen this happen before and has a rope affixed to a tree along the bank.  He runs ahead and takes hold of the rope, calls to the endangered man to take hold of the rope he is about to throw, and throws the rope across the canoe so that the canoeist can easily take hold of it.

Now the desperate, imperilled man has another choice – he can either take hold of the rope or he can refuse to be saved by the would-be saviour and keep trying to extricate himself from the hopeless situation in reliance upon his own strength and ability.  Fortunately, he sees the light as it were and gratefully grabs the rope, clings desperately to it and is saved from certain death.

What would be the attitude of the saved man?  Would he simply say “Well I saved myself”, or would he thank the human saviour profusely and be thankful for his help and rescue?  We all know that any person in his right mind would recognise and acknowledge that he was saved by the man that made him aware of the danger and threw the rope.  He certainly would not claim that he saved himself by being aware of the danger, taking hold of the rope and clinging to it until safe on shore.  Neither did he save himself.

This latter attitude is something like the Calvinist teaching on predestination.  It asserts that a man that chooses to believe and be saved after God’s word warns about the judgement to come, must by that choice (taking hold of the offered salvation through Jesus), save himself, or be somehow responsible for his own salvation and that God’s sovereignty is thereby affected.  This is dishonest foolishness.

Why do Calvinists seek to decrease the power of God by subscribing to and insisting upon the restrictions decreed by their doctrine?  His overwhelming word to all mankind is the call to repent and not the limited compulsion to repent. God is able to be sovereign and still allow a free-will choice in this respect.  Is He insincere?  Does He call us to repent when most are not able to?  Does He laugh up His sleeve at us, knowing that we are helpless and unable?  This doctrine dishonors God, limits His power and His love, and makes His word untrustworthy.

Choices in the Heavenlies:

Did Satan choose to sin, or was he created sinful? Could he and his cohorts have chosen not to rebel against God or was there no choice for them?  It seems that God’s sovereignty is not endangered by His heavenly, spiritual creatures making choices to either follow and obey, or not to follow and obey God, out of what is clearly their own volition.  Those that serve God, would be in violation of God’s sovereignty according to the Calvinist position. If the God-fearing angels made choices to obey God, then they must be saving themselves, being at least in possession of their own holiness and therefore are personally outside of the conforming influence and the sovereignty of God.  God gives choices to principalities and powers, by which they themselves decide their own fates, making choices either to serve and obey Him or to turn away from and disobey Him. Man was made a little lower than the angels and surely man too is able to make choices once made aware of, or at least warned of his need.  Where is the threat to God’s sovereignty in this?  Had Adam obeyed, would he have saved himself, and was his obedience for a time, proof of personal holiness and worthiness, or was God’s gracious love and acceptance what truly would have been his holiness and his salvation?  Why, if God’s sovereignty is challenged by His creatures making correct or incorrect choices, is He not somehow a lesser God if the sinning angels defied Him and the loyal angels chose to obey Him, and would He not be a lesser God if Adam had obeyed Him and sustained his own holiness, (according to the logic of Calvin)?  To claim or believe that God made the angels such that they could only obey Him would require that He also must have made the sinning angels such that they could only sin.  This is a doctrinal step in a totally dangerous and wrong direction.

Calvinists might perhaps point out that sinful men are not in the same category as was Adam before he sinned, nor were the angels subject to the wrath of God as mankind are, therefore my argument falls down.  They in fact would claim that sinners cannot make correct or righteous choices unless God enables them, indeed forces them to.  Thus the whole meaning of the word ‘choice’ (The act of choosing or selecting) is subverted by them and replaced with the meaning (manipulated).  Therefore the saved are puppets under the control of God, rather than needy humans who have been brought to awareness of their extreme need and offered the choice to grasp a salvation that is through simple belief.

We are speaking about the greatest power, mind, love and wisdom in existence – the only real totally independent self-sustaining power, the power that is entirely other.  How can any man, or for that matter any angel, challenge the incredibly unimaginably awesome Creator by whom he was brought into existence?  He may assume he might do so, but God’s final judgement will reveal to him his utter foolishness and the impossibility of his sacrilegious desires. Mens’ choices will be no threat to the Almighty.  How will any man or being stand before the Almighty Creator God and proudly claim, “I am independent of you – I saved myself”?  The scene itself will allow no such arrogance by men.  The whole of scripture and common sense must clearly show that when men come before the awesome Might, holiness and splendor of God, they will fall on their faces, understand just how horribly sinful, tiny and insignificant they are, and unless they have sought the cleansing of salvation through Jesus the Son, they will grovel at His feet. Men will take nothing from His sovereignty in spite of being allowed choices.  How can any man ever displace or dislodge the Almighty or share in His glory in any way, shape or form, considering who God is and what we are, and why would this great Almighty God be in any way bothered by such silliness? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us”.  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.

Who can challenge God, or claim any worth before God?

The Heathen

The many heathen that have through the centuries and even today, missed out on hearing the Gospel, are sometimes postulated as proof that only some will be offered salvation through Jesus Christ.  If all are offered a choice, then all of the heathen, not just a few, must need also to hear the Gospel through missionaries etc.  But because they haven’t all heard the Gospel, they have no hope according to the Calvinist, and can’t make choices – therefore are lost forever. They are the ‘goats’ and not the ‘sheep’ who are God’s people.  This is in accordance with the doctrine of limited atonement.  Is God’s atonement really limited in this way though? The Jews of the Old Testament never really heard the Gospel, or understood it, yet those who were saved, were saved through the blood of Christ – through faith in the Messiah to come, not knowing what or how that salvation would actually occur.  Had men known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Genesis 4:26 tells us that men began to call upon the name of the Lord.  Were they not saved, or could they not have been saved?  Then and in other times there have been many that have desired to know God, and those that did have that desire, were saved by faith in the Son of God Who influenced them through His Spirit centuries before He walked on the earth.  They didn’t have perfect knowledge, and hadn’t heard the gospel as such, but they had hearts that thirsted for truth and were ready to embrace what limited truth God revealed to them.  God Himself will not be limited by our understanding nor by our assertions about God’s intentions toward those heathen that might not hear the Gospel clearly or fully.

Though I will be charged with heresy for suggesting it, it is possible that though the heathen don’t hear the Bible from the mouths of missionaries, they, isolated and alone in a Spirit evoked desire for truth, and with a keen sense of a need for more understanding may be saved by the grace of God through the death of Jesus, even though they haven’t heard the Gospel as such.  God, if He so wishes it, is capable of knowing the hearts of men, and saving those that would respond to the Gospel if given the opportunity.  Our place is to do what we can to spread the Gospel because that is what He has revealed to us and desires us to do, not to second-guess Him or seek to arrogantly hold Him to our theology.  Any people that we do not see come under conviction by the Spirit through our influence can be left to the mercy of God in His wisdom and will.  Nevertheless, the heathen do have a witness to God’s existence and power:

Romans chapter 1:18-24 (GW) says: God’s anger is revealed from heaven against every ungodly and immoral thing people do as they try to suppress the truth by their immoral living What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them. From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse. They knew God but did not praise and thank him for being God. Instead, their thoughts were pointless, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness. While claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for statues that looked like mortal humans, birds, animals, and snakes. For this reason God allowed their lusts to control them.

This passage indicates clearly that in general, mankind have a natural knowledge of the existence of God, having the witness of creation, but refuse to acknowledge Him because men love their sin and want to be their own gods and as a result they enter into all kinds of idolatry.  This is not a sin they cannot help – a sin that results from inability to choose, but rather indicates a willing choice to follow their own way and ignore God, belief in Whom makes them uncomfortable.  If this were not so, Why is God angry with them?  We’re told that God made and makes His existence clear to them.  That they knew (know) God, that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for idols etc.

This tells us at least that God’s existence is known to all men, but that those that refuse to believe in or follow, or seek Him refuse to do so, & close their minds to Him willingly. It was for this reason that God allowed their lusts to control them – not because they were born with a sinful nature that could not choose.  Men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil and they loved their sin. When men have choice, most tend to choose to live in untruth and live a lie and their spiritual eyes as it were, are closed.  God is not to blame for this, and it has nothing to do with God hating them, as the Calvinist would believe in relation to persons such as Esau.

Other Believers

God’s Kingdom was never limited to only the Jews in the Old Testament.  There were people who believed in the Almighty God apart from such men as Noah and Abram, (who by the way were not aware of the facts of the salvation to come through Christ).  Generations before God called Abram, men began to call upon the name of the Lord.  Both Abel and Cain offered sacrifices, one accepted and one rejected.  Why was Cain’s offering rejected and what was God’s desire for him?  The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Was God’s appeal to Cain insincere or was He truly concerned because of what He saw in Cain’s heart?  God was dealing with men even at that early date, desired their salvation and offered them choices.

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him: Enoch was a man that was saved not through hearing the Gospel (so far as we know), but his trust in God and his life’s walk in obedience to that trust saved him so that he never even had to face the trauma of physical death.  Job and his compatriots were men who lived (probably) around the time of Abraham but were not in Abraham’s line. They had a real, palpable faith in God.  Is there any indication in scripture that Job knew the Gospel? No – and yet Calvin’s believers would surely see him as a man of God.  Lot was not of the lineage of Abraham, and not under the Abrahamic covenant of faith, nor was he awaiting the coming of the Messiah, but he was acceptable to God.  Abraham offered a tithe to Melchizedek, a man that had no connection with the Jewish nation yet was a priest of the Most High God.

The wise men of Christmas day were God-followers but it seems separated from the Jewish nation and looking for a salvation that even the Jews misunderstood.  These men were led by God’s Spirit to the place where the infant Christ lay and this witness by these non-Jewish men, was a testimony to the Christ Himself.  There is little, if any evidence that they knew the substance of the Gospel apart from the coming of a Messiah or special person.  Would the Calvinist claim that these wise men were not saved because they hadn’t heard the whole gospel?

God’s favor was upon Jacob, through the nation of Israel, but it was not limited to that nation, to which some Old Testament scriptures would attest.  How were those Old Testament men saved?  Was it not through the Christ on the cross?  Were those men saved through Jesus because they believed the light they had at that time?  I think so. As scripture says there is no other name by which we might be saved but Christ’s.  All those that are accepted by God come to Him through faith and that salvation is accomplished through Jesus Christ the Son no matter how limited their knowledge.  If specialised knowledge is necessary then how can a child or person of limited intellect be saved?

But the Calvinist insists upon wrenching out of Biblical context, those verses which seem to indicate that God chose before creation, certain specific people upon whom to lavish His favor with no input from those people; people such as Jacob whom God loved while He supposedly hated Esau with what can be perceived as a malevolent hate.  Why God would hate such a poor creature who didn’t even know his own heart, nor could help it even if he did, is hard to imagine even for the most hopeless of us.  In fact He blessed Esau for his father’s sake, and there was evidence that Esau’s heart had later softened toward both God and his brother.  Yes God chose imperfect pots for dishonorable use according to scripture. But what does this really mean?

I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion (Romans 9:15.) God has the power to dispense mercy, or to not dispense mercy to and upon whomsoever He decides.  If He decides to pour out His mercy upon a particular person at His own discretion, or pour out His anger upon that person, then He has the option to do it by virtue of being all-powerful, and being the Creator of that person.  Yes – He is powerful enough and has the capacity to destroy any person He creates, but is this why He really creates humans – to destroy them so that His power will be seen and His holiness will be proven?  Is this truly His reason for the creation of multi-millions of sinners – so that condemnation of the majority will be a testimony to His holiness, justice, power and revenge, while a few will be a testimony to His love and mercy? Does God need this testimony?  Do we need this testimony in order to grasp His unsurpassable greatness?  Would not limiting His love and salvation to a very few merely limit the effect of His testimony to the rest of creation?  Is God not God without this terrible suffering to prove Him holy, righteous and just?  In spite of doctrine to the contrary, there is always a reason for God’s acceptance or rejection that issues from consequences resulting from each person’s choices.

God’s righteous anger

The whole tenor of scripture teaches that God’s anger is righteous, which means among other things ‘just’ and ‘fair’ and that His anger is directed at men who sin against His will – who choose to disobey His word and directions and commands. Why is the good, compassionate, gentle, loving God so angry at men over something they cannot help?  Why does He hate them because they choose to sin even though He knows they can’t do anything else but sin, or, as some would state it, because they inherited Adam’s sin-nature, and why does He call upon them angrily to obey Him knowing that they cannot do so, (if Calvin was correct)?  Why does God continue to berate them for their sin, knowing that by His choice, they were born in sin and can’t do right anyway?  Why does He live out this charade of reprimanding men for sin, all the while knowing that He has already condemned those that He doesn’t care about and will save and really care about only a few?  Why is there anger over man’s sin anyway? Dogs will be dogs as they were created to be, and sinful men will be sinful men as they were created to be.  What a horrible God-dishonouring blasphemous teaching Calvinism is and what a very great misfortune that so many are kept by these untruths from perceiving and knowing by experience the true  great unlimited love and mercy of God toward all mankind.

There is a reason for God’s anger against mankind, and that reason is spelled out in so many Old and New Testament passages that call upon men to hear Him, believe Him, trust Him and repent from their sins, turning their lives toward Him and over to Him.  Men are disobedient by choice, and men reject God by choice, but men repent by choice and receive Jesus Christ by choice as well (albeit only after God warns them so that they become aware of Him and their need of Him).  This is the reason why God’s anger remains upon those that continue to reject His call to follow, trust and obey Him, and why God delights in those that become His by faith in His mercy.  A human parent is pleased with a child that implicitly trusts and obeys him/her, and it’s in the child’s interest to do so because in this obedience and trust is rest, provision, love and protection.  Thus both child and parent are blessed by this faith the child exercises.  God even more so, loves us to trust Him, and we more so have an even great need to trust in our only hope for salvation through Jesus.  For only in Him there is forgiveness, rest, provision, love and protection for mankind.

God will have mercy on those who, though unworthy, choose to believe Him, trust in Him and seek to obey Him – and His mercy hinges on that faith and obedience.  In spite of Calvinism’s claim to the contrary, those that believe in Him do choose to obey Him. His mercy is toward those whose hearts accept and desire truth and holiness though hindered by sin-affected nature.  God knows and recognizes the hard-hearted man who, hardened by sin, (such as Pharaoh), whole-heartedly rejects truth and the God of truth and that man is rejected by God as a vessel fit for dishonor and unfit for holy use.  God will consequently harden those who first harden themselves.  Any even partially sane man would have finally given in to the demands of God after the plagues God inflicted upon Egypt. Pharaoh’s advisors begged him to, but God Kept Pharaoh’s heart hard according to Pharaoh’s first choices.  (Pharaoh at first hardened his own heart according to the voice – (parsing) of the words translated in scripture). God also acknowledges those whose hearts are willing to hear Him, recognize truth, turn from sin and seek to obey and to gain victory over the sin-nature in God’s strength and power through faith in His promises.  Those who choose to follow Him are vessels fit for holy use, and are saved not by their faith or their choices, but by the death of Jesus on the cross.  They are those that are foreknown, loved and elect for holy purposes.

Esau hated?

Let’s be honest.  Very few of those that love to approve the reformed doctrine would openly state that God hates any man.  Yet when confronted with the need to prove their point they will refer to such verses as those that indicate God’s rejection of Esau and His selection of Jacob before they even existed.  God hates sin, but does he hate people?  To be sure, He certainly will not accept those that continue in sin into His Heaven.  He hates, as He expects us to do, the very garment spotted with sin.  There is no way that the practicing sinner who delights daily in sin can enter and live in the holy presence of God after this life.  God is Holy and nothing unholy may approach Him.

So in that sense, God does hate the sinner – but the fact that He warns us about this sin and calls us to repentance – all of us, if the scriptures are to be believed, indicates that He doesn’t hate mankind, or any particular man – rather the Word of God reveals a compassion that cares and desires to see all men saved.  God even had compassion on Cain, an unrepentant murderer who deserved to die immediately but was under God’s protection. It cannot be said that Cain had no chance to repent.  In fact God warned Cain to repent from his attitude and counseled him sincerely to do right.  What God hates is the sin which destroys men, makes them abhorrent and brings them to Hell.  He hates, not the men themselves, but to see men make choices that will destroy them by turning them into even more evil and hateful people. In the end, it isn’t that He hates men for the fact that they are born in sin, nor for the fact that the sin-nature produces sin in them, but for the fact that they reject the will of God and the salvation He commands all men to hear, accept and obey – a matter of choice. Those He fore-knows will receive Christ as Savior are the elect – chosen to become conformed to the image of His Son, those He fore-knows will reject truth in their lives are the condemned – condemned by their own choices.  So He predestines those He fore-knew would accept His truth to become His Sons and those that would reject His truth to the Hell that results from wilful rejection of God and His holy salvation.

Calvinists fail to recognize that the reference in this Romans passage is a reference to God’s choosing of the nation of Israel by which His blessing was to come upon the world.  It was Jacob’s lineage through which His promise of the Messiah – the deliverer would come and this deliverer came, not for Jacob’s descendants only but for the whole world, including the descendants of Esau.

It is sometimes argued that the word “knew” in “foreknew” has a relational or intimate aspect to it and really means that God ‘knew’ them in an intimate loving way.  Just as Adam “knew” Eve in an intimate way, (notwithstanding the sexual aspect of it), so God has an intimate love toward all those He foreknows.  This knowing or intimacy applies to those that He foresaw would respond to His love and turn to Him.  Those that would reject His love and who would consequently become even more hopeless and abhorrent, He would reject.  These latter are not foreknown in an intimate way, remembering that the word “foreknew” has both prophetic and intimate aspects.  Those whom He knew through foreknowledge, would respond to Him, He also loved and loves intimately.  Those who would reject Him, He was forced to and does reject because of His justice and because of their wicked, wilful obstinacy.

The hypocrisy of Calvinism

Some Calvinists, go to many pains to save souls because God directs us to, not because they necessarily care about those souls.  After all, the God they believe in has no love for the lost. He will most certainly save those that are marked for salvation, but has already condemned the rest to Hell for eternity.  The Calvinist lives comfortably with the thought that there are many souls no more wicked than himself who will be cast into the lake of fire forever, while he, one of the fortunate ones, will be OK.  The thought of the horrifying end of the lost can be cast off by centering on the joy that God has thoughtfully provided for him.  His attitude might be seen as “I’m OK – tough about you though.”

The doubts that Dutcher had at the beginning of his book, I suspect, were doubts about this very problem – that which is still a problem with those that are under the influence of Calvin.  The pity is that Dutcher fell for the three-card-trick; that of being asked the wrong questions such as the one quoted at the beginning of this paper, then being misdirected by the wrong answers.  When our minds are centered on the fact that we are sinners and deserve judgement, of course the answer to the question “Does anyone deserve to be in Heaven?” must be ‘no’.  This is a red-herring question and one that is not worthy of the God of the Eternities – the God whose name is ‘Love’.

Better questions might have been something like these: “Is God love, and doesn’t this mean that His love is unlimited?  If not, is He really love?  If so then why is His love not for all mankind?” “Was it the Sovereign God’s will that men be created sinners because of the sin of the one man Adam, and if so, why?”  “Is God just to judge men for the sin-nature they inherited unwittingly and unknowingly?” “Would a God of infinite love cast these unfortunate people into the eternal suffering of the lake of fire forever without giving them the option to be saved from the consequences of the choices of both God and Adam?”  “Is it fair (R. C. Sproul notwithstanding), to save some and not others (who are sinners not by their own choice, but by God’s sovereign determination)?”  “Doesn’t God require that we ourselves who are His children and are to be seeking to become like Him, be fair in our relationships with others? – If so, why are we to be fairer than the God who made us?”  “Is it like God to simply to shower love on only a few?”  “Isn’t God’s love limited if He only chooses to love and save a few though He is just as capable of loving and saving the lot?”  “If God can choose to love those sinners He fore-ordained to salvation (according to Calvin) then can He not choose to love all men, unless there is another weightier problem such as that of man’s refusal to cooperate?  “If God’s love is unlimited, then wouldn’t His love be for all men rather than a handful?” “Isn’t the God that tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, even more loving than us and mustn’t He love all of those that He expects us to love?”  “Is our love to be wider and more accepting and more all-encompassing than that of God?”  “Does God suffer pain when losing to Hell people He loves without doing all He morally can to save them, or is there no such pain in Him?” and so on.

God always intended that the Children of Israel were to go into the highways and byways to bring in the poor, weak, and hopeless of the Gentile nations, and not just to Israel. He foreknew what Jacob’s descendants would do with His calling and has rejected those people of Israel that have regarded His offer of redemption as unworthy, while opening His arms to those of the Gentiles whom He fore-knew would receive His offer.  It is always about choice.  To pretend that God pours out anger upon the lost that have no say in any relationship with Him; who have been born in sin and with a sin-nature; and that He refuses to have compassion upon them, and to ignore the many scriptures that show clearly that His anger is rather because they refuse to listen to Him and trust and obey Him – this can be seen to be dishonest.

I’m aware that I shouldn’t judge the motives of others, but it’s hard not to conclude that many of the believers in Calvin are such because of the comfort that Dutcher speaks often about, the comfort and joy of “knowing” that they will persevere to the end.  I spoke to a Calvinist pastor that said “I wouldn’t know that I was saved unless I believed in this doctrine” or words to that effect.  Another Pastor similarly said that he struggled with assurance until he accepted the Calvinist religion. To accept a particular doctrine for these reasons is untrue to the word of God and perhaps reveals lack of honesty and courage. Both the Calvinist and the non-Calvinist believer can just as easily struggle with fearing whether he is elect/saved or has committed ‘the unpardonable sin’, but the answer to that is not to adopt a doctrine in order to feel right.  To most it’s not comfortable – in fact to many it’s fearful to be as it were, on the ocean adrift without an anchor.  The religion of Calvin offers what seems to be a safe harbor and anchor for some who are faint of heart.  Only the courageous can confront the word, seek for truth, and keep seeking, adopting what truth they are led into, doctrine by doctrine, precept by precept.  Only the fearful and dishonest rush into the safety of the group-think and grab onto the solace that peer group agreement brings.  From this attitude spring the majority of misguided sects.

In this document I have tried to state what I see to be substantial teaching errors in Calvinism and what I believe to be mistakes, wrong practices, misunderstandings and dangers that result from these errors.  I have found that those that espouse the Calvinist doctrine of Predestination, can tend toward hostility when their comfortably settled belief is endangered – when their assurance (which is built around Calvin’s teaching rather than scripture), is assailed or threatened in any way.  This is especially so in the younger, newly convinced Calvinists. They sometimes tend to shy away from any thought that we are to live the life of holiness, lest we be seen to be working for our salvation. Thus they neglect the truth that we must be working out our salvation and if they’re not careful, over-emphasize the view that Christians must of necessity struggle against sin perpetually in this life and thus there is no such thing as living blamelessly in this life – this in spite of the many instances of holy men and women in the scriptures).  One further outworking of this belief, is that sometimes they fervently and insistently inflict their beliefs upon all who disagree.

One last item of importance is that the Calvin that is so greatly revered, tended toward hypocrisy in that in 1553, he condemned at least one man to death simply because he disagreed with the reformist teachings of his time, and especially because he (Michael Servetus) dared to pour scorn upon Calvin’s teachings about baptism and the Trinity.  Calvin’s followers today, camouflage this unfortunate event by arguing that it was the norm for the day to jail, torture and put heretics to death, thus totally ignoring the scriptural principles of love, forgiveness and the true Gospel.  Calvin never ever afterwards showed any remorse for this and many other unloving deeds carried out in the name of Reformed Christianity.  Yet the scriptures tell us that the murderer shall not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.  One wonders how a man that self-righteously puts a man to death for disagreeing with his doctrines, and never shows regret for such a crime, can be seen as a good and righteous man as labelled by his followers today.

We’re told by at least one source: Before the arrest of Servetus and during the earlier stages of the trial Calvin advocated the death penalty, basing his argument mainly on the Mosaic law, which was, “He that blasphemeth the name of Jehovah, he shall surely be put to death,” Lev. 24:16 — a law which Calvin considered as binding as the decalogue and applicable to heresy as well. Yet he left the passing of sentence wholly to the civil council. He considered Servetus the greatest enemy of the Reformation and honestly believed it to be the right and duty of the State to punish those who offended against the Church. He also felt himself providentially called to purify the Church of all corruptions, and to his dying day he never changed his views nor regretted his conduct toward Servetus.  Blasphemy in Calvin’s view meant to disagree with his own doctrine. Yet Calvin himself stands guilty of real blasphemy in that he taught things about God and His character and limited His love and twisted His word in order to fit within his own doctrine – things that absolutely dishonour God.  Not only so, but this teaching is still spread about as the gospel in reformed doctrine centered churches today.  How much more was Calvin responsible for blasphemy?

Some Calvinists point out that he later claimed that he had earlier sought to free or at least waive the death penalty for Servetus.  Yet his earlier letters and writings about this man seem to show that he had a grudge that he sought to settle should Servetus ever come into his hand.  He wrote to Farel  in February 1546 the following: “Servetus wrote to me a short time ago, and sent a huge volume of his dreamings and pompous triflings with his letter.  I was to find among them wonderful things, and such as I had never before seen; and if I wished, he would himself come. But I am by no means inclined to be responsible for him; and if he come, I will never allow him, supposing my influence worth anything, to depart alive.”  In fact it may be that had anyone said in Calvin’s day such things as I have said in this paper about the Calvinist religion, he too would have been guilty of heresy and in danger of the death sentence.

The following was written on a “Monument of Expiation” built in 1903 near Geneva at the site of the burning of Servetus: “Dutiful and grateful followers of Calvin our great Reformer, yet condemning an error which was that of his age, and strongly attached to liberty of conscience, according to the true principles of the Reformation and of the Gospel, we have erected this expiatory monument. October 27th, 1903.”  This was an attempt by some of tender conscience, at least to recognise the wrong that was done by the Reformists and especially Calvin himself.

I want to make the point that though there are many worthy, sincere followers of Calvin – many that are probably born again, and though they have may have a living faith in Jesus Christ, their attachment to the teachings of a mere man about Christ, and that man an unrepentant sinner, is unwise to say the least.  All who follow Calvin must have the courage and honesty to rethink their beliefs in accordance with scripture, prayerfully examine the scriptures daily and reject any man’s doctrine that does not agree with Biblical truth.  Jesus warns that Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.(John 14:21).  It’s those that prayerfully immerse themselves in the Word of God and seek to follow it that truly love Jesus, not those that follow the words of a mere man.  It’s also to those that examine the word prayerfully, that Jesus promises He will reveal Himself.

I also want to suggest to all believers and especially any that teach such God dishonouring doctrines – particularly pastors, teachers and College lecturers, that there is great danger of judgement as false teachers and that each and every-one desperately needs to examine his/her true motives earnestly and honestly seeking guidance from God in this self-examination, as indeed we each are required to do. The Berean example is one we must all follow.

In Christ,

Colin Nunn


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